The announced drawdown of Russian forces in the areas along the border with Ukraine is due to the joint and solid stance by Kyiv and its Western partners, therefore the Kremlin's "blackmail" has failed, Ukraine's former SBU deputy chief General (Retd) Viktor Yahun said.
Ukraine, however, must not relax for a minute, Yahun added, according to Apostrophe.
"We mustn't relax. Even if Russia does pull its troops back to their permanent bases, I doubt that these sites will be too far from the field camps where they had deployed," said the general.
He added that the forces recently deployed in the occupied Crimea are likely to remain there, while those that were based along the border areas will retreat.
"Why did they need all this? No one was going to go for an offensive, because in order to do so, you need to have at least a threefold advantage in manpower – at least 300,000 military for the initial strike. Now Russia can't amass such a large number for full-scale aggression against Ukraine, let alone for an offensive from three directions," the expert said.
According to the former general, these maneuvers on the part of the Kremlin along the Ukrainian border were all about blackmailing Ukraine.
"It was all designed solely to demonstrate prowess and blackmail both Ukraine and our foreign partners. Our reaction was appropriate – no one started running stocking up on canned food, as they hoped. Our society remained focused, and this coordinated position – of our military, authorities, and volunteers – showed that in moments like these we can unite, because our home is located on the outer boundaries, and our hut is the first to confront the enemy. It is this message that we conveyed to the West, and from our partners we received real support – political, military, intelligence, satellite imagery, military presence in the Black Sea and in the air. All this in general made it clear to the adversary that it won't be an easy walk for them," Yahun explained.