Poroshenko: over 90,000 Russian-backed militants, regular troops in Donbas
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko claims that the threat of a large-scale offensive from the side of Russian-backed militants has been growing, and the strength of the enemy's troops is estimated at 40,000 men, while another 50,000 servicemen are deployed along the border with Ukraine.
Poroshenko announced these figures at a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council on Wednesday, the presidential press service told UNIAN.
The president emphasized that the threat of a large-scale offensive by Russian-backed terrorist groups had been increased, which requires additional measures to ensure the state's defensive capacity. "[They include] from the operative regrouping and deployment of troops, specification of tasks on the fifth wave of mobilization, an improvement in the anti-airborne and countersabotage defense of Mariupol, Berdiansk and the entire Azov coast, and as far as to the National Security Strategy," the president said.
Also, the president stressed the need to enhance the country's defensive capacity and the creation of modern armed forces. According to him, a reliable, highly professional and disciplined army that has stopped the enemy's aggression exists in the country due to the efforts of servicemen and volunteers.
According to Poroshenko, the total strength of the enemy's forces in Donbas, including illegal armed groups, exceeds 40,000 men, while the Russian regular troops deployed along the Ukrainian-Russian border is over 50,000 men, which is almost 1.5 times larger than in July 2014.
"'Rosvoyentorg' [the Russian post exchange] continues to regularly supply armament, military equipment, ammunition and fuel to militants. A rifle hanging on the wall will go off sooner or later. This applies not only to the conventional theater, but also to the theater of war," the president said.
Ukraine strictly abides by the Minsk peace agreements, the president stressed. "There is a convincing piece of evidence when all the sides have recorded that Ukraine strictly abides by the Minsk agreements and militants constantly violate them," Poroshenko said. What is more, he noted, militants do not allow international observers to verify their withdrawal of heavy weapons. "Militants regularly shell Ukrainian positions and civilians, conduct reconnaissance and subversive activity, provoke skirmishes to disrupt a peaceful resolution to the conflict," he added.