Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky does not rule out a new world war in case of a full-scale escalation by the Russian Federation.
He announced this during the All-Ukrainian forum "Ukraine 30. National Security" in the capital city of Kyiv, an UNIAN correspondent reported.
Read alsoZelensky sees de-escalation after real threat of full-scale invasion by RussiaAnswering a question whether a full-scale or targeted Russian offensive against Ukraine, not only from Donbas, but also from Crimea and Belarus, is possible in September and whether Ukraine is ready for this, Zelensky said: "Are we ready? We are, as a whole, a country with a very strong and courageous military."
"Are we ready, is the world ready, is Europe ready for a full-scale war? I think no one is ready. Absolutely. If this happens… I think Russia cannot go for this... I am sure we feel it now – both by the signals that we get and the work that we have done, diplomatically, by the support of Ukraine's independence by Europe and the United States. [Otherwise,] I think it could be a world war," the president said.
Zelensky stressed it is "very dangerous," but "there is nothing and no one to be afraid of, since we are on our land and defend it."
"It's scary only because of such events, because of such threats that such steps could take place. And such steps historically always lead to losses, big losses: hundreds of thousands, millions of people," he said.
Despite expert opinions and assumptions regarding September, he believes "such a powerful escalation cannot occur."
Also, when asked whether Ukraine could cope on its own, without help from other states, if such a situation happened, Zelensky said: "We will fight to the last."
Russian military build-up along Ukraine borders, in occupied Crimea
- On March 30, 2021, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Colonel-General Ruslan Khomchak said Russia had deployed 28 battalion tactical groups along the state border of Ukraine and in the temporarily occupied territories. It is also said to be planning to bring up to 25 battalion tactical groups under the guise of preparations for military drills.
- Fifteen warships of Russia's Caspian Flotilla entered the Black Sea.
- Russia also relocated Su-25SM3 warplanes from Russia's Stavropol Krai (Territory) to occupied Crimea.
- On April 22, 2021, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said his country would begin the withdrawal of troops, which had taken part in military exercises in occupied Crimea and near the borders of Ukraine, to their permanent bases in the Southern and Western Military Districts.
- On May 6, 2021, Zelensky said the Russian Federation had withdrawn only 3,500 troops from occupied Crimea out of tens of thousands of military personnel deployed on the borders and temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine.
- Moreover, on April 24, 2021, the Russian Federation closed off several areas of the Black Sea near occupied Crimea for foreign warships and government ships. The restriction will be in effect from 21:00 local time on April 24 to 21:00 local time on October 31, 2021.