The Ukrainian army must be prepared for a forceful liberation of the Donbas, as this possibility cannot be excluded, Serhiy Kryvonos, Deputy Secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council (NSDC), told Radio Liberty in an interview.
“My opinion: The Armed Forces of Ukraine must be ready for a forceful liberation of Donbas territory, if such a political decision is made,” Kryvonos said. When asked whether the Croatian scenario was possible (retaking separatist-controlled territories by force), he responded in the affirmative: “The armed forces must be ready for this”. The extent to which it is possible depends on support from Ukraine’s foreign partners, he added. “Because if Croatia had not had support from NATO countries, the Croatian scenario wouldn’t have come about either,” he explained.
During the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the Republic of Serbian Krajina declared its independence within Croatia. In May and August 1995, the Croatian army reestablished control over this territory through a series of military operations. According to various estimates, between several hundreds and several thousands of civilians were killed as a result of the fighting, and tens of thousands became refugees.
The official remarked that a forceful recapture would only be possible after a number of measures have been taken to prevent Russia from supporting the Donbas separatists. These include an intensification of the sanctions against Moscow, the creation of a reliable defense system, the reinforcement of the army, and preparation for active offensive action. “Then, once the sanctions have been intensified and Russia has been weakened, we must understand that we have the option to liberate our own territory through force, if Russia is not going to do anything to support the separatist divisions,” he explained.