During debates in the UN General Assembly on “The situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and the environment in New York”, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that Russia is preparing for a military attack against Ukraine, and that future escalation to the level of full-scale war is no longer unrealistic, Interfax-Ukraine reports.
“Military experts unambiguously find that the armed group on the Russian border with Ukraine is an offensive assault group. It has nothing to do with defense. They are designed for a military attack. That is what the Kremlin is preparing for, which is why future escalation to the level of full-scale war is no longer an unrealistic prospect,” Poroshenko said.
He emphasized that this is why constant real-time monitoring of the situation along Ukraine’s border with Russia is necessary.
“The total number of troops in the illegal armed formations is currently around 35,000, as well as 2,100 soldiers from Russia’s regular armed forces. The total number of troops in the Russian armed forces along the Russian-Ukrainian border is more than 87,000,” the president remarked.
Poroshenko also informed the UN General Assembly that the Russian armed groups in the occupied Donbas have 496 tanks, 938 armored military vehicles, 128 multiple launch rocket systems, and 776 artillery systems, including self-propelled guns.
“Ukraine has essentially become the real eastern flank of NATO in the defense of transatlantic freedom and democracy,” he added.
The Ukrainian president recalled that last year the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to the Donbas repeatedly caught on video convoys of Russian military vehicles illegally crossing the parts of the Russian-Ukrainian border that are not controlled by the Ukrainian government. According to Poroshenko, the observers have detected the presence of the latest Russian electronic warfare, reconnaissance and drone suppression systems in the occupied territory.
“The Ukrainian Armed Forces never had these systems at their disposal. There is only one country capable of producing and supplying them – Russia!” Poroshenko emphasized.
The president also pointed out that Russia has been obstructing the monitoring activity of the OSCE SMM in the regions close to the border in order to conceal its illegal arms shipments to the Donbas. The SMM is also frequently restricted in its day to day activities in the occupied territory.
Previously US Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker remarked that Russia is not interested in resolving the conflict in the Donbas.
At the same time, US intelligence considers it highly unlikely that Russia will launch a full-scale attack against Ukraine in 2019.