Russia continues to move troops near Ukrainian borders and territories of the Donbas which are not under Ukraine’s control, but this is not sufficient. Russia would need to have three to five times more troops for a full-scale invasion, said Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov in an interview with the Current Time.
At the same time, he stressed that the threat of an invasion still exists.
"Of course, there is a constant threat for us. We have been living with this threat for seven years, and it is not news to us that Russian troops are located on the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. It is they who are waging war against our country," he said.
Danilov added that the most dangerous areas at present are Mariupol and other places in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
The NSDC Secretary also believes that Russia’s main goal was direct negotiations with the United States, and the Kremlin has achieved it.
"We will watch how events will develop now that Russia has given the actual ultimatum to the United States and the NATO countries, " he said.
Danilov also believes that Putin wants to "reinforce" Russia's seizure of Crimea, to show that Ukraine has ceased to exist within its current borders.
"This is his number one task. Using internal destabilization, he wants to ensure that the country falls apart into two or three parts. This is what Putin is striving for. This is the task that comes first for him. And it is through internal destabilization. If he cannot do this, then his other option is to use weapons, but we are ready for this, "the NSDC secretary emphasized.
According to the latest reports, about 122,000 Russian troops are deployed near Ukrainian borders and in the Donbas. In the fall, Ukrainian and Western intelligence said the Kremlin could launch a new attack as early as January 2022.
Amid a threat of another wave of aggression, the United States and other NATO member states joined the negotiations with the Russian Federation. They warned Russia that it would have to pay for a new invasion with unprecedented sanctions. Kyiv said that Ukraine will not surrender without a fight, and the invasion will turn into bloody battles.
On December 7, the American and Russian presidents held video talks. After them, Russia continued to amass troops on Ukrainian borders, and then gave NATO an ultimatum – stop any expansion to the east, do not accept Ukraine, Georgia, or other post-Soviet states into the Alliance.
NATO and its members have clearly stated that Russia has no right to decide where other states should become NATO members. At the same time, the United States agreed to negotiations with Russia, the first round of which is scheduled for January 10. On December 30, Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin will hold a phone conversation.
The American president also intends to call Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has spoken to the Ukrainian president, just as he did before Biden's previous talks with Putin.