Russia's building up its military capabilities around Ukraine and holding offensive exercises shows that the threat of a full-scale invasion of Ukraine remains, Commander of the Joint Forces of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Lieutenant General Serhiy Nayev has said.
According to Ukrinform, he said this in an interview with the RBC Ukraine news agency, when asked to comment on the probability of a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in the near future.
"In view of Russia's build-up of its military capabilities around Ukraine and the holding of large-scale exercises, including offensive ones, the threat of a full-scale invasion of Ukraine remains. However, the effect of international sanctions and support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine by international partners significantly reduce the expansion of aggression by Russia," Nayev said.
In his opinion, in the near future, Russia will continue to take hybrid measures to influence Ukraine, focusing on maintaining the unstable situation in eastern Ukraine, destabilizing the socio-political situation within Ukraine, and gaining an advantage in the information space.
At the same time, he said that Ukrainian intelligence agencies were constantly analyzing the situation, and the military command is ready for a change in the level of threats and an adequate response to them.
According to Nayev, Russian occupation forces have recently used more often the weapons proscribed by the Minsk agreements, including against civilian targets.
"As the enemy lacks tactical success, the command of the occupation forces continues to look for the most effective tactics. What has been confirmed now is that the enemy combines military actions with measures of information and psychological influence. In some cases, the enemy, ignoring the Minsk agreements, began to use proscribed weapons more often, including against civilian targets," Nayev said.
In his opinion, the main purpose of such provocations is to demonstrate strength, impunity, and audacity. By their actions, Russian-backed forces are trying to provoke the military command of the Joint Forces Operation to give a "decent response" while covering violations by Ukraine. Particular attention is paid to the distorted media coverage of the situation and accusations against the top military and political leadership of Ukraine of the artificial escalation of the situation on the line of contact, Nayev said.
He also said that such tactics by militants were connected with important international events, including President Volodymyr Zelensky's visit to the United States.
"As a rule, such tactics are widely used on the eve of important international meetings of Ukrainian government officials with representatives of partner countries and security organizations," Nayev said.