Kuleba: Russia won’t catch us by surprise this time.

Ukraine is committed to diplomatic and political means of resolving the conflict in the east but seeks to avoid the mistakes of 2014 and will not allow Russia to catch it by surprise.

"We have gathered today to prevent the mistakes that were made in 2014, when Russia acted very quickly and reached its military goals in Donbas and Crimea, while the Western partners were thinking how to react. Russia will not be able to catch us by surprise again this time. Ukraine and our partners remain strong. We will not waste time. And if Moscow starts a new spiral of violence or acts recklessly, this will cost it dearly," Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Dmytro Kuleba said at a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

At the same time, he stressed that Ukraine did not want a war and did not plan any offensive or escalation.

"Ukraine is committed to diplomatic and political means of resolving this conflict," the foreign minister assured.

He said that during a meeting with Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, he discussed how NATO and its allies could support Ukraine in the current circumstances.

"I will also raise this issue at a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission… Ukraine and its allies can do much to prevent Moscow from escalating tensions and to protect Ukraine's borders," the minister said.

Kuleba believes that now there are all the tools to stop the advance of Russian aggression and to make Russia liberate the temporarily occupied Ukrainian territories.

"So when you ask me how far Russia can go, my answer to you, I cannot exclude anything, but I still believe that we have all tools available, not only to prevent Russia from making a single step forward, but also to make it withdraw from the occupied territories of Ukraine," Kuleba added.

He reminded that it had been unimaginable back in 2014 that Russia would go as far as occupying Crimea and the eastern part of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

“The initial plan of Russian strategies, was to cut Ukraine in half, and create a political entity called New Russia, Novorossiya. This plan failed, due to the effective countermeasures taken by the Ukrainian state, and the sacrifice of our soldiers and officers,” Kuleba added.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine stressed that partners, including NATO allies, played an important role in helping Ukraine to stop Russia “where it stands now.”

Earlier, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Ruslan Khomchak said that 28 Russian battalion tactical groups were stationed along the state border of Ukraine, as well as in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and Crimea, posing a direct threat to Ukraine’s national security.

On April 4, it became known that the Russian Federation was redeploying the 76th Guards Air Assault Division from Pskov, whose fighters had taken part in hostilities in eastern Ukraine in 2014, to the temporarily occupied Crimea. This was reported by an independent group of Russian investigators Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT).

Defense Ministry Spokesperson Maria Salnik informed, citing the data of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, that the command of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation was filling the ranks of the Southern Military District of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation by redeploying troops from the Western, Central and Eastern military districts.

On April 8, the press service of the Southern Military District of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation reported that the landing and artillery boats of the Caspian Flotilla of the Russian Federation had begun an inter-fleet move into the Black Sea as part of the so-called exercises.

On April 10, Ukrainian Defense Minister Andriy Taran said that the real goals of Russia's military presence near Ukraine's borders could be to increase pressure on Ukraine to coerce it into making concessions in the negotiation process and to demonstrate readiness to use force.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Ukraine was ready for Russian invasion that could happen every day.

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