Russia "openly" threatens to destroy Kiev, Ukraine says

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuliba fears Russian action after escalating tensions with Moscow
El presidente ruso Vladimir Putin

PHOTO/AP  -   Russian President Vladimir Putin

On Thursday, foreign ministers from the three Baltic states - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - travelled to the Ukrainian capital of Kiev to show their support for the country led by President Volodymir Zelensky. They did so against a background of tension between the Ukrainians and Russians following manoeuvres by the two states in the border region near Crimea. Now, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuliba has accused Russia of being ready to attack them in response to the recent actions. He said the Russians "openly threaten Ukraine with war and the destruction of the Ukrainian state".

The Ukrainian capital believes that the recent increase in tensions is solely due to the actions of Vladimir Putin's country. Despite the fact that in recent days the Ukrainian army has carried out manoeuvres "in combat conditions", they say that this is not a preparation for war. Although they make it clear that they will do whatever is necessary to defend the sovereignty of their territory due, among other things, to the fear of a repetition of the situation that ended with the illegal annexation of Crimea to Russia. Something that, according to the Ukrainian government, will not happen again: "Russia will not take anyone else by surprise", assured Minister Kuliba.

Tanques de las Fuerzas Armadas de Ucrania se ven durante los ejercicios en un lugar desconocido cerca de la frontera de Crimea anexada a Rusia, Ucrania, en esta imagen de mano publicada por el servicio de prensa del Estado Mayor de las Fuerzas Armadas de Ucrania el 14 de abril de 2021
PHOTO/ Press service of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine via REUTERS - Tanks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are seen during exercises at an unknown location near the border of Russia-annexed Crimea, Ukraine, in this handout image released by the press service of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine April 14, 2021

"We condemn the worsening of the situation (provoked) by Russia and the actions and statements of Moscow, which wants to increase the military tension and to undermine diplomatic efforts," Kiev said. They call for Western countries to get involved in the situation by imposing new sanctions on Moscow in response to the growing tensions between the two countries. Ukraine even warns that if it does not have the support of the international community, it will have to find ways to defend itself on its own. They explain that they are contemplating acquiring nuclear weapons if they fail to join NATO, according to the Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk: "Either we are integrated into an alliance like NATO and thus contribute to making Europe stronger, or we are left with no choice but to arm ourselves".

Militares ucranianos patrullan a lo largo de una posición en la línea del frente con los separatistas respaldados por Rusia en Avdiivka, región de Donetsk el 5 de abril de 2021
PHOTO/AFP - Ukrainian servicemen patrol along a position on the frontline with Russian-backed separatists in Avdiivka, Donetsk region on April 5, 2021

The actions of the past few days have caused alarm in all the countries of the region, which are hoping for NATO intervention to calm a situation that, for the moment, seems far from being resolved. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has already stated recently that "they are on the side of Ukraine". They call on Russia to stop its manoeuvres in the region and do its part to help calm the situation.

Meanwhile, Moscow denies any kind of provocation and argues that its manoeuvres are merely "military exercises", far from posing any kind of threat to Ukraine or NATO countries. What the Kremlin does denounce are what they consider to be "threatening" actions orchestrated by the organisation represented by Secretary General Stoltenberg. In addition, the Russians blame Kiev for the escalation of tensions because it is its manoeuvres that they consider "provocations". The two countries blame each other without reaching any point of agreement, and while they continue their disputes, the world keeps its eyes on Crimea for what might happen between them.

El Secretario General de la OTAN, Jens Stoltenberg, a la derecha, y el Secretario de Estado de los Estados Unidos, Antony Blinken, se dirigen a una conferencia de prensa en la sede de la OTAN en Bruselas, el miércoles 14 de abril de 2021
AP/JOHANNA GERON - NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, right, and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken address a news conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, April 14, 2021

However, they hope by all means to avoid a hypothetical armed confrontation, which the Russians, on the other hand, do not fear and do not rule out. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Riabkov has said that "if it escalates, we will, of course, do everything possible to ensure our own security and the security of our citizens, wherever they are". NATO and Ukraine are trying to avoid conflict by all means and are preparing preventive measures, as Dmytro Kuliba noted: "The measures we are talking about may seem to come at a high cost. But the price of prevention will always be lower than the price of war and mitigating its consequences. It is better to act now to prevent Russia from escalating the situation".