Ukraine protection chief urges ‘calm’ as fears of Russian invasion construct

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KYIV, Ukraine – Regardless of the dire warnings from the White Home and Pentagon over the rising variety of Russian forces on Ukraine’s border and what’s being billed as a pending invasion “any day,” Ukraine’s leaders are telling their individuals to “keep calm.” 

Two hours north of Ukraine’s capital in an deserted metropolis exterior Chernobyl many years after one of many world’s worst nuclear disasters, Ukrainian forces skilled for city fight in freezing temperatures inside abandoned buildings. Each day Submit attended the live-fire coaching, which included ambush, sniper, mortar, evacuation and superior firefighting situations. 

Some 30,000 Russian troops, dozens of assault jets and fourth-generation air protection methods have now massed on Ukraine’s border not removed from Chernobyl in neighboring Belarus to the north, in keeping with U.S. officers. Requested by a Each day Submit reporter if he was involved Russian forces can be invading from Belarus, lower than 100 miles from Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital metropolis, the nation’s protection chief didn’t seem nervous. 

“I am not concerned,” mentioned Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine’s protection minister.  “I am very, very sure that the Ukrainian Armed Forces are ready for deterrence, for resilience. The Ukrainian people are also ready for deterrence.”  

Members of Ukraine's Territorial Defense Forces, volunteer military units of the Armed Forces, train in a city park in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Members of Ukraine’s Territorial Protection Forces, volunteer army models of the Armed Forces, practice in a metropolis park in Kyiv, Ukraine.
(AP/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

“The word ‘imminent’ doesn’t work,” he added. “Keep calm.” 

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Whereas it seems many Ukrainian residents are heeding that recommendation, going about their routines, together with procuring on the native grocery store, a whole lot of others rose early Sunday to start weapons coaching provided by Ukrainian army veterans, some who’ve seen fight within the east, the place Ukrainian forces have battled Russian-backed separatists since 2014. Over 14,000 Ukrainians have been killed. 

“I am worried about my family and about my children,” mentioned Valentina, who requested that solely her first title be used to guard her id. “I would like to share my knowledge with my children. We want to survive.” 

“I want to live in a democratic, European country,” she added.   

Members of Ukraine's Territorial Defense Forces, volunteer military units of the Armed Forces, train in January 2022.

Members of Ukraine’s Territorial Protection Forces, volunteer army models of the Armed Forces, practice in January 2022.
(AP Picture/Efrem Lukatsky)

Each day Submit witnessed the coaching for native residents of all ages, which included small-arms familiarization, primary first help and how you can assemble bombs utilizing primary family items.   

A gaggle of three Ukrainian youngsters defined why they awakened early on a Sunday and endured the frigid temperatures to attend weapons coaching. 

“We are ready to stand for our country till the end, even if we will need to die for it,” mentioned Yuriy, who, just like the others, would solely give his first title. 

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The one feminine teenager within the group, Maria, admitted she was “worried” a couple of potential Russian invasion. 

A veteran of Ukraine’s battle in opposition to Russian-backed separatists was requested how a lot injury a whole lot of residents might inflict in opposition to an invading Russian military. 

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“You see five hundred, but I see millions,” Vladislav Sobolevskiy mentioned Sunday. “It’s our country. We live here for a thousand years, and we can and will fight Russia.”  

Ukrainian soldiers perform military exercises in the Donetsk region of Ukraine on Jan. 12.

Ukrainian troopers carry out army workout routines within the Donetsk area of Ukraine on Jan. 12.
(Ukrainian Protection Ministry Press Service by way of AP)

In a single demonstration, Ukrainian youngsters have been taught how you can make Molotov cocktails. The trainer combined oil and gasoline in a jar, lit a moist rag and hurled the concoction in opposition to a brick wall inside an deserted constructing. 

The ramped-up coaching by Ukrainian forces, residents and medical personnel came about as U.S. officers in Washington predicted tens of hundreds of Ukrainian residents can be killed if Russian President Vladimir Putin orders a full-scale invasion.  

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“We strongly prefer that Russia choose the path of diplomacy and dialogue, but if it does not, we are fully prepared for the alternative,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned Friday subsequent to his Polish counterpart hours earlier than practically 2,000 American paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division touched down in Poland—reinforcements ordered by President Biden.  

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On “Daily Post Sunday,” a high aide to the president warned a Russian invasion might come “any day” or maybe over the subsequent few weeks.   

White Home nationwide safety adviser Jake Sullivan appeared open to the concept that an arms management treaty between america and Russia might assist defuse the scenario on Ukraine’s border, the place 130,000 Russian troops have assembled from three totally different instructions. 

“If Russia wants to sit at the table and do that, we are prepared to come flanked by allies and partners and negotiate along those lines. If Russia chooses a different path, we are ready for that too,” Sullivan instructed Each day Submit’ Martha MacCallum.   

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Ukrainian International Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Twitter Sunday urged his individuals to disregard “apocalyptic predictions” a couple of potential Russian invasion.  

“The enemy should be afraid of us, not us of them,” he added. 

Each day Submit’ Melissa Chrise contributed reporting from Kyiv.

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