Ukraine’s Minister of Defense Oleksiy Reznikov said that World War Three had already started, in reference to the latest developments of the Russian invasion and NATO’s moves to curb Moscow’s influence.
Reznikov’s comments came in an interview with UK broadcast media Sky News on Thursday when he was asked what his message to NATO would be at this point in the Ukraine war.
“Please, don’t feel any fatigue. Please continue your support. Don’t be afraid to make a new escalation level with the Russians because absolutely honestly, the Third World War was started on [the] 24th of February this year,” he said, in a message directed at NATO.
“Don’t be afraid because we are the first battlefield in this war. If it will fall down, the next battlefield [will be] in the next European countries,” Rezinkov cautioned.
At the NATO Summit this week in Madrid, Spain, the alliance made some key armament decisions due to concerns over Russia’s offensive in Ukraine, marking the biggest upgrade of its military presence in Europe since the end of the Cold War.
NATO leaders agreed to increase their troops to more than 300,000 and put them on high alert and beef up its European defenses with extra forces, more weapons, enhanced air power, and new equipment.
Turkey dropped its veto on Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership applications, so the two countries will soon be added to the alliance - a move which has intensified tensions with Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would “respond in kind” to their NATO membership.
“For us, it’s a very good precedent that new membership is possible,” Reznikov said in reference to Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership.
“We are not going to give up. We are neighbors, and people who are living in Russia will have sons, daughters, granddaughters... you have ruined this communication between two countries for the next 50 years,” the defense minister said when asked to convey a message to the Kremlin.
Reznikov told Sky News that Ukrainians and Russians had “different values.”
“We need to save our people [so] we continue our struggle. We need to accumulate forces to make [a] counterattack and more weaponry from our partners. We have the bravery and desire. I’m sure we will do it [win the war],” he said in the video interview.
“All Ukrainian soldiers want to liberate our territory until the borders. I mean, internationally our recognized borders include Crimea, Donetsk, and Luhansk and we will do it, but we need the time and more weaponry from our partners.”
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what it calls a “special military operation” that has since caused the biggest shift in European security in decades.
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