Despite the partial withdrawal of Russian troops and arms from the Russian-Ukrainian border, the political situation in the two countries continues to dominate the exchange of words.
Roman Kostenko, a Ukrainian MP from the Voice faction in the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada, made a remark a few hours ago that was not a call for speeches or diplomacy, but for fighting.
“The Russian Federation has one of the most powerful armies in the world, as well as one of the most important nuclear arsenals. We need something to counteract it. Now we need missiles – missiles with a range of at least 1,000 kilometers, which we can deploy and use to deter the Russian Federation,” he said.
If Kostenko had not gone further in his intentions and related the development of these missiles to their use in Russia's nuclear power plants, it would have been a typical political declaration.
“We need those weapons, even if they don't have nuclear warheads, and Russia needs to realize that they have nuclear power plants, just as we did at Chernobyl, and that our missiles will be able to reach them. Then we'll be able to conduct diplomacy with the Russian Federation,” Kostenko said.
According to Kostenko, the concept is on the verge of becoming a reality, as talks with various Ukrainian companies to begin production are currently underway. However, the Ukrainian MP made a critical remark, claiming that Ukraine is unable to produce them because both money and political will are needed.
Tensions are still present, but political motives are much more serious.
Russia has shown enviable tactical abilities, deploying an unprecedented Russian military force on its Ukrainian border in less than 48 hours. The numbers rose in lockstep, with nearly 150,000 soldiers, thousands of tanks, and ballistic missiles already on the ground.
Russia has always maintained that these are exercise-related activities. And, despite the Russian Federation's withdrawal of some troops and equipment over the last two days, suspicious activities remain concealed from view.
For example, both Ukrainian and Russian media are reporting that Moscow is prepared to accept the independence of Luhansk and Donbas. It is also prepared to make a more spectacular “detachment” of a piece of land from Ukraine than it did a few years ago. The rapid delivery of nearly 40 Su-27 and Su-35 fighters to Crimea is one example of such allegations.
These fighters will easily thwart any Ukrainian military intervention if the two Ukrainian regions' independence is recognized. Their current presence in Crimea is concerning, and numerous theories about their intent have surfaced.
What's going on?
On April 1, Russia began finding a large number of Russian arms near the Ukrainian border. Similar activities were observed on the Belarusian side. The first person to film military convoys was a Ukrainian journalist.
After the public knew about what was going on, the Kremlin was forced to justify itself. “The Russian Federation is transferring troops inside its territory at its discretion; this does not concern anyone; it poses no danger to anyone,” said Dmitry Peskov, a presidential spokesman.
He claims that the Russian Federation is taking the requisite steps to ensure the protection of its borders. “You are aware that there is the increased operation of NATO countries' armed forces, other organizations, individual governments, etc., etc., along the perimeter of the Russian Federation's borders. All of this necessitates vigilance,” Peskov said.