Russia preparing to attack Ukraine, further escalation to full-scale war looming – Poroshenko at UNGA
Further escalation of Russian aggression against Ukraine to full-scale war is already a reality because of the concentration of a large assault group of Russian military forces on Ukraine's border, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said.
"Military experts would tell it straight that an armed grouping at the Russian border with Ukraine is offensive strike group personnel. It has nothing to do with defense. They are meant for military strike. This is what the Kremlin is being prepared for. Thus, further escalation to a full-scale war is not an unrealistic prospect," Poroshenko said during debates at the United Nations General Assembly meeting, titled "The Situation in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine," held in New York City on Wednesday.
Therefore, there should be a comprehensive, a real-time monitoring of the situation along the Russian border with Ukraine, he said.
"Back to the figures, I have to underline that the overall number of illegal armed formations stands now at around 35,000 militants, along with 2,100 servicemen from Russian regular armed forces. The total number of the Russian armed forces along the Russian-Ukrainian border is over 87,000 military," he said.
Poroshenko told the UNGA that in Donbas, Russian armed formations have 496 tanks. "Please know that this number is bigger than that of Germany or France, Spain or Italy," he said. The Russia-led forces also have 938 armored combat vehicles, 128 multiple launch rocket systems, 776 artillery systems (including self-propelled ones).
"It makes Ukraine a true eastern flank of NATO in defense of trans-Atlantic freedom and democracy," he said.
He recalled that in 2018 the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Donbas on several occasions took video coverage of convoys of the Russian military hardware, illegally crossing the section of the Ukrainian-Russian border not controlled by the Ukraine authorities.
Monitors also determined the presence in the occupied territory of the newest Russian systems of radio electronic warfare and radio intelligence as well as electronic UAV jamming systems.
"These systems have never been in a possession of the Ukrainian armed forces. There is only one country capable to produce and supply them: Russia!" he said.
"To hide these illegal supplies, the Russian Federation simply blocks the SMM OSCE monitoring activities in the areas, close to the temporarily uncontrolled segment of the state border. The SMM also continues to suffer from huge restrictions on its every day activity in the occupied territory," he added.