The Zapad-2021 exercises are over, but the Ukrainian command does not record a massive return of Russian troops to permanent dislocation sites, the commander of the Ukrainian armed forces Valery Zaluzhnyy told Radio Svoboda. The general warned that the threat of full-scale aggression from Russia continued.
– I’ve always talked about it since I took up my position. The threat of aggression (of Russia – ed.) On a full scale – is and has been. And, unfortunately, I have to say, it will probably still be. Our task as the armed forces is to prepare for this – Załużnyj said in an interview on Saturday for Radio Swoboda.
The commander of the armed forces added that for this purpose, among others, exercises are being conducted, including exercises with the participation of Western partners, NATO countries. “We are doing everything in our power to make the enemy less willing, so to speak, to implement his scenario,” he said.
After the Zapad-2021 maneuvers
Referring to those completed on September 16 Russia-Belarus Zapad-2021 maneuversZaluzhnyy said he did not notice “the massive return to the tactical groups’ permanent dislocation points, which additionally appeared during the exercises.”
According to the general, there were 19 such groups during the exercises, each of them consisting of nearly 1,000 soldiers. The formations continue to perform tasks in the Southern Military District of Russia. – Soldiers do not stand with rifles along our border, but these groups are in appropriate areas near the Ukrainian state border – he said.
This year’s Zaapd-2021 maneuvers took place on September 9-16 at the Belarusian and Russian proving grounds. About 200,000 soldiers, 760 units of equipment, including 290 tanks, as well as 80 aircraft and helicopters took part in them.
Liberation of the occupied territory
The commander of the armed forces also spoke about the situation in the Donbas in eastern Ukraine, where in April 2014 a war between Ukrainian troops and separatists, informally supported by Russia, broke out. As he stated, currently only one option is being considered for the return of the Donbas territories occupied by separatists – the diplomatic one.
– Currently, there is no solution to this problem apart from diplomacy. But we must develop, train and prepare, including for offensive operations, in order to be ready to liberate our occupied territory with the use of troops. But it is a matter of time and preparation – he emphasized.
Main photo source: RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY / PAP / EPA