Ukraine declared itself a "De Facto Member of NATO" and Warned of a New Russian Offensive

World » UKRAINE | January 13, 2023, Friday // 17:26
Bulgaria: Ukraine declared itself a "De Facto Member of NATO" and Warned of a New Russian Offensive

Ukraine has de facto become a member of NATO, and this reality may soon be shaped legally.” Such confidence was expressed by the Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Oleksii Reznikov, in an interview with the Russian edition of the BBC.

"Ukraine as a country and its armed forces have become members of NATO. De facto, but not de jure. Because we have weapons and an understanding of how to use them," were Reznikov's words, published on a day when Russia again raised the issue of future talks with Ukraine and stated that if they are renewed, they should be direct.

The prospect of Ukraine's NATO membership - which has not looked likely in recent decades - was among the arguments Russia used to highlight its security concerns as it massed troops ahead of a February 24 invasion and demanded the West ensure that such developments are impossible. After the invasion, Putin announced as goals the vague concepts of "demilitarization" and "denazification" of Ukraine.

Reznikov, however, rejected the idea that the words could be interpreted ambiguously in both Russia and NATO, since the alliance has taken measures not to be considered a participant in the war. "And why ambiguously? It is true. It is a fact. I am confident that in the nearest future we will become a member of NATO and de jure."

"We have resources from all of NATO, even more than from NATO - we have resources from the entire Ramstein club, over 50 countries - allies in the fight against the Kremlin," he said.

Russian advance to the east or south

Ukraine's defense minister expressed an expectation for "resumption of movement for all countries" in the spring. "We understand that they will be ready to launch an offensive," Reznikov said, adding that according to his data, Russia is losing about 500-600 military personnel on all fronts every day. Ukraine said yesterday that 100 Russian soldiers had been killed in Soledar - which Kyiv says is still being fought over but which Moscow says is overrun by its forces.

At the same time, the Russians may try to gather forces earlier and move to a large-scale offensive to the east or south, but hardly from Belarus to the north - at least because the army's supply lines are to the south and east, he believes. "This is not a prediction - this is my understanding, my assessment: I think they are trying to gather forces, ammunition, weapons," he said. This future offensive saw a shift in strategy—a forced transition from infrastructure strikes to battlefield action. Forced because, in his words, Moscow is running out of missiles (such assessments have been expressed before by Ukrainian and American representatives).

This is the law of war: spring is the best time to get to work with new forces. For all countries. So we understand that they will be ready and, of course, we must be ready to go.”

And Ukraine needs time for the reserves, getting more ammunition and combat equipment. However, decisions on these and other issues are not made by the minister, but by the General Staff,” added Reznikov.

Changes in the Russian army

In the change at the top of the Russian high military command, Reznikov saw, along with the depletion of part of the arsenal and the "forced" change of strategy, and a "conflict" between the founder of the Russian private military company "Wagner" Yevgeny Prigozhin and the armed forces of Russia.

This week, the commander of Russian forces in Ukraine, Sergey Surovikin, was replaced by the chief of the General Staff, Valery Gerasimov. "Surovikin is personally responsible" for the attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure; "it may have been a good strategy for him, but he used up the entire stockpile of strategic ballistic and cruise missiles - Caliber, Iskander, X-555, etc. It was a risky decision on his part."

Read more from the 324th day of the war in Ukraine.

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Tags: NATO, Ukraine, Russia, Reznikov
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