Russia will not take action on Ukraine if not provoked to do so: Envoy to EU
No one should be surprised if Russia counterattacks, Russian envoy to the EU has said.
Russia will not take any actions towards Ukraine if Moscow is not provoked to do so for security reasons, Russian Permanent Representative to the EU Vladimir Chizhov told The Guardian newspaper.
"We will not invade Ukraine unless we are provoked to do that," Chizhov said, noting that if Kyiv launches an attack against Russia or starts "blatantly killing Russian citizens anywhere," "you shouldn’t be surprised if we counterattack."
Why the big deal about the number of Russian forces?
The number of Russian armed forces on the border with Ukraine is equivalent to the number of troops involved in the Zapad-2021 exercise held last September, but no one was concerned then, Russian Permanent Representative to the EU Vladimir Chizhov told The Guardian.
In the interview, the Russian diplomat slammed the West's allegations of an inevitable war, noting that the number of Russian troops on the border is only equivalent to those of the Zapad-2021 drills.
"And nobody said a word [then]," Chizhov stressed.
The joint Russia-Belarus Zapad-2021 exercise took place from September 10–16 at nine training grounds located in Russia, in the waters of the Baltic Sea, as well as at five training grounds in Belarus 16 under the leadership of the chiefs of the armed forces general staff of both countries. 200,000 personnel were involved in the exercise.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, reserve units from the Southern and Central military districts, as well as the Northern Fleet, were moved to Kaliningrad Region ahead of the Zapad-2021 drills.