Kremlin adviser warns that Russia will attack Ukraine if it joins NATO

Russia A foreign policy expert linked to the Kremlin has said Ukraine will attack Ukraine unless NATO gives cast-iron guarantees that Kiev will never be allowed to join the alliance.

Fyodor Lukyanov’s proposal is the clearest explanation yet as to why Russia is massing troops near the Ukrainian border, heightening East-West tensions and fears of an imminent invasion.

Lukyanov – chairman of the board of directors of the Russian Foreign Affairs Council, which advises the Kremlin – explained in an article published on Wednesday that Moscow would seek more than verbal reassurances from NATO.

He wrote: “The latest round of escalation in Eastern Europe has shown that the old principles of security on the continent are no longer working.”

He warned of a “new conflict” if NATO expanded to the east.

“Russia will have to change the regime and draw new ‘red lines’,” he said, referring to the post-war agreement between the Soviet Union and Finland, according to which Moscow recognized Finland’s independence in exchange for Helsinki’s Cold War neutrality.

He added that “the maneuver that led to the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia,” when Moscow invaded it allegedly provoked, “could be repeated” in Ukraine.

NATO is “ready”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has described the movement of troops near the border as a deterrent against the Ukrainian government’s offensive in areas controlled by Moscow-backed separatists.

Conflict Intelligence Team, a respected group of Russian investigative journalists, released a report Wednesday based on open source data that showed the Russian military is moving tanks to new locations near the Ukrainian border.

We agree with (foreign) intelligence assessments that Russia will be ready for a possible operation against the territory controlled by the Ukrainian government Not before the start of next year,” He Said.

In Brussels, Brigadier General Simon Doran, a US Marine, said of NATO’s preparations for a possible Russian invasion: “We are there to be ready at all times.”

He told The Telegraph: “I hope that we will not only deter potential adversaries but also reassure all our partners and allies that if we are asked, we will be here.

“We are fully prepared to face any aggression from anyone globally.”

Ukraine this week held military exercises in the region bordering Russia-occupied Crimea to test the latest additions to its arsenal, including Turkish-made combat aircraft and US Javelin anti-tank missiles.

Lieutenant-General Valery Zaluzhny, commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, thanked Ukraine’s international allies for providing state-of-the-art weapons to fend off a possible Russian invasion.

Oleksiy Reznikov, Ukraine’s Defense Minister, added that he was briefed on Russian military movements near his country’s borders in recent meetings with his British and American counterparts.

“We are aware of the risks,” he said, adding that he had received assurances that Ukraine “will not be left alone.”

Commenting on reports of Javelin missiles being tested in Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that “the situation in the east is still very worrying.”

The Russian military said that Russia conducted early military exercises on the same day in the Black Sea near Crimea, which involved three warships and ten combat aircraft.

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