A high-ranking Ukrainian official vowed his country would retake the regions annexed by Russia. The Kremlin has pledged to defend the territories it acquired on Friday with Moscow’s full arsenal of weapons.
In an interview with Politico, Mykhailo Podolyak an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said, “[f]or our plans, [Russia’s annexation] doesn’t matter. We will protect our land using all our forces.” The nation “should liberate all its territories,” He added.
From September 23-27, Russia organized a vote in four regions of Ukraine under Moscow’s control. After announcing the referendums in the Donbass republics and two southern Ukrainian oblasts, top Russian officials said the newly annexed territory would be treated as the rest of the homeland. Russian President Vladimir Putin recently suggested he could deploy nuclear weapons to defend his country.
It appears likely Kiev and its Western allies will attempt to conquer the regions that are now claimed by Moscow. The White House has already greenlit Ukrainian attacks on the Crimean peninsula, a region of Ukraine that was annexed by Russia in 2014.
Some Western observers believe Putin is bluffing. “Ukrainian attacks on Crimea and even strikes into Russia proper over the course of the seven-month war have not led to such a retaliation,” Politico reporter Sergei Kuznetsov wrote.
Podolyak additionally called for more weapons and suggested the Russian soldiers would be easy to kill. While commenting on Putin’s decision to call up 300,000 additional troops, he said, “this army is being replaced by absolutely untrained people. A living resource has been thrown onto the front lines, and it will simply be exterminated.”
This article was originally featured at Antiwar.com and is republished with permission.