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Scoop of the day: Defence minister discusses border situation, security aid on US visit

Scoop of the day: Defence minister discusses border situation, security aid on US visit

Donbas

Special Operations Forces serviceman Ubert Mrachkovskyy, 33, was killed as a result of a separatist shot in Donbas today, the Command has said.

Ten ceasefire violations have been registered in Donbas since midnight, five of them involving banned heavy weapons, the Joint Forces Operation HQ has said.

Border situation

Russia is amassing troops on Ukraine's borders in order to increase panic and fear among the Ukrainian population, Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said after a meeting with officials in the USA.

"The tactics are very simple: military exercises are held in one place or another, equipment, weapons and people are brought in, exercises end, people return to the areas of permanent deployment, but the equipment and weapons remain in these places for future potential deployment," the minister said.

He noted that Russia also opened a diplomatic front against Ukraine, which can be used to justify its military provocations.

Reznikov added that the migrant crisis at the Belarusian border was part of Russia's operation to destabilize the situation in Ukraine and the EU and drive a wedge between NATO members.

US aid

Following the main meetings during a visit to the USA, Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov has said that Ukraine has formed a request for specific security and defence assistance from the United States.

"Yes, we discussed (the issue of additional assistance to Ukraine - ed.). We first analysed the threats in more detail and then discussed our additional needs and possibilities of addressing them," Reznikov said, as quoted by Ukrinform.

The minister declined to disclose details of the order, but noted: "We need to protect the air, we need to protect the sea."

US diplomat on border situation

If necessary, Washington will find ways to ensure Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty. US Charge d'Affaires in Ukraine Kristina Kvien said this, Dom TV has reported.

According to Kvien, Washington is discussing the accumulation of Russian troops near Ukrainian borders with allies and partners.

Nato

A decision on Ukraine's accession to NATO can be made only by consensus of all its member states and it will be a political decision, Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said during a visit to the USA.

"As of today, making such a political decision is not on the agenda. But this does not mean that we should forget about the prescriptions of the Ukrainian Constitution that our goal is to join NATO. And not just for the security component. NATO is not a military alliance. It is a matter of developing democracy, economy and humanitarian issues," the defence minister said.

Reznikov said that Ukraine's task is to carry out reforms and do its "homework" in order to be ready de facto for accession. "And a political decision, sooner or later, will be made," he added.

Wagner case

The former head of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Defence Ministry, Vasyl Burba, has said that he received instructions to postpone the final stage of the operation to detain members of the Russian private military company Wagner from the head of the presidential office, Andriy Yermak.

Speaking on Savik Shuster's Freedom of Speech talk show, he said: "We were told that the head of the office (of the president - ed.) would talk to us. We had a conversation, there were three of us: myself, first deputy (of SBU chief - ed.) Ruslan Baranetskyy and the head of the office. There was a planned report on changes in the situation and on the next stage (of the deal to detain the Wagner members - ed.)... Due to the fact that he was delegated by the president, I received instructions to postpone the final stage. I received an answer that it was the president's instruction. The person who was delegated and was present before that said that it was the president's instruction," Burba said.

He clarified that he had not received a written order.

Drill

Ukraine will for the first time take part in the NATO naval mine countermeasure exercise Dynamic Move in 2022, the Ukrainian Navy has said. It will be held from 31 January to 8 February in Belgian Ostend, where the Eguermin Mine Action School, which is a NATO experience exchange centre, is located.

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