There is no overconcentration of Russian forces near Ukraine’s border, says Volodymyr Zelensky

According to a source, Indian students and officials are not facing any danger at present

Published - January 25, 2022 09:44 pm IST - New Delhi

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. File

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. File

Ukraine has not witnessed the arrival of any “full-fledged Russian strike group” near its border, informed and reliable sources have said.

The Hindu has learned that the Western negotiators and Russia may consider “medium level solution”, including freezing NATO’s eastward expansion “for some time”. The comments were shared with The Hindu days after President Volodymyr Zelensky delivered a speech that was telecast across Ukraine in which he described the talks about an impending invasion from Russia as a war on the “nerves”.

“The risks have not just existed for a day, and they have not become bigger. The only thing that has become bigger is the hype around them,” President Zelensky had said about the mobilisationof Russian troops that was described as “unusual” by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

The sources maintained that presence of 100,000 Russian soldiers and heavy weapons is far less than what is required for a “full scale invasion” of Ukraine.

“Situation has been tense for eight years and the panicinsocialmedia is being created by uninformedsections. President Zelensky himself has said that 2022 will be the year of peace. The leadership and defenceforces of Ukraine areaccordingly adopting a defensive position and it appears that as of now there is no overconcentration of Russian forces nearUkraine’sborder,” said a source, arguing that Kyiv is determined to find a negotiated solution to all issues with Russia.

“It appears that the Western powers and Russia are entering a prolonged, marathon-like negotiation to find a solution that will bring maximum position of certain sides down to a medium level which may be acceptable to all,” said the source. Putting an end to NATO’s expansion to the Russian borders is one of the several demands that Moscow has made, and it appears that a the middle ground is within the range of both sides on this issue. “Expansion of NATO is not closed but can be frozen for sometime,” said the source providing a glimpse of the flexible position within Kyiv over its possible ties with NATO.

Ukraine has been an aspirant for NATO membership, but the western security organisation is yet to make it a full fledged member.

Ukraine has faced a political instability and military uprising in the Donbas region — Donetsk and Luhansk — where the crisis intensified in 2014 following the annexation of Crimea by Russia. Ever since, Kyiv has been battling an insurgency in the region that was once famed for its industries. Ukraine claims the separatists in this area are backed by Russia. The crisis has so far claimed at least 14,000 lives.

The official also referred to evacuation of American and British personnel from Ukraine as part of a calculated move from Washington DC and London that suited their interests and said the Indian students and officials are not facing any danger at present. “There is no threat of conflict immediately and after the President’s assurance there is no need to evacuate Indian nationals from Ukraine,” said a reliable source maintaining that Ukraine is “cautiously optimistic” of resolving the tension through dialogue.

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