The commander of Ukraine’s Army Oleksandr Syrskyi told how Ukraine is defending against the growing Russian threat from its eastern flank, where there are 126,000 troops, and Belarus to the north, where there are 80,000
Image: Sergei Karpukhin/TASS)
Russia is launching “provocation and deception” missions against frontline Ukrainian soldiers – trying to bully and entice them into war.
Ukraine’s troops are hunkered down in trenches being fired at daily but are under orders to hold the line and not give the Kremlin an excuse to start a war.
On Wednesday The Mirror met the commander of Ukraine’s Army Oleksandr Syrskyi, a four-star general, at an air-strip outside Kyiv.
He told us how Ukraine was defending against the growing Russian threat from its eastern flank, where there are 126,000 Russian troops and Belarus to the north, where there are 80,000 including Russian and local forces.
Andy Commins/Daily Mirror)
He said: “History shows that they may take any kind of action and carry out any provocation and we are ready for anything.
“But we keep up with our ceasefire regime in order to prevent any provocation.”
He stressed Ukraine’s forces are being shelled and shot at daily along the 250-mile trench frontier between his soldiers and pro-Russian separatists backed by Moscow’s regular forces.
General Syrskyi added: “I don’t think an attack from every direction is likely as Russian forces are divided up. They do not have enough troops.
“But we are on high alert all of the time. Since 2014 we have been in a state of permanent non-nuclear warfare.
“The Ukraine armed forces are conducting covert operations, we are conducting reconnaissance, planning for every scenario.”
Andy Commins/Daily Mirror)
The Daily Mirror understands Moscow’s GRU spies have planted misinformation throughout east Ukraine, as they did in Crimea before the 2014 invasion.
Russian loyalists have been told “the Nazis are coming” in a ridiculous attack on Europe’s growing links to Ukraine, the suggestion being that the continent is anti-Russian.
Spetsnaz special forces are planning “false flag” deception missions against Ukraine – either self-inflicted attacks triggering a retaliation and war or fake news.
One likely scenario would be Russian separatists being attacked by covert Spetsnaz units pretending to be Ukrainian.
This would spark a response from Moscow and give the needed pretext for an assault on its neighbour, which is massively supported by NATO.
Argentinian Presidency/AFP via G)
As well as 2,000 NLAW anti-tank weapons the UK has supplied Ukraine with 100 military trainers- but Ukraine wants more.
The General added that Ukraine has demanded more help from the UK.
He said London has been given a shopping list of weaponry and defense systems, adding that the NLAWs are a great help and saying: “The NLAW is a good deterrent.
“We are extremely happy with this support and for any help to deter the Russian Federation.
“We are waiting for something else – we have sent a list of armaments and ammunition which we need and I really hope that they will supply this.
“I want more and our Ministry of Defence, our government has conducted joint exercises with the British side and we reached several agreements.
“This capacity will increase our capacity to fight and to win this war.”
The Mirror understands from other sources that the shopping list includes mortar shells, artillery shells, more anti-tank missiles such as Javelin and NLAW, electronic warfare systems which can jam Russian weaponry and communications systems.
Future Publishing via Getty Images)
Ukraine’s Minister of Culture and Information Oleksandr Tkacheno, also at the airstrip, revealed Russia’s military is trying to disguise where its strengths are.
He said: “There has been a lot of misinformation about the military and where it is.
“In one area on the other side there were supposed to be thousands of tents but then we discovered that 70% of them were actually not manned.
“They were covered in snow and this means they were empty.
“This could affect our understanding of the level of threat and where that threat actually is.
“When we are dealing with robber Russians you have to call them out.
“Putin is not afraid. It’s important that western leaders take action as he is a typical robber.”
In a reference to western sanctions and backing for Ukraine he added: “He needs to see real-time action.”