The head of the National Security Council of Ukraine dismissed any further Russian invasion of the country as “impossible” Tuesday, directly contradicting panicked demands by the administration of President Joe Biden for Americans to flee the country.
Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksiy Danilov told reporters Kyiv sees “no grounds” to believe a Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine is any more imminent today than it was last week, when Biden alarmed U.S. corporate media by predicting that Russian leader Vladimir Putin would soon invade Ukraine and that America would not aid its ally if Russia conducts a “minor incursion.”
This weekend, the State Department issued a confusing edict ordering the families of American embassy workers in Kyiv to leave the country and urging all American citizens in the country to leave. It also increased its travel advisory on Ukraine from “Level Four – Do Not Travel” to “Level Four – Do Not Travel.”
Danilov, according to Ukrainian state outlet Ukrinform, did note that reports suggesting that Russia is establishing a growing troop presence near Ukraine, but that the Russian military has been doing so for years and that nothing significant has changed on the ground to trigger global panic.
“We are recording it, but there’s nothing strange for us,” Danilov said. “It’s a surprise for our foreign partners that they have finally seen that there are Russian troops there, that they are moving in a certain way. This whole thing has been developing since October 30, when the Washington Post released its report.”
At the time, the Post reported “some officials in the United States and Europe” were “concerned” regarding Russian troop movements near Ukraine.
“We don’t see any grounds for allegations of an (imminent) – ed.) offensive against our country today. It would be impossible to pull this out, even physically,” Ukrinform reported Danilov as saying. The national security official added, “we are very pleased that the world has finally noticed that we’re faced with this aggression.”
“I emphasize once again that, while this is a big issue for our partners in terms of an increase, it is not news for us,” Danilov asserted. “This has become a situation. An increase of 2,000-3,000 is not critical for us. We are monitoring all this.”
Danilov echoed the words of his president, Volodymyr Zelensky, who again urged Ukrainians on Monday to ignore the panic coming out of Washington.
“Everything is under control, there is no reason to panic,” Zelensky said in a statement following a National Security Council meeting.
“We are aware of everything, we are ready for everything, we believe in the best, and we do everything to this end – together with our partners, our diplomats, and most importantly, our military,” Zelensky said. “They are our best people, they protect us, and we need to protect them – by being calm and not shouting out that ‘all hope is lost.’”
Провели чергове засідання РНБО. Якщо коротко:1. Ситуація на сході – усе під контролем, підстав для паніки немає.2….
In separate remarks, Danilov similarly urged the public to be calm and declared “internal destabilization,” the result of public panic fueled by bizarre statements from the Biden administration, was a bigger threat to Ukraine than the Russian military at the moment.
“Without internal destabilization, the Russians have nothing to do here. They bet on the issue of internal destabilization,” Danilov said.
“He added that internal destabilization is needed to sow panic among the population, so that people cause the hryvnia [the Ukrainian national currency] to ‘plunge,’ buying dollars, which will also affect the nation’s economy” Ukrinform paraphrased Danilov as saying. “The secretary of the National Security and Defense Council also called on the population to distinguish “information from fake news, of which there is a lot.”
Ukraine rose to the top of U.S. media concerns – speeding past the human rights abuses and threats to athletes at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, the increasingly dire coronavirus crisis in China, and out-of-control inflation and the Biden economic crisis generally – last week after Biden told reporters in an extensive press conference that he would not aid Ukraine in the event of a “minor incursion” by the Russian military.
“Russia will be held accountable if it invades. And it depends on what it does. It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion and then we end up having a fight about what to do and not do, et cetera,” Biden said at the time, outraging American political observers who deemed the remark a “green light” for Russia to invade.
Biden’s relationship with Zelensky has been troubled, at best. The American president chosen to lift sanctions put in place by predecessor Donald Trump last summer on the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline project, which will connect Russia to Germany when completed, icing Ukraine out of the western European market and giving Russia both significant leverage over supposed NATO allies like Germany and major profits it can invest in its foreign policy.
Zelensky declared himself “unpleasantly surprised” and told the Washington outlet Axios that the Biden administration had not bothered to alert him of that decision. He also accused Biden at the time of undervaluing “Ukrainian lives,” which he said would be lost when Russia invested the profits from the pipeline into the war in Donbas, eastern Ukraine.
“I understand that the relationship between the United States and Germany is very important. I wouldn’t want to intervene between these two esteemed countries. However, how many Ukrainian lives does the relationship between the United States and Germany cost?” Zelensky asked.
Zelensky has since repeatedly called for Biden to reimpose sanctions on Russia to no avail, most recently last week.
“I just want to make this clear. As a country that is building a powerful economy and undergoing reforms, I support imposing sanctions now,” Zelensky told the Washington Post. “I asked one leader: ‘Why do you support sanctions against Russia in case there is an invasion into Ukraine? Why do you need sanctions after we lose the whole territory of Ukraine?’”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on CNN this weekend that sanctioning Russia prior to successfully invading Ukraine, should it choose to do that, would not have a “deterrent effect.”