Oleksiy Reznikov, the defense minister of Ukraine, claimed that World War Three had already begun in response to recent developments, including the Russian invasion and NATO’s efforts to contain Moscow’s power.
When asked what his message to NATO would be at this stage of the Ukraine crisis, Reznikov said in an interview with UK broadcast media Sky News on Thursday.
“Please, don’t feel any fatigue. Please continue your support. Don’t be afraid to make a new escalation level with the Russians because absolutely honestly, the Third World War was started on [the] 24th of February this year,” he said, in a message directed at NATO.
“Don’t be afraid because we are the first battlefield in this war. If it will fall down, the next battlefield [will be] in the next European countries,” Rezinkov cautioned.
Due to worries over Russia’s offensive in Ukraine, NATO made some significant arms decisions this week at its summit in Madrid, Spain. This is the alliance’s largest increase of its military footprint in Europe since the end of the Cold War.
The leaders of NATO decided to add more than 300,000 troops, put them on high alert, and bolster Europe’s defenses with additional forces, weaponry, improved air power, and new technology.
Finland and Sweden will soon be admitted to NATO as a result of Turkey waiving its veto on their applications, which has raised tensions with Moscow. Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, promised to “respond in kind” to their NATO membership.
“For us, it’s a very good precedent that new membership is possible,” Reznikov said in reference to Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership.
“We are not going to give up. We are neighbors, and people who are living in Russia will have sons, daughters, granddaughters… you have ruined this communication between two countries for the next 50 years,” the defense minister said when asked to convey a message to the Kremlin.
Reznikov told Sky News that Ukrainians and Russians had “different values.”
“We need to save our people [so] we continue our struggle. We need to accumulate forces to make [a] counterattack and more weaponry from our partners. We have the bravery and desire. I’m sure we will do it [win the war],” he said in the video interview.
“All Ukrainian soldiers want to liberate our territory until the borders. I mean, internationally, our recognized borders include Crimea, Donetsk, and Luhansk and we will do it, but we need the time and more weaponry from our partners.”
Russia’s alleged “special military operation” invasion of Ukraine on February 24 has since resulted in the biggest change to European security in decades.