Ukraine says its ready with million-strong army to retake south from Russia
- Ukraine’s defence minister said it has a million-strong army
- The million-strong army is armed with weapons from NATO
- Russia has been extending its influence in eastern Donbas
Ukraine has prepared a one million-strong army to recapture the southern part of the nation which is currently under Moscow’s control, the country’s defence minister said, according to the BBC. The army has received arms from NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). Ukrainian defence minister Oleksii Reznikov said taking back the south is critical to Ukraine’s economy.
Reznikov further said weapon deliveries from NATO need to be sped up. “We need more, quickly, to save the lives of our soldiers. Each day we’re waiting for howitzers, we can lose a hundred soldiers,” he said.
“We have approximately 700,000 in the armed forces and when you add the national guard, police, border guard, we are around a million-strong,” said the defence minister.
The numbers, however, don’t seem plausible to analysts. Jack Watling, senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, thinks the figures are exaggerated, according to his communication with the BBC. “It’s not a million-strong force that will be conducting a counter-attack,” Watling said.
“Normally you would want operational surprise when you launch a counter-attack, so announcing it publicly is about forcing Russians to commit resources more widely to guard against this threat,” Watling said.
The southern parts of Ukraine are crucial for the war-ravaged nation both politically and economically. The announcement, according to analysts, is more intended at making Moscow forces reorient their strength from eastern Donbas to the south, thus creating an opportunity for Ukrainian forces to resist in the east.
Russia has been extending its influence in eastern Donbas. Moscow forces, on Sunday, attacked a block of flats and killed 22 people.
Meanwhile, Ukraine has also been investigating Russia for war crimes. More than 21,000 war crimes have been committed by Russia since the begin of Vladimir Putin’s offensive, according to Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova. She added that while she knew many trials would be conducted "in absentia", she stressed it was a question of justice.
The probe into war crimes began after Ukraine uncovered multiple mass graves in Bucha, Borodyanka and other towns near Ukraine capital Kyiv.