Ukrainian soldier says her country should ‘consolidate strength’ and join NATO

Ukraine should ‘consolidate strength’ and join NATO says soldier

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Kateryna Koval, a reserve officer in the Ukrainian armed forces and a civil activist said that Ukraine’s ascendency to a NATO membership was important in tackling the “real challenge” of Russia over the next few years and President Vladimir Putin’s planned advances into Ukraine.

Discussing the move, the reservist explained that not only will it strengthen Ukraine, but NATO membership will also be vital in showing young Ukrainian’s living under Russian occupation in The Crimea and Donbas that life can be different when allied with the West.

Ms Koval said: “We should consolidate our strength to make [a] good defence, security and information policy in Ukraine.

“Of course we should strengthen our vector via Atlantic cooperation and to become a member of NATO.”

The reservist noted how NATO membership would offer enhanced security and support to Ukraine and aid in offering an opportunity to those under occupation to “have the chance for a real education and legal work” in a safe Ukraine, away from Russia.

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The comments come as fears are mounting of an imminent invasion by Russia into Ukraine as President Vladimir Putin has now amassed over 100,000 troops at four locations along the country’s border.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly claimed that NATO show increasing aggression against Russia and its allies while also asserting NATO and its expansion threaten Russian interests.

He has claimed his actions on the Ukrainian border are defensive because NATO could deploy missiles from Ukrainian soil that could strike Moscow in four minutes.

The Russian premier has already submitted draft security documents demanding that NATO bar Ukraine, as well as former Soviet countries, membership to the defence group.

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He has also called on NATO to pull back from its military deployments in the Baltic’s and Central Europe.

In a statement, Mr Putin said: “We didn’t do it just to see it blocked… but for the purpose of reaching a negotiated diplomatic result that would be fixed in legally binding documents.”

He added: “We have nowhere to retreat. They have pushed us to a line that we can’t cross. They have taken it to the point where we simply must tell them; ‘Stop!’”

The comments come as more than 100 British troops could be pulled out of Ukraine if Russia invades, according to the Sunday Express.

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It is understood British Army commanders have the contingency plans in place following comments made by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace who said it is “highly unlikely” British soldiers will fight Russian troops on Ukrainian soil.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014 when soldiers bearing no insignias entered the Crimean Peninsula in an almost bloodless seizure of power.

The move was followed by the War in Donbas between Ukrainian Government forces and Russian-backed militants, 14,000 people have been killed since the fighting blew up.

Almost one million regular and reservist Ukrainian soldiers have been put on alert of invasion.

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