By Jonny Tickle
The US, the UK, and Canada should “visibly” deploy troops in Ukraine near the Russian frontier as support for Kiev to deter a potential military conflict with Moscow, Ukrainian Defense Minister Alexey Reznikov has said.
Speaking to Toronto’s The Globe and Mail on Sunday, Reznikov called on “the Anglo-Saxon allies” to provide assistance to Ukraine outside of NATO structures, including sending more military trainers to the country.
“It would be nice if the Canadian instructors… would be deployed in Kharkiv, Mariupol, Kramatorsk, Odessa, and Zminiy Island,” the defense minister said. All the named locations are in the east and south of Ukraine, close to the border with Russia.
“Together with United Kingdom guys, with United States guys, in bilateral platforms, without NATO. Three flags – the flag of Canada, the flag of the United States and the flag of the UK – should be flying around these territories. It would also be a good sign for the Russians – that you are here,” he told the newspaper.
According to the Resnikov, Kiev has focused on requesting help from the Anglosphere and does not expect military assistance from Germany and France, because these two nations intend to preserve their economic relations with Russia.
Reznikov’s request comes amid increasing fears over an alleged military buildup on the Russian border with Ukraine. Since the start of November, some Western media outlets have claimed that Moscow is planning an invasion of its neighbor. While the Kremlin has repeatedly denied the accusation, pointing out that Russia is simply moving troops within its own territory, Kiev has asked the US-led NATO bloc for military support in response.
However, according to some experts, Reznikov’s suggestion would only make things worse. Writing on Twitter, political analyst Vladimir Frolov slammed the idea.
“This will make things worse, not better, apart from being militarily pointless,” he said.
In recent times, Washington and its NATO allies have increased military activity in the area, including in the Black Sea. This has been a cause for concern for Moscow, which has repeatedly opposed foreign military presence in the region. Last week, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists that the bloc has been encouraging “unplanned drills… in the immediate proximity of [Russian] borders.”