Russia is seeking to address legitimate security concerns following NATO’s exploitation of Ukraine’s territory, the country’s ambassador to Kenya has said.
Ambassador Dmitry Maksimychev, in an interview on Capital FM, said they have had enough trouble discussing with NATO their expansion eastward closer to Russia border, “and Ukraine is exactly on our border”.
“And if NATO, with its weapons expands to us, it does create a serious threat. Because a missile launched from, for example Kharkov, can reach Moscow within minutes,.” The envoy said.
Asked whether Ukraine is a threat to its security, Maksimychev appeared to agree saying, ““It is a big country that can be compared to Kenya or Poland, and their armed forces are second in Europe after us (Russia). They are about 300,000 to 400,000 people, who are uniformed personnel. And over the last few years, they have been stuffed with the most sophisticated western weapons, and it is a little bit disturbing”.
There Ambassador added that there was a clear intention by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to deploy more military facilities to the territory of Ukraine, “which already constituted a threat to us.”
Russia has one of the most powerful militaries in the world. It ranks in the top five nations which spend the most on their military. In 2020, Russia spent $61.7 billion on its military which accounted for 11.4 per cent of government spending. In comparison, Ukraine spent $5.9 billion on its military or 8.8 percent of government spending according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
Ukraine is yet to join NATO, nut has intensified its bid to join the European military defensive union.
Early five weeks into the Russian invasion, which it also says seeks to demililitarise Ukraine, Russian forces continue to bombard the outskirts of Kyiv, even after promising to scale down operations
Russia on Tuesday said it would curtail operations near Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv “to increase mutual trust” for peace talks.
But according to Reuters, intensified bombardment could be heard in Kyiv on Wednesday morning from the direction of frontline suburbs where Ukrainian forces have regained territory in recent days.