Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said that Ukraine had “de facto” become a member of the NATO alliance because Ukraine had “weaponry, and the understanding of how to use it” during an interview with the BBC published on Jan. 13.
Reznikov said he was confident Ukraine would receive tanks and fighter jets as Ukraine prepares for renewed assaults from Russia in the spring.
“We understand they’ll be ready to start and, surely, we have to be ready to start,” he said.
He claimed that “approximately 500 or 600” Russian troops were being killed daily across the country, while Ukraine was losing a tenth of that. These figures can't be confirmed independently.
Reznikov believes Russia could be trying to gather “forces, ammunition, and weapons” for an offensive from occupied territories in the south and the east.
According to Reznikov, a Russian movement from Belarus would be less probable because it would take a lot of time, and Russia lacks the resources to maneuver north of Ukraine.
Reznikov said Russian missile attacks on critical infrastructure “reduced the (Russian missile) stocks without any results,” repeating that Russia is “running out of missiles.”
Russia launched yet another barrage of missiles, the ninth since Oct. 10, across Ukraine on Dec. 31, killing at least one person and wounding over 30, most of them in Kyiv, on New Year’s Eve.
Earlier in December, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that Russia would continue launching mass attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure it started on Oct. 10, with Moscow recently dismissing Kyiv’s claims about its dwindling missile supplies.
Reznikov called the situation in Soledar “very difficult” but “under control,” despite contradictory reports from Russia and the mercenary group claiming control over the city.
Donetsk Oblast Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko on Jan. 11 denied that Russian forces captured Soledar, saying that the “fiercest battle” is still raging in and around the salt-mining town.
Speaking to the Kyiv Independent from Ukraine’s eastern stronghold of Kramatorsk, Kyrylenko said that Russia’s attempt to encircle and capture Soledar has “not succeeded” and that Russians are suffering from “huge losses in manpower and equipment” as a result.
Reznikov said that Yevgeny Prigozhin, Russian oligarch, Putin confidant, former convict, and the head of the infamous mercenary Wagner Group was interested in the economic benefits of seizing the town, home to Europe’s largest salt mines.
“They’ll earn money from blood,” he said.
He also said taking Soledar had become Prigozhin’s main focus, as the mercenary boss needed “to deliver some kind of proof to declare they’re better than the regular armed forces of the Russian Federation.”