Ukraine has essentially been at war with Russia for eight years now, an Ukrainian MP has told Newstalk.
Lesia Vasylenko, an MP for the party Holos, said that the current crisis could be traced back to Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014 and would not be fully resolved until Moscow began to treat Ukraine as a normal, independent nation:
“It’s important for everyone to understand that Ukraine has been in a state of war literally for eight years now,” Ms Vasylenko told On The Record with Gavan Reilly.
“The situation we are experiencing is nothing new really - neither for the Government, nor for the people.
“Ukrainians have become accustomed to living in this state of having to counter Russian aggression almost every day since this aggression comes in many different forms and sizes.
“We incur cyber attacks, we incur disinformation attacks and various kinds of propaganda.”
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Russia began to increase significantly the number of troops stationed along its border with Ukraine last year and Ms Vasylenko said this was because the Kremlin was unable to come to terms with Ukrainian independence:
“At the end of the day, it’s a war that will be going on until Putin and the Russian regime finally decide to let go of Ukraine.
“Admit to themselves and to the world that they accept Ukraine as an independent, sovereign state and until they finally start to respect our borders as any normal, sane country that considers themselves a democracy would do.”
Moscow says it is worried about the deployment of offensive weapons near Russia's borders and has demanded that NATO promises never to admit Ukraine as a member; were Kiev to join the military alliance, other members, such as the US, Britain and France, would be obliged to support it militarily if Russia invaded.
US President Joe Biden has said there is a “distinct possibility” that Russia could go to war with Ukraine next month and the British Government has sent Kiev 2,000 light anti-tank weapons and troops to help train Ukrainians in their use.
In Ireland, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said a diplomatic solution to the crisis was preferable to war:
"We have to find a way of using diplomacy and political dialogue to avoid what could ultimately be the largest land-based war in Europe since the Second World War, which would involve enormous loss of life, and, of course, extraordinary disruption across the continent of Europe.”
Main image: Ukrainian Army Ground Forces soldiers following a live-fire training exercise at Central City Camp, International Peacekeeping and Security Center October 29, 2015 near Yavoriv, Ukraine. Picture by: Alamy.com