By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
KYIV/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – Ukraine’s defense minister says his nation plans a “million-strong army” equipped with weapons of the western NATO military alliance to retake parts of the country now occupied by the Russian military.
Oleksii Reznikov spoke Monday as Russia made progress in taking territory in the eastern Donbas region, where dozens died over the weekend in a missile strike on an apartment block.
Reznikov said Kyiv wants to focus its efforts first on retaking the country’s south.
He explained that a million-strong army equipped with NATO weapons must recapture areas around the Black Sea, which he claimed “are vital to the country’s economy.”
The minister estimates that Ukraine has some 700,000 men in the armed forces, backed by the national guard, police, and border guard, which will increase to a million-strong force.
However, commentators cautioned that his remarks published by The Times newspaper were a sign of desperation as Ukraine rapidly loses territories in the east.
Civilians suffer in the region. Authorities said a Russian missile strike on a five-story apartment building in the eastern town of Chasiv Yar killed at least two dozen people over the weekend. Moscow denies deliberately targeting civilian sites, despite witnesses suggesting otherwise.
There has also been concern about strikes around the capital Kyiv where Russian troops were forced to withdraw after facing fierce resistance.
Among those commanding troops around Kyiv is an Afghan refugee, Jalal Noory, who is in his 40s.
The man who previously worked for a security company and has lived in Ukraine since 1998 said he was “100 percent sure that the Russians would reach Kyiv.”
Now commanding 12 soldiers, he added:” I didn’t want to surrender and see a Russian flag over my head. I had two options defend or die.”
His fellow commander Andrew Klishchuk had doubts about working with an Afghan refugee. “First I thought: ‘Oh my God, what this guy his doing here?’ But I get to know him, and sometimes he knows more than Ukrainians do.”
Yet while fighters of different nationalities managed to push back Russian troops here, isolated attacks continue around Kyiv.
And with Russian forces capturing territories in the east and south, it has become clear there is no end yet to a war that killed tens of thousands of people.
There is also mounting pressure from Moscow on Western nations not to support Ukraine militarily and end European Union sanctions.
On Monday, Germany, the EU’s largest economy, said Russian gas supplies to Germany via the Baltic Sea pipeline Nord Stream 1 have been halted for ten days.
The pipeline’s Russian-backed operators claim the move is because of annual maintenance work.
But German ministers believe the shutdown is politically motivated to put pressure on Berlin.
Last month, German Economy Minister Robert Habeck stressed that Russian President Vladimir Putin was using gas “as a weapon” to revenge EU sanctions.
If you are interested in articles produced by Worthy News, please check out our FREE sydication service available to churches or online Christian ministries. To find out more, visit Worthy Plugins.