On April 9, 2021, a press conference by a number of Russian experts on the escalation of the conflict in Donbass and its consequences for Russia was held at the National News Service news agency in Moscow. During the event, a political scientist, general director of the NP “Institute for Political Studies” Sergei Markov made a speech.
The expert noted that a large grouping of Russian troops has been formed in the Rostov region. He drew attention to the fact that many military units arrived there from other regions of the Russian Federation.
According to him, the 58th combined-arms army of the Southern Military District (Vladikavkaz) has already been brought to the border of Ukraine, which in 2008 forced Georgia to peace. Also deployed to the region: the 20th Guards Combined Arms Army of the Western Military District (Voronezh) and the 1st Guards Tank Army of the Western Military District (Moscow Region).
On the same day, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Colonel-General Ruslan Khomchak, said that the assumptions about a possible offensive by the Ukrainian army on the self-proclaimed republics of Donbass is disinformation. He drew attention to the fact that “liberation” will lead to the death of a significant number of civilians and heavy casualties among the military. This is unacceptable for Ukraine, since it is very devoted to “universal human values and norms of international law and most of all cares about the lives of its citizens.”
Khomchak explained that Ukraine considers the diplomatic way of settlement a priority. He added that the Armed Forces of Ukraine are ready to give a proper response in the event of an aggravation in the Donbass in particular and around Ukraine in general. He accused Moscow of a disproportionate buildup of forces along the Russian-Ukrainian border and pressure on Kiev. The military leader clarified that “the entire civilized world” supports Ukraine, therefore the Armed Forces of Ukraine “intensified and deepened” the dialogue with NATO.