In an interview with German broadcaster ZDF, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Russia has deployed 11,000 troops in the war-torn Eastern Ukraine, adding that they can fuel separatists in the region and make them create a land bridge to the Crimean peninsula.
This claim sparked harsh reaction from Moscow, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying Thursday that: "such baseless, vague and ungrounded accusations will never produce a positive result, to put it mildly."
Poroshenko also criticized the Minsk agreement and called it a "pseudo-peace", which does not guarantee any security for his country. At the same time, his French and German counterparts consider its implementation a key aspect for maintaining security in Europe and the best option for overcoming the current crisis.
"The Minsk provisions are what we have. They are […] fundamental to trying to find a peaceful solution. We cannot say for sure that this will be successful, but we have no choice. That is why we should continue our work in this direction," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said earlier.
"The best way to get out of this situation is to move towards implementation of the Minsk Agreement," echoed French President Francois Hollande.
During his interview, Poroshenko compared the current situation to World War II, with the only difference being that the threat comes not from the West, but from the East. He claimed that there are about 11,000 Russian soldiers currently present in Ukraine. "We will fight for our country to the last drop of blood," said Poroshenko.
Ordinary Ukrainians, however, do not to support his warlike spirit. According to recent surveys, 95% of working-age men in Kiev alone are evading military service, using a variety of methods from bribery to fleeing to other countries.
Kiev has repeatedly accused Moscow of supporting separatists in Eastern Ukraine and fuelling the situation in the country, while Moscow has denied Kiev's allegations about its involvement in the conflict.