Although political-military discord between Russia and Ukraine has been going on for almost a year now, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has only recently announced that his country is ready for a “total war” with its hostile neighbor.
However, is it really prepared for battle?
Referring to the latest incidents of unmarked convoys of troops crossing the border with Russia, Poroshenko reiterated his opposition against Moscow this week.
"I am not afraid of a war with Russian troops," he was quoted as saying by the German daily Bild. "We are prepared for a scenario of total war... We don't want war, we want peace and we are fighting for European values. But Russia does not respect any agreement.
"Our army is now in a better state than it was five months ago and we are being supported by the entire world."
Ever since the removal of his ally Viktor Yanukovych from the Ukrainian parliament in February – following riots by pro-European Union protesters – Russian President Vladimir Putin has been accused of destabilizing the present Ukrainian government, which, obviously, is strongly anti-Russia.
The situation took a turn for the worse when the Crimean peninsula – a pro-Moscow Ukrainian region – was occupied by Russia in March.
Later, when reports of Russian troops illegally entering Ukraine started to emerge, the government in Kiev vowed to fight back, ignoring the fact that it may not be able to counter Putin’s forces.
And it looks like they are doing it again.
Although Poroshenko believes his military is now capable of battling Russian aggression, he could be wrong – or delusional perhaps.
First of all, he is disregarding the danger within, the pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine who have been actively engaged in ho protests in support of Moscow.
Donetsk, the region’s biggest city, is still controlled by these rebels.
“They [Ukrainian forces] would have to do it street by street,” stated Mark Galeotti, a professor of global affairs at New York University in July. “The cost in body bags would be high.”
Secondly, is Poroshenko sure when he says his army is in a better state than it was five months ago, considering the United States dispatched more than a dozen military personnel not three months ago to Kiev to provide tips to Ukrainian security forces on counterinsurgency and military planning tactics?
Sure, they may have improved but they still don’t stand a chance against Russia’s military.
And finally, has Ukraine planned out an alternative source for energy? The country owes about $4 billion to Gazprom – the largest extractor of natural gas in the world, majority-owned by the Russian state.
Ukraine also needs to find $35 billion to pay its debts over the next two years – a fact on which the stability of its economy depends considerably.
Turns out, it would take more than just a “better army” to counter a possible Russian invasion.
In a speech following the G20 Summit in Brisbane this week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the Ukraine conflict could have wider ramifications.
"The Ukraine crisis is most likely not just a regional problem," she stated. "In this case, we see it affects us all."
Remarking on the annexation of the Crimean peninsula, Merkel said it had “called the whole of the European peaceful order into question, and it has continued by Russia exporting its influence to destabilize eastern Ukraine."