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Ukraine Lacks Legal Basis for Military Action – Defence Minister

The armed forces of Ukraine have no legal basis for launching military operations in Crimea, Defence Minister Igor Tenyukh said during a speech to the country’s parliament, the Supreme Rada.

Tenyukh said that de jure, there was no open aggression since the Russian leadership had not acknowledged that its troops were in Crimea.

“Second, the country has not been declared to be at war in legal terms,” the minister said. “Using the armed forces would therefore be a criminal act.”

Tenyukh explained that under the current circumstances, the use of force would be interpreted as being directed against one’s own people.

The minister acknowledged that a number of strategic errors had been made in past years.

“We never envisaged a threat from Russia,” he said.

Tenyukh said a great deal of money and time would be needed to prepare for a confrontation with an opponent as powerful as Russia.

He noted that Russia had 220,000 soldiers, 150 aircraft, 60 naval vessels, plus tanks and other equipment along Ukraine’s eastern border. That was several times the size of Ukraine’s armed forces.

“The Ukrainian armed forces have only their tactics and morale. We have put all our forces in a state of combat readiness, in line with our training plans. But the numbers are not reassuring,” the defence minister said.

The minister said that only 6,000 soldiers of the 41,000-strong ground forces were fully prepared.

Tenyukh asked parliamentarians to amend the law on purchases and tenders, and to release funds for the army to acquire weapons.

 This article republished from Ukrainska Pravda with kind permission.

Original article in Russian.

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