Ukraine’s President Voldymyr Zelensky warned on Friday that Russia’s invasion of his country was just the beginning and predicted that Russian forces would become a threat to other countries in the region.

In a video address uploaded to facebook and telegramZelensky said that Russia was preparing to move into a breakaway region of Moldova, a small country that borders Ukraine and Poland.

He alleged that Russian forces would use the same tactics they used with Ukraine, such as using the protection of ethnic Russians as a pretext for the invasion.

“This only confirms what I have said many times: the Russian invasion of Ukraine was intended only as a beginning,” Zelensky said. “They want to capture other countries.”

The president’s comments come after a Russian general said the military planned to create a land bridge to Transnistria in Moldova.

Rustam Minnekaev, the acting commander of the Central Military District, said Russian forces would first capture Donbas, the industrial heartland of eastern Ukraine, and establish a land bridge to the Crimean peninsula.

Minnekaev said the military could forge a link with Russia’s declared breakaway region of Transnistria in Moldova. according to the Russian media outlet Interfax.

“Control over southern Ukraine is another way out to Transnistria, where there are also acts of oppression of the Russian-speaking population,” Minnekaev said, according to the outlet.

Last month, a photo of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko standing in front of a battle map and pointing at Moldova appeared to show a planned invasion of the country.

Moldova is not part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and is therefore not protected by Article 5 of the alliance agreement. The article states that an attack against one NATO member is an attack against all.

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President Biden has repeatedly stated that the US has a “sacred” obligation to comply with Article 5, should Russia venture into other parts of Europe that are part of the alliance.

The United States has refrained from declaring a no-fly zone over Ukraine, fearing deeper and more violent involvement with Russia, a nuclear power. Ukraine is not part of NATO, but the Biden administration, along with other world leaders, have sent billions in military aid to the former Soviet state to defend against Russian forces.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, launching a full-scale assault on its neighboring country. Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that he was “de-Nazizing” Ukraine.

The war has entered a second phase. Russian forces were pushed back from the Capitol region around kyiv to step up an attack on Donbas.

Zelensky said on Friday that Ukraine would continue to fight Russia to “break this ambition of the Russian federation.”

“But all nations that believe in the victory of life over death must fight with us,” Zelensky said. “They have to help us, because we are the first on this path.”



Reference-thehill.com

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