By Lydia Kelly
(Reuters) – Russia’s new military reforms welcome possible NATO expansion and the use of Kyiv by “the West” to launch a hybrid war against Russia, the newly appointed head of Russia’s military operations in Ukraine said. .
Valery Gerasimov, in his first public statement since the election of Jan. 11 for the job, admitted to having problems with the mobilization of the military, after public criticism forced President Vladimir Putin to rebuke the military.
The military reform, which was announced in mid-January, was approved by Putin and could be changed in response to threats to Russia’s security, Gerasimov told news website Argumenty i Fakty in a statement published late Monday.
“Today, such threats include the desire of the North Atlantic Alliance to expand to Finland and Sweden, and to use Ukraine as a tool for a hybrid war against our country,” said Gerasimov, who is also the head of Russia. general army.
Finland and Sweden applied last year to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization after Russia invaded Ukraine.
Under Moscow’s new military plan, a military unit will be added to Karelia in northern Russia, which is located in Finland.
The amendment also calls two other military districts, Moscow and Leningrad, which existed before their merger in 2010 to become part of the Western Military District.
In Ukraine, Russia will add three motorized rifle divisions as part of a missile defense system in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, parts of which Moscow claims it captured in September.
“The main goal of this operation is to ensure the security of our country’s sovereignty and borders,” said Gerasimov.
‘Working against the totalitarianism of the West’
Gerasimov added that modern Russia has never seen such a “massive war”, forcing it to take offensive action to stabilize the situation.
Gerasimov said, “Our country and its army are acting against the totality of the West.”
In the 11 months since the invasion of Ukraine, Russia is changing its rhetoric on war from a mission to “denazify” and “demilitarise” its neighbor to increasingly positioning it as a bulwark against an aggressive West. .
Kyiv and its Western allies call it an unprovoked act of provocation, and the West is sending more and more weapons to Ukraine to help it resist Russian forces.
Gerasimov and the leadership of the security forces have faced sharp criticism for several setbacks on the battlefield and for Moscow’s failure to win in a campaign the Kremlin had hoped would last a short time.
The national roundup of about 300,000 more workers in the fall continued in turmoil.
Gerasimov said, “The training system in our country has not done well in today’s modern economy.” “So I’ll fix everything going.”
(Writing by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Editing by Himani Sarkar)