The U.S. government-funded RFE/RL published a handful of interviews with four border soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on December 7 that “downplay recent warnings from Kyiv and Western intelligence agencies that Moscow may be planning a major new offensive.”
“[M]ost soldiers don't believe an invasion is coming,” a female Ukrainian soldier named Iryna told the broadcaster.
“The front line doesn't feel any different now than before,” she said.
“Another reason they [Ukrainian soldiers] don't buy these rumors is because there are a lot of lies in our country,” Iryna revealed.
“Everyone in powerful positions lies. Our president promised to end the war within a week of coming to power. Now, two years on, here we are,” she assessed.
Iryna referred to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, elected to the nation's highest office in May 2019 amid an ongoing war between the Ukrainian Armed Forces and pro-Russian Ukrainian separatists in Donbas. The Donbas dispute began in March 2014 and is part of a greater Kyiv-Moscow conflict that includes Russia's colonization of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014.
“I personally don't believe in the danger of some great invasion,” Ukrainian soldier Timur told RFE/RL on December 7.
“I think it's just game-playing. It was the same situation in April and May this year,” he recalled. “There were all these rumors of a possible attack.”
Moscow instigated media speculation that Russia might attack Ukraine in April and May to “ensure completion of its Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline,” Timur opined.
“This time, it's probably just [Russian President Vladimir] Putin trying to exert pressure again,” he postulated.
“From what I've heard, the Kremlin is trying to get a guarantee that NATO will not spread to Ukraine and other countries of the Eastern Partnership, like Georgia and Moldova,” the 28-year-old said.
Another Ukrainian border soldier named Vlad told RFE/RL he doubted that Russia's military was planning an invasion of Ukraine in the near future because of the relatively small number of troops they have stationed near Donbas in recent weeks.
“The Russian Army isn't prepared for war,” he stated. “They haven't got field hospitals or fuel tankers ready, and they don't have many soldiers or vehicles prepared.”
“They would need 300,000 to 400,000 troops to attack; now they have just 100,000 massed,” Vlad revealed.