Kiev is preparing a special military unit in a bid to retake Crimea, the Ukrainian premier says.
“We are working on a project that will prepare us to regain Crimea,” said Arsen Avakov, RT reported on Saturday.
Crimea declared independence from Ukraine on March 17, 2014 and formally applied to become part of Russia following a referendum a day earlier, in which 96.8 percent of participants voted in favor of the secession.
“We have nothing. We need a new army, a new National Guard, a new police force. This is what the government of Ukraine is working on right now. We must restore all of this, and then, with enough will, Crimea will be ours,” added Avakov, insisting “I have no doubt of that.”
He further stated that Kiev is currently training a separate special force within the Ukrainian National Guard.
Crimean officials, meanwhile, reacted strongly to the remarks by the Ukrainian minister emphasizing that an invasion would be repelled.
This is while Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (pictured below) commissioned the country’s defense ministry and the General Staff of the Armed Forces on Friday to draft plans to reinforce the border between Ukraine and Crimea.
“The Defense Ministry and the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces have been told to submit proposals on a considerable buildup of Ukraine’s defense capabilities in the Kherson region and along the entire Black Sea coast,” said a statement issues by the presidential press service.
The main objective of the plan is to counter the Russian army’s surging capabilities in Crimea, according to the Ukrainian Western-backed president.
Crimean authorities have dismissed Kiev’s latest military threats as a bid to “justify increasing defense expenditures in Ukraine.”
The development came a day after the chiefs of top US spy agencies predicted persisting upheavals in Ukraine during testimonies before the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee.
Head of US National Intelligence James Clapper alleged that Russia still views Ukraine as "Little Russia," adding that Moscow "will continue, I think, to be a proxy for separatists to sustain their interests in Ukraine."
CIA Director John Brennan also stated that there is "still uncertainty about how the Russians themselves are going to extricate themselves" from the Ukraine conflict.
Washington and Moscow have persistently been trading allegations about each other’s extent of involvement in the crisis with Russia fiercely rejecting a military role in the conflict while accusing the US of leading a growing Western military presence close to its borders.