EDF chief: Russia occupation of Ukraine territory would likely be temporary

Lt. Gen. Martin Herem on 'Esimene stuudio'.
Lt. Gen. Martin Herem on 'Esimene stuudio'. Source: ERR

Any Russian attack on Ukraine would likely be a part-occupation, possibly on a temporary bases, of territory in that country, Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) chief Lieutenant General Martin Herem says.

Speaking to ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) Thursday, Herem said: "The next step would be firepower strikes and cyber and electronic warfare strikes Ukraine. From then on, the aim would be to infiltrate the territory of the country to some extent, occupying some territory in places and inflicting losses on Ukrainian forces."

Hybrid warfare against Ukraine has been going on for some time already, Herem added.

Whether Herem meant the occupation would be only temporary at Russia's behest, or as the result of NATO's response, was not reported.

Lithuania's defense minister, Arvydas Anušauskas, said on Thursday that the window of time the Russian Federation requires to launch any attack is now hours, rather than months, the English-language portal of public broadcaster LRT reports.

Anušauskas added that Russian Federation military personnel are already in-country in Belarus, whose border with Lithuania is only around 30km from Vilnius, while Russia is conducting aerial patrols without any Belarusian escort.

Belarus borders Ukraine to the north, meaning, along with the long Russian border and also the border with occupied Crimea, means Ukraine is surrounded on three sides – ironically encirclement of the Russian Federation by NATO (whose member states' borders make up a small proportion of the total) is advanced by the Kremlin as a major part of the rationale for its increasingly aggressive posture.

U.S. President Joe Biden has seen strong criticism for an apparent faux pas earlier in the week, in which he seemed to imply that a "minor incursion" into Ukrainian territory would be met with a different, milder response from NATO and the West than would be the case with a more substantial "incursion".


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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