MOSCOW: The newly appointed general in charge of Russia’s military operations in Ukraine has said Russia’s new military reforms respond to possible Nato expansion and the use of Kyiv by the “collective West” to wage a hybrid war against Russia.

Valery Gerasimov, in his first public comments since his Jan 11 appointment to the role, admitted to problems with the mobilisation of troops, after public criticism forced President Vladimir Putin to reprimand the military.

The military reforms, announced mid-January, have been approved by Putin and can be adjusted to respond to threats to Russia’s security, Gerasimov told a news website, Argumenty-i-Fakty, in remarks published late Monday. “Today, such threats include the aspirations of the North Atlantic Alliance to expand to Finland and Sweden, as well as the use of Ukraine as a tool for waging a hybrid war against our country,” said Gerasimov, who is also the chief of Russia’s military general staff.

Finland and Sweden applied to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) after Russia invaded Ukraine last year.

Published in Dawn, January 25th, 2023

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