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‘Everyone would be mobilized’: President Zelensky says he’d call up all Ukrainian adults to fight if Russia invaded

“This would be a terrible situation. I don’t even want to imagine it,” Zelensky told Kiev-based magazine Fokus on Friday. “Let’s hope it’s not possible. Otherwise, there will be a big war. We will not go anywhere, we will all fight, everyone would be mobilized – both men and women. This will be bad for the population of Ukraine. And I think that Russia understands this very well.”

Zelensky’s answer came in response to a question about a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine via Crimea – the peninsula that was administered by Kiev until 2014. In particular, the interviewer noted how Crimeans have been suffering a water shortage since Ukraine built a dam to cut off the supply, and suggested Moscow might invade to restore the flow. 

Suggestions of an imminent invasion are a regular feature in both the Ukrainian and Western press. In 2018, for example, New York-based magazine Newsweek reported that Russia was planning an attack on Ukraine over the Christmas period.

Earlier this year, Ukrainian journalist Maksim Kukhar proposed filling old Soviet missiles with nuclear waste as a means of “deterring the enemy from any further offensive” in case of a Moscow-led invasion.

“Russia will not attack us because President Zelensky will have a button that will send all of Russia into the Middle Ages,” Kukhar said.

Crimea was reabsorbed into Russia in March 2014, following a referendum. The vote is not recognized by most of the world, which views Crimea as an illegally occupied Ukrainian peninsula.

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