Ukraine's defense minister has decided to raise the specter of one of the European Union's major concerns ? large scale migration ? amid American-driven claims that Russia is planning an invasion of his country.
Alexey Reznikov, who took charge of Kiev's Defense Ministry in November, warns that up to five million of his country men and women could flee to the EU in the event of a full-scale war. A similar number are believed to have already left since 2014, about two million to Russia, and the rest to other European countries.
Writing for pro-NATO lobby group the Atlantic Council, Reznikov said there was "real uncertainty" about whether Brussels understood the impact a much-hyped large-scale Russian incursion into Ukraine would have on the whole of the continent.
Reznikov dedicated his article to explaining to EU leaders the potentially "disastrous consequences" of any conflict - one Russia has repeatedly said it has no intention of starting.
The crisis would also endanger Europe's food security, as imports of grain and other essential products from Russia and Ukraine would come to a halt due to the fighting, he pointed out.
According to the minister, the Russian invasion would "mark a definitive end to the rules-based international order," paving the way for "a new era of global insecurity" that could undermine decades of peace in Europe.
Russia believes the so-called "rules based international order" is a concept the US has devised to excuse its breaches of international law. For example, in its illegal occupations in Syria and Iraq.
In order to avoid such a scenario, "Western leaders must demonstrate their resolve to resist Russian pressure, while strengthening Ukraine," he insisted. "For our part, we are committed to defending Europe," Reznikov wrote, acknowledging Russia's overwhelming military might.
Kiev and its backers in Washington have been speculating about the possibility of a Russian "invasion" of Ukraine since last month. On Saturday, an unnamed US government official told the Washington Post that, according to intelligence assessments, Moscow's military operation may be launched early in the new year and involve as many as 175,000 troops.
Russia has rejected those claims as groundless attempts to instill "hysteria," and affirmed that it has no plans to attack any nation. It blamed the NATO buildup in Eastern Europe for "encouraging" Kiev to rely on the use of force, to resolve the Donbass conflict, instead of looking for a solution through negotiations.
US President Joe Biden said Ukraine would be one of the key topics on the agenda of his virtual meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, on Tuesday.