The occupation forces in Donbas have more combat tanks available than Germany and the United Kingdom taken together, Ukraine's envoy to the Trilateral Contact Group's security subgroup, the first Security Service (SBU) chief of independent Ukraine Yevhen Marchuk has said.
"We know absolutely for sure that the other side has got 702 tanks of three modifications. These are modern tanks, ready for combat. There are more than 1,000 artillery systems of various systems there: cannon artillery, rocket-launching artillery, mortars, let alone other parameters. But these are the most important components of warfare that are, as a rule, related to offensive action or inflicting heavy losses onto the opposite side," he told Channel 5.
He also said that the militant army corps are under the command of Russian professional military troops, including officers of the General Staff of the Russian Federation.
Marchuk estimates there are from 3,000 to 6,000 Russian professional servicemen in occupied Donbas.
"The two army corps created by Russia on these temporarily occupied territories – these are about 32,000 – 36,000 Russian troops who are well trained. And from the commandant of the corps, their deputies, and troop commanders – all these are representatives of the Russian General Staff. This is between 3,000 to 6,000 career offers wearing no insignia, but they are professional Russian military men," he said.
Marchuk says that the Minsk talks and the Trilateral Contact Group on the settlement of the Donbas crisis are only tools of the Normandy Four [Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia], rather an independent instrument. "One should stress that the Minsk negotiations are Normandy Four's tool. As sometimes one can perceive it as something independent. It's not Minsk negotiators or the Trilateral Contact Group who decide but the leaders of the Normandy Four," he added.