A senior figure within Ukraine's security establishment has suggested that World War III has already begun with Russia's invasion of Ukraine. (EPA-EFE/SERGEY SHESTAK)


Third World War has already begun, Ukrainian security chief claims


A senior figure within Ukraine’s security establishment has suggested that the Third World War has already begun with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Oleksiy Danilov, who serves as secretary of the country’s National Security and Defence Council, said that many international commentators had made the “mistake” of thinking the Ukraine war was an isolated incident.

“People who think that the Third World War has not yet started – they make a big mistake,” he warned attendees at a special Kyiv Security Forum event on September 5.

“This is not just about relations between Ukraine and Russia … It’s a much more complicated geopolitical situation and some sober-minded people say that this will not be the last war in this century.”

Danilov also lashed out at some of the West’s political leaders, lamenting that many in “big-time politics” no longer had “balls of steel” but had ones that were more “soft-boiled”.

“They are just scared stiff of Russia,” he said, adding that he could not understand how some seemed to think Ukraine would be better off making peace with Russia.

“I cannot imagine that Roosevelt would call Churchill and say, ‘You know, don’t bother Hitler. He has a strong army. Don’t bother him … You have to put up with this.’

“Our people will fight for our independence as long as it takes,” he added, saying there would be no negotiations with “the killer of [Ukrainian] children” Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Although more inflammatory than usual, such fiery rhetoric is largely in line with Ukrainian diplomatic policy and the country frequently positions itself as a defender of Western democracy in the face of Russian aggression.

Such a stance has largely been accepted by Western actors, who have been keen to provide the country ever more advanced weaponry and ammunition. The US recently announced plans to supply Kyiv with depleted-uranium tank shells.

Such support has not always translated to battlefield success, though, with the country having a particularly hard time with its ongoing counteroffensive against Russia.

The administration of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has continued to insist that, despite being slow, the attacks are seeing Ukrainian forces secure territory, a position backed by NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on September 7.

“The Ukrainians are gradually gaining ground,” he told politicians during a special appearance at the European Parliament. “They have been able to breach the defensive lines of the Russian forces, and they are moving forward.”

Stoltenberg acknowledged that specific circumstances in the country were making things difficult for Ukraine, with Russian mine campaigns cited as causing particular problems.

“No one ever said that this was going to be easy,” he said.

“Hardly any time in history have we seen more mines on the battlefield than we are seeing in Ukraine today. So it was obvious that this was going to be extremely difficult.”