What if Russia invaded Ukraine? Vladimir Putin gathers fire President Joe Biden reveals intelligence

WASHINGTON – Russia has mustered at least 70% of the military firepower it might have planned to have by mid-month to give President Vladimir Putin the option to launch a full-blown invasion of Ukraine, US officials say. know.

The video in the player above is from an earlier report.

Officials, who discussed internal assessments of Russia’s buildup on the condition of not being identified, outlined a series of indicators that suggest Putin intends to invade in the coming weeks, despite although the scale and scale are not clear. They insist that a diplomatic solution still seems possible.

Among those military indicators: an exercise of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces normally held in the fall has been rescheduled to mid-February to March. That coincides with what American officials see as the most likely window for invasion. Officials gave no hint that a potential conflict would involve the use of nuclear weapons, but the Russian exercise – likely involved the test launch of an unarmed long-range missile on Russian territory – can be used as a message to deter the West. intervention in Ukraine.

US officials have said in recent weeks that a Russian invasion could overwhelm Ukraine’s military relatively quickly, although Moscow could have difficulty sustaining an occupation and dealing with a potential uprising.

Russia’s continued build-up of Russian forces comes as the Biden administration divulges intelligence in the hope of being able to preemptively counter Russian disinformation and thwart Putin’s plan to create a pretext for an invasion. . But it has been criticized for not providing evidence to support many of its claims.

On Saturday, The New York Times and The Washington Post said officials were warning that an all-out Russian invasion could lead to a swift capture of Kyiv and potentially 50,000 casualties. A US official confirmed that estimate to the Associated Press. But it is not clear how US agencies determine those numbers, and any predictions as to how an invasion will play out and the human cost it will incur is inherently uncertain. ambiguity of war.

President Joe Biden has vowed not to send US troops to Ukraine to wage war. However, he sent additional forces, including headquarters staff and combat troops, to Poland and Romania to reassure NATO allies that Washington would fulfill its treaty commitments in response. Russia’s aggression against NATO territory. Ukraine is not a NATO member but receives military support and training from the United States and its allies.

Army officials announced Saturday that Major General Christopher Donahue, the commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division, has arrived in Poland. About 1,700 other troops from the 82nd Airborne Division are deploying to Poland from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and 300 are deploying from Bragg to Germany. In addition, 1,000 German soldiers are moving to Romania.

With growing anxiety in Eastern Europe about Russia’s build-up, much attention is focusing on the deployment of thousands of troops in Belarus, which shares borders not only with Ukraine but also with three countries. NATO – Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. A US official said on Saturday it may soon be moving some more troops in Europe to allied nations on NATO’s eastern flank, a US official said on Saturday without specifying the country. any.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin last week said Putin could use any part of the forces he has assembled along the Ukrainian border to seize Ukrainian cities and “important territories” or carry out “coercive acts or political provocations” such as recognition of breakaway territories within Ukraine.

More recently, other U.S. officials have provided more detailed information on Russia’s continued force-building, U.S. assessment of war prospects, and U.S. views on Putin’s approach to the crisis. .

The officials echoed what other Biden administration officials have said for weeks — that they don’t believe Putin has made the final decision about invading Ukraine. But it seems that the Russian leader has set his intentions and is waiting until the last moment to launch an invasion.

Officials have outlined the disposition of Russian forces that have been deployed to the Ukrainian border over the past several months, creating what Western officials see as the threat of an all-out invasion despite the threats. Senior Russian officials have repeatedly asserted that they do not intend to attack without reason. .

As of Friday, officials said, the Russian military had deployed near Ukraine a total of 83 “battalion-level combat groups,” each roughly the size of an American battalion of between 750 and 1,000 soldiers. . They say that is an increase from 60 tactical battalions into position just two weeks ago.

Tactical groups of 14 other battalions are en route to the border area from other Russian regions, officials said. Two officials said the United States assessed that Russia would want a total of 110 to 130 tactical battalions for use in a full-scale invasion, but Putin could decide on a more limited offensive. . Including support units, Russia could aim to have 150,000 troops for a full-scale invasion, one official said, adding that ongoing construction could reach that level in the next few weeks.

Depending on Putin’s ultimate goals, Russian forces could attack Kyiv directly by moving south from their current positions in southern Belarus. He could also send forces across the Russian border into eastern and southern Ukraine if his intention is to disrupt and destroy a large portion of the Ukrainian military, officials said.

At the lower end of the scale of military action, officials say, Putin could order sabotage, cyberattacks and other destabilizing actions inside Ukraine with the goal of eliminating the current government in Kyiv.

Copyright © 2022 of the Associated Press. Copyright Registered. What if Russia invaded Ukraine? Vladimir Putin gathers fire President Joe Biden reveals intelligence

Dais Johnston

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