Russia prepares to INVADE Ukraine by end of January, Kiev general warns
Russia plans to invade Ukraine by the end of January after sending more than 92,000 troops to the border, according to a senior general in Kiev.
Vladimir Putin’s forces, comprising tanks, missile batteries and warships, deployed across the border: from Belarus to the north; the territory supported by the separatists in the east; and on the shores of the Black Sea in the Crimean Peninsula.
The three-pronged offensive would include amphibious landings in the port cities of Odessa and Mariupol, air strikes and artillery bombardments and an armored invasion in the east, and a smaller land incursion through Belarus.
A map shared with Military Times shows how the Ukrainian secret service is preparing for a bloody and fierce invasion that could see swathes of Ukraine captured in an assault that would eclipse the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Brigadier General Kyrylo Budanov said Putin’s colossal military exercises in Zapad conducted jointly with Belarusian forces last month proved that more than 3,500 paratroopers could be dropped at once.
The Kremlin on Monday rejected Budanov’s claims and expressed alarm that Kiev is receiving large amounts of ammunition and reinforcing its troops along the border.
Massive Russian-Belarusian joint exercises took place in September, further increasing concerns over an impending invasion (pictured: tanks and missile batteries participating in the exercises last month)
Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting in Moscow on Monday
Russian Navy guided missile cruiser Moskva (Moscow) returns to port after tracking NATO warships in the Black Sea, in the port of Sevastopol, Crimea on November 16
Brigadier General Kyrylo Budanov said the migrant crisis at Europe’s feet in Poland was just the latest in a long line of Russian propaganda offensives designed to sow anti-government sentiment in Ukraine (pictured: migrants at the Polish border on November 15)
A satellite image from November 1 shows the presence of armored vehicles deployed on the northern outskirts of the town of Yelnya, near the Ukrainian border
Ukraine’s new Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on a trip to Washington last week that Putin was “playing chess” with the West, but his intentions were still unclear.
“We do not know exactly what Mr. Putin is doing,” admitted Lloyd Austin, the US Secretary of Defense, on Wednesday.
Budanov said ideally the United States could prevent any Russian invasion with military support and increased sanctions.
Washington delivered Mark VI patrol boats, Javelin anti-armor launchers, and AN / TPQ-53 radar systems to track and counter incoming missile fire.
Ukraine wants more air, missile and drone defense capabilities and electronic jamming devices, Budonov told the Military Times.
Britain signed a new arms deal with NATO ally this month to provide 10 warships and new missile systems to bolster defenses.
Boris Johnson warned that it would be a “tragic mistake for the Kremlin to think that there was something to be gained by military adventurism”.
Budanov said that if Putin decides to order the invasion, Moscow remains engaged in a gray zone war to disrupt the stability of the Kiev government.
Kremlin-backed rebels have been fighting Ukrainian forces in the east since the 2014 revolution that overthrew Putin’s allied president. The conflict has left 14,000 dead.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky further infuriated Moscow by censoring broadcasters linked to the Kremlin and crowding out pro-Russian business interests.
“They want to stir up unrest, through demonstrations and meetings, which show that the people are against the government,” Budanov said.
Russia and Belarus staged massive military exercises, including beach invasion in Kaliningrad region
Russian President Vladimir Putin overseeing the massive Zapad 21 military exercise in September
The latest propaganda offensive is to sow anti-vax mistrust, in addition to addressing existing fears about energy supply and the economy.
Another aspect of this information war is the migrant crisis on the Polish border caused by Belarusian tyrant Alexander Lukashenko, Budanov said.
“They want to make the situation inside the country more and more dangerous and difficult and create a situation where we have to change the government,” he told the Military Times.
“If they can’t do it, then the military troops will do their job.”
He said the view was shared by intelligence counterparts from Kiev to Washington.
But Budanov said he wanted more support from the Americans.
Washington has warned that Russia is building forces near the border for a possible invasion (file image, Ukrainian troops in the area)
Ukraine called on Western countries to provide more weapons as it faces the prospect of a multi-year conflict with overflowing Russian separatists (file image, Ukrainian tanks)
“I think that’s not enough for us right now,” the commander said. ‘We need more. No country except Ukraine has open war with Russia. And we’ve had it for seven years. That is why we are sure that the United States should give us everything that we have not obtained before. And now. This is the right time for that. Because afterwards it could be very late.
In April, a similar build-up of troops on the Russian border fueled fears of an impending invasion.
But now Russia’s relations with the West are strained even further by the migrant crisis at Europe’s gates in Poland and soaring gas prices.
RAF fighter jets were deployed last week to intercept two Russian nuclear bombers flying south over the North Sea towards the Netherlands.
British troops were also deployed to the Polish border to advise soldiers in Warsaw on how to protect themselves from a Russian invasion.
It happened after the Kremlin ordered parachute drills at the border just a few miles from where the migrant camp is located.