How imminent is the threat of a full-scale war on the Ukrainian border? This is the question in the mind of many people. According to the Pentagon, diplomatic efforts to defuse the crisis are intensifying, with the Russian military also continuing to build up.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky’s position is that the threat from Russia remains “dangerous but unclear” and it is not certain that there will be an attack, a senior Ukrainian official told CNN.
But US President Joe Biden told Zelensky on a call Thursday that there is a distinct possibility that Russia could launch an invasion in February, according to National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horn.
With that in mind, here’s a look at how quickly the intrusion can happen:
Analysts say Russia has a menu of attack options at any time, ranging from shock-style airstrikes to wide-front ground attacks. But while it has moved vast amounts of military equipment to areas bordering Ukraine, not all the personnel needed for ground operations are prepared.
“Right now, Russia has a lot of equipment already deployed along its border with Ukraine,” said Jens, a global agency for open-source defense intelligence. “(It) reduces the time needed to fill that area with more forces if they decide to fight because all their heavy equipment is there.”
The army can be deployed in less than 72 hours, the agency said, as they need to be dispatched from their bases across the country only by plane or train.
Jens said Russia is in the process of deploying a “significantly larger formation” from its Eastern Military District (EMD) to Belarus, which stretches from Russia’s Pacific coast to Siberia. The formation, which Jens first found moving west earlier this month, contains troops, logistics and communications resources as well as military equipment.
Russia has said the force is for a Russian-Belarusian training exercise. But according to Jens, soldiers are “essentially deploying as close to ready to go as they can.”
Given what is already stationed on Russian soil near the border with Ukraine, it believes that Russia would need “a maximum of two weeks of intense movement to get all the pieces into position” to launch an invasion.
Whether Russia would want to keep the boots on the ground in large numbers is unclear, especially given the risk of casualties.
“The important thing to realize is that (Russia) is quite careful about contact warfare,” said Sam Cranny-Evans, a research analyst at the UK-based Royal United Services Institute, “that is, the forces fighting each on the ground.” (Russian).
“We (it) have seen its covert deployment in Chechnya, in Afghanistan, in Georgia and in Ukraine, that military losses actually generate political pressure.”
Cranny-Evans said that Russia would instead use its very long-range intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets to target critical national infrastructure within Ukraine, such as military bases or even power plants and bridges. can choose to do. “The goal is either to prevent a contact conflict from erupting or to shape the battlefield so that when one does emerge, it is more conducive to the Russian military,” he said.
US intelligence findings in December speculated that Russia could launch a military offensive in Ukraine “as early as 2022”. Since then, US officials have stuck to that line.
“In terms of timelines, what we’ve seen so far is a very clear indication of our intent to invade Ukraine,” Cranny-Evans said. But the Russians are “taking their time” to place the final pieces to leave room for negotiations that could allow them to achieve their political goals, such as being pro-Kremlin or even Fight, he suggested, without establishing a neutral leader in Kiev.
If it comes to the invasion, he believes that Russia can move the necessary troops in a span of 72 hours. “Russia already has forces in the Southern Military District on the border with Ukraine that will likely fight the first battle,” Cranny-Evans said.
The Kremlin denies that it plans to attack and argues that it is NATO’s support for Ukraine – including increased arms supplies and military training – that poses a growing threat to Russia’s western side. constitutes.
Read the full story – which also looks at what a potential invasion could look like – here: