(Washington) said Friday that Russia is preparing to launch an attack on Ukraine, involving up to 175,000 troops, early next year. Washington Post, joining Kiev’s concerns about such a possibility.
A senior US official told the American newspaper, on condition of anonymity, that Moscow was preparing to launch “100 battalions consisting of tactical groups with an estimated strength of 175,000 men, in addition to tanks, artillery and other equipment.”
Asked by AFP, the Pentagon declined to comment on the intelligence, but said it was “very concerned about evidence of Russia’s plans to take aggressive action against Ukraine.”
“We continue to support de-escalation of tensions in the region and a diplomatic solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine,” Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Tony Semmelroth said.
Russian forces are concentrated in four different locations with 50 tactical combat groups Washington PostCiting a US military document.
Joe Biden escalated pressure on Russia on Friday, saying he was preparing “initiatives” to defend Ukraine in the event of an invasion, following the stationing of Russian forces near the Ukrainian border.
Ukrainian intelligence services believe that the “most likely period” for completing Russian preparations for a “major escalation” is the end of January, Ukraine’s Minister of Justice told parliament, Oleksich Reznikov.
According to him, about 100 thousand Russian soldiers could participate in a possible attack. Escalation is a possible but not inevitable scenario. The Minister emphasized that our task is to prevent this. He said Russia had already begun “military exercises near Ukraine” and was “testing its communications”.
“We are very concerned about Russia’s plans to launch new aggression against Ukraine,” US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Thursday along with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, whom he met in Stockholm, in an appeal to accusations he made the day before when he met his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. He first mentioned “evidence” of such preparations for the invasion.
“If Russia decides to continue on the path of confrontation, it will suffer dire consequences,” he warned, after threatening to impose painful economic sanctions on Wednesday.
The US President and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will soon discuss, via video, tensions over Ukraine, seven years after Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the seizure by pro-Russian separatist forces of part of eastern Ukraine.
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