RUSSIA could invade Ukraine by the end of January with a massive assault on ten fronts, intelligence chiefs have warned.
Ukrainian commander Kyrylo Budanov, head of the Kiev defense intelligence agency, exposed the scale of Vladimir Putin’s attack involving some 100,000 soldiers.
Brigadier General Budanov explained that the invasion would involve airstrikes and artillery bombardments followed by an airstrike involving up to 3,500 paratroopers and special forces, reports The Military Times.
It would then be followed by a mass assault across the border, amphibious landings in Odessa and Mariupol, and a more modest attack from neighboring Belarus.
Ukrainian intelligence services have also produced a map assessment of how Russia might seek to invade, detailing attacks on at least ten fronts.
Russia has, however, always denied any aggressive intentions towards Ukraine – calling the latest reports “hysteria”.
Officials in Kyiv claimed that Putin had deployed 40 “battalion tactical groups” (BTGS) on the border with the former Soviet state.
The BTGs are formations of troops, armor, air force and artillery which are designated by specific missions by the Russian army.
Such missions in this case would constitute a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
The map also lists Russia as having 94,000 troops, 1,200 tanks, 1,600 artillery pieces, 330 aircraft, 75 warships and six submarines in the region.
Budanov warned that the conflict would be far more devastating than anything seen in the past seven years of conflict between the two powers in Eastern Europe.
He believes Russia could prepare for an attack by late January or early February.
And he rejected suggestions that Putin would be put off by the winter conditions, saying “it’s not a problem for us and the Russians.”
The commander explained that Kiev was monitoring troops and weapons massing near the border, including short-range missile systems.
They want to make the situation inside the country more and more dangerous
Brigadier General Kyrylo Budanov
Budanov added that Russia would first attempt to further destabilize Ukraine by stoking unrest, protests and attempting to undermine the government of President Volodymyr Zelensky.
And that includes the ongoing anti-vaxx protests which Ukraine claims were staged by the Putin regime.
He also blamed the border crisis between Belarus and Ukraine on the Russians.
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.
“If they can’t do it, then the military troops will do their job. “
US intelligence would support the assessment that Russia is preparing for an invasion of Ukraine.
Sources have claimed that the Pentagon briefed NATO allies on their information as part of efforts to deter Russia.
What is going on between Russia and Ukraine?
RUSSIA and Ukraine have remained technically at war since 2014.
Ukraine was aligned with Russia as part of the Soviet Union until its collapse in 1991, after which it became an independent state.
The two nations have remained closely linked – but Ukraine has gradually started to distance itself, seeking closer ties with the West.
The open conflict was sparked by the Ukrainian revolution in 2014, when an uprising toppled the pro-Russian government of Viktor Yanukovych.
Vladimir Putin’s forces responded by annexing the Crimean region to Ukraine – a move widely condemned by the West.
The conflict then escalated when pro-Russian groups in eastern Ukraine took up arms against the state.
Russia has lent its support to the separatist forces which formed separatist republics in Donetsk and Lugansk.
Putin’s forces then launched a military incursion into these areas as they provided support to the rebels.
Russia continues to hold Crimea – and claims the region joined them voluntarily after a referendum.
Seven years have now passed and the war in Donbass remains at an impasse.
It is estimated that around 14,000 people have been killed in the conflict, including over 3,000 civilians.
Ukraine and the rebels signed a new ceasefire in July 2020, but clashes continued to increase throughout 2021.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met with his Ukrainian counterpart and said last week that Washington continues to monitor Russia’s “disturbing behavior”.
He said: “We don’t know exactly what Mr Putin is doing.
“But these movements certainly have our attention. And I urge Russia to be more transparent about what it is doing to take action to respect the Minsk accords.
“Our support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine’s sovereignty remains steadfast. “
Officials also confirmed that the United States has “serious concerns” about Russia’s military activities it considers directed against Ukraine.
“We have had many interactions with our European allies and partners in recent weeks, including with Ukraine,” an official told The Hill.
“As we said during the public readings of these meetings, we discussed our concerns about Russian military activities and harsh rhetoric towards Ukraine.
“We also had discussions with Russian officials on Ukraine and US-Russian relations in general. “
It comes after, earlier this month, British General Nick Carter warned that the risk of an “accidental” war with Russia is now the highest in decades.
And meanwhile, Whitehall officials have been described as worried and nervous about the disturbing reports coming from the East.
Previous analysis suggested that Putin’s attack on Ukraine would follow a pattern similar to the “blitzkrieg” assaults across Europe used by the Nazis.
Russia is reportedly looking to strike a knockout stunt before Ukraine and the West can react and redraw the “front line” – like what happened in Crimea in 2014.
Putin would try to call the seizure of the land “liberation” – as they did seven years ago.
Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Sunday: “Those who accuse us of unusual military activity in our own territory are sending their armed forces to the other side of the ocean themselves.
“I mean the United States of America. It is not very logical and not very decent. “