At the moment, Russia has concentrated more than 92 thousand troops near the borders of Ukraine and can carry out an attack on our country in late January – early February 2022 .
This was stated by the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Kirill Budanov in an interview with the American edition of Military Times.
According to him, such an attack could include airstrikes, artillery and armored attacks, followed by airborne attacks in eastern Ukraine, amphibious attacks in Odessa and Mariupol, and a smaller invasion from the territory of neighboring Belarus.
As Kirill Budanov said, the recent large-scale Russian-Belarusian military exercises West-2021 demonstrated that the Russian Federation can simultaneously land up to 3,500 paratroopers and servicemen of special operations forces.
As the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense noted, a possible upcoming attack by the Russian Federation will be much more destructive than anything else in the armed conflict that began in 2014 and claimed the lives of about 14 thousand Ukrainians.
Scheme of a possible Russian attack on Ukraine. Photo: Military Times, Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense
On Friday, Ukrainian Defense Minister Alexei Reznikov told the American media that it is not yet clear whether Russian President Vladimir Putin made the final decision to attack Ukraine. p>
At the same time, Kirill Budanov in an interview with the Military Times noted that it is with the aim of the attack that Russia is building up its military potential (the number of troops and weapons) near the Ukrainian borders and in the temporarily occupied Crimea. This is, in particular, about short-range ballistic missiles Iskander.
Budanov rejected suggestions that the Russians may abandon plans to attack due to harsh weather conditions in winter.
“For us and the Russians, this is not a problem,” Budanov commented on the possibility of a fight in such weather.
According to the head of the GUR of the Ministry of Defense, the probable attack will be preceded by a series of psychological operations aimed at destabilizing Ukraine and undermining its ability to defend . Budanov stressed that such operations are already being carried out by Moscow.
– They want to stir up unrest through protests and rallies that show that people are opposed to the authorities, – Budanov explained.
He clarified that these protests include anti-vaccine rallies (protests of opponents of Covid-19 vaccination) organized by Russia. In addition, Moscow is trying to foment unrest related to the economic situation in Ukraine and energy supply.
Budanov added that the Russian Federation is also trying to inflame anti-government sentiment among Ukrainians because of the so-called Wagnergate (investigation of the case of disrupting a special operation to detain militants PMC Wagner). As the head of the GUR noted, Russian psychological operations are used to show that & # 8220; the authorities have betrayed the people & # 8221 ;.
The head of intelligence is sure that the migration crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border is also part of Russia's plan .
– They want to make the situation inside the country more and more dangerous and difficult, and create a situation in which we must change the government … If they cannot do this, then their troops will do their job, – stressed Budanov.
He noted that the assessments of American and Ukrainian intelligence in terms of the time of a probable Russian attack on Ukraine are very similar.
“Our assessments are almost the same as those of our American colleagues,” he informed.
The Russian Embassy did not respond to the publication's request for comment. The Pentagon also refused to comment on Budanov’s statements, but referred to statements by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on this matter.
Austin recently announced that the United States was monitoring the alarming behavior of the Russian Federation on the border, and also assured of support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine from side of Washington.
US military assistance to Ukraine
In an interview with Military Times, Kirill Budanov also expressed the opinion that the United States would help deter any Russian invasion through additional military assistance, increased sanctions, diplomatic pressure, as well as the arrest and blocking of Russian bank accounts.
Budanov clarified that in addition to the already promised and delivered assistance from the United States, Ukraine needs additional anti-aircraft, anti-missile and unmanned defense systems. We are talking, in particular, about Patriot missile systems, anti-missile, artillery and mortar systems.
– We need more. No country except Ukraine has an open war with Russia. And we have it for seven years. This is why we are confident that the United States should give us everything that we have not received before. And right now. Now is the right time for that. Because after that it may be very late, – summed up Budanov.
Recently, the American media published information about the buildup of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine.
At first, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine denied such data by the media. But later, Deputy Defense Minister Anna Malyar said that Ukraine has no disagreements with the intelligence services of partner countries on the situation on the Ukrainian-Russian border. She assured that the Ukrainian army is in constant combat readiness.
Former Foreign Minister of Ukraine Pavel Klimkin expressed the opinion that Russian President Vladimir Putin could start attacking our country from different directions. According to Klimkin, it may take Putin from two to four months to be able to carry out a large-scale operation against Ukraine.
And the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate, Kirill Budanov, said that Russian military maneuvers near the borders of Ukraine will be at their peak in January 2022.
Defense Minister Alexei Reznikov, in turn, noted that the Russian Federation has two fronts for destabilizing the situation in Ukraine: information and diplomatic. According to Reznikov, the accumulation of Russian weapons near our border is being carried out to build up fear.