Russia Could Invade Ukraine This Weekend

Several likely Russian actions indicate that Russia could invade Ukraine (beyond the Crimea occupation) this weekend.

Ukraine is getting a widescale cyberattack on its government websites. Ukraine says 70 government sites have been hit by cyberattack.

Russia already has 100,000 troops on the border and Russia is moving more military gear now. The image above from the Institute for the Study of War shows Russian deployments at the end of 2021 and now two weeks later move gear and troops are moving to even more aggressive positions.

The Financial Times reports 175000 Russian forces in close deployment to Ukraine.

Ukraine had called up reservists starting in 2021. There are over a hundred reserve units with about 300 in each unit. The units are designed to support the regular armed forces in the event of a Russian attack – by protecting key locations like council buildings and bridges. Many have been training once a week for years.

Ukraine has an army of 145,000, according to the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS). There are also an estimated 300,000 veterans of the low-intensity conflict in the Donbas region of the country that started in 2014. Polling says a third of Ukraine’s citizens would be willing to take up “armed resistance”.

A full-scale Russian invasion of unoccupied Ukraine would be by far the largest, boldest, and riskiest military operation Moscow has launched since the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan. It would be far more complex than the US wars against Iraq in 1991 or 2003. There is a 36 page study from December 2021 of Putin’s military options for an invasion. The analysis estimates that Russia would need 325,000 troops to take and hold Kyiv.

Russian forces based in Crimea and Donbas begin attacks on southern Ukraine, likely with the intention of drawing Ukrainian forces there. Russian mechanized forces then strike toward and encircle key cities such as Kharkiv, Dnipro, and Kyiv. Russians cut off power and other essential services to those surrounded cities to force their capitulation within a few weeks. Most reports of the plan depict Russian forces stopping largely along the line of the Dnepr River, with two notable exceptions—the Russians apparently plan also to seize Odesa and the entire western Ukrainian coastline, and they reportedly aim to encircle Kyiv from the west and seize it as well.

If Putin does not execute the plan this winter but instead repeats this mobilization process in the future, he could seek to achieve the kind of surprise Anwar Sadat secured against Israel in the 1973 war. Repeated Egyptian mobilizations before that war in support of exercises simulating invasion numbed the Israeli Defense Force to those exercises and contributed to their total failure to recognize the moment when Sadat was truly ready to attack.

Russia would not take western Ukraine because of very strong anti-Russia populations that would make it very costly to take and hold.

The US and NATO would have to react in the early days of the attack before major cities fell to prevent the fall of major parts of Ukraine.

Saboteurs have been reportedly sent into Ukraine. This would be to create false flag operations to justify invasion. The US and Ukraine have alleged Russia has already positioned saboteurs in Ukraine to carry out a “false flag” operation to use as a pretext for a Russian attack. A false flag operation is an act committed with the intent of disguising the actual source of responsibility and pinning blame on another party.

This combined information indicates a likely invasion will start this weekend.

The cyberattacks, creating false flags and moving the particular heavy weapons would be actions taken prior to a major invasion.

If the attack is not this weekend, the probability would still be very high for next week.

SOURCES – Reuters, Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Institute for the Study of War
Written By Brian Wang,