There are likely Russian actions that Russia could invade Ukraine this weekend (beyond the Crimea occupation).
Ukraine is under attack by cybercriminals. 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. These units support regular armed forces in case of an attack by Russia. They protect key locations such as bridges and council buildings. For years, many have trained once per week.
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. According to polling, a third of Ukrainian citizens would consider “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. The Russian mechanized forces strike at and encircle key cities like Kharkiv and Dnipro. To force the capitulation of the encircled cities, Russians cut power and other vital services within a matter of weeks. The plan is portrayed in most reports as Russian forces halting largely along the Dnepr River. However, there are two exceptions to this rule. Odesa and all of western Ukraine’s coastline were reportedly taken by the Russians. They also plan to seize Kyiv from the west, and take it.
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. The repeated mobilizations of Egyptian troops to support exercises that simulated invasions before the war numbed the Israeli Defense Force and made it difficult for them to recognize when Sadat was ready to strike.
Russia wouldn’t take west Ukraine due to very strong anti-Russian populations that would make it extremely expensive to take and keep.
The US and NATO should have reacted in the initial days of the attack to stop major cities from falling.
Saboteurs have been reportedly sent into Ukraine. This would allow for false flag operations to justify an invasion. Both the USA and Ukraine claim that Russia has already placed saboteurs in Ukraine to execute a “false Flag” operation as a pretext to an attack by Russia. A false flag