Russia is preparing to INVADE Ukraine by the end of January, Kiev General warns


Russia is planning to invade Ukraine by the end of January after sending more than 92,00 troops to the border, according to a top general in Kiev.

Vladimir Putin’s forces, including tanks, missile batteries and warships, have fanned out across the frontier: from Belarus to the north; the separatist-backed territory in the east; and on the banks of the Black Sea in the Crimean Peninsula. 

The three-pronged offensive would include amphibious landings at the port cities of Odessa and Mariupol, airstrikes and artillery bombardments and an armoured invasion in the east, and a smaller ground incursion through Belarus.

A map shared with Military Times shows how Ukrainian intelligence is bracing for a bloody and ferocious invasion that could see swathes of Ukraine captured in an assault which would dwarf the annexation of the Crimea in 2014.

Putin’s colossal Zapad 21 military exercise carried out last month in Russia and Belarus showed that the Kremlin had the capacity to drop more than 3,500 airborne and special operations soldiers in one swoop, Brigadier General Kyrylo Budanov said.

Massive Russian-Belarusian joint drill were held in September, further increasing anxieties of an imminent invasion (pictured: Tanks and missile batteries taking part in the exercises last month)

Massive Russian-Belarusian joint drill were held in September, further increasing anxieties of an imminent invasion (pictured: Tanks and missile batteries taking part in the exercises last month)

A satellite image from November 1 shows the presence of armoured vehicles deployed on the northern edge of the town of Yelnya, near the Ukrainian border

A satellite image from November 1 shows the presence of armoured vehicles deployed on the northern edge of the town of Yelnya, near the Ukrainian border

Satellite images appear to show troop tents and an administrative area near the Ukrainian border on November 1

Satellite images appear to show troop tents and an administrative area near the Ukrainian border on November 1

However, the map remains speculative and Ukraine’s new defence minister, Oleksii Reznikov, said during a trip to Washington last week that Putin was ‘playing chess’ with the West but it remained unclear what his intentions were. 

‘We’re not sure exactly what Mr Putin is up to,’ Lloyd Austin, the US defence secretary, admitted on Wednesday.

Budanov said that ideally the US could prevent any Russian invasion through military support and increased sanctions.

Washington has delivered Mark VI patrol boats, Javelin anti-armour laucnchers and AN/TPQ-53 radar systems to track and counter incoming missile fire.

Ukraine wants more air, missile and drone defense capabilities and electronic jamming devices, Budonov told Military Times.

Britain signed a new arms deal with the Nato ally this month to provide 10 warships and new missile systems to shore up defences.

Boris Johnson has warned it would be a ‘tragic mistake for the Kremlin to think there was anything to be gained by military adventurism.’

Russia and Belarus staged huge military exercises, which included a beach invasion in the Kaliningrad region

Russia and Belarus staged huge military exercises, which included a beach invasion in the Kaliningrad region

Russian President Vladimir Putin overseeing the massive Zapad 21 military exercise in September

Russian President Vladimir Putin overseeing the massive Zapad 21 military exercise in September

Budanov said that whether Putin decides to order the invasion, Moscow remained committed to grey zone warfare to disrupt the stability of the government in Kiev.

Kremlin-backed rebels have been fighting Ukrainian forces in the east since the revolution in 2014 that ousted the Putin-allied president. The conflict has left 14,000 dead.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has further infuriated Moscow by censoring Kremlin-linked broadcasters and ousting pro-Russian business interests.

‘They want to foment unrest, through protests and meetings, that show the people are against the government,’ Budanov said.

The latest propaganda offensive involves sowing anti-vax mistrust, in addition to preying on existing fears about energy supplies and the economy.

The migrant crisis at the Polish border caused by Belarusian tyrant Alexander Lukashenko, is another aspect of that information war, Budanov said.

‘They want to make the situation inside the country more and more dangerous and hard and make a situation where we have to change the government,’ he told Military Times.

‘If they can’t do that, than military troops will do their job.’

He said the view was shared by Kiev’s intelligence counterparts in Washington.

But Budanov said he wanted more support from the Americans.

Washington has warned that Russia is building up forces close to the border in preparation for a possible invasion (file image, Ukrainian troops in the region)

Washington has warned that Russia is building up forces close to the border in preparation for a possible invasion (file image, Ukrainian troops in the region) 

Ukraine has called for western nations to supply more weapons as it faces the prospect of a years-long conflict with Russian separatists boiling over (file image, Ukrainian tanks)

Ukraine has called for western nations to supply more weapons as it faces the prospect of a years-long conflict with Russian separatists boiling over (file image, Ukrainian tanks) 

‘I think it’s not enough for us right now,’ the commander said. ‘We need more. No countries except Ukraine have open war with Russia. And we have for seven years. That’s why we’re sure the U.S should give us everything we didn’t get before. And right now. It’s the right time for this. Because after it could be very late.’

In April, a similar buildup of troops on the Russian border fuelled anxieties of an imminent invasion.

But now Russia’s relations with the West are even more strained by the migrant crisis laid at Europe’s doorstep in Poland and soaring gas prices.

RAF fighter jets were last week scrambled to intercept two Russian nuclear bombers which were flying south over the North Sea towards the Netherlands.

British troops have also been deployed at the Polish border to advise Warsaw’s soldiers about how to protect from a Russian invasion.

That came after the Kremlin ordered paratrooper drills at the frontier just a few miles away from where the migrant camp is located.



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