Moscow can attack Ukraine within a few weeks, says America



A series of Russian military moves and potential political steps has heightened concern within the Biden administration that Moscow could launch a major military attack in within weeks, US officials said.


The officials, who discussed internal assessments of the Russian buildup on condition they not be identified, sketched out a series of indicators suggesting Putin intends an invasion in coming weeks, although the size and scale are unclear. They stressed that a diplomatic solution appears to remain possible.


Among those military indicators: an exercise of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces that usually is held each fall was rescheduled for mid-February to March. That coincides with what US officials see as the most likely window for invasion.


The officials made no suggestion that a prospective conflict would involve the use of nuclear weapons, but the Russian exercise — likely involving the test-launching of unarmed long-range missiles on Russian territory — could be used as a message aimed at deterring the West from intervening in


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US officials have said in recent weeks that a Russian invasion could overwhelm Ukraine’s military relatively quickly, although Moscow might find it difficult to sustain an occupation and cope with a potential insurgency.


The ongoing Russian buildup comes as the Biden administration has been disclosing intelligence in hopes of preemptively countering Russian disinformation and blocking Putin’s plans for creating a pretext for an invasion. But it has come under criticism for not providing evidence to back up many of its claims.


On Saturday, The New York Times and The Washington Post said officials were warning that a full Russian invasion could lead to the quick capture of Kyiv and potentially result in as many as 50,000 casualties.

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A US official confirmed that estimate to The Associated Press. But it’s not clear how US agencies determined those numbers, and any predictions about how an invasion would proceed and the human cost it would inflict are inherently uncertain given the vagaries of war.




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President Joe Biden has said he will not send US troops to to fight a war. He has, however, ordered additional forces, including combat troops, to Poland and Romania to reassure those allies that Washington would fulfill its treaty commitment to respond to Russian aggression against territory. Ukraine is not a member but receives US and allied military support and training.


Army officials on Saturday announced that Maj. Gen. Christopher Donahue, the commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division, arrived in Poland. About other 1,700 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne are deploying to Poland from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and 300 soldiers are deploying from Bragg to Germany. In addition, 1,000 Germany-based soldiers are shifting to Romania.


Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said last week that Putin could use any portion of the force he has assembled along Ukraine’s borders to seize Ukrainian cities and “significant territories” or to carry out “coercive acts or provocative political acts” like the recognition of breakaway territories inside Ukraine.


More recently, other US officials provided a more detailed breakdown of Russia’s continuing force buildup, of US assessments of prospects for war, and of the US view of Putin’s approach to the crisis.


The officials reiterated what other Biden administration officials have been saying for weeks — that they don’t believe Putin has made a final decision to invade Ukraine. But it appears possible that the Russian leader set his intentions and is waiting until the last moment to give the go-ahead for an invasion.

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US troops reach Poland to reinforce Eastern Europe


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A plane carrying US troops landed in Poland on Sunday, a Reuters witness said, as Washington reinforces its NATO allies in Eastern Europe amid a Russian military build-up on Ukraine’s border.


US President Joe Biden on Wednesday ordered nearly 3,000 extra troops to Poland and Romania, as Washington moves to reassure jittery NATO allies. The Pentagon said that around 1,700 service members, mainly from the 82nd Airborne Division, would deploy from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to Poland.


Sunday’s arrival of the C17 aircraft followed a plane carrying the commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division, U.S. Army Major General Christopher Donahue, which landed on Saturday at Rzeszow-Jasionka airport, and a few planes with US.


It was not immediately clear how many troops arrived, but a C17 aircraft is “designed to airdrop 102 paratroopers and their equipment”, according to the US Air Force website.


“Our national contribution here in Poland shows our solidarity with all of our allies here in Europe and obviously during this period of uncertainty we know that we are stronger together,” Donahue said on Sunday.


Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said minutes after the plane landed that this was the first group of American soldiers “from an elite unit”.


“…More planes will be landing in the coming hours. The soldiers will operate in the southeastern part of our country,” he added.


has denied plans to invade Ukraine but has deployed more than 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s borders and says it could take unspecified military measures if its demands are not met, including a promise by NATO never to admit Ukraine.

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