Kyrylo Budanov, head of the Ukrainian defence intelligence agency, has detailed the extent of Vladimir Putin’s plans and capabilities for launching an invasion from Moscow. The Brigadier General told the Military Times that the Russian president has over 92,000 troops gathering on various points on the border with Ukraine, with the potential for an attack early in the new year.
He added that it would probably involve “airstrikes, artillery and armour attacks” as well as airborne assaults.
Ukrainian intelligence forces have mapped the attacks they expect from Russia, which they foresee as a threat on at least ten fronts.
They add estimates of 1,200 tanks, 1,600 pieces of artillery, 330 aircraft, 75 warships and six submarines attributed to Russian forces near the border.
Denying the Ukrainian reports of aggression, Russia called the evaluations “hysteria”, despite military officials in Kyiv claiming that 40 “battalion tactical groups”, or BTGs, are stationed on the border.
BGTs are Russian Army units and weapons specifically trained for various missions.
Brigadier General Budanov warned of the catastrophic consequences that could be unleashed by renewed violence in Ukraine.
He warned that it would be more grave than anything so far experiences since 2014, in a conflict that has claimed the lives of around 14,000 Ukrainians.
Last week, Ukraine’s defence minister, Oleksii Reznikov, told the Washinton Post that Putin’s intentions to attack were still not entirely clear.
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But Brigadier General Budanov appeared adamant that the Russian forces were gearing up to do so, and that the frigid conditions in the region which could delay an invasion attempt are “no problem for us and the Russians”.
He added that there was a psychological component to this brand of warfare, seeking to undermine the Ukrainian power infrastructure to its own people.
Budanov said: “They want to foment unrest, through protests and meetings, that show the people are against the government.”
The conflict in the former Soviet state could spread further than just the Ukrainian border, if military predictions like those of Brigadier General Budanov are correct.
He warned the Russian president of repercussions should they attempt to invade, and spoke at length with Mr Putin via video conferencing.
The conversation on Tuesday came off the back of Russian troops gathering at the Ukrainian border, in the hopes of de-escalating the situation.
Mr Biden stated that he had clarified there would be “economic consequences like none he’s ever seen” for Russia, should they choose to go ahead with an attack.