US intelligence warns of Russia planning massive military offensive against Ukraine involving 175,000 troops

U.S. officials and an intelligence document have found Russia’s Kremlin planning a multifront offensive against Ukraine with up to 175,000 troops, which could begin as early as next year.

The unclassified U.S. intelligence document shows Russian forces massing in four locations. The U.S. map puts the number of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border at 70,000, but it predicts a buildup to as many as 175,000. The map also describes extensive movement of battalion tactical groups to and from the border “to obfuscate intentions and to create uncertainty,” according to the Washington Post .

“The Russian plans call for a military offensive against Ukraine as soon as early 2022 with a scale of forces twice what we saw this past spring during Russia’s snap exercise near Ukraine’s borders,” an unidentified administration official told the outlet. “The plans involve extensive movement of 100 battalion tactical groups with an estimated 175,000 personnel, along with armor, artillery and equipment.”

The U.S. Intelligence’s warning of Russia’s offensive against Ukraine comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday he wants a deal to block the expansion of NATO . Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov implied that Russia has a right to take military action if Ukraine moves too close to the United States and other Western powers.

President Joe Biden told reporters on Friday he is compiling a “meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for Mr. Putin to go ahead and do what people are worried he may do.” He also said he was in “constant contact” with allies and Ukrainian leaders amid concerns of threats to Ukraine’s sovereignty.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin called for a collective international response on Thursday if Russia invades Ukraine. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken pointed to “evidence Russia made plans for significant aggressive moves against Ukraine.”

(Source)

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