By Natalie Williams • 05 December 2021 • 23:18
The US intelligence believes Russia plans to increase its military presence on the Ukrainian border to 175,000 troops that will invade Ukraine next year, US media said on Saturday, December 04.
“Russia is planning a military offensive against Ukraine as early as the beginning of 2022 with twice the force we saw this spring during Russian exercises last spring near the Ukrainian border,” the Washington Post, the first to access the new intelligence reports, told the Washington Post.
Moscow has been mobilising troops on the Ukrainian border again in recent weeks in the face of growing concerns from Washington and Kiev.
In particular, US intelligence services, which have satellite images of these movements, point to the transfer of some 175,000 Russian troops, along with equipment and artillery. They believe all this intelligence points to plans to invade Ukraine.
This revelation comes at the same time as the Kremlin announced that US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold a telematic conversation on Tuesday, 7 December, an appointment that has not yet been confirmed by the White House.
On Friday December 3, Biden said he is preparing “a series of measures” to defend Ukraine in case Putin decides to launch a military attack and invade the Ukraine.
Ukraine aspires to join NATO as the best defence mechanism against the threat from the Kremlin, which annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and openly supports the pro-Russian separatist republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned this week that Washington and its allies would hit Moscow with tough economic sanctions if it decides to attack Ukraine, after meeting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Stockholm.
Kremlin adviser Yuri Ushakov confirmed on Friday that, in addition to the “unsatisfactory” state of bilateral relations and the implementation of agreements on cybersecurity and strategic stability reached in Geneva, the two leaders will also discuss the international situation.
In particular, the current crisis in Ukraine, but also the situation in Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, and Iran’s nuclear programme.
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