Ukraine 2022 - Russian Military Options
Moscow repeatedly denied any plans to attack Ukraine. The Russian Defense Ministry announced on 14 January 2022 that troops stationed in eastern Siberia and the Far East region had been scrambled for movement across the country as part of snap drills to check their “readiness to perform their tasks after redeployment to a large distance.” The ministry noted that “special attention will be given to the assessment of the country's transport infrastructure to ensure the movement of troops,” adding that the troops will conduct drills involving firing live ammunition after the redeployment.
Western politicians and media representatives continued to spread speculations about possible Russian aggression against Ukraine. The Russian side has repeatedly refuted such statements, emphasizing that it has no plans to invade a neighboring country. Thus, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia is not going to start a war with Ukraine, and Western countries and the United States are “hysterically” developing the topic of a threat to Ukraine from the Russian Federation instead of forcing Ukraine to comply with the Minsk agreements.
On 22 November 2021, Bloomberg, citing sources in the security services , reported that in 2022 Russia would attack Ukraine from three sides: from the Crimean peninsula , from the Russian-Ukrainian border, and from the territory of Belarus. The United States claims that most of the Russian tactical groups are already in their positions. Their advance will be supported by air strikes, and the security of the rear will be provided by reservists, whom Moscow has called on "a scale unprecedented in the post-Soviet space."
The SVR was sure that "Washington officials" are deliberately "intimidating" with the alleged preparation of Moscow for an attack on Kiev. In fact, the Russian side has no such plans. “The Americans are painting a terrible picture of how hordes of Russian tanks will begin to crush Ukrainian cities ... It is surprising at what speed a previously quite respectable foreign agency is turning into a mouthpiece of false propaganda,” the statement said 22 November 2021.
John Sullivan, the US ambassador to Russia, said "If I put a gun on the table and say that I come in peace, that's threatening". US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said 28 January 2022 that the buildup of Russian forces near Ukraine's border has reached the point where Russian President Vladimir Putin had a complete range of military options. "While we don't believe that President Putin has made a final decision to use these forces against Ukraine, he clearly now has that capability," Austin told reporters. He said there are multiple options available, “including the seizure of cities and significant territories, but also coercive acts and provocative political acts like the recognition of breakaway territories."
A full-scale invasion is possible in principle, but it would cost Moscow much more than the first stage of the war in 2014-2015. Ukraine's resistance would be much fiercer and more professional than eight years ago, and international sanctions would be much more painful. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline would be dead. What is no less important is that a full-scale war will silence even the most active among those, especially in the European Union, who strive to "understand Russia." Plus, it will internationally isolate Putin's regime and him personally much more tightly than before.
But Putin cannot just say: "Sorry, I was wrong!" — and then withdraw troops from the borders of Ukraine and engage with the United States on the traditional agenda of disarmament, plus climate change and Iran's nuclear program. This will make Putin look weak and disoriented, something he hates more than anything else. A commander-in-chief doesn't kick hundreds of thousands of troops back and forth twice a year for the sake of a couple of phone calls with Washington.
Thomas C. Theiner argued that Russia would be concerned by "... free Ukrainians ... who hate Russia with the fire of a thousand suns and who are ready to fight Russia to the death. ... leaving too much of Ukraine free will create a formidable military opponent, while at the same time Western sanctions will degrade Russia’s economy and thus Putin’s ability to maintain, equip and modernize his military. Therefore, Putin has no other option than to occupy most of Ukraine... According to the Russian war plans leaked by NATO, Putin does not plan to occupy Western Ukraine: he will stop his advance at the borders of the oblasts, which until the Hitler-Stalin pact were not under Soviet control.... When Putin attacks it will be with overwhelming force, on all fronts, at the same time, with no mercy."
Ukraine 2022 - Western Forces
US President Biden stressed that under no circumstances will any U.S. servicemen go to fight in Ukraine. As of mid-January 2022 the United States had more than 150 troops from the Florida National Guard's 53rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team were in the country to improve training for Ukrainian forces. On 12 February 2022 DoD ordered the 160 U.S. troops in Ukraine to leave the country.
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said on January 17 that Britain was providing Ukraine with new "defensive weapons systems." Wallace told Parliament "We have taken the decision to supply Ukraine with light anti-armor, defensive weapon systems. A small number of UK personnel will also provide early-stage training for a short period of time..." Canadian special forces operators - a small contingent from the Canadian Special Operations Regiment - have deployed to Ukraine. Germany offered to send cybersecurity specialists to Ukraine to help investigate recent week's cyberattacks.
A State Department official in Berlin said Washington 20 January 2020 was "expediting authorized transfers of U.S.-origin equipment from other allies." The official said "European allies have what they need to move forward on additional security assistance (to) Ukraine in the coming days and weeks". The approval was for urgent requests by Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to assist Ukraine.
Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand said 30 January 2022 that all Canadian military trainers stationed in Ukraine had been moved west of the Dnieper River amid Russian invasion threat.
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