US believes Russia might invade Ukraine ‘as soon as early 2022’ – MajorUpdates

The US believes Russia is planning to invade Ukraine “as soon as early 2022” with an estimated 175,000 troops — in an indication of the escalating alarm in Washington about Moscow’s intentions in direction of its neighbour.

A Biden administration official mentioned on Friday evening that Moscow’s 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 rapid military build-up near Ukraine’s borders”.

This included “extensive movement of 100 battalion tactical groups with an estimated 175,000 personnel, along with armour, artillery and equipment”.

According to the administration official, half the models had been already close to Ukraine’s border, having arrived prior to now month. Russia had already moved to established a “ready reserve of contract reservists” to arrange for the offensive.

Before heading to the presidential retreat at Camp David on Friday night, Joe Biden mentioned: “We’ve been aware of Russia’s actions for a long time and my expectation is we’re going to have a long discussion.”

Details of the US evaluation of Russia’s plans, first reported by The Washington Post, emerged a number of hours after Biden mentioned he was in “constant contact” with European allies and Ukraine about Moscow’s risk. He warned that he would attempt to cease Russian president Vladimir Putin from following by with this plans, hinting at punitive measures.

“What I am doing is putting together what I believe . . . will be the most comprehensive and 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,” the US president mentioned. “But that’s in play right now,” Biden added.

A spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council mentioned Washington was “deeply concerned by evidence that Russia is stepping up its planning for significant military action against Ukraine” — noting this had been mentioned by Antony Blinken, US secretary of state, on a visit to Europe this week.

“The Biden administration has been consistent in our message to Russia: the United States does not seek conflict, and the best way to avert a crisis and a negative spiral in the broader relationship is through diplomacy and de-escalation,” the NSC spokesperson mentioned.

The Russian embassy in Washington didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

The power of the US intelligence evaluation has shocked some European officers, and authorities on either side of the Atlantic have spent weeks evaluating and contrasting their evaluations. The Biden administration is in search of to flag the dangers of a Ukraine invasion as a part of a diplomatic push to discourage Putin from deciding to behave.

A US defence official final week informed the Financial Times that the Biden administration was contemplating offering weaponry to Ukraine, however that inter-agency discussions had been persevering with and no choices had but been made.

The official mentioned the US was “mindful of what we are seeing” near the Ukrainian border, and that if weapons had been supplied, that may assist the Ukrainians defend themselves if attacked.

Earlier on Friday an administration official mentioned: “Since the beginning of this administration we have demonstrated that the United States and our allies are willing to use a number of tools to address harmful Russian actions, and we will not hesitate from making use of those and other tools in the future.” material/90873607-8a8a-48fb-8cb0-3414e277bf25

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