The Biden administration’s growing alarm about a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine is based in part on U.S. intelligence that Moscow has drawn up plans for a military offensive involving an estimated 175,000 troops as soon as early next year.
An unclassified U.S. intelligence document details some of the intelligence findings, including the positioning of what officials say could eventually be 100 battalion tactical groups, as well as heavy armor, artillery and other equipment.
The intelligence was first reported on Friday by The Washington Post.
U.S. officials stress that the intentions of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia remain unclear, and the intelligence does not show that he has decided to carry out the apparent war plan.
But the intelligence depicts a Russian military machine springing into action and positioning itself for an attack against which experts say Ukraine’s military would stand little chance. About half of the Russian forces that would be used in an invasion are already near Ukraine’s border, and Moscow is moving swiftly to build up a large force of contract military reservists, according to a Biden administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence.
A Russian invasion of Ukraine would set off a major national security crisis for Europe and the Biden administration, which has declared an “ironclad commitment” to Ukraine’s borders and independence. [Continue reading…]