Politics|U.S. Intelligence Sees Russian Plan for Possible Ukraine Invasion
An penetration unit could see 175,000 troops, but U.S. officials accent that President Vladimir V. Putin’s intentions stay unclear.
Dec. 4, 2021, 12:00 a.m. ET
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration’s increasing alarm astir a imaginable Russian penetration of Ukraine is based successful portion connected U.S. quality that Moscow has drawn up plans for a subject violative involving an estimated 175,000 troops arsenic soon arsenic aboriginal adjacent year.
An unclassified U.S. quality papers details immoderate of the quality findings, including the positioning of what officials accidental could yet beryllium 100 battalion tactical groups, arsenic good arsenic dense armor, artillery and different equipment.
The quality was archetypal reported connected Friday by The Washington Post.
U.S. officials accent that the intentions of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia stay unclear, and the quality does not amusement that helium has decided to transportation retired the evident warfare plan.
But the quality depicts a Russian subject instrumentality springing into enactment and positioning itself for an onslaught against which experts accidental Ukraine’s subject would basal small chance. About fractional of the Russian forces that would beryllium utilized successful an penetration are already adjacent Ukraine’s border, and Moscow is moving swiftly to physique up a ample unit of declaration subject reservists, according to a Biden medication authoritative who spoke connected the information of anonymity to sermon delicate intelligence.
A Russian penetration of Ukraine would acceptable disconnected a large nationalist information situation for Europe and the Biden administration, which has declared an “ironclad commitment” to Ukraine’s borders and independence.
The papers features outer photos indicating a buildup of Russian troops and instrumentality adjacent Ukraine’s eastbound border, and says that Russian plans impact moving forces to and from Ukraine’s borderline “to obfuscate intentions and make uncertainty.”
The interest astir Mr. Putin’s intentions has been fueled by what U.S. officials telephone an summation successful Russian media disinformation describing NATO and Ukraine arsenic threats to Russia, perchance to make a pretext for a Russian escalation. The medication authoritative said that Russian officials had besides projected accusation operations wrong Ukraine portraying that country’s leaders arsenic Western puppets acting against their country’s interests.
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said connected Thursday that President Biden was apt to talk straight with Mr. Putin soon, and the Kremlin said connected Friday that the leaders would behaviour a video telephone adjacent week.
“We’ve been alert of Russia’s actions for a agelong clip and my anticipation is we’re going to person a agelong discussion,” Mr. Biden told reporters Friday nighttime erstwhile asked astir the anticipation of Russia invading Ukraine.
A National Security Council spokesperson said connected Friday nighttime that the United States did not question struggle with Russia and believed diplomacy was the champion mode to avert a situation and forestall US.-Russian relations from spiraling further downward.
U.S. officials person hinted vaguely successful caller days that they person circumstantial reasons for their heightened interest astir an penetration of Russia’s neighbor, a erstwhile Soviet republic that Mr. Putin considers a rightful portion of Russia.
Speaking to reporters successful Stockholm, Sweden connected Thursday, Mr. Blinken referred to “evidence that Russia has made plans for important assertive moves against Ukraine.” Speaking to reporters connected his authoritative level aboriginal that day, General Mark A. Milley, the president of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, referred to “warnings from an quality standpoint,” saying “there’s capable retired determination present to origin a batch of concern.”
Mr. Blinken and different U.S. officials person been consulting with U.S. allies successful Europe to devise retaliatory measures against imaginable Russian aggression against Ukraine, wherever Mr. Putin has agelong backed a pro-Moscow separatist insurgency and in 2014 annexed the Crimean Peninsula.
Mr. Blinken said this week that the United States would respond to “Russian aggression against Ukraine” with “high-impact economical measures that we’ve refrained from taking successful the past,” but did not supply much details.
Mr. Blinken conveyed that informing during a Thursday gathering successful Stockholm with Russia’s overseas minister, Sergey Lavrov. But it is unclear whether Mr. Putin tin beryllium deterred by specified threats.
Speaking to reporters aft his gathering with Mr. Blinken, Mr. Lavrov seemed to scoff astatine the threat, noting that the United States has repeatedly sanctioned Russia successful caller and antithetic ways successful caller years.
“There’s ever a archetypal time,” Mr. Lavrov said. “There were different sanctions they refrained from taking successful the past.”
Julian E. Barnes contributed reporting.