Russian President Vladimir Putin could soon launch a full or partial invasion, batter Ukraine with false flag attacks, fully or partially withdraw, or leave to separatists
Image: via REUTERS)
The Mirror’s Defense & Security Editor Chris Hughes gives his analysis on the Russian President’s six options, as he reports from Kyiv, Ukraine…
Russia now has 130,000 troops on Ukraine’s eastern flank, including mechanized infantry, artillery, engineers, medical facilities, plus attack helicopters and fighter jets.
In Belarus to the north, there are upwards of 30,000 Russian troops with similar equipment.
Facing the southern coastline in the Black Sea there are some 30 warships. Russia could launch a three-pronged attack from all of these sides or a combination of the above, reaching all the way to Kyiv, even air-striking the capital.
The advantage of this would be to stretch Ukraine’s armed forces – but the Russians too would be stretched.
Russia could launch feints and diversions, confusing Ukraine’s very capable forces.
They could attack from Crimea and create a land bridge to Donbas but Ukraine’s forces are very mobile and able to divert.
A Donbas offensive may play well at home as it could be dressed up as protecting Moscow loyalists remaining in Ukraine.
A partial invasion elsewhere might be pointless as it would face huge opposition from Ukraine’s forces.
Everybody has been wondering what Putin’s gain would be in invading Ukraine – given the terrific loss in lives Russia would suffer as a result.
Ukrainians would never stand for it and it would be a bloodbath on both sides.
It could be a build-up designed to put the world on the edge of its seat, whilst he drives Ukraine’s economy down and does not invade.
Russia could batter Ukraine with lies, false flag attacks, propaganda and overt military attacks, exhausting its resolve.
What do you think? Have your say in our comments below
Putin could simply withdraw, insisting this build-up was always for exercises only as he has always insisted.
He could then attempt to appear like the bigger man and prize a deal from the west on Ukraine’s NATO membership.
The Russian leader has exploited the western division and exhausted leaders with his endless manipulation.
Daily Mirror/Andy Stenning)
A partial withdrawal might, if Russia decides not to invade, keep troops happy as their morale must be plummeting after months of living in appalling conditions.
Putin could leave some troops on the border now that Ukraine has become used to them being there and leave his options open.
Such a move might move the world into a more relaxed state so that he could order a surprise strike later.
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Leave to separatists
Leaving the conflict to separatists in Donbas is politically the least risky strategy because Russia can control from a stand-off position of denial, pretending not to back them.
There are Spetsnaz units and regulars embedded with the separatists but Moscow predictably always denies this.
Any costs in life will have minimal effect back home.