Ukraine Says Russia Preparing To Attack By Late January
KIEVE - The Ukrainian defense intelligence agency chief told Military Times that Russia is preparing for an attack on the country by the end of January, or the beginning of February.
Ukrainian Brigadier General Kyrylo Budanov told the Military Times in an interview that an attack will probably begin with airstrikes and artillery strikes as well as attacks from armored vehicles.
After that, Russia would likely carry out airborne assaults in eastern Ukraine and amphibious assaults in Odessa and Mariupul as well as a smaller incursion through Belarus.
Budanov said that Russia's Zapad 21 military exercises that was carried out earlier in the year showed that Moscow can drop around 3,500 airborne and special operations troops at one time on the Ukraine.
Budanov stated that the attack that Russia is currently preparing for would be far more devastating than anything seen since the conflict between Russia and the Ukraine begin in 2014 that has killed about 14,000 Ukrainians to date.
Budanov told Military Times that Russia is increasing their troop numbers and weapons in occupied Crimea as well as staging systems like the Iskandar short range ballistic missile system and other weapons near their border with the Ukraine.
He shrugged off comments made about the Russians not wanting to attack during the peak of winter saying, "It is no problem for us and the Russians" regarding fighting freezing cold temperatures.
He said that before the attack happened there would be a number of psychological operations, such as those currently being carried out by Russia to destabilize the Ukraine and hinder its ability to fight.
"They want to foment unrest, through protests and meetings, that show the people are against the government" he stated during the interview through an interpreter.
Budanov said that Russia is currently stoking unrest in the Ukraine by using psychological operations to cause the Ukrainian people to believe that the Ukrainian government betrayed the people.
"They want to make the situation inside the country more and more dangerous and hard and make a situation where we have to change the government" he said. "If they can’t do that, than military troops will do their job".
He said that both the United States and the Ukraine have similar assessments about the timeline of an attack by Russia. "Our evaluations are almost the same as our American colleagues".