Experts Warn of “Real Possibility” That Russia Will Invade Ukraine This Winter

Russia is massing troops near the Ukrainian border, renewing concerns that they may invade the country, Insider reports.

The US has shared intelligence with European partners showing a buildup of Russian troops and artillery, raising concerns that Russian President Vladimir Putin may launch an invasion as soon as early next year.

The US warned NATO allies that up to 100,000 Russian soldiers could be deployed from Crimea, the Russian border, and from Belarus. Two sources told Bloomberg that about half of those troops are already in position.

Sources also told Bloomberg that Russia has called up tens of thousands of reservists, more than ever since the Cold War.

One source added that Russia had also launched a disinformation campaign aimed at destabilizing Ukraine.

Putin last week denied any plans to invade.

Putin ramps up pressure:

Putin, who reportedly sees Ukraine as part of Russia and is angry over its relations with the west, said in a speech last week that he does not want a war but wants to keep the US and allies on edge “as long as possible, so nobody gets it into their head to cause a conflict we don’t need on our western borders.”

Putin criticized the US and others for helping Ukraine expand its military capabilities and ramping up missions in the Black Sea.

Russian officials say they want NATO to stop expanding its cooperation with Ukraine and what Russia says is a buildup along its borders.

Is Russia preparing attack?

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov visited Washington last week to request more help defending the country’s airspace and coast. The country’s defense intelligence agency believes that Russia could be preparing to launch an attack as early as January or February.

"A lot of the troops are shifting at night so as to avoid being detected," said Michael Kofman, the Research Program Director in the Russia Studies Program at the Center for New American Security, adding that this is "even more worrisome because it raises questions about intentions."

He described the recent movements as “symptomatic of a military that is preparing itself for this very real possibility” of an invasion.

"The way that it's being done, how deliberately it's being done, the size of the force, the amount of time it's been there, and the rhetoric from the Russians themselves, I think this is actually very serious,” former CIA military analyst Jeffrey Edmonds told Insider. "I'm not saying the decision has been made yet, but they have certainly put in the work so that when a decision is made, it's going to happen fast.”


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