– While three weeks ago we only saw the transfer of the 4th Guardian Panzer Division to the border (…), now it is joined by other forces of the 1st Guardian Panzer Army. In Crimea, we observe the emergence of separate units of the 49th and 58th armies of the Southern Military District
– warns Kirił Mikhailov, analyst of Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT).
As he adds, during the anticipated invasion of Ukraine (late January / early February), significantly more soldiers may be present near its borders than in spring this year, when a similar scenario was also taken into account. At that time, according to various estimates, around 100,000 people were concentrated around Ukraine. Russian soldiers.
According to Grzegorz Kuczyński, an expert of the Warsaw Institute, the security of other countries in Europe depends on what kind of attack Russia would choose. It also points to the potential behavior of NATO forces in the face of a conflict.
– If these were activities of a local nature, be it on the borderline in Donbass, in the Black Sea or in the vicinity of Crimea, then NATO’s support for Ukraine can be expected. Of course, we are not talking about direct military aid, which would consist in sending soldiers to the front. It is more about intelligence support, the supply of weapons and equipment, as well as diplomatic and political support for Kiev.
– says the expert in an interview with niezalezna.pl.
In the event of a major conventional war between Russia and Ukraine, we can already speak of destabilizing the whole of Europe. However, this is not about the thousands of Russian tanks that would enter deep into Ukraine. It would be enough for a Russian, massive, rocket or air force strike, which would force Kiev to ask for peace within a few hours
– says Grzegorz Kuczyński.
– If Russia is really considering the invasion of Ukraine scenario, it will rather be a lightning war. Several dozen hours, a maximum of two or three days, to use the element of surprise. In such a situation, the West could react at most with protests and further sanctions against Russia and a return to the reports from 2014.
– convinces the expert of the Warsaw Institute.
The question is whether Russia is prepared to take the risk. It is i.a. a question of calculation about the possible reaction of the West. If the Kremlin decides that the reactions will be weak or that their consequences will not bring much harm, an attack on Ukraine will take place. However, it should be remembered that another invasion would deepen the reluctance or even hostility of a large part of Ukrainians towards Russia. As was the case with the annexation of Crimea and the war in Donbas
– he adds.
Grzegorz Kuczyński believes that the main goal of Russia’s potential actions is to force Ukraine to implement the Minsk agreements [które de facto oddałyby wschodnie tereny kraju i Krym w ręce Rosji – przyp. red.].
– I cannot imagine that the Russians are entering other areas of Ukraine, where they will want to create a puppet government, e.g. in Kharkiv. The Russians do not want this, but the implementation of the Minsk agreements. This situation will enable Moscow to gain significant influence on the policy of the entire Ukrainian state
– indicates the expert.
– In Crimea and in parts of the Donbass, Russia has already carried out an operation of building influence among politicians and services. In 2014, Crimea fell into Russia’s hands virtually without any shots, because for years Ukraine’s security institutions had been infiltrated and pro-Russian. The situation was similar in Donbas. However, it is worth noting that the construction of the Novorossiya project in the south of Ukraine and the southeast has failed. In areas where the Russians had the so-called the fifth column, took control of them. Elsewhere, such as Odessa or Kharkiv, they have lost. Russia pays off in such a hybrid action and attempts to destabilize Ukraine from within and causing a crisis there. In the future, this would lead to a situation where the elections would be won by politicians willing to reach an agreement with Russia
– the expert concludes.