US Intelligence Sees Russia Plotting an Invasion in Ukraine

According to US intelligence operatives, Putin is preparing for a potential military campaign in Ukraine that could begin as soon as 2022. President Biden promised on Friday to make it extremely difficult for Putin to launch the offense.

The Russians intend to send 175,000 troops, over half of whom are already positioned near the Ukrainian border.

Russia increased its pressure on Biden to promise Ukraine will not be admitted to NATO. According to the official, 100 battalion tactical units, armor, ammunition, and equipment will be relocated.

Authorities have seen increased Russian media operations using proxies and news organizations to malign Ukraine and NATO before a possible invasion. On Friday evening, as he left for the president’s retreat at Camp David, Biden was questioned about the intelligence report.

Biden said they’ve known about Russia’s operations for a while, and he expects a lengthy talk with Putin.

Putin Would Be Taking a Huge Risk if He Invaded

According to US authorities and former diplomats, the Ukrainian military is more effectively armed and ready than in years past. Moreover, the punitive measures threatened by the West would severely harm Russia’s economy, according to former diplomats.

They warn it’s uncertain if Putin wants to carry out the dangerous attack. The Kremlin claimed Putin would ask Biden for binding assurances that NATO would not expand into Ukraine on Friday. 

Officials in Ukraine warned of a Russian invasion next month. On Friday, Ukrainian Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov warned legislators a “large-scale increase” is conceivable in January.

A person close to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Biden and Zelensky informally agreed to speak by phone next week. Officials discussed a Biden-Putin phone call, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

Requests for a reaction from the White House went unanswered.

Play by Russia to be a World Power

Biden didn’t say what he was considering. However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated the US threatened fresh penalties. He did not specify the consequences, but implied they would be ineffective.

Lavrov stated if the fresh “sanctions from hell” arrived, they would retaliate. Psaki said the government would work with European partners if penalties were imposed.

She said the Russian takeover of Crimea, a Black Sea peninsula controlled by Ukraine since 1954, is still fresh in the White House’s memory. Blinken stated this week the US warned the Kremlin it would respond forcefully, including with a variety of high-impact economic indicators hitherto avoided.

He didn’t say what measures were being considered, but one may be cutting Russia off from the SWIFT system. In April, the European Parliament backed a non-binding motion to cut Russia off from SWIFT if its forces entered Ukraine.

This would effectively exclude Russian companies from the world financial system. Western allies mulled such a move when Russian-led tensions over Ukraine erupted in 2014 and 2015. Former Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev stated it would constitute a war declaration.

In addition to gaining attention and compromises from Biden and other Western leaders, some US officials believe Putin is exploiting the military buildup to re-establish Russia as a global player.

According to former US ambassador to Ukraine, John Herbst, they are jealous of global dominance and post-Cold War parity with the US. An attack is conceivable, but it is more likely Russia will create a situation, gain concessions from the US, and resolve it.