The scenario is well known now. Russia would indeed massage, according to satellite observations and Ukrainian and Western intelligence services, a considerable armed force of nearly 100.000 men and a hundred combat battalion on the border of Ukraine, facing Donbass and Crimea. And once again, as was the case in March 2021, But also in 2019 and 2020, the fear of seeing Moscow launch an offensive against Ukraine reappears quite logically. According to the American intelligence services, the Russian armed forces have indeed already on site more than sixty BTG (Battalion Tactical group), the Russian equivalent of the Inter-weapon Tactical Group of the Army, gathering around 'a battalion (a regiment in France), all the capabilities necessary for combat, particularly high intensity, such as artillery, anti-aircraft defenses, engineering elements and transmissions etc ...
The scenario feared by Washington would be based on a winter offensive that would take place in January or February, when Ukrainian soil is frozen, allowing better mobility of the armored units. The anticipated objective would be to create a corridor making it possible to connect Crimea to Russia by land, probably as far as the mouth of the Dnieper and the city of Zaporizhia, also an important industrial center in terms of civil and military aeronautics. , but also the port city of Mariopol, also critical in terms of infrastructure. In addition to connecting Crimea, this would allow Moscow to turn the Sea of Azov into an “inland” sea, entirely bordered by Russian coasts.
Beyond the possible offensive coming from the east by Donbass, and from the south by the Crimea, the intelligence services also anticipate a possible maneuver along the border with Belarus, probably to bring the Ukrainian armies to divide their forces and therefore offer less resistance to the main offensive in the south. Such a military action would be the most important in Europe since the end of the Second World War, and would undoubtedly have immense consequences, beyond the human and material losses in both camps, on the security of the old continent, whatever the situation. posture chosen by the Europeans, the United States and NATO in this hypothesis.
However, the US intelligence report insists that this is a possible hypothesis, and not a certainty. According to them, Vladimir Putin himself has not, to date, taken a firm decision on this subject. But many factors show that, while waiting, the Russian armies, for their part, are indeed preparing for such an action. Thus, concomitantly with the deployment of Russian combat battalions, in particular the most experienced of the 41st Combined Combat Division, Moscow announced this weekend, the recall of tens of thousands of reservists, which could allow it to set up its support echelons around professional combat units. On the other hand, and unlike March, the naval system of the Black Sea does not seem to have been strengthened significantly to date, as well as the air units present in Crimea and near the Donbass.
The rest of this article is for subscribers only
Full-access articles are available in the “ Free Items“. Subscribers have access to the full Analyses, OSINT and Synthesis articles. Articles in the Archives (more than 2 years old) are reserved for Premium subscribers.
From €6,50 per month – No time commitment.