I wonder how long this situation will continue and how it will unfold and evolve over the next few weeks. The Russian “invasion” of Ukraine has been called the most serious global peace and security crisis in recent memory.
Russian troops around Ukraine are prepared for an attack that could be imminent, Pentagon official says.
In its most dire assessment yet, the Pentagon said on Wednesday that 80 percent of the 190,000 Russian troops and separatist forces in or near Ukraine are now in combat-ready positions, and that a full-scale military assault is most likely imminent.
“They’re ready to go now if they get the order to go,” a senior Defense Department official told reporters.
The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe Russian military operations in broad terms, said that all the forces the United States expected Moscow to assemble in the Ukraine crisis are now in place, positioned 3 to 30 miles from the Ukrainian border, if not already in the country’s contested east.
“They have uncoiled and are ready to go,” the official said, noting that it is still up to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to give the final order to launch an attack.
U.S., NATO and European Union officials said on Tuesday that Russian forces had started rolling into the regions of eastern Ukraine controlled by Kremlin-backed separatists, which Mr. Putin said he was recognizing as independent. President Biden called the move the “beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.”
Among the military options available to Mr. Putin are an offensive into areas still under Ukrainian control that are claimed by the separatists, or a much broader, nationwide attack on Ukraine, which would trigger the largest war in Europe since World War II.
Pentagon officials say Russian forces have been preparing for months for such a large-scale assault, and are now in position to carry it out. That attack would probably include missile salvos, airstrikes, special forces operations, an amphibious assault and ground troops, and could begin at any time, the official said.
The Defense Department official echoed Mr. Biden’s assessment that Russia had begun an invasion of Ukraine in the eastern territories of Donetsk and Luhansk, but the official said he did not have details on the precise numbers or locations of the troops in the separatist-controlled areas.