WASHINGTON – Russia is planning to carry out a military offensive against Ukraine as soon as early next year, according to a report Friday, as Ukraine said Moscow has deployed more than 90,000 troops on its border, reported Anadolu Agency.
The Washington Post reported that the planned campaign could be a multi-front offensive involving as many as 175,000 troops, citing US officials and an intelligence document.
“The plans involve extensive movement of 100 battalion tactical groups with an estimated 175,000 personnel, along with armor, artillery and equipment,” an anonymous administration official told the Post.
The obtained intelligence document shows Russia amassing forces in four locations. Moscow has deployed 50 battlefield tactical groups as well as tanks and artillery, according to the unclassified document, which includes satellite photos.
Earlier in the day, Ukraine’s Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said nearly 94,000 Russian troops were deployed on the Ukrainian border and warned that Moscow could trigger a large-scale escalation in January.
The US warned Russia on Thursday against any new military aggression toward Ukraine and urged Moscow to fulfill its commitments under the Minsk agreements.
Also Friday, US President Joe Biden said he is working on a set of initiatives to “make it very, very difficult” for Russia to carry out a possible invasion against Ukraine.
Speaking at a White House address, Biden said he is in constant contact with US’ allies in Europe through Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.
“And what I am doing is putting together what I believe to be will be the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for Mr. Putin to go ahead and do what people are worried he may do. That’s in play right now,” he said.
Meanwhile, a Russian official said Friday that an online meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Biden may take place “in the very next few days.”
The two presidents plan to discuss the implementation of decisions made at a Geneva summit in June, bilateral relations, the situation in Afghanistan, Iran, Ukraine, Libya and Syria, Yury Ushakov, the presidential advisor on foreign policy issues, told reporters in Moscow.