A Russian attack on Ukraine could take days – this is, increasingly, the belief of the US intelligence services, and therefore also of President Joe Biden and his advisers.
Earlier this week, some analysts who spoke to the US press were convinced that Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, was prepared to wait until the end of the Winter Olympics in Beijing to avoid antagonizing President Xi Jinping of China, increasingly an ally. But in recent days the intelligence services seem to have said something different to President Biden, who has started warning his citizens to leave Ukraine as soon as possible.
Joe Biden also decided to send 3000 additional troops to Poland, writes the Reuters news agency, after having deployed another 3000 elements of the army in early February, almost all of them are already on European soil, divided between Poland, Romania, and Poland, US allies in NATO and countries close to Ukraine. This Friday, the President of the United States, through a videoconference, informed European partners and others, all from NATO, of this new reality on which his team is working: a Russian invasion is expected in the coming days. At the meeting were some of the most important members of NATO, such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, France, Italy, Poland, Romania, as well as Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, and Charles Michel, President of the European Council.
The United States repeated this Friday that citizens who are still in Ukraine should hurry to leave. One of Joe Biden’s top advisers, the one with the National Security portfolio, Jake Sullivan, said this Friday, quoted by CNN, that “all Americans must leave the country as soon as possible, within the next 24 or 48 hours.” ”. It is not possible to “predict the future”, he said, but “the risk is high enough and sufficiently immediate for this to be the necessary prudence”.
And then he explained how this war could start. “If a Russian attack on Ukraine proceeds, it is likely to start with aerial bombings and missile attacks that could obviously kill civilians, regardless of nationality, of course. A subsequent ground invasion would obviously involve attacking a massive force.”
The Biden Administration had already warned of very dark aftermath should this war ever happen: between 25,000 and 50,000 civilians could die if Putin proceeds with a military invasion of Ukraine, to which must be added the deaths of members of Ukraine’s armed forces ( estimated at between 5,000 and 25,000) and those of members of the Russian army (3,000 to 10,000). The number of displaced people and war refugees, who would walk west and wait to be received by NATO partners, cannot be anticipated, but judging by the consequences of the war in Donbas, which displaced one million people, we can begin to understand that an invasion on a considerable scale it could trigger a humanitarian crisis greater than that of the Syrian War, which brought almost two million people into the EU – one million of whom settled in Germany, with the political consequences we know.
Caution with words is no longer part of the White House agenda, but Sullivan wanted, nonetheless, to leave a caveat about the uncertainty that defines this moment: “A final decision has not yet been taken by President Putin, but we have enough level of concern based on what we see on the ground and what our intelligence analysts have picked up that we can send you these warnings. And it is an urgent message because we are in an urgent situation.”
After weeks of working to calm the population, with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy stressing the diplomatic path still available, Ukraine is also already showing heightened concern about the possibility of open conflict with Russia. This Friday, the army issued a statement saying that Russian-backed separatists in the east of the country are carrying out military exercises for “real fire” situations: tanks, artillery, and armored vehicles were seen moving inside. from Donbas province, which was occupied by Moscow-backed separatists in 2014. Ukrainian army units are already on high alert.
Troops and equipment continue to accumulate
Between Wednesday and Thursday, the “New York Times” released new satellite images, as it had done the previous week, which show a strengthening of Russian military structures on the other side of the border with Ukraine, namely in the Crimean peninsula. , which Russia also annexed, not a relief of presence, as the United States demands before establishing any timetable for negotiating Russia’s demands. Captured by space technology company Maxar Technologies, the images show new “military camps” at three locations in Crimea: there are more troops, vehicles, and other equipment in both Novoozernoye and Slavne (near the west coast), and more than 550 new tents. for troops and hundreds of vehicles at an abandoned airfield in Oktyabrskoe, near the center of the peninsula.
Source: With Agencies