Russia is planning to invade Ukraine at the start of next year and launch its most devastating attack so far in the conflict, a Ukrainian military chief has warned.
The Kremlin has moved 92,000 troops to its western border with Ukraine and is readying itself for a ‘multi-pronged’ operation, said Brigadier General Kyrylo Budanov.
He said any attack would likely involve airstrikes and an amphibious attack in the regions of Odessa and Mariupol.
The most recent conflict began in 2014 and has seen around 14,000 Ukrainians killed.
The Brigadier General added that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aim was to unsettle and disrupt the Ukrainian political system through disinformation. If that doesn’t succeed, the Russian military will get involved, he said.
‘They want to make the situation inside the country more and more dangerous and hard and make a situation where we have to change the government,’ he told Military Times. ‘If they can’t do that, then military troops will do their job.’
He said Ukraine needed more support from the US, which he said has similar intelligence of a forthcoming attack.
‘Our evaluations are almost the same as our American colleagues,’ he said.
‘We need more [US support]. No countries except Ukraine have open war with Russia. And we have for seven years. That’s why we’re sure the US should give us everything we didn’t get before. And right now. It’s the right time for this.’
US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters last week that America continues to see ‘troubling’ behaviour from Russia.
‘We are not sure exactly what Mr Putin is up to,’ he said.
‘But these movements certainly have our attention. And I would urge Russia to be more transparent about what they are up to… Our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity remains unwavering.’