Russia could seize Kyiv in days, U.S. assessments find

Ukraine’s biggest national flag on the country’s highest flagpole is seen at a compound of the World War II museum in Kyiv, Ukraine, December 16, 2021. (Reuters photo)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Russia could invade Kyiv within two days, causing up to 50,000 civilians killed or wounded, according to updated U.S. military and intelligence assessments, the Washington Post reported.

Russia is close to completing preparations for what appears to be a large-scale invasion of Ukraine and launch a humanitarian crisis with up to 5 million refugees fleeing the resulting chaos, the assessments briefed to lawmakers and European partners over the past several days.

The assessment also judged that the window for a diplomatic resolution of the crisis appears to be closing, the Washington Post reported.

“Our worry would be that you don’t park battle groups … on the border of another country twice and do nothing,” the Post quoted one European official as saying.

“I think that’s the real fear that I have. [Putin’s] now put them all out there. If he does nothing again … what does that say to the wider international community about the might of Russia?”

Russia’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations Dmitry Polyanskiy has dismissed the U.S. assessments on a potential Russian invasion as alarmist.

“Madness and scaremongering continues. … what if we would say that U.S. could seize London in a week and cause 300K civilian deaths?” Polyanskiy tweeted on Sunday.

As Russia masses more than 100,000 troops near the border, it has said it is not planning an invasion but could take unspecified military action if its security demands are not met. Those include a promise that NATO will never admit Ukraine, a demand Washington and NATO have said is unacceptable.

Reuters cited U.S. officials as saying that Russia has in place about 70% of the combat power it believes it would need for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine and is sending more battalion tactical groups to the border with its neighbor.

In the last two weeks, the number of battalion tactical groups in the border region has risen to 83 from 60 as of Friday and 14 more are in transit, the officials told Reuters on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the information.

If Russia were to invade the capital of Kyiv, it could fall within a couple of days, the U.S. officials told Reuters.

Ukraine could suffer 5,000 to 25,000 troop casualties, while Russia’s troop casualties could be between 3,000 and 10,000, and civilian casualties could range from 25,000 to 50,000, according to U.S. estimates, the official said.

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