Russian forces at 70% of level needed for full invasion of Ukraine, US officials say


WASHINGTON, Feb 5 (Reuters) – Russia has about 70% of the combat power it thinks it needs for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine and is sending more battalion battle groups to the border with its neighbor , said two US officials. the Saturday.

Over the past two weeks, the number of battalion battlegroups in the border region rose from 60 to 83 on Friday and another 14 are in transit, officials told Reuters on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the information. .

As for the timing of an invasion, the ground should reach its frost peak around February 15, officials said, allowing off-road mechanized transit by Russian military units. These conditions would continue until the end of March.

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This timing and the growing number and capacity of Russian forces close to Ukraine might suggest that the window for diplomacy is closing.

US officials have provided no evidence to support their estimates of Russian forces.

As Russia is massing more than 100,000 troops near the border, it has said it does not plan an invasion but may take unspecified military action if its security demands are not met . These include a promise that NATO will never admit Ukraine, a request that Washington and NATO have called unacceptable.

Washington believes Russia can choose options other than a full-scale invasion, including a limited incursion, and does not believe President Vladimir Putin has made a final decision, officials said.

But they said Putin was building a force that could execute all scenarios.

If Russia were to invade the capital of Kiev, it could fall within days, US officials said.

A full-scale invasion would cause major casualties, one of the officials said.

Ukraine could suffer 5,000 to 25,000 military casualties, while Russian military casualties could be between 3,000 and 10,000, and civilian casualties could range from 25,000 to 50,000, US estimates said. the manager.

A full invasion would also cause millions of refugees and displaced people to flee to Europe, Washington estimates.

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Reporting by Phil Stewart and Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Mary Milliken and Daniel Wallis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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