Intelligence Service of Ukraine: Russia Prepares to Attack in Winter 2022 | News from Germany about Ukraine | Dw

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Russia has concentrated more than 92 thousand troops near the borders of Ukraine, and is preparing for an attack, which may take place in late January – early February 2022. Kirill Budanov, head of the Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, spoke about this in an exclusive interview published by the Military Times on Sunday, November 21.

According to him, the attack will include artillery and armored attacks, followed by landing strikes in Odessa and Mariupol, as well as the invasion of small forces through Belarus. Budanov believes the attack will be far more devastating than anything previously seen in the conflict that began in 2014 and cost some 14,000 Ukrainians the lives of.

Psychological attack

The invasion will be preceded by a series of ongoing psychological operations aimed at destabilizing Ukraine and undermining its ability to fight. “They want to provoke riots through protests and rallies that show that people are against the government,” Budanov said.

These efforts, he said, include ongoing protests against COVID-19 vaccinations, which were organized by Russia. Moscow is also trying to foment unrest by speculating on economic and energy supply problems. In addition, Russia is actively stirring up anti-government sentiments in connection with the incident, dubbed “Wagnergate”. We are talking about the failed operation of the special services of Ukraine, trying to lure into the country about 30 members of the Russian PMC Wagner responsible for the hostilities in the Donbass. Russian psychological operations are used to show that “our authorities have betrayed the people,” Budanov is sure. The ongoing border conflict between Poland and Belarus, which is trying to send refugees to Europe via Polish territory, is also part of these efforts, he said.

US intelligence also warns of winter

According to Budanov, the assessments of the US and Ukrainian intelligence regarding the timing of the Russian attack are very similar. Earlier on Saturday, November 20, the American media company CBS reported that US intelligence is warning European allies of the threat of a Russian military invasion of Ukraine, the likelihood of which increases as the weather gets colder. The invasion could happen within a few weeks if there is no Western intervention, according to American intelligence.

It is not the first time that Russia has concentrated its military forces on the Ukrainian border. The last time this happened was in the spring of 2021 and also caused serious concern in the world. But if the events in the spring were regarded as a show of force, then the current situation may be preparation for the actual invasion of Donbass in eastern Ukraine, the US intelligence services believe.

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Moscow and the Pentagon declined to comment

The Russian embassy did not respond to the Military Times’ request for comment on the interview with the head of the Ukrainian intelligence service, but Moscow has consistently denied such accusations, calling them provocative. The Pentagon also declined to comment on Budanov’s assessments of the timing and nature of any potential Russian attack, pointing to statements made by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

The US continues to see “anxious Russian behavior,” Austin said. Meeting with Ukrainian Defense Minister Alexei Reznikov, the Pentagon chief not only reaffirmed his unshakable support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, but also expressed concern about Russia’s destabilizing activities. “We do not know exactly what Mr Putin is up to,” Lloyd Austin said.

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