- – Russia may already have concentrated enough soldiers and equipment to be able to start this process – says the expert
- According to him, the direction of the invasion of Kiev is manifested by the location of the most important elements of the Russian forces, north and north-east of the Ukrainian capital.
- According to Lee, Russia’s goal is to impose restrictions on Ukraine’s sovereignty, for example, through constitutional changes or the implementation of the “modified version of the Minsk agreements.”
- Russia’s behavior indicates that it is more concerned about the costs of inactivity than the costs of significant escalation in Ukraine, Lee says
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In his opinion, the “punitive attack” of the Russian army is the maximum possible. – It may include a planned withdrawal, or it may end shortly before Kiev, while waiting for its terms to be fulfilled. I don’t know which of these options is most likely – says Lee, an analyst at the Institute for Foreign Policy Research, in an interview with PAP. As he added, he foresees a scenario more similar to the war against Georgia in 2008 from Crimea and Donbass.
“Russia may already have concentrated enough troops and equipment to start this process, but it will likely wait and add additional forces,” Lee says. He believes that although a further attack on Ukraine is not a foregone conclusion, this indicates the general behavior of Russia, including making sudden and difficult demands, and the unprecedented nature of the current troop disintegration, relocated from Siberia.
According to him, the direction of the invasion of Kiev indicated the location of the most important elements of the Russian forces, north and north-east of the Ukrainian capital. It is about assembling forces and equipment in Gelnya in the Smolensk region, and smaller groups, for example in the Bryansk region and in Belarus under the pretext of previously unplanned joint military exercises.
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According to the expert, the conquest of the territories will be costly to Russia in terms of casualties, but perhaps to a lesser extent than Western policymakers expect. This includes the effect of Russia’s formidable advantage in the air in terms of artillery and long-range weapons, which could lead to a significant deterioration of the Ukrainian forces even before the entry of the ground forces. Lee does not rule out that Russia will decide to fire only from afar or from the air, but he believes that such a scenario is unlikely to achieve the results that Moscow hopes.
What are the results? The analyst claims that Russia’s main concerns are not related to NATO expansion at all, but to the growing power – including military power – of Ukraine as a hostile neighbor with little prospect of changing that country.
According to Lee, Russia’s goal is to impose restrictions on Ukraine’s sovereignty, for example through constitutional changes or the implementation of the “modified version of the Minsk agreements”. In his opinion, achieving these goals is unlikely without a major ground offensive.
“Russia’s behavior suggests that it is more concerned about the cost of inactivity than the cost of significant escalation in Ukraine,” Lee says. “If there is an invasion, the Russians will certainly suffer losses, but I don’t think it will change the calculation of their profits and losses,” he says.
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