Russian servicemen parade with tanks during the 72nd anniversary of the end of World War II on the Red Square in Moscow.
A Russian troop buildup near Ukraine has raised concerns that it may move to invade.
Russia watchers say that is a “very real possibility.”
The US has reportedly been in discussions with its allies and partners in Europe about a possible Russian invasion.
Russia is massing troops and military equipment near the border of Ukraine, stirring fears that it may move to launch an invasion.
The US has shared concerns about the possibility of an invasion, as well as intelligence indicating that Russia is positioning forces for a possible multi-directional push into Ukraine, with allies and partners in Europe, Bloomberg reported.
These private conversations have taken place amid public demands that Russia clarify its intentions about a buildup that US officials have characterized as “unusual” and reiterated their support for Ukraine and its territorial integrity by Western countries.
Expert Russia watchers have said that concerns about Russian military activities are justified, with evidence growing that Russia is building a force that could invade Ukraine if necessary. These developments come as Russian leaders express frustration with Ukraine’s pro-Western leanings and political obstacles in Ukraine running contrary to Russian interests.
“I would not downplay this,” Jeffrey Edmonds, a former CIA military analyst and Russia expert at CNA, told Insider. “The troop buildup is pretty significant.”
A number of battalion tactical groups not normally near Ukraine are in the area outside of the normal training cycle, he said. And, perhaps more troubling, is that Russia appears to be moving troops and equipment under the cover of darkness.
“A lot of the troops are shifting at night so as to avoid being detected,” Michael Kofman, the Research Program Director in the Russia Studies Program at CNA, pointed out in the recent Center for New American Security “Brussels Sprouts” podcast, adding that this is “even more worrisome because it raises questions about intentions.”
Then there is the rhetoric coming from Russian leaders, including President Vladimir Putin, who have become more vocal in calling for respect to Russia’s red lines, including expanded cooperation between NATO and Ukraine.
“This is significantly different,” Edmonds said of the buildup of Russian troops near Ukraine. “The way that it’s being done, how deliberately it’s being done, the size of the force, the amount of time it’s been there, and the rhetoric from the Russians themselves, I think this is actually very serious.”
“I’m not saying the decision has been made yet, but they have certainly put in the work so that when a decision is made, it’s going to happen fast,” he said.
Kofman said in last week’s CNAS podcast that “there are no signs that there is an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine” but cautioned that this should provide little comfort.
“I don’t think there is going to be a Russian military operation in the coming days and weeks, but I am very worried looking into the coming months and toward this winter,” he said.
He described recent military movements, …read more
Source:: Business Insider