The tension between Russia and Ukraine is growing by the minute. The US and Russia transferred their disagreements over the situation in Ukraine to the New York headquarters of the United Nations, in a special meeting of their Security Council that did not move one millimeter of the positions of the main actors involved. Ukraine has decided not to wait for diplomacy and has sent missiles to the border with Russia, preparing for an imminent attack. The government of Vladimir Putin he is not ready for Kiev to forge international alliances with the European Union and NATO.
More of 100,000 Russian soldiers are still deployed at different points along the border with Ukraine, in places like Soloti, Klimovo o Novoozernoye, in the annexed Crimea or at the point where the borders of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia meet.
In this way, Moscow would be taking positions in the event that a conflict finally broke out. In fact, according to The New York Times, the United States claims that Russia has a war plan that contemplates an invading force of 175,000 troops, so the Ukrainian army, despite having equipment and training provided by the United States, would have little capacity to stop the invasion.
And what strategy could I follow? Russia to invade Ukraine?
For the moment, the Institute for the Study of War The ISW predicts that Russia will not carry out a fully mechanized invasion to conquer all of Ukraine this winter. Russian forces will openly deploy in the Dombass occupying it on a large scale in mid-February.
Russia could also launch a air and missile campaign throughout unoccupied Ukraine along with an open deployment in occupied Dombass. Also the Russian army would carry out limited ground raids north and west of the occupied Dombass and north of Crimea.
But these are not the only options that experts are considering:
Russian strategies in Ukraine
invasion from the east
Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine approved at the end of 2021 the decision taken in the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (SNBO) to implement a strategy that would allow strengthening the country’s military potential in the face of eventual entry into NATO and with the stated goal of regaining Crimea and control over the rebel territory of Donbass.
Russia could have an interest precisely in the area of eastern Ukraine, where most of the pro-Russian population that Zelensky has promised to control is concentrated. Thus, Putin would try to end the invasion of the Donbass region, which began in 2014, at the same time as the annexation of the Crimean peninsula was taking place. causing an incident to bring in Ukrainian forces and use it as an excuse to carry out a larger-scale raid.
This is perhaps the most plausible scenario and in fact Kiev has already concentrated a large amount of military means at that point that separates the territory controlled by the pro-Russians from the rest of Ukraine.
Another target in the east could be Jarkov, just 42 kilometers from the border. This city, the second largest in the country, sits on a major gas field. As Zelensky revealed to The Washington Post, Russia has amassed thousands of troops there.
invasion from the south
As explained Rob Lee, a former US Marine and member of the Foreign Policy Research Institute, told Reuters, “an invasion from the south would be the reactivation of the project of the ‘new russia‘ of 2014 to close the Ukrainian exit from the Black Sea. This would be equivalent to capturing the port of Odessa and perhaps the industrial city of Dnipro.’
this strategy would isolate the city of Kiev from the coast and would draw NATO away from the Black Sea.
On the other hand, the German newspaper Bild published a few days ago some documents, apparently owned by the Russian Ministry of Defense, in which a possible offensive against the Ukrainian capital was analyzed. Thus, the Kremlin troops would surround Kharkiv and, ultimately, Kiev, cutting supplies and making a ‘siege’ in the purest medieval style.
Hand in hand with Belarus
According to the Institute for the Study of War, Putin has also deployed mechanized forces in Belarus, a great Russian ally, a clear sign that the Russian president is preparing to attack and not just deter.
Furthermore, even if Ukraine were not invaded from this sector, as Orysia Lutsevych, a researcher at the Chatham House think tank, explained to The Guardian, a permanent Russian military garrison in Belarus would ultimately generate “a large military base that would give russia air dominance on NATO’s eastern flank.