The U.S. government estimates that a conflict stemming from a Russian invasion of Ukraine could cause around 50,000 deaths and generate a new wave of displaced people towards central Europe, according to a series of estimates made by the White House where it is also pointed out that the Russian forces accumulated in the vicinity of the Ukrainian border could acquire full operational capacity around February 15.
Sources under the anonymity of the Biden Administration have provided the ‘New York Times’ with updated forecasts of the current situation on the Russian-Ukrainian border, where Russia has so far concentrated “70%” of the forces needed to start an invasion. The objective of the Russian Army, according to these sources, is to accumulate a minimum of 120 tactical groups of battalions (each battalion, according to the specialized website Breaking Defense, comprises around 800 troops, plus artillery).
Casualty forecasts range from 25,000 to 50,000 civilians killed, to which should be added between 5,000 and 25,000 Ukrainian Army personnel and between 3,000 and 10,000 members of the Russian Army. The conflict would cause between one and five million internally displaced persons or refugees, whose main destination would be Poland.
As it has been anticipating in recent weeks, the White House maintains February 15 as the approximate date of the beginning of a hypothetical invasion. Around that week, the Russian Army would have completed its initial deployment and would proceed with its first advance taking advantage of the fact that the ground is frozen, thus preventing the mud from slowing down the ground divisions.
In that case, the most accepted forecast, according to the Information of the ‘Times’, points to the fact that the Russian forces, again according to these sources, would carry out a “pincer movement” from three different points — including Belarus, where right now there would be 30,000 Russian military personnel stationed — and “quickly surround or capture” the capital of Ukraine, Kiev, and remove the president of the country. Volodymyr Zelensky.
Another hypothesis is the beginning of a war of attrition, in which Russia could try to annex the entire east of the country, up to the Dnieper River, decimating along the way the Ukrainian troops stationed in the vicinity of the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, related to Moscow. A slow operation could incite panic in the western part of Ukraine, where resistance to Russia could be greatest, and cause people to flee the country.
All this information was provided to a group of US congressmen last Thursday by the Secretary of Defense, Lloyd J. Austin III; Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken; Director of National Intelligence Avril D. Haines, and U.S. Army Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley, according to NYT sources.
This session was attended by diplomats and intelligence officials from three other countries involved in trying to deter a Russian invasion — according to the newspaper again, without specifying the nationalities — who confirmed the “general lines” of the state of the Russian forces, although “they disagreed on the importance of certain elements.”
Scaremongering And Madness
The Russian government’s first reaction to these estimates has come from its ambassador to the United Nations, Dmitry Polianski, who has described these estimates as an act of “scaremongering” in line with the statements made by US government officials in recent weeks. “The madness and scaremongering continue,” Polianski lamented on his Twitter account, where he offered his own estimates of a hypothetical conflict between the United States and the United Kingdom.
“What if we said that the United States could take over London in a week and cause 300,000 civilian deaths?” the ambassador said. “All this based on our intelligence sources that we will not reveal,” he added. “The Americans and the British would feel just as bad as the Russians and ukrainians,” the ambassador added in his message.Related news
The Kremlin’s official position is that it has no intention of carrying out an incursion into Ukrainian soil and that the build-up of troops on the border is due to regular exercises and a measure of protection against what it perceives as an attempt by NATO to expand its bubble of influence in Eastern Europe.Likewise, the sources of the American newspaper indicate that, to date, they have no guarantees that the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, has decided to start this military operation.