US Intelligence Says Russia Planning for a Ukraine Invasion With 100 Battalions, Artillery

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Russian forces are beginning a buildup along the Ukraine border that hints at a pending invasion plan, the Associated Press reported.

Tensions have increased for weeks during Russia’s denial of plans to take military action against its diminutive neighbor to the west. However, a U.S. intelligence official speaking to AP on the condition of anonymity said officials have determined Russian planning for a possible offensive not long into 2022 is underway.

The official said 100 battalion tactical groups, armor, artillery and equipment are part of Russia’s plan. Intelligence also estimates half of the proposed Russian personnel – which could reach 175,000 in total – are already spread across various spots near the Ukraine border. The looming threat comes against a backdrop of Russia demanding President Joe Biden not allow Ukraine to join the NATO alliance.

Biden said Friday he would make it “very, very difficult” for Russian President Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine. He suggested new tactics from the administration will dissuade Russian aggression.

“What I am doing is putting together what I believe to be will be the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for Mr. Putin to go ahead and do what people are worried he may do,” Biden told reporters.

The intelligence official also pointed to a recent increase in Russian propaganda specific to Ukraine and NATO as another warning sign, the AP reported.

The intelligence findings were first reported by The Washington Post.

Biden and Putin may meet next week. A call would reportedly precede the possible in-person discussion between the two country’s leaders.

“It certainly would be an opportunity to discuss our serious concerns about the bellicose rhetoric, about the military buildup that we’re seeing on the border of Ukraine,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said of a potential Biden-Putin call.