Ukrainian intelligence expects a new Russian invasion of Ukraine in late January—early February. American colleagues share these forecasts and call on Europe to develop a joint action plan to contain the Kremlin as soon as possible. The Russian Federation, in turn, assures that the dissemination of such data is a "hysteria" that is allegedly artificially whipped up by Washington.
How Ukraine assesses situation with Russian troops buildup
Kyrylo Budanov, the Head of the Defence Intelligence (GUR—abbreviation from the Ukrainian name of the department) of the Ministry of Defense, stated in an interview with the Military Times that the Russian side had concentrated more than 92,000 soldiers near the Ukrainian borders. According to him, in January—February next year, Russia may resort to air and artillery strikes. Landing of troops near Odesa and Mariupol may follow them. In addition, he does not exclude a smaller-scale invasion through Belarus.
The Head of the GUR stresses that before the direct attack, the Kremlin will carry out a "series of psychological operations" in Ukraine (anti-government rallies, protests against vaccination, manipulation on the "Wagnergate" subject, etc.).
"They want to make the situation inside the country more dangerous and difficult and create a situation we must change the government in. If they cannot do this, then the military will do their job," Budanov stresses.
Oleksiy Danilov, the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, states that by "pulling in troops to the Ukrainian border, Russia is trying to aggravate the situation in the region as much as possible in order to amp up the stakes at the table of upcoming negotiations." He adds that a number of steps taken by the Russian Federation in recent weeks, including the publication of diplomatic correspondence and the shooting down of a Soviet satellite in orbit, show that "there are no rules" for the Kremlin anymore.
Dmytro Kuleba, the Head of the Ukrainian MFA, is convinced that the likelihood of an attack will depend on Ukraine's restraint and the Western partners' coordination.
"In the coming months we, both society and the state, must demonstrate maximum efficiency, maximum restraint and not to respond to provocations either within the country or in the conflict zone," the Minister states.
How the US plans to stop potential new Russian invasion of Ukraine
The US intelligence is making forecasts similar to those in Ukraine and emphasizing that Western partners have little time to plan actions that could stop a potential new Russian attack on Ukraine. This refers to the devising of new sanctions against Russia by Europe and the United States.
"If we, the West, look like we are not united and not ready to work together, then the risk that the Kremlin will take terrible steps will increase," Frederick B. Hodges, a former Commander of the US Army in Europe, now working at the Centre for European Policy, states.
What OSCE observers notice in ORDLO
The OSCE observers state in their latest report that they have detected tanks and anti-aircraft guns in the occupied territories of Donbas outside the designated storage areas. In the Luhansk region, they have noticed nine tanks, in the Donetsk region—one anti-aircraft gun and one ditching machine.
What RF says about pulling in troops and potential invasion
Russian President's Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov calls the information voiced by the Western intelligence an "artificially whipped up hysteria."
"Those who have moved their armed forces across the ocean accuse us of some unusual military activity on our territory. That is, the United States of America. Well, this is not entirely logical and not entirely decent," the outlet TASS quotes him as saying.
Peskov stresses that Russia does not exclude provocation attempts that could justify the statements of the United States and European countries that the Russian side is planning a new attack on Ukraine. He adds that an attempt to de-occupy Donbas by force will have "the most serious consequences."
"Ukraine most likely is striving for another attempt to start a belligerent solution to its own problem. To create another misfortune for itself and for everyone in Europe... (Ukraine—) is striving for this, most likely, under the cover of the same NATO exercises, NATO ships in the Black Sea, and American and British soldiers in the region whose number is increasing more and more... This is what Ukraine is striving for. And this, of course, is heartbreaking to see. Because it will entail the most serious consequences," he explains.
The National Security Council of the Russian Federation expects provocations from Ukraine in the Black Sea-Azov Sea basin.
"As a result of the coup d'état, power in Ukraine has been held for many years by people professing radical nationalism and Russophobia and unreasonably declaring our country an "aggressor" according to their vested interests. This factor, of course, has a very negative impact on the operational situation on the Russian-Ukrainian section of the state border. For instance, recently, the risks of Ukrainian special services and radical organizations carrying out provocations in the Crimean direction in relation to facilities of maritime economic activity and transport crossings in the Azov and Black Seas have increased," Alexander Grebenkin, Deputy Secretary of the National Security Council of the Russian Federation, states.
Context. On November 2, reported that Russia was making the same actions as in April of this year—it was pulling in troops and equipment to the Ukrainian borders.