What Would A Russian Invasion Of Ukraine Look Like? -- Mark Galeotti, In Moscow's Shadow
I’ve been asked this question a lot, and had the chance to expound on it at a recent event in Parliament sponsored by the Henry Jackson Society, so thought I’d briefly outline my thoughts here. That said, though, I should stress that the more time passes, the less likely I think such an attack becomes, because of the shifting political situation and also–as Kyiv moves forces east and mobilises reserves and volunteers–the military calculus. However, it cannot be excluded, so it is worth still considering, not least as the preparatory phases I outline below have all been carried out; the Russian General Staff may well not yet know if it is going to be invading, but it has made sure that if the word does come down from the Kremlin, it will be ready.
In brief, the aim would be a blitzkrieg that, before Ukraine has the chance properly to muster its forces and, perhaps more to the point, the West can meaningfully react, allows the Russians to draw a new front line and assert their own ground truth, much as happened in Crimea (though this would be much more bloody and contested). This would not be a bid to conquer the whole country (the real question is whether they’d seek to push as far as Odessa, taking more risks and extending their supply lines, but also essentially depriving Ukraine of a coastline) but instead quickly to take those areas where there are potentially supportive local political elites and Russophone populations, and consequently pretexts (however flimsy) to portray invasion as ‘liberation.’
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My Comment: This is what I call the worse case scenario .... and the strategy that Russia will employ if the decision to launch a full scale invasion is made. There will be no seizure of border regions or a city or two that has a large Russian population .... it will be a "blitzkrieg attack" with the goal of seizing eastern and southern Ukraine. The destruction will be horrendous .... Russians will flee western Ukraine and Ukrainians will flee eastern/southern Ukraine .... and the greatest crisis in Europe since the end of the Second World War will be upon us.
Sighhh .... just thinking of this makes me sick.