Russia could attack Ukraine, but not in the fall – the head of the foreign intelligence Service

РФ может напасть на Украину, но не осенью - глава Службы внешней разведки

The head of the foreign intelligence Service Valery Kondratyuk not rule out Russia’s large-scale military operations and seizure of Ukrainian territory, but not in the fall of 2020.

As UKRINFORM reported, he wrote about this in his article for ZN.UA.

Kondratyuk reminded that Russia has deployed around Ukrainian military forces, which includes two new armies and army corps: 20th army – is already practically formed, including two divisions of a total population of about 24 thousand people; 8th army – about 45 thousand people, given the 1st and 2nd army corps on the temporarily occupied territories of Donbass; 22nd army corps in the Union in the composition of coastal forces of the Navy of the Russian Federation, consists of 9 thousand soldiers. These units will be brought to full operational readiness in the near future.

“The Kremlin sees its own army as a tool to achieve foreign policy ambitions, so the order the invasion of another state for Moscow only a matter of time and opportunity,” he said.

According to Kondratyuk, the level of armament of the newest tools in the strategic nuclear forces of the Russian Federation has reached 83%, in our aerospace forces – 75%, in the airborne troops and naval forces exceeded 63%, and in the army – 50%. The level of equipment with modern means of troop control is 67%.

The publication notes that Moscow poses long-term threats, including the development of a new military base near the border of Ukraine (Dnepropetrovsk, 60 km from the border) for permanent deployment of the units again the 150th infantry division of the armed forces.

For political pressure on Ukraine and the West the Kremlin intends to use the strategic military exercises “Caucasus-2020”, where will be worked out the scenario of the attack on neighboring countries. The total number of troops involved in the maneuvers, which will be held in September this year, will be at least 120 thousand, 3 thousand armored combat vehicles, about 300 aircraft, 250 helicopters, 50 ships and 5 submarines.

A likely scenario is also the use of forces to address the issue of water supply temporarily occupied Crimea. Prior to the annexation of mainland Ukraine was provided to 85% of needs of the Crimea in fresh water and thus potentially of the armed forces under the false pretext to implement a forced March into the territory of Kherson region to establish control over the dam in the North Crimean channel.

In Russia, according to intelligence, has turned the Peninsula into a solid military base with complete infrastructure for the storage of nuclear weapons. With 2016 rapidly recovering Soviet infrastructure of operation and storage of nuclear weapons near Feodosia (object “Theodosius-13”) and Balaklava (“Hill”). Under military targets and focused the development of transport infrastructure of the Peninsula as well as its integration into the unified transport system of the Russian Federation.

At the same time now, according to Kondratyuk, the adoption of strategic decisions about the conduct of some form of offensive military operations against Ukraine (in particular in the North-Crimean channel) limit by the following factors: the fall in prices on the global oil and gas markets and the reduction of the Russian budget revenue; the hopes of Moscow to use COVID-19 to restart relations with the West; local elections in Ukraine and Moscow’s intention to strengthen the presence of Pro-Russian forces in Ukrainian politics; the diversion of resources to the Turkish-Russian confrontation in Syria and Libya, as well as, indirectly, in the framework of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict; local elections in Russia in September 2020 in the fall of the rating of trust to Putin to 23% and an increase in protest activity.

From the order to attack the Kremlin also hold also the vicissitudes of the electoral situation in the United States and the development of negotiating process on settlement of the situation in the East of Ukraine in Minsk and Normandy formats. However, the strengthening of concentration the United States exclusively on their internal problems and the negotiation process “of Russia” significantly increases the willingness of the Moscow times to cross the “red line”, as stated in the RAF.

“However, according to our estimates, the combined effect of these factors makes for the Kremlin of late the scenario of military aggression against Ukraine in the fall of 2020. However, history teaches us that Russia has never respected the sovereign rights of other countries and the state border for it is just a line on the map” – said the author of the publication.

The analysis of SVR, indicates that the future activity of the Russian Federation against Ukraine “can be transformed into a large-scale military operation and seizure of Ukrainian territory”. This can lead to the following factors: the need to divert attention from a number of domestic problems (the downgrade of the Russian authorities due to the deterioration of living standards, rapid economic decline, the weakening of the vertical of power); the need to address socio-economic problems of temporarily occupied Crimea (water supply, failure of a resort season); concentration of attention of leading international partners of Ukraine solely on their own internal problems (complex electoral processes, a radical aggravation of the social, demographic, economic issues, refugees, terrorism).