Russia is considering a plan to invade Ukraine from three fronts and could capture most of the country, including Kyiv. The invasion can take place in late January - early February next year. This is reported by the Bild, citing sources in NATO and the security services.
The interlocutors note that the invasion can occur simultaneously from the annexed Crimea and the occupied territories of Donbas. At the same time, NATO interlocutors believe that the attack could occur in three stages, each of which could be the last in the operation if the West's response to the invasion leads to a reassessment of the situation.
According to the data, the first stage is to capture the south of Ukraine in order to cut off the country from the sea. At the same time, in the Kherson region, "special forces airborne operations" will be carried out, which will block the bridges across the Dnipro and thus cut off the supply of Ukrainians.
In parallel with the first phase, the Russian air force and ballistic missiles "will weaken the military potential of Ukraine throughout the country." If Moscow sees that the conditions for this have been met, Russian tank units can cross the border in the Luhansk and Kharkiv regions and advance to the cities of Dnipro and Poltava.
First of all, the troops will surround the cities and cut off electricity, gas, and the supply of food.
At the third stage, the Russian army should attack Kyiv from the north. At the same time, Bild's sources do not exclude the possibility that the attack on the capital may begin earlier, "if circumstances require it."
At the same time, sources in NATO are not yet sure whether the Belarusian side will participate in hostilities. If this happens, Belarus will become the starting point for Russian or even Belarusian attacks, and this will lead to a siege of Kyiv from the northeast and northwest.
"Russian troops will advance approximately to the Korosten-Uman line to cut off supplies from Western Ukraine. Then one could expect the surrender of Kyiv, and therefore Ukraine, under pressure from the West," the newspaper writes.
If this scenario is realized, then Russia will occupy about two-thirds of the current territory of Ukraine.
The Washington Post, citing intelligence data, writes that 175,000 servicemen may take part in Russia's offensive against Ukraine.
Moscow, in turn, denies information about the impending invasion and calls it a lie. Russian Foreign Ministry press secretary Maria Zakharova said in a comment to Kommersant that the United States is trying to aggravate the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, accusing Moscow of preparing for the Russian invasion.
Russia believes that the United States "is conducting a special operation to aggravate the situation around Ukraine, shifting responsibility to Russia."
"It is based on provocative actions near the Russian borders, which are accompanied by accusatory rhetoric against Moscow. In principle, nothing new - classic Western tactics. The only thing that is striking is the scale of impudence and lies," Zakharova said.