U.S. Officials: Kyiv Would Fall in a Couple of Days if Russia Invades, 50,000 Civilians Could Die

U.S. sources estimate that the 100,000 Russian troops amassed at the border are 70 percent of the level needed for full Ukraine invasion

Reuters
Reuters
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Tanks on during joint exercises of the armed forces of Russia and Belarus as part of an inspection of the Union State's Response Force, at a firing range in Belarus
Tanks on during joint exercises of the armed forces of Russia and Belarus as part of an inspection of the Union State's Response Force, at a firing range in Belarus.Credit: AFP Handout/ Russian Defense Ministry
Reuters
Reuters

Russia has in place about 70 percent of the combat power it believes it would need for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine and is sending more battalion tactical groups to the border with its neighbor, two U.S. officials said on Saturday.

In the last two weeks, the number of battalion tactical groups in the border region has risen to 83 from 60 as of Friday and 14 more are in transit, the officials told Reuters on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the information.

As to the timing of an invasion, the ground is expected to reach peak freeze around Feb. 15, the officials said, allowing for off-road mechanized transit by Russian military units. Such conditions would continue until the end of March.

That timeline and the growing number and capability of Russian forces close to Ukraine could suggest the window for diplomacy is shutting.

The U.S. officials did not provide evidence to back up their estimates of Russia's forces.

As Russia masses more than 100,000 troops near the border, it has said it is not planning an invasion but could take unspecified military action if its security demands are not met. Those include a promise that NATO will never admit Ukraine, a demand Washington and NATO have said is unacceptable.

Washington believes Russia may choose other options than a full-scale invasion, including a limited incursion, and does not believe President Vladimir Putin had made a final decision, the officials said.

But they said Putin is putting in place a force that can execute all scenarios.

If Russia were to invade the capital of Kyiv, it could fall within a couple of days, the U.S. officials said.

A full-scale invasion would cause major casualties, one of the officials said.

Ukraine could suffer 5,000 to 25,000 troop casualties, while Russia's troop casualties could be between 3,000 and 10,000, and civilian casualties could range from 25,000 to 50,000, according to U.S. estimates, the official said.

A full invasion would also prompt the flight of millions of refugees and internally displaced persons in Europe, Washington believes.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Palestinians search through the rubble of a building in which Khaled Mansour, a top Islamic Jihad militant was killed following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, southern Gaza strip, on Sunday.

Gazans Are Tired of Pointless Wars and Destruction, and Hamas Listens to Them

Trump and Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, in 2020.

Three Years Later, Israelis Find Out What Trump Really Thought of Netanyahu

German soldier.

The Rival Jewish Spies Who Almost Changed the Course of WWII

Rio. Not all Jewish men wear black hats.

What Does a Jew Look Like? The Brits Don't Seem to Know

Galon. “I’m coming to accomplish a specific mission: to increase Meretz’s strength and ensure that the party will not tread water around the electoral threshold. If Meretz will be large enough, it will be the basis for a Jewish-Arab partnership.” Daniel Tchetchik

'I Have No Illusions About Ending the Occupation, but the Government Needs the Left'

Soldiers using warfare devices made by the Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems.

Russia-Ukraine War Catapults Israeli Arms Industry to Global Stage