Russia has forward-deployed hundreds of tanks, self-propelled artillery and even short-range ballistic missiles from as far away as Siberia to within striking range of Ukraine’s borders. US intelligence has said Russia could launch an offensive by the end of January with as many as 100 battalion tactical groups (BTGs), comprising an estimated 175,000 troops. Current estimates say Russia has about 50 BTGs in the border region, already a significant force that could overrun Ukrainian defensive positions.
What form could a Russian attack take?
A map released by Ukrainian military intelligence in November showed a worst-case scenario: Russian forces crossing the Ukrainian border from the east and attacking from annexed Crimea, as well as launching an amphibious assault on Odessa with support from Russian soldiers in Transnistria and troops sent in from Belarus. Some aspects of the plan, such as offensives from the east and via Crimea, already appear possible. Others, such as an attack from Belarus, appear to factor in troops that have not yet arrived in the region.