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Russia will be able to overrun Ukraine in two days, warns US intelligence


Russia would be able to overrun Ukraine in just two days in an invasion that could kill 50,000 civilians, according to US intelligence. 

Western intelligence assessments also believe Kyiv’s government would fall within that timeframe, and lead to a humanitarian crisis involving around 5million refugees. 

The likelihood of a diplomatic resolution of the crisis appears to be increasingly slim, the analysis concluded. 

Referring to an earlier build-up last year, one European official – speaking on condition of anonymity – told the Washington Post: ‘Our worry would be that you don’t park battle groups … on the border of another country twice and do nothing. 

‘I think that’s the real fear that I have. [Putin’s] now put them all out there. If he does nothing again … what does that say to the wider international community about the might of Russia?’ 

It comes as US military and intelligence officials believe Russia is set to run a major nuclear weapons exercise in the coming weeks as a warning to Nato not to intervene in the event of Putin invading Ukraine, the Financial Times reported. 

Russia would be able to overrun Ukraine in just two days in an invasion that could kill 50,000 civilians, according to US intelligence. (Above, a picture released by the Russian Defence Ministry on February 4 shows rocket launchers 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)

Western intelligence assessments also believe Kyiv's government would fall within that timeframe, and lead to a humanitarian crisis involving around 5million refugees. (Pictured: Military helicopters take part in the Belarusian and Russian joint military drills at Brestsky firing range on Friday)

Western intelligence assessments also believe Kyiv’s government would fall within that timeframe, and lead to a humanitarian crisis involving around 5million refugees. (Pictured: Military helicopters take part in the Belarusian and Russian joint military drills at Brestsky firing range on Friday)

The likelihood of a diplomatic resolution of the crisis appears to be increasingly slim, the intelligence analysis concluded. (Above, a photo released by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Saturday shows a tank engaging in a military exercise)

US military and intelligence officials believe Russia is set to run a major nuclear weapons exercise in the coming weeks as a warning to Nato not to intervene in the event of Vladimir Putin invading Ukraine

US military and intelligence officials believe Russia is set to run a major nuclear weapons exercise in the coming weeks as a warning to Nato not to intervene in the event of Vladimir Putin invading Ukraine

General Mark Milley, chair of the joint chiefs, and Avril Haines, director of national intelligence, said on Thursday that Putin was planning to begin the exercises in mid-February, according to a Congressional aide. 

Russia usually holds its annual nuclear exercises in the autumn but the US believes Putin has decided to hold them earlier this year as a show of strength.  

Meanwhile, NATO has warned that Russia is massing nuclear-capable missiles along with 30,000 troops in Belarus.

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO general secretary, said earlier this week that Russia has already deployed thousands of troops including Spetsnaz special forces, along with Iskander missiles that can be tipped with nukes, fighter jets, and S-400 anti-aircraft systems.

Putin has continued to deny plans to attack Ukraine but urged the US and its allies to provide a binding pledge that they do not accept the former Soviet state into NATO or deploy offensive weapons. (Above, ground attack aircraft at Luninets airfield in Belarus on Friday)

Putin has continued to deny plans to attack Ukraine but urged the US and its allies to provide a binding pledge that they do not accept the former Soviet state into NATO or deploy offensive weapons. (Above, ground attack aircraft at Luninets airfield in Belarus on Friday)

Putin has continued to deny plans to attack Ukraine but urged the US and its allies to provide a binding pledge that they do not accept the former Soviet state into NATO or deploy offensive weapons.

He also wants them to roll back the alliance deployments to Eastern Europe – all demands which have been flatly rejected.

The West has called on Russia to pull back an estimated 100,000 troops from areas near Ukraine, but the Kremlin has responded by saying it will station troops wherever it needs to on the Russian territory.

In recent months, Russia has conducted a series of joint drills with Belarus and repeatedly sent its nuclear-capable long-range bombers to patrol the skies over its neighbour, which borders Nato members Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

Belarus’ authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko, who has increasingly relied on the Kremlin’s political and financial support amid bruising Western sanctions triggered by his crackdown on domestic protests, has called for closer defence ties with Moscow and recently offered to host Russian nuclear weapons.

As war fears mounted, Ukrainian authorities launched a series of drills for civilians to prepare for a possible Russian invasion.     

In recent months, Russia has conducted a series of joint drills with Belarus and repeatedly sent its nuclear-capable long-range bombers to patrol the skies over its neighbour, which borders Nato members Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. (Above, a Russian soldier taking part in a military exercise on Saturday)

In recent months, Russia has conducted a series of joint drills with Belarus and repeatedly sent its nuclear-capable long-range bombers to patrol the skies over its neighbour, which borders Nato members Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. (Above, a Russian soldier taking part in a military exercise on Saturday)

As war fears mounted, Ukrainian authorities launched a series of drills for civilians to prepare for a possible Russian invasion

As war fears mounted, Ukrainian authorities launched a series of drills for civilians to prepare for a possible Russian invasion



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