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  • Satellite Evolution

Russia to act quickly and decisively in invasion of Ukraine says Dragonfly security intelligence


As the prospect of a Russian invasion of Ukraine becomes increasingly likely, Hugo Crosthwaite, lead analyst for Eurasia at security intelligence firm Dragonfly, explains why the real intention of such a move will be Ukrainian concession on NATO membership and the status of the contested region of Donbas: “A Russian invasion of Ukraine is a likely scenario in the coming weeks. There have been several military and diplomatic developments that point to a sustained severe interstate conflict risk, including Russian troops deploying to Belarus and further efforts by the Kremlin to create a pretext for an attack.


Russia economy now sanction-proof

“The combined efforts of the US, the EU and NATO to deter Russia in recent months appear to have failed. Even the sanctions the US has threatened seem to have had little impact, with Russia having effectively sanction-proofed its economy. Russia’s military build-up means it can now begin a ground operation or launch a devastating missile and artillery attack at little to no notice – although an invasion still does not appear imminent just yet.

“Rhetoric from the Kremlin has become more belligerent, including unevidenced accusations that the US is training ‘anti-Russia’ units and Ukraine is preparing to attack separatist forces in Donbas - a tactic the Kremlin used in 2014 to justify its annexation of Crimea.

Russian forces unlikely to attack Kyiv

“We still doubt that Russian forces would attack Kyiv, either via ground assault or air and missiles, and assess that Russia’s main goal in any military operation would be to force Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to resign quickly, and offer wide-ranging concessions from NATO membership to the status of Donbas. We assess that the Kremlin probably sees incapacitating the Ukrainian military and critical infrastructure east of the Dneiper river as enough to bring President Zelensky to negotiate.

“The most likely scenario for an invasion would be a rapid Russian ground assault across multiple fronts combined with missile and artillery strikes, drawing Ukrainian forces into large battles that Russia can win through technological superiority and numbers.

“The Kremlin almost certainly sees a prolonged offensive with forces deployed to hold territory as a worse-case scenario, which may incur losses that would play badly at home, and provide an opportunity for NATO and the US to intervene indirectly against Russia. As such, acting first and hardest seems crucial, not least so that it can present the operation as a fait accompli to President Zelensky, NATO and the Russian and Ukrainian people.”

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