The seventh brief in the “Russia’s War in Ukraine” series concerns Russia’s military and political preparations for attacking Ukraine through the prism of indicators of possible intent to conduct large-scale combat operations.
Konrad Muzyka, an independent analyst and the Director of Rochan Consulting, which provides consultancy and advisory service on the Russian and Belarusian armed forces, examines the subsequent phases of the massive build-up of the Russian forces close to Ukraine since March 2021. He analyses particularly the prepositioning and moving of Russian forces to assembly and staging areas by the border, including in Belarus, from October 2021 to January 2021, that was not consistent with the intent to merely conduct exercises.
Muzyka states that Russia used political negotiations as deception: “Russia’s participation in diplomatic discussions during its build-up of forces was not intended to avert war, but to produce false hope that war was avertable.”
He concludes that Russia’s preparations for war against NATO might follow a different pattern. The build-up of forces might not take 11 months, as in the case of Ukraine, and they might not be spread thousands of kilometers, but be rather concentrated along the borders of the Baltic states and Poland. However, a surprise, large-scale, ground attack on NATO is improbable.
Russia’s readiness to attack other countries in the future depends on how its war against Ukraine ends.
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