If Russia invades, Ukraine will fall within days, US says

Some 1,700 American troops have been sent to neighboring Poland to help protect its NATO ally but not to fight for Ukraine, which does not belong to NATO.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

According to America’s top general, the Ukraine could fall within 72 hours if Russia attacks, although the decision apparently has not yet been made in Moscow.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told Congress in closed-door briefings last week that the fall of the capital, Kyiv, could cost some 15,000 Ukrainian soldiers’ lives and 4,000 Russians.

Observers on the border say that the Russians have a massive 83 divisions (130,000 men) there, about 70% of what they surmise would be a full-strength invasion force.

Fourteen more divisions are “in transit” to the border, according to a Fox News report Saturday night.

Network analyst Dan Hoffman said that the current numbers already give Russian President Vladimir Putin a “menu of options” with which he can threaten the country. This includes a blockade of the Black Sea or a partial takeover of the country, such as the Donbass region, where Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting a low-level conflict for some eight years already.

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In a separate, more pessimistic analysis, unnamed U.S. officials have said that the capital could fall in as little as two days, with up to 50,000 civilians and 25,000 Ukrainian troops dead, and as many as 10,000 Russian soldiers lost. They also speculate that between one and five million Ukrainians would flee the country, primarily into Poland, which neighbors Ukraine to the west.

Washington already began planning with its European allies on how to deal with such a refugee crisis in the middle of the winter. The U.S. also deployed some 1,700 troops to Poland Thursday, mostly from the 82nd Airborne Division, to help “deter and defeat Russian aggression” if any fighting in Ukraine spills over the border to the Americans’ NATO ally.

One-thousand U.S. soldiers have been transferred from Germany to Romania, another NATO ally which borders Ukraine to the south.

Ukraine is not a NATO member, and although the U.S. has sent some $200 million in military aid, with fellow NATO allies such as Great Britain and the Baltic states sending triple that amount, President Biden has made it clear that he will put no American boots on the ground in the eastern European country. Washington and its allies have warned Moscow, however, that if it invades Ukraine, they will slap Russia with severe economic sanctions.

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Ukrainian envoy ‘appalled’ by Lapid’s comments

Meanwhile, on Thursday, the Israeli Foreign Ministry called in Ukraine’s ambassador to the country for a reprimand. Yevgeny Kornichuk had criticized statements made by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid the previous day in which the Israel’s top diplomat downplayed the explosiveness of the situation in Europe.

Lapid had told news site Axios, “At the moment, [our] assessment is that we don’t see a violent confrontation soon. I also don’t think a world war is about to start there. We are concerned that this is taking away [the Americans’] attention from the nuclear talks in Vienna.”

The Ukrainian envoy wrote a Facebook post saying that he was “appalled” that the minister “has not noticed that there is a war in the center of Europe which has lasted for eight years already,” referring to the Donbass region.

“Unfortunately,” he added, Lapid “reiterates the Russian propaganda rhetoric and ignores the disturbing messages from his own strongest allies – United States, Britain and European Union – regarding the high possibility of full scale Russian military invasion into Ukraine within the next three weeks.”