Up to 50,000 civilian casualties and Ukraine’s capital Kyiv could fall within days if Russia mounts full-scale invasion, report says

Ukrainian troops on the front line with Russian-backed separatists near Avdiivka in the Donetsk region on February 2, 2022.ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP via Getty Images

Russia has nearly completed preparations for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine that could result in 50,000 civilian casualties, reports The Washington Post.

The newspaper warns that this could not only lead to thousands of deaths and injuries, but also topple the Ukrainian government in Kiev. It would also risk triggering a humanitarian refugee crisis, according to Amnesty International.

According to US military intelligence, Russia has mustered 70% of the firepower it needs for a full-scale invasion. A series of indicators suggest that Putin intends to attack in the coming weeks. However, the size and scale are unclear, the Washington Post said.

US officials believe the Kremlin could position them to launch an assault on Kiev and fear any invasion could be the largest military offensive in Europe since World War II, according to The Post.

However, they also stressed that a diplomatic solution seems to remain possible.

Shedding light on what this military buildup looks like, The Washington Post reported that 83 Russian battalion battlegroups, with about 750 troops each, are being organized for possible combat.

Satellite photos show that 130,000 Russian troops surrounded Ukraine.

Map of locations around Ukraine where Russia has positioned its forces

Map of locations around Ukraine where Russia has positioned its forces.Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies

Russia has troops in Belarus, Western Russia and Crimea.

The United States has sent troops to Poland, which borders Ukraine and the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. On Wednesday, the Pentagon said 1,700 troops from the 82nd Airborne Division based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, were to be stationed in Poland, but only temporarily.

Russia has denied the attack plans.

“Our concern would be that you don’t station battlegroups twice … on another country’s border and do nothing,” a European official told The Washington Post.

“I think that’s the real fear I have. [Putin’s] now put them all over there. If he does nothing again…what does this say to the wider international community about how powerful Russia is?” they added.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Christi C. Elwood