Estonia: Russia may launch a “limited” attack on Ukraine

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Russia continues to move troops to the border with Ukraine and is likely to launch a “limited-scale” military offensive against the country, according to the head of Estonia’s intelligence service.

The attack could include rocket fire and the occupation of “significant” territory in Ukraine, said Mick Maran, the director general of the Estonian intelligence service.

“Right now, our estimate is that they (the Russians) would avoid cities with large populations, because they need too many soldiers to control these areas. “But there is no clear idea of ​​which route the Russian troops can take,” Maran told reporters at a news conference to present the service’s annual report.

Another possibility would be to escalate fighting outside the two breakaway, Russian-speaking areas of eastern Ukraine. Such an escalation is “very likely” and in this way Russia will be able to deny its involvement and “avoid sanctions,” Maran continued.

“If Russia succeeds in Ukraine, it will encourage it to increase pressure on the Baltic states in the coming years. “The threat of war has become a key tool of Putin’s policy.”

Estonian intelligence knows that about 10 battle groups are moving towards the Ukrainian border, where 100 Russian combat units or about 170,000 troops have already been deployed, Maran said. These numbers include soldiers usually deployed around Ukraine, as well as those sent to Belarus for military exercises near the border. Some of those troops are likely to remain in Belarus after February 20, a matter of concern to NATO, Maran said. This “would reduce the time to prepare for an attack on the Baltic states,” he explained.

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