Pro-Russian separatists have stirred up tension in eastern Ukraine over the past few days, occupying and taking control of building in as many as 10 Ukrainian cities.
The chances of a full-fledged Russian invasion of Ukraine have grown, U.S. officials and observers say. The White House has openly accused Moscow of supporting the pro-Russian separatists — or, as they have called them, “provocateurs.”
The Ukrainian government issued an ultimatum on Monday to the separatists — one that has now expired and, so far, gone largely unenforced through any military or diplomatic pressures. The reality is that Kiev has few plausible options, but if it does respond with force, Russia is expected to use it as a pretext for invasion.
The Royal United Services Institute, a security and defence think tank based in London, published a report and map last week outlining Russia’s potential moves into Ukraine and redeployments of forces (via Foreign Policy):
The map lays out Russia’s possible military options in Ukraine. The authors of the report — Igor Sutyagin, a research fellow at RUSI, and Michael Clarke, the Institute’s director general — write Russia has about 50,000 troops lined up on the border.
As the authors see it, there are four military options for Russia:
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