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Kiev Seizure, Donbass Advance: German Tabloid Sources Fantasize About Russian Invasion of Ukraine

© Sputnik / STR / Go to the mediabankA Ukrainian soldier
A Ukrainian soldier - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.12.2021
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Earlier, two US media outlets claimed that Russia was looking to amass some 175,000 troops at the border with Ukraine for an alleged military offensive against the country. Moscow has consistently rejected any claim that it is a military threat to any other country and condemned what it characterises as a "fearmongering" press.
Russian President Vladimir Putin purportedly has a ready-made plan stored in a drawer of a table for a military offensive that would see the seizure of two-thirds of Ukraine's territory, including the capital, the German tabloid Bild has reported, citing what it called high-ranking anonymous security sources from NATO and Ukrainian intelligence. To hear the unnamed sources tell it, the Russian president has not decided whether the alleged plan should be implemented.
The western intelligence assessments cited by Bild claim that an offensive might start in January or February 2022, should NATO and Kiev not respond to the Kremlin's demands. Among the purported demands is the cessation of the alliance's eastward advance and redeployments of troops, as well as the banning of Ukraine's admission to NATO.

Alleged Three-Phase Plan

Bild cites several anonymous NATO sources as claiming that the alleged Russian invasion plan includes three stages:
During the first stage, Moscow's forces deployed in Crimea purportedly should attack Ukraine's south with troops deploying from the sea near Odessa and airborne special forces dropping on Kherson. The aim of these attacks is to allegedly cut off Ukraine from supplies by sea.
In this handout photo released by the Russian Defence Ministry, Su-30SM jet fighters of the 4th Air and Air Defence Forces Army of the Russian Southern Military District fly in formation during a rehearsal for the Victory Day parade in Rostov-on-Don, which marks the 75th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, in Rostov region, Russia - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.12.2021
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By advancing further along the Dnieper River, Russian forces will allegedly cut off Ukrainian forces in the east from supplies coming from the west by seizing bridges. At the same time, the armed forces deployed on the territory of the self-proclaimed people's republics in the east will simultaneously attack the Ukrainian Army and advance to the Zaporizhia region and then towards Crimea, according to the anonymous sources.
The second stage would purportedly hinge on the reaction of the international community and the success of the first, the tabloid claims.

"If Russia goes in, the sanctions against it will be applied anyway. After that, it doesn't make sense to stop halfway anymore", one of Bild's sources claimed.

Under the alleged plan, the second stage would see Russian tanks and air force assets cross the Ukrainian border near the Lugansk and Kharkov regions to seize the cities of Dnipro and Poltava.
The third and final stage would start with the encirclement of Kiev, which would be carried out by forces coming from Belarussian territory, the tabloid claims. Yet, under certain circumstances, the seizure of the capital might be carried out at the start of the campaign one source told Bild. Another source allegedly estimated that the Ukrainians would put up a fight, but will undoubtedly lose to a larger Russian force.

Kremlin Denies Any Plan to Attack Anyone

The Bild report follows in the footsteps of allegations made by The Washington Post and the Associated Press, citing anonymous sources in the US intelligence community. Both news outlets claim that Russia plans to deploy as many as 175,000 troops with plans to attack Ukrainian territory. Commenting on these reports, US President Joe Biden stated that he would make it "very, very difficult'' for Russia to attack its western neighbour and vowed to have a "long discussion" with Putin regarding the situation around Ukraine.
The two presidents are set to have a conversation on 7 December, discussing, among other urgent topics, issues surrounding Ukraine, including continuing media reports about an alleged Russian military buildup at the border.
This picture taken on March 18, 2021, shows the Kremlin towers in front of the Russian Foreign Ministry headquarters. - Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 18 mocked Joe Biden for calling him a killer -- saying it takes one to know one -- as ties between Moscow and Washington sunk to new lows. US President Biden's comments sparked the biggest crisis between Russia and the United States in years, with Moscow recalling ambassador and warning that ties were on the brink of outright collapse.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.11.2021
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The Kremlin has repeatedly rejected allegations that Russia poses a military threat to its neighbours, slamming a "fake news campaign" targeting Moscow. Russia further insisted that the movements of troops on its sovereign territory are of nobody's concern. At the same time, the Kremlin has repeatedly denounced efforts by some western countries to pump Ukraine with weapons thus giving Kiev an incentive to use military force to resolve its internal conflict instead of through the use of negotiation and diplomacy.
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