First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

Russia 'likely' to launch 'limited' military attack aga...


Estonia reveals Russian plans

Russia ‘likely’ to launch ‘limited’ military attack against Ukraine, says Estonian intelligence

Members of the Ukrainian forces participate in an urban combat training exercise, organised by the Ukraine Ministry of Internal Affairs, within the exclusion zone in the abandoned city of Pripyat, Ukraine, on Friday, Feb. 4, 2022. Russia denies any plans to invade Ukraine, saying the forces are on routine maneuvers, but it has warned Kyiv against making any military move against the separatist regions Moscow backs in the Donbas area.
By Reuters
16 Feb 2022 3

Feb 16 (Reuters) - Russia is continuing to move troops to the Ukrainian border and will likely launch a "limited" military attack against the country, the head of the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service said on Wednesday.

By Andrius Sytas

The attack would include missile bombardment and the occupation of “key terrain” in Ukraine, said Mikk Marran, director general of the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service.

“Right now, our assessment is that they would avoid cities with large populations, as it takes a lot of troops to control those areas. But there is no clear understanding of what avenue the Russian troops might exploit,” he told a media briefing held to introduce the service’s annual report.

Another possibility could be intensified fighting out of the two Russian-backed breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, according to Estonian intelligence. Such escalation is “highly likely,” and this way “Russia likely gets plausible deniability and avoids sanctions,” said Marran.

“If Russia is successful in Ukraine, it would encourage it to increase pressure on the Baltics in the coming years,” he said. “The threat of war has become main policy tool for Putin.”

Estonian intelligence is aware of approximately 10 battle groups of Russian troops moving toward the Ukrainian border, where 100 Russian military battle groups, or about 170,000 soldiers, are already deployed, the intelligence chief said.

The numbers include soldiers usually deployed in regions around Ukraine, but also troops in Belarus which Russia sent for a military exercise near Ukrainian border.

Some of the soldiers are likely to stay in Belarus beyond the Feb. 20 end of the exercise, a significant worry for the NATO alliance which the Baltics belong to, said Marran. “That would reduce preparation time for an attack against the Baltics.”


Comments - share your knowledge and experience

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or sign in if you are already an Insider.

Everybody has an opinion but not everyone has the knowledge and the experience to contribute meaningfully to a discussion. That’s what we want from our members. Help us learn with your expertise and insights on articles that we publish. We encourage different, respectful viewpoints to further our understanding of the world. View our comments policy here.

All Comments 3

  • remember Hitler promised not to invade Poland, the Brits believed him and he invaded Poland and a world war ensued. this sadly is not going to be much different. a “Limited Attack” what does that mean – an attack is an attack!

    • The reason the west hates Putin is because he refuses to kowtow to Washington! Ukraine is a failed state run by fascists and criminal gangs. This regime would not last a month without EU support !

  • Ukrainian Pacifist’s Message to the World: U.S., NATO & Russia Share Responsibility to Avoid War
    Democracy Now! 16 February 2022

    NATO officials have joined the U.S. and other Western nations in saying they have yet to see evidence that Russia is pulling back some troops near the shared border with Ukraine, as Russia claimed earlier this week. We speak with Yurii Sheliazhenko, executive secretary of the Ukrainian Pacifist Movement, who says, “Both great powers of the West and the East share equal responsibility to avoid escalation of war in Ukraine and beyond Ukraine.”

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted