Russia has massed all the forces it needs on Ukraine’s border if it were to decide to carry out an “incursion” into the country and it could achieve its objective in three to five days, NATO’s top military commander said on Wednesday. . . .
“This is a very large and very capable and very ready force,” [NATO’s supreme allied commander in Europe, U.S. Air Force General Philip] Breedlove said in an interview with Reuters and The Wall Street Journal.
The Russian force has aircraft and helicopter support as well as field hospitals and electronic warfare capabilities.
“The entire suite that would be required to successfully have an incursion into Ukraine should the decision be made,” Breedlove said. “We think it is ready to go and we think it could accomplish its objectives in between 3 and 5 days if directed to make the actions.”
He said Russia could have several potential objectives, including an incursion into southern Ukraine to establish a land corridor to Crimea, pushing beyond Crimea to Ukraine’s Black Sea port of Odessa or even threatening to connect to Transdniestria, the mainly Russian-speaking, separatist region of Moldova that lies to the west of Ukraine.
Russia also has forces to the north and northeast of Ukraine that could enter eastern Ukraine if Moscow ordered them to do so, Breedlove said. Any such actions would have far-reaching implications for NATO, a military alliance of 28 nations that has been the core of European defense for more than 60 years.