18 scenarios for a Russian invasion of Ukraine

The United States has said that it is preparing 18 scenarios for a “Russian invasion” of Ukraine. US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said this on 15 January.

“I’m not going to preliminarily talk about 18 different scenarios. <...> I’m just going to say that my allies and I are prepared to inflict sharp pain quickly if Russia makes any [aggressive] move,” the diplomat said in an interview with the Financial Times.

Nuland stressed that sanctions against Russia by the U.S. and European countries may differ from each other.

“Sometimes something is harder for us than for Europe, and sometimes it’s the other way around,” she said.

But Nuland said the U.S. hopes it can achieve de-escalation around Ukraine and progress through diplomacy with Russia.

“We believe we can achieve de-escalation and make some progress on a number of issues through diplomacy,” she said.

On Jan. 14, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Russia could attack Ukraine between mid-January and mid-February.

She said Moscow would launch information operations against Ukraine before the “invasion,” accusing Kiev of preparing attacks on the Donbass.

Earlier in the day, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said that the U.S. had evidence of the Russian Federation allegedly preparing a pretext for an invasion of Ukraine. He noted that we are talking about “a group of operatives who are preparing to conduct an operation under a foreign flag.”

On January 10, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov noted that Moscow had and could not have any intentions to attack Ukraine. All military training activities are carried out within Russian territory.

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