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The Washington Post: Putin planned to seize most of Ukraine and kill Zelensky

Putin planned to take over most of Ukraine
Читати українською

Putin planned to occupy most of Ukraine, “taking” Kyiv in three days, removing and, if necessary, liquidating Zelensky.

In October 2021, U.S. top intelligence officials, military officials and diplomats held a deliberative meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden about intelligence that showed Putin's plans for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The Washington Post writes about this, citing sources among high-ranking officials in the United States, Ukraine, Europe and NATO.

The Washington Post will report that Putin had a plan that could directly threaten NATO's eastern flank or even destroy Europe's post-World War II security architecture.

We assess that they (RF - ed.) are planning to launch a significant strategic attack on Ukraine in several directions at the same time, U.S. Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley told Biden in October 2021.

Russian troops were supposed to attack from the north - on both sides of Kyiv. Some forces planned to move east of the capital through Chernihiv, while others planned to surround Kyiv from the west, moving south of Belarus through the part between the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and the surrounding swamps, The Washington Post reports, citing US intelligence data.

The publication writes that separately, Russian troops were to go from the east and pass through the center of Ukraine to the Dnieper River, while troops from Crimea would capture the southeast coast. According to the invaders, all this should have taken several weeks.

Subsequently, the armed formations of the Russian Federation, having regrouped, were supposed to move to the west and fix positions along the line from the south (north of Moldova) to the north (south of Belarus). Putin planned to "leave" in western Ukraine "part of the territories" controlled by the Ukrainian authorities - the territory, which, according to Putin, is inhabited by "incorrigible neo-Nazi Russophobes."

It seemed that this was not something that a reasonable country would have decided on, one of the participants in the meeting at the White House later said.

The Washington Post writes that many analysts, gathering intelligence data, were convinced that Putin saw that "the window of opportunity was closing."

Ukrainians have risen twice already, demanding a democratic future free of corruption and interference from Moscow, during the Orange Revolution of 2004-2005 and the Maidan protests of 2013-2014, preceding Russia's annexation of Crimea, the article says.

Putin was sure that the West was not ready for war: the pandemic, the UK after Brexit, the “change of power” in Germany, the elections in France.

Large parts of the continent depended on Russian oil and natural gas, which Putin believed he could use as a wedge to split the Western alliance. He built up hundreds of billions of dollars of cash reserves and was confident that the Russian economy would be able to weather the inevitable sanctions, as it had done in the past.

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