A possible Russian Op Plan for a further limited incursion into Ukraine – a potential war plan. *** Updated at 21 1845 Z Feb 22***

This is based on opensource information only and there remains an outside possibility that President Putin will slowly withdraw forces and say he never intended to invade anyway.

At approximately 0400 local 2X Feb first echelons of Russian forces will move into the Donetsk region of Ukraine from the East. Simultaneously elements will attack N from Crimea and landings on the Sea of Asov coast will begin.

The Russian intention will be to advance rapidly to a line along the River Dnipro, consolidating an additional land bridge to Crimea, annexing Eastern Ukraine in order to set the conditions sue for peace ensuring international sanctions are not levied against Russia or key Russian individuals.

Elements from Belarus and Russia will likely feint a move on Kiev.

Airborne/Airmobile operations could attempt to capture crossings on the Dnipro River.

Operations will likely be preceded with massive cyber-attacks aimed at power, military C2, communications and media.

Suppression of enemy air defences, (SEAD) across the whole country will likely be on immediate standby if not launched as a precursor, if launched as a precursor then the feints towards Kiev are more likely to become real axis of advance.

A significant false flag incident will occur 6+ hours before H Hour after a period of time with numerous small incidents, building in frequency and damage.  Odessa will be threatened, primarily from the sea but also from the small Russian forces in the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR) to further fix Ukrainian defences.

The End State could likely be further elements of East Ukraine under Russian control, with a then negotiated settlement back to Donetsk + where the + is an additional artillery buffer zone or demilitarized zone, withdrawal to this point would be conditional on no sanctions against Russia or key Russian individuals  – Russia wins, world goes Phew!

Indicators and Warnings:

  • Increasing domestic rhetoric suggesting Western Interference
  • Increased international rhetoric accusing the west of interference
  • Increasing Rhetoric around ethnic Russians being targeted
  • Rhetoric around Ukrainian incursion into Donbas and or/Russia
  • Increased Belarus activity on Polish border with refugees
  • Ukraine Cyber-attack
  • Global Cyber-attack
  • Russian Black Sea fleet deployed
  • Elms Russian Med Fleet deployed
  • Elms Russian Northern Fleet Deployed
  • Increasing condemnation of Ukraine from the Kremlin
  • Senior Russian Officials avoiding international travel
  • ‘Manufactured’ terrorist activity both against Ethnic Russians but also inside Russia itself – bombs in Moscow / Airliner Shot Down?
  • Invasion

Further thinking and Indicators will be added below:

Additional thinking as at 21 Feb 1845 Z 

The Russian Embassy in London tweeted that “President #Putin informed President @EmmanuelMacron and Federal Chancellor @OlafScholz of his intention to sign the decree to recognise #Donetsk and #Lugansk People’s Republics.” This plays into the playbook Putin is trying to follow which I describe as the Kosovo Playbook.  He is recognising the breakaway regions to Gove legitimacy to their calls for Russian military to come in to stop the various crisis that he has manufactured. What is worrying is he will probably want a spectacular to act as the trigger and that means innocent lives will be lost. He will feel he can turn a Kosovo excuse back on the West and say I am only doing what you did so done sanction me! (Remember the Russians joined the NATO operation, they arrived in Pristina 24 hrs earlier than NATO forces but that is because they were working to an Operation Plan that had been stolen by Russia Intelligence from NATO, except it was an old version and timings had slipped by 24 Hrs (The author helped write that plan!))