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Russia likely to launch ‘limited’ attack against Ukraine, Estonia foreign intelligence agents say

Russia is likely to launch a limited attack against Ukraine with missile bombardments and the occupation of key territory, according to 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,” Mikk Marran, the director general of the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service, told reporters Wednesday, according Reuters

“But there is no clear understanding of what avenue the Russian troops might exploit,” he added.

Marran said on that 10 battle groups of Russian troops are moving toward Ukraine to meet up with about 170,000 troops already stationed at the border, contradicting Russia’s recent claims that it is pulling troops back from the region.

Estonia, which borders Russia, is among many countries closely monitoring the tense standoff between Ukraine and Russia amid reports of a likely invasion. Russia on Wednesday said it is pulling back some troops from the border, but U.S. officials said they have not seen evidence of that.

Marran said Russia could bombard Ukraine and occupy territory — or intensify fighting in eastern Ukraine, where Moscow-backed troops have fought Ukrainians for years.

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

The Biden administration has continued warning that Russian President Vladimir Putin could order an attack at any time, though they also say its unclear if he’s made up his own mind. 

“We’re in the window where we believe an attack could come at any time, and that would be preceded by a fabricated pretext that the Russians use as an excuse to launch an invasion,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at Wednesday’s press briefing. 

Tags Estonia Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service Jen Psaki Mikk Marran Russia Ukraine Ukraine-Russia conflict Ukraine-Russia conflict Vladimir Putin

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