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originally posted by: bjarneorn
a reply to: joho99
Mariopol maybe important, but people are getting this the wrong way.
If Russians were smart, they'd have escalated this war a long time ago. They have everything to lose, by allowing Nato to enter their corner of the world.
A new Russian-led offensive in Ukraine is likely to take place within the month, the former head of US and NATO forces in Europe warned. Retired General Wesley Clark warned at an exclusive briefing with the Atlantic Council that a renewed Russian offensive in Ukraine was "imminent" and would "most probably" take place between Orthodox Easter on April 12 and Russia's celebrations of VE Day on May 8. Clark said he reached this timeframe by speaking to a number of sources within the Ukrainian military both in Kiev and along the frontline in eastern Ukraine. "Ukrainian forces expect attack within the next sixty days," Clark writes for the Atlantic Council. "This assessment is based on geographic imperatives, the ongoing pattern of Russian activity, and an analysis of Russian actions, statements, and Putin’s psychology to date." Clark further noted that Russian and separatist forces are already massed both in eastern Ukraine and along the Russian border. "[S]ome nine thousand Russian Federation personnel and thirty to thirty-five thousand separatist fighters are in eastern Ukraine. These forces include some four hundred tanks and seven hundred pieces of artillery, including rocket launchers," Clark estimates. "Another approximately fifty thousand Russian military personnel are located along or near Russia’s border with Ukraine. A further fifty thousand Russian personnel are located in Crimea." The ultimate goal of the assault would be the creation of a "land bridge" linking Russian-annexed Crimea to the separatist controlled zones of eastern Ukraine and ultimately to Russia. Any push to create a land bridge would focus on taking the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, a strategic port and steel-producing city on the Sea of Azov.........