The buildup of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border is a very alarming signal. Although, the Russian operation can be just used as a destruction, said the former commander of the United States Army Europe, Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, in an interview with Espresso TV.
He drew attention to the fact that the transfer of Russian military equipment and soldiers is accompanied by a stream of disinformation from the Kremlin.
"The speaker of the Russian Foreign Ministry, who we call among ourselves "Moscow Masha", says that the escalation was caused by the buildup of NATO and Ukrainian Armed Forces in the region. In reality, the opposite is true. And that's the problem," the general said.
Hodges believes that there is not threat of Russian invasion of the Donbas. According to him, Moscow has other goals, which are not less bloody.
"The Russians do not need a decisive attack on the Donbas now. The Donbas is needed to continue destabilization in the region and to inhibit Ukraine's integration with the West. The goal of the Russian Federation is to keep the situation in the region in a state of chaos," Hodges said.
In his opinion, the South of Ukraine is a higher priority for Russia. Moscow, according to the general, plans to cut off Ukraine from the Black Sea.
"The Kremlin is interested in establishing full control over the Black Sea coast, including Mariupol, Odessa and Berdyansk. All this movement of Russian forces is most likely a diversionary maneuver to strike and capture the water canal connecting Crimea to the Dnieper River. And then, it will become a springboard for further capture of the Black Sea coast," the U.S. general said.
He specified that Moscow may use the Georgian scenario for the new aggression. The Kremlin will resort to a provocation that will allow it to accuse Ukraine of aggression and give it a pretext for the attack.
"We need to be in a state of maximum combat readiness," Hodges said.