A U.S. defense official said on Wednesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had prepared 80% of his troops for a full-scale occupation of Ukraine.
“He is as ready as he can be,” the anonymous official told reporters.
These statements challenged any understanding that Washington expects Putin to suspend after recognizing the independence of two Moscow-backed rebel territories this week, raising the implication of a possible Russian military offensive.
“Once the order is placed, they are now literally ready to act,” the official said, without giving evidence to support the claim.
The United States estimates that more than 150,000 Russian troops are stationed around Ukraine. A senior U.S. official said Russian troops had taken up positions just less than five kilometers from the Ukrainian border.
Most of the troops are Russian troops, including more than 120 battalions of tactical groups. But Putin has deployed more than two dozen warships in the Black Sea, including ships landing ships with sailors, and significant artillery and missile forces, officials said.
So far, the source said, the Russian military has mobilized about 100% of the forces predicted by the United States to deploy for a full-scale offensive.
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