Putin’s three ‘catastrophic’ options from Ukraine invasion – expert sends dire warning

Ukraine: US intelligence lays out nine Russian invasion routes

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Russia has massed tens of thousands of its troops along its border with Ukraine, fuelling fears a major conflict or even an invasion may be imminent. President Vladimir Putin has denied Moscow is planning such a move, having repeated that statement to French President Emmanuel Macron when the two leaders met in Moscow last week. Western powers have warned Mr Putin that Russia will be hammered with crippling economic sanctions if an invasion does take place.

On Friday, Britons were told by the Foreign Office to immediately flee Ukraine amid surging fears Russia could launch an invasion in the coming days.

This came after Boris Johnson voiced concerns over Europe’s security during a call with Western leaders, including US President Joe Biden.

Nile Gardiner, a foreign policy analyst and former aide to Margaret Thatcher, warned the Russians could have “all kinds of possible scenarios” they would gain from invading Ukraine.

This could range from simply occupying the Ukrainian capital of Kiev to even trying their hand with NATO countries in what would threaten a possible all-out war.

He told Express.co.uk: “The Russians have all kinds of possible scenarios they are gaining.

“One of the biggest consequences from this is taking control of the Ukrainian capital of Kiev and to even occupy the entire country.

“We must not underestimate what is happening here in any way.

“If the Russians get away with invading or even occupying large parts of Ukraine, in addition to what they already have with Crimea and parts of Eastern Ukraine, they will set their sights next on the Baltic states and well may test the NATO alliance next.

“It’s very dangerous if the West make any concessions over Ukraine.

“If the West does nothing about Ukraine, then Putin will test the waters with NATO countries next.”

Mr Gardinder further warned if Russia does indeed invade Ukraine, it would be the “biggest act of aggression in Europe since World War 2”.

He is convinced President Putin “means business” and warned people not to fall into a trap of thinking Russia is preparing for war.

The foreign policy expert added: “The situation is very grave and we are staring a Russian invasion in the face.

“Russia is poised to move against Ukraine in what would be the biggest act of aggression in Europe since World War 2.

“A Russian invasion would be catastrophic and we must do everything we can to prevent the Russians from doing this.”

“Let’s be under no illusions – Russia is getting ready for war and preparing for an invasion.

“This isn’t some sort of game the Russians are playing – they are going for the jugular.”

On Friday, the UK’s Defence Secretary Ben Wallace warned an invasion could come “at any time”.

President Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan also warned an attack before the end of the Winter Olympics on February 20 was a “credible prospect”.

He said Russian forces are arriving at the border with Ukraine and are in a position to “mount a major military operation in Ukraine any day now”.

This could include a “rapid assault on the city of Kiev” or on other parts of the country.

Speaking from the White House, Mr Sullivan warned Russia could opt to “in very short order to commence a major military action against Ukraine”, but insisted there is no knowledge over whether Mr Putin has made a final decision.

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