How Russia Can Launch a New Attack on Ukraine: Possible Scenarios

April 23, 2021

The Ukrainian government is considering several military scenarios and believes that Russia’s attack on Ukraine is very probable. Moreover, the Russian army can approach the Ukrainian borders from almost any direction. How likely is such a direct attack and where is the greatest concentration of Russian troops now? How can an open conflict be avoided? This is what the Nastoyaschee Vremya (Present Time) TV channel, created by Radio Liberty in collaboration with the Voice of America was trying to clarify with Ukrainian and foreign experts.

Mykola Sunhurovskyi, the Director of Military Programmes of the Razumkov Centre, claims that Russia does deploy quite a force to the Black Sea region and the occupied Crimean Peninsula, including some 50 warships of various classes, 230 tanks, assault brigades. Russia has indirectly confirmed the transfer of troops to Crimea, advising the United States to “stay away” from the annexed peninsula.

“In one landing operation from the sea, these forces will be able to bring forward about ten battalion assault groups — a very strong force”, continues Mr Sunhurovskyi. “You may also add the forces of the Caspian flotilla and three large landing ships from the Baltics that are on the way here”.

However, restoring water supply for Crimea is by no means an end in itself for Russia. According to the expert, the significant troops build-up near the Ukrainian borders is a political pressure to force Kyiv to refuse the EU and NATO membership.

The expert further assumes that if the Kremlin fails to intimidate Ukraine with military force, one can expect provocations in several Ukrainian regions:

“He [Putin] cannot demonstrate his weakness, especially ahead of the election. He needs a quick and victorious war”, explains Mykola Singurovsky the possible logic of the Russian leader. “The attack will unfold from several directions. They will try to stretch our defences to the south, to the north, to the east, to the west, including in Transnistria”.

Mykola Sunhurovskyi

Director, Military Programmes

Born in 1951 in Moscow.


Orenburg Higher Military Air Defence Forces School (1972);

Kyiv Air Defence Forces Academy (1982);

Higher School of Entrepreneurship, Kyiv Institute of National Economy (1991).

Ph. D. in Technical Sciences, Senior Research Fellow, the author of more than 90 publications.

Colonel (Ret.) with 31 years of military service, half of that term — at research institutions. Research profile — systems analysis, strategic planning, analysis methods, national security.


Most recent position in state bodies — Department Chief at the Analytical Service of Ukraine's NSDC Staff;

Since December 1999 — Razumkov Centre Programme Co-ordinator;

Since February 2000 — Freelance Consultant to the National Security and Defence Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

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