Early Russian Plan Had War Ending March 6: Report
The claim is based on alleged secret Russian documents purportedly obtained by an operational and tactical unit of the Ukrainian armed forces.
Russia planned to take control of Ukraine over a two-week period beginning February 20 and ending on March 6, according to a bombshell report in the Ukrainian-language Ekspres, a large newspaper based in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv. The claim is based on alleged secret Russian documents purportedly obtained by an operational and tactical unit of the Ukrainian armed forces known as “East.”
The documents, which reportedly originate from a unit of the “tactical battalion group of the 810th separate brigade of marines of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation,” and whose authenticity has not been independently confirmed, indicate that Russia planned to launch military operations in Ukraine on February 20, with an airborne unit going to be dispatched from Russia’s Orsk airfield in concert with military units of the 58th Combined Arms Army of the Russian Federation and a separate Russian Black Sea Fleet marine regiment.
The trove of documents, photos of which were posted to a Facebook page whose origins are mysterious, include a combat mission statement, tables of call signs and control signals, as well as a list of personnel.
While the press report does not say explicitly how the documents fell into Ukrainian hands, the language used tilts toward a Russian prisoner-of-war as the source. Ekspres also claims that starting today, Ukrainian special operations forces will no longer capture Russian artillerymen who fire on civilians, the implication being that they will be shot instead.
While the shock report may seem spurious on its face, the fact is Ekspres is a legitimate newspaper with one of the largest circulations in Ukraine. According to Wikipedia, its offices were shot at three times in 2009.
The story comes as the New York Times reports that Chinese officials told Russian officials in early February not to invade Ukraine before the end of the Winter Olympics in Beijing — if, that is, unnamed “senior Biden administration officials and a European official” are to be believed.
If the documents leaked today in the Ukrainian newspaper are valid, the Russian plan for invasion would have been approved on January 18, pre-dating by about two weeks a February 4 meeting between Presidents Putin and Xi — during which the two dictators may have discussed Ukraine, and also may have not.
In any event, Russian forces did finally invade Ukraine on February 24.