With its 200,000 troops massed on Ukrainian borders, Russia unleashed a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022. However, it initially planned to start the incursion four days earlier, according to Russian military documents, captured by the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU).
The operational and tactical group East of the Ukrainian army published on their Facebook page photographs of reportedly captured Russian documents, which suggest that the Russian military approved the operational plans of the invasion of Ukraine on 18 January 2022.
“Due to the successful actions of one of the units of the [Ukrainian] Armed Forces, the Russian invaders are losing not only equipment and manpower. In a panic, they leave secret documents,” the Group East said.
According to the Group, it obtained the planning documents of one of the units of the battalion tactical group of the 810th separate marine brigade of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation.
The trove of documents includes a working map, combat mission details, call sign table, control signal tables, hidden control tables, personnel list, and other paperwork.
The enemy unit was ordered to disembark from the dock landing ship Orsk in the area of the settlement Stepanivka Persha on the coast of the Sea of Azov in south-Ukrainian Zaporizhzhia Oblast. Then the unit should have advanced and blocked the city of Melitopol in collaboration with Russia’s 58th Army, namely with its 177th Separate Marine Regiment of the Black Sea Fleet. The ultimate goal of these forces was to take control of Melitopol.
“So, when one of the [Russian prisoners of war] once again says that he came for drills and got lost, don’t believe him. They knew, they carefully planned and prepared. And we will say one thing to the Russian occupiers: leave your equipment and secret documents in the future, we will need them, firstly for our defenders, and secondly for The Hague [Court],” the operational and tactical group East concluded.
Now we know…
The fact that the Russian military leadership approved the invasion plans on 18 January implies that it took months or rather years to plot then develop them in detail in advance.
First of all, this means obvious: Russia’s earlier consistent attempts to press on Ukraine to fulfill the Minsk accords unilaterally was nothing but a diplomatic smokescreen for preparing the large war.
It is now clear that US President Joe Biden warned that Putin had made a decision to go to war on the very same day the Russian president greenlit the operation.
The escalation of 17 February in Ukraine’s Donbas region was three days ahead of the pre-planned invasion date of 20 February, yet the actual invasion was for some reason postponed until 24 February.
The date of the approval of the invasion plans, 18 January, also shows that everything the Kremlin did after that — a number of talks with the US, NATO, France, and Germany — was a blatant diplomatic maskirovka or disguise of the imminent military operation, which actually fooled many politicians and experts effectively to the last minute. The meeting of the UN Security Council was still discussing the Kremlin-forced agenda when Putin declared his “special operation” to “demilitarize and denazify” Ukraine in his TV address.
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