1 December 2022
A British defence and security think tank has revealed details of Moscow’s pre-invasion plan for Ukraine, based on captured Russian documents apparently signed off by Vladimir Putin.
Russia had planned to take over Ukraine over 10 days and annex it by August this year, the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI) said.
According to the British Army-linked think tank, only a small group of Russian officials were aware of the full scale of the plans.
It said even deputy heads of branches within the Russian military were unaware of the plan to invade and occupy Ukraine until days before the invasion began, and tactical military units didn’t receive orders until hours before.
The documents also revealed that Russia planned to capture Ukraine’s power stations, airfields, water supplies, central bank and parliament – and that Russian special services were tasked with killing the Ukrainian leadership.
They appeared to assume Ukrainian government officials would “either flee or be captured as a result of the speed of the invasion”, RUSI said.
Ukraine’s intelligence community also believes Russia planned to use Belarusian airborne units to capture the Rivne and Khmelnytsky nuclear power plants.
The invasion plan reportedly detailed plots to capture Ukraine’s nuclear power plants in order to shelter Russian troops, gain control over the country’s energy system, and potentially blackmail European countries with the risk of radiation pollution.
Russia planned to start the invasion with a “massive missile and airstrike campaign” against Ukrainian military targets, RUSI said.
It added that Moscow would not target critical infrastructure such as power stations and railways because these were key to its plans to occupy the country.
Russia’s ‘kill list’
The Russian counterintelligence regime had compiled lists of some Ukrainians, RUSI said.
They were divided into four categories:
- Those who should be killed
- Those in need of suppression and intimidation
- Those considered neutral who should be encouraged to collaborate
- Those prepared to collaborate.
Officials planned to register the population through door-to-door sweeps and filtration camps, the think tank said.
Russia also reportedly planned the coerced cooperation of regional governors and local authorities, and the FSB had been tasked with capturing local officials.
Over time, it planned to bring teachers and other officials from Russia to start the “re-education of Ukrainians”.