Russia is set to send up to 1,000 more mercenaries to Ukraine in the coming days and weeks and could bombard Ukraine to submission, CNN reports.
The US and Western officials expect Russia to increase the pace and strength of its strikes on key Ukrainian population centres, including the capital Kyiv to achieve a faster result.
Russia is now prepared to “bombard cities into submission,” CNN quoted a senior intelligence official, who added that this could include a significant increase in the number of civilian casualties.
“It’s a very crude approach,” the official said. “The heavier weapons are not just heavier in the weight, they’re also heavier in terms of the damage that they can inflict. And they’re far less discriminating.” CNN quoted a U.S official as saying.
Meanwhile NATO Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg said, “The days to come are likely to be worse.”
According to him, there would be more death, more suffering, and more destruction in Ukraine as the Russian
forces “bring in heavier weaponry and continue their attacks across the country.”
Speaking at a press conference in Brussels on Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, said “The Kremlin’s attacks are inflicting an ever-increasing toll on civilians there.”
He noted that hundreds if not thousands of civilians have been killed, many more wounded, as have citizens of other countries.
“More than a million refugees have fled Ukraine to neighbouring countries. Millions of people across Ukraine are trapped in increasingly dire conditions as Russia destroys more critical infrastructure,” Blinken said.
However, the US and its allies believe that Ukraine’s resistance to the Russian invasion so far could lead to more casualties as President Putin has lost as many as 200 of his mercenaries.
For this reason, intelligence officials believe Russia is planning to deploy up to 1,000 more mercenaries.