Defense and intelligence professionals are discerning possible war plans should Russia invade Ukraine. A Ukrainian assessment in late November predicted Russia might invade via multiple land axes coming north from Belarus towards Kiev, west from Russia towards the Dnepr River, and south from occupied Crimea towards Kherson Oblast, which controls a fresh-water canal to the peninsula. Chief of Ukrainian Defense Intelligence, Brigadier General Kyrylo Budanov, also predicted that a Russian invasion would include amphibious assaults on the ports of Odessa and Mariupol. How feasible is that threat?
1. This estimate is based on the results of a study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Are Current Russian Expeditionary Capabilities Capable of a Coup de Main in Sweden?, 30 September 2021, by Suzanne Freeman, which estimated that four Ropucha class landing ships could carry one Naval Infantry BTG. Considering the vagaries of combat loading, I used this estimate to determine that six Ropucha-class and three Alligator-class landing ships could lift approximately two naval infantry BTGs.
2. Robert C. Citino, Death of the Wehrmacht: The German Campaigns of 1942, University Press of Kansas, 2007, page 65.