50,000 casualties, 5 million refugees expected if Russia invades Ukraine - report

US military and intelligence assessments are that Kyiv will fall within two days if Russia launches what may be the largest ground incursion since WWII, the Washington Post reported.

 Tanks of the Ukrainian armed forces are parked on the roadside during a withdrawal near the village of Nyzhnje in Luhansk region, Ukraine, October 5, 2015. (photo credit: STRINGER/ REUTERS)
Tanks of the Ukrainian armed forces are parked on the roadside during a withdrawal near the village of Nyzhnje in Luhansk region, Ukraine, October 5, 2015.
(photo credit: STRINGER/ REUTERS)

An invasion of Ukraine by Russia could lead up to 50,000 civilian casualties, to the Ukrainian government falling within two days and to a humanitarian crisis with 5 million fleeing refugees, the Washington Post quoted US military and intelligence assessments as saying. The assessments were presented to lawmakers and European partners over the past few days.

The number of tactical Russian battalions stationed at the Ukrainian border grew from 60 to 83 within two weeks, seven people familiar to the assessment told the Washington Post. Each battalion has approximately 750 troops.

Thousands of additional logistics personnel, including key military enablers such as build-briding units, are also amassing at the border, the report said.

The assessments also indicated that the window for a diplomatic solution is shrinking, as Putin now has some 130,000 thousand troops on the borders and will not have the political will to disperse, the report said.

The first US troops reinforcing NATO allies in Eastern Europe arrived on Saturday at Rzeszow military base in southeastern Poland.

US President Joe Biden holds virtual talks with Russia's President Vladimir Putin amid Western fears that Moscow plans to attack Ukraine, during a secure video call from the Situation Room at the White House in Washington, US, December 7, 2021. (credit: The White House/Handout via REUTERS)US President Joe Biden holds virtual talks with Russia's President Vladimir Putin amid Western fears that Moscow plans to attack Ukraine, during a secure video call from the Situation Room at the White House in Washington, US, December 7, 2021. (credit: The White House/Handout via REUTERS)

On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden ordered nearly 3,000 extra troops to Poland and Romania to shield Eastern Europe from a potential spillover from the Ukraine crisis.

About 1,700 service members, mainly paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division, were set to deploy from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to Poland "over the next days," US Army sources had said.

Russia has denied plans to invade Ukraine but has said it could take unspecified military measures if its demands are not met, including a promise by NATO never to admit Kyiv.