UKRAINE is preparing to fend off millions of Russian troops in a second attempt at an invasion from the north, a top commander has said.
Major General Andrii Kovalchuk, 48, urged NATO allies to offer up more weaponry support as they gear up for a mammoth battle.
He even suggested Vladimir Putin may strike around the anniversary of the first, failed attempt at taking over Kyiv last February.
The experienced commander announced Ukrainian troops are battle ready in wake of concerns the tyrant will try another takeover.
Ukrainian soldiers “live with the thought that they will attack again,” he said, amid reports Putin is set to double the period of conscription.
Kovalchuk explained he suspects Russian forces could again approach from Belarus, giving them a clear run to the capital of Kyiv.
He told Sky News: “We foresee such options, such scenarios.
“We are preparing for it. We live with the thought that they will attack again. This is our task.
“We are considering a possible offensive from Belarus at the end of February, maybe later.
“We are preparing for it. We are investigating. We look at where they accumulate strength and means. We are preparing.”
There would be a lot riding on a second attempt at a seizure from the north for Russia following their first embarrassing misfire.
Ukraine reigned victorious over Putin’s poorly trained and badly equipped men in a matter of weeks.
But now armed with hindsight, the Russian despot is feared to have bulked up his number of troops on the frontline to six figures.
Russia’s senior military commissar, Lt-Col Mikhail Fotin, announced in a TV interview that the period of conscription would be extended to two years.
Despite later denying he said it, he explained it would come into fruition following a “transition period” for the ‘Back to the USSR’ scheme throughout spring next year.
It could potentially give Russia hundreds of thousands of additional troops for his war which is estimated to have led to the 100,000-plus of his compatriots being killed or maimed.
No such conscription plan has been officially announced yet, but there have been strong rumours that Putin wanted to wait until after the New Year holidays in Russia to unveil the bombshell.
The whispers have proved enough to prompt preparation from Ukraine – who General Kovalchuk says are more than ready.
He said: “I think Putin is thinking about it. And we cannot rule out such an option. We have to be ready for it.
“It will no longer be the case that they [the Russians] will simply walk in, as was the case on 24 February (2022).
We are preparing for it. We are investigating. We look at where they accumulate strength and means.
General Andrii Kovalchuk
“I believe that our position and the position of our partners today should be clear.
“If Putin carries out a full mobilisation, our partners are ready to provide us with all the force and means to stop not an army of 300,000, but an army of a million.”
Ukraine’s military commander, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, earlier echoed his comments, warning Moscow may be plotting a 2023 attack.
He estimated around 200,000 soldiers could be on standby to storm Kyiv after launching an attack through Belarus, the BBC reports.
The fearsome forecasts saw Kovalchuk plead with the West to support Ukraine’s fight to stave off their war-hungry neighbours.
He called for allies to send in the big guns – and even deadly cluster bombs – that are banned under the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions.
Over 100 states – excluding Ukraine and Russia – backed the treaty to veto the devastating missiles that are loaded with smaller projectiles.
The candid commander added: “There is a corresponding counteraction to the enemy’s actions.
“We are sure that our partners will help us in this matter – those who want [us] to win. Because it is not only Ukraine winning today, but the entire civilized world. And we must win.”
He vowed that the Ukrainian military would win back “every square centimetre of territory”, no matter how long it takes – although he hopes its soon.
“I would like to solve all the issues this year,” the general said. “But I believe that next year we will bring everything to a logical conclusion.”
It comes as Russia’s latest wave of attacks pitched multiple cities into darkness and forced people to endure sub-zero temperatures without heating or running water.
The volley of missiles unleashed Friday came as President Vladimir Putin held extensive meetings with the military top brass overseeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, where Moscow has stepped up bombardments.
In Kyiv, the metro had stopped running so that people wrapped in winter coats could take shelter at underground stations after air raid sirens rang out on Friday morning.