Ukraine has expanded to include supplies of blood along with other medical materials that would allow it to treat casualties, in yet another key indicator of Moscow’s military readiness, three US officials tell Reuters.

Current and former US officials say concrete indicators — like blood supplies — are critical in determining whether Moscow would be prepared to carry out an invasion, if Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to do so.

The disclosure of the blood supplies by US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, adds another piece of context to growing US warnings that Russia could be preparing for a new invasion of Ukraine as it masses more than 100,000 troops near its borders.

These warnings have included President Joe Biden’s prediction that a Russian assault was likely and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s remarks that Russia could launch a new attack on Ukraine at “very short notice.”

The Pentagon has previously acknowledged the deployment of “medical support” as part of Russia’s buildup. But the disclosure of blood supplies adds a level of detail that experts say is critical to determining Russian military readiness.

“It doesn’t guarantee that there’s going to be another attack, but you would not execute another attack unless you have that in hand,” said Ben Hodges, a retired US lieutenant general now with the Center for European Policy Analysis research institute.

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The Russian Defence Ministry did not immediately respond to a written request for comment.

Ukraine’s deputy defence minister Hanna Malyar denied the information.

“This information is not true. Such ‘news’ is an element of information and psychological war. The purpose of such information is to spread panic and fear in our society,” she said on Facebook.

 

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