The Russian invasion of Ukraine
Things Getting Very Worrisome
Yes, signs regarding a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine have gotten much worse in the last few days. I am hearing from my wife that Russian media are now claiming there are lots of US troops in Ukraine. Such a claim, not even backed up by some fake video, would clearly serve as an excuse for an invasion. There are also reports out of the Russian media that Putin feels that he was not treated well in Beijing. Apparently he was shunted off to some side airport when he landed, with only the Russian ambassador there to meet him. This may help explain some reports of Xi not being impressed with his “overbearing manner,=” despite their superficially friendly joint communique. This suggests that Xi may not be able to hold him back, although maybe he can hold him back until at least the Winter Olympics are done.
As it is, the date for that is Feb. 20, which coincides with the conclusion of the exercises in Belarus. Supposedly the Russian troops there will go home after then, but that conclusion time looks like a highly likely time to invade, if indeed that is what is coming. Clearly markets are more worried, with Brent crude price passing $95 per barrel a sign, even as there are rumors of a renewed Iran nuclear deal happening.
My concern is that Putin seems to have become highly isolated to the point of becoming deludional. Reportedly he thinks like Bush before invading Iraq that he will be welcomed as a “liberator” if he invades, at least by native Russian speakers. But it is pretty clear now that would/will not be the case. People in Kharkiv have no interest in living lives like people in the separatist Donbas republics, where conditions are basically awful. Since Zelensky came to power, the economy has been generally improving with clearly reduced corruption levels, and with most Russian speakers not supporting the aggressive actions by Putin, although in Crimea they may be mostly satisfied more or less.
The invasion and annexation of Crimea was popular in Russia. But there are many indicators an invasion of Ukraine now would not be popular there. It also looks that it would not be welcomed by many of Putin’s cronies, who would suffer substantial financial losses due to economic sanctions such as shutting off access to SWIFT settlements, or even losses of real estate in UK and elsewhere. There are even elements of the military openly opposing an invasion, notably retired General Ivashov.
Besides these reports about Russian media claiming US troops in Ukraine and Putin annoyed at his reception in Beijing, there are also lots of reports that Putin’s own position in Moscow is not secure, that many around him want him out. It even may be that this possible invasion is partly going on to distract from that and to keep people in line. But a failed invasion could trigger his overthrow. The leading candidates to replace him are either hardline Defense Minister Shoigu, who has been advocating the invasion, with cynics saying he has been pushing it precisely to get Putin out so he can come in, or especially if the invasion becomes a big mess, the current Prime Minister, Mitushkin.
Anyway, I have become much more worried about the current situation. It is not unreasonable of President Biden to be urging US citizens to leave Ukraine at this time, unfortunately, although maybe reason will still prevail in the head of V.V. Putin, which is what matters here totally.
Unfortunately, in these times it’s deemed to be sufficient that when someone says something it’s simply true: ‘US troops are in Ukraine by the tens of thousands!’
There seems to be no evidence of this, except for a few trainers.
It would appear that the 150-160 US Nat’l Guard trainers in-country in Ukraine are to be withdrawn, if they haven’t already, and the 120K troops in the region (not counting Ukrainian forces or Russian irregulars, or those from Belarus) are the only ones present. US and NATO forces are in other neighboring countries in relatively small numbers it seems.
Russia seems to be looking for justification to invade & conquer Ukraine.
At best, the strategy is probably for Ukraine surrender before (more) shots are fired.
the 120K troops in the region (not counting Ukrainian forces or Russian irregulars, or those from Belarus) are Russian.
However, if Russia does invade, under whatever pretext they deem plausible, it will put the lie to their assertions that they ‘never planned to do so’. Unless they manage to persuade the world that they had to, forced by the US to do so. Hmmm.
The rationale here would be that the US (& NATO) urgeded so vehemently that Russia not invade Ukraine that Russia had no choice but to defy them, so as to teach all a lesson, basically that would be ‘Hey, mind your own business!’
Unfortunately, I think Putin is delusional. Invading serves him mo purpose at all, and will ensure that Russia’s economy will go into recession due to the sanctions that will be leveled. It is truly and insane move.
He can just keep amping up the pressure until Ukraine surrenders.
Ukraine’s President Tries to Avert Panic as Pressure Mounts
NY Times – Feb 13
US Battles Putin by Disclosing His Next Possible Moves
NY Times – Feb 12
Both Putin and Xi look to the past.
China and Russia have formed an “alliance of autocracies.”
NY Times – David Leonhardt – Feb 9
Note that at least one officer, retired Gen. Ivashov, has openly criticized a possible invasion with a petition sighed by several other senior retired officers.
“…openly criticized a possible invasion with a petition sighed (sic) by several other senior retired officers…”
[Despite our best intentions Freud slips in so that the truth will out.]
Tone of Ukraine Crisis Shifts as Russia Signals Openness to Talk More
Diplomacy is “far from exhausted,” Russia’s foreign minister said, while President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine said the prospect of his country joining NATO might be just a “dream.”
NY Times – Feb 14
TVH, the Vladimir himself has reached his level of incompetence. He no longer fully understands his duties. His confusion has driven him mad. His country remains as a decapitated snake that writhes aimlessly until it dies.
СВД, сам Владимир достиг своего уровня некомпетентности. Он уже не полностью понимает свои обязанности. Его замешательство свело его с ума. Его страна остается обезглавленной змеей, которая бесцельно корчится, пока не умрет.
Russian media has been saying troops will be withdrawn after exercises are done. I am shifting to seeing that Putin is looking at a pullback. A key is that US advisers have been withdrawn, which undoes the previous Russian media slams about US troops being in Ukraine. I think they are looking for a deal now to seal it off, maybe with visit of German Chancellor Scholze to seal the deal.
Russia says some troops are returning to their bases, but other large-scale military drills continue
NY Times – Feb 15
Russian lawmakers ask for recognition of separatist territories, adding to leverage over Ukraine
NY Times – Feb 15
Germany’s chancellor meets with Putin as the tone of the crisis shifts
‘Peace in our time’ as the German chancellor meets with Putin?
Ukraine displays resolve as the West assesses Russia’s claims of more troop withdrawals
NY Times – Feb 16
To Understand Putin’s Aim in Ukraine, Look at This U.S. Base in Poland
NY Times – Feb 16
US and NATO say they have seen no sign of a Russian pullback near Ukraine
NY Times – Feb 16
it’s past midnight, and there’s still no invasion…
here’s the headline link for that: https://www.opindia.com/2022/02/russia-mocks-western-media-outlets-over-speculations-of-ukraine-invasion/
Hmmm. It has been said that if ‘sources in the west reveal’ the specifics of the Russian plans, then it seems they have to change them. Obviously a pretty good strategy if they choose to keep delaying when the Big Push is supposed to happen.
A senior US official said Moscow had added more than 7,000 troops at Ukraine’s border
NY Times – Feb 16
Russia says its troops are pulling back
NY Times – Feb 17
Russia says it won’t invade Ukraine, but warns that US must meet its security demands
NY Times – Feb 17
Russia says its troops are pulling back. Biden says the threat of an invasion is still ‘very high.’
A spike in shelling heightens fears that Russia may claim a pretext to invade
A dramatic spike in shelling up and down the front line between Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists on Thursday raised fears that a conflict that until now has consisted almost entirely of saber-rattling may now offer Moscow the kind of pretext the United States says it is looking for to invade. …
Justin Cider . . . has been hacked. Do not answer him