Putin steps up pressure on Kyiv, leaving door open for full invasion of Ukraine
With all eyes on Donbass, a disputed territory on Ukraine’s eastern border with Russia, recent developments have opened the door to a simultaneous attack on multiple fronts that would include, according to US intelligencethe Ukrainian capital.
Last Friday, Biden publicly affirmed his belief that Putin had already made the decision to invade Ukraine and that his military efforts would be focused on Kyiv. He didn’t say “Donbass”, he said “Kiev”, in what should be understood as a very thoughtful way of measuring words.
So far, the border scrambles point to a scenario similar to that experienced in February and March 2014 with Sevastopol and, subsequently, the entire Crimean peninsula. Undercover agents infiltrate to wreak havoc, so-called autonomous militias form and only come in to finish the job.
Now it works for local invasions. It could be used to join Donetsk, for example, but that doesn’t seem to be what Biden was insinuating with his statements or Boris Johnson when he warned of “the worst war situation since World War II” on Saturday. For that, Putin would have to go straight to Kiev, invade the capital, kick out the government, enter with the tanks and establish a protectorate over the rest of the country without needing, perhaps, to occupy every city along the way.
All this is very difficult to do from the Donbass. US intelligence believes they are already 190,000 soldiers located around Ukraine’s various borders with Russia and Belarus; the majority, in fact, on the eastern frontier. As high as the number may seem, it is not clear whether they could travel the 593 kilometers between Donetsk and the capital unopposed. Ukraine would have time to prepare its defense and stand up. If Putin wants to seize the capital as quickly as possible and thus ward off any attempt to react, it is normal for him to do so from Belarus.
In this sense, the latest news this Sunday is worrying: after finishing the maneuvers with the Belarusian army this weekend, it seems that the thirty thousand soldiers assigned to Baranovichi, just two hundred kilometers from the border with Ukraine, will remain on the ground with the consent of Putin’s puppet and the Belarusian dictator, Alexander Lukashenko.
If Putin really intends to invade Ukraine in its entirety, he will normally do so from at least three fronts, for which he needs large contingents of troops on all three: Donbass, of course, and the eastern border in general; Belarus, to go in a straight line towards Kiev, and Crimea, to establish a fast connection along the coast of the Black Sea to Odessa.
False Flag War
How to justify an attack of such magnitude is another thing: that same Friday, social networks were filled with videos published by various pro-Russian communication agencies in which alleged attacks by the Ukrainian army were shown (their consequences rather broken glass, falling structures, screaming civilians…) while the separatist leaders of the river basin Donetsk They asked the population to cross the border with Russia to avoid an alleged massacre ordered by the government of Volodymyr Zelensky.
The problem with these videos is that they were fake, recorded, in fact, two days before. We guess there was gunfire in the Donbass on Friday afternoon because even the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Joseph Borrellgave the news for good in statements to Agencia Efe.
However, the extent of these possible shootings or launching of projectiles – qualifying them as “bombardments”, as Borrell did, seems indeed excessive -, remains to be determined in an area which has known a constant civil and military conflict for eight years. .
The international community has taken this series of fake news for what it probably is: the first steps towards a “false flag” war in which a false conflict is created and a military attack is justified to solve what you have. even invented.
There is no evidence that the Ukrainian military is increasing pressure on pro-Russian separatists. On the contrary, the Kiev government itself denounces more than fifty shares militias which would mean a break in the peace agreements signed in Minsk between Russia and Ukraine.
That Vladimir Putin is forcing the situation on Ukraine’s eastern border is obvious. At the time he said the troop withdrawal was about to begin and there is no evidence that this happened either. They are always there, on alert, waiting for orders. during weeks, United States regularly announces the imminence of an attack that does not occur.
Despite the criticism and the wear and tear on public opinion this produces, it may not be a bad idea: by warning of your enemy’s intentions, by trying to anticipate his actions, you are delaying them in a way . Putin not only wants to end the conflict in Ukraine by force, but to convince the world that “he has no other choice”.
Every time Biden or any other NATO member explains how and when this attack is going to happen, they kind of spoil Putin’s narrative. Let’s see how long this situation can last.
The end of the Olympic truce
Although Kiev seems to live in absolute calm, back to work after a pleasant weekend in relatively good weather, the threat of having 30,000 Russian troops two hundred kilometers away – could be even less if Lukashenko allows them to move on Belarusian soil to the border itself – is the most disturbing. It is not even known whether the Belarusian troops could mingle with the Russians and thus increase the contingent. They would never recognize him anyway.
In principle, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken plans to meet his Russian counterpart this week. The place and date have not yet been determined. Blinken even publicly considered the possibility that the invasion begin before the two can meet. One of the hypotheses considered in this last month of conjecture was that Russia wanted to respect the “Olympic truce” as a sign of respect for the Chinese government, organizer of the Winter Olympics in Beijing. These Games ended on Sunday.
Does this mean the attack is imminent? This implies, at the very least, that Russia only needs a spark to blow up the barrel of dynamite. The diplomatic solutions that Zelensky continues to ask for are running out: Blinken asked if the United States would recognize Russian sovereignty over Crimea and Donbass as an emergency solution to avoid a war, the Secretary of State replied with a ” no” categorically.
Let us remember that, while we Europeans are particularly concerned about the situation in the east of our continent, the United States sees further: recognizing Russia’s sovereignty over independent territories or over that of another country would make its very difficult diplomatic position in the event of an invasion of Taiwan by part of China, which Xi Jinping has been alluding to for more than a year.