One of my first posts on this blog was Is the West gearing up to invade Russia once again?, which looked at some historic parallels from the previous pre-invasion periods, and noticing some similarities. The article was written in June 2014, and the rhetoric question is still very much valid, even more so after the developments of these past 3 weeks.
The reports are worrying, with Ukrainian forces executing one provocation after. A few days ago a 5-year-old child was killed when Ukro-nazis dropped an explosive charge on a residential house from a drone.
Yesterday, Paul Robinson, a professor at the University of Ottawa, in his article Reports of Russian troops ‘massing’ near Ukraine miss the mark: Russia-Ukraine war is possible, but only if Ukraine strikes first echoed the conclusions in Rostislav Ischenoko’s article “On the edge: Who will blink first?”, which I am translating in full below.
On the edge: Who will blink first?
Columnist of MIA “Russia Today”
4th of April 17:43 198 20447
The situation in the long-suffering Ukraine (without any irony to the country and its people) is developing in such a way that it can be stated that the parties interested in the, possibly armed, conflict have completed the pre-war preparatory measures, at least in the diplomatic sphere. After that, either someone has to give in, or the next step forward means war.
At the same time, Russia cannot have a “large—scale” war with Ukraine – they are in different weight categories. Ukraine is not even able to conquer Donbass. Kiev’s participation in a direct military clash with Moscow, even as part of a group of states, will mean for Ukraine an almost instantaneous destruction as a political entity.
At the same time, Ukraine acts only as a provocateur of the first strike. Its task is to somehow signify to the world community Russia’s participation in the military conflict.
Next, the United States intends to unleash a European war, with the participation of at least a few Eastern European countries, members of NATO and the EU. This will allow them to put pressure on their Western European allies, who do not want a conflict with Russia, demanding that they decide: if they are with Moscow or with NATO.
This is not an easy choice for Western Europe. To choose NATO is to choose war, which in this case will come close to the scale of a World War. To choose Russia is to abandon the century-old system of alliances in which Western Europe used to feel comfortable. There is a very high risk that the Europeans will choose the United States and NATO, hoping that the luck would show them a way out, and they will not have to fight. But this is the hope of a miracle, and God sends miracles only to the worthy ones.
Thus, the planned military resolution of the crisis on the contact line in the Donbass cannot be called a Ukrainian-Russian war. The situation is much worse.
Let me remind you that the Russian ambassador, who was recalled for consultations, did not return to the United States. This could have, however, gone unreported. No one knows for how long he was withdrawn, but the information was distributed through the official Russian media. Moscow indicated in the information space, and then confirmed through the Foreign Minister that relations with the United States are at the freezing point, there is no dialogue. This means that the situation is worse than during the Caribbean crisis. At that time, the USSR and the United States conducted an active dialogue in order to prevent war.
The European media have spread information that the United States has brought its troops in Europe to the maximum degree of combat readiness. At the same time, a survey was conducted in Italy on the topic: “Are you ready to fight with Russia for Ukraine?” Moreover, many participants in the survey (most of whom do not want any war) stressed that in fact we are not talking about a war for some – unknown to most Italians – Ukraine, but about a war for the interests of Washington.
So the Europeans understand everything perfectly. The Italians even expressed the hope that, if a large-scale war begins, Putin will fulfil his promise to strike at the decision-making centres and will not let the Americans, after having drawn others into a conflict, to traditionally sit it out overseas.
Some Polish general got overexcited and declared the need to urgently create a Baltic Union (consisting of Poland, the Baltic States and the Scandinavian countries) for war with Russia. NATO does not seem reliable enough to him.
There are enough senile generals in any army, but when such statements are actively discussed in the national and international press, this means that the relevant society (Polish, Baltic) is morally ready for war, the deterrent centres, including the instinct of self-preservation, which normally block the adoption of risky decisions, are turned off.
The Ukrainian leadership, despite the provocative shelling of the Donbass, was clearly afraid to provoke Russia into real hostilities, remembering what happened in 2008 with the Georgian army, and in 2014-15 with the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The Americans, who until the last moment pretended that they had nothing to do with it, even had to openly flash their participation in the provocation of the conflict. During one day on April 1-2, telephone conversations were held between the defence ministers and the presidents of Ukraine and the United States. In both cases, the American partners pushed Kiev to conflict with Moscow, promising not to leave Ukraine alone with Russia.
Immediately after that, Kiev requested joint exercises with NATO (so far, the decision to hold them has not been made, but I think that the United States will try to push for it). Ukraine also informed the UN Security Council about the escalation on the line of contact in the Donbass. This is done in order to shift the blame for the beginning of the conflict to Russia, so that you can say “we warned you, even addressed it the Security Council.”
The Supreme Rada of Ukraine has changed the legislation regulating conscription, providing Zelensky with a formal opportunity to mobilise within a day up to a million people who served in the army, at least half of whom have experience of combat operations in the Donbass. Since Ukraine is not able to equip, feed, arm and form new units and formations from such a large number of people, this means that the Ukranian Armed Forces will provided with exactly as much cannon fodder as they can digest.
Also, Ukraine is constantly defiantly transferring troops to the demarcation line and to the border with Russia. In some cases, we are talking about the planned rotation of formations in the conflict zone in the Donbass, but it is noteworthy that Kiev did not bother to refute the information of its own media about the strengthening of its groups of troops on the border with Russia.
Moscow responded with an equally demonstrative transfer of troops near the Ukrainian border. Moreover, the Russian Defence Ministry remained silent for a whole week before announcing that the troops were being transferred as part of planned exercises (translator note, which NATO was warned about a year in advance). Putin held a video conference with Macron and Merkel during which the Russian position on the current crisis was brought to the attention ofFrance and Germany. Judging by their subsequent behaviour, they were strongly advised not to twitch and not to try to get involved in this conflict.
The Russian Foreign Minister held extensive and successful talks with China, including on the coordination of Moscow’s and Beijing’s actions in response to Washington’s provocations, after which Russia and China simultaneously took a number of unpleasant measures to combat American censorship on the global Internet, as well as inflicted subtle but tangible blows to American trade and economic interests.
At the same time, senior representatives of the Russian Defence Ministry visited a number of countries allied to Moscow and Beijing in South-east Asia and held consultations with their Chinese counterparts, the contents of which were not disclosed. By the way, the Chinese have long wanted to return Taiwan, and do not rule out conducting a military operation against the island Kuomintang allies of the Americans.
Three Russian submarines simultaneously surfaced in the Arctic, breaking through the ice, and carried out successful training missile launches. This is nothing more than a demonstration to America of the possibility of launching a massive nuclear strike on it from the most vulnerable direction. From the latter, in Siberia, there were noticed echelons with troops and equipment moving in the direction of European Russia (photos posted on the Internet by people who became accidental witnesses of the transfer of troops).
In Donetsk and Lugansk, decrees were issued on the first conscription in the history of the people’s republics. So far, four hundred people have been called up for the two republics. This is more of a demonstration than a real reinforcement of the republic corps. But the decrees allow them to simultaneously call up to ten age groups at once, which will allow, if necessary, to increase the number of the armed forces of the republics by two or three times. Since the DPR / LPR rely on the support of Russia, there should be no problems with the weapons and uniforms for such a large number of people. Russian warehouses allow you to arm and equip millions.
Moscow has openly said and shown that it does not intend to retreat. I would like to emphasize once again that almost all preliminary diplomatic and political actions have been carried out on both sides. There is practically no room for further escalation of tensions without a transition to open conflict. The manoeuvres that can still be undertaken will not ease the tension in any way, and their potential will also be exhausted in the coming weeks.
The parties (and this is not Ukraine and the Donbass, but Russia and the United States) are in a situation of “who will blink first”. In fact, the senile Biden administration implemented the plan of nuclear blackmail of Russia, which was first declared by Hillary Clinton during her 2016 presidential election campaign. Back then Hillary said that she would demand concessions from Russia under the threat of a full-scale nuclear war. Now the United States is demonstrating its readiness to bring the crisis in the Donbass to the level of direct military confrontation between Russia and the United States in a few steps.
Why are they doing this? Because they have no other ways to defend their global hegemony, without which the United States in one move turns into a weak and poor regional state, internally unstable and prone to disintegration (worse than Russia in the 90s). According to their own American calculations, within the next three or four years, they should finally lose the economic and political competition to Russia and China and lose even the theoretical possibility of winning a military conflict. Washington faces a dilemma: now or never.
Does this mean that war is inevitable? No. Its danger is very great. Moreover, there is a great risk of events getting out of control, especially given the inadequacy of the US administration. But, as mentioned above, politics does not necessarily imply fatalistic development. There are always a lot of options for the development of the situation. In our case, there are three main ways to avoid the worst:
1. Someone will retreat without war. For a backslider, this will mean a political disaster, but postponed. It won’t be noticeable right away.
2. The military crisis will begin and end too quickly for the United States to have time to set in motion its plan of turning it into a European war. Roughly speaking, Ukraine will be destroyed so quickly that the Poles, the Balts and other suicidals for American interests, as well as the United States itself, will not have time to react, and then it will be too late.
3. At some stage, there will be a gap in the escalation of the situation. Ukrainian leaders may not dare to cross the last line. After all, they have almost no chance of surviving any outcome of the conflict. Even if the United States sends a plane for them (which is unlikely), it simply will not reach Boryspil or leave the airspace of Ukraine. Russia can close the sky over it at any time. Eastern Europeans may not risk getting involved in the conflict. It is one thing to “declare war on Russia” in your own media, quite another to do it in practice. You may not have time to go down to the bomb shelter. And it’s good if is paratroopers that arrive to take prisoners, because alternatively missiles can come flying, and those do not take prisoners, as they do not know how. Western Europe may take a tough stance. The United States is unlikely to risk bringing the conflict to it final if its European allies refuse to support them, including banning Americans from conducting subversive activities against Russia from their territory. In Western Europe, this unpleasant feeling is well-know when your city, your small, well-groomed country, is a target for soulless warheads capable of thrice wiping it into radioactive dust. They want to live well, not die heroically for American hegemony. The fear of death can awaken in them the courage necessary to openly oppose the United States.
The weakness of all these options lies in one thing: we have to rely on someone else to make the right decision, because we can no longer back down ourselves. But, as we can see, there are many options in which the fatal development of events is interrupted.
Nevertheless, I am sad to say that in the fifty-five years that I have lived, the world has never been so close to war. The closest we came (after the Caribbean crisis, which happened before I was born) to the Third World War was during the European missile crisis in the early 80s, when the United States deployed its medium-range missiles in Europe, and the Soviet RSD-10 “Pioneer” (SS-20 according to the NATO classification) advanced as far as the GDR. The positional areas of nuclear missiles were located several tens of kilometres from each other (in the GDR and Western Germany), which means that any conflict with the use of conventional weapons threatened to turn into an exchange of nuclear strikes, since in the event of a breakthrough, the enemy was able to reach the positions of missiles in a day or two.
But even then the situation was better, because the Americans were, though infected with cowboying, but generally sane, they did not want a war and a dialogue was going on. Now we (and the whole world) are dealing with the inadequates in Washington for whom the future peace is worse than war. Moreover, they believe that the war can still be won and are not ready to talk to anyone about compromise, demanding unilateral concessions.
Still, we have a chance. Most people (Americans are no exception) want to live. The senile Biden junta that has seized the White House is not all-powerful. It can also be stopped by joint efforts.