This article is based on a text published by the Ukrainian news resource Strana.ua.
Finally, Ukraine too has officially joined the Western narrative that Russia is preparing for an imminent invasion – yet again.
Just a couple of weeks ago “the gathering of Russian troops on the border” was denied, even dismissed the Kremlin’s disinformation, now the situation is being portrayed in a very different way. Some have even suggested the date of the attack.
All this rhetoric is striking in its vagueness. Nobody talks about exactly where the concentration of troops is happening and which ones (as opposed to the situation in the spring). But at the same time, the Ukrainian authorities “firmly know” that an invasion is being prepared immediately after the “destabilization” that the Russian Federation is allegedly preparing inside Ukraine.
Exactly five years ago, a similar situation already existed – under Poroshenko in November 2016, the special services announced that Russia was preparing a “Shatun plan” in Ukraine. Any kind of protest or elite intrigues against the president were declared to be the work of the Kremlin.
But the current situation is different. This time there is an external factor: the tension that the Americans are promoting, convincing Europe that “Putin will attack.”
At the end of last week, Ukrainian officials began to talk about the topic of “Russia’s invasion.”
They stated that a large group of Russian troops is kept near the borders of Ukraine, and the level of threat of their use is the same as in 2014.
At the same time, the National Security Council Deputy Secretary Ruslan Demchenko approached the problem from a different angle: Russia would first destabilize Ukraine, cause processes of “fragmentation” – that is, disintegration and local rebellions – and then use military force.
Oleksiy Arestovich, an advisor to the Office of the President, has already predicted that Russia will attack on Catholic Christmas, when the West will celebrate the holiday and therefore will not be able to give an adequate answer.
Deputy Defense Minister Anna Malyar announced that the West’s forecasts for Ukraine are being confirmed, and the risk of “destabilization” this winter is extremely high.
The head of Ukrainian intelligence Kirill Budanov, currently in the United States on an official visit, also said: “I just finished a meeting at the Pentagon with my colleague. We exchanged information, exchanged thoughts. Our thoughts completely coincide. A large-scale special operation against Ukraine is underway to destabilize the situation.”
It is worth noting that only a couple of weeks ago, Ukrainian authorities were saying completely different things.
On November 1, the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine reported that as of that date, “no additional transfer of Russian units, weapons and military equipment to the state border with Ukraine has been recorded.”
Two weeks later, Kirill Budanov dramatically changed his opinion.
On November 2, NSDC Secretary Aleksey Danilov made a similar statement. He called the data on the Russian troops disinformation.
“We do not observe the activity of Russian troops near the borders of Ukraine. There is a usual situation associated with the processes that we are following very closely,” Danilov said.
On November 4, the press secretary of the State Border Service of Ukraine Andriy Demchenko said that there was no activity of Russian troops in the immediate vicinity of the Russian-Ukrainian border.
“The State Border Service is also monitoring the situation near the border of Ukraine on the territory of Russia. I note that in the immediate vicinity of the Ukrainian border, we do not observe the movement of enemy equipment or manpower,” Demchenko said.
On the same day, the People’s Deputy from the “Servant of the People” and the head of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on National Security, Defense and Intelligence Alexander Zavitnevich said that the accumulation of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border did not pose a danger.
On November 7, Zelenskiy’s spokesman Sergei Nikiforov said that the Office of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy had no information about the gathering of Russian troops near the eastern borders of Ukraine.
According to him, the Ministry of Defense did not confirm that there is a concentration of Russian troops above the normal level on the borders near Ukraine. He also added that during the conference call with the President, the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces “did not talk about anything that should have somehow alerted”.
“The question remains: why do the American media disseminate such information, is it true? But at the moment the President’s Office does not have any supporting information,” Nikiforov summed up.
Why did Zelensky & Co. change their minds?
The United States, by talking about Russia’s military invasion, solves its internal problems and also tries to influence Germany to stop Nord Stream 2 (influential lobbyists of American gas companies are interested in this).
Then Zelensky and his people changed their mind.
In early November, the richest man in Ukraine, Rinat Akhmetov, turned on the Ukrainian President. On Akhmetov’s TV channels, politicians began to sharply criticize the president – for example, Dmitry Razumkov or Arsen Avakov, who noted how the National Security Council was arbitrarily imposing sanctions against Ukrainian citizens.
Because of this Ukrainian business cannot work and feel safe due to unlimited sanctions and the introduction of the “law on oligarchs”.
As a consequence, a broad alliance of political and business circles on all fronts is being formed against Zelensky.
Given that most TV channels are in the hands of oligarchs, Zelensky’s rating has constantly been falling.
Hence the United States’s narrative of an imminent Russian attack on Ukraine is seen as an opportunity. This gives the President’s Office a chance to organize a clean-up of the internal opposition under the pretext of a “Russian threat”.
“The Office of the President is now actively stocking fears that Russia is about to attack in order to accuse all its internal enemies of working for the Kremlin and get the West’s indulgence for unlimited actions against them under the pretext of preparing to repel aggression”, says Igor Guzhva, Editor-in-Chief of Strana.ua.