Russia can’t stop attacking Ukraine. Really?

This article was originally published on Ukraina.ru

Over the past year, the Western media have delighted us with articles about how exactly Russia will take over Ukraine. It would seem that the topic has been exhausted, but no: in just a few days, authoritative Western publications poured out a new portion of the “Kremlin’s plans”. In spite of the ongoing talks between the West and Russia. Or more precisely, because of them.

It should be noted that the topic is still largely self-exhausted. We did not see anything fundamentally new – the same schemes and even the same numbers. Last year the media wrote about 175,000 Russian soldiers, of which 100,000 are already in position, and they are still writing about this now. Boring.
The latest contribution to this is by the former supreme commander of NATO forces in Europe, Admiral James Stavridis, who published a relatively original test in the American magazine Time.

In his opinion, Russia can attack Ukraine in three ways.

The first option is a full-scale military operation, in which Russian troops will reach the Dnieper and possibly take Kiev. The admiral estimates the probability of such a scenario at 20%.

Secondly, these are cyberattacks, a wave of terrorist acts and disinformation, in which Russia, for the sake of appearances will not be involved. “It’s an augmented version of what Russia is doing now”, said Stavridis. The probability is 40%.

Thirdly, Russia could, as a result of negotiations (aggressors always act like this), achieve the acceptance of real autonomy to the Russian-speaking population of South-Eastern Ukraine, a tacit recognition of the annexation of Crimea, informal consent to Ukraine (and Georgia) not joining NATO, and some easing of sanctions. The probability is 40%.

In short: “The United States and NATO must make every effort to defuse the situation through diplomacy and prevent Putin from an easy and indisputable victory”. That is, Stavridis has no doubts about Putin’s ultimate victory, for which we, apparently, should be grateful to him.

The discussion about these plans includes two components.

On the one hand, there is a military-strategic component. Does the Russian General Staff have such plans? Let’s not pretend that we have any insiders, we will quote a reliable source – the Strugatsky brothers’ novel “The Doomed City”:

“Tell me, Colonel, does the General Staff have any operational plans in case of an invasion from outside?

“Well… I wouldn’t call it proper operational plans. Imagine at least your Russian General Staff on Earth. Does he have operational plans in case of an invasion from, say, Mars?

“Well,” Andrey said. “I fully admit that something like that exists…”

“ ‘Something like that’ is what we have.”

On the other hand, this is a political component – what goal can be achieved with the help of war?

Not that the authors of the concept of “Russian aggression” did not think about it. No, they think and explain:

“Putin hates democracy and human rights, which Ukraine represents. Yes. And if you don’t believe that this is so, you will be taken to the data base of “Mirotvorets”.

Putin wants to restore the USSR. Although Putin said 11 years ago specifically for Blinken and others: “whoever does not regret the collapse of the USSR has no heart. And whoever wants to restore it to its former form has no head.”

— Putin… However, why repeat this nonsense?

The main task of Vladimir Putin as President of Russia is to ensure the security of the country. So the problem of security is not solved by means of a military operation against Ukraine. On the contrary, its consequence will be the immediate deployment of American offensive weapons in Eastern Europe, including the surviving part of Ukraine. This does not ensure Russia’s security in any way, even if all other costs are excluded.

That is, the war against Ukraine is not beneficial for Russia, but the United States, against logic, continues to see its preparation (on the pages of American newspapers).

Here, for example, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield comments on the words of Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergei Ryabkov about Moscow’s lack of plans to attack Ukraine:

“I want to believe him. I would like the absence of such plans to be true. But everything we have seen so far indicates that they are making moves in that direction. And if they’ve decided not to move forward because of our cooperation with them over the past few weeks, when President Biden has spoken to President Putin – twice – that’s good. But we will continue to prepare and plan for a response if they resort to any action against Ukraine.”

Moreover, one can turn to a representative of the “injured party”, for example, the secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Alexei Danilov, who, in an interview with France-Presse in December last year, said that he did not see the threat of an immediate invasion, and the concentration of Russian troops on the border was not critical.

So why does the US need to inflate the topic of “Russian invasion”?

First, and, apparently, the main thing is to maintain an atmosphere of fear at a sufficient level among its citizens and among allies. So that no one doubts the need for record defense spending.

The second is pushing Russia and Ukraine towards a mutual clash. It is clear that the result will be the defeat of Ukraine, but, as we understand, Ukraine is a strong Western ally. Unfortunately not too many will be sorry for her. Russia, on the other hand, will lose much more from such a victory than she can gain.

Thirdly, one can always say that if Russia did not attack Ukraine for some reason, it was solely due to the political and diplomatic efforts of the United States. Even if success was not achieved in other areas.

However, the most interesting result of the media campaign is that a simple thought is carefully introduced into the reader’s head: if tomorrow Ukraine suddenly disappears from the world map, then there is no need to be surprised. Fine, it disappeared… and probably Putin will be the villain to blame. Although not exactly.

Vasily Stoyakin

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