Why Washington's 'Russian Invasion' Scare is Cover for Kiev's New Offensive Against Donbass
The US media is continuing to speculate about Russia's alleged plans to invade Ukraine, despite Moscow repeatedly shredding the groundless rumour and warning that the fuss is aimed at covering NATO's own aggressive designs in the region. Mark Sleboda, an international affairs and security analyst, has shed light on emerging geopolitical trends.
Washington is bracing for an "imminent invasion" of Ukraine by Russia: former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul has released a series of tweets
claiming that Ukrainian civilians will fight to the bitter end against Russian "occupiers". For his part, Hollywood star Sean Penn arrived in Ukraine to film a documentary about "Russian aggression", being photographed in combat gear and a helmet as he visited Ukrainian troops in the Donetsk region last week.
While peddling the "Ukraine invasion" story, the Western media nevertheless admit that they have no idea of Russia's genuine intentions. Thus, Bloomberg claimed
on 21 November that a 100,000-strong Russian contingent is preparing "a rapid, large-scale push into Ukraine from multiple locations", adding below that "America and others are not saying a war is certain, or even that they know for sure Putin is serious about one". Similarly, Militarytimes.com acknowledges
that it's unclear whether the troop concentration in Russia's western regions really "heralds an imminent attack" against Ukraine. Moscow has consistently rejected the US allegations, with Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov denouncing them as "artificial hysteria".
13 November 2021, 12:16 GMT
Why 'Russian Invasion' Hysteria Doesn't Hold Water
"This is hardly the first such 'Russian invasion' scare in the Western media", says Mark Sleboda, a US military veteran and international affairs and security analyst. "The last such one was back in March/April of this year, but similar scare-mongering has occurred on a regular basis for the last 6 years".
The military veteran emphasises that there is no threat of an "imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine". He explains that Ukraine is a country of some 40 million people with armed forces in excess of 250,000 strong, which means that "any substantial Russian military intervention in Ukraine would require an amassed force of some 300,000-500,000 troops just to start". However, Western media reports are talking about a Russian buildup of forces "somewhere near Ukrainian borders (or at least closer to Ukrainian borders than to China's borders) of some 90,000 Russian troops".
"Careful observers will note that this is approximately the same number of Russian troops that have been in the vicinity of the Ukrainian border since the US-backed Maidan Putsch overthrew the democratically elected government in Kiev in 2014 and began a civil conflict to subjugate east Ukraine to that seizure of power", the security analyst says.
Moreover, in the wake of the US media fuss, the Kiev regime's military, state border service, and Sergei Nikiforov, the spokesman for President Zelenskiy, have denied any Russian military buildup on the country's borders in the last month, Sleboda notes.
6 November 2021, 12:26 GMT
Meanwhile, EU participants of the Normandy Four, France and Germany, have not only failed to pressure the Ukrainian leadership to begin discussions with the breakaway Donbass republics under the Minsk Accords, but have repeated unsubstantiated claims of a potential Russian "invasion" of Ukraine and warned Moscow of "serious consequences".
Sleboda notes that at the same time, the US and its NATO allies have recently stepped up the delivery of lethal arms to Kiev
. The US and the UK are currently assisting Kiev in the construction of new military bases on the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, pledging to send more military "advisers" and special forces to the East European state. For its part, the Pentagon has revived discussions of Ukraine's admission to NATO
It's hardly surprising that Moscow regards the actions by the US and its European NATO allies as an effort to destabilise the region, torpedo the Minsk Agreements, and turn Ukraine into a de facto NATO protectorate and forward military post against Russia, according to the US military veteran.
22 November 2021, 20:36 GMT
NATO Buildup in Ukraine May Lead to Undesired Results
NATO's recent joint military games in close proximity to Russia's borders as well as earlier instances of the alliance violating the county's territorial waters in the Black Sea, are only adding to Moscow's concerns.
Apart from this, 10 US strategic bombers rehearsed the option of using nuclear weapons against Russia
almost simultaneously from the Western and Eastern directions during the Global Thunder drills, according to Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu. The defence minister highlighted on 23 November that the US planes had come within 20 km (12.4 miles) of the Russian border. In the course of the drills, US strategic aviation conducted 30 flights over the month, which is 2.5 times more than the same period last year, Shoigu said.
According to Sleboda, "the obvious intent of this malign and frankly insane 'Dr Strangelove-esque' sabre-rattling is to cow Russia into submission to US global military primacy and hegemony and to force the Kremlin to back down and give in to US demands in such geopolitical hotspots as Ukraine and Syria".
23 November 2021, 14:14 GMT
Moreover, they are apparently trying to make the Russian government reconsider the strong and growing strategic partnership that Russia has with China, the security analyst notes. However, the continual abysmal state of "Russian expert" analysis in Washington "will of course only lead to the exact opposite reaction by the Russian state - ever more resolute defiance and alliance with China
", he suggests.
Thus, during a Tuesday video conversation, Russian Defence Minister Shoigu and his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe emphasised that the US' provocative behaviour poses a military threat to both Moscow and Beijing and agreed to intensify joint strategic exercises and patrols.
Kiev's Potential Offensive Against Donbass
Meanwhile, Kiev has engaged in increasing military provocations against eastern Ukraine in the last month in flagrant defiance of the Minsk II accords, according to Sleboda.
The security analyst notes that this particularly includes "the Kiev regime troop buildup on the contact line"; "increased shelling of civilian areas and infrastructure in Donbass"; "the seizure of a settlement in the demilitarised zone between the two warring Ukrainian forces"; "and an air attack on Donetsk by the Kiev regime with a Turkish-built TB-2 Bayraktar combat drone."
The circulation of the fake news about the "Russian invasion" of Ukraine in the US media is part of Washington's plan to push Kiev to reinvigorate the military conflict in Donbass, according to Sergei Naryshkin, director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR). Speaking
to the Rossiya One broadcaster on 27 November, the Russian intelligence chief said that the US is intentionally feeding its allies with false information about Russia's preparations for military action in Ukraine.
21 November 2021, 10:52 GMT
While the US is trying to fan the military standoff in Donbass, Sleboda doubts that the US-backed Kiev regime "truly believes that it can subjugate the Donbass in east Ukraine":
"The goal of any Kiev regime military provocation in Donbass would be to spur lagging Western political, military, and economic support and to try once again to get the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline - which would deprive Kiev of billions of dollars of subsidisation by Russia every year in gas transit fees - killed by the new German government. Call it a tantrum and desperate cry for Western attention by a spoiled Kiev client state", the security analyst suggests.
However, "considering the exploding political, energy, economic, and pandemic crises in the country, with Zelenskiy's approval rating plummeting to 24%", the Donbass offensive scenario is a "very realistic risk and possibility that could be launched by Kiev, despite the potential consequences", Sleboda concludes.