- Sputnik International, 1920, 25.02.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
On February 24, 2022 Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine, aiming to liberate the Donbass region where the people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk had been living under regular attacks from Kiev's forces.

NATO Being Persuaded to Deploy Troops in Western Ukraine & This is Insanity, US Military Expert Says

© Sputnik / Victor Antonyuk / Go to the mediabankDPR forces on the T-64 tank
DPR forces on the T-64 tank - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.03.2022
Following the Western press' claims that Russia's Ukraine operation has "stalled" and that Moscow may use "chemical or bio weapons" out of despair, US DoD sources told Newsweek and Reuters that neither assumption is right. Scott Ritter, former UN Weapons Inspector and WMD Whistleblower, has sat down with Sputnik to discuss the special operation.
Sputnik: Speaking to Maverick Multimedia on 19 March, you said that Russia’s special operation in Ukraine is "close to being over" in Russia's favour and that Moscow's military op will later be studied by specialists. What's so special about Russia's operation, in your opinion?
Scott Ritter: I think the thing that separates the Russian special operation in Ukraine, apart from other military operations of this nature, is the fact that Russia does not intend to occupy Ukraine. This is something that the Russian leadership has said from the very start. A military operation that is designed to occupy is a much more complicated operation requiring significantly more troops. It is about holding cities, holding roads, holding specific geographical areas.
The Russian operation is focused on two non-geographical military focuses of efforts. The first is denazification, the elimination of the right-wing neo-Nazi military formations and the political parties that support them, and also demilitarization, the elimination of the NATO military infrastructure that had been installed in Ukraine.
This kind of focus allows Russia to avoid the trap of being compelled to carry out operations to conquer territory, instead, to focus on a more specific task of eliminating military formations with the goal of eventually leaving Ukraine.
© Alexandr Maksimenko / Go to the mediabankAzov battalion soldiers take oath in Kiev before being sent to Donbass
Azov battalion soldiers take oath in Kiev before being sent to Donbass - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.03.2022
Azov battalion soldiers take oath in Kiev before being sent to Donbass
Sputnik: Why are the Western mainstream media continuing to claim that Russia's Ukraine operation has stalled? Does it mean that they do not understand Russia's strategy and objectives? Or does this narrative serve some other purposes?
Scott Ritter: I think there are two reasons why the West is mischaracterising the Russian military operation in Ukraine. First is that the West is evaluating this as if it were Russia's intent to occupy Ukraine. From the very start, the fact that Russia is coming in with only 200,000 troops makes no military sense when we are speaking of a nation of 40 million people with a combined military capability of around 600,000 troops.
Normally you want a 3:1 advantage when you are on the offensive, and Russia is coming in with a 1:3 military advantage. And so people are looking at the map, looking at the progress being made by the Russian forces and they characterize it as being "stalled" because the Russians aren't capturing Kiev, aren't capturing Kharkov, aren't conquering physical features on the ground. They're not understanding that the Russian objective isn't to conquer territory but to destroy military capability, which the Russians are doing quite well.
The other aspect of the mischaracterisation is that there is an information warfare aspect to this war. The West is hopeful that they will be able to use the Russian operation in Ukraine as a vehicle to motivate domestic political unrest in Russia that will at a minimum compel the Russian leadership to withdraw from Ukraine with its mission unfinished, and at a maximum lead to the overthrow, the removal of the Russian president and the Russian government, sort of a colour revolution, if you'd like to say so.
In order to do this, they are creating a picture of a military disaster in Ukraine on the part of the Russian military, and they're trying to project this narrative of a military disaster back into Russia in an effort to demoralise the Russian population and provide the impetus for massive popular demonstrations against the Russian government.
© Sputnik / Valery MelnikovDPR LPR Russia Ukraine Military Operation
DPR LPR Russia Ukraine Military Operation - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.03.2022
DPR LPR Russia Ukraine Military Operation
Sputnik: Western pundits, politicians and experts are speculating about Russia's "possible chemical attack" in Ukraine. They have not presented evidence that Russia possesses such weapons, nor provided any proof that such plans exist. What could be the primary purpose of this narrative?
Scott Ritter: The current narrative being put out by Western leaders and the Western media about the Russians preparing a chemical weapons attack in Ukraine is born of the standard reaction when one side is caught doing something that they shouldn't have been doing and they seek to project blame onto the other side. There is no doubt in my mind that the Russians are not preparing a chemical weapons attack. This makes no sense from both a military and political standpoint. Plus, it presumes the existence of a military-scale chemical warfare capability in Russia that Russia simply doesn't possess.
But what has happened is that Russia has discovered biological research facilities inside Ukraine, operated by the United States Department of Defense, and they've discovered certain research activities which are difficult to explain by the United States that could have offensive biological warfare capacity. And the United States is embarrassed by this.
So what the United States does is, rather than address the fact that it had an ongoing programme in Ukraine that has raised some questions, they deflect, saying that the reason why Russia is bringing this up is that Russia is preparing for a biological weapons attack.
Bio-hazard symbol - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.03.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
What's Behind Washington's Denial of Biowarfare Weapons Programme in Ukraine?
So, it's deflecting the narrative back on to Russia. And in doing so, they expand the narrative based upon past allegations that Russia supported chemical weapons used by the Syrian government in Syria, that Russia used chemical agents against the Skripal family in the United Kingdom. That Russia used chemical agents against the political dissident Navalny in Russia. And therefore, because Russia is "guilty" of all three of these things, Russia is preparing to use chemical weapons in Ukraine. It's an absurdity. It's ridiculous, but it's part and parcel of the ongoing information warfare campaign being waged by the West against Russia.
© REUTERS / EVELYN HOCKSTEINU.S. President Joe Biden arrives to board Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland
U.S. President Joe Biden arrives to board Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland  - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.03.2022
U.S. President Joe Biden arrives to board Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland
Sputnik: NATO has been increasing its military presence along its eastern borders since the beginning of the Russian special operation in Ukraine. What's behind this military build-up, in your opinion?
Scott Ritter: The ongoing NATO build-up on its eastern flank, I believe, is an exercise in confidence-building on the part of NATO. We are talking about an organisation that has just gone through, in this past summer, a terribly demoralising withdrawal from Afghanistan. One that made it question its relationship with the premiere power in NATO, the United States. And question the ongoing viability of NATO as a military alliance. I mean what is the purpose of NATO? The Russian incursion into Ukraine has breathed new life into those who believe that there is an ongoing purpose to NATO. But it is one thing to say NATO is relevant, it is another thing to make NATO relevant. And one of the things we know about NATO in the past decade or so is that it is militarily impotent. It doesn't have viable military capacity.
So what's going on right now is an effort by NATO to flex its muscles to convince itself that it has the ability to stand up to Russia. So, they are mobilising these forces in what I call a "feel good" operation. The forces are insufficient to meaningfully confront Russia, but they are sufficient to look good on paper and make NATO feel good about itself. The danger in this is if NATO is flexing in the mirror and gets too impressed with what they are seeing to believe that they have actual genuine military capacity, then they seek to use this.
There are ongoing discussions in Brussels right now in the emergency summit that NATO has convened about the possibility of putting NATO's peacekeeping forces into western Ukraine. You know, this is insanity. Under any circumstances, NATO does not have the ability to do this and prevail. But again, they've assembled these forces, they're looking in the mirror, they think they like what they see and they think that there's real muscle there. And, who knows, they may be compelled to believe that they have more capability than they really do and try to project these forces in the west of Ukraine, in which case there will be, unfortunately, a military clash between NATO and Russia.
© AP Photo / CHRISTOF STACHEUS soldiers at the exercise area in Grafenwoehr, Germany
US soldiers at the exercise area in Grafenwoehr, Germany - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.03.2022
US soldiers at the exercise area in Grafenwoehr, Germany
Sputnik: What are the odds of NATO troops getting involved in the Ukraine conflict?
Scott Ritter: If someone had asked me at the beginning of the Russian incursion into Ukraine what are the odds of NATO getting involved? I would say zero because NATO had made it clear that it was not going to get involved in any fight between Ukraine and Russia on Ukrainian territory. But as this conflict goes on, as millions and millions of Ukrainians seek refuge in NATO countries, we're now looking at an economic and humanitarian catastrophe for NATO. And there are now people talking about not just imposing a no-fly zone, but actually putting NATO peacekeepers on the ground in western Ukraine.
So far, sanity has prevailed and the no-fly zone has been rejected. But I think the longer that this crisis goes on, the more refugees appear at the border, the more refugees that are being taken in by NATO nations, the more likely it is that somebody in NATO is going to think that putting so-called peacekeeping forces in western Ukraine is a good idea. If that happens, suddenly we go from zero chance of a conflict between NATO and Russia to a 100 percent chance of a conflict between NATO and Russia. Right now, I would say it's fifty-fifty.
I don't think NATO is going to make the decision today to send peacekeepers in, but I do think this issue is being discussed and will be tabled for consideration at a later date. And that later date could come sooner rather than later if more and more refugees appear at the border between Ukraine and NATO nations like Romania, Hungary, and Poland.
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