- 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.

US & NATO Raising Stakes in Ukraine May End In Nuclear Havoc, Observers Warn

© AFP 2023 / Manjunath KIRANA US soldier of the second Platoon Bravo Company, 1-3271 Infantry of Combined Team Bastogne (Nangarhar), 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) loads a machine gun on a manned turret over a mine resistant all-terrain vehicle
A US soldier of the second Platoon Bravo Company, 1-3271 Infantry of Combined Team Bastogne (Nangarhar), 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) loads a machine gun on a manned turret over a mine resistant all-terrain vehicle - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.10.2022
The US Army's 101st Airborne Division, nicknamed the "Screaming Eagles," has been deployed in Romania to engage in war games just miles from Ukraine's border. NATO flexing its muscle in close proximity to Russia is fraught with the risk of an incidental conflict which could lead to a fully-fledged war, Sputnik's interviewees warn.
"President Biden said many times that US troops are not going to get involved in Ukraine. Unfortunately such statements are worthless because history has shown the US does not abide by its commitments and promises," said Rick Sterling, an investigative journalist and author. "For example, the US promised to not expand NATO. They did, right up to Russia's border. The US committed to the JCPOA agreement with Iran. President Trump tore up the agreement. President Obama promised there would be ‘No US boots on the ground’ in Syria. US troops have been there since 2015, stealing the oil from Syria. The US reneged on all these commitments."
About 4,700 soldiers from the US Army's 101st Airborne Division have been dispatched by the Pentagon with heavy equipment to strengthen NATO's eastern flank amid the Russian special operation to demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine. Speaking to CBS News, "Screaming Eagles" commanders claimed that the division is "fully prepared to cross the border into Ukraine" if "the fighting escalates" or "there's any attack on NATO."
"If direct conflict between the US and Russia breaks out, they would not make a decisive difference," argued Sterling in an apparent reference to a relatively modest size of the "Screaming Eagles" contingent. "So the point of this deployment in Romania is probably political - to act tough. At the same time, it dangerously raises the risk of an intentional or accidental incident which could start a chain reaction leading to direct conflict. It is an irresponsible deployment."

It's All About Bleeding Russia White

In late March, Moscow and Kiev managed to strike a preliminary compromise in Istanbul. Unexpectedly the Ukrainian leadership backpedalled on its peace commitments despite Russia voluntarily withdrawing its forces from the Kiev region. Kiev's change of heart was accompanied by the Bucha hoax and western vows to significantly step up the arming of Ukraine in order to bleed Russia white. "We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine," claimed US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on April 25.
However, Austin was not the first US politician to talk about Ukraine as a tool for weakening Russia. On March 1, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton drew a parallel between the Ukraine conflict and the USSR's involvement in Kabul's conflict with Mujahideen in Afghanistan in 1979-89. Clinton hailed the Reagan administration for arming Afghan jihadists and suggested that if Ukraine is supplied with sufficient armaments for a long period of time, this would eventually weaken Russia and drive it out. "We have to provide sufficient military armaments for the Ukraine military and volunteers, and we have to keep tightening the screws," insisted the former secretary of state on Twitter. However, netizens reminded Hillary that arming Mujahideen in Afghanistan did not end well for the US.
"[Hillary Clinton] and the neocons want to bleed Russia over a protracted period of time," said Sterling. "They want to weaken Russia for a later attack. But this is playing with fire. Russia could withdraw from Afghanistan. It cannot afford to lose in Ukraine. If the US could not defeat the National Liberation Front (NLF) in Vietnam or Taliban in Afghanistan, how do they think they will defeat Russia? This is especially dangerous because the US government, corporations and billionaires have invested so much in manipulating Ukraine into an anti-Russia tool. It is also dangerous because the people in charge now – [Joe] Biden, [Victoria] Nuland, [Jake] Sullivan - are the ones who ran the 2014 coup which led to this disaster."
US Army personnel cleans the red carpet ahead an inauguration ceremony of the US anti-missile station Aegis Ashore Romania (in the background) at the military base in Deveselu, Romania on May 12, 2016 - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.10.2022
US Designed European Sky Shield Initiative to Escalate Tension With Russia, Analyst Says

Wiesbaden Command & European Sky Shield Initiative

Another sign of the US and its NATO allies planning to drag on the Ukraine conflict as long as possible is the reported establishment of a new US-led command in Wiesbaden, Germany, to streamline training and arms to Ukraine. Likewise, the NATO-backed development of a common EU air defense system dubbed European Sky Shield Initiative (ESSI) is aimed at strengthening Europe's "deterrence and defense", citing a potential "threat" from Russia.
"The new ESSI plan will be bolstering the existing NATO’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense System (NATINAMDS)," argued Dr. Swasti Rao, an associate fellow at the Europe and Eurasia Center at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses in New Delhi. "The US already operates two Aegis Ashore ballistic missile sites in Romania and Poland. In such a scenario, a new initiative to further ramp up interoperability and defense posturing reeks of a heavily militarized Europe reeling under economic problems but unable to wriggle out of its security concerns, caught in the endless mire of increasing capabilities."
He pointed out that there has also been "an unprecedented expansion of NATO along its northern flank, where erstwhile neutral Sweden and Finland are in the process of joining the alliance."
"Sweden’s purchase of surface-to-air launched cruise missiles and Finland’s $9.4 billion purchase of 64 cutting-edge United States F-35 fighter jets would significantly improve NATO’s air defense and attack capabilities. With 1,500 artillery and rocket systems, Finland has one of Europe’s strongest artillery forces that is crucial to modern warfare," he said.
Rao has drawn attention to the fact that the conflict in Ukraine is de facto a proxy war between Russia and the West, adding that the escalation started almost eight years ago.
"It should be noted that the CIA and allies have been training Ukrainians for a long-drawn insurgency against Russia since 2014," the Indian scholar pointed out.
U.S. soldiers stands next to a Patriot surface-to-air missile battery. (File) - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.10.2022
Ex-DoD Officer: Biden's 'Schizophrenic' Security Strategy Fraught With Risk of Igniting WW3
The US and NATO have been pumping Ukraine with weapons, sending military instructors and training Ukrainian service personnel. According to the White House, the US overall military assistance to Kiev has totaled more than $19.6 billion since 2014, when the US-backed coup was carried out.
The US military appears to have been collecting information about Russia's tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTP) since 2014, as a peculiar Twitter exchange between The Washington Post's Dan Lamothe and former CIA agent Marc Polymeropoulos indicated in April 2022. After Lamothe cited a US general bragging about the Pentagon getting a "bonanza of information… about Russian 'tactics and procedures' by watching 'how they performed in combat'" since the beginning of the February 24 special operation, Polymeropoulos pointed out that the US Intelligence Community (IC) had amassed "tons" of information about Russia's military since 2014. "It was an 8 year lab experiment on Russian TTPs [tactics, techniques, and procedures]. On EW [electronic warfare]. On everything. This is why Ukrainians (with our advice/assist) [are] doing so well," he wrote.
However, the Pentagon's military adventurism in Ukraine is fraught with severe risks of igniting nothing short of the third world war, according to Sterling and Rao, who also warned about the possibility of a nuclear escalation.
A Ukrainian recruit speaks with instructors during a five-week combat training course with the UK armed forces near Durrington in southern England on October 11, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.10.2022
Russian Precision Strikes on Ukraine
LIVE UPDATES: Kiev Preparing Provocation With Civilian Deaths

Washington's Nuclear Rhetoric and Possible False Flag

To complicate matters further, Washington has circulated the narrative of Moscow resorting to nuclear strikes "out of despair" from the outset of the special military operation.
The Biden administration misinterpreted Russian President Vladimir Putin's warning against using nuclear tactical weapons by the West in his September 21 address to evoke the idea of Russia's alleged "nuclear" blackmailing. On September 25, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan threatened Moscow of "catastrophic consequences" should it use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, even though Russia's nuclear doctrine explicitly rules out the first strike strategy.
“It’s very important that Moscow hears from us and knows from us that the consequences would be horrific. We’ve made that very clear," claimed Blinken.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for nothing short of a preventive nuclear strike on Russia, thus raising the stakes higher.
Apparently exploiting the Gulf War PR playbook, the US is depicting Russia is a loose and brutal international actor, according to Sterling.
"The US 'public relations' machine has been very successful," the journalist said. "They fool the public repeatedly. They use disinformation to tell lies, and censorship to prevent the discovery of those lies. They routinely fail to present basic facts and use common sense. And they do it with impunity. The public relations firm, Hill & Knowlton, which created the 'babies in incubators' hoax in 1991, was never punished. It is still active and now working for Ukraine. And yes, a false flag incident is a real danger. False claims of an incident in the Gulf of Tonkin helped get Congressional support for sending US troops to Vietnam. Something like this could be tried again."
Against the backdrop of Washington's threats and Zelensky's provocative rhetoric, the newly emerged information about Kiev's alleged plan to use a "dirty bomb," also known as a "radiological dispersal device" (RDD) are ringing alarm bells.
Unnamed credible sources in various countries revealed that the Kiev regime is preparing a provocation related to the detonation of the so-called "dirty bomb" in Ukraine to accuse Moscow of using weapons of mass destruction and launch a global anti-Russian campaign.
According to insiders, the administration of the Eastern Mining and Processing Plant located in the town of Zholtye Vody in Ukraine’s Dnepropetrovsk region, as well as the Kiev Institute for Nuclear Research, was tasked with making the "dirty bomb", a process that the sources said is being overseen by Kiev’s western curators. Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu voiced concerns about the potential provocation on October 23.
"There is a real risk of Armageddon," said Sterling. "If the US/NATO were to cross the line and engage in direct conflict it could lead to WW3. This could be very short if it escalated to nuclear weapons being used. War could break out and a nuclear first strike attempted by the US. This would be followed by Russian retaliation. This would mean the end of civilization. It is incredibly reckless and irresponsible for the Biden administration to keep escalating the conflict."
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