Much like the GOP claim that antifa caused the attack on 1/6, does Russia need to invade Ukraine to stop Ukraine from taking back the territory that Russia already took. Pretty much for the same reasons that NATO isn’t interested in invading Russia.
Much like Trump's move to have the federal government seize states' voting machines was an attempt to overturn the election, rather than to "seek evidence of fraud," so many pretexts are being manufactured. For example, Trump is today demanding they investigate Mike Pence for not overturning the election of Biden, and now Putin claims “NATO screwed us over” because something, something. More interesting will be if the Russian incursion begins when the first indictment of Trump drops.
KYIV, Ukraine — President Vladimir Putin hit back publicly against the West on Tuesday, accusing the United States and NATO of using Ukraine to hem in Russia and ignoring Moscow’s security concerns.
The Russian leader, speaking in Moscow during in a news conference with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, said the Kremlin was studying U.S. and NATO replies to recent Kremlin proposals seeking to check NATO military activity in the region, one element in a flurry of diplomatic activity aimed at averting a renewed Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“But it is already clear that Russia’s fundamental concerns have been ignored,” Putin said. “NATO refers to the right of countries to choose freely, but you cannot strengthen someone’s security at the expense of others.”
For weeks, East-West tensions have mounted over the buildup of more than 100,000 Russian troops around Ukraine, which U.S. and NATO officials say may be a precursor to a Russian offensive like the one that allowed Moscow to annex Crimea in 2014.
As for the U.S. statement that it had received a written reply from Moscow, Lavrov said there was a “misunderstanding.” Both sides said Tuesday that Moscow has not yet replied fully to the United States.
“Russia has not given an answer to what seems to be the main problem nowadays,” Peskov said. “The answer is still being prepared.”
Blinken and Lavrov spoke by telephone for 30 minutes Tuesday to discuss the Ukraine crisis and the U.S. desire for de-escalation, said a senior State Department official familiar with the call. Lavrov said the Russians’ full written response to the U.S. proposal will be first sent to Putin for his approval and then delivered to the United States.
Putin’s threat to invade Ukraine is clearly linked to Europe and the United States, but this time perhaps in a different way. Rather than invading without warning, Russia has ostentatiously prepared for an invasion, and then warned the West that whatever happens is all their fault. Russia has elbowed the Europeans aside, insisting on speaking directly with the Americans. This has brought Ukraine (yet again) to American domestic politics, in a configuration that is awkward for President Biden. Perhaps that is the point. Moscow prefers a Trump administration to a Biden administration. Trump has said that he would withdraw the United States from NATO in a second term. Anything that weakens Biden might then be regarded as in the Russian interest, or rather in the interest of the Putin regime.
But is it all strategic? Last July, President Putin published a strange missive about Ukraine and Russia and their historical relationship. It present the kind of argument that makes historians wince. The basic idea is that a thousand years ago there was a country called Rus, the most important city in Rus was Kyiv, and now a thousand years later Kyiv is the capital of Ukraine, and therefore Ukraine cannot be a real country, and everyone involved and their descendants must be Russians or a brotherly nation to Russians. A historian confronted with this sort of mess is in the same unhappy situation as a zoologist in a slaughterhouse. You do have expertise, and feel you have to say something, and so: oh yes, that is clearly a femur, and that cartilage was probably from a snout, and that there is a bit of liver; but this isn't your job, and you wish profoundly that you were somewhere else. So I could say: Rus' was founded by Vikings, Moscow did not exist at the time, Kyiv was not ruled from Moscow until late in its history, the story of the brotherly nations is recent, as for that matter is national identity in the modern sense. But you can't really engage in historical argument with people who are set on believing a myth, let alone with presidents who believe that the past is just there to confirm their present prejudices.
What sets this deployment apart from the previous ones is the ratio of enablers to combat troops. Running peacetime training requires a lot less supplies, redundancy in infrastructure such as communications and live munitions than a full fledged invasion against an opponent that has the level of firepower Ukraine currently has. Russia has also been building the required infrastructure. including fuel pipelines and repair depots along the Ukrainian border for years now.
What is most striking about Putin’s essay is the underlying uncertainty about Russian identity. When you claim that your neighbors are your brothers you are having an identity crisis. There is a nice German saying about this: “Und willst Du nicht mein Bruder sein, so schlag' ich Dir den Schädel ein”: if you won’t be my brother, I’ll beat your skull in. That is Putin’s posture. In his essay, what Russia lacks is a future, and the nation is much more about the future than it is about the past.
What make the Russian claims even more unbelievable are the recent Russian actions. Russian armed forces have been conducting “snap exercises”, that are effectively masked mobilizations of combat units, for the past few years. In the past two weeks Russian armed forces have mobilized at least six armies. These formations contain at least 2 tank divisions, 2 mechanized infantry divisions, 1 airborne division, 16 motorized infantry brigades, 7 artillery brigades, 4 missile brigades. Additionally at least 3 spetznatz brigades and 1 airborne division are at 24h readiness at all times.
These formations do total to nearly 100 000 soldiers in well equipped, trained and mobile formations. These numbers do not include the troops that are immediately next to Ukrainian border or in the occupied Crimea.
During the cold war, this kind of mobilization would have led to a full scale mobilization of the NATO forces in Europe. But after several years of “Snap drills” and “strategic relocation exercises” the west no longer reacts to this muscle flexing. Western military analysts are well aware that Russian “snap drills” have the capability to turn into full scale invasion in a few hours. Before our political machines have reached a decision the Russian army could be in Kiev… or in Riga, Tallinn, Vilnius, Warsaw or Helsinki.
Hours before meeting Johnson, Zelensky also announced the creation of a new “format of political cooperation” involving Ukraine, Poland and the U.K. in his address to Ukraine’s parliament.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, the country’s second-highest official behind President Andrzej Duda, attended the parliament session soon meeting with Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and later Zelensky.
According to Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, the new trilateral partnership will strengthen security and develop trade and readiness for concrete action.
“Warsaw, Kyiv and London don’t only understand the threats to European security and have a strategy to counter Russian activity, but also have great potential for trilateral cooperation in trade, investment and energy, including renewables,” said Kuleba.