IS Russia About to Invade Ukraine?

Short answer – No. The press has been full of hype this past week about an alleged ‘massing’ of the Russian army near the Ukrainian border, although the number of troops involved (supposedly about 4,000) is well below that needed for an invasion force. I discuss the issue in a new article for RT, that you can read here.

Suffice to say, as so often, the hype is overblown. If Russia does attack Ukraine, it won’t be something that happens out of the blue. The only credible scenario for such an attack would be if the Ukrainian army launched an all-out assault on the rebel forces in Donbass, killing large numbers of civilians. Were such an assault to take place, the possibility of Russian intervention is quite high. It would be catastrophic for Ukraine, whose army would almost certainly be crushed in short measure. Imagine what happened in Georgia in 2008 – the result would be much the same.

The consequences would also be bad for Russia – not only because of the inevitable loss of life, but because one can imagine that it would lead to an almost total severing of relations with the West. It’s best for everybody that this scenario be avoided. This means that Western powers should do what they can to make it clear to Ukraine that they would not support it in the event of war, and that Ukraine should not therefore attempt to regain its lost territories in Donbass by force. I don’t get the sense that they are doing this. If so, it is very regrettable.

Hopefully, sanity will prevail in Kiev. As I mention in my article, there seems to be some awareness of the risks. I reckon that the probability of all-out war is fairly low. But the fact that we are even talking of the possibility is a sign of how dangerous the situation has become.

24 thoughts on “IS Russia About to Invade Ukraine?”

  1. Good analysis, Professor.
    Unfortunately, the probability of Ukraine attacking Donbass is rather high right now, especially after Zelensky was recently granted a sacred phone call with his Lord and Master, a demented Joseph Biden.
    Biden told Zelensky that he would enjoy unconditional support from Washington against Russia, thus effectively giving the green light to attack Donbass (as Zelensky will interpret if he’s an idiot).

    The risk is that Zelensky the Clown will fall into the same trap as Saakashvili the Megalomaniac; that he will interpret Biden’s mumblings as “NATO will come to our aid after the war starts.” He might believe that if he attacks Donbass, and Russia counter-attacks, then NATO will become fully engaged, roar to the rescue, and defeat Russia on the ground.

    So, the probably scenario is:
    Zelensky will order his army to attack Donbass, to re-take it once and for all. Smart analysts believe that the Ukrainian plan is a feint and bluff, then Blitzkrieg operation pushing all the way to the Russian border in the course of 24 hours.
    Russian counter-strategy is likely: Let them actually take the border, let them think they won, keep our powder dry, Wait for it, wait for it…. Donbass residents will be forced to suffer many horrors and deaths and fight it out on their own for a period of two or three days. In order to prove to the world that the Ukrainians attacked first.
    Having made its moral case, Russia will then launch the big counter-offensive and drive the Ukrainians back. all the way to Odessa, and beyond.
    That’s what the scenario is shaping up to look like.
    In the end, neither America nor NATO will lift a finger for the Ukraine.
    Which will find itself much diminished in the end.

    That’s one prediction, which I personally consider “highly likely”. The nasty part is that (I predict) the Donbass people will have to to suffer on the cross and lose many precious civilian lives, in order to prove their victimhood to the world. Which won’t believe them anyhow, but at least there will be a record and a log of events, for the sake of future generations of historians.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “The consequences would also be bad for Russia – not only because of the inevitable loss of life, but because one can imagine that it would lead to an almost total severing of relations with the West.”

    ****

    Maybe not so bad. Merkel and Macron haven’t been so running dog in sync with the US neocon/neolib crowd.

    Hopefully, Matt Gaetz will be found to be okay, or okay enough. In a Fox News segment, he said that it shouldn’t be assumed that Ukraine is always right in its disagreements with Russia.

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  3. Where are the Ukrainian people?
    Where is their voice in this ?

    They can’t all be supporters of war on their own people in the Donbas?

    Are they all closer neo Nazi?

    They elected Zelensky in a landslide – can I assume he is popular with these policies?

    What do the other European countries such as Hungary and Romania and Poland who have their own vested interests in Ukraine think ?

    Even Turkey thinks it has a claim on Crimea

    At this point Russia has to think about its own security- Europe is not a friend they have shown they don’t care about Russia just this NATO expansion ideology.

    Europe will follow USA

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Turkey doesn’t have any kind of a legit claim to Crimea.

      Ukrainian public opinion isn’t so gung ho on warring over the rebel held Donbass area. There’s a loud influential svidomite (nationalist and anti-Russian group) pushing armed conflict, with the support of those in the West slanting in a neocon/neolib direction.

      Such a scenario takes attention away from the dire socioeconomic conditions in Ukraine. It’s assumed that Russia will take the criticism in the event of a war – no matter the level of fault on the Kiev regime side.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Guest: Zelensky was elected by a landslide and given the Parliament as well, by an overwhelming mandate. But his mandate from the actual people was to end the war in the East. Of course, he was not able to fulfill that campaign promise, because there are larger forces at work.

      But no, majority of Ukrainian people, from what I understand, do NOT support the war against Donbass. That’s just the radical Banderite minority.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I heard from one of the Ukrainian political analysts (on youtube) that this whole escalation had one purpose: to get a phone call from Biden. Because the conspicuous absence of it was getting embarrassing. Apparently Poroshenko did something similar in 2017.

    But of course any escalation can lead to unforeseen consequences.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds about right, Mao. People in Russophone blogosphere were starting to snicker that so much time had gone by, and Biden had not phoned Zelensky. Showing how completely unimportant he is.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. On the other hand… certain signs and portents are worrisome…
        For example, this piece, which describes the possible arrival of an American military attache delegation to the Donbass front lines.
        The arrival is supposed to occur either today (April 6) or next couple of days. The military attache is attached to the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, and they are supposedly planning to visit the Donbass front lines, in order to assess the situation. According to DPR Intelligence.

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  5. The US is goading the Ukraine to launch a military assault on the Donbass separatists. By air and sea, material is pouring in to the Ukraine while men and hardware has been moved to the front lines. The US hopes to provoke an incident that will cause the NordStream project to be terminated. The Ukraine is frightened of losing its gas transit money if that pipeline began operation. Just recently Romania stopped its purchase of Ukraine routed Russian gas in favour of the same via the TurkStream route. Most of the Donbass residents now hold Russian passports. Russia will not permit them to be subject to harm.

    If miltary action begins against the Donbass Russia will intervene. At the least the Ukrainian air and sea power will be obliterated. The west are fools to push the Russian so far on their direct borders. But they wil leave the ruin of that failed state for the west to repair.

    Russia can stand the heat, the west cannot. Russia can do business elsewhere, the west is destroying itself. As everywhere, they have no exit strategy so the road to Hell is worn smooth by loudmouths and its downhill all the way. As evidenced by the rule of my neighbour, Premier Doug Ford.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “Short answer – No.”

    The short answer might not necessarily the correct one.

    https://vz.ru/news/2021/4/5/1093042.html

    “The DPR announced the arrival of a delegation from the Defense Attaché Office at the US Embassy in Ukraine, and did not rule out that in the coming days, Ukrainian security forces may stage fire provocations in Donbass to demonstrate to their “Western curators” the aggravation of the situation on the line of contact.”

    and the saker analysis thus:

    “The biggest danger right now is that western politicians are completely misreading not only Putin, but all of Russia. They are missing the key point: Russia cannot and will not retreat further, she won’t meekly declare that the Donbass or Crimea belong to the Nazi regime in Kiev. Russia is ready, capable and willing to fight US/NATO forces if needed, including by using tactical and even strategic nukes.Propaganda wise, it is clear that irrespective of what Russia decides to do, she will be completely demonized.

    The current level of anti-Russian hatred in the West is now equal to, or even higher, than before the Nazi attack on Russia during WWII.”

    and continues:

    “So what would be the goals of the “Biden” Admin?…
    Create a clash between Russia and the EU which would give meaning to NATO, justify the deployment of more US forces in Europe……..crashing NS2 (which will happen as soon as the conflict goes “hot” in the Donbass), the US will make the EU not only far more dependent on the US, but also much less competitive”

    https://thesaker.is/what-will-the-empire-do-to-support-the-ukronazis-open-thread-4/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And another Sign and Portent: I was reading today that Zelensky is actually in Qatar. He flew there for whatever unknown reason, and is taking flak from the patriots at home for “abandoning the country” on the eve of a Russian invasion. Two main theories:
      1.) He just wanted to go there for whatever reason, maybe a swanky vacation,
      2.) Sh*t is about to hit fan, and he doesn’t want to be around when it does. Better to have an escape route.

      Anybody’s guess, but I’d love to be a fly on his wall!

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  7. You’re making me laugh, Paul, with “if sanity prevails…” what have the last 7 years taught us except the fact that any prolonged term in that capital virtually assures the full dissipation of sanity?
    The only thing that has changed from the previous (multiple) times that
    these attacks appeared imminent, and did not come to reality, is that the US has clearly fallen behind China and appears on the cusp of finally losing the Nordstream bullying exercise. A Russian counterattack would be a way for the US to try and get a full rupturing of commercial ties between the key European states and Russia, and possibly sell some hugely expensive US shale gas. Me thinks the Russians have thought through all of these scenarios years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Also just saw this piece . DPR Deputy Chief of Ministry of Information, Daniil Bessonov predicts that Ukies will attack on April 20. He says Banderites have everything in place to launch an offensive, they are just waiting for the rain and mud to settle in and dry up a bit, so they can maneuver their tanks better.
    Bessonov is not losing much sleep over this, he says DPR forces are fully prepared for the invasion and have rehearsed every possible scenario.

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  9. On par with Ben Hodges, the below self described “Russian-Ukrainian”, blatantly ignores the overwhelming preponderance of culpability from the Kiev regime side. Her “pre-meditated manufactured garbage” point is 100% projection.

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  10. https://www.geostrategy.org.uk/research/how-russia-positions-the-united-kingdom/

    Hi Paul, good day, have you seen this from Andrew Foxall: “comprehensive and thoughtful analysis of the way that Russia’s rulers look at the United Kingdom’s (UK) role in international affairs embraces the contradictions embedded in the Kremlin’s by now engrained commitment to its self proclaimed rights as a ‘Great Power’.”
    You might consider it relevant material for discussion.

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    1. Founded in 2021 as a Company Limited by Guarantee, we aim to shape British strategic ambition in a way that empowers the United Kingdom to succeed and prosper in the twenty-first century. We also look beyond Britain’s national borders, with a broad focus on free and open nations in the Euro-Atlantic, the Indo-Pacific, and Polar regions.

      Company Limited by Guarantee
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      Incorporated Jan 13, 2021
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  11. I agree with the analysis but come to a different conclusion for the exactly the same reasons as described. Russian military involvement will be an act of aggression under International law and will, as Prof Robinson rightly points out, lead to a new cold war and Iron Wall. The last cold war was, among other things, US’s instrument to keep Europe under control. For Americans this is a win-win. For Europe, Russia and Ukraine this is going to be lose-lose.

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    1. On the second thought, Ukraine is going to benefit. It will, of course, lose the battle but win the war: Russian army would, most likely, repeat the Georgian scenario and would not move beyond LDNR and would not occupy Ukraine. Ukraine will return to the forefront of international politics, maybe even get a US military base and so on, Western stronghold against the barbaric East.

      Like

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