After a week of Russian negotiations with NATO on the Russian troop buildup surrounding Ukraine, neither side has budged.
It’s clear that the negotiations were only a pretext to prevent an accusation of a surprise attack and naked aggression.
The next step is the provocation for an attack.
**U.S. Charges Russia Sent Saboteurs Into Ukraine to Create Pretext for Invasion**
**The intelligence said the operatives were “trained in urban warfare and in using explosives,” and could try to stage an incident.**
**By David E. Sanger, The New York Times, Jan. 14, 2022**
**The White House did not release details of the evidence it had collected to back up its charge, though one official said it was a mix of intercepted communications and observations of the movements of people. In an email, a U.S. official wrote that “Russia is laying the groundwork to have the option of fabricating a pretext for invasion, including through sabotage activities and information operations, by accusing Ukraine of preparing an imminent attack against Russian forces in eastern Ukraine...**
**The U.S. official who described the intelligence, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, added that the assessment found that “the Russian military plans to begin these activities several weeks before a military invasion, which could begin between mid-January and mid-February. We saw this playbook in 2014 with Crimea."....** [end quote]
The best time for an invasion would be after the ground freezes so the tanks won’t get bogged down in mud.
Ukraine is not part of NATO. The U.S. has not promised boots on the ground to defend Ukraine, but will place strong financial and economic penalties on Russia.
It’s clear that Vladimir Putin wants to re-incorporate Ukraine to significantly recreate the old USSR. Ukraine used to be called “the breadbasket of the USSR.” I think this is all but a fait accompli.
Since Russia doesn’t have many economic ties with the U.S., the invasion may roil the markets temporarily but I don’t think it will have a large, lasting effect.
Medium-sized nuclear (or pre-nuclear) powers around the world will observe that Ukraine gave up its significant nuclear arsenal when the USSR fell on the pledge that it would be safe. How different would the situation be today if Ukraine still had nukes to point at Moscow? This will help destabilize regions as countries like Iran and North Korea will get this message loud and clear.