Russia About To Invade Ukraine: Maybe NEXT Wednesday?

Yesterday’s discussion took off from my Ukraine Invasion Scheduled for Wednesday [Feb. 16] Canceled. We focused initially on what emerged from German Chancellor Scholz’s discussions with President Putin Tuesday (as well as some of the “anomalies” in Western media coverage of that summit meeting).

After talking with Putin on Feb. 15, Scholz described the prospect of a “possible military conflict” over the question of Ukraine membership in NATO as “absurd.” Ukraine membership is “not on the agenda,” the German Chancellor pointed out, because there is zero likelihood in the foreseeable future of Ukraine meeting the entry qualifications. Scholz appealed to all those involved to “step back a bit” and “take stock.”

Mirabile dictu, the NY Times took a step in that direction on the 16th, assuming one has the patience to read all the way down to paragraph 19 (of 22).

Here’s the Times:

Mr. Putin appeared to dial down tensions this week in part because he had already made important early gains in a diplomatic effort that could still last for months. The United States, for instance, said it was prepared to revive talks on the placement of short- and intermediate-range missiles in Europe. Some dialogue had already begun last year.

Not a Bad Idea

The Chinese, Germans, and others have said this would be a great idea.  So who is feeding the feckless frenzy this morning, and why?  The MICIMATT is, understandably, the usual suspect, but so is politics in a narrower sense. Indeed, from the political side, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may have given that part of the game away when she said a bit too much to George “Is-Biden-a-Killer?” Stephanopoulos on Sunday:

Spilling the Beans?

STEPHANOPOULOS: The White House is warning of an imminent invasion of Ukraine. The Ukrainians seem to think that that’s all hype. Are – do you believe that Putin is poised to invade?

PELOSI: Well, I think we have to be prepared for it. … But if we were not threatening the sanctions and the rest, it would guarantee that Putin would invade. … And the president’s made it very clear. There’s a big price to pay for Russia to go there. So if Russia doesn’t invade, it’s not that he never intended to. It’s just that the sanctions worked.[Emphasis added.]

So it is hardly a surprise that this morning President Biden replayed, well, let’s call it a “broken record” to the media: “The threat of an invasion is very high…my sense is this will happen in the next several days,” warned Biden as he left the White House for a trip to Ohio.” (One wag asked whether underground bunkers in Ohio have an extra layer of concrete.

Putin and U.S. Presidents

President Putin is no stranger to the reality that US presidents are beset by domestic political pressures – like, in this case, having the opposing party take complete control of Congress next year. So, on the Ukraine imbroglio, when he tells the media, that everything is going according to plan (по плану), that plan must take into account the vicissitudes and disarray of current politics in the US While Putin attempts to exude confidence in dealing with this, this is largely pretense, given the immensity and complicated nature of the problem.

Putin acknowledged this last June in a keynote speech to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum:

“I am sure that it [US policy towards Russia] is primarily impacted by domestic political processes. Russia-US relations have to a certain extent become hostage to the internal political processes that are taking place in the United States.”

As if yet another complicating factor were needed, Putin is painfully aware that at key junctures in the past when a US president gave his word, well, it turned out not to be “the last word”, so to speak. In Oct. 2016, for example, Putin spoke of the “feverish” state of international relations at the time and lamented: “My personal agreements with the President of the United States have not produced results.” Putin complained about “people in Washington ready to do everything possible to prevent these agreements from being implemented in practice.”

For those with short memories, ten days before Putin said this, the US Air Force had just scuttled a cease-fire in Syria that had required 11 months of intense diplomacy and included personal approval by both Obama and Putin. I wrote about it at the time.

Blinken: Incomprehensibly Clever – or Dense?

Back to Ukraine and to what Secretary of State Antony Blinken might be thinkin’: when asked early this morning “What would be the upside for Putin by invading Ukraine?”, he could not think of any. Blinken actually suggested we should “ask Putin” (No, really!). (See No Thinkin’ Blinken)

And so it goes.

This originally appeared at

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. His 27-year career as a CIA analyst includes serving as Chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and preparer/briefer of the President’s Daily Brief. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

2 thoughts on “Russia About To Invade Ukraine: Maybe NEXT Wednesday?”

  1. Mr. Putin appeared to dial down tensions this week in part because he had already made important early gains in a diplomatic effort that could still last for months. The United States, for instance, said it was prepared to revive talks on the placement of short- and intermediate-range missiles in Europe. Some dialogue had already begun last year.

    The Times has it wrong, as usual.

    The ten-page Russian response to the US/NATO responses to Russia’s initial treaty proposals clearly show Russia is running out patience.

    They explicitly reject any proposal to discuss issues the the placement of intermediate-range missiles separately as opposed to treating the entire treaty proposals as a package. The Russians are not having any of that.

    We state that the American side did not give a constructive response to the basic elements of the draft security guarantees agreement prepared by the Russian side with the United States. We are talking about the rejection of further expansion of NATO, the withdrawal of the “Bucharest formula” that “Ukraine and Georgia will become members of NATO”, and the refusal to create military bases on the territory of states that were previously part of the USSR and are not members of the alliance, including the use of their infrastructure for conducting any military activity, as well as the return of military capabilities, including shock, and NATO infrastructure to the state of 1997, when the Founding Act of Russia — NATO was signed. These provisions are of fundamental importance for the Russian Federation.

    The package nature of Russian proposals has been ignored, from which “convenient” topics have been deliberately chosen, which, in turn, are “twisted” in the direction of creating advantages for the United States and its allies. This approach, as well as the accompanying rhetoric of American officials, reinforces reasonable doubts that Washington is really committed to correcting the situation in the field of Euro-security…

    Package nature of offers

    We note the readiness of the United States to work in detail on individual measures for arms control and risk reduction. At the same time, it was recorded that Washington finally recognized the validity of a number of Russian proposals and initiatives in these areas that have been put forward in recent years.

    At the same time, we once again draw the attention of the American side to the fact that Russia, in the documents we submitted on security guarantees, proposed to follow the path of a comprehensive long-term settlement of the unacceptable situation that continues to develop in the Euro-Atlantic area. First of all, we are talking about creating a stable foundation for the security architecture in the form of an agreement on NATO’s refusal from further actions that harm Russia’s security. This remains a constant imperative for us. In the absence of such a strong foundation, interrelated measures to control arms and reduce military risks, ensuring restraint and predictability of military activities in certain areas, even if they can be agreed upon, will not be sustainable in the future.

    Thus, the Russian proposals are of a package nature and should be considered in a complex without highlighting its individual components.

    In this regard, we would like to focus on the lack of a constructive reaction from Washington and Brussels to the most important elements of the Russian initiative that we have clearly identified. As for the issues of arms control, we consider them exclusively in the general context of a comprehensive, package approach to resolving the problem of security guarantees.


    LPR People’s Militia says Zelensky directly ordered escalation of Donbass conflict

    The ongoing aggravation of the situation is connected with [Vladimir] Zelensky’s visit to the zone of the so-called Joint Forces Operation (Kiev’s military operation in Donbass – TASS). After his departure, the shelling of the republics’ territory began along the entire front line. Therefore, the President of Ukraine personally gave instructions to escalate the conflict,” head of the People’s Militia Yan Leshchenko said in a statement published on Thursday on the department’s telegram channel.

    On Wednesday, Zelensky arrived on a working visit to Mariupol, where he addressed the military and security forces to mark Ukraine’s ‘Unity Day’ and stated that Ukraine is not afraid of its enemies and intends to defend itself. In addition, the Ukrainian leader, according to media reports, held a meeting with foreign ambassadors in the city. On Thursday, Zelensky set off on a boat across the Sea of Azov to the zone of military operations in Donbass.

    On Thursday morning, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics reported heavy shelling by Ukrainian security forces, including the use of heavy weapons. The republics noted that the situation on the line of contact has escalated dramatically.

  2. When you are dealing with Winken, Blinken and Nod you are talking about a Clown 🤡 🤡 🤡 Show so there are a lot of laughs 😂 😂 😂

Comments are closed.