Interview with Ray McGovern: Update on the Week in Ukraine

Journalist Jeff J. Brown and Ray interviewees
July 24, 2022

I pointed to three very important developments over recent days:

1 – Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian openly declared support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, casting the blame on NATO and the U.S.

2 – Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian did the same. Here’s part of his statement:

As the one who started the Ukraine crisis and the biggest factor fueling it, the US needs to deeply reflect on its erroneous actions of exerting extreme pressure and fanning the flame on the Ukraine issue and stop playing up bloc confrontation and creating a new Cold War by taking advantage of the situation. The US needs to facilitate a proper settlement of the crisis in a responsible way and create the environment and conditions needed for peace talks between parties concerned.

3 – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced on July 20 that Moscow’s territorial aims have broadened beyond the Donbass. “Now the geography is different,” he explained, blaming the longer-range weapons being provided to Ukraine and citing HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems) as exhibit A. (Their range is 50 miles.) Lavrov said such weapons will require Russian forces to “move even farther forward from the current line.

Media Mum; Austin Dismissive

Establishment media have not given Lavrov’s announcement the attention it deserves. Worse still, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin seems to have missed its significance.

Several hours after Lavrov announced Russia’s change in policy, Austin was asked to talk about it and about HIMARS. This is what he said:

I’m sure that Ukrainian leadership will be pleased to hear Lavrov’s confirmation of the effectiveness of not only that system, but how they’re using that system. As you know, Russians are currently in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia [both mentioned by Lavrov as part of the new “geography”] So the Russian forces, they’re there now, so you have to wonder who he’s talking to. … I think he’s talking to the people in Russia who have been ill-informed throughout. … ”

So, Russia announces a basic change of plans; it will be a wider war because of longer-range artillery coming in from the West that requires its army to push on beyond the Donbass, the Russian Foreign Minister says.

As for the US Defense Secretary, he says, See? HIMARS works!

Did Austin miss Lavrov’s point? Or was he in no way fazed to hear officially (from Lavrov) that tit-for-tat escalation has succeeded in bringing a new “forever war” in which Ukraine will be a testing ground for US weapons.

This originally appeared at RayMcGovern.com.

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).