Author Topic: Bipolar attitude around the future "Russian invasion of Ukraine" between Western  (Read 10843 times)


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   Bipolar attitude around the future "Russian invasion of Ukraine" between Western hysteria and apparent calm in Kiev
Donbas Insider

Jan 26, 2022

   As more and more countries begin to evacuate their diplomatic staff and families from Ukraine, fuelling hysteria over the threat of an (imaginary) Russian invasion of the country, Ukrainian authorities are calling for calm, saying that there is no indication that such a scenario is imminent. This radically different attitude between Kiev and its Western bosses is surprising, and begs the question: is Russian invasion of Ukraine just a fairy tale invented by the West, or is Kiev playing a bad remake of the famous song "Everything is fine, Madame la Marquise"?

After the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, it is now the turn of Canada, the Netherlands and Germany to propose the families of their diplomats to leave Ukraine if they so wish, and to recommend that their nationals do not go there. Japan has also recommended that its citizens leave the country "as long as there are commercial flights" and is considering evacuating them. France, for its part, is just calling on its citizens to avoid travelling to Ukraine, unless absolutely necessary.

At the same time, the airline Lufthansa has changed its flight schedule to Ukraine, officially for operational reasons, and according to the Ukrainian media, this is to avoid its flight crew being forced to sleep on site (with the risk of being stranded there in the event of a sudden escalation in the situation).

In the face of these chain reactions from Western countries, the speech calling for calm and saying that there is no imminent invasion of Ukraine by Russia, made last night by the Ukrainian authorities, is likely to cause cognitive dissonance.

Indeed, on 24 January 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky convened an extraordinary meeting of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, at the end of which many expected important statements.

But instead, after the meeting, Ukrainian Defence Minister Alexey Reznikov called for no panic, and said that the information available to the Ukrainian authorities does not indicate that Russia is preparing an invasion of Ukraine in the immediate future.

"I do not attach much importance to such a scenario. Our armed forces, our command and staff have all the options in hand and know how to act. To date, the facts observed by our intelligence services and those of the partner countries (suggest) that no strike force has been created by the Russian Federation indicating that it will launch an offensive tomorrow. There is no such threat. So I ask you not to create panic," he said.

Faced with this reassuring statement, many commentators wondered why Zelensky had called an emergency meeting of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council if "everything is fine, Madame la Marquise".

The answer may lie in the statement made by the Ukrainian Prime Minister, Denis Shmygal, after the same meeting.

"The key message is not to panic, not to make unfounded accusations. It's very important today, from an economic point of view, to stay calm, to be firmly committed to our work," he said.

These two statements calling for no panic, when last week the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture began distributing brochures with instructions in case of war to businesses in Kiev, and the Ukrainian army is stockpiling everything it needs for an offensive in the Donbass, ring somewhat hollow.

The Ukrainian authorities may have made a new turn in rhetoric, by withdrawing the controversial draft law on the transition period (which totally violates the Minsk agreements, see my article of 2021 on this subject), by saying they are ready to negotiate (from Reznikov who says he is ready to discuss with Sergey Shoygu, the Russian Defence Minister, to the Ukrainian delegation in the contact group that pretended to want to discuss the decentralisation of Ukraine before changing its mind), or by swearing that Kiev will not attack anyone, the reality on the ground tells a different story.

Indeed, confirming information provided recently by the DPR (Donetsk People's Republic) people's militia, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence press agency, ArmyInform, announced that British instructors are training Ukrainian soldiers in the use of NLAW anti-tank rocket launchers, which London recently delivered to Ukraine in large quantities.

British instructors have also trained the five Ukrainian sabotage-recognition groups that have just arrived in the Lisichansk region, opposite the LPR (Lugansk People's Republic). According to information from the LPR's people's militia, the groups' mission is to carry out acts of sabotage on vital civilian infrastructure, including the western filtering station, which supplies part of the Republic's drinking water.

And the deployment of Ukrainian soldiers is sometimes at the expense of the civilian population, as in the village of Lopaskino, where the soldiers of the 79th brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (FAU) evicted the inhabitants of Karl Marx Street from their homes to accommodate the personnel of the 3rd battalion.

The LPR People's Militia also reported a sharp increase in radio communications on AFU networks, that Kiev is preparing additional places in military hospitals to receive the sick and wounded, and that two mobile crematoria have been spotted in Kramatorsk.

At the same time, Kiev is creating and training territorial defence units, and it is not only in the Donbass that the Ukrainian army is accumulating troops and equipment. For example, the head of the Crimean parliament, Vladimir Konstantinov, has said that the Ukrainian army has stepped up its activities near the border with the peninsula.

"Ukrainian soldiers have swarmed over the areas closest to Crimea, and the actor playing the president says they "will not forget" our peninsula. This means that we have to prepare for a new manifestation of Ukrainian ‘love' for us," he told a meeting of the parliamentary presidium.

If Ukraine seems to be continuing its preparations for an offensive in the Donbass (or even a provocation against Crimea), why then pretend that everything is fine? Firstly, to deflect the accusation that it has provoked the escalation and resumption of the conflict, by making it appear that it has no warlike plans and is merely the victim of the evil Russia.

Secondly, because Western hysteria is having a deleterious effect on the Ukrainian economy, as revealed by the slip of the tongue of the Ukrainian Prime Minister. Announcements of the departure of diplomats' families and the beginning of the evacuation of staff from some Western embassies have caused the hryvnia to fall, made investors nervous, caused the stock market value of major Ukrainian companies to fall, and caused foreigners to sell their real estate in Ukraine.

Moreover, who would lend money to a country about to be invaded? No one would. As a result, Ukraine may find it difficult to get new loans to pay back previous ones, and risks defaulting.

This is why Ukraine is trying to calm things down publicly: to stop the financial losses the country is suffering, while no military action has yet been taken in either direction. It is also possible that these financial losses due to Western media hysteria are a means (deliberately created by Washington) to force Zelensky to launch his country into a war that he knows he will lose.

The Ukrainian President is now caught between Scylla and Charybdis. Between defaulting and the total collapse of the country, or the resumption of the war in the Donbass, the defeat of his army, and potentially the loss of new territories. Two options that will earn him the enmity of the Ukrainian people.

It remains to be seen whether a third option will emerge (by a miracle) from the meeting to be held tomorrow in Paris between the political advisors of the Normandy Format.