Russia: We’re Pulling Troops Away From Ukraine
Russia: We’re Pulling Troops Away From Ukraine
Russia wants the world to know that they have no intention of invading Ukraine. Heck, they’ve even pulled troops away from the border, they said. Everyone needs to chill!
Here’s what Russia’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyanskiy, told CBS News on Wednesday night:
Did the Russian ambassador convince you? And if he did, can I sell you a bridge?
Russia is most certainly not pulling troops away from the Ukraine border, say US and British officials. In fact, it looks like they’ve added more than 7000 combatants in recent days.
Lt. Gen. Hockenhull, British chief of defense, said in a statement:
“Contrary to their claims, Russia continues to build up military capabilities near Ukraine. Russia has the military mass in place to conduct an invasion of Ukraine.”
Plus, an American official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added that while Russia made a big deal about pulling out some troops, the opposite has actually happened:
“They received a lot of attention for that claim both here and around the world. But we now know it was false.”
Not only that, but Russians have also been making claims about finding mass graves of civilians that were supposedly killed by Ukrainian forces. They also assert that the United States and its allies have been developing chemical and biological weapons. Naturally US officials categorically deny the allegations, but predict that there will be more fake news from Russia in the coming days.
Can you say false flag operations?
On Tuesday, Joe Biden said that “over 150,000” Russian troops had amassed at Ukraine’s borders. However, it’s not clear if Biden had included the 7000 extra troops that the administration later claimed were amassing in the area.
Mikk Marran, the director general of the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service, upped that figure. He’s counting between 150,000 and 170,000 troops, which he also believes are ready to attack:
“The Russian Armed Forces are ready to attack at any moment. We are counting around 150,000 to 170,000 troops. Russia has the full combat support system needed for action in place. And we also see that the Air Force and the Black Sea Fleet are ready to support the attack.”
So who are you gonna believe — Russia or Estonia, the northernmost Baltic nation which borders Russia on the east? And which could also be in Putin’s crosshairs, too, along with Latvia and Lithuania, the other two Baltic nations.
I’ll take Estonia for $500, Alex.
After all, the Baltic nations were once part of the old Soviet Union, so they know all too well how Russia operates. And it looks like Putin’s goal is to get the band back together, too.
Russia is not only threatening Ukraine with its troops. It looks like they may be toying with Ukraine’s cybersecurity as well.
On Wednesday, a Ukrainian cybersecurity official reported that someone conducted a cyberattack on the nation’s defense ministry and army’s websites on Tuesday evening. Plus, the same actors also attacked the interfaces of Ukraine’s two largest banks as well. Both the websites and banks were hit with distributed denial-of-service attacks, or DDoS. That’s when hackers flood servers until they shut down due to the overload. These attacks were the largest ever of their kind in Ukraine, and they also “bore traces of foreign intelligence services,” according to the official.
So who might be behind this mischief, hmm?
Ilya Vityuk, Head of the Ukrainian Intelligence Agency’s Cyber Security Department, has his suspicions:
“We know today that, unfortunately, the only country that is interested in such strikes on our country, especially against the background of mass panic over a possible military invasion is, unfortunately, the Russian Federation.”
Meanwhile, the United States has bolstered NATO defenses in Europe by sending F-35 fighter jets to Germany. The jets arrived at Spangdahlem Air Base on Monday, although Air Force Reserve Command didn’t announce their arrival until Wednesday.
Plus, this particular jet, the F-35A Lightning II, is America’s most advanced fighter. It can carry out “a variety of missions to deter aggression and defend Allies should deterrence fail,” said the Air Force. The commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa added:
“The deployment of U.S. F-35As to Spangdahlem Air Base increases the defensive posture of the NATO Alliance and enhances our ability to operate together. We are facing a dynamic environment and this deployment significantly enhances our support to NATO’s defenses.”
But the F-35s aren’t the only planes the US has sent to support NATO. America also sent eight F-15Es to Poland, as well as six KC-135 Stratotankers to Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
Does America want to go to war with Russia? Sane Americans don’t want to get tangled up in a war with Putin, of course. But even though we’re committed to supporting our allies in NATO, and we’re not sending those Air Force planes directly to Ukraine, there’s something very unsettling here.
The Vietnam War for the United States began with military advisers taking over when the French left in 1955. Assistance then expanded when President John F. Kennedy sent a Navy ship with helicopters and crew to Vietnam in November, 1961. In less than two weeks American pilots were flying those helicopters in combat support for the South Vietnamese.
The rest, as they say, is history. And it’s not a good history for the US, either.
So are we tempting fate? Especially since we have Joe Biden as president, a weak leader for whom the thuggish Vladimir Putin has no fear. A president who holds a one-hour phone conversation with Putin to stop his aggressive behavior, while Putin smiles and continues to intimidate Ukraine. And then lies about it.
So yes, I’m nervous about the Ukrainian situation. Especially because I’m not confident about the competence of Joe Biden.