News & Politics

U.S. Warns Allies of Potential Russian Move Against Ukraine

AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool

Russian President Vladimir Putin has amassed thousands of troops on the border with Ukraine and apparently doesn’t care very much what Joe Biden thinks about that.

U.S. intelligence officials are telling our European allies that the move by Putin is not a bluff and that the U.S. and Europe need to coordinate a response that includes economic and military moves.

Director of National Intelligence Avril D. Haines traveled to Brussels this week and briefed NATO ambassadors of the threat. The trip had been scheduled previously but the Russian buildup was a prime topic of conversation.

New York Times:

American and British intelligence are increasingly convinced that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia is considering military action to take control of a larger swath of Ukraine, or to destabilize the country enough to usher in a more pro-Moscow government.

American and allied officials sounded an alarm in April, as Moscow built up forces near its border with Ukraine. But the current buildup, which appears to involve more troops and sophisticated weaponry, has engendered more concerns — particularly as Russia has moved to jam Ukrainian surveillance drones. Hostilities have also spiked since Ukraine used one of its drones to attack a separatist howitzer, prompting Russia to scramble jets.

William J. Burns, director of the CIA, traveled to Moscow earlier this month to warn the Russians against attacking Ukraine. But this full-court press is falling on deaf ears. Vladimir Putin has correctly judged the situation and is likely deciding how best to proceed with his plans.

Related: Another Russian Attack on America’s Food Supply—Because Nobody Takes Biden Seriously

As to what those plans are, we can only make an educated guess. It may be a stab at pressuring Ukraine to change its government, making it more pro-Moscow. Or perhaps Putin wants to slice off more Ukrainian territory. But the window for him to take action will only be open for a while.

With Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany leaving the world stage, there is less pressure on Ukraine to make concessions. Without a coalition in Germany, there is little leadership in Berlin.

Rising energy prices have made Europe more dependent on cheap Russian gas supplies, especially as winter deepens and gas reserves in Europe drop further. Fear of losing access to Russian energy could limit Europe’s support of tough sanctions.

Then there’s the weak sister in the White House who would almost certainly be in favor of sending a strongly worded letter to Putin, begging him to hold back. You can imagine the laughter in the Kremlin over that.

The refugee crisis in Belarus may also serve Putin’s purposes, which is why many in the west believe that ultimately, the Russian president is behind it. At this point, it’s not hard to see who the master of Europe is when NATO countries grovel before him, begging him not to raise energy prices, as Ukraine and the Baltic nations are threatened with national extinction by the Russian military.

Once again, Putin is exposing NATO as a hollow shell.