The United States under Obama doesn’t want to call Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an “invasion,” even though that’s what it is. The latest lingo out of the State Department is that Russia’s action is an “illegal incursion.”
Intelligence from the US and UK indicate that this “incursion” has grown to number about 5,000 Russian troops in Ukraine fighting alongside the “separatists,” or more accurately, Russian proxies.
Russia increasing its forces in Ukraine is a major sign that the Ukrainian government has been winning the war. Putin took the step of directly threatening that government.
MOSCOW — President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia reportedly told a European official that he could “take Kiev in two weeks” if he wanted to, adding a new dimension to the tensions building in Ukraine as Russian forces become more involved in the fighting there.
As NATO leaders gather in Wales for a summit meeting, Mr. Putin’s remarks and the increasing presence of Russian military units in Ukraine have posed a stark new challenge to the alliance about how to respond to Moscow’s apparent willingness to exert military force to achieve its foreign policy goals.
At the same time, Putin is threatening the rest of the West: Say too much about Ukraine, and you might find yourself on the pointy end of nuclear weapons.
Moscow doesn’t want or intend to wade into any “large-scale conflicts,” Putin insisted at a youth forum, state-run Itar-Tass reported. A few breaths later, he made the point that Russia is “strengthening our nuclear deterrence forces and our armed forces,” making them more efficient and modernized.
“I want to remind you that Russia is one of the most powerful nuclear nations,” the President said. “This is a reality, not just words.”
He later warned, “We must always be ready to repel any aggression against Russia and (potential enemies) should be aware … it is better not to come against Russia as regards a possible armed conflict.”
CNN asks what Putin’s end game is. It’s not very complicated. Putin and maps of Ukraine make that clear enough. Putin has consistently lamented the demise of the Soviet Union and sought to restore Russia’s prestige. Taking Ukraine, in all or in part, certainly brings the fear factor back to Russian foreign policy. At a time when the Obama administration leaves Americans to die at the hands of terrorists to avoid putting a single pair of US boots on the ground when threats arise, Putin will put whole a whole army on the ground to wage aggression against his neighbors. The US loses its embassy in Tripoli; Russia threatens to conquer Kiev. Ukraine was part of the Soviet empire; taking it restores part of that empire. Taking eastern Ukraine gives Russia a tighter grip on European energy sources. Putin is using the ethnic Russians in Ukraine to stir up unrest there, and other former Soviet satellites, and unlike Obama on ISIS in Syria, Putin does have a strategy.