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Global conflict

Invasion imminent: Russia will go big or go home in Ukraine

Vladimir Putin will opt for the “nightmare scenario” of a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, UK Defense Ministry figures fear. At the present time, the situation is difficult to defuse. The British sent thousands of advanced anti-tank weapons to Ukraine as a deterrent or as a provocation. The EU states together spend much more money on armaments than Russia every year and in 10 years the gap could be as big as 2 trillion euros. If, according to Russia’s calculations, war makes more sense than peace, then there will be war.

The White House warned yesterday that the situation was “extremely dangerous” and that Moscow could launch an attack “at any time”. It has long been hoped that Putin would take the “easy option” of deploying troops to the Donbass region in south-eastern Ukraine and then negotiating for it to become an independent state, providing a buffer between pro-western Ukraine and Russia forms.

But the latest intelligence information points to a full-scale invasion of the country, as a partial conquest would not be that worthwhile. Hard economic sanctions will come one way or the other.

Armored divisions are en route to neighboring Belarus for “exercises” and are within range of an attack on Kiev. Last night a senior UK Ministry of Defense source said:

“We firmly believe that [Putin’s] preference is for a full-scale invasion rather than a limited offensive. In a way, he might as well attack as much of Ukraine as he can get because the penalties are exactly the same. Furthermore, if he only occupies the eastern regions, he will never be able to retake all of Ukraine, as Ukrainian forces will inevitably be reinforced in the rest of the country as a result.”

Likewise, Russia could reckon that an additional conquest of Poland and the Baltic States would be even more worthwhile. Go big or go home.

Officials said last week that Russia had used agents trained in sabotage and urban warfare to launch a “false flag” attack on pro-Russian proxy forces, providing the pretext for an invasion. At the same time, social media campaigns have intensified, portraying Ukraine as an aggressor.

On Monday, two C-17 transports left Britain carrying 2,000 armor-piercing missile systems and soldiers to teach Ukrainian forces how to use them. These missiles are relatively expensive, but not nearly as expensive as the Russian tanks that can be destroyed with them. The longer Russia waits, the more expensive the invasion will be. And the economic cushion is not infinite.

The Russian National Welfare Fund aims to stabilize pensions in the event of an oil price crash. It was filled with excess income from oil exports. The volume is now 183 billion dollars or 11.7 percent of the gross domestic product. The central bank is stashing a total of $630.5 billion. In mid-2020, gold’s share of reserves exceeded that of the US dollar for the first time in history.

Even hardened cold warriors from the US government didn’t think an Eastern European expansion was a good idea: Too costly, no guarantees and always the risk of Russia retaking the territory. The EU modernized the former Soviet states which were flat broke. Now that hundreds of billions have been spent, Russia wants these countries back.

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