The skies over Ukraine are getting darker, reports of the threat posed by Russian forces concentrated within its borders are becoming - and rightly so - more dramatic, and there does not seem to be a day that does not contribute to rising tensions.
Here, just yesterday it was reported that Belarus continues to arrive Russian forces that may open another front and participate in the invasion;
Similar to the US, Britain and Australia also began evacuating diplomatic staff from Kiev; while US President Biden was presented with a plan to send up to 50,000 American troops to Eastern Europe.
On the other hand, there is also a set of occurrences that seem to contradict the tension. The Ukrainian Security and Defense Council held a special hearing last night, following which it announced that "there is nothing we have not seen, there is no reason to panic." The European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Joseph Burrell, said that "unlike the US and the UK, the EU does not see even the slightest reason for staff evacuation." 39.1 percent believe that there will not be one and the rest are undecided.In other words - while the noise of war drums is increasing, the Ukrainian public has a large camp of skeptics.Is this a denial of reality? Not at all certain.
The current round of escalation began with the thickening of Russian forces at the borders (which remained there from the previous round, in the spring). This time he came up with a package of rather unfounded demands from the US and NATO not to spread east and recognize the former Soviet Union's republics as Russia's exclusive sphere of influence. Intra-Russian, designed to justify and fuel the repression of what is left of Russian civil society. Moscow may have estimated and perhaps even hoped that the West would fold - in part because of dependence on gas supplies to Europe - but the US did not give up and made it clear that it would not hold talks over the relevant heads of state, and then Russia stalled. "; But on the other hand, it forced Russia, which would have preferred to get what it wanted and to celebrate a diplomatic victory, to step up a gear in rhetoric if only to maintain prestige.
What happened beyond the statements that time is running out?
Not much: a cyber attack on Ukrainian governing bodies and an astronomical leap in reports of school arrests.
These are two moves that certainly do not contribute to calm, but are also not in the nature of breaking tools.
And in this situation the question arises again: Is the Russian invasion really so certain?
A series of signs indicate that Moscow is looking to get off the tree.
For example, on Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that the Chinese president had asked Putin not to harm the Beijing Olympics, which will open on February 4.
The report was denied in Russia, but so vigorously that it only heightened the suspicion.
On the contrary, a bill has been brewing in the Russian parliament for official recognition of the "republics" of Donetsk and Luhansk.
In a particular scenario, recognition can serve as an achievement and even pave the way for their subsequent incorporation into Russia.
And there are also profound factors - for example, the fact that Russia, despite its clear military advantage, is also deterred.
First, because the Ukrainian army is armed, trained and infinitely better prepared than eight years ago.
Second, because the prolongation of the war - certainly if there is a widespread invasion - could result in great casualties, which would be difficult to hide in the age of smartphones;
Third, because discrimination in wars has already created shocks in Russian rule (the First Crimean War, the Russo-Japanese War, and the catastrophe in Afghanistan).
To these can and should be added the economic burden: For several months now, inflation in Russia has been rising at alarming rates and many basic products have doubled in cost.
Russia has a lot to lose, and we have not yet said a word about the "doomsday weapons" that are being prepared on Capitol Hill: personal sanctions on Putin and especially on his associates, who for some reason prefer to keep their fortunes in the "rotting west."
Therefore, even at this stage, when it seems that the war can really start at any moment, there is still a high probability that this is an extortion exercise against the West that has simply gotten out of hand.
It seems that until the first shot is fired, we will not know for sure if the war started.
And it is not inconceivable that this will be a shot in the context of a Russian provocation.
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