Ever since Ukraine began to make noises about moving closer to the European Union and the United States Russia has waged what amounts to a low-level war against Ukraine. The purpose of that activity has clearly been to punish Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, for drifting out of Moscow’s orbit and seeking to steer its own course. Most recently, the Russians appeared to have notched up the level of violence with the seizure of several Ukrainian vessels.
“Russia has been waging a hybrid war against our country for a fifth year. But with an attack on Ukrainian military boats it moved to a new stage of aggression,” Ukrainian President Poroshenko said in response to the incident.
Now, it appears that things may be getting ready to take an even more dramatic turn, and that we may be on the verge of a major conventional war on the Eurasian steppe. Poroshenko has accused the Russians of massing 80,000 troops, 1,400 artillery and rocket systems, 900 tanks, 2,300 armored combat vehicles and more than 500 military planes and 300 helicopters in and around Ukraine. At one Russian base alone, satellite imagery of which Poroshenko showed reporters, there are now hundreds of Russian tanks. That base is roughly ten miles from the Russian-Ukrainian border.
While the official Russian response has been to deny the Ukrainian claims, independent evidence appears to lend them credence. The Russians do appear to be flowing substantial numbers of frontline movements into the region bordering Ukraine. While this may all be a bluff designed to remind the Ukrainians that the Russian bear still has a bite, it may also be the runup to invasion. Igor Koziy, a military expert at the Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation, said recently, “The possibility of the Russian invasion at the moment is between 70 to 80 percent, especially during the upcoming holiday season. For three to five days, nobody in the world would care about what is going on.”
Three to five days may be all the Russians need to deal the Ukrainians a crushing blow and present the world with a fait acompli.
Join retired CIA operations officer and former US Army Armor officer, Sam Faddis on Ground Truth, as he breaks down the crisis and the likelihood that we are on the brink of a major conventional war between Russia and Ukraine. Storm clouds are gathering, and Moscow may have already made the decision to go invade.