Vladimir Putin famously described the breakup of the Soviet Union as the greatest tragedy of the 20th century. He has made no secret of his desire to reconstitute as much of the former USSR as possible. Now, with a mentally incompetent Chinese puppet in the White House, Putin is about to seize his opportunity to transform Ukraine from an increasingly democratic nation heading into a new relationship with Western Europe into a Warsaw Pact-style client state of Moscow.

The Ukrainians have already reported what amounts to the beginning of hostilities. On the night of January 13-14, hackers launched a cyberattack against a host of Ukrainian government websites, including the websites of the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Agrarian Policy, the Ministry of Veterans, the Ministry of Environment, the State Emergency Service, the State Treasury Service, etc.

The message was simple. At any time, the attackers had the ability to take down the entire online infrastructure of the Ukrainian government. The Ukrainians and the United States have identified Moscow as being behind the attacks. The Russians, predictably enough, have denied any involvement.

American intelligence officials have also warned that Russia has already deployed operatives inside eastern Ukraine to carry out acts of sabotage there and blame them on Ukraine in a “false-flag operation” to create a pretext for a possible invasion. Portions of Ukraine along the border with Russia are “disputed” by Moscow, which claims the inhabitants want to be part of Russia – not Ukraine. Explosions and acts of violence in these areas, staged by Russian special forces would likely be spun internationally as providing the pretext under which Russia would be required to step in and protect innocent civilians and ethnic Russians.

These are all hallmarks of the style of hybrid war Russia has employed repeatedly in actions against its neighbors. It is essentially the precise template Russia employed when it seized Crimea in 2014.

Western sources have also documented the alarming ongoing buildup of Russian forces on the border with Ukraine. This has been ongoing for months and includes armor heavy formations specifically designed for deep thrusts into enemy territory. These are not units intended to fight a static conflict. These are units designed to strike killing blows and capture broad swaths of territory.

What is happening now, though, is even more ominous. The Russians are not only shifting forces from the Far East-west, but they are also talking about merging their military with that of Belarus. Russian Deputy Defense Minister, Alexander Fomin, recently announced that it was possible that “forces and means of the Regional Grouping will not be sufficient to ensure the security of the Union State.” The Union State is the Russian term for the concept of Belarus and Russia working together. The Regional Grouping is a reference to those Russian and Belarussian forces deployed in the area surrounding Ukraine. According to Fomin, when the “Regional Grouping” of Russian and Belarussian forces proves insufficient to accomplish identified objectives, the entire militaries of both nations will be merged to achieve a common goal.

Testing of rapid response forces of this unified military will be tested in February 2022. Russian troops, including airborne units, are already flooding into Belarus.

The merging of the Belarussian and Russian militaries and the deployment of Russian troops to Belarus creates a new potential front line for Ukraine. The Ukrainians will now be forced to fight on two fronts. They don’t have the men or the equipment to do that. They will be stretched to the breaking point.

From Belarus, Russian troops would also be much closer to Ukraine’s capital Kyiv. That city is only 56 miles from Belarus, a distance that could be covered by fast-moving Russian tank units in a day or two depending on the opposition. From Belarus Russian, long-distance rocket units can hit Kyiv without even crossing the border.

The upcoming “exercises” in Belarus will occur in two phases. The first phase will focus on the border and air defense and run through February 9th. After that, ominously enough, the exercises shift to reinforcing the border with Ukraine and destroying “enemy” groups crossing into Belarus. All of that provides the perfect pretext under which Russian and Belarussian forces can surge forward to the Ukrainian border.

Russia has begun pulling diplomats and their families out of Ukraine. It provided no notice to Ukraine that it was going to do this, and it has provided no explanation for the action. It is normal procedure for nations to call home their diplomats immediately prior to the initiation of hostilities.

The debacle in Afghanistan was only the beginning. The thugs and dictators of the world see Joe Biden for what he is, a deeply corrupt, compromised man surrounded by advisors with long records of incompetence and appeasement. Jimmy Carter was a more imposing adversary. The time is now to strike before America comes to its senses, and a man or woman with backbone and resolve occupies the Oval Office.

Putin has dreamed of this day for decades. Now is his chance. The Ukrainians are about to learn a brutal lesson and discover they are several steps closer to being back in the USSR.