Russia has invaded Ukraine

Explosions heard in Kyiv right now.

Unbelievable.

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I knew it, I knew it all along. How tragic.

So far this seems to be a limited offensive aimed more at undermining the Ukrainian government and defensive will than destroying the Ukrainian armed forces. It also pushes NATO into responding more aggressively, which some NATO members will not be happy with, leading to division in the alliance. Putin’s an intelligence officer not a soldier.

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Putin is a KGB thug. And the Ukrainians will defend their country ferrociously.

Agreed. But Putin is possibly not seeking simply Ukrainian land, industry and subjects. He maybe aims at the fracture of NATO, perhaps simply key resignations, perhaps its division into smaller alliances - perhaps for example the Baltics v’s Germany.

He won’t place the Ukrainians and NATO of having no option but to fight.

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Oh jeez. Praying for Ukraine.

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Yes. But bearing in mind that as of yesterday, the 22nd, Ukraine had not mobilised their armed forces. A peaceful decision maybe but could seriously hamper defence.

I think this is an important issue. Certainly, there will be resistance from the Ukrainian forces but I do not believe that there will be a big uprising amongst the Ukrainian population, and I think that is the key point in the Russian objectives. There is little value in destroying the non-military national infrastructure and economy. I would imagine that the Russians will be content with an obedient and trustworthy puppet government such as in the neighbouring Belarus.

After the coming weekend voting in Belarus, the clause forbidding nuclear weapons in their constitution will be removed and Russia will probably be “invited” to build permanent military bases and missile sites in Belarus. This, together, with a similar development in Ukraine is a formidable change in the power politics of both Europe and the entire globe.

But the red line within all this is where lies the critical point where NATO would be forced to respond with military action on top of sanctions. If Russia can remain just outside that red line then sanctions are not a problem long term.

People nowadays have very short memories and once the dust settles, and all the ruffled feathers have quietened down, and the rhetorical indignations run out of value, then the sanctions start to be questioned.

Sanctions hurt all parties. And the turning point is when the current events become just history and the ongoing sanctions are seen more as a brake on one’s own economic development than as a punishment of the perpetrator…and the pressures rise to remove them and move on…

Besides, sanctions are capable of being circumvented as we have seen with Iran and North Korea. Once they become seen as ineffective then the fear is that we are just stamping on our own toes…

The wider question here, though, is whether Russia is just protecting its own security or seeking to expand and restore the greater Russia of old.

…and if we see an alliance between Russia and China in these broader objectives then we are only at the very beginning of some major, and very painful, changes in global power politics.

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Great analysis.

Putin must surely have just been waiting for covid to end.

At that point he’s facing a new German Chancellor, a comedian in charge of Ukraine, an octogenarian leading the US, an immature egotist leading the UK, and the most unpopular French president for decades.

The troubles currently faced by Trudeau take Canada out of the diplomatic arena, while Italy and Japan were probably not even counted in the equation.

He must have thought all his Christmas’s were coming together all at once.

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All true! And an East-West polarisation within the EU nations that will hamper sanctions agreement and implementation.

China has apparently already said that it “understands” Russia’s justified security concerns…Easier to move forward with China watching your back…

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No doubt China told Putin they would be discretely supportive - but to please wait until the Winter Olympics had ended.

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Exactly. Oil purchases and help with minimizing any problems that getting kicked out of the SWIFT brings with it probably made the decision easier.

Can’t really see Putin going for more, beyond Ukrainian borders, as that would truly activate a NATO military response.

Some think Kaliningrad is a target but I can’t see Putin going after that without invading Lithuania. Invading Poland would be crazy.

Agreed.

But he could divide NATO so badly on Ukraine that the Baltic states lose faith in NATO or they feel forced to stand alone or their governments lose credibility and pro-Russian leaders gain prestige. After that Poland. After that…

Dreading the Chinese declaration of support to be honest.

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Just posted this over in the Political Opinion thread.

Released 3 weeks before the invasion but certainly look very cozy don’t they. I assume China knew of Putin’s intentions back then.

Sergey Lavrov says that

3 percent of Ukrainians are nazis

How stupid is he to make this ridiculous statement and have this delusion? He must be ashamed of himself.

I condemn completely what Putin has done . That been said everyone knew he didn’t want NATO on his front door so to speak .
It was always going to be a possibility when NATO expansion was threatened to arrive so close to Russia

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Yes. NATO has been arrogant and clumsy, and Ukraine is paying the price for being so stupidly led.