With a vast build of Russian forces near Ukraine’s border, Russia’s Vladimir Putin is signifying interest to risk a military clash, but experts claim whilst the risk is critical, an invasion is not sure.
The risk of an invasion will be the core matter of President Biden’s video call with Putin on Tuesday. Biden is supposed to caution about terrible outcomes should Russia continue to the end with a military offensive, whilst Putin is supposed to repeat his claim that NATO should not permit Ukraine to come into its military alliance.
Putin Is an “Opportunist”
The consequence of the video call could have some significant suggestions since Putin looks into the probable costs of a complete invasion of Ukraine.
A former Pentagon official and adjunct senior fellow in the CNAS Transatlantic Security Program, Jim Townsend, claimed that Putin is an “opportunist” who observes an invasion as one of the multiple possible paths to accomplish his objectives in the area.
Townsend said “If he feels the response from the West is not going to be as painful as we think it is, then he’s got that option to invade,” adding further “But if he’s going to get indications from the West that he’s going to get out of it [something] he finds valuable, that could make him change his mind, too.”
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While concluding, U.S. intelligence authorities said Russia is intending for a military offensive by as soon as early next year.
A senior administration official stated that Russia’s strategy contains 100 battalion tactical groups and an anticipated 175,000 military forces, among whom half are already near the border. Intelligence officials have also claimed that an expansion in Russian propaganda focused on defaming NATO and Ukraine’s government.
The plans have fueled fear that Russia could try to acquire like its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine back in 2014. Russian forces have supported separatist troops on Ukraine’s border for years, although the Kremlin has been denied for long about direct engagement in that clash.
Ivo Daalder, who served as U.S. ambassador to NATO from 2009 to 2013 said “Both the forces being the deployed and the areas in which they are being deployed, plus other indications — night maneuverings, etc. — clearly suggest Russia is taking steps that would make it possible to invade.”
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Adding further “And the rhetoric coming from Moscow, and particularly from Putin, regarding red lines and that the status quo is unacceptable is also cause for real concern.”
Last week, it was stated by Putin that Russia would take into consideration any exertion from the U.S. or its allies to put weapons systems in Ukraine as a “red line” that would lead to counterblow.
In the meantime, Biden and NATO authorities are determined that Russia has no impact upon the alliance’s operations.
Putin’s Plan Is No More About Nato Membership
According to Jeffrey Edmonds, who is the then-Russia director for the National Security Council and senior researcher at CNA, Putin’s strategy is “no longer about NATO membership,”. He mentioned increasing resentment at the Kremlin upon NATO’s security help to Ukraine and extended operations in the Black Sea.
He said “I do not think he has decided to invade yet, but I do believe he is pessimistic of getting the outcome he wants and that’s why this buildup is different,” adding “It has been an extended buildup that the Kremlin was denying for a long time – not the kind of thing you do if your intention is just to signal.”
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Biden Planned to Have a Discussion About the Aggressive Attitude of Russia
Before the video call, Biden stated that he intended to have a “long discussion” with Putin about Russia’s violent attitude toward Ukraine. The president is supposed to assert the U.S.’s back for Ukraine’s territorial domination and to caution about critical economic fines in case Russia attacks.
It is being said that the Biden administration is looking into several options, which include restricting Russia from the SWIFT international banking system, a step extensively accounted to be the economic “nuclear option.”
A senior administration official noted that Biden will also alert Putin the U.S. will be sending forces to NATO nations in Eastern Europe.
Townsend said “We’re in the final stages of being in a place where we can turn this around, what he’s doing. I think Biden will be very specific on what will happen,” adding further, “I think they’ll be not just the economic and financial sanctions.
I’m hoping he’ll say something like, ‘we will rearm Europe.’ I think he’s going to need to have a military component in there, too.”
According to Daalder, a warning about the military expenses of an attack should be the main factor of Biden’s message to Putin.
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He said “That’s the one area that Biden can and must influence. It’s important to underscore that even with 175,000 troops, invading Ukraine won’t be an easy affair,” adding “Ukraine has 250,000 troops, most battle-hardened by 7 years of conflict in eastern Ukraine.
U.S. and NATO training and supplies of arms have made the Ukrainian military more effective and lethal.”