MONDAY PDB (RUSSIA UKRAINE THREAT EDITION) – Will Putin Invade This Week? Russia Recognizes Russian Rebel-Controlled Regions as ‘Independent,’ Will Biden’s Sanction Provoke a Cyber-attack on US? Pros and Cons of Biden’s Russian ‘Deterrence by Disclosure’

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WAR THIS WEEK? Institute for the Study of War – UKRAINE CONFLICT UPDATE 3 – Russia will likely attack Ukraine the week of February 21, 2022. The Kremlin has deployed sufficient military forces and set informational conditions to conduct offensive operations including limited incursions into unoccupied Ukraine, a comprehensive air and missile campaign, and large-scale mechanized drives on Kyiv and other major Ukrainian cities.

Putin announces plans to recognize Ukraine rebel regions as ‘independent.’ Russian leader Vladimir Putin told the leaders of France and Germany on Monday that he planned to sign a decree recognizing the two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine as independent entities shortly, the Kremlin said. French and German leaders voiced disappointment after hearing the decision, the Kremlin said in a readout of the phone calls. Moscow’s move is also likely to torpedo a last-minute bid for a summit to prevent Russia from invading Ukraine.

Biden Is Convinced Russia Will Invade Ukraine. Will Putin Regret It? On Friday President Biden said of Russian leader Vladimir Putin: “As of this moment, I am convinced he’s made the decision. We have reason to believe that.” Sadly, European unity against Russia is already failing with energy-dependent Germany equivocating the most.  But, even if Biden and the Western world lack options for imposing its will on the Kremlin, in the long run, this could be Putin’s folly.

Brilliant strategy or too much information? The U.S. shares Ukraine secrets with the world. As the Ukraine crisis deepens, the Biden administration has regularly chosen to disclose highly sensitive information to bolster its case. Is that a good idea? In the high-stakes diplomatic and military maneuvering that surrounds the Ukraine crisis, the U.S. has engaged in a steady public release of classified information. Details about Russian troop movements and military planning, alleged Kremlin plans to create a video showing a fictional Ukrainian atrocity — the disclosures have been frequent, and well-publicized. They are also highly unusual.

The Pros and Cons of ‘Deterrence by Disclosure.’ Since November, the Biden administration has pursued a policy regarding Russia and Ukraine that can best be described as “deterrence by disclosure.” The policy has operated on several levels, including the disclosure of Russian troop movements and dispositions as well as the plans for provocations and false flag operations that could serve as a pretext for Putin’s war against Ukraine. It has also been accompanied by leaks about interagency deliberations about sanctions and disclosures about agreements being negotiated with allies to suggest the more traditional “deterrence by punishment” to come should Russia recklessly launch a premeditated and unprovoked war in the center of Europe.

Will Biden’s sanctions against Russia provoke a Putin Cyberattack against US?  It seems that an invasion is inevitable as the United States and other Western nations threaten Moscow with economic sanctions. The invasion would not only unleash what Washington characterizes as crippling economic sanctions against Moscow, but it would probably trigger a Russian reaction of cyber-attacks originating from Russia which would shut down US infrastructure, and by all indications the United States is ill-prepared for such an attack.

Why Russia won’t invade ‘Ukrainistan.’ Seizing Ukraine would be vastly more trouble than it is worth to Russia. To compare Putin’s threats to Ukraine with Hitler’s march eastwards offends common sense: There is no “there” there in Ukraine, nothing Russia wants: no Lebensraum, no productive population, no oil fields or other assets to be acquired by conquest. So, if Putin doesn’t want to conquer Ukraine, just what does he want?


Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank. - - PAULCRESPO.COM

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