Russia vs. Ukraine seems more and more like a full-scale war that could come to Europe for only the second time since 1945.
Although I was not optimistic about Russian strongman Vladimir Putin’s plans on Ukraine, it felt unlikely that a full-on nation-state vs. a nation-state in mechanized mass warfare would occur.
It wasn’t because Russia couldn’t win the individual battles but because Moscow would have too many financial problems digesting Ukraine whole.
Despite a decade of efforts, Russia has not been able to claim dominance over Ukraine’s industrial Donbas bordering Russia and half populated with ethnic Russians.
Even though it was weak, the Biden administration couldn’t resist (I believe …) imposing crippling sanctions against Moscow, Putin, and the oligarchs who are trying to drain their country.
Worse, a full-scale invasion (from Moscow’s perspective) could force Germany to give up the Russian energy teat. This teat has been the most persistent thorn in North Atlantic unity for the past two decades.
“Senior Biden Administration officials” told the New York Times earlier this month that the United States could support a Ukrainian insurgency if Russia invaded.
We could probably afford to spend 20+ years fighting the insurgency in Afghanistan. Russia cannot afford another misadventure in Ukraine.
There are many reasons to not make Russia vs. Ukraine an all-out war.
” Destination Ukraine?” was the question posed Tuesday by the International Business Times. It’s been revealed that six Russian amphibious assault vessels have left their Baltic Sea homeports to seek unknown destinations:
These ships are usually attached to the Baltic Fleet, which has raised concerns about their voyage. Although their destination is not known, the Ukrainian military believes Russia would launch an amphibious attack on Odessa port in the event that there is an invasion. The Black Sea Fleet would benefit from the presence of the Ropuchas, which will allow for more beach landings.
On the 15th of May, Korolev, Minsk, and Kaliningrad were seen heading out. The Olenegorskiy Gornyak and Georgiy Pobedonosets followed the day after by Pytr Morgunov.
The six ships combined can land more than 1,500 troops and many armored vehicles. These six ships represent a significant portion of Russia’s amphibious capability, considering the decline in Russian naval power since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Odessa, presumably the Russian invasion fleet’s target since 2014 when Russia seizes the strategically important Crimean peninsula from Ukraine, is Ukraine’s last major port that is not directly threatened or endangered by Russian land forces.
Due to the current state of the Russian Navy’s surface forces, and Moscow’s tight finances, they cannot afford to move these forces around like this unless it is their business.
This is the main reason why a full-scale Russia-Ukraine war suddenly seems more probable than ever.
U.S. Secretary Anthony Blinken stated that Russia has “ratcheted up their threats and amassed almost 100,000 forces on Ukraine’s border which it could easily double on relatively short notice.”
It’s obvious that Moscow wants at least the ” Finnishization” of Ukraine and defacto NATO recognition by Russia of its hegemony over all non-NATO Soviet Republics in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and other non-NATO countries.
Russia’s willingness to fight for this position is evident by the six amphibious vessels that are heading towards Russian ports and Russian-held Black Sea ports. They are trying to make the very costly impression that they are willing to fight.
It is unclear if America will do anything to stop Russian aggression, given the weakness of the Biden Administration in foreign policy, Joe Biden’s decreased ability to rally domestic support, and our (naturally) focus on China.
While I do not believe that the U.S. should declare war on Ukraine, it seems at the moment that American weakness invites us to fight the war we don’t want.