March 24, 2023

russia: US alarm on Russia invading Ukraine gets shriller; Moscow rubbishes claims – Times of India

WASHINGTON: In the Biden administration’s narrative, a Russian blitzkrieg of Ukraine is imminent, with Moscow having massed more than 100,000 troops — 70 percent of the forces it would need for an invasion. The attack, US lawmakers are reportedly being told in briefings, could include potential deaths of 25,000 to 50,000 civilians, 5,000 to 25,000 members of the Ukrainian military and 3,000 to 10,000 members of the Russian military, and could also result in one million to five million refugees pouring into Europe.
Rubbish, responded Russia. “Madness and scaremongering continues. What if we would say that US could seize London in a week and cause 300K civilian deaths? All this based on our intelligence sources that we won’t disclose. Would it feel right for Americans and Britts? It’s as wrong for Russians and Ukrainians,” Russia’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyanskiy, wrote on Twitter.
Ukraine itself remains skeptical that an attack is imminent. Its President Volodymyr Zelensky, has accused the US and its allies of needlessly pressing the panic button. In fact, even American journalists, scarred from being credulous during the US invasion of Iraq based on sketchy reports of Saddam Hussain‘s weapons of mass destruction, are now distrustful. Reporters asking for evidence of Moscow’s intent are being accused of echoing Russian propaganda, with the excuse that US government intelligence cannot be shared with the media.
But in echoes of the run-up to the US intervention in Iraq that cost Americans more than a trillion dollars, administration officials have reportedly been briefing lawmakers about the Russian military build-up to what could become the largest military land offensive in Europe since World War II. According to one account in the US media, the Russian invasion could come in late February or early March, by which time the Beijing winter Olympics would have concluded and ground conditions will be optimal. Among several alarming reports is one from the Financial Times which cited unnamed US military and intelligence officials believing “Russia is set to run a major nuclear weapons exercise in the coming weeks as a warning to Nato not to intervene in the event of Putin invading Ukraine.”
US public opinion too remains deeply skeptical with little perceptible support of another American intervention after the fiasco in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, the dominant narrative in the right wing centers on allowing Russia to dominate its sphere of influence, let Washington’s European allies, carry the burden of confrontation, and focus on China, the “real threat.”
There is also an element of irony accompanying President Biden’s decision to inject an initial 3000 US troops into Poland, Romania, and Germany. The commander of leading the 1700 troops from the 82nd Airborne Division arriving in Poland shortly is Major General Christopher Donahue. He was the last American soldier to leave Afghanistan on August 30.
The sparring is certain to draw in New Delhi, which has tried to stay neutral in the row between Moscow, its long-time friend, and Washington, its relatively new security partner. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to travel to Australia this week for a Quad meeting involving US, India, Australia and Japan, where Washington’s misgivings on China and Russia will figure in the discussions.

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