When I read Russia has begun pulling its diplomatic personnel out of Ukraine, I thought about those social media memes. You know the kind I’m talking about: Say “Were going to invade Ukraine” without saying “We’re going to invade Ukraine.” Well, Russia just did.
Nothing says we’re abandoning diplomatic efforts like sending your diplomats home. I’m thinking Putin will invade before the end of the month. The U.S. intelligence agencies think it could be any day now. According to this article, there is reportedly intelligence stating that Russia will launch the invasion on Wednesday.
U.S. Urges its Citizens to Leave
Several countries have told their citizens to leave Ukraine via “commercial means while they remain available.” This implies that at some future point they will not be. At least one European airline, KLM, has already decided to suspend flights to Ukraine fearing war.
The U.S. has cleared the way for its citizens to drive to Poland and cross their border using their passports. No visa required, but–get this–they need proof of a COVID vaccination. Wow, whose idea was this jackassery? “I know you’re being chased by a horde of Russian tanks, but we can’t let you into the country until you can prove you’ve been vaccinated.” Isn’t that taking mandates a bit too far?
If you have friends or family in the Ukraine, I hope they own a car and have filled their gas tank. I expect the roads will be backed up by people fleeing if there is an invasion. it will be interestign to see how long they can keep up this picture of normalcy and how far from the front it will start.
Will Russia Roll on to Poland?
I think the great unanswered question in this invasion is not whether Russia will invade Ukraine but if they will be satisfied stopping there. Everyone is worried about the fate of Ukraine, but no one except Poland is worried that Putin might just keep going. He has between 130,000 and 150,000 well-armed troops with all the logistic support. Unless Ukraine stops their advance, Russian troop could steamroll right into Poland from Ukraine and also from Belarus.
We’ve sent about 4,000 soldiers to Poland and another 1,000 in Romania. We have some other assets in the area, but a flight of B52s and some fighters will not make much of a dent in a full-on Russian assault.
I wonder if Russian tanks on Polish streets heading towards Warsaw would finally get Germany’s attention? They seem to take the idea of another war in Europe without much alarm.
NATO would be required to respond if Russia invaded Poland, but what it’s too late? What if this entire invasion of Ukraine is just an excuse to pile up the troops and equipment needed to take things a step further? Would the countries that make up NATO have the willpower to step in? Or would they roll over and show their bellies like a submissive dog?
I expect the idea has crossed Putin’s mind.
UPDATE: About 5 hours after publishing the article above, the Wall Street Journal published a piece saying that Russia “is stepping up a destabilization campaign involving cyberattacks, economic disruption and a new tactic: hundreds of fake bomb threats.” It says Russia is probing for weak points to undermine Ukraine and sap their will to fight.