By Aaron Kesel
Ukraine’s President, Peter Poroshenko, has accused Russia of having 80,000 troops, 1,400 artillery and missile systems, 900 tanks, 2,300 armored vehicles, 500 planes and 300 helicopters stationed on its border in Crimea. Meanwhile, NATO has accused Moscow of breaching the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which banned land-based nuclear missiles in Europe during the Cold War.
“In general, around the territory of Ukraine, along the state border, in the temporarily occupied territories of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, a ground group with a total of more than 80 thousand servicemen, about 1400 artillery systems and rocket systems of a salvo fire, 900 tanks, 2300 armored combat vehicles, more 500 planes and 300 helicopters,” Poroshenko said.
He added that the waters of the Black, Azov, and Aegean seas are used to carry out tasks of more than 80 ships and 8 submarines.
Ukraine has also taken steps to reinforce the port of Mariupol after a blockade by Russia, Global News reported.
The country has even accused Russia of having plans in the works to link Crimea to eastern Ukraine and to arm Crimea with a fourth S-400 surface-to-air missile battalion, Express reported.
The Kremlin responded by stating that the Ukrainian accusation that Russia has designs on the ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk to create a land corridor between Crimea and eastern Ukraine were “absurd.”
The Ukrainian president further made a mention of Russia’s capture of Ukrainian ships in the Kerch Strait last week and said that the “right internal response” was an increase in troops with weapons and equipment in the region.
Poroshenko said Ukraine reservists will be assembled for training as part of the martial law he declared at the end of last month in response to the incident in Kerch Strait.
Poroshenko stated that some military units will also be redeployed to strengthen the nation’s defenses as tensions between the neighboring countries escalate to boiling point.
“Ukraine is taking its own steps in response to the threat of a large-scale Russian invasion,” the Ukraine president said.
Poroshenko further called on Germany and its allies to boost their naval presence in the Black Sea to deter any potential Russian aggression.
To recap – Moscow was blamed for troop build-up in Ukraine in March a few months ago where Russia was said to have troops ready to launch a rapid invasion of Ukraine from the north and east, according to a March 8th report by the Institute for the Study of War, a U.S.-based defense think tank (which has since deleted the report) [archived]. Then Russia was blamed for the poisoning of a former Soviet spy and his daughter. Now Russia is being blamed for the downing of MH17 and more recently potential terrorism campaigns in Ukraine and a plot to assassinate a journalist. All without providing publicly viewable evidence that shows Russia helped plot terrorism.
Since the Institute for the Study of War deleted the document alleging Russia was about to invade Ukraine I did some research into the think tank.
Founded in 2007 by Kim Kagan, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) is a Washington, D.C.-based think tank that has supported long-term U.S. military intervention abroad, particularly in countries in the Greater Middle East.
In the past, ISW often provided a podium for military brass who advocate the escalation of U.S. military engagements. In January 2010, General David Petraeus spoke at an ISW event promoting the “surge” in Iraq. He argued that “far more important than the surge of 30,000 additional U.S. troops was the surge of ideas that helped us to employ those troops, and that surge of forces enabled the employment of the new ideas that were indeed the key to making the progress that has been achieved in Iraq over the course of the last three years.”
ISW played such an important role promoting the 2007 “surge” in Iraq. That in 2009 the organization released a film called “The Surge: the Untold Story,” a 34-minute documentary that covered the Iraq surge positively and included interviews with key players in the war and the surge strategy, including Gen. Raymond Odierno and Amb. Ryan Crocker,” Right Web reported.
Now, the U.S. and NATO have jointly told Russia to abide by the INF treaty, while America has threatened to pull out of the treaty itself giving the country 60 days, NBC News reported.
“Allies have concluded that Russia has developed and fielded a missile system, the 9M729, which violates the INF Treaty and poses significant risks to Euro-Atlantic security,” the NATO foreign ministers’ statement said.
We strongly support the finding of the United States that Russia is in material breach of its obligations under the INF Treaty.
We call on Russia to return urgently to full and verifiable compliance. It is now up to Russia to preserve the INF Treaty.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was quoted stating:
“During this 60 days we will still not test or produce or deploy any systems, and we’ll see what happens during this 60-day period,” he said.
“We’ve talked to the Russians a great deal. We’re hopeful they’ll change course, but there’s been no indication to date that they have any intention of doing so.”
Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova was quoted by Interfax news agency stating that “Russia strictly abides by the provisions of the (INF) treaty, and the American side knows this.”
At the end of the meeting, General Jens Stoltenberg called on Russia to immediately release the ships and the sailors of the seized Ukrainian ships, euronews reported.
“Because of aggressive actions against Ukraine, illegally annexing Crimea, destabilising eastern Ukraine, and now we have also seen what they tried to do in the sea of Azov, NATO has implemented the biggest reinforcement of collective defence since the end of the cold war,” Stoltenberg told reporters.
Vladimir Putin himself has said it is “too early” to return the Ukrainian sailors and naval vessels, accusing the Ukrainian government of provoking an incident as a distraction from its own domestic economic problems.
“We need to establish the fact that this was a provocation by the Ukrainian government and we need to put all these things on paper,” he added, arguing that the incident was part of a wider pattern of Ukrainian provocation.
“The current Ukrainian leadership is not interested in resolving this at all,” Putin said. “As long as they stay in power, war will continue. Why? Because when you have provocations, such hostilities like what just happened in the Black Sea … you can always use war to justify your economic failures.”
Meanwhile, politicians in the U.S. in DC are urging for a response from President Donald Trump.
The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s ranking member, most likely to become committee chairman when the House comes under Democratic control in January, Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y, essentially called for war. While Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Okla, threatened further new sanctions against Russia.
“We have to work with our allies in the NATO alliance, and what bothers me is President Trump has trashed the NATO alliance,” Engel told Defense News on Monday. “It’s very difficult when you have the president cozying up to Putin once again, not having a very strong response so far — letting Putin think there will be a lot of handwringing and talk, but not a lot of action.”
“I think it was pretty poor taste and timing for the president to issue a statement about burden-sharing at a time when Russian expansion is full blown,” Engel added. “That sends a message to Russia that we’re thrashing our allies and not going to be willing to work in tandem with them and the NATO alliance.”
“If Putin starts seeing Russian soldier fatalities, that changes his equation,” Engel said. (Source)
That or maybe Putin will strike back with China and we will be in the middle of a hellish scenario of world war three.
It’s worth noting that less than 6 months ago in September Russia held its annual fall military exercises, Vostok-2018, in collaboration with China.
The two countries joined together for various drills, with 300,000 troops, 1,000 aircraft, 36,000 combat vehicles and as many as 80 ships that were involved, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry. While China had a lesser number of troops on the ground estimated at 3,000 soldiers along with aircraft and helicopters.
The drills took place across five different training areas, as well as the Sea of Japan, the Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk, and were seen as the largest drills in decades, NPR reported.
If all that doesn’t worry you, the U.S. and Ukraine have been in “close discussion” with Washington to supply another cache of lethal weapons for Kiev’s fight in eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin told reporters Nov. 18, a day after a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington, Defense News, reported.
NATO and the U.S. are dangerously taunting Russia about its use of a new medium-range missile, while the country allegedly has 80,000 troops and vehicles at the border of the Ukraine. Things are certainly not looking good and it appears like we are mere months or even weeks away from war from just one wrong move by either nation.
Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post. Support us at Patreon. Follow us on Minds, Steemit, SoMee, BitChute, Facebook and Twitter. Ready for solutions? Subscribe to our premium newsletter Counter Markets.