The United Kingdom disclosed Saturday that Russia seeks to install a puppet government in Ukraine.
The United Kingdom announced the discovery of a Russian plot to impose a puppet government in Ukraine. US sources corroborated the reports.
- UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss disclosed that the Russians is still undecided on how to install its preferred leader. Options include a military invasion or a “destabilization campaign.”
- Britain’s announcement named five Ukrainians, including four to fled to Russia after the 2014 Euromaidan uprising that toppled Ukraine’s pro-Russian president.
- The White House called the reports “deeply concerning.” Russia denied the claims, dismissing them as “disinformation spread by… the NATO countries, led by the Anglo-Saxons.”
- The head of the German Navy was forced to resign yesterday for downplaying the Russian invasion threat as “nonsense”, saying all Putin wanted was “respect.”
- Ukraine’s government accused Germany of “arrogance and megalomia,” labeling the now ex-admiral a “Nazi occupier.” Ouch.
- The Guardian reported that Russia has deployed more troops to the Ukraine-Belarus border as part of “military exercises” and is conducting “sweeping” naval drills.
- The New York Times covered one unusual aspect of Ukraine’s military strategy: a defense of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone which hugs Ukraine’s border with Belarus.
- CNN outlines Bulgaria and Romania’s refusal of Russian demands that NATO troops withdraw from their countries. Russia’s desire to control the Black Sea that borders both countries is a centuries-old Russian foreign policy objective.
- Fox News tells of the State Department’s decision to evacuate the families of American embassy personnel ahead of an expected Russian invasion. They would be wise to leave soon. Afghanistan showed there’s no guarantee the Biden administration will bring its people home.
- The Wall Street Journal covered the dirty little secret of Germany’s self-imposed dependence on Russian gas because Germany’s decision to phase out nuclear and coal power. Germany’s compromised position limits Europe’s options vis-à-vis Ukraine.
- Kevin Williamson of National Review labels Putin a “well-armed troll,” deriding him as “a ridiculous caudillo running a third-rate gangster state with a GDP per capita that is half of Lithuania’s.”
Maybe this is all just a bluff. Maybe there is some diplomatic off-ramp that can resolve this crisis peacefully. But the West is in a uniquely vulnerable position right now. Biden is unpopular and seems more content as an old man yelling at clouds than a world leader. His stream-of-consciousness press conference, reminiscent of his predecessor, seemingly gave Russia a green light for a “minor incursion” before staff walked it back.
The Europeans aren’t doing much better. Boris Johnson’s government is on the brink of collapse after a series of internal revolts. France’s Emmanuel Macron is on the ropes and could easily lose his reelection bid in April. Germany’s first new government in 17 years has been in office for fewer than two months. The German government’s Russophilia – they blocked Estonia from sending weapons to Ukraine – is incredibly disturbing.
Putin’s not getting any younger and his long rule may be coming to a close. He may see this as his last chance to restore Russia to its former glory. Russia has 100,000 troops on Ukraine’s borders and their plot to install a puppet regime demonstrates they’ve already planned for the aftermath of their invasion.
The drumbeats of war in Eastern Europe grow ever louder, and the West is missing in action. Biden is still holding up a $250 million aid package, as if Ukraine has all the time in the world. Only Britain, the Baltic states and Poland are treating this threat with the gravity it deserves. Hopefully it’s not too little, too late.
© Dominic Moore, 2022