According to various British tabloids, the invasion of Ukraine is expected to begin any minute now.
It was actually officially due to start yesterday, but Russia missed their deadline. Krasnaya Vesna was sarcastically live-blogging the blitzkrieg.
Some very interesting developments:
But what is actually happening?
Let’s survey the latest punditry and reports from across Russian media.
Russia to recognize DPR/LPR independence?
- In case you missed it: the State Duma has asked Putin to recognize the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR). [TASS]
- Putin to “postpone” recognition until after “international negotiations” are complete? [Free Press]
- “Unilateral” recognition of Donbass republics is unlikely? [Tsargrad]
- Mixed signals and chaos? “When many were already convinced of de-escalation, the State Duma decided to turn to Vladimir Putin on the issue of recognizing the people’s republics of Donbass… The appeal was supported without prior consultations with the Foreign Ministry.” [Nakanune]
- Duma deputy says Russians are prepared to suffer economic hardship if the recognition of Lugansk and Donetsk results in sanctions. [Lenta]
- Deputy head of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia says Duma deputies should volunteer their own salaries, instead. [Gazeta]
(Some) Russian troops return to their bases
Moscow has announced that at least some troops and military hardware hanging out near Ukraine will be leaving the area soon.
Yesterday, Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei announced “not a single Russian serviceman and not a single piece of Russian military equipment will remain in Belarus” after joint military exercises finish.
Tanks and other military equipment that were sent to Crimea are reportedly returning to their bases.
Typically we ignore everything Russia-related published by RT.com, but its photographic portrayal of soldiers “withdrawing to their bases in Russia” was genuinely depressing. Thanks, RT.
Ukraine hit with curiously timed cyberattack
On Tuesday, Ukrainian government websites and banking systems were crippled by a purported cyberattack. Interesting timing.
Apparently it was pretty serious. Ukrainians reported they were unable to deposit or withdraw money from bank cards or transfer funds via online apps.
Ukraine immediately suggested Russia might be behind the “large-scale DDoS attack.” Surprise.
- “The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine called a cyber attack on banks and government sites one of the largest.” [Lenta]
- Ukraine has also accused Belarus of hacking shenanigans. [Izvestia]
War still happening?
- Kremlin says there is a “high” probability Kiev will try to launch a military operation in Donbass. [Life News]
- “There will be no invasion, but Kiev, together with London, is intensively preparing the ground for [war].” [Tsargrad]
- Estonia’s Foreign Intelligence Service says Russia will likely invade Ukraine in the second half of February. [Lenta]
- Dugin says war is coming. [Katheon]
- “There is a good chance that the coming week will either see the culmination of the biggest and most expensive military bluff in world history, or a speed run towards Russian Empire 2.0.” [Karlin]
- “A hypothetical seizure of the whole of Ukraine would have no benefit for us.” [Publizist]