For those who are interested in the increasingly serious situation on the border of Ukraine, the past few weeks have been tense. Russia moved what have been estimated as 100,000 troops to the border of Ukraine and then intervened in the political situation of neighboring Belarus. The West has issued threats, or promises, or murmurs about unprecedented sanctions which would be implemented if Russia invades Ukraine again, without being clear on what those sanctions might be.
In response to the growing crisis, a series of talks were arranged between the U.S., NATO allies and the Russians. But, after a week, these talks were described in the press as having “collapsed.”
Tonight, Ukrainian intelligence is warning the West that there are not only more Russian troops on the border than previously reported (127,000 instead of 100,000) but also 35,000 militia members inside Ukraine who can be mobilized on Russia’s behalf if an invasion occurs.
So what does the Biden administration do after talks have “collapsed” and more troops are reported on the border than ever before? Biden agrees to take off the table one of the most serious of the sanctions, the plan to expel Russia from SWIFT, the world’s dominate international payments system.
The Times of London is reporting that Europe and the U.S. have shelved this as an option even if Russia invades Ukraine. At a time when the secretary-general of NATO has warned of a “real danger” of war, a strategic option that might seriously cripple the Russians is removed from the board. This can only be called “preemptive surrender.”
Russia has claimed that it would send jet fighters, air-to surface missiles and anti-aircraft guns to the eastern frontiers in a joint exercise with Belarus.
A “bipartisan” group of senators is in Ukraine to talk to the president, Zelensky. Richard Blumenthal has promised support and weapons to the Ukrainians in the event of an invasion. But, it is hard to see this as anything but more performance art by the Democrats.