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Putin’s War Prep In Place

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President Joe Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan appeared at today’s press briefing with Jen Psaki. Just before the briefing, a PBS reporter claimed multiple sources had told him that the US had intelligence that Russian President Vladimir Putin had transmitted war orders to his generals. Sullivan said that was not true.

But the Chairman of the Joint Staff Mark Milley had a phonecall with Russian General Staff chief Valery Gerasimov. Their readout was uninformative. Biden had a phonecall with leaders of allies. He plans to spend the weekend at Camp David, where he has full communication capabilities. The Russian Foreign Ministry says that all this is false information by Western countries to incite artificial tensions.

Sullivan said that Russia now has in place the military means for a major invasion of Ukraine. Civilian satellite-photo watchers have been documenting the buildup, most recently the bringing in of troops. Sullivan singled out a possibility of a quick attack on Kyiv but noted there were many possibilities.

He also repeated that Americans should leave Ukraine NOW, for maybe the fiftieth time, but look for the media to find stranded Americans who claim they never heard anything like that after the fighting starts. Embassy personnel from many countries are leaving.

Sullivan also ticked off a list of sanctions that multiple countries will levy against Russia if it invades. The ruble is now tanking.

Just coming through:

It’s still possible for Russia to call off the invasion. They could say that they never intended such a thing, it was all a fantasy of the Western warmongers. The West could say it was a triumph of deterrence. Win-win.

Through all this, it’s not at all clear what Putin wants or why he thinks that attacking Ukraine will get it for him. His demands on NATO and the United States were far beyond anything that might be attained. His quick rejection of the response suggested that he never wanted negotiation. The most bizarre parts of his demands, to me, are written assurances that NATO would expand no further and that the 27 EU countries respond individually.

The next two weeks will tell.

Cross-posted at Nuclear Diner

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