The UK foreign office said in a Saturday statement it has information that the Russian government is planning to “install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine.””The former Ukrainian MP Yevhen Murayev is being considered as a potential candidate,” the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said. Murayev told CNN Saturday “there is nothing to comment on” regarding the allegations, as he is a Ukrainian national and still facing Russian sanctions.The statement went on to name four other former Ukrainian officials, saying, “We have information that the Russian intelligence services maintain links with numerous former Ukrainian politicians” including Serhiy Arbuzov, First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine from 2012 to 2014, and acting Prime Minister in 2014; Andriy Kluyev, First Deputy Prime Minister from 2010 to 2012 and Chief of Staff to former Ukrainian President Yanukovich, Vladimir Sivkovich, former Deputy Head of the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council (RNBO); Mykola Azarov, Prime Minister of Ukraine from 2010-2014, it said.
“Some of these have contact with Russian intelligence officers currently involved in the planning for an attack on Ukraine,” the British foreign office statement added. Russia has denied allegations it is planning to attack Ukraine.
CNN has reached out to Azarov for comment but has not received a response. CNN has been unable to reach Kluyev and Arbuzov, and local media reports suggest the two former Ukrainian politicians are avoiding media attention. According to Ukrainian state media, Arbuzov is living in Russia. Meanwhile, Kluyev’s whereabouts are unknown and he has been declared wanted in Ukraine, according to state media. CNN has also been unable to reach Sivkovich.
US accuses Russia of recruiting officials in attempt to take over Ukrainian governmentEarly Sunday, Russia’s foreign ministry urged the UK’s foreign office to “stop engaging in provocations,” state news agency TASS reported.”The misinformation spread by the British Foreign Office is another evidence that these are the NATO countries, led by the Anglo-Saxons, that are escalating tensions around Ukraine. We call on the British Foreign Office to stop provocative activities, stop spreading nonsense and focus on studying the history of the Tatar-Mongol yoke,” a representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry told TASS.
CNN reached out to the UK foreign office on Saturday for further comment on its claims, as well as supporting evidence, but it said it would not comment any further.“The information being released today shines a light on the extent of Russian activity designed to subvert Ukraine, and is an insight into Kremlin thinking,” UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said in a statement.
Comment: Still trying to punch above their weight? Still trying to manipulate the policy and actions of the US? pl
Yup. Good question. Why is the UK power elite egging on the media hysteria? Whose agenda are they promoting?
If there’s conflict where does the Suwalki Gap fit in the larger scheme?
The only way I can make this make sense without resorting to motivations on the order of “the UK is operating out of sheer hatred of Russia” is this: If Russia attacks Ukraine and the US does not respond, it will leave everyone in NATO re-evaluating the alliance. There’s a constituency in the EU that really wants an EU army; never mind the practicality, if EU member states start to believe that they cannot rely on NATO (the US) this constituency will probably push hard for a strengthening of existing EU security and military co-operation as an incremental step towards their goal of an EU army. The UK will be on the outside of any such arrangement. In my opinion, this isn’t actually a bad thing for the UK, as a country; but it’s a very bad thing for anyone invested in the current status quo. It’s easy to see how the prospect of being “left out in the cold” would honestly be taken as a threat to UK security.
Now, I doubt the UK actually imagines they can deter or prevent Russia from acting in Ukraine. I also doubt they think that Russia which under Putin has pursued extremely limited military goals, is likely to decide they want to conquer and occupy Ukraine. Then, if the UK believes that any Russian military intervention in Ukraine is going to take the form of air strikes + a punitive raid by ground troops to basically kick over the sand-castles NATO has been building then go home; and if they believe that such a intervention by the Russians would not draw a US response, the only way they can avoid that scenario it is to escalate tensions such that the US has no choice but to respond.
Come to think of it, with Germany and France showing no appetite for conflict with Russia, this scenario would have the double benefit (from the UK perspective) of demonstrating to all the former Warsaw pact states that their security depends on the US being in Europe, and that any Brussels based security organization will be willing to sacrifice them to avoid a conflict with Russia. This would make any prospective EU based security arrangement less likely.
If there’s conflict where does the Suwalki Gap fit in the larger scheme?
Nowhere, because NATO has no required force to attack Russia, which would necessitate Russia responding to the attack. We omit here a far-fetched scenario of NATO willing to commit a suicide. I haven’t read any sane and competent military thought from UK in ages. Something went terribly wrong in Sandhurst if they think that NATO can attack Russia without having stones in NATO capitals rearranged, for a warmup it will be done in a purely conventional way. Without nukes. Other than that, Russians don’t care about this gap because they do not want to feed a bunch of freeloaders in case of rolling over them. The state of military “expertise” in the West today is terrifying in its complete detachment from the operational, strategic and technological realities.
they suffer phantom pains for the limb of empire now long gone!
“..these are the NATO countries, led by the Anglo-Saxons, that are escalating tensions around Ukraine”.
You can almost hear the hammer blows on the giant wedge the Kremlin is trying to drive right through the middle of NATO. There is already a huge dissonance between the bellicose ravings of the Anglo Borg and the major EU powers in NATO who want to retain a relationship with Russia. The longer this goes on without Russia living up to the James Bondesque evil caricature of her the Brits insist on painting, the deeper that wedge will go.
If Trump were still president I’d start to suspect that the whole affair was a genuine conspiracy between he & Putin to collapse the organization.
I have been thinking about your response, and those of others, to a comment of mine on an earlier thread. It seems sensible to post some reactions on this one.
‘Perhaps it is taking the analogy too far, but my feeling is that the ultimatum issued in December represents a “clearing” that the “marksmen” themselves have been lured to with the express purpose of breaking up the hunting party once and for all.’
It seems to me that it is taking matters a bit far, in that I think – as with Syria in 2015 – the Russian side have reacted as they have because they see themselves as being in a position where the risks of being unwilling to resort to military action are too great.
On this, it seems absolutely clear that the contemporary equivalents of the ‘logothetes’ of a millennium ago are fully at one with the ‘strategoi.’ So, they are back to performing a standard ‘Byzantine’ function.
You try to achieve a settlement without actually having to resort to force. But you are also fully aware that this may not be possible, so, at the same time, you are trying to ‘shape events’ to ensure that, if force has to be used, it is done in circumstances, and in a manner, which is ‘militarily’ successful. To make your job even more difficult, meanwhile, you are actutely aware of the need to ensure that a ‘military’ success ‘works’ in ‘political’ terms.
Here, however, the fact that there is every sign that, by contrast to Soviet times, contemporary Russian ‘strategoi’ are very well aware of the dangers of military ‘Fachidiotismus’, while ‘logothetes’ are equally aware of the dangers of their own ‘Fachidiotismus’, means that only a fool should think they are ‘easy meat.’
Whatever the weaknesses of the Russian position, and they are many, it should I think be clear that, if one pits Sergei Lavrov against Tony Blinken (not to speak of Liz Truss, about whom the less said the better), the advantage is on the Russian side. And, to a rather lesser extent, the same is true if one compares the relevant ‘strategoi.’
As to the ‘intelligentsia’ on both sides, something that is puzzling me is that it seems to be very widely assumed, not simply by enthusiasts for confrontation with Russia but by people who think such confrontation a very bad idea, that the ‘military-technical’ measures likely to be deployed by that country, should negotiations get nowhere, involve an invasion.
So for example, on 20 January, there appeared a report by Anatol Lieven on the ‘Responsible Statecraft’ site, apparently based summarising discussions among ‘a small closed door working group of former American and British ambassadors and experts on Russia and Ukraine’. It was headlined ‘Diplomats & experts: negotiate, or expect “drastic escalation” by Russia.’
(See https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2022/01/20/diplomats-experts-negotiate-or-expect-drastic-escalation-by-russia/ )
It appeared to be largely taken for granted that the ‘escalation’ must involve invasion. And indeed, the questions put various experts for a ‘Symposium: What would US intervention in Ukraine really look like?’ which has just appeared on the same site appear to assume this.
(See https://responsiblestatecraft.org/2022/01/24/symposium-what-would-us-intervention-over-ukraine-really-look-like/ )
Moreover, none of the interviewees – who generally appear to be relatively sane people – raise the question of whether the ‘military-technical’ means to which the Russians might resort might be specifically calculated to avoid the costs, and risks, of an invasion.
So critical question as to how the United States and its allies might react, if the actual choices are quite different to those in response to which they have threatened ‘fire and brimstone’, are not even raised.
It is actually, to my mind, rather difficult to question the accuracy, still less the sincerity, of the contemptuous response to Western interpretations of the Russian military build-up given by a leading ‘panjandrum’ of the Russian foreign policy élite, Sergei Karaganov, in an interview which appeared on 19 November, and so far has not been published in English.
The conclusion, as rendered in ‘Googlish’, reads:
‘All this squealing about the fact that we are going to capture Kiev, it is about nothing. Yes, our military is standing at the Ukrainian border, but only so that on the other side it does not occur to anyone to break into the Donbass. And the capture of Ukraine in our military plans, I’m sure, is not included. If only for the reason that capturing a country that is castrated economically, morally and intellectually, a country with a destroyed infrastructure and an embittered population is the worst-case scenario. The worst thing America can do for us is to give us Ukraine in the form they brought it to.’
(See https://globalaffairs-ru.translate.goog/articles/nato-eto-rak/?_x_tr_sl=ru&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en&_x_tr_pto=sc .)
Once it had been accepted that risks of conflict could not be avoided, there is certainly every reason to suppose that both ‘logothetes’ and ‘strategoi’ would be intent on coordinating that their activities, with a view to ‘breaking up the hunting party’ – as you put it.
Keeping on saying the kind of things Karaganov is saying, and avoiding any risk that ‘actions’ will ‘speak louder than words’, is surely a far more promising approach to doing this than exposing oneself as having been engaged in deception.
As a range of well-qualified people have pointed out on this site, the military preparations we have seen simply have not involved the kind of logistical preparations which would be required for an invasion.
A matter about which I am curious are the naval exercises being held this month and next ‘in all zones of responsibility’, according to a ‘TASS’ report which explained that:
‘The main purpose of the exercise is to let the Navy and Aerospace Force to practice operations to protect Russia’s national interests in the World Ocean and also to resist military threats to Russia on the sea.’
(See https://tass.com/defense/1390907 .)
Also announced was a joint exercise on January 18-22 between Russia, China and Iran in the Gulf of Oman – after which the ships involved from the Pacific Fleet would proceed to the Mediterranean for a joint exercise with the Northern and Baltic Fleets.
The report concluded:
‘On January 15, a group of six amphibious assault ships from the Baltic and Northern fleets left the port of Baltiysk to head for the designated area of the exercise in the Mediterranean. Currently, the group is crossing the Northern Sea.’
I have seen it suggested that the ‘military-technical’ means envisaged by the Russians could involve an ‘amphibious assault’ on Odessa, which might give Russia a ‘stranglehold’ on Ukraine’s ‘sea lines of communication.’
Although it seems to me virtually certain that people in Moscow are working out ‘scenarios’ in which a country some clearly see as ‘castrated economically, morally and intellectually’ may simply disintegrate, it would surprise me if they wanted to, as it were, ‘pre-empt’ this process.
However, the creation of a naval base at Berdyansk, where the British appear to be trying to ‘play back’ to the Russians their approach of combining smaller ‘platforms’ with missiles of ever increasing range, lethality, and accuracy, may very well be classed among the ‘military threats to Russia on the sea’ with which the recent exercises are intended to cope.
So, who knows? Perhaps an equivalent of the ‘St Nazaire Raid’ on 28 March 1942 – not to be confused with the later disaster at Dieppe – in the ‘Sea of Azov’, might be one of the ‘military-technical’ means to which the Russian side could resort, if nothing comes out of negotiations.
(See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Nazaire_Raid )
I really do think it would help if people in Washington and London would cease assuming they are dealing with rather stupid people, who are going to act in predictable ways.
A groupthinktank consensus on Russia invading Ukraine is perhaps not surprising. The institutional Russophobia prevalent among these august bodies ensures a welcome to those who provide analytical confirmation bias to the Evil Empire’s assumed aspirations of territorial expansion. How many of these people read Andrei Martyanov’s books, or his blog, or this one? However, in terms of the US being prepared for a response to something quite different, I think we need to separate the Borg’s delusions from the (I hope) more grounded views that exist in the MI community. Col. Lang’s erstwhile colleagues are surely contemplating the full range of Russia’ s ‘military-technical’ options and advising accordingly. One must pray that their voices are heard.
What really interests me is the nature of the golden bridge the Kremlin is offering to the US. On the presumption that Russia does not want to go to war, surely the Russian ultimatum & broader plan includes a face-saving off ramp that Biden can sell to the American public, should he privately* wish to grant some or all of Russia’s wishes. What might that be? Could it be as simple as Biden claiming he has averted the invasion of Ukraine? If so, the nonsense in the MSM around a Russian troop build up & invasion threats – when clearly such action is not in Russia’s interests – may make sense. A hullabaloo about the danger of invasion is positively useful to the WH if the ultimate outcome is a manufactured diplomatic coup that one has avoided just that. This is true whether or not one intends to acquiesce to Russian demands.
*Publicly doing so is of course politically impossible in the current climate
Who are the elite in the UK now? Is it still the old aristocracy?
One of the Brits can best answer that.
The source of the money has changed. There are many in finance now. What hasn’t changed is the 12 public schools that educate the elite. The term Public is beacuse they didn’t insist on a Latin grammar based education. Anyone (with money) could attend. The top 12 are the Clarendon Schools, named after a report into English education in the 19th Century which listed them. The other public schools don’t matter for the national elite although for individual counties they often do.
A lot of crooked oligarchs in exile ended up in London, and they throw their money at the politicians and the right people. They don’t want to be sent back to Russia to stand trial. Add in the spooks and military trying to justify their budgets, as well as a political class as useless as they come, and you have your answer.
So Biden is going to transfer 5 Russian made helicopters evacuated, unlike thousands of people, from Kabul during Biden’s glorious victory in Afghanistan and transfer them to the Ukrainians? And, to top it off, his administration agreed to “let” Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia transfer American made equipment to them. Should I bother asking who pays for all this and why we even gave/sold all of that to those three countries to begin with?
On a bright note it looks like Biden and his people have finally found some white people they are willing to defend. That should probably help with the alt-right vote. I wonder how that will look in next week’s poll?
And the MSM generally is in its usual pernicious role, magnifying the leads given to it. The Russians failed to conform regarding Syria and Iran, not to mention other disobedience. V. Putin could not be isolated and destroyed separately (it was tried), so now Russia will be isolated, vilified, hounded and reduced. Escalation after escalation with no end in sight.
Biggest threat to Russia are Ukrainian winter athletes throwing yellow snow at the Russian flag in China.
Every Back story I Read today,,like at Foreign Policy.com blames NATO for all this happening by Constantly egging Russia on…for many years now..with Assurances that Ukraine WILL Be brought into NATO..and that Policy can be found stated on the NATO website…www.nato.int…then click on Topics…NATO-RUSSIA…and NATO UKRAINE…Of the Thirty NATO Chiefs of Defense ..Profiled there..The UKs Sir Tony Radkin..would be a Focus…for The British Role in the Provocations…Even if an “Incursion”…Expands into a Waterloo,,,The Brits are safely Nestled on their Island..and the Focus is Off Andrew…There have to be Geo Political..Military and Economic Factors in the Tea Leafs…and a Plate of Stale Cookies…Some of those Nato Countrys The Xs..may just want Paybacks..and Hope Russia gets clobbered pretty good…A fantasy..from the Old Afghan Days…NO Reruns there…Different Russian Team Now…
I doubt BoJo wants a war with Russia. He is hedging his bets though and playing both sides.
On the one part he is sending the Brit Foreign and Defense Secretaries to Moscow for talks with their counterparts. And reportedly he wants to do face-to-face talks with Putin.
On the other part he wants to get the press off of his COVID Partygate fiasco. Plus as the leader of the Conservative Party he is trying to look the macho part. And probably still has a sore heinie about Litvinenko, the Skripals, and recent MI-5 reports ablout more of the same to come.
Johnson is in trouble at home, he needs a small, victorious war.
If you want a small victorious war, I would have thought Russia would be the last opponent you would pick a fight with.
Beggars can’t be choosers.
Ladies and gentlemen, I think I have a perfect explanation as to why the UK is trying to destabilize the Ukrainian government.
Recently Ghislaine Maxwell announced that she would not try to protect the privacy of powerful perverts to whom she rented underaged prostitutes. Aforesaid perverts probably included Prince Andrew of the UK, plus well-connected men in US politics and finance. Therefore everyone connected to Prince Andrew is desperate to distract media attention. At the same time, Resident Biden, who had an election stolen for him, has a perverted son who took improper bribes/favors from the Ukrainian government.
And thus someone in the UK government said, “Hey! I know how we can destroy records of bribes to Hunter Biden and also distract the media! We just need to get inside the Ukrainian government’s vaults … it doesn’t matter if we start a war doing so!” And the well-connected men of US finance and politics said, “We can make it happen if we just work together!”
Is this not a perfectly plausible explanation?
I am not sure if MI6 is really as incompetent as the replacement government suggests or whether it is some kind of deflection.
It is clear why the UK and the US are obliged to support Ukraine. In 1994, there were nuclear weapons on the Russian border within minutes of striking Moscow. They were in Ukraine. The UK & US brokered a treaty between Ukraine and Russia for Ukraine to give up nuclear weapons. In return, Russia promised never to take Ukrainian territory. It was called the Budapest Agreement.
In 2014, Russia argued that Crimea had the right to self determination under Ukrainian law in the circumstances of the Maidan. So Crimea had already left Ukraine before Russia arrived. This was never of course tested in a Ukrainian Constiutional Court. It did satisfy the Russian thirst for legalism. In the Donbass, the Russian soldiers who delivered Northwind were on leave from active duty and not under the command of the Russian government. They were diluted by huge numbers of mercenaries and war tourists anyway. So technically it was some sort of local uprising even if most of the uprisers were foreigners from Serbia to Kazakhstan.
The US and UK did not have an answer to this sleight of hand. This time the threat is the Russian regular army thus the egal obligation and pretext to assist Ukraine defend itself exists.
On the other hand, when did UK need a reason for warmongering?
They do it because it’s what they have always done and lack the prefrontal lobe to realize it’s a terrible move.