The Russian defense minister confirmed today that troops deployed to the south and west of the country, Crimea and areas east of Ukraine, have completed what were described as surprise combat readiness checks and would return to barracks starting tomorrow.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu is quoted by government news agency TASS as saying: “I believe that the surprise inspection’s goals have been achieved in full. The troops demonstrated ability to reliably defend the country. Therefore, I have made a decision to complete the inspection measures in the Southern and Western Military Districts.”
End of story. But not until after Western officials and news media attempted to terrify the world into believing a Russian invasion of Ukraine by a World War II-size military juggernaut was imminent. Estimates of Russian troop deployments near Ukraine steadily grew from 4,000 (New York Times) to 80,000 (CBS News) to 103,000 (Ukrinform) to 120,000 (Reuters) to 150,000 (the European Union’s Josep Borrell), then down to 100,000 (Borrell again).
One Ukrainian official even said that the above-mentioned exercises represented the largest troop movements in Russia since World War II.
We live in a world in which the U.S. and its NATO allies have over the past twenty or so years waged wars in Southeastern Europe, South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa on the slimmest of pretexts, indeed on outright lies. And in which the peace of individual nations as well as that of the world as a whole rests on a hair trigger. In such a world the unconscionable inflation of troop numbers in a volatile situation like that along the Ukraine-Russia border comes precariously close to an incitement to military overreaction. To war.
Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. He is the manager of Stop NATO. This originally appeared at Anti-Bellum.