Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned against panic Saturday after the US ordered most of the staff of the US embassy in Kyiv to evacuate. The order was preceded by a fresh warning from the White House that the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine was “immediate” and could happen before the Beijing Olympics end on February 20th.
Since November, the US has been warning that Russia was preparing to invade Ukraine, an accusation Moscow has repeatedly denied. The US narrative has been falling apart as Ukrainian officials have been downplaying the threat.
“I think there’s too much out there about a full-scale war from Russia, and people are even naming dates. The best friend for our enemies is panic in our country, and all this information only creates panic, it doesn’t help us,” Zelensky said.
US media reports said US intelligence suggested Russian President Vladimir Putin could order an invasion as soon as Wednesday, the 16th. But as usual, the reports offered no evidence to back up the claim, and Zelensky said he hadn’t seen information that showed an invasion is definite.
“We understand all the risks, we understand that there are risks. If you, or anyone else, has additional information regarding a 100% Russian invasion starting on the 16th, please forward that information to us,” he said.
Amid the tensions, President Biden spoke with Putin by phone on Saturday, but no breakthrough was made. The White House said Biden warned Putin of “severe costs” if Russia invades. The Kremlin said the two leaders discussed Russia’s security concerns but that Biden was not addressing the “key” issues.
“I will immediately note that the Russian president reacted in the spirit that the Russian side would carefully analyze the considerations expressed by Biden and would undoubtedly take them into account,” said Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov.
“But unfortunately, and this was said, these considerations do not touch upon the central, key elements of Russian initiatives,” Ushakov added. Russia’s main security demand is for a guarantee that Ukraine won’t ever join NATO and a halt to the military alliance’s eastward expansion. But both sides have indicated they’re ready to seriously negotiate arms control issues.
23 thoughts on “Ukraine Warns Against Panic After US Orders Embassy Evacuation”
Putin is again giving the US time to woof long enough to convince themselves they are acting in the interests of peace when accede to a neutral Ukraine.
All Zelensky needs to do is abide by the Minsk Accords Ukraine signed in 2015.
That is something never spoken about by our Western MSM.
And Minsk 2 is backed by UN Security Council
Resolution 2202(2015), increasing its importance. Hey, local autonomy should be no big deal, many other
countries deal with it, including 39 European countries.
Another interesting article – in Russian, use Google Translate if you’re using the Chrome browser, my Firefox doesn’t work – which states that the ongoing Russian navy military exercises are forcing cargo ships in the Black Sea to have to risk running aground to bypass the lanes closed by the exercises.
The article is generally hostile to Russia, so keep that in mind. However, I can see the side-effect of the exercises. I would suggest that Ukraine blame the West’s ramping up of tensions as the primary cause, rather than some round-about attempt by Putin to strangle Ukrainian trade.
The Black Sea is knee-deep: how Putin’s military exercises drive Ukraine’s maritime trade stranded
Very interesting article over at The National Interest, pointing out some things I wasn’t aware of. Well worth the read.
Why Washington Has Lost Its Mind Over Ukraine
In particular, it notes that back in March/April, 2021, Ukraine explicitly announced that it intended to develop a plan to take back Donbass by force. And that this occurred after the Atlantic Council noted that the advent of drone forces had worked in the Azerbaijan conflict and that this could be applied to the Donbass situation. In other words, Russia had every reason to believe a new offensive on Donbass was in the card.
Interesting article. Hendrickson indeed traces some of the thought that flowed from the Atlantic Council to the State Department. But his conclusions are much different than yours, in your comments here and elsewhere, mainly because three major players, Biden, Zelensky, and Putin, have each in their own ways put the kibosh on the Russian-invasion/NATO-military-response scenario that everyone is rightly worried about. Equally interesting, to me, was the history of how it was that the Donbas is rightly off Putin’s radar, both because Russia doesn’t have the troops required for an occupation and the Russian citizenry is opposed to such an occupation. Putin seems to be satisfied with the Minsk Agreement and wants to see it enforced in order to protect the Russophones in the eastern provinces.
It is important to first let go off preconceived notions. US vs them, Russians, always end up in a Classical Greek style circular logic on anything foreign — barbarians were always barbarians, even when everybattemltbwas made to civilize them at the point of sword,
We do same, albeit in a modern garb,
Ukraine and US have actually consulted Croatian experience on ethnic cleansinh of Krayina region in 1995. Ukrainian plan sppears to be same. Positioning first paramilitary as small, terrorist style strike grouos to penetrate remote villages and committ the most cruel and preferably most graphic crimes aginst weak — elderly, children. Such news spreads fast — and the objective is to soread panic and make population flee.
Drones may be ecfective against militaries that do not have airforce, hypersonic missiles or missile/drone defence.
Therefore, Croatian style ethnic cleansing may not be effective — as Russia would tske action against Ukrainian forces and command, not play hide ans seek with Ukrainian paramilitaries and their Western special ops advisers.
Crimea issue I hope we understand — what is stolen can be taken back. “Transfer” to Ukrainian administration from Russia by Soviet leader in 1953, was illegal, as it was based on no state decision, but an executive order. As a republic, Crimea had every right to remain in Soviet Union, the right Ukraine denied it having first taken Soviet constitution for it’s own secession.
Legally, it was a theft. After Ukrainian independence, it was a violation of the terms under which a Soviet state claims independence. After coup in 2014, Ukraine declared itself free from various tresties with Russia. Meaning that Budimpest Agrerment was also nul and void — not Ukrainian decision what treaties to abandon and what treaties it considers sacred. In essencce, that left Ukraine without recignized borders with Russia.
By agreeing to Minsk agreement Russia actually gave Ukraine a chance at recignized borders. Full implementation of Minsk, meant Ukraine taming over its border controls.
By refusing Minsk — Ukraine is making it clear that it wants to resolve the status of border and minorities by war.
But Ukraine is only one issue — Russia’s security guarantees are based in the presence of missile launchers in Eastern Europe.
Rollback is required to 1997, when US signed Helsinki Final Act. That includes launchers in Romania and Bulgaria.
Biden’s attempt to tamper things down in his last call to Putin was a somewhat childish act — giving some fuzzy promises, to insure that Russian written response is also tampered.
While everyone is happy to keep on talking — Russia is moving stepwise towards cutting of unproductive endless talk,
Once the response is published and it becomes public — we will know more.
We should remember that Minsk 2 is backed by UN Security Council Resolution 2202(2015). Local autonomy should be no big deal, many other countries deal with it, including 39 European countries.
The whole “occupation” idea, as I’ve argued incessantly everywhere, was a non-starter from the beginning. The consensus from people who know Russia pretty well is that Putin has no desire to “rebuild the Soviet Union.” And for all the reasons people cite about controlling Ukraine, he wouldn’t do it.
What I’ve argued is that what he might do falls on a spectrum, from merely supporting the Donbass militias from across the border like was done in 2014, to crossing the border to directly support Donbass, to seizing some more territory outside Donbass (say, Odessa), to driving on Kiev and replacing the government there. But in all cases, my opinion has been that all this would be very temporary. Once Russia organized whatever local governments and militias are needed to protect the territories seized (no more than a third of Ukraine at best), Russia will go home. No “nation-building” nonsense like the US does. Russia doesn’t want the headache of an occupation.
What people don’t understand is that the fact that Russia doesn’t want to occupy Ukraine doesn’t mean there won’t be a conflict. The US has every reason to want a conflict in Ukraine. The Ukrainian hard liners have every reason to want that. And there are so many factions inside Ukraine that any of them could start a conflict. There never was an “invasion” planned. What was planned is a reaction to the US and/or Ukraine starting another conflict. It was the US and NATO that ginned up the whole “invasion” story.
So everyone has been focusing on the wrong questions about whether Putin will invade, or whether Putin wants to occupy Ukraine. As Scott Ritter points out, everyone is focused on “what will Putin do”. Except Putin is not a dictator. He’s not the sole one in charge in Russia. He has to answer to the other powerful members of the government.
Russia has no interest in Ukraine except to get it to stop being a pain in the neck with its threats to the Russian-speaking citizens and Crimea and entering NATO. This whole crisis is on the US and NATO completely. Russia’s done nothing but prepare however which way it goes.
More evidence that Ukraine may be intending to attack Donbass – or at least continues to plan to do so.
Luhansk: Kiev Training Special Troops to Attack Breakaway Regions, Deploys Drones
It is my greatest hope that these talks are productive, fair and above board so that both sides can reach a comprehensive agreement. If each side can give a little, a successful arrangement should be made… NATO is the tricky part and the possible thorn in the ointment…NATO, by the nature of what it stands for and represents, expands…
The Russians are dealing with vipers and they know it.
Indeed, they are completely untrustworthy, you only have to look at the Iran nuclear deal.
The question absolutely no one asks: “What is the end game for the US/NATO if Russia does NOT invade Ukraine in like forever?”
Second question: How many times does Russia have to state that it appears to them that the US wants a war in Ukraine before someone starts to ask why the US might actually want that and might actually be working to initiate it?
Third question: Why am I the only one who asks such questions (aside from others like The Saker, Andrei Martyanov, and Bernhard)?
Quoted from a post at The Saker:
Interesting. I was pursuing a report that Ukrainian oligarchs were fleeing the country when I discovered airlines are stopping flights from overflying Ukraine due to the threatened “invasion”.
Ukraine allocates $592m to maintain flights amid fears of invasion
Ukrainska Pravda: Mass cancellation of Ukraine flights from Feb. 14
This is a Google Translate translation of an article on the Ukrainian Pravda Web site. What do the oligarchs know that President Zelensky does not? The article also includes images of what appear to be flight path maps of the oligarchs.
Oligarchs and businessmen leave Ukraine on charter flights
Mykhailo Tkach, Kateryna Tyshchenko – Sunday, February 13, 2022, 8:30 p.m.
Ukrainian oligarchs and businessmen are leaving Ukraine on charter flights, with about 20 charters and private jets departing from Kyiv on Sunday alone.
Source: Ukrainian Pravda
Details: There have not been so many charters in 6 years of observations.
Rinat Akhmetov and Borys Kolesnikov were among the charters and private planes that left Ukraine on Sunday.
Kolesnikov later said in a comment to the UE that he was in Kyiv and was not going anywhere. According to him, the plane flew to Prague for maintenance.
Private board for 50 people was also ordered by MP MP, millionaire Igor Abramovich.
According to the UE, from two sources to the OPZZ and two people who were offered to leave, this board is to take relatives of fellow party members and Abramovich’s business partners from Kyiv to Vienna. UE asked him for comment.
At the same time, according to the UE, although one of Akhmetov’s planes took off from Ukraine on Sunday, the oligarch himself left the country on January 30 on a flight to Zurich.
On the same day, businessman Viktor Pinchuk left Ukraine.
Businessman, People’s Deputy Vadym Novynsky left Ukraine on February 10 on a Kiev-Munich flight.
On the same day, Oleksandr Yaroslavskyi went abroad, and his motorcade knocked him to death.
On February 13, businessmen Andriy Stavnitser and Vadym Nesterenko left Ukraine, and on February 12, Vadym Stolar and Vasyl Khmelnytskyi left.
Stavnitzer’s press service told the UE that he had flown on a business trip and would return to Ukraine one of these days.
The Khmelnytsky press service told the UE that he had flown with the team to study and was to return to Ukraine on February 20. They added that this tour was planned for three months and Khmelnytsky’s children remain in Ukraine.
Some relevant points made by the Russians today in a briefing after the Putin-Biden phone call.
Briefing by Aide to the President Yury Ushakov following a telephone conversation between Vladimir Putin and Joseph Biden
The troop withdrawals and embassy evacs cost the local Ukrainian economies that host them.
Its a mixed message, in part punishing Zelensky for speaking out but also declining to be tripwire fodder.
Large-scale movements of troops observed in Ukraine near DPR and LPR — Kremlin spokesman
Yeah, but don’t panic, they say… Right. So the US is the only one spreading panic, Zelensky?
Ukraine police announces heavy security measures across country from February 14
Russian units near Ukraine moved into “attack positions,” U.S. official says
So I guess the Russians pushed back their invasion a few days due to having to recover from the Super Bowl drinking.
Bernhard over at Moon debunks the “frozen ground” theory (that the Russians are waiting for the ground to freeze before “invading”.)
The ‘Frozen Ground Theory’ And Other Ukraine War Nonsense
This part is especially interesting.
The articles cited are here:
Biden and Ukraine: A strategy for the new administration
Ukrainian Lobbyists Mounted Unprecedented Campaign on U.S. Lawmakers in 2021
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