You may recall that several months ago Russia issued a stern warning to Kiev that if it persisted in targeting locations within Russia it would begin targeting control and decision-making centres within Ukraine. It has not done so until now as the Russian leadership has not declared war on Ukraine, contrary to what is perhaps the opinion of most regarding Russia’s actions since February 24th. The Russian leadership certainly does not categorise its actions in Ukraine as constituting a war. This is why it designated the campaign in Ukraine as a special military operation.
This is not merely sophistry. As most insightful observers will confirm, Russia has not been conducting a full-blown war against Ukraine despite the lurid tales that western mass media has regaled readers and viewers with since Russia’s campaign began. The Russian military has taken care to limit civilian casualties and significantly has not till now targeted vital infrastructure. If the U.S. approach in the Iraq war is compared with the situation in Ukraine the difference between the approaches can easily be seen.
Russia regards the Russian-speaking people living in the Donbass as they do their own citizens, therefore it would be wholly inconceivable for the Russian military to go in all guns blazing destroying everything wholesale including vital infrastructure. In addition, the mission to liberate the Russian-speaking population there (as they see it) requires the cooperation of the civilian population both during and after victory over the Ukrainian regime. For both these reasons creating a humanitarian disaster and mass slaughter of civilians just to eliminate the Ukrainian army in their positions is unacceptable.
The Ukrainian army, as confirmed by Amnesty International in a recent report, is heavily embedded within the civilian population across the entire area Russia seeks to liberate/occupy. This is why the incremental gains by the Russian military appear excruciatingly slow to many outside observers. Naturally, Russia has the capacity, especially using hypersonic missiles or even nuclear devices to completely decimate all areas where the Ukrainian army faces them. However, until now it has restrained itself.
This may be about to change, though the targets decided upon if a change does occur will not necessarily be in the area directly facing the Russian military, at least not in the Majority of cases. There are several reasons why a change in tactics may occur comprising an expansion of targets for attacks.
In the last 24 hours the ISW (Institute for the Study of War) released a report which stated in the authors’ opinion that Russia will now struggle to make significant gains and that momentum has been lost. If this has some basis in truth it would be one significant reason for a change in tactics. Another opinion says that Russia will struggle to make significant gains due to the worsening weather as winter approaches. Yet it is the final circumstance that may bring about the change I spoke of above.
The Ukrainian army, as confirmed by Amnesty International in a recent report, is heavily embedded within the civilian population across the entire area Russia seeks to liberate/occupy. This is why the incremental gains by the Russian military appear excruciatingly slow to many outside observers.
In recent weeks Ukraine has made an increasing number of attacks on Russian territory. Initially these attacks targeted Belgorod, within the Russian Federation north of Kharkov/Kharkiv. A number of attacks took place between April and the end of July. It was this month however when Ukraine began hitting targets in Crimea, apparently using drones to do this, that a red line has likely been crossed for Russia. In addition, the murder of the daughter of a prominent Russian figure in the last few days by a Ukrainian agent may well have been the final straw for Russia.
It can be expected that, as in past occurrences where additional action was deemed necessary a debate will occur in Russia’s parliament, the Duma where additional powers may be granted to the Russian president. Perhaps these will merely extend targets to a limited degree, however, the possibility exists that more significant powers will be granted, such as the ability to authorise the declaration of war and with this authorisation, to extend attacks to Ukrainian control and command centres and even perhaps the authorisation to order tactical nuclear strikes on such positions and/or major military/intelligence assets not previously targeted.
Whether any of the above occurs will depend on the judgement of those in the Duma regarding how serious the situation is for Russia if a reasonably quick end to the current special military operation is unavailable and also bringing into consideration the recent increasing number of attacks being made by Ukraine within Russia.
Under these circumstances can it be possible that Russia will now seriously consider declaring war on Ukraine and opening up the prospect of targeting those locations currently off limits, potentially including the authorisation of limited tactical nuclear weapons? I suspect so. Only time will tell…
The tactic being deployed by the western powers opposing Russia through a sustained Ukrainian defence is composed of an attempt to weaken Russian resolve through a continued military response by the Ukrainian army plus its volunteer and militia forces. And also of course to completely ignore all admonitions to take part in negotiations or peace talks. We see this policy of the U.S., UK and European powers as reflected in the attitude and public statements of Zelensky and those around him. The Ukrainian policy, as repeatedly stated, is to refuse to take part in any talks with Russia until Russia leaves all Ukrainian land taken by them. This Russia will not do.
Recalling Russia’s threats against the Ukrainian political elites if they persisted in targeting locations within Russia, this is a scenario whereby the Russian leadership will have had its hand repeatedly forced into declaring war on Ukraine. At this point the number and type of targets in Ukraine will be expanded to include decision and control centres, vital infrastructure including internet access and much, much more. A full scale war waged against Ukraine is something that has not been seen to date and would certainly devastate what is left of Ukraine.
Especially hard hit would be nodes of central command, including those where western and NATO expertise are located. All transport networks would be targeted, not just those suspected of transporting weapons. Storage depots of all types, not simply those having known association with the Ukrainian military. Electricity and gas infrastructure would become targets, the flow of gas flowing through Nord Stream 1 would certainly stop. As was talked of when the USA waged war against Iraq, a collapsing of vital infrastructure would be sought to almost take the country ‘back to the Stone Age’.
These are my forebodings on what may occur if the present desire of the western elites to urge the Ukrainian political leadership to fight on continues unabated. This point may already have passed however with the Crimea attacks and murder of Darya Dugina. We must await the deliberations of the Duma and any decision by them having been passed to the Kremlin for activation.
Will Russia declare war upon Ukraine with all this signifies? I fear so. At that point the world enters a yet more dangerous situation than even the one already confronting us. With all sides facing an existential threat to their power, sovereignty and security and so being totally unable to back down, by all sides seeing ever more escalation as the only way in the circumstances to pursue their vital interests, the end result can only mean the threat of not only all-out war in Ukraine but the ever-increasing threat of a nuclear war between Russia and the entire collective West.
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The views expressed herein are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of The Greanville Post. However, we do think they are important enough to be transmitted to a wider audience.
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