Will Russia eventually invade Ukraine or not? Or did the war end after Putin seems to have achieved what he set out to do from the beginning: the West leaving Ukraine to its fate and to Putin’s ambitions of power as well as his craving of international attention?
An unprecedented war of strategy and propaganda is being waged between the two battling parties. Putin pretends not to have even thought of invading Ukraine, and Biden, in order to avoid any misunderstanding between the two nuclear powers, made it clear in his public statements that he has no intention of confronting a possible invasion by military means.
It is historically interesting to follow the events of the last days: The National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan appeared in the White House press room recently to announce that, “as we’ve said before, we are in the window when an invasion could begin at any time, should Vladimir Putin decide to order it.”
Other White House officials told reporters that the announcement was made because there was strong evidence that the attack could begin on Wednesday, February 16 (obviously it did not). Meanwhile it was announced that the following day, the presidents of America and Russia would have a telephone conversation.
A senior administration official told reporters following the call that, “President Biden was clear that, if Russia undertakes a further invasion of Ukraine, the United States together with our Allies and partners will respond decisively and impose swift and severe costs on Russia. President Biden reiterated that a further Russian invasion of Ukraine would produce widespread human suffering and diminish Russia’s standing.”
An indication of how seriously the United States is taking the possibility of a Russian invasion is that it has ordered the removal of most of its embassy staff in Kyiv. Meanwhile, the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, whose country has already suffered huge losses, with the economy collapsing and many Ukrainians fleeing the country, urged Ukrainians not to panic: “We are strong enough to keep everything under control and derail any attempts at destabilization,” he said.
It is indeed an unusual ‘pre-war’ being waged, with America turning the tables using a chapter from Putin’s propaganda playbook. As things stand, in order for an invasion to be avoided, Putin must be able to claim a national victory to his people under the guise of security and peace for his country. This could be achieved by a statement that the United States or NATO has no intention of extending NATO to Ukraine or by the establishment in Kyiv of a government with a mutually acceptable president and some ministers who are friendly to Russia.
For his part, Biden should be able to claim that with his cool head and effective policy he averted a war that would have had terrible consequences for the United States and the whole world.
In any event, this situation cannot continue indefinitely.