With the crisis of Russia and the West rushing towards confrontation, will Donetsk and Luhansk be the spark of war?
It is no longer a secret that the nature of the Russian military presence and its tasks may change, if the Ukrainian army takes military action against the unrecognized republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, where the majority of their residents hold Russian citizenship, and they are linked by a common border with Russia of about 400 km.
Moscow- The military situation on the border between Russia and Ukraine is still deteriorating, with the talk of preparing for open Ukrainian military action to forcibly return the eastern regions of Ukraine to Kiev.
Indeed, Russia accuses the Ukrainian neighbor of preparing to launch a military attack to restore the separatist-held lands in Donetsk and Luhansk, which the Ukrainian authorities deny in turn.
opportunity for quick response
And the American media organization, Politico, had published satellite images, which it said showed the deployment of Russian forces in Volgograd and the Crimea, in addition to military reinforcements from distant Siberia to areas adjacent to the Ukrainian border.
These reinforcements include tank battalions, artillery and missile systems, including short-range ballistic missiles, brought in from as far away as Siberia in the Russian Far East.
The American organization says, quoting Western military experts, that the size of the Russian forces deployed in places close to the border with Ukraine, and the nature of the weapons they possess, give them the opportunity to respond quickly, and enable them to easily bypass the Ukrainian defenses and destroy a large part of them.
In this atmosphere, decision-making circles in the West consider any Russian military move, even routine maneuvers, or those that it conducts with its allies, an act tainted by danger.
This could include the joint military exercises between Russia and Belarus, scheduled for February 10, which is not excluded to be described as a prelude to the deployment of Russian forces in Belarus to attack Ukraine from the north.
However, it is no longer a secret that the nature of the Russian military presence and its tasks may change, in the event that the Ukrainian army takes military action against the unrecognized republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, where the majority of their residents hold Russian citizenship, and they share a common border with Russia of about 400 km.
In addition, Moscow has not received satisfactory responses regarding security guarantees from Washington and NATO, of which Ukraine’s non-joining of NATO is one of its most important clauses, which may make Ukraine pay part of the price of any possible direct confrontation between the two parties.
Among the expected scenarios for the development of field events, the concentration of the Ukrainian armed forces, supported by NATO military forces and private military companies, respectively, in central and eastern Ukraine.
And in the event that this is linked to the increasing threats against Donetsk and Luhansk, then Russia may be forced to strengthen the gathering of its forces to ensure the ability to use the military option to prevent the two republics’ singling out.
According to some forecasts, in this case, this will be considered a “Russian aggressive act”, and “an intention to attack Ukraine in the near future.”
The date of the “inevitable attack” will be constantly changed from 2 to 4 weeks, in parallel with the influx of field information, the level of propaganda and the state of media agitation, as a justification for the open transfer of various weapons to Ukraine, including offensive weapons, and the supply of MANPADS there.
Back to the Cold War lines
In this context, Russian military observers do not rule out the deployment of NATO forces on Russia’s strategic borders, especially after their numbers there rose from hundreds to thousands of soldiers.
If this were to happen in reality, it would be a true reproduction of the Cold War situation between the former Soviet Union and the West; When the dividing line in Central Europe was reinforced with large numbers of troops in a state of high or maximum combat readiness.
Now, this line has moved from Germany to the borders with Belarus and Ukraine.
As for the most dangerous intelligence development – according to Russian military experts – it may be represented by a sharp intensification of reconnaissance activities in the vicinity of the Russian borders using various drones from the United States and NATO countries, along with data from American satellites, to carry out around-the-clock monitoring of the movements of units Russian military.
And if this is combined with preparatory mobilization measures for military action against Donetsk and Luhansk, it could lead to an acute conflict with a large number of deaths and heavy losses.
And then the silent Russia may now be forced to remove its soldiers from their barracks, and transfer hostilities to the entire regions of eastern, central and southern Ukraine.
Conflict with “Minsk”
In light of these scenarios, Moscow considers that the preparation of an open Ukrainian military action to forcibly return the eastern regions to Kiev, in direct conflict with the “Minsk” agreements, may cause another round of a bloody civil war.
This development does not diminish the importance and sensitivity of the debate between Russia on the one hand, and Ukraine and the West on the other, about the unprecedentedly intense presence of Russian forces, as Washington considers, near the border with Ukraine, which Western sources estimate at about 100,000 soldiers.
The United States and its NATO partners say that this deployment comes in the context of preparing for military action, which it describes as an “invasion” of Ukrainian lands.
Negation and opposite denial
But Moscow vehemently denies that its forces there are preparing for military action, and says it does not threaten anyone. At the same time, it does not consider itself obliged to give detailed explanations about the reasons for its presence in terms of the number of forces and types of weapons, and it is satisfied with talking about the fact that it has the right to move its soldiers in any areas within its borders and that it is a sovereign right.
In this context, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev described Western statements that Russia threatens Ukraine as “slanderous and ridiculous,” stressing that his country does not want war and does not need it.