The U.K has announced it’s discovered a plot to oust the current leadership in Ukraine and install pro-Kremlin leadership in Ukraine.
“We have information that indicates the Russian government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine,” the Foreign Office [the counterpart to the U.S. State Department] said in a statement Saturday.
The Foreign Office’s statement named an ex-lawmaker as the Russian candidate for prime minister and cited Russian intelligence links with four former senior officials who fled to Russia in 2014 when their boss, then-President Viktor Yanukovych, was ousted during mass street protests.
“Some of these have contact with Russian intelligence officers currently involved in the planning for an attack on Ukraine,” the Foreign Office said.
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They didn’t go into detail on how this was supposed to occur, but said that Russia was debating different options “from a military invasion to destabilization campaign” aimed at getting rid of “pro-West president Volodymyr Zelensky” and his administration.
They currently have about 100,000 troops sitting on the border of Ukraine, and just shipped in jets and air defense systems to Belarus.
As we reported earlier, the U.S. is planning on evacuating the families of diplomats in Ukraine as early as Monday. It’s not clear how many Americans are in Ukraine, and the White House seemed clueless on the question during Friday’s press briefing, and again seemed angry they were even asked, with White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki saying they don’t microchip people — an eerie, deja vu statement reminiscent of what she said when they left Americans behind in Afghanistan.
The White House called this latest information about a possible coup “deeply concerning.” NSC spokesperson Emily Horne said, “The Ukrainian people have the sovereign right to determine their own future, and we stand with our democratically-elected partners in Ukraine.”
Except the problem is that Joe Biden ratcheted up the danger to Ukraine with a huge blunder, not only suggesting that a “minor incursion” wouldn’t get a swift and terrible response but indicating there were divisions within NATO thought on the matter and even that he thought Russia would ultimately prevail.
Biden clearly said whatever he’d been advised, without any filtering out of the things he shouldn’t be revealing. No wonder Russia is suddenly more on the move with a variety of options. Because even though the Biden team tried to clean it up, you can’t prevent Russia from unhearing what he said. They may believe that now is that time, with the weak Biden in office.
It’s worth looking back a little on the history of how we got to this spot. Many people know about the failures of Obama-Biden in 2014, with Obama’s lack of any real response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine at that time. It’s not a coincidence that Vladimir Putin didn’t escalate while President Donald Trump was in office. Some Russian stooge. It’s with the more “flexible” ones, Obama and Biden, that he made his moves.
While Ukraine is not a part of NATO, we gave Ukraine certain assurances in exchange for them giving up their nuclear weapons in 1994, which they had after the Soviet Union broke up.
This diplomatic activity manifested in security assurances for Ukraine embedded in what has become known as the Budapest Memorandum. With the entrance of Ukraine into the international order as a non-nuclear state, Russia, the U.S., and the U.K. pledged to “respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine.” The memo reaffirmed their obligation to “refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine.” The signatories also reaffirmed their commitment to “seek immediate” UN Security Council action “to provide assistance to Ukraine … if Ukraine should become a victim of an act of aggression.”
But there’s another part to the history — that’s the involvement of Barack Obama in weakening Ukraine. Back in August 2005, when Obama was a junior senator, he was involved in getting $48 million in U.S. funding to help Ukraine get rid of a lot of their weapons, including a lot of conventional weapons. Not only did we talk them into getting rid of them, but we also used our own money to do it. They expanded the agreement that had just been for nuclear weapons to include artillery, small arms, anti-aircraft weapons, and conventional ammunition of all kinds.
Now, that all might have been fine if we stood by our commitments to Ukraine in exchange for them giving up their weapons. But Obama left them hanging out in the wind in 2014, when they came under attack from Russia. Obama was even reluctant to send them lethal aid to defend themselves, after he personally had left them more exposed. And Trump was the Russian stooge? Talk about “flexibility.”
So, it’s not surprising that Putin may now be moving given Biden was Obama’s Vice President — not to mention Biden’s own weakness.