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Ukraine Says Major Escalation Probability is Low, US Says Russia Will Attack

Propaganda wars escalate with US and Ukraine taking opposite sides.
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Kamala Harris at Munich Security Conference, image from YouTube Video. 

Kamala Harris at Munich Security Conference, image from YouTube Video. 

Decision to Attack

CNN reports "US Defense Secretary says it's apparent Russia has made a decision and is moving into position to conduct an attack."

Probability of Major Escalation With Russia Is Low

Ukraine's Defense Minister, via US News and World reports Estimates Probability of Major Escalation With Russia as Low

"Our intelligence sees every move that could pose a potential threat to Ukraine. We estimate the probability of a large-scale escalation as low," Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov told parliament on Friday.

Propaganda Wars 

There is no reason to believe either of these stories. 

Both sides have reasons to lie. 

Biden wants to be a hero to defuse the crisis and Ukraine does not want to create panic.

Russian Proxies in Eastern Ukraine Mobilize Troops, Kill Two Ukrainian Soldiers

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports Russian Proxies in Eastern Ukraine Mobilize Troops, Kill Two Ukrainian Soldiers

The Russian-led breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine mobilized able-bodied men against what they said was an imminent attack by Kyiv, as shelling across the front line intensified, killing two Ukrainian soldiers.

Kyiv dismissed the call-up and moves to evacuate civilian residents of Russian-held Donetsk and Luhansk areas to Russia as a provocation. “It’s a fake mobilization in response to a fake threat,” said Ukrainian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrski, who came under shelling near the front line on Saturday. “What they are trying to do is to create panic and fear, also on our side and among our people.”

Russian-installed authorities in Donetsk and Luhansk on Friday night instructed the areas’ women, children and elderly to leave for Russia, organizing convoys of buses. On Saturday, Denis Pushilin, head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, ordered the general mobilization of men between 18 and 55 years old, including reservists, telling them to report to enlistment offices. Men of that age were banned from leaving the enclave.

Ukraine denies it has any plans to recapture by force the parts of Donetsk and Luhansk that Russian-backed forces seized in 2014. President Biden has said that he expected his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine in the coming days, with targets including the Ukrainian capital.

Russia is evacuating its citizens from eastern Ukraine.

The US effectively says I told you so. But Ukraine calls it a "fake mobilization in response to a fake threat.”

Credit the WSJ for covering both ideas. 

Groundhog Day Update

Unprecedented Response 

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In an attempt to look useful, Vice President Kamala Harris warns Russia of ‘significant and unprecedented economic costs’ if Russia invades Ukraine. 

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, she said the US and its allies will levy huge economic and financial sanctions on Russia – and its allies who aid a Ukrainian invasion – if military action is taken.

How Severe and Unprecedented?

Not very. 

Understanding the Problem

"Nothing to do with that Stacy. It's all about Germany. Russia is a huge trading partner and Germany objects."

Low Grade Soap Opera

Germany will not stop trade with Russia, agree to cutoff Russia from the SWIFT payment system, or shut down the Nord Stream II pipeline with Russia.  

Thanks to former Chancellor Angela Merkel shutting down nuclear reactors to appease the Green Party, Germany is totally dependent on Russian natural gas. 

The US has mostly idle threats that add up to a low-grade soap opera. Kamala Harris is now leading the charge. 

Meanwhile, I am still unconvinced a major escalation is coming. Perhaps it does, but there is still no reason to believe US hype over repeated Ukrainian downplays of the threat.

This post originated on MishTalk.Com.

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