The world has been waiting anxiously for the next shoe to drop in Europe, and those on the ground are now suggesting that it already has.
Russia appears poised to invade Ukraine at any moment, despite the pathetic and transparent claims to the contrary being made by the Kremlin. Hundreds of thousands of Russian troops are at the borders, simply awaiting instructions from Moscow.
But, according to Ukrainian authorities, this war may have already begun.
Ukrainian officials say that Russia, which has positioned more than 100,000 troops around three sides of Ukraine, is stepping up a destabilization campaign involving cyberattacks, economic disruption and a new tactic: hundreds of fake bomb threats.
Russian forces and their proxies already control portions of Ukraine and frequent skirmish with government forces. The aim of Moscow’s intensifying hybrid campaign, Ukrainian officials say, is to weaken their country and sow panic, potentially provoking discontent and protests of the kind Russia fomented in eastern Ukraine in 2014 to justify its interventions there. U.S. and U.K. officials said last month they uncovered coup plots intended to install a puppet pro-Russian government.
And that wasn’t all:
Russia announced Thursday naval drills in the Black Sea that would close off swaths of water along Ukraine’s southern coast, inhibiting traffic to key ports for exports. Ukraine’s foreign ministry complained about the economic consequences of the closures, calling them part of Russia’s “hybrid warfare.”Advertisement - story continues below
“Russia’s economic warfare against Ukraine continues,” the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv said on Twitter.
The news will certainly have the world on edge, with a number of nations having already suggested that any incursion against Ukraine will be met with forceful retaliation.