Vladimir Putin can spend all of the time that he wants suggesting that he’s not trying to invade Ukraine, but it’s doubtful that observers around the globe are going to give him the benefit of the doubt.
First, this is Vladimir Putin we’re talking about. A Kremlin scourge through and through whose upbringing in the KGB has made him a deft tactician in the diplomatic arena. He’s not going to say what he means, and he may not even be saying abjectly the opposite. His web is woven of pure obfuscation, and is meant to shelter his actions from prior judgment.
Secondly, the sheer amount of Russian forces on the border of Ukraine tells us that this is no exercise.
Speaking on ABC’s This Week, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan offered one of the administration’s most stark assessments of the situation, saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin “has put himself in a position with military deployments to be able to act aggressively against Ukraine at any time now.”
“We believe that there is a very distinct possibility that Vladimir Putin will order an attack on Ukraine,” Sullivan said. “It could take a number of different forms. It could happen as soon as tomorrow or it could take some weeks yet.”Trending:
With more than 100,000 Russian forces estimated to be in position along Ukraine’s borders, U.S. officials believe Putin has already amassed nearly three-quarters of the total amount of troops he would need for a full-scale attack. Russian forces continue to assemble around Ukraine, the officials said, including naval assault ships that could be used to invade Ukrainian ports.
This isn’t the only worrisome math to be found, with US officials suggesting that tens of thousands of people or more could die should Putin send Russian forces across that border.
And, of course, who knows what sort of worldwide reaction and conflict could arise after that.