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US climbs escalation ladder in Ukraine

BY M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | INDIAN PUNCHLINE | JANUARY 4, 2023 

In all probability, the message conveyed to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov from his American counterpart Antony Blinken via Israel’s new foreign minister Eli Cohen concerned the Ukrainian missile attack on Makeyevka (Donetsk) on New Year Day at 12.02 am killing 89 Russian conscripts. 

Kiev claimed that up to 400 Russian soldiers might have been killed. Russian MOD has made a rare acknowledgment of scores of deaths — latest figure is 83. Moscow rarely releases figures for casualties in the war. 

The Russian statements stressed that US-made Himars missiles were used in the attack. The site was a “a temporary deployment facility” (a vocational school temporarily used as barracks for scores of recently mobilised troops sent by Moscow. 

The incident sparked renewed public criticism over the state of Russia’s military and the decision to use civilian infrastructure to house soldiers. The First Deputy Head of the Main Military-Political Department of the Russian Armed Forces Lieutenant General Sergey Sevryukov told reporters:

“It has already become obvious at present that the main cause of the occurrence was activation and large-scale use, contrary to the ban, of personal phones by personnel within the reach of enemy’s destruction means. This factor enabled the enemy to take the bearing and determine coordinates of servicemen location to deliver a missile strike. Required measures are being taken at present to exclude such tragic incidents in the future.” 

Apparently, the blame game has begun — that the “main cause” of the tragedy was the unruly behaviour of soldiers who used mobile phones on the warfront. But there are going to be consequences. 

Public pressure may increase demanding maximum use of force to end the war quickly. There is always the danger of escalation if certain unwritten, unspoken red lines in the conduct of the war are crossed. 

It is entirely conceivable that there could be Cold-War style “strategic deconfliction” parameters worked out between the general staff in Moscow and the Pentagon aimed at avoiding miscalculation or any set of actions (by either side) that could lead to unnecessary conflict. The US and Russian forces have been operating in Syria for years and a communications line, used daily, has helped the two sides avoid direct conflict. 

Now, the New Year attack comes as the Biden administration is trying to provide billions in weaponry to Ukraine while also claiming that avoiding a direct clash with Russia has been a top US priority.

At any rate, although Russian intelligence would have a fair idea of the location of NATO officers conducting the Ukrainian operations, they have not been so far targeted. That is why, the Russian MOD’s decision on Monday to highlight that US-supplied Himars missiles have killed scores of Russian soldiers on Sunday night would have caused some uneasiness in Washington.

The big question is whether Moscow will also now go up the escalation ladder and directly target American military personnel deployed in Ukraine. 

Of course, any killing of American military personnel in Ukraine will make very damaging headlines in the US news cycle for the Biden Administration. So far, there has not been a single instance of a body bag arriving from Ukraine. The Russian generals probably ensured that. 

The Russian reports often mention publicly that the highly advanced HIMARS missile systems supplied to Ukraine are in reality operated by the US personnel. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Tass news agency as recently as last week:

“The Kiev regime is deliberately flooded with the most advanced weapons, including samples that have not yet been put into service in the Western armies, apparently in order to see how they will do in combat conditions… Meanwhile, Westerners are saying they prefer to remain ‘above the fray’ and find a direct face-off between NATO and Russia unacceptable, which is unadulterated hypocrisy. Already now, NATO members have de facto become parties to the conflict: Western private military companies and military instructors are fighting on the side of the Ukrainian forces. The Americans transmit satellite and other reconnaissance data to the Ukrainian command almost in real time and participate in planning and carrying out military operations.” 

Neither Washington nor Brussels ever endeavoured to refute these damning Russian allegations. Instead, they choose to tread warily since a public discussion may jeopardise the delicate “strategic deconfliction” arrangement / understanding worked out with the Russian general staff. 

It comes as no surprise if Washington distances itself from the dastardly attack on New Year Day in Donetsk, which drew Russian blood. Quoting an unnamed Israeli diplomat, the Times of Israel reported that the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had a call with the newly appointed Israeli foreign minister Eli Cohen on Monday and asked him “to pass messages on to Lavrov but did not say what they were.”  

The Russian readout of Cohen’s phone conversation with Lavrov on Tuesday mentioned that the latter “informed his Israeli counterpart about certain aspects of the situation in Ukraine in the context of Russia’s special military operation.” 

Lavrov probably had his say on Blinken’s charade that the US had nothing to do with the killing of 89 Russian soldiers. The fact that as many was six deadly HIMARS missiles were fired in rapid sequence at a single target at 12.02 am shows a high level of certainty on the part of the Ukrainian side and/or their western mentors that maximum damage would be inflicted. 

The intelligence inputs in real time show direct American participation in the horrific operation targeting the Russian conscripts’ New Year party just when the toasts began. Of course, whipping up public sentiments in Russia against Putin is a core American objective in the war.   

We are entering a grey zone. Expect “surgical strikes” by the Russian forces, too. After all, at some point soon enough, it will emerge that what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. 

January 4, 2023 - Posted by | Militarism | , ,

6 Comments »

  1. Noted. Not a pleasing read at all — especially, given my antipathy toward the Zionist Israeli monstrosity vis-a-vis Palestine, that Israel is performing as US agent and interlocutor. I suppose it’s due to President Putin’s (reported) “dalliance-cum-toleration-cum-consorting-congenially-with-the-devil” that causes (Zionist) Blinken’s use of that devil for his/the US’ nefarious agenda, but it sticks in my craw….

    Like

    Comment by roberthstiver | January 4, 2023 | Reply

  2. Yes to the first comment. As to the analysis, the author considers the situation, past and present and looks at the future. That future is ever more precarious.

    The continued denial that America is involved in a partnership with all the other partners, most being, of course, the Ukraine, as is revealed, is ever more preposterous.

    Whomever is conducting America’s war on Russia, whether it’s Joe “I’m a Zionist” Biden, or Antony “the American-Israel Secretary of State” Blinken or the CIA, the Deep State, ad nauseam, is really moot: the United States is engaging in the war on or with Russia.

    Maybe Joe Biden’s middle name would better be “We’ll Put and End to It”, in reference to the Nord Stream pipe line, upon which so much damage done can hardly be even measured.

    Further speculation from this commenter: if Israel develops the resources off its shore–aside from that being offshore of Palestine, of Lebanon, et cetera–is Israel can begin to tap into the oil of those neighboring countries destroyed at its biding and benefit, which have natural resources, will the ‘Greater Israel’ goal be a conduit, and a producer of natural gas and oil? Will Rothschild and all of its wide-ranging extractions of raw materials, of manufacturing, will it be a hidden partner in the emergence of the ‘Greater Israel’?

    No wonder, then, the accelerated genocide and expulsion of any and all non-jewish citizens of Israel and the lands conquered as an ex post facto part of Israel. All, really nothing, if ever more damning and conclusive evidence of the involvement in assassinations of American leaders, of the planning and execution of the attack on the World Trade Center. As well as the hidden push to destroy Germany, then conquer that country as well as England and America. As to the latter country, no matter how much that conclusion is denied, labeled anti-semitic, the ways and means this has been accomplished shows over and over and over.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by michael | January 4, 2023 | Reply

    • An excellent “take”! Thanks….

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by roberthstiver | January 4, 2023 | Reply

    • It seems that “Israel” only needs to be dominant in NY and London to be the primary beneficiary of global energy production. A multi-polar world could be a threat to all that.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by aletho | January 4, 2023 | Reply

  3. Quote, “The Russian reports often mention publicly that the highly advanced HIMARS missile systems supplied to Ukraine are in reality operated by the US personnel.” Unquote. The Russians also claim to have knocked out at least TWO HIMARS units. If the claim is valid, that Americans are used to operate these units, that means a bunch of Americans won’t be coming home. There’d be nothing left of them after such a hit. Then we are told, Americans are only there to check out and follow up where their donated equipment is going. What is the truth ?

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by itchyvet | January 4, 2023 | Reply

    • I recall accounts of American casualties in Laos being just complete disappearance. No recognition. Zip.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by aletho | January 4, 2023 | Reply


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