Situation Report: Putin moves put Europe on the brink of war

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War could be becoming increasingly likely in Europe due to Russian provocations, NATO officials say.

Russian troop movements near Ukraine along with Belarus’ effort to push Iraqi Kurdish refugees into Poland and the Baltics shows that Europe has entered a new dangerous phase.

“We see a large military build-up of Russia, we see an unusual concentration of troops and we know that Russia has previously used these forces to conduct aggressive actions against Ukraine,” NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg said.

The refugee crisis manufactured by Russian ally Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko likely is a shiny object aimed at distracting diplomatic attention from Vladimir Putin’s aggression against Ukraine. NATO leaders have long noted that Lukashenko rarely does anything without Putin’s approval.

Belarusian security forces herded the migrants to the Polish border, migrants told the Russian news site “Charter 97.”

Lukashenko has been intent on getting even with the European Union (EU) for imposing sanctions on his regime following his crackdown on those opposed to his rigged re-election last year. The EU believes that this migration effort is part of a strategy by Belarus and ultimately Russia to destabilize. Russian mercenaries belonging to the Wagner Group, who have been the tip of the spear of Russian aggressive activities in Crimea, eastern Ukraine, Libya, and Syria, were reportedly in Belarus.

It is a classic case of gray-zone warfare that uses methods that stops short of military means to attack enemies. Migration is a sharply divisive topic in the EU that normally pits states like Germany and Poland against each other and the far-Left and the far-Right, thus softening united resistance to Russian aims. This doesn’t seem to be happening so far.

“II would argue for the people who are there, who were brought there under false pretenses by the Lukashenko regime, being taken back to their countries of origin, and for the countries of origin to take their share of the responsibility,” the Associated Press reported German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas as having said.

The presidents of Poland, Latvia and Lithuania might request a NATO meeting under Article 4 of the alliance charter that requires member states to “consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened.”

Lukashenko requested the deployment of Russian Iskander short-range ballistic missiles that can carry conventional or nuclear weapons, which would be an escalation.

Ukraine has been worried about a Russian invasion this Fall since last spring, Jim Gilmore, the former ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in the Trump administration, told the Center for Security Policy. The Ukrainians told Gilmore they believe the conditions could be better in the Fall for Russian armored vehicles to operate.

Gilmore worries that war is around the corner.

Currently, Russia has close to 100,000 troops along the Ukrainian border.

Putin is a gambler. He knows that President Joe Biden will not stand up to him. The president proved this from his first day in office when he granted him everything, he wanted on the New START Treaty and then when he caved on the Nordstream 2 pipeline. His haphazard evacuation from Afghanistan furthered the perception of Biden’s weakness in Moscow.

Gen. Nick Carter, chief of staff of the British defense staff, warned that the danger of a miscalculation that could lead to all-out war is high.

If NATO and the U.K. promise to assist Ukraine in the face of an all-out invasion, U.S. involvement could become all but guaranteed, according to Gilmore.

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