January 26, 2022

Weekly Oracle

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Army soldiers concentrated on the border | Biden has taken steps to protect Ukraine from Russian aggression

(Washington) US President Joe Biden on Friday said he was preparing a “package of initiatives” aimed at protecting Ukraine from Russian aggression, while accusing Kiev and Washington of plotting to invade Moscow.

Stating that he was “in constant contact” with US and Ukrainian allies, he declared from the White House: “I am preparing a set of very important initiatives that are as comprehensive and relevant as possible. It is very difficult for Mr Putin to do what people fear.”

Seven years after Russia annexed Crimea, pro-Russian separatist forces have seized part of the eastern part of the former Soviet republic, and the US president and his Russian envoy are set to discuss directly the tensions surrounding Ukraine.

Tensions have been rising for weeks over a new offensive by Russia against Ukraine, which has been accused of amassing tens of thousands of troops on the border.

To defuse tensions, Moscow is calling for “security guarantees,” especially in the wake of Ukraine’s assurances that NATO will not expand eastward.

Kiev, for its part, refuses to drop such a membership plan, which has been on the table since 2008 formally, but it has been in recession. Joining NATO means that other countries in the US-led coalition will have to intervene militarily to defend Ukraine in the event of an occupation.

Russia continues to deploy troops around Ukraine and is ready for a possible military “increase” by the end of January, the Ukrainian defense minister said on Friday, at the height of tensions.

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Is Russia ready to attack at the end of January?

Meanwhile, Ukrainian intelligence services believe the end of January is the “most likely period” for the completion of Russian products for “major expansion”, the minister told parliament. , Oleksi├» Reznikov.

According to him, about 100,000 Russian troops could take part in the possible attack. “Increase is a viable option, but not inevitable. Our task is to prevent it,” he said.

He said Russia had already “started military exercises near Ukraine” and was “testing its communications”.

Last week, Russian units in the Bryansk and Smolensk regions of northern Ukraine were “strengthened by tanks and armor,” he said. Resnikov said.

In eastern Ukraine, in the wake of the war against pro-Russian separatists since 2014, Ukrainian soldiers interviewed by the AFP have ruled that a Russian offensive is possible.

“Our task is simple: do not let the enemy (advance) in our country,” said 29-year-old Andrei, who smoked in a ditch near the town of Svitlodorsk in the Donetsk region.

“All our comrades are ready to stop them,” said his comrade Ivkun, 24, adding: “This is our land, and we will wait until the end.”

Both said separatist attacks have intensified in their positions in recent days.

82mm motor attack

On the front, motor gunfire could be heard from separatists, followed by Kiev forces’ response.

In khaki uniform, helmet and bulletproof vest, “we were shot by 82mm caliber motors, a dozen shells,” Ivkun said. “When we responded with machine guns, we got a grenade launcher fire.”

According to Andre, separatist shootings have become “frequent.” “We retaliate when we have recognition. It’s quiet again.”

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According to Yevgeny, the movement of Russian troops on the border could be a means of putting pressure on Kiev. According to him, it is a question of “showing that they are strong and that they can carry out (the attack) at any time”.

While Kiev and the West have expressed fears of a possible Russian occupation of Ukraine, Moscow has repeatedly denied the militant course.