Russia Says It’s Begun Pulling Back Some Troops From Around Ukraine
“Of course Putin’s going to invade. He’s not irresponsible enough not to.” Koshersalaami
New York Times, February 15, 2022
The Defense Ministry’s announcement was the most concrete sign yet that Russia might be trying to de-escalate the military standoff on the Ukrainian border, but it was far from clear that the threat of war had passed.
Russia says some troops are returning to their bases, but other large-scale military drills continue.
MOSCOW — Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that some troops deployed from military districts bordering Ukraine were being loaded onto trains and trucks and sent back to their garrisons, a tentative sign that Russia could be stepping away from the threat of an invasion.
My elation may be a bit premature however, ‘hope springs eternal’.
So here’s the question:
Does this New York Times report indicate that Putin may be willing to act irresponsibly and back away from invading Ukraine?
295 total views, 1 views today
02/15/2022 @ 1:18 pm
That depends. (Sorry for my absence, there’s at least one comment I didn’t post as an answer elsewhere because I had an access problem to Bindlesnitch, as Bitey was kind enough to point out when I emailed him that it was apparently my turn not to get past the firewall.)
The Washington Post reports that though the Russians claim to have begun withdrawals the American military hasn’t seen any sign of it.
And a senior Russian diplomat has told Putin that avenues for negotiation are far from exhausted.
It’s not that Putin wants to invade, it’s that Putin wants no NATO on that border.
If an agreement is reached that keeps NATO out of Ukraine, I very much doubt Putin would invade. After all, that’s his condition. If he gets what he wants and invades anyway, I’ve clearly been wrong, but I don’t see what he gains by that.
As Katrina vanden Heuvel points out in the Washington Post (linked to above): No one in NATO is prepared to send troops into Ukraine anyway, which we’ve known all along. The threat from NATO is not military action, it’s sanctions.
You’ve written in another recent post that Putin is not alone among the Russian leadership of milking the position for money. Kind of like Trump did here to the extent he could, the difference being that milking the Presidency for money is not considered a perk of the office. If it is treated like one in Russia, then Putin’s kleptocratic tendencies may have nothing to do with the extent to which he acts on behalf of his country while in office. All of which speaks to an early American mistake I pointed out: When the Soviet Union fell, we belonged in Russia helping them set up democratic institutions and a capitalistic system that was less predatory than it is. Unfortunately, this even occurred on Reagan’s watch, and he was in the act of starting this nation down the path of a government sanctioned economic system that encouraged predatory behaviors on the part of major companies, so his administration had very little they were interested in teaching.
Russia is a very cynical place, but also a very nationalistic one. Hence the doping of fifteen year old figure skating girls.
02/15/2022 @ 2:08 pm
“It’s not that Putin wants to invade, it’s that Putin wants no NATO on that border.”
A former senior state department official said that while Ukraine is moving toward democracy the country is perhaps years away from qualifying for NATO membership.
He asserted that NATO at the border is Putin’s red herring excuse or justification for an invasion of Ukraine.
The early American mistake was not filling the political void in the 8 years that transpired between Yeltsin and Putin…
You can’t simultaneously steal from people and claim that you’re acting in their best interests.
It won’t wash because it doesn’t work that way.
At the end of the day, when dealing with Putin’s Russia, the most prudent course of action is to pay attention to what they do, not what they say.
02/15/2022 @ 4:52 pm
Putin claims that Russia is currently de-escalating. Biden says that the US has not verified that yet. So far, so good.
Interestingly, Biden spoke for about ten minutes earlier about the Ukrainian border crisis. He said many things. Chief among them was that it is “absurd” to consider NATO to be a threat to Russia. He said it never has been, and never will be. He also said that NATO does not seek to de-stabilize Russia. And, of course, he mentioned how USSR fought side by side with Allies in WWII, in a “war of necessity.” He drew a distinction with Russia’s possible invasion of Ukraine as being a “war of choice.” So far, I have not seen anyone anywhere say that Russia is defending itself. Practically the entire world is opposed to Putin’s story. We can’t all be wrong.
02/15/2022 @ 7:14 pm
I agree about the void. I’d have been helping during Yeltsin.
If Biden really thought that the NATO presence was an excuse, the way to call the bluff is not to refuse to give a commitment to Putin but to do just that, at least for a period of time we’d wait anyway, taking away Putin’s public reason for the invasion. It depends where you think the bluff is.
02/15/2022 @ 8:55 pm
According to the professionals and experts, Ukraine isn’t ready for NATO, and NATO isn’t ready for Ukraine.
This will be so for a period of years, and Putin knows this to be the case…
02/17/2022 @ 8:03 am
There has been shelling reported in the Donbas region.
02/22/2022 @ 12:59 am
Putin didn’t pull back. There are now reports (i don’t know if verified) that Putin has sent troops into at least one of the “breakaway republics.”
“Of course Putin’s going to invade.”
I’m not happy to be right.
02/22/2022 @ 12:39 pm
There have been Russian troops in the “breakaway republics.” for 8 years. Putin’s recognition of them is a clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
China may have 2nd thoughts about full throated support of Putin re an invasion against Ukraine.
02/22/2022 @ 2:05 pm
on the canvass here with Neal Stephenson’s ‘Cryptomonicon’ (spell 🦁 lag?!) ‘CRYP-TO-‘NOM’-I-CON’ however enraptured (immersed) enthralled Iam page turn-turn-turning with Gabriella Saab’s, ‘The Last Checkmate’. Pouring rain (ball bearing sleet) predicted and I’m so really far away from Memphis. How high can I fly? Does our STEALTH cast a shadow? What does any of it have to do with a 50lb’ sack of COSTCO rice? Has the air cleared in Akron, O-HI-O just in time?
I am too old
to donate blood.
— maybe —
02/22/2022 @ 5:58 pm
Saying that you were right is a bit of a stretch. Like Ron said, there have been Russian troops there for 8 years. What’s far more important than that is that business about Putin acting on behalf of a frightened Russian populace, and NATO being the aggressor. If being wrong about all of that allows you to tell yourself that you are right…well, bless your heart.
02/22/2022 @ 11:30 pm
I’m not claiming to be right about that. I’m not the one writing posts headlining that “Of Course Putin is going to invade” correctly attributed to me like that’s the big bone of contention. One of the questions on the table was whether he was bluffing or whether he’d invade if he didn’t get security guarantees. I said he’d invade, you and Ron followed Kasparov and someone else and said he was bluffing. He wasn’t. He didn’t get what he wanted and he invaded. That I was right about, which I’m not happy about..
There’s a lot I could be wrong about. For example, there’s a possibility that Putin would have gotten concessions and found a way to invade anyway. More than a possibility. I don’t know that one. There are reasons to believe both.
As to NATO being the aggressor, I don’t think they were getting ready to attack Russia but I think they looked like that viewed from Russia and never bothered to worry about looking that way, which is now biting them in the ass. And it turns out NATO military personnel have been in Ukraine for years training them in procedures so they could learn to do things the way NATO does them for the purpose of coordinating their militaries with NATO.
I find it strange that both of you are so worried about Putin personally and what a thug he is that neither of you is asking yourself how NATO is likely to look from Russia, particularly from a Russian military standpoint. It’s like you think the question is illegitimate when the question is absolutely critical for its predictive value. Putin has visions for Russia but you seem to think that he’s too busy picking pockets and killing rivals to care about Russia. I don’t buy that and I haven’t seen a case made that one leads to the other. Putin is not Trump. Trump never did anything for America. America is not a passion of his. Public service is not in his history. It is in Putin’s. Trump is about Trump alone. We literally have over 100 million Americans believing the last election was fixed for the simple reason that Trump is not enough of a man to face having lost to Joe Biden in a parallel way to Hitler not being able to accept that a Master Race could possibly lose to the French, British, and Americans, so he came up with a theory that made it work: Jews betrayed Germany. (The number may be high because I think I counted children.) Trump is basically like that. I couldn’t possibly lose, particularly to Biden, I officially lost to Biden, therefore the election had to be fixed. Different case from Putin’s.
Which is not exactly a defense of Putin. It’s more of an analysis of Putin. What is he likely to mean and why? This “Putin is basically Satan, that’s all we have to know, Next!” bit isn’t helpful.
02/22/2022 @ 7:55 pm
I have been busy.
Have we quit dancing around the absurd notion that for Putin not to invade would be irresponsible?
02/22/2022 @ 10:52 pm
You mean that he’d see it as irresponsible? No, but we’re not talking about that now.
02/23/2022 @ 5:51 am
Putin might be Satan…if he had a soul and principles.
So, are you telling me that Putin makes the trains run on time?
Frankly, I can’t understand how you casually dismiss what a horrible person Putin is. Let’s leave Trump out of it. He’s a weak, moronic nothing. And as far as what Trump believes, I do not believe that he believes that he beat Biden. He knows full well that he did not. He just lacks the stones to admit it. The thing he knows most about himself is that he is a fraud. Enough of that idiot.
Putin’s theft is not as serious to me as his murdering. He has people throw dissidents out of windows and from the tops of buildings. He has people murdered, Kosh. He has others exposed to poisons to cause severe pain, and death. He is not just a pick pocket.
If this is just an academic exercise for you, I’d be relieved. If it isn’t, I begin to wonder what’s going on in your head. I don’t think making the trains run on time in Russia make it worth grabbing parts of other countries and declaring that they are independent states. Just like the Kenyan ambassador to the UN stated yesterday, they know of that sort of imperialism. It was done to them in Africa. But, I suppose he’s wrong too.
Putin is a murdering, authoritarian, ethno-nationalist. As far as I am concerned, Russia could do to suffer some trains running late to rid the world of such an awful human being.
“This “Putin is basically Satan, that’s all we have to know, Next!” bit isn’t helpful…”
I think more of you than to attempt such a weak, false rebuttal. Here is my answer to that nonsense. Learn as much as you want about Putin. Study him. I have no problem with that. I have never suggested otherwise. To say that anyone has is disingenuous. No matter what you learn about Putin, it will never transcend that he is a murderer. I want medical researchers to know as much as is possible about cancer. Nothing they learn will make cancer turn into apple pie. Get it? It can be known that Putin is a real bad person, not a mere fictional evil…like Satan. Your notion of defending Putin is not an attempt to find more complexity in the character than others who can see that Putin is evil. That’s a bullshit premise.
02/23/2022 @ 11:04 am
Putin is evil personified.
I would have trouble continuing any discourse if I were to find that one of my friends was asserting their belief that we need to understand him better.
I have been surprised to see that notion in print here, and am greatly puzzled by it.
My respect has hit bottom.
02/23/2022 @ 12:35 pm
Did you know that Russia began restricting Russian citizens movement throughout the world back in 2014?
I have heard mention of this recently. Most of us recall when Russians were not able to leave the USSR easily, if at all. That appears to be part of Putin’s reconstruction. I’d call this a pretty strong case against Putin having the well being of the Russian people at heart.