Another day where the calendar flips at midnight UTC, and boom, more fun and games in Eastern Europe brought to the world by an incompetent US President, an uninterested European Union, and a fat drunk guy looking for his next bottle in the United Kingdom.
UPDATED 17:00 ET:
Either this website has become a prophetic source of news, or I have a lot of copy cats. Regardless I wrote about the story below several times culminating with this article on February 7, 2022:
Estimated Timetable for Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine
And voila, no I’m not linking the live tweet, Axios (political propaganda arm of Amazon/Washington Post) does not deserve that much respect, publishes the following tonight:
I know, I know, where’s my respect for them? I have none nor shall offer any. I’ve been predicting that window for ages now as have many other observers of history and the region.
And this is why no one takes politicized national intel agencies seriously, including NATO’s member states and especially the UK or US governments:
The head of the 🇪🇪 Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service:— Intelsky (@Intel_sky) February 16, 2022
🇷🇺 Russia is continuing to move troops to the 🇺🇦 Ukrainian border and will likely launch a “limited” military attack against the country. pic.twitter.com/1rYX6exGhJ
What was awesome however was the MFA of Russia’s response to the insane squawking that this morning, last night, all day, that thousands of missiles and bombs were going to rain down on Kiev and obliterate the city. When Russia trolls, they do it with class and humor, unlike our incompetent regime:
16 February 2022. Meanwhile in Ukraine@mfa_russia pic.twitter.com/59xuQjqSjQ— Russia in RSA 🇷🇺 (@EmbassyofRussia) February 16, 2022
Tonight I promised to cook for my wonderful wife my Greek Feta burgers so unless the bombs start following, I shall take a break for 2-3 hours and come back with a thread for tomorrow night. Who knows, maybe #CNNisFakeNews will publish another top secret revelation that Putin will personally throw the first grenade from Moscow and hit Kiev while blindfolded.
Fascinating thread, well worth reading:
For those rushing vaingloriously to package the lack of an invasion at 3am or 1am or whatever this morning as a great victory for deterrence and ‘Putin blinked,’ a few cautionary notes 1/— Mark Galeotti (@MarkGaleotti) February 16, 2022
UPDATED 05:00 ET:
Is this entire affair turning into a Sitzkrieg? NATO does not think so with headlines like this one:
This is what some of the OSINT community and others were afraid of:
The happy talk yesterday may indeed just have been part of a greater diversion; after all Putin still has the KGB blood in him.
And this frequent Tweeter on Russian affairs who follows the TikTok videos posts a very interesting video from this morning in Bryansk where the vehicle are moving west towards Belarus or Ukraine, not withdrawing:
Жуковка, Брянск pic.twitter.com/ZKG4y3iroy— IgorGirkin (@GirkinGirkin) February 16, 2022
There are dozens more videos like this already posted which tends to indicate that perhaps yesterday might, I emphasize, might have just been a grand distraction.
NATO’s head Stoltenberg confirms this concern within the last hour:
Movement of Russian forces alone does not confirm withdrawal, NATO says
Meanwhile, more information showing the final chess pieces being moved into position keeps appearing:
The UK Daily Mail’s dramatic daily headlines of course reflects the concern of European defense ministers:
All quiet on the Eastern Front… for now: Ben Wallace says Russia could string along the West ‘for weeks’ as D-Day for Ukraine dawns with no Russian invasion – as new video ‘shows some of Putin’s troops leaving Crimea’
So did he blink… or pull off the most daring bluff of all? As the crisis in Ukraine may be easing, OWEN MATTHEWS examines Vladimir Putin’s military manoeuvres
The day is young, so this could be one of the key pivot days for military movements, obfuscation, and faux diplomacy.
It’s midnight UTC, so here we go again…this thread will be updated throughout the night, but here is my reader’s starter pack:
And now it’s 0100 in the United Kingdom, 0300 in Kiev (Kyiv, whatever). Per the UK Sun and “US intelligence sources” this was supposed to happen:
Russia set to invade Ukraine at 1AM with massive missile blitz and 200,000 troops, US intelligence claims
The “key” excerpt:
US intelligence said the most likely time for Putin’s order was 3am (1am UK time).
American spooks believe Kyiv’s military and government command and control centres still have a barrage of air strikes before tanks roll over the border.
So far, crickets. Just like the “US intelligence” on the Afghanistan evacuation.
This armour is turning out of the railway yard at Tamarovke and onto the 14K-4 leading to the South West. If the Russians were withdrawing wouldn’t they be loading them onto trains not deploying them? https://t.co/2itB02ch9i pic.twitter.com/FLnGli0DVc— Robert Birch (@robbybirch) February 15, 2022
A great question and thank you to the anon reader who forwarded this Tweet. Weird that everyone thinks Putin was telling the truth this morning.
1st Tank Army T-80BV tanks in Tomarovka, Belgorod. https://t.co/5x2oRfOOUS— Rob Lee (@RALee85) February 15, 2022
Another great article by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard from the UK Telegraph:
Putin is close to winning in Ukraine
The opening salvo is the key excerpt:
Russia has amassed foreign exchange reserves of $635bn, the fifth highest in the world and rising. It has a national debt of 18pc of GDP, the sixth lowest in the world, and falling.
The country has cleaned up the banking system and has a well-run floating currency that lets the economy roll with the punches.
It has a budget surplus and does not rely on foreign investors to cover government spending. It has slashed its dependency on oil state revenues. The fiscal break-even cost of a barrel of oil fell to $52 last year, down from $115 before the invasion of Crimea in 2014.
It is the paradox of Vladimir Putin’s tenure that he runs one of the most orthodox policy regimes on the planet. “The macroeconomic team at the central bank and the treasury are exemplary,” said Christpher Granville from TS Lombard.
This is not a good start to the evening in Kiev…
Next up, from TheWarzone website:
Russia’s Massive Military Buildup Near Ukraine Remains In Place Despite Withdrawal Claims
So much for the “narrative” thus far.
Meanwhile the drama queens at the UK Daily Mail correctly identified the biggest red flag:
Boris warns Russia is still building FIELD HOSPITALS on Ukraine border as he urges West to stay ‘tough and united’ – saying Putin is giving ‘mixed signals’ on invasion and must order full troop withdrawal
If in fact this verifies and field hospitals are still being assembled, supplied, and then manned this weekend around the Ukrainian border, the war is still probably on.
On the conservative side of the US media, RedState reports, quite accurately, the following opinion piece:
Biden Flails as Putin Castles the Ukraine Chessboard
The fact that Biden is still in “reactive” mode as usual is never a good sign. Especially since the current foreign policy team is made up of the Three Stooges plus a bad Looney Tunes cartoon cast.
This video is from outside of Borisovka, Russia – less than 10 km from the Ukrainian border. https://t.co/ZAIQAtJdzP— Moshe Schwartz (@YWNReporter) February 15, 2022
Stay tuned folks, the show appears to either be ending or starting.