Ukraine unrest fits pattern of Russian invasion drills

The pattern is quite simple: Send in the Russian operatives that create orchestrated chaos that manufactures an artificial need for a predetermined solution: Invasion with the aim of reestablishing the Soviet empire. Throw in a few operatives wearing ‘Academi’ patches for a good dose of further deception and good measure.

The recent pattern of pro-Russian unrest and fierce fighting in eastern Ukraine resembles a Russian military playbook used in exercises simulating invasion drills, according to a new analysis.

The analysis by Clark and Karber, which is based on 35 meetings they held in Ukraine with members of the military and political leadership there, shows that clashes between ethnic Russians and Ukrainian government forces fit a model long practiced by the Russian military — and the Soviet Union before that. Under this model, taken from Russia’s Exercise Zapad and employed notably in the nation’s 2008 invasion of Georgia, Russia uses a “presumed condition of ethnic conflict” in order to place special forces behind enemy lines, according to the analysis.

The exercises then typically follow through with simulated large ground assaults against former Warsaw Pact members and former Soviet Republics. Ukraine is a former Soviet Republic. The exercises climax with the simulated use of nuclear weapons.

The analysis lists several other ways the Ukrainian unrest matches the Zapad excercises:

  • The unrest has been marked by a level of coordination and leadership by Russian citizens and military officers that undercuts Russian official and media portrayals of indigenous uprisings to protect the rights of ethnic Russians.
  • Evidence of Russian leadership and military equipment has been documented in multiple images and news reports from Ukraine.
  • Geographically, the violence is focused in an area of Ukraine’s southeast where the terrain is least interrupted by marshes and rivers, making it the hardest for Ukrainian troops to defend against a ground assault.

Janusz Bugajski, an analyst at the Center for European Policy Analysis in Washington, says the pattern described in the analysis — of sponsoring civil and ethnic unrest — is an old Soviet and Russian tactic “that has been refined by modern technology, more extensive channels of disinformation and professional special forces.”

Moscow would prefer not to invade on a large scale but may send “‘peacekeepers’ on the pretext of restoring security after spending several months destabilizing the region,” Bugajski said.

Full article: Ukraine unrest fits pattern of Russian invasion drills (USA Today)

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