Respected Ukrainian Military Analyst Warns Russian Invasion Imminent (But First Need Dead Protesters)
08 Apr 2014
Paul Roderick Gregory
The well-known Ukrainian military analyst, Dmitry Tymchuk, warns that the invasion of East Ukraine by Russian troops is imminent and could take place within 24 hours. Tymchuk heads the Center of Military and Political Research in Kiev, which he founded. His warning was posted in the Kyiv Post, which notes that it has not verified his findings. (How could they?)
Tymchuk links Russia's military invasion plans with the preparatory activities of pro-Russian activists in East Ukrainian cities, which Washington now describes as an "illegal and illegitimate effort to destabilize a sovereign state …. with paid operatives across an international boundary." (See WSJ, Ukraine Moves to Assert Control in East).
A Ukrainian soldier guards a road not far from Prokhody, a village in the Kharkiv region,
some 4km from the Russian border, on April 5, 2014 (AFP Photo/Robert Leslie)
Tymchuk describes the Russian invasion plan as follows:
We, the group "Information Resistance," have received from our reliable sources the satisfactory confirmation of the statement of Ukrainian Foreign Ministry that the observed activity of the separatists in eastern Ukraine which has been lasting for the last three days is nothing but the beginning of the second phase of the scenario for the Russian invasion in our country.|
In particular, according to our information, the separatist leaders, who follow the plan of General Headquarters of Russian Armed Forces, have been given the instructions to organize a "corridor" through the state border of Ukraine for passage of the convoys of military equipment from the Russian territory at the night of April 8-9.
Separatists also have received the orders to organize provocations with the casualties in the cities of the region which could be interpreted by the Russian side as "terror against the people organized by Ukrainian authorities".
In addition, the coordinators of Russian Directorate General of Intelligence of General Headquarters of Russian Armed Forces, who work in the region, have instructed the separatists to use gunfire weapons in case the attempts to liberate the occupied administrative buildings are taken.
According to our information, Ukrainian law enforcement agencies and special services are now taking the necessary measures to block the groups of the separatists.
State Border Service and the Armed Forces of Ukraine are carrying out the activities on blocking and defense of the state border in the respective areas.
We imagine that Tymchuk has access to inside information from military and civilian intelligence.
I bring Tymchuk's warning to your attention for two reasons:
First, if Russia's invasion plans are publicly exposed in advance, the military invasion becomes less likely. The Russian military might be reluctant to follow a scenario based on a deception that has been spelled out in the world press. Tymchuk's disclosures could have the same effect of a bank robber's plan for a heist being leaked to the police. Once the bank robber knows that they know, he will shelve or delay his plan. If there is no Russian invasion within the next few days either Tymchuk's analysis was wrong OR the disclosure of the plan forced delays of the Russian invasion.
Russian "protest tourists" fight unarmed Ukrainian police in Donetsk, www.chinadaily.com.cn
Second and less satisfactory, if the Russian military does invade and Russia's paid activists indeed use deadly force in organizing "provocations with casualties" (as Tymchuk's intelligence suggests), Putin will have a harder time selling his "Ukrainian terrorization of ethnic Russians" fairy tale to the outside world and eventually to his own people. If the killing of demonstrators is followed by a Russian military invasion, anyone reading Tymchuk's account now will know that the murder of civilians was part of a cynical plot concocted in Moscow.
Let us hope that this alarmist report either proves to be wrong or causes the Kremlin to change its plans. But if Putin is bent on invasion, I doubt he would be deterred by the world knowing his invasion plans and their deliberate deception in advance. So far Putin has encountered empty threats and paper tigers in response to his bullying and lawlessness. Why should he worry if the world knows that his invasion of East Ukraine purportedly for "humanitarian reasons" is a Big Lie worthy of a Goebbels.
Note that the invasion requires the advance Russian agents to stage armed confrontations that result in casualties in demonstrations and occupied public buildings. So far Ukrainian forces have exercised remarkable restraint to prevent this from happening, but the Russian plan calls for the shooting of pro-Russian demonstrators by Russian special ops forces — something Ukrainian authorities cannot stop. I would recommend that legitimate local pro-Russian demonstrators watch out. They will be the targets of Russian sniper fire.
A Russian invasion of East Ukraine will be less of a cake walk than Crimea. Russian troops could seal off the peninsula from unauthorized cameras and international observers and could organize the fairy tale of jubilant crowds, Russian flags, and a 97 percent Soviet-style election outcome. East Ukraine cannot be cordoned off. International observers, while few, have arrived on the scene. (Europe and Ukraine must flood East Ukraine with them). There are Euro-Maidan activists, while unarmed, willing to stand up to the Russian bullies. Unlike the Crimean garrisons that were captured without a shot using human shields, Russian troops cannot attack Ukrainian troop positions throughout East Ukraine herding women and children in front of them. I would also presume that Ukrainian forces intend to defend themselves when not confronted with human shields.
If I were the Russian military poised to invade and read Tymchuk's exact account of their invasion plan, I would at least argue for a delay to deal with the fallout.
And in this case, it is better to cry wolf than sit back and wait for the wolf to devour you.
The author serves on the International Academic Advisory Board of the Kiev School of Economics. The views are those of the author and not the school.
The author's latest book is Women of the Gulag: Portraits of Five Remarkable Lives.
Further Paul Roderick Gregory articles on Ukraine can be found at www.forbes.com/sites/paulroderickgregory/