Why NATO Sold Out Ukraine

  • Some event, maybe in Donbas, perhaps along the border with Belarus, kills or injures Russian nationals. After a brief interlude where Putin holds open a door to Ukraine agreeing to terms, artillery starts falling across Donbas.
  • If Ukraine fires back, their forces reveal their positions and get hammered across the Line of Contact in Donbas. If they don’t, and Ukraine remains defiant, Russia lets some separatist forces seize a little territory until someone does fight back.
  • Once there have been Russian casualties, Putin has all the justification he’ll require for unleashing an assault on Ukrainian forces across the eastern half of the country. At some point small-scale uprisings are likely behind the lines, possibly fomented by Russian special forces.
  • Faced with hostiles in multiple directions, the bulk of Ukraine’s military, already deployed to the east, can be overwhelmed with the shooters staying out of range of Ukraine’s weapons. Russia doesn’t need to take territory to achieve its true objective: the end of Ukraine as we know it.
  • With Russian forces threatening from all sides, its military under heavy bombardment and paralyzed, even without a major invasion Putin can put Kiev into an impossible bind. Fight and lose, hoping to draw Russia into a bloody insurgency that will kill tens of thousands of people and devastate the region (NATO’s hope) or negotiate a ceasefire, even under wretched terms.
  • If Ukraine’s government refuses to buckle, Russia can blockade its southern ports — something that would have the side bonus of forcing NATO to either stand up for freedom of navigation and risk a war it isn’t prepared for, or basically give up any hope of supporting Ukraine with real military force any time in the future, as much of it comes through Odessa.
  • In the best case scenario for Ukraine, where it holds out through February and the weather starts to warm, the presence of a rival for the Presidency in a coup effort will offer Moscow another avenue of attack short of direct invasion Long term, Russia is prepared to strangle Ukraine and devastate its military while insisting it hasn’t invaded and so sanctions aren’t justified. If anger at the government builds as Ukraine stands alone while the conflict drags on, a coup in Kiev becomes possible. Russian paratroopers might be invited into Kiev, giving it control of the whole country without a bloody invasion.
Limited Russian offensive — yellow arrows mine, base image from Wiki Commons
Russian attacks in Purple, Ukraine deployment in Donbas in Orange. Most of Ukraine remains intact, insurgency threat minimal, Crimea is secure.

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Author, rogue systems analyst. True Neutral autistic pro-science anti-authoritarian rural cat fanatic, he/him/they, married. West Coast = Only Coast :)

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Andrew Tanner

Andrew Tanner

Author, rogue systems analyst. True Neutral autistic pro-science anti-authoritarian rural cat fanatic, he/him/they, married. West Coast = Only Coast :)

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