Chris Lange, FISM News
Reports that Russia is moving blood supplies and medical equipment to the Ukrainian border have further stoked Western fears that war may be imminent.
Three U.S. officials speaking on condition of anonymity said indicators signaling preparedness for casualties, such as the movement of blood supplies, are key in determining whether Moscow is prepared to carry out an invasion, according to Reuters. The Pentagon acknowledged last week that Moscow deployed “medical support” to Ukraine’s border, but the movement of blood supplies has intensified concerns of a Russian invasion.
“It doesn’t guarantee that there’s going to be another attack, but you would not execute another attack unless you have that in hand,” said Ben Hodges, a retired U.S. lieutenant general now with the Center for European Policy Analysis research institute.
Ukraine’s deputy defense minister Hanna Malyar, however, has denied the information.
“This information is not true. Such ‘news’ is an element of information and psychological war. The purpose of such information is to spread panic and fear in our society,” she said according to the news outlet.
The UN Security Council is expected to meet today to discuss the latest developments in the East while the U.S. and its allies continue to push for a peaceful resolution.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy recently criticized what he called a “feeling abroad” that a war had already started, as reported by FISM. “We don’t need this panic,” he told reporters in Kyiv during a Friday press conference. Despite Zelenskiy’s call for cooler heads, Ukraine has begun training volunteers to supplement its military in the event of an attack. The Biden administration, meanwhile, continues to walk a fine line between assurances that diplomacy remains a viable option and warnings that war may be imminent.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stressed that “conflict is not inevitable” during a Friday news conference at the Pentagon. “There is still time and space for diplomacy,” he said, adding, “The United States, in lockstep with our allies and partners, has offered Russia a path away from crisis and toward greater security, and the Department of Defense will continue to support those diplomatic efforts.”
Moscow officials continue to deny a planned attack, citing threats posed by the West’s growing ties with Kyiv as the reason behind any military preparedness. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday accused the United States and NATO of failing to address his security demands but said he remains open to more talks. Currently, 8,500 American troops remain on high alert for possible deployment to Eastern Europe, although the Defense Department has said they would not be sent directly to Ukraine.
Meanwhile, fissures have begun to appear among GOP lawmakers in terms of how the U.S. should respond to growing tensions in the East. Top Republicans are urging the Biden administration to bolster Ukraine’s military capabilities and impose heavy sanctions on Russia ahead of, not after, a possible invasion. Pro-Trump elements of the party, however, say the administration is focusing on the wrong nation’s sovereignty.
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) last week said that the Biden administration needs to instead focus on the flow of “drugs, crime, and criminals” over the U.S. southern border:
Russia invading Ukraine is not an immediate threat to the security of the American people, homeland, and way of life. The flow of dangerous drugs, crime, and criminals over our sovereign border is. https://t.co/V54rF0KDg7
— Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS (@RepGosar) January 24, 2022
Western countries have already imposed numerous sanctions on Russia since it seized and annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014, but the economic penalties have had little impact on Russian policy. As Europe’s main supplier of energy, Moscow is banking on the likelihood that the West will stop short of interfering with its lucrative gas exports.