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‘Imminent’ Russian invasion of Ukraine appears more rhetoric than real, believe experts


Cautions of an ‘imminent’ Russian “invasion” of Ukraine have intensified in recent weeks with politicians and experts joining the ranks fuelling rhetoric and aggression even as Ukrainian leadership has ruled out any imminent war.

Social media are rife with pictures of war preparations in Ukraine, many of which are found to be false and have been called out. Ukraine’s own defense minister has said there are “no grounds” to believe war is imminent. Interestingly, the war rhetoric was called out by some of the renowned publications from the West.

“If the media were amplifiers, those talking up the danger, at the start at least, have chiefly been US and UK politicians. President Biden might have seemed at times unclear about whether an invasion really was a prospect – and if it was, whether it would really be that big a deal…,” according to an article titled “What the media gets wrong about Putin and Ukraine” published in the leading UK daily The Spectator. The article was written by commentator Mary Dejevsky who has served in the past in Washington, Moscow and Paris.

“In the UK, the Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, wildly inflated both the number of Russian troops on the border – ‘hundreds of thousands’ she told the BBC Todayprogramme, when the very highest estimate at the time was 125,000. She also gave the impression, deliberately or not, that Russia had already tried to replace the elected government in Kyiv and mounted ‘false flag’ attempts to tempt Ukraine into war – when US intelligence reports at the time suggested such heinous deeds were only a prospect,” according to The Spectator.

The article in The Spectator went on comment, “But it is not just facts that have been flouted in this western view of Russia’s intentions towards Ukraine. Some of Putin’s more famous utterances have been grievously misconstrued.”

“Time and again, Putin’s words have been twisted or misconstrued – sometimes, it seems, because confirmation bias skews the translation – in a way that fits and reinforces western preconceptions. And the Ukraine crisis has offered one of the most glaring examples of how most of the western media has been content to pick up and run with the errors, apparently unaware or unconcerned about the distorted picture that results.”

The Newsweek quoting several officials also opined that the theory of imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine is being exaggerated.

“Several current and former U.S., Russian and Ukrainian officials have expressed their concerns to Newsweek that U.S. intelligence of an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine is being exaggerated… Former senior Ukrainian officials who are still in contact with the current administration and intelligence services told Newsweek that some in Ukraine — including within Zelenskyy’s inner circle — suspect their U.S. partners are exaggerating the Russia threat,” according to an article titled ‘U.S. Accused of Hyping Russia Invasion of Ukraine, Frustrating Kyiv, Moscow’ published in Newsweek on February 2.

Klimkin, a co-founder of the Center for National Resilience and Development (CNRD) think tank in Ukraine, pointed out that past U.S. intelligence failures have left some in Kyiv sceptical, according to Newsweek. “…U.S. intelligence has been in many cases terribly wrong,” Klimkin said, citing the glaring failures during the chaotic recent U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan as an example.

It is likely that the latest allegations about an impending Russian invasion are largely hype, as were the earlier episodes.


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