Putin’s battle plans & Ukraine invasion maps as (un)-covered by Western media
The same US "intelligence community" that brought us ‘weapons of mass destruction in Iraq’ and ‘Trump-Russia collusion’ claimed in November that Moscow is preparing to invade Ukraine any day now.
The harder Moscow denied it as ‘fake news’, the louder – and more vivid – the allegations became. Things went into overdrive after high-level security talks between Russia and the US appeared to end in failure, with Washington rejecting Moscow’s ‘red lines’ out of hand.
Daily Mail draws maps of ‘full-scale invasion’
“Moscow [has] moved as many as 100,000 troops, as well as tanks and missiles, close to the border” with Ukraine, the Daily Mail claimed on Wednesday. Variations on this line have been reported by just about every major outlet – and many minor ones – in NATO countries over the past six weeks.
The tabloid published multiple maps of how the fantasy ‘invasion’ would unfold.
At least the Mail admitted the claim comes from Kiev, and attributed the estimate that Russia has “a further 3,000 military personnel” backing 35,000 “rebels” within Ukraine to the same source.
The Daily Mail further raised a hue and cry on Wednesday over several Russian ships sailing through the Baltic Sea that “might” be headed to Ukraine, even as planeloads of British missiles were en route to Kiev.
The paper also quoted anonymous senior officials at the UK Defence Ministry, saying they “strongly believe [Russian President Vladimir Putin’s] preference is for a full invasion rather than a limited offensive.”
The Sun predicts Russia is ‘sleepwalking into Vietnam’
Russia could “sleepwalk into ‘Vietnam War’ in Ukraine invasion facing kill zones, guerrillas & US special forces,” The Sun proclaimed on Wednesday, quoting a former US colonel who fought in Afghanistan. They also cited someone from the Henry Jackson Society lobby group who said that the CIA will be funding a guerrilla war in Ukraine, with “American forces on the ground assisting the Ukrainians though not actually fighting.”
Reuters evokes specter of WWII Battle of Berlin
Columnist Peter Apps on Wednesday conjured the imagery of “the largest combined arms military operation undertaken by Russia since the Battle of Berlin in 1945” for Reuters, citing the US think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). The organization was also behind the map of how the ‘Russian invasion’ might unfold.
If peace talks fail, Russia could invade Ukraine using northern, central, or southern routes, raising critical questions for the United States and its NATO allies. Learn more: https://t.co/tXFsGZfCP0pic.twitter.com/KQGDE8jqZu— CSIS (@CSIS) January 19, 2022
Bild explains how Putin can ‘destroy Ukraine’
“This is how Putin could destroy Ukraine,” German tabloid Bild said on Wednesday. The scenario, penned by Julian Röpcke, also featured a fanciful map with lines and arrows of three “phases” of the “invasion.”
CNN pulls out the maps
British journalist Tim Marshall on Tuesday unfolded a map of Europe for CNN, to explain to Americans how this is all about the Carpathian Mountains, or something.
A short video I made with CNN re Ukraine/Russia - https://t.co/BleuSR7MCx— Tim Marshall (@Itwitius) January 19, 2022
Crimea Bridge ‘bomber’ posts Paint job
Washington Examiner columnist Tom Rogan, of ‘Ukraine should bomb Putin’s Crimea bridge’ infamy, also reached for the map for his analysis on Monday – a homemade one drawn in MS Paint on a Google background.
NEW- Either alongside the Belarusian military or alone, Russian forces in Belarus could now complete a north-south-east-based offensive against #Ukraine. This disposition of forces is ominous.https://t.co/GkAqHtjmRepic.twitter.com/YVl5dlaDDA— Tom Rogan (@TomRtweets) January 17, 2022
Washington Post enlists Bolton to unveil ‘Putin’s strategy’
Major US outlets also fortified the ‘Russian invasion’ narrative. Sunday’s Washington Post ran an opinion piece by neoconservative war hawk John Bolton, who claimed he knew Putin’s strategy for Ukraine and that the US needed one to counter it.
“The United States and NATO should surge shipment of lethal military assistance to Ukraine (and possibly Georgia and others) and redeploy substantial additional forces there — not to fight, but to train and exercise with Ukrainian counterparts. Let Russian generals, looking through their field glasses, see American flags in Ukraine and wonder what it means,” Bolton wrote.
Economist’s sage advice
The UK-based Economist subtitled its coverage of the hypothetical conflict “The guns of January” on Monday, referring to Barbara Tuchman’s famous book about the start of WWI, before laying out three scenarios for potential Russian interventions, all of which “would necessitate a big war.”
“The odds have now increased that there will be some kind of dramatic but limited military operation in Ukraine,” The Economist quoted a British Russia-watcher now working for a think tank in Estonia.
A retired US general who served as a military attaché in Moscow claimed that “The Ukrainians will fight and inflict major losses on the Russians.”