Australians in Ukraine have been issued a “leave immediately without delay” travel alert.
Australia has also halted its embassy operations in Kyiv (Kiev), moving staff to Lviv, Western Ukraine, approximately 70kms from the Polish border.
The official travel advisory was updated on Sunday, with the Australian government warning its citizens ‘not to travel to the Ukraine due to the risk of armed conflict.’
Without giving specific reasons – namely Russia, and its amassing of 100,000 troops, elite corps, machinery and ships, on the Eastern border – the advisory also stated that due to the ‘increasing threat,’ citizens who remained needed to ‘carefully consider how and when they were going to leave Ukraine, if armed conflict occurs.’
The Australian travel advisory update follows Prime Minister, Scott Morrison warning Australians on Friday to leave Ukraine as soon as possible.
This warning coincided with comments made during a Press Briefing on Friday by United States National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, telling ‘Americans in Ukraine [to] leave as soon as possible, and in any event, in the next 24 to 48 hours.’
‘We continue to see signs of Russian escalation, including new forces arriving at the Ukrainian border…An invasion could begin at any time should Vladimir Putin decide to order it. I will not comment on the details of our intelligence information.’
The National Security Advisor was “echoing” sentiments shared by Democrat President, Joe Biden on Thursday, in a glossy NBCNews one-on-one:
‘American citizens should leave. … Leave now. We’re dealing with one of the largest armies in the world. This is a very different situation, and things could go crazy quickly.’
Hinting at another possible Afghanistan debacle, Biden said he wasn’t willing to deploy U.S troops to evacuate or rescue American citizens should armed conflict eventuate.
In his press briefing, NSA’s Jake Sullivan made this clear, asserting that
‘The President will not be putting the lives of our men and women in uniform at risk by sending them into a warzone to rescue people who could have left now but chose not to.’
Although the United States is moving troops into Eastern Europe, Epoch News said the U.S was pulling boots from Ukraine, not sending them into the country.
The Biden administration continues to maintain a diplomatic stance, warning Russia it would face sanctions, and as Caldron Pool reported in January, a U.S backed ‘insurgency’ should Putin militarily annex the Ukraine.
German news site, Der Speigel gave an indication of the mood in both camps.
Interviewing Ukrainians and Russians close to the border, Spiegel’s Christina Hebel described a scene of exhaustion, government suppression, and how in-house, anti-Western, Russian propaganda is propping up support for Putin.
Hebel explains that ‘hawkish on-air Russian personalities on state television speak of the Ukraine being occupied by NATO, in need of liberating by Russian soldiers.’
For example, ‘loyal to Moscow, left-wing group leader Yuri Mezinov called the build-up of Russian troops and war, hysteria.’
This is despite ‘Mezinov believing Ukraine shouldn’t have any autonomy’, stating: “these are our people. They have to be defended against the fascists in Kyiv.”’
Citing software engineer, Georgiy Takhtamyshev of Rostov, Hebel notes a different tone.
“No one is allowed to speak out”, Takhtamyshev said.
He told her, ‘There is almost no place left where you can criticize Russia, and certainly not Putin’s troop build-up.’
The fear of imprisonment, exile or the Federal Security Service (FSB) hasn’t paralysed all opposition within Russia.
In January, 100 Russian intellectuals issued a ‘Statement of Peace (PDF)’ which ‘called on the Kremlin to de-escalate the current standoff over Ukraine and avoid an “immoral, irresponsible, and criminal” war.’
The statement appears to hold Russian leadership responsible for the ‘growing tension,’ adding,
‘Citizens of Russia are actually becoming hostages of criminal adventurism, which is turning Russia’s foreign policy line.’
Confirming Der Spiegel’s findings, the statement reads,
‘There is no public discussion. Only one point of view is presented on state television, and that is the point of view of the supporters of the war. Direct military threats are heard from there, aggression and hatred towards Ukraine, America and Western countries are exuded.’
The joint plea provides some insight into who the real aggressors are, with its Russian authors stating,
‘But the most dangerous thing is that the war is presented as an acceptable and inevitable course of events. People are trying to deceive, corrupt, impose on them the idea of a holy war with the West.’
The ‘Statement of Peace’ concludes:
‘We will do everything possible to prevent, and if necessary, stop the war.’
By these first-hand accounts, it’s not Biden, the West, nor NATO, it’s the Putin, and the Kremlin’s “War Party” who holds the burden of responsibility.
This isn’t to dismiss rhetoric from “Basement Biden’s” throne at the White House. Constant alarm coming from the West was not helping extinguish the Russian lit Molotov pointing West.
The Times of Israel recounted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who argued that ‘warnings [from the West] of an imminent Russian attack on his country were stoking “panic.”
News of an immediate, and imminent invasion by Russian forces was news to the Ukrainian government.
Zelensky is said to have ‘demanded to see firm proof of a planned invasion,’ telling his Western allies, ‘If you or anyone has any additional information about a 100-percent chance of an invasion, give it to us.”
There appears to be no evidence of American or NATO belligerence outside Kremlin propaganda.
Talking with Tucker Carlson, Tulsi Gubbard (Democrat) accused the “military industrial complex” of “spending years stoking a new cold war with Russia.”
The ex-Congresswoman pointed out how “this has brought us to the brink in Ukraine;” and asked how can we say we’re defending Democracy there, if accusations that the Ukrainian president is acting undemocratically hold up?
Gubbard posted the video and her reasoning to Twitter, writing,
‘Biden can very easily prevent a war with Russia by guaranteeing that Ukraine will not become a member of NATO.’
Even with Gubbard’s viewpoint considered, the 2014 takeover of Crimea, intent, interference in the Ukraine, and the Kremlin’s scripted rhetoric all point to Russia being to dominate power player.
I’m hard-pressed to accuse both sides of being “as bad as each other.”
The caveat to this conclusion is motivation.
Putin wants to repatriate the lands and puppet states of the Soviet Empire into an empire of his own.
Biden needs the optics of strength to distract from the allegedly ailing president’s disastrous polling, even amongst pro-Democrat CNN viewers.
Of whom, ‘58% disapproved’ of the career politician’s actions, while ‘41% approved.’ The majority of those polled by CNN didn’t ‘approve of anything Joe Biden has done since taking office.’
That’s quite a downgrade for the politician whose election was propelled by a mysterious spike in votes late into the 2020 Presidential election.
This ended in a questionable 81 million votes in total, which planted on Biden the epithet: “most popular U.S president in history.”
With the COVID-19 political narrative fast becoming political poison, stoking a crisis between Russia and the Ukraine gives Biden the distraction he needs.
A crisis provides the Democrats with the optics needed to survive a mid-term election, which could see Republicans wrest control of the House of Representatives, reinforce their control of the Senate, and win the 2024 Presidential election.
As for who’s to blame for Ukraine?
The clear belligerent is Putin, but a bumbling Biden White House isn’t helping clear the air either.
First published on Caldron Pool, 15th February, 2022.
©Rod Lampard, Caldron Pool.