Russia creating hit list of Afghan government supporters? – HotAir

The latest “credible information” from America’s intelligence agencies contains a rather dire warning for the people of Ukraine. According to the White House, Russia is drawing up a list of Ukrainians who are critics of Moscow or staunch supporters of the current government in Kyiv. That list would be used to identify people that the Russians would either murder outright or ship off to forced labor camps somewhere in Russia. (Don’t rule out Siberia, as cliche as that probably sounds.) But the process of acting on such a hit list is something that would only take place once the Russians had effectively sacked the country or at least imploded the current government’s hold on its territory. So does that mean that invasion is now unavoidable? When you look into the details, that’s really not clear at all. (NBC News)

The United States has warned the United Nations it believes Russia has plans to kill large numbers of critics, dissidents, and “vulnerable populations” in Ukraine or send them to camps after an expected invasion.

The U.S. Representative to the U.N. Office and Other International Organizations, Ambassador Bathsheba Nell Crocker, recently made the assertions in a letter to U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet, the contents of which were first reported Sunday evening by the Washington Post.

NBC News obtained the letter, which says, “We have credible information that indicates Russian forces are creating lists of identified Ukrainians to be killed or sent to camps following a military occupation.”

First of all, I’m not suggesting that the existence of such a list is impossible. In fact, it’s a fairly typical move taken straight from the authoritarian invader’s playbook. China does the same thing on an ongoing basis. But we’ve also seen quite a few of these announcements based on “credible information” provided by intelligence sources and they haven’t worked out all that well, right? I mean, there was supposedly plenty of “credible information” that the invasion was going to take place on February 16th. That was nearly a week ago.

With all of that said, doesn’t this sound suspiciously like the Taliban’s list of American supporters? That list turned out to be real and a large, unknown number of Afghan residents died. But accusing Putin of having such a list could be a way to capitalize on that, raising the specter of another hostile takeover of a nation and building public sentiment against Moscow.

At the same time, Biden offered to hold another summit with Putin over Ukraine, but only if he hadn’t already invaded the country. As of this morning, Putin doesn’t appear inclined to offer another bite at the apple. Despite Jen Psaki saying that the two leaders had already agreed “in principle” to talk again, ABC News is reporting that Russia feels it would be “premature” to set up another meeting at this time.

The Kremlin has said it is still “premature” to talk about a summit between President Joe Biden and President Vladimir Putin, though it didn’t rule out that one could take place.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Sunday said Biden and Putin have agreed “in principle” to meet, provided Russia did not invade Ukraine.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced the possibility of a meeting after speaking with both leaders on Sunday, amid intense diplomatic efforts to try to dissuade Putin from launching an invasion the U.S. fears could come this week.

What this sounds like more than anything is a case of posturing among various leaders. Biden wants to look like he’s still taking the lead, playing it tough with Putin, and working to avoid a war. (Fair enough.) Psaki may have amplified that a bit more than was justified yesterday, but that’s the image they’re trying to project. Macron has made it clear that he wants to be the new leader and peacemaker in the EU now that Merkel is gone, so he’s maxing out his frequent flier miles between Moscow, Kyiv, Berlin, and Geneva. But at least up until this point, it doesn’t seem like Putin and Zelensky are paying him much mind.

And through it all, Vladimir Putin has continued to play the same hand. He continues to insist that he never had any plans to invade and still has no intention of doing so. Of course, he also continues to do everything imaginable to make it look like he’s invading and there have already been incursions by Russian loyalists in eastern Ukraine, along with some sporadic shelling along the border.

That brings me back to an idea I’ve mentioned here before and still can’t shake off entirely. Imagine how Putin must be laughing if he was never going to invade in the first place and has just been gaslighting everyone. He has most of the leaders of the free world dancing to his tune day after day and he’s the focus of the world’s attention. At the same time, all of these announcements from the White House about the “credible information” they have from our intelligence assets must be delivering a treasure-trove of information about leaks inside of Putin’s own hierarchy, as well as the capabilities of Ukraine’s military and intelligence assets. He’s also been able to analyze what the default response from NATO and the EU would be to an actual military engagement.

And as the Russian Foreign Minister said previously, he’s accomplished it all “without ever firing a shot,” aside from a few shell shots across the border. For the umpteenth time, Putin could still invade tomorrow for all I know. But the element of surprise has long since evaporated and the unified response from the west is probably looking like more than he had initially bargained for. It’s not unreasonable to think that even if Putin had originally intended to invade Ukraine, he may have switched gears and decided to simply make the best of a bad situation.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.