Weapons from US allies are pouring into Ukraine: Stinger missiles from Lithuania, drones from Turkey, MANPADS from Poland, anti-tank weapons from the UK and artillery systems from Estonia – all as Congress debates whether to send more “lethal aid” atop the $200 million already authorized.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky now finds himself in a predicament. While the appearance of a heightened threat of ‘Russian aggression’ has allowed Kyiv to arm itself on the cheap, there is no such thing as a free lunch and he is finding out that being the target of war propaganda has a steep price with real consequences for the Ukrainian economy.
At this point, Zelensky’s top concern appears to have shifted from Putin to Biden, urging Ukrainians to “remain calm” amid relentless predictions of a Russian invasion from Western leaders and press reports. “Right now, the people’s biggest enemy is panic,” he said during a recent visit with troops stationed near the border with Russia.
Though Ukraine has been cast in the role of defenseless victim to a looming Russian onslaught, it is the White House, not Kyiv, that has hyped the threat with the most urgency. On a near-daily basis, US officials warn of a growing Russian troop presence “on Ukraine’s border” – within Russian territory, in other words – of “imminent” invasion, and of plans for “false flag” operations to create a pretext for an attack by Moscow.
Without fail, those claims are uncritically repeated by corporate media outlets, to the boon of the arms industry, which requires at least tacit public support for the taxpayer-funded weapons give-aways to continue.
Zelensky appears to be growing frustrated with Washington, even as Biden professes an unwavering commitment to Ukraine’s security. Despite the near-constant warnings of a Russian assault, the US and its partners have been unwilling to commit to a formal defense pact or to admit Ukraine into NATO – a long-held aspiration by Kyiv. And while US officials have repeatedly claimed to have reliable “intelligence” indicating a coming invasion, Zelensky says they’ve yet to share it with him.
During a phone call on Sunday, Zelensky reportedly requested that Biden come to Kyiv for an in-person meeting, hoping he would see that things are normal there and that the heightened threat had been exaggerated. The White House, however, made no mention of a visit following the call.
Now, the US and Canada are leading a slate of countries removing – or at least repositioning – their diplomatic staff from Ukraine. The US has also redeployed 160 Florida National Guard troops to Poland after a training mission with Ukrainian forces. A growing number of states are also pressuring their citizens to leave the country, with the US warning an invasion could come as soon as this week.
Ukraine is finding out the true cost of becoming a pawn in the empire’s war narrative. Left with a struggling economy and in no better position to prevent a Russian invasion, the country may soon learn that, for NATO and its American principals, the quest for geopolitical dominance far outweighs the safety and security of Ukrainians.
Will Porter contributed to this article.
- The Department of Homeland Security deployed 500 agents to California in case of protests during the Super Bowl. [Link]
- Two Senators say the CIA needs to increase the transparency of its bulk data collection program. [Link]
- The US bans the import of Mexican avocados after a US health inspector was threatened. [Link]
- The US is moving four destroyers into the Mediterranean Sea. [Link]
- Biden orders an additional 3,000 troops to Poland. [Link]
- A US and EU sanctions package that would be triggered if Russia invades Ukraine does not bar Russia from SWIFT. [Link]
- The US says Russia has enough troops along Ukraine’s border to launch an invasion. [Link]
- The US says it is “temporarily repositioning” 160 Florida National Guard troops out of Ukraine to somewhere else in Europe. [Link]
- Ukraine’s President Zelensky says the information from the West is creating a panic. [Link]
- The US will draw down its embassy staff in Ukraine. Russia announced it was taking some steps to change its embassy operations in Ukraine. [Link]
- Israeli Foreign Minister Lapid says Ukraine requested assistance from Israel. Lapid said Israel is not involved in the conflict. [Link]
- Normandy format talks to reduce tensions in Ukraine will resume in March. [Link] The latest round of talks ended without progress. [Link]
- French President Macron said he got no indication from Putin that Russia will invade Ukraine. Macron and Putin spoke for 90 minutes on a phone call. [Link]
- The Biden-Putin phone call ended without agreement. [Link]
- The US vows to commit more resources to the Indo-Pacific. [Link]
- Joe Biden signs an executive order largely emptying the Afghan government accounts. Biden ordered $3.5 billion to 9/11 victims and $3.5 billion for Afghan aid. [Link]
- National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan says the US is working to free an American who was arrested by the Taliban. [Link]
- The Washington Post reports more Biden officials support adding the Houthi to the Foreign Terrorist Organizations list. Aid groups warn the move will increase the suffering of the civilians in Yemen. [Link]
- The Houthi blame Joe Biden for the escalating Saudi bombing campaign in Yemen. [Link]
- Five UN staff members were kidnapped in Aden, Yemen. [Link]
- Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian who was attempting to prevent the soldiers from destroying a Palestinian home. [Link]
- Iran says the West is only pretending to come up with solutions. [Link]