Ukraine Update 1 March, 2022 (Evening)

-The war in Ukraine has the potential to unleash the largest refugee crisis Europe has faced since World War II. The European Union estimates as many as four million Ukrainians could potentially flee their homeland between now and the end of the war. Even then, assuming a Russian victory, that number could increase considerably. EU rules and restrictions on refugees are being lifted and Brussel promises that EU member-states will welcome Ukrainians with open arms. Eastern European countries are absorbing the first wave of refugees. As of 7 AM, 1 March, 2022, EST Poland had taken in 377,000 refugees. Hungary had taken 89,561, Moldova 65,391, Slovakia 54,304 and Romania 38,461. These numbers are undoubtedly obsolete by now, yet the vast scale of the exodus is apparent. It’s only going to become worse as time goes on. Despite the EU’s assurances, the potential for a once-in-a-century refugee crisis exists.

-The Ukrainian military intelligence believes Russia is preparing a pretext that will justify the introduction of Belarusian troops into the conflict. The role of the Belarussian military in this conflict is one of those points which pundits and journalists have been batting around since the shooting started. Belarus has a role to play in this war, one undoubtedly orchestrated by Vladimir Putin. When the time is right, the exact role will become known. According to intelligence estimates by the Ukrainians there are 300 Belarussian tanks and accompanying infantry massed at the Ukrainian border. Minsk has played the role of good cop to Moscow’s bad cop, even orchestrating the first round of negotiations between Ukraine and Russia. That will change at some point, however.

-Parting thought for the evening. Tonight, US President Joe Biden will give his State of the Union address in Washington. He will tout his goal for the US and all of its allies to be on the same page regarding economic sanctions. The sanctions now impacting Russia have been fierce and there are additional salvoes being prepared for delivery. But what happens if economic sanctions alone cannot do the job? The US and its allies have put all their eggs in a single basket. If it is not enough, what will be the next step?

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