It’s becoming evident the Russian government is preparing for future action against Ukraine, should the situation call for it. Apparently, what is not so visible is the fact that Russia’s words and actions over the past week are components of a pattern engineered to make certain that a situation calling for military action develops. All indicators are pointing to the probability that the decision for action against Ukraine has already been made by the Kremlin, for whatever reason. At present, however, the stage is being set.
The military buildup in southern regions of Russia is progressing. Units are arriving in staging areas and encampments around Voronezh and Rostov-on-Don as the number of troops closer to the Ukrainian border and in Crimea increases each day. Ukraine’s government is greatly concerned by the troop movements and has raised the alarm. Moscow has pointed to a series of military exercises taking place as the reason for the increased activity, as well as reminding Kiev that Russia does not need permission to move its military forces within the national boundaries of Russia. Over the past two days, Russian government statements and media reports have centered on alleged Ukrainian efforts to escalate conflict in eastern Ukraine, and the responsibility Russia has to safeguard the well-being of all Russian-speakers abroad.
Translation: Military preparations are nearly complete, meaning the time has come to sharpen the rhetoric and start to set the stage for a manufactured crisis to serve as a justification for whatever actions are expected to come in the not-too-distant future.