Russia is currently carrying out nuclear tests as the rest of the world prepares for a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine.
An estimated 190,000 Russian troops are massed near the Ukraine border, including numerous battalion tactical groups (BTGs), artillery, and other assets. Russia is fully ready to strike.
There are other worrying signs of an approaching Russian invasion as well.
Eastern Ukraine Being Evacuated
Evacuations of civilians have begun from Donetsk and the Donbas region of Eastern Ukraine. Russia says 700,000 civilians will be taken by train and bus out of the region and to where they will be safe.
The separatist regions of eastern Ukraine fought a war against Ukraine in 2014 for independence and are loyal to Russia. Many of their inhabitants are ethnically Russian and prefer to join Russia than Ukraine.
According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russia recently discovered mass graves in eastern Ukraine and its people are in danger from Ukrainian aggression. NATO and the United States say this is blatantly false and is just a pretext for war created by Moscow.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin now says Russia’s troops are “uncoiling” near the Ukraine border and present clear danger. Nonetheless, he said an invasion of Ukraine could still be averted.
As Russia conducts nuclear tests, there’s no doubt that tension is mounting. In Ukraine, the mood is very uncertain and tense, as they say one of their troops was killed after an explosion on Saturday in Donetsk.
BREAKING — The Speaker of Russian Duma says Ukraine is provoking the start of a big war.
Says, Russia doesn’t want war “but if there is a threat to the lives of citizens of the Russian Federation and compatriots living in the DPR and LPR, then Russia will stand up for them”
— Ragıp Soylu (@ragipsoylu) February 18, 2022
Will Russia Use Nukes?
Joe Biden says the US government believes Russia will invade Ukraine, including trying to occupy its capital city of Kiev. However he does not believe Putin will use nuclear strike capabilities.
Russia’s current tests of hypersonic missiles, however, is clearly sabre rattling on the part of Putin. He attended the tests with Belarussian dictator Alexander Lukashenko.
Russia’s troops now surround Ukraine on all sides and these nuclear tests only increase the tension. Russia’s message is obvious: give a guarantee that Ukraine won’t join NATO and stop pressuring and sanctioning Russia or we will destroy the balance of power and invade eastern Europe.
This is no time for half measures, and with Ukraine’s leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy meeting Vice President Kamala Harris recently in Munich, it’s clear the West’s leadership is sorely lacking.
I disagree with this interpretation. I understand people naturally prefer to believe in any explanation other than Russia systematically preparing to conduct a large-scale military operation against Ukraine, but the evidence is mounting against these other takes. https://t.co/HmGf3IXhKp
— Michael Kofman (@KofmanMichael) February 19, 2022
The Bottom Line
Even if Russia does not invade, Joe Biden and NATO’s foreign policy have been humiliated on the world stage.
Putin has encircled a Western-friendly nation with almost a quarter of a million troops and given Biden and the EU a black eye without even trying.
This is an important reminder for Americans and Europeans that security is not always guaranteed and who you elect to lead your country does matter.