In the months leading up to the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the United States never ceased to publicly warn of the possibility of a large-scale Russian intervention—at one point, the Ukrainian government itself asked Washington “not to provoke a panic.” As the newspaper now shows Washington PostThe White House knew about the invasion plan months before Vladimir Putin’s order, but failed to convince NATO members that an attack was imminent.
An American daily describes a meeting in the Oval Office in October 2021 between President Joe Biden, his deputy Kamala Harris and several military and diplomatic advisers. This session was just one of several on Ukraine last fall, but it stood out for the details of the information presented to the US president. Jake Sullivan, a national security adviser who turned from skepticism to concern about Russia’s intentions, was in charge of organizing the meeting.
Present were Secretary of State Anthony Blinken; Defense, Lloyd Austin; Chief of Interarms Staff General Mark A. Milley; and the director of the National Security Agency and the CIA. In response to Sullivan’s request for an overview of Russia’s plans, they explained to Biden that “intelligence information about plans The prompt actions of Vladimir Putin, coupled with the incessant mobilizations along the border with Ukraine, showed that everything is ready for a massive assault.
With access to “many points of Russian political leadership and the military and espionage apparatus”, US intelligence agencies knew that Putin’s “impressively audacious” military plan called for the occupation of almost the entire country and could “immediately threaten eastern flank of NATO or even destroy the post-World War II security architecture in Europe.”
According to the information, the Russians would move in from the north, from both sides of Kyiv, and the offensive would begin in the winter: “having formed pincers around the capital, Russian troops planned to take Kyiv within three to four days” and “special forces would find and would delete President Volodymyr Zelessky, killing him if necessary” to establish a friendly government. At the same time, they would have entered from the east towards the Dnieper, and the troops in the Crimea would have occupied the southern coast. After a pause for regrouping, they were to move west, along a north-south line, from Moldavia to Belarus – in the West there will remain “the Ukrainian state, which, according to Putin’s calculations, is inhabited by irreconcilable neo-Nazi-Russophobes.”
The findings included troop and weapon dispositions, operational strategy, and Putin-led increases in funding for “military contingency operations” and “formation of forces in reserve,” even to the detriment of other needs such as pandemic response. It wasn’t an exercise. And if Biden and his administration didn’t think the world would be on the brink of a new war at the end vertex which brought the two presidents together on June 16, took effect a month later, when Putin published his rehearsal “On the historical unity of Russians and Ukrainians”. In late August, as a precautionary measure, Biden authorized the shipment of $60 million worth of defensive weapons to Ukraine.
After the October meeting, Biden’s biggest challenge was convincing allies at a time when “NATO was far from speaking with one voice on how to deal with Moscow” and “US credibility was weak” following the devastating occupation of Iraq and the chaos. from withdrawal from Afghanistan. Later that month, at the G20 summit in Rome, Biden warned his closest allies, France, Britain and Germany. A few weeks later, Secret Service director Avril Haynes called in several members of NATO.
According to Mail, the majority reacted with great skepticism, with the exception of the UK and the Baltic countries. The Germans and the French feared political manipulation after previous US mistakes. In practice, Angela Merkel leaving the German government and Emmanuel Macronin the French presidential election campaign in April did not want to believe that Putin could do something so “irrational”.
In the months that followed, the Americans engaged in discussions and meetings to persuade various European countries while strengthening their military presence in Europe. But in the days leading up to the invasion, many still can’t believe what’s coming, including the French president, who on February 20 celebrated receiving Putin’s approval to meet with Biden. A few hours later Putin recognized officially self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk republics, less than four days before break into to Ukraine.