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Has the War Between Russia and Ukraine Started?

Russian Air Force Tupolev Tu-160 (RF-94113) takes off from Kubinka.

Despite non-stop efforts by the international community to avert a war in Ukraine, it seems that Russian President Vladimir Putin has taken the decision to invade the neighboring country.

In a televised statement to the American people and the world on Friday, President Joe Biden stated that the Kremlin seems committed to carrying out its plans of an invasion.

So, You’ve Chosen War

Over the last few days and hours, there has been a major uptick in violence in the Donbas region of Eastern Ukraine. The separatist forces, which are backed by Russia, have declared an emergency and are conscripting all military-aged males, while the civilian population is being relocated to Russia.

Meanwhile, artillery and mortar fire has been threatening to trigger a war. At least two Ukrainian soldiers have been killed and five wounded by the shelling, according to the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs.

“Over the last few days, we’ve seen reports of a major uptick in violations of the ceasefire by Russian-backed fighters attempting to provoke Ukraine in the Donbas. For example, a shelling of a Ukrainian kindergarten yesterday, which Russia has falsely asserted was carried out by Ukraine. We also continue to see more and more disinformation being pushed out by — to the Russian public, including the Russian-backed separatists, claiming that Ukraine is planning to launch a massive offensive attack in the Donbas,” President Biden said in his press statement.

Russian claims of Ukrainian aggressiveness are part of a disinformation campaign that seeks to create a negative climate against Kyiv and also set the stage for a false flag operation—meaning that Russian troops pretending to be Ukrainian soldiers would attack Russian forces. U.S. officials citing declassified intelligence have repeatedly warned about such Russian efforts to undermine the Ukrainian government and fabricate a pretext for an attack.

“Russia state media also continues to make phony allegations of a genocide taking place in the Donbas and push fabricated claims warning about Ukraine’s attack on Russia without any evidence. That’s just what I’m sure Ukraine is thinking of doing — attacking Russia. All these are consistent with the playbook the Russians have used before: to set up a false justification to act against Ukraine. This is also in line with the pretext scenarios that the United States and our Allies and partners have been warning about for weeks,” Biden said.

A United Front

The Kremlin gambled on a divided NATO that would have difficulty in presenting a unified front to its pugnacity. However, that has not been the case as U.S. and NATO diplomats have been communicating regularly and effectively, committing to a response that would include unprecedented sanctions against Russia.

“[I have had] series of calls over the past many months with the heads of state of our NATO Allies and the European Union to bring them up to date on what the United States thinks is the current state of affairs, and what’s likely to happen in Ukraine in the coming days, to ensure that we continue to remain in lockstep—that is the European Union and NATO,” Biden said on Friday.

During the ongoing Munich Security Conference, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged the U.S., NATO, and the European Union to launch sanctions against Russia now.

“Despite Russia’s efforts to divide us at home and abroad, I can affirm that has not happened. The overwhelming message of both—on both calls [with NATO leaders] was one of unity, determination, and resolve. I shared with all of those on the calls what we know about a rapidly escalating crisis in Ukraine,” the president added.

1945’s New Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business InsiderSandboxx, and SOFREP.

1945’s Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist with specialized expertise in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.