Half a year of war: when Putin made the final decision to attack Ukraine


Half a year of war: when Putin made the final decision to attack Ukraine

< p _ngcontent-sc86="" class="news-annotation">Ukraine has been defending its freedom and independence for half a year now. Apparently, Putin decided to attack long before the day of the full-scale invasion. This was carefully prepared for more than one month. But how did it all start and when exactly was the decision to attack Ukraine made?

It was a sunny October morning in 2021. The entire senior leadership of the US military, intelligence and diplomacy came to an urgent meeting in the Oval Office of the White House: Lloyd Austin – Secretary of Defense, Mark Milley – head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haynes and CIA Director William Burns, as well as Anthony Blinken – head of the US State Department. They arrived with classified information – an analysis compiled from the latest satellite images, intercepts from communication channels and listening.

It was a report for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. The illustration for the report was a map of Ukraine, and this map schematically depicts how the Russian army will capture Ukraine. According to the plans of the Kremlin, which were owned in the USA, Kyiv must first be surrounded and captured within 3-4 days. President Volodymyr Zelensky should be captured or killed by special forces, and a new puppet government should appear at the building on Hrushevsky Street. After the offensive from Belarus, Crimea and Donbass, the entire territory of Ukraine must be occupied within 3 weeks.

All this happened on a sunny October morning in 2021, and the influential American newspaper The Washington Post wrote about it months later in its special investigation:

“Yes,” they confirmed (military and intelligence – Channel 24), “it's real!” Although over the following months the administration publicly insisted that it did not believe in Putin's final decision. The only thing Biden's team couldn't tell the president this fall afternoon was exactly when the Russian president would pull the trigger. For months, the Biden administration watched carefully as Putin amassed tens of thousands of troops and lined up tanks and missiles along the Ukrainian border. – the publication says.

By the end of October 2021, the deployment of Russian troops near the borders of Ukraine took on a menacing appearance. This is how the army is grouped during the preparation for the attack.

The White House did not wait idly, but joined the fight, trying to make allies and President Zelensky believe in the reality of the risk of a full-scale invasion. For several months, the US administration and allies tried to prevent this war, but as it turned out, it was already impossible to stop Putin.

And now, six months after the start of a full-scale invasion, we will try to figure it out and find an answer to the question “when exactly did Putin make the final decision to go to war with Ukraine?” We have already written that the Kremlin dictator had several real reasons for the war. However, when was the decision to “send the cartridge into the chamber and put your finger on the trigger” to fire it early on the morning of February 24, 2022?

Recently, an adviser to the Office of the President Alexei Arestovich, in an interview with Dmitry Gordon, said that Putin made the decision to attack Ukraine back in 2005, after the defeat of Viktor Yanukovych in the elections, when the “soft annexation” plan was once again frustrated. At a minimum, even then Putin realized that no one would give him Ukraine just like that, but he was not ready to give up his idea either.

A little later, in 2008, he began to regularly assert that Ukraine is not a state and never was. Over the next 10 years, he lost to the Ukrainians several more times: in the winter of 2013-2014, when the second Maidan took place – the Revolution of Dignity, and another “soft annexation” with the help of Yanukovych's power failed again. Then the Minsk agreements, with the help of which he wanted to “push” the Donbass back into Ukraine, but on his own terms and actually destroy our country. It did not work out, the Ukrainian side skillfully sabotaged their implementation, and even the government under Petro Poroshenko, whom he nevertheless persuaded to sign these same agreements, did not dare to put these agreements into practice – the Ukrainian people would not accept this and would not allow this very government take such a step.

Putin's next plan, when he hoped that the election of the inexperienced Zelensky as president could change the situation, was also not destined to come true. Although he was elected from a Russian-speaking environment and under the slogans “peace for the Donbass” and “we need to stop shooting”, but from life experience he was an artist and comedian, but by no means a politician and statesman (what can such a “clown” oppose to an experienced and seasoned a strategist and a native of the special services?).

At that time, there were many influential people in Moscow who believed that Zelensky could be easily negotiated, and it was with such intentions that Putin met with the Ukrainian president in December in Paris immediately after the Normandy Four summit. In the Kremlin, with bated breath, they waited for a “positive” result from this meeting, and in Kyiv, Poroshenko, who had already lost the elections, tried to raise a “new Maidan” with slogans about “spite”.

Again defeat. Putin failed to achieve the desired result from Zelensky, and Moscow realized that Ukraine could not be “pushed through” again.

An important event took place in the spring of 2020. Then the main negotiators on the Donbass problem – Dmitry Kozak from the Russian side and Andriy Yermak from Ukraine – unexpectedly for everyone agreed to create a new “negotiation platform” (it's like a “platform on a site”). Inside the tripartite negotiating group, an “advisory council” should appear, which should include representatives from both Kyiv and the quasi-republics, and it was there that they were supposed to negotiate.

In the Kremlin, a “flare of hope” flared up again for the implementation of their insidious plan – they have already practically managed to put the official authorities of Ukraine and representatives of pseudo-republics at the negotiating table. But after the Kozak and Yermak put their signatures under the document on the creation of such a “council”, an incredible wave of protests arose in Kyiv, and the signature of the Ukrainian side was withdrawn. Perhaps it was during this period that hopes for the Minsk agreements were finally buried in Moscow. And all subsequent meetings, consultations and negotiations in any format – Normandy or otherwise – all this was just an imitation, a cover for Putin's real plan of action. At that time, he finally became convinced that a “soft annexation” of Ukraine was impossible, Zelensky could not be pushed through, it was impossible to return Donbass to Ukraine on favorable terms for Moscow, and it was possible to take it only by force.

Approximately during this period, the Putins implemented their next “special operation” – the extension of their powers, the “zeroing” of presidential terms through amendments to the constitution (so that everything is according to the law, it was beautiful). In the summer, all these amendments were approved by popular vote, and in addition to them, paragraph 3 of Article 69 “on supporting and protecting the interests of compatriots living abroad” appeared in the Russian constitution.

And at the same time, the FSB tried to poison Navalny with “Novichok”, smearing the oppositionist's underpants with deadly poison. This could mean both the fact that the Kremlin again expanded the tools for fighting the opposition – they are again simply physically eliminated, and the fact that Putin began to “clean up” the space from everyone who “interferes” with the implementation of larger plans. For example, the conquest of Ukraine.

At the end of 2021, one of the journalists present at Putin’s press conference, BBC correspondent Pyotr Kozlov, asked: “Tell me, what has happened recently in Russia that the number of those whom the authorities consider extremists and undesirable organizations has increased so rapidly?” Then, at the end of 2021, the answer to such a question was not obvious, although by this moment Putin had already issued an ultimatum to NATO and threatened the whole world with his new doctrine. But today it is already obvious what is the answer to this question. The decision was made much earlier – Putin decided to attack Ukraine. This can also explain another round of internal repression – it was necessary to get rid of internal enemies in preparation for the attack.

Putin was given confidence by the impunity of all previous adventures, starting with the war in Georgia in 2008, and by his inner circle, a very limited circle of trusted people with whom Putin was “in the same bundle” for many years. All of them convinced: “The West is “pissing”, they will not get into a fight, it has been verified repeatedly! Further statements and indignation will not go anywhere. Taking into account the number of European politicians of various levels “lured” and the importance of the Russian market for European producers of goods, and besides their complete dependence on Russian hydrocarbons, the risk is generally minimal.

In March 2021, Putin, speaking on the occasion of the next anniversary of the annexation of Crimea, “warned” against using “Russia's generous gifts” to harm. It is clear that a frank threat was in the direction of Kyiv. After that, he, together with his Minister of Defense Shoigu, flew to the taiga, where, as they say, he liked to take rejuvenating baths with the horns of young deer. But, perhaps, it was during this trip that he informed Shoigu about the plan of attack, because soon a large number of battalion-tactical groups began to be intensively transferred to the borders with Ukraine, and intensive mobilization continued over the following months. It was preparation for war. And although the number of troops, equipment and supply chains, and other infrastructure to support a major military operation was already enough then, there was no offensive. Some experts decided that in this way Putin tried to blackmail Biden, trying to get a meeting with him, where he could “explain” to him, as he did with other world leaders, that “Ukraine is not a country and its territory rightfully belongs to Russia.” “.

But in fact, it was the opposite – Putin began to prepare for an attack on Ukraine, and Biden invited him to meet in a third country. Putin agreed. After the summit in Geneva, the Americans calmed down, no acute issues were raised at the meeting, no significant decisions were made that could entail tectonic changes in the geopolitical landscape in the world or Europe.

Departing from Geneva, one of the participants Biden's team wrote: “We got on the plane and returned home, not thinking that the world was on the verge of a big war in Europe.”

Such a thought could have occurred to them in a few weeks – Putin published his ” famous” article on the unity of Russians and Ukrainians, where he argued that the Ukrainian people do not exist, but in his opinion – this is one Russian people.

The West, in his opinion, is trying to make “anti-Russia” out of Ukraine. Putin has spoken about this before in private conversations at meetings with the leaders of countries, this opinion slipped through during his major press conferences, when the question turned to Ukraine and history. But so frankly for the general public – this was the first time, and it was clear that this was the basis and ideology for the future invasion and takeover. Therefore, the article immediately began to be studied in the Russian army – Shoigu ordered all the military to do this and pass the test of knowledge of the material. All this should be further proof of the crimes of the Putin regime in an international court.

At the end of October 2021, Putin took part in one of his favorite events – the Valdai Forum. Ironically, there in Valdai, the question of Ukraine was put to him by Viktor Medvedchuk's adviser, Mikhail Pogrebinsky. It was this so-called sociologist and political scientist who for many years transmitted “crooked”, not genuine polling data in Ukraine, allegedly indicating love for Putin and Russia. According to these data, invented by Pogrebin himself, in Ukraine until 2021 there was a huge number of people dissatisfied with the authorities in Kyiv, and most Ukrainians dreamed of reunification with Russia, and of course under Putin's rule.

The fact is that both Pogrebinsky and the entire “Medvedchuk shobla” received and mastered money from Moscow for years. Financing went through the special 5th service of the FSB, it was generous and intended specifically to improve attitudes towards Russia and the “Russian world”. Since all the billions spent over the years were “used”, Medvedchuk had to report to Moscow about new achievements in the level of loyalty of the population of Ukraine, which this Pogrebinsky portrayed.

That’s how it worked for years: the Kremlin/FSB/Moscow gave money – from Ukraine there were reports on the best results of polls prepared by Pogrebinsky. That is why it was he who then asked Putin's question in Valdai, referring to the “famous” article and his poll results. Just a few months later, after a full-scale invasion of Ukraine and after a truly heroic nationwide defense of Ukrainians, Putin began repressions against the leadership of his beloved 5th Directorate (officially the Service of Operational Information and International Relations), after learning what a really “hot” meeting was for his troops in every village and every city. We may never know the scale of corruption that was in the service, but we are talking about exactly the billions of dollars spent by Moscow on “loyalty to it” and which were “sawed” at all levels – from performers in Kyiv to the highest ranks of the FSB in Moscow.

Then, when asking Putin, Pogrebinsky did not yet know that the decision to attack Ukraine had already been made. He asked purely “technically”, he was instructed – and he did. And the main part of the question was in the figure that he had and voiced – more than 40% of the population of Ukraine have a good or very good attitude towards Russia. And everyone heard this figure on RosTV!

More than 40% of Ukrainians, which means that almost everyone in the east! “Yes, they will shower us with flowers as soon as we cross the border!” – this is exactly what the soldiers who had previously studied Putin's article should think.

In reality, of course, attitudes towards Russians and Putin personally have not been as positive as they have been portrayed. More than 80% of Ukrainians, according to the sociological group “Rating”, then had a negative or very negative attitude towards Putin, more than 55% did not consider themselves one people with the Russians.

The Washington Post published a continuation of its investigation, this time noting the failure of the Russian intelligence services, primarily the FSB, in planning and carrying out the invasion. It turned out that the FSB had information about the real state of affairs, the real attitude towards the “Russian world” and Putin in Ukraine.

There are records that add mystery to Russian miscalculations. FSB-commissioned surveys showed that large segments of the Ukrainian population were ready to resist the Russian invasion, and the expectations that Russian troops would be welcomed as liberators were unfounded. Despite this, according to officials, the FSB continued to feed the Kremlin with rosy promises that the Ukrainian masses would welcome the arrival of the Russian military and the restoration of pro-Moscow forces to power.

There was data on the number of Ukrainians who in January 2022 years, a month before the invasion, to the question of whether they are ready to defend their country with weapons in their hands. The answer was “yes” – 48%! But either they were stupid, or they were afraid to contradict the top leadership, which had been hatching an invasion operation in their heads for months, but they interpreted this figure as follows: “Less than half!” And it was precisely this report, apparently, that laid down on the table and Putin: “Less than half of Ukrainians are ready to defend their country.”

It's not a fact that if Putin had received a different conclusion, he would have stopped. It seems that now nothing could stop his plans to attack Ukraine. He craved the glory of the “restorer of the Russian empire”, but even more he craved the blood of the “Ukrainian nationalists” who for years did not allow him to seize what “belonged to him by right” and simply craved blood.

And he pulled the trigger.

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