In 2014 Vladamir Putin went from just riding around bareback on a horse and flexing his muscles to flexing his military might by invading the Ukrainian territory of Crimea and annexing it into the Russian Federation. At the time, pundits claimed the move was made possible at least in part by the Russian leader’s perception of Barack Obama as weak (they were right) and by his desire to see the restoration of the old, pre-cold war U.S.S.R. days when Russia was if not the number one world power, running a close second. (They were also right.)
Putin’s invasiion and subsequent annexation of the Crimean peninsula was rightly considered by the Ukrainian government to be a violation of international law and agreements by Russia. For the move Putin was condemned by world leaders, Russia was suspended from the G8 and a round of sanctions against the country was put in place.
The message was clear, “Knock it off and don’t do it again.”
But Putin has proven himself a stubborn fellow and his desire to rebuild the crumbled U.S.S.R. seems to be undeterred. The question is, does a new occupant of the Oval Office encourage or slow his expansionist plans? We may be about to find out.
The Express UK and other European news agencies have been keeping tabs on the Putin regime’s continuing military exercises, build up, and perhaps even signs of aggression. This week things seem to have heated up considerably.
Russia is preparing to send thousands of troops into Europe, with the Kremlin forced to deny a plot to invade Poland.
“Russia and Belarus will hold a huge joint military exercise next month, officially involving almost 13,000 soldiers.
The Kremlin revealed today almost 700 “pieces of military hardware” will be used in the Zapad 2017 war games, which begin on September 14.
The week-long operation will take place in Belarus, sparking concerns in neighbouring Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine of a possible invasion.
The Kremlin today dismissed these claims and said the drills would be purely defensive in nature. It described invasion claims as “false allegations”. Russian Deputy Defence Minister Alexander Fomin said the drills would be in line with international rules – however observers have expressed concerns.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance will closely watch the exercises and has called for them to be held in an open and legal manner.
It has also been noted how the total of troops involved falls just short of the 13,000 threshold at which independent observers must be invited.
In reality, experts believe at least 60,000 and as many as 100,000 troops will actually take part in the drill. The US has sent 600 soldiers to Europe as a precaution.
Lt. Gen. Frederick B. Hodges said: “Look, we’ll be ready; we’ll be prepared.” And he dismissed claims the drills were only defensive in nature, pointing to the military equipment and groups involved.
He said: “There is only one reason you would create a Guards Tank Army, and that is as an offensive striking force.”
They’ll be prepared? The obvious question here is, “prepared for what?” No one just ‘prepares.’
All of this is making the nations of eastern Europe like Poland, Estonia, Latvia, and Romania understandably nervous. Those countries are filled with people, many of whom currently serve in their governments, who were there for the old U.S.S.R. days and can well remember the long winters without heat, standing in bread lines and the rest of the hopelessness and despair that comes with socialism.
For now they can only hope that those days are a distant memory never to return. But we shall see.
[NOTE: This article was written by Derrick Wilburn, Founder and Chairman of the Rocky Mountain Black Conservatives, and a speaker, author, columnist and analyst for multiple print and broadcast media outlets. Follow him on Facebook and at RMBlackConservatives.com.]