- By Tom Squitieri Red Snow News WASHINGTON —The fog of war wins again, but at least the U.S. military is better than the Russians. Those themes were driven home repeatedly Tuesday as the Pentagon released the results on the completion of a review into civilian casualties that occurred from a U.S. airstrike on March 18,Read more
- By Tom Squitieri Red Snow News WASHINGTON — The U.S. lost significant equipment to the Taliban when it left Afghanistan in August 2021. Now the Pentagon is sending to Ukraine an experimental cutting-edge coastal defense system and seems not to have a concern about the cutting-edge technology possibly falling into Russian hands. “I don’t evenRead more
- By Tom Squitieri Red Snow News WASHINGTON — The first massacre victim I met was really two, an elderly couple still holding hands three days after an ambush along a dusty Bosnian road left them and a dozen others dead. The only way to find out who they, and the others who were slain —Read more
- By Tom Squitieri Red Snow News WASHINGTON – German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said Tuesday that “zeitenwende” — the turning point — has arrived in Germany and for NATO, that “If Putin’s plans don’t work out, we owe this largely to this NATO unity” and that President Biden’s vow that “America is back” is “totallyRead more
- By Tom Squitieri Red Snow News WASHINGTON — It took about a month for stalement to be achieved on the Western Front during World War One. We may look back at today and see as four weeks of the Russian-Ukraine war has ended, a similar stalemate has ensued. Then the new advances in technology —Read more
- By Tom Squitieri Red Snow News WASHINGTON – A Russian military convoy nearing the outskirts of Kyiv is now believed to be more than 40 miles long and includes armored vehicles, tanks, towed artillery, and other vehicles. It is what is known in military parlance as a “high-target area” — a long convoy, moving slow,Read more
- By Tom Squitieri Red Snow News WASHINGTON — Ukraine’s military has dealt the Russian invading forces unexpected setbacks and has prevented Moscow from being able to “executive their plans as they deemed they would” the Pentagon said. “Our understanding is they have experienced some setbacks,” John Kirby, the Pentagon spokesperson, told reporters, referring to theRead more
- By Tom Squitieri Red Snow News WASHINGTON —In an hour-long plus rant, Russian President Vladimir Putin bemoaned historical grievances and declared Moscow would recognize the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk, territories in Ukraine controlled by Moscow-backed separatists. Since the separatists don’t hold all the territory they claim, the recognition is essentially a de facto declarationRead more
- By Tom Squitieri Red Snow News WASHINGTON — Moscow today formally rejected the U.S. and NATO proposals for security in Europe and a slew of officials on both sides of the Atlantic prepared for what seems to be some type of Russian invasion of Ukraine. “In the absence of the readiness of the American sideRead more
- By Tom Squitieri Red Snow News WASHINGTON — The U.S.Navy has yet to pinpoint the exact location and depth of the F-35 that was involved in the January 24 accident, and thus, by extension, has not been able to secure that area in the South China Sea. The Pentagon has said it is not worriedRead more
- By Tom Squitieri Red Snow News WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is reviewing its landmine use policy, two years after the Trump administration lifted the geographic restrictions on where the weapons could be used. Just like it said it was doing last year. The Trump reversal in January 2020 lifted a ban on the U.S. military’sRead more
- By Tom Squitieri Red Snow News WASHINGTON — Vladimir Putin is a man who feels like he is running out of time. That is a prime calculation being used by Pentagon officials as they plot ways to check and then checkmate the Russian leader’s eagerness to unload on Ukraine. While each day brings new developmentsRead more
By Tom Squitieri
Red Snow News
WASHINGTON — Vladimir Putin is a man who feels like he is running out of time. That is a prime calculation being used by Pentagon officials as they plot ways to check and then checkmate the Russian leader’s eagerness to unload on Ukraine.
While each day brings new developments to the “will-he, won’t-he” question off Putin’s intentions, the Pentagon is using the threat to do what it has not been able to do before: ratchet up Ukraine’s defenses against a possible Russian attack to slow it and — if Russian prevails — make Moscow pay.
Thus, while diplomats lay down markers such as sledgehammer economic sanctions, Pentagon planners pursue pointed punches, punctures and perforations that will be 21st century versions of Word War One barbed wire.
The manta being whispered: “Make Them Pay.”
There are some obvious steps. Then there are the counter-intuitive ones.
Putin and his top aides have set deadlines for the U.S. and NATO to capitulate to his security demands. That actually gives the Pentagon the raison d’être to tell nervous members of Congress and others that they must act now to boost Ukraine and that any dithering will be destructive.
That is not a blank check it but certainly gives the Pentagon and NATO a credit line to operate with.
Pentagon officials say a prime invasion window would be between January 6 and March 6. That is after Orthodox Christmas and when the ground is at its frozen best for tanks and other heavy equipment.
First key is providing Ukraine with battlefield intelligence that could help its forces more quickly respond to a possible Russian invasion. In Pentagon parlance, this is known as “actionable” intelligence, such as images of Russian troops were moving to areas for cross-border thrusts. That gives a boost to Ukraine’s battle plans — and the Pentagon is fine with Putin knowing that he faces sharper resistance.
That is one way to make them pay.
Also heading toward Kyiv are cyber warfare experts to shore up Ukraine buttress against the expected preemptive cyber attack as well as to possible retaliate. Make them pay.
There is also a flow of defensive weapons; some are already in Ukraine and others quietly on the way. Ukrainian forces have very visibly started testing and training with Javelin anti-tank weapons. That training prompted another round of outrage by Russian defense officials. As Stingers were to the Russians in Afghanistan Javelins could be in an Ukraine battlescape.
Already transferred to Ukraine billions of dollars worth of radars, patrol boats and anti-tank missiles. A U.S. military team recently traveled to Ukraine to assess the country’s air-defense network. The Pentagon is already gathering intelligence over Ukraine—and sharing it with the Ukrainians — and made a point to send E-8s and RC-135s aircraft to collect data.
Those plans generally are visible to the public only when they fly with their transponders on, meaning they appear on any of several flight-tracking websites. The Air Force could have ordered the crews to turn off their transponders for the mission. It didn’t. The mission was more than an effort to surveil Russian forces. It was a statement from the Biden administration to the Putin regime.
Make them pay, continued.
The U.S. is also set to help Ukraine build two naval bases, at Ochakiv on the Black Sea and at Berdyansk on the Sea of Azov. They will be two early flash points in a conflict. Two U.S. Coast Guard patrol boats have been given to the navy.
There is another key element driving Pentagon make-them-pay calculations: Putin’s historic motives.
His last Ukraine invasion was extremely popular, giving him approval ratings above 80 percent following a longterm decline. He is playing a familiar card, saying Russians “compatriots” in Ukraine — and in Moldova and the Baltic states, and in Russian=controlled Kaliningrad — are being threatened and persecuted and need help from Moscow.
As a Swedish military commander noted, “You should never underestimate a country that has now built up their capabilities over time. Listen to their rhetoric, listen to their communication. It’s obvious that they do have ambitions. They also protect their long-term interests.”
Pentagon planners are certain that Putin is not going to be satisfied with just Belarus but seeks to reestablish as much of the old Russian empire as he can.
Unless they can be made to pay early and often.