Kremlin official gives a tip to Russia’s next moves
The Chairman of the Security Council of Russia, Nikolai Patrushev, stated on Nov. 23 that “Ukraine could flare up at any moment” in terms of civil unrest.
Patrushev, in an interview with aif.ru, stated that millions of Ukrainian refugees would then flood Europe. On the same day, pravda.com.ua reported that presidential spokesperson Dmitri Peskov stated that Russia had no intention of invading. However, Ukraine was preparing for a violent action in Donbas, which was a concern for Russia.
James Hydzik: Patrushev’s statement should be seen as a warning about the groundwork to be laid before any armed incursion by Russian forces. Previously, the Russian military entered Crimea largely without local assistance, then prepared a force composed of Russians and locals in Donbas. However, variants on that theme failed in Kharkiv and Odesa. This time, in order to not confront a united and prepared Ukraine, the likely scenario is that internal dissent will be fomented to the point that someone will heroically call for help, which fortunately for them, sits across the border. Previous failures in Kharkiv and Odesa could be leading planners to see the need to incorporate a military element next time.
This is not a new prognosis, but the difference is that the purely military scenario seen in Spring 2021 is less likely to be duplicated. Foreign support and internal cohesion are too strong currently. How this internal dissent is created is an issue - attempts to divide the country geographically or by language might be tougher than before. COVID-related protests have drawn only a few thousand people. The plan seems to be clear overall, but the key turning points seem to be missing.