Russia Planning "Lightning War" To Take Out Ukraine's Capital: UK's Johnson In Dramatic Claim

As we detailed earlier, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell during Monday statements to the press appeared to openly mock the UK and US for their dramatic announcements of embassy personnel evacuations due to threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. He said there's no need to "dramatize" the situation given there's high hopes that ongoing diplomacy will prevail. Moscow too has continued to condemn what it called "disinformation hysteria" prevailing in the West, which is fueling the crisis further.

But it seems London is content to hype things further, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday citing "gloomy" intelligence from UK intel officials warning that Russia is planning a "lightning war" to take out Ukraine's capital of Kiev. Johnson said in a message directed at Russia that an offensive would be a "disastrous step" and "bloody business"

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While confirming that some British diplomatic staff have begun to exit the embassy in Kiev and depart of the country, Johnson affirmed "We do think it prudent to make some changes now."

That's when he said in dramatic fashion...

"The intelligence is very clear that there are 60 Russian battle groups on the borders of Ukraine, the plan for a lightning war that could take out Kyiv is one that everybody can see."

"We need to make it very clear to the Kremlin, to Russia, that that would be a disastrous step."

He added during the comments that "from a Russian perspective, (it) is going to be a painful, violent and bloody business." He concluded with: "I think it’s very important that people in Russia understand that this could be a new Chechnya."

More than just issuing jingoist rhetoric, threats, and claims, the UK has over the past week been flying military plane-loads of weaponry into Kiev, something Russia has condemned as a highly dangerous escalation. This is mostly believed to be anti-take and anti-armor systems, missiles, and munitions.

Over the weekend the Kremlin accused Britain of unnecessarily stoking tensions even as London remained on the sidelines of the direct diplomacy currently taking place, which has involved talks between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian FM Sergey Lavrov in Geneva. Further Normandy format talks will be held in Paris this week, involving the Russians, Ukrainians, French, and Germans. According to the news wires, Biden will also hold a call with European leaders today:


The New York Times had observed over the weekend that the UK has pursued a much "more muscular" stance on Russia in recent days. "Britain seized the world’s attention on Saturday by accusing President Vladimir Putin of plotting to install a pro-Russian leader in Ukraine, a dramatic late-night announcement that instantly thrust it on to the front lines of the most dangerous security crisis in Europe in decades," the Times wrote. 

Russia has of course, denied both of these latest bombshell accusations, which included the following: "We have information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine," the UK statement published Saturday began. Interestingly, EU countries appear to be moving away from this type of charged rhetoric, also with NATO showing it's not ready to present a unified position of "military options" on the table, given especially Germany has lately broken with its Western allies on the question of arming Ukraine.

NATO Puts Forces On Standby, Deploys More Jets & Ships - Russia Responds With 20 Warships In Baltic

On Monday NATO announced it has put its forces on "standby" while initiating deployment of additional ships and fighter jets to Eastern Europe. "NATO will continue to take all necessary measures to protect and defend all Allies, including by reinforcing the eastern part of the Alliance," NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement.

    "We will always respond to any deterioration of our security environment, including through strengthening our collective defense," Stoltenberg added, while discussing the ongoing Russia-Ukraine showdown, which the Kremlin has denounced as hype and based on false allegations it's planning an invasion. The Kremlin has further reiterated its plea for Western countries to stop the "hysteria", which itself is hyping the crisis further. One NATO diplomat has been cited in reports Monday saying the Biden administration is mulling a move to transfer some troops from Western Europe to Eastern Europe in the coming weeks.

    NATO jets file, Flickr

    But the Western allies are also pointing to the additional Russian military units now deployed to Belarus in preparation for the announced joint war games to be held there next month. "We are reaching the point where continuous Russian and Belarusian military buildup in Europe needs to be addressed by appropriate NATO countermeasures," Latvia's Foreign Affairs minister Edgars Rinkēvič stated Monday.

    In its official statement, NATO headquarters detailed which assets that European alliance members have begun to send toward the region, including to the Baltic Sea and Eastern Europe

    In the past days, a number of Allies have made announcements regarding current or upcoming deployments. Denmark is sending a frigate to the Baltic Sea and is set to deploy four F-16 fighter jets to Lithuania in support of NATO’s long-standing air-policing mission in the region. Spain is sending ships to join NATO naval forces and is considering sending fighter jets to Bulgaria. France has expressed its readiness to send troops to Romania under NATO command. The Netherlands is sending two F-35 fighter aircraft to Bulgaria from April to support NATO’s air-policing activities in the region, and is putting a ship and land-based units on standby for NATO’s Response Force. The United States has also made clear that it is considering increasing its military presence in the eastern part of the Alliance. 

    Thus given the scant number of actual aircraft and ships being sent, it appears the above is part of yet more posturing on the level of a 'threatened' military build-up... rhetoric that's become almost the norm for the past days and weeks.

    Still, it's a dangerous enough situation for some countries to begin drawing down embassy staff in Kiev. After Sunday it was confirmed the US has begun ordering families of diplomatic personnel out of Ukraine, and the UK Foreign Office also announced Monday that some of its staff and dependents are withdrawing.

    "Officials say there have been no specific threats to British diplomats, but about half of the staff working in Kyiv will return to the UK," BBC noted of the move. This after the US claimed starting last week that a Russian invasion could come "at any time". 

    Meanwhile, it appears Russia's response to the NATO build-up will come in the form of naval drills, with Interfax reporting Monday that twenty Russian Navy ships have deployed to conduct drills and movements in the Baltic Sea.

    The carrier group led by the USS Truman is at the same time spearheading NATO military exercises in the Mediterranean, to the south... A Pentagon statement said, "Starting Monday, NATO allies, including the United States, kick off the 12-day maritime exercise Neptune Strike '22 in the Mediterranean Sea, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said during a briefing today."

    (Article by Tyler Durden republished from

    Planet Today

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