The eyes of the world are currently fixed on what is the intention of Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding Ukraine. In view of the possibility of escalating conflict, America is evacuating its embassy staff. But defense expert Jonathan Marcus says that perhaps this conflict has already started.
There is talk everywhere that there is a danger of a war between Russia and Ukraine. Everywhere the question remains whether Russia will attack? Does President Vladimir Putin want war at all costs or can peace be reached through diplomatic means?
But no one can read the mind of Russian President Putin.
So here comes another question that how to know that the war has started between Russia and Ukraine?
- Tanks are moving, rockets are being fired
The answer is clear.
Russian tanks crossing Ukraine’s borders, or massive rocket barrages, or Russian airstrikes on Ukrainian targets, indicate that the crisis has escalated and the conflict may now enter a new phase.
Of course, when war breaks out, the first alert will come from the Ukrainian army, but Western satellites and intelligence gathering aircraft can also give good information about the preparation for a horrific attack.
Michael Kaufman, an expert on the Russian military at the US-based Center for Naval Analysis, says that there will be clear signs of attack in the coming times.
On the question of how to find out if the war has started, Michael says, “The first indication would be an increase in the number of troops. Since now, instead of military force, heavy equipment has been deployed on the border. Apart from this, other indications are that every number of armed forces will increase.” There may be changes in side dispersion, an influx of accessories, fixed-wing and rotary aviation.”
But this question can be answered in another way as well. And for this we need to go back and look at the Russian campaign against Ukraine as a whole.
We have to look at the entire toolkit available with Moscow and assess how it is being used. And then when you ask how do we know that the conflict has started, the answer may be that it has already happened.
The enmity between the two countries has been going on for the last several years.
- military pressure
Let’s start from where we are.
Russia has already annexed Crimea, a part of Ukraine. Apart from this, Russia also provides aid to anti-Kiev rebels in the Donbass region.
In fact, in 2014, it was the armored and mechanized units sent by Russia against the Ukrainian army that prevented the pro-Russian Kiev rebels from defeat. Since then, sporadic fighting has continued.
All sides there are believed to support an international peace effort, but little progress has been made in this direction.
- deployment of military forces in large numbers
Apart from this military pressure, there is also a danger of deployment of a large number of military forces.
The build-up of Russian fighter formations around the Ukrainian border is extraordinary. This also includes a significant deployment of forces in Belarus. Belarus also shares its border with Ukraine. It could become a close point for attacks towards Ukraine’s capital, Kiev.
Apart from this pressure, there is also the danger of deployment of military force in large numbers.
The sheer number of Russian troops deployed near the Ukrainian border is extraordinary. A large number of army deployments are also included in Belarus, which borders Ukraine. In the event of an attack, it can be easy to attack the Ukrainian capital Kiev from there.
Russian spokespersons describe the deployment of military forces on the borders of neighboring countries as a common practice and say that it was not done to warn anyone. But the scale at which troops have been deployed here and the way aid is being provided to them shows that it is much more than regular maneuvers.
Analysts are tracking this military force deployment through satellite images. Several mobile videos on the Internet show equipment loaded with trains heading towards Ukraine or Belarus. From the assessment of the material being posted on social media and the military equipment reaching the border in large quantities, it can be estimated that what is going on here.
Whatever Moscow may say, Ukraine and its allies in the West have not one but many reasons for concern.
- Russia is making its own story
On the one hand, Russia says that it is not preparing for war, although it seems to be doing so to a large extent. But, equally importantly, he has a different story to offer. A story where the victim is not Ukraine. Rather, this story tells that it is really Russia that is in danger.
This is the gist of documents handed over to the US, which seeks to halt the expansion of NATO and in some ways create a new sphere of influence for Moscow.
Some aspects of Russia’s concerns, such as talks over strategic and other weapons systems, are seen as good ideas, but this is unlikely to change the way NATO expands, and Russia is probably well aware of this.
But the story of Russia also has another purpose. This is the story through which he is trying to give a direction to the ongoing discussions on the Ukraine crisis, which are being discussed not only by Western countries or their own citizens, but which we and you are also discussing, while writing all this and while reading.
It is clear from all unbiased and rigorous independent analysis that Russia is preparing for war with Ukraine, whatever its official spokesman may say.
Another apprehension also exists regarding the Russian Toolbox. Cyber attack and demolition. For example, it is possible that Ukraine has been cyber attacked. Just a week ago, a large number of government websites were targeted. However, it is not yet clear from where the attack took place.
Recently the UK government claimed that Moscow had selected some people to form a new government in Kiev. However, whatever be the suspicion, there is no concrete evidence to suggest that Moscow is involved in such activities.
Michael Kaufman says that cyber attacks may be an important part of Russian attack. Because he can cripple Ukraine’s ability to cripple critical infrastructure to carry out a military attack.
- War and peace together
When Russia occupied Crimea, there was a lot of discussion about “hybrid” and “grey-zone warfare”, a campaign that was unclear, and its alleged denial. The participants wore uniforms, but there was no symbol of any army on them.
But there is no doubt that these were soldiers. And Crimea was captured in the same way as military operations were conducted in the olden days, and not by any secret operation.
The current situation resembles a “grey-zone war”, that is, where it is not known whether there is war or peace.
But things are not seen like this in the West.
But the Russian military has mastered a strategy where war and peace seem to coexist, where different methods are used on different occasions, sometimes alternately, Together, however, they all have the same strategic goal.
And so it must be said that the struggle has already begun. It remains to be seen how long President Putin wants to drag on this “grey-zone” situation.