Russia’s Objectives in Ukraine—Reality and Media Myth

A Letter to the Editor 30 march 2022 from Eamon Dyas

Pentagon Press Secretary: “Up until recently, we had still assessed that their [Russia] plan was to occupy and annex Ukraine” – 29 March 2022.

That’s been the baseline of the US/NATO narrative from the start. It was necessary to construct it in order to project Russian intentions into an area where Kiev’s irresponsible behaviour and the US/NATO encouragement of it could not be properly judged by the public.

Russia was intent on invading Ukraine with the simple purpose of annexing it. No other explanation has been given any room in the media’s narrative and therefore no alternative explanation of Russia’s actions is possible.

The media’s narrative has been sustained despite the multiple times that Russia had stated its objectives do not include either the occupation or annexation of the country. Its objectives are related to its concerns about Ukraine’s relationship with NATO – concerns that were arrogantly dismissed by US/NATO in the build-up to the incursion.

The media’s narrative has been sustained even though it would have been impossible for the 150,000 Russian troops to have temporarily taken over, let alone occupy the whole of Ukraine. 

The narrative was sustained even though the predicted Russian invasion did not take place in December – the time when all US/NATO military opinion was predicting it would happen as that was the point at which the West’s reliance on Russian energy supplies was at its height and before the flood of NATO armaments into the country had taken place. 

The narrative was sustained even though the Russian incursion was not initiated by any blitzkrieg or “Shock and Awe” operation similar to what the US/U.K. did in Iraq where the objective was indeed to occupy the country.

It was sustained even though Russia did not utilise its airpower to anything approaching what would be required by a full-scale invasion.

It was sustained even though Russia avoided critically damaging Ukraine’s railway infrastructure.

Then, rather than admit that all the evidence was pointing to a different and far more limited Russian objective, the US/NATO narrative was twisted and contorted into an explanation of the evidence in a way that defied all logic. 

Questions were asked from the outset about Russia’s failure to initiate the necessary Blitzkrieg /Shock and Awe strategy. But answers to that question were only treated with any validity if they could be shoe-horned into the, by now, established narrative. The absence of a Russian blitzkrieg was because of a failure of Russian military machinery or a failure to establish supply lines. 

How such failures could be consistent with the fact that the Russian troops were on Ukraine’s borders for months presumably in preparation for an invasion and yet failed to put in place reliable machinery and adequate lines of supply was never explained or indeed never asked by our journalists and media.

Similar questions were raised by the failure of Russia to engage anything like its full airpower in this “invasion”. But again the answers could only be ones that could be shoe-horned into the existing narrative. It was because of the efficiency of the mobile anti-aircraft systems that NATO had supplied Ukraine before the invasion. How such mobile anti-aircraft systems had the range to reach and shoot down Russian aircraft which had the capacity of hitting a “beyond the horizon” target was never explained. While such anti-aircraft systems can be effective in curtailing enemy air activity in certain scenarios they are not capable of seriously diminishing the air strategy of a determined first rate military power with all the capacity and technology available to the Russian Air Force. 

Then, after taking weeks to move its columns of tanks to the outskirts of Kiev, the Russians stopped without mounting any serious assault on the city – something that would be required if the objective was to occupy and annex the country – the only explanation that was deemed acceptable was again the shoe-horn one. It was because of a failure of Russian generalship, a failure of Russian troop morale, and of course the heroic efforts of the Ukrainian army. 

These are all explanations that might explain the frustration of a full-blown effort by an enemy to take Kiev. They are all explanations that would be valid if there was evidence that such was the Russian objective. But as it happens there is no such evidence. We were never provided with any estimate of the numbers of troops that Russia had “thrown at” Kiev it its effort to take the city. We knew that tanks were in the outskirts but these tanks quickly assumed the strategy associated with a static “digging in” ( it was admitted that they fanned out in the surrounding woodland) rather than adopting formations that would indicate providing cover for a troop assault. And where was all the necessary artillery and air support? By everyone’s admission relatively few shells have “rained down” on Kiev. 

The truth is that there was never anything like the number of Russian troops outside Kiev that would be necessary to take the city for the simple reason that it had never been a Russian objective to do so. And the taking of Kiev had never been an objective because the occupation and annexation of Ukraine has never been the objective of the limited Russian incursion. 

That the evidence points to this fact and that the behaviour of Russian forces since they crossed the border in February is consistent with that fact has not stopped the unquestioning media from adding an undeserved credence to the ongoing U.S./NATO narrative that looks flimsier by the day. 

***

The photo above shows the military situation as of 25 March 2022.

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