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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Don’t believe propaganda: Russia is waging a full-scale war against Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitriy Peskov categorically denied reports Wednesday that Putin was mobilizing the entire Russian nation for to move to a full-scale war on Ukraine on May 9th, the 77th anniversary of Russia’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

But as usual, Putin’s chief propagandist is seeking to deceive everyone about what the Kremlin is up to, so that its enemies do not preempt its plans. Because Russia is already mobilized for full-scale war. 


Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the Security Council via a video conference at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on April 29.

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the Security Council via a video conference at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on April 29.
(Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Caught in a check-mate, by Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy, whose forces have displayed unprecedented resistance against a much more powerful adversary, Putin is desperate to turn around battlefield dynamics. The Russian strongman has realized that he is up against a much more formidable opponent than he anticipated, as Washington provides to Kyiv formidable defensive weapons, superior training, and real-time targeting intelligence, which has helped Ukrainians kill a dozen of Russian generals. 

As we all wade further in this, President Biden must understand that Vladimir Putin has switched to a “total war, against the West,” phase and that mentality is fraught with potentially catastrophic consequences.

Strategic deception is a classic Russian statecraft tactic, which Putin practices routinely against US leaders. The target of the KGB operative’s most recent ruse was President Joe Biden, whom Putin tricked into believing that Russia wasn’t going to invade Ukraine. Putin gradually assembled 190,000 troops, which almost encircled Ukraine, while Moscow “diplomats” were “negotiating” with Washington’s gullible amateurs over so-called “security guarantees.”

Zelenskyy: 'Declaration of war doesn't change anything' in response to Russian offenses Video

A committed realpolitiker and student of history, Putin, who rules a country that has been at war for two thirds of its existence, decided a decade ago that preparing for war was a prudent step. Believing that America and Russia are on a geopolitical collision course, given that both are vying for influence over post-Soviet states like Ukraine, Putin in his mind, turned the famous phrase by Carl von Clausewitz on its head, deciding that that politics is but a continuation of war, instead of the reverse.

Putin in fact initiated the process of moving Russia in the direction of a wartime footing as early as 2013, hatching a plan to take over Ukraine’s Crimea, which he did in March 2014. For him, Ukraine is a red line, a buffer with the West needed to keep NATO from encroaching. Memories of the German invasion in World War II are always at the forefront of the Russian mind.

In spring 2014, Putin’s “new mobilization plan of the state economy” went into effect, directing the “defense industry, including approximately 800 companies, to gear up for a sudden increase in capacity, instead of conserving its capacity.” This was probably the result of Putin declaring a so called “special period,” a legal regime that enables the Russian government to take emergency measures aimed at the intensive preparation of the country, the armed forces, and the state security forces for war. Realizing that economic sanctions were Washington’s key instrument of war, Putin began sanction-proofing Russia’s economy by de-dollarizing Russia’s sovereign wealth fund in favor or the Chinese Yuan, the Euro, and gold. Putin also directed the implementation of an import substitution program to reduce Russia’s reliance on foreign products. This is why, at least in part, Western sanctions, as draconian as they have been, have not changed Putin’s calculus on waging war on Ukraine.

When Russian missiles strike Kyiv Video

Moving Russia to a wartime footing entails a state-wide coordination effort across the military, economy, state administration, and, indeed, across the entire Russian society, to ensure the country’s readiness for war. The Russian General Staff, in addition to its annual strategic-level military exercises, introduced frequent so-called “snap” exercises to test the combat readiness of the Russian Armed Forces. In the run-up to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24th, Russia conducted a joint nuclear drill with Belarus, which subsequently changed its constitution to accommodate the hosting of Russian nuclear forces on its territory. This move is designed to give Putin an option of launching a nuclear strike from Belarus on Ukraine. 

Belarus recently announced snap military drills, which is probably a cover (‘maskirovka’) for Moscow’s next move. Russia and Belarus are already part of The Union and have a joint military doctrine, which gives Putin freedom of action to use Belarus as a launchpad for the Russian armed forces’ offensive against Ukraine.In December 2014, Putin established the National Center for State Defense, a wartime structure similar to Stavka VGK, the Soviet command and control center from which Joseph Stalin, another ruthless dictator, commanded the armed forces of the USSR during World War II. Putin’s Stavka coordinates the activities across all Russian armed forces and operates a 24/7 watch center, which now monitors the security environment for any intelligence indicators of the US and NATO intervention in the conflict on behalf of Ukraine.

Russian attacks knock out power in parts of Lviv Video

During the “special period,” Putin can dictate whatever emergency measures he believes are necessary to prepare Russia and its citizens for war. On February 27th, three days after the invasion, Putin placed Russia’s nuclear forces on a “special” heightened “combat readiness regime,” which remains in effect today.


As Washington “experts” are struggling to predict Putin’s next move, the Kremlin’s number one propagandist, Peskov is the last person that the Biden administration should be taking seriously. Putin thinks he has nowhere to go but to escalate. This is exactly why he has trained his forces in “limited nuclear warfare doctrine” and rehearsed himself pressing “the button.” Unlike Biden who has a habit of announcing to his opponents what America will or will not do, Putin keeps his plans close to his vest.


May 9th is approaching fast, adding pressure on Putin to claim a victory in a conflict in which Russian armed forces have become a laughingstock in Western national security circles for their tactical ineptness. The Russian strongman is well on his way to popping a tactical nuke on Ukraine or to going for an electro-magnetic pulse strike, which would knock out all communications around Kyiv. Because make no mistake, this is a full-scale war against Russia that Zelenskyy, and increasingly, the United States, is fighting.


Rebekah Koffler is the president of Doctrine & Strategy Consulting, a former DIA intelligence officer, and the author of  “Putin’s Playbook: Russia’s Secret Plan to Defeat America.” She also wrote the foreword for “Zelensky: The Unlikely Ukrainian Hero.

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