Post a Comment Print Share on Facebook

War in Ukraine: What the US Secret Service Knew Before the Russian Invasion

In October 2021, at the end of a crisis meeting bringing together in the Oval Office of the White House the chiefs of staff, the directors of national intelligence, a few ministers and the President of the United States, the only information that Washington did not know was the exact date of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

- 25 reads.

War in Ukraine: What the US Secret Service Knew Before the Russian Invasion

In October 2021, at the end of a crisis meeting bringing together in the Oval Office of the White House the chiefs of staff, the directors of national intelligence, a few ministers and the President of the United States, the only information that Washington did not know was the exact date of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. At least that's what a long investigation by the Washington Post, published on Tuesday August 16, confirms, which recounts in detail the months of diplomatic and military tensions that preceded the war in Ukraine: the information available to American intelligence, the strategy used to inform Ukraine without provoking Russia or even the reaction of European powers, all subjects are discussed, thanks to the testimonies of several dozen senior American, Ukrainian and European officials.

Espionage is a delicate art, the difficulty of which seems to lie particularly in the fact of not drawing definitive conclusions from the evidence that we have taken so much trouble to collect. When the American security services presented the President, on this October day, with the photographs taken by the satellites and the testimonies of reliable sources, General Mark Milley did not hesitate to proclaim in conclusion: "We believe that Vladimir Putin plans to carry out a major strategic attack on Ukraine from multiple directions simultaneously." And if the result will prove him right, it is advisable not to fall into an anachronism, regretting that this early observation did not serve to prevent the war. At least it will have served to better prepare it. Apart from Putin's unpredictability, likely to render all knowledge obsolete, the United States therefore seem, at the end of 2021, capable of grasping the situation quite clearly: the Russian attack would take place in winter, in order to that the tanks can easily move on the roads. Russian troops would invade northern Ukraine to seize kyiv within days and then depose President Volodymyr Zelensky to appoint a puppet government. From the east, forces would cross the country to the Dnieper, as Crimean soldiers would take control of the southeast. All that would then remain of the Ukrainian state was a small piece relegated to the very West, like a last strip of land between the West and the Russian world.

These facts exposed, it is worth trying to get into Vladimir Putin's head. A delicate task entrusted to the director of the CIA, William Joseph Burns, who was ambassador to Moscow between 2005 and 2008. He "knows" Putin well enough for his analysis to count. He recalls their discussions, says he is "obsessed with Ukraine", which the publication, three months earlier, of an essay by the Russian president on "The historical unity between Russians and Ukrainians", tends to confirm. Sent to Russia, Burns had the opportunity to speak by telephone with Putin. On his return, he confides that his "concern has increased", having found the master of the Kremlin more vehement and more determined than in the past. The threat is serious, it is time to inform the main interested party: Ukraine.

At COP26, held in Glasgow in early November, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken sits next to Volodymyr Zelensky. The latter listens to what is entrusted to him, but the information delivered remains speculative. Not only because Washington refuses to reveal precise elements, because they are classified, but also because Ukraine is used to Russian pretenses. If Washington does not communicate clearly, it is because it does not have great confidence in Zelensky, a former comic actor without political experience who appears very weak in the face of the Russian bear that is Putin. Also, he fears that crucial information will fall into the hands of the Russians - moles raging within the Ukrainian secret services - raising fears that Moscow will use any document recovered to justify an intervention of "self-defense" in Ukraine.

The United States must also keep its NATO partners, and mainly the French, German and British governments, informed of the information collected. It was done at the end of October, during the G20 summit in Rome. Joe Biden reports on the situation to his allies but, according to testimonies collected by the Washington Post, comes up against widespread skepticism. London except. Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Sholz have in mind the false American declarations on Iraq and, much more recently, on "the resilience" which the Afghan government had to face in the face of pressure from the Taliban. These errors of apprehension are in everyone's memory and, according to certain experts, American intelligence no longer constitutes, in the world of secrecy, a very reliable source. Only Great Britain and the Baltic States align themselves with the American analysis, Paris and Berlin estimating that Russia could, at most, “bite a piece of the Ukrainian apple”.

It should not be believed that Ukraine is naive about the situation, it only considers it in an offbeat way, which a great Western power struggles to understand. While Blinken and his colleagues keep telling Zelensky that his country is in danger, he replies that this information is not of much use to him as long as substantial aid is not sent to him. “Are you going to send me planes? No,” he replies to Blinken after yet another alert. In December 2021, the United States still releases an envelope of 200 million dollars of weapons from their stocks. Zelensky thanks, but he refuses to inform his population about the growing probability of an invasion, which Washington nevertheless demands. In fact, he fears that panic will grip the country and that the already fragile economy will collapse completely, making any future resistance to Russia impossible. Questioned by the Washington Post, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmytro Kuleba, believes that his country would never have resisted as it does if the alert of a massive attack had been given too early. Not causing chaos before it happens, so that people would rather fight than flee, turned out to be a wise plan.

One last time, last January, Anthony Blinken tried to sound out Russian thinking, taking aside the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergei Lavrov, who did not answer any of the Secretary of State's worried questions. While continuing to play the diplomatic vein to the end, the United States is preparing for more. They increase their military presence in Europe from 74,000 to 100,000 men and inform the Russians that any invasion of Ukraine will cause "a severe reaction". Nevertheless, from the start, the Biden administration made it clear to kyiv that NATO would never intervene on Ukrainian soil, unless a member country of the organization was struck. Zelensky understands, half-heartedly, that the United States will try to maintain a possible conflict inside Ukraine. From there will surely be born its future strategy, consisting in saying and repeating that Russia is not attacking only Ukraine, but indeed the whole of Europe.

Avatar
Your Name
Post a Comment
Characters Left:
Your comment has been forwarded to the administrator for approval.×
Warning! Will constitute a criminal offense, illegal, threatening, offensive, insulting and swearing, derogatory, defamatory, vulgar, pornographic, indecent, personality rights, damaging or similar nature in the nature of all kinds of financial content, legal, criminal and administrative responsibility for the content of the sender member / members are belong.