This was written on 21 February, 3 days before the invasion. By Michael Snyder

This is not a game.  As this crisis has been unfolding in Ukraine, I have been seeing people all over the Internet cheer for either side like they would cheer for their favorite football teams.  But these people don’t understand what is at stake.  If World War III erupts in Ukraine, it will very likely lead to nuclear war between the United States and Russia down the road.  So we should all be deeply grieved over what is happening, because we are getting really close to a point of no return.

One of the good things about the Trump years was that President Trump was not interested in messing with Russia.  So the status quo in Ukraine was respected by both sides for four years, and there was relative peace in the region.

But then Joe Biden took power, and he has surrounded himself with an all-star team of warmongers.  National security adviser Jake Sullivan, Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff General Mark Milley, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken are all card-carrying members of the War Party, and they don’t seem interested in finding a way to have peace with Russia at all.

After having his security concerns mocked and laughed at for the past year, Vladimir Putin finally admitted that negotiations are at “a dead end” on Monday.  It would have been so easy to negotiate a peaceful solution with the Russians that would have kept Russia out of Ukraine, but that isn’t what the War Party wanted.

Now Putin has run out of patience, and on Monday he greatly escalated the crisis by formally recognizing the independence of Donetsk and Luhansk and by announcing that he would be sending troops into the two separatist republics…

Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine as independent on Monday and ordered the Russian army to launch what Moscow called a peacekeeping operation in the area, upping the ante in a crisis the West fears could unleash a major war. Putin told Russia’s defense ministry to deploy troops into the two breakaway regions to “keep the peace” in a decree issued shortly after he announced recognition for Russia-backed separatists there, drawing US and European vows of new sanctions.

According to one Russian official, there were “almost 60K Ukrainian military personnel concentrated near the borders of the Republics of Lugansk & Donetsk”, and I think that Putin decided that the only way to keep Ukraine from overrunning the two republics was to move his own forces in first.

Hopefully that actually works.

Hopefully the Russians will stay in Donetsk and Luhansk, and hopefully the Ukrainians will stay on their side.

If that is the end result, there may still be hope of defusing the situation.

But I wouldn’t count on it.

Putin sounds like a man that is convinced that war is coming.  The following comes from a very rough translation of his speech on Monday…

“from those who took power in Kiev we demand to stop any and all military actions against Donbass. otherwise, the consequences will be on Ukraine. I count on the support of all patriotic forces in Russia.”

Russia (spelling it out in plain English) has essentially issued an ultimatum to Ukraine.

Ukrainian servicemen of the Donbass volunteer battalion take part in clean-up operations in a village in the Lysychansk district of the Lugansk region, controlled by pro-Russian separatists on January 28, 2015. Ukraine’s president appealed to Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Washington threatened tougher measures should Moscow fail to rein in separatist fighters mounting a new offensive in the east of the ex-Soviet republic.

If Ukraine invades Donetsk and Luhansk, the Russians will invade Ukraine.

Of course some western media sources are actually using the term “invasion” to describe Russian troop movements into the separatist republics.

If you have bought into that propaganda, let me ask you a question.  Do the people in this video look like they have just been “invaded”?…

This would be a good opportunity for both sides to take a deep breath and start backing down.

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