How a Russian Invasion of Eastern Ukraine Might Unfold

Light and fast – no tanks this time…


Judging by reports of Russian troops pouring into the Crimean Peninsula, stories of tense standoffs, sweeping proclamations and alleged deadlines for surrender, the crisis in Crimea is flirting dangerously close to a full scale war. As of Monday evening, there wasn’t a single report of shots fired, but in the history of warfare, past restraint has been a terrible predictor of future action. “War never breaks out wholly unexpectedly, nor can it be spread instantaneously,” famed military theorist Cal von Clausewitz wrote in the early 19th century. “Yet…as soon as preparations for a war begin,” he continued, “the world of reality takes over from the world of abstract thought.”

The reality is grim. It is clear that Russia sees the crisis differently than much of the rest of the world. “The narrative about this in Russia is about protection of the ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking population,”…

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