‘A big split!’ Vladimir Putin’s hidden Ukraine strategy to drive apart US and EU revealed

Russia: Putin's hidden strategy to drive apart US and UK

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Vladimir Putin would be able to play Washington against America’s European allies on the issue of Ukraine by deploying Russian forces inside the Kremlin aligned enclaves of Luhansk and Donetsk, according to foreign affairs analyst Clint Ehrlich. He argued that a full-scale invasion by Russia on the other hand would work to push the European Union and US closer together. 

Mr Ehrlich told Express.co.uk: “I think that the size of the split between the US and the EU over the situation in Ukraine will depend really on the intensity of what Russia does with anything.

“And so, if Russia, for example, recognises the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics and then deploys forces inside that territory that would on paper be an invasion of Ukraine because the border international that’s recognised of Ukraine would be crossed, but if we wouldn’t be Russian troops immediately engaged in an open combat.

“So I think that there you might see a big split where the United States wanted to respond forcefully, certainly to have punitive financial measures against Russia, and where Europe might be less likely to go along with that.

“If the Russians were to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and we saw combat in Europe have a similar character to what we saw in World War Two, or in the war in Yugoslavia, I think it would be very hard for Europe to say that sanctions were not appropriate. “

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He added: “If anything, I think that the Europe and United States could sort of be pushed to being on the same page and working more closely as allies in the threat of what would look like a very real threat from Russia, and I mean, it would be a materialised threat.” 

It comes as Washington said Russian troops massed near Ukraine’s border were moving forward and “poised to strike”.

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Saturday that Russian forces were beginning to “uncoil and move closer” to the border with its former Soviet neighbour.

Mr Austin told a news conference in Lithuania:”We hope he (Putin) steps back from the brink of conflict,” saying an invasion of Ukraine was not inevitable.  

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Russia ordered the military build-up while demanding NATO prevent Ukraine ever joining the alliance but says Western predictions it is planning to invade Ukraine are wrong and dangerous.

Moscow says it is now pulling troops back, however, Washington and allies say the military build-up is mounting.

Kremlin-backed separatist leaders in eastern Ukraine have declared a full military mobilisation after ordering women and children to evacuate to Russia, citing the threat of an imminent attack by Ukrainian forces.

Kyiv denied the accusation. It and Western leaders say the mobilisation, evacuation and increased shelling across the ceasefire line this week are part of a Russian plan to create a pretext for an invasion of Ukraine.

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US President Joe Biden has said that Washington has reason to believe Russian forces “intend to attack” Ukraine in the coming days, including targeting the capital Kyiv – a city with a population of 2.8 million people.

Mr Biden told a White House press briefing he is “convinced” Mr Putin has “made the decision” to move his military across the border, having spent weeks saying he thought the Russian leader was undecided.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also warned an invasion of Ukraine appears to be “in motion.”

Speaking from Munich on Saturday, Mr Johnson said: “I think certainly things are in motion, but the question is whether it can all be pulled back, and whether the president of Russia is still able to call this operation off.”

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