Ukraine: preventing war with warnings?

The US and Ukraine reportedly believe a Russian invasion of Ukraine is imminent. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video: "We are told that February 16 will be the day of the attack." The US has moved its embassy from Kyiv to Lviv as a precaution. Commentators discuss how much of this talk of an invasion is strategy and how effective it can be.

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Die Presse (AT) /

A successful information offensive

Unlike before the annexation of Crimea, the Americans are keeping the public informed in detail, notes Die Presse:

“The Biden administration has learned from Barack Obama's mistakes and is countering Russia's enormous threat with massive counter-pressure. This is clearly the only way to impress Putin. ... The US already sounded the alarm about the military encirclement of Ukraine months ago using satellite images, then reacted by publishing reports about covert Russian operations in Donbass and the production of 'fake videos' - that were intended to provoke a war. Intercepted communications between Russian military officials about alleged attack routes have now fully exposed the Russian warlords.”

La Stampa (IT) /

Biden the strategist

The US's diplomatic efforts are on the right track, La Stampa is convinced:

“If the breach in Putin's Nyet opens a little further, President Joe Biden will be able to tout his strategy as a success. ... A combination of dialogue with the 'enemy' and constant readiness for muscular deterrence in the form of sanctions, intelligence revelations and troop deployments. Biden has taken it step by step, rallied the European allies, resumed the special dialogue with London, strengthened Nato, given it a mission with defined and traditional contours, and even secured the support of notable Republican figures, which is no mean feat.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Transparency aiding Putin's power games

The US's information strategy has its disadvantages, De Volkskrant comments:

“The strategy of making public as much information as possible about the Russian troop build-up and sinister plans relies in an old-school manner on winning public trust. But it is precisely this valuable asset that is fast disappearing from Western societies. ... The increasingly urgent American warnings about an imminent war are creating panic, the airspace has been closed off, tourists are leaving the country and its markets and economy are failing. Everything President Putin could have aimed for in Ukraine - destabilisation and the undermining of authority - is happening without a single shot being fired.” (ES) /

Time works in the Kremlin's favour

The US can't keep relying on the alarm effect forever, says

“For weeks or months, the Biden administration has been issuing warnings that Russia is on the verge of attacking Ukraine. ... What is real and what is just a ruse? This is an almost unprecedented attempt to deter the enemy and avoid a surprise effect. ... It is an attempt to force Putin to rein in his belligerent intentions. ... Putin is setting the schedule. The US is mostly, but not exclusively, controlling the propaganda. The longer the crisis lasts, the less effective the alarms will be. ... We'll see whether this fight ends in a new pan-European agreement or in disaster.”

Diário de Notícias (PT) /

Old reflexes revived

The US is stuck in Cold War patterns, Diário de Notícias says:

“It has revived the old 'red phone'. It conveys the impression that there are still two big blocs, the same ones that existed in Cold War times. Speaking with a firm voice and from a safe distance, the Americans behave with the authority of he who has the military and economic power to stand up to the eternal rival from Eastern Europe. The US has become active on a global level and has held diplomatic meetings with all its allies. With only one objective: to exert its influence to secure support for 'everything that comes our way'.”