Recently we’ve seen a few comments on our social media accounts saying SOFREP got it totally wrong claiming that no invasion of Ukraine would occur. I won’t embarrass them by naming them in public but the old saying that, “People hear what they want to hear” seems to apply to the way people read things as well.
SOFREP never said that an invasion of Ukraine, could not or would not ever occur. On January 26th, after months of the administration claiming that an invasion of Ukraine was “Imminent” which means “at any moment”, we published a story under this headline,
To be “Skeptical” of something happening does not rule out any possibility of it ever happening, it means you have not seen enough evidence to be convinced that something will happen in the next moment or hour as the word “Imminent” implies it will.
In that article, we laid out our reasoning as to why we did not think Russia would imminently invade Ukraine on January 26th writing,
“We have doubts that Russia will invade Ukraine in the next week or month for reasons related to sound military doctrine as well, and we continue to have them until at least Spring and larger troop deployments. It is winter in Ukraine, a very harsh one, which favors the defender very much. Putin would have frost bite casualties equal to or greater than his combat casualties, foilage gone from trees means an adversary can be seen from much greater distances. as well. Tanks and trucks leave the main roads at the peril of snow filled ditches and gullies that can immobilize them. The forces amassed on the border thus far are not sufficient to invade and hold a country about the size of Texas. At best, about 20% of the troops on that border would do the actual fighting on the ground, the rest are rear echelon units of support, supply and logistics. Troop strength above 300,000 in warmer spring or summer weather would be more concerning.”
We also noted the lack of what we thought would be an appropriate response to such an imminent invasion by the seeming lack of action by NATO to move troops, guns, and planes to defend NATO countries like Hungary, Poland, and Romania, and the token offerings in arms offered by the Biden administration to Ukraine, a country facing a crushing invasion at any moment. This was also when Russian troop strength on the border was believed to be just 100,000-130,000 troops. We also pointed out that Ukrainian President Zelensky was also saying an invasion was not imminent and it could be presumed at the time that he was looking at the same U.S. intelligence the Biden administration was looking at. It was not long after this article was published that the administration began to temper its claims of an imminent invasion and began calling it “highly likely” which we took no issue with at all. Our article was written when virtually the entire body of the mainstream press was also saying(for the previous three months) that an invasion of Ukraine was “imminent” repeating the line used by the administration. Here at SOFREP, we insist on doing our own thinking and we don’t travel with the Legacy Media herd on stories that seem narrative-driven. We hope you like that about us.
Nearly a month later on February 24th, which falls well outside any reasoning definition of “imminent”, the Russians decided to invade, and every reason we gave regarding the absence of sound military doctrine that caused our skepticism nearly a month earlier showed its effect on its execution. The Russians went in unfavorable weather and were stuck using the roads, they did not have enough troops and they are having enormous logistics problems that have slowed their advance to a crawl if not a full stall.
Were we wrong to say the invasion was not coming in the next couple of days back in January? Because it certainly didn’t.
Were we wrong when we said Russia did not have sufficient forces to invade? Because events of the last three weeks have proved they obviously don’t.
We certainly weren’t as wrong as the writers at Foreign Policy were when they published this, on January 21st.
The writers of the piece above both work for the Rand Corporation, which is a pretty serious-minded bunch of people. Governments, businesses, and universities pay big bucks to read their opinions on things. This is in contrast to the small bucks you pay to read what we think here at SOFREP. I mention this only because back on December 7th, 2021 we took almost the exact opposite position expressed by the guys at Rand Corp. when we published this
“Russia Fears US Weapons In Ukraine, Not Sanctions”
In that piece, we said that the U.S. should provide anti-tank missiles, anti-missile systems, Abrams tanks, sea mines, counter-battery radar systems and admit them into NATO. At the heart of our argument was this,
“If the Biden administration wanted to send a clear, unmistakable message to Putin(and by extension Ukraine as well) it would arm Ukraine to defend itself as described above while welcoming it into NATO and its umbrella of mutual protection and security. Threatening economic sanctions will not impress Russia if it calculates that it gets a greater strategic benefit from annexing Ukraine and its population wholesale. Ukraine has a $155 Billion dollar economy which is five times the size of the value of the total trade between the U.S. and Russia last year. A couple of billion dollars in U.S. sanctions compared to Russia absorbing Ukraine’s $155 Billion to its own economy is not going to deter Putin in the least. The simple math entices Putin to make a grab for Ukraine while the U.S. is led by a seemingly rudderless administration that is tanking in the polls.”
Looking back now, would anyone say that Putin was deterred from invading Ukraine with threatened sanctions? Those sanctions didn’t stop or slow the advance of the Russian army into Ukraine, but American weapons like Javelin missiles and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles certainly have. Ukraine says they are on the offensive now to take back territory lost to Russia with weapons being supplied to Ukraine by the U.S. and NATO.
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