Invasion may be several weeks away, the Guardian reports; Germany sends 5,000 helmets; deterrence must succeed; time to take matter to U.N. Security Council

Time out for reflection

Lessons from history: On the “point of no return” in preparations for war, citing the commencement of World War I in August 1914, and the unpredictable courses and consequences of war, see,

Guillermo Altares, “Conflicto de Ucrania y Rusia: cómo empiezan las guerras; La historia demuestra que a lo largo de los siglos se han manejado todo tipo de pretextos para desatar conflictos y que sus consecuencias son imposibles de controlar y de imaginar, ” El País, el 26 de enero 2022 (22:09 EST).

Latest dispatches

Russia continues fast mobilization. The Guardian reports invasion may be several weeks away, with a focused thrust in the South instead of an all-out invasion.


1) “Russland setzt laut Geheimdiensten Aufmarsch in hohem Tempo fort; Westliche Geheimdienste gehen davon aus, dass sich mittlerweile 112.000 bis 120.000 russische Soldaten an der Grenze zur Ukraine befinden. Alle Zeichen deuteten darauf hin, dass der Aufmarsch weitergehe, hieß es. Das US-Außenministerium mutmaßt, dass Moskau bald angreifen könnte.” Die Welt, den 27. Januar 2022 (02:47 Uhr CET);

2) Luke Harding (in Kyiv) and Dan Sabbagh, “Focused Russian attack on Ukraine seen as more likely than full-scale invasion; Officials and experts say several elements missing for full-scale invasion despite recent troop movements,” The Guardian, January 26, 2022 (13.06 GMT).

Germany takes decisive action to deter Putin, sends Ukraine 5,000 helmets


1) Daniel Boffey (in Brussels) and Philip Oltermann (in Berlin, “Germany’s offer to Ukraine of 5,000 helmets is ‘joke’, says Vitali Klitschko: Kyiv mayor ‘left speechless’ as Berlin faces pressure from other EU members to back military training mission,” The Guardian, January 26, 2022 (18.23 GMT);

2) “Ukraine nennt deutsche Schutzhelm-Lieferung ‘reine Symbolgeste’,” Die Welt, den 26. Januar 2022.

“Verteidigungsministerin Christine Lambrecht hatte zuvor angekündigt, dass Deutschland der Ukraine 5000 militärische Schutzhelme liefern wird. Dies sei ein „ganz deutliches Signal: Wir stehen an Eurer Seite“, sagte die SPD-Politikerin nach einer Sitzung des Verteidigungsausschusses in Berlin.”

SPD Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said the delivery was “a very clear signal: We stand by your side.”

This German aid is reminiscent of the non-lethal aid Barack Obama sent Ukraine in 2014:

In 2014, Adam Entous and Julian E. Barnes published a penetrating account of the extent to which top U.S. civilian and military leaders were in the grip of President Obama’s pacifism and approach of appeasement.


Adam Entous and Julian E. Barnes, “U.S. Tries to Help Ukraine, Reassure Allies Without Riling Russia; Obama Administration, NATO Face Quandary as They Plan Response to Moscow’s Annexation of Crimea, April 12, 2014.

Entous and Barnes offer a few illustrative examples:

“(1) Seeking to demonstrate strong American support for Ukraine, U.S. military planners considered using Air Force planes to ferry food rations to outnumbered and underequipped Ukrainian troops facing superior Russian forces across the border.

“Pentagon leaders settled instead for a less-conspicuous operation: They sent the promised meals-ready-to-eat, or MREs, in commercial trucks from storehouses in Germany.

“(2) “Ukrainian forces got the MREs late last month, about two weeks after requesting aid. The White House says it is still reviewing other items on Kiev’s wish-list, including medical kits, uniforms, boots and military socks.

‘You want to calibrate your chest-thumps,” a senior military official said of the step-by-step American response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military moves. “He does something else in Ukraine, we release the socks.'”

One has to wonder what universe the Germans are living in with their non-lethal aid of 5,000 helmets. The world of Obama’s socks? We all saw how that worked out, with Russia invading the Eastern Ukraine in August, 2014.

General Overview


Sylvie Kauffmann, “Américains et Européens ont compris qu’au-delà du sort de l’Ukraine, eux aussi sont attaqués; Après un flottement, les pays occidentaux ont pris conscience de l’impératif d’unité face à une Russie qui menace désormais tout l’équilibre européen, analyse Sylvie Kauffmann, éditorialiste au « Monde,” Le Monde, le 26 janvier 2022 (02h58, mis à jour à 08h19).

The biggest questions are whether Germany is going to close ranks by declaring now it will block authorization of the Nordstream II pipeline if Putin invades Ukraine, and whether Germany and other countries will commit now to expelling Russia from the SWIFT international payments system if Russia intervenes in Ukraine.

Anything short of current commitments, made public, any agreements to merely consider or talk about these measures, will not deter Putin from invading Ukraine.

Deterrence must succeed. It is time to take Putin’s threatened invasion to the U.N. Security Council and the General Assembly.

In the battle for freedom against tyranny, in the war between advocates of upholding the U.N. Charter and international law, on the one hand, and the advocates of “might makes right”, on the other, a “good try” in seeking to deter Russia is not good enough.

Putin and Russia must be successfully deterred from military intervention in Ukraine.

It is time to go to the U.N. Security Council and to lay out the legal case against Putin for all the countries in the world to see, and to force them to take a position by voting in the Security Council and the General Assembly.

The Trenchant Observer