It’s never a bad idea to try to figure out what your opponent is thinking. From Joe Lauria at consortiumnews.com:
Russia says it has no intentions of controlling Ukraine and its military operation is only to “demilitarize” and “de-Nazify” Ukraine in an action taken after 30 years of the U.S. pushing Russia too far, writes Joe Lauria.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a TV address Thursday morning that the goal of Russia’s military operation was not to take control of Ukraine, but to “demilitarize” and “de-Nazify” the country. Moments after he spoke, explosions were heard in several Ukrainian cities.
The Russian Defense Ministry said these were “precision” attacks against Ukrainian military installations and that civilians were not being targeted. It said Ukraine’s air force on the ground and its air defenses had been destroyed.
The Ukrainian government, which declared a state of emergency and broke off diplomatic relations with Russia, said an invasion was underway and that Russia had landed forces at the port city of Odessa, on Ukraine’s Black Sea coast, as well as entering from Belarus in the north. It said it had killed 50 Russian troops and shot down six Russian fighter jets, which Russia denied.
Putin said one of the operation’s aims was to arrest certain people in Ukraine, likely the neo-Nazis who burned dozens of unarmed people alive in a building in Odessa in 2014. In his speech Monday, Putin said Moscow knows who they are. Russia said it aims to destroy neo-Nazi brigades, such as Right Sector and the Azov Battalion.
Putin said the aim was not to occupy Ukraine, but he gave no indication when Russia might leave. It could be over quickly if Russia’s objectives are met. But war has its own logic and often lays waste to military plans.