On Tuesday, North Korea reportedly test-fired two suspected missiles in its fifth round of weapons launches this month. “One official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing department rules, said South Korean and U.S. intelligence officials were analyzing the launches, but didn’tMore
On Tuesday, North Korea reportedly test-fired two suspected missiles in its fifth round of weapons launches this month.
“One official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing department rules, said South Korean and U.S. intelligence officials were analyzing the launches, but didn’t provide further details. Another military official, who requested anonymity over similar reasons, said the tests were conducted from an inland area, but didn’t specify where,” ABC News reported. “North Korea has been increasing its testing activity recently in an apparent effort to pressure the Biden administration over the stalled diplomacy after the pandemic unleashed further shock on an economy broken by crippling U.S.-led sanctions over its nuclear weapons program and decades of mismanagement by its own government.”
Last week, North Korea test-launched two short-range ballistic missiles just days after the country warned it would have a “stronger and certain reaction” to the Biden administration’s first sanctions on North Korea.
However, some experts have warned not to take North Korea’s rhetoric about its weapons tests at face value.
“They are in fact testing weapons according to an existing plan, although the tests are presented as a reaction to events, such as South Korea’s presidential election,” said Lee Ho-ryung, a researcher at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses.
“It usually takes about three years from planning a weapon’s development, to testing it,” Lee added. “So, to calculate back, North Korea has used the time since the breakdown of the 2019 Hanoi summit to develop these weapons.”
Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration is reportedly preparing to send thousand of U.S. troops to Eastern Europe in preparation for a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Biden is weighing the deployment of “several thousand U.S. troops, as well as warships and aircraft, to NATO allies in the Baltics and Eastern Europe, an expansion of American military involvement amid mounting fears of a Russian incursion into Ukraine,” The New York Times reported. “The move would signal a major pivot for the Biden administration, which up until recently was taking a restrained stance on Ukraine, out of fear of provoking Russia into invading.”
Senior military officials reportedly said that between 1,000 to 5,000 troops could be sent to European countries, with a potential tenfold increase if the situation deteriorates.
“After years of tiptoeing around the question of how much military support to provide to Ukraine, for fear of provoking Russia, Biden officials have recently warned that the United States could throw its weight behind a Ukrainian insurgency should [Russian President Vladimir] Putin invade Ukraine,” The New York Times added. “And the deployment of thousands of additional American troops to NATO’s eastern flank, which includes Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Biden administration officials said, is exactly the scenario that Mr. Putin has wanted to avoid, as he has seen the western military alliance creep closer and closer to Russia’s own border.”
According to CNN, the troops would be there primarily for deterrence and would not have any combat roles.
“The goal of sending military reinforcements to Eastern Europe would be to provide deterrence and to reassure allies, and there’s been no suggestion US troops would deploy to Ukraine or take part in any combat roles,” CNN reported. “The US sent two weapons shipments to Ukraine over the past week as part of recently directed security assistance to help bolster Ukraine’s military.”
On Sunday, Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration reportedly said that his government will be unable to evacuate U.S. citizens in Ukraine as the situation continues to become more dangerous as Russia looks to invade the country.
“Given that the President has said military action by Russia could come at any time, the U.S. government will not be in a position to evacuate US citizens.” the State Department said, according to Fox News correspondent Jennifer Griffin. “So US citizens, currently present in Ukraine should plan accordingly.”
“We’ve authorised the departure of some US government employees, but we have ordered the departure of all family members of US government employees at our Embassy in Kiev. The State Department has also elevated our travel advisory for Ukraine to level four,” Griffin added.
From State Dept call: “Given that the President has said military action by Russia could come at any time. The US government will not be in a position to evacuate US citizens. So US citizens, currently present in Ukraine should plan accordingly.” Arrange commercial flights.
— Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) January 24, 2022
Earlier Sunday, Biden’s State Department order the families of U.S. government employees to leave Ukraine immediately as Russia prepares to invade.
“The department told the dependents of staffers at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv that they must leave the country. It also said that non-essential embassy staff could leave Ukraine at government expense,” the Associated Press reported. “State Department officials stressed the Kyiv embassy will remain open and that the announcement does not constitute an evacuation.”
“The security conditions, particularly along Ukraine’s borders, in Russia-occupied Crimea, and in Russia-controlled eastern Ukraine, are unpredictable and can deteriorate with little notice. Demonstrations, which have turned violent at times, regularly occur throughout Ukraine, including in Kyiv,” the State Department said. “Do not travel to Ukraine due to the increased threats of Russian military action and COVID-19. Exercise increased caution in Ukraine due to crime and civil unrest. Some areas have increased risk.”
On Wednesday, Democrat President Joe Biden defended his disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan despite the resulting crisis, saying, “I make no apologies for what I did.”
“There are deep questions among Americans about the competence of government — from the messy rollout of 5G this week to the Afghanistan withdrawal to testing on COVID,” a reporter said. “What have you done to restore Americans’ faith in the competence of government? And are you satisfied by the view of the competence of your government?”
“Look, let’s take Afghanistan, I know you all would like to focus on that, which is legitimate,” Biden said. “We were spending a trillion dollars a week, I mean a billion dollars a week in Afghanistan for 20 years. Raise your hand if you think anyone was going to be able to unify Afghanistan under one single government. It’s been the graveyard of empires for a solid reason. It is not susceptible to unity, number one.”
“So, the question was, do I continue to spend that much money per week in the state of Afghanistan, knowing that the idea that being able to succeed, other than sending more body bags back home, is highly, highly unusual?” he continued. “My dad used to have an expression, he’d say, son, if everything’s equally important to you, nothing’s important to you. There is no way to get out of Afghanistan after 20 years easily. Not possible, no matter when you did it. And I make no apologies for what I did.”
“I have a great concern for the women and men who were blown up on the line at the airport by a terrorist attack against them,” Biden said. “But the military will acknowledge, and I think you will who know a lot about foreign policy, that had we stayed and I had not pulled those troops out, we would be asked to put somewhere between 20,000 and 50,000 more troops back in, because the only reason more Americans weren’t being killed than others, is because the last president signed an agreement to get out by May the first, and so everything was copacetic.”
Biden when asked about his DISASTROUS withdrawal from Afghanistan that lead to the death of 13 American Heroes:
"I make no apologies for what I did." pic.twitter.com/GtEKPJR6o3
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) January 19, 2022
The Biden administration’s handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan caused the State Department’s inspector general to launch a “series of investigations,” according to Politico. As of last month, over one hundred Americans still remained stranded in the terrorist-controlled country, along with tens of thousands of American allies.
The State Department’s investigations into the disaster include a review of the Biden administration’s retaliatory drone strike in response to an ISIS-K terrorist killing 13 U.S. servicemembers in a suicide bombing at Bagram airport in Afghanistan.
The Biden administration’s drone strike targeted a suspected ISIS member. However, according to a report from the New York Times, the suspect was actually “Zemari Ahmadi, a longtime worker for a U.S. aid group.” This resulted in the Biden administration’s attack killing 10 civilians, including 7 children, – and zero terrorists. Further, the Biden administration originally claimed that there were no civilian casualties.
On Friday, the Biden administration revealed it has information indicating that Russia has “prepositioned a group of operatives to conduct a false-flag operation in eastern Ukraine” in order to set the stage for an invasion, according to a new report from CNN.
CNN reported that a U.S. official said the U.S. “has evidence that the operatives are trained in urban warfare and in using explosives to carry out acts of sabotage against Russia’s own proxy forces… The Russian military plans to begin these activities several weeks before a military invasion, which could begin between mid-January and mid-February. We saw this playbook in 2014 with Crimea.”
During a press briefing on Thursday, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan likewise compared the situation to Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014.
“Our intelligence community has developed information, which has now been downgraded, that Russia is laying the groundwork to have the option of fabricating the pretext for an invasion,” Sullivan said. “We saw this playbook in 2014. They are preparing this playbook again and we will have, the administration will have, further details on what we see as this potential laying of the pretext to share with the press over the course of the next 24 hours.”
A reporter asked Sullivan, “Is Russia trying to justify an invasion, if one happens?”
“I’m not going to put myself in the head of the Russians,” Sullivan replied. “As you see from their public comments, they’ve been — they’ve said many different things. Some of them contradictory. They’ve — different speakers over the course of this week have given both hopeful signs and deeply pessimistic signs. You’ll have to ask them where they stand in respect to their positioning. From our perspective, we can just be clear about where we stand. And where we stand is ready to go down a principled path of diplomacy and ready to respond in the face of aggression.”
“Ambassador Michael Carpenter is offering a different assessment. I’m sure you heard him say that, ‘The drumbeat of war is sounding loud, and the rhetoric has gotten rather shrill. So, do you agree with that or disagree?” Another reporter asked.
“Well, the Russians have put tens of thousands of troops in and around Ukraine and occupied territory relative to Ukraine,” Sullivan replied. “So, it is certainly the case that the threat of military invasion is high.”
On Friday, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry said in a statement that “the military units of the aggressor country and its satellites receive orders to prepare for such provocations.”
Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, has denied that Russia was preparing for an invasion of Ukraine.
“So far, all these statements have been unfounded and have not been confirmed by anything,” Peskov claimed.
However, as the CNN report noted, the “US intelligence finding comes after a week’s worth of diplomatic meetings between Russian and Western officials over Russia’s amassing of tens of thousands of troops along Ukraine’s border. But the talks failed to achieve any breakthroughs, as Russia would not commit to de-escalating and American and NATO officials said Moscow’s demands — including that NATO never admit Ukraine into the alliance — were non-starters.”
“A number of Ukraine’s governmental websites were hit by a cyberattack on Friday, a development European officials warned would ratchet up tensions over Ukraine even further,” the report added.