Barnes on Russia’s plans

The London Review of Books’ Hugh Barnes is posting some interesting observations from Donetsk.

Among other things, Barnes writes:

“Most informed sources in Ukraine and Russia believe that the annexation of Crimea was planned and carried out by the siloviki (former KGB and security service officials close to Putin), and not by the foreign policy elite (including the foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, and defence minister, Sergei Shoigu), whose influence has been waning since Putin veered to the right in the wake of the 2011-12 anti-government protests. [. . .]

“The siloviki reckon that playing on the threat of an invasion that’s not going to happen will do more to destabilise Ukraine than ordering jittery Russian soldiers to point guns at their Slav brothers – which could backfire anyway. (All the same, Russia might intervene militarily in response to aggression from the government in Kiev, which makes the reports of shootings in eastern Ukraine especially worrying.)”

Read the full article here. It’s gossipy, but high-level gossip.

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