Corporate media somehow missed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s shocking charge, at his press conference Friday:
"We even see attempts at perpetrating terrorist attacks in the Russian Federation, including – I am not sure if this was made public – attempts to carry out terrorist attacks near our nuclear facilities, nuclear power plants in the Russian Federation. I am not even talking about the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant."
Putin was answering what seemed to be a canned question about Russia’s "restraint" amid, what the questioner called increasing "strikes, raids and acts of terror even on Russian territory. We are hearing all the time very aggressive statements that the final goal of Kiev and the West is Russia’s disintegration. Meanwhile, many think that Russia’s response to all of this is very restrained. Why is that?”
Putin addressed the question frontally:
"With regard to our restrained response, I would not say it was restrained … after all, a special military operation is not just another warning, but a military operation. In the course of this, we are seeing attempts to perpetrate terrorist attacks and damage our civilian infrastructure.
"Indeed, we were quite restrained in our response, but that will not last forever. Recently, Russian Armed Forces delivered a couple of sensitive blows in that area [civilian infrastructure]. Let’s call them warning shots. If the situation continues like that, our response will be more impactful. Terrorist attacks are a serious matter. … We see this in the killing of officials in the liberated territories, we even see attempts at perpetrating terrorist attacks in the Russian Federation."
This is the context in which Putin pointedly included (as cited above) "attempts to carry out terrorist attacks near our nuclear facilities, nuclear power plants in the Russian Federation." He added:
"We are monitoring the situation and will do our best to prevent a negative scenario from unfolding. We will respond if they fail to realize that these approaches are unacceptable. They are, in fact, no different than terrorist attacks."
Putin on Western Goals
Responding to the questioner’s allusion to "very aggressive statements that the final goal of Kiev and the West is Russia’s disintegration, Putin added:
"They have always been seeking the dissolution of our country – this is very true. It is unfortunate that at some point they decided to use Ukraine for these purposes. In effect – I am answering your question now … we launched our special military operation to prevent events from taking this turn. This is what some US-led Western countries have always been seeking – to create an anti-Russia enclave and rock the boat, threaten Russia from this direction. In essence, our main goal is to prevent such developments."
Putin has long been saying that, while the US professes to be concerned about Ukraine’s security, it is using the ex-Soviet country as a "tool" in its efforts to contain Russia. Actually, Putin finds himself in some good company with this assertion. Would you believe that company includes a former Director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency?
Following the US orchestrated coup in Kiev in early 2014, the "December 2015 National Security Strategy" (of DIA) said the following:
"The Kremlin is convinced the United States is laying the groundwork for regime change in Russia, a conviction further reinforced by the events in Ukraine. Moscow views the United States as the critical driver behind the crisis in Ukraine and believes that the overthrow of former Ukrainian President Yanukovych is the latest move in a long-established pattern of U.S.-orchestrated regime change efforts." LT Gen Vincent Stewart, Director, DIA
Not Fit to Print?
When the President of Russia claims there are attempts to attack nuclear power facilities in Russia – whether true or false – is that not newsworthy? No, says the NY Times. Its lead front-page story Sunday, written by its first-string team of (WMD in Iraq) David Sanger, Julian Barnes, Eric Schmitt, and Anton Troianovski reports copiously on Putin’s Friday press conference, but chooses to omit his charge regarding terrorist planning to sabotage nuclear power plants in Russia. The article explains how President Joe Biden is trying not to provoke Russia into escalating in Ukraine, despite Zelensky being "flush with success in northeastern Ukraine."
According to these NYT first-string writers on Ukraine, Washington is concerned that Putin might escalate "to compensate for his humiliating retreat … the Russians, for now, are still in disarray."
The coming weeks will show whether crow will be included in the diet of those NYT first-stringers. As for now they are extolling Crow – that is Rep. Jason Crow (D, Colorado), a former Army Ranger who now serves on both the Intelligence and Armed Services Committees.
Crow’s pedigree may be of interest: he is a "Russian specialist" in the manner of former National Intelligence Director James Clapper, who knew the Russians to be "almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique." Crow’s most memorable observation of that kind was: "Vladimir Putin wakes up every morning and goes to bed every night trying to figure out how to destroy American democracy."
So Rep. Crow was the Times’s go-to guy for comment on whether Biden is being too fearful of possible Russian retaliation if the US provides Ukraine with still longer-range missiles. Said Crow:
"Sure … we have to be mindful of that threat. But I don’t think providing ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile Systems with a range of up to 190 miles) is substantively escalatory. We need to provide what Ukraine needs to win."
Moscow: Wider War Rather Than Kiev "Win"
Are Russian TV viewers being readied for wider war? Those watching yesterday’s News of the Week program with host Dmitry Kiselyov saw him offering a show tantamount to war preparation. Kiselyov is the top boss of all Russian state news broadcasting – a Kremlin insider, very close to power.
Kiselyov set out to give Russian viewers a description of what the United States and NATO are now up to, namely a ‘war on Russia.’ Ukraine has pretty much slipped out of the picture.
It is a war led by the United States against Russia which now features daily rocket attacks on more and more border towns on the Russian side, with destruction and death and immense flows of refugees from the Kharkov area into Russia. Kiselyov includes horror stories of Ukrainian retribution being carried out on "collaborationists." These includes teachers in the Kharkov region who were teaching from the Russian state syllabus, who are now liable to execution.
The program reported that 10,000 people have been rounded up, claiming many of them will be slaughtered. The show featured retired US General Ben Hodges, who talks about the coming breakup of Russia, planned "Balkanization" – the US objective – which Russia now needs to plan against. It showed Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warning that if the US gives Ukraine 300-km range missiles, which, for example, can reach the main Russian naval base in Sevastopol, Crimea, if fired from Odessa, then the US becomes a co-belligerent.
The US a "co-belligerent": in other words Russia becomes officially at war with the USA. We seem to be just a step away.
Putin’s Friday news conference was also shown, including Putin’s comments on terrorist attempts to attack nuclear power plants in Russia. One knowledgeable observer, who watches virtually all Putin’s speeches/press conferences, commented that Putin was twitching this way and that, and seemed very nervous.
President Biden and his sophomore advisers may not be smart enough to be equally nervous. And so catastrophe looms.
Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. His 27-year career as a CIA analyst includes serving as Chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and preparer/briefer of the President’s Daily Brief. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).