One again, the geniuses at POLITICO need serious remediation in geography. A little help in selecting security companies the magazine should trust would go a long way toward credibility too. Somebody please tell Axel Springer SE, the new owners, that locating stuff is important? Oh, and clue CNN as well.
According to the latest Russophobia scare story by the international policy news outlet, Vladimir Putin’s armored legions are poised on the Ukraine border. The authors Betsy Woodruff Swan and Paul Mcleary published satellite images sent by Maxar Technologies (Yes, them again) purportedly showing the invasion forces.
Yelnya, Russia, which is across the border from Belarus, is some 250 kilometers from the closest point of Ukraine. But, according to the POLITICO risk assessment duo, Russian tank forces stationed near Bryansk and Kursk are the real danger for the unwitting NATO defenders.
Using the same technology, I managed to locate a massive US Army buildup only 8 miles from the Mexico border. Compared to the temporary swelling of a Russian base in preparation for military maneuvers (which is what was going on), Fort Bliss in El Paso, TX is an invasion city parked a few minutes from Juarez. Zoom in using Maxar Technologies’ satellites and see a proper invading horde complete with Raytheon headquarters, armor, airfields, missile test facilities, Patriot missiles, drone airfields, training schools, and 1.12 million acres of proving grounds and no-fly zone restricted airspace.
Sorry, I love this stuff. Russia being vilified over a drop in the bucket military exercise, by the same people who have invaded most of the known world at one time or another. The 1st Armored Division is parked right across the Rio Grande from Central America and Guatemalans are not screaming “The Americans are coming, the Americans are coming.”
Maxar Technologies is a space technology company headquartered in Westminster, Colorado. The last time I mentioned them was when their cutting edge science managed to spot a decades old, “cleverly hidden Russian super-base” in the Arctic any internet sleuth can find on Google Earth. This only makes sense, since Maxar’s imagery is used in Google Maps. Yikes! Is Google spying?
So, look out Belarus, or, Poland perhaps, if NATO steps one step closer the elite 1st Guards Tank Army may be rolling into town. Then again, based on POLITICO logic, Juarez and Mcleary failed to mention the humongous military base that has been just outside Yelnya for seventy or more years. This is where the Nazis were first repelled from there during Operation Barbarossa, and the Yelnya offensive is associated with the creation of the elite units in the Red Army.
Just remember that in some circles in the EU, Russia is an everlasting existential threat. The POLITICO story quotes Nathalie Loiseau, European Union parliamentarian and head of the security and defense subcommittee, saying:
“You will always have Europeans seeing the Russian threat as a very immediate threat for our continent.”
Always, what a long, long time to wait for final peace between west and east. Funny thing. POLITICO is supposed to be thorough in their analysis, I assume. So, how come there’s no mention that Maxar works with the United States Department of Defense’s National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), as well as our civilian (I think) Google? I mean, what possible conflict of interests could arise where the truth of the Russian Zapad-2021 exercises in this region are concerned? Nowhere in their fearsome story is it mentioned that the 144th Division of the 20th Combined Arms Army (CAA) is headquartered in Velnya. Well, there is the Lopatinsky Garden amusement park in Smolensk.
Anyway, next time maybe POLITICO will research a bit more what Russia and other countries are actually up to, instead of just fear mongering for the sake of the cause. Good info on the troop displacements can be had here. Yes, Netherlands even knows more about Zapad-2021 than Maxar and the Defense Department of the US. Or, at least the Dutch are more willing to share.
Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, he’s an author of the recent bestseller “Putin’s Praetorians” and other books. He writes exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.