March 04, 2014

Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili knows a thing or two about Russian invasions...

Daily Beast "...he warns that Ukraine may not be able to stop an all-out war with Russia." by Josh Rogin

'There may be no way to stop Vladimir Putin from starting a hot war with Ukraine, so Ukraine and its Western allies must prepare for the worst and do it quickly, according to former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.

'Saakashvili, who fought the Russian army in 2008 for five days after the Russians invaded, is in Kiev to advise the new Ukrainian government. He says he’s providing counsel on how to hopefully avoid an all-out war with Putin’s army. But Saakashvili is also there to deliver a warning to Kiev: Russia appears to be preparing for armed conflict in Ukraine and the world must be ready for that battle, just in case Putin can’t be dissuaded from the fight.

'“Right now my advice to the Ukraine government is to maintain maximum restraint, but to prepare for the worst, because I don’t think Vladimir Putin is going to stop where he is. He is not going to stop anywhere until he gets rid of the leadership in Kiev,” Saakashvili said in an interview with The Daily Beast on Monday. “The West should be ready that there might be a war here.”

'There several similarities between Russia’s 2008 invasion of Georgia and its 2012 invasion of Ukraine and one main difference. Russia has yet to cross militarily into greater Ukraine, outside Crimea, and wage a full scale invasion of the country, as it did in Georgia. But Saakashvili said he sees plenty of signs that’s exactly what Putin plans to do next.

'There are multiple Russian intelligence organizations stirring up trouble all over Ukraine’s south and east with a goal of preparing a pretext for a large-scale military intervention, he said. The huge military exercises currently ongoing on the Russian side of the border are of the same scale to those that immediately preceded the Russian invasion of Georgia, he pointed out. Russia is also putting out massive amounts of propaganda to establish a narrative that could support a large scale intervention, again eerily similar to their actions in 2008.

'“Putin certainly has plans for large scale military intervention in the whole of Ukraine,” said Saakashvili. “I think Russia is looking for a hot war.”'

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