A useless but very dangerous challenge game

Vladimir Vladimirovitsj Poetin in 2018

Even though the much-maligned and provocative 45th President of the United States of America may have disappeared from the scene, his comrade Vladimir Putin is still on the throne and no less talkative. Putin still insists on having everything under control, at home and abroad. However, he is annoyed by those who think they can do without Russia. He is therefore all too keen to show off Russia’s strength and splendour. To this end, he is even prepared to regroup his large army and bring it to the borders of those areas where he still rules. Like a little child who wants to bluff with what he has, he is putting on a grand display of power on the borders of Ukraine.

He is only too happy to make it clear to Ukraine that he will not be served by Ukraine joining NATO.

Russische pantservoertuigen op de Krim, het Oekraïense schiereiland dat in 2014 door Rusland werd geannexeerd. Beeld AP

Russian armoured vehicles in Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014. Image AP

For some months now, there has been a frantic attempt to intimidate each other. Even though Moscow claims that it does not want to go to war, America wants to convince the rest of the world that Russia does intend to do so. The President of Ukraine does not like this at all and has repeatedly told America and the West that they should not scaremonger, just as they should not stir up the Russians, which could put the Ukrainians in danger if the matter were to escalate.

Biden in 2021

In recent months, we have seen US President Joe Biden rubbishing the warning of his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, that Western support for Ukraine represents a ‘red line’.

Meanwhile, Biden has been working with his European allies to prevent a Russian attack on Ukraine. Reportedly, a series of initiatives have been prepared (in such case) to make it very, very difficult for Putin to do what people think he is going to do. At first, only many people outside Ukraine thought that Russia was gathering its troops around the Ukrainian borders to invade the country. A few months ago the local population did not think of such a scenario at all, but after America started to interfere more and more, they started to feel more apprehensive. In the last two weeks, they have become less comfortable and the ordinary people have also started to feel willing to volunteer to defend the country if necessary.

After the American newspaper The Washington Post wrote, at the end of last year, that Russia was preparing to invade Ukraine at the beginning of this year with a very large force, these alarm reports quickly multiplied. Several subsequent alarming reports were said to be based on US intelligence documents and conversations with anonymous sources.

Joe Biden, meanwhile, has already had several long talks with Putin, each time warning him that it could be a very bad thing if Russia were to invade Ukraine and face even more sanctions from the West.

New Western sanctions against Russia would be a big mistake and could lead to a rupture in mutual relations, while Russia now desperately needs Western Europe in their financial difficulties and vice versa. In any case, the West is threatening that if Russia wants to invade Ukraine it will come up with tough economic sanctions against Moscow, while Moscow should realise that shutting off the gas tap will hurt Europe less (with only a 4% reduction in gas) than it would do to the Russian community in terms of less currency income.

Russia emphasised that it wants firm security guarantees from the US, and that any US or Western sanctions would cause a complete breakdown in mutual relations. It also wants firm guarantees that the Western military alliance will not be expanded further and certainly not to include countries that border Russia or are linked to Russia in other agreements.

At the beginning of January, Jonathan Holslag, the author of Van muur tot muur: de wereldpolitiek sinds 1989 (From Wall to Wall: World Politics since 1989), wrote in a letter of condemnation that if war really comes, Europe’s armed forces will not be ready to respond.

Since mid-January, newspapers have been trying to scare the population in our regions with the news that the Russians could invade Ukraine at any moment and start a Third World War.
It has to be admitted that despite the efforts to reach a diplomatic solution, the situation in Ukraine remains ‘extremely dangerous’. That a Russian invasion could take place ‘at any moment’, as White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki claimed on 18 January, has still not become reality. We are increasingly getting the impression, however, that a daring poker game is being played in which both Russia and the United States are using all their propaganda resources. The danger lurks that these days another ‘false flag‘ will be put up, as was also done by the Germans to justify their invasion of Poland.

One cannot help feeling that these superpowers are nevertheless willing to find a ‘diplomatic way out’ of the Ukrainian crisis. Diplomacy is still not dead, and in our present world it is the best solution to avoid violence. There have been several talks, both in Geneva and in Brussels, in order to reach a fair agreement.

Both superpowers, meanwhile, continue to accuse each other of spreading ‘disinformation‘. In mid-January, in three rounds of talks with the US and NATO, the Russians demanded, among other things, guarantees that Ukraine would not be joining NATO. These talks yielded nothing concrete, because the Russian proposals are unacceptable to Kyiv and the West. Strangely enough, it was not made sufficiently clear that Ukraine will not be able to join NATO for the time being and probably not in the next few years, simply because one of the conditions for joining NATO requires that the country wishing to join does not itself have disagreements among its citizens over administrative areas in the country. The fact is that Ukraine has three areas in which rebels and pro-Russian soldiers are waging war. These internal conflicts have been going on for eight years and it does not look as if they will be resolved soon. It has even come to the point that many citizens are more than fed up with the current situation and express that they do not even care anymore where the border will be and who will be the next ruling government …. If only the whole thing would end, with them being under pressure from their incomes to be able to pay for the goods that have become scarce and to be able to find enough food in the shops. What is clear is that it is the ordinary citizen who suffers as a result of this whole scam.

Oekraïense soldaten bij een controlepost aan de grens met de regio Donetsk, die in handen is van pro-Russische rebellen. Beeld AP

Ukrainian soldiers at a checkpoint on the border with the Donetsk region, which is controlled by pro-Russian rebels. Image AP

Meanwhile, the British government claimed to have information that Russia is seeking to help a pro-Russian government leader in Ukraine come to power, while meanwhile keeping the options open for an invasion of its neighbour. A statement published by the British Foreign Office on Saturday evening, 22 January, said that former parliamentarian Yevgeny Murayev is a potential candidate for the post though he himself has been on a Russian sanctions list since 2018.

At times there has been talk of 125 000 troops, at other times of 200 000, while now a figure closer to the truth is probably mentioned, with more than 130 000 troops stationed on the Ukrainian border.

Several countries now believe that we are heading for a time when diplomacy will no longer work and people will start to draw weapons. For this reason, many countries have called on their citizens to leave Ukraine if they are really not needed there. In any case, they do not want to experience situations like the one in Afghanistan.

The Russian Ministry of Defence states that the large-scale exercises continued, but that these groups will return to their home bases once their mission (or exercise) has come to an end.

“We have always said that the troops will return to their bases after the exercises. This is also the case this time.”

zei Kremlin-woordvoerder Dmitry Peskov.


I would like to remind you that a more regular follow-up of world events is provided on my renewed platform “Some View on the World” to which I gladly invite you to be informed of new publications on its blog as well.


Dutch version / Nederlandse versie: Een nutteloos maar zeer gevaarlijk uitdagingsspel


The world on the very brink of conflict

Putin plays dangerous poker game


Additional reading

  1. Gog
  2. King of the North
  3. Russian take-over of Crimea
  4. Swallowing up Crimea, who is next
  5. Christadelphian brothers and sisters in Ukraine
  6. Fight against nationalism main struggle for feminists today
  7. Putin’s Handy use of the Russian Orthodox Church
  8. Ukraine Poroshenko-Denisenko plan to form independent Orthodox church in Ukraine
  9. Can a state create a church
  10. Russia keeps using anti-extremism law to prosecute peaceful worshippers and non-traditional groups
  11. Powerful Russia rising from the ashes
  12. A genuine European Union to ensure welfare, security and democracy
  13. Russia reacting to attempts to break ‘strategic parity’
  14. Putin and Xi form a new axis against Nato
  15. Putin, Erdogan Pledge To Boost Russia-Turkey Ties
  16. Entering a new period of ‘Cold War’
  17. A Brief Look at NATO and Russia’s Push to Reform the Old Soviet Union
  18. Sings of the times – Difficult moments at the borders of Europe
  19. Risk of accidental war with Russia highest in decades, general warns
  20. A lot of talk about a war beginning soon
  21. Wars and Rumors of War…Russia Moves into Belarus
  22. Middle East migrants lured into thinking Belarus would provide a gateway to Europe
  23. Russian bombers fly over Belarus as border crisis deepens
  24. British troops deployed to Polish border as tensions with Russia rise
  25. Germany blocks Nord Stream 2 pipe from Russia
  26. Russia has ‘no trust’ in Nato over Ukraine
  27. President Joe Biden speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin to expect a clarification about the troop build up at the Ukraine border
  28. Tensions increase along Ukrainian frontlines amid Russia conflict
  29. Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Russian troop movements
  30. If Russia chooses to fail to de-escalate
  31. 2022 Political hotchpotch
  32. Key element to the Ukrainian-Russian conflict
  33. Russian government planning a “false-flag” operation
  34. The peoples must prevent the outbreak of war in Europe
  35. Prepare for Russian invasion of Ukraine, US warns European allies
  36. Britain in talks to sell missiles in first arms deal with Ukraine
  37. American hypersonic missile plan for Europe has echoes of Cold War
  38. Nuclear-War Risk Minimized in Rare Statement by Weapon States
  39. US says it ‘won’t tolerate’ Russia’s ‘reckless and dangerous’ anti-satellite missile test
  40. Russia has ‘no trust’ in Nato over Ukraine
  41. Putin is sabre-rattling at the West’s moment of maximum weakness
  42. Biden predicts Russia will attack Ukraine but warns Putin of a ‘stiff price’
  43. Joe Biden warns Russia could attack next month
  44. President Biden threatened to impose personal sanctions on President Putin if Russia moves to invade Ukraine
  45. Britain leading the way with military support for Ukraine
  46. Britain warns Russia over Ukraine
  47. UK stands ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with Ukraine
  48. Boris Johnson warns Putin against Ukraine invasion
  49. PM warns Vladimir Putin against ‘tragic mistake’ as tensions rise with Ukraine
  50. Putin’s ‘staged atrocity’ plan to justify Russian invasion of Ukraine
  51. RAF jets in Russia warplane alert for second day
  52. Moscow lists demands for defusing Ukraine tensions
  53. Trilateral naval drills between China, Russia and Iran started on Friday
  54. Israel weighing options amid deepening Russia-Ukraine crisis
  55. US bolsters Europe with 3,000 extra troops
  56. Interference in internal affairs



  1. Where Are the “Woke”?
  2. Ukraine crisis: Macron diplomatic efforts
  3. Ukraine-Russia Standoff
  4. Are Sanctions Enough?
  5. Future war sure seems like old war
  6. Sacrificial pawns
  7. West warns of ‘dangerous moment’ in Ukraine crisis
  8. British nationals advised to leave Ukraine immediately
  9. Diplomacy still open to end Ukraine standoff with Russia: US
  10. Ukraine-Russia Crisis 2022: Is Military Confrontation Inevitable?
  11. Europe and the United States have different views on the risk of war in Ukraine – Pierre Haski
  12. The world with fear; The Ukrainian people played in the snow, without fear of Russia standing on the border
  13. US accuses financial website of spreading Russian propaganda
  14. Ukraine Wants to Talk to Russia To Resolve Tensions on their Borders
  15. The Ukrainian crisis: Military threats and diplomacy [What Think Tanks are thinking]
  16. Ukraine: Why are we hyping up an invasion we can do nothing about?
  17. Footage published of Russian tanks returning to bases
  18. Some Russian forces near Ukraine return to bases: Live news….
  19. On Kyiv, Sit On The Fence: Neutrality On Ukraine Part Of India’s Correct Goal Of Seeking Strategic Autonomy
  20. Ukrainian Americans In Chicago Feel ‘Helpless’ For Family, Country As Threat Looms Of Russian Invasion
  21. Russia says some forces pulling back amid Ukraine crisis
  22. MEPs express solidarity with Ukraine
  23. Israel rejects Ukraine’s request to buy Iron Dome defence system

About Marcus Ampe

Retired dancer, choreographer, choreologist Founder of the Dance impresario office and archive: Danscontact-Dansarchief plus the Association for Bible scholars, the Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" and "From Guestwriters" and creator of the site "Messiah for all". - Gepensioneerd danser, choreograaf, choreoloog. Stichter van Danscontact-Dansarchief plus van de Vereniging voor Bijbelvorsers, de Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" en "From Guestwriters" en maker van de site "Messiah for all".
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