Russia’s “Withdrawal” Is Indistinguishable From Misdirection

Russia has 11 Combined Arms Armies. Every single one of them has sent troops to the SW border

Up until recently the flood of dashcam and smartphone videos of Russia’s military on the move (always going west or south) hitting TikTok were of gear being moved by rail, rarely by flatbed truck.

In the past few days, the portion of the videos showing flatbeds has grown, and for the first time, a portion of the videos show tracked vehicles moving on their own power over roads. — Especially around Belgorod, the Russian city opposite of Kharkov.

This would imply movement from railheads to final positions in the field on the border. Here is a non-exhaustive sample:

Tanks now moving on their own power over roads at the border would normally be a worrying development. It would mean the stage where the added Russian battalion tactical groups were just prepositioned equipment is over. Personnel is falling on that equipment and taking forward positions.

However, we are supposed not to worry because Russia has “announced a withdrawal”.

In a highly scripted meeting for the cameras this Monday Putin ordered Lavrov to continue talks with the West — albeit Lavrov had just reported to him that on Russia’s primary points diplomacy had made no progress.

In a meeting with Shoigu that followed immediately after, the Russian Defense Minister informed Putin that “exercises in the Western Military District” are nearing completion:

These are large-scale exercises and they are underway in the Western Military District… Military units from virtually all military districts… are taking part in these exercises.

Some of these exercises are nearing completion, and others will end in the near future.

That was a curious thing to say since the start of these “exercises in the Western Military District” had never been announced. Why advertise the end of exercises, when you didn’t bother advertising their start?

Russia announced the current large drills in Belarus (on Jan 14, two weeks in advance) and the current drills in the Black Sea (on Feb 10, three days in advance), but never announced the colossal “exercises” in the Western District. Why not? You would think it would be precisely the largest “exercise” that would be openly declared.

The next day on Tuesday, the Defense Ministry announced that some units had now completed their exercises in Western and Southern Districts and were already being loaded onto trains for transport to their home bases:

The Defense Ministry also helpfully provided footage of one of the units being withdrawn from Crimea:

The footage is curios because the Ministry never bothered advertising *the arrival* of any units to Crimea or Western Russia in the same way. (What was made public was about Belarus.) Why go to the trouble of showing only the withdrawals? And indeed why be so eager as to jump on the very first withdrawal to document and publicize?

The withdrawn unit was loaded in a town called Bakhchysarai in southern Crimea where it would have been too far from the potential fight anyway. Defense Ministry footage shows it departing Crimea, but so far there is no way to know if it reached its home base in the Northern Caucasus or if it won’t pop up in Rostov.

The day after that, on Wednesday, an anonymous MoD source told Izvestia that in addition to the withdrawal of the 42nd from Crimea, the 3rd and 150th divisions had also completed their exercises and were returning to their home bases. But the 3rd is based in Belgorod (next to Kharkov) and the 150th is based in Rostov (next to Donbass) so even if true (unlike for the 42nd, there is no helpful MoD footage) that doesn’t mean a whole lot.

Home bases of the 3rd and 150th

Whatever the true details of these moves, for now, 100 battalion tactical groups remain near Ukraine, and more footage of assets moving west and south continues to hit TikTok. Also, Russia just reinforced its anti-naval deterrence in the East Med.

Also, let’s try to think this one through. If this concentration of forces isn’t there because Russia is considering escalation, but only as a demonstration to turn the screws on Ukraine… Then why declare that you’re starting to withdraw just as the buildup is starting to have some very demonstrative consequences for Ukraine? (Eg oligarchs fleeing, NATO training missions fleeing, Ukrainian bonds tanking.)

Why undermine your own pressure (if that’s all you’re going for) with your own MoD videos and pronouncements? If pressure was the sole point, then now would be the time to stretch out and ratchet up the agony. Not the time to emphasize tiny withdrawals even as other assets are still arriving, and you have never been more forward-deployed.

On the other hand, if this concentration of forces isn’t just for show. If it is there because Kremlin is contemplating using it, then emphasizing “withdrawal” would serve a clear function — as misdirection to try and preserve some measure of surprise for the H-hour.

It would also help in the narrative sense. If you escalate after you had announced that you’re withdrawing you can spin the story of “we were just exercising and already in the process of heading back when X took place and ‘forced’ us to turn back and strike”.

I’m not excluding the possibility of a withdrawal, but this isn’t it yet, and we’ll know more after the 20th.

  1. Mr Reynard says

    Can someone explain, what it is ??

    A car with flat tire & across the road to stop the Russian invasion ??

  2. EstibenDelMar says

    What you say is too elaborate for western elites to understand, and putin knows this so he needs to keep it simple. And that means two things that you very well mentioned before. The first thing is the speed of the deployment while the 2nd one has to do with the BTGs remaining in place.

    The first has shown the west how fast can the russian army deploy inside its territory, and te second means that these BTGs can easily be reinforced with hardware coming from everywhere in Russia. In short, no open hot war will happen.

  3. Cap960 says

    Putin is playing with the west…nothing to see here.

    1. edwardi says

      Hmm, that article and footage was from yesterday. Today the 17th the Donbas is coming under heavy artilery fire and beginning to return shelling. The UN security council is emergency meeting to discuss this. The US will adinfinitum continue to claim E. Ukraine started the shelling. LOL as if they have any motive to initiate problems. But as usual the US will hide behind the figleaf of their transparent and outlandish lies. Russia has announced publicly and recently that they would not tolerate any such attack upon the E. Now the attack is underway. What exactly “will not tolerate” if that is the wording, means will now be made more clear. Will they decisively put an end to this militarily ? That is the big question. We will know more later today and tomorrow.

  4. Chacko Kurian says

    Is this constant provoking of Russia designed to get the necessary response? This kind of strategy has been used in the past by the satanists to achieve their real aim. Studying WW1, WW2, Bolshevik revolution etc should make us aware of the ultimate aim-destruction of the nationalistic spirit, and the bringing about of a one world government tyranny, all under the control of you know who. In the meantime, all kinds of lies and propaganda are being disseminated by the media owned by you know who.
    Also a welcome distraction from the fallout from the poisons being jabbed into the sheeple-vaccine induced collapse of the immune system.

    1. James says

      Not to mention a distraction from the ongoing Communist takeover of Canada.

      1. iconoclast says

        didn’t you intend to say “fascist takeover”? suggest you consult the dictionary regarding the meaning of both “fascist & communist” since you appear not to know the difference.

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