May 29, 2024

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Ukraine’s cross-border tactics are aimed at destabilizing Russia. Judging by the response, they’re working

Ukraine has opened a new front in its battle to drive out the Russian invader – in Russia. But it is oddly coy about admitting that it has sent troops, fired artillery, and flown drones into its neighbor’s territory.

The operations of Russian citizens, carrying Ukrainian military ID, wearing Ukrainian uniforms and attacking from Ukraine, remain officially opaque. It is Kyiv’s contribution to what’s become known as “hybrid warfare” in the “grey zone” of contemporary conflict.

The two terms provoked books and a tsunami of excited opinion from an army of pundits when Russia first invaded Ukraine in 2014.

Back then, “Little Green Men” in peculiar two-tone sport-hunting uniforms – and Russian military fatigues – appeared in Crimea.

When it was suggested that maybe, just maybe, these men were actually Russian troops, Vladimir Putin quipped “You can go to a store and buy any kind of uniform”.

Moscow’s official line was that the men who raised the Russian flag over Simferopol and stormed Crimea’s local parliament were “self defense units” of pro-Russian Ukrainians anxious to bring their territory under Moscow’s rule.