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Tipsheet

If Russia Invades, They Reportedly Have Kill Lists Ready For a Variety of Dissidents

Russian Defense Ministry Press Service

President Joe Biden delivered remarks about the ongoing situation between Russia and Ukraine. He said that war is coming. I know we’ve been hearing this for weeks, but it looks like within the next few days, Russia intends to invade. They’ll probably wait until after the Winter Olympics which concludes this weekend. Biden said that he feels that Russian President Vladimir Putin is going to invade. He’s going all-in, and this operation can come within the next few days. Russia has been placing troops in strategic areas for this invasion for weeks. Now, the countdown begins…again (via Fox News):

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President Biden said Friday that he is "convinced" Russian President Vladimir Putin has made the decision to invade Ukraine, telling reporters that he believes Russia will "target the capital city of Kyev."

"As of this moment, I'm confident he has made the decision," Biden said. "We have reason to believe that."

Following two "vital calls" on Friday, one with members of Congress and the other with European leaders, Biden said the "overwhelming message on both calls was one of determination, unity, and resolve," but ultimately he believes an invasion is imminent.

Noting that "Russian troops have Ukraine surrounded," Biden said American officials believe Russia will target Ukraine's capital city Kyev.

Biden said the western front remains "united and resolved" amid the ongoing tension at Ukraine's border.

Asked whether "diplomacy is off the table," Biden said, "No, until he does [invade], diplomacy is always a possibility."

Biden told reporters Thursday that he expected Putin to invade Ukraine in the "next several days."

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This is what happens when you show weakness, and Biden is the very definition of frail and slow. Putin is not wrong to pull this move. He annexed Crimea in 2014, and nothing happened. He knows the playbook. He knows the US is divided—no thanks to Democratic incompetence. What is Biden going to do if we invade? Probably nothing. He won’t order American troops into Ukraine. Biden has been wrong on every major American foreign policy initiative for the past 40 years. There’s a precedent that shows he will make the wrong decision. He’s old. He’s weak. Take things for a spin, and the shambolic exit from Afghanistan exposed all of that. This administration was on vacation when Kabul fell last August. Initially, they were going to remain on R&R mode until the media pressure became too great.

We also have reports that Russia has compiled a lengthy kill list of dissidents that will be targeted in a post-invasion clean sweep, but let’s be clear about something else. This comes from four anonymous sources so take it with a grain of salt, but would you be shocked if this were true (via Foreign Policy):

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The United States has obtained intelligence that Russia may target prominent political opponents, anti-corruption activists, and Belarusian and Russian dissidents living in exile should it move forward with plans to invade Ukraine, as U.S. President Joe Biden warned on Thursday that the threat of a renewed Russian invasion of the country remains “very high” and could take place within the next several days. 

Four people familiar with U.S. intelligence said that Russia has drafted lists of Ukrainian political figures and other prominent individuals to be targeted for either arrest or assassination in the event of a Russian assault on Ukraine.

A fifth person, a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the United States has been downgrading its intelligence classification regarding threats to specific groups within Ukraine to share this information with Ukrainian government officials and other partners in the region positioned to help.

[…]

The Biden administration has also been startled by how formalized the lists are, which appear to target anyone who could challenge the Russian agenda. Five Eyes intelligence partners have also tracked Russian intelligence agencies, such as the FSB and GRU, building up target and kill lists. One congressional aide, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the moves were typical of Russian doctrine, using armed forces to seize military objectives, while special operators shape the conflict and intelligence operators come into the country to get rid of opposition elements. 

The first official noted that dissidents from Russia and Belarus, where a brutal crackdown on dissent following mass protests in 2020 prompted many to flee to neighboring Ukraine, faced particular challenges should they need to flee. Unlike Ukrainian citizens, they require visas to travel to other countries in Europe.

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And like with Americans in Afghanistan, Biden will probably do nothing. This is the ‘do nothing’ party. They can’t. They know they don’t have a real president behind that desk. 

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