Fair enough about that particular article.
I won't argue about that article but Mendel's claims and scenario are still just insane.
Well, yes, but he did say it's "conspirational".
Anyway, interesting developments today. Putin met with German Chancellor Scholz in Moscow and during the meeting it was widely reported that the Russo-Belarusian excercises "Allied Resolve" were concluded and that Russian forces started to withdraw from there (fulfilling a promise made by Putin to President Macron during his visit in Moscow last week), and that Russian forces were now also being withdrawn from the Crimean peninsula.(1)
Meanwhile, talk in Kyiv to finally implement the old Minsk II agreement has gained ground, which in my opinion was the entire point of the increased Russian build-up. Russia gains heaps of leverage over Ukrainian foreign policy (NATO aspirations being the sore point for Moscow) if Ukraine finally accepts the terms they actually did sign way back then, and that's good enough for them.
The other NATO talk (demands towards NATO itself to stop what the Russians term "NATO expansion") was rebuffed on principle, and I don't think the Russians actually imagined it to go anywhere in the first place. Some kind of "haggling" strategy, is my personal take. Deliberately unreasonable demands that can then be backtracked upon, and seem like a "concession", hopefully ending up at a new "middle ground" that remains advantageous.
Russian defense minister Shoygu decided to leave Russia, flying to Syria to oversee a naval-air exercise in the eastern Mediterranean, in the middle of this all. An exercise involving key Russian strategic assets such as cruise missile-equipped frigates and subs, and Tu-22M3 nuclear missile trucks and MiG-31Ks (mach 3 interceptor re-designed to carry hypersonic land-attack missiles). (2)
...But meanwhile, British tabloids are citing "U.S. intelligence" saying that the Russian invasion of Ukraine will begin 5-6 hours from now. And the Russian foreign ministry with their notorious spokesperson Maria Zakharova responded to this by basically saying "you should apologize for how foolish and irresponsible you are".
One of these two will look terrible tomorrow.
(1) That is "excess" forces that have been filling up the place in two distinct drives, in early 2021 and then in late 2021-early 2022. The reason for the first drive (which also included Russian forces in the regions adjacent to mainland Ukraine) was pretty obvious and direct, and was deliberately overt at the time (see above), the 2nd one half a year later was far larger and more worrying. But they are reportedly withdrawing now.
The Russians will obviously keep forces in Crimea regardless, they consider it their territory and even if that is shunned upon by the vast majority of the international community, Moscow's (or St. Petersburg, for most of the time, technically) had large military contingents there uninterrupted (save for the Nazi occupation of Crimea 1942-44) since 1783.
(2) Just find it somewhat curious that they'd engage such important strategic assets elsewhere, and send top brass there. Russia doesn't really have a whole lot of these things, it's not like the U.S. military by any stretch of the imagination. If a massive war was actually on their agenda I'd imagine that they would prioritize the deployment of their limited capabilities differently. But that's just me, could be wrong, could be a "clever" bluff.