– At an increasing pace, the military operations of Russian forces in Ukraine are accelerating, at a time when the Group of Seven is active to put in place a new and more effective framework for Western sanctions against Moscow.
However, fears of moving from an "economic war" to the possibility of a direct clash between Russian and NATO forces through the Ukrainian portal have become the headlines and readings of political analysts and military experts on both sides of the conflict.
The aforementioned fears are reinforced by statements by Russian and Western officials about the hypothesis of a clash, of which it is obvious that nuclear weapons are one of its forms, which was forbidden in the political discourse of the two poles for decades after the end of the Cold War.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that attempts to return to diplomatic methods to resolve the conflict in Ukraine will help maintain "instability" around the world, and he believes that the moment is the decisive moment to "turn the tide of war".
This comes after a talk by the Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, in an interview with Al-Jazeera, that nuclear war represents "the end of mankind and cannot be allowed", referring at the same time to cases in which it was actually possible to use this weapon, so - in his opinion - it should not be. Talk about the impossibility of such a scenario.
The military expert, Colonel in Reserve Viktor Litovkin, refuses to link the high level of operations and the recent field progress of the Russian forces with the political movement and the threatening statements of the "hawks" in NATO.
Litovkin believes that the escalation of the Atlantic rhetoric, especially on the part of Johnson, remains until this moment in the context of psychological and propaganda war, and an attempt to cover up what he described as the failure of the alliance to change the course of military operations for the benefit of the Ukrainian side, adding that all the weapons sent to Kyiv until this moment have not affected , albeit slightly, in the military balance.
But he does not deny the existence of a shift in the rhetoric of NATO leaders, in comparison with the first stage of the Russian military operation in Ukraine.
While they initially asserted that they did not consider themselves a party to the conflict there and were not looking for war with Russia, at the same time they increased the sending of contract soldiers from private military companies to the combat zones.
NATO has recently escalated its rhetoric towards Russia, especially after Moscow threatened to deploy nuclear missiles on its eastern borders (Anatolia).
Against the background of the current situation, the Russian expert does not rule out the risk of a direct clash between NATO and Russia, although the possibility of such a development - in his opinion - remains until this moment in the theoretical framework.
Litovkin bases his vision on the statements received successively from Washington, in which he sees a tendency within the White House to unleash the conflict between Russia and NATO.
The military expert adds that the administration of US President Joe Biden can go along with that, because "Washington's reading did not include the successes of the Russian army in Ukraine, and the deplorable state of the Ukrainian armed forces," which may prompt it to "implicate" the Polish forces in the quagmire of war, by establishing Possible invasion of the regions of western Ukraine.
And what reinforced the American concerns about the Russian moves was the outcome of the talks between Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in St. Petersburg, with the decision to transfer Russia's "Iskander-M" missile systems (capable of carrying nuclear warheads) to Belarus.
It should be noted that Belarus gave up its nuclear weapons in 1992, at which time Minsk acceded to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in a non-nuclear position.
By 1994 it had received security guarantees from Russia, Great Britain and the United States in return for rejecting this type of nuclear weapon.
The United States began to worry before that, when Belarus made amendments to its constitution, allowing the appearance of Russian nuclear forces on the territory of the republic, after excluding the clause on the pursuit of neutrality and a nuclear-weapon-free zone.
Moreover, before the Ukrainian crisis, Minsk indicated several times its readiness to return nuclear weapons to the republic.
Experts evaluate the possibilities of such a scenario in various forms, most notably the serious reaction of the West in the event of the emergence of Russian nuclear missiles in Belarus.
The possibility that the Russian military escalation in Ukraine will go beyond its current framework and turn into a direct confrontation with NATO remains, given what Russian experts consider an attempt to confront the utter failure of American aid, even with the injection of new and quality weapons to save the Ukrainian forces from perishing, as they put it.
They believe that the Biden administration is desperate to change the situation in its favor, and is looking for a way to save face, while it seems that the exit may come through the Polish gate.
In this context, the head of the International Center for Political Analysis and Forecasting, Denis Krkodinov, is based on information received from Warsaw, not yet officially confirmed, that the Polish General Staff is developing a plan to intervene in the conflict and take over western Ukraine.
Biden visited Poland after Russia's war with Ukraine and confirmed his support for it (Reuters)
He asserts that Kyiv, which is politically - according to him - under American control, will give the green light for this without reservation.
In his opinion, it is not excluded that the United States will use possible incidents of clashes between Polish and Russian forces for its own interests, which would, among other things, be a reason to convene the NATO Council and discuss the application of Article V on collective defense.
Krkodinov reinforces this theory with what he said at the end of last April, the head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, Sergey Naryshkin, and his talk about the plans of the United States and Poland, in preparation for Warsaw's control of the western regions of Ukraine.
He continues that although the Polish authorities initially denied these statements, Polish President Andrzej Duda, after a short period, expressed his hope that there would be no more borders between his country and Ukraine, and that the two peoples would be able to live on this land together.
Accordingly, Krkodinov does not rule out that Moscow will accelerate its military advance into new regions in Ukraine, to "pull the rug" from under the US-Polish scheme, and thwart it in the bud.
Krkodinov sees Putin and Lukashenko's (urgent) agreement to send Iskander-M missile launchers capable of carrying nuclear shipments, and to modernize Belarusian "Su-35" fighters in Russian aircraft factories as a step in the context of deterrence, as well as to counter provocation attempts represented by training flights of NATO planes with warheads. Nuclear warship over Belarus.
He concluded that the Belarusian president's speech that the Soviet Union "calmed down" in 1941 with assurances of non-aggression by German forces, and that this mistake should not be allowed to repeat and that "our homeland must be defended from Brest to Vladivostok" is the greatest indication of Moscow and Minsk's conviction that there is an imminent danger.