(CNN) Putin may soon officially declare war on Ukraine, US and Western officials say.
This would allow mobilization of reserves and open deployment of conscripts to Ukraine. Both are inherently less combat effective than the volunteer core. Reservists lack intense immersive training; conscripts don’t want to be there. The U.S. makes no use of reserve armor in actual combat roles; it is considered impractical compared to full-up training of new units.
Russian mobilization will be an attempt to swamp Ukraine with massive numbers of troops of even lower quality than those currently deployed, perhaps capable of little more than passive occupation. To increase combat effectiveness, nerve agents may be used, subject initially to the restrictions outlined in Russian Use of CW Agents in Ukraine, in Detail.
If Russian goals continue to be frustrated, these restrictions may not hold, replaced by acts of astonishing barbarity. The reasoning:
- Any lie can be told by state media, and believed by the majority of Russians. Nerve agents are, compared to tactical nukes, very easy to lie about.
- The transparency of lies outside of Russia is of no concern; Russia is in the late stages of cultural divorce from the West, to become the new “hermit kingdom.” See Exploiting Cracks in the Kremlin; Putin, the New Stalin?
- Kleptocracy in Russia does not imply Putin is himself motivated by personal wealth. Money is simply part of his scheme of social control. The Kremlin will be pressured by economics, but as long as the gas flows, the cost of ostracism by the West is not anticipated.
- Exposure of Russia as indefensible is intolerable. Failure of the clay-footed Russian military colossus must be disguised at any cost.
Western combatants are issued protective clothing, gas masks, and antidote kits. As prophylaxis, the kits are dangerous to use, possibly causing brain damage. Administered within minutes of exposure, they save lives, though exposed individuals do not remain combat effective. Immediate followup care is required.
World supplies of antidote kits are not sufficient for a civilian population. A civilian in the bulls-eye of a nerve agent munition, who receives the incredibly small lethal dose of a modern nerve agent, cannot be saved by anything other than an antidote kit. Visualize exposure zones as a set of concentric rings surrounding the bulls-eye. There may be options for the next zone out, LD50, where half of those exposed die, and more distant rings: those who are sickened, and those exposed to the agent after a delay.
Next: possible OTC nerve agent antidotes.