The Ukraine Crisis, Explained By Unnamed Officials

U.S. officials say war is not an option for the U.S. Also, war is totally an option for the U.S., say U.S. officials. More stellar prognostications:

Russian officials say they're doing military drills near Ukraine, U.S. officials say

Russian officials in Moscow formally briefed the U.S. military attaché and others on the exercises Tuesday, using established channels, the U.S. defense officials said.

Russian officials say there will be no invasion of Ukraine

Senior Russian officials in recent days have said that military intervention wasn't on the table.

U.S. officials say there will be no Russian invasion of Ukraine

U.S. intelligence estimates conclude that Russia has no intention of invading Ukraine...

"The mere fact of the timing when you consider what is going on in Ukraine and you see the sudden nature of the exercise would cause concern," this official said. "From an intelligence perspective we don't have any reason to think it's more than military exercises."...

[N]ot enough medical units have been ordered to accompany the Russian troops to the Ukrainian border to suggest preparation for war, according to one Congressional staffer who has seen intelligence on Russia.

Russia invaded Ukraine, Russian officials say

Russia's Interfax news agency quoted an unnamed source as saying that the Belbek air field was under the control of local pro-Russian self-defence units who had no links to the Black Sea fleet...

"Today the majority of the Ukrainian armed forces deployed in Crimea passed to the side of the authorities of the Crimean autonomous region. The transition was absolutely peaceful, without a single shot fired either by the military or by the forces of self-defense," an unnamed source told RIA Novosti news agency.

Those invaders aren't Russian troops, U.S. sources say Russian sources say

[I]nformed sources in Moscow are telling their American interlocutors that the troops belong to Vnevedomstvenaya Okhrana, the private security contracting bureau inside the Russian interior ministry that hires mercenaries to protect Russian Navy installations and assets in Crimea.

Russian troops invaded Ukraine, U.S. officials say

"It looks like they've moved several hundred troops there (into Crimea)," a senior defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP...

Russia began moving in reinforcements to the Sevastopol naval base on Thursday and Friday, mostly by sea from Novorossiysk and Anapa, according to a senior Western official, who asked not to be named because he was discussing intelligence information.

It's unclear exactly what's happening, U.S. officials say

Another American official said that intelligence reports from the region were "all over the place," but that the administration believed that Russia had moved some of its forces into Ukraine, while some of the movement, officials said, seemed to be an increase in protective measures around Russian military installations.

U.S. officials should've seen this coming, U.S. officials say

A veteran intelligence analyst with the United States military, noted that younger colleagues had been confident that "Putin wouldn't do anything" in the current crisis. Then came the stealth invasion of Crimea. "How extraordinary it is that the conventional wisdom and self-licking ice-cream cone is alive and well," this analyst said. "Why anyone should be surprised is what is surprising. We are believing our own spin that the world has changed. Not in the Russian government, it hasn't."...

An American intelligence operative with long experience in the Ukraine added, "Most likely, force is the only thing that will resolve this matter, even if some people think an angry [U.S. ambassador to the United Nations] Samantha Power is enough to make Putin rethink his desire to secure Russian interests."

This is just like the Cold War, European officials say

One European diplomat at the Security Council said that the deadlock in the council was growing eerily reminiscent of the darkest days of the Cold War, when the Soviet Union invaded Hungary in 1956.

This is nothing like the Cold War, U.S. officials say

"The Russians have badly miscalculated here," a second senior administration official said. "What we see here are distinctly 19th and 20th century decisions made by President Putin to address problems, deploying military forces rather than negotiating, rather than talking. What he needs to understand is that in terms of his economy, he lives in a 21st century world, an interdependent world.

Putin will solve this peacefully, U.S. officials say

The official also said there has been no violence involving the Russian troops, and no evidence of shots fired.

Putin is incapable of solving any situation peacefully, U.S. officials say

Another senior official said: "When it comes to soft power, the power of attraction, Vladimir Putin has no game. So he's left with hard power and it's a very dangerous game to play."

War is not an option for the U.S., say U.S. officials

[I]n a conference call with reporters later on Sunday, three senior US administration officials made clear that the "menu" of options before the White House does not include military action...

"Frankly, our goal is to uphold the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, not to have a military escalation," one of the officials said.

War is an option for the U.S., say U.S. officials

Military force is always an option, U.S. officials said.

[Photo credit: AP]