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The Daily Vertical: Another Olympic Offensive? (Transcript)

  • Brian Whitmore

Well, so much for the idea of an Olympic truce.

When the world was focused on the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in Beijing back in 2008, Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Georgia.

Six years later, when all eyes were on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Putin was busy planning the forceful annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, which happened just weeks later.

And now, as we all follow the Summer Games in Rio, the Kremlin appears to be cranking up its war machine again.

WATCH: Today's Daily Vertical

The clear escalation by Moscow and its proxies in the Donbas, combined with the disturbing movement of Russian troops and heavy weapons to the north of the occupied Crimean Peninsula near mainland Ukraine, has many commentators wondering whether another "Olympic offensive" is on the way.

It's hard to say, of course.

We've had our share of false alarms, and Russia's recent saber rattling in Ukraine could be just another one of the Kremlin's trademark psy-ops.

But in one sense, today's situation bears a striking and eerie resemblance to the summer of 2008.

Back then, pro-Russian forces in breakaway South Ossetia relentlessly provoked Georgia until Mikheil Saakashvili finally took the bait and tried to retake the separatist region by force -- giving Moscow the pretext for an outright invasion.

Now, history doesn't always repeat itself. But it does often rhyme.

So as we all take in the Olympics, it's a good idea to keep an eye on Ukraine, as well.