Reports are in the news today of an attack launched by the separatists in the South Eastern Ukraine. They are reported to have taken the town of Novoazovsk and to either be attacking or to have captured the port city of Mariupol. They are also reported to be controlling a swath of land from the coast inland and may in fact now control much of the South east of the Donetsk region.
Kiev loyalist forces are reported to have run away, that is withdrawn, when they came under attack leaving the separatists to take over the area. This region has, prior to now, been spared much of the fighting as Kiev has been concentrating its attacks on the main separatist areas and the cities to the north.
If they have taken the port the separatists will be about a quarter of the way towards establishing a land link between the Crimea and Russia which would allow then to then push north and break the siege of Donetsk at the same time as giving Putin a much needed land supply route to the Crimea.
Kiev is today screaming that they are facing a full blown invasion. Given that the Kiev regime have been screaming this for weeks and have failed to provide a shred of proof I will wait till we have some evidence but if it hasn't happened yet it will soon.
Kiev and by extension the EU are deliberately provoking this situation, on the day that the Kiev and Russian leaders met to discuss ending the fighting Kiev was busy bombing civilian areas in the separatist region. Pictures of destroyed schools and houses may not be filling our front pages but you can bet Russian speaking school children having their schools destroyed by Kiev IS making the front pages across the borders.
Rather than acting to defuse the situation this is in fact making a full blown intervention by Russia more likely, we are looking at a multinational war and one that could very quickly become a NATO / Russia one as our tanks face their tanks across the polish border.
Are Russian military units directly involved now, I don’t know. I will wait for evidence and frankly one picture of a T72 model that has not been exported outside of Russia is not proof, a few regiments of such tanks is clear proof but by then it will be too late
The separatists have been heavily reinforced, fresh and rested troops, new volunteers trained over the border or close to the border in separatist areas. The force that is rolling up the coast almost certainly was hiding somewhere on or over the Russia border. But as to a full blown deployment of Russia, that hasn’t happened yet. But it will happen and probably soon.
The Russians say they have not officially sent troops may well be right, a serious Russian intervention would be a few divisions and Kiev would not be screaming, they would be on the first flight to Europe with suitcases full of cash.
Is this the same sort of situation as Obama and Cameron saying their are no boots on the ground in Iraq and Syria because special forces don't count?
The separatists say it is large numbers of volunteers who arrived with some equipment or vehicles, in the west this would be unlikely but Russia with its long history of conscription has millions of ex soldiers and given the reputation the Russia army has for, ahem, misplacing military equipment that ends up being sold elsewhere, the fact that the closest Russian forces may have let a few armoured vehicles wander off is fairly likely.
Or this may be a limited operation by Putin to outflank the ring of Kiev forces closing in on the separatists with a mechanized regiment or a reinforced battalion sized force supporting the separatists, or a land grab to establish a road to the Crimea, or it may just be a whole load of soldiers who are fed up of standing by while they receive daily reports of Russian citizens being bombed and shelled and shot.
What is it Israel calls it when they launch attacks against rebels and hit schools or hospitals instead, oh yes, precision attacks. Well Kiev seems to be using a lot of them but while Gaza was all over our media the cities in the east seem to be ignored.
Is it any wonder that ethnic Russians are flocking to fight with the separatists when what they see as Ethnic cleansing is going on.
The thing is that as Kiev and the West continue to launch attacks on the civilian population of the Russian speaking east and continue to launch what the Russia people are told are unwarranted attacks on the Russian economy the pressure on Putin to act grows and grows.
Not in the form of force but in a way that he is more affected by. His reputation and image as hard man and forceful leader will be questioned if he stands back and does nothing for much longer.
All it will take is a trigger event; pictures of the bodies of dead Russian children being carried out of a school destroyed by Kiev will do it.
At that point Putin's own propaganda will have reached the point where the demands for action will become self sustaining and Putin will either have to run to keep up with the tide of opinion OR hold back and risk his reputation and therefore weaken his control a little. I don’t see him thinking too long over that one given that he already has what amounts to several mechanised divisions close enough to the border with Ukraine to be rolling in hours.
I can see this, I doubt that NATO and the leaders of the west cannot see the same and yet they keep pushing, keep provoking. They keep prodding the bear in its cave.
The EU could stop much of the fighting overnight by pulling back the Kiev army and stopping the bombardment of civilian areas, cities, schools and people’s homes. Right now the Kiev government is being paid for by multibillion Dollar / Euro loans. Want to stop the fighting, threaten to shut down the country by stopping the money. Force the Kiev army back into defensive mode and then try that old thing called diplomacy again.
If the separatists attack the Kiev forces then there is fighting but pulling back and stopping the shelling and the bombing and stopping the huge refugee crisis from growing in size and area while at least trying to talk cannot be a bad thing.
Instead I am seeing reports now that NATO is planning for and calling for the finances to set up large high capacity military bases in the east to ‘allow force projection into the affected area to enable a robust response to Russian expansionism’.
In English that means bases in the east of Poland that would place the entirety of the Ukraine right up to the Russian border in range of NATO military strikes. I can just see that one helping to defuse the situation in Russia
Putin is still winning this, in many ways his position is being made stronger by the fact that he is almost single handily standing against the Western World’s assault on Russia and its people.
The Ukraine as the birthplace of the Rus people has a strong historic and cultural image to the ethnic Russian population, by repeatedly attacking that region, by threatening it and by directly attacking the Russian economy and by extension the Russia people for daring to object to a civil war in that area the west is strengthening anti western feeling.
Putin’s hold on power is being made stronger because his people see him as standing against the threat of the west and NATO. Once again we see the rallying cries of the last century, ‘The Russians Are Coming’ and ‘The Fascists Are Coming’. Each side moving its military and economic power in response to the other side’s movements that are in response to the last movement by the first side.
A self sustaining spiral that leads to inevitable direct confrontation.
Putin is a power hungry Tyrannical show off and no friend of democracy or human rights, but the sad thing in this situation is that he is NOT the worst bad guy in this whole situation.
How sad is that. Men women and children are dying and just like British politics we are reduced to deciding who is the least guilty of the death and destruction. Take a bow Obama and the EU, you are as guilty or more guilty of this and yet you continue to throw petrol on the raging fire that is the Ukrainian civil war.
Just who exactly is trying to stop the fighting, I mean really doing everything the can to bring peace, not sound bites, not empty gestures, who is actually using their every resource to stop the fighting.
I cannot see anyone on either side.
It does not matter who wins this civil war. The damage has been done. The hatred will last for a generation or more. It will not matter that the separatist movement started it, the Kiev government has spent weeks bombing their own people and their own cities.
The fallout from this will make the sectarian hatred in somewhere like Northern Ireland look like an argument over the cakes at a teddy bear picnic.
You cannot roll over your own people and bomb your own cities and expect people to forgive and forget. This is a full blown civil war and the Kiev regime is doing as much as it possibly can to stoke the hatred in the region. This has long since turned into a Russian speaking verses western leaning war and as they work to marginalise anyone who fits into the other camp they simply stoke the fires of anger and make response from across the border more likely.
Hello children, sorry we blew up your school when we bombed your city and made you all homeless and hungry. But don’t worry, those nice people at the IMF and the EU have provided money so we can rebuild your school and homes and all they want in return is to be repaid with interest, oh and control of our economy, the overthrow of our democratic process as they assign us leaders rather than let us vote for them, oh and they want our gas at a very reasonable price drilled up by Eu companies and no environmental objections from us.
Are we not lucky to have such good friends owning our country now.
This is not going to be easily forgotten by those on either side, the fact that pro western Militias from the western Ukraine are fighting the pro Russian forces in the east of that ex nation simply makes the whole situation worse. Such bloody hatred is not forgotten or forgiven overnight or even over a few years.
Is Kiev going to maintain order in the Russian speaking east as a police state for the next few decades, are we going to see a new terrorist campaign begin as people find themselves part of a nation that beat them in a civil war and now rules them.
Violence will not end the fighting, at best it will create the hatred and fear and anger that will erupt again in a year or two as the region again rises against the Tyrannts who bombed their cities. At worst it will continue to escalate until the whole of Europe is involved.
Is there anyone trying to stop this before it escalates to the point where it cannot be stopped?