Since the Russian Federation's military invasion of Ukraine's sovereign territory, I have been hoping that it won't come to war.
I still see reasons for hope. However, the danger of war is growing, not receding.
Here is how I reason it:
1. Day by day -- even after Putin's recent statement that he doesn't want to "split" Ukraine -- Russia has continued a buildup of very large and strong forces on Ukraine's border. (Perhaps he means by not splitting, that he wants Russia to swallow Ukraine whole, without stopping at the river Dnipro.)
2. Ukraine could not pose a military threat to Russia even if it wanted to -- and independent Ukraine has never intended aggression against any neighbor. So Putin's military buildup cannot be for the defense of Russia's territory.
3. Although Putin's propaganda machine screams 24 hours per day that Ukraine has been taken over by neo-Nazis who want to oppress, harm or kill everybody who speaks Russian, this is absolutely false and Putin knows this. So Putin's military buildup cannot be for the defense of Russians (or any other population) in Ukraine.
4. Conceivably, the military buildup could be psychological, to "send a message." But what message? Ukraine is already terrorized, under enormous pressure. What could be the intent of such "symbolism"?
5. General Philip Breedlove (USAF), NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe, today expressed deep concern about the military buildup on Ukraine's eastern border, saying "There is absolutely sufficient (Russian) force postured on the eastern border of Ukraine to run to Transnistria if the decision was made to do that and that is very worrisome."
The import of General Breedlove's statement is breathtaking. Transnistria is a territory Russia stole from Moldova in violation of international law -- bordering the SOUTHWESTERN corner of Ukraine. I don't know what he is envisioning: a seaborne transfer of Russian forces to Transnistria; a land assault across the entire length of Ukraine's Black Sea coast; or both. Russia's seizure of Crimea makes such a thrust much easier, whether by sea or land.
6. Russia seized that part of Ukraine's Black Sea Fleet that was in port in Crimea. This does not make the slightest sense, even by Russia's twisted and unlawful rationalization for stealing Crimea. Ukraine's fleet doesn't belong to Crimea, and never did (Crimea is not Ukraine's only naval port -- they also have ships at Odessa).
However, it makes eminent sense if Russia intends to seize the entire northern coast of the Black Sea. Ukraine's own navy could be an obstacle to seaborne movements, so its destruction would be militarily valuable.
7. If Russia reinforces Transnistria, plus perhaps any points along the Black Sea, then Russia will be able to invade Ukraine from at least four directions simultaneously: northeast from Bryansk and Kursk; southeast from Rostov-on-Don; south from Crimea; and southwest from Transnistria into the western steppe.
Because Crimea is connected to Ukraine by a narrow isthmus, in theory defense against a land invasion from Crimea should be easy. But Ukraine can't afford to concentrate a strong force in that small territory, especially with such a massive threat looming around northern Ukraine, Kharkiv and Donetsk. And worst of all, Kyiv itself is only about 100 miles from the nearest part of the Russian border. Probably, Russia could smash any Ukrainian defense of the isthmus in short order -- their combat aircraft at Crimea's Belbek air base are a few minutes' flying time from the isthmus. Once Russia conquered the isthmus, Russian land forces could flood northward into open country.
Excepting the Carpathians (on the "wrong side" for defensive utility), most of Ukraine's territory consists of broad plains or rolling hills. The only natural military obstacles are its rivers. Ironically, Ukraine would benefit to some degree from the terrible condition of its road system. If it comes to this tragic turn, Ukraine's military commanders should be prepared to demolish many of the country's most important bridges.
8. We are not many weeks away from the best time of year (in terms of typical weather patterns) for Russia to launch such an invasion.
Well, this is one fool's perspective on the situation as of 23 March.
I hope that any temptation Putin has toward further invasion, will be tempered by consideration of the probably ruinous costs.
I hope to God my dreadful projections are all wrong.
e’ve heard how Russian soldiers are treating Ukrainian and Tartar locals in Crimea,,,, even when the world is watching.
Ukraine is calling for volunteers to join their reserve army or militia,,, and it sounds like women are also included??!
This next story is how they treat locals when almost no one is watching! I thought it was too graphic to share on fb,,, especially the picture on the link.
I was at first just going to post the link,,, but it would time for everyone to translate it,, might as well do it once.
“I propose to examine the documents, carefully chosen in the atrocities of the liberators. The ATROCITIES of the SOVIET ARMY in Europe, which offer the true face of "liberators". Style, spelling, value judgments-copyright:
We have no moral right to honor army, which the obesčestila total rape children in front of their parents, massacres and torture of innocent civilians, looting and institutionalized looting.
Atrocities over the population (rape and torture and murder of civilians) of the "liberators" were engaged in Crimea. So, the Commander of the 4-th Ukrainian front Army General Petrov in order No. 074 from June 8, 1944 has branded "outrageous antics of" soldiers of the front on the Soviet territory of Crimea, reaching even to armed robbery and murder of local residents.
In Western Belarus and Western Ukraine atrocities "liberators" rose even more in the Baltic States, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania and Yugoslavia, where acts of violence against the local population took appalling proportions. But full of terror stepped on the territory of Poland. There were mass rapes of Polish women and girls, and the management of the army, which has belonged to the Poles, turned a blind eye to this.
Therefore, it is absolutely impossible to explain to these atrocities, "revenge of the Germans during the occupation". Poles in this occupation did not participate, but they were raped nearly to the same extent as Germans. Therefore, the explanation is to be found in the other.
Sex crimes (and not only in Germany, but even earlier in Poland) itself tarnished not only the soldiers and officers, but also the composition of the Soviet Army-General. Many Soviet generals-"liberators" raped local girls. A typical example: Major-General Berestov, Commander of the 6th Infantry Division of the 331, February 2, 1945 in Petershagene under the Preus-Čjlaj with one of his officers had raped the daughter of a local peasant woman, which he forced himself to serve, as well as the Polish girl (p. 349 in the cited book).
In General, almost all the Soviet General in Eastern Germany was involved in sex crimes in especially grave form: this child rape, rape with violence and mutilation (cutting off breasts, torment over women's sexual organs of all sorts of objects, eye gouging, cutting language stay nails, etc.)-and subsequent murder of the victims. Iohaim Hoffmann, on the basis of the documents, names the names of the main persons responsible for or involved in such crimes: the Marshal Zhukov, generals: Telegin, Cossacks, Rudenko, Malinin, Chernyakhovsky, Khokhlov, Razbijcev, glagolev Karpyankou, Lakhtarin, Râpasov, Andreev, hawks, Tymčik, Hams, Berestov, papchenko Zaretsky, etc.
All of them or personally raped German women and polaczek, or to have been accomplices in this by permitting and encouraging it by his instructions to the troops, and covering these sex crimes, that is a criminal offence under the criminal code and the USSR Squad article.
According to the most current research estimates that a minimum of GERMANY, in the winter of 1944 and the spring of 1945, Soviet soldiers and officers killed on the territory occupied by (usually rape of women and children, torture) 120,000 civilians (it is not killed in combat!). Another 200,000 innocent civilians were killed in the Soviet camps, more than 250,000 have died during deportation in February 3, 1945 began with Soviet labor slavery. Plus infinitely many died as a result of the occupation policy "blockade-as revenge for the siege of Leningrad (in the Königsberg died from hunger and inhumane conditions" artificial blockade "of the occupation for half a year 90,000 people).
Let me remind you that in October 1944, Stalin allowed the soldiers to send home with trophies (generals-16 kg-10 kg, officers, non-commissioned officers and privates-5 kg). As evidence letters from the front, this was taken so that "looting is expressly authorized by top management.
At the same time guide allowed soldiers to rape all the women. So, the Commander of the 6th Infantry Division of the 153 Eliseev announced troops in early October 1944.
"We go in East Prussia. The privates and officers are granted the following rights: 1) Destroy any German. 2) seizure of property. 3) rape of women. 4) robbery. 5) Soldiers captured ROA did not come from. They do not spend a single cartridge. They clog or trampled upon the feet ". (BA-MA, RH 2/2684, 18.11.1944)
The main maroderom was in the Soviet army Marshal G.k. Zhukov, who accepted the surrender of the German Wehrmacht. When he was in disgrace with Stalin and was transferred to the position of Commander of the Odessa military district, the Deputy Secretary of Defense Bulganin in a letter to Stalin in August 1946, reported that customs authorities detained 7 rail cars "with a total of 85 boxes of furniture company" Albin, "from Germany, which had to be transported to Odessa for the personal needs of Zhukov. In another report, dated January 1948 Stalin, Colonel-General of State Security said that when Abakumov "secret police" at the Moscow apartment of Zhukov and his summer residence found a large quantity of booty. Specifically, among other things listed: 24 pieces of gold watches, 15 gold necklaces with pendants, gold rings and other jewelry, 4000 metres of woollen and silk fabrics, more than 300 Sable,
I don't think it's generally helpful to characterize peoples by their past history. Almost certainly the atrocities were committed by Russians and Ukrainians alike. There are bloodstains on the hands of almost every nationality.
At mid-century, many countries committed or permitted evils, which they do not tolerate today.
If Russian soldiers (or more likely, the non-military "self-defense forces") are perpetrating outrages against the innocent, the world will soon know. In the age of camera phones, large-scale violence won't stay hidden long.
If on the other hand people motivated by hatred toward Russia fabricate or exaggerate atrocities, that also will be found out, and the falsification of these accusations will play into Russia's propaganda game.
I don't understand why military exercises can't be done on the other side of Russia, just as Russia is doing. There was at least a US ship whom the Iranians monitored that was there to evacuate any casualties of the Olympics in the Meditarranean. Once the Russian troops got started, there was no more news of the ship.
With great reluctance, and a sense of horror, I must report my personal conclusion that the Russian Federation is significantly likely to make war against Ukraine in the near future. This war of aggression would take the form of Russian forces sweeping into southeastern Ukraine, most likely along the Black Sea coast.
I estimate that Russia might initiate invasion of Ukraine's mainland as soon as Sunday (30 March). If no invasion has occurred by mid-April, I expect the likelihood of war to recede, at least until June.
Although Ukraine's military will resist with great courage and dedication, Russian forces are likely to progress with great speed. Likely Ukrainian war casualties will be in the thousands to tens of thousands.
It's difficult to know the planned territorial extent of the prospective Russian campaign. Though it would seem terribly reckless to take all of eastern Ukraine up to the banks of Dnipro -- or even the entirety of Ukraine! -- because Putin now functions as an autocrat, decisions will be based on his personal whim. Most likely, it would be limited to a Ukraine's easternmost cities, coalfields and steel mills, and a "land bridge" to Crimea.
I am contacting my closest friends in Ukraine, to encourage them to prepare to protect their personal safety.
If I am mistaken, it shall be a great relief to me.
* Russia is continuing its buildup on Ukraine's eastern border
* US estimates the number of Russian troops to have doubled from 20,000 to 40,000 in less than two weeks; Ukraine estimates more than 80,000
* In a Pentagon briefing Thursday, Rear Adm. John Kirby said the United States has seen "no specific indications" that Russian troops are in fact conducting military exercises along the border with Ukraine (exercises are the Russian cover story)
* Ukraine's foreign ministry says that "camps, communication systems, medical facilities and military field facilities have been set up in the area" of Ukraine's border, by the Russian military
* 40 Russian drone flights were reported in two days this week in Ukraine's eastern border control area
* Ukraine also reports that "On March 25, two trains up to 60 cars long arrived at Klimovo train station, about 16 miles northeast of Churovichi, carrying troops and equipment."
Why set up medical facilities for exercises?
Though US officials are talking about a possible invasion into Ukraine's south, Ukrainian reports of concentrations in the north (Bryansk and especially Churovichi) would be consistent with a thrust directly toward Kyiv. Of course, this doesn't prove an intention to attack Kyiv: the Kremlin's plan could be merely to threaten Kyiv, so that Ukraine's military command would be reluctant to concentrate its forces against the invasion to the south.
There is only one rational outcome and that is for Russia to pull out. Without the self determination of Ukraine, economic war can be the best outcome, but likely it will become a military conflict. The reality is that without that pull back, regardless of who is power, there will be an insurgency. People will accept being in the minority of a régime they do not want, however they will never tolerate being occupied. The economies of the world will suffer and this time it will be on the doorstep of Putin and the Russian people.
Well said. If Russia were to wage war, the damage to Russia itself would be enormous, and recovery from the catastrophe would not be possible before Putin left office (by death or other means).
I certainly hope that Putin's ministers have been urgently speaking sense to him during these past weeks.
A short time ago, Putin phoned US president Obama to discuss a diplomatic resolution. Who knows, maybe he heard some sense? I take it as a truly hopeful sign. At least, it would seem that the likelihood of invasion during the next few days is much abated.
Putin's conversations with Obama are an attempt understand what reaction the U.S. would have to further provocations. Unfortunately, everyone knows what it is. The only question is whether Putin decides if it is worth it. If the 10 year old deal to have Ukraine a protectorate is off, then give the weapons back and let it play itself out.
Your statement of laughing at Obama brought to mind a conversation I had with a woman in Sumy 5 years back. Se wanted to know why I would travel so far to find a wife. I told her that the only people in America that wanted to marry were men to men and women to women, which require my explanation of the political climate in America. She laughed hysterically for several minutes. During the Olympics that was the American's international topic,,,, "The intolerance of the Russians" to "Gay marriage". At that moment, forces were in place to assassinate opposition in Kiev and mobilization of troops to enter Crimea were being made. Though the regime fell, it was only a modification to the lie that preceded the invasion. There is a fox in the henhouse and an offer of Alpo to a wild animal is not what is on the fox's menu. You're not playing chicken with a "Chicken Head" it is just gay sex for another pipe load of free base,,, for those that know the hidden history.
Thanks for your link to the Reuters article. The only difference between the Putin regime and the Corleone family, is that the Corleones sold olive oil, whereas Putin has hydrogen bombs.
The reason I wrote "truly hopeful," is that Putin (so far, at least) has been taking some pains to clothe his actions in an appearance of legitimacy, citing European precedents, international courts and the like. This suggests to me that there is SOME constituency whose approval he is courting, as a law-abiding international citizen (however screwy his reasoning may seem to most of us).
If I am right, and he does want to "seem" legitimate, to agree to diplomatic consultation (which Obama claimed he did Friday) and then attack before the Kerry and Lavrov have even set a date for meeting, would seem to undermine his "playing by the rules" cover story.
Of course, if he has completely given up on the semblance of legitimacy, then this gesture carries little weight.
As an historical precedent, Adolf Hitler faked a provocation on the eve of his invasion of Poland. Even totalitarion dictators usually have an "audience" whose approval they seek to gain.
If Putin's reported diplomatic outreach is only a fake or delaying tactic, the world will know within a few days.
I am continuing to write to Ukrainian friends, suggesting that they make evacuation plans.
I thought this was interesting. But I don't like it!
Liberals think in fixed clichés, and a current favorite is that Europe represents the peaceful and enlightened future. Why, just look at ‘em --- everybody gets free health care, even if they kill babies (now legal in Belgium) and old people (when you run out of QALYs, statistical bets on your survival). Because medical care is a wholly owned state monopoly, if they give more care to Mary, John has to get less. Fair’s fair.
Except for the rich and politically connected, who will always find a way.
In fact, of course, Europe is not an island of peace in the world. Every international war since Napoleon has started in Europe. Which is why the European Union has one overriding goal: To avoid another European war.
The deadly flaw in the Eurosocialist scheme is its inability and unwillingness to defend itself. Europe has cannibalized its military to feed the welfare state. On top of that, socialist Europe has deliberately imported millions of Muslims to provide cheap welfare votes for the ruling class.
Every year the bureaucracy in Brussels sends out thousands of edicts to its member nations, draining away their sovereignty step by step. The national parliaments, including the Brits, let this happen because they have lifetime jobs in the EU power structure.
The EU has carved away its own electoral legitimacy; you can vote for your Member of the European Parliament, but s/he doesn’t have any power. They can talk, and that’s all. It is nothing but that famous old Potemkin village.
This is clearly suicidal. Millions of Muslims are now infiltrating the West, and the West shows no sign of defending itself. Our “leaders” are not even allowed to name the enemy.
Vladimir Putin is not a sentimentalist, and has made a lifelong study of Soviet socialism (which failed), and Eurosocialism (which lives in never-neverland). Russia dealt mercilessly with Muslim Chechnya. Its whole history involvedresisting Muslim powers like the Ottoman Turks.
A Europe that cannot defend itself needs an outside power to protect it. The United States has played that role since the end of World War II. We could do it, because we were a serious power, the most civilized protective power in history.
Today, under a liberal foreign policy establishment, led by Obama, Hillary, Kerry, and all the other little dwarves, the United States is withdrawing its military protection from its allies. In Europe, Obama has signaled that the U.S. will not protect the Ukraine, much less Crimea. Russia now has a naval port in Syria and is establishing a naval presence in Venezuela and Cuba.
Obama’s “red lines” are a joke.
Everybody except liberals are seeing danger: If the United States withdraws from the Gulf, the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, and Pacific, our allies must scramble for protection.
Russia is the logical protector for the morally flabby welfare states of Europe. In France, the nationalist party of Marine Le Pen has already started overtures to the Russians. It is a logical move, because the French see their country being overrun by millions of Muslims who burn thousands of cars on a regular basis with impunity, to demonstrate their power. Intimidation is a basic principle of jihad. That is the purpose of terror attacks, to spread fear.
The EU does nothing to protect its citizens, showing over and over again that the ruling class has sold out to Arab and Iranian oil money. Tony Blair took millions from Muammar Gaddafi. Jacques Chirac grabbed even more from Saddam Hussein. The neo-fascist Italian Five Star Movement is practically run by Tehran.
Without America, Europe must therefore turn to Moscow, but this time something much closer to the old Russian Empire.
￼Putin is all about power, in the traditional Russian fashion, and power is fluid. Right now Russia is on one of its expansionist evers, and Putin is likely to get away with it.
Europe has the wealth to buy protection, and Russia has the force of will and moral conviction to fight when necessary.
Putin knows the West because he served as the KGB rezident in East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Through the East German Stasi, the KGB ran spies into the top levels of the West German government -- just as the KGB penetrated the British, French, and U.S. governments. Putin has little faith in liberal dreams, having seen them in reality. Putin is a very smart, ruthless, and realistic man. He is surrounded by people like himself.
Obama is withdrawing U.S. military protection from our allies, on the historically dubious bet that everything will turn out all right. Like millions of fatuous liberals, Obama thinks that a world-governing socialism is the answer. UN-believers live for such fantasies. They are eager to trade American independence for their fuzzy dreams.
Unless America turns around and finds its true self again, there can only be two winners in Europe: Imperial Islam or Imperial Russia.
Both of them spell the end of American world power. The rule of international power is, and has always been, if you don’t control your destiny, some more ruthless power will do so.
Russia's military is still massed in forced on Ukraine's border. NATO estimates that this force is prepared to attack within 12 hours of receiving orders.
Russia continues to claim that this buildup is "military exercises," although western intelligence services have seen no sign of exercises taking place (note: in military exercises, the forces don't just sit in camp, but rather conduct maneuvers).
Russia claimed a few days ago that it was drawing the forces back from the border, but all that has been observed is the shifting of perhaps 200 troops, not more than one-half percent of the soldiers on the border; and even this small unit was not moved far from Ukraine.
Metaphorically, Russia's gun is pointed at Ukraine's chest, is loaded and cocked, with a hair trigger.
An interesting article in Foreign Policy suggested that the most likely time of attack is April and the first half of May, due to weather conditions, and the rotation of Russia's conscripts. The author said that if war would not start soon, conscripts who were due to end their service and return to civilian life would be held in the services, causing domestic political backlash. I wonder how important this consideration would be, given Putin's authoritarian posture.
Perhaps most importantly, the Foreign Policy article said that Ukraine's capacity to defend itself militarily is already strong and growing stronger with each passing month. The author believes that if Russia does not invade by summer, Ukraine's defensive strength will foreclose the possibility of successful invasion.
In my opinion, Putin might invade in the next few weeks in order to prevent the Ukrainian election, or soon after the election if he is particularly unhappy with how things are going with the new government. At present, Russia is loudly proclaiming that Ukraine's government is illegitimate, a coup or putsch, and the Russia will NEVER recognize it. When the provisional government -- based significantly on the demands of Maidan protesters -- has been replaced by a government chosen in free and fair national elections, accusations of illegitimacy will become so hollow that only Putin arse-lickers will accept them.
I say all this with a proviso: for Russia to make war on Ukraine would be insane, and I hope that Putin understands this. It would mean the end of his power, his wealth, and quite possibly his life. It might actually result in the breakup of the Russian Federation. However, I think it a mistake to assume that because it is madness, we can be sure that Putin won't do it.
In recent days (and hours):
1. Ukraine has arrested a group (and seized its formidable weapons cache) in Lugansk, claiming that this group planned an anti-government attack for next Thursday.
2. Russia has arrested some Ukrainians living or visiting in the Russian Federation, claiming that they were sent by the security service of Ukraine's government, to make attacks against Russia. Three of the arrested men have "confessed" on Russian television.
3. Today attacks were made by pro-Russian protesters on government buildings in Luganks and Donetsk.
In my judgment, all three of these may represent Kremlin-orchestrated activities intended to give a pretext for Russian action against Ukraine -- quite possibly, war. Item 2 is particularly absurd, to those understanding anything at all about Ukraine; no loyal officer in Ukraine's government would agree with such a stupid and harmful plot as alleged by the Kremlin.
I worry that these Russian attempts to provide excuses for invasion, may signal that Russia is still planning to make war.