RT reported Putin has asked the upper house of parliament for authority to use the armed forces to stabilize the situation in Ukraine. The request is for the entire Ukraine, not just Crimea. The Federation Council opened the parlimentary session to the Russian national anthem just hours ago. The session was televised live on RT with several speeches and a unanimous vote to support the decision. One senator suggested recalling the Russian ambassador in Washington in response to the inflammatory speech given by Obama yesterday. History in the making.
Sergei Aksenov, the new Crimean prime minister asked Putin for military assistance after revealing armed thugs from Kiev attempted to take over several Crimean state buildings last night. Local citizen self defense squads repelled the attacks. He placed all Ukrainian armed forces and police in Crimea under his personal command. This is after the events of two nights ago when unidentified, incredibly disciplined forces appeared at Simferopol apparently thwarting the arrival of Tartar "jihadists" and weapons from Turkey. This incident is well reported by the Saker and Moon of Alabama.
Klitschko in Kiev just called for Ukrainian mobilization to face an imminent Russian invasion. Do the upstarts in Kiev have any control over the Ukrainian armed forces? RT just reported a Ukrainian naval vessel steaming in the Black Sea lowered the Ukrainian flag, raised the Russian flag and headed for Sevastopol. Surely Russian officers have been talking with their Ukrainian counterparts to gauge their loyalty. Undoubtedly some of these Ukrainian forces will greet the Russian columns as liberators and assist in controlling airfields and maintaining order. GRU Spetznaz teams have undoubtedly been monitoring Ukrainian forces and are prepared to act at the right moment. They will certainly target the Maidan neonazi hooligans and their Western supporters with cold, lethal precision. The SVR is collecting most, if not all, activist communications to aid the impending military operations and to further expose the mounting evidence of Western perfidy. Long range reconnaissance troops will soon be clearing routes into the Ukrainian heartland. Any of us who trained to face the Soviet 3rd Shock Army across the Fulda Gap knows this was standard procedure decades ago.
Yes, the tanks will be rolling in a matter of days. Once they cross the border, I doubt they will stop until they are in Kiev and at the Polish border.
With respect, why the hell should they head on to Kiev and the Polish border?
As I used to explain to the daughter of my West Ukrainian sister-in-law, it was one of Stalin’s great mistakes to incorporate the areas of Ukraine which had been part of the Hapsburg Empire and then of Poland into the Soviet Union. Had he not done that, the Soviets could probably have completed the Russification of the South and East; while the Ukrainian nationalists could have gone on shooting Polish policemen, as they had before 1939.
Unless Putin really is stupid — and nothing in his record suggests that he is — he will be eminently happy to dump the West Ukraine onto the EU.
As to Russian policy towards those regions which were part of the Russian Empire before 1914, the problem for the Russians would seem to be how to assess what to do, in a situation where it is unclear in which direction many people in these areas will want to turn.
This is an immensely difficult problem, particularly because the situation is quite palpably in flux. How the Russian authorities will choose to handle it remains, in my view, very difficult to gauge. But then, Putin and his associates have lived through a revolution, and accordingly know how unstable revolutionary situations are. In my view, they would probably prefer to avoid leading with their chin — to use an old English phrase.
I, at first, hesitated saying the Russians will push on to Kiev and the Polish border for all the valid reasons you mentioned. However, the goal of this invasion is to restore order. That will not be accomplished until the Maidan crowd and their Western co-conspirators are convinced that they lost this one. Anything short of that and order is not restored. Perhaps they will come to this conclusion when the Russian tanks are in Kharkov. I think it will take more than that. Maybe it will be Ukrainian tanks on the Polish border and in Kiev, but I seriously doubt the Russians will stop until all the hooligan leaders are rounded up.
I think a Ukrainian federation with broad regional autonomy would be an ideal solution for the Russians where the western oblasts will seek closer economic integration (aid) from the EU and the US, the eastern oblasts will be closely incorporated into the Russian sphere and the pipelines will continue to function across all of Ukraine.
I wrote this before reading your response to my earlier comment, but as I am heading out now, it seems to post it as written, as it might stimulate debate.
From ‘Voice of Russia’:
‘US President Barack Obama’s warning that Russia would have to pay for a planned military intervention in Crimea is “a direct threat,” a deputy head of Russia’s upper house of parliament said on Saturday, saying Obama has “crossed the red line and insulted the Russian people.”
“Yesterday we heard from various media sources that the US president, Obama, had said Russia would pay dearly for its policy. We know that Maidan militants who were active in Kiev, and not only there, had been trained in Lithuania and Poland. Now they want to spread their influence with their activities to eastern regions of Ukraine and Crimea,” Federation Council Deputy Chairman Yury Vorobyov said at an upper house session.’
(See http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_03_01/Putin-to-decide-whether-to-send-troops-to-Ukraine-recall-ambassador-from-US-depending-on-developments-Peskov-8653/ )
Is it the case that ‘Maidan militants’ were trained in Lithuania and Poland? Your sources of information are probably better than those available to me.
Also from ‘Voice of Russia’:
‘Ukraine nationalist leader calls on “most wanted” terrorist Umarov “to act against Russia”. A leader of the Ukrainian radical group Pravy Sektor (Right Sector), Dmitry Yarosh, has called on Russia’s most wanted terrorist Doku Umarov to act against Russia in an address posted on Right Sector’s page in VKontakte social network.’
(See http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_03_01/Ukraine-nationalist-leader-urges-top-terrorist-Umarov-to-act-against-Russia-6033/ )
In your view, is this Russian disinformation – or may it be accurate?
I am afraid you are correct. With parliamentary permission to protect fellow Russians, the spearheads of tanks will not stop on the East Bank of the Dieper River but keep driving forward until faced by an opposing force of Polish Twardy Main Battle Tanks and A-10 Warthogs overhead. To survive NATO has to defend Poland; a variation of the start of WWII.
Just like America forgot the Vietnam War, the Russians will overlook their Afghanistan occupation. Catholic Western Ukrainians will resist the Russian occupation for God and Home. Cold War II has reignited.
Incineration of mankind is a real possibility with the masters of the universe in charge advised by baby faced R2Pers and delusional neo-cons.
The most recent post by ‘the Saker’ seems to me to the point. An extract:
‘In the past days I have listened to many Russian experts, lots of talkshows, political statements, etc. and I was amazed by the fact that nobody even suggested that Russia should intervene militarily. Everybody agreed that Russia should support the Russian speakers in the Ukraine politically, financially, and morally. But nobody mentioned the use of force. So what happened since?
‘1) some kind of attack on Crimea overnight
‘2) Obama’s absolutely imbecile and reckless threats against Russia
‘And this combination really set things off. Now, every single political party in the Council of the Federation and every single representative have voted to allow the use of Russian armed force. That would be the equivalent of the US President getting each member of the House and the Senate to vote to allow him to wage war.
‘I need to make something else clear here: no amounts of threats will stop the Kremlin now, all that will achieve is to get even more of the public reaction of support for Putin. And if some wannabe Napoleon or Hitler decided to try to use military forces against Russia the latter will go to war, no matter who is standing against it.
‘The USA and the EU have to realize that they dangerously overplayed their hand in the Ukraine: they have used neo-Nazis to overthrow a totally corrupt and incompetent President, but a legitimate one, in the process they have wrecked the Ukrainian state apparatus, by allowing so much wanton violence and racist slogans they have totally freaked out the eastern and southern Ukraine, and by either conducting or allowing an attack on Crimea they have threatened the Russian population and the Black Sea Fleet. That is yet another absolute and TOTAL DISASTER of the Obama Presidency. This man is as dishonest, as he is mediocre, arrogant and reckless and I hope and pray that the US Joint Chiefs are going to have a “frank exchange of views” with him as soon as possible. In an ideal world, the Congress should have impeached that despicable loser, but since they are even worse then him, it is for the JCS to act.’
(See http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/obama-just-made-things-much-much-worse.html )
It may indeed well be that we need to pin our hopes on General Dempsey. It seems an awful burden to place upon him!
VV, I wouldn’t think an occupation is in the plan, but a show of force and competence. Putin could then graciously turn east Ukraine over to the tender ministrations of the West, and walk happily away with the Crimea and the loyalty of west Ukraine.
I think an occupation and annexation of at least part of Ukraine is likely. pl
Think Moldova and the Transnistra- the latter is a breakaway part of Moldova that is a de facto independent state. It is not recognized by most nations or international organizations. But Russia and Russian mililatry forces stationed there keep it from being reabsorbed into Moldova. Because of the Russian military contingent present in Transnistria, the European Court of Human Rights considers Transnistria “under the effective authority or at least decisive influence of Russia. That is what we might get in Krim (Crimea).
Also there are reports that the US intel community less than a week ago was certain that there would be no Russian military action. The siloviki had completely conviced US intel people and diplomats that there would be nothing like what has happened. Again, this was the same intel community that said Assad was on his last legs in Syria.
Russia, should she elect to intervene militarily in Ukraine, will have no reason to leave a rump Ukraine in the Western part to be used as a NATO bridgehead.
They will have to play for keeps or not at all; in my opinion.
Sorry, switch my east and west.
The Russians are expert in partition of nation-states on their borders! My guess is the Dnieper will become the new dividing line between an East and West Ukraine and Russia will leave the Ukraine with its Facist thugs to deal with.
And again President Obama listening to the R2P faction in National Security Circles.
Personally I have long viewed the Neo-Cons as Crypto-Facists and perhaps the R2P is also a cover story.
The US financial exchanges are all up as they were after 12/7/1941 and after the Start of the Battle of the Bulge in December 1945!
The only big political question for the year is whether the 2014 fall elections are a referendum on this President or rather turn on indivudal States and their local government issues.
I find it of particular interest that none seem to know exactly why NK gave the Crimea to the Ukraine? My guess is he was paid to do so!
“I think an occupation and annexation of at least part of Ukraine is likely. pl”
Thank you, Colonel. How about a corridor encompassing the Dneiper?
How do the Cold War old hands here feel at seeing this? It feels like, as the good Colonel said, I am watching history being made. Its a fascinating time to be alive.
Personally after reading books about the Soviet forces and their capabilities and methods, I have no small amount of professional interest in seeing how the Russian military performs. If the soccer hooligans think to repeat their actions in Kiev’s square (charging a riot line with baseball bats and football helmets) with the Russians, Ithink they’ll get a short sharp lesson in why that’s a mistake.
Could be, but I am inclined to think TTG is right. They will go to the Polish border. pl
CNN up with photo of Tanks moving in Sevastopol….
Imagine that Victoria the witch has recognized that her position is, add an ed to the first word of her recent published profanity.
Sir, I was not disagreeing with TTG, just saying they might to it for show, then withdraw. Occupying such a large country seems economic and administrative overkill, as VV said.
Some interests in US have been pushing to allow export of natural gas. I believe it’s been championed by an Alaskan senator. Of course Big Oil/Gas want it too.
If this crisis causes a disruption of gas from Russia to Ukraine and other parts of Europe and becomes a crisis, would US pass emergency law to allow natural gas export to help our European friends? Western media is working overtime to generate sympathy.
If so, is it possible that this was the point of the whole Ukraine thing from the start, or at least a factor? Large scale export of natural gas (which supposedly we stepped up drilling to reduce our dependency on foreign oil & gas, but everyone knows oil companies want to get it out on the open market where they can get a higher price and what are the LG terminals for?)
“is it possible that this was the point of the whole Ukraine thing from the start.” The faith in economic determinism dies hard. pl
I have to admit I got a little thrill
out of watching Russian special operations
units doing their thing, by all accounts,
quickly, surgically, professionally, quietly
and in support of genuine national strategic
Wish we could do that type of thing still.
THe Russians are going to need to get control of the Three reservoirs and the bridges over the Dneiper quick smart if they want to get to the Polish border. We will see if the Ukranians are competent enough to open the spillways and blow the bridges.
With reports like the following of claims by the ultra-nationaists/neo-nazi fascists who appear to be running things in Kiev, one can see the value of restoring real order throughout Ukraine. Can Russia afford to let groups like this remain loose given the significant nuclear power infrastructure in Western Ukraine – as crazy as these claims may appear??
“Calls in Kiev to ‘regain nuclear status in six months’
Agree entirely. Maybe I dont understand the strength of the US position but it seems to me that Obama has nothing behind his threats.
IF (and I stress the IF), the media reports of US “intelligence” misreading Russia and NOT anticipating the latest military moves, we’re back to the same old question:
Just WHAT do we get for the trillions spent (pissed away) by the so-called “intelligence” community?
This is about oil, but along those lines.
From the Voice of Russia:
Thank you, Col. Lang, and others for your thoughts. This is a bit of trivia, but I found it interesting.
My wife went to a NY Met broadcast of _Prince Igor_ by Borodin (finished by Rimsky-Korsakov) here in Thessaloniki tonight and the singers included folks who had trained in Russia, the Ukraine, Georgia and Slovakia. This was the first Met performance of it 100 years. The plot seems to foreshadow events of recent days: https://www.metoperafamily.org/metopera/season/synopsis/prince-igor?src=hdpage
David Habakkuk and all,
You asked if Pravy Sektor’s Dmitry Yarosh is crazy enough to call on Doku Umarov to act against Russia. Judging by the numerous reports of outrageous statements by the Maidan upstarts, including seeking nuclear weapons, I believe so. His hatred for Russia is that strong. Hatred is a peculiar thing in that region of the world. It is deep, virulent and long lasting.
Anonymous Ukraine also obtained some damning emails from Klitschko to a Lithuanian official. Here are some excerpts:
“Your colleague has arrived and started working with my team. He’s a real pro and I think his services may be required even after the country is destabilized. I’ve also met your people from the Embassy. The information about Yanukovych’s plans they handed me is very important for our common cause. I would like to receive this kind of information on a permanent basis.”
“I think we’ve paved the way for more radical escalation of the situation. Isn’t it time to proceed with more decisive actions? I also want you to consider the possibility of increasing funding to pay for the services of our supporters.”
Yes, the West is up to the hilt in this conspiracy. When all the documents come out, it will be damning. Being of Lithuanian descent, I am familiar with that peculiar regional brand of hatred. I feel that hatred towards those duplicitous, sleazy neocon scumbags that put my country (USA) in this situation. In another time and place, I’d gut the lot of them and leave their worthless carcasses for the ravens.
IMO if the Russians decide to go into this, they will do so for a decisive conclusion – I’m not yet convinced that they have decided to do that. Stopping where they are now (controlling Crimea, driving the narrative elsewhere) may be enough to for them.
The wild-card will be that external events may create circumstances where they really have no choice politically but to react…
This is NOT about oil. You are yet another economic determinist idiot. pl
The Russians learned their lesson in Afghanistan. Zbig and crew knew or at least felt that if they could break them there, then the Soviet Union would be in the cards.
I would be surprised if Putin undertakes a half ass effort here.
I did not say it was. I offered the article only to show that such thoughts are also a consideration of the Russians. I am not an economic determinist, though I admit I have been trained to think that way. Economics play a part in this, and to disregard them completely would be, IMO, an error. As to the idiot part, guilty as charged.
Slightly off topic, but related to current events in the Ukraine.
I am inserting this comment on TTG’s post, since I have the utmost respect for his point of view.
Col. Lang, perhaps this deserves a separate post, with your observations along with all other correspondents’ views.
The New York Review of Books has an excellent article by Timothy Snyder, Yale historian and author of “Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin”. I know that I have hyped his book before.
The article contains probably the most balanced narrative of recent events in the Ukraine, along with descriptions of all the participants.
Looking at my comment in response Gemini333, I could see what you saw. When I said ‘this is about oil’ I was referring only to the VOR article. My apologies for the vagueness of my pronouns.
Snyder certainly has a point about the haze of propaganda and problems getting the story right. His original post referred to the now-discredited golden toilet story, which Snyder has mentioned repeatedly in recent interviews and articles. In fairness the story does seem to have originated in Ukraine, not the West, and the fact that it seems to have been fairly widely believed speaks volumes about Yanukovych.
I agree with you that Russia will help to restore the constitutional order in all of Ukraine, but I doubt tanks will be the main instrument to do it.
As I understand Putin’s way of thinking he will use money and gas as the main tools to do it. So, who wants higher pensions and cheaper gas shall line up with Russia, who wants IMF austerity and higher gas prices shall line up with EU and NATO. Nobody will want IMF austerity, not even in the western Ukraine. Then the people shall throw out the EU/NATO puppets. Of course backed up by the full force of the Russian military to ensure nobody will disrupt that strategy based on the people’s will with military force.
The main goal of that operation will be a psychologic transformation of Ukraine, the end game will be kicking out all the agents and lackeys of NATO and EU, and get in charge some Ukrainian patriots and nationalists – placed above the crony tycoons ruling Ukraine today – who will naturally ally with Russia against the threat of the EU’s liberalism and NATO’s imperialism.
The process will start in the south and the east, yesterday Crimea, today Kharkov and Donetsk, tomorrow Odessa and then all the east and all the coast including almost all of Ukraine’s industry base, which is the basis for Kiev’s economy. Putin will then back up these regions with aid, energy and orders for their industry, and people in more western parts of Ukraine will compare where living is better. As the EU and NATO will predictably fail to throw enough money at Western Ukraine to stay aflaot – and pay their huge bills for gas imports from Russia – people in more western parts of Ukraine will want to join the eastern economic spheres and so create a ripple effect up to the polish border. Having strong Ukrainian nationalists allied with Russia to defend Ukrainian independence will help to win over public support in western Ukraine.
As I see it, that’s the plan. The tanks are just for backup.
See the writing on the walls here: Gazprom Mulls Cancelling Ukraine Gas Discount Over Debt
Which western country will give the Kiev coup regime a billion of Dollar monthly so Kiev can pay the huge bills for their Russian gas imports?
Won’t they come from Belarus and Southern Ukraine? Seems to me the more logical way of reaching the Polish border
As demonstrated by the posts of Col. Lang, Saker and others – plus a simple understanding of how Putin (and many in Russia) see the world – this is seen about Russia national interests. Ukraine borders Russia, holds the only warm water Russian port, and has a significant Russian-speaking part of the population. Should Putin allow Ukraine to fall out from under his orbit the damage to his image and strategy for the new Russia would be seriously damaged, and he likely sees any independent Ukraine ruled by those with neo-fascist leanings a potential cause of ongoing instability along his border.
What no one seems to have thought through in Moscow, Washington or Kiev (or European capitals) are scenarios relating to secondary and tertiary affects of the crisis. I’m certainly no East European or Russia specialist, thus would welcome the group’s further thoughts around whether the Ukrainian military and paramilitary elements will fight when confronted by Russian forces outside of the Crimea. And whether any militant attacks against Russian troops will be further seized upon by Putin as a reason to widen the scale and scope of military intervention. Russian troops on the Polish border would certainly up the ante.
From an oil and gas perspective, the issue of concern is gas – that is what Europe depends upon from Russia. In turn, it demonstrates a vulnerability for Russia as Moscow is extremely vulnerable to drops in commodity prices, similar to what happened to the USSR (drop in commodity prices reduced the USSR’s cash reserves to the point where Moscow was unable to cover its costs). The current crisis was not the start of the concern over natural gas supply, as both Europeans and Moscow have long seen Ukraine as a risk with respect to a point of gas pipeline location. This has seen multiple ideas for alternative gas pipeline routes that avoid Ukraine. For instance, South Stream is a gas pipeline to transport Russian natural gas through the Black Sea to Bulgaria and further to Greece, Italy and Austria. Construction started in December 2012, with a first commercial deliveries expected in late 2015 if things go to plan. The Nabucco pipeline was pushed by many in the West to reduce European dependence upon Russian gas. Nabucco-West (modified from original) proposed a natural gas pipeline from the Turkish-Bulgarian border to Austria. It is a modification of the original Nabucco Pipeline project, which was to run from Erzurum in Turkey to Baumgarten an der March in Austria. The original project was backed by several European Union member states and by the United States, and was seen as a rival to the South Stream pipeline project. The main supplier was expected to be Iraq, with potential supplies from Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Egypt. The main supply for the Nabucco West was to be Shah Deniz gas through the proposed Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline (TANAP). Construction of Nabucco-West depended on the gas export route decision by the Shah Deniz consortium, thus after Shah Deniz consortium decision to prefer the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline over Nabucco, Nabucco’s shareholders have put things on hold. Uncertainty in Iraq and the likely reality that Iraqi Kurdistan does not have sufficient volumes to fill the needed part of the line are also part of the issue.
My favorite report involved the Spetznatz apologizing about all the fuss when they invaded the air fields and explaining it was a “just in case” measure to people.
“I feel that hatred towards those duplicitous, sleazy neocon scumbags that put my country (USA) in this situation. In another time and place, I’d gut the lot of them and leave their worthless carcasses for the ravens. ”
Give it some time. You might just get your wish. And hopefully you can show me how it’s done.
The only U.S. LNG Export facility operating is in Kenai, Ak with 100% going to Japan. The other four authorized facilities in the Gulf of Mexico will come on line 2015/2016 through 2022. Thus we can only offer a drop in the bucket should the EU require that assistance.
Yes, that makes a lot of sense. Thank you (to all responses). What got me thinking along those lines was some comments from neocon sympathizer, Frum.
Tyler: Not long ago you were impressed by the soccer hooligan’s hutzpah. What changed?
Eli Lake seems to have a lot of official sources who talk to him and give him interviews (e.g. had a recent one with Keith Alexander) but I have the hardest time believing that US intelligence didn’t predict a Russian invasion. To me, it seems impossible, not credible.
I am baffled. Is this just more disinformation? Or could they possibly be that incompetent? What am I missing? Did US intel really not predict it or give it a high probability?
“Eli Lake @EliLake 10h
My me and @csdickey last night on how the US intel community did not predict a Russian invasion of #Ukraine”
He links to this DailyBeast article: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/28/u-s-spies-said-no-invasion-putin-disagreed.html
Not to mention that Chevron just signed a $10 Billion gas deal with Ukraine.
Obviously, the hope in Europe (and the US) is that Ukrainian shale will make Europe much less dependent on Russia gas, damage the foundations of the Russian economy, and pull the rug right out from under Putin.
The stakes here are pretty high for Putin. I expect he will try to establish facts on the ground that will force any negotiations to accommodate Russian strategic interests in the gas industry.
Col. sir am not sure if the link works…what exactly is going on here I could not even begin to imagine? Well I can…
The headline reads: The ex-Israeli soldier who led a Kiev fighting unit,’Delta’ has headed ‘the Blue Helmets of Maidan’ of 40 men and women – including several IDF veterans – in violent clashes with government forces.
I’m actually not an economic determinist. But in this situation, I probably am an idiot. The idea about natural gas exports came as I was taking note of various neocons or neocon sympathizers that I’ve seen on news or in various place on the net, looking for some clue about what their reasoning is for pushing this. I find them to be loathesome, dangerous to the nation, and I don’t understand their thinking much at all. So the idea came from looking for clues in the things they said. That probably does make me an idiot.
I read here a lot, trying to learn, attempting to understand things I deeply care about — like what’s being done to my country and the world. I rarely if ever comment. Think I’ll go back to just reading.
Believe me, the urge to crawl back into one’s hole after be called out by the Colonel is a strong one. But stick with it. I think you’ll find it’s worth while.
Hang in there, gentlemen. It is definitely worth it to read this website, and to learn from our host’s thoughts on world affairs.
Heck, the first time that Colonel Lang spanked me (I deserved it) ended up giving me the opportunity to spend some time with him in person, and it was one of the most informative (and fun) experiences in my long life. And I got the chance to learn about calf fries and cowboy boots, too.
So live and learn, and don’t lose faith. The Committee of Correspondence is well worth your attention
I’m with TTG and the Colonel; Russia takes all and goes to the border. The sure thing. It then has the time and control to root out the trouble makers and re-install the elected gov’t. From there they could let Ukraine split up or stay together with more autonomy for regions. Whatever the result, it would be under their auspices and not NATO’S. Whatever the result, Obama gets served some $_it Pie – hopefully for us, he eats it.
I can respect the courage that took, but then they decided they wanted to be the attack dogs for the local EU big man. I can’t respect tools.
The tribe in the thick of it, again, apparently.
The Chevron deal (and any other deals with Shell or others) would take many years to develop; note the exploration investment of USD 350 million as a start. The amount of gas noted in the reuters article denotes gas deposits in bcf (billion cubic feet), which is much smaller than the tcf (trillion square feet) numbers you see in the Middle East, Australia, Russia and elsewhere. That said, it could certainly support domestic needs, but from a value generation perspective export sale of the gas would need priority I’d think for any major oil company to get involved, unless the domestic market purchased gas on an equivalent price basis to the international market (in many instances domestic gas is subsidized or under pressure to sell at reduced prices). Thus the strategic issue is transhipment of Russian gas, plus the potential for domestic gas to reduce reliance on Russian imports. But these aren’t the drivers of what is going on today I’d suggest, but are certainly drawn into calculations as a subset of Putin’s broader interests.
What is the basis for your understanding of western Ukrainian psychology? The ones I know would have no part of what you describe.
People I know there and got known when I was there.
I speak about ordinary Ukrainian people there with simple professions, not academics and big whigs who have the luxoriy of choice and staying anyway financially well and on top.
I see two main factors driving these people:
– desire to improve financially
– Ukrainian nationalism
If becoming closer to EU means becoming even poorer as now, than almost nobody of the people I know there will want to be closer to the EU. Money is the most driving factor in this regard, and it’s even more important than nationalism. For the people I know the perspective of getting easier Visa and work permits is the main source of the drive to the EU. However, when that means the finanical situation worsens for the people not dependent on the EU as money source, many people will get very angry there. From the most people I know there, the nationalism there is much less anti-Russian than it is portrayed in media. From what I see, what most nationalis people there want is leaders who “play for team Ukraine” instead of being only selfish frauds or puppets for either Russia or the EU.
How will the Ukrainian military react? Will they follow Kiev’s orders? Will they oppose the Russians?
What is the status of the Ukrainian army, as divided as the rest of the country. Or will they continue not to get involved?
I can see that the new Chief of Staff is a West Ukrainian.
Ironic that he is born in the town of Svoboda.
But it is about Gas, that heats Germany next Winter
IMO you have cracked the code. pl
All – In agreement with those who said the Polish Border. Sends a clear message to the EU and especially the US, stay out of the Russian backyard! Would the US do any different in Mexico.
Do we have any James Baker III’s left in the National Security Apparatus? General Dempsey, hopefully.
Fanatics and dilettantes have led us from one Foreign policy disaster to another.
Just what export restrictions does the US have? LNG is a commodity just like oil. There is zero need to destroy US credibility and bring the world to the brink of WWIII to export natural gas.
We get an administration that reads it’s citizens emails, blog posts and listens on their calls. Who else would vote the incumbents out of office?
I can see Russian federation ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin calling on Samantha Power to explain the US’s conduct- after presenting the evidence to the general Assembly. Obama’s legacy will be secure.
I am half French. Personal abuse in conversation with friends is part of my culture. “Cretin” would have been a common description directed at me at my parents table and I usually deserved it. This kind of conversation did not mean they did not want me around. pl
Eliot and Poul
Will the Ukrainian army fight the Russian army? I would think that is the priority intelligence requirement in Moscow and Kiev. I’m sure Moscow is using every intelligence capability at its disposal to discover the answer. Kiev may be relying on hope. RT and RIA Novosti are saying the majority of Ukrainian troops in Crimea have switched sides to the new Crimean authorities. Not a shot fired. Those who did not switch sides resigned or simply left. Of course, this is Crimea. What happens in western Ukraine is not as certain, but it is a good first indicator. That Ukrainian ship that switched allegiance yesterday was the flagship of the Ukrainian fleet returning from a NATO exercise in the Gulf of Aden.
As I said earlier, the Russian officers are undoubtedly talking with their Ukrainian counterparts to gauge and influence their allegiances. They will continue to aggressively do so. The Ukrainian forces have suffered due to Ukraine’s economic woes. Their equipment is one or two generations older than Russia’s and maintenance has suffered. When faced with a better equipped and better maintained Russian armored column, Ukrainian units will think twice before laying down their lives for the twerps in Kiev.
“Upon the breakup of the Soviet Union, Ukraine inherited the third largest nuclear weapons stockpile in the world after the Russian Federation and the United States. However, …Ukraine committed to full disarmament…and having transferred all of its nuclear warheads to Russia for elimination, became nuclear-weapon-free in 1996.
Ukraine retains significant nuclear expertise, fuel cycle capabilities, and a large nuclear power program. Ukraine’s first nuclear power plant was commissioned in 1977, and another 15 plants have come online since then, generating approximately half of the country’s electricity supply…. As outlined in its 2006 energy plan, nuclear power will continue to play a significant role in Ukraine’s energy portfolio for the foreseeable future.”
Does Right Sector want a nuclear capability? Do the Crimean Tartars? Do any of the extremely violent myrmidons who carried out the coup want nuclear weapons?
The hypocrisy of the group of people who instigated the second Iraq war is literally beyond belief.
Ukraine is 233K sq. mi., Afghanistan 252K, Texas 268K, and Zbig is still around. But considering dirty bombs and loose nukes, maybe he’d better get on the stick.
But I think he’s a cautious man, well-versed in history. Would it be better to secure the Crimea and eastern Ukraine, while letting the western half simmer awhile. It’s not going anywhere.
The Crimea a small bite for Russia. Easter Ukraine a big bite! Predict the big bite. Putin believes he understands the WEST after long service for the KGB in St. Petersberg.
Putin is wrong! And he and President Obama have again demonstrated their singular lack of understanding of geo-politics.
The Chinese licking their lips and laughing at how their
stealth diplomacy succeeding. Don’t look just at Red China’s demographics but also at the world wide Chinese diaspora.
What should happen? Obama should announce the end of US participation in NATO! And that Russia or anyone else who wishes Western Civilization to exist west of the URALS can join up to ramp up opposition to the Han Chinese and Islamic radicals/jihadis. And Obama should not continue to fight to keep an American presence in Afghanistan.
Look east not west for the next major war[perhaps nuclear?]
Your Scots-Irish side isn’t exactly chopped liver.
An opposing view to the one I expressed above from someone who is undoubtedly far more expert than I am (zero):
“I suppose you all know that the notion of the Ukies developing their own nuclear weapons is laughable, so I will not bother dwelling on it now.”
There are several videos of “heavily armed men with white ribbons” in the Crimea. I do not believe that these are fully trained soldiers. Can one of the professionals here please take a look and let me know their opinion? Thanks.
IMO there are several kinds of Russian and pro-Russian forces involved. Some are probably regular spetsnaz (commandos)like the green uniformed soldiers at the airports and coast guard bases. Others like these are probably some sort of paramilitary force. pl
At the moment, the ‘twerps in Kiev’ are doing an absolutely brilliant job of discrediting Ukrainian nationalism.
Contrast their approach to the language issue, with the approach of the speaker of the Crimean parliament, Vladimir Konstantinov, to Ukrainians and Crimean Tartars. From a RT report of his news conference:
‘Konstantinov said that Crimea was part of “the Russian world” and does not welcome NATO. He also stressed that despite this pro-Russian leaning, the people of Crimea don’t have problems with Ukrainians, but have problems with radical nationalists and neo-Nazis, who played a big role in ousting President Yanukovich.
‘The speaker said the Crimea needs self-governance by an inclusive government, which would take into consideration the interests of all its people, be they Ukrainians, Russians or Tatars. The latter groups are a substantial minority in Crimea, and local Russians, being a minority in the whole of Ukraine, can sympathize with the Tatars, Konstantinov said.
‘“We are prepared to offer Crimean Tatars a level of authority that they never had before,” he said.’
(See http://rt.com/news/kiev-crimea-sort-care-449/ )
If your opponents are busy shooting themselves in the foot, why be in a hurry to stop them? The Crimean authorities have set out a template, involving a referendum on greater autonomy — not it is important to note independence, and not rejoining Russia — which other regions in the South and East can follow if they will. The Russians have made it clear that those who choose to go down this route can rely on military support should it be needed.
Unless the nationalists in Kiev demonstrate both the readiness and ability to escalate the situation, it remains unclear to me why so many are confident that the Russians will see it as in their interest to do so.
This remark comes at the end of ‘the Saker’s’ assessment of the Ukrainian armed forces, which is perhaps worth quoting in full:
‘I am sure that you have heard that the Ukrainian military is now on maximal alert and is read to repel any Russian aggression. Guys, this is laughable. There IS NO UKRAINIAN MILITARY. There is a lot of old hardware lying around, there are a number of units with basically zero training and there are a few units of higher combat readiness. Do you know what that list is called in military terms? It’s called *TARGETS*. I also suspect that if the western politicians and a few Ukie crackpots speak about the Ukrainian armed forces, the officers there, and even the soldiers, fully realize that they are just targets. Hence the wise decision of the flagship of the Ukrainian Navy, the Hetman Sahaidachny frigate, to quickly switch sides even before getting back home (it is in eastern the Mediterranean according to the latest reports). I suppose you all know that the notion of the Ukies developing their own nuclear weapons is laughable, so I will not bother dwelling on it now.’
Although he seems well-informed, obviously ‘the Saker’ is not infallible. On the subject of the Ukrainians developing nuclear weapons, however, this is clearly something which everybody would try to stop – and the suggestion seems interesting in large measure as one more instance of the uncanny ability of Ukrainian nationalists to shoot themselves in the foot.
In volume the only long-term viable alternative to Russia gas was Iranian gas – which EU destroyed.
They – the EU – are dependent on Russia gas and pipelines and there is nothing they could do about it for at least a generation.
Iraq and Azerbaijan do not have that much gas, by the way.
“Kiev may be relying on hope.”
What happened yesterday and today in the navy looks like proof to your point.
Yesterday the Kiev guys appointed Denis Berezovsky as commander-in-chief of Ukrainian Navy:
Today Denis Berezovsky appeared on TV in a presser together with the head of the Krim administration:
BBC reports: The newly appointed head of Ukraine’s navy has sworn allegiance to the Crimea region, in the presence of its unrecognised pro-Russian leader.
So I would say that looks like the Kiev guys do not know much about the loyality situation in the armed forces.
The comments about nuclear weapons development put a very real possibility if a false flag operation using them. Given what this administration and its neocon brain trust have managed to do I would not put it past them. You can kiss civilization (at least in the Norther Hemisphere) goodbye if they do.
It reinforces the Colonel’s point that Intelligence work is for Artists not the Bureaucrats.
I join you in your righteous fury. Their unpunished lawlessness was bound to lead to a devastating catastrophe. A time of accountability will arrive.
NK developed Nukes, Birma tries and the US did it in 1945 so Western Ukraine developing nukes is not something impossible.
China wants internal stability and commercial relations with the outside world.
As a former fanatical arm chair cold warrior it is fascinating history. But its like watching reality tv instead of hearing Walter Cronkite intone so solemnly over the radio that Doom was in the room with you. So this far hasn’t competed with the Canada-Brit curling semis in terms of stimulus and engagement, but there my team could and did win. A game. In my country’s bailiwick.
Second you on the Russian forces, look how smoothly emplaced and operationally disciplined they are, who knows what else is already out there, or in the bases. Used to scour university libraries for books on forces and esp the Okhrana, GPu NKVD GRU, KGB, FSB, etc, I was mad for ex-pat spies and assassins, and the Russians are nothing if not big on pre-postioning, sleepers, etc.
We have such extraordinary access to exponentially more information and ignorance yet the product in terms of knowledge and wisdom seems in short supply. Russia is accustomed to fighting on or near its territory and Mother Russia is a tough and redoubtable Muse.
Hopefully we gonna waste a lot of breath and money and that’s it. I honestly cannot recall being as rabid for war in my old days as I am now for its absence. All MAD all the time back then.
Labas TTG as you know I am of Lithuanian descent born and bred liberal Canadian. I had a Ukrainian gf in university. The countour, intensity and vagaries of her, her family’s and their communities’ chavanism, xenophobia, ignorance, virulent hatred, prejudice, intra-cummunal snobbishness and resilient closed mindedness that possessed these otherwise lovely, productive and integrated ex pats was shocking to the point of befuddlement.
Anti-commie, descended of partisans, good student, on my way to law school(ignore the bit about insane addict, I was a facile dissembler) – her parents did not allow me in their home, to my gf’s anguish. But no mistake about it, she, Canadian born took hate in with her mother’s milk.
Ms2 this really replying to you. They’re going to be poorer no matter what. If nationalism can be formatted as anti-corruption reformation and the best, or least beggaring odds are on an eastern gas supplier and creditor already integrated into your economy as opposed to eh EU, ECB and IMF, all demanding not just austerity but fire sales but no comfort, people gotta live. As the Colonel points out, Putin for all his charms is not seen per se a de facto critter of the oligarchs and looters. He is his own higher power even as Russian believer.
Unclear impacts on domestic Chinese politics of
Chinese currency devaluations yet that is what US wanted.
Your remark reminds me of a woman of Russian extraction who said that she was proud of the way the United States handled Nixon but that she understood in her guts the tradition in her country of leading such traitors into the forest after which they were never heard of again.
Putin has raised the stakes for the West to escape their dependence on his oil. While the West had indulged in the hope that Putin would abide by the rules, that stance is no longer possible. More effort than would otherwise have been exerted for alternate energy sources will now be applied.
Economic integration with Russia was seen as a possibility. Now that Putin has shown he will not play by the rules the impetus will be to escape from his economic clutches. Pictures of tanks trump other PR any time so there is little that Putin can do to mitigate this type of damage. Since a new generation has been given an example of Russia’s resort to force the damage will extend over decades.
At a minimum, aside from any organized efforts at retaliation, distrust will cause those seeking to do deals to look elsewhere first.
“Kicks out the trouble makers?” What proportion of Kiev’s population do you estimate that to be?
Putin clearly judged that a restive and bitterly divided Ukraine under his auspices was better than a cooperative Ukraine under the EU’s auspices. Strikes me as both unnecessary and counterproductive.
In November, the Third Plenary of the CPC CC released their report on future reforms including floating the currency. They are modernizing in their own way.
Your description of Ukrainians fits exactly
the profile I experience here in Mpls. My
best friend since early teens is a second
gen Uk. Parents and grand parents fled during
the purges. Not only virulent anti-Russian but
anti-semitic. The twins turned out to be
classic socio-path criminals, blaming others
for their problems. Father an eccentric intellectual school teacher who floated from
one system to the next because he would not
follow protocols. Their mother never con-
demed them for their law breaking. Just
“now boys” her worst form of punishment.
The large community here is split between
Orthodox and Catholic. They seem to get
along, both churches two blocks apart. Being
a Ukrainian trumps all. IMO the most tribal
ethnic group I have ever seen. Heaven help
you if you call them a Russian. Many of the
Orthodox have a yellowish hue to their skin
and no beards. Descendants of the hordes?
One of my other classmates father has also
been in the news of late. An accused Nazi
collaborater. Their name of Karko(v) could
have been taken from the Eastern region.
Thanks to both of you. I only know expats.
Here’s some more material on who some of the “gunmen” are:
There is quite a bit of information on the Russian and Ukrainian forces in the area.
While watching some of the videos of Russians that CNN ran the other day I saw a column of what are probably BTR 80s by the road side. Parked next to them was a late model utility vehicle that had the Guards emblem on it.