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Unfortunately, no one gets to pick the game. In Putin's World, game picks you.

 

 

Russia watchers say military manoeuvre was long in the making

. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/3a8833b6-a230-11e3-87f6-00144feab7de.html#ixzz2uqXrrTRd


Now, as Russian troops stand in Ukraine, those worries appear prescient. Military experts say the way Russia moved against its neighbour shows all the signs of an operation prepared meticulously over a number of weeks, with the participation of the FSB, the successor of the Soviet Union’s KGB security service, where Mr Putin and many of the most influential members of his administration started their careers.

 


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Sources familiar with the Russian security services and military believe that FSB agents have been working in Ukrainian cities for at least several weeks to prepare for what played out over this last weekend.

“They probably played a role in setting up some of those pro-Russian militias in Crimea, and they certainly had a big hand in organising the pro-Russian demonstrations and anti-Maidan rallies,” says a foreign diplomat in Moscow who handles his country’s liaison with the Russian security services.

He also believes that Russian agents participated in the Maidan demonstrations – both on the side of the protesters and among the Berkut, Ukraine’s riot police, to facilitate an escalation of events.

 

 

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Foreign intelligence officials now lean towards the theory that Mr Putin decided even before the Olympics to remove Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich from power as he had come to believe the former leader would eventually ruin Ukraine’s economy and could not be trusted to keep Kiev in Russia’s sphere of influence.

 



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With this force in place and pro-Russian militias milling around in Crimea, military special forces then moved to seize key assets including the parliament building and the region’s two main airports, opening the doors for the paratroopers.

All this was flanked by an aggressive disinformation campaign which appears aimed at justifying a military intervention and goes far beyond the normal practices of Russian state media. In this light, some Russian journalists have started questioning Mr Putin’s decision before the Olympics to replace two respected state media heads with loyalists.

Russian foreign policy officials say the option of using military force against Ukraine was on the table in internal discussions early on, but a fight within the administration over the final decision was raging until a few days ago.

 

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The Russians are digging in again on the heights of Crimea. Lord Cardigan said to be looking for his sweater and binoculars.

BBC says this is Russian soldiers apparently digging trenches on the strip of land joining Crimea to mainland Ukraine

 

Twitter reports of two explosions in Simferpol. Rut-ro, Shaggy

https://twitter.com/kjovano/status/440244931190222849

Edited by X-Files
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Baltic? Embargo and mining of aquatory would do, no need to march in, especially since that would prove very, very bloody.

 

Mining in waters currently patrolled jointly by NATO-fighters (currently the USAF)?

And what to do about NATO-minsweepers and the Lithuanian-Polish border?

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Actually couldn't Ukraine just close off the Perokop Isthmus?

 

I was thinking that'd be the first defensive line the Russians set up, facing North (see photo post above this)

 

 

After securing the two major airfields and the Strait of Kerch, I see two isthmuses and the split near Henichesk to the North that need to be secure to win CRIMEA 2014: The Putin's Anschluss

 

See also

http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/commonwealth/dfnsindust-ukraine.jpg

 

and

http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/commonwealth/ukraine_rel93.jpg

Edited by X-Files
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For example there are some 200,000 ethnic Bulgarians in Ukraine, who till now enjoyed some significant minority rights like own schools etc - which have been revoked by the new government.

 

Have they? The parliament voted to revoke the 2012 law on regional languages, but the interim president said he wouldn't sign it into effect (as well he shouldn't, because this was probably the single most stupid act by the revolutionaries). Is this something else?

 

As to desertions, it's hard to get a factual view on that. Russian media are reporting mass defections on the Crimean, but then they also claim 675,000 Ukrainians fled to Russia in the last two months, which I find just a tiny bit doubtful. Obviously if Ukraine bases draftees close to home, it's likely that ethnic makeup of units resembles the regional population, and Crimean Russian soldiers might heed the call of the separatist government; the latest report is that the chief of the navy turned over to them. OTOH, that base at Pereval'ne still seems to refuse surrender.

 

 

You are probably right, I am not following these developments in great detail. I just rely on friends over there who are way more familiar with things and talk to Russians and Ukrainians regularly.

 

I just read a few interviews with russian civilians in Sevastopol, in a finnish newspaper that has a reporter in place. Those civilians gave two examples why they don´t trust the central government in Kiev.

 

'There are no representatives from south or east Ukraine in the government.'

 

'The new government will not allow russian to be one of the official languages in Ukraine.'

 

I can´t say if these statements are factually correct or not but the civilians in Sevastopol seem to believe it´s true.

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With this force in place and pro-Russian militias milling around in Crimea, military special forces then moved to seize key assets including the parliament building and the region’s two main airports, opening the doors for the paratroopers.

All this was flanked by an aggressive disinformation campaign which appears aimed at justifying a military intervention and goes far beyond the normal practices of Russian state media. In this light, some Russian journalists have started questioning Mr Putin’s decision before the Olympics to replace two respected state media heads with loyalists.

Russian foreign policy officials say the option of using military force against Ukraine was on the table in internal discussions early on, but a fight within the administration over the final decision was raging until a few days ago.

 

 

Russian and Putin might underestimate the number of leftists and Sovietphiles in the west that are eager to rationalize and accept just about anything Russia does.

 

Brit friends, who is Anatol Lieven? This guy was on Fox News this morning falling all over himself justifying Russia liberating Crimea from the facists in Ukraine.

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it's time to station a mixed NATO force in Poland and from there they can conduct exercises in adjoining countries that want them, the US will be out of Afghanistan completely in a couple of years so that hold will break. EU should finance a new LNG terminal in Eastern Canada to ensure another supply source of LNG and promote the southern NG pipelines being kicked around. Russia cannot afford to cut off the gas supply for long, as I suspect they need the hard cash as well.

And now Iran can have them by the balls vs Russia; from frying pan into the fire.

Me thinks the EU should look to Israel and the West.

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The Rus already occupy two protectorates in other Georgia, one more recent (Aug 2008 So. Ossetia), and further back, Abkhazia (1992). What did the US do then?

 

In particular, the 2008 Russo-Georgian confrontation could well be the template for Crimea.

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PEREVALNE, Ukraine (AP) — Just inside the main gate to the military base, four young Ukrainian soldiers stood in the middle of the road, as if somehow they alone could stop what was on the other side.

They were hardly an intimidating group. They were young and unarmed and didn't look like they had ever been anywhere near combat. One, the soldier whose eyes kept blinking nervously, didn't look old enough to shave.

Outside the gate, though, things were different. There were a half-dozen soldiers in unmarked green uniforms, all wearing helmets and body armor, and all carrying automatic weapons.

 

http://news.yahoo.com/ukrainian-standoff-turns-circus-211423086.html

 

Shades of...

 

 

 

On Saturday March 1st, the Russian Parliament approved the use of armed forces in the Crimean Peninsula of Ukraine,[1] marking the first possible major Russian military operation since the 2008 invasion of Georgia. In the 2008 Russo-Georgian war, Russia demonstrated the capacity to conduct joint kinetic and cyber operations in pursuit of its political and military objectives.[2] Now, there is evidence that Russia is pursing similar tactics in Crimea.

 

http://georgetownsecuritystudiesreview.org/2014/03/02/has-russia-begun-offensive-cyberspace-operations-in-crimea/

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Anti-Semitic graffiti was found Friday morning on the entrance to a synagogue in the Crimea region of southern Ukraine, local media reported.

 

According to the Russian-Israeli news site izrus.co.il, swastikas and the phrase “Death to the Jews” were sprayed on the door and facade of the Reform Ner Tamid synagogue in Simferopol, located in the Crimean peninsula.

 

Anatoly Gendin, head of the Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of Crimea, told the news site that the perpetrators needed to climb a two-meter wall to reach the building.

 

“Clearly, it was important for the anti-Semites to commit this crime. Since the crisis began prices went up by 30 percent, pensions aren’t being paid," he wrote in a statement sent to media by the World Union for Progressive Judaism. "As usual, Jews are blamed [for] these disasters and Jews are held responsible. I am afraid to think how this will progress."

 

The attack took place as Ukrainian troops reported takeovers of two airports in the Crimea region by Russian forces.

 

Crimea is heavily populated by ethnic Russians.

 

Protests against Ukraine’s elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, forced him to flee from the capital city of Kiev to Moscow after scores died in bloody street clashes last week. The protest movement was spurred by his policy of privileging Ukraine’s ties to Russia integration with the European Union.

 

Earlier this week, firebombs hit the Chabad-run Orthodox Giymat Rosa Synagogue in Zaporizhia, located 250 miles southeast of Kiev. That attack caused only minor damage.

 

http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/1.577356

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Baltic? Embargo and mining of aquatory would do, no need to march in, especially since that would prove very, very bloody.

 

Mining in waters currently patrolled jointly by NATO-fighters (currently the USAF)?

And what to do about NATO-minsweepers and the Lithuanian-Polish border?

 

Uff. Well, don't mine then, just fire anti-ship missiles from the shore at anything trying to go near the ports. Any alternative is going to be better for Russia than actually going in on the ground unless there is already civil war and they really have to.

 

Now, the Lithuanian-Polish border can be mined easily by artillery distant mining systems, fireable, among others, from Uragan and Smerch.

There, no marching in.

Edited by Blunt Eversmoke
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Back to military talks...

 

What are the military capabilities of the Ukrainians? And what type of defense (or counter offensive) can they muster?

 

As I wrote earlier, there are all the kinds of sources reporting a seemingly non trivial paper strenght, particularly with a mobilization of reserves. What is actually in working order and whether the people in charge of it will keep the guns pointed in the expected direction if ordered to march is, given the nature of such things, hard to tell from the outside. I would not be surprised if the guys in charge at Kiev were more afraid of their own troops than the russian ones...

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Uh huh. And who having a border with the Rus are ready to do anything against them? Show me one.

 

Fact is, this is a very localized problem and Rus objective. All will roll over, as in 2008.

 

Lot of political/FFZ trash from certain USAians on this thread. Who will be the first to turn themselves in to the staff, hypocrites!

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David Ignatius writes a good article here, about the future of Ukraine and Russia.

 

 

David Ignatius and his ilk are the ones have sold us the wonderfulness that was the Iraq war as being the best thing since sliced bread. It is true that even a broken clock can be right twice a day but personally that would be absolutely the last sewer I would be dredging up for foreign policy advice.

The statements he has made about Ukraine are alarming though. If this is a moderate, what does it say about the polarisation of Russian politics?

 

 

There is no polarisation,for the term implies that there is an strong opposite view: in practice the pro-western "liberals" willing to go along out of ideological sympathies with whatever schemes the West supports are a very tiny percentage; western policies since 1991 have not done wonders to boost that either.A few may not wish conflict with the West out of financial interest of course.That's all. Pootie may at least try to calculate the result of his moves, I am not sure a democratic replacement will do as well in that department.

Edited by Marcello
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