Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 16, 2015

Ukraine - The Ceasefire Stalemates

So who moves first? "No one," say these current news items:

From the first piece:

A shaky new truce in Ukraine was already at risk on its second day Monday as Kiev said there was "no question" of its troops pulling back heavy weapons, and the EU ratcheted up sanctions on Russia.

"There is no question at the moment of us withdrawing heavy weapons" from the frontline because of persistent attacks by pro-Russian rebels, a Ukrainian military spokesman, Vladyslav Seleznyov, told AFP.

From the second report:

The self-proclaimed Donetsk people’s republic is not planning to pull back heavy weaponry until Kiev troops halt shellings, the deputy commander of the DPR’s Defense Ministry’s corps, Eduard Basurin, said on Monday.
...
"The heavy weaponry withdrawal starts only after the ceasefire. And if the Armed Forces of Ukraine do not stop shellings, which come in violation of the Minsk agreements, the DPR militias will not pull back their weaponry," Basurin was quoted by the Donetsk news agency as saying.

The Donetsk troops are pummeling the Ukrainian government troops in the Debaltseve cauldron. Meanwhile the fascist Azov battalion is bragging (video) about attacking Donetsk troops in Shirokino east of Mariupol and Ukrainian artillery is again hitting the destroyed Donetsk airport.

Pressure on both sides is needed to actually implement the ceasefire. But no one is pressuring Kiev. Instead the EU just implemented new sanctions against Russia just after Russia helped to negotiate this ceasefire. The EU did the same after the first Minsk ceasefire agreement. That will not help to convince Russia that good behavior will be honored and rewarded.

The lack of pressure against Kiev is difficult to understand. The federalists had offered to let the government troops encircled in Debaltseve go free, though without their weapons. The government in Kiev rejected that and ordered those troops to keep on fighting. They will all die if they continue to do so. Their big hope is that OSCE observers will come to them and help them to retreat. That will not happen. Their only chance now is to capitulate.

Kiev seems not to understand that it is about to lose at least a quarter of its usable front line troops in that cauldron. But the incompetence of Ukrainian leadership knows no bounds. How can any army, while having superior numbers, lose troops in four cauldrons within just six month?

The "western" European countries arranged the Minsk 2.0 ceasefire especially to first avoid and, when that became impossible, to relief the cauldron:

Debaltsevo was one of the reasons Merkel and Hollande launched their most recent diplomatic offensive nine days ago.

An immediate ceasefire after Minsk would probably have avoided the full enclosure of Debaltseve. But the Ukrainian government held out:

Poroshenko, too, seemed to prefer a delayed cease-fire -- apparently not fully understanding the situation facing his military. The Europeans were trying to protect the Ukrainians from themselves.

Someone other than the Europeans is telling Poroshenko, the Ukrainian president, to sacrifice those troops and to keep the fighting going.

One wonders to what purpose. 

Posted by b on February 16, 2015 at 08:47 AM | Permalink

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"The new service, will allow Russian banks to communicate seamlessly through the Central Bank of Russia. It should be noted that Russia’s Central Bank initiated the development of the country’s own messaging system in response to repeated threats voiced by Moscow’s Western partners to disconnect Russia from SWIFT." Ian Welsh

Posted by: Maracatu | Feb 16, 2015 9:00:36 AM | 1

B, can you give an account of why the separatists have been so effective to this point? Are they more tactically proficient, are they receiving better arms, is a defensive posture more advantageous, or is it will and motivation (or have I watched too many movies?).

Posted by: IhaveLittleToAdd | Feb 16, 2015 9:01:21 AM | 2

Like any bad gambler, USSA needs to double down on more war in the Ukraine and has instructed it's EU and Ukie minions to comply.

Posted by: Joe Smith | Feb 16, 2015 9:05:55 AM | 3

Article is a good example of someone who believes the Russian propaganda.And why do you refer to the Russian troops fighting inside Ukraine as "rebels?" There is no rebellion though there are those who are pretending to be carrying out one so as to give Putin a cover for his invasion.

Posted by: Nill Nilsen | Feb 16, 2015 9:22:55 AM | 4

b I would recomend you ban the obvious troll.
Just google his "nick" and youll see his all over the net spreading his troll propaganda.

Posted by: Anonymous | Feb 16, 2015 9:28:23 AM | 5

#3

Yep, sadly only the little people die

Posted by: jo6pac | Feb 16, 2015 9:48:52 AM | 6

Those big grey sweeping arrows on the Spiegel map is paranoid hilarious, but reflects the common stance I've frequently seen/read in the Western media. Apparently 'the world' needs to worry about Russian or is it separatist aggressors breaking out of Donbass to make a land bridge with Crimea. After all ... but wait, they already have a land bridge under the Sea of Azov, if they want to build the (actual) bridge that would complete that. That understood, apparently somebody (Russia, the separatists) still wants to advance across Ukraine and surely spark much more aggressive US military intervention and maximum economic war for a redundant land bridge to Crimea. Got it.

And then there is another nonsensical giant grey arrow sweeping from above Crimea over to tiny Transnistria. Cuz, you know, once Russia connects up to distant Transnistria Putin's master plan of world domination is inevitable!! This is the sober-faced Western silliness passing as conventional imperial wisdom, and nobody's laughing or even self-aware enough to know they should be.

Posted by: fairleft | Feb 16, 2015 9:49:28 AM | 7

@2 Defense and motivation matter a great deal.

The other issue is fascists are irrational and stupid requiring constant control to maintain order. Many Kiev assets are put to use terrorizing their own population. They are slow to adapt new tactics if they are even capable.

Mercs might have great advice, but they are there to get paid and can't be counted on if the going gets tough because they want to be paid, winning is nice but money is better.

Political goals have driven much of the Kiev campaign (generals are political animals and often pursue similar goals), but instead of a policy of controlling roads and fields of fire, Kiev forces race to a place where they can plant the flag and put it in the paper. The NAF cuts them off from their supplies, digs in, let's the Kiev forces shoot wildly (they shoot wildly because they are conscripts), and then moves in for the kill which is what the cauldron are about. Tanks need fuel and parts on a constant basis. Anti-tank and vehicle weapons are more efficient. They can't beat a dug in enemy. It's really this simple. The issue is getting politicos and the kind of people who thought "gee, I want to eat, dress, sleep, workout, study, and so forth when and how someone tells me to," when they are 18. Without a war to thin out their numbers by exposing incompetence, the brass resemble those 18 year olds.

At least on twitter, a quote from a Russian general is floating around where he surmise Americans are directing the campaign as if it was the open deserts of Iraq with important cities and rivers/lakes and reliable air support.

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Feb 16, 2015 10:24:01 AM | 8

To what purpose are the Ukies in the cauldron fighting? Pat Lang cites reports that suggest that there may be NATO troops in there, perhaps even American ones. Surrender and revelation of this would be concrete evidence of the NATO role in Ukraine and run counter to US propaganda.

Posted by: JohnH | Feb 16, 2015 10:30:15 AM | 9

@LittleToaAdd #2

As an old Snuffie, If I can be so bold as to give you some answers. Defense is almost always easier that offense because chain of command and logistics are more established. Will and morale are very important. The UAF consists of raw recruits and Right Sector cowards. Raw recruits generally know just enough to get themselves killed. Cowards are...cowards. The armaments appear to be equal from what I've seen. So it boils down to training, morale and command. In those three the NAF are clearly superior. They are fighting to defend their homes and loved ones against aggression. They have the tactical advantage of knowing the terrain. And their command structure appears to be linear. They excel at small unit tactics. So for now...they will win. If they attempt to head east their knowledge of terrain will diminish and logistics will stretch. Both problems. If I were them, I would do as they're doing. Suck poorly trained troops into kill zones, hit them hard and cut them off. Form what I've seen, I'm impressed. Those NAF lads are true fighters.

Posted by: Scott | Feb 16, 2015 10:40:11 AM | 10

Posted by: IhaveLittleToAdd | Feb 16, 2015 9:01:21 AM | 2

Yes, I second that. Don't hide your (tank commander) light under a bushell (of modesty), b.
It would be a pleasant change to read a deconstruction written by someone with military training and experience rather than the output of the usual armchair rednecks.
I'd bet you've been laughing your ass off.
Time to share the joke...?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 16, 2015 10:40:53 AM | 11

#5, Anonymous
"Recommend you ban the obvious troll.. google his 'nick' and you'll see his all over the net"

In that case, don't you mean "troll/sock-puppet"?

Posted by: gersen | Feb 16, 2015 10:55:35 AM | 12

"How can any army, while having superior numbers, lose troops in four cauldrons within just six month?"

I can only think of one way to avoid a cauldron - that is retreat. In a smart army, the command will order a retreat. In a normal army, the units under fire will retreat themselves (possibly declaring the came up against massed russian units which they saw but did not photograph).
Units both surrounded and under fire will make the strongest efforts to retreat.

Of course if retreating forces can be fired upon by their own side their is ponly one thing to do - circle the horses and settle down in a cauldron (and hope the other side gets to you first).

Posted by: Michael D | Feb 16, 2015 10:58:12 AM | 13

Posted by: JohnH | Feb 16, 2015 10:30:15 AM | 9

Bullseye! Love that!
Who would ever imagine that the dumb, cowardly, amoral Yankees would accuse Putin of doing what they, themselves, have been doing since Day 1?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 16, 2015 10:58:42 AM | 14

Russia must be blue-eyed, dont they know the EU by now?

Posted by: Anonymous | Feb 16, 2015 11:08:22 AM | 15

@IhaveLittleToAdd

B, can you give an account of why the separatists have been so effective to this point? Are they more tactically proficient, are they receiving better arms, is a defensive posture more advantageous, or is it will and motivation (or have I watched too many movies?).

Remember that the federalists were actually loosing at one point. They were stretched too thin and had do give up Sloviansk and retreat into their inland. At that time they were fewer in numbers but also had nearly no artillery and no electronic-warfare or anti-artillery radar capabilities.

Those were provided by the Russian "second-hand shop" for military equipment and additional men were recruited. After that both sides had about the same quality level of equipment though the federalists were still fewer in number. They made that up by being better motivated and by local leaders taking the initiative instead of waiting for orders. Those are the two factors that I see as decisive.

The Ukrainian government army has little motivation and is riddled with illusions at the top. It has slow decision making processes and long ways for orders to come down to the troops. It is also corrupt.

The fascist fighting groups have some motivation but no real knowledge of the military art. They fight isolated and without the artillery and logistic backup such fighting needs.

The federalist are fighting on their own ground, within a friendly population and with the motivation to keep their home areas free of Kiev fascists. They remember what happened in Odessa and do not want that to happen to themselves and their brethren.
They have good communication, short command ways and are allowed to take local initiatives. They now also have excellent artillery support that can deliver on demand. They are still less in number and have less tanks and other heavy equipment but they have enough to win even against superior numbers with fewer losses than their enemies incure.

Posted by: b | Feb 16, 2015 11:22:15 AM | 16

@ b:

"Someone other than the Europeans is telling Poroshenko, the Ukrainian president, to sacrifice those troops and to keep the fighting going.

"One wonders to what purpose."

Easy one b, to hopefully, further weaken Russia. Mega business hates competition. The Empire and their minions ( US/NATO, Israel, et al), require it.

Posted by: ben | Feb 16, 2015 11:27:54 AM | 17

@14 It's predictable. If the UAF trapped in the pocket are all killed NAF gets accused of brutally massacring defenceless enemy etc....i.e. warcrimes.

Posted by: dh | Feb 16, 2015 11:34:33 AM | 18

Just as in Georgia military affairs are handled by the neo-conned who require their General grade officers to be ideologically malleable and politically fascist. Military victory is not required. Just perpetual war that ensures profitable MIC futures. 2008 Goergia '5 day war' made Saakashvili a neo-con darling. Check out this Tufts University puff piece ...

http://fletcher.tufts.edu/News-and-Media/2014/01/15/Saakashvili-First-Senior-Statesman

Now check out this google search 'mikheil saakashvili criminal charges' ...

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=mikheil+saakashvili+criminal+charges


Posted by: Alberto | Feb 16, 2015 11:53:59 AM | 19

Andriy Paribiy was the co-founder (along with Oleh Tyahnybok) of the Social Nationalist Party of Ukraine, which the CIA had persuaded to change its name to “Freedom” or “Svoboda” in order not to offend Westerners with its origin as a native Ukrainian version of Hitler’s National Socialist Party of Germany. Polonskaya said:

Interesting video attached to this piece ...

http://rinf.com/alt-news/editorials/evidence-connection-ukrainian-coup-crimeas-breakaway/

ALSO THIS FROM ABOVE LINK ...

"However, the United States Government, and its allies, claim that the overthrow of Yanukovych was legal and that the reunification of Crimea with Russia was not, and also that the ethnic cleansing against the residents in the Donbass region of the former Ukraine is legal and that the military assistance that Russia is providing to enable those residents to defend themselves from being exterminated is not. The United States Government, and its Ukrainian Government, call that extermination-program Ukraine’s “Anti Terrorist Operation,” and the United States is sending Ukraine weapons to carry it out."

SAME AS IT EVER WAS

Posted by: Alberto | Feb 16, 2015 12:41:21 PM | 20

@14 It's predictable. If the UAF trapped in the pocket are all killed NAF gets accused of brutally massacring defenceless enemy etc....i.e. warcrimes.
Posted by: dh | Feb 16, 2015 11:34:33 AM | 18

War crimes charges against NAF very unlikely. Willy Wonka playing down their predicament and refraining from negotiating the return of the encircled (during a ceasefire which his (fair weather) friends Merkel and Hollande tried to arrange) is an act of despotic bastardry + criminal negligence (which will hopefully lead to his lynching in Kiev).

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 16, 2015 12:46:00 PM | 21

Does anyone know more about this? For quite a while RT in German has a breaking news tag, but only the German one, not the other languages:

Poroschenkos Familie aus Kiew geflohen – Hintergrund: Ultimatum des Rechten Sektors wegen Kessel von Debaltsevo | RT Deutsch

Nach Berichten mehrerer ukrainischer und russischer Zeitungen, hat die gesamte Familie des ukrainischen Präsidenten Petro Poroschenko die Ukraine verlassen. Hintergrund soll ein Ultimatum des Rechten Sektors an Poroschenko sein, dass ihm das “gleiche Schicksal ereilen wird wie Gaddafi”, wenn sich nicht bis zum 23. Februar die Lage im Kessel von Debaltsevo für die ukrainischen Kämpfer verbessert hat. Derzeit befinden sich über 6.000 ukrainische Soldaten und Freiwilligenverbände in dem Kessel.

Saying that Porochenko's family fled Kiev because of the ultimatum from the right sector, that he will suffer the same fate as Gaddhafi, if he does not improve the situation for ukrainian fighter by the 23 of February.

P.S. the breaking news tag is now gone, but the page is still there.

Posted by: Fran | Feb 16, 2015 1:00:41 PM | 22

From videos I've seen, I get the impression that the Donbass Militia was organized in such a way that allowed for seasoned military vets to conduct operations alongside noobs.. Whatever the command/control structure is, it worked.

Most importantly however seemed to be the knowledge of the land.. Ukraine apparently used main roads, resulting in being easy targets for raids by Donbass units.

Russia maybe assisted in recon and logistics as well.

Ultimately Ukraine military targeted civilian targets from the get-go, and probably employed horrible tactics

Posted by: PeteCaroll | Feb 16, 2015 1:10:52 PM | 23

aside from agreeing with many comments, johnh @9 and b @16 and petecaroll last line in particular, i think porky is getting bad advice and it's intentional..

europe is being led by the usa into something it doesn't appear to have thought out fully.. i don't know what the usa has on europe, but it must be good for them to bend over backwards like this..

Posted by: james | Feb 16, 2015 1:25:37 PM | 24

@ b and others:

I appreciate the very informative response.

One last question on my mind, what type of training do the individuals fighting under the federalist banner have? Were these individuals former soldiers, or have they been putting this together on the fly? Zakharchenko seems like a paradox. He strikes me as a true leader, but the military careerists in the U.S. are marionettes.

Posted by: IhaveLittleToAdd | Feb 16, 2015 1:52:38 PM | 25

james @ 24

i don't know what the usa has on europe, but it must be good for them to bend over backwards like this

the USA has this on Europe.

not to mention the ongoing "stay-behind" operation.

Posted by: john | Feb 16, 2015 2:02:40 PM | 26

@25 Try this...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_Ground_Forces

Some of them were in the Russian Armed Forces. Perhaps some of them still are. Which may explain why NAF gets such good intelligence.

Posted by: dh | Feb 16, 2015 2:13:34 PM | 27

Posted by: dh | Feb 16, 2015 2:13:34 PM | 27

:-)) Ukraine Defense Minister

Poltorak is a graduate from Ordzhonikidzevsky highest military command college of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the USSR.

Posted by: somebody | Feb 16, 2015 2:25:01 PM | 28

@25 Sam Grant was a middling cadet at West Point, known for being squeamish, and couldn't get a job in the regular U.S. army in April 1861 despite his successful combat experience. 4 years later, he was accepting the unconditional surrender of West Point's top graduate as a real war thinned out the numbers through casualties and exposing incompetence.

Leadership and ability to think on the fly don't come from training. Training helps. As far as the U.S. goes, when was the last time we didn't have total control of the battlefield through air supremacy before ground troops were committed? Vietnam when the jungle provided cover? The U.S. ground and air forces haven't faced a challenge. Idiots aren't being exposed.

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Feb 16, 2015 3:28:47 PM | 29

@PeteCaroll #23:

I get the impression that the Donbass Militia was organized in such a way that allowed for seasoned military vets to conduct operations alongside noobs.. Whatever the command/control structure is, it worked.

I think that's exactly correct. Moscow, and Putin in particular, neither planned for nor intended the Donbass rebellion against Ukrainian fascism. The rebellion is utterly spontaneous, a rebellion of the people. Moscow initially was not willing to support it, because it wanted to remain on good terms with the West, but after it became apparent that the West has no desire to negotiate with Moscow, and instead, the US has an obsessive compulsion to destroy Russia, the Kremlin decided to give the Ukrainian anti-fascist rebels a chance.

Posted by: Demian | Feb 16, 2015 3:41:32 PM | 30

@29
the reason us grant couldn't get "hired" by the union army was political, not military. he was vehemently opposed to the Mexican war (gen. zachary taylor's war, as it was known) from which sprang texas, for the purpose of spreading slavery (something never mentioned in the us, ce the movie the alamo). in the mid 19th century the us officer corps talked politics openly and grant's opposition the imperialist war marked him as persona non grata. to learn about these things (very fascinating and informative) one has to track down in large libraries the memoirs of contemporaries who knew and served with him.

Posted by: bolasete | Feb 16, 2015 3:44:38 PM | 31

There are a significant number of "American advisers", "European volunteers" and other mercenaries trapped in the cauldron and Washington will force the Ukrainians to fight to the bitter end rather than surrender them.

Posted by: chet380 | Feb 16, 2015 4:07:05 PM | 32

Game changer coming to the Amerikan dollar.

http://www.4thmedia.org/2015/02/russia-creates-its-own-payment-system/


Can you imagine a f-35 doing this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK7ulDQ5h8Y&feature=player_detailpage
from fdl

Posted by: jo6pac | Feb 16, 2015 4:26:37 PM | 33

james @ 24: "i don't know what the usa has on europe, but it must be good for them to bend over backwards like this.."


An answer may be this:http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=13211

Posted by: ben | Feb 16, 2015 4:32:21 PM | 34

thanks ben and john earlier.

my understanding is imf money is contingent on ukraine meeting certain requirements.. to quote from bens article above:

"on January 28, Christine Lagarde, the head of the IMF, said the IMF does not make loans to countries that are engaged in war."

ukraine is on a self destruct path..kiev is a puppet on the usa/imf's chain.. it's quite a destructive path, similar to the long trail of global destructiveness that follows the exceptional nation wherever goes..


Posted by: james | Feb 16, 2015 4:50:53 PM | 35

james @ 24: "i don't know what the usa has on europe, but it must be good for them to bend over backwards like this.."

Let's be clear. For the US, Europe is as much an enemy as Russia. They're a competitor, and have to be done down. But it's done as though they're a friend.

Posted by: Laguerre | Feb 16, 2015 5:02:12 PM | 36

@36
Precisely. That calculus simply can't penetrate most Americans' minds. Much of energy politics is/was about Europe.

Posted by: Marc b. | Feb 16, 2015 5:52:16 PM | 37

Maybe the transatlantic UA-Government and their Bosses are having the Nazi Bataillons annihilated before the big weapons deals and NATO membership take place. No need to have a NATO member that is in danger of being overtaken by real Nazi scum. Maybe the nazis have been the useful idiots for now and everyone wants to get rid of them. The day will come, anyway, maybe now?

Posted by: radiator | Feb 16, 2015 6:13:39 PM | 38

@1 @33

Russia seems on track. I believe China has a similar system in place. All they need do is join them.

As regards the opening question ...

International finance as war


The Ukraine-IMF debt negotiation shows is why finance has become the preferred mode of geopolitical warfare. Its objectives are the same as war: appropriation of land, raw materials (Ukraine’s gas rights in the Black Sea) and infrastructure (for rent-extracting opportunities) as well as the purchase of banks.

The IMF has begun to look like an office situated in the Pentagon, renting a branch office on Wall Street from Democratic Party headquarters, with the rent paid by Soros. His funds are drawing up a list of assets that he and his colleagues would like to buy from Ukrainian oligarchs and the government they control. The buyout payments for partnership with the oligarchs will not stay in Ukraine, but will be moved quickly to London, Switzerland and New York. The Ukrainian economy will lose the national patrimony with which it emerged from the Soviet Union in 1991, still deeply in debt (mainly to its own oligarchs operating out of offshore banking centers).


The plan is to destroy Ukraine, thus devalue the assets the TNCs want to buy, and then buy them.

Any existing laws prohibiting the delivery of the national patrimony to TNC vultures will be repealed on the way out the door by the Ukrainian oligarchs with the IMF money - repayment for 'investors' in Ukrainian bonds that were used to wage the civil war that crashed the sticker prices on the Ukraine's formerly 'inalienable' national assets.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 16, 2015 6:37:27 PM | 39

@ 29, @ 31

Custer probably had the worst record of anyone who graduated from West Point. He graduated last in his class, and had he received one more demerit he wouldn't have graduated at all. Immediately after his graduation the army threw him in jail. Lee had the best record ever at West Point, not a single demerit during his years there, and graduated first in his class.

In four years Custer went from lieutenant to major general and his cavalry blocked Lee's retreat at Appomattox. Lee had no choice but to surrender and offered Custer his sword. Custer replied he was not of the appropriate rank to accept the sword and had Lee wait with his forces in place while Custer sent to Grant for instructions.

Just what you're saying, Not Timothy. A case of the best student being pwned by the worst.

Posted by: Ken Nari | Feb 16, 2015 7:06:29 PM | 40

16.02.2015 Ukrainian crisis news. War in Ukraine, Donbass, Kiev, Minsk, Russia, France, Germany ~ 1:45


German members of parliament have nominated Angela Merkel for the Nobel Peace Prize. Her efforts to achieve peace in the Ukraine through the signing of a second ceasefire deal last week in Minsk was dubbed a huge success by members of her Christian Democratic Party. And then another huge success of Chancellor Angela Merkel was shown by anonynmous Germany. We totally agree with hactivists : a skinhead girl is the best way to start a career for a Chancellor who will support a NAZI Kiev government.

A match made in ... Norway? Barack the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate slash Drone Assassin Obama and Angela the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Nominee slash OUN Godmother Merkel?

Posted by: jfl | Feb 16, 2015 7:09:40 PM | 41

Thinking in terms of 'the US' opposing the interests of 'Europe' kind of gets the whole thing wrong. There's a group of elite bankers in NYC, London and the ECB. They want to maximize their and their clients' income, and have a universal, passionate and idiotic (Keynes disproved it in the 1920s) ideological belief that austerity gets them there. They and their allied MICs finance the media and mainstream politicians allowed in their post-democratic countries, so they get the foreign policy they want. That foreign policy is to put as much of the world as possible under IMF, i.e., Western banker, rule.

Because of the involvement of the MICs and other complicating things like crazed neocons, all the members of the team don't entirely get along, get cold feet sometimes, but it's still a single team working to take over, degrade or destroy countries outside of its control. Victoria Nuland appears to be the boss ...

Posted by: fairleft | Feb 16, 2015 7:25:22 PM | 42

F@42

I agree with most of what you write but other than Nuland the remainder of the team leading US aggression are Liberal Interventionists and R2P worshipers who think they have a better more palatable nostrum to sugarcoat their bitter pill and drive US hegemony.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Feb 16, 2015 7:34:43 PM | 43

@43 I was just kidding about Nuland but forgot to add a smiley face. But, she's as good a representative of the nasty side of world domination as I can find.

That new Michael Hudson almost exactly accords with my perspective, right down to the post-democratic details in the US (the two parties will agree not to discuss their neo-con imperialism, which they entirely agree on). Except that Hudson is overly optimistic about 'Europe' breaking with the US/UK because he doesn't seem to get the importance of the contradiction between Europe's actual interests and what the European elite thinks its interests are. The latter is that forcing more and more of the world into the IMF's orbit is critical, and when the IMF gets control to impose austerity and create massive debt that MUST be repaid to the West's big banks.

Of course austerity in reality is not in any country's or region's interest, but elites believe in it -- passionately, dogmatically, ridiculing and ostracizing anyone (look where the brilliant Michael Hudson is forced to work) who disagrees.

Maybe the elites are right. They can't explicitly be against it, but general prosperity implies taking a lot more from the richest 10-20% and distributing that wealth to the bottom 80%. That would not only be good on its own, but it would generate excellent economic growth in even mature economies. However, obviously, it would put a very un-smiley face on the newly heavily taxed economic elites.

Posted by: fairleft | Feb 16, 2015 8:08:50 PM | 44

jfl@39-

Thanks for posting that Michael Hudson link-great article. A mafia bust out, perfected in Latin America, brought to Detroit et al for domestic consumption, now ready for fast track and permanent enshrinement in the TTIP.

Posted by: Nana2007 | Feb 16, 2015 8:18:34 PM | 45

Nill Nilsen refuses to believe reality, like his father, and his father's father. It's a family tradition.

OT: love this blog

/lurk

Posted by: DickVanstone | Feb 16, 2015 8:35:01 PM | 46

@40 As a disclaimer, West Point for its first 50 years was run by three professors. You could get a demerit for disagreeing, and I imagine West Point is better run but still its a place that attracts a certain type which is the main problem for the military or police. I'm growing convinced a lottery based national service might be preferable to the current system in the U.S.

Grant only was a last second addition to his West Point class. I don't think he even applied. His father, the owner of a small tannery, learned the local cadet couldn't go at the last minute and asked the congressman who lived relatively nearby to nominate Grant. The Congressman didn't want the slot to be empty, so Hiram Grant left home only to learn the army records indicated his name was Ulysses. When Grant protested, the army told Grant that he was wrong. Ulysses was the name of the original cadet he replaced.

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Feb 16, 2015 9:01:44 PM | 47

Kiev seems not to understand that it is about to lose at least a quarter of its usable front line troops in that cauldron. But the incompetence of Ukrainian leadership knows no bounds.

This is the major malfunction of all fascists. They cannot understand that their enemies are just as good as them - if not generally better. The German Nazis did the same all those years ago, and now the Ukrainian Nazis are replaying the saga - this time, of course, as farce.

Posted by: guest77 | Feb 16, 2015 9:06:53 PM | 48

Over at Fort Russ, Yurasumy asks Is Poroshenko Sacrificing the Neo-Nazi Battalions?. Volunteer formations are involved in all three hot-spots (Debaltsevo, Shirikino outside of Mariupol, and Schastye). "Once again it seems that Kiev has nothing against getting rid of such supporters, as all the subunits mentioned are in opposition to official Kiev policies."

Yurasumy adds, "I should note that OSCE and official Kiev are trying to avoid paying attention to Shirokino, mentioning only Debaltsevo, as if that was the only threat to the ceasefire." The more recent trouble in Schastye, however, was apparently acknowledged.

Hawk, the translator, is less sure of the author and motivation. "This is a plausible argument, but it implies that the volunteer battalions are too stupid to understand they are being set up to fail. The other possibility is that they are actually trying to destroy the ceasefire and force the UAF to resume fighting, possibly even trigger a more widespread NATO intervention." In any case, the "stab in the back" sets up nicely, Hawk observes.

Seems like Minsk-2 will be observed about as well as Minsk-1. I saw, I believe on the BBC (Mrs. M had it on), a segment comparing Debaltsevo to the Airport at Donetsk, from which they were reporting.

Posted by: rufus magister | Feb 16, 2015 9:21:17 PM | 49

The whole frantic process, described in the Spiegel article, was an attempt to stave off a war-changing defeat using pressure on Putin. It is doubtful that anyone else was privy to what Putin knew - that the encirclement of the Debaltseve pocket had been complete since the preceding Monday. Freezing the front lines in place had no value for UAF with the encirclement complete. Their only chance to benefit from the was if somehow, some way, they could reopen the road to Artemivsk between the agreement and the ceasefire deadline. Of course the road was turned into one big kill zone against dug-in troops with big firepower. IMO it's politically impossible for Porky to accept the loss of Debaltseve. Word is getting out within Ukraine that the pocket is closed, with the demand that it be rescued. The Right Sector has given Porky an ultimatum over Debaltseve (Fran #22). How could Kiev possibly explain that it hasn't the means and that Debaltseve itself is being captured? Any attempt to mount a relief would be a death knell for Minsk 2.0 and and military suicide. But Porky's only other option seems to be to get out of Dodge.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Feb 16, 2015 9:35:29 PM | 50

I think that Poroshenko has to understand what is going on. He may be naive in military terms, but his record in business suggests that he is not stupid. However, there is plenty of ultras in Kiev, and if he is not sufficiently "patriotic", he may not survive the experience, at the very least, in political terms. The game seems to be to claim that the conditions of the ceasefire entail the control of the road to Debaltsevo in hands of UAF, and any attempts to stop them from using that road are a violation that should lead to a punishment for Russia. The fact that a "reasonable person" is obliged to describe the situation as it should be than as it is (lest he/she be branded an extremist, a traitor, pathological fatherland hater), rather is perfectly known in USA, and nobody had to explain that trick to Ukrainians.

The official Ukrainian versions of the situations are quite curious. I read that "there are no rebels, but simply Russian troops", then that "there are 900 Russian troops in the area of Debaltsevo". So it takes 900 Russians to surround 5-8 thousands Ukrainians? Indeed, I have read bitter complaints that the enemy was "much better trained that it would be possible for the rebels". Decent rebels should be armed with flintlock rifles and sabres, and not able to use even those properly. How good training should Ukrainian soldiers have? They do have superior numbers, and roughly equivalent weapons. Mobilization of 200 to 500 thousand troops should not be a problem. Then they can be sent to action after several weeks of training or after one year. Obviously, the current government did not have a full year, and of the troops Ukraine had at the time of the coup, most probably rebelled or deserted.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 16, 2015 9:35:44 PM | 51

Maybe the fascist bloc in Kiev has been told that the cavalry will come, once Poroshenko has been eliminated. Maybe the ceasefire is not a ceasefire because Merkel and Hollande have sucker-punched Putin; and thus the mystery of premature sanctions on Russia is explained. Maybe the 2nd Minsk agreement was sabotaged from its inception.

And speaking of premature, can it be true that Merkel's name is being circulated already, for a Nobel Peace Prize? If she were to be so honored, that would indeed make the stench of death, that covers some winners of that award, much more palpable.

Mike Whitney has questioned whether the dramatic diplomacy of Merkel and Hollande, tearing off for Moscow, really had peace in mind, at all. And he made this assertion in the early going, before evidence of a debacle was visible.

And then, to make the whole taste of this bad theater that much more bitter, there was Sarkozy,-- who in the name of French interests, not so long ago, was found sniffing Obama's ass. At that time, he was preoccupied (with the alpha dog) dismembering Libya. He comes forward in this present crisis, proclaiming that Russia and Europe form a common civilization (or words to that effect). What is one to make of a pal like that?

Posted by: Copeland | Feb 16, 2015 9:35:45 PM | 52

Correction to Thirdeye #50

"Their only chance to benefit from the ceasefire.....

Here's an English-subbed clip of Zacharchenko talking to the captured troops (and trying not to smile).

Posted by: Thirdeye | Feb 16, 2015 9:47:29 PM | 53

"They made that up by being better motivated and by local leaders taking the initiative instead of waiting for orders. Those are the two factors that I see as decisive."
Posted by: b | Feb 16, 2015 11:22:15 AM | 16

The Command & Control-obsessed US pseudo-military would NEVER agree to encouraging initiative. One only need read the Field Manual on Counter-Insurgency written by General David Petraeus, to understand why it is so pathetically incompetent. The anticipation of Glory almost always trumps common sense.

There are some dis-eases for which hardware cannot compensate. And the US Military suffers from all of them...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 16, 2015 9:52:56 PM | 54

#rufus magister, Thirdeye:

FWIW, in my opinion, Minsk 2 is inconsequential. The Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics need to comprise all of the corresponding territory of the regions of the former Ukraine, and they will. Whether the Crimea gets a land bridge to Russia is another matter. That remains to be seen. Clearly, Novorossiya is a viable state; Ukraine is not. The main questions remaining are how the Ukraine will fall apart and how much of its territory will end up in Novorossiya. Also, whether the US will blow up the world to spite Russia.

The Russian view is that all of this has happened before and will happen again. What makes American neocons think that they can succeed where Poland, France, and Germany failed is their stupidity, ignorance, and chauvinism.

Posted by: Demian | Feb 16, 2015 10:59:31 PM | 55

@Hoarsewhisperer #54

For all the valid criticisms of US military doctrine, that's not one of them. Problem-solving initiative and ability to respond to developing situations were key strengths that American soldiers had in WWII.

We're definitely seeing a different kind of "Russian" than the ones who compensated for their shortcomings by sheer numbers and disregard of near-certain death in WWII. Among the NAF are a lot of veterans of the Afghan and Chechen wars. It seems they're using the lessons that were taught to them by the Mujahadeen and Chechen guerrillas.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Feb 16, 2015 11:03:56 PM | 56

@ Demian #55

I agree that it is inconsequential. The only way it would have been consequential would have been if it allowed UAF to support and replenish its troops at Debaltseve, but that was a vain hope.

If I were to place a bet, it would be that the loss of the force at Debaltseve will be the crisis that drives Porky from power and shatters the coalition that has been in power since the coup. This could end up being a multi-directional civil war everywhere but in the NAF controlled areas.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Feb 16, 2015 11:18:56 PM | 57

Russian Spring

02/17/2015-05:16

Combatant “Podpol” (“Cellar”) reports heavy combat near Logvinovo; a column of Ukrainian troops tries to break into Debal`tsevo.

“The fight is for Nizhnee Lozovoye (Low Lozovoye) (lies just north of Logvinovo on the same route to Debal`tsevo). Before the attack the settlement was under Novorossian forces. The column was detected before their first strike; but there is no communication, and how the combat develops is unknown.

Day before yesterday, they attepted a breach through Kalinovka (adjacent to Logvinovo west), but were busted – significant losses from words of locals.

Now they probe a juncture beween Donetsk and Lugansk Republics in a hope of weak coordination”.


Russian Spring

02/16/2015-23:55

Cossack’s National Guard informs that the units of CNG and other units of the Novorossia army are wrapping up clearing Debal`tsevo off the Ukrainian occupants.

“In the cource of operation, practically whole city is retaken”.


Russian Spring

02/16/2015-23:40

Ukrainian military journalist Aleksandr Rudomanov reports that as of 19:30 in the center of Shirokino (under Mariupol`) joint forces of marines and a battalion of 79th brigade wage a furious battle with Donetsk Republic army.

Posted by: Fete | Feb 16, 2015 11:56:12 PM | 58

Posted by: Thirdeye | Feb 16, 2015 11:03:56 PM | 56

I suppose cherry-picking convenient timelines and conflating old ones with contemporary ones is as good a way as any to kick the legs out from under one's own argument. You haven't bothered to read (or find) Petraeus' ridiculous FM have you?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 17, 2015 12:07:17 AM | 59

@ 22, 51, and 52,

I like to Imagine I wake up one day and read about a press conference in Moscow with Putin and Poroshenko, having escaped with Russian assistance a Neo Nazi death squad, telling all the details about MH17. Not very likely I know but I'm curious how it would play out. Much more likely Porky will be butchered precisely because such a thing might happen. He can then be a martyr victim of a "KGB" assassination. Anyone recall the Yushchenko 'poisoning?'

Posted by: Lysander | Feb 17, 2015 12:26:53 AM | 60

@Hoarsewhisperer #59

There's a lot more to US military doctrine than Petraeus' FM. Part of the training of combat units to this day consists of problem solving exercises to develop initiative at the combat unit level. It didn't used to be. It was recognized as a value by analysis of battle performance under different conditions, conventions of command and control, etc. The balance of command and initiative has been studied to death. When the US military screws up, it tends to screw up closer to the top level. There are numerous examples of the abilities of combat units in battle saving the day when the brass hats were doing something stupid.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Feb 17, 2015 12:33:19 AM | 61

@56 The World War II Army was led by veterans of World War I or at least had their experience, had motivations to win, and was filled not with professional soldiers but citizen soldiers. Most soldiers in that army didn't want a glowing recommendation from an officer as much as winning and going home. If they though an officer was a problem, higher ups heard about it. Today, soldiers keep quiet for fear of not being team players. In Vietnam when winning wasn't as relevant because helicopters could always be called in, officers tended to die in mysterious circumstances.

I'm not contending an individual officer might not be wonderful or even that the army teaches good ideas, but necessity is the mother of invention. Winning was important in World War II, and even then, the U.S. didn't win every battle or every hill.

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Feb 17, 2015 12:44:16 AM | 62

There is an unconfirmed report Poroshenko family have left Ukraine.

http://robinwestenra.blogspot.ca/2015/02/breaking-poroshenkos-family-flee-kiev.html?spref=tw

Posted by: TikTok | Feb 17, 2015 1:06:55 AM | 63

@63 tiktok. i saw that over at ks.. obviously if they can fly out the shah or iran, they can find a way to get porky out too!! is it that time of the day when yats comes in? don't want all those cookies to go to waste ya know!

Posted by: james | Feb 17, 2015 1:31:50 AM | 64

There's a lot more to US military doctrine than Petraeus' FM.
Posted by: Thirdeye | Feb 17, 2015 12:33:19 AM | 61

That is undoubtedly true. However, it blatantly reflects US military doctrine i.e. it reeks of an author telling his 'market' exactly what they wanted to hear. You really should find it and at least skim it. It contradicts itself in ways which would make it unacceptable to non hide bound recipients. But they LOVED it. It made him a sort of in-house folk hero.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 17, 2015 1:43:41 AM | 65

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 16, 2015 9:35:44 PM | 51

If you are more cynical then it has got another aspect. Politicians certainly do not want these troops come back to Kiew after a lost civil war.

The problem is the mindset that makes people not surrender or negotiate when there is still time but the outcome is clear. So that they can save lives.

The only one to give a press conference after the Minsk negotiations was Putin and he talked about Debaltseve. Merkel and Hollande were absolutely tight lipped.

This is an - anonymous :-) - Der Spiegel's take - which is the German way to leak stuff. It is not necessarily true. But this is the version Germany wants to be known.

Poroshenko, too, seemed to prefer a delayed cease-fire -- apparently not fully understanding the situation facing his military. The Europeans were trying to protect the Ukrainians from themselves. ... The world must hope that the government troops trapped in Debaltseve really do lay down their weapons and don't try to fight their way free. The world must hope that free elections are held in the separatist areas and that the elected politicians negotiate a fair autonomy agreement with Kiev, one that re-establishes Ukraine's unity.

Do Ukrainian soldiers in Debaltseve know that they are supposed to lay down arms?

Posted by: somebody | Feb 17, 2015 2:08:03 AM | 66

This is the New York Times on the same issue.

The status of this stretch of potholed asphalt has become a sticking point in the cease-fire and threatens to unravel the deal. The separatists say their control of the road means they have the Ukrainians surrounded. President Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine has denied their claim, because conceding the point would force him either to negotiate for the release of the trapped soldiers or resume fighting to extricate them.

It is completely immoral.

Posted by: somebody | Feb 17, 2015 2:14:49 AM | 67

Latest Western headline, now everywhere -- Ukraine rebels say they cannot 'morally' stop fighting government troops" -- is designed to ridicule the separatists, to make readers think "Hey honey, them crazy Putin rebels think fighting is moral!" Unmentioned is that both sides are responsible for 'stopping fighting'. The Donbass forces would stop fighting if the Ukraine troops stopped fighting. They're also happy to let the Ukraine troops escape, as long as they leave behind their weapons.

Posted by: fairleft | Feb 17, 2015 2:35:49 AM | 68

Posted by: fairleft | Feb 17, 2015 2:35:49 AM | 68

The issue is that Ukraine wants to keep Debaltseve which is an important crossroads.

Posted by: somebody | Feb 17, 2015 2:39:19 AM | 69

@somebody #69:

Ukraine wants to keep Debaltseve

It's interesting that you say "Ukraine", as opposed to "Kiev" or "the junta". I resisted the Saker's calling the enemy "Ukrainians" for a while, but I now think that that position is correct, and you seem to agree.

This means that the Ukrainian project is finished. Ukraine losing a civil war against a region that has only about 20% of its population is pitiful. What that shows is that the idea of a Ukrainian nation is just a fantasy and does not lead to concrete results.

The whole American project to turn Ukrainians against Russia, culminating in a coup and a civil war, was ill advised from the start. Clearly, US policy makers lack an adequate understanding of the region. What is most puzzling to me at the moment is that Merkel keeps on siding with the Empire, even though it's becoming increasingly clear that the Empire will lose this battle.

Not even the fallback plan of creating chaos on Russia's doorstep will work. Ukrainian nationalism will eventually burn itself out, although that might take years of misery to happen.

Posted by: Demian | Feb 17, 2015 3:37:28 AM | 70

39

On that note, Monsanto has leased vast tracts of Ukraine farmland for GMO crop production, since Ukraine is not part of EU sanctions against GMOs, and it's right in the heartland of foodstuffs demand, as for example, Greece used to be the biggest EU supplier, then Turkey.

Monsantos farmland leases, ...which, come on, have you ever bought vast tracts of prime ag property? It doesn't happen overnight, but over months, years ... those Monsanto leases (with it, massive push of herbicide and pesticide sales into the 'soon to be EU') were signed IMMEDIATELY AFTER the Maidan Coup by dual-citizen Israeli 'chocolate billionaire'.

Monsanto is majority-owned by the Rothschilds, they say, certainly that was its founding. But it's not about the Kabbala or Luciferianism, nor about GMOs or resource destruction, it's about metastasizing an eternal DEBT, which can only be repaid Interest-Only FOREVER.

And that, I would submit, is the significance of Ukraine. Not sactioning the RU, but subverting the EU. The only thing that stands between the EU ending up like USA, is sands in the hourglass. The only thing that stands between EU and open-air death camp euthanasia, is a BOYCOTT.

They're already auctioning off UK seniors to the lowest bidder, the cheapest unlicensed healthcare (sic) providers of the smegma class. There are 100,000,000 USA'ians who are jobless and/or homeless today, rents are rapidly spiking with the influx of strong US$ foreign speculator R/E investments, and the US Congress of a Thousand Years is pushing three bills to cut all FY2015 health and human services by -8%.

Live, Work, Die ... Arbeit Macht Frei!

Posted by: ChipNikh | Feb 17, 2015 3:56:26 AM | 71

that time of the day when yats comes in? don't want all those cookies to go to waste ya know!

No wastage, since that was always their plan, Porosh. being merely a stopgap stooge, to be discarded once he'd served his purpose.

The issue is that Ukraine wants to keep Debaltseve which is an important crossroads.

Debaltsevo in itself is not actually that important to the junta. It was seen as the key fracture point for the chisel to separate Lugansk & Dontesk at the time the UAF were making serious inroads (fall of Sloviansk, downing of airliner, etc.). Now it's simply the deepest point they happen to have reached at that time, that they haven't yet relinquished. A bit symbolic, but not important, the railway junction notwithstanding.


Posted by: Petra | Feb 17, 2015 3:59:28 AM | 72

Posted by: Demian | Feb 17, 2015 3:37:28 AM | 70

Without the interests of the oligarchs in a new round of privatisation and Ukraine's debt which creditors don't want to write off, this would go the way of Yougoslavia fast. I don't think Kyiv has much authority outside of Kyiv. At least if this is to be believed.

Western States and Ukrainian oligarchs have a fiancial interest in keeping Ukraine intact. Therefore Merkel's moronic negotiation to keep Ukraine's "territorial integrity" when Kyiv and presumably NATO enlargement hawks want a border "to Russia" defended by NATO.

Posted by: somebody | Feb 17, 2015 4:38:17 AM | 73

Russian Spring is reporting a battle underway at the Police station (UAF HQ) and the railway station in the heart of Debaltseve, and mass surrender of UAF forces. Ukrainian TSN/TCH news also admits the location of battle. Once Debaltseve falls, the defense of the whole northern part of the pocket is unhinged.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Feb 17, 2015 5:05:47 AM | 74

@Petra #72

Debaltseve had a strike force gathered for a move to Sakhartsk to isolate Donetsk. But once their attacks stalled and they started losing ground in late January, the strategic reason for being there was lost.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Feb 17, 2015 5:14:17 AM | 75

Posted by: Thirdeye | Feb 17, 2015 5:14:17 AM | 75

The fight is for Donetsk and Luhansk to be economically viable - or not. It is the crossing of MO3 and MO4 not just rail. You need the town for all kind of transport to the Russian border and between Donetsk and Luhansk.
There is also seems to be fighting around Mariupol.

Posted by: somebody | Feb 17, 2015 5:48:48 AM | 76

Reports that Debaltsewe been taken by rebels according to media/news. Ceasefire ended obviously, apparently broken by both. Not a good situation.

Posted by: Anonymous_test | Feb 17, 2015 8:42:13 AM | 77

As long as there are people on both sides who see no interest in a peaceful settlement, there will be no ceasefire, much less a truce.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Feb 17, 2015 8:43:21 AM | 78

Demian at 30. Roughly, yes. But recall that when Strelkov was winning (in fact the Ukr. Gvmt. has sort of lost this ‘war’ three times by now!) he was pulled back, away, presumably (Strelkov has gone further than hinting in the last interview I saw, though he of course has his own view, considerations, justifications) by Putin aka factions in the Russian PTB. Putin participating in Minsk 2.0 is of the same nature. He knew it was a somewhat empty, useless, diplomatic exercise but went along. He did not say, this is a genocidal, supremely ugly, highly inflammable, dangerous situation, it is crunch time, ppl, get real. Maybe he had some spirit of optimism, or attempts at conciliation, playing the game for positive outcomes, etc. who knows.

Putin has done more, according to some, to hinder Novorussia than to help. My perception is rather that he is treading a fine line between blocking, preventing escalation with the W and defending countrymen. See also when Minsk 2.0 took place - a huge cauldron. Poof! A cease-fire, the only outcome that was projected or could be agreed upon.

Chip at 71. What happens when the banks bleed out of the trading floor (where they already control pretty well everything) and in cahoots with major corporations take direct control of natural assets such as forests, oil fields, mineral resources - mining, water (not some lame capos who want to make the peons pay their last pennies.) Direct control as in ownership, by buying up rights, not just to land (which raises eyebrows and opposition) but also to transport, funding, delivery of needed materials, energy to run everything, etc. ?

Posted by: Noirette | Feb 17, 2015 9:49:12 AM | 79

Good Gawd, Ukrainian battalion commander-turned-MP vows to retake Crimea by "burning everyone if need be." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQp8hRlnmmU

Posted by: TikTok | Feb 17, 2015 10:07:15 AM | 80

Noirette: "What happens when the banks....?"

eventually they devour one another and the last one standing implodes.

before that happens - full spectrum ugliness.

Helps a bit to think of H. sapens sapiens as an ontological hoax.

Posted by: rjj | Feb 17, 2015 10:28:01 AM | 81

AT at 77 -- I was just on the Kyiv Post, they have this short item. Kyiv verifying reports on militants taking control of Debaltseve.

Items at Fort Russ & Russia Insider on Debaltsevo suggest continued fighting, but there is some lag time on those sites. There may of course be pockets of resistance, even if most of the town has fallen.

Reaction will now be key. Does Wash. affect to call this a violation, scrap Minsk-2, and push Poroshenko on with the war and/or out of power? Or politely tsk, tsk, and move on to it's next imbroglio? I lean towards the former. Novorossiya might have been set up. The ambiguity about the pocket was troubling from the start.

Posted by: rufus magister | Feb 17, 2015 10:52:40 AM | 82

Reality is a problem

BBC reporter on air at Donetsk airport ruins claiming there is outgoing fire nearly gets hit.

Posted by: somebody | Feb 17, 2015 10:55:37 AM | 83

@rufus magister #82:

Items at Fort Russ & Russia Insider on Debaltsevo suggest continued fighting, but there is some lag time on those sites. There may of course be pockets of resistance, even if most of the town has fallen.

Col. Cassad in the original Russian reports that the junta has refused safe passage of its forces out of Debaltsevo. Thus they will gradually be destroyed.

Пропаганда усиленно и на скорую руку лепит очередной миф про "украинский Сталинград" под Дебальцево, который закончится так же бессмысленно и кроваво, как и предыдущий про "киборгов". Люди гибнут за пропагандистские фантомы.

The propaganda is strongly going on about one more myth of a "Ukrainian Stalingrad" around Debaltsevo, which will end just as senselessly and bloodily as the previous one about the "cyborgs". People are perishing for propagandistic phantoms.

Posted by: Demian | Feb 17, 2015 11:37:46 AM | 84

FortRuss:Russkiy Malchik:
Thus and only thus: Novorossia is Ukraine without Bandera

I basically said the same in a previous post. Ukraine as a brand is finished. It will be a rump, and most of it will be replaced by a free Novorossiya. That was not the Kremlin's plan, but things are heading that way. The decadent Europeans, not to mention the clueless Americans, will have to deal with this.

Posted by: Demian | Feb 17, 2015 11:55:25 AM | 85

The role of American soldiers in World Wars I and II is highly exaggerated.
In World War I, US casualties (killed) - less than 120K vs. a population of 99M - nothing to sneeze at, but nothing whatsoever compared with 700K Brits killed (vs. 45M population) or 1.3M French killed (vs. 40M population).
Equally, in World War II, there were roughly 200K US killed in Europe. Germany alone lost 1.4M in the Eastern Front (and 3.4M wounded). In comparison the Germany lost 170K killed between Italy, the Western Front, and the Home front.
Was the US participation on both World War I and II vital? Absolutely. But the influence was primarily financial/economic as opposed to military. Once Germany had exhausted itself fighting France and UK in World War I, and Russia in World War II, the US was able to enter and tip the exhausted balance in a manner beneficial to US interests.

Posted by: ǝn⇂ɔ | Feb 17, 2015 12:04:38 PM | 86

#Russia has requested an emergency meeting of the #UNSC on #Ukraine, today 3pm NY Time

Lysenko statement postponed @TheCReporter: In about 30min, there will be an "Urgent statement on the situation on the ATO zone". #Ukraine

Posted by: TikTok | Feb 17, 2015 12:45:54 PM | 87

One of the best analyst on Russian/Novorussia is Joaquin Flores. His colleague Kristina kharlova aka Kristina Russ at Fort Russ. Joaquin Flores can be found in Fort Russ and elsewhere. Below Joaquin Flores mentioned Kristina at "57.50" in an interviews with "Red Ice Radio"

http://www.redicecreations.com/radio/2014/12/RIR-141219.php

and more here

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5WdALk2_ZNRTN8uFY-adsDaQ2XeRKJgV

and here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTBhPLU5lPo

Forewarn most Joaquin Flores interviewed over an hour, this interviewed over two hours and 2nd two-hr you need to signed up.

Joaquin Flores: "..an American expatriate living in Belgrade. He is a full-time analyst at the Center for Syncretic Studies, a public geostrategic think-tank, where his work centers on Eastern European, Eurasian, and Middle East affairs. Flores is particularly adept at analyzing the psychology of the propaganda wars and cutting through the noise of 'information overload.' He also serves as the Europe-wide coordinator for New Resistance, a US based revolutionary movement. In the first hour, Joaquin explains the impetus for the founding of the Center for Syncretic Studies, formed in 2013 as platform from which to view the various social and ideological movements that exist today with a broad lens.

Posted by: Jack Smith | Feb 17, 2015 1:09:25 PM | 88

Now we talk (politics)

Slovakia to hold Ukraine peace conference in March

Slovakia will host a peace conference on the Ukraine crisis in March, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said on a radio talk show on Saturday.

His government has been approached by the German Social Democrats with a proposal to organize a peace conference (on Ukraine) in Slovakia, according to local news agency TASR.

"It's going to concern top-level officials from Social Democratic parties. I'm glad that we've received such an offer, and I'm glad that the peace conference will take place indeed, in Kosice in early March," TASR cited Fico as saying.

Yes. I have alway wondered about the territorial integrity of Czechoslovakia.

Posted by: somebody | Feb 17, 2015 1:14:34 PM | 89

Poroshenko President and members of Parliament have taken their families abroad ...

Article is in Russian. I do not have the facilities to translate whole article. Just did a google translate on the headline ...

https://versia.ru/prezident-i-deputaty-rady-vyvezli-svoi-semi-za-granicu


Looks like the rats are deserting a sinking ship?

Posted by: Alberto | Feb 17, 2015 1:19:11 PM | 90

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iR3ruZ-6ZYc

My gawd, look at the bags under his eyes. Calling rebels 'terrorists'.

Posted by: TikTok | Feb 17, 2015 1:19:27 PM | 91

D at 84 -- glad to report the English Cassad is right behind it. The Colonel also has a nice little discussion of the new nuances of "peremoga", too. The translator notes it's Ukrainian for "victory", but "...recently it obtained a new connotation: a defeat that is presented as if it were victory."

Military education and professionalism as the main criterion for career growth were replaced by a system of political loyalty on the border of lickspittling, when Ukraine made a bunch of generals who were famous primarily by their corruption and the ambition to get to places where stuff can be stolen – rare exceptions among decent military were more of exceptions that confirmed the general rule.

You see of course the results on effectiveness this produced.

It concludes with a post by "volunteer battalion commander" Semen Semenchenko, greiving his losses and complaining about higher command. The Col. describes it as "traditional rubric of virtual peremogas". But it suggests weaknesses in operations and command and control. Or someone trying to get him killed, perhaps. Maybe both.

Posted by: rufus magister | Feb 17, 2015 1:56:19 PM | 92

Hopefully Ukr troops are surrendering en masse now.. no point in dying for such a stupid war...

I've also thought that the Nazi battalions have been lured into fighting by Kiev in order to be depopulated.. A disgusting thought if you ask me...

Ukraine will always have Bandera and will always have Russians.. they'll have to either accept each other or make2 new countries.

Posted by: PeteCaroll | Feb 17, 2015 2:07:43 PM | 93

Agreed Pete, I read somewhere this a.m. Porkoshenko gave order to surrender, but your on your own, run. Fraticide. #Donetsk forces claim they are beginning to withdraw artillery from the frontline in areas where there is no fighting. Agreement has been reached on a draft United Nations Security Council resolution on Ukraine and a vote is due to take place in New York later on Tuesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told TASS. #PUTIN: Once ceasefire is observed and artillery is withdrawn we'll see conditions for political settlement of the crisis.

Will Ukraine choose AID or ARMS? I presume AID. Will Porkoshenko resign? IDK.

Posted by: TikTok | Feb 17, 2015 2:54:58 PM | 94

Laughable: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/17/ukraine-rebels-debaltseve_n_6697084.html
Ukrainian soldiers were ambushed????

Posted by: georgeg | Feb 17, 2015 3:17:13 PM | 95

If "separatists" let go of the ukie soldiers they are more than stupid. They're holding the cards now.

Posted by: Anonymous | Feb 17, 2015 3:19:29 PM | 96

Zakharchenko was shot in the leg by Ukies while helping mop up a town. The rebels say they are under orders not to use heavy weapons, but that Ukies are using them. Putin said that the West is already supplying Banderastan with weapons, but that that won't make a difference. There is talk of Kiev imposing martial law, which would possibly lead to more regions breaking away.

Posted by: Demian | Feb 17, 2015 3:53:42 PM | 97

maybe ulster surrendered as he hasn't been posting lately..

chipnikh @71.. thanks for the overview.

Posted by: james | Feb 17, 2015 3:56:57 PM | 98

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1435976/china-sues-ukraine-breach-us3b-loan-grain-agreement

China is seeking compensation of US$3 billion from Ukraine for the breach of a loans-for-grain contract signed in 2012, Russian media reported yesterday.

Under the deal, the Export-Import Bank of China provided the loan to Kiev in exchange for supplies of grain.

Citing a Ukrainian parliament official, the ITAR-TASS news agency reported that the State Food and Grain Corporation of Ukraine has used part of the US$3 billion Chinese loan to instead provide crops for other countries and parties, including Ethiopia, Iran, Kenya and Syrian opposition groups.

So far, Chinese importers have only received US$153 million worth of Ukrainian grain, or 180,000 tonnes, the report said.

Posted by: mcohen | Feb 17, 2015 4:36:59 PM | 99

alberto @90

Your link is an article written in a very polemic style. It claims that a Kiev tabloid wrote that the spouse of the President with children started a foreign trip, and "our sources" say that they went to U.S.A. Then it speculates that the elite expects "second chapter/strain" of the conflict, which conceivably could be a full scale war with Russia (a minister was inspecting bomb shelters in Kiev), but more probably Maidan III performed by the extremist battalions. The article claims that Poroshenko's popularity is sinking, the war is not going well and economy is worse.

Indisputably, the tempers, never particularly "long", are getting shorter, and the fate of an unpopular politician in Ukraine can be unpleasant. Politics there is a contact sport.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 17, 2015 4:37:48 PM | 100

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