Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 09, 2015

Ukraine: Use Of U.S. Ambassador's "False Flag" Offer Aborted

In an interview this morning a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine made a completely speculative statement on Russian air attack plans against Ukrainian forces reported the Ukrainian propaganda outlet

If Putin uses aviation in Donbas, US response will be swift - former Ambassador to Ukraine Herbst"
"Certainly, everyone is concerned that the Kremlin is making this war in Ukraine increasingly open. They used to hide all their steps, all their aggression. Now it's increasingly clear what Moscow is doing. So, conceivably, Moscow can decide to use its Air Force," he stated, adding that if it does that even the most skeptical Europeans who doubted the hand of the Kremlin in the conflict will see that Russia is conducting war.

"Our report (on the situation in Ukraine to President Obama - ed.) did not specifically recommend anti-aircraft weapons … but we talked about it," Herbst said. He added that the reason for that is a possible major escalation of the conflict. The former ambassador stated that if Putin were to use his Air Force, the United States' reaction would be swift.

That statement by the former ambassador was a huge invitation for a "false flag" event. As the Ukraine and Russia fly similar types of air planes a "false flag" attack by Ukrainian planes on Ukrainian forces could easily be "sold" as a Russian attack. The ambassador seemingly offers that as a way to get the U.S. militarily involved.

The propaganda managers of the neo-Nazi Ukrainian Azov battalion immediately picked up the offer.

A group of Azov battalion members with their most revered flags.

On its Facebook page Azov proclaimed (auto translated original):

The battalion of special purpose "Azov" - new page

2 hours ago

Russia used aircraft during Debaltseve 2 Su-25 attacked the positions of the 40th Battalion.

Russian aircraft attacked the Ukrainian viyskovosluzhbo SRO near Novohryhorivka.

2 Su-25 Russian Air Force 20 minutes ago inflicted airstrike on positions 40th Battalion in the area under Novohryhorivka Debaltseve.

#Polk_Azov #Debaltseve #Aviation

Other Ukrainian propaganda outlets and Twitter propaganda accounts immediately jumped on that "report" by the Azov battalion.


Russian SU-25 airstrikes in Ukraine near #Debaltseve @LIGAnet |EMPR Breaking News

Davin Ackles

More and more reports in Ukraine that Rus. forces attackd Ukr. position at #Debaltseve w/ jets

But they were unlucky. The Ukrainian high command had not yet been informed of, or was not yet willing to jump onto, the promising "false flag" wagon prepared by Ambassador Herbst. The "Anti Terror Operation" headquarter denied (auto translated original) Russian air attacks:

At the headquarters of anti-terrorist operation (ATO) did not confirm the information about the air strikes, which the positions of the Ukrainian military allegedly paid a Russian aircraft. On this edition of the commentary "Gordon" said Speaker ATO Andrei Lysenko.

"Information is not supported by air strikes. Moreover, in the area non-flying weather. All this is fake," - said Lysenko.

Today edition "Tsenzor.NET" citing its sources reported that Russian aircraft attacked the Ukrainian troops in the village Novogrigorevka, which is located near the town of Debaltsevo Donetsk region.

Nice try everyone ...

While Andrei Lysenko did not support the SU-25 attack reports he came up with his own version of fake events by claiming yet another Russian invasion into Ukraine:

Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko, meanwhile, said Monday that about 1,500 Russian troops had crossed the border into Ukraine via rebel-controlled border posts over the weekend. He did not provide any proof.

It is funny how even the Associated Press now emphasizes the lack of proof when Ukrainian officials claim that another big Russian army invasion just happened. If all such claims had been true the Russian army would by now have some 100,000 men stationed in Ukraine.

The story shows that any promise made by the "west" - "If Russia does this, we will do that" - can and probably will be abused for false flag incidents by forces who want "that" to be done.

Posted by b on February 9, 2015 at 15:01 UTC | Permalink

« previous page

Re: okie farmer’s “Germany Emerges” @82:

Vast majority of Germans oppose arming Kiev junta

Just about half those polled feel that doing so risks imminent WW3, with nukes.

From a German War Primer:

The common folk know
That war is coming.
When the leaders curse war
The mobilization order is already written out.


It smashes down forests and crushes a hundred men.
But it has one defect:
It needs a driver.

General, your bomber is powerful.
It flies faster than a storm and carries more than an elephant.
But it has one defect:
It needs a mechanic.

General, man is very useful.
He can fly and he can kill.
But he has one defect:
He can think.

Posted by: Vintage Red | Feb 11 2015 1:33 utc | 101

@ 63

"Russian speznaz (special forces) being active in Donbass is another matter, as I said in an earlier comment. But speznaz are covert and a different kettle of fish than professional soldiers, and as far as I know, neither the junta nor NATO has significantly pushed the idea that Russian speznaz are operating in the Ukraine."

Probably because this would:

a) Diminish the narrative of a general Russian invasion -- replete with armor, mechanized units, and regular infantry -- bent on re-capturing Ukraine and all the old Warsaw Pact nations.

b) Imply that, indeed, the NAF is composed of mostly indigenous citizens of the Donbass (after all, special forces are designed to train, lead, and supplement the locals rather than singly invade an entire country.)

c) Allow analysts to juxtapose spetznaz deployment with that of US special forces around the world. Nick Turse writes at Tom's Dispatch:

"During the fiscal year that ended on September 30, 2014, U.S. Special Operations forces (SOF) deployed to 133 countries -- roughly 70% of the nations on the planet -- according to Lieutenant Colonel Robert Bockholt, a public affairs officer with U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM). This capped a three-year span in which the country’s most elite forces were active in more than 150 different countries around the world, conducting missions ranging from kill/capture night raids to training exercises. And this year could be a record-breaker...just 66 days into fiscal 2015 -- America’s most elite troops had already set foot in 105 nations, approximately 80% of 2014’s total."

I don't think US propagandists want to draw too much attention to their own shenanigans nor sever the sliver of narrative they still cling to.

Posted by: essentialworker | Feb 11 2015 1:40 utc | 102

"There are a few cogent points, but G. Friedman misses the biggest one: If Germany chooses not to continue the regime of sanctions against Russia, the largest single weapon deployed thus far against Russia will be negated.
Thus to say that Germany has no power or options is as stupid as can be."
Posted by: ǝn⇂ɔ | Feb 10, 2015 1:21:22 PM | 90

Like others here, I thought the article was useful inasmuch as it gathered so many relevant talking points in one place and took a stab at demonstrating the way they do, and/or might, interact. That is until I read the above. And you're right. He does tip-toe around that issue.

So, what's his agenda (keeping in mind that he's a Friedman)?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 11 2015 1:43 utc | 103


Isn't that the Novorossyans' answer to Obama in the run-up to 'talks' to which they were not invited?

Posted by: jfl | Feb 11 2015 2:50 utc | 104

Russian Spring


Representative of Defense Ministry of Donetsk Republic Eduard Basurin informed of ongoing preparations of a massive Donetsk offensive by the Ukrainian army:

“Data obtained by the Donetsk Republic intelligence indicate buildup of troops of the opponent north of Donetsk. Today, up to four battalions of tactical groups consisting of 93rd, 30th, and 28th motorized brigades were relocated into areas of settlements Novoselovka, Avdeevka, Orlovka.

Such concentration points to an impending offensive with the aim of seizure of north-west outskirts of Donetsk.

Russian Spring


A trilateral contact group meeting had ended in Minsk. Participated from Ukrainian side were Viktor Medvedchuk, a special representative for humanitarian issues and the leader of the social movement “Ukrainian choise" as wrell as Ex-President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma.

The south-east was presented by authorized Representatives of Donetsk and Lugansk Republics Denis Pushilin and Vladislav Deinego. Also attended were special representative of OSCE Heidi Tagliavini and Ambassador of Russia Mikhail Zubarov.

“We provided the participants of trilateral contact group with a proposed protocol that included range of measures for military and political defusing.

The sides of contact group promised an answer after a recess”, said representative of Donetsk Republic Denis Pushilin.

Russian Spring


The combatants won yet another tactical battle having taken dominant heights in area of the city (Debal`tsevo). Today, the combatants accomplished rotation of their forces on the heights.

Posted by: Fete | Feb 11 2015 5:01 utc | 105


with the aim of seizure of north-west outskirts of Donetsk.

doesn't go with
up to four battalions of tactical groups consisting of 93rd, 30th, and 28th motorized brigades

This seems to me like a 'make or break' attempt.

Posted by: okie farmer | Feb 11 2015 5:20 utc | 106

Poroshenko's Move to Prove Russian Presence in Ukraine Met With Memes

Read more:

Posted by: rufus magister | Feb 11 2015 5:32 utc | 107

@Harold #59:

I suppose if he said it, we will be hearing about it from other sources.
Kiev junta demanded a response from the Foreign Ministry of Germany for the threat of sanctions against Kiev
The statement of Steinmeier, which so shocked the Ukrainian diplomats, was made during an interview with the German TV channel ARD.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that "if Ukraine does not find a political solution, the government of the Federal Republic of Germany reserves the right to act strongly against the Ukrainian government, including the adoption of sanctions", - quotes the words of the German diplomat RIA Novosti.

It is because of this statement, the German Ambassador to Ukraine Christof Weil was forced to have a conversation with the Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Andriy Olefirov.

Unlike Western news media, Russian news media do not make things up.

Posted by: Demian | Feb 11 2015 5:49 utc | 108

video and transcription (of it) in the comment section
- nikolai azarov prime minister of ukraine commenting on the present situation in ukraine and during his time as pm from 2010 to 2014.

Posted by: james | Feb 11 2015 7:23 utc | 109

Cold N. Holefield | Feb 10, 2015 3:10:08 PM @94 and 96

Cold, did you think up this Carthago Delenda Est approach all by yourself?

Posted by: rjj | Feb 11 2015 9:25 utc | 110

Cold, sorry that question reads like snark - not my intention AT ALL.

Posted by: rjj | Feb 11 2015 9:29 utc | 111


Novorossia Today has the denial ...

The main military stuff of the ATO was crushed in Kramatorsk

This time, the representatives of the DPR announced that the Army of Novorossiya has conducted no operations in this direction.

... maybe it was one of the Warlords knocking off the UAF, blaming it on the Novorossyans?

Posted by: jfl | Feb 11 2015 11:43 utc | 112

Demian at 36 --

Your sputnik problem got me curious. Would not post w/in A HREF, but as you see at 107, when I copied and pasted the title, the link was included and the post went through, though it took a few mins. Go figure.

Posted by: rufus magister | Feb 11 2015 12:23 utc | 113

Terrorists lost a large chunk of territory east of Mariupol as "Azov" launched a counteroffensive. This will allow to move the Russian "Grads" back to Russia and prevent further further massacres as the last one in Mariupol.

Posted by: Ulster | Feb 11 2015 13:03 utc | 114

Nazi regime in kiev want to create a dictatorship?

Posted by: Anonymous | Feb 11 2015 14:11 utc | 115

@b #87

Rusvesnia reports a denial from the DNR ministry of defense. OSCE reported two attacks separated by 38 minutes. The first attack was on the ATO headquarters at the airport, which was not investigated. The second attack, on the residential area, was investigated. Hits from 300 mm Smerch rockets (much more powerful, with much greater range than Grad) were identified and their source was south-southeast. There's a range of possible interpretations for that combination of events. If DNR does in fact possess Smerch MLRS, it would have the capability of hitting the Kramatorsk airport from the vicinity of Gorlovka. There is no rational reason why DNR would launch a second attack overshooting the target after a successful first attack. UAF also has Smerch MLRS in the direction of the second attack, which have been used against Gorlovka.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Feb 11 2015 16:09 utc | 116

@Ulster #114

That "offensive" into unoccupied areas was nothing but posturing with an eye towards political advantage within Kiev. But you can go ahead and believe that it was significant if it makes you feel better.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Feb 11 2015 16:26 utc | 117


The source you provided begins the story with "a glimmer of hope" as they frankly recognize Ukes are taking a beating all over the front and there's no hope at all for those poor bastards in Debaltsevo. So that's how pro-Kiev blogs see the situation now? Strange, I thought they were winning. Poroshenko still claims on TV his troops have killed thousands of Russian soldiers and he even got some Russian passports to prove. If Ukrainians find out things are going this bad, soon enough he'll need one of those passports for himself!

Posted by: Edison | Feb 11 2015 16:52 utc | 118

Ukraine’s Economy Is Collapsing, Currency Drops 50 Percent In 48 Hours

Posted by: Anonymous | Feb 11 2015 17:54 utc | 119

@119 anonymous. the spike happened feb 5/6th area. here's a chart for the last week's activities.

Posted by: james | Feb 11 2015 17:59 utc | 120

Ukraine Sabotaged Evacuation in Debaltsevo

“The evacuation of the civilians from Debaltsevo to DPR was sabotaged. Only forty people came to the evacuation point because the Ukrainian side did not let people know about a possibility to go to the Donetsk People’s Republic. People did not know anything about it. There was a provocation when we entered Debaltsevo—the fire was coming from the town. The residents only knew about the evacuation to Slavyansk. The buses came in the morning and people left. There are some more people in the town left. They are hiding in basements. There is no gas supply.”

Posted by: Vintage Red | Feb 11 2015 20:56 utc | 121

@rufus magister, 113, and @Demian, referring to recent Mariupol discussion, 190:

I'm wondering about potential glitches as well, as the strangeness I described in the tech digression at the end of the Mariupol discussion continues: inability to render a word or passage bold, italicized, underlined or blockquoted without the rest of my post getting the same treatment. As I wrote in that discussion @ 194:

I'm on a Mac running OS X 10.9.5, browsing on Firefox 35.0.1. The glitches happen regardless of whether I cut-and-paste the HTML tags from the "Post a comment" field or hand type them in, upper or lower case. I always preview and proofread before posting; learned that a long time ago.

I don't bold or underline much, and can limp along using *asterisks* in place of italics, but the real annoyance is not being able to blockquote sizable quotes except at the end of posts.

I consulted with my Mac Whisperer, who said to try previewing some test posts on Safari with all plug ins disabled—no luck, all the above still happens. If you or anyone else has any ideas on what this is about and how to resolve it, I'm all ears...

Posted by: Vintage Red | Feb 11 2015 21:22 utc | 122

negotiations in Minsk are taking forever, so far from the body language it seems Putin, Merkel and Olland are happy, Poroshenko is fucked.

The shelling of Kramatorsk could've been done by the rebels but also quite likely it came from Debaltsevo where a bunch of Ukr troops are abandoned by their generals. It's quite possible they could take a revenge and launch a Smerch volley into ATO headquaters. The testimonies of the captured soldiers seem to point to the complete disregard from the commanders towards their lives. Not that it's surprising, but it seems Ukrainian military command is extremely incapable of conducting any kind of meaningful operations.

The other day Azov batalion made what seemed as an independent sortie towards Novoazovks. They occupied the neutral places all the way reporting to the media about their 'victories' and how many rebels they killed, but when they got too close to the actual rebel position, they reasonably retreated. This whole war is a bloody circus beyond imagination.

The Ukrainian media has been also beyond any criticism. I have never seen so much cynicism, lies and just inhumane behaviour starting with Poroshenko shedding crocodile tears and ending with the Ukrainian stand up comedians cracking jokes about Donetsk children being happy for not having to go to school. The dehumanizing of the people of Donbass reached a point of no return and it's utterly disgusting to see Ukrainian journalists brainwashing their stupefied public with tales of terrorists shooting missiles when it's their army that is shooting ballistic missiles daily killing children and women, destroying infrastructure, torturing POWs, raping and looting through Donbass.

One thing is certain. The wounds of this war will stay for generations and the damage that has been done to the people of Donbass will not be forgiven nor forgotten. Ukraine is in a dead end as a country. I have no idea how they will get out of this mess. It's really a tragedy of a people. I wish somebody would shoot or hang Poroshenko, Yatsenyuk, Turchinov and other criminals who are behind this madness.

Posted by: Al | Feb 11 2015 21:59 utc | 123

here's a screenshot of the source, which shows WHAT is going wrong

Posted by: Cheapo Tech support | Feb 11 2015 22:00 utc | 124

#124 directed @ 122

Posted by: Cheapo Tech support | Feb 11 2015 22:01 utc | 125

You're using a Mac?

Quick!! Zapp yer PRAM!!!


Posted by: Cheapo Tech support | Feb 11 2015 22:03 utc | 126


The dehumanizing of the people of Donbass reached a point of no return and it's utterly disgusting to see Ukrainian journalists brainwashing their stupefied public with tales of terrorists shooting missiles when it's their army that is shooting ballistic missiles daily killing children and women, destroying infrastructure, torturing POWs, raping and looting through Donbass.

These are lessons learned from their teachers : Victoria Nuland, Pyatt, Brennan, Obama ....

The wounds of this war will stay for generations and the damage that has been done to the people of Donbass will not be forgiven nor forgotten. Ukraine is in a dead end as a country. I have no idea how they will get out of this mess. It's really a tragedy of a people. I wish somebody would shoot or hang Poroshenko, Yatsenyuk, Turchinov and other criminals who are behind this madness.
Change Donbass to the world at large and Ukraine to the USA and I'm with you ... right up to the 'shoot or hang' ... no one deserves to die, although certainly some do seem to, don't they? Executing them would only makes 'martyrs' for the next round of fascists. And leaving them alive, in prison, wearing the virtual scarlet 'A" for assassin - perhaps having an annual remember the assassins whom we once let rule day - is more educational for those who come after.

I'm more and more convinced that no one is any longer in charge in the USA. That the whole thing is unfolding on auto-pilot. As an occasional correspondent pointed out, "We're in deep shit."

Things are rolling on and on towards - if not the end, a very close facsimile thereof.

But then it will be rebuilt from ashes. There will be no end to time until ... we've destroyed the biosphere. Which needs to be our second 'not', right after not making no wars no more.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 11 2015 22:47 utc | 127


I cannot post to this blog at all using firefox. Might be noscript or another of my plugins.

I use midori, just to post to this blog. Works most of the time, except when it doesn't.

Links from a motley collection of sites - all non-MSM 'approved' - definitely are blacklisted here and posts attempted with such links will never appear. b says it's typepad,

Posted by: jfl | Feb 11 2015 22:53 utc | 128

@Vintage Red #122:

It's very strange that you're having this problem given that you're using Firefox. I guess Firefox for OS X must be buggy. The only thing I can suggest is that, if you have enough ram, you use a virtual machine, and run Firefox or Chrome on Windows or Linux inside VirtualBox. (My first two computers were Macs, but now Macs are totally alien to me, and I only use Solaris and Linux.)

@Al #123:

I believe you're new here. Welcome!

The shelling of Kramatorsk could've been done by the rebels but also quite likely it came from Debaltsevo where a bunch of Ukr troops are abandoned by their generals. It's quite possible they could take a revenge and launch a Smerch volley into ATO headquaters.
That's an interesting possibility. I seriously doubt the rebels did it. Bombing populated areas is not the Russian way of war. Indeed, as I noted previously, the rebels/Russians appear to be using special forces to destroy the Ukie army, avoiding unnecessary shelling.

FortRuss: "The US should keep out of the Ukraine conflict"--EU Parliament President Martin Schulz

That is a précis of a discussion of the Ukraine civil war on German television. One gets the impression from that discussion that Germany has parted ways with the Empire on Ukraine for good. Germany does not want a major war in Europe, whereas USG obviously does. Here is the link to the video, for German speakers: Schicksalstage in Europa – auf wen hört Putin noch? (The original Russian story should have given it.)

The current negotiations in Minsk may prove to be consequential. The heads of the people's republics, Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky, have arrived in Minsk to sign an agreement. It should not escape notice that neither the US nor Poland has participated in these talks.

Posted by: Demian | Feb 11 2015 22:54 utc | 129

@127. Yeah, I've been checking this blog now and then for a long time although not commenting much. Yes, I agree about the US. It is a parasitical sate like most empires feeding on the weak and creating havoc in faraway lands to exploit for profit, not so different from its originator the British empire. As for who is in charge of the US, it's a good question. Definitely not the current Noble peace prize winner. But it's a whole different topic and I'd rather not plunge into its murky depths.

@129 It seems Merkel's government is facing a strong opposition at home. I am not a specialist on German domestic politics, but the videos I watched of the debates in the German parliament and a whole bunch from the German comedians impressed me quite a bit. It seems there is a definitely strong and vocal left wing anti USA, anti nazi, somewhat pro Russia political discourse in Germany and Merkel seems to be quite far to the right of it. I don't see any kind of such criticism of Ukrainian debacle in other counties in Europe. The UK is blindly and virulently anti-Russian. The Baltic states politicians compete in caryring the torch of the most anti-Russian xenophobic nazi sympathizers in Europe. Poland has been for a long time pushing an anti-Russian agenda fighting for influence over Ukraine as well. France is divided with a traditional strong pro-Russian side and another quite anti-Russian with Chiraq and somewhat Sarkozy being russohpiles and the current spineless one a no entity bending left and right depending where the wind blows from.

It's been taking forever for the Normand 4 to come out so it seems there is a major agreement in making although it's hard to imagine any kind of real constructive peace deal that would stick since Poroshenko's presidency and probably life clearly depends on the military victory for Ukraine- an unachievable goal. Maybe they will seal the Ukrainian defeat but make it look like a victory. The Ukr media can spin anything nowadays for their brainwashed public, so nothing suprises me anymore. Obviously Donbass will be de facto independent from Kiev. But it needs to stay within the formal structure of the Ukrainian state and have an influence over the politics in Kiev. I don't know how Poroshenko can agree to that but that would be the best solution for Donbass since turning it into another Transdnistria will be a political and economic loss for Russia. I guess the IMF will have to pay for the eventual reconstruction of Donbass and Ukraine should resume paying pensions and social benefits to its citizens. The Ukr troops should withdraw from the DPR and LPR territories. Anything less would be a loss to the rebels. So eventually Ukraine will have to be neutral, federal and disarmed fro any kind of lasting peace to return there. the problem is that given the current political climate in Kiev all this sounds like a fantasy. But anything less than that will mean the continuation of the war.

Posted by: Al | Feb 11 2015 23:37 utc | 130

@Al #123:

The shelling of Kramatorsk could've been done by the rebels but also quite likely it came from Debaltsevo where a bunch of Ukr troops are abandoned by their generals.

It was probably a Ukie false flag staged on account of the Minsk negotiations, as the Saker observes based on a Russian blog. That is a more plausible explanation than Ukie troops firing at their superiors. Everyone was expecting a false flag right about now.

@ #130:

We shall soon see if the new Minsk agreement, if it is reached, leads to anything. A cease fire or frozen conflict will not solve the Ukrainian problem, which will remain so long as Kiev is in the hands of Nazis.

The Russian blogger El Murid, who is close to Strelkov, says that if the fascist junta regime does not fall, Russia will quickly fall apart as Yugoslavia did, but I think that that is unduly alarmist and that El Murid effectively belongs to the Russian sixth column, i.e., Russians who undermine the Kremlin not by being pro-Western and liberal, but by posing as more patriotic than Putin.

Sooner or later, Ukrainian racist fascism will burn itself out. Russia will survive, even if that process takes decades. Hopefully, Ukrainian nationalism will burn itself out much more quickly than that. The fascist regime cannot survive indefinitely, with only the US, but not France and Germany, backing it.

Posted by: Demian | Feb 12 2015 0:18 utc | 131

P.S. That post went through, even though I linked to the Saker's blog. TypePad blocked that blog when it was in the "ca" domain, but the domain has been switched to "com", and the TypePad censors have evidently not yet updated their database to reflect that change.

NOTE: Another Web site that gets censored by TypePad is Sputnik News. I think that the easiest way to get around that is to use a URL shortener such as I have never used a URL shortener myself. What I do for censored Web sites is to tweet the link using my new Twitter account, and then post the link to the tweet.

Posted by: Demian | Feb 12 2015 0:32 utc | 132

William Engdahl has hope that Germany and France are acting behind USG's back on Ukraine. (h/t to DeepResource)

Something I learned from that post is that post is that Britain and France forced the euro upon Germany as a condition for reunification.

Posted by: Demian | Feb 12 2015 1:25 utc | 133

Al @ 130

Welcome aboard. The fundamental problem at Minsk is that the minimal demands of the Ukrainians and Novovrossiya are mutually exclusive.

Kiev for example wants all of its recent losses back (despite the fact that it's shelling civilians from day one violated the ceasefire), other losses even before that back too. As folks here have noted, the current stanza of peace talk only started when the UAF et al. started loosing ground.

Novorossiya wants nothing to do with Kiev; autonomy could have worked before the arson murders by rightists at the local Profsoyuz (trade union) HQ in Odessa. Should they remain an active part of the body politic there, it's hard to see how relations could improve and the DNR/LNR actually effect changes. The Opposition Bloc, the former Party of Regions of Yanukovich, the only party outside the governing coalition.

I've said before the Minsk parley is theatre; DC has described it as the "last chance for peace." Here's another bit for the mosaic of evidence, from Reuters via Russia Insider, Ahead of Minsk Peace Talks US Says Will Be Training Ukraine Troops Come March. RI's subtitle describes it as a "Way to influence the Normandy format talks." It seems regardless of the outcome at Minsk, the US is going to be more involved in the Ukranine.

A "Transdniestrian stand-off" is the likely outcome, IMHO.

Demian at 129, 131 --

I can see trouble being made, maybe, in some of the old ASSR's and autonomous oblasts, esp. if an Islamic insurgency could be gingered up. But it seems enough of the public understands the stakes.

If the regime in Kiev stands thanks to Uncle Sam's propping the corpse up (a la "Weekend at Bernie's"), I think public opinion will credit Putin for fighting the good fight and he will retain substantial popular support. Folks on the payrolls of Western NGO's & think tanks will be quite unhappy in any case, no doubt.

I lean towards the UAF extracting revenge at Kramatorsk, it would be a suitable payback.

Despite the summons to Minsk of the DNR/LNR, I still remain skeptical. Could be the EU putting pressure on Kiev that Wash. has told them they can resist. Heightening the drama in our diplomatic performance art will enhance the "truthiness."

And even if they do sign something, how real will it be, how long will it last?

Posted by: rufus magister | Feb 12 2015 1:55 utc | 134

@133 Mitterand was worried France would be swamped by a united Germany economically and wanted to put France in on the ground floor while he still could or German leadership sponsored industrial policies in the East to compete with France and the UK. I think they rushed the early EU mechanisms/institutions back then. A certain tech related prosperity and the decline of the German military created resources for an early economic boom and Germany could float Eastern Europe's economy which is filled with educated people. I'm not sure about whether anyone thought the UK would join, but the stories about rapid economic growth in West Germany in the 1980's scared European countries more than is remembered.

I don't think the original pushers of the Euro saw such a large EU with such diverse membership.

Posted by: NotTimothyGeithner | Feb 12 2015 2:08 utc | 135

@129 jfl... i use firefox and post here.. not sure why you are having a prob with ff...

Posted by: james | Feb 12 2015 2:47 utc | 136

Ukraine: The Untold Story of the Maidan Killings


One year on from the massacre in Kiev’s Maidan square, when more than fifty protestors were killed, Gabriel Gatehouse returns to Ukraine to investigate what really happened. Up to now, all the blame for the shootings has been put onto the police. Yet the official investigation into the violence appears to be going nowhere.
It was the events on Maidan that led to Ukraine’s pro-Russian president fleeing the country, sparking a confrontation over Crimea and now in the east of the country.
Gabriel Gatehouse hears for the first time from a man who says he was recruited to be a sniper on the protestors’ side. So what did happen on Maidan square, an event that has pushed the world to the brink of a new cold war?

Posted by: okie farmer | Feb 12 2015 2:58 utc | 137

@NotTimothyGeithner #135:

Thanks for that explanation.

@rufus magister #134:

Despite the summons to Minsk of the DNR/LNR, I still remain skeptical. Could be the EU putting pressure on Kiev that Wash. has told them they can resist.

Alexander Mercouris has posted a good analysis of the negotiations. (h/t to Anatoly Karlin) He doesn't think that Germany and France are putting pressure on the junta: they started these negotiations because their side is losing. Mercouris makes this illuminating observation:

Negotiations are the usual pattern in wars. It is a myth that wars and negotiations are alternatives to each other. The more common pattern is for negotiations and fighting to happen in parallel, with the one having an influence on the other.

Posted by: Demian | Feb 12 2015 3:03 utc | 138

further to 134 --

New Cold War has a more detailed report, from AP. U.S. army to start training Ukrainian troops. This is previously announced training to occur near Lvov. The dateline of Stettin/Szczecin, where NATO has a regional HQ and U.S. Army Europe Commander Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges spoke, threw me. It's effect on Minsk is a happy coincidence.

He made a few noteworthy assertions.

“I think it’s very important to recognize these are not separatists, these are proxies for President Putin,” Hodges said. “It is very obvious from the amount of ammunition, the type of equipment, that there is direct Russian military intervention in the area around Debaltseve....”

“I do worry that if they are successful in Debaltseve that then they will shift their attention to Mariupol,” Hodges said, referring to the strategic port city. “I don’t know that, but I am concerned that that is something that they might do. They certainly have a large number of Russian forces, 10 battalions, on the border of eastern Ukraine.”

Of course, you know what often happens when senior American military or political figures say "We don't know, but we're concerned with what might happen."

Posted by: rufus magister | Feb 12 2015 3:03 utc | 139

@rufus magister #139:

The US should reconcile itself with defeat and forget about the former Ukraine. The Ukies are hopeless: there is no way that they can prevail against Novorossiyans, who are Russian and thus not in lala land like the Ukies. Since the Ukies can't win, USG is in the process of shifting to the fall back plan, which is to create a failed state. But Germany and France are unlikely to go along with that program, so the US trying to create a Somalia in the middle of Europe will just serve to split the EU from the US.

Posted by: Demian | Feb 12 2015 3:23 utc | 140

@Hoarsewhisperer #103
Friedman's interest is consistent - to try to build up Stratfor's credibility so that he can get contracts providing "intelligence" to the US government.
It is thus possible that Friedman really knows better and is pandering to his audience - the problem is that the vast, vast majority of Stratfor analysis I've seen is literally scraped crap from the Economist and various other propaganda rags and public sources, then repackaged into "sources from the intelligence community" by Millenials.
While this repackaging is somewhat better than straight MSM fare, it is still nonetheless completely untrustworthy as these children really don't have any idea how the world really works.

Posted by: ǝn⇂ɔ | Feb 12 2015 3:26 utc | 141

@130 quote "The Ukr troops should withdraw from the DPR and LPR territories. Anything less would be a loss to the rebels." i agree with you.

@131 demian. i don't agree with El Murid's alarmist viewpoint, but perhaps it is a byproduct of being part of the 6th column which you define for us here.

@137 okie.. in the link @109 that i left, nikolai azarov prime minister of ukraine from 2010 to 2014 talks about that.. reading the transcription is good insight into what some are thinking here.

@140 demian quote "The US should reconcile itself with defeat and forget about the former Ukraine." what the us should do and what they do do, are 2 completely different things! i think the 'should' part is wishful thinking. i don't believe they see defeat here, but progress in achieving some but not all of there goals which are too big to define in a post. of course i am very cynical and think that what the usa says and what it does are 2 completely different things too. so i suppose it depends on how much one believe's what the usa says, verses following what the usa actually does.. i think it is a very important distinction. what people say and what they do can be often very different. we like to think they are close to the same, but in certain examples (and i think present day usa is one of them) the distance between words and acts is very far.

Posted by: james | Feb 12 2015 4:33 utc | 142

Demian at 140 --

What Wash. should do and what it believes it can do are two different matters. It should have kept its promise to not expand Nato. It should not have fomented the breakup of Yugoslavia (or rather aided and abetted the FRG's breakup of it). It should not have used fascists to depose Yanukovich, and shouldn't shower them with arms and cash. It should not taunt the Bear in its Den, for as Putin noted earlier, the Bear with defend its Taiga home.

I don't think Wash. wants a failed state, a new Somalia, and esp. not a new Yugoslavia. It does want chaos, uncertainty, a unifying threat, another bogeyman MilSecBusGovEduCom can use to justify its budget and ever-increasing authority.

It may get a failed state -- what happens if Poroshenko does agree to concessions for peace, how will the right respond? If he fights on futilely, how long before an ambitious commander pushes him aside for "the glory of the Ukraine"? Or if regional oligarch-warlords like Kolomoisky decide to go it alone?

Maybe DC has a secret plan to help ChocoKing to eliminate his rivals as he imposes a truce and begins to regroup and rebuild his forces.

Silver lining -- with the Ukraine again in the news, "Democracy Now" has had Cohen and Mearshimer on again, separately. Mearshimer mixed it up with a defense industry flack, a ret'd. USAF gen'l. over aid to the Ukraine and the Monroe Doctrine (transcript at Alternet).

They've been playing "Lumen" between segments, nice sound. I didn't catch the title of the harder piece they used with Mearsheimer, but I did get "Skol'ko" when they had Cohen on.

Folks were a bit hard on him, IMO, but I won't belabor that.

Posted by: rufus magister | Feb 12 2015 4:38 utc | 143

Russian Spring


Ex-Minister of Donetsk Republic Defence Igor` Strelkov answered to journalists and assessed perspective of the war on Donbass:

There (in Donbass) we are battled not by the army of times April-May. The army that fights us is a regular army, which never stops learning and is waging real war according to the science.

Recently a fiend wrote me. We both were in Chechnya, he is also officer and also retired. He wrote that had understood that he had never fought before. Having gone through four years of Chechnya, like myself, taken part in many special operation and battles, he, having found himself under the massive artillery fire of the opponent and having seen tens of tanks, which were maneuvering and leading a battle, understood that everything we were doing before were baby toys…

Ukraine has become a dispensable tool of the US. The tool which is voiceless, dumb, and the plight of which of no concern to the master. This tool was created to unleash the war with Russia. It is no difference for the master the locality of the front. It does not matter whether the front passes under Donetsk or under Lugansk or along Dnepr (river). Whatever is locality of the front, even on the border of Lvov region, given the front remains active, soaks blood – does not matter Russian or Ukrainian, industrial and financial potential, the situation continues to remain extremely advantageous to the master…

Posted by: Fete | Feb 12 2015 5:24 utc | 144

Posted by: ǝn⇂ɔ | Feb 10, 2015 7:00:42 PM | 99

Biden is on record that Europe had to be forced to do the sanctions -
in the end it took MH17 to justify them.

As I understand it the sanctions will expire in March if Europe - without exception - does not vote to prolong them.

The thing to watch is South Stream - which the EU commission killed during the Ukraine war.

This is over control of the energy routes to South-East Europe, and about South-East Europe's right to have political and economic relations with Russia independent of the EU.

Posted by: somebody | Feb 12 2015 6:01 utc | 145

further to 143

Both France24 and RT are reporting that an agreement at Minsk is 80 pct. drafted, further details as they become available. We'll see if it happens, what it says, and who abides by it, and what the volunteer battalions and oligarchs think.

Posted by: rufus magister | Feb 12 2015 6:59 utc | 146

I think the Americans are trying to pull a 'Croatian Scenario', that is, if they cannot have their war now - they'll arm the Nazis, and try at a later date (Croatia did this in the 90's cleansing their Serb minority aided and armed by the Americans)...
Though I think it won't work for them this time around.
That said, the US is really a dangerous player (even more since its ambitions aren't fulfilled like it's used to). We might just see missiles flying, and the end of this rock in our lifetime.

Hope that's not the case...but: Que sera, sera...

Posted by: S-true | Feb 12 2015 7:11 utc | 147

S-true at 147 -- good call, seems likely if they do hammer something out.

Posted by: rufus magister | Feb 12 2015 7:26 utc | 148

I havent seen any rumours of final peace talks, only ceasefire, complete waste of time if thats the case theyre debating this long about.

Posted by: Anonymous | Feb 12 2015 7:37 utc | 149

Heavy redacting and rewriting the map of Ukraine history by, blaming Russia for everything since Maidan, therefore worth less than the videotape it is recorded on, but a cogent reminder how the Elites Determine History, and how USA children will bend to the martial yoke just as they do in Kiev, because of what those 'Axis-of-Evil commies' did that 'forced' USA into perpetual global 'freedom fighting'.

The good news, as just reported, is, US government's contribution to the $18T national debt is increasing at over 9% per year, higher than China's GDP growth during its bubble phase, and Defense™, which makes up 3/4's of all Federal contracts, is rife with the kind of 400% markup, blantant no bid and sole source overcharging, and four-levels of mismanagement overhead hyper-valuations that brought the world to its knees in 2011.

Defense™ will push past $1TRILLION/year before the 2016 elections, then just as the 2017 NeoLiberal Juggernaut is unleashed, it will collapse from the rot within. There is no Defense™. Without exception, short of nuclear war by submarine, America cannot stand up to a real military, one with a million man army, with air force and navy, and with missiles. USA keep punishing featureless 3rd world swamp and desert hellholes until it ultimately collapses from its own morbid obesity, and its armaments are ultimately broken up on the beaches of Bangladesh and sold for scrap iron by H-1B Hindu Silicon Valley billionaires.

Then at long last, the Indians will have finally defeated the Cowboys.

Posted by: ChipNikh | Feb 12 2015 9:34 utc | 150

At least the positions of the sides are somewhat clear:
Russia wants Novorossiya to be a de jure part of Ukraine, but de facto independent and a force in the Ukrainian politics to prevent Ukraine going nazi. And of couse, the US&EU to pay for the reconstruction of Donbass.

The Germans&French want the war to stop and the conflict to get frozen or Ukraine to prevail and Russia to pay.

the US wants as much chaos and havoc as possible and to draw Russia into an open conflict thus uniting Europe under the US protective wing.

Ukraine would like a complete military victory or at least the West to step in for them and shower them with money.

The LDPR want nothing to do with Ukraine, want to regain their lost territories and become independent social-democratic states or join Russia.

So far it seems the main obstacle for peace is Ukraine&USA as expected. Poroshenko keeps making delusional demands and apparently even refuses to acknowledge that his army is in the cauldron in Debaltsevo. That's why probably he went out to call his HQ. He also refuses to accept LDPR as a legitimate side in negotiations pretty much sabotaging the whole peace process. This is understandable, since he is not interested in peace, but rather in the continuation of this circus.

The draft agreement shows a somewhat close positions of German&France and Russia. That is a good sign. Constitutional reform, amnesty, partial withdrawal of Ukr troops- all this sounds reasonalbe and without doubt will be sabotaged by Poroshenko, thus showing to Europe the true state of things in Ukraine where none of the leaders are willing to take any responsibility for the fate of their country. The only hope, in my view, is that the oligarchs who control Ukraine, like Kolomoysky are losing billions right now, and Kolomoysky has been getting more and more pro-Putin lately (gagging his Tv channel from criticizing Russia), so there is hope that Poroshenko and the party of war will be removed from power and someone more pliable will come instead. We will see in the near future whether the Ukr media will take a U-turn.

I guess eventually the total defeat of the UAF will be too obvious even for the Orwellian Ukr media to ignore. The fate of the 8000 strong Debaltsevo group will be a key catalist. Coincidentally the cease-fire is supposed to be enforced only from the 15th of February, which will give the LDPR troops some time to squeeze the Debaltsevo cauldron and hopefully start negotiations for the safe passage for the remaining troops.

Posted by: Al | Feb 12 2015 10:33 utc | 151

Apparently a ceasefire starting February 15, 0:00 and removal of heavy weapons from the contact line was agreed to in Minsk. No word on the status of the Debaltseve pocket under the agreement.

Anyone care to guess how long it will last? The September ceasefire lasted 17 hours.

Posted by: Thirdeye | Feb 12 2015 10:53 utc | 152

@129 jfl -- I would think your Mac/FF posting problem is indeed NoScript related. Click the NoScript icon and select "Allow" from the pulldown menu...

Posted by: Benu | Feb 12 2015 14:55 utc | 153

@somebody #145
There are several levels of sanctions. The ones which were slated to expire in March were the ridiculous "list" of people sanctioned.
The real sanctions - the ones which are actually targeting economic sectors as opposed to people the US doesn't like - expire in June (July?). It is these which matter.
I did not expect any final resolution in these negotiations for the very simple reason that Putin will not commit until the EU has proven that it will hold up its side of the bargain - i.e. permit the actual economic sanctions to expire.
Although annoying, the "list" sanctions are just bullshit and actually help Putin anyway as these clearly show the oligarchs that they have to either repatriate their offshore accounts or risk being literally stranded.

Posted by: ǝn⇂ɔ | Feb 12 2015 15:05 utc | 154

@somebody #145
As for South Stream - the EU did not kill it. What it tried to do was to try and use the 3rd Energy Package to disintermediate Gazprom profits out of South Stream by forcing the South Stream control to be different than South Stream natural gas supplier (Gazprom). The result would be inserting a corporate equivalent of Ukraine into South Stream.
I haven't looked closely as to who is responsible - the list is legion - but Russia has already checkmated this deal with Turk Stream, and is letting all the Southern European countries hosed by this to fight this battle on Russia's behalf.

Posted by: ǝn⇂ɔ | Feb 12 2015 15:11 utc | 155


Thanks ... but I'd tried that already. I discovered my problem while using midori, though.

If you write a comment in a text editor and then paste it into the space provided ... no go.

There must be keystrokes in the text area to make it work ... to enable the post | preview buttons.

In fact, I just applied that insight using firefox and it played true. And I'm posting from within firefox ... with just moa's and typepad's scripts enabled ... uh, moa's and typepad's and yahooapis' scripts enabled.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 12 2015 15:25 utc | 156


And I'm debian not mac.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 12 2015 15:26 utc | 157


What would be better than 'the total defeat of the UAF ... too obvious even for the Orwellian Ukr media to ignore' would be the total liquidation of the fascists at their new general staff command center in Kolomoysky's Dnepropetrovsk oblast. Everyone in Europe the Ukraine and Russia would breathe a sigh of relief. And 'F*ck the US'.

Posted by: jfl | Feb 12 2015 15:36 utc | 158

« previous page

The comments to this entry are closed.