Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 20, 2022

Ukraine - Who Is Firing At Whom And Who Is Lying About It?

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has an observer mission along the line of control between the government and rebel side in south east Ukraine.

It reports that on Friday the number of ceasefire violations around the rebellious Donbas region of Ukraine had again nearly doubled:

  • In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded 591 ceasefire violations, including 553 explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 222 ceasefire violations in the region.
  • In Luhansk region, the Mission recorded 975 ceasefire violations, including 860 explosions. In the previous reporting period, it recorded 648 ceasefire violations in the region.


The ever lying New York Times claims that it is only the Donbas rebel side that is firing artillery:

Artillery fire escalated sharply in eastern Ukraine on Saturday and thousands of residents fled the region in chaotic evacuations — two developments rife with opportunities for what the United States has warned could be a pretext for a Russian invasion.

Russian-backed separatists, who have been fighting the Ukrainian government for years, have asserted, without evidence, that Ukraine was planning a large-scale attack on territory they control.
At the same time, the firing of mortars, artillery and rocket-propelled grenades by separatist rebels along the front line roughly doubled the level of the previous two days, the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs said. Two Ukrainian soldiers were killed and five wounded, the military said.

Ukrainian officials said the shelling came exclusively from the separatists, who are seen as a proxy for Russia.

New York Times reporters at the scene witnessed shelling from separatists and saw no return fire from the Ukrainian forces, although residents in the separatist regions said there was shelling from both sides.

The OSCE observer mission helpfully provides maps in its daily reports that show the impact points of artillery attacks. Yesterday a large majority of those were within the rebel controlled areas.

Here is a cutout from the OSCE map below.


The Times claims:

Intense artillery barrages targeted a pocket of government-controlled territory around the town of Svitlodarsk, a spot that has worried security analysts for weeks for its proximity to dangerous industrial infrastructure, including storage tanks for poisonous gas.

The concentration of impacts on the left of the above picture is a bit south-east of Svitlodarsk. Artillery rounds landed on both sides of the line of control but the vast majority of them exploded on the Donbas side. The same can be said for the impacts north-east of Luhansk. On Thursday both of these areas were also the aim of artillery concentrations. These are likely crossing points through which the Ukraine military plans to direct its upcoming attack.

The full map of Friday's impacts:


This is an information war in with the Russian side is mostly trolling the U.S. side while the Biden administration and its associated media like the NYT are lying through their teeth.

Today's Washington Post has European officials complaining that the Biden administration has presented them with no evidence for all the claims it has made:

However, some European allies questioned the United States’ conviction that the Kremlin will launch hostilities, saying that they have not seen direct evidence suggesting Putin has committed to such a course of action.

One European official told The Washington Post in Munich that “we have no clear evidence ourselves that Putin has made up his mind and we have not seen anything that would suggest otherwise.” Another said that although the situation is grave, “at this stage we do not have such clear intelligence” that Putin has decided to invade.

The officials said they have been told little about the sources and methods the United States used to arrive at its conclusions, limiting their capacity to make independent decisions about how much weight to give statements from Biden that Putin has made a decision to attack.

“It’s always the raw material that they do not share,” said one senior NATO diplomat who has had extensive conversations with top American policymakers in Brussels.

These Europeans have their own satellites and military intelligence analysts. They also talk to each other. They obviously do not see what the U.S., without presenting evidence, claims to be seeing.

While the OSCE observer mission is not completely neutral it is at least professional in its work. It also helps that the U.S. and Britain have retracted their people from the OSCE mission and have less abilities to fudge the results. They were replaced by officers from other European countries.

The OSCE observer mission reports can be found among its press releases. The daily updates are here and the longer term Trends and Observations reports are here.

When in doubt of what is happening take a look at them.

Posted by b on February 20, 2022 at 14:35 UTC | Permalink


US is well-known for Wishful-Thinking-Scripts which the Preposterous British embellish and recite with proverbial capacity for self-delusion. Truss and Johnson are a comedic act that puts Zelensky's professional career to shame. The sheer embarassment for any Europolitico lining up with Trussed-JoJo is reason enough to stand back in blank amazement.

The neurotic collapse of the Maritime Mahan Mentality in UK and US is a wonder to behold as Putin and Xi appear hyper rational.

Posted by: Paul Greenwood | Feb 20 2022 14:42 utc | 1

The OSCE could should say how many of those violations/explosions were on the govt controlled vs rebel controlled areas.

I get that they are a neutral observer but this is a an objective fact. Currently, they provide so much minor detail that it allows lazy and malicious news organizations to lie about events.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Feb 20 2022 15:12 utc | 2

RUS not taking the Provocations; but instead Calling the CSTO for PeaceKeeperOps - was the Clincher.

Minsk Enforced by RUS+CSTO. Enter CSTO Member BLR, who are really close Neighbors - to the Kiev MetroArea.

CSTO - especially BLR - won't put up with the Maidan-Nazi and PMCs. They will return Artillery Fire and BLR might Shell+Bomb Kiev. What's Biden+EU going to do - Sanction BLR? That will prompt BLR to Raise NatGas Transit Fees.

With CSTO PeaceKeeperOps, other Acts may Follow:
A) CivilReconstruction+Medical Aide to LNR+DNR;
B) Recognition of LNR+DNR by CSTO, SCO, and Others;
C) Possible Annexation into the RUSFed, since Zelensky, Nudelman-Khagan, and Maidan-Nazi control Kiev; and burned that Minsk-Autonomy Bridge with an Ethnocide Campaign;
D) RUS NatGas to cease Transiting UKR - with Suspensions Effective Immediately while letting the Contract Expire in 2024.

As I've stated previously, Kiev are Fail-Stating. I don't think anyone outside of Plunder-Profit-Happy AngloMurican Zionist-Masons and a few Catholics would consider Aiding Kiev.

The Green Trampoline-Gymnast Baerbock claimed Die Deutschen are ready to pay the Costs of Sanctioning RUS for another Round. RUS could suspend Long-Term Contracts and require SpotPx as responses to those Sanctions. PLENTY of LNG Buyers in Asia. RUS can probably leave Europe to the SpotMkt and just Sell to CHN, IND, SCO, and RCEP; and still Profit.

Posted by: IronForge | Feb 20 2022 15:17 utc | 3

“It’s always the raw material that they do not share,” said one senior NATO diplomat who has had extensive conversations with top American policymakers in Brussels.

it they had it, they'd share it.

Posted by: annie | Feb 20 2022 15:22 utc | 4

It's like when John Kerry said after MH17 crashed over Donbass:

"We saw the take-off. We saw the trajectory, we saw the hit. We saw this aeroplane disappear from the radar screens. So there is really no mystery about where it came from ..."

But seven years later the USA could not present that evidence for use in the MH17 trial.

Posted by: Brendan | Feb 20 2022 15:28 utc | 5

The pigs on two legs, meeting at Munich - Zalensky was allowed to attend instead of being false flagged - have them all squeezing as their Masters prod them all into the same hymn -

“Will no one think of our Ancient rights of Ownership of every Human ever born and to be born that is not one of us - you’ll be very very sorry”

Just like Gadaffi and Saddam and these other places that resist our supremacy.

So we can expect that within 24 hours the Masters will face their Abyss and have to decide to commit suicide, taking all of us with them, or surrender and let their unipolar dream finally meet the inevitable demise.

The Spartacus’s throwing off and breaking the spell of that mighty chain of $ Slave Bonds.

The death of SWIFT and their Ponzi $ Reserve and Exchange currency controlled secretly from the FED (not by the US elected Executive) and other client central banks, which with its major market makers out of Chicago/Wall Street, Ancient City and the European Exchanges meekly moved into pricing everything in the fake idol $ – is finally threatened by the collective uprising of the Spartacus’ of the World – led by China’s iron grip over the Money’s owned agents and infiltrators there, and the immense courage of the Russians who under the Putin era have resisted the planted oligarch winners who are easily revealed as the Ancients Money Familiars.

That is why there is the insane, illogically, irrational drumming for war to preserve the illusion upon which their Ponzi is built and will collapse as SWIFTLY as the Bank of Internationally Settlement, World Bank and IMF the instruments of Money setup to enslave and burden with $ debt the whole world.

Where many who have resisted have been squashed after being demonised by the media worm tongues – many of whom work their whole careers in that industry Not Knowing What They Do.

I for one will NEVER forgive them for ignoring what many of us have been warningabout as they like mindless soulless drones, daily bomb lies on us, from their isolated high castles and soma superiority.

Posted by: DunGroanin | Feb 20 2022 15:50 utc | 6

The Steep Cost of Sanctions For Europe and Russia

The impact on Ukraine is enormous. In “The Economic Effect of Hybrid Wars”, a study by professors Julia Bluszcz and Marica Valente, they show that “causal effects are estimated by computing the yearly difference in GDP per capita between Ukraine and its synthetic counterpart after the eruption of the war. Results indicate that Ukraine’s foregone GDP per capita due to the Donbass war amounts to 15.1% on average in years 2013-2017 and, respectively, 5.23% ($460.26), 9.18% ($832.96), 19.63% ($1,823.78), 19.80% ($1,893.38), 21.67% ($2,184.13) in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017”.

The US using Ukraine as a proxy to alienate relations between RF and EU is proving expensive and imposing significant costs on Ukraine. This drives Ukraine demands for increased outside funding. The conflict also drives citizens to abandon Ukraine for better prospects elsewhere ultimate starving Ukraine of human capital necessary for any economic recovery.

These "conflict costs" are also imposed on the US. The high costs of the Vietnam war resulted in US stagflation and ultimately forced the US to abandon the gold standard. But this in turn created an opportunity for US to engage in MMT and unsustainable levels of "Quantitative Easing" (AKA "money printing"). The US faces similar problems with respect to the outcome of the current conflict:

The Ukraine crisis arrives as well in the middle of an evident slowdown of the largest economies after the placebo effect of massive stimulus plans. These risks add to a scenario where many economies are moving even closer to stagflation, and the ramifications will likely last longer than the conflict itself.


Posted by: Sushi | Feb 20 2022 16:04 utc | 7

Severe sanctions have started! Intel Slava on Telegram reports the UK will suspend the supply of auto parts for Rolls-Royce and Bentley to Russia.

Posted by: Trisha | Feb 20 2022 16:10 utc | 8

two views on indirect fire. . .
Ukrainian forces shelled multiple settlements in DPR in Ukraine’s southeast, using 120-mm calibre mortars prohibited by the Minsk agreements, the DPR mission to the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination on the ceasefire regime (JCCC) said.
Artillery fusillades from Russian-backed separatists set Ukraine’s east on edge

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 20 2022 16:15 utc | 9

Zelensky wants to go nuclear:

MUNICH, February 19. /TASS/. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has said he has instructed the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry to call a summit conference of the Budapest Memorandum’s signatories.

"I have instructed the Foreign Ministry to convene a summit of the countries - signatories to the Budapest Memorandum. If it fails to take place or refuses to give Ukraine security guarantees, Kiev will recognize it as well as the clauses signed in 1994 as null and void," Zelensky told the Munich Security Conference.

The Budapest Memorandum was signed on December 5, 1994 by the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Britain and the United States. Under the treaty Ukraine agreed to eliminate its nuclear arsenal, while Russia, the United States and Britain guaranteed Kiev’s security.


Excrement will shortly transition to the corporeal ...

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Feb 20 2022 16:40 utc | 10

Stating the obvious, the US warmongers have repeatedly and clearly said that sanctions would follow any Russian invasion, which an artillery barrage isn't. In fact it seems to have started, on a small but increasing scale. We might say that the parties are easing into an artillery battle.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 20 2022 16:41 utc | 11

US LNG capacity is at its limit trying to feed Europe.
US LNG output appears to be at full capacity as European prices keep surging

Meanwhile Russia is getting in the game Anglo American style.
See Russia’s massive new gas plant on the Arctic coast

You want to be green, cold, and broke or warm with some money left over. That is what the European leaders have in front of them. Angry constituents or happy entertainment soaked idiots?

Apparently the Anglo Americans can only help them by pouring more weapons into the cauldron. It is their go to approach to everything these days.

Posted by: circumspect | Feb 20 2022 16:54 utc | 12

"While the OSCE observer mission is not completely neutral it is at least professional in its work."

Hilarious. The OSCE is largely manned by NATO military / SIS people. OSCE units have been filmed with Ukraine military units in areas prohibited by the Minsk ceasefire protocols, with no attemtps to correct this. Their standard response to artillery fire hitting civilian targets in Novorossia is the claim to be unable to tell which direction the shells came from, even when the hit face of the building faces towards Ukrop positions.

Posted by: Arfur Mo | Feb 20 2022 17:05 utc | 13

Putin is using the Fabian Strategy
This was proposed by Eighthman on another thread and it fits the facts.

The Fabian strategy is a military strategy where pitched battles and frontal assaults are avoided in favor of wearing down an opponent through a war of attrition and indirection. While avoiding decisive battles, the side employing this strategy harasses its enemy through skirmishes to cause attrition, disrupt supply and affect morale. Employment of this strategy implies that the side adopting this strategy believes time is on its side, usually because the side employing the strategy is fighting in, or close to, their homeland and the enemy is far from home and by necessity has long and costly supply lines. Wikipedia

He is not able or willing to have a face-to-face attack with NATO (The real enemy). So he is resorting to a war of a skirmishes and harassement. Donbas is only part of the strategy. One battle certainly but not allowing it to become a conclusive one, either won or lost. He is playing "for keeps" as the saying goes.

The object is to keep the NATO/US/EU off balance, and keep them away from "supplies". Eventually splitting them into separate groups. Russia is the one that has the primary materials necessary for Europe to function. (China is also in this happly position). Not only Gas and Oil, but minerals and metals, Agriculture etc. It may not be exploiting them effectively, but this should be seen in a much longer term than a few months.

On the "Battlefield".
Donbas first; The shield waving and making rude faces at the enemy as in a Maori Haka: 1) Months of highly visible movements of forces in Russia and Belarus, closing in around Donbas. 2) highly photogenic targeted exercises (Tanks, Artillery, landing craft). 2b) "Nuke" exercises to set limits. 3) The evacuationg of vulnerable citizens. (Both normal and as a show of "seriousness" for PR purposes).
Pre-rupture skirmishes; Elimination of infiltration groups and sabotage groups inside the Donbas front line. (Several recent examples). Testing of various relatively new means of warfare (drones used as artillery coordination and individual bombing.) Interception of these (Vehicles equiped with EW apparatus have been observed).

OK so far?
BUT there will not be a Russian "invasion". Just a strong "Defense" that might cause damage.
Expansion of the area of "harassement" of the US/NATO - and try to separate the EU as a group.
Belarus; One possibility that must be "gamed in", is that NATO/US will continue to try to move eastward, by "regime changing" Belarus. So infiltration to plant arms depots and build up secret groups for internal strife could be attempted via the Ukrainian-Belarus border. Poland's border is probably too controlled because of the earlier influx of refugees. The 300'000 troops the the Russian left there are not returning to fixed bases but are probably camping out in forests along the border. (There is some circumstantial evidence for this. Particularly the areas nearest to Kiev).
Lukashenko has said if he had Nukes "he would nuke the lot". He may have been referring to LGBT++'s, and maybe not. Either way, moving nukes into Belarus reduces the distance they have to travel to - the UK?

Other area "harassement" recently. * Al Tanf (Syria) being overflown by Russian fighters after similar overflies of US occupied territory elsewhere.
* Nuclear subs off the coast of the US (or anywhere else). tourist trips?
* One of the big Slava class warships with anti-ship missiles is in the Ionian Sea along with the US Washington carrier. Close buddies no doubt.
* Cuba, Venzuela and other S American countries are being "signed up" for mutually beneficial commercial ties. (and more if affinity. Includes the BRI).

Russia is not going to "attack" at any of those places, but it keeps NATO on it's tippy toes with uncertainty, The smog of PR and the threat level high.

Meanwhile back at the Ranch; Oil and Gas prices rise, Food prices rise, Civil disorder (which is NOT caused by the Russians) takes it's toll, inflation and stagflation become reality. All things that are worth talking about - but as I haven't eaten this evening - next time -

Posted by: Stonebird | Feb 20 2022 19:12 utc | 14


overflies => overflights
Buzzing territory

Posted by: Stonebird | Feb 20 2022 19:15 utc | 15

NYT = The Devils Anus

So cool this Normany Format thing - that is earth shaking and on the right track. Macron may turn-out to be a leader after all.

Commenters talk as if it is Russias obligation to fulfill their desires. It is about survival and doing what can be done without putting his nation at risk - as he staed, Russia does not need more land. Still, the evacuation of civilians opens up options. But it appears that things are going in a better direction. So sorry for Saker.

Posted by: jared | Feb 20 2022 19:22 utc | 16

The NYT ought to bring back Judith Miller, just go full iraq war propaganda mode.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Feb 20 2022 20:03 utc | 17

EU now threatening sanctions merely on the basis of Russian troop build up. So even if Russia never invades, merely the perceived threat of a possible invasion on the basis of troops mustered entirely in one’s own country and in a country to which one has been invited is enough to merit sanctions?

Posted by: Wj | Feb 20 2022 20:34 utc | 18

It is not directly connected but significant in some ways. On Thursday Chinese navy vessels buzzed an Australian military plane with a laser beam. Their ships were traveling in the Torres Strait ie very close to Australia. This presence must be causing some alarm. China is giving Australia the finger.

Posted by: watcher | Feb 20 2022 20:41 utc | 19

All of this seems to be a dangerous farce. The primary reason for the Biden regime ginning this up is to divert attention from their other failures. Russia, meanwhile, is the last outpost of Western Civilization fighting against the degenerates running the "west." It is obviously in the Europeans' interest to settle all of this, and even Zelenski, if he were a free agent, might even switch sides. It is apparent that him, his defense minister and others are trying, within the confines they are placed in by their tutelage to the yankee imperium, to prevent their country being sacrificed as a pawn by the yankee regime to freeze economic relations between Europe and Russia.

Posted by: exiled off mainstree | Feb 20 2022 21:34 utc | 20

There is a well known reputably strong airborne formation in Belarus, it is the 103rd Vitebsk airborne brigade.
This is some unit that Alexander Grigorievitch Lukashenko would be able to use in case of emergency, patent attack upon Belarus sovereignty or threat to the survival of the belarussian State. Of course after the joint exercises with Russian army, it has been reinforce greatly by huge amounts of hardware let behind by the friendly russians. This would help in case on need, so they will be fully replenished with modern material - and may be too, who knows, by an influx of volunteers in green unmarked uniforms - Crimea 2014-like- that would receive average Belarussian 103rd markings and flags as they arrived to the Ukrainian border and beyond.
Driving to Kiev and Zhitomir would be cakewalk since Ukie army is in Donbass under LDNR artillery.

Posted by: Greg Galloway | Feb 20 2022 22:46 utc | 21

I congratulate China for rising to the Olympic occasion with impressive organization above and beyond in a pandemic with good will for all despite massive negativity and typical narcissism displayed by U.S. media.

Now, let war begin.

'Cause USNaTo are stoking it and can't stand sharing power or playing nice. So let it rain bullets, hard times and inflation for all and let's give the funerals business another boost in profits after their success with Covid. It appears it's what this world needs and deserves at this moment in time. Just bring on the War Machine, America, cause Americans ain't happy unless they're at War and smelling napalm in their morning coffee!

Posted by: Circe | Feb 20 2022 23:00 utc | 22

Marko Marjanovic of "Anti"Empire - I have always called the site an anti Russian black propaganda site disguised as an anti imperialist one - which among orbs things has directly attacked MoA, has now dropped all pretence and is directly accusing Russia of staging extremely shoddy false flags in the Donbass Republics. Not even Marjanovic's own fan club managed to swallow this sudden coat-turning.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Feb 20 2022 23:00 utc | 23


...but who is it?

The United States and Britain desperately want a Russian invasion of Ukraine, but they not be the ones making the decisions on the ground. Russia says it has no intention of invading Ukraine, but if this was true under all circumstances, then the Russian deterrence would have no effect. So who is behind the escalation in Donbass?

I will repost some old comments and some new analysis.

Russia needs Chinese approval to invade Ukraine. China would not approve an invasion until the Olympics were over.

Operation Olympic Truce - Jan 27, 2022

The Russian Eastern Military District has been assigned the task of maintaining international peace during the Beijing Winter Olympics. The best place to perform this task is in Belarus, near the border with Ukraine.

Russians know that the West will try to stage a provocation or war during the Olympics. This year it would take the form of a Ukrainian attack on Donbass. To prevent this, Russia has to establish escalation dominance on every level of potential escalation, from local to European to global, from tactical to strategic to nuclear. As part of this, all fleets of the Russian Navy have been ordered out to sea.

Americans seem to be baiting Russia to invade Kiev and half of Ukraine.

Will we soon see a "Republic of Lemberg" - Feb 14, 2022

Is there any reason for Russia to invade Ukraine now? Russia has already achieved every last one of its war aims, regime change in Ukraine and end to any NATO aspirations.

I said earlier, that if Russia invaded Kiev they would not establish a puppet government. Instead they would demand that Zelensky stay on as president. What needs to go is the true power in Kiev, the US occupation regime. Every last military instructor, NATO bureaucrat and CIA agent embedded in the SBU has now left Ukraine. Is there anything more that Russia could demand?

I hear that the US ambassador is still in Ukraine, but has moved the embassy to Lviv. A very welcome development. Maybe they will establish a "Republic of Lemberg" or something.

On February 16th Russia once again declared that the claims of and Russian invasion on that day had been Western fake-news. The situation changed on the morning of February 17th. Ukraine started shelling Donbass. Maybe Russia was too early to declare the "Russian invasion" stories a hoax.

Russia is ready for war - Feb 19, 2022

All the preparations for a major invasion of Ukraine have now been made. The last stage of preparations is done today, when Putin will personally practice pressing the nuclear "button".

The Russian attack or counter attack – if it is to come – may happen north of Kharkov. Russia has been offloading a huge number of main battle tanks at the railway station in Tomarovka, west of Belgorod and 27 km from the Ukrainian border. The tanks are then seen driving west along the road to Poltava. If the tanks are to take action, then the likely target is the Dnieper river, bypassing Kharkov from the west.

TicToc, or "TankToc" as it is now being called in Russia has tens of videos of the tanks leaving the Tomarovka railway station. I tried to search for Tomarovka on Google. Surprisingly the top results are about WWII. Two new books are among the top ten results. "From the Don to the Dnepr: Soviet Offensive Operations" by David M. Glantz from 2014 and "Retribution: The Soviet Reconquest of Central Ukraine, 1943" by Prit Buttar from 2019.

I have no idea what if anything will happen next. I am however sure nothing will happen until Monday February 21st when the Winter Olympics are over.

During previous rounds of escalation Russia has placed light armor in Rostov, ready to move into Donbass and help the defenders. This time they have placed the 1st Guards Tank Army and the 4th Tank Division near Kharkov, ready to cut Ukraine in half.

One reason for the Russian invasion preparations can be knowledge of Ukrainian attack plans.

Is the Ukrainian attack plan real or fake? - Feb 19, 2022

The photo does not show the original Ukrainian plan, but a recreation based on alleged intelligence. As such it has no more probative value than any "Russian attack plan" drawn up by Julian Röpcke for the German BILD magazine. The West will claim that the map is yet another "false flag" or provocation intended to justify a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Some new data has come to light may help validate the map. American NPR radio is claiming that the order by Denis Pushilin to evacuate DPR civilians was recorded two days before it was broadcast on February 18. There is nothing shocking in this, as any such evacuation would have to be planned in advance and coordinated with Russian authorities.

The two weeks up to February 16th, the recording date, had been exceptionally quiet at the front. A Joint Control and Coordination Commission (JCCC) officer at the front noted that it had in fact been "dangerously quiet". The current escalation only stared at 5 am on February 17, 2022. The evacuation order can thus not be a response to the current round of shelling.

The evacuation is part of a larger plan agreed upon with Russia. The plan also includes Russian preparations for a potential invasion. Detailed knowledge of Ukrainian attack plans could explain the recent moves.

The strongest proof of Ukrainian attack plans is the 150 thousand battle-ready Ukrainian troop in the trenches in Donbass – totally unacknowledged by Western media. Are they all needed to defend against the 35,000 Novorossiyan forces? They are not there to defend against a Russian invasion. Why would Russia attack through the heavily fortified positions in Donbass, when they can simply walk over the border from Belgorod to Kharkov?

Does Ukraine have a death wish? If they really believed that Russia is about to attack Ukraine, they would move their forces to defend Kiev and Kharkov, instead of shelling Donbass.

Maybe we need to reinterpret the Biden-Zelensky phone call. Was Biden warning Zelensky that he should not attack Donbass and instead move his troops to defend Kiev and Kharkov? Did Zelensky want to attack anyway?

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Feb 20 2022 23:12 utc | 24

@ eom 20
The primary reason for the Biden regime ginning this up is to divert attention from their other failures.
I believe that the primary reason for this hoorah is to maintain a genuine European enemy (Russia) for the US security state, with all its contracts for military junk to be used by the half-million person USArmy. The largest reason for an army is to defend US "allies" in Europe, an army on bases around the country and around the world to sustain all that goes with it. Plus it keeps Europe under the US thumb, via NATO. There is no other devised reason for a huge army, including against the other principal US enemy China. That's a navy operation.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 20 2022 23:33 utc | 25

Posted by: Stonebird | Feb 20 2022 19:12 utc | 14

When do they air drop you armchair generals into the front lines?

Posted by: Berndt Braincell | Feb 20 2022 23:35 utc | 26

@ Petri Kron 24
"Russia says it has no intention of invading Ukraine,. . ." is based on what Russia knows now, under current conditions. It depends on the situation. We all change our intentions, if the wind blows the other way. I suspect that Putin has plans for other intentions, at the right time, not only in Ukraine.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 20 2022 23:40 utc | 27

i dont think Biden's political failures have a lot to do with it, to the extent he is aware of them; this is a decades long effort to topple Russia and any other threat to US hegemony--it would be happening if Biden had favorable ratings too imo.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Feb 20 2022 23:51 utc | 28

Some good points made by Stonebird @14 & Petri Krohn @24, Petri's being the most salient:

"The strongest proof of Ukrainian attack plans is the 150 thousand battle-ready Ukrainian troop in the trenches in Donbass – totally unacknowledged by Western media. Are they all needed to defend against the 35,000 Novorossiyan forces? They are not there to defend against a Russian invasion. Why would Russia attack through the heavily fortified positions in Donbass, when they can simply walk over the border from Belgorod to Kharkov?

"Does Ukraine have a death wish? If they really believed that Russia is about to attack Ukraine, they would move their forces to defend Kiev and Kharkov, instead of shelling Donbass."

The troop dispositions have been the same for the last year and perhaps more. The amplification of the media and Outlaw hysteria can be indexed to the failures of Biden's domestic plans--a failure that Biden secured himself as Hudson pointed out 6 months ago. The issuance of Russia's security proposals based on the reality of numerous broken treaties and promises with proof aplenty for both made the Outlaws go apoplectic, the hysteria now gripping Congress and making them as foolish as Biden.

As Stonebird notes, Russia can bide its time. At Friday's presser with Lukashenko Putin declared Russia's capacity to shrug-off any further sanctions--in essence saying Bring Them On and see what will happen to you. Furthermore, the Outlaws don't realize that most of the world is against them and want them contained. The Age of War and Imperialism is on its way out and will be replaced by an Age of Unified Humanism--weaponry will be replaced by wisdom and governance that promotes all at the expense of none. The coming Paradigm Shift is a product of the historically inevitable rise of Humanism over Capitalism. The hysterical ire the Outlaws display results from their desperation--they're outclassed, outnumbered and outmoded. If they had any honor, they'd retire or fall on their swords; but they're Outlaws and know nothing else.

Prior to his election Zelensky seemed to understand the futility existing at that time but hasn't been capable of altering the status quo. IMO, he doesn't want to order the deaths of thousands, but he's trapped as in reality he doesn't have control of Ukie forces unless he says attack. So Zelensky too is playing for time.

The Olympics have concluded. Biden has lost a major distraction and will face an increasingly angry nation.

Posted by: karlof1 | Feb 21 2022 0:10 utc | 29

#14..russian ambassador to Sweden- when ask him about -sanctions - he said "Russians give shit about sanctions".....

Posted by: sejmon | Feb 21 2022 0:22 utc | 30

p @ 28 said;-"it would be happening if Biden had favorable ratings too imo."

Seen thru the lens of historical perspective, Agreed..

Posted by: vetinLA | Feb 21 2022 0:39 utc | 31

Bernhard, please make the necessary corrections in future:

'rebel side in south east Ukraine' should be the DEFENDING side in the FORMER south east Ukraine.

'rebellious Donbas region' it's Donbass with 2 's's; they are not rebellious, that's a derogatory term, what they are, are DEFENDERS.

'Luhansk' should be LUGANSK with a g NOT h; h is ukrainian, those are now 2 independent republics. Likewse with Gorlovka: it is NOT Horlivka.

'Russian-backed separatists' - they are more than separatists, that's a once off; now, they are Russian-backed Defenders, much like the ATTACKING yank-backed ukraine, or better, yank ordered ukraine. (Small u as a sign of disrespect for hate-filled ukrainian murderers).

The smm (osce), is a mostly Western biased and corrupt organisation rightfully mocked in the 2 Donbass republics, whose employees like to live in the luxurious park inn hotel in Donetsk, with a minimum salary of €10 000 pm (as it was a few years ago, i.e. last I read). I used to read its daily reports but they were mostly s***, they NEVER stated from WHERE the shells were coming from, i.e. mostly from the ukrainian, ATTACKING side.

The war there is a DIRECT result of FJB being in ukraine so much as vp, & giving the orders, like his little fiefdom, with jewland being his 'cookie' sidekick responsible too for 'regime change' in yet another, CURSED yank 'color revolution'.

Note also that blinkered, also a jew - like ze, & poroshitko before him - has ukrainian ancestry via his grandfather. he also bullshits, like his gutless predecessor liar powell; NEVER forget the LIES from the warmongering, SERIAL liars the us & brit govts, which have NO credibility anymore.

Posted by: Ralph | Feb 21 2022 0:45 utc | 32

@ 12 said in part;"Angry constituents or happy entertainment soaked idiots?"

A fairly apt description of the U$A's public today, IMO.....

Posted by: vetinLA | Feb 21 2022 0:53 utc | 33

US action proves USA is driven to protect it's war mongering oligarchy, not the hoodwinked US people. US Sanctions harm US citizens directly and indirectly, and put them at great risk. I said this from the beginning, now Krugman says the Trump Tariffs on China are a key part of the "Supply Chain" crisis. I would add Sanctions also, and the ultimate effect of sanctions is to weaken the US dollar by forcing "enemies" to create and use alternatives, alternatives that could ultimately displace the US dollar, raising the price of foreign goods to Americans, if not making some things utterly unavailable. The US oligarchs are overplaying their hand, but it matters little to them.

Posted by: Charles Peterson | Feb 21 2022 1:02 utc | 34


"This is an information war in with the Russian side is mostly trolling the U.S. side while the Biden administration and its associated media like the NYT are lying through their teeth."

Half right. Biden and his administration are trolling Putin and playing on Russia's insecurities. Whether they know something, are guessing or lying through their teeth scarcely matters.

Those who believe this political confrontation is a game changer for the world hegemonic balance in fact know nothing about the dynamics of globalization nor who actually owns our asses in meat space. You may have known this at one time before you allowed yourself to be fooled and impoverished.

Western elites have long since factored in the multipolar reality and have duly profited through their investments in a world that was created by the establishment of the Peoples Republic of China, Inc.

Russia is a dwarf star in the global economic universe. Overly large, unimpressive, highly gaseous and unsustainable.

But have fun pretending otherwise.

Posted by: Useless meat beater | Feb 21 2022 1:05 utc | 35

LOFL Biden is doing a hell of a lot more than "trolling Russia". Western elites have not "factored in the multipolar reality" at all, they are fighting tooth and nail to keep it a unipolar world.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Feb 21 2022 1:13 utc | 36

One European official told The Washington Post in Munich that “we have no clear evidence ourselves that Putin has made up his mind and we have not seen anything that would suggest otherwise.”

US has the evidence, of course, but revealing it would compromise sources and methods. Capitalism's Invisible Army (CIA/MI6/Mossad) possesses remote brain-scanning technology and has already read Putin's mind. Although precise dates are admittedly hazy, the invasion is imminent.

Posted by: Doug Hillman | Feb 21 2022 1:28 utc | 37

pretzelattack | Feb 21 2022 1:13 utc | 36

Financially, the world has long since ceased being multipolar. Only the plebes mistake national politics for national economy. The belief grows more absurd as the plebes lose more and more every day through misunderstanding their favorite sides in the fake battle are globalists seeking relative advantages but not for thee.

The world is in fact bi-polar (pun intended). There are two poles. Russia is subservient to one or the other. Take their pick.

You can continue to cheer as football fan cheer for his team. Turn on the TV (or the social media equivalent), crack another beer and support the game.

Posted by: Useless meat beater | Feb 21 2022 1:33 utc | 38

I'll throw out another crackpot idea. The so-called war between the west and east for globalist capital expansionist hegemony is simply an intramural affair. While the West is in an advanced state of decay, China and Russia are also decadent.

The real war is barely observed as it is still in its nascent stage. China to its credit is actively fighting this war.

Islam versus non-islam.

The Decline of the West. By the real Spengler. Read it and weep.

Posted by: Useless meat beater | Feb 21 2022 1:46 utc | 39

Posted by: sejmon | Feb 21 2022 0:22 utc | 30

#14..russian ambassador to Sweden- when ask him about -sanctions - he said "Russians give shit about sanctions".....

He did not say that, he spoke Russian, not English. The phrase he used is less polite than 'we do not care' but less vulgar than 'we don't give a shit'.

Posted by: Ralph | Feb 21 2022 0:45 utc | 32

rebellious Donbas region' it's Donbass with 2 's's; they are not rebellious, that's a derogatory term, what they are, are DEFENDERS.

Well he could call them bandits, so it is not that bad. Rebels are cool since Star Wars anyways.

Posted by: hopehely | Feb 21 2022 1:47 utc | 40

And by Islam I mean the most radical war-like version that seeks to put asunder the decadent west and east alike.

As the decadent eastwestworld falters in its death throes of the faux energetic elderly capitalist expansion in its final phase, nature itself cries against the excessive endgame of the deterioration of planetary life led by the West and yes China too.

Posted by: Useless meat beater | Feb 21 2022 2:04 utc | 41

its not "teams" and no this recycled late 80's to early 90's nonsense about the islamic threat has little to do with the currently competing power blocks. that islamophobic horsecrap was a marketing campaign to fight downsizing the military when the USSR split up. there are huge and significant rivalries between China and the US, and Russia is still more powerful than China as a military power, which is one reason the US is so frantic to hamstring and encircle it.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Feb 21 2022 2:12 utc | 42

Islamophobic? LOL

I'm suggesting the salvation of the planet goes through [radical] Islam.

By necessity. Get outside your parochial pretzel logic. I believe you and many of the contributors to this blog are intelligent and able to get outside the [extremely] narrow minded perspectives you've allowed in your total capitulation.

It's not too late. Or maybe it is.

Please stop wasting my time unless you can escape your chains.

Posted by: Useless meat beater | Feb 21 2022 2:27 utc | 43

I have begun to compile data over time from the OSCE's SMM:

Total explosions and total 'events', per region, and in total, and the sequence of activity maps

I'll supply the raw speadsheet underneath if people would like it. Contact me with @yesxorno on evil twitter.


Note: of course its all CC-BY-SA 4.0, so have at it.

Posted by: YesXorNo | Feb 21 2022 3:36 utc | 44

Berndt Braincell | Feb 20 2022 23:35 utc | 26

"When do they air drop you armchair generals into the front lines?"

After I have stopped making faces at the locals, but I will leave again before the yankattack.

Posted by: Stonebird | Feb 21 2022 8:53 utc | 45

Ralph | 32
I’m going to put in a plug for “freedom fighters” It’s got that Rocky 3 lates 90s kool mudjadeen vibe.
Or maybe, take a page from the Syrian playbook. How about
Donbass People’s Defence
People for an independent Donbass.
lots of options. And agree there are options rather than the designated labels from the UKUS media

Posted by: Melaleuca | Feb 21 2022 10:04 utc | 46

It would be funny if it wasn't disgusting, when NYT accuses other claiming something "without any evidence"!

Posted by: padre | Feb 21 2022 10:43 utc | 47

oh now radical warlike Islam will save the planet. whatever you imagine that to be. radical christians want to save us from radical islam who want to save us from billionaires. i'll stick with the flying spaghetti monster.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Feb 21 2022 10:45 utc | 48

It is reported that the Russian military destroyed two infantry fighting vehicles of the Ukrainian army, which crossed the Russian border from Ukraine for the emergency evacuation of the Ukrainian sabotage group. Five violators of the Russian border of the sabotage and reconnaissance group were destroyed. There are no losses on the Russian side.

Posted by: alaff | Feb 21 2022 13:55 utc | 49

My take: The US first exaggerated a Russian invasion in Nov 2021. Russia then played along leaking twitter and tiktok clips of military vehicles being transported by rail. That in turn made the US go into overdrive in January 2022 calling the invasion "imminent". But the downturn of that was that the capital flight from Ukraine was accelerated.

Russia now is in a comfortable position: It is pretty cheap to move military vehicles from A to B (the soldiers stay in their barracks) and let Western media do the work. While Russia can keep doing that for months and even years, the West needs to sponsor Ukraines economy more and more. Capital doesnt like the risk of war, being lost. It needs stability. The crisis is a game of chicken, of who can keep doing it longer. My guess is Russia.

The Ukraine crisis is about a combination of Nord Stream 2, Russian security needs, force execution of Minsk 2 on Ukraine & West and upping the costs of the West to keep sponsoring Ukraine, if Russian demands are not met.

Posted by: Arne Hartmann | Feb 21 2022 14:22 utc | 50

@YesXorNo #44

The most useful thing you can do, in my opinion, is to take every OSCE map, count the dots on either side of the frontline and publish the following numbers: “attacks of the Ukraine on DPR/LPR” and “attacks of DPR/LPR on the Ukraine” (instead of the completely useless “attacks in Donetsk Oblast” and “attacks in Lugansk Oblast”).

Posted by: S | Feb 21 2022 14:33 utc | 51

BTW China can use this Russian playbook regarding Taiwan as well, its even easier. Taiwan is entirely supplied by sea. China can manufacture a crisis and keep it boiling for months. The transport costs (insurance) will go through the roof. China doesnt really need to fire any shot at Taiwan to extract concessions from the US.

Posted by: Arne Hartmann | Feb 21 2022 14:45 utc | 52

Arne Hartmann: they could and maybe they will but right now (and in the past) they're dong things that are even better and smarter; among other things Taiwan functions as a huge "school" for Chinese interests (much like Hong Kong did but even more so and in additional ways).

The "Americans" are clueless as ever. They refuse to grok the basics of Sun Tzu.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Feb 21 2022 15:51 utc | 53

The OSCE reports
Looking at the summary for Jan, I'm trying to understand 'Ceasefire violations by explosions'. This is the 2nd box in the upper left.
The thing that has me puzzled is the range of some of the explosions being 50km+ from the line of contact. What kind of weapon has that range?

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Feb 21 2022 16:27 utc | 54

Christian J. Chuba | Feb 21 2022 16:27 utc | 54

The Ukes have been using drones with small bombs, or as spotter planes. I don't know if this is actually the case on the map, but it is the best explanation I can think of. (50 km is even a long way for a drone)

Posted by: Stonebird | Feb 21 2022 16:41 utc | 55

Arne Hartmann | Feb 21 2022 14:22 utc | 50

I agree with your take on the situation. I would add this though: for whatever reason(s) the US wished to extract Ukraine from the Russian sphere of finance/influence/? - be it pure greed, or the sick desire to "win" the "great game" of geopolitical dominance, or leftover residual hatred from the first cold war (if Biden believes in anything, probably the latter, but I'm beginning to suspect he is just the empty husk of a complete political whore) well, the US succeeded - they control - and must bankroll - the bankrupt, eminently corrupt home of Europe's most fervent remaining Nazis.


If it weren't so disgusting and dangerous it would be hilarious. Yes, I believe Russia is content to let the US bleed out, as it were. What goes around, comes around, eh?

Posted by: vinnieoh | Feb 21 2022 16:46 utc | 56

To be fair ...
1. Yes, there is firing at the the DPR/LPR and not just FROM as is reported by the propagandists but ... 2. the report classifies explosions as 'undetermined', 'outgoing', or 'impacts' with the vast majority being classified as 'undetermined'.

Therefore, the bomb icons, could indicate firing from those areas, at least if you go by the OSCE reports.

It is disappointingly inconclusive.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Feb 21 2022 17:34 utc | 57

Looks like Minsk is dead - Putin recognised the Donblass Republics and has ordered Russian military to go in as peacekeepers.

From RT: -"Putin orders Russian military to Donbass Republics as peacekeepers"

I don't seem to be able to make the link work

Posted by: Lorna MacKay | Feb 21 2022 22:43 utc | 58

PROFESSOR JOHN MEARSHEIMER does a good analysis of the situation

Posted by: Agnelo | Feb 23 2022 5:15 utc | 59

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