Sunday, June 29, 2014

Ukraine situation ( June 29 - 30 , 2014 ) While the EU and US threaten to unleash more sanctions on Russia and have draw natural gas , natural gas infrastructure as well as natural gas pipelines into the battle for supremacy the West has launched against Russia ( as a lesson to any other nation would dare cross swords with imperial demands and instructions from the EU and US ) , a view as to where things stand in the restive South East Ukraine , where things stand with Russia and where things might go from here !


Ukraine President Declares End To Cease-Fire; Vows To "Attack & Liberate Our Land"

Tyler Durden's picture




 
As propogandists prepare their"it's the other guy's fault" press releases, Ukraine's President Poroshenko issued a statement declaring the cease-fire over...
  • *POROSHENKO SAYS UKRAINE TO END CEASE-FIRE IN EASTERN REGIONS
  • *POROSHENKO PLEDGES TO MOVE AGAINST REBELS, 'FREE OUR LAND'
  • *POROSHENKO BLAMES REBELS FOR FAILURE OF PEACE PLAN IN UKRAINE
  • *POROSHENKO SAYS MILITANTS VIOLATED CEASE-FIRE OVER 100 TIMES
Furthermore, his promise to "attack and liberate" the land and resumption of the "anti-terrorist" operations, means civil war is back on (and what appeasrs to bemartial law) as he explains Armed Forces, National Guard, the State Border Guard Service, Security Service received appropriate instructions.

Address of the President of Ukraine Poroshenko
Dear compatriots!
On the twenty-second hour of Monday 30 June expired validity of a unilateral ceasefire.
Within the plan of peaceful settlement of the situation in the Donbas this step was first initiated on June 20.
June 27 Ukraine continued for an additional three days.
For ten days we have demonstrated the Donbass, Ukraine, to the world their commitment to peacefully settle the conflict triggered externally.
Residents of Donetsk and Lugansk regions, we demonstrated goodwill Ukrainian authorities. 
Hardworking and peaceful people, which is the vast majority of the citizens of Donetsk and Lugansk Oblast, feel our sympathy, love and respect. They saw a sincere willingness Kyiv ignore their special opinions and specific interests. And they realized that their safety is our top priority.
Become even more international support for Ukraine. It was during the ceasefire I signed the Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with the EU.
However, with a unique opportunity to implement the peace plan is not implemented. This happened because of the criminal actions of militants. They have publicly declared their unwillingness to support the peace plan as a whole and particularly the ceasefire. Defiantly, more than a hundred times, violated the armistice regime.
The political leadership of the separatist demonstrated unwillingness and inability to control the actions of their departments and the terrorist gangs of looters.
Annulment of the Federation Council for permission to enter the Russian troops in Ukraine was positive, but symbolic. We did not wait for concrete steps to de-escalation of the situation. Including in terms of strengthening control abroad.
Despite all this, the world was, is and will be my goal. Changing only the tools to achieve it. 
June 30 evening, a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine. After discussing the situation, I, as Commander-in-Chief, has decided not to pursue a unilateral cease-fire regime. 
Protection of the territorial integrity of Ukraine, safety and life of civilians requires not only defensive but also offensive operations against terrorist militants.
Armed Forces, National Guard, the State Border Guard Service, Security Service received appropriate instructions.
In achieving the objectives of the present protection of territorial integrity are no longer limited ceasefire.
We will attack and liberate our land. Non-renewal of the ceasefire - is our response to terrorists, rebels, looters. To all those who are making fun of civilians. Who paralyzing the work of regional economy. Who plucks the payment of salaries, pensions, stipends. Who undermines and destroys railroad plumbing. Who has deprived people of normal, peaceful life. 
The Armed Forces of Ukraine, National Guard, other units will not allow themselves to use force against peaceful people. They never beat on residential neighborhoods.
Ukrainian soldiers and guards will risk his own life, just not to expose threats to women, children and elderly men. All those living in the land of Donbass and does not in the hands of illegal weapons.
This age-old chivalrous nature Ukrainian army.
For us - and responsibility for every supporter peaceful life that do not bring God can break off during a military or anti-terrorist operation.
This requires us to extraordinary adjustedness every movement operations.
I appeal to every resident of Donetsk and Lugansk regions, asking to be taken with the understanding of my decision. Please become allies in return for security Donbass.
So, you can not resist the bandits physical strength. But your willpower and fortitude, your civil disobedience to the so-called "people's republics," the intolerance and contempt for those who took the path of banditry, looting and terror, bring the day when your homes, your streets back lasting peace .
Everyone who stood in the way of armed resistance to lawful authority, but realizing that mistake and wants to correct it, as president, I guarantee FAILURE to justice. Condition One - voluntarily lay down their arms.
Our peace plan as a strategy for Ukraine and Donbas, remains in force. And disarmament. And decentralization. And free use of the Russian language. And the restoration of housing by the state. And together with the EU program to create new jobs. And even before the ceasefire, we are ready to return at any moment. When we see that all parties adhere to performing the basic points of the peace plan. What gunmen freed the hostages. What and beyond the eastern border of red light on fire for saboteurs and arms supplier, and for adherence to the OSCE border monitors.
Dear compatriots!
The road to peace was somewhat more complex than desired. Do not want to embellish reality. It will be hard and difficult.

We, more than ever, we should unite to protect Ukraine. It requires dedication and discipline not only at the front but in the rear.

But there was not any war, after which there occurred a to peace.

So happens this time.
Glory to Ukraine!
*  *  *
Now we await the Russian response; the USA's retaliatory sanctions, and Putin's boomerang... with all eyes on Austria and Bulgaria (as the Chess game just got larger)






Russia Today......



​Waging war against Russia, one pipeline at a time


Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City and the founder ofStopImperialism.com.
Published time: June 27, 2014 09:41
Reuters / Sergey Karpukhin
Reuters / Sergey Karpukhin
While the human politics of the crisis in Ukraine garner all the headlines, it is the gas politics that in many ways lies at the heart of the conflict.
Indeed, the energy issue has not only framed much of the economic dimensions of the crisis, it has revealed the deep divides that exist among the political and business elite of Europe who, despite their bluff and bluster about Russia’s actions in Ukraine and the expansion of sanctions, understand quite clearly that Russia is an integral part of Europe’s economic future.
However, that hasn’t stopped the West and its proxies and clients in Eastern Europe from attempting to undermine Russia’s strategic economic position through a variety of means. From derailing negotiations over pipeline construction to using puppet governments as a wedge between Moscow and Europe, the US and its allies have attempted to undermine Russia’s economic and strategic position vis-à-vis gas delivery infrastructure, while simultaneously strengthening their own.
RIA Novosti / Ramil Sitdikov
RIA Novosti / Ramil Sitdikov

Ukraine and the threat to Russia and Europe

Lost amid the horror stories of Kiev’s military assault on the people of Donbas, the vicious attacks by Right Sector Nazis, and the general state of chaos in Ukraine’s political institutions, is the fact that one of the central aspects of the Ukraine-Russia conflict is gas. Specifically, it centers on the Russian energy delivery infrastructure (pipelines, refineries, etc.) in Ukraine and its vital importance to Russia’s continued energy exports to Europe.
Also, Kiev and the Russian energy giant Gazprom have been busy trying to negotiate terms ofpayment for the massive bill (at least $4 billion, though likely more) Ukraine owes, which undoubtedly raises the stakes for both sides as billions of dollars are on the line. Were the conflict only financial, then undoubtedly a resolution could be reached. However, in recent weeks there have been dangerous developments and accusations, which have cast the issue in a new light; it is no longer merely about profits, it’s about security.
In mid-June, a major gas pipeline carrying Russian gas through Ukraine was blown up in the Poltava region of the country. Though Ukrainian authorities have claimed that the gas supply to Europe was not interrupted, the incident signals a dangerous development in the ongoing crisis, specifically the targeting of key pipelines by terrorists bent on attacking Russian economic interests. Many experts, including the eminent historian and scholar Dr. Stephen Cohen, have accused right wing ultranationalist extremist groups of carrying out this terrorist action, as well as others including the shameful and violent “protest” outside the Russian embassy in Kiev.
In fact, this week saw yet another attack by Right Sector terrorists on critical gas infrastructure. A large contingent of militants from the fascist group seized the Dolynsky Oil refinery in Kirovograd in Central Ukraine. The attack on the facility, owned by a friend and business associate of the deposed former President Yanukovich, is yet another assault on key elements in the Russian energy supply network. While the Right Sector militants justify their actions as being part of a campaign against “terrorists in Donetsk,” it is hard to view these developments as anything other than a direct attack upon Russian economic interests.
Naturally, Kiev has not been exactly diligent in its attempts to investigate these and other incidents implicating Right Sector and other fascist groups, which have been legally sanctioned, including with the moniker “National Guard,” by authorities in Kiev. Lack of a thorough investigation notwithstanding, the attack on the pipeline represents a significant escalation of the conflict, as it now threatens not only Russian revenues, but the European energy supply.
As many commentators have noted, Russia provides upwards of one third of Europe’s gas imports, with 60-80 percent of that supply traveling through pipelines on the territory of Ukraine. An escalation of attacks on this critical infrastructure threatens the stability of the European economy, and has led many business leaders in Europe and the US to question not just Washington’s and Brussels’ policies toward the Ukraine issue, but the general hostility toward Russia that has come to dominate ruling class circles in the West. It would seem then that the political will to further exacerbate the conflict is at odds with good business sense – precisely what many in Russia and around the world have been saying since the chaos in Ukraine began.
Reuters / Sergey Karpukhin
Reuters / Sergey Karpukhin

Pipelines and economic proxy war

Beyond Ukraine, there have been a number of attempts by the US and its partners to derail Russian pipeline development, and, as a corollary, to continue to promote projects that undermine Russia’s position in the energy market of Europe.
One of the more well-known projects that Moscow has embarked on in recent years is the highly ambitious South Stream pipeline, a project that would bring Russian gas under the Black Sea and into Central Europe via Bulgaria and Serbia. Seen by most experts as Russia’s attempt to diversify its delivery infrastructure away from Ukraine, the project has been a major sore point with the US, which has attempted to decrease European reliance on Russian energy. And so, negotiations among the relevant transit countries have taken on added significance with the advent of the crisis in Ukraine. It is against this backdrop that the latest news from Bulgaria is worrying for the Kremlin.
Earlier this month, the government of Bulgaria yielded to pressure from the EU and halted construction of the South Stream. A number of analysts both in Bulgaria and around the world have noted that this development is a direct consequence of threats and arm-twisting from the West which is desperately trying to prevent Russia from further solidifying its position in the European energy market.
As one prominent Bulgarian political analyst, who asked not to be named, told the German news agency Deutsche Welle“The EU has no money to support Ukraine in the gas dispute with Russia... So in order to blackmail Moscow and compel it to continue transporting gas via Ukraine, Brussels wants to put a halt to the South Stream project. Bulgarians are the ultimate victims. And the project might still be completed, potentially via Turkey, which does not bow to the [sic] pressure from the EU.”
Indeed, it seems that Europe, and by extension the US, is attempting to leverage their political clout in Eastern Europe to block Russian development and, simultaneously, keep those countries subservient to the West. As many have noted, the pipeline will bring tremendous benefits to Bulgaria, and all countries through which it transits, as those countries will then be recipients of generous gas discounts, not to mention jobs and other major benefits for the economically struggling countries of the former Soviet space.
And this is precisely the issue, namely the question of whether countries like Bulgaria are allowed to pursue their own, independent economic development, or whether they must be subjected to European and American bullying. As renowned Bulgarian political and energy analyst, and professor of International Relations, Dr. Nina Dyulgerova explained in a recent interview:
“Judging by the fact that we [Bulgaria] are the first country in the EU route of South Stream, we can conclude that has to do with politics. Europe is subjected to a growing Russian-American confrontation in the field of energy. The Ukraine crisis, for instance, was a geostrategical object of impact from the US side which led...to an increased US participation in the most important element of Washington's interest in the field of energy, namely - the gas transportation system of Ukraine. Coincidentally [Hunter Biden], the son of US Vice President Joe Biden, is a member of the board of directors at the Ukrainian gas company [Burisma]. The fact that a process of buying up parts of Ukraine's energy system by American firms, and European ones close to them, also increases the pressure on the construction of South Stream, because it would mitigate or put an end to this complicated game.”
Bulgarian former Prime Minister Boiko Borisov (rear R) and Russia's Gazprom Deputy Chairman Alexander Medvedev (rear L) watch as Bulgarian former Economy and Energy Minister Traicho Traikov (front R) and Russia's former Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko sign documents during an official ceremony in the city of Varna, some 450km (280miles) north-east of Sofia July 17, 2010. (Reuters)
Bulgarian former Prime Minister Boiko Borisov (rear R) and Russia's Gazprom Deputy Chairman Alexander Medvedev (rear L) watch as Bulgarian former Economy and Energy Minister Traicho Traikov (front R) and Russia's former Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko sign documents during an official ceremony in the city of Varna, some 450km (280miles) north-east of Sofia July 17, 2010. (Reuters)

As Dr. Dyulgerova correctly notes, part of the US strategy in Ukraine is to strip the assets of the Ukrainian state, mostly but not exclusively in the energy sector, and sell them off to Western interests. Naturally, Russia’s counter-measure is to accelerate the development of South Stream, to which the West has responded with the most recent round of intimidation and meddling. In fact, this goes far beyond simply making crony capitalist deals with Western companies.
Just before Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski made the announcement that his country would be freezing construction of South Stream, he had extensive consultations with prominentUS Senators, including John McCain (R-AZ) and Ron Johnson (R-WI), both of whom have extensive ties to the oil and gas industry. Immediately following these meetings, the announcement was made, with the connection of course not being mere coincidence. Obviously, the political establishment, in the service of its corporate patrons, has committed its energies and resources into being the tip of the spear against Russian economic development and its attempts to solidify its relations with European countries.
While countries like Bulgaria have been cowed by US and European pressure, others have not. In the wake of the announcement by Bulgaria’s Prime Minister, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic reiterated his country’s desire to participate in the project and maintain its traditionally close ties to Russia. Additionally, leaders in Slovenia and Austria, have continued to express their support for South Stream, rejecting calls from Washington and Brussels to turn away from the project. In fact, Russian President Putin and Austrian President Fischer came together this week to mark the signing of the cooperation deal between Austria’s OMV and Russia’s Gazprom. In a characteristically undiplomatic and unfriendly subtle threat directed at Austria, the US embassy released a statement saying that Austrians “should consider carefully whether today’s events contribute to the effort [to maintain trans-Atlantic unity and discourage further Russian aggression].”
Essentially then, South Stream has become one of the primary battlegrounds in the economic war that the West is waging against Russia. The sanctions are merely the window-dressing to the much more sinister attempt to stifle the independent economic development of all countries seeking to do business with Russia and increase their own prosperity.
Moreover, the attacks on South Stream signal a US-EU policy in Ukraine, and in the region, which is in many ways at odds with powerful business interests. In this way, some of the divides within the establishment have become clearer. In addition, with the recent signing of the Sino-Russian gas deal, which itself will lead to the completion of two more critical pipelines, Moscow seems to have developed a comprehensive counter-strategy. While the US and its partners have attempted to restart projects like the Trans-Caspian Pipeline – a Western-sponsored alternative to the South Stream, which is still in the early stages and has encountered a number of major hurdles in recent years – Russia continues to steadily build up and refurbish its pipeline infrastructure.
The 19th Century saw the advent of the “Great Game” – competition between the Russian and British empires for control over the remnants of the Ottoman Empire in the Black Sea, Central Asia, and elsewhere – which persisted throughout that century, leading to at least two major Russian wars. The 20th Century was characterized by world wars and the Cold War which saw the Anglo-American empire, even when allied with the Soviet Union during the wars, in constant competition with Russia. In the 21st Century, an era when such animosities were supposed to have been buried with previous generations, we are seeing a renewal of the Great Game and Cold War, with the US and Europe playing foil to Russia’s rising economic power.
The new Great Game is one for energy, pipelines, and access to markets. But, ultimately, it is about power, and the US has yet to recognize that the power it once wielded, the power to influence outcomes to its own benefit whenever it suits, has rapidly declined. Washington has yet to recognize that the entire world is no longer its imperial backyard. Hopefully, for the sake of peace and progress, they will recognize this reality, sooner rather than later.





Putin 'would be killed' if he came to Kiev, Ukraine parliament deputy says on TV

Published time: June 29, 2014 11:20
Anatoly Gritsenko (Still from YouTube video)
Anatoly Gritsenko (Still from YouTube video)
A Verkhovna Rada deputy who is also an ex-defense minister of Ukraine, said during a prime time talk-show that the country’s “patriots” would be justified “to kill” Russian President Vladimir Putin if he came to Kiev.
Anatoly Gritsenko made his shocking statement speaking on the popular national talk show ‘Shuster Live’.
“Putin won’t stop. He wants not only Ukraine, he wants the Baltic States and other countries,”claimed Gritsenko, who was a presidential candidate twice, in the 2010 and 2014 Ukrainian elections. Gritsenko did not elaborate on what had driven him to such a conclusion.
Calling the Russian president “a fascist,” Gritsenko went on to say that he cannot imagine Vladimir Putin coming to Ukraine to sign some kind of a deal.
“I believe there are patriots who would volunteer to kill him – and that would be the right thing to do,” Gritsenko remarked.

The leader of the Civil Position party, Gritsenko is a vocal advocate of Ukraine joining both the EU and NATO.
Speaking in the same edition of the ‘Shuster Live’ talk-show, Gritsenko accused the current Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, of not fulfilling financial obligations towards the Ukrainian military units taking part in the punitive operation in the Lugansk and Donetsk regions. Gritsenko insisted that Poroshenko must allocate the money he promised during his election campaign, even if it is to come out of his own pocket.
The politician also proposed to send the sons of top Ukrainian officials to fight against the self-defense forces in the east of the country – including the son of the President Poroshenko himself.
The last several months of political crisis in Ukraine have been marked with scandals caused by the shocking statements of local politicians, so this latest gaffe by the former defense minister looks like normal business.
Two weeks ago, the now ex-Foreign Minister Andrey Deshchitsa publicly ‘effed’ the head of Russia. In an incident that may be a first in diplomatic history, Kiev’s top diplomat chanted“Putin’s a f**ker” surrounded by a crowd vandalizing the Russian embassy in the Ukrainian capital.
Although Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko fired the uncouth diplomat several days ago, some MPs in the Ukrainian parliament considered it only natural that Deshchitsa should become Ukraine’s new ambassador to Russia.
Since the unrest began in Ukraine in November last year, other Ukrainian politicians have also distinguished themselves with unprecedented deeds and sayings.
In March, the leader of Ukraine’s far-right Radical Party, ultra-radical MP Oleg Lyashko his supporters abducted a regional MP in eastern Ukraine and posted video of his interrogation in which Lyashko says that he will "hang him by the balls and have him f**ked.”
Oleg Lyashko (RIA Novosti/Evgeny Kotenko)
Oleg Lyashko (RIA Novosti/Evgeny Kotenko)

Also in March, Ukrainian MP Igor Miroshnynchenko (from Svoboda party) assisted by a group of helpers stormed the office of Ukraine’s National Television Company, physically abused the TV channel’s head, calling him an “animal” and “Moskal” (a derogatory term for Russians) and bullied him into signing a resignation.
In April, Irina Farion, an MP of the nationalist Fatherland Party, went as far as to call for the deaths of citizens in Donetsk, Kharkov and Lugansk who demand the federalization of Ukraine.
Irina Farion (RIA Novosti/Pavel Palamarchuk)
Irina Farion (RIA Novosti/Pavel Palamarchuk)

“I’d act much tougher. I’d just shoot them dead. Look, the enemy is ruling our land. What are we talking about? They should’ve been expelled from here back in 1654 (the year Ukraine aligned with the Russian Empire). That’s why today’s reaction is unacceptable. The measures should be much tougher. Our people laid down their lives. That’s why those creatures that arrive here deserve only death,” Farion proclaimed.

Itar Tass.....


Pro-Kiev Donbass battalion commanders demand end to ceasefire

 June 29, 16:26 UTC+4
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko extended the truce until June 30 in an attempt to seek peaceful ways of ending the armed conflict
© EPA/SERGEI CHIRIKOV
KIEV, June 29 /ITAR-TASS/. Several hundred Ukrainian activists, including commanders of the pro-Kiev Donbass battalion, gathered near the Ukrainian presidential administration building to demand an end to the ceasefire in east Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced a ceasefire between Ukraine’s military involved in Kiev’s punitive operation in southeast Ukraine and local self-defense militia from June 20 to June 27. He later extended the truce until June 30 in an attempt to seek peaceful ways of ending the armed conflict.
Donbass battalion commander Semyon Semenchenko who had urged Ukrainians to hold the rally near the presidential administration’s building asked demonstrators to behave “in a civilized manner” while another Donbass battalion representative read out a petition to Poroshenko on behalf of Ukrainians with a demand to “stop the truce, impose a martial law in the country, provide the military with necessary armaments and measures to destroy terrorists and request the EU and the USA to impose a third round of sanctions against Russia.”
Kiev’s punitive operation against federalization supporters in Ukraine’s east involving armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation has killed hundreds of people, including civilians, left buildings destroyed and damaged and forced tens of thousands to cross the border from Ukraine to Russia.


Self-defence forces in southeast continue to seize buildings - Ukraine’s Security Council

 June 29, 17:11 UTC+4
KIEV, June 29, /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council claims self-defence forces in Donetsk have seized a chemical plant in that city to use it for the manufacture of hand grenades.
Self-defence forces in Donetsk “are acting in the breach of the truce and go on seizing administrative buildings,” spokesman for the Council Andrei Lysenko told a briefing on Sunday. “Thus, on June 28, they seized the building of the local interior department in Konstantinovka, Donetsk region, and took control over a police detention ward and local office of the Kievstar mobile operator in Lugansk.” On Saturday, armoured cash-in-transit vehicles of Yuzhkombank were seized in central Donetsk on Saturday, he claimed.
The press service of the Donetsk department of the Ukrainian interior ministry said on Sunday that representatives of the newly proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic had seized army unit number A-1402.
“In violation of the truce, self-defence forces launched a massive shelling of a check point of the Ukrainian National Guard,” according to the National Guard press service. “The check point near Karachun hill in the Donetsk region is being shelled from a tank and mortars.” The press service reported no casualties among the National Guard servicemen.
“Five Ukrainian servicemen were killed and 17 more wounded in Donbass [a coal-bearing area in Ukraine’s southeast, encompassing the Donetsk region], Alexei Dmitrashkovsky, a spokesman for the headquarters of the military operation in the southeastern regions, said on Sunday.
Earlier, Ukraine’s President Pyotr Poroshenko extended the ceasefire regime in the southeast regions till 23:00 on June 30.


Economy minister Ulyukayev: EU’s toughest sanctions variant not to be dramatic for Russia

 June 28, 15:32 UTC+4
The threats of broader sanctions have been rejected by Moscow, which has said the language of penalties is counterproductive and will strike back at Western countries
Alexey Ulyukayev

Alexey Ulyukayev

© ИТАР-ТАСС/ Алексей Никольский
PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, June 28, 14:00 /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Economic Development Ministry has drafted three variants of forecasts of the country’s economic development in case sectoral sanctions are imposed against Moscow over the situation in Ukraine, Russian Economic Development Minister Alexey Ulyukayev said Saturday.
“We have developed three variants which differ by the degree of toughness. The first variant includes luxury articles, caviar, furs, the second one is tougher and the third one includes the entire complex - metals, fertilizers, oil, gas and so on, taking into account the factors of price and volume,” Ulyukayev said.
“The economy is able to withstand such a scenario. Of course, economic growth rates are going seriously below zero. The rates of investments are even more negative, revenues dwindle, inflation grows, government reserves shrink,” he said during the Vesti v Subbotu program on the Rossiya 1 TV channel.
“But the development of events is not dramatic on the whole,” Ulyukayev said.
Western nations have subjected some Russian officials and companies to sanctions, including visa bans and asset freezes, following Crimea’s incorporation by Russia in mid-March.
The West, led by the United States, has repeatedly threatened Russia with further punitive measures, including economic ones, for its position on Ukraine (incorporation of Crimea and what the West claimed was Moscow’s alleged involvement in protests of federalization supporters in Ukraine’s Southeast).
Russia has repeatedly dismissed Western claims that it could in any way be involved in protests in the Southeast of Ukraine, which started after Crimea refused to recognize the authorities propelled to power during a coup in Ukraine in February and reunified with Russia in mid-March after some 60 years as part of Ukraine.
The threats of broader sanctions have been rejected by Moscow, which has said the language of penalties is counterproductive and will strike back at Western countries.


RIO Novosti.....


EU Gives Russia Three Days to De-Escalate Ukraine Crisis, Threatens Sanctions

Aftermath of artillery shelling of Privolye in Lugansk Region
18:09 27/06/2014
Tags: ceasefireEUPetro PoroshenkoUkraineRussia
BRUSSELS, June 27 (RIA Novosti) - The European Council on Friday said it would give Moscow three days to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine, or it will impose new sanctions against Russia, according to a statement published Friday.
The European Council also set conditions for the de-escalation.
"The European Council expects that by Monday 30 June the following steps will be taken: Agreement on a verification mechanism, monitored by the OSCE, for the ceasefire and for the effective control of the border; return to the Ukrainian authorities of the three border checkpoints (Izvarino, Dolzhanskiy, Krasnopartizansk); release of hostages including all of the OSCE observers; launch of substantial negotiations on the implementation of President [Petro] Poroshenko's peace plan," the statement reads.
The European Council said it regrets that the ceasefire, “while being respected by the Ukrainian authorities,” has not led to the full cessation of military hostilities and called upon the sides to “genuinely commit to the implementation of the peace plan and to cement the cessation of the military activities.”
European Union leaders urged Russia to “actively use its influence over the illegally armed groups and to stop the flow of weapons and militants across the border, in order to achieve rapid and tangible results in de-escalation.”
The European Council said it was prepared to convene at any moment to impose new sanctions against Russia over the Ukrainian crisis, should the council find it necessary.
“The Council will assess the situation and, should it be required, adopt necessary decisions. The European Council underlines its commitment to reconvene at any time for further significant restrictive measures," the statement reads.
Earlier Friday, Russia’s ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, told RIA Novosti in an interview that the EU had no intention or political will to expand sanctions against Russia.
The EU has adopted and repeatedly expanded the sanctions list to people they believe played a role in “violating Ukraine’s territorial integrity.” A total of 61 Russian and Ukrainian nationals have been hit with EU travel bans and asset freezes over the crisis. Several Crimean enterprises have also been targeted by the EU sanctions.
Moscow has repeatedly stated that the language of sanctions is “inappropriate and counterproductive” and warned its western partners about the “boomerang effect” sanctions would have.

Vineyard of the Saker.....

SUNDAY, JUNE 29, 2014


Strelkov, Berezin and Militia Briefings, June 27-28, 2014

Combined for June 27-28, 2014
Translated from Russian by Gleb Bazov

#1 – Commentary from Igor Strelkov, June 27, 2014, 14:56
Original: Strelkov Info

Regarding a Militia tank allegedly taken out by the Ukrainian army

- Igor Ivanovich, what is this photography that the Ukies are posting all over the place on the Internet?

Igor Strelkov: How should I know? Perhaps it’s one of their own tanks, which burned down near Yampol (I think they lost one there last evening). All of ours are fine. One was hit with an RPG, but the dynamic defence [absorbed the blow], the second has three holes in its armour from a 14.5mm weapon, but the turret is fine. That’s it – no other damage.

#2 – Briefing from Fyodor Berezin, June 27, 2014, 20:08
Original: Strelkov Info

www.youtube.com/embed/2HywNIZ4tXg

Berezin’s statement following surrender of Ukrainian Military Base No. 3004

Surely, we are fascists, sadists, terrorists, and separatists, and yet … From 03:00 in the morning and until 15:00 in the afternoon we continued to release the [detained conscripts]. Called all the moms, dad, brothers, and sisters. First we dealt with the locals. Then we started the process of releasing the kids to their parents. From every mom we obtained a written confirmation of release and a phone number. This is to enable us to have control over what happens to the guys. In other words, we hope thereby to safeguard them from violence by the Ukie aficionados of dismemberment.

Neither I, nor my guys slept this night, but it was all worth it. This time, the job was done to a grade-A standard.

Photograph – F. Berezin: “My personal trophies”.



#3 – Briefings from Locations, June 27, 2014
Original: Strelkov Info

The night was not remarkable in terms of observed activity.

This morning, two explosions occurred at 04:45 and 05:30, near Donetsk, in Stanitsa Ogorodnoye, near the railway bridge.

About 12:30, there were several explosions near the intersection of Shorse and Treneva streets. As well, during the day, maneuver-centric engagements and explosions took place in the area of Stankostroy, near Slavyansk. There was no calm in the suburbs of Slavyansk during the day. A battle took place in the Artyomovsk district.

17:30 (MSK) – Combat resumed on the outskirts of Slavyansk, a KPVT [Note 1: heavy/large-calibre armour-mounted machine gun] is heard working.

17:40 (MSK) – Artillery fire directed at Slavyansk coming from Karachun and the Meloviye Mountains.

17:50 (MSK) – Artillery fire coming for Shurov.

18:05 (MSK) – Intense shelling of Semyonovka, using heavy artillery, is ongoing. By the way, one of the Ukies checkpoints was leveled to the ground last night.

18:35 (MSK) – A column of Ukie detachments (infantry, armoured vehicles) moving from Izyum in the direction Nikolayevka, is currently near the Kolonyanka village (not far from Krivaya Luka). No cars are allowed to pass the area, and several civilian vehicles were fired upon; casualties unknown. As a result, the composition [of the column] is not known. Around 21:00 (MSK), this column likely passed by Krestishchi.

Note 1: KPVT-14.5mm is a Soviet-designed 14.5x114mm-calibre heave armour-mounted machine gun. SeeWikipedia.

#4 – Briefing from the Kramatorsk Militia, June 27, 2014
Original: Strelkov Info

Last night Ukies decided to blow to bits the chlorination station in Kramatorsk, located in the centre of the city (on a wasteland patch). The outcome: two shells hit the 6th and the 7th floor of a nearby building, one shell hit the refueling stating, and tow – the 20th workshop of NKMZ plant. None his the intended target. And this is [happening] in the city centre.

21:36 (MSK) – Battles starting in Kramatorsk (DPR [Donetsk People’s Republic]) and in the suburbs of Lugansk, in Metallist and Kamennaya Boroda (LPR [Lugansk People’s Republic]).

#5 – Briefing from the Militia, June 28, 2014
Original: Strelkov Info

00:30 (MSK) – Artillery fire opened against Yampol (near Kranisy Liman) from the Kirov highway.

00:45 (MSK) – Several signal flares coming from the direction of Zeleniy Klin. In LPR there is a battle for control of the border village Vlasovka (near the Russian Donetsk). In Artyomovsk, the Ukie army fired upon a scheduled motor coach; 2 civilians died. After several shots hit the front shield window [of the motor coach], the bus driver lost control and crashed into a garage of a private residence on Tchaikovskiy street. The driver dies on the spot. A woman who was [travelling] in the bus was taken to surgery, where she died from heavy injuries and wounds.

#6 – Morning Briefing from Locations, June 28, 2014, 12:49
Original: Strelkov Info

The night was tense near Karlovka, with heightened drone activity reported. From early morning battles raged in the area of Krasniy (Chervonniy) Partisan. It is difficult to tell what the situation was by 10:45 (MSK), there is still little information, but it appears that the NazGuard detachments have suffered casualties and are retreating.

12:05 (MSK) – A propeller aircraft flying over Slavyansk-Nikolayevka-Kramatorsk parachuted cargo consisting of five containers in the Karachun area. Last time the Kramatorsk Militia made good use of a similar cargo [delivery].

www.youtube.com/embed/tWQ2-J5p2mk

Video of cargo being parachuted by Ukrainian aircraft

#7 – Briefing from the DPR Press Service, June 28, 2014, 13:33
Original: Strelkov Info

Military Base No. 3023 of Internal Forces of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs voluntarily laid down their weapons. Conscripts were released by the DPR government.

On June 28, around 06:00 – 07:00 in the morning, NazGuard attempted to retake the border checkpoint near Krasnopartisansk [Krasniy/Chervonniy Partisan] in LPR, but the attack was repelled.

www.youtube.com/embed/fRY22kzdRFk

Video of Military Base No. 3023 following its surrender

#8 – Briefing from Igor Strelkov, June 28, 2014, 15:30
Original: Icorpus.ru

In the course of the night, 10 drones were conducting intelligence scouting operations over Slavyansk, in breach of the conditions of the so-called “ceasefire”.

In the morning, enemy aircraft dropped military cargo in the Kramatorsk area. Anti-aircraft units of the Militia did not open fire.

The enemy resumed the movement of its military columns along the Kharkov-Rostov highway, in the area of BZS [refueling station] and Vostochniy checkpoints (Checkpoints No. 3 and No. 4 according to enemy classification). According to information obtained by our scouting parties, a large amount of ammunitions, intended for shelling of Militia positions, was delivered by one of these columns. Due to the fact that these actions constitute a violation of the ceasefire agreement, the column of the enemy was attacked with mortar fire in the area of the Vostochniy checkpoint. The enemy mortar company, located near the noted checkpoint shelled Semyonovka and Militia positions, following which artillery and mortar strikes were made against this company. The enemy suffered casualties.

The Militia intelligence confirmed [continued] transfers of forces and equipment toward the outskirts of Slavyansk and Kramators. The enemy is preparing for a complete clean-up of the Yampol settlement.

Slavyansk garrison warns that it will continue to interdict any future attempts to use the state of ceasefire for the purpose of preparing an assault on the [Militia] positions.

On other fronts, the Militia continues to abide by the ceasefire regime and confines itself to observing the activity of Ukrainian military formations.

#9 – Lifenews.ru Report, June 28, 2014, 13:55 and 14:44
Original: Strelkov Info #1 and Strelkov Info #2

www.youtube.com/embed/e4ysZRmYHYQ


Video of the damage to the Russian Gukovo border crossing checkpoint

Once again, Ukrainian shells ended up on Russian territory. Charges [launched] by the Ukrainian military hit two settlements in the Rostov oblast.

According to preliminary information, one of the shells broke through the gate of a private residence in the city of Gukovo, on Smirnov street. The second shell, presumably launched from a mortar, exploded in the Vasetskiy Khutor, in the Krasnoulinsk are, leaving behind a crater 40cm by 30cm.

According to a source in [Russian] law-enforcement agencies of the Rostov oblast, shelling from the Ukrainian side continued from 08:00 until 10:00 in the morning. A shell, presumably from a mortar, landed on the territory of Vasetskiy Khutor. [The shell] created an [oval] crater 20cm deep, with diameters of 30sm and 40sm. A task force is now working onsite. From review of the shards it is difficult to determine visually that type of the ammunition was used. There are no casualties among civilians.

On June 28, Ukrainians again shelled the Russian border. Ukrainian shell crossed the border and exploded on the territory of the Russian customs checkpoint at Gukovo. The explosion caused severe damaged to the checkpoint building; window panes have been blown and walls are partially destroyed.

#10 – Short Briefing from Igor Strelkov, June 28, 2014, 17:16
Original: Strelkov Info

All night drones flew over us – over 10 of them simultaneously. It appears that Ukies consider artillery scouting to be perfectly consistent with the ceasefire regime.

Last night, the enemy open fire (including with mortars) at the city outskirts. Destruction in the private housing area near the Vosnichniy settlement are reported.

In the morning, Su-25 aircraft twice parachuted cargos for [the enemy] detachments at the Kramatorsk airfield and other locations. Due to strong wind a large part of the cargo was carried far to the side and did no make its destination. Unfortunately, the parachutes did not fly our way [either].

About 13:00, an intense mortar exchange took place between our positions at Semyonovka and the stronghold of the enemy enemy support positions near the Vostochniy settlement. It is unclear who began the confrontation (I was told that the enemy is responsible. [However], I do not preclude the possibility that our fighters could not refuse the temptation to conduct strikes against yet another ammunition supply column [of the enemy] that was travelling along the highway). In the course of the skirmish, the enemy engaged its a mortar company [Note: original – rota] and a howitzer battery at the rear. From our side, we used the “many times destroyed” Nona [Note 1: 2S9 Nona – a 120mm mortar]. In addition, a group of our fighters advanced toward the checkpoint and worked it over with an AGS [Note 2: AGS-17 “Plamya” grenade launcher] A number of mortar nests were destroyed; Ukies certainly suffered casualties. However, the shelling of Semyonovka by the enemy has not stopped.

The enemy is transferring more and more NazGuard detachments to our area. Perhaps they think that they can convince the “svidomye” [Note 3: I.e. the “nationally conscious” or Maidanites] to attempt an assault on the city. Frank speaking, I would not try in their place. However, perhaps one of the goals of this war is the maximum possible “utilization” [I.e. – elimination] of Maidanites? If so – then yes. [An assault] makes sense [in this case].

Note 1: 2S9 Nona is a 120mm mortar, usually self-propelled. See Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2S9_Nona

Note 2: AGS-17 “Plamya” grenade launcher is a heavy infantry support weapon, designed to operate from a tripod or it can be mounted on an installation or vehicle. See Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AGS-17

Note 3: Svidomiye comes from Svidomost, alternatively “Nazionalna Svidomost” – “National Consciousness”. A good article on this phenomenon, in Russian, can be found at Lurkmore.to - http://lurkmore.to/Свидомость

#11 – Information from the DPR Press Service, June 28, 2014
Original: Strelkov Info

Last night, Ukrainian force shelled the residential buildings in the private sector of Selidovo. Three buildings were destroyed, all night the city was filled with terrible rumbling and noise; most likely, [they] were firing with something heavy. There are no militiamen in Selidovo.

Artillery strikes with heave weapons also occurred in the city of Ukrainsk, in the Donetsk oblast, which is located near Selidov. According to reports from local residents, forces of the Ukrainian NazGuard are located in Selidovo and Ukrainsk.

#12 – Statement by Alexander Karyakin, Chair of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of LPR, June 28, 2014
Original: Strelkov Info

Alexander Karyakin, Chair of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of LPR, told us that Ukrainian forces are not abiding by the terms of ceasefire and are controlled by Kolomoiskiy:

“Ukrainian forces are, in fact, ignoring the order issued by Poroshenko. Either the Presideng lacks sufficient authority, or the armed forces are making independent decisions. There is also a figure like Kolomoiskiy, who announced that he would not be abiding by the President’s order to cease fire.

If you compare the situation in the Lugansk People’s Republic prior to and following the ceasefire, you won’t find any global changes. The military aggression has slowed down, but, overall, it would not be correct to say that the situation is calm.

The armed forces are constantly moving. Forces are being pulled up to the boundaries [of contested centres], and artillery strikes against settlements continue; civilians are dying. The extension of the ceasefire to June 30 will change nothing: shelling has continued as before.

#13 – Briefing from the Militia, June 28, 2014
Original: Strelkov Info

This morning, despite the announced ceasefire, the NazGuard attempted to take control over the Krasniy Partisan border checkpoint; however, the attack was repelled. We are confirming casualty details.

Internal Force’s Military Base 3023 of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs in Donetsk voluntarily laid down their weapons. Conscripts were released.

Situation during the day was relatively calm. In the course of the day, Ukrainian forces continued to shell Slavyansk.

Junta continues to transfer its troops in the area of Shchastye and the Metallist settlement. Two Grad systems an approximately 23 BMP APCs were transferred to these locations.

The Gukovo customs checkpoint in the Rostov oblast was damaged by a direct hit with a shell that was launched from the Ukrainian territory. Another shell landed in the Vasetskiy Khutor, in the Gukovo district. Another shell exploded on the territory of the Shakhta-24 settelement.

22:45 (MSK) – shooting coming from the side of the Kirovsk highways, KPVT and “samovars” heard working. The intended target of the shooting is not known; it is possible that the adjacent forest belt is the target.

#14 – Commentary from Igor Strelkov, June 28, 2014
Original: Strelkov Info

- Igor Ivanovich, you are extremely well-natured with POWs who caused irreparable damage to buildings, enterprises and the residents of the settlements that were subject to artillery strikes and violence. In particular, you [treat well] all conscripts. Isn’t it time to make the POWs work and materially compensate the damage caused? Let them work to rebuild the economy, and their parents from Lvov can buy building materials with their savings. Let them rebuild that which they destroyed, and, first and foremost, [work] on the frontlines and in Semyonovka.

Igor Strelkov: Unlike the enemy, we intend to full abide by the POW convention. (I will note only that saboteurs and spies do not have the benefit of this convention.)

#15 – Briefing from the Militia, June 28, 2014, 23:53
Original: Strelkov Info

Artillery shelling of Rubezhniy and the Metallist settlement (Lugans) is currently ongoing. In Kramatorsk, there is shooting in the Damanskiy district, as well as machine gun fire and explosions in the area of the airfield.

23:20 (MSK) – A mortar battery is shelling Semyonovka, presumably from Krasniy Liman.

23:50 (MSK) – In the area of Semyonovka a maneuver-centric battle is ongoing, using a “Rogatka” [Note 1: T-72B2 “Rogatka” (also T-72BM) main battle tank)] and an AGS.

01:55 (MSK) – Ukrainian artillery is firing from Karachun. There is a battle in the area of the Kramatorsk airfield.

Local residents reported signal flares in the area of Shchastye – Metallist, following which battles resumed. Mortar units and howitzers heard working, automatic weapons fire does not stop for a minute.

Note 1: “Rogatka” or T-72B2 “Rogatka” (also T-72BM) is a Soviet-designed main battle tank. See Wikipedia.

Videos of Kramatorsk Shelling

www.youtube.com/embed/1ZwPgDcWRIc
www.youtube.com/embed/uSAHONQbikY
www.youtube.com/embed/zN-jp8WVnqI

#16 – Briefing from the Kramatorsk Militia, June 28, 2014
Original: Strelkov Info

Just now we worked over the airfield with a mortar. About 17 volleys from various positions. Something loudly exploded at the airfield and glow was observed. Ukies opened return fire against positions which we used several days ago. To their credit, I must say that they fired with precision … into a destroyed and long-abandoned cow bard. However, there was no one at that position (good sense is a priority in our ranks). We could also hear our tanks shooting at Ukies positions. Where exactly were they aiming and the results of the operation will be known tomorrow.

#17 – Commentary from a Kramatorsk Militiaman, June 29, 2014, 3:21
Original: Strelkov Info

Regarding the video of streamer Vlad’s interrogation by NazGuard
 

www.youtube.com/embed/bcGEG_ENGdA

Video of streamer Vlad’s interrogations

I will spend a few minutes, otherwise allotted to sleep, to comment on this video.

My comments will be simple – this video is not actually threatening (although the detainee was, of course, scared, just as anyone else in his place would have been), but, how should I put it, I can’t even find the right words … Let’s call it meaningless. Why? Take a look at videos of POW interrogations in Slavyansk, Lugansk, in other cities. [You will find] POWs from saboteur-intelligence groups, which consist of professional soldiers, paratroopers and military scouts, of spetsnaz. [You will find] captured female snipers, which correct artillery fire, tankists and APC operators/technicians, fighters of the various “guards”. And now, this Ukie aphid, whose face you wouldn’t find in the crowd even if he did not wear a mask, captures a 16-year-old Internet activist and threatens militiamen that he has bullets enough for everyone? Does not he find himself laughable?

P.S.: Prior to talking about having enough ammo, it is best that he find out what really goes on with this indispensable product at the front: $2 for 5.45x39 bullets (AK-47 and RPK [Note 1: RPK-74 is a 5.45mm handheld Kalashnikov machine gun] are the most widespread weapons), 7.62x39 is even more expensive. And, if you were unlucky enough to get an SVD [Note 2: SVD is the Dragunov sniper rifle], which uses 7.62x54 bullets, or a PMK [Note 3: PKM is a 7.62mm modernized Kalashnikov machine gun], then, my friend … send you mom a telegram so that she can send you money, $5 for a magazine. So, that’s how it is. And this is the real situation on the ground in Ukie forces (don’t know whether it’s NazGuard or not, but the information comes straight from the source). So, you see, it’s very different than torture an underage kid in Kiev. All those who could yell, jump, throw stones, they are all here. So, we are waiting for the next “liberator of Ukraina” to show up here.

And, at the end, free advice on the issue of their uniform: you have to change your getup. I won’t go into details, but, in a getup like that, you won’t have a chance to say “glory to Ukraine” when you are in the forest belt.

Note: Streamer Vlad has been released from captivity and is now with the Militia

AND.....



Could the Ukraine, backed by NATO, attack Russia?

On at least three occasions I tried to dispel the notion that the US/NATO could attack Russia or Russian forces in the Ukraine (see herehere and here).  I tried to show that geography, over-reach and politics made a conventional attack impossible and I tried to show that a nuclear attack, whether tactical or strategic, could not succeed.  There is a new theory which is apparently going around now which goes something like this: the Ukraine will re-arm and re-organize with the technical and financial help of the AngloZionist Empire, and then it will attack Crimea, possibly with the support of NATO airpower.  Sounds scary, but the good news is that it is just as implausible as the other theories.  Today, I want to explain why.

First and foremost, from a military point of view there can be no such thing as an "attack in Crimea" separate form a full-scale attack on Russia itself.  Crimea is not a distant island in the middle of nowhere (like the Malvinas) and it will soon be fully integrated into the Russian defense system.  Second, being a peninsula, Crimea is extremely hard to attack as the British and the Germans have found out.  So no matter how you try to package it, from a purely military point of view, to have any chance of success an attack on Crimea would have to include a full scale attack on Russia. 

And let me immediately put to rest the argument about NATO airpower: not only did it miserably fail in Bosnia, it did not even have what it takes to attack Syria, nevermind Iran.  The USAF is flying either very good old aircraft or very bad modern aircraft whose attrition rate trying to deal with both the Russian Air Force and the Russian Air Defense Network, especially around Crimea, would be huge.  Bombing an almost defenseless Serbia for 78 days (for pathetic results!) is one thing, trying to bomb Crimea and Russia proper is harder by several orders of magnitude.  As for US/NATO ground forces, they would have a hard time even getting anywhere near Crimea.  Which leaves the US Navy.

Unlike the US Army and Air Force, the USN is in much better shape and far more powerful than the Russian Navy.  But to meaningfully participate in an attack on Crimea it would have to act from the eastern Mediterranean as entering the Black Sea would be not only suicidal, but even impossible for US Aircraft Carriers (not to mention completely contrary to US Naval doctrine).  In reality, the USN could inflict far more devastating attacks on Russia in the Pacific, the Kola Peninsula or even the Baltic Sea than in southern Russia.

Which leave a hypothetical "future Ukrainian military" (the current one is unable to take Slaviansk or Kramatorsk, and could not even hold on to Krasnyi Liman).  We can hypothesize all we want about how motivated this future Ukrainian military would be, but I personally cannot imagine what would motivate a future Ukrainian soldier to go and fight Russia, even for Crimea.  But even if we assume a tremendous motivation, the fact is that the most the Ukraine can hope for in the next 1-10 years is to put a lot of men under arms and use outdated military hardware augmented with modern electronics, communication gear, targeting systems, command and control networks, etc.   But even this relatively modernized Ukrainian military would face the very same problem which defeated the Swedes, the Crusaders, Napoleon and Hitler: no, not the "General Winter" canard, but Russia's strategic depth.  Let me give just one example.

One of the most formidable weapons in the Russian military arsenal is the new Su-34 figher-bomber whose combat radius is estimated at over 1'000km but who already flew 6'000km with 2 mid-air refuellings.  In a combat mission, such Su-34s could be protected by advanced Su-35S' who have a very similar combat range.  In practical terms, this means that the Russian Air Force could strike Ukrainian units practically from anywhere west of the Urals.  And did I mention that Russia has 28 AWACs while the Ukraine has none?  This is just one small example, but it illustrates the different kind of importance strategic depth can in modern warfare.

I could go on for hours giving further examples, but I think that the point is clear: the Ukrainian military, even with the benefit of western financial and technical aid, and even with motivated soldiers, simply has no chance at all to re-take Crimea, nevermind prevail in a conflict against Russia.

So the only real risk is that the AngloZionists would order their Gauleiter in Kiev (whether Poroshenko or any other) to provoke a conflict with Russia not with the aim to prevail, but with the aim to create a crisis and force Russia to use her military power.  Alas, the Ukraine will always have enough military power to attack Crimea and get many people killed.  The attack will fail, but a crisis will be triggered.

Whatever may be the case, the Russian military has already announced a major effort to strengthen the defenses of the Crimean Peninsula and the Black Sea (including new bombers, submarines, air defense systems, naval infantry, etc.).  In fact, all the signs are that Russia will make the Crimean Peninsula the key node of her entire southwestern defense posture.

I sincerely believe that while such theories make for good headlines, an attack by anybody on Russia is extremely unlikely and that it is unhelpful to spend too much time on such far-fetched possibilities.   Senseless terrorist attacks and the subversion of the Crimean Tatars minority are far more likely threats than a conventional military attack.

The Saker