Saturday, July 5, 2014

Ukraine Updates ( July 5 , 2014 ) -- What is the deeper meaning of Russia and Putin retreat in South Est ukraine ( several excellent articles from Vineyard of the Saker , including - The Fall of Slaviansk, its meaning and implications ) ..... Pro-Russian Rebels Flee Slavyansk After "Massive Shelling", Demand Putin's Help To Avoid "Genocide"

Moon Of Alabama.....

July 06, 2014

Ukraine: Retreat From Slaviansk Far From End Game

The Saker is somewhat depressed that the insurgents in east Ukraine retreated from Slaviansk. But that retreat was in good order and with few losses despite being surrounded by enemy forces. As their commander Strelkov explains there was no way Slaviansk could be defended against superior artillery and air superiority with little means to counter those.
Strelkov is now setting up defenses in Donetsk which is a much bigger city with more resources and likely easier to defend. As the Ukrainian army and the National Guard stormtroopers from the Right Sektor now move forward they may soon find that they have some "left behind" enemies in their back who can seriously influence their operations.
Supporters of the insurgents seem to blame Russia's President Putin for lack of (visible) support. But that is, in my view, thinking too small. It is far too early to have any idea of who has won or lost in Ukraine. What Putin is currently trying to do, with growing success, is to separate the Europeans from the ever meddling United States. Last Thursday a new agreement on a ceasefire was negotiated and agreed upon with Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine at the table. When the German chancellor Merkel informed U.S. President Obama about it it was the U.S. which again threatened Russia and urged the Ukrainian President Poroshenko to continue his "Anti-Terrorist Operation". The Germans and French will have taken note of this and will again move a bit more further towards the Russian side.
In judging the current situation I agree with Anatol Karlin who finds that Putin is playing a clever but cynical game:

[T]he lack of *direct* [Russian] intervention is more likely just the product of a series of cold calculations that show it more likely to be effective in a few months than today, when:a) The Ukrainian Army has become weaker and more demoralized;
b) Photos of bisected, bloodied, and burnt corpses have been filling the Russian and international airwaves for a few months;
c) The resolve of the West and its unity are weaker;
d) The Russian economy is more prepared for any sanctions that are forthcoming; and
e) Austerity is biting Ukraine hard, and (gas-less) winter is coming.
Too bad that it is the residents of Donetsk who will be playing the blood price for this.

Vineyard  of the Saker......


What the Kremlin's inaction over the Ukraine means for Russia's geopolitics, international relations, and the Eurasian Union

by Mark Sleboda

What the Kremlin's inaction over the Ukraine means for Russia's geopolitics, international relations, and the Eurasian Union: 

All moral and national security issues aside for a moment, the precedent that Russia's inaction is setting in the Ukraine in terms of both geopolitics and foreign policy alone is crippling. The surrender of Ukraine to the West by Russia inevitably means exactly that the US achieves its primary goal - the end of the Eurasian Union project and the Russian/Eurasian civilizational space. 

Russia has now set the precedent that it does not have the right, ability, or political will to act or intervene in the post Soviet space when facing serious Western opposition. Further it has set the precedent that the US and EU DO have both the right and ability to act to the point of orchestrating regime change, civil war, and the complete domestic political reordering and geopolitical reorientation of a country in what was once considered Russia's "near abroad" and that Russia lacks the ability and/or political will to counter or resist this in any way. It will grumble but just accept the new status quo to preserve "peace" and a conception of "business as usual". That is to say, appeasement.

The lessons that the governments and peoples of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Azerbaijan will invariably take away from Russia's inaction in the Ukraine are: 

(1) that they can neither trust nor rely on Russia to support or defend them when the West comes for them, as it inevitably will, whether with unconventional warfare/color revolutions or with direct military action and 

(2) the complete impunity with which the new Kiev regime is not only massacring people who are calling directly on Russia for succor but has also shelled Russian territory, border posts, homes, and citizens no less than 9 times in 3 weeks tells the former Soviet space that they need neither respect nor fear us, as we have no respect or political will even to defend ourselves, whether out of fear of Western ostracism, economic dependability, or fear of using our own military force in earnest to defend our interests when faced with serious opposition by the West. Respect, loyalty, and fear are important and essential aspects of Russian and Eurasian socio-cultural values and conceptions of leadership and hierarchy throughout history. Without them, there is no leadership and the center cannot hold.

I was going though his out loud with my wife just earlier today, and when we arrived home she coincidentally stumbled across prominent Armenian political bloggers despairingly mocking and deriding the Kremlin's paralysis in near those same terms, confirming my fears. 

If Putin's inaction in the face of what is happening in the Ukraine continue much longer it will not only mean the loss of Ukraine to the West, but in the long-term the suicide of Putin's own plans for a re-consolidation of even the core of the post-Soviet space particularly in the form of the Eurasian Union, as well as the end of dreams of a wider Eurasian civilization or "Russian world". The US will have achieved its primary goal in all of this, Russia's geopolitical horizons will shrink further to its own borders (or not even that), and it will in truth fade and diminish itself to the role and form of just another "normal nation-state" as fifth columnists like Dmitri Trenin at Carnegie speak of so longingly. "The end of Eurasia" as he once put it, in truth...

Slavyansk is out of sight now …

by Dmitry Steshin (Komsomolskaya Pravda)
Translated from Russian by Gleb Bazov

I understand and share in the bitterness and resentment of those who found out this morning that the Militia has left Slavyansk. The news washed over everyone – the hoorah-patriots, the all-is-lost-patriots and even the cold analytical types. And now, please listen to a person who spent the last month and a half in Slavyansk. From the time of the very first checkpoints on the outskirts and to the almost complete encirclement of the city. When we broke out of Slavyansk along the by-pass “guerilla” road in the middle of June, a few hours later a Ukrainian army checkpoint appears there. That’s it; the city was blockaded on all sides. Supplying the garrison turned into a constant headache incommensurate with its tactical advantage. And, despite all the despair coming through in the public statements made by Igor Ivanovich, when he told the entire world that “we could not hold any longer than July 12th,” I am more than certain that, if NazGuard [Note: National Guard] did manage, on New Year’s eve, finally to enter Slavyansk, leveled to a cement pancake, from every other basement there would have been automatic rifles and grenade launchers hitting the Ukrainian troops.

In reality, the fate of Slavyansk was being decided in April-May, when Karachun Mount was taken. It is impossible to conduct a fulsome and active defence when you are faced with a strategic dominant height overhanging the city, several kilometres in length, seized by the adversary and laden with enemy artillery. And to fight, moreover, without any means of counter-battery warfare. Impossible, and, yet, Igor Ivanovich and the Militia managed to resist anyways. And not only to resist, but, in a mere few days, to disabuse the many-times superior enemy of any desire to engage the Militia in a direct confrontation. As far as I can tell, they abandoned any intention to assault the city as soon as the Militia returned Semyonovka under its control.

Undoubtedly, Slavyansk became the symbol of the “Russian Spring,” moreover – it entered history. Forever. But the purpose of the city was different. Slavyansk attracted to itself all the battle-worthy forces of the Ukrainian army, it enabled the mobilization of the Militia in Lugansk and Donetsk. Slavyansk gave Mozgovoi an opportunity to crack the border on land and in the air. Whereby something real (you do not need to tell me about virtual YouTube armoured columns) actually made it into the region, by dribs and drabs, including “Tunguskas” purchased at the GUM [Note: GUM, or “State Universal Market,” in Moscow]. Slavyansk enabled the rest of the region to set up almost a dozen reinforced centres of resistance. Finally, it was Slavyansk that brought down the majority of Ukrainian fliers. And the “Slavic Sky” came true in every regard. Finally, Slavyansk gave the South-East time to create political centres of power, allowed to legitimize them, and, of course, provided covering fire for the referendum. And, one last thing, – thousands of untried militiamen and volunteers passed through the trenches of Slavyansk, all with minimal losses.

By the middle of June, Slavyansk outlived itself. Having drawn and bound to itself an enormous army grouping, the city, at the same time, required an ever-larger garrison, and, in return, started to tie up the not inexhaustible human and technical resources of the Donbass People’s Army. Besides, being the legal Commander-in-Chief of the Militia, Igor Ivanovich could not provide fulsome guidance to his army from a besieged city. He had a direct line to the DPR government (I do not know about LPR), but this was, understandably, not enough for adequate control over the Militia units, each of which was beholden to the charisma of its direct commander. In a situation like that you need a “mega-Batka” [Note: Batka – an Old Man], but “mega-Batka” was forced to sit in Slavyansk and wax melancholy. I won’t be afraid of this word – he grew bored with blowing up endless ammunitions store on Karachun and pummeling Ukrainian checkpoints on the near and far outskirts of the city. Igor Ivanovich needed operational freedom, and, this night, he finally found it. Don’t forget – he came to Slavyansk some time ago with a few battered automatic rifles and even smoothbore “Saiga” and “Vepr.” He left with a column of armoured vehicles. No need to even mention the loads of other equipment. This, undoubtedly, is yet another testimony to the dizzying victory of the Ukrainian army, which got a mousetrap instead of a trophy. Well, not an empty mousetrap. As I understand it, the Ukrainian army has yet to enter the city. Igor Ivanovich, a veteran of two Chechen wars, naturally made sure to leave behind enough maneuverable groups with grenade launchers and cover. And it is no accident that Messr. Tymchuk has been squealing about thousands of militiamen breaking through from Kramatorsk to Donetsk. Messr. Tymchuk has no idea that the road from Kramatorsk to Donetsk is absolutely free. But what Messr. Tymchuk should really think about is his fighters, sitting dejected at the Kramatorsk airfield and in the Donetsk airport. As I understand it, in the next few hours they will be added to the number of the “Heavenly Hundred.” And, in addition, Messr. Tymchuk will soon have to explain to his readers – why did the Ukrainian army spend two months battling with Slavyansk and what will it do with the city now?

Dmitry Steshin
Komsomolskaya Pravda

The Fall of Slaviansk, its meaning and implications

Military analysis: 

So today Slaviansk has finally fallen to the Nazis.  Those of us with a military background all understood that this was pretty much inevitable and, obviously, so did the leaders of the Novorussian resistance.  The fact that it took so long for the entire Ukie army to take that small town really says a lot about the amazing courage of its defenders and/or about the no less amazing incompetence (or lack of motivation) of the attackers.  It appears that what happened is that Strelkov took the (wise) decision to abandon the town and to only leave a very small covering force to protect his retreating units.  This plan apparently went well, the defenders broke through the Ukie lines with no losses and they are now heading towards the city of Gorlovka (as defending Kramatorsk and Konstantinovka makes no sense at this point).  The military purpose of Slaviansk was to concentrate the Ukie death squads around itself to allow for the preparation of the real line of defense along the Donetsk-Gorlovka-Lugansk axis.  The battle for Slaviansk achieved this purpose.

In purely military terms, the above is pretty much all which can be said about this event.  But war is not a purely military phenomenon.  In reality, wars are always deeply political, and politics is a multi-dimensional realm in which purely military factors are always secondary to much more important ones such as symbolism.

Political dimension

In political terms, the fall of Slaviansk is a disaster for Novorussia and even Russia.

If Slaviank had been taken weeks ago after a couple of days of fighting, it would have been a no big deal loss.  But Slaviansk resisted for weeks and in the course of these weeks it became a symbol of resistance.  Now that it has fallen, however, Slaviansk has become the symbol of Russian inaction.  Purely military arguments simply don't matter here and perceptions become everything.  And the perception is clearly that Putin failed to deliver on his promise to protect Novorussia and that the defenders of Slaviansk fought and died in vain.  Furthermore, now that Slaviansk, Kramatorsk and Konstantinovka have fallen (or are in the process of being overrun by the Ukies), there is no way to avoid the worst kind of combats: Donetsk, Gorlovka and Lugansk are next.

Furthermore, what matters here is not only that Slaviansk has fallen, but why and how it has fallen.  Slaviansk has fallen because Russia did absolutely nothing or, at least, nothing adequate, to prevent it from falling.  As for how it fell, it fell in a bloodbath of murdered civilians: the Ukies essentially used only artillery to basically flatten the town.  In other words, Russia let a mass murder of civilians go not only unpunished, but even unchallenged.  One could argue that Russia had no obligation to take any action.  This would be true if Putin had not officially promised not to allow such an event to take place.  But he did commit himself and, through him, all of Russia, to extend a protection to the people of Novorussia.

Today, this promise appears to have been just words.

Consequences for Putin

The consequences for Putin of this situation are now becoming very serious because not only has the lack of Russian proactive measures terribly disappointed the Novorussian people, but it is now also beginning to alienate more and more people inside Russia including Putin's core base of support.  As I have written many times, the rage in Russia about the actions of the Nazi junta is huge and becoming stronger every day.  The risk for Putin is that this rage might eventually become directed at him personally.

Does that mean that Putin has to send in the tanks ASAP?

No, but at the very least, Russian officials should stop their never-ending flow of appeasing statements and also express that popular rage.  Today, the Russian TV channels have announced that Russia is "suspending" the return of Ukie military hardware from Crimea to the junta.  If that is their idea of a sign of rage, then they PR folks in the Kremlin should be immediately fired.  Not only is it both lame and crazy to hand back even one old and broken AK to an illegal Nazi regime in Kiev (remember, symbolic actions matter), but the notion that stopping this shameful handover is an adequate reaction to the events in the Donbass is simply delusional.

The great disconnect 

There is something really weird happening in Russia right now.  While it is true that most Russians probably would not support an overt and full-scale Russian intervention in the Donbass, the Russia media is constantly barraging the public with reports about Ukrainian atrocities and about the Novorussian resistance.  Representatives of the resistance, including top-level political figures like Tsarev, get to speak on the main Russian TV news and talk shows no less than once a week and with the exception of a few confused and isolated "liberals", almost every single guest on these shows advocates some kind of retaliatory measure against the junta.  For example, it is my honest impression that a strong majority of Russian intellectuals and analysts favor a massive humanitarian, technical and financial support campaign for Novorussia.  I would also say that most of them feel that Russia has to send enough military aid to allow the Novorussians to defend themselves.  Again, with the exception of a few completely discredited (and openly ridiculed) pro-US "liberal", everybody shows a total contempt for, and condemnation of, Poroshenko and the Nazi junta in Kiev.  The best and kindest thing you hear about Poroshenko is that he does not matter, that he is only a spokesman for the US, that the real ruler of Kiev is the US Ambassador and that Poroshenko has no real power at all.  Most think of him as a Nazi war criminal.

So there you have it.  The people who for years have formed the power base of Putin openly call the Kiev regime a Nazi junta while the Kremlin makes one appeasing statement after another, interspersed here and there with lame protests which everybody simply ignores.

This cannot continue for much longer.

If the Russian betrayal of Iran and Libya could be legitimately blamed on Medvedev and his "Atlantic Integrationists", a now possible collapse of Novorussia will be blamed directly on Putin, and I would argue fairly so.

Now Russia cannot retreat a single centimeter further

That's it.  The conflict has now reached a critical phase.  If in purely military terms the fall of Slavianks and Kramatorsk are really no big deal, the fall of Donetsk or Lugansk would mean the end of the entire Novorussian project.  In simple terms, that would mean a NATO controlled russophobic Nazi regime right across the Russian border.  True, Banderastan is not viable and objective economic and now social factors (tens of thousands of heavily armed Nazis roaming across the country, for one thing) will inevitably result in an explosive collapse, butuntil that happens Lugansks and Donetsk must be held at all cost, including, if that is what it takes, a full-scale ground operation of the Russian armed forces.

Оn July 28, 1942 Stalin issued his famous Order 227 which contained the key sentence "ни шагу назад" or "not a single step backwards".  This order included the following words in which I have just substituted the words "Soviet" and "Red" with "Russian" and "German" with "AngloZionist":
The enemy throws new forces to the front without regard to heavy losses and penetrates deep into Russia, seizing new regions, destroying our cities and villages, and violating, plundering and killing the Russian population. (...)  The population of our country, who love and respect the Russian Army, start to be discouraged in her, and lose faith in the Russian Army, and many curse the Russian Army for leaving our people under the yoke of the AngloZionist oppressors, and itself running east.  Some stupid people at the front calm themselves with talk that we can retreat further to the east, as we have a lot of territory, a lot of ground, a lot of population and that there will always be much bread for us. They want to justify the infamous behavior at the front. But such talk is falsehood, helpful only to our enemies.  Each commander, Russian Army soldier and political commissar should understand that our means are not limitless. The territory of the Russian state is not a desert, but people - workers, peasants, intelligentsia, our fathers, mothers, wives, brothers, children. (...)  Therefore it is necessary to eliminate talk that we have the capability endlessly to retreat, that we have a lot of territory, that our country is great and rich, that there is a large population, and that bread always will be abundant. Such talk is false and parasitic, it weakens us and benefits the enemy (...) This leads to the conclusion, it is time to finish retreating. Not one step back! Such should now be our main slogan. It is necessary to defend each position, each meter of our territory, up to the last drop of blood, to cling for each plot of Russian land and to defend it as long as possible. Our Motherland is experiencing hard days. We must stop, and then to throw back and smash the enemy regardless of cost. The AngloZionists are not so strong, as it seems to the panic-mongers. They strain their last forces. To withstand their impact now, means to ensure our victory in some months.
Amazing, no?  Prophetic words which I wish we would hear from the Kremlin today.  Instead, all I hear from the Kremlin are vapid and lame protests.  This cannot continue any further: Russia must react in a determined and effective way.

What exactly that way must be is for Putin and his Security Council to decide.  But what is certain is that action must be taken now to clearly and visibly stop the Ukie assault.  And if the only way is to bring in the Russian military, then I say "do it!".

The Saker

Pro-Russian Rebels Flee Slavyansk After "Massive Shelling", Demand Putin's Help To Avoid "Genocide"

Tyler Durden's picture

Pro-Russian separatist forces have been forced to retreat from their stronghold in Slavyansk following "massive shelling" in the early morning from Ukraine's 'anti-terrorist' forces. Armored vehicles entered the city and the rebels, according to RT, decided to move back to their headquarters in Kramatorsk to 'prepare' in advance for further offensives. Just days after the cease-fire was lifted, newly-appointed Defense Minister Valery Heletey commented the "order to free Slaviansk from the (separatist) fighters has been carried out," but pro-Russian supporters are not done yet and exclaimed: "Pass on these words to Putin: the people of the Donbass believed him for some reason when he said he would help. But now they (government forces) are killing peaceful civilians and if that is not genocide I would like to know what is."

Government forces recaptured a flashpoint area of eastern Ukraine from pro-Russian rebels on Saturday, and Ukraine said its blue and yellow flag was flying again over what had been the separatist redoubt of Slaviansk.

A Reuters reporter saw a convoy of about 20 military transport vehicles and buses filled with armed rebels driving out of Kramatorsk where they had gone after apparently earlier fleeing Slaviansk 20 km (12 miles) to the north.

"Your order to free Slaviansk from the (separatist) fighters has been carried out," newly-appointed Defense Minister Valery Heletey was quoted by the presidential website as telling Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

"A significant number of militants have left Slaviansk ... along the way, our battle groups are greeting them. They are suffering losses and surrendering," he said in a statement on his Facebook page.
As RT reports, according to Channel One’s information“there was massive shelling” and then armored vehicles entered Slavyansk and street fighting began. That’s when the self-defense forces took the decision to leave the city, the channel said.
“Despite the massive shooting, the fighters stormed out of the city and headed for neighboring Kramatorsk. Part of their hardware was shot down in the process,” the channel said.
Prime Minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Aleksandr Boroday, explained...
“Our troops have consolidated at the reserve lines of defense, in an organized way and having kept their weaponry. We were prepared for this option, as we have to face tens of thousands of Kiev's military men and hundreds of armored weaponry units – which means almost all the battle-ready Ukrainian army,” Boroday said.

"Taking into account the ‘scorched earth’ tactics employed by Kiev's punitive forces, and the strategy of genocide toward the Donbass population, we declare that every hour of military action claims civilians’ lives,”Boroday said.
This followed impassioned pleas for help late last week...
Igor Strelkov, a Muscovite appointed as defense minister of the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic, saidwithout Moscow's aid the region the rebels lay claim to, known as Novorossiya (New Russia), would fall to Kiev's forces.

"Slaviansk will fall earlier than the rest," he wrote on a rebel website.


"Pass on these words to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin: the people of the Donbass believed him for some reason when he said he would help. But now they (government forces) are killing peaceful civilians and if that is not genocide I would like to know what is.

"The (rebel) fighters are without shoes and don't have anything to fight with."
So far the only actions taken by Russia are to stop selling arms to Ukraine...
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced Saturday that Moscow is halting the process of delivering weapons, Ukrainian military forces' equipment and funds from the territory of Crimea to Kiev authorities due to their military actions in the east, which have resulted in the “deaths of civilians, including children, and civilian infrastructure in Donetsk and Lugansk regions being destroyed.

“The decision will be valid until a full ceasefire in the east of Ukraine by the country’s military and until a peaceful solution is reached,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said.
*  *  *
As the tensions shift from blood in the streets to energy-wars centered around Austria, Bulgaria, the South Stream, new 'targeted' sanctions, and a potential German-Russia alliance, one wonders just how long before Putin must act.