Russian Federation Sitrep 20140417

 

KIEV ATTACKS. On Tuesday what remains of Kiev’s army, accompanied with threats of destruction, entered two eastern cities, Kramatorsk and Slavyansk. The soldiers soon switched sides (or as they say in Kiev “Russian terrorist sabotage groups have been captured six units of armored vehicles”), up went the Russian flags and St George ribbons and the townspeople fed them; I guess the American rations didn’t get to them. Interview. And another column stopped. Good news – especially when you think of what the rhetoric of easterners as “terrorists” and Washington’s enthusiastic encouragement could have led to. Today will probably tell: if the attacks fizzle out, there’s still hope for a federalised Ukraine. I look forward to watching Washington, Brussels (and Ottawa, I am ashamed to include) try and spin their way out of this shattering confutation of their fantasies. Reminds me of the Ossetia War when Wikileaks revealed that the US Embassy had uncritically transmitted whatever nonsense it was being fed by the Saakashvili regime.

TIME TO GO? Staff in Kiev’s power ministries are changing sides, refusing to attack the protesters, melting away; there are more dismissals in the power organs. Kiev’s new rulers have, apart from the uncertain loyalty of the most extreme, little force available (vide Kramatorsk). Moody’s has dropped Ukraine to “default imminent with little prospect for recovery”. Their sponsors in Brussels and Washington have kicked in only a sum that would about cover what China is suing Ukraine for. Meanwhile conditions worsen for the ordinary stiff. Large areas of the east ignore Kiev and demand more autonomy or a referendum. And where’s Right Sector? Disarmed? Mobilising? Or beating up presidential candidates and demanding resignations in Kiev? Can’t think Yatsenyuk will be around for much longer: no power, no money, no support. A visit from the CIA head isn’t much comfort.

SNIPERS. It’s almost forgotten now, but the Ukraine crisis was negotiated to a satisfactory result on 21 February. The agreement collapsed thanks to the snipers on the Maidan. So who were they? The new people in Kiev, predictably, blame Yanukovych and hint at Russian involvement. However, the simple application of the principle of cui bono would query that. The Ashton-Paet intercept raised the possibility that the snipers were connected with the people now in power in Kiev. A German investigation supports this conclusion. This question is at the core of the nature of the regime now in Kiev and, Dear Reader, its coverage, or ignoring, will be another test of whether your local media outlet is reporting or re-typing. Original in German, English translation on JRL/2014/84/1or here.

SNIPPETS. Far extreme anti Russia propaganda (but note what Tymoshenko said and how The Telegraph chose to frame the story.) Note this photo of Kiev’s Interior Minister; what’s the story on the flag patch on his guard’s uniform? You may be sure that people in south and east wonder. Here are some easterners stopping a lone tank. The “Russian colonel” video is a fake. These are former Ukrainian vehicles that switched sides.

SANCTIONS. Remember how Russia’s stock market was going to be badly hurt by the sanctions? Not so much.

AND EVEN BIGGER CONSEQUENCES? The “petro-dollar” is a pillar of US power. There are straws in the wind: the BRICS talking about setting up their own IMF. Russia, China and India thinking about by-passing the US Dollar in oil deals. Et Cetera. I wonder if the fall in the US stock market has anything to do with this. After all, Washington does not look like a good bet at the moment: hugely overextended, empty blustering, incompetent and destabilising interference. Time to bring it down? Or time to get yourself out from under the crash?

RUSSIAN MASSING. Finally NATO issued some pictures of the Russian forces “massing” along the border. Nonsense! all clearly bases: everything neatly lined up, fences around the edges, buildings, no tactical grouping. Not evidence at all. In some cases you can find same or similar photos on Google Earth from months ago; the airfield at Primorsko-Akhtarsk for example; same aircraft in different places. Holly finds no Russians.

PUTIN LETTER. Trying to inject some reality, Putin sent a letter to Russia’s European gas customers. It says: Ukraine’s economy is collapsing; Russia has been providing cheap gas, other money and discounts totalling about US$35 billion in the last 4 years; the EU has contributed nothing; Ukraine hasn’t paid anything for gas for several months. Russia is close to demanding payment in advance for deliveries; this “increases the risk of siphoning off natural gas passing through Ukraine’s territory and heading to European consumers”. We must all get together to figure out a solution. Merkel has indicated she is taking this seriously.

 

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Ottawa, Canada (http://www.russiaotherpointsofview.com/ http://us-russia.org/)

Hyperlinks ought to work immediately but, if not, right-click, copy link location, put it in your browser.

 

 

 

Comments

  1. The Geneve meeting was a surprise for me because I thought Russia had better cards in its hand than the results of the meeting would suggest. It seems that Russia abandoned its demand about federalisation of Ukraine and de facto recognized the Kiev regime as legal government of Ukraine. Russia also promised not to support any armed groups inside Ukraine (=promised not to support the separatist movements).

    The happenings in Ukraine during the last few days seemed to go in Russia’s/separatist’s favor, but I guess the hardened sanctions scared Russia away from escalating the situation even further.

  2. This is how Kiev is going to interpret the Geneva deal

    1. Russia has abandoned Eastern Ukrainian people.
    2. Free hand for Kiev to do whatever they like with Moscali. No Russian military help coming. Kiev is free to use any military force required to defeat the separatists/federalists and any other dissent.
    3. West is going to ignore any civilian deaths and Russia is only going to yap (if even that) but will do nothing.
    4. Hundreds of more Right Sector thugs will be mobilized and sent to East to suppress local resistance leaders.
    5. After all the resistance is suppressed the regime will install its own puppet to every deciding position in the East. The status of Russian language will be abolished. Russian TV-channels will be taken off the air. Right Sector will form a permanent presence in the East. Etc.
    6. The Geneva deal will also have a demoralizing effect on federalists/separatists in Eastern Ukraine. They were clearly counting on Russia’s help and they wanted to repeat the same scenario what happened in Crimea: Start a rebellion and wait for Russian help.Now that they know that help is not coming they are demoralized and the separatist/federalist movement will most likely fizzle away. It would be a suicide to continue the battle and they are mostly normal people, not some radical Jihadists willing to die for their cause.

    I really, really hope Russia knows what it is doing. Because for me this seems like abandonment of Russian and Russian-speaking people in the hands of fascists. If people waving Russian flags are going to be butchered without Russian intervention it will not go well with nationalists in Russia. And Putin’s popularity will take a big hit.

    Also, the Geneva deal did not give Crimea a recognition as part of Russian Federation.
    I don’t claim to know everything about the deal, but based from what I read it seems that it was a major defeat for Russia and a big victory for US/EU/NATO/Kiev.

    There is already some mocking going on in Finnish media and message boards how “Russia is weak” and “how Russia shown its place by the much stronger West”.

    But there is no denying it. The Geneva deal made Russia look extremely weak. Just yesterday it seemed that Russia and pro-Russians in Eastern Ukraine were holding the right cards in their hand. Now it is all lost “thanks” to Geneva deal.

    I wonder what really happened behind the scenes. What did the West threaten Russia with to make Russia turn its back to Ukraine like this?

    • In Crimea and (it seems) in Eastern Ukraine, many if not most soldiers sent to “suppress terrorism” and “restore law and order” switched sides or at least refused to act. Is Pravy Sektor big enough to occupy and terrorize all of Eastern and Southern Ukraine? Are there enough people in the Ukrainian army and security forces that would be willing to shoot at civilian people, most of which are unarmed? I think Russia doesn’t need to intervene directly with troops, truth and right are on the side of those opposing the current government and even those sent to suppress them are noticing this. If Russia sends troops, we will most likely see NATO troops deployed also, and this is exactly what the current government wants, because it is their only hope, otherwise they will fall and quite soon. I am carefully optimistic.

  3. This was probably covered here before but is the 1st time I had heard of it that Ukraine’s acting president was implicated in helping destroy evidence in regards to Tymoshenko and Semion Mogilevich.

    I assumed Tymochenkos prosecution was simply political eliminating alternative competition in which Russia could negotiate in the Ukrainian gas dispute.

    Mogilevich’s nicknames include “Don Semyon”, and “The Brainy Don” (because of his business acumen[6]). He is said to control RosUkrEnergo, a company actively involved in Russia–Ukraine gas disputes.

    Based in Moscow, he has three children and is most closely associated with the Solntsevskaya Bratva crime group. Political figures he has close alliances with include Yury Luzhkov, the former Mayor of Moscow, Dmytro Firtash and Leonid Derkach, former head of the Security Service of Ukraine.[8][9] Oleksandr Turchynov,who was designated as acting President of Ukraine in February 2014, appeared in court in 2010 for allegedly destroying files pertaining to Mogilevich

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semion_Mogilevich

    In February 2006 state prosecutors opened a criminal case against Turchynov and his SBU deputy Andriy Kozhemyakin for destroying a file about FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitive, organized crime boss Semyon Mogilevich, from the SBU archive. The case was dismissed four months later.[27] WikiLeaks documents mention Turchynov, then head of Ukraine’s SBU, as having destroyed documents implicating Yulia Tymoshenko’s alleged connections to Mogilevich.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oleksandr_Turchynov#Controversies

  4. For the record the people I represent are all in favour of seizing assets of whichever oligarch was behind the Maidan snipers

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/22/stop-state-terrorists-seize-assets

    I would hope that should it turn out that said oligarch was working for OUR side of the business Mr.Smiley would still not hesitate to seize their assets.

    Regardless of any squealing from USA or the City of London

Leave a Reply