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War in Ukraine?


txitxo
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  The more I read about it, the more convinced I get that the Russians are going to invade Eastern Ukraine in the next couple weeks. 

 

- There is no doubt that they are accumulating troops and supplies all over the border, and actively trying to conceal this deployment. The soviet army was a master at doing that, "maskirovka", and I tend to believe more the Ukrainian estimates of the number of troops (100k), since they have people on the ground, that the US, satellite-based ones (50k). A full scale deployment, including armour, building supply depots, laying communication lines in the middle of nowhere, infrastructure, etc. is hellishly expensive and disruptive. They don't need something like that just to scare their neighbours. It would be enough to ship some VDV troops into Transnistria, etc.

 

- April 1st marks the beginning of the 2014 recruitment season, and new conscripts will start arriving to military units on that date. Armies have used that timing before to start conflicts, since it is an easy way of boosting your troop numbers without showing your hand too early. Also the terrain will be right for an attack soon, after the spring "rasputitsa".

 

- The Ukraine military are in a pitiful state. Apart from equipment issues, deployment (in the West border, as in Soviet times), the professional soldiers, "kontratniki", which form the backbone of the army, are allowed to serve near the regions where they originate from. That means that most of the soldiers in Eastern Ukraine have their families there, as it happened in Crimea. Also the senior officers of both armies studied and served together. It is not the same thing to negotiate a surrender with some foreign enemy through a translator, than while drinking vodka with your Military Academy roommate. That explains much of what happened in Crimea, where apparently only 2000 of 18000 soldiers went back to the Ukrainian Army. And I guess that's the reason why Kiev is trying to scramble together a National Guard whom they can trust.

 

  If the Russians wait a few months, there will be a new government in Ukraine backed by elections (May 25th), the military will be purged and reorganised, Western aid will have an effect, etc. They also know that right now, Western Countries are in no position to do something serious about it and that the BIC in BRIC don't care or even support Russia. So, either they go now, or they won't have another chance in decades. I hope I'm wrong, but in a few days we may see the largest war in Europe since WWII.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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moving of troops, shooting guns, flying planes etc near the border is a standard practice. we get monthly (if not weekly) uninvited airspace visits etc. standard stuff on the border regions. can't say much about that.

 

i'm not sure why he wouldn't have just marched the troops through eastern ukraine while taking over crimea if he wanted it too. but they have gas etc, so i've been wondering why they stopped with crimea. russian sources say this operation has been planned for 6 years. why execute so slowly? now he needs a reason to keep on grabbing land, and i think nobody's waiting in line to give him one.

 

his billionaire friends might be a bit pissed off about the 50% hit their assets took. not sure if anything more is going to happen. with these guys, you just never know.

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moving of troops, shooting guns, flying planes etc near the border is a standard practice. we get monthly (if not weekly) uninvited airspace visits etc. standard stuff on the border regions. can't say much about that.

 

i'm not sure why he wouldn't have just marched the troops through eastern ukraine while taking over crimea if he wanted it too. but they have gas etc, so i've been wondering why they stopped with crimea. russian sources say this operation has been planned for 6 years. why execute so slowly? now he needs a reason to keep on grabbing land, and i think nobody's waiting in line to give him one.

 

his billionaire friends might be a bit pissed off about the 50% hit their assets took. not sure if anything more is going to happen. with these guys, you just never know.

 

Thanks for the local colour Jouni.  I looked up your flag the other day - Finland, correct?

 

This whole situation reminds me of the good old days.  We have pipelines criss crossing the whole region that are very easy targets for sabotage.  Russia could be very quickly put out of business for years, and Putin would be dead in the water, executed unceremoniously for stupidity.  He is only going to push so far for now. 

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that's right, finland. i've been trying to get rid of that skepticism i got breast fed as a baby for 28 years now, but after georgia i started thinking maybe the old people had it right.

 

they built a new gas pipeline in our water in 2011-2012. that was just about the time people were talking how ukraine and belarus had the fate of europe in their hands. our ex prime minister started a consulting company and lobbied it through. made ~1million euros in consulting fees.

 

it just feels like the script has been written a long time ago. let's hope they're done for now.

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I think a move into Eastern Ukraine is more likely than not. By no means is it certain, but I think it's likely. After Crimea, the remainder of Ukraine is gravitating towards the EU and NATO for support and protection.

 

In my mind Russia has two options: address this now, while Ukraine is still a mess, or fight a covert proxy war with NATO with the aim of destabilizing Ukraine and getting it back into the Russian sphere of influence. The latter seems risky and if it proves unsuccessful it may still lead to a full scale military operation at a later time.

 

It ultimately boils down to risks and costs. What are the risks and costs of 'liberating' Eastern Ukraine today vs. it becoming a NATO outpost tomorrow?

 

Lastly: during the last few days of the Sochi Olympics, right before the stealth invasion of Crimea, there was an increasing stream of video snippets (mostly cell phone video or cash dashcam) from Russia showing columns of trucks and APCs. In the last few days similar videos have surfaced, supposedly from the border region with Ukraine. This time the videos are showing tanks, artillery and other heavy metal. This may well be false information, I have no way of verifying its accuracy. But all signs that I see show that trouble is brewing - hence I am on guard. Maybe everything will blow over, I'd certainly hope so.

 

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that's right, finland. i've been trying to get rid of that skepticism i got breast fed as a baby for 28 years now, but after georgia i started thinking maybe the old people had it right.

 

they built a new gas pipeline in our water in 2011-2012. that was just about the time people were talking how ukraine and belarus had the fate of europe in their hands. our ex prime minister started a consulting company and lobbied it through. made ~1million euros in consulting fees.

 

it just feels like the script has been written a long time ago. let's hope they're done for now.

 

As you say, border provocations and the like come so easily to the Russian army (they were also common during the Cold War) that it makes no sense to spend a fortune deploying and specially *concealing* a full invasion army, with tanks, supply depots, communication lines to the middle of nowhere, etc. just to impress the Ukrainian politicians. You could get a few jets flying close to Kiev, some tank columns warming motors in plain sight, provoke some fight at a border post, etc. There are much cheaper ways to make the presence of the Russian army felt. Besides, the Russian media are keeping really quiet about the troop deployment, which means that they are not trying to use this as propaganda.

 

Don't worry about Finland. They would never mess with the Finns again, they are the only people on Earth who can outdrink Russians. 

 

 

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What is it they would gain by doing this?  The articles I saw stated that Crimea was the strategically important part.  If he wanted the eastern half then why didn't he take it a few weeks ago when they took Crimea?

 

  First, most people in Russia do feel Eastern Ukraine and even Kiev as part of their country, Putin's ratings are sky high after taking Crimea. Second, there are plenty of juicy economic targets. They would go for the Black Sea coast and all of Ukraine East of the Dnieper. That means getting all the heavy and military industries in Eastern Ukraine, the Odessa port, retaking control of a good portion of the gas pipeline system and removing a thorn on their side, the Odessa-Brody oil pipeline which right now is being used to import Caspian Oil into Eastern Europe. Also most of the electricity and water for Crimea come from the mainland, so that would solve a big logistics problem for them.

 

 

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Here's the background.

 

During WWII,  Khrushchev was In charge of suppressing dissent in Ukraine.  This he accomplished by killing millions of people and reinforcing the Soviet government there.  When Stalin died, Khrushchev propped up the shaky government of that republic by giving Crimea to the Ukraine, even though it had belonged to Russia for 100 years.

 

The recent pro Russian government of Ukraine that was recently ousted was an unprecedented cleptocracy even by Russian standards, stealing alike from Ukrainians and even Russian buddies of Putin.  The last straw was the Ukraine's revolt, raining on  Putin and Russia's Olympics extravaganza that had been carefully planned by Putin to show how modern Russia has become, financed by Oligarchs who are on his team.

 

The taking back of the Crimea and the impending takeover of Ukraine is payback to the Ukrainians for spoiling Putin's party (and Russia's party too).  With 80% approval rating at home, Putin now has a green light from the Obama administration that has publicly announced that they won't do anything to dissuade Putin from taking his revenge other than making self righteous noises.

 

When Russia sends forces into the Ukraine, don't be surprised if Israel seizes an opportunity to do something about Iran's nukes.  This is the way big wars start. One day war is far from everyone's mind.  The next day it happens.

 

 

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Here's the background.

 

During WWII,  Khrushchev was In charge of suppressing dissent in Ukraine.  This he accomplished by killing millions of people and reinforcing the Soviet government there.  When Stalin died, Khrushchev propped up the shaky government of that republic by giving Crimea to the Ukraine, even though it had belonged to Russia for 100 years.

 

The recent pro Russian government of Ukraine that was recently ousted was an unprecedented cleptocracy even by Russian standards, stealing alike from Ukrainians and even Russian buddies of Putin.  The last straw was the Ukraine's revolt, raining on  Putin and Russia's Olympics extravaganza that had been carefully planned by Putin to show how modern Russia has become, financed by Oligarchs who are on his team.

 

The taking back of the Crimea and the impending takeover of Ukraine is payback to the Ukrainians for spoiling Putin's party (and Russia's party too).  With 80% approval rating at home, Putin now has a green light from the Obama administration that has publicly announced that they won't do anything to dissuade Putin from taking his revenge other than making self righteous noises.

 

When Russia sends forces into the Ukraine, don't be surprised if Israel seizes an opportunity to do something about Iran's nukes.  This is the way big wars start. One day war is far from everyone's mind.  The next day it happens.

 

+1

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Here's the background.

 

During WWII,  Khrushchev was In charge of suppressing dissent in Ukraine.  This he accomplished by killing millions of people and reinforcing the Soviet government there.  When Stalin died, Khrushchev propped up the shaky government of that republic by giving Crimea to the Ukraine, even though it had belonged to Russia for 100 years.

 

The recent pro Russian government of Ukraine that was recently ousted was an unprecedented cleptocracy even by Russian standards, stealing alike from Ukrainians and even Russian buddies of Putin.  The last straw was the Ukraine's revolt, raining on  Putin and Russia's Olympics extravaganza that had been carefully planned by Putin to show how modern Russia has become, financed by Oligarchs who are on his team.

 

The taking back of the Crimea and the impending takeover of Ukraine is payback to the Ukrainians for spoiling Putin's party (and Russia's party too).  With 80% approval rating at home, Putin now has a green light from the Obama administration that has publicly announced that they won't do anything to dissuade Putin from taking his revenge other than making self righteous noises.

 

When Russia sends forces into the Ukraine, don't be surprised if Israel seizes an opportunity to do something about Iran's nukes.  This is the way big wars start. One day war is far from everyone's mind.  The next day it happens.

 

  I am not sure whether there was any special reason behind Khruschev's "gift". He would often act impulsively, his nickname in Russia was Nikita "Kukuruznik", maize-Nikita, because he decided to plant corn everywhere in the URSS after visiting the USA (with, as expected, disastrous results). 

 

  Putin is certainly sore about Sochi. That was his personal project, and he had to sit there alone, without any Western leaders around him, while  Victoria ("Nuck the EU") Fuland was supporting nazi groups like Svoboda and the Right Sector at the Maidan. However, there is evidence that Russia has been preparing this militarily for a long time, this is not just an emotional reaction to a slight. 

 

  The connection with Israel actually makes a lot of sense. They have been awfully quiet about the whole thing, one of the few countries which did not support the US against Russia at the UN. They may have to act fast, because one of the main levers Russia has against the US is providing Iran with advanced weapons systems, like the S300, which would make an Israeli attack much more costly. Another window of opportunity which may be closing soon.

 

And it's going to catch me fully invested.

 

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Sorry but this whole thread is full of bullshit. Nobody has an interest in going to war, and when nobody has there is no war. Putin is not stupid, there is enough financial pressure that forces him to talk to the other nations and he said already that he has no interest in the eastern ukraine.

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Sorry but this whole thread is full of bullshit. Nobody has an interest in going to war, and when nobody has there is no war. Putin is not stupid, there is enough financial pressure that forces him to talk to the other nations and he said already that he has no interest in the eastern ukraine.

 

Enough pressure? You must be referring to this:  http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/borowitzreport/2014/03/us-freezes-putins-netflix-account.html

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Sorry but this whole thread is full of bullshit. Nobody has an interest in going to war, and when nobody has there is no war. Putin is not stupid, there is enough financial pressure that forces him to talk to the other nations and he said already that he has no interest in the eastern ukraine.

 

Enough pressure? You must be referring to this:  http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/borowitzreport/2014/03/us-freezes-putins-netflix-account.html

 

:D. Its not pressure from the US or EU that i mean, but the pressure from inside. Do you think the oligarchs are amused about their networth crunch and not being able to live their "normal" lifes with holidays abroad? And now think about what their wifes are crying about all day, not being able to go shopping in Milano, Rome, London or New York?

And I don`t think Putin will let the russian economy take a big hit again after the last weeks. That will be food for his russian enemies.

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And there is pressure onto european and us politicians, too. Last week managers of Siemens and other european companies went to moscow to speak directly with Putin and after their talks they attacked the sanctions and the reactions of the eu politicians. And i don`t think that Mastercard and Visa are really happy when russia builds its own credit card system, so i think they are already talking to Obama to find a quick solution to this crisis behind the scenes.

And did you know that none of the russian oil companies is hit by the sanctions? I would bet that is because the us oil companies are working with them, like every major eu oil company. They will do what they can to de-escalate this crisis.

 

In this end in my eyes the most likely outcome will be that europe and the us see crimea as a part of russia and russia agrees not to attack the ukraine and perhaps allows NATO troops on ukrainian ground.

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Guest hellsten
In this end in my eyes the most likely outcome will be that europe and the us see crimea as a part of russia and russia agrees not to attack the ukraine and perhaps allows NATO troops on ukrainian ground.

 

+1

 

Putin will try to take over the world according to the media, but how much is disinformation and propaganda from Russia, the West, and so on? IMO, he doesn't seem as irrational as the media reports. To me it looks like he wanted to teach Ukraine a lesson and take Crimea back, which isn't very irrational? Invading Afghanistan looks very irrational in comparison.

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Putin will try to take over the world according to the media, but how much is disinformation and propaganda from Russia, the West, and so on? IMO, he doesn't seem as irrational as the media reports. To me it looks like he wanted to teach Ukraine a lesson and take Crimea back, which isn't very irrational? Invading Afghanistan looks very irrational in comparison.

 

  Why irrational? Putin is not bent on world domination. He may be many things, but he is not stupid, and besides, Russia's GDP won't support something like that. He has very focused goals. He has to make a choice. He can have a pissed-off NATO member with 46M (44M now) inhabitants a few hundred miles from Moscow. Or he can add some 30M people to his country dwindling population, guarantee that the NATO line moves back by hundreds of miles, plus get the largest commercial port on the Black Sea (Odessa), the most advanced tank factory in the former-USSR (Kharkov), the maker of the Antonov planes (Donetsk), thousands of miles of gas pipelines, control the import of Caspian oil into Eastern Europe, and from what we have seen so far in Crimea, risk very little, either militarily on in terms of international sanctions.

 

He has all the necessary pieces in place for an invasion. So, is he just bluffing? Or waiting for the ground to dry off? We will soon know.

 

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Sorry but this whole thread is full of bullshit. Nobody has an interest in going to war, and when nobody has there is no war. Putin is not stupid, there is enough financial pressure that forces him to talk to the other nations and he said already that he has no interest in the eastern ukraine.

 

Enough pressure? You must be referring to this:  http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/borowitzreport/2014/03/us-freezes-putins-netflix-account.html

 

:D. Its not pressure from the US or EU that i mean, but the pressure from inside. Do you think the oligarchs are amused about their networth crunch and not being able to live their "normal" lifes with holidays abroad? And now think about what their wifes are crying about all day, not being able to go shopping in Milano, Rome, London or New York?

And I don`t think Putin will let the russian economy take a big hit again after the last weeks. That will be food for his russian enemies.

 

  The oligarchs moved their assets to Singapore weeks before Crimea was invaded. There was a piece on the FT about that. I don't think their "normal" lives involve much vacationing on the US or Canada.  They prefer Europe, which is not very keen on sanctions, and in any case their families probably have a bunch of citizenships already, EU or UK passports are easy to obtain for people with that kind of money.

 

If they hit Ukraine hard and fast, blitzkrieg-style, in a few weeks they will have all the targets they want. Then it is a question of giving away something they don't want (e.g. Kiev) to keep the rest, as they did with Georgia. After one or two years of good behaviour and plenty of pressure from all those foreign company CEOs, the US will start talking about a "reset" again. No Western politician is going to wreck the economy or send citizens to be killed for Eastern Ukraine.

 

 

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Forget about Ukraine, it is already a de facto Russian state. Since the port of Sevastopol is no longer on Ukrainian soil, the natural gas price discount that Ukraine was getting no longer applies. With their already semi-bankrupt finances, Ukrainians cannot afford something like a 80% hike on their energy bill. So they will do whatever Russia wants from now on. The large deployment of troops, its cost and preparation is a head scratcher but, that may be part of the plan to prove the capability.

 

Regarding Israel, I mentioned previously that the market was not giving much if any consideration as to a potential attack on Iran. Following what happened, do you believe that they and Saudi Arabia can rely anymore on the assurances from Obama? Treaties are not being enforced (as we saw clearly with Ukraine), red lines mean nothing and all the White House is doing is using a war of words. It is quite probable that they will take matters in their own hands and soon. They seized advanced rockets coming from Iran a week or two ago. Do you believe that they are that naïve about the true intentions of Iran?

 

We have had "world" peace for decades because the two big boys feared annihilation. There was some equilibrium. Smaller nations had to chose a camp and to stick to the plan. Now, it is everyone for itself. While it was not pleasant, it has worked. Right now, I can imagine what goes in the minds of people in Poland, Czech Republic and Estonia with the NATO treaty. Is the U.S. ready to go the distance if they are attacked? Really?

 

The Obama administration thinks that they can ensure world peace by simply sharing smiles and giving hand shakes. That is admirable, but as we have seen now a few times, simply does not work in this paranoid and selfish world. Sanctions also don't work very well if we are to look at history. They caused the rise of Hitler and Japan was under sanctions right before its surprise attack on Pearl Harbour.

 

Now, I know that I will get flak from Democrats from saying that but, that is just reality. A reality that Truman, JFK, Johnson, Clinton and maybe even Carter understood.

 

Fixing the problem is easy. Deploy the missile shield in Poland and Czech Republic and since Russia thinks that we are no longer serious and to punish them for Crimea, put in place a few dozens new Pershing 2 nuclear armed missiles right on the Polish border and give the key to Poland. Things will rapidly get back to normal.

 

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Russia could achieve Ukraine incursion in 3-5 days

 

Reuters) - Russia has massed all the forces it needs on Ukraine's border if it were to decide to carry out an "incursion" into the country, and it could achieve its objective in three to five days, NATO's top military commander said on Wednesday.

 

Calling the situation "incredibly concerning", NATO's supreme allied commander in Europe, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, said NATO had spotted signs of movement by a very small part of the Russian force overnight but had no indication that this was part of a withdrawal to barracks.

 

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/02/us-ukraine-crisis-breedlove-idUSBREA310PP20140402

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The Obama administration thinks that they can ensure world peace by simply sharing smiles and giving hand shakes. That is admirable, but as we have seen now a few times, simply does not work in this paranoid and selfish world. Sanctions also don't work very well if we are to look at history. They caused the rise of Hitler and Japan was under sanctions right before its surprise attack on Pearl Harbour.

 

 

I would note that they "shook Osama's hand" right in the middle of Pakistan, where the prior administration feared to tread.  Wake me when the Russians put nukes in Cuba again or invade Mexico.  I'm more interested in completing the evisceration of the terrorists in waziristan.  If the Euros have a problem with what Putin is doing in Ukraine, we have lots of natural resources and arms we can sell to support our allies.

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