One more attempt at clarifying my position on Russian options
The pitfalls and risks of expressing feelings in a blog My recent rant “Please tell me my worst fears will not come true” was clearly very poorly written and my subsequent attempt to clarify what I meant did little to improve the mess I apparently had created. To be honest, I never went to “blogger school” and I am painfully learning this trade by trial and error including a lot of errors. I naively had thought that putting enough caveats would make my intentions clear:”I will thus readily admit that I might be over-reacting””my brain tells me one thing, but my gut tells me another” How could I make it more clear that 1) I was speaking from the heart/gut and not making an analysis and 2) that I was fully aware that I was over-reacting? I don’t know about others, but to me the admission of doubts and fears is never a sign of weakness. Courage and strength is not denying doubts and fears, but acting rationally in spite of such feelings. Maybe that is not done in the blogosphere, or maybe I did it on a clumsy way, but I did it the best I could and with as much honesty I could. I would have imagined that those who had called me a “Putin groupie” or “Kremlin shill” would have approved of my open admission that I truly trusted neither Putin nor the Kremlin, but somehow only those who were upset by that admission showed up. Oh well, another valuable lesson for me: expected a beating every time you show your feelings.But the “killer sentence” which I should never have written as I did was this one: “Russia has to act now and use her armed forces to liberate Novorossia. Not to do so would be a betrayal of the Russian people.” That was a “cri du coeur” (cry from the heart) which overshadowed all the caveats before it. This being said, I categorically deny that I had a change of heart. Before Poroshensko’s inauguration speech I saw a set of circumstances we can call “A” while after his inauguration speech I saw a new and different set of circumstances we can call “B”. A change of heart would be to say that a the same set of circumstances warrants a change in policy. That is not what I wrote, but I have to admit that what I did write was highly misleading: pure emotion and distress and not a rational analysis.I also know what triggered my reaction, and here I will place the blame on Putin, Lavrov, Zurabov (Russia’s ambassador to Kiev) and Peskov (Putin spoksman). What triggered my panic attack was the totally lame and lukewarm reaction of Russia to a speech which was a real declaration of war not only on Novorossia but also on Russia herself: not only was Poroshenko’s speech filled with various anti-Russian statements echoing the worst, most ignorant and most ugly Right Sector propaganda, but he even clearly spelled out that he considered Crimea has Ukrainian: that was a threat on Russian land. And what was Russia’s response? *Nothing*. Zurabov just sat there and Putin and Lavrov stayed silent. I have no heard a single word of criticism coming out of official Moscow. That is what really freaked me out. That an the *terrible* timing of the decision to strengthen the border between Russia and Novorossia. And I still think that Russia’s public policy committed a terrible “faux pas” by remaining silent in the face of such a public display of Nazi bigotry and arrogance.I have spent the last 24 hours reading many Russian articles written by very sharp analysts, I have carefully listen to all the main news shows, I have also taken the time to listen to some specialized shows (such as Igor Korotchenko’s “GenShtab” on Voice of Russia) and I have come to the conclusion that Russia will not accept a Nazi regime in Kiev nor will Russia abandon Novorossia. Frankly, this is bigger than Putin and we should not focus on personalities too much, even political giants like Putin. Why? Because even in the exceedingly unlikely possibility that Putin for some reason cave to the Empire, he would be committing political suicide, Juan is absolutely correct about that. I still think that Putin does want to do the right thing, but if not – then he will be forced to.So what do I think (rather then feel) Russia should do?I have to admit that there is one major argument against a direct Russian military intervention in Novorossia: it is an undeniable fact that the people from Novorossia themselves have not done enough for themselves. Yes, the self-defense forces of Novorossia are heroes, and yes, they are fighting very well even though the force ratios in the favor of the Nazis is anywhere between 5:1 to 100:1 (depending on the day and location). But even though more people have heard Strelkov’s appeal the numbers are still nowhere near were they should be. That is a fact that I cannot deny.The argument that the NDF are under-equipped is being addressed right now. I have seen footage shown on Russian TV of sophisticated air defense radars used by the NDF and I have it from several good sources that modern equipment is regularly showing up. I have heard that today 3 Ukrainian MBTs and at least one MRLS have been destroyed by the NDF. My feeling is that pretty soon the NDF will establish their own “no-fly” zone which the Ukies will not dare to penetrate very often (they have already lost *a lot* of their rotary and fixed wing aircraft). This no-fly zone will soon be followed by a “no drive” zone for Ukie armor (enforced by modern anti-tanks weapon systems). The problem of artillery can only be solved by providing the NDF with the means for counter-battery fire. That will be tricky, especially with long range artillery. But with no FACs on the ground or in the air, artillery strikes will not be very effective, even if still devastatingly deadly for the local civilian population. Snipers could be found and trained, I suppose (they can make the life of an artillery unit really miserable). Supplies, ammo dumps, and generally the logistics should be attacked and sabotaged. In other words, as soon as it has the means to do so the NDF has to go on the offensive.Frankly, there should be a “principle of subsidiarity” of sorts at work here: before the Russians intervene the people of the Donbass have the moral duty to to everything they can to defend themselves. Then, if needed, Russia should intervene to prevent a genocide in Novorossia. But first the locals have to do more. What Russia can and should do is to provide military, technical and financial aid to Novorossia, whether covertly or overtly (why can Russia not do exactly the same as what the USA is doing in Syria?). My understanding is that Russia is already doing that.There is, however, something that Russia is not doing or, rather, there is something which Russia is doing and which she should stop doing: smiling at Poroshenko and sticking to this silly “our Ukrainian brothers” script: what is left of the Ukraine today is no more no less than a Nazi Banderastan and Russia should not even bother pretending that there is a love fest between these two entities. No need to do anything provocative or hostile, just to stop pretending like Russia is oblivious to the kind of Banderastan is being built. As for Novorossia Russia should openly support it in the name of anti-Nazism and provide it with technical, financial, political and informational support. As for the West, it is *already* acting as if Russia was heavily engaged in a full-scale support campaign for the breakaway regions – so why not do that anyway?! Finally, the Russian should learn from their American counterparts and make the human rights issue a huge political stick. Russian diplomats should simply inundate the world media with protest about every single war crime, every single human right violation, ever single violation of the freedom of the press and every single case of corruption. Protest constantly, drown the Ukie Nazis with lawsuits on all levels, denounce them at every public events, etc. First that will take a toll on the regime in Kiev and, second, it will show the anti-Nazi forces in the Ukraine that they are not abandoned.There is a lot Russia can do besides using her armed forces.Bottom line is this: my heart and my gut tell me that Russia should intervene now: impose a no-fly zone, open humanitarian corridors and destroy the Nazi death squads. And if that happens tomorrow morning I will be elated. But my brain has to accept that the most rational way to deal with this situation is to do everything short of an over military intervention. I will readily admit that I am torn and that I have not found a way to reconcile the two. There are better people out there that have done a much better job at that then I have, but I am not sure that I envy them.One more issue: a US nuclear threat to Russia?I have no doubt at all that this is nonsense and that the US is not contemplating such a threat or, even less so, such an attack. Why? Because it is absolutely and categorically impossible for the USA to strike Russia in such a manner which would prevent Russia from executing a retaliatory counter-strike. I have already written about this and just want to repeat it here: while there probably are some politicians who dream about such an option, the US military knows that this is absolutely impossible and nothing will change that in the foreseeable future. No matter what attack scenario you consider, Russia always will have the means to basically make the USA disappear as a society. Of course, the same is true for the USA which Russia cannot disarm in a first counter-force strike. Forget it! Really. During the Cold War we have made a lot of very fancy simulations and the result has always been the same, and all the folks in command in the USA know that. Also, nothing has fundamentally changed since the late 1980s. Most of the current nuclear systems date from that period and while all sorts of progress has been made, it has not resulted in some kind of breakthrough, much less so one upon which anybody could waged the survival of the entire norther hemisphere of our planet. In fact, I would argue that the Russian nuclear forces today are both more survivable and more capable, especially the latest road-mobile ICBMs and the submarine launched ballistic missiles. So one thing I can guarantee: there is no nuclear attack threat to Russia (and nor is there one to the USA, of course). As for a US tactical nuclear strike on a Russian force entering Novorossia, it would have an absolutely catastrophic political effect on the AngloZionist Empire, not to mention that nobody in the Ukraine will be grateful for this. Even if the US used a “cleaner” neutron bomb the political fallout with be huge, even inside the USA. As for Russia, it could even win this one by not retaliating in kind (remember, war is the pursuit of politics by other means). So forget about these rumors about a US nuclear threat to Russia, even if B-2s and USN ships are moved around. They are “showing the flag” – not threatening Russia.I hope that this last effort of mine to fully clarify my position has been more successful than my previous one. I know that this blog is making a lot of people angry and that they will use this opportunity to again misrepresent what I wrote or try to ridicule me. Fine, let them. Frankly, I don’t care much about their “opinion” nor am I competing in some kind of popularity contest. Besides. I am confident that most of you will recognize these efforts for what they are.Enough about doubts and fears for now – tomorrow back to the regular daily work.Kind regards to all,The Saker
June 6th combat SITREP update by "Juan"
1. Commo around Slavyansk is busy with reports of much movement of Nats forces. 2. Semenovka is under continuous bombardment since 07:00 06.06.2014. Vast areas are destroyed. Grad missiles are used but not in salvo. 15.2 cm howitzers and 12.2 cm mortars plus heavy field guns and tank cannon. 3. Lugansk City proper is under air attack 18:05 06.06.2014. At least 2 Su25 aircraft attacked living areas. Casualties unknown.4. Nats An 30b surveillance aircraft shot down 06.06.2014 18:45 local time. First 2 vids.
Donbas Army has made appeal for qualified tankists and pilots.12. Reports of heavy fighting developing outskirts of Slavyansk City proper 18:45 local Ukraine time.14. Personal conversation by phone mid day today with person living near Krasni Liman. Person states right sector is looting shops, confiscating cars, trucks and buses. A few civilian men shot down in local streets. Some young women have been outraged. Person says no food allowed in to their living area location. Person states person and children eating porridge made from stored cattle food using water from local stream. Porridge is not cooked, barley soaked in water until soft, eaten cold. Water and electric cut off. Right sector going door to door checking documents and confiscating computers and cell phones. If no one answers door right sector breaks door down. If anyone in house or flat they are beaten and sometimes shot. Citizens with Russian passports are arrested and taken away. Fate unknown. Could hear screams and shouts at not great distance from cell phone, person stopped phone in mid sentence. I did not call back for fear of endangering person.
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Combat SITREP by Juan 1. Nats Army offer of civilian evacuation corridors rejected. Corridors led only west in to national guard/right sector unit areas and demanded self defense units disarm and surrender. 2. Continuing heavy bombardment of Slavyansk and outlying areas. Confirmed 4 children under age 10 killed last 3 days. Living areas and industry areas targeted including 15.2 cm howitzers and Grad.3. ÐºÑÐ°ÑÐ½Ð¾Ð»Ð¸Ð¼Ð°Ð½ÑÐºÐ¾Ð¼Ñ area confirmed 2 Grad units destroyed with crews and support vehicles 09 June 03:00 attack of Novorossiya Army units. 4. Nats suffer heavy losses last 4 days. Nats removing destroyed vehicles and armor when possible. Reason unknown. Ural tank transporters used for removal. One photo destroyed/burned T64 turret in transporter. T64 hull not seen.5. Strong explosion and short fire area Karachun Mountains 03:15 11 June.6. Unconfirmed reports of large number bodies found in deep lake ÐºÑÐ°ÑÐ½Ð¾Ð»Ð¸Ð¼Ð°Ð½ÑÐºÐ¾Ð¼Ñ area, bodies weighted.7. Large amount ammunition found on two abandoned Kamaz transports Lugansk area. Numbers of Kamaz Nats army.8. Unconfirmed reports 10 June large number national guard/right sector troops surrounded Lugansk aerodrome. 9. 07:12 11 June heavy fighting area ÐºÑÐ°ÑÐ½Ð¾Ð»Ð¸Ð¼Ð°Ð½ÑÐºÐ¾Ð¼Ñ.10. Additional unverified but deemed reliable reports of replacement aircraft and crew sent to Nats Army from Poland and FRG. 11. Refugees continue to arrive Rostov Oblast and Autonomous Republic of Krimea. One group 4 families detained arrival by van. Suspicions of 22 year old husbands with 8 year old children and all documents Ukraine new. Children being cared for.12. Scattered engagements areas Slavyansk and Kramatorsk growing in intensity 06:15 11 June. 13. Report of secretary general of OSCE to visit Rostov na Donu to interview refugees. Suggestion a visit to Slavyansk and ÐºÑÐ°ÑÐ½Ð¾Ð»Ð¸Ð¼Ð°Ð½ÑÐºÐ¾Ð¼Ñ. SITREP by The SakerThere are lots of Ukraine connected news today. First, we got the confirmation that Poroshenko is a US agent. Then we have the very infulential Sergei Glazyev who is now calling for the imposition of a no-fly zone over Novorossia. And finally we have an interesting theory about the role Slavainsk is playing in the current war: according to the Russian blogger Yurasumy, Slaviansk today has the same role as Stalingrad in WWII: to tie down a large enemy force and to keep the battle going there while the “flanks” are being prepared for a counter-offensive. In this context, I have to notice that the Russian newspaper Segodnia is reporting that he Ukie HQ was moved back from Izium to Chuguev near Kharkov precisely to avoid being trapped in an encirclement. Combine that with the news that at least two Ukie MRLS have been destroyed and that at least 3 Ukie tanks have been rendered inoperable and you start getting an interesting picture: things are starting to look worse and worse for the junta in Kiev.In contrast, though the situation is still murky, there are more and more reports indicated that the critical manpower issue has dramatically improved. Only yesterday evening a Vostok battalion officer was asked by Russian reporters how many men the NDF had to which he replied “enough”. As for weapons, Juan and others are reporting that the number of “abandoned” weapons “found” in various locations is increasing and that now these weapons include more modern and more recent systems, including armor and artillery. True, the defenders of Novorossia still lack any kind of air capability, but their air defense seems to have taken a very heavy toll on the Junta forces. I have personally seen recent footage of advanced NDF air defense radars (with crews) combined with underground command posts. I think that something might slowly changing in the combat dynamic.One possible explanation for what has happened is that by openly stating that Russia will not intervene Putin has forced the people of Novorossia to realize that they will need to stand their ground on their own. The numbers are still not what they should be, but their increase has been significant to allow the Novorossians to go on the offensive in locations where this would have been absolutely impossible just a few weeks ago.The key event I will be looking for in the next couple of weeks are diversionary attacks in junta death squads outside the cities were the battles are taking place now. Fighting the Ukies in Slaviansk and Kramatorsk is the right first step, but the entire Donbass has now to turn into a no-go zone for the Kiev junta. Supply convoys, ammo dumbs, airfields, roads, bridges, train tracks, water pumping stations, and basically everything except field hospitals should now be attacked. Notice I did not say “destroyed” or “captured” – only *attacked*. The key goal here is to create chaos and demoralize the junta units and not to achieve a “victory”.In conclusion I would like to recommend a blog: No Bread and Circuses for You which has a lot of good materials in English about the war in Ukraine. Also, Club Orlov has posted a recent interview of Dmitri Orlov which I found interesting (see here).
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Partial translation of the Starikov interview
First, I think we all owe a HUGE THANK YOU!!! to “G” and “M” who did this translation literally overnight (and I know for a fact that “G” did not sleep for a full night because of that). I know that doing a rush-translation is a royal pain in the rear end which is not very different from a refined torture and that is especially true for people like “G” and “M” who have a life and a job and who do that really pro Deo or pro bono and who do not get paid a penny for their hard work. They did not have to offer their hard work – they spontaneous offered their help, and I am immensely grateful to both of them for that. There is a part missing and the translation “only” covers the first 18min and 49 seconds which is really the most interesting part.If somebody wants to finish this translation – great. If not, no problem. If somebody wants to subtitle the video – great. Is not, no problem either.One more thing: I would need somebody to translate into Russian Juan’s powerful article “Russians are sub-humans in the eyes of the West”. I have a contact who wants to send it to Russia and the Ukraine. If you can do that, please contact me.Kind regards to all,The Saker