Friday, August 15, 2014

Rolling Invasion?

Ukraine's rebels are faltering as they lose ground. Ukraine shelled a column of Russian armor on Ukrainian soil. And the Russians have a huge convoy with sometimes underloaded trucks purporting to be aid for the pro-Russian civilians of the east. I see that Putin's rolling invasion is underway.

The Astro-Turf secession movement is staring defeat in the face:

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine suffered dramatic setbacks Thursday as top military chiefs quit and Ukraine's forces pummelled their strongholds, cutting off a key rebel-held city from the Russian border.

Ukraine claims to have spotted and attacked a column of Russian armor inside Ukraine:

Ukraine said its artillery partly destroyed a Russian armoured column that entered its territory overnight and said its forces came under shellfire from Russia on Friday in what appeared to be a major military escalation between the ex-Soviet states.

And there is worry that the "aid convoy" is part of an invasion. Reporters could see that many of the hundreds of trucks they could inspect were well under capacity.

A Russian analyst said that convoys often have vehicles under capacity to transfer cargo from vehicles that break down.

Or maybe after being inspected, one of those units hugging the border will add more cargo of a military nature to top off the trucks.

It is now or never if Russia is to pretend that there are Ukrainian secessionists in the east in need of Russian help.

UPDATE: Curiouser and curiouser. This article says the trucks are "largely empty:"

The BBC reported that the aid convoy wasn't carrying much aid or even much of anything. The trucks were largely empty.

Whatever Russia is up to, be sure it isn't humanitarian concern.

UPDATE: The secessionists claim that reinforcements are on the way:

Alexander Zakharchenko, prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, said the rebels were in the process of receiving some 150 armoured vehicles, including 30 tanks, and 1,200 fighters who he said had spent four months training in Russia.

With the Ukrainian government saying rebels are losing heart and abandoning the cause (which itself may be information warfare to cause that result), it is hard to say whether this is accurate, a cover for Russian troops to enter the fight, or bravado to stem the desertions from the rebels.

Russia, for their part, denies that they lost anybody to Ukrainian artillery fire. The last I read, we hadn't confirmed the Ukrainian claim.