Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Pre-H Hour?

So what are the Russians up to in eastern Ukraine?

Russian special forces today launched a rapid assault on a key border town in eastern Ukraine, shattering the ceasefire agreement signed just two weeks ago.

Is a renewed invasion looming?

UPDATE: So far nothing, but remember that Russia's Spetsnaz made an appearance before the invasion of Crimea became too obvious to ignore.

UPDATE: Russia has manufactured another pretext:

According to the Investigative Committee and Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, Kyiv has sent a team of seven teenage terrorists into the occupied areas of Donetsk Oblast to carry out acts of sabotage. ...

Just last month, the Kremlin accused Ukraine of sending agent-saboteurs to the annexed Crimean Peninsula to carry out terrorist attacks.

There was no real evidence and the story was so full of holes and contradictions that it quickly fell apart and nobody took it seriously. And this time around, the evidence looks just as flimsy.

And don't think that America can't get fingered in these fantasy crimes.

Here's pro and con on whether Russia is preparing for war.

The con side undermined his case by saying that Russia could overrun Ukraine with ease because Russia has 1 million troops versus 60,000 for Ukraine. So the fact that Russia hasn't done that is proof they have no intention of doing so despite the sabre rattling.

But Russia has a total military of nearly a million spread out from Kaliningrad bordering Poland and Lithuania to territory facing Alaska.

Russia's army is only a few hundred thousand. Sure, add in hundreds of thousands of Interior Ministry troops, but if you count just the decently trained and equipped Russian ground forces, Moscow only has about 100,000. Can Russia afford to put all of their best troops into Ukraine for what would be a prolonged war?

And oddly, the con side just counts Ukraine's army. Double that for the total and then add in what has been mobilized in the National Guard that is doing a good deal of the fighting in the east. And add in interior ministry and border guards for more light infantry useful for garrisons.

Besides, setting the bar for war or no war at invading and occupying all of Ukraine is too high. Russia could easily commit the troops to complete the conquest of the Donbas with what they can scrape together. That's the question in my mind.

UPDATE: Seriously, what are the Russians up to?

The Ukrainian intelligence service claims to have captured Kremlin agents operating deep within territory not embroiled in fighting, as telephone intercepts were published revealing a Moscow plot to seize half the country.

Although the telephone intercepts were from early 2014 when the Russians probably believed Russian-speakers would throw flowers at "little green men" sent in to AstroTurf popular revolts, and not recent.

I can't imagine the Russians think they can really expand the war as much as those agent locations indicate. I assume, if true, that the efforts are to sow chaos in Ukrainian rear areas while the main effort takes place to the east.