Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Game over for Novorossiya AND for Putin

Why did Strelkov abandon Slovyansk?
They fortified the city to its limits. Russian propaganda tried to make Slovyansk the Ukrainian Stalingrad against the Nazis. THIS would be where they would be stopped. Not so...
They left huge amounts of weapons and ammunition there. They left something like 18 tanks behind. They even left money behind!
Just before they were leaving, Strelkov published a video explaining he EITHER needed a ceasefire or he needed Russia to jump in. See this report.

Now the  rebels say they are going to dig in in Lugansk and Donetsk. But they don't have time to do this as good as they were able to do this in Slovyansk.
Also their front line is incredibly vulnerable now. With Slovyansk, they had the entire natural barrier of the Siversky Donets river. Now 'the enemy' can approach from almost anywhere.
Why did they give up?

There can only be one explanation. Putin decided not to go all on. He tried to do the ceasefire and did not succeed. He tried to bluf and did not succeed. But he can't afford to go all in. Why? He is not winning the information war... The threat of sanctions are still severe... The Ukrainian army is too determined... The support from local people is too little... He runs out of money... We'll never know.
When it became clear to Strelkov that Russia was not going to step in, he gave a VERY clear message to Putin and retreated from Slovyansk. Basically it is a form of mutiny. He left behind ALL. The message is: "If you don't do as you said you would, I cannot do my job. And I am not going to die because of that. You can come and get your stuff yourself..."

The Kremlin, being afraid that Strelkov will turn AGAINST them, immediately starts a campaign to discredit him, by spreading a faked Israelian passport.
The message to Strelkov is: do as we tell you, or we will destroy you.

Then Gubarev, not Strelkov(!),  goes to Moscow and talks to spokesman Kurginyan about the supplies they get.
Why would they record such a discussion and put it on Youtube? This is either insane or it is agreed on a higher level to do so and have this argument published. The message from the video is: "We did send you support and yes it was lousy outdated stuff, we will send you some better, but you are on your own." No mention about the 20 tanks they got, or the GRADs, or the spetsnaz and other Russian units involved and operating in East Ukraine... So the message of this video was: Russia was never in this conflict except for sending some outdated weapons maybe.
They used ignorant local pawn Gubarev to 'deliver' this message, because in the end he does not know all either.
Yet it is not true!!! The whole operation is orchestrated by the Kremlin. Of course they use all local support they can get. It's cheap. But it is a Kremlin operation as this was so in Crimea too. Consider this: a discussion between Putin and Strelkov would have been VERY different. So this video is to show the world that Russia is NOT INVOLVED ITSELF. It is to whitewash Russia's involvement and portray everything as local uprising with some generosity from Russia.

The way we should understand the message is like this: Russia is not involved ANYMORE. Russia does not want to go all in anymore. Russia will not invade in a higher level than it did so far. Russia wants to pull out... It has become a problem...

Yet Strelkov is a Russian commander and he is still in charge. And why all this Russian armor next to Ukraines border?
Well, when you send weapons and tanks to criminals in a neighboring country, you have to take care that they will not turn around and drive their tanks back against YOU. So all the soldiers and armor that Russia has near the border are to PREVENT the terrorists to go back into Russia with their weapons.

Now the question is: what are the rebels going to do and what is Strelkov going to do?
The rebels will fight on. They have no future. If they give up they will end up in jail. They will try to prolong their existence as long as possible. But they will die trying and meanwhile killing and stealing whatever they can.
Strelkov will still be in command. If he is gone all is gone. But he will have one more mission to do...

The terrorist will not succeed. Ukraine has learned from its mistakes, it has purged its ranks, it has learned how to fight and they turn out to become very successful. Eventually they will drive out all terrorists.

Then the question is: what next?
The answer is: Crimea... Why else would Lavrov say something like this:
It means Russia has already given up on East-Ukraine and they fear and already warn for the next step...


Now that Russia cannot get East-Ukraine, Crimea is a BIG problem. Crimea is only interesting when they would have the land corridor. Without it, it costs billions of dollars to maintain it and make it sustainable. Russia will reach a point in the near future where they would be glad to get rid of Crimea. Is Russia going into an all out war against Ukraine for Crimea? No. They did not do so for East-Ukraine. So they can't afford to do it for Crimea either. Of course they will not give it up without a fight. And Strelkov will be in command of the defense of Crimea, like he was in the offense too.

The most beautiful thing would be if diplomacy could help Putin save his face AND return Crimea back. But probably that won't happen. Putin will fall WITH Crimea. And this will happen before the end of this year...

Just in after publishing this blog:

1 comment:

  1. Oh, BTW, those 18 tanks in Slavyansk is another interesting point to discuss.

    That number can be traced to one single source which is a thread in what is basically Russian 4chan. This thread is now deleted. It was a rather detailed report about the retreat from Slavyansk, told by sombody who lives in Makeevka and has a friend with Strelkov's forces.

    I've yet to see any confirmation to that info.


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