Putin Outdoes Himself with Vile Valdai Diatribe–But Please Stop Calling Us “Colleagues, Friends, or Partners” Since for You We are the Enemy

valdai 23 Oct

Nobody ever thought that Putin could outdo his performance at the Munich Security Conference in 2007, where he lambasted the US and West for being the source of everything bad in the world. However, at the 22-24 October 11th version of his ridiculous annual PR event, the Valdai Club, held in (where else) Sochi, he gave a masterful performance virtually devoid of the slightest elements of truth. Goebbels would feel shamed by the master.

Russian Presidential Website Text of Putin Valdai Speech

Naturally his monologues and Q&A by an all-too-friendly audience (maybe thinking they might just get the Polonium-210 tea) had a lot to do with Ukraine. However, he launched first into spouting off against mainly the US (he just said the US forces all its allies to do its bidding), saying it has invaded countries with impunity in the post-Soviet era, imposing its will and creating chaos wherever it went. Some slight truth in the case of Iraq, but he raised other cases like Afghanistan (from which the US and later others were attacked), though he also mentioned Libya and Egypt (where the governments had taken to machinegunning peaceful demonstrators, leading to popular uprisings). Point he seems to have deliberately missed is that while the US and its allies have done these interventions, we strive to get out as soon as possible and do not annex an inch of territory. Not to mention that the governments left in place can hardly be called pawns of US or NATO foreign policies. But such is his warped reality.

He continued saying the US wants and needs an enemy, which Russia now has filled the role as. “Today, we are seeing new efforts to fragment the world, draw new dividing lines, put together coalitions not built for something but directed against someone, anyone, create the image of an enemy as was the case during the Cold War years, and obtain the right to this leadership, or diktat if you wish.” This is pure BS, since as usual Russia routinely accuses others of precisely the things it is doing itself. Frankly, most people in the US don’t care anything about Russia or Ukraine and know virtually nothing about them. Same goes for many in government I can authoritatively say. The US does not need an enemy. However, watch just an hour or Russian state TV channels and you will hear nothing but how the US is evil, the EU is horrible, America is spreading or even created Ebola. On US TV it is virtually impossible to see any mentions of Ukraine or Russia on a news programme for more than 15 seconds.

He said the sanctions against Russia are undermining WTO trade rules. Give me a break. This is the guy who has used Rostrebnadzor, his “consumer protection” organization, for ages to

On Ukraine put bogus restrictions on any products from a country that rubs Russia the wrong way, starting with the 2006 bans on Georgian wine and Borjomi water and on Moldovan wine when both countries did some actions (Georgia arrested a few GRU agents in Tbilisi) Russia found objectionable. It does the same to this day. Georgia made a grave mistake when it gave into US pressures to allow Russia to join the WTO (even as Russia was already flagrantly violating many WTO standards), throwing away a trump card, and getting nothing but more Russian hatred in return.

A typically contradictory statement was this one on respecting others. “The allegations and statements that Russia is trying to establish some sort of empire, encroaching on the sovereignty of its neighbours, are groundless. Russia does not need any kind of special, exclusive place in the world – I want to emphasise this. While respecting the interests of others, we simply want for our own interests to be taken into account and for our position to be respected.” So, you respect others like Georgia and Ukraine who you have invaded and annexed territory from. But it makes sense, sort of, with your qualifier that everyone has to take your interests into account. So as you said before, Ukraine was free to sign an EU Association Agreement, but your perception that this was bad to you in your tiny zero-sum world meant that it would have to face the consequences for its actions (like that little invasion thing). Right.

On Ukraine, which he called a result of a “misbalance in international relations” (the new term for invading a neighbor apparently), he mentioned Crimean secession as being fully legal in line with Article I of the UN Charter which says peoples have the right to national self-determination (though didn’t mention the same Charter’s prohibitions about invading others). He said as usual that if it was OK for Kosovo, why not for Crimea. Difference is that Kosovo had been next in line for a Serb cleansing of the majority locals, which was indeed underway as it previously was in Croatia and Bosnia, and it had been a UN protectorate for over a decade before being given gradual independence. Putin invaded Crimea, held a bogus referendum, and annexed it in a space of three weeks, with no UN mandate. Big difference. Naturally he mentions the need to protect the Russians and Russian-speaking population of Crimea. From what, he doesn’t say, since there is no credible evidence whatsoever that the “post-coup” interim government in Kyiv or Ukrainian ethnics in general did anything whatsoever against ethnic Russians in Crimea or elsewhere.

On the current situation in the east and the not-so-ceasefire he said ” The most important thing is to immediately stop the war and move the troops away. If Ukraine wants to keep its territorial integrity, and this is something we want as well, they need to understand that there is no sense in holding on to some village or other – this is pointless. The idea is to stop the bloodshed and to start normal dialogue, to build relations based on this dialogue and restore at least some communication, primarily in the economy, and gradually other things will follow.” Really? You want Ukraine’s territorial integrity? Calling bullshit on this one as well. Why did you then send in Spetsnaz groups, train Russian government mercenaries (many right out of the military and signed on contract) in Rostov and send them into Ukraine with T-64Bs, MRLs, BMPs, BTRs, and the latest antitank missiles and a variety of air defence systems, and then about a dozen Russian military battalion tactical groups when you mercs and some local wannabes were getting their asses handed to them by the Ukrainian military? You started this where there were no problems to begin with, your state media publish and broadcast endless disinformation about the situation while calling the region “Novorossiya,” and you are holding a Ukrainian woman hostage whom you kidnapped and brought across the state border to hold as a trophy. Bold-faced liar.

More on the Crimea fairy tale. He said that after the “violent overthrow” of the Yanukovych regime in Kyiv, and people in Crimea saw the blood events that had happened there (presumably he does not mean 100 Maidan protesters being murdered by government snipers, but I am unsure what he refers to since nothing happened from the Maidan side in this regard), “Seeing these developments, people in Crimea almost immediately took to arms and asked us for help in arranging the events they intended to hold. I will be frank; we used our Armed Forces to block Ukrainian units stationed in Crimea, but not to force anyone to take part in the elections. This is impossible, you are all grown people, and you understand it. How could we do it? Lead people to polling stations at gunpoint?

People went to vote as if it were a celebration, everybody knows this, and they all voted, even the Crimean Tatars. There were fewer Crimean Tatars, but the overall vote was high. While the turnout in Crimea in general was about 96 or 94 percent, a smaller number of Crimean Tatars showed up. However 97 percent of them voted ‘yes’. Why? Because those who did not want it did not come to the polling stations, and those who did voted ‘yes’.” No Mr Xuilo, the vast majority of the Tatars did not take part. You know this and are lying as usual. The turnout was not anywhere near 90 percent, though of course the Crimean CEC released figures showing that a full 123% of the population of Sevastopol, of all ages, had voted in the referendum. Not my figures. Theirs. Mass celebrations? Some indeed, but mostly underwhelming. When Crimea was annexed, Russian state TV live feed showed the “massive crowd in Simferopol celebrating with a live concert. I know large crowds very well, and there were perhaps about 2,000. Meanwhile Crimean Tatars who he claims voted overwhelmingly for separatism, continue to disappear weekly and are often found tortured and murdered.

There was a lot of BS in his account of Yanukovych’s ouster and flight to Russia, though finally another admission of Russia having orchestrated this (as he finally did in April admitting his “polite little green men” in Crimea were in fact Russian military–the last person in the world to realize this). On the 21 February agreement between Yanukovych and some Maidan opposition leaders, he said “On February 21, Viktor Yanukovych signed the well-known documents with the opposition. Foreign ministers of three European countries signed their names under this agreement as guarantors of its implementation.” The usual Russian disinfo lie. There were three FMs present but they signed as witnesses–not guarantors of anything. In any case this bad agreement was not agreed to by Maidan itself (who were literally under sniper fire all day and were just a wee bit pissed off as a result), as the agreement only went back to some of the points originally proposed by the movement months earlier which were rejected repeatedly by the government.

“On the same day, President Yanukovych called me to say he signed the agreement, the situation had stabilized and he was going to a conference in Kharkov. I will not conceal the fact that I expressed my concern: how was it possible to leave the capital in this situation. He replied that he found it possible because there was the document signed with the opposition and guaranteed by foreign ministers of European countries.” The same lies. Also, this conversation did not happen as he says because already from 18-21 February, hours of clear video evidence show Yanuk and his girlfriend supervising removal from his Mezhihirye mansion truckloads of art and other items to be shipped to Russia with him. He was finishing the looting and scooting and had no intention of agreeing to anything.

“Yanukovych called me and said he would like us to meet to talk it over. I agreed. Eventually we agreed to meet in Rostov because it was closer and he did not want to go too far. I was ready to fly to Rostov. However, it turned out he could not go even there. They were beginning to use force against him already, holding him at gunpoint. They were not quite sure where to go.” Really? There are no indications that Yanuk went to Kharkiv for a conference–he was on his way to Russia for good. Nobody from the opposition held him at gunpoint. If they had, he would have never made it to Russia. Pure fabrications.

Now the admission: “I will not conceal it; we helped him move to Crimea, where he stayed for a few days. That was when Crimea was still part of Ukraine. However, the situation in Kiev was developing very rapidly and violently, we know what happened, though the broad public may not know – people were killed, they were burned alive there. They came into the office of the Party of Regions, seized the technical workers and killed them, burned them alive in the basement. Under those circumstances, there was no way he could return to Kiev. Everybody forgot about the agreements with the opposition signed by foreign ministers and about our telephone conversations. Yes, I will tell you frankly that he asked us to help him get Russia, which we did. That was all.” More lies as usual. There was an attack on a POR building in Kyiv days earlier but the attackers wee most likely government titushki meant to give more “legitimacy” to mass shootings of protesters in the ensuing days. These damn Russian officials always seem to take great liberties with timelines. But at least it is good to see that Putin has now come clean on interfering in a neighbouring country by moving its murderous leader about and giving him asylum. No details on how they did this or what actions they took there, but he admitted involvement.

There were plenty of other pieces of cerebral barf that he spread at his little Valdai propaganda meeting, but these were just some of the lowlites.

 

 

Donetsk Commander “Motorola” Demonstrates his Idiocy

 

Motorola wedding in July--Nothing says love like Colorado ribbons, an RPK machinegun, and a rebranded Confederate flag

Motorola wedding in July–Nothing says love like Colorado ribbons, an RPK machinegun, and a rebranded Confederate flag

What a dipshit. Russian commander “Motorola,” who leads the Sparta Battalion in the east (currently attacking Donetsk airport during the not-so-ceasefire), decided to have some fun by firing an AGS-17 grenade launcher (30mm, vice the 40mm claimed in the video) at some of his troops in an observation point in order to see if they were awake. What a total moron. By his initial actions with the grenade launcher, it is clear he has not had practice with this particular weapon, so he cannot have been expected to have fired very accurately. But he has the same beard and look as Chechen dictator and Putin puppet Kadyrov, and certainly seems to have the same sadistic and overall sick streak in him. If his actions with his own men are like this, what can be expected with regards to his actions towards Ukrainians?

Motorola firing AGS-17 grenade launcher at own troops for fun

Motorola wedding in Donetsk in July with Girkin in attendance

Motorola wedding in Donetsk in July with Girkin in attendance

 

Lavrov Claims “Brotherly” Ukraine Needs Russian Guiding Hand

lavrov

Continuing the theme of lows in Russian propaganda, Russian Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop–I mean Lavrov–gave the most ridiculous interview yesterday with Russian TV channel NTV. Known for spouting pure disinformation, he nevertheless outdid himself in this particular interview. Some of his “wisdom” nuggets and revelations about his warped view of history and reality:

“We cannot lose Ukraine because it is not confined to a group of persons who committed a state coup and seized power; it is not confined to the Nazis who continue marching in Kiev and other big cities committing acts of vandalism, destroying monuments and glorifying Hitler’s accomplices,” Lavrov said. “Ukraine is the closest to us, fraternal nation, with which we share common historical, cultural and civilization roots, the same world outlook, let alone the language and literature.”

OK, reality check. Firstly–Ukraine is not yours to “lose” since it is an independent country–not part of Russia. Group of “Nazis” who committed a state coup? Maidan was up to a million and deposed a power-hungry kleptocrat who had his Gestapo kidnap, torture, and lose opponents and then gunned down about a hundred demonstrators. The accusations of them being “Fascists” are blatant demonstrably false Russian lies, particularly given that the post “coup” interim government had numerous ethnic Russians, Armenians, and Jews in the most senior positions. Committing vandalism and destroying monuments? Monuments of Lenin maybe. And vandalism? Even at the height of the riots on Hrushevskoho not a single one of the posh shops there was touched by the protesters. Ukraine with common historical roots, world outlook and language? Definitely some historical commonality, like Norway and Sweden (which however are not the same country anymore), some big differences in outlook to be sure, and languages have some serious differences. Actually there probably are as many common elements with Polish as there are with Russian. But typical “Great Russian” lies.

“…we are going to find the way out of the crisis anyway and will help the Ukrainian brothers to agree on how they should build and develop their country,” Really? They are your little lost brothers that you have to show the way and the light to? This demonstrates a lot about your imperial mindset.

Lastly, the interview was reported on by the recently renamed state news agency TASS. After the fall of the Soviet Union TASS (Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union) was renamed ITAR-TASS, with the ITAR standing for Information and Telegraph Agency of Russia. But that add-on is no longer really needed, so now like so many other things making a comeback they can just go back to the good ol’ USSR name. Maybe that’s why Lavrov hates toppling statues.

Russian Propaganda New Low–Black American Mercenaries in Kharkiv

15 Oct bogus RS vid of US merc negroes in Kharkov

Russian propaganda continues to reach for new lows. Today one of their dissemination sources, Диванные войска России (Russian Couch Forces) which prides itself on being an info dissemination source serving Russia, posted yet another asinine video alleging to show about 18 “American mercenary negroes” having arrived in Kharkiv. The only problem is that the totally out of context video

shows the “soldiers” in a sloppy three rank formation, and all are wearing purely green military fatigues and wearing berets. Now, Russian propaganda does, for some reason, seem to believe that all US military forces are black, though having been in and working for the military for decades I can attest that the US forces are mainly non-black. In any case, those shown in the long-distance video clearly resemble some rag-tag element in some African country where this attire is normal. This is NOT in Kharkiv and is NOT any kind of US forces or mercenaries or whatever the Russians are trying to show it is. Still, this footage will obviously make it onto Kiselev’s Vesti Nedeli this coming Sunday.

Bogus Russian Video of Alleged US Black Mercenaries in Kharkiv

It is very reminiscent of the ridiculous propaganda the Kremlin pulled out in the 2008 Georgia war, where they claimed to have video of black US forces (once again) fighting alongside the Georgians (since I was very involved in that region at the time I know full well that the small number of US trainers who were training Georgian forces on a long-term assignment at the Vaziani base were all pulled back to Tbilisi hotels during the war and there were no groups of US advisers fighting with the Georgians–white, black, or mixed. They also produced a passport of a US citizen who they claim was fighting with the Georgians in South Ossetia, but it turns out this was the passport of a US person who had been working in China two years earlier as an English teacher and had had his passport stolen at the time. It obviously made its way to Russia and they conveniently salted it in South Ossetia as part of a cheap propaganda ploy. (But who knows–maybe some of the Georgian forces were simultaneously preparing for their IELTS exams so he had to accompany them to the front.)

The garbage they stoop to get more and more ridiculous, even as their own people in eastern Ukraine continue to proudly break the not-so-ceasefire.

 

Russian Military Tells Concerned Soldiers’ Mothers Their Sons are Not dying in Ukraine

VDV letter to mothers

If you repeat a bigger and bigger lie enough, some idiots will believe it, though it is doubtful the Russian soldiers’ mothers will believe their sons all died in some continuing series of training accidents in Rostov, which has apparently become the most dangerous training range in history.

The September letter from the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Airborne Forces (VDV) to a head of the Soldiers’ Mothers’ Committee states: “Your appeal, which was addressed to the Chief of the Directorate of Social Work of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation has been evaluated by the Command of the Air Assault Forces. The information to which you have been made privy does not accord with reality. Your suppositions are based on information being propagandised by “pro-Western” mass media with a hostile stance towards the Russian Federation. Maintain calm and respect the defenders of our Motherland. Respectfully, The Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the VDV for Work with Personnel, Colonel V. Kupchishin.”

So soldiers coming home in Gruz-200 refrigerator trucks and being secretly buried with no military honours (maybe because as the official version goes, those fighting in Ukraine were all just on “leave”) are just figments of their mothers’ or wives’ or girlfriends’ imaginations. Maybe they never existed. George Orwell never even conceived of some of the garbage Putin’s creation is putting out as reality.

Russians Firing From Apartments at Ukrainian-Held Donetsk Airport During “Ceasefire”

ags17 firing at donetsk apt

Russian ORT TV (First Channel) yesterday ran a piece on the fighting in eastern Ukraine (during the alleged ceasefire) where Russian and allied force have been trying to retake the airport in Donetsk for over a week from Ukrainian forces. Not much of a ceasefire actually, But in this report the ORT correspondent goes into an apartment building, complete with resident babushka, and takes up a position in someone’s living room to fire an AGS-17 automatic grenade launcher at the airport. As many have noted, it is no wonder then that any return fire from the Ukrainians would be directed at the source of the shooting, with the possibility that innocent would be hit. This is far from the first video taken by Russian correspondents there showing them firing from apartments and even from school buildings. As for why these forces (who in the video seem to be very well outfitted “local” fighters–most likely some at least are real Russian military forces) have been attacking the airport with a vengeance for over a week during a supposed ceasefire, one would have to ask their boss, Mr Putin, who naturally has vastly different definitions than the rest of the world for a number of concepts–ceasefire and invasion included.

Russian forces fire AGS-17 at Donetsk Airport–Russian State TV Report

 

T-Shirt Putler Zombies

Typical brute force Russian mindset. “Sanctions? Don’t make my Iskender (SS-26 operational-tactical ballistic missiles) laugh” and “Topol (SS-25/27 ICBM) are not afraid of sanctions” (worn by Russian Duma member, boxer, simian, and Putin cheerleader Valuev). But then again, these are the only things in addition to natural gas that make Russia a power whatsoever.

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Shady Minsk Agreements

It seems as though Ukraine’s govt has been making some catastrophic mistakes relating to the negotiations with Russia and the “separatists” in the east. Not sure what Poroshenko’s game plan is, but it looks capitulatory or shady, at least. All the Minsk deals were negotiated on Kyiv’s part by Kuchma, who is the murderous former president who first helped get Yanuk elected in 2004 before the Orange Revolution, and then has also been a mostly supporter of Yanuk while he was in power. He has always been closely tied to Russia. Why him as choice of a negotiator? Certainly he has the Russian links, but far too many, it would seem, and he seems to be selling out Ukraine’s interests. Working out last week the deal giving high degree of autonomy to Luhansk and Donetsk is merely rewarding aggression. Period. Not to mention an amnesty for the scumbags there who kidnapped, tortured, and murdered locals they did not like, as well as holding journalists and OSCE teams (some with diplomatic status) hostage. They deserve nothing but contempt and hard jail time. As for today’s agreement in Minsk for pulling Ukrainian and “separatist” troops back and making a 30 km buffer zone—precisely in who’s interest is this? Ukrainian troops are being told to vacate parts of Ukraine and rewarding the Russian insurgents (who are Russian, or were totally installed by them). Again, this looks like capitulation. The regions in question are less than a third ethnic Russian, and February polling showed that even those were largely not in favor of separatism. So we are talking about a minority of less than a sixth of the population (even less than that) determining (thanks to the “vanguard” of Russian Spetsnaz troops, “on leave” Russian soldier mercenaries, a handful of Russian neo-Nazis with Putin’s blessing, and then a large number of actual Russian military battalion task forces) that these regions will be marginally independent and then certainly annexed in a short time by Russia after the appropriate bogus referenda are held? This is sick. Yes, things did not go well for Ukrainian forces in the final week of fighting due to the introduction of a large number of regular Russian forces, but instead of staying the course and fighting on, this smacks of surrendering part of Ukraine’s territory (another piece after Crimea). 19th century style aggression (with the proper denials) seems to pay. And this is not the end of Putin’s game plan.

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MH17 Shootdown Update—As Expected, Professional Russian Military Crew Did it

Left cockpit panel from MH17 showing massive shrapnel blowthrough that originated from right side of the aircraft

Left cockpit panel from MH17 showing massive shrapnel blowthrough that originated from right side of the aircraft

On 9 September the Dutch accident investigation team released its preliminary report on the downing of Malaysian Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine. The results were based on the evidence seen by them and Australian investigators at the crash site (despite Russian “rebel” efforts to delay their entry for as long as possible), as well as the findings from the cockpit voice recorder and flight date recorders, which they have and had been exploiting (despite nonsensical Russian and Russian troll baseless accusations that the black boxes had been either taken away to the US or were falsified). It turns out that they contained little information anyway, because there were no discussions of any problem in the cockpit since the plane was essentially instantly destroyed in flight.

For those who say MH17 was in a place where planes should not have been, here are the ATC radar tracks for 16 and 17 July over that part of Ukraine

For those who say MH17 was in a place where planes should not have been, here are the ATC radar tracks for 16 and 17 July over that part of Ukraine

More useful were the recordings of the Dnipropetrovsk ATC radar with MH17 before the shootdown and concurrent phone conversations between that ATC and the Russian ATC centre in Rostov, to which Dnipropetrovsk was handing off control at the time of the shootdown. This is an important point—Russian ATC was taking control of the plane at the time. One interesting note is that when the Ukrainian ATC could no longer raise MH17 by radio, Rostov said “No, it seems that its target started falling apart.” Odd choice of words, but considering that ATC personnel talke amongst themselves and with aircraft in English, it could just have been an unfortunate word choice. But as the radar screen shots provided at the July Russian MOD propaganda briefing on the downing of MH17 showed, the plane did indeed start showing about five distinct returns as it then disappeared from the radar.

ATC transcript

This is consistent with the Dutch findings that the cockpit area had been hit by “multiple high-energy objects from outside the aircraft.” This is fully consistent with findings reported here previously on 29 July that showed the left cockpit panel was riddled with scores of shrapnel holes that had entered the right side, ripping through the cockpit, and exiting the left side. The instantaneous structural damage ripped the plane apart, per the investigators.

Dutch preliminary report story

As for the ridiculous multiple variations of Russian theories thrown out in public to confuse the discussion, mislead the gullible, and just say “it was anybody but us,” those versions can go into the dustbin where they belonged all along. There was no phantom Ukrainian Su-25 (ground attack) plane that shot it down (which in any case was not on radar and can only reach half the altitude of the 777). Even if some plane had used an air-to-air missile to bring it down (which was not the case), those IR homing missiles would have hit one of the engines, which would have resulted in relatively low-energy shrapnel hitting parts of the rear of the plane—not the cockpit. It was hit with an SA-11 BUK missile that proximity detonated to the right front of the aircraft. A hit from that position would have indicated a launch point near where a SA-11 TELAR had been seen that morning and then the next day leaving toward the Russian border, in the town of Torez—an area under Russian “rebel” control.

It happens that an intrepid Russian investigator has done what so many others have done in the previous months, and sifted through photos and videos people (often Russians) have uploaded, and matched up particular unique marks on vehicles to come up with a perfect match.

Another match on the vehicle that shot down MH17. Seen fleeing after the shootdown minus one missile and same vehicle a few weeks earlier during roadmarch from Kursk down to the Ukrainian border

Another match on the vehicle that shot down MH17. Seen fleeing after the shootdown minus one missile and same vehicle a few weeks earlier during roadmarch from Kursk down to the Ukrainian border

Russian investigative journalist identifies SA-11 TELAR form shootdown

The Russian investigative journalist Iggy Ostanin dug into videos people had uploaded from 23 and 24 June showing a convoy of SA-11 vehicles moving south from Kursk to the area near Belgorod, close to the Ukrainian border. Thanks to VKontakte page uploads from a sergeant in the 53rd Air Defense Missile Brigade from Kursk, and shots form the convoy movements, it was possible to absolutely determine the SA-11 unit moving toward Ukraine was the 53rd. Moreover, paint markings, including one partial bit from a side (bort) number on the SA-11 TELAR videoed in Torez on 17 July—the day MH17 was shot down—clearly show the TELAR there was one of those from the 53rd Brigade seen a few weeks earlier on the Russian roadmarch.

SA-11 match--roadmarching in Russia late June and in Torez Ukraine hours before MH17 shot down

SA-11 match–roadmarching in Russia late June and in Torez Ukraine hours before MH17 shot down

As if the evidence were not compleelign enough before, not there is a perfect matchup. Moreover, this was, as previously stated here, not some equipment the Russians provided to the “rebels,” since it takes many months to years to become proficient at operating an SA-11 TELAR—particularly in singleton mode–but was manned by fully professional Russian military crews. But Russia sticks to its story line that it was the Ukrainians who shot down the 777. Unabashed bold-faced liars.

SNOWDRIFT radar from 53rd Brigade in motorpool shot on brigade member's VKontakte page, and same one seen roadmarching toward Ukraine 23 and 24 June

SNOWDRIFT radar from 53rd Brigade in motorpool shot on brigade member’s VKontakte page, and same one seen roadmarching toward Ukraine 23 and 24 June

 

More Russian Fabrications—A Bogus Ukrainian Poll Now

Maksim Shevchenko

Maksim Shevchenko

A retweet today by Maksim Shevchenko—a Russian journalist and opinion leader who is a shameless cheerleader for Putin who puts out the most ludicrous nonsense when he appears all too often on Ekho Moskvy—forwarded an item from Konstantin Rykov. He is a Russian Duma member and one of Putin’s top propaganda henchmen (along with Dmitry Kiselev). Rykov, who runs numerous websites as his profession, including his “Internet Review” and internet sites for Russian state ORT First Channel TV,  posted an article that originated with Kiselev’s RIA-Novosti, and was titled “’Special Operation’ Considered Inappropriate by 58% of Ukrainians, 35% Crave Victory By the Powers” and noted a nationwide poll taken from 26 August to 1 September that asked 1,820 people in all regions except Crimea and Luhansk whether they considered continuing the AntiterroristOperation as appropriate. As the title says, a majority of Ukrainians said it was not, and said “no, Ukrainians need peace.” The poll was conducted, according to the article, by a company called USS Research.

Rykov's site with "poll" article

Rykov’s site with “poll” article

Rykov’s website with article on “poll”

The only minor problem with the poll and the story is that a rudimentary internet search comes up with absolutely no information on any polling company called USS Research. The closest things were a research department of US Steel and a business listing with no information at all on some company called USS Research in Pennsylvania. This is just another cheap Russian propaganda attempt to show that the majority of Ukrainians are against fighting for the country’s territorial integrity. Another Kremlin lie to be added to the list.

As for Rykov, he might have to think this one over at his luxury villa near Nice on the Cote d’ Azur. Like so many in the Duma and Putin’s inner circle who spout all their anti-EU and anti-US propaganda, they tend to have luxury property in Europe or places like Miami.

 

 

Putin’s In Your Face Challenge in Estonia

Presidents Ilves and Obama in Tallinn on 3 Sep

Presidents Ilves and Obama in Tallinn on 3 Sep

Just two days after US President Obama was in Estonia talking about security guarantees, with the NATO Summit in Wales reinforcing the point, Putin has begun his campaign against the Balts and essentially flipped the US and NATO off. On Friday an Estonian counterintelligence and counter-smuggling officer, Eston Kohver, who was operating in the southeast of the country, was kidnapped at gunpoint by some Russians and spirited over the border. The Estonian Internal Inelligence Service (KAPO in Estonian) claim radio jammers and a smoke grenade were used in the detention. Russia’s FSB claims he was detained in Russia with a pistol, 5,000 Euros, secret recording equipment, and documents that were some kind of spying plan. (This is about as believable as the FSB detention last year of an alleged CIA agent in Moscow apprehended with a 1970s wig, written instructions for the Russian he was allegedly going to recruit, and equipment including a boyscout compass, since apparently the CIA does not own any smartphones with GPS.)

This is a clear Putin “in your face” challenge to Obama and NATO in general. Indeed this is the danger. Not that Russian forces will roll into Baltic countries. That is the kind of thing that NATO is prepared for and is beefing up its defences for, and what Article 5 is all about. The real danger is that Putin will try something much like what has worked in Crimea and eastern Ukraine—send in some GRU or other professional teams to play the role of “concerned ethnic Russians” there, bring in some local ethnic Russians as support, and gradually increase the number of Russian forces there in the guise of mercenaries (equipped naturally with the latest Russian weaponry). How NATO would react is hard to tell, since even with tones of evidence, as they have in the case of Russian military involvement in Ukraine, Russia will keep denying and saying “it’s not us—you’re lying.” Given the pitiful response of NATO, the EU, and US in Ukraine (or rather lack thereof), I would wager that the response in the face of Putin’s new style of warfare would be underwhelming.

 

Russians (Not “Rebels”) Making Gains

In recent days Ukrainian forces have had some significant setbacks in the east, but definitely not at the hands of the “separatist” forces there, who have been largely holed up in Donetsk and Luhansk. Russian forces have pushed (after artillery preparation of the battlefield) along the coast to take control of Novoazovsk, on the road toward Mariupol, where the locals have been building antitank ditches and fortifications in preparation for a further Russian move. Further north, especially near Luhansk, the tide has been turning due to the introduction of additional heavy Russian units in the form of entire battalion tactical groups. Anyone who claims these are just some local separatists who happened to have gotten some vehicles is not mistaken—they are outright liars. There are a number of these battalion groups now operating in the area and enjoying some success, as well as a lot of regular Russian artillery units, professionally deployed, and equipped with 2S1, 2S3, and the fairly new 2S19 SP howitzers, as well as multiple rocket launchers.

Russian fuel bowsers in battalion tactical group on road to Luhansk 2 Sep

Russian fuel bowsers in battalion tactical group on road to Luhansk 2 Sep

Today a video taken from a bus on the road from Krasnodon (about 10 km from the Russian border) to Luhansk showed such a battalion tactical group, made up of a battalion of BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles (about 30), roughly two companies of T-72 tanks (about 20 total), several 2S1 and 2S3 SP howitzers, some engineer vehicles, a number of MTLB-U variants and MTLBs, and the better part of a materiel support battalion, with dozens of trucks and over a dozen fuel trucks. Some Russian trolls commenting on the video said it was old film from Crimea, though the regular Russian units in Crimea eventually did not conceal bort numbers, there were no large BMP-equipped units like this operating there and no tanks, and most of all, the trees in this new video are in late summer foliage (not the no foliage that would have been in Crimea invasion videos from February and March).

Large Russian convoy on road to Luhansk (battalion tactical group)

Of note, to those who say this was just a “few” pieces of captured Ukrainian equipment, the fuel trucks, while lacking number plates and markings (like all the armoured vehicles missing bort numbers), they still had content marking signs and the bold lettering OGNEOPASNO (Flammable) written in Russian (not Ukrainian). End of argument.

This is more regular Russian military entering the fight in Ukraine. Can we now say finally it is an invasion?

 

LifeNews Reporters Still Part of the Story

Life News reporter fighter as usual

At the hot battle of Ilovaysk, correspondent for the Russian govt-associated LifeNews blatant propaganda network demonstrates their typical style by wearing full camouflage, with the addition of a Press patch. The AK-74 with BG-25 grenade launcher resting on the wall probably is not from one of the “separatist” soldiers in the fight, since you would want to keep that in your hands. My guess would be it is his.

In the video of the fighting, the Russian forces are seen firing a variety of weapons from a schoolyard (naturally the Ukrainians would get the bad press for damage to the school when they shoot back). Weapons include new model AK-74s, all with under-barrel grenade launchers, RPG-7s, some firing the thin and relatively new OG-7V antipersonnel fragmentation grenade, the RPG-22, and RPG-26.

Ilovaysk battle from LifeNews

 

No Disputin’ it, Mr. Putin

 

It is absolutely clear to everyone now, except for total idiots and Kremlin trolls (who in most cases know better but spout the party line), that Russian military forces are actively fighting in eastern Ukraine.

In addition to the two BMD-2s captured near Luhansk a few days ago from the 76th VDV Division, it turns out quite a few soldiers from that division and maybe some other units have been killed and wounded fighting in Ukraine. A funeral was held today in Pskov, just a few days after Defence Minister Shoigu was in the city to officially present the Order of Suvorov to the formation for courage and bravery during combat successful operations. Not like a normal funeral, as this was guarded by police and held in secrecy. Afterwards, journalists from Dozhd and other free media outlets went in to film the fresh graves (which were servicemembers), but were set upon and roughed up by thugs who threatened them and ordered them to leave. A number of women have appeared in media complaining that their husbands or boyfriends or sons from the division have disappeared, or were killed, with one asking the Ukrainians for forgiveness for her son having fought there against Ukraine. Some of the women said their loved ones had told them they were being sent out on exercises prior to their disappearance. Another version put out by the military a few days earlier was that soldiers had been killed in a training accident. Meanwhile, about two weeks ago locals in St Petersburg say transports arrived there at a major military hospital with about 100 wounded.

Jounalists assaulted trying to film secret funerals in Pskov

Noteworthy is that VKontakte accounts of most soldiers who were on paperwork recovered by the Ukrainians from the two BMDs it captured have been deactivated, though lots of people were able to access them before deactivation to take plenty of screenshots.

Russian T-72B with Kontakt-5 ERA in eastern Ukraine today

Russian T-72B with Kontakt-5 ERA in eastern Ukraine today

Today a couple of columns of Russian armored vehicles entered Ukraine from Russia—one with at least seven tanks and a couple of BMPs in the south, and another southeast of Luhansk which included four T-72B tanks—one of which had the new Russian Kontakt-5 reactive armour—plus three trucks towing D-30 howitzers, two BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles, one Strela-10 (SA-13) air defence missile system, and four MTLB armored vehicles (two with ZU-23 guns mounted on top). The convoy was geolocated in the town of Sverdlovsk heading north toward Luhansk. This is probably the latest batch of kit that Russian government mercenaries (taken mostly right form the military and made into “private” contract fighters) were trained on at the Russian military training area near Rostov.

Russian armoured column in eastern Ukraine 26 Aug

However, more active duty Russian soldiers showed up in Ukraine yesterday, in the form of 10 from the 98th VDV Division in Kostroma who were captured by the Ukrainians in the town of Zerkalnoe, 22 kilometers from the Russian border. They were shown on Ukrainian TV being questioned about how they ended up there. They nearly all said they had been brought to near Rostov on 16 August, were told to paint out their vehicle bort numbers, and awakened early n 24 August and told they were going on an exercise (with only the officers being told they were going into Ukraine). They knew they had crossed over, and it became clearer when they were engaged by Ukrainian forces. The platoon commander in one vehicle fled, leaving his crew to fend for themselves.

3 of the captured Russian soldiers from the 98th VDV Division

3 of the captured Russian soldiers from the 98th VDV Division

Most telling is that the Russian Defence Ministry confirmed they were Russian soldiers, but said they had just been patrolling near the Ukrainian border and got lost. A slight navigational error on the part of normal Russian soldiers is perhaps possible, but VDV soldiers actually get a good amount of training in land navigation, and crossing a border and driving 22 kilometers through Ukrainian villages certainly should have rung some warning bells if they had taken a wrong turn (not to mention some carried military satnav systems). They were not lost (just like their 76th Div brothers). They were sent into Ukraine. Tonight relatives of the soldiers taken prisoner were trying to meet with the division commander in Kostroma.

It seems the Russian military façade may be cracking a bit. The soldiers did not seem very gung-ho about their mission and were concerned they had been sent on a combat mission while being told it was an exercise. Families and friends are voicing their concerns about being lied to about their loved ones being taken prisoner or killed and everything being covered up. There are direct parallels with the way deaths of Soviet troops killed in Afghanistan in the 1980s were kept secret to conceal the level of involvement. Certainly Putin will continue sending in regular forces as well as his government mercenaries, but he will start facing increasing discontent from military families as well as some less than enthusiastic soldiers.

 

Russia to “Fraternal” Ukraine–What a Difference a Year Makes

How quickly things change. When Russia’s puppet, Yanuk, was in power, the “fraternal” Ukrainians were the greatest thing going. A year ago in his message to Yanukovych on Ukrainian Independence Day Putin ” reconfirmed the indestructible long-standing traditions of friendship and good neighbourliness of both countries.”

Indep greet 2013

Now that the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians booted out the kleptocrat and turned to Europe, for Putin and his people, and for an increasing number of regular Russians who buy into their crap, Ukrainians are Nazi Fascist vermin who must be exterminated. Leading the charge the other day was unofficial Kremlin ideologist Aleksandr Dugin who called for at least a partial genocide (using that word) against those Ukrainians who he says climbed out of a sewer.

Dugin on genocide 23 Aug 14

But such words, as dangerous as they are, especially when accompanied by tanks, MRLs, BMPs, and BMDs (as they are) have the effect of making Putin’s Russia look ridiculous to the overwhelming majority of the world, have led to its self-imposed isolation, and have had the effect of pushing the Ukrainians even further to the West. Invasions have a way of doing that.