Girkin Spills the Beans—As Long Known, Russia Started the War

The start of the 20 Nov "Zavtra" interview with Girkin

The start of the 20 Nov “Zavtra” interview with Girkin

Fittingly on the even of the Maidan anniversary, Russia’s frontman in the eastern Ukraine conflict, Igor Girkin (aka Strelkov) gave a long interview where, intersperced with lots of lies, omissions, and half-truths, he also made some admissions about Russia’s role in that war—and others. Like other Russian leaders in that conflict, he seems to have a great ego and lots of pride in what he does, so he loves to boast of his “achievements,” such as they are.

Tellingly, he gave his interview on the 20th to the Russian extreme right-wing publication Zavtra (Tomorrow), which has long been the brainchild of Russian “writer” Aleksandr Prokhanov, who acts frequently on Russian state television as a mouthpiece for the Russian government, though like his fellow traveler Zhirinovskiy, also says publicly a lot of the ridiculous things the Russian leadership is thinking, but are even embarrassed to utter.

Girkin interview article in Zavtra

In the interview, titled “Kto ti, Strelok?” (“Who are you, Shooter?”), Girkin tells about his role in starting the fighting in eastern Ukraine, but first recounts some of the things he has done in his military past. He notes Ukraine was his fifth war, which include two Chechen wars, Transnistria, and says he was fighting for the Serbs in Bosnia in the 1990s against the Bosnian Muslims. This is interesting, in that there were always indications the Serbs had some advisors or other military assistance from the Russians at that time, but no clear evidence. His admission that he, as a career Spetsnaz officer was involved there, is an interesting bit of information.

Girkin in his Spetsnaz camo with captured Ukrainian SBU officers in Slovyansk

Girkin in his Spetsnaz camo with captured Ukrainian SBU officers in Slovyansk

As for Ukraine, he says he says he was an advisor to Russian-appointed Prime Minister (Chairman of the Council of Ministers) of Crimea Sergey Aksenev right after the takeover of the peninsula starting in late February, calling Aksenev “smart, competent, sane, talented,” which are hardly words people usually use for the guy who was a major figure in two organized crime groups there going by the nickname “Goblin,” and was involved in a number of contract killings, as well as having been injured in an attack by a rival crime group on a convoy he was riding in back in 1996. Though Aksenev was a Crimean Rada member since 2010 when his pro-Russian anschluss Russian Unity party (Русское единство) got a whopping 4% of the vote (which is amazing given that just four years later in Russia’s referendum nearly 100% “voted” for unification with Russia), Aksenev had himself appointed Prime Minister on 27 February, the day after Spetsnaz seized the Crimean Rada by holding the Rada members at gunpoint in the building after confiscating their phones and locking the doors, and was blessed by Moscow (and still retains the same job there running Moscow’s Crimean fiefdom. Apparently to Girkin, these qualities make “Mr. 4%” Aksenev smart and talented, which says something of his own values. Girkin claims he was in charge of the Crimean Spetsnaz company, which he claims was the only “rebel” unit there.

After Crimea was taken by Russia, he says he realized Crimea (which he calls the diamond in the crown of the Russian Empire) was just part of “Novorossiya” and could not stand by itself. In his version, delegates from other parts of “Novorossiya” arrived in Crimea asking for help to start similar uprisings there. Since Aksenev was too busy, he told Girkin to take care of matters in the “northern territories.” He put together a Spetsnaz company of 52 men for this. They first raided Slovyansk and had help from 150-200 locals who he alleges helped them raid the local police building (the actual detailed video footage of the raid shows the Spetsnaz group professionally taking the building, and only then were some locals marched up to be shown getting credit for taking down the Ukrainian flag). He lamented that he had not informed his family of what he was doing, so once he was shown on TV and identified, press descended on his Moscow apartment (though it turns out that some black limos later rolled up and spirited his wife and others there to some unknown destination–an obvious government move to get them out of the limelight).

Famous Girkin quote when Ukraine was gaining ground and overt Russian troops not yet involved: We're fucked"

Famous Girkin quote when Ukraine was gaining ground and overt Russian troops not yet involved: We’re fucked”

He claims he and others hoped Russia would get involved as his fighters were suffering more difficult attacks into the summer, but it never came. He notes they had to get weapons wherever they could. This is one of his massive lies in the interview, since from the start the fight was being conducted largely by professional Russian military like his group, Russian government mercenary groups equipped with modern Russian military weapons, and there are mountains of video and photo documentary evidence that his fighters there were equipped with some of the most modern Russian RPG models, thermobaric rocket launchers, antitank guided missiles, and man-portable air defence missile systems, including some models that were never in the Ukrainian inventory. Then in August large numbers of Russian Army regular forces in battalion groupings were operating there, which ended up pushing the Ukrainian military back. Perhaps initially the Russian military—which he belongs to and was absolutely getting his orders from daily—left his groups to their own means, but they soon started sending in the mercenary and regular forces in greater numbers.

He makes the bold announcement that everything started in the east because of him, who “pulled the trigger.” He also takes the responsibility for deserting Slovyansk but says he had to in order to help defend Donetsk, where other units like Vostok Battlaion were fighting, but not under his command (which is odd if he was supposed to be the “Donetsk Peoples’ Republic Defence Minister,” which indicates that this unit was under other Russian MOD control). Things impoved though when, as he puts it, “vacationers” started arriving. He mentioned this a couple of times. Interestingly this is even put into quotations marks in the original, since this is a reference to what Putin and others claimed were Russian military soldiers who were just in Ukraine while on “leave.” This was a term they applied to regular Russian forces who were apprehended or killed there, as well as to some Russian government mercenary subunits. Just average Russian soldiers on “leave” (which most soldiers in Russia do not even get) in order to go fight a foreign war on their spare time. Right.

A most interesting comment near the end of the interview was that he is not a reconnaissance/intelligence soldier in the usual terms, but is a special services operator (“спецслужбист”). This could well be true in a way, since although he has been career SPetsnaz, it is clear that he was given a special mission here and in Crimea. His account of having volunteers may be correct—not in that these were local volunteers—rather that they were volunteers from the Russian Spetsnaz forces for a particularly sensitive operation.

 

Girkin in several of his military reenactment roles

Girkin in several of his military reenactment roles

It seems Girkin does talk a bit too much about what he has done. The detailed parts left our here about his actions in Donetsk and other parts of the east certainly contain elements of truth, as well as certainly some lies and some aggrandisement related to his role. As a fanatical military reenactor, he seems to see himself as a combination of Napoleon, Zhukov, and Richard Zorge the agent, though during his stint commanding in Slovyansk he also played Stalin by issuing death decrees based on 1941 military occupation orders. But in any case, he enlightened everyone just a bit more in this interview about Russia’s role in thie was and the one in Bosnia, even if pulling his punches a bit to avoid giving out too much information. “Vacationers” to the rescue?

 

Maidan a Year Old

Maidan 21 Nov 2014

Maidan 21 Nov 2014

Maidan started one year ago today, and there was a big gathering of over 10,000 there this evening and commemorations of those who were murdered there for protesting a kleptocratic regime with zero consideration for the people of the country. After the regime had been misleading the people about the country’s future orientation (which was about a European orientation—not about rejecting Russia as a historical neighbour), had been stealing tens of billions of desperately needed dollars from the country, and had sold out the country’s sovereignty by, contrary to the Constitution, allowing Russia to maintain its Sevastopol naval base until at least 2042 in exchange supposedly for cheaper natural gas (though Russia jacked up the price to more than European customer rates before the ink was dry on the agreement), once the announcement was made on 21 November 2013 that there would be no signing of the Association Agreement with the EU, a Ukrainian journalist of Afghani Muslim heritage (or as Russia would say—a Banderist neo-Nazi) called people out to protest, beginning Maidan.

Over the coming months the regime’s answer repeatedly was to have police brutally beat protesters, then kidnap, torture, and murder some, and finally gun down about a hundred with Kalashnikovs and small and large caliber sniper rifles in a very methodical killing spree. All the while the president was supervising the packout of the best things in his sprawling mansion complex north of the capital, sending the trucks on the way to Russia—his psychological and now real home. That would have been it, except for Putin’s response five days later when a Spetsnaz group “liberated” the Crimean Rada and was soon joined by the most blatant violation ever of a Status of Forces Agreement as the hosted Russian troops spread out throughout the peninsula taking total control, being joined by new units. A foreign power then rammed through a pre-decided absurd referendum in world record time, followed by annexation within a couple of days. This was followed by a partial takeover of parts of eastern Ukraine also with Spetsnaz as the vanguard followed by heavy forces consisting largely of Russian government mercenaries and finally real army forces—all denied despite mountains of evidence to the contrary. All to try to take back what an imperial country thinks belongs to it.

Was Maidan representative of the country? Probably far more than any other revolution, where often a few thousand armed people decide for the whole. Certainly it represented something more than half, though numbers of Maidan supporters were definitely lower in the east and south. But when was there ever a revolution that was to the liking of everyone? Surely in the late 18th century there were still many Tory supporters in the newly minted US. Fact also is that when Maidan began a year ago, there was no talk of overthrowing the regime—only influencing it and getting it to listen. It responded with bullets against the unarmed, and then a revolution carried out with sticks and shields and tyres. The regime’s actions are what turned a movement into a revolution. As a result of the irredentist dreams of one psychotic dictator to the east there are now several thousand dead, large areas of ruin, a heap of discarded treaties, plummeting oil prices, a plummeting Russian currency, a Russia that has cut itself off from the world and is looking to cozy up with the likes of North Korea since nobody else really wants to deal with it. And most Russians still think their leader is right, even as pensions are raided and cancer treatment is not funded in order to pay for extra military expenditures for adventurism in a time of a rapidly declining budget. “But Crimea is Ours!”

Western response has been nothing short of cowardly, since nobody is willing to test “Uganda with Nuclear Weapons” as some have termed Russia. Contrary to the constant barrage of cheap Russian disinformation, nobody funded Maidan and its “army” (if the US did give tens of millions every week, apparently sticks and old tyres cost a lot these days). There is still hardly any military or financial support, because everyone is in the 1938 mindset that it does not really affect them. It does, and it will. Ukraine is just the first (or actually after Georgia, the second) step.

A year ago, who would have thought a simple protest would have put a vindictive empire-building maniac on the path of expansion.

 

Russia Won’t Give Up on Bogus MH-17 Satellite Image

This is getting ever more ridiculous, but sickly entertaining at the same time. Tonight Russian ORT state TV “commentator” Mikhail Leontev, who brought us the “sensation” last week of the badly done fake satellite image showing an alleged Ukrainian Su-27 FLANKER firing a missile at the MH-17 Boeing 777, supposedly caught by a US or UK spy satellite right at this critical moment on 17 July, has reached rock bottom and continued digging. After the broad criticism of this obvious fake, which was made using a 2012 Google Earth image of the Donetsk area and was based on “expert” information from a certain George Bilt–allegedly an expert in aviation for over two decades who went to MIT, but does not seem to come up on any Google searches until this sensation–propagandist Leontev, who said the critics were all cattle, has gone on the air again to defend his magical photo.

Leontev

Leontev

Odnako programme on ORT TV 19 November

They now produce a letter from the mysterious George Bilt, where he writes rather stupid things such as “…this photo was received from the Russian Wikileaks / specific source not indicated and as per the UTC time format it could have been made by some American or Intelligence satellite. It was definitely not made by any Russian satellite….On this whole MH17 case. I do believe that this is our Christian and civic duty to fully pursue and embrace the truth – for those 300 innocent victims and other honest murdered people such as Carlos, Spanish air controller from Bilbao etc – but ultimately for our own moral and civilizational survival. Because this is a very bad world indeed where they murder 300 innocent people in a broad daylight and go unpunished.”

There is a lot wrong with this.

Firstly, what precisely is WikiLeaks Russia? WikiLeaks only released US military and diplomatic cables a few years old, and Assange released nothing from Russian classified documents, since those are likely his masters and he probably wants to keep living–albeit in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.

We already mentioned that US/NATO satellite images do not put UTC time and this date format on them, as anyone who has seen the released NATO satellite photos related to the Ukraine crisis would know.

Fake Russian satellite image of shootdown

Fake Russian satellite image of shootdown

The references to the alleged Spanish air traffic controller Carlos in the Kyiv tower when the plane was shot down are also demonstrably fake, and this was an 18 July RT invention, as lots of them are. They alleged this Carlos was a Spaniard working in the Kyiv ATC tower till May, when he and his family got death threats for some reason from the Ukrainians, so they fled to Spain, but he somehow resurfaced in the tower in Kyiv the day the plane was shot down and sent out a tweet that “Before they take our phones away or crack my head open, HE WAS DHOT SOWN BY THE KIEV.” This Carlos was interviewed in Spain by RT with his identity blocked out in shadows, so unlike what this Bilt phantom says about Carlos being presumably among innocent dead, he seemed to be alive, though fictitious. Ukraine, like many other countries, does not use foreigners as ATC personnel, and certainly not one like Carlos who cannot use proper English (since ATC use English when talking with aircraft).

"Carlos" tween reported by "Novorossiya" propaganda site

“Carlos” tweet reported by “Novorossiya” propaganda site

Bilt’s sentence constructs are clumsy and indicative of being written by a Russian, especially at the end with his “murder 300 innocent people in a broad daylight.” This addition of an “a” is a common mistake of Russians speaking English. This guy is supposedly an engineer who went to MIT?

Mysterious George Bilt letter to ORT

Mysterious George Bilt letter to ORT

As for other things Leontev emphasized, the ORT pictures of the cockpit fuselage panel oddly were noted as “obvious evidence of aviation cannon on the pilot’s cabin of the Malaysian Boeing.” Really? The fake satellite photo shows a Su-27 fighter firing an air-to-air missile at the Boeing. Of course, previous Russian “versions” had an Su-25 FROGFOOT ground attack aircraft impossibly being at the 777′s altitude and downing it with its 30mm cannon. So they seem mixed up on their version control (but are counting on idiots believing them). Anyhow, the cockpit fuselage panel does not show 30mm cannon damage, since all the holes are of greatly varying sizes and shapes.

Cockpit panel of MH-17 with great variance in shrapnel hole size--NOT a cannon

Cockpit panel of MH-17 with great variance in shrapnel hole size–NOT a cannon

In short, they are reinforcing their already exposed cheap lies with new ridiculous lies to cover the fact that they shot down MH-17.

 

More Russian MH-17 Fabrications to Deflect Their Guilt

Leontev spreading MH-17 lies on ORT TV

Leontev spreading MH-17 lies on ORT TV

Odnako, Zdravstvuite! So begins Mikhail Leontev’s several minute-long disinformation “opinion” programme “Odnako” (“However”) once or twice a week following the evening news (disinfomation) programme on ORT state TV. Leontev, an obnoxious weasel of a propagandist who likes his three-day beards, consistently puts out the most venomous and vile anti-US/UK/French/EU/NATO/West lies. Tonight (Friday) was a whopper.

http://www.1tv.ru/news/leontiev/271840

 

Alleged MH-17 on satellite photo--Kremlin fake

Alleged MH-17 on satellite photo–Kremlin fake

He happens to have come by a “US or UK” satellite photo that by the slimmest of chances was shot right at the moment above Hrabohe (Grabovo) Ukraine when the Malaysian 777, Flight MH-17, was shot down. The black and white picture shown is a nearly cloudless day, and clearly shows the 777 flying toward the southeast, while at the bottom image perpendicular to it and a couple of kilometers away is what appears to be an Su-27 FLANKER flying in the direction of the 777. The pure chance does not stop here. An air-to-air missile with a plume is seen just ahead of the Su-27 heading in the direction of the doomed Boeing, with the missile having been launched from an inside pylon on the left wing of the fighter. This is the most exceptional good luck it seems. Imagine the odds of an imagery satellite flying at 25,000 kph and orbiting the Earth every 90 minutes just by chance shooting that particular spot at precisely the time the Malaysian airliner was there as well as an Su-27 and just when the Sukhoi was launching an AAM. And it was all visible from space. In my career I have worked a bit with satellite imagery and can flat-out say it is impossible. Imagery is not like in Hollywood when some general just commands a live image of a place to be shot. Chances of this area getting shot and getting priority for getting shot and getting shot at this exact moment are—less than zero. And not to mention, how did Leontev manage to get the image (which his not annotated as such an imager would be, as shown in the NATO press briefings)? Answer is, he did not get it from some source, since it was an FSB fabrication.

ORT TV fake satellite image supposedly showing Su-27 shooting MH017

ORT TV fake satellite image supposedly showing Su-27 shooting MH017

A few other things wrong with the story. Leontev quotes a “renowned” American aviation expert named George Bilt who was a graduate of MIT as saying it is clear an air-to-air missile shot down the plane, even though Google searches for such an expert only turn up this reference to him as reported on Russian TV). Based on the damage to the 777, which clearly was caused by a large (LARGE!) warhead exploding to the right front of the cockpit (which received by far the most damage), this was not done by a small fighter-launched AAM, which in any case would have been IR homing so would have hit one of the engines, creating nothing like the massive shrapnel damage to the plane, and could well have been a controllable situation. Also, Russia since July has been putting out many versions, including that it was a Ukrainian Su-25 ground attack aircraft, which can only reach half of the altitude where the 777 was flying. Their version mainly focused on the mythical Su-25 firing its 30mm cannon to kill the airliner, with RT’s ridiculous long disinfo documentary a few weeks ago even showing the Russian military demonstrating how an Su-25 attacking some derelict planes on the ground at a range had similar holes to those seen in the 777 (actually the 777 had holes ranging form tiny to about 30cm in diameter–not the same). But anyhow, their whole focus was “Ukrainian Su-25 firing 30mm cannon.” Now in their fantastical satellite photo there appears to be a Su-27 firing a missile. Consistency is not a strong trait in Russian disinformation.

 

Area of fake satellite photo is from 1012 Google Earth imager of Donetsk area

Area of fake satellite photo is from 1012 Google Earth imager of Donetsk area

The final bit of idiocy is that the “satellite photo” in question is indeed a satellite photo—from Google Earth in August 2012 (not the current one online but the historical one from 2012 as can be dug up on dropboxusercontent.com). Someone in the FSB fabrication shop just took an old Google Earth image of that area of Ukraine, superimposed a fuzzy image of a 777 on it, and added a Su-27 in the bottom corner firing a missile. Cloud patterns on the Google photo and the US/UK “satellite” image are amazingly the same. Must have been a Friday afternoon rush job, or just the usual sloppy disinfo without concern for anything like reality.

Other bit of reality is that on the day when the plane was shot down, there was fairly heavy cloud cover in the area. Lots of blue sky too, but lots of cloud, which certainly was not evident in their fake which was nearly cloud-free. But such little “details” never bothered the Kremlin fakers.

As for whether people will buy it—of course many will. Already the internet is full of conspiratorial blogs and leftist/rightist blogs and websites re-launching the same story word for word, as usual. No fact checks. Just spreading the Kremlin lies to idiotic audiences.

But one thing this idiotic attempt at producing yet another version (which is contrary to all the previous Kremlin ones) does is further prove that the Russians did indeed shoot the 777 down, since they are so intent on showing that anyone but them did it. They did.

Surprisingly the Kremlin did not choose to use a "Ukrainian Nazi UFO" in the fake satellite photo

Surprisingly the Kremlin did not choose to use a “Ukrainian Nazi UFO” in the fake satellite photo

Russian Army (Definitely) 2A65 Artillery Battalion in Donetsk Region

Russian Army 2A65 arty battalion in Donetsk region Ukraine 8 Nov

Russian Army 2A65 arty battalion in Donetsk region Ukraine 8 Nov

Another video of Russian military forces entering Ukraine heading toward Donetsk (same seen by OSCE monitors). The second and third ones seen in this video from the 8th are a 2A65 152mm artillery battalion including 1V17 command and recon vehicles. Interesting that despite the Russians always removing identification markings on their vehicles for plausible deniability (so they can stick with the lie that this is just kit taken from the Ukrainian Army by “rebels,” on fuel trucks they always leave the markings for flammable in Russian (totally different word in Ukrainian), and in this case the water truck pulling a field kitchen has the Russian word for water on it (Voda), whereas the Ukrainian word is Vodi. Even their cheap propaganda is botched, though lots of brainless Westerners (and the Russians of course) will eat up their lies.

Russian Army 2A65 arty bn in eastern Ukraine 8 Nov

Russian Army water truck (Voda vice Ukrainian word Vodi) in eastern Ukraine with 2A65 arty bn

Russian Army water truck (Voda vice Ukrainian word Vodi) in eastern Ukraine with 2A65 arty bn

 

Donetsk Russians Have Fun Destroying a Petrol Station

Fun times! Wanton destruction and a discarded RPG-22 tube.

Fun times! Wanton destruction and a discarded RPG-22 tube.

Interesting video of some Russian “militia” in Donetsk having fun by destroying the Tornado petrol station on Yasinovatskoe Shosse about four kilometers northeast of Donetsk Airport (which is still controlled by Ukrainian forces holding out after a month-long siege). This petrol station is on a major road close to the line between Ukrainian and Russian control, but the road is under Russian control. The hooligans/soldiers in the video, speaking in Russian and obviously having a good time (and almost acting drunk), fire first an RPG-7 into the station building, and then an RPG-22 Netto (video erroneously says Mukha, which is the RPG-18) antitank rocket launcher, destroying the building fairly thoroughly. No clear reason why they did this, though no doubt someone will try to point to it later saying the besieged Ukrainians at the airport fired artillery into it. However, at least the joyful shooter of the RPG-22 acted a bit professional before firing it, by putting in ear plugs.

Gas station blowup

Typical for the Russians in the east to destroy the infrastructure of where they live (though they could very well be Russian “tourists” in any case). Even birds, they say, do not shit in their own nest…

Petrol station destruction NE of Donetsk by Russian “Militia”

 

More Regular Russian Forces Enter Ukraine—Happy 25th Anniversary since the Fall of the Wall

 

Russian T-72 tanks on the road in eastern Ukraine early November

Russian T-72 tanks on the road in eastern Ukraine early November

Now that the sham elections in the Donetsk and Luhansk “People’s Republics” are over, and just in time for today’s 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, new regular Russian units have been entering eastern Ukraine. Putin as from the beginning does not give a damn about his supposed ceasefire (which like the last one never really was, since his troops and associated local militias kept up attacks on Ukrainian positions anyhow) and has just used it to put additional forces into eastern Ukraine, presaging a new offensive. Units of Russian kit were noted entering eastern Ukraine already prior to the elections there on 2 November, and on 1 November regular Russian forces–apparently not even caring to hide their presence now to any big extent–held a ceremony and parade in the centre of Luhansk, complete with combat vehicle displays (in front of an underwhelming crowd of perhaps hundreds). But the reinforcement is now picking up steam.

 

Russian army military parade in Luhansk 1 Nov

Russian army military parade in Luhansk 1 Nov

 

Russian military BM-21 MRLs in Luhansk on 1 Nov

Russian military BM-21 MRLs in Luhansk on 1 Nov

 

Though certainly some of our Russian trolls will say there is no proof, and this must just be bits and pieces of kit taken from the Ukrainian forces, the OSCE even went on record yesterday, 8 November, saying their observers had personally seen some of columns heading westward from the Russian border area. Since two days ago, Ukraine’s MOD reported (as did some locals) that 32 tanks, 16 D-30 howitzers, and associated KAMAZ trucks had crossed the border and were passing Krasny Luch onto the H21 road toward Donetsk—all Russian-controlled territory. A few days earlier a column of T-72 tanks had been seen and photographed as well. As usual all vehicles had no bort numbers or vehicle registration number plates.

Russian D-20 arty elements on road in eastern Ukraine 8 November

Russian D-20 arty elements on road in eastern Ukraine 8 November

On 8 November the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine issued their daily report noting that “At 13:55hrs, on the eastern outskirts of Makeevka (25km north-east of Donetsk)… the SMM observed a convoy of more than 40 trucks and tankers moving west on highway H-21. Of these 19 were large trucks – Kamaz type, covered, and without markings or number plates – each towing a 122mm howitzer and containing personnel in dark green uniforms without insignia. Fifteen were Kraz troop carriers…The remaining six were small fuel tankers, fitted with cranes….At 15:20hrs, at the intersection of Leninskyi Street and Kuprin Street (7km south-west of Donetsk city centre) the SMM observed a convoy of nine tanks – four T72 and five T64 – moving west, also unmarked.” These are almost certainly Russian units, as the D-30s seen (which may be the same ones the Ukrainians declared earlier in the day were heading in the direction of where the OSCE saw them and on the same road), form a standard artillery battalion. Whenever the local rebels have gotten hold of pieces of kit from the Ukrainians, it is ones and twos. All the unit sets seen over the past months have been either regular Russian military units, or units of Russian government mercenaries formed and trained in Rostov and provided with tanks, BMPs, BTRs, and BM-21 MRLs.

OSCE Monitoring Mission Report 8 Nov identifying convoys

Today more video of the movements was posted, including a video attached here taken by a motorist showing an entire 18-gun D-20 heavy howitzer battalion passing by, complete with all the 1V17-series Artilery Command and Reconnaissance Vehicles, ammunition trucks, and fuel truck support. A full-up complete artillery battalion with uniform trucks, albeit without markings as usual. As with the other convoys seen in videos and photos, the roadmarch discipline further indicates this is regular Russian forces, and not some mythical rag-tag rebels.

Russian D-20 artillery battalion convoy in eastern Ukraine 9 Nov

This is not some fantasy, as Kremlin trolls will argue. It is a serious reinforcement of Russian forces in Ukraine with a lot of firepower, with regular Russian forces. Existence of these convoys is confirmed by the OSCE observers on the ground—fact. It is unclear what it portends, though the possibilities are not good. An offensive is certainly likely, but in which direction is unclear. Maybe just in “honour” of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall—a truly traumatic event for KGB LTC Putin who then worked in Dresden, East Germany.

East Ukraine situation map 8 Nov

East Ukraine situation map 8 Nov

 

New Russian Recruits: Child Soldiers and Graham Phillips

Graham on the range

Graham on the range

RT sometime correspondent Graham Phillips has shown up in Donetsk. As many should recall, he used to provide stories to different legitimate news services as well as RT, but was dropped by all except RT because he seemed to excel at making things up (which is what RT does). He was also detained by Ukrainian security services in May for 36 hours and questioned, though was later released. He continues to dish out disinformation. This time he has shown up at a Russian “rebel” training base in Donetsk and has made the rounds in the city, even having a photo op at apparently the same heavy machinegun where Russian actor Porechenkov last week fired off some rounds at Ukrainian troops holding Donetsk airport while wearing tags identifying himself as Press. Porechenkov that is—Phillips has apparently dispensed with all that press identification garbage, wearing only military clothing now, though carrying a camera.

Phillips with Sut' Vremini Russian mercs in Donetsk

Phillips with Sut’ Vremini Russian mercs in Donetsk

Commanders of the Russian Ossetian Vostok Battalion

Commander of the Special Detachment of the Russian Ossetian Vostok Battalion

At the training base he was photographed with a number of soldiers identified as Battalion Vostok (East Battalion) wearing Ossetian flags. This is one of two East Battalions, made up mainly of Ossetians and some Chechens, and is not the Chechen East Battalion (which is under the Russian General Staff GRU) which fought briefly in the Donetsk area in the spring and suffered high casualties. There is also another group present, which is also not from Ukraine, and that is Sut’ Vremini (Essence of Time), which is a relatively new Russian construct. It is an extreme leftist Communist group calling for reestablishment of the USSR (with the telling URL of eot.su for Soviet Union instead of the usual .ru). It’s links to the Russian regime? On 15 March it was the main element in Putin’s orchestrated Moscow pro-war demonstration, with a couple thousand red-clad and black stocking-capped zombies marching under Soviet flags, in favor of his war just before the sham Crimea referendum. Now, given the open weaing of patches indicating they are from Sut’ Vremini and Graham Phillips posing with about 20 of them holding an SV flag, it is clear that there are more Russian “unofficial” (but officially sanctioned” units fighting in Ukraine, in addition to groups of regular Russian troops. (Silver Surfer       @RobPulseNews, has done a particularly good job of calling attention to things on Phillips’ photos.)

15 year old soldier with Russians in Donetsk

15 year old soldier with Russians in Donetsk

Child soldiers in Donetsk for the Russians

Child soldiers in Donetsk for the Russians

A disturbing feature of Phillips’ pictures was that some child soldiers are seen in some of them. Not just in his photos, but Russia’s state TV channel RTR ran a clip specifically on some child soldier volunteers there as well as RT’s Ruptly news agency which showed one 15-year-old training with Sut’Vremini there. Another perhaps just a bit older was identified as a Senior Lieutenant and posed for RTR on and inside a 2S19 MSTA-S self-propelled howitzer—the newest such kit in the Russian arsenal (though this one looked a bit worse for wear). He was shown going into his old school class in uniform to the admiration of his classmates. Chicks dig guys with AK-74s apparently. As most bizarre patch was seen on their uniforms and on a couple others in the photos. The bottom is the orange and black striped Russian victory ribbon (termed the Colorado ribbon by the Ukrainians after its similarity to the Colorado Potato Bug), while the top is a diagonally slashed mix of the Soviet flag and the black-yellow-white flag of the Romanov dynasty that is used widely by Russian nationalist groups. This apparently is the “I really don’t know what the hell I stand for” flag, but is fully in keeping with the Putin regime’s mixing of Soviet, tsarist, nationalist, and fascist elements.

RTR Russian state TV report on child soldiers in Donetsk

RT Ruptly report on 15 year old Russian soldiers in Donetsk

 

Child Sr Lieutenant wearing confused Soviet-Tsarist-Victory Ribbon Patch

Child Sr Lieutenant wearing confused Soviet-Tsarist-Victory Ribbon Patch

As for kids this age being combatants—it is right up there with the way groups in a lot of African countries use child soldiers, though should not be done in this day and age. The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, to which Russia is a signatory, states that nobody under 18 should be used in combat (though there are provisions for support roles between 15 and 18). When signing, Russia made an optional declaration stating “The Russian Federation, pursuant to article 3, paragraph 2, of the Optional Protocol, declares that, in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation, citizens under the age of 18 may not be recruited for military service in the armed forces of the Russian Federation and a military service contract may not be concluded with them…” However, apparently as with everything else, it does not care about those recruited in Ukraine to fight with sanctioned Russian mercenary groups it has sent there. In fact, it even trumpets their existence on state TV networks. But in any case, Russia does not give a damn about anything it signs internationally, like the 1994 Budapest Memorandum where it guaranteed Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integriey in its existing borders. That one is not faring so well.

 

 

Euro Nazis and Commies Observe Donbas “Elections” as the Wigged One Sings

"You wanna vote?"

“You wanna vote?”

Just as in the Crimean referendum in March, Russia invited an interesting mixed bag of election monitors to its illegal elections in the Donetsk and Lugansk “People’s Republics” today (note: any country that has in its title the words “people’s” or “democratic” do not represent the people and are about as far from democratic as is possible).

Polish right-wing extreme MP Piskorski with DNR "PM" Zakharchenko

Polish right-wing extreme MP Piskorski with DNR “PM” Zakharchenko

Just as in Crimea, the list of the 70 invited observers included representatives of various European right-wing or outright neo-Nazi organizations or far left Communist parties, as well as from Zhrinovskiy’s far right Russian Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (which again is neither liberal nor democratic, but is a party). Russian media including RIA-Novosti (main disinfo outlet) even noted OSCE observers were monitoring the polling, though the OSCE quickly responded saying that no OSCE observers were present, and the OSCE’s election monitoring arm, ODIHR, only monitors elections in real recognized countries. But basic truths never mattered to the Russian disinformation apparatus.

Fabrice Beaur of Belgian extreme right National Bolshevik party with Zakharchenko

Fabrice Beaur of Belgian extreme right National Bolshevik party with Zakharchenko

So Russia continues doing the things it had grown used to doing. It accuses Ukraine and the West of doing precisely the things that Moscow itself does, e.g., accusing Kyiv of being a bunch of neo-Nazi Fascists, when those movements are far stronger in Russia, coddled by the regime in Russia, and tied in with like-minded people in Europe and elsewhere, such as these election monitors. One old “friend” from the Crimea bogus referendum was Polish MP Mateusz Piskorski of the Self-Defense of the Republic of Poland party, which is an odd mix (as many are in Russia too) of left-wing and right-wing. Another from the Czech Republic was leftist parliamentarian Jaroslav Doubrav, who in March unveiled a monument in Prague to the Soviet “internationalists” and “peacekeepers” who died in the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovkia. But my favourite just for his name has to be Alessandro Musolino, one of several from the Italian ultra right Forza Italia (who appropriately was seen at a polling station in pitch dark sunglasses). No doubt this motley collection of right wingers, fascists, and ultra Communists will declare the election as being the cleanest in history. As of this evening it seems the incumbent illegitimate self-appointed authorities are well in the lead. Polling photos did show large queues, though they seemed to be heavily made up of the elderly either yearning for what selective memory tells them were the good old days, or maybe because at many polling stations there were truckloads of cabbage and other vegetables brought in that could be bought for a few cents by anyone who voted. This no doubt was part of today’s Russian humanitarian convoy that entered illegally from Russia (which is another country).

Musolino of right extreme Forza Italia

Musolino of right extreme Forza Italia

On the subject of illegal entry, there were reports and many photos posted of large convoys entering the Luhansk region from the direction nof Russia, including one with a number of armoured vehicles and 39 tanks (photos appear to show all T-72s with reactive armour). That is a full tank battalion with other infantry subunits. It is not clear whether some of these participated in the Russian army military parade and ceremony on the main square in Luhansk on 1 November. That parade involved hundreds of troops all dressed uniformly in current Russian army uniforms, with unit flags as well as “separatist” banners, and displaying equipment including tanks, BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles, BM-21 multiple rocket launchers, and D-20 howitzers. These were clearly Russian soldiers, who were in stark contrast with the appearance of the slovenly looking rag-tag local separatists guarding polling stations and making them look often very uninviting. In addition to the show in Luhansk, Russian state RTR TV tonight showed (on Kiselev’s weekly propaganda show Vesti Nedeli) video today of a free election concert in the middle of Donetsk under the Lenin statue. A couple hundred spectators, if that. Very underwhelming, much like the lack of a crowd seen in the Luhansk parade photos.

Russian military BM-21 MRLs in Luhansk on 1 Nov

Russian military BM-21 MRLs in Luhansk on 1 Nov

Russian military parade in Luhansk 1 Nov

Russian military parade in Luhansk 1 Nov

Russian army military parade in Luhansk 1 Nov

Russian army military parade in Luhansk 1 Nov

The final uninvited guest was one who visited Donetsk and Luhansk on 27 October to give some concerts for mainly elderly and slovenly guards. This was one of the Kremlin’s favourite crooners, Josef Kobzon, a beloved icon from Soviet times who is renowned for having perhaps the worst plastic-looking unreal hairpiece in history, and who has extensive ties to Russian organised crime. I have looked at many sources—Russian and Western—about his arrival and performances (which included singing some patriotic songs with Donetsk “prime minister” Zakharchenko), and the one thing that stands out which no media outlets commented on was the fact that behind him was a roughtly 50-person-strong Russian military song and dance ensemble, in their typical dress uniforms. Not only was a criminal Russian Duma deputy illegally in Ukraine, but the Russians chose to send along a military group of singers and dancers. Russian interference in Ukraine is getting more blatant.

Kobzon in Donetsk 27 Oct, with Russian Army Song and Dance Ensemble

Kobzon in Donetsk 27 Oct, with Russian Army Song and Dance Ensemble

As for blatant interference, Foreign Minister Lavrov already stated days ago that Russia will accept the results of today’s polling, showing once again that the Kremlin talks out of both sides of its mouth, since Putin himself has said that he respects Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. But maybe his definition of what constitutes Ukraine is different that that of the rest of the world, as usual.

 

Russia Gunning for More Press Freedom of Action in Donetsk

Russian action film star Porechenkov with "Donetsk rebels" firing KORD heavy MG at Ukrainian troops holding ruins of Donetsk airport, while in Press attire

Russian action film star Porechenkov with “Donetsk rebels” firing KORD heavy MG at Ukrainian troops holding ruins of Donetsk airport, while in Press attire

There has been a lot of press about Russian movie action star Mikhail Porechenkov, who showed up in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (which represents, well, some people in that region) yesterday and met with some of the Russian fighters who have been besieging the bombed out once ultramodern Donetsk airport, which is being bitterly defended by Ukrainian troops (called cyborgs for their tenacity under constant fire). While visiting the Russian “rebel” troops, video from “Novorossiya TV” showed Porechenkov committing a couple of “little” transgressions. Firstly, this star of combat action films like “Spetsnaz” and “9th Company” was dressed in blue body armour and matching blue helmet with the words “Press” clearly on them, though he was not there in any kind of media mode and certainly is not accredited to the country where he was, since it is Ukraine (which he, like many of the fighters, entered illegally under any standards.

Novorossiya TV video of actor Porechenkov firing KORD MG at Ukrainians while in Press garb

Porechenkov with SN at Donetsk AP

However, next he took over a heavy machinegun pointed at Ukrainian positions at the airport and let some rounds fly, after saying “ceasefire.” Naturally, there is a supposed ceasefire in effect and has been for nearly two months, though it has consistently been violated by the Russian side—particularly with their relentless assault on the airport.

Russian LifeNews reporter in Ilovaysk in late August with his AK-74 and underbarrel BG-25 grenade launcher

Russian LifeNews reporter in Ilovaysk in late August with his AK-74 and underbarrel BG-25 grenade launcher

Now, it is a clear violation of conduct for somebody in press markings to be engaged as a combatant. It just is not supposed to be done, though Russian “press” in the east has been doing it from day one. Russia’s LifeNews has been particularly good at sending in reporters with press markings who have been either passing information to their side, or transporting SA-18 MANPADS shoulder-fired air defence missiles as when their car was stopped in late spring, and one LifeNews reporter filing a story at the battle in Ilovaysk was wearing all green but with a press patch, while his AK-74 with BG-25 under-barrel grenade launcher was right next to him on the wall. Clear violation of press impartiality. But then, this is Putin’s regime, which also supported Yanukovych’s regime which used Berkut to fire rubber and real bullets specifically at clearly marked press on Maidan and at Hrushevskoho. So much so that most press began taking off the markings since it made them targets. Now Porechenkov’s actions are endangering legitimate press reporters, as even Pavel Gusev, the chairman of the Union of Journalists of Moscow said today, saying he believes ”this is sad and a shame, when in one moment what we fought for years to protect journalists is destroyed.” Apparently Gusev is looking to get fired or have an “accident” in Moscow.

Russian KORD 12.7 mm heavy infantry machinegun--not in the Ukrainian inventory

Russian KORD 12.7 mm heavy infantry machinegun–not in the Ukrainian inventory

One final bit. Though Porechenkov was supposedly visiting with “local DNR rebel fighters” there, the troops in the video are all clearly Russian military professionals. Young strac-looking troops (though one has not shaved for days), all wearing correctly the complete latest Russian military uniform and helmet with liner, which has only been fielded since early 2013. (Later in the video he is posing with some obvious local slovenly looking fighters wearing whatever they could come across.) Furthermore, the 12.7 mm heavy machinegun Porechenkov was firing was a KORD, which is the latest Russian infantry heavy 12.7 mm machinegun, which has only been produced for about 15 years, and was never in Ukraine’s arsenal (so could not possibly have been taken from a Ukrainian unit as Russia’s disinformation always claims is the source of “rebel” weapons). In fact, the KORD is not even fielded in the Russian military force-wide yet.

 

 

MH-17: RT’s Masterfully Idiotic Take on Russia’s Mass Murder over Ukraine

Last week the Russian international disinformation network RT put out yet another masterful piece of garbage pretending to be real investigative journalism. This was yet another piece about the Malaysian airliner (MH-17) which was shot down over eastern Ukraine on 17 July, and as to be expected, it just covered several “versions” to use Russian parlance, of what they say happened. They are all totally factually incorrect (a nice way of saying “deliberate lies”).

RT disinformation documentary on Mh-17 shootdown

At least this moronic nonsense did start off by killing one of the early Russian “versions”—that is, that the plane was deliberately flown into the war zone by an apparently suicidal Malaysian crew that apparently was workgin with the Ukrainians, CIA, or whomever, to make Russia look bad, and the plane was just filled with dead bodies brained of blood. This insensitive version which is just too stupid for words was dispelled when the documentary makers actually showed videos some of the passengers had uploaded before takeoff showing them getting on the plane. No consistency in Russian disinformation, but at least it takes that version off the plate.

It then concentrated almost exclusively on the “Ukrainian Su-25 FROGFOOT shot the plane down” version, which was of course done in a totally serious voiceover, but was so concocted that it was like a sick comedy. They rolled out one “aviation expert” after another who were telling how the Su-25 can fly up to either well over 9,000 metres, 12,000 metres, or over 14,000 metres, which shows it could have shot down the 777 at 10,000. One was the former CinC of the Russian Air Force from 2002-2007, retired General Vladimir Mikhailov, who, lying through his teeth, said that it van reach over 9,000 rapidly and he has personally operated there for over 30 minutes at a time, but one needs oxygen that high (one would hope so—brilliant deduction from an AF general). They claimed the Wikipedia page for the Su-25 had been changed at the time of the shootdown to show that a “clean” Su-25 can only reach 7,000 metres and one with wing stores can reach 5,000. Apparently they believe that Wikipedia is the only source of information on things like aircraft performance, whereas there are literally hundreds of organizations and sites with information about such things. And what they said somebody did to change the Wikipedia site is, as usual, blaming the enemy for doing what they themselves do. In this case, the Russian Wikipedia site on the Su-25 had been changed with a footnote at the time of the shootdown to reflect a possible ceiling of up to 10,000 metres if one of two super engines are used. But as mentioned, there are many sites out there, including one that I would consider somewhat authoritative, the Sukhoi website, which apparently is unaware of this super FROAGFOOT version. Since they build the plane and market it to worldwide consumers, one would even think that they would, if anything, pad the figures a bit to make it look more capable. But when the Sukhoi site was accessed earlier this week the Su-25 is shown to be able to reach (minus weapons and stores) 7 kilometres. This is pretty much the end of that argument.

Su-25 tech specs from Sukhoi's website (its manufacturer)

Su-25 tech specs from Sukhoi’s website (its manufacturer)

The rest of the programme was the usual garbage, but shows that the Russian government will go the extra mile to demonstrate their version of the truth, taking reporters to a firing range where a FROGFOOT attacked a couple of derelict planes on the ground with its GSh-30-2 cannon to demonstrate that the cannon round exit holes resembles those in the left cockpit panel of MH-17. Yes, there were some similarities, except that the MH-17 panel showed holes of various sizes, including one large one, from the proximity explosion to the starboard front side of the aircraft which is fully consistent with the SA-11 having been fired from Russian-controlled Torez, which is of course where it WAS fired from as shown by photos of the launch contrail there, videos of an SA-11 TELAR there before and after (minus one missile) the shootdown, and US press conference-mentioned technical collection (Overhead Persistent IR, or “launch detection satellites”) which said an SA-11 BUK missile was launched from there at that time. It was not a magical evil Ukrainian Su-25, which would have had to attack the Boeing from its 2 o’clock position to shred the cockpit like that (and as noted, many of the holes are far too big or small to have been from a 30mm cannon).

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

Russian fantasy to keep doubts in the heads of the clueless about a plane that was shot down by a professional Russian military crew in an SA-11 from the 53rd AD Missile Brigade in Kursk. Not on loan to some “Joe 6-Pack” rebels, but by a real trained Russian army crew.

 

 

Typical Russian Disinformation Regarding Singer Ruslana’s Donbas Trip

Ruslana photo on Russian (Soviet) propaganda website rusvesna.su

Ruslana photo on Russian (Soviet) propaganda website rusvesna.su

Russian disinformation is so predictable and sick at the same time. Like its Soviet predecessor, it relies on taking bits out of context and mixing them with a healthy portion of pure fabrication in the belief that many (foreigners as well as the Russian audience) will believe it without doing the slightest fact check to see if it is real. As usual, it is not real.

Ukrainian singer Ruslana, who was regarded as a hero of Maidan and camped out there for about 100 days last winter, and sang the Ukrainian national anthem from the stage there hourly, has since been a sort of unofficial Ukrainian ambassador, traveling the world pushing the Ukrainian cause. In early September she went out to eastern Ukraine to see what was happening there, and came back critical of government support for the Ukrainian troops (army and volunteer battalion forces) and incompetence of some military commanders, and calling for the war to end (or at least for there to be a real ceasefire, which is hardly what is currently in effect), but making it clear that Russian troops must leave Ukraine one way or another, and making it extra clear that Putin’s regime is the source of the war in the east. Russian propaganda turned her visit on its head, however.

Here is the version from the Russkaya Vesna (Russian Spring) website, which like Putin’s Nashi youth group, tellingly does not use the .ru internet address, but rather, .su (rusvesna.su) for Soviet Union. This right there shows where their heads are—and certainly’ Putin’s too. In any case, this version is full of the usual—takign bits of a news conference totally out of context and presenting false “facts” attributed to dubious sources:

http://rusvesna.su/english/1410115507

Ukrainian singer Ruslana: a visit to Donetsk was an eye-opener

07.09.2014 – 22:45

Renowned singer and unofficial «symbol» of Maidan Ruslana said a visit to Donbass «opened her eyes».

The singer returned from Donetsk and immediately held a press conference where she declared she was wrong, supporting the policy of the Government of Ukraine.

— I came to Donetsk and saw something that I never expected to see. It literally «blew my mind» There are shells falling on our people! — the outraged Ruslana said. — It is necessary and simple -initiate a cease-fire, end the war and bloodshed. And if the politicians think otherwise it means there’s something fishy, there are some dirty games being played.

According to Ruslana, Ukrainian journalists must go to the front to find out what is true and what is false.

— If you’re so brave, then come with me next time, — the singer invited of one of Kiev reporters. — Then you’ll be able to see everything and understand me.

Artiste told that her car, in which she was traveling with DNR Prime Minister Alexander Zaharchenko, came under fire.

— Who was shooting and whom, whose bullets were those — it’s impossible to make out. But it is quite clear that we shoot our own people. I was the first one to beat my chest and scream that there is no civil war in Ukraine. I was so wrong, — admitted Ruslana.

The singer said that she was greatly disappointed by the Ukrainian leader Petr Poroshenko. Ruslana told how she went to participate in a demonstration in front of the presidential administration in Kiev on August 28. The rally was arranged by relatives and friends of the Ukrainian military, surrounded in Ilovaisk. Singer was shocked and angered that nobody from the Poroshenko’s people came out to talk to activists.

— You have to work with people, to talk, to convey your position. And let me tell you the shocking phrase, but, nevertheless, I was not heard by Poroshenko, when I stood at the presidential administration. When I arrived at the Donbass, it was Zaharchenko who listened to me and heard me — summed up the singer.

Ruslana, known as the winner of «Eurovision — 2004» actively participated in the Maidan protests. In early December, the singer even threatened to burn herself on the main square of Kiev, if things in the country «do not change». Her active civil position won her unofficial title «symbol of the Maidan,” among its activists, and in February, Ukrainian politicians promised her a place in the new parliament.

————————————————

That was Russia’s fiction. Now here is what Ruslana actually wrote, verbatim, on her Facebook page after the trip. It differs almost totally from what the Russian propaganda site said she said:

About trip to Donetsk

September 2, 2014 at 6:21am

I just returned from Dnipropetrovsk and Donetsk, where I went deliberately, because understood that we do not see much, and we are also not heard by many.

The amount of information I received and seen with my own eyes, is too shocking and unexpected. I have a lot requests and questions. But not to stray for a long emotional speech, I will use short exact phrase to be heard and to be understood.

The purpose of my trip

On Thursday I, along with hundreds, maybe thousands of Kyiv residents, family members of our military and volunteer battalions stood in front of President’s Administration and demanded: “Save the life of our guys, give them aid, help them survive!”

I didn’t know if we were heard. None of those with whom we have actively communicated and called each other “brothers at Maidan, contacted me, gave any information, found necessary to develop a common position and action.

So I first went to Dnipropetrovsk to see our troops who are fighting in the area of ATO, then to the hospital, and then, with Colonel-General Vladimir Ruban, to Donbas.

About Dnipropetrovsk

Such patriotic enthusiasm. Such Ukrainian spirit and will to Independence and Victory I didn’t experience for a very long time. It was as if I ended up in Lviv during early 90s or Kyiv during Maidan.

About hospital

Our men – are Heroes. These words stop being just words when there are actual facts. We have to preserve memory of their heroism for the future generations.

About Donetsk

I saw Donetsk. I was surprised, if not shocked. It differs from the Russian lies; it also differs from what we imagine. The city is alive. I saw writings in Ukrainian. During the whole time I was there, I spotted only one tri-color.

About hostages

Oleksandr Zaharchenko gave up 16 men who were taken into captivity. Unconditionally. With no bargains. After we left he released another 10.

About the victims

Of those of whom we spoke in Donetsk – 150 were killed, maybe even more. Number of victims of Ilovaysk may exceed 400. Exact figures should be given by the military experts. And they should be honest.

I don’t want this to become statistics!

In recent days, Russian troops are destroying our best men, patriotic volunteers of battalions Dnipro, Donbas, Krivbas. We might not have more of those young and dedicated, they are brave and trustworthy – the gene pool of the nation. They should have been saved in every way possible…

Effects of the victims.

In place of young patriots, will come those who will not forgive and will want revenge. They will accept the challenge and uncivilized methods of Moscow hordes. They will become alike….

I am getting terrible information via think nerves of human misery. People say, word-by-word: “We will not be the state army, we will be the Army of the People.

Without mercy. And without conscience. This is scary. Idea will be replaced by Revenge.

About those who destroyed

Our men were destroyed by Russian troops…and politicians.

About politicians

“Politicians will fight for our land to the last Ukrainian”. These are not my words.

Maybe it is time to unite?

About Russian troops

Russian troops replaced and are replacing mercenaries who are already demoralized, because they do not see any sense or support for their actions, and separatists who have ceased to execute Kremlin commands.

Russian troops need to withdraw from Ukraine themselves, or taken back to their homeland in humanitarian convoy, there is no other way out.

Our task is to make sure that they withdraw themselves. This will save hundreds, maybe thousands of lives.

About Putin

This Ukrainian massacre is beneficial for Putin. Now he called to give our military men corridor, and then shot them using Russian forces. Corresponding wave of hatred and aggression can demolish those who are now in Donetsk and Luhansk, and who no longer take his orders.

This is his solution to many problems. From fight against “unorthodox views” among separatists to justifying entry of troops and its legitimization.

About Russia

Russia – is not Putin. There are millions of people. They have sons, brothers, parents who are dying in foreign country. They are buried secretly and shamefully as criminals. We can and must talk with Russians. When official diplomacy is not working, people’s diplomacy must work. After all, we are all people. Even those whose brain has turned into “liquid”.

About people of Donetsk

People of Donetsk, even though it is difficult to understand, are on both side of the border, yet they are still UKRAINIAN. Not DPR, not LPR, not Novorussian, and not other products of Kremlin propaganda or folk art. They are Ukrainians, and we are one nation, even if we differ from each other. After all, Ukrainians of Sumy region or Slobozhanschina region also vary from Ukrainians of Podillya or Zakarpattya. But we are one nation and need to protect each other and our country. Otherwise, we will not have nation or country.

About our volunteers and their commanders

Men are ready to sacrifice their lives, sometimes without thinking and without hesitation. But it is time to start thinking, if you give up your life, who will remain after you are gone? Who will build and defend Ukraine? Commanders, you have the most sacred in your hands, the most important for Ukraine – lives of her sons.

About Donbas

Donbas was, is and will be Ukraine.

About Oleksandr Zaharchenko

I build my own impression of this man with only one meeting. I don’t want to and will not comment. Only quotes from our conversation.

“Human life is above everything…. This horror and bloodshed must be stopped. Ruslana, please do everything to accomplish this…”

“I propose to stop the senseless fire and find out – who really needs deaths of thousands of Ukrainians.”

“I will not go beyond the limits of the Donetsk region with any onset – this is horror story against me.”

“I need for Donbas to have normal life, and I am happy that you have cleared all of us from Yanukovich with Maidan. Half of Donbas applauded standing up when you were saying what Yanukovich’s and his gang’s place is…and then everything got confused…”

“I am as Ukrainian as you, but can’t see or hear that.”

About the truth

I am tired of Putin’s lies and half-truths of our spokespersons.

About Ukrainian people

Ukrainian people are and will be UNITED.

Why am I sure of this?

Because it can’t be otherwise.

 

My conclusion

All military actions must be re-thought.

Military force – is the last argument, if it is not invasion or aggression.

Operations are unprofessional.

Generals are really “eating up battalions”.

Our military men must be protected from the stigma “Deserter”.

And to some generals and officers that “miraculously left the captivity” without their men, it is time ask questions, as well as their management.

Military and political corruption – is now my goal.

My mission – is public diplomacy and efforts to stop the deaths of hundreds of people who are willing to give their lives for their country.

Ukraine is bleeding under the criminal scenario of many centers of influence.

The fire must stop in order to find out and see who really needs this war.

Ukraine needs PEACE.

People need to LIVE, and not DIE.

I heard Donbas.

 

More Smoking Guns (as if Needed) Showing Russian Military Active in Ukraine

 

Burned out Russian T-64BM in Ukraine

Burned out Russian T-72BM in Ukraine

Some excellent reporting from Reuters on 23 October actually went into depth and they consulted some weapons experts to show that Russian military equipment from Russia was used in eastern Ukraine. Of course, there has been no shortage of videos from Russians matching perfectly with videos and pictures shot by people in Ukraine over the past months showing conclusively that identical tanks and other vehicles were driven from Rostov Training Area to the Ukrainian border and then moved across into Ukraine. This is just the latest evidence.

T-72BM as part of Russian column in eastern Ukraine 26 Aug

T-72BM as part of Russian column in eastern Ukraine 26 Aug

During fighting in late August near Starobeshevo, where Ukrainian forces suffered great losses, two burned out tanks were also noted that were not Ukrainian. This was a T-72BM and another T-72B model, both fitted with Kontakt-5 reactive armour typical for those models. Notable since T-72B models, which appeared in the late 1980s, were never in the Ukrainian inventory, so could not have come from “stolen Ukrainian stocks” as Russian disinformation always claims.

Russian 9M133 KORNET (AT-14) ATGM missile tube discarded in eastern Ukraine fighting

Russian 9M133 KORNET (AT-14) ATGM missile tube discarded in eastern Ukraine fighting

Even more evidence is in the form of some discarded antitank guided missile tubes which were for the 9M133 KORNET (AT-14), which is a modern laser-beam rider ATGM that came out in 1994 and has never been in the Ukrainian inventory. Additionally, hundreds of wrappers from Russian military field rations of recent production were left discarded in some of the vehicle revetments from which the ambush on the Ukrainian forces took place.

Russian Army MRE wrapper from the battlefield--hundreds collected there

Russian Army MRE wrapper from the battlefield–hundreds collected there

This was right at the time when Russia had changed the dynamics on the ground by introducing around 10 regular army battalions (some from the Ground Forces and some from various Airborne formations) into eastern Ukraine. Though they had great success against Ukrainian forces more used to fighting the well-equipped Russian government mercenaries, these Russian forces also suffered some casualties. They also were sloppy with their OPSEC by leaving behind trash that shows their involvement. Or maybe they just did not care because Russia will just deny it and most people will believe their lies.

 

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