George Orwell Turning in His Grave: Putin’s Doublespeak

Felix DzerPuto

Felix DzerPuto

Just when many thought Putin could not get any more ridiculous, along came his annual speech to the Federal Assembly. It would be hilarious, the way he is a total nutcase, if he were not dangerous and heavily armed.

Today was Putin’s annual state of the nation speech to the Federal Assembly. Now, this is one of the few people in the world (except for his sheepish followers in Russia, Serbia, and other places) who equates liberals with Nazis, and routinely says that the West is pushing its liberal agenda which is being spread by Banderovtsy, neo-fascists, and Nazis and is undercutting countries trying to preserve traditional values. (Because Hitler and Mussolini were such liberals apparently!) But I digress. Anyhow, today he managed as usual to spew copious quantities of lingual feces. A little line-by-line analysis of his blatant misrepresentation of some pretty basic facts.

Text of Putin’s Speech to the Federal Assembly, 4 Dec 2014

–“Of course, we will talk about this year’s landmark events. You know that a referendum was held in Crimea in March, at which its residents clearly expressed their desire to join Russia. After that, the Crimean parliament – it should be stressed that it was a legitimate parliament that was elected back in 2010 – adopted a resolution on sovereignty. And then we saw the historical reunification of Crimea and Sevastopol with Russia.”

(OK VVP, you know damn well that the referendum under occupation was a farce. Wheras only 4% of Crimeans voted for a party in favour of joining Russia in 2010, that somehow jumped to about 98% in 2014? And according to the Crimean CEC a whopping 123% of all residents of Sevastopol of all ages voted I it for joining Russia. Pretty good work. And the votes in the Crimean parliament starting on 27 February, the same day it was stormed and taken over by a group of Russian Spetsnaz, were held with Russia’s man Sergei Aksenev locking deputies in the chamber, holding them at gunpoint, and confiscating their phones. And there was not even a quorum since many deputies did not attend, fearing this kind of thing, but “officially” they did vote for him to be the PM.)

–“It was an event of special significance for the country and the people, because Crimea is where our people live, and the peninsula is of strategic importance for Russia as the spiritual source of the development of a multifaceted but solid Russian nation and a centralised Russian state. It was in Crimea, in the ancient city of Chersonesus or Korsun, as ancient Russian chroniclers called it, that Grand Prince Vladimir was baptised before bringing Christianity to Rus.”

(Whatever. I thought a lot of other cities in Russia are the “spiritual source”.)

–“In addition to ethnic similarity, a common language, common elements of their material culture, a common territory, even though its borders were not marked then, and a nascent common economy and government, Christianity was a powerful spiritual unifying force that helped involve various tribes and tribal unions of the vast Eastern Slavic world in the creation of a Russian nation and Russian state. It was thanks to this spiritual unity that our forefathers for the first time and forevermore saw themselves as a united nation. All of this allows us to say that Crimea, the ancient Korsun or Chersonesus, and Sevastopol have invaluable civilisational and even sacral importance for Russia, like the Temple Mount in Jerusalem for the followers of Islam and Judaism. And this is how we will always consider it.” (Ditto.)

For Return of Crimea--with initial campaign date listed as 20 Feb 2014--the day Berkut and SBU Alfa snipers with FSB support were murdering about a hundred protesters on Maidan

For Return of Crimea–with initial campaign date listed as 20 Feb 2014–the day Berkut and SBU Alfa snipers with FSB support were murdering about a hundred protesters on Maidan

–“It is well known that Russia not only supported Ukraine and other brotherly republics of the former Soviet Union in their aspirations to sovereignty, but also facilitated this process greatly in the 1990ies. Since then, our position has remained unchanged.”

(So this is why you invaded Georgia and Ukraine?”)

–“Every nation has an inalienable sovereign right to determine its own development path, choose allies and political regimes, create an economy and ensure its security. Russia has always respected these rights and always will. This fully applies to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.”

(Almost exactly what you said before November last year about Ukraine and a few times since, but the fact is, you do NOT respect those rights for other countries. There are lies and there are bold-faced lies.)

–“It is true that we condemned the government coup and the armed takeover of power in Kyiv in February of this year. The developments we are currently witnessing in Ukraine and the tragedy unfolding in the country’s southeast prove that we were right to take such a stand.”

(For the ten thousandth time you call it an armed coup. Sticks and burning tyres do not count as arms. The T-64Bs, BM-21 MRLs, artillery, most modern RPG models, antitank guided missiles, man-portable air defence systems, SA-13 AD systems, BMPs, BMDs, BTRs, etc that you have delivered to mercenaries for use in eastern Ukraine ARE real arms.)

–“How did it all begin? I will have to remind you what happened back then. It is hard to believe that it all started with a technical decision by President Yanukovych to postpone the signing of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union. Make no mistake, he did not refuse to sign the document, but only postponed it in order to make some adjustments.”

(That is what Yanuk said a few times, but fact is he strung along the people for years about signing an agreement and pulled out at the last minute after Yanuk disappeared in early November 2013 and ended up being in Moscow for instructions from you.)

–“As you recall, this move was fully in line with the constitutional authority vested upon an absolutely legitimate and internationally recognised head of state.”

(Officially Yanuk was, but leaders cal and do lose legitimacy when they start killing and kidnapping and torturing their people, imprison their election contenders on bogus charges right after the election, and change the constitution to invest themselves with most powers. Sort of like what that Hitler guy did too.)

–“Against this background, there was no way we could support this armed coup, the violence and the killings. Just take the bloody events in Odessa, where people were burned alive. How can the subsequent attempts to suppress people in Ukraine’s southeast, who oppose this mayhem, be supported? I reiterate that there was no way we could endorse these developments. What’s more, they were followed by hypocritical statements on the protection of international law and human rights. This is just cynical. I strongly believe that the time will come when the Ukrainian people will deliver a just assessment of these developments.”

(OK, enough BS. Again armed coup? And what is this violence and killings? It was Yanuk with FSB advisers who had his people murdering Maidaners and kidnapping and torturing others previously. As for Odessa, that was months later in May and that fire was caused by Molotovs tossed from the roof by Russians that smashed on top floor window ledges. And the Ukrainians set up structures to try to rescues as many as they could, but could not reach the top floors. And please provide one shred of evidence that there was any suppression or repression of people in eastern Ukraine or Crimea. There were none. Full stop.)

–“How did the dialogue on this issue begin between Russia and its American and European partners? I mentioned our American friends for a reason, since they are always influencing Russia’s relations with its neighbours, either openly or behind the scenes. Sometimes it is even unclear whom to talk to: to the governments of certain countries or directly with their American patrons and sponsors.”

(Please stop calling the US and Europeans “friends”, since you hate them and treat them as enemies.)

–“As I mentioned, in the case of the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement, there was no dialogue at all. We were told that it was none of our business or, to put it simply, we were told where to go.”

(Frankly it was none of your business. You just said that you respected the sovereign rights of former Soviet countries to choose their alliances, friends, and economic parthers. Ukraine is not Russia. And anyhow, there are plenty of countries actually in the EU that have good trade relations with Russia.)

–“All the arguments that Russia and Ukraine are members of the CIS free-trade zone, that we have deep-rooted cooperation in industry and agriculture, and basically share the same infrastructure – no one wanted to hear these arguments, let alone take them into account.

(So what. Same bogus argument as the previous paragraph.)

–“Our response was to say: fine, if you do not want to have a dialogue with us, we will have to protect our legitimate interests unilaterally and will not pay for what we view as erroneous policy.”

(So you are saying Ukraine did NOT have a sovereign right and you would protect your interests—by invading Ukraine.)

–“So what’s came out of it all? The agreement between Ukraine and the European Union has been signed and ratified, but the implementation of the provisions regarding trade and economy has been postponed until the end of next year. Doesn’t this mean that we were the ones who were actually right?”

(No. Your logic train once again derailed as it was leaving the station.)

–“There is also a question of why all this was done in Ukraine? What was the purpose of the government coup? Why shoot and keep shooting and killing people? In fact, the economy, finance and the social sector were destroyed and the country ruined.”

(Yes, that is a good question. Why did YOU have your bitch Yanuk keep shooting and killing protesters in Kyiv? And YOU are the one who had destroyed the Ukrainian economy, after it was already weakened by Yanuk and his gang raping it to the tune of over $34 billion in just four years. Oh, and it was not a “coup”. The “legitimate president” fled the country to yours with your help after he loaded up trucks full of his loot for days as his police were murdering Ukrainian citizens.)

–“What Ukraine currently needs is economic assistance in carrying out reforms, not petty politics and pompous empty promises. However, our Western colleagues don’t seem eager to provide such assistance, while the Kyiv authorities are not willing to address the challenges their people are facing.”

(Kyiv authorities are kind of busy fighting to hold together the country after you have invaded it.)

–“By the way, Russia has already made a major contribution to helping Ukraine. Let me reiterate that Russian banks already invested some $25 billion in Ukraine. Last year, Russia’s Finance Ministry extended a loan worth another $3 billion. Gazprom provided another $5.5 billion to Ukraine and even offered a discount that no one promised, requiring the country to pay $4.5 billion. Add it all up and you get as much as $ 32.5-33.5 billion that were provided only recently.”

(Total bullshit as usual. You have signed countless gas agreements with Kyiv to provide cheap gas in exchange for something, like the 2010 cheap gas deal for being able to keep the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol till at least 2042, but within half a year you had jacked up the rates Ukraine paid to higher than European rates—and they are further downstream.)

–“Of course, we have the right to ask questions. What was this Ukrainian tragedy for? Wasn’t it possible to settle all the issues, even disputed issues, through dialogue, within a legal framework and legitimately?”

(Not when you and Yakuk were murdering the people he deceived.)

–“If for some European countries national pride is a long-forgotten concept and sovereignty is too much of a luxury, true sovereignty for Russia is absolutely necessary for survival.”

(Right out of Mussolini 1923—one of the tenets of Fascism.)

–“Speaking of the sanctions, they are not just a knee-jerk reaction on behalf of the United States or its allies to our position regarding the events and the coup in Ukraine, or even the so-called Crimean Spring. I’m sure that if these events had never happened – I want to point this out specifically for you as politicians sitting in this auditorium – if none of that had ever happened, they would have come up with some other excuse to try to contain Russia’s growing capabilities, affect our country in some way, or even take advantage of it.”

(This is the usual Russian “everyone is our enemy and is surrounding us and they wantto destroy us”. Maybe if you did not act like such an asshole and operated Russia as a real country internationally people migh like you more.)

–“The policy of containment was not invented yesterday. It has been carried out against our country for many years, always, for decades, if not centuries. In short, whenever someone thinks that Russia has become too strong or independent, these tools are quickly put into use.”

(Same thing. Everyone wants to destroy Russia. So WTF was this whole “reset” thing that the US tried, which you responded to by intimidating the US Ambassador and essentially spitting in the US’ face? And containment was first conceived in 1946 to stop Soviet expansionism. Maybe it IS time for new containment, but it certainly does not go back centuries. Faulty reading of history as usual.)

–“However, talking to Russia from a position of force is an exercise in futility, even when it was faced with domestic hardships, as in the 1990ies and early 2000ies.”

(Yes, we strong and want to be feared by everyone!)

–“We remember well how and who, almost openly, supported separatism back then and even outright terrorism in Russia, referred to murderers, whose hands were stained with blood, none other than rebels and organised high-level receptions for them. These “rebels” showed up in Chechnya again. I’m sure the local guys, the local law enforcement authorities, will take proper care of them. They are now working to eliminate another terrorist raid. Let’s support them. Let me reiterate, we remember high-level receptions for terrorists dubbed as fighters for freedom and democracy. Back then, we realised that the more ground we give and the more excuses we make, the more our opponents become brazen and the more cynical and aggressive their demeanour becomes.”

(We did not support Chechen separatists in the first war or the Muj terrorists in the second one. Wrong as usual, but part of your plan to show Russians that we always supported your enemies.)

–“Despite our unprecedented openness back then and our willingness to cooperate in all, even the most sensitive issues, despite the fact that we considered – and all of you are aware of this and remember it – our former adversaries as close friends and even allies, the support for separatism in Russia from across the pond, including information, political and financial support and support provided by the special services – was absolutely obvious and left no doubt that they would gladly let Russia follow the Yugoslav scenario of disintegration and dismemberment. With all the tragic fallout for the people of Russia.”

(This is total fantasy. All of it. There was no US support whatsoever for Chechen separatists and definitely not for the Mujahedeen, who you might remember were killing Americans and Europeans at the same time. Are you just dense?)

–“Just as it did not work for Hitler with his people-hating ideas, who set out to destroy Russia and push us back beyond the Urals. Everyone should remember how it ended. Next year, we will mark the 70th anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War. Our Army crushed the enemy and liberated Europe. However, we should not forget about the bitter defeats in 1941 and 1942 so as not to repeat the mistakes in the future.”

(Once again, everyone is always out to get us and destroy us, so we have to prevent this again—maybe by invading “fraternal” Ukraine who we say we love and support but actually despise.)

–“We will never enter the path of self-isolation, xenophobia, suspicion and the search for enemies. All this is evidence of weakness, while we are strong and confident.”

(Um, Putin, all the things you mentioned are precisely the things Russia is doing. Every one of them.)

–“Conscientious work, private property, the freedom of enterprise – these are the same kind of fundamental conservative values as patriotism, and respect for the history, traditions, and culture of one’s country.”

(Nothing really incorrect here, but this is almost word for word from Mussolini—one of the tenets of Fascism, which is what Putin had been busily constructing in Russia.)

In short, it was another masterpiece of disinformation from the master. Easily disprovable disinformation, but such is the garbage he puts out for feeble minds in Russia (who want to be told how encircled and in danger they are but how great they are for invading “fraternal” neighbours) and abroad (mainly those identifying themselves as extreme liberals who mistakely believe he is one of them, and not the Fascist he really, and quite obviously, is).

 

Ukrainians Down New Russian Military Granat-4 UAV

 

Russian military Grant-4 UAV shot down by Ukrainians

Russian military Granat-4 UAV shot down by Ukrainians

Granat-4 tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) brought down by Ukrainians in eastern Ukraine. These UAVs have been seen flying over the eastern parts of Ukraine for months. This is a relatively short range UAV with a radius of under 100km. Surely the Russians will claim this was either something in the Ukrainian inventory captured by the rebels, or was otherwise given to the rebels. However, the Granat and Orlan-series UAVs (it was earlier misidentified as an Orlan) have only been in the Russian military inventory since sometime in 2013. This was Russian, being operated by the Russian military. Full stop. And given the radius, the operators and launch points almost certainly had to have been inside Ukraine, meaning of course more Russian military recon troops on another country’s sovereign territory.

Russian tech blog on Granat UAVs just entering Russian military service in 2013

New Russian Granat-4 UAV shot down by Ukrainians

New Russian Granat-4 UAV shot down by Ukrainians

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.

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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.