somehow i think today will be stranger than before, in some way

First, a new map from Kot-Ivanov. No attempt to gloss over the facts: there has been a serious loss of territory in both north-west and south-west, even though the DPR and LPR have not actually been severed from one another. Observe how the two advances converge on the MH17 crash site. As I keep saying, this is no coincidence. It is quite wrong to imagine that because the forensics indicate Ukrainian guilt in the shootdown, the West hyenas have abandoned MH17 as a rationale for international armed intervention. They have not – RB

14445_original

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Report from the border: Russian movie director Alexey Smirnov, who has been helping on the ground for months bringing aid in, and refugees out, with his own funds and the help of others, reports, “OSCE is not allowing humanitarian aid from Russian volunteers to Lugansk, says it’s a Russian invasion!” They are looking for alternate routes. Lugansk has been without water or electricity for over a week. A humanitarian catastrophe is in full swing!

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Lavrov informed about the intention to send humanitarian aid in Donbass
TVZvezda.ru, Aug 10 2014

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has told about negotiations on sending humanitarian aid to the Donbass. Previously the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine rejected the Russian proposal to organise a convoy with humanitarian aid under the aegis of the red cross. Two days ago, Usaia stated that any humanitarian aid to Ukraine will be considered as invasion. Despite this, Russia is negotiating with Ukraine and humanitarian organizations of the UN system and the red cross to send humanitarian aid in the Lugansk and Donetsk region. This was reported by Interfax with reference to the head of the Russian foreign Ministry. “Now, as a priority, we agree with the Ukrainian side, and with the ICRC and international humanitarian organizations of the UN system about the need for urgent shipments in Lugansk and Donetsk areas of humanitarian assistance,” said Lavrov. Lugansk is on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe in the city without electricity and water, hospitals lack basic medicines. “All this is a critical humanitarian situation. I discussed it last a day or two and with the Foreign Minister of Ukraine, with US Sec State, with the Foreign Minister of Great Britain, with the head of the ICRC, and with other colleagues,” added Lavrov. The Minister also noted that this issue is urgent and brooks no delay.

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Now, why do they assume Russia will continue to cooperate on the Northern Distribution Network, which is their route for ISAF troops out of Afghanistan? Some say, To hell with that – RB

NATO Sec-Gen Rasmussen says NATO is planning joint exercises with Ukraine and that Pres Poroshenko is expected to join their summit in Wales. Rasmussen, was at a press conference in Kiev, where he outlined that NATO would also work with Ukraine on defense planning, as well as how to reform its armed forces and institutions. Rasmussen repeatedly made the point that they are ready to advise and assist Ukraine. He said:

As a sign of our strong support and solidarity, we have decided to hold a special meeting with Ukraine in Wales and I look forward to seeing Mr Poroshenko there.

NATO conducted drills in the Black Sea as recently as July, albeit without Ukraine due to the turmoil in the country. The main objective of the exercise was to improve collaboration between the naval forces of different NATO member states. The Sea Breeze naval drills have been conducted annually since 1997. Rasmussen also reiterated that cooperation with Russia is not going to be restored at the moment. Rasmussen blamed Moscow for the unrest in eastern Ukraine. He said:

We have not seen any changes in Russia’s behavior. We do not have any other choice but to keep our cooperation with Russia in all areas suspended. This has affected projects like Afghanistan, terrorism, narcotics and piracy. Cooperation will continue to be suspended until Russia begins to comply with founding documents of cooperation between NATO and Russia.

In April, NATO announced that it is suspending all military and civilian cooperation with Russia over the Ukrainian crisis. However, NATO stated that the organization will continue political dialogue. At the same time, the alliance intensified security cooperation with Ukraine and agreed on a package of measures aimed at strengthening cooperation with other NATO partners in Eastern Europe. Rasmussen said that he expected Russia’s cooperation with NATO in Afghanistan to continue, including training counter-narcotics personnel, maintenance of Afghan air force helicopters and a transit route out of the country. The decision, however, was expected to affect the counter-narcotics and helicopter programs, a senior alliance official told Reuters following the announcement. The official said:

We are exploring avenues to see if there are other ways we can provide training to those counter-narcotics officials through other agencies or in cooperation with other partners.

NATO-Russian cooperation through the helicopter maintenance trust fund would also be halted, he added.

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STATEMENT OF THE MINISTRY OF INFORMATION OF THE DONETSK PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC ABOUT CONDITIONS OF CEASEFIRE.

In regard to numerous requests of the media we receive to inform them about the exact conditions for a ceasefire agreement, the probability of which had been mentioned in the yesterday’s statement of Aleksander Zakharchenko, the head of the DPR’s government, the Ministry of Information of the DPR is giving the following detailed explanation:

“The government of the DPR has repeatedly spoken about its readiness for the ceasefire in order to terminate mass murder of civilians and the destruction of the infrastructure. We discussed the issue in May, when Ukrainian army had to evacuate bodies from the airport. We discussed it in June with Avakov in order to open a humanitarian corridor to city Slavyansk. We have been discussing it in July, when an exclusion zone needed to be established for the investigation of MH17 crash. However, the Ukrainian side kept on conducting warfare throughout the above-mentioned period and keeps on doing it up till now. Even international experts had been shelled on their way to the crash site. Inasmuch as the Ukrainian side is totally devoid of any ability to negotiate, as practice has proved, the discussion of the ceasefire condition is quite groundless. Thus it is evident that the main condition, on which a ceasefire can be achieved, is the equivalent move on the part of Kiev. A ceasefire can only be mutual. Nevertheless, in spite of the appeals of the global community as well as ours, Kiev continues the retaliatory operation. Although non-official consultations with the partaking of the OSCE proved to be ineffective, the government of the DPR is prepared to renew them. We need to stress and clearly define the position of our republic: we are always ready to accept a ceasefire agreement. Exactly with the goal of preventing humanitarian catastrophe, which his already stricken Donbass, we underline that the indispensable condition of the start of any negotiation process aimed at achievement of peace, is the complete withdrawal of Ukrainian army from the territory of the DPR and the participation of Ukrainian officials specifically. We strongly request not to mistake a ceasefire agreement for negotiations. In the past only non-official consultations with a certain contact group which had no formal authority took place, and the agreement achieved was violated by Ukrainian side. There had been and there will be no negotiations, while Ukrainian army is conducting warfare. The Republic will fight, and we are assured of our victory over the occupiers.”

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Ukraine Steps Up Assault of Rebel City
Andrew Kramer, NYT, Aug 10 2014

DONETSK, Ukraine — Ukraine pressed ahead on Sunday with its military assault to stamp out pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country with its most intensive artillery bombardment of this rebel capital yet. The attack with artillery and ground-to-ground rockets defied Russian threats to intervene here as the civilian death toll rose. It also reinforced the Ukrainian leadership’s rejection of a cease-fire on humanitarian grounds offered on Saturday by the head of the main pro-Russian separatist group here, the Donetsk People’s Republic. The separatist leadership clarified Sunday that the cease-fire offer had covered only so-called green routes, or roads used by evacuees. Still, Ukraine’s outright rebuff of the proposal only added to concerns that Russia would intervene with what the authorities in Moscow are calling a humanitarian mission but what Usaia & Euia would view as an invasion, analysts said. Jackass Kerry has cautioned Russia against intervening on the “pretext” of providing aid. Through the day on Sunday, artillery shells rained down on three districts of Donetsk, hitting a rebel checkpoint and leaving it swathed in smoke, but also striking houses, apartment buildings and the maternity ward of the city’s main hospital. Shells killed at least one civilian in the city. Roma Pronyakin, 37, was at home with his mother, watching TV, when their living room was struck. His mother, Alla, stood on the road in a state of shock. She said:

I had one son, and now I have none.

A pro-Ukrainian paramilitary group called the Azov battalion, one of a half-dozen such organizations positioned around the city and used for urban combat, said Sunday that its fighters had raided the Ilovaisky district of the city, but pulled back. The Ukrainian military said it had engaged in 30 firefights with the pro-Russian separatists in the previous 24 hours. A Ukrainian military spokesman said in Kiev, according to Ukrinform, the state news agency:

The terrorists who are still active in Donetsk and Luhansk regions should lay down their arms and not bring up empty conversations about cease-fires. If they want to take initiative, it is realized in a practical way, not with words, but by raising a white flag and laying down arms. In this case, nobody will shoot the terrorists.

The city’s main hospital, known as Hospital #1, was struck Sunday by artillery fire for a second time in recent days. It has the misfortune of falling right in the center of a line of fire between Ukrainian positions outside the city and the rebel military headquarters. In the previous strike on the hospital, on Thursday, shells hit the dental ward, killing one patient, destroying a pediatric wing and sending people running into the street midway through their dental work. On Sunday, the explosions and flying shrapnel blew out windows in the maternity ward. Tragedy was averted only because the deputy head doctor, Marina Ovsyanik, had evacuated 52 new and expecting mothers into the basement the night before, even though one woman was already in labor. She gave birth to a healthy boy in the basement, Dr Ovsyanik said. As Larisa Faleyeva cradled her 4-day-old daughter at the hospital, she said she thought these early traumatic days of conflict would bring the girl a special fate in life. She said:

I hope and ask God to give her a peaceful life.

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City Kiev, failed state Ukraine. Kiev junta want to wipe off Maidan from center of Kiev till Aug 24, “day of independence of Ukraine”.

From “Victory of Dignity revolution in Kiev”, ie from fascist coup in Kiev, USrael puppets didn’t need people in Maidan. Media of Ukraine, which under control of Kiev junta stop to write about Maidan as something wonderful. They began to write about war with Russia, about Russian agents in Crimea and South-East of Ukraine. They called members of Maidan to war against “slaves of Yanukovitch and Putin in Crimea and South-East.” You all could read it in your media. Media of Kiev junta are reflection of Fox News, CNN, BBC and others, because owners are from same world club. From end of spring 2014, media of Kiev junta began new brainwashing: they show only dirty side of Maidan. Same people who were “heroes, revolutionaries of Dignity” from Nov 2013 to Feb 2014 became criminals, agents of Putin and slaves of Yanukovitch from end of May. This brainwashing was successful. You can see the results in this video. Citizens of Kiev who supported Maidan, now came to wipe off it from center of Kiev. Many of people who came “to clean streets from rubbish” were members of Maidan. Kiev junta bought them and turn against own “comrades”. Citizens of Kiev shown themselves to be sheep. This action at Saturday was prepared. Kiev junta failed to wipe off Maidan by municipal workers and fascist battalions. So, fascists regime used against members of Maidan, same kind of people, soulless crowd, former members of Maidan. Against few tents in one of streets near Maidan were sent big number of “cleaners”. In the video they have gloves. In the video you can see part of “cleaning” in one street in the center of Kiev. Main battle for Maidan in center of Square of Independence awaits us ahead.


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This undated, possibly spurious, but fun:

10491280_1445899412350672_3984926526175860791_n

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All of the above from Truth from Ukraine (Facebook). Now, these from NovorosInform:

Vladimir Putin: Russia sends to Ukraine humanitarian convoy
NovorosInform, Aug 11 2014

Pres Putin in a telephone conversation with European Commission Pres Barroso said that the Russian side in cooperation with the Red Cross sends to Ukraine humanitarian convoy. Putin gave an assessment of the causes of crisis in this country. The conversation was focused attention on the catastrophic consequences conducted by the Kiev authorities of the military operation in South-Eastern regions and the need for urgent delivery in the conflict zone of humanitarian aid, said the press service of the Kremlin.

Humanitarian action for Donbass to take place in the nearest time – Lavrov
NovorosInform, Aug 11 2014

Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov expressed hope that the humanitarian aid from Russia in the near future will arrive in Eastern Ukraine, and reported that all details are agreed with the Kiev leadership. According to Lavrov, humanitarian action, the design of which is completed, should not be hindered by Western partners. According to him, the Western partners were against the idea to send humanitarian aid. Lavrov said to journalists:

I hope that in the near future this humanitarian action will be held under the auspices of the ICRC. We agreed on all the details with the Ukrainian leadership. I hope the Western partners will not put a spoke in the wheel. We remember well as any initiatives of the Russian Federation, including those adopted at the request of our Western partners, were postponed for later, were detained. But I’m cautiously optimistic today can say that, in my opinion, everything is already possible and impossible pretexts have been lifted.

Today the Russian peace Foundation hands over humanitarian assistance to the residents of DPR
NovorosInform, Aug 11 2014

The Ministry of labour and social policy DND continues to provide refugees of the settlements subjected to shelling by the national guard under. IDPs temporarily accommodated in dormitories at higher educational institutions of Donetsk, the office organizes hot meals, provides victims with medicines and personal hygiene items. Due to increasing number of victims, the Ministry of labour reported difficulties with food for social canteens. The Russian peace Foundation responded and organized delivery of food products for the residents of DND with the support of humanitarian battalion “new Russia”, accompanying the cargo.

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So much for NovorosInform. Now and for the rest of the day, I shall concentrate on Voice of Sevastopol, which I still consider the most reliable source for the area. By the way, it is normal that you cannot run YouTube videos when connecting through Yandex. That is why you have to go to the original Russian-language page, or else come here, to watch them. I do not just paste them straight in, I rewrite them as authentic YouTube URLs, so that they will work. On the other hand, I do not reproduce the whole of VoS’s daily diary, only things I consider important, interesting and comprehensible. Much is not comprehensible because Yandex mangles it so badly. In all cases, I do my best to iron out the infelicities of Yandex and render everything as comprehensible as possible – RB

14-45. Lugansk on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe. The capital of the Republic is fully disconnected from the power supply. About 250,000 remained in the city, live without light and water is the ninth day, does not work mobile and fixed communication. It is reported by the city Council of Lugansk. The city continued to be fired upon by the Ukrainian military. Most shops remain closed. The products are sold from stalls. Despite the lack of electricity, local manufacturers continue to bake bread and ensure Lugansk bread products. There are problems with garbage collection. In the city did not deliver food, medicine and fuel. In Lugansk not pay pensions, salaries and social payments.

Poroshenko finally announced that Lugansk is situated in the area of humanitarian catastrophe
Mary, Voice of Sevastopol, Aug 11 2014

In Lugansk for more than a week without electricity. However, the main humanitarian problem is the shortage of water. It is necessary to note that, with poor hygiene and enormous heat, an outbreak of cholera or plague is very likely. People stand in line for water in the morning, because I am afraid that at all it is not enough. Everyone in town was… water, food, children were not afraid to play on the street, old people had a rest on benches, young people dreamed about a happy future, but Ukrainian army come, to free the people from the invaders bombed the city completely. No electricity, no water, nothing. In the city there is no water and electricity, there is no communication with the outside world. The film crew travelled all over the city, but the signal is nowhere to be found. Local residents say that in the city there are several points where communication is still possible to catch. People still come there to try their luck. They say that now the whole city is a zone of bombardment, and here they are, at least, can talk on the phone with family and friends. In Lugansk and other cities of the South-East there is still a lot of civilians who are forced to hide in dark basements and other shelters, not as secure as it may seem, and not because they are “terrorists” or support the national guard, as commented Ukrainian politicians and media. The reason is simple: some people cannot leave their elderly parents, some do not have the means, and some did not have time to leave, because, in fact, the normal “corridors” security officials have not provided. Shelling LNR is Punisher for a long time, and oligarchic President of Ukraine only noticed it. Last week it was announced that the city is in a state of humanitarian catastrophe. The current government of Ukraine, in the person not legally elected President Poroshenko, informed Jackass Kerry that invites representatives of the ICRC to help the inhabitants of Lugansk, at the same time not giving the order to retreat or a ceasefire, while continuing to pursue the siege of the city. The question arises: do we need these civilians on the territory of LPR? Obvious answer: this statement is the next PR for the Poroshenko, saying, “Behold, I take care of them.” Russia intends to send to Lugansk emergency and trying to get permission of Kiev. But there is an opinion that this attempt on the part of Russia will be rejected by the Ukrainian ruling junta.

No electricity, water, communications in besieged Lugansk
RT.com, Aug 11 2014


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250,000 people have been left without water, electricity and communications for over a week in the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk. The town is subject to siege conditions and under heavy bombardment. Local woman Nadezhda Essaulinka exclaimed emotionally:

We’re being bombed so severely, there’s hardly anything left to bomb. People are running out of money. How are we supposed to survive in this heat? What if some sort of epidemic breaks out? What should we do?

The local administration says:

Pension, salaries, and social benefits haven’t been paid. Some employees haven’t received their salaries for a month, others for over two-and-a-half months.

Most of the shops in the city are closed, and produce is sold in the streets. No deliveries of food, medical supplies, or fuel have been reported, according to ITAR-TASS. Phones are down all over the city and the locations that still have it are sometimes marked with “Shelling zone” signs, RT’s Maria Finoshina said. A city resident blamed Kiev for what is happening to them. Lidia Ostroverkhova told RT:

We used to have food and water. But now Kiev has completely destroyed our city. There’s no water and electricity now, there’s nothing.

Locals are stressing that the shelling is continuous, especially over the weekend. Olga Kaplya said:

They’re terrorizing us and attacking us daily, and they step up the shelling at the weekend. They’ve attacked all of our businesses, which were the main hope for our economy.

In some areas, residents are forced to use water pumps, as more locations are becoming a banned zone for trucks. Local resident Andrey Petrenko said:

They used to bring water here, but they stopped once the shelling started. Some say the driver of the water truck was killed.

At least a dozen apartments and private homes are shelled daily in the city, as locals told RT. It comes as the Ukrainian authorities have called on the residents of eastern Ukrainian residential areas to leave their hometowns if the self-defense forces are there, despite the constant deadly fighting going on in the region. Spokesman for the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Andrey Lysenko said, as quoted by Vesti.ua:

We are addressing the locals once again: leave those cities. It’s temporary.

According to latest Ukraine figures by the UN, 117,000 are internally displaced, while 730,000 others, according to Russian data, have fled to Russia.

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13-43. Fire Gorlovka chemical plant “Stirol” Ukrainian army Grad rockets can lead to leakage of blood poison – dangerous chemical substances. In this case, the ecological catastrophe threatens not only Ukraine but also Russia and Belarus.


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09-35. Message from eyewitnesses.

Kharkov. At 7 in the morning flew C-17. With roll in the right wing (right turn) made a circle and came in to land on the runway of the airport. The height was approximately 350-400 meters. Video of aircraft C-17 Globemaster from the airport Kharkov 10.08.2014:


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8 Comments

  1. Brian Frakes
    Posted August 11, 2014 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    OMG!!how’n’the hell did the capitol of Mongolia land on top of Kiev! Same way Slaviansk moved to Krim!
    Anyhoo, I wonder if Putin sometimes wishes he could start a war, or at least a bombing campaign, then go on holiday…must be nice…

  2. Posted August 11, 2014 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Coming into work on the train today I ready the story about the shelling of the hospital yesterday in Donetsk and became angry:

    In the previous strike on the hospital, on Thursday, shells hit the dental ward, killing one patient, destroying a pediatric wing and sending people running into the street midway through their dental work.

    On Sunday, the explosions and flying shrapnel blew out windows in the maternity ward. Tragedy was averted only because the deputy head doctor, Marina Ovsyanik, had evacuated 52 new and expecting mothers into the basement the night before, even though one woman was already in labor. She gave birth to a healthy boy in the basement, Dr. Ovsyanik said.

    Politically Russia will have to act soon. If an entire maternity ward of newborns had been blown to smithereens what would people make of Putin’s passive and quiescent behavior?

  3. Crazy Ivan Report
    Posted August 11, 2014 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    Mike:

    Nothing. Who cares what “cannon fodder” or “human-herd” or “man-cattle” thinks?

    “Politically Russia will have to act soon.” – yes, I saw in TV about humanitarian help is going on into the New Russia land with NATO, UK and US having right to control it.

    There’s so much interesting news that I left the scoop for tomorrow, as more opinion will be published and I have black on white how Russia betrayed New Russia once more.

    Nice hours at keyboard.

  4. niqnaq
    Posted August 11, 2014 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Mike, I’m surprised that Andrew Kramer is actually in Donetsk. He doesn’t sound as if he’s enjoying it much, but he has dutifully added all the little circumstantial, political touches that put it properly into the imperial context. He has even remembered to say “European nations and the United States” feel this, want that, pretending that “European nations” are calling the shots and “the United States” is just backstopping them. I have changed this, in my usual disagreeable way, to “Usaia & Euia.” And I suppose I should remark on his diabolical little trick to excuse the shelling of the hospital by the junta, which is a very old trick used by imperial war correspondents over the centuries: he implies that the hospital is being hit by shells that are aimed at some imaginary “rebel headquarters” and fall short, and uses the intentionally misleading phrase “in the line of fire,” as if the projectiles in question travelled in a straight line, not a parabola.

  5. Posted August 11, 2014 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    All true, Rowan, but even with the obligatory whitewashing it is still a hospital maternity ward that got blown to kingdom come. It is like the IDF saying “Well, that UN school we just shelled killing all those women and children, there were some terrorists shooting pellet guns at us from an apartment building down the block.” It is still a war crime no matter what spin you put on it. And it comes across as such.

    Sabrina Tavernise was recalled to Washington. It could have been anything; she could have requested it. I have noticed that NYT rotates it reporters out of war zones after a couple of weeks. Still, it could be that her writing had become too unvarnished, too pro-Donbass/anti-Junta. So in comes Kramer who is more your run-of-the-mill careerist, and even in his reporting it is obvious that the Ukrainian military is shelling civilians.

    I think politically, I know Ivan is skeptical, Putin is well boxed now. Public opinion will curdle on him if he continues to do nothing. His humanitarian convoy at the very least — I am hoping — will lead to the crazy junta doing something colossally stupid, like blowing it up, and that will provide an even clearer cut casus belli.

  6. niqnaq
    Posted August 11, 2014 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    Here’s another amazing effort from Andrew, who’s clearly missed his vocation:

    NAF needs a near term offensive plan. They are currently holding and contesting 260 km of front between Marynivka on the border, Donetsk, and the Seversky Donets north of Alchevsk. The final 80 km of front is static north of Lugansk because the Ukrainians lack the brigades to fight. Ukraine has 2 Tank Brigades (1st and 17th), 8 Mechanized Brigades (24th, 28th, 30th, 51st, 72nd, 92nd, 93rd, 128th), 3 Airborne Brigades (25th, 79th, 95th). The Southern Cauldron debacle essentially put out of commission the 24th, 72nd, and 79th, while the 25th has been significantly damaged by a variety of actions. The 17th and 92nd sit in reserve. They can actually shorten their front through an attack to Mariupol, Melitopol and Zaporizhia. They would need to hold two river crossings of the Dnipr near Kherson and 2 in Zaporizhia and just a 200 km front from the Dnipr to the Seversky Donets. The shortening comes from using the enormous barrier of the Dnipr as the front.

    I know this type of operation seems preposterous with the forces available, but I’m sure the advance of ISIS through Iraq did also. I think enough forces would be freed for such an operation by closing a new pocket on the border southeast from Donetsk along the river to Komsomolske to fully destroy the Southern Operational Group of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. If this can be accomplished, the 1st and 28th can be faced north of Lugansk and the 30th, 93rd, and 95th from Donetsk to Alchevsk, while the south is open for a dash to Zaporizhia. This would force the remaining Ukrainian groups to stretch with the offensive, giving the opportunity to push them back to the Donetsk border and a line to the Dnipr. Possibly even they could be pushed out of Lugansk clear to the Krasnopilske Reservoir. The NAF then gains the recruiting capability of the Russian population all along the Azov and direct access to Crimea. This would be an ideal position to be in by the end of the year, with Strelkov in winter quarters in Zaporizhia. Most of all though, the NAF needs an advance to give fence-sitters and opportunity to join the “winning” team.

    I shall have to assemble that and his equally staggering order of battle and full list of all the regiments and so on. He should have been a Field-Marshal at least.

  7. Crazy Ivan Report
    Posted August 11, 2014 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    To counterattack at Donetsk militia prepared 200 armored vehicles
    12.08.2014 01:10
    http://translate.yandex.net/tr-url/ru-en.en/www.vesti.ru/doc.html?id=1885210&tid=105474

  8. niqnaq
    Posted August 12, 2014 at 4:18 am | Permalink

    Further from Andrew:

    How many men are needed for the moves I indicate? I can’t say. It would depend on how many are arrayed against and in the field in front. I believe the Southern Front originally had Ukrainian forces of 14,000, with 6,000 going into the Southern Pocket and being operational or physically destroyed. I think there are also the equivalent of 2,000 National Guard at checkpoints back to the Dnipr and garrisoning Mariupol, and another 1,000 on the Crimean border. The first move has to be closing the pocket on the remaining southern group and pressing them into the border to destruction. The prerequisite for this has occurred through victory at Ilovaysk. The path is open to move behind this grouping and cut its supply. During the neutralization of this group, the Ukrainians would obviously try to move in remaining reserves from Kryivi Rih and Kharkov and slide existing forces around the corner of Donetsk. To block this, a stretch play west from Donetsk to Zaporozhia is required at the same time to draw these forces away. A brigade sized force would be ideal for each offensive operation, with continued defensive hold of the Donetsk-Torez-Snizhne line.

    As I said, this seems outlandish with the forces thought to be at NAF disposal, but possibly there are more men available than is realized. One way around the lack of men would be to ignite a Zaporozhyian/Mariupol revolt at the time of the offensive, with sleeper units activated to administratively seize key cities as occurred at the beginning of the this war in Donbass. I will note that there has been a lot of sabotage activity in Zaporozhiya, but there was next to no civil “unrest” after Maidan despite a very large Russian population. Such a revolt would effectively replace the need for an attack by a brigade sized force. Instead a batallion sized force would suffice, leaving 5 companies in Zaporozhiya, 2 companies each to the two Kherson bridges, and 2 companies to garrison Melitopol and Berdyansk. The other way around would be to time the destruction in the south using lessons from the Cauldron to be faster than forces can redploy from the north or reserves. Crushing the cauldron took a month. This time it needs to be a week so that all the NAF forces in the south (which likely do total two brigades) can be freed for the offensive movements to the west and south. If done right, this will draw forces off of Alchevsk and Lugansk, permitting those fronts to push north and west. So possibly it needs to be this order:

    1) Offensive southwest to encirclement with a brigade and 2 battalions.
    2) Uprising in Zaporozhiya with one battalion infiltrating the rear to seize bridges.
    3) Southern forces redeploy west and defeat the Crimean border force.
    4) Lugansk front begins a wheeling movement or encirclement once forces draw off to the west.

    I do not think all this will happen, because I do not believe Strelkov (even assuming he is bona fide, and not a fifth-columnist for Putin whose real job is to lose gracefully), has this sort of control over everybody. To do this requires him to act like the conductor of a well-trained orchestra, and the NAF is not that by any means; it’s a disparate conglomeration of self-led brigades, some of which are certainly under unreliable leadership (eg Vostok, which without Khodakovsky is really leaderless, as far as I know, and the Cossacks, who Strelkov constantly says just won’t fight). But anyway, I am going to put all three of Andrew’s brilliant long comments into a post of their own, this morning.

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