south front

War Coming To Europe
South Front, Jan 25 2022

The Western MSM are horning in one voice that the Russian Federation is preparing a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in the near future. They are supported by the authorities of the Anglo-Saxon states and the Brussels bureaucracy. Every statement and step taken by Washington and London is aimed at inflaming the situation. This includes sharply increased arms supplies, the deployment of additional military contingents, the recognition that entire units of US military personnel are already in the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the accusation of Russia that it dares to move troops on its sovereign territory, and much more. A separate vector is the efforts to disrupt the dialogue on strategic stability on the part of the US. Up to the point that the head of the press service of the State Dept, Ned Price, said that the US would not concede to Russia on the issue of security guarantees, hiding behind the phrase that any steps concerning Moscow’s proposals regarding European security should be taken on a bilateral basis. Pentagon spox John Kirby said:

Why did we make this decision now? It is the totality of the situation that we’ve been watching and the decision is based on this military buildup, based on how we see these developments. I want to go back to the quote from President Biden about how Russia could engage in fuller military aggression against Ukraine at any time.

A member of the board of directors of the British BAE Systems, the largest arms manufacturing company in Europe, whose shares have soared by 10% over the past month, declared:

Biden has to be ready to support Ukraine militarily.

In his turn, Joe Biden swore at Fox News journalist Peter Doocy, who asked him not about Ukraine, but about inflation:

What a stupid son of a bitch.

Biden, apparently, once again did not pay attention to the fact that the microphones are still on. Such a position of NATO allies is causing increasing bewilderment in Germany, France, Italy, Spain and other European countries that have retained some degree of independence in international relations. Even the authorities in Ukraine, which is de facto under the occupation control of the US, are beginning to express dissatisfaction with the propaganda campaign launched around the possible Russian invasion. NSDC Secretary Danilov said yesterday:

We do not see any grounds today to assert that there will be a full-scale offensive by the Russian Federation.

He also stated that there is no active departure of representatives of foreign embassies from Ukraine. According to him, to date, only three countries have announced partial evacuation: the US, Britain and Australia. President of Ukraine Zelensky assured his citizens that the situation in the east of the country is under control, declaring:

There is no reason to panic. We are working for a complete deescalation of the situation through a peaceful settlement.

At the same time, Ukraine continues to concentrate strike forces in the east of the country. On Jan 24, it was reported that the UAF deployed a significant number of engineering and sapper equipment designed to make passages in minefields to ensure military offensive actions. On Jan 25, information was received from DPR officials that multiple rocket launchers and new tank units had arrived in the region to form strike groups. Combat aircraft of some NATO countries are arriving in Poland, the Baltic States and Bulgaria. It seems that a certain part of the Washington and Brussels establishment are doing their utmost to unleash a war in Eastern Europe. In this light, the conflict can be prevented only by the joint efforts of Russia and the largest European states, such as Germany and France.

Bloody Battle For Al-Hasakah Prison Wreaks Havoc Across Northern Syria
South Front, Jan 24 2022

As of Jan 24, escalation continues in Syria, mainly in the northeastern region where the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been locked in a heated battle with ISIS cells. The battle broke out on Jan 20 when ISIS terrorists attacked Geweran prison in the southern part of al-Hasakah city. The terrorists, who initially intended to free their comrades, ended up occupying the prison and several nearby areas. By Jan 23, the battle in al-Hasakah city has claimed the lives of 84 ISIS terrorists, seven civilians and 45 personnel of the SDF and its security forces. The battle also displaced thousands of civilians who took refuge in the government-held “security zone” in al-Hasakah’s center as well as the northern district of the city. ISIS terrorists are now besieged by the SDF, whose forces have been receiving direct support from the US-led coalition. The battle will likely end soon.

Turkish forces took advantage of ISIS attack on Geweran prison and stepped up their operations against the SDF in northeastern Syria. On Jan 21, a Turkish drone strike targeted a military vehicle near the town of Tell Tamer in the northern al-Hasakah countryside. The vehicle was a part of reinforcements sent by the SDF to al-Hasakah city. The strike claimed the lives of two fighters of the SDF. On Jan 22, five civilians were killed and four others were wounded when Turkish forces shelled and attacked areas held by the SDF near the town of Ain Issa in the northern Raqqa countryside.

Contrary to northeastern Syria, the situation in the northwestern region, known as Greater Idlib, has been calm. A harsh snow storm forced al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the de-facto ruler of Greater Idlib, and its allies to halt their provocations. The situation will likely heat up again once the storm is over in a week or less. Meanwhile, in Syria’s central region, ISIS cells continue to launch attacks despite facing much pressure from government forces and their allies. Early on Jan 22, ISIS terrorists attacked several positions of the pro-government National Defense Forces (NDF) near the town of al-Resafa in the southern Raqqa countryside. At least 12 NDF fighters were wounded. In response, warplanes of the Russian Aerospace Forces carried out more than 82 airstrikes on hideouts of ISIS cells in the eastern countryside of Homs as well as in the deserts of Raqqa and Deir Ezzor on Jan 22-23. While ISIS insurgency in central Syria will not likely end anytime soon, the group’s cells are still incapable of threatening key urban centers and vital roads in the region.

The situation in Syria’s southern regions was not much better. Attacks continue to target government forces. Late on Jan 22, unidentified gunmen attacked a checkpoint and a base of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) near the town of Mlaiha al-Garbiah in the eastern countryside of Daraa. The attack coincided with several strikes that hit Mlaiha al-Garbiah and the nearby town of Hrak, wounding at least ten people. Syrian opposition activists said that the SAA shelled the two towns with mortars and artillery. However, this is yet to be confirmed. The Air Force Intelligence Directorate (AFID) responded to the attack by carrying out a series of raids in Mlaiha al-Garbiah and Hrak on Jan 23. At least six suspects were arrested. The situation in the southern region and the rest of Syria will not likely improve anytime soon as a political settlement for the war in Syria remains unlikely. All recent developments indicate that the war will go on.

After Diplomatic Failure, NATO And US Turning To Military Option To Contain “Russian Threat”
South Front, Jan 24 2022

Loading of a batch of M141 BDM SMAW-D single-use grenade launchers at Dover AFB, Delaware, Jan 21 2022.
Judging by the visible factory number, the weapons were made in 2011. Photo: Mauricio Campino/USAF

Following no progress in diplomatic efforts of Russian and Western officials, the sides turned to their military power. Under the pretext of the alleged Russian invasion in Ukraine, NATO claimed putting its forces on standby and sending additional warships and fighter jets in eastern Europe. According to the official statement released by NATO on Jan 24, in the past days, a number of allies have made announcements regarding current or upcoming deployments. Denmark is sending a frigate to the Baltic Sea and is set to deploy four F-16 fighter jets to Lithuania in support of NATO’s long-standing air-policing mission in the region. Spain is sending ships to join NATO naval forces and is considering sending fighter jets to Bulgaria. France has expressed its readiness to send troops to Romania under NATO command. The Netherlands is sending two F-35 fighter aircraft to Bulgaria from April to support NATO’s air-policing activities in the region, and is putting a ship and land-based units on standby for NATO’s Response Force. It was added that the US has also made clear that it is considering increasing its military presence in the eastern part of the Alliance.

At the same time, the NYT cited administration officials claiming that Biden is considering deploying several thousand US troops, as well as warships and aircraft, to NATO allies in the Baltics and Eastern Europe. The options include sending 1k to 5k troops to Eastern European countries, with the potential to increase that number tenfold if things deteriorate. According to the report, the move would signal a major pivot for the Biden administration, which up until recently was taking a restrained stance on Ukraine, out of fear of provoking Russia into invading. The US “restrained stance” included the recent transfer of two batches of military equipment to the Kiev’s regime. During Jan 22 morning and Jan 23 evening, the first two batches of an additional package of urgent US military assistance to the armed forces of Ukraine ($200m), which was approved by Biden in Dec 2021, arrived at Kiev’s Boryspil airport. Shipments of military cargo weighing 90 tons on Jan 22 and 80 tons on Jan 23, including lethal weapons and ammunition, were delivered from the US by Boeing 747-400 cargo planes of the National Air Cargo.

Meanwhile, the US State Dept authorized the voluntary departure of its employees and members of their families from the embassy in Kiev. The State Dept also asked US citizens in Ukraine to consider departing the country using commercial or other privately available transportation options. The State Dept reissued its Level 4 Travel Warning for Ukraine, saying:

Do not travel to Ukraine due to the increased threats of Russian military action and COVID-19.

Previously, the travel warning had also been at Level 4, due to COVID-19. The British and Australian authorities followed the US example. However, Josep Borrell claimed that the EU is not planning to follow the US in withdrawing family members of diplomats from Ukraine amid tensions with Russia. Borrell told reporters:

We are not going to do the same thing because we don’t know any specific reasons. But Secretary Blinken will inform us.

UK, US Accuse Russia Of Preparing Regime Change In Ukraine
Lucas Leiroz, South Front, Jan 24 2022

Once again, the West is spreading fake news and unfounded theses about Russian-Ukraine relations. Now, American, and British officials are claiming that Russia plans to install a new, pro-Russian government in Kiev. As expected, there is no data to support this narrative, being just another unsubstantiated rhetoric with the sole purpose of defaming Russia. This weekend, the West launched a new kind of anti-Russian narrative. On Sunday, the UK Foreign Office formally accused Moscow of trying to install a pro-Russian government in Kiev. No details were provided on how the British government would have reached such conclusions. There is no information on the investigation methods used or any mention of external sources, which makes the allegations really unjustified. Truss said:

The information being released today shines a light on the extent of Russian activity designed to subvert Ukraine, and is an insight into Kremlin thinking. Russia must deescalate, end its campaigns of aggression and disinformation, and pursue a path of diplomacy.

In the same sense, Raab stated:

There’ll be very serious consequences if Russia takes this move to try and invade but also install a puppet regime.

At a later time, the accusations made by the British were endorsed by Washington. Blinken said during an interview to CNN that the US had previously alerted its allies about possible Russian plans similar to those described by the UK. In his own words:

I can’t comment on specific pieces of intelligence, but we’ve been warned about just this kind of tactic for weeks and we’ve spoken about it publicly. Just last week we sanctioned four Russian agents, Ukrainians in Ukraine, seeking to destabilize the government. This is part of the Russian toolkit. It runs the gamut from a large convention incursion in an attempt to topple the government. It’s important that people be on notice about that possibility.

Blinken also briefly commented on the measures that would be “necessary” to prevent Russia from continuing to try to operate its plans in Kiev. For him, US sanctions are means of deterring Russia, and must be applied carefully so that they do not lose their deterrent effect. When asked by the interviewer if he could foresee a scenario of American intervention in the conflict, Blinken stated that the possibilities are being analyzed and that the American objective is to make it clear to Russia that there will be serious consequences in the case of failure of diplomatic resolution attempts:

So when it comes to sanctions, the purpose of those sanctions is to deter Russian aggression. And so if they’re triggered now, you lose the deterrent effect. All of the things that we’re doing, including building up in a united way with Europe massive consequences for Russia, is designed to factor into President Putin’s calculations and to deter and dissuade them from taking aggressive action, even as we pursue diplomacy at the same time. We’re building up our defense, we’re building up our deterrence to make sure that Russia understands that if it doesn’t follow the diplomatic course, if it renews its aggression, there’ll be very significant consequences.

What we are seeing here is no change in attitude on the part of the West. On the contrary, the US and UK continue to use the same tactic they have been using for years: inventing narratives about an alleged Russian threat in order to justify coercive measures, sanctions, military mobilizations and all their interventionist apparatus in Eastern Europe. The only thing that is partially changing is the content of the narrative itself. Until now, Washington and London were concerned with convincing the world that Moscow would attack Ukraine. Now the tactic is to say that the Russians will “subvert” Kiev. This seems like an interesting way of trying to maintain the validity of Western discourse. Global public opinion is less and less confident in the discourse about Russian invasion, considering that year after year, since 2014, this issue remains and so far no invasion has taken place. If public opinion ceases to believe in the existence of a Russian threat, the Western governments’ plans to boycott Moscow are in risk of entering into a crisis of legitimacy, so it is necessary to renew the speech. The bet now is on spreading the news that Moscow is planning regime change in Kiev. For now, this new narrative may seem more convincing. In a world marked by color revolutions and regime change operations, it may seem likely that this is the Russian plan for Ukraine, but as happened with the speech about the invasion plan, this narrative will lose validity with time because Russia will not promote such a change, simply because that is not Moscow’s plan either.

Military And Political Situation In Europe (Map Update)
South Front, Jan 24 2022

  • On Jan 23, more than 80 tons of US weapons were transferred to Kiev. On Jan 22, about 91 tons arrived in Ukraine.
  • The UK supplied Ukraine with anti-tank missile launchers NLAW on board of 7 cargo aircraft. A group of around 30 elite British troops has arrived in Ukraine.
  • The Czech Republic will send artillery shells to Ukraine.
  • Estonia will send Javelin anti-tank systems to Ukraine.
  • Latvia and Lithuania will send Stinger anti-aircraft missile systems to Ukraine.
  • Germany refused to supply weapons to Ukraine. Instead, Berlin sent a mobile field hospital.
  • Canada sent several hundred Special Forces to Ukraine.
  • Biden is reportedly going to deploy several thousand US troops, as well as warships and aircraft, to NATO allies in the Baltics and Eastern Europe.
  • Denmark is sending a frigate to the Baltic Sea and will deploy four F-16 fighter jets to Lithuania in support of NATO’s air-policing mission.
  • Spain is sending ships to join NATO naval forces and is considering sending fighter jets to Bulgaria.
  • Nine Spanish parties have signed a joint manifesto opposing the sending of Spanish warships to the Black Sea and the country’s participation in the NATO air mission in Bulgaria.
  • France is sending troops to Romania under NATO command.
  • The Netherlands is sending two F-35 fighter aircraft to Bulgaria from April to support NATO’s air-policing activities, and is putting a ship and land-based units on standby for NATO’s Response Force.
  • On Jan 20, the US Army delegation led by the military attache at the American Embassy, Colonel Brandon Presley, arrived at the frontline positions in Donbas.
  • On Jan 23, US SOF were spotted on the Donbass frontlines.
  • On Jan 23, the US State Dept authorized the voluntary departure of US employees and ordered the departure of the relevant family members from the US embassy in Kiev.
  • Following the US and the UK, Australia began evacuating the families of diplomats from Kiev.

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