Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Truce or Consequences

The "truce" continues to hold while everyone pretends to work out a permanent solution and the EU considers backing off some sanctions because Russia is acting as a responsible peacemaker.  Which is to say, terrorist attacks have been focused mainly around Donetsk airport and Ukraine says no troops will pull back unless the terrorists pull back.  But there is less shooting and fewer deaths.  A third white convoy of "aid" from Moscow was suddenly rerouted to Donetsk instead of Lughansk and reports claim it delivered military supplies while other reports claim it was empty and would take back military factory equipment.  Either way, neither Ukraine nor ICRC ever got a look at it though of course Russia "says" they were invited.

The ball will reopen most likely sooner than later with attacks on the Donetsk airport, possession of which will allow (unmarked) Russian military aircraft to be used in support of the terrorists.  The second attack will be on the port of Mariupol to allow Russia easier transportation of military equipment by sea and more important as the next step in creation of a land route to Crimea.  It is cheaper and faster to militarily create a land access than to bridge the Kerch Strait which may not even be technically possible.  The Germans apparently bridged it during WWII but ice washed it out over winter, according to one report.

The occupation of Crimea is rapidly becoming a major problem for Russia.  There is only enough fresh water left for 15 months (with NO irrigation). Rough seas threaten to cut off the Kerch ferry which is the only easy way to bring food to Crimea.  Winter storms on the Black Sea make it difficult to supply Crimea even by sea-going vessels. The peninsula is connected to Ukraine by a very narrow neck of land and depends on Ukraine for electricity, gas and water, and prior to Russian occupation on Ukraine for food supplies and markets for agricultural production. A bit of history on how Crimea found itself (and sensibly so, given the above dependency on Ukraine) as part of Ukraine SSR in 1954 can be found on two of my older blogs here and here.

Russia has been massing troops and hardware on the narrow border with Kherson. Russia, operating on the assumption that the West will do nothing anyhow, could launch an up-front full scale invasion to open a land route from the south, linking up with continued invasion from the east.  This is not likely to happen until AFTER the G20 in Australia in November as Putin is still on the invitee list and it is likely he is anxious to attend and rub people's noses in it.

6 comments:

  1. Interesting to get the update. I was just thinking if this as I saw my Ukrainian friend yesterday. We did not have a chance to chat, as we were strictly dealing with work issues.But the Russian invasion has totally dropped off the US news feeds, and there has been no updates as to what is happening. I suppose that with winter fast approaching there will need to be some sort of decision by one side or the other soon.
    Take care--you and your family.

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  2. For what little good it will do, Obama called out Russian aggression at the UN this week.

    the Ol'Buzzard

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  3. I think the leaders of the Western world should be reading your blog. Unfortunately, that wouldn't do them any good unless they first removed their blinders. Sigh.

    As selfish as it is, I'm glad I'm not living in the Ukraine.

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    1. Thanks for the wishes, chlost. I am not sure what will happen next as winter approaches.
      Ol'B, we could use a few weapons as well as words.
      My blog is no more than a compilation of what I read, tempered with a great deal of salt and lots of bias, Diane. Whether it is a basis for Foreign Policy or not, I don't know but thank you for thinking so.

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  4. Jeez, I heard on the national news several days ago that the truce was a truce in name only.

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    1. Pretty much, Snow. Certainly not observed by the terrorists.

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