Friday, March 14, 2014

Ukraine SITREP March 14, 10:55 EST (and a look at the Ukrainian military)

  • Serious clashes have taken place in the city of Donetsk.  According to most accounts, the newly appointed billionaire governor Taruta attempted to organize a demonstration in support of "a united Ukraine".  For his purpose he bused in from Kiev and western Ukraine.  The local population organized a counter-demonstration.  The cops tried to keep the two groups apart, but failed, and soon violent clashes happened.  The Banderites were fewer in numbers, but were armed with metal bars, tear gas and other weapons, but the locals had the numbers on their side and eventually the Banderites had to withdraw.  They were loaded in their buses under police protection and had to leave.  At least one person died, many were wounded.
  • In Lugansk the local SBU (security services), which is clearly under Banderite control, kidnapped the "popular governor".
  • In Chernigov gangs of neo-Fascists are attacking and looting shops owned by Russian speakers.
  • Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov has declared that the new regime in Kiev is clearly unable to maintain order and that Russia reserves the right to protect the Russian speakers in the Ukraine
There have been a lot of speculations about the Ukrainian military and its actual capabilities.  CNN even published this absolutely ridiculous chart:

So this might be a good time to look at what the Ukrainian military really looks like.  Needless to say, that kind of information is typically classified and I don't have access to any classified sources.  However, I found a source which in the past has been rather reliable and who is well-connected with the Russian intelligence community: the reporter Evgenii Pozhidaev from the Regnum news agency.  This is, according to him, the real condition of what is left of the Ukrainian military:
  • 20 SU-27 of which 15 can fly.
  • 80 MiG-29 of which 30 can fly (of a total of 45 MiG-29s were seized by Russia in the Crimea only 4 could fly).
  • 24 SU-24 of which 12 can fly.
  • 36 SU-25 of which 14 can fly.
The yearly amount of flying hours in the Ukraine is, on average, 17 hours, and in the best units 40 hours.  In Russia the average is 110-130 hours.
  • 30 S-300 batteries of which only 3 are in good condition
  • 10 Buk 9К37 batteries whose condition is unknown
  • 41'000 soliders of which 6'000 are fully trained and 500 well-trained
    686 tanks, many bad shape, of which 86 can be considered as modern
  • 100+ heavy multi-launch rocket systems with well-trained crews
In contrast, Russia currently has 150'000 soldiers, 880 tanks, 90 combat aircraft and 120 combat helicopters deployed right across the Ukrainian-Russian border.

Bottom line: the Ukrainian military has a lot of powerful artillery units and an aging but still relevant air defense force.  It can probably count on something in the range of 10'000 well-trained soldiers plus much larger reserves (ex Soviet military officers).  A national guard of loyal Banderites of about another 10'000 men is in the process being created and this is the force which could be used in to keep an eye on the regular military and for punitive terror operations against the Russian-speaking population.  In terms of armor, the Ukrainian military has many but old vehicles (MBT, APCs, IFVs,) protected by many short range air defense systems.

The Ukrainian Navy and Air Force basically exist only on paper.

The good news for the new regime is that all the evidence points to the fact that the SBU (the state security service, ex-KGB) appears to have switched its loyalty to the new regime.

Finally, the regime can probably count on 20'000+ armed thugs: a combination of the Right Sector brownshirts, mobsters hired by the newly appointed billionaire governors and volunteers from western Ukraine.

I think that a clear picture emerges from the above.  It can be summarized in two basic conclusions:

a) The Banderite regime has more then enough forces to subdue, suppress, repress and terrorize the Russian speaking population in the south and east of the Ukraine.  It's large and well-trained artillery force is particularly dangerous for the Crimean Peninsula.

b) The Banderite regime has no hope at all to mount a meaningful defense against the Russian military.  As Pozhidaev put it - "the Ukrainian Air Force can only be considered powerful by African standards".  That also goes for the rest of the Ukrainian armed forces.

The Saker

PS: if I promise that when this crisis is over we can have a long and open discussion on Hitler and the role of Jews in WWII, can we now pretty please stop this and discuss current events?  I think that has the author of this blog I should have the right to ask you to at least suspend this tsunami of Hilter & Jews centered comments.  Please, I really beg you, don't force me to start censoring your posts and accept my offer of compromise - we will discuss all this at a later time and I promise you a full post on my personal views on this topic.  Deal?