So my first reaction was to rejoice that Lavrov and Miller and finally expressed their total disgust and treated the junta leader with the disgust and contempt they deserve. But then a very unpleasant thought crept up into my mind: is that not exactly what the Ukies wanted?
As I have written a million times now - the junta in power in Kiev is doomed, Banderastan is not viable, the rump-Ukraine is in ruins and terminally broke and there is nobody in the West who can do anything about it. And I bet you that the Ukies know that. This is why from their point of view involving the Russians is vital as Russia is the *only* possible scapegoat on which they can blame it all. So now Russia has "cut off gas" and the Russian Foreign Minister has announced that he will "refuse to meet" with his "Ukrainian counterpart". You know how the Ukie propaganda machine will present that? It will be something along these lines:
For all our efforts to negotiate in good faith with the Moskals who are occupying our land and sending in terrorists to kill our people, the Kremlin imperialists have decided to use the "gas weapon" against our people. Worse, instead of thanking our Miniser of Foreign affairs who, at a great personal risk for himself, confronted a justifiably outraged crowed and calmed them down with some manly humor and thereby saved the Russian "diplomats" (who are really all FSB spies) from the righteous wrath of the people, they have now announced that they will refuse to meet with him. Yet again, the Moskals have shown that they belong to steppes of Asia and not into the community of civilized European nations. Etc. etc. etc.
And, of course, the Ukies will get yet another standing ovation from the western politicians and corporate media. This is so predictable that it is not even funny anymore. But there is something which worries me much more: the Ukie tactic is a sound one. Why?
Well, think of it. If one side is truly desperate to provoke the other side, what are the chances that it will fail? If you and I met somewhere and I would put all my energy and creativity towards the sole goal of getting your attention and force you to respond - how long do you think it will take me to get what I want?
The same applies here. All the Ukies need to do is escalate, escalate and escalate even further, and since no matter what they do the Psakis in the West will always whitewash it, approve it or even praise it, there is nothing holding the neo-Nazi junta back. This is a small except of what Juan wrote to me today:
Kramatorsk as I write is being flattened, the entire city is under intense bombardment including Grad and Hurricane MLRS. Everything, industrial areas, shopping areas, infrastructure areas, living areas, is being flattened. We're going to have I think hundreds if not a thousand dead civilians. Is this the atrocity needed to bring in Russia? I don't know. Yet.Two cities in Europe are turned into new Oradour-sur-Glane and nobody in the West gives a damn. Germany and France pass laws basically forbidding the honest historical research of the Nazi atrocities in WWII while at the same time not only denying, but pro-actively supporting Nazi atrocities in a country which they claim is part of Europe. How crazy can this get?!
It get's better. Everybody, and I mean everybody, was fully aware that the Ukies would sooner or later begin to siphon-off European gas. It was therefore quite evident that the sound solution was to have a North Stream and a South Stream bypassing Banderastan to make sure that *European* gas (it's theirs from the moment they buy it!) would get delivered. But no, the EU criticizes Bulgaria, McCain takes a trip to Sophia and, voilà, the Bulgarians are stopping the construction of South Stream which, of course, will end up hurting only the EU (not Russia or the USA!).
So let's sum it up:
- The neo-Nazi junta in Kiev cannot survive and it knows it
- Uncle Sam is desperate to pull Russia into a military intervention
- The EU is was is delicately called a "punk ass bitch" in US jail
Pretty close to zero I think.
What Lavrov and Miller did today or, should I say, were forced to today is just a first step. In essence, even though Miller and Lavrov did the right thing, they still gave the Ukies exactly what they wanted. And this scary. Because this "success" will breed more attempts to force Russia to react. What can come next?
As I wrote yesterday, "I would not put it past them to try an air or missile strike on, say, a kindergarten in Crimea or even in Belgorod. They could also kidnap a delivery man for a Russian company still operating in Kiev or heroically massacre of minibus with an Aeroflot crew on the way to the airport". They can also attack a Russian border post, bomb a Russian vessel in the Black Sea, or even blow up a church belonging to the Moscow Patriarchate. And then what? Will Russia still only verbally protest?
I am not making these up. There has been already at least one case when a Ukrainian Su-25 penetrated into Russian airspace to attack a border post controlled by the NDF. The Russian could have *easily* shot it down (they have the technology needed to shut down pretty much all of the Novorussian airspace without having to move a single missile batteries or radar across the border). But they chose not to simply because by the time they would need to prove that the intruder was in Russian airspace the Ukie version (a Russian aggression, of course) would have made all the front page news. Remember how long it took the West to eventually and most reluctantly admit that "yeah, okay, it was the Georgian side which attacked first"? How many people today even heard about this admission anyway?
I am pretty darn sure that the folks in the Kremlin are fully aware of all that and, judging by what some people close to the Kremlin are saying, the decision has been made in Moscow to wait as long as possible simply to get a justification for the inevitable Russian intervention which would be as clear cut as possible. Please understand that Russia does not need to make any specific preparatory move to intervene in Novorossia. All that NATO nonsense about Russian troop movement and concentrations along the border is just propaganda for civilians. The fact is that Putin can give the order and in the next 30 minutes the entire airspace of Donbass will become a no-fly zone, within the next 60 minutes most Ukrainian artillery positions and command posts will be destroyed by missile strikes after which the NDF (backed by a few more volunteers) will be basically sufficient to take full control of the Donbass. As for the Ukie death-squads they will run for their lives as fast as they can. The only problem is timing. The Kremlin is desperately waiting for a sign that the Europeans are slowly coming to realize the monster which they have unleashed in the Ukraine. I personally do not believe that the Europeans will suddenly grow a conscience or a spine and considering the mass murder taking place today in Novorossia I continue to believe that a Russian intervention is inevitable.
In the meantime, the provocations will continue. I just saw footage of the two journalists of the Russian TV channel Zvezda News which had been kidnapped by a Ukrainian death-squad and for which the Ukies had wanted a $200'000 ransom. Though neither did go into any details, both had been severely beaten, one had a glorious shiner under his eye while the other could not hear from his left ear. I have also heard news there had been an attempt to bomb the Russian consulate in Odessa and that somebody had prevented it (local cops?) and that it all ended in a huge brawl. And, of course, bomb and shells are raining down on Kramatorsk and Slaviansk right now - the terror operation is clearly in full swing.
The Ukies will "win" in the sense that they will succeed in triggering a Russian intervention which they will try hard to turn into a war. If they do, it will be a short one, but the political damage will be immense. So I suppose a final rationale for Putin to wait for as long as possible is to get as high a percentage of the Russian population truly outraged before moving in so as to make this not a "Putin decision" but a "Russian people demand".
I thus fully concur with Juan: it will get a lot worse before it gets better and lots of people will die. But at the end, Russia, and the rest of us, will prevail. Of that I am sure.