Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ukraine SITREP October 14th, 00:45 UTC/Zulu: Dark clouds over Novorussia

Things decidedly do not look good right now.  Poroshenko has replaced that clown Geletei with a bona fide war criminal Col. Gen. Stepan Poltorak, a far more dangerous and evil character who used to be the commander in chief of the junta's death squads (aka "national guard").

Stepan Poltarak
The fact that Poroshenko would appoint such an odious figure indicates that he is trying to appease the neo-Nazis who are demanding a full resumption of hostilities.  Interestingly, just like Geletei, Poltorak is not a military man but a person who made his career in the Ministry of Internal Affairs from where he was picked to head the notorious "national guard".

On the same day, Pavel Gubarev, the "people's governor" of Donetsk was the victim of an attack on his vehicle.  Even though he was not hit by bullets, he has suffered very serious head trauma as a result of the crash of his car.  He is now in a hospital in Russia in very serious condition.

Pavel Gubarev
The list of potential candidates who had an interest in murdering Gubarev is long.  First and foremost, I would list the Ukrainian oligarchs whose assets Gubarev had promised to seize then, of course, the junta and various Neo-Nazis.  Next, I cannot exclude the possibilityt that Gubarev could have been targeted by his own, Novorussian, political enemies and, finally, I would not exclude that the attack could have come from those circles in Russia who would see him as an obstacle for their plans for Novorussia.  Needless to say, the hurray-patriots will blame Putin.  Regardless of who ordered this murder, the fact that Gubarev is in very serious condition in a Russian hospital is very bad news as this is bound to have an extremely polarizing and distruptive effect on the ungoing feud between various Novorussian leaders.

click here for high res
Finally, there are numerous reports of Ukrainian attack all along the line of demarcation, including artillery strikes on Donetsk.  The front has no moved much, but we are fare away from the "days of silence" which had been announced (see map).

Novorussian intelligence sources are constantly reporting large concentrations of Ukie armor in various locations and the arrival of more troops.  At the same time, the work for the the creation of the buffer zone seems to be continuing.  I am getting the sickening feeling that just like the Georgians who worked with the Russian peacekeepers right until Saakashvili ordered his troops to attack, the Ukies will contine working on the demarcation line right up until the moment of they will attack.

Victoria Nuland
Past experience shows that each time a top level US official visits Kiev, something very bad happens.  Victoria Nuland (aka "f**k the EU") has just concluded a visit to Kiev which received only very little coverage.   The purpose of her trip was never clearly explained and after she left, no official results of the trip were announced.

Things look decidedly bleak and the fact that there will soon be elections in Banderastan and Novorussia will not make things better.

There is also a very real possibility that the US are considering dumping Poroshenko for another figure.  I have an article on this tomorrow in Russia Insider and I will re-post it here.  If that happens, we can expect an ever worse and more ruthless commander in chief for the Junta Repression Forces.

How bad could it get?

Superior morale and training: he will win
The military map shows that the Novorussian Armed Forces are in a fundamentally sound posture and that they should be able to prevent any deep Ukie incursion (unless,of course, the will decide to pull the JRF in to better incircle it).  I have it from an excellent source (about which I will tell you in a couple of week), that the morale of the Novorussians is sky high, though I cannot imagine that the infighting inside the Novorussian leadership will not have negative impact.  The fact that Russia has, for the time being, decided to turn off the "aid-spigot" must also be demoralzing and no amout of guarantess given by the Kremlin can change that.  Still, the NAF are far better trained, often better equipped (in qualitative terms only), their current posture is sound and Russia will, I am sure and my sources fully concur with this, re-open the "aid spigot" should the JRF attack again.  The Ukies have their usual advantage in numbers (men, armor, artillery).  I therefore have no reasons to believe that they will be more successful the next time around.

Russian Airmobile attack
One more thing in conclusion: you have probably heard that western sources announced that the Russians had withdrawn (some vague) "forces" from the border; you might even have heard that the Russians confirmed it.  This is all a big smokescreen.  The Empire says "we scared the Russians" and the Russians reply "see how peace-loving a good we are?!".  In reality Russian forces are mobile enough that they don't need to be close to the border to intervene in Novorussia.  If a Russian intervention ever happens (say if Donetsk really risks being overrun by the Ukies), then this will mostly involved very mobile forces (special, airmobile and airborne), supported by fixed and rotary wing aircraft, which will give plenty of time for heavier forces to move in, if and when needed (which will not be very often).  Check out the image above of Russian Airborne Forces training in the Caucasus: this is what a Russian intervention in Novorussia would like.  Not long columns of tanks.

The Saker