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Thread: Ukraine (closed; covers till August 2014)

  1. #41
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    Ukraine Crimea: Rival rallies confront one another

    However, Crimean parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Konstantinov later said MPs would not discuss any secession by Crimea, which currently enjoys autonomy within Ukraine.

    Mr Konstantinov described as "provocation" earlier media reports on the issue.

    In Simferopol, Crimean Tatars chanted "Glory to Ukraine!", while the pro-Russian activists responded with "Russia!"
    It is quite understandable that Russian-speakers fear for their rights, especially those concerning their language. While there has been considerable propaganda there is more then some truth behind it. Interestingly the Tartars see themselves as the victims of the Russian majority with the Crimea which keep the reigns of power and wealth, leaving others outside.

    Some info about the financial needs
    ... "We need officers capable of following systematically the path of logical argument to its conclusion, with disciplined intellect, strong in character and nerve to execute what the intellect dictates"

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    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Is the the begning of a seperatist movement or the dying gasps of a failed regime?

    Masked men with guns seized government buildings in the capital of Ukraine’s Crimea region on Thursday, barricading themselves inside and raising the Russian flag after mysterious overnight raids that appeared to be the work of militant Russian nationalists who want this volatile Black Sea region ruled from Moscow.

    Police officers sealed off access to the buildings but said that they had no idea who was behind the assault, which sharply escalated tensions in a region that serves as home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and also to a number of radical pro-Russia groups that have appealed to Moscow to protect them from the new interim government in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital.

    Adding to the confusion, Viktor F. Yanukovych, the ousted president of Ukraine, declared on Thursday that he remained the country’s lawful leader and appealed to Russia to “secure my personal safety from the actions of extremists.” Russian news agencies reported that he had already arrived in Russia, but officials did not immediately confirm that.
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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    A couple of historical snippets on the situation in the Crimea before today. I spent a week there twelve years ago; a brilliant place for a holiday I digress.

    The population of Sevastopol, the biggest city, had then shrunk by a third; after Ukrainian independence and many ethnic, young Russians returning to the "motherland" to pursue employment. A disproportionate number of the population were already retired, on meager Soviet-era pensions (including ex-military) or faced retirement.

    The Black Sea fleet had dispensed with nearly all its old vessels, especially submarines, but shared the harbour with the Ukrainian navy. The Russian army still had some facilities, including historical WW2 sites and near Simferopol, the capital, there was a large Russian air force base with TU22 Blinders and Mig-25/27 fighters. The civil airport @ Simferopol shared it with the Russian Air Force. On the approaches to Sevastapol the single track railway bridges all had Russian Army guards and a plethora of active radar & SAM sites.

    The Crimean Tartars IIRC were deported after 1944, ostensibly as they sided with the Germans and were not returned home till after Stalin's death. That is not something you forget as a community.
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    Your impression certainly fits what I glanced form the Crimean maps:

    Demographic trends

    The population of the Crimean Peninsula has been consistently falling at a rate of 0.4% per year.[56] This is particularly apparent in both the Russian and Ukrainian ethnic populations, whose growth rate has been falling at the rate of 0.6% and 0.12% annually respectively. In comparison, the ethnic Crimean Tatar population has been growing at the rate of 0.9% per annum.[57]

    The growing trend in the Crimean Tatar population has been explained by the continuing repatriation of Crimean Tatars mainly from Uzbekistan.
    It is pretty likely that since the 2001 census the proportion of Russian speakers has decreased a couple of percentage points. I also got the impression that the pro-Russian demostrators were generally quite a bit older then the ones in Kviev or the Tartars.

    As I stated before nobody knows what the future will bring but I can not imagine that Putin does really want to cut so deeply into Russian flesh that he orders more then limited military provocations. And yes, provoking they do.

    They are indeed looking uniform and modernly equipped, it would be very surprising if they aren't regular members of the Russian armed forces. Controlling the two big Crimean airports will obviously allow the air transport in and out. Such behaviour can of course not be tollerated in the long run by the Ukraine.
    Last edited by Firn; 02-28-2014 at 01:50 PM.
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    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Russia admits that it has moved troops in Ukraine

    Russia has finally confirmed that it has moved troops into Ukraine's restive Crimea region, after speculation about Moscow's involvement -

    Russian troops have moved into Crimea in what Moscow is calling a mission to “protect Black Sea Fleet’s positions” but which the Ukrainian government has denounced as an “armed intervention.” The Russian foreign ministry said Friday that it had informed the Ukrainian government that armoured units from the Black Sea Fleet base near Sevastopol had entered Crimea in order to protect fleet positions.
    Somewhat dated, but an interesting paper none-the-less.

    Russian Military Capabilities: "Great Power" ambitions and reality
    Last edited by TheCurmudgeon; 02-28-2014 at 05:29 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    Somewhat dated, but an interesting paper none-the-less.

    Russian Military Capabilities: "Great Power" ambitions and reality
    Are some deliberately missing something here?

    Before the Russians moved troops into Crimea they were told:

    US Warns Russia Against Ukraine Intervention

    How should this be interpreted?

    Russia flips Obama and Obama blinks...

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Are some deliberately missing something here?

    Before the Russians moved troops into Crimea they were told:

    US Warns Russia Against Ukraine Intervention

    How should this be interpreted?

    Russia flips Obama and Obama blinks...
    Nobody takes anything that guy says seriously for even a moment. They can do as they please and we will do nothing. Hopefully the rest of the world will be slow on the pickup because we still have three years of him to go.
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    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    The guardian offers as usual well organized live-blogging with good summaries.

    It contains also a link to the presentation of the new Russian uniforms to be fielded in 2014. I'm certain that the local Russian-Non-Russian paramilitary forces of the Crimea got the first pick. Or maybe they stumbled across them in an old warehouse, along with pretty modern locking small arms. Happily the equipment was in complete sets and so everybody could uniformly drive away in the military vehicles which happened to be there as well.
    ... "We need officers capable of following systematically the path of logical argument to its conclusion, with disciplined intellect, strong in character and nerve to execute what the intellect dictates"

    General Ludwig Beck (1880-1944);
    Speech at the Kriegsakademie, 1935

  9. #49
    Council Member TheCurmudgeon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firn View Post
    I'm certain that the local Russian-Non-Russian paramilitary forces of the Crimea got the first pick. Or maybe they stumbled across them in an old warehouse, along with pretty modern locking small arms. Happily the equipment was in complete sets and so everybody could uniformly drive away in the military vehicles which happened to be there as well.
    At this point I don't know if additional troops have been introduced to the Crimea or if these are Marines from the Naval Base taking up a defensive posture to keep the Ukrainians, or anyone else, from trying to remove them from the area. Either way, they are Russian troops on Ukrainian soil. But they may not constitue the vanguard of an invasion but simply a LP-OP of sorts. I would be curious to know what, if any, legal authority they are claiming for this action.

    As for warnings not to intervene, I am not sure that we (the US) should be making any. There is still a government (of sorts) in the Ukraine. If they invite in the EU or NATO perhaps we can get involved, but if there is anything left to the concept of sovereignty, then we have little authority to act.

    On the other hand, the Russians have physical bases in the Ukraine. The question now is whether Russia will recognize (not openly, but covertly) the new government of Ukraine or whether they will take the posture that this was an illegal coups and intervene directly.
    Last edited by TheCurmudgeon; 02-28-2014 at 08:53 PM.
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    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    As I have written before nobody knows what will happen, even Mr Putin which has clearly ordered armed aggression a bit similar - minus bloodshed - of what happened in Afghanistan ealier. I was a bit surprised when I heard about those organized well-armed men taking over the Crimean parliament a couple of days earlier. A local mixed bag was not out of the question but the CCTV footage on the BBC shows quite clearly that this was no rabble from the street. I will leave the evaluation to competent guys but it really looks like Russian SF waltzed at 04XX into the regional parliament of a sovereign nation...

    From the sheer amount of gear it seems that they planned to stay for a while.
    ... "We need officers capable of following systematically the path of logical argument to its conclusion, with disciplined intellect, strong in character and nerve to execute what the intellect dictates"

    General Ludwig Beck (1880-1944);
    Speech at the Kriegsakademie, 1935

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    +1

    Why is the US supposed to eagerly jump into what is a truly complex dispute, with some right on both sides? (and thousands of nuclear weapons on one of them)
    After all, Crimea is, as these things go, historically more Russian than Ukrainian (whatever that means), ethnically mostly Russian and probably has more Russian troops right now than Ukrainian ones...not a simple matter for a distant power to get involved in...
    And while Russia is not an attractive state, Ukraine is not very likely to rise above Moldavian levels anytime soon.
    But then again, what do I know. I am certainly not an expert on the region or its history.

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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    It seems to me the critical unknown is will somebody, maybe the Tatars in Crimea or the Ukrainians themselves in Crimea or somewhere else, fight the Russians? If they don't, no big deal. If they do, trouble approaches.

    I don't know enough about it to make a guess. Does anybody have an idea?
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    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Are some deliberately missing something here?

    Before the Russians moved troops into Crimea they were told:

    US Warns Russia Against Ukraine Intervention

    How should this be interpreted?

    Russia flips Obama and Obama blinks...
    It would certainly be unwise (though not atypical) to issue warnings or declare "red lines" in a situation where the US is clearly not prepared to intervene. If you actually read the article, though, it seems mostly a case of bad headline writing: the National Security Adviser's statement is neither warning nor threat, and should not have been described as such.

    Can't imagine what anyone would want or expect the US to do about it in any event.
    Last edited by Dayuhan; 03-01-2014 at 02:53 AM.
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  14. #54
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    Another report from the BBC.

    From the scene
    Oleg Boldyrev BBC Russian, Simferopol

    Passengers at the main airport in Simferopol were waiting for their flight to Istanbul when they were told airspace over the city was closed and the flight would not leave until the next morning at the earliest.

    Some considered making the 500km (310-mile) trip to the nearest international airport, in Odessa.

    Meanwhile, the airport car park was still being patrolled by heavily-armed soldiers in uniforms that gave no indication of where they were from.

    News from elsewhere was no less alarming. The main television station was taken over by armed men who said they were from Russia's Black Sea Fleet.

    Reports came in that fibre optic lines connecting Crimea to the rest of Ukraine were either blocked or damaged.

    If the mobile or internet connection goes down, it will be the most palpable indication yet of an emergency situation for the local people.
    Let us step back for a moment and look at the big picture:

    1. There is no doubt that Russian forces are invading Ukraine.

    2. There have been no deaths in this armed conflict only because Ukrainian forces did not oppose them by military means.

    3. So far the invasion seems to be limited to the Crimea, into which troops have been airlifted and maybe shipped.

    So what are the political goals of Russia? The occuption and de-facto annexion of the Crimea, where Russian speakers have a slight majority under demographic pressure? Or more? How do those political objectives clash?

    Lots of questions for the other sides as well: How and when will the new Ukrainian government react? How can we have proper Ukrainian elections if they can't be held in the whole country?


    ------------------------------------------------------------------


    Personally I think while Russia has shown known strenghts it has also greatly weakened it's influence on the Ukraine and lost any soft gains from Sotchi within days. The Russian invasion is so far limited to the Crimea, where it will possibly 'justified' by a popular vote for autonomy or-so, which hardly anybody can take seriously considering the circumstances. This invasion is likely a considerable hit for many moderate 'Russian-friendly' voters within the Ukraine, keep in mind that many ethnic Ukrainians actually voted for disposed president in exile. Now after the bloodshed in Kviev and the Russian invasion of the Crimea a good deal of sympathy will be gone and the votes of the ethnic Russians will hardly be enough in a national election, especially if the ones from the Crimea can not be collected.

    I read a nice, in-depth article in the German FAZ which asked good questions to different people. I tend to agree with the Andrej that it is unclear that even within the ethnic Russian there is a majority for a long-term Russian occupation. It is of course a fluid affair but so far the most likely aggressive action by Russia is to repeat what they did in Georgia. It of course only one path of action and much depends on the Ukrainian reaction. We will see.
    Last edited by Firn; 03-01-2014 at 08:53 AM.
    ... "We need officers capable of following systematically the path of logical argument to its conclusion, with disciplined intellect, strong in character and nerve to execute what the intellect dictates"

    General Ludwig Beck (1880-1944);
    Speech at the Kriegsakademie, 1935

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    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    A blast of the past from Wikipedia, on a national scale:

    1979: Soviet intervention
    The Soviet intervention

    On October 31, 1979 Soviet informants to the Afghan Armed Forces who were under orders from the inner circle of advisors under Soviet premier Brezhnev, relayed information for them to undergo maintenance cycles for their tanks and other crucial equipment. Meanwhile, telecommunications links to areas outside of Kabul were severed, isolating the capital. With a deteriorating security situation, large numbers of Soviet Airborne Forces joined stationed ground troops and began to land in Kabul on December 25. Simultaneously, Amin moved the offices of the president to the Tajbeg Palace, believing this location to be more secure from possible threats. According to Colonel General Tukharinov and Merimsky, Amin was fully informed of the military movements, having requested Soviet military assistance to northern Afghanistan on December 17.[65][66] His brother and General Dmitry Chiangov met with the commander of the 40th Army before Soviet troops entered the country, to work out initial routes and locations for Soviet troops.[65]

    On December 27, 1979, 700 Soviet troops dressed in Afghan uniforms, including KGB and GRU special forces officers from the Alpha Group and Zenith Group, occupied major governmental, military and media buildings in Kabul, including their primary target – the Tajbeg Presidential Palace. That operation began at 19:00 hr., when the KGB-led Soviet Zenith Group destroyed Kabul's communications hub, paralyzing Afghan military command. At 19:15, the assault on Tajbeg Palace began; as planned, president Hafizullah Amin was killed. Simultaneously, other objectives were occupied (e.g. the Ministry of Interior at 19:15). The operation was fully complete by the morning of December 28, 1979.

    The Soviet military command at Termez, Uzbek SSR, announced on Radio Kabul that Afghanistan had been liberated from Amin's rule. According to the Soviet Politburo they were complying with the 1978 Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Good Neighborliness and Amin had been "executed by a tribunal for his crimes" by the Afghan Revolutionary Central Committee. That committee then elected as head of government former Deputy Prime Minister Babrak Karmal, who had been demoted to the relatively insignificant post of ambassador to Czechoslovakia following the Khalq takeover, and that it had requested Soviet military assistance.[67]
    The live-coverage of the Russian invasion of the Crimea does certainly fit in many areas the blue print rather well.

    Mr Aksyonov's election has not been approved by the new authorities in Kiev, who traditionally appoint the prime minister of Crimea, in consultation with the regional parliament.

    "I appeal to the president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, to provide assistance in ensuring peace and tranquillity on the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea," Mr Aksyonov said in a statement.

    He went on to announce that he was taking control of security in Crimea "on a temporary basis".

    "All commanders are to obey only my orders and instructions," Mr Aksyonov said. "I ask all those who refuse to do so to resign."
    Obviously it is only and always those fascist bandits which create 'instability':

    Unknown armed men from Kiev have tried to seize the Crimean Interior Ministry overnight, and there were several injuries in that attack, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

    “Thanks to the decisive action of self-defense squads, the attempt to seize the building of the Interior Ministry was derailed. This attempt confirms the intention of prominent political circles in Kiev to destabilize the situation on the peninsula,” the statement added.

    Moscow is very concerned with the latest developments in Crimea and thinks any further escalation would be irresponsible, the ministry added.
    Looking at some of the pictures of roadblocks in the Crimea I'm quite certain that Russia is pushing to arm local ethnic Russians, ideally with some military background, to get a decent local militia or 'self-defense squads'
    going. So far a good amount of boxes have been ticked off.

    1. Insertion of SF by air and land to take over the buildings of the government, airports, ports, TV & Radio stations, Internet hubs, roads and strategic crossings.

    2. Movement of regular troops into the Ukrainian region with a slight ethnic Russian majority

    3. Pledges for help by the local leader of the party of the Russian-speakers which also controlled the parliament.

    4. Reports about counter-revolutionary, ah sorry, fascist attacks on the legitimate leadership of the Crimea

    5. A propaganda offensive by the Russian media and parliament to put all the blame on the West and all those nasty 'fascist bandits'

    6. A unquestioned leader, named Putin, which is officially silent while playing over the telephone a different political game towards the West.

    ... we will see which boxes follow. Will we see a heavy brigade rolling out of Sevastopol?
    Last edited by Firn; 03-01-2014 at 11:03 AM.
    ... "We need officers capable of following systematically the path of logical argument to its conclusion, with disciplined intellect, strong in character and nerve to execute what the intellect dictates"

    General Ludwig Beck (1880-1944);
    Speech at the Kriegsakademie, 1935

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    It would certainly be unwise (though not atypical) to issue warnings or declare "red lines" in a situation where the US is clearly not prepared to intervene.
    Absolutely.

    One qould have thought Obama would have learned his lesson from Syria (about red-lines) but it seems he is not smart enough.

    If you actually read the article, though, it seems mostly a case of bad headline writing: the National Security Adviser's statement is neither warning nor threat, and should not have been described as such.

    Can't imagine what anyone would want or expect the US to do about it in any event.
    You are applying your normal pathetic spin - you obviously can't help yourself.

    Obviously Obama is not warning of the possible use of force. Only that "there will be costs".

    Do you think Putin is quaking in his boots over this? Perhaps hysterical laughter?

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    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    The world is a strange place, facts are indeed stranger then fiction. Haartez reports of several ex-IDF members who have joined the protesters on Maidan, supporting the neo-nazi, fascist bandits:

    I don’t belong [to Svoboda], but I take orders from their team. They know I’m Israeli, Jewish and an ex-IDF soldier. They call me ‘brother,’” he said. “What they’re saying about Svoboda is exaggerated, I know this for a fact. I don’t like them because they’re inconsistent, not because of [any] anti-Semitism issue.”

    The commanding position of Svoboda in the revolution is no secret, according to Ariel Cohen, a senior research fellow at the Washington D.C.-based Heritage Foundation think tank.

    “The driving force among the so-called white sector in the Maidan are the nationalists, who went against the SWAT teams and snipers who were shooting at them,” Cohen told JTA.

    Still, many Jews supported the revolution and actively participated in it.
    You really could not make that up, I would have laughed a guy coming up with such a story out of the room. The famous jewish French philospher came actually to a similar conclusion in his piece: I believe into the honour of the Ukraine.

    Considering our discussion about Syria is Mr. Delta along with his comrades now also a foreign fighter?

    P.S: Youtube shows a longer version of the Crimean parliament's occupation by Russian SF forces. Note the snow-camo on some rifles, no surprise if we consider that the close-by winter olympic games of Sotchi had seen a high concentration of special and security forces which were no doubt given priority in terms of gear.
    Last edited by Firn; 03-01-2014 at 11:25 AM.
    ... "We need officers capable of following systematically the path of logical argument to its conclusion, with disciplined intellect, strong in character and nerve to execute what the intellect dictates"

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    Speech at the Kriegsakademie, 1935

  18. #58
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    One qould have thought Obama would have learned his lesson from Syria (about red-lines) but it seems he is not smart enough.
    He may have learned a little, as there's no specific red line or "we will not tolerate" statement here.

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Obviously Obama is not warning of the possible use of force. Only that "there will be costs".
    It doesn't look like a warning at all, just a generalized statement of disapproval, much like those the Russians and Chinese issue every time the US is shaping up to intervene somewhere. Those aren't meant or expected to change anyone's course of action, just to declare a position.

    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Do you think Putin is quaking in his boots over this? Perhaps hysterical laughter?
    Of course he's not quaking in his boots, any more than Bush was when the Russians and Chinese disapproved of intervention in Iraq or Obama was when the Russians and Chinese disapproved of intervention in Libya. Statements like that aren't meant to scare anyone, and nobody would expect them to scare anyone.
    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

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    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    My last post before I'm off:

    The Washington Post has an interesting article on how the Russian gas weapon has become much blunter compared to 2009.

    As clunky Soviet-era factories and mines have become more efficient or gone out of business, Ukraine’s domestic gas consumption has dropped nearly 40 percent over the past five years, cutting its imports from Russia in half, according to a report by Sberbank Investment Research.

    Domestic consumption might drop further if Ukraine trims the generous subsidies it gives households using natural gas, although so few households are paying their bills that it might not matter. “People will go from not paying the lower price to not paying the higher price,” said Thane Gustafson, senior director of Russian energy for the consulting firm IHS CERA.

    ...

    “Ukraine has reduced its consumption of Russian gas, which puts them in a less vulnerable situation. Also the hardest part of winter is over. And there is a fair amount [of gas] in storage,” said a senior Obama administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. “Ukraine is obviously still in a precarious situation,” he added, “though very different from what it was in 2009.”

    If indirect means do no longer cut it due to changed circumstances and one has to pull off a local 'counter-revolution' direct military force might become necessary in the eyes of a certain leader. Of course the Russian invasion is a peaceful affair and only an aggressive Ukrainian defense of it's territory could spark a war.

    Some of the Russian news and moves remind me of a fine bon mot of good old Clausewitz:
    “The invader* is always a lover of peace; he would prefer to take over our country unopposed.”
    *In the original conquerer, it refers to the way Napoleon justified the invasion of Prussia and argued that he had wanted to keep the peace - after he provoked Prussia in everyway possible. It seems that Lenin, a avid reader of CvC, valued this bon mot highly. See the Wiki for the historical context.

    Another cause was Napoleon's formation in July 1806 of the Confederation of the Rhine out of the various German states which constituted the Rhineland and other parts of western Germany. A virtual satellite of the French Empire with Napoleon as its "Protector", the Confederation was intended to act as a buffer state from any future aggressions from Austria, Russia or Prussia against France (a policy that was an heir of the French revolutionary doctrine of maintaining France's "natural frontiers"). The formation of the Confederation was the final nail in the coffin of the moribund Holy Roman Empire and subsequently its last Habsburg emperor, Francis II, changed his title to simply Francis I, Emperor of Austria. Napoleon consolidated the various smaller states of the former Holy Roman Empire which had allied with France into larger electorates, duchies and kingdoms to make the governance of non-Prussian and Austrian Germany more efficient. He also elevated the electors of the two largest Confederation states, his allies Württemberg and Bavaria, to the status of kings. The Confederation was above all a military alliance: in return for continued French protection, member states were compelled to supply France with large numbers of their own military personnel (mainly to serve as auxiliaries to the Grande Armée), as well as contribute much of the resources needed to support the French armies still occupying western and southern Germany. Understandably, Prussia was indignant at this increasing French meddling in the affairs of German homogeneity (without its involvement or even consultation) and viewed it as a threat. Napoleon had previously attempted to emolliate Prussian anxieties by assuring Prussia he was not adverse to its heading a North German Confederation, but his duplicity regarding Hanover dashed this. A final spark leading to war was the summary arrest and execution of German nationalist Johann Philipp Palm in August 1806 for publishing a pamphlet which strongly attacked Napoleon and the conduct of his army occupying Germany. After giving Napoleon an ultimatum on 1 October 1806, Prussia (supported by Saxony) finally decided to contend militarily with the French Emperor.
    Last edited by Firn; 03-01-2014 at 12:37 PM.
    ... "We need officers capable of following systematically the path of logical argument to its conclusion, with disciplined intellect, strong in character and nerve to execute what the intellect dictates"

    General Ludwig Beck (1880-1944);
    Speech at the Kriegsakademie, 1935

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
    He may have learned a little, as there's no specific red line or "we will not tolerate" statement here.
    Look, I appreciate you are lonely out there in the boonies but I am not well disposed to entertain you now it looks as if CrowBat has put you in your place in the syrian thread.

    The 'red-line' here is:

    "The United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine."
    That line has been crossed so now we wait to see what these costs will be.

    It doesn't look like a warning at all, just a generalized statement of disapproval, much like those the Russians and Chinese issue every time the US is shaping up to intervene somewhere. Those aren't meant or expected to change anyone's course of action, just to declare a position.
    Yes, in this case the message to Russia - and the rest of the world - is that whatever the Russians do the US will do nothing.

    Of course he's not quaking in his boots, any more than Bush was when the Russians and Chinese disapproved of intervention in Iraq or Obama was when the Russians and Chinese disapproved of intervention in Libya. Statements like that aren't meant to scare anyone, and nobody would expect them to scare anyone.
    OK now you are an expert on international affairs.

    Think what message it sends to the rest of the world ...

    ... OK enough ... go find someone else to play with.

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