It's Just a Question of Time Before War Resumes in Ukraine

But this time around it is likely to engulf the whole country

Thu, Jun 4, 2015
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The war may come to Kiev

The text below is an excerpt from a longer essay from Rostislav Ishchenko, a prominent Russian commentator.

This article originally appeared at the Russian website Odnako. It was translated by Eugenia at The Vineyard of the Saker.


The civil war in Ukraine is taking on several forms, and it is only a matter of time before it intensifies. Ukraine is not able to escape this fatal funnel by itself. The Nazis will not let the government reach a compromise with Novorossia. Novorossia will not live quietly with the Nazi government. There are no resources to alleviate the social problems. The Ukrainian leadership is inadequate and poorly understands what in reality is happening in the leftovers of the Ukrainian economy or who and how determines the country’s politics.

An attempt to resolve the conflict internally would, because of a relative balance between the opposing sides, lead to so many casualties that the neighbors would not be able to remain uninvolved, not least because millions of refugees would be pouring over the borders.

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In order to avoid the development of the conflict according to the worst scenario, an external power willing to take on the responsibility for disarming the sides of the conflict and for the financial and economical support of Ukraine to restore its economy is required. Presently, there are no volunteers to perform such charity. Taking into account the political situation in Ukraine (split, full of hatred, armed to the teeth society) as well as its economic conditions, the benefactor would run a risk of overstraining himself by carrying the Ukrainian load.

Inadequacy of the Ukrainian elite, its irrational belief in the willingness of the West to solve the Ukrainian problems at the expense of the West put the state in the position when its speedy self-liquidation is the only logical way of development of the the current situation. Conversely, preservation and restoration of the Ukrainian statehood, even within diminished territory, appears less probable or even improbable. To come to pass, this option would require a miracle that would change all the factors now at play. Based on the religious faith in miracles, this may appear possible, but from the position of the political analysis, the probability of it is so low that it should not even be considered.

Impossible to cancel the war

And the last argument, possibly, the most unpleasant for citizens of Ukraine still believing in the possibility of the revival of their country. The country could be saved if at least one of the global players were interested in prolonging its existence. Of course, listening to the diplomats and state leaders, one could easily believe that the whole world dreams of nothing else but of the revival of Ukraine and restoration of its territorial integrity. But as we know, diplomats use the language to hide their thoughts, and the true position of a state is never spoken of openly (otherwise, there would not be any need to maintain the intelligence and counterintelligence agencies). We can only judge the true goals and intentions of a state by its actions.

First, between August and December of 2014 in Donbass an army had been formed to replace the disparate groups of militia. The army well trained and equipped was clearly excessive for the defense of those stubs of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions now controlled by the armed forces of Novorossia. We could, of course, believe that the militiamen found tanks, guns, self-propelled heavy artillery units, multiple rocket launchers, and other nice things in the Donetsk steppe. They had not noticed these things there from April to August and then all of a sudden – rich harvest: everyone who ever gathered mushrooms knows that such a thing can happen.

One could also believe that thousands of instructors (from sergeants to complete regiment headquarters) necessary to create an effective military structure just simply came from different countries following their hearts (which does not happen in this world). It is even possible to believe the weapons were found and that the instructors came not only in the required numbers but also with required specializations. However, spare parts, ammunition and GSM in quantities sufficient for the intense fighting still had to be supplied by someone.

The minimal approximate size of the armed forces of Novorossia is 35 thousands (about three divisions at the time of the Great Patriotic War). To conduct regular military operations (and to support the civil population, at least, at the level of subsistence) the supplies should reach hundreds of tons a day. For comparison: 6th Army of Paulus at Stalingrad at the beginning of the encirclement, according to the calculation of the German command, required 600 tons a day of supplies only to maintain it battle ready. Paulus thought that the minimal requirement was 800 tons. At the moment of encirclement, Paulus commanded up to 240 thousands soldiers (possibly, 30 thousands of Romanians were not counted by the German command).

That is, whatever the patriots-alarmists say, in Novorossia an army has been created in a shortest time clearly excessive for the defense of the controlled territories. Such army could not have been organized without Russia’s help. Russia is obviously not inclined to spend money and resource (that are not unlimited) without good and sufficient reason. If an army capable of attacking is being formed, it means it will attack.

Second, if Russia and Russia-friendly media at every corner repeat how trustworthy Poroshenko is and how he would establish the federalized Nazi-free Ukraine at any moment, then, considering the actual situation in Ukraine, where neo-Nazi and his colleague in power regularly accuse Poroshenko of betrayal, it appears that Petr Alekseevich is been led to the slaughter, while Russia is readily furnishing his opponents with the arguments for the coup.

Third, if OSCE, EU, and American satellites all fail to see the Russian soldiers in Ukraine or to observe anything but humanitarian convoys crossing the border (what caused multiple hysterics in Kiev), then this is because they do not want to see. After all, when the Americans or Europeans want to notice something, then they see even thing that are not there, like weapons of mass distraction in Iraq, referendum in Kosovo, or Russian fault in the catastrophe of the Malaysian airplane near Donetsk.

In other words, knowing that the army has been organized in Novorossia much stronger than the one that defeated the Ukrainian army in August, and that this army sooner or later would start an offensive, the EU and US absolutely ignore the opportunity to accuse Russia of arming one side of the conflict. Furthermore, our Western “partners”, by deciding to provide Ukraine with military aid (including weapons), offer Moscow an opportune to legalize its own participation in arming Novorossia.

Fourth, the US is pushing Kiev to the escalation of the armed conflict knowing full well that any more or less serious Kiev offensive would be used by Novorossia to inflict yet another catastrophic defeat on the Ukrainian army. Washington also understands that the next catastrophe would be the last – even if the militia lacked the numbers to occupy the whole territory of Ukraine at once, a coup in Kiev and subsequent free for all anarchy on the territories not controlled by the Novorossian militia would become inevitable. In any case, there would not be any Ukraine (united or split).

In other words, everybody is preparing for the war with the full understanding of the outcome of that war. The maneuvers of the actual players in the conflict hiding behind the leaders in Kiev, Donetsk, and Lugansk are aimed at being able to convincingly blame the opponent for the renewal of the fighting, its inevitable escalation and increased gore.

Yes, Moscow and Brussels do not need the war in Ukraine. Yes, it would be desirable to find a peaceful solution. But because Washington is intent on fighting, and Kiev has no choice but to fight, the start of the second phase of the civil war in Ukraine could be postponed, the army of Novorossia could be prepared so that to avoid officially deployment of the Russian army, but the war cannot be canceled.

London and Paris wanted the USSR to battle with Germany in 1939. Stalin wanted to delay the start of the war until at least May of 1942 (by that time the Soviet army was expected to complete the rearmament). The war started in 1941. Obviously, Putin would be happy to postpone the conflict until 2017. By that time there would be a good chance to gain control over Ukraine without the escalation and without more losses. It is equally obvious that the US would have preferred Russia to start fighting in April-May of 2014. It seems that Russia managed to avoid getting directly involved in the conflict but this will have to be paid for by a full-scale (from Lvov to Kharkov and from Kiev to Odessa) civil war in Ukraine in 2015.

The return of the Empire

The last question of possible interest to us: what will happen to Ukraine as a result of the war? Nothing. There will not be any Ukraine. The very fact that with Moscow’s help adequate governments structures in DPR and LPR still have not been created indicates that these republics are not needed. Novorossia remains a geographic and historic term but is not becoming a political reality. The army was needed – it had been organized, whereas the government structures are not needed – and they have not emerged. This means that Novorossia is not planned.

The patriots-alarmists then draw the conclusion that Novorossia is being betrayed to Kiev. But if, as we have shown above, Kiev itself is betrayed, and self-liquidation of the regime is simply a question of time and not of principle, and we are talking about a short period of time here, then who would Novorossia be betrayed to?

It will be betrayed to nobody, and nobody will be creating it. What does Russian need a new Ukraine in the guise of Novorossia for? Russia also does not need any “buffer state” between the EAEU and EU. It would only get in a way. Anyhow, Russia has a border with NATO countries (Norway, Estonia, Latvia). Russia needs the entire Ukraine or almost entire Ukraine. It is now obvious not only to Moscow but also to Brussels that this territory is incapable of independent development and is only a source of problems. That is why Novorossia as a federal region (as well as Malorossia) is possible whereas as an independent state (independent states) it is not.

The world does not have any more money for independence, be it Ukrainian, be it Novorossian – it is as simple as that.

It is time for the Empire to return to its natural borders (at the very least, in the south-west).

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