In desperation Kiev government may turn to false flag attacks or declare a state of war with Russia exists
The Saker is our regular contributor. A version of this article also appeared at The Vineyard of the Saker
I have been trying to wait as long as possible to get some facts confirmed, but at this point in time I am confident enough to say that there are numerous and convergent signs that things are going extremely badly for the regime in Kiev. Just look at the following recent headlines:
- Kiev urgently summons NATO-Ukraine meeting in Brussels
- Junta officers get the right to shoot their man in case of insubordination
- Kiev introduces state of emergency in Donbass, high alert across Ukraine
- Resistance to New Wave of Ukraine Mobilization Has Already Begun
- Panic in Kiev: Ukrainian forces surrender Donbass
Clearly, things are not going well *at all* for the Junta.
Concerning Debaltsevo and the rumors that the Junta forces were encircled in another "cauldron", they are probably a little premature.
However, even if the Ukrainian forces have not been fully encircled *yet*, there is strong evidence that they are indeed in the process of being encircled and many reports even speak of panic. However, Kiev has kept numerically large forces north of Donetsk and we should not dismiss them.
By all accounts, Kiev's forces are trying hard to break the Novorussian noose around Debaltsevo and they are also trying to recapture the Donetsk airport.
Here are two SITREPS translated by the great Kazzura which I find interesting:
Prime Minister Zakharchenko
Corps commander Eduard Basurin
I am generally weary of triumphalism and I always get nervous when I see somebody underestimating the enemy. Most importantly, we should remember that while the regime in Kiev seems to be suffering major military losses, it still has two options available a false flag operation and declare war with Russia.
Option one: false flag
The worse the Junta's military defeats, the higher the risk of a major false flag. Keep in mind that the Kiev Junta despises the east Ukrainian which it considers as "bugs", "insects" and "subhumans" which should be barbecued and that it will have no pity for its own forces if they are defeated or, worse, disloyal. And remember the Nazi slogan about Crimea: "the Crimea will be Ukrainian or empty".
We have to assume that the regime in Kiev is capable of anything and, having already shot down a civilian airliner, I would not put it past them to sabotage a nuclear plant or some other very high risk target.
Option two: declare with with Russia
Notice, I did not say war "on Russia" because that would make Kiev the aggressor. But the Rada is quite capable tomorrow of declaring Russia an "aggressor state".
And if that is not enough, Kiev is absolutely capable of striking (at least a few times) anywhere along the Russian-Ukrainian border (including in Crimea) in order to pull Russia in.
Even if Russia does not take the bait and simply rides out the strikes, or if Russia responds with a very minimal amount of force, Kiev will continue to declare the "thousands" of Russian troops have invaded and that Russian "tactical battalion groups" are operating all along the line of contact.
There is no way that Kiev will ever admit that its forces have been defeated by local Novorussian resistance fighters. In other words, any defeat of the Junta forces will always be presented as a "Russian aggression against the European choice of the free Ukrainian nation".
Folks like Yatseniuk or Turchinov will never just flee like Yanukovich did - before they do that, they will make darn sure to destroy as much of the Ukraine as possible and that happens to be exactly the US plan too: if Uncle Sam cannot have it, neither will anybody else.
This one is far from over
I therefore caution everybody against any premature triumphalism. It ain't over and it won't be over anytime soon. Even if the Novorussians comprehensively defeat Kiev forces (again!), this will not push their attack very far beyond the current frontlines (they just don't have the manpower for that).
So don't expect the Novorussians to free Kiev and overthrown the Junta. That is something only the Ukrainian people themselves can do, and right now they are nowhere near that kind of outcome.
Things to look very, very bad for Kiev and the current tactical difficulties faced by the regime might well result in an operational level collapse. At which point we can expect all sides except the Novorussians to try to revive some kind of stale and futile "peace process" which the Novorussians will have to accept, except that this time around Russia will probably make more demands then the first time around.
Now that Putin has declared that the Junta's army is just "NATO's legion" the mood in Moscow is rather dark and the disgust with Poroshenko and all his lies very widespread. So even if Russia accepts another cease-fire, the Junta will have to pay a price for its failed assault. I think that the loss of Mariupol might be one of the conditions demanded by Russia (at least I hope so).