Ukrainians massing troops, Russia rushing supplies to Resistance, ballistic missiles being used by Kiev, Novorussia leaders warn of imminent resumption of full-scale hostilities, Poroshenko needs a war to survive politically. It looks bad.
This latest military sitrep from The Saker, one of the best-informed military analysts on the Ukraine situation, demonstrates the hair-trigger that is the East Ukraine. Any number of factors could unleash the next round of war.
Following the use of a tactical ballistic missile against Donetsk by the Ukrainians, the Prime Minister of Donetsk has declared that the ceasefire is basically over.
Former Novorossia commander-in-chief, Igor Strelkov has made a public appeal warning that the Ukrainian army is massing troops in preparation for an attack. According to Strelkov, the Ukrainian plan is for a very short and rapid "push" towards Donestk and the Russian border to make any Novorussian state non-viable and thus to negotiate from a position of force.
True, Strelkov does have a record of exaggerating threats in order to minimize them, but this time there are some strong signs that his analysis is shared by the Russian military, - a very ominous sign.
Russian sources - including the excellent Colonel Cassad blog - report that the Russian Voentorg aid-spigot has been fully re-opened including for some major deliveries. While, of course, I am very happy that the Novorussian resistance is getting much needed equipment (and specialists), this also indicates to me, most ominous of all, that the Russian intelligence services have also concluded that an attack is very likely, possibly very soon.
I have been following the situation in rump Ukraine very closely and cracks in the regime are visible all over the place. Whether Poroshenko and his US masters really believe that an attack can succeed (I doubt it) or whether they really want to force Russia into openly intervening (which I see as almost inevitable), the fact is that starting a major war might well be the only way to save the Poroshenko regime which currently is in free-fall.
It is quite possible that Strelkov's blunt warning and, even more so, the reopening of the Voentorg will convince the Ukrainians that Russia is ready to intervene and that their attack will not be allowed to succeed.
What concerns me is that the Poroshenko regime (and its CIA patrons) might decide that even a defeat at the hand of the Russian military is preferable to the current death spiral: not only can a war save the regime, a Russian intervention would finally make their dream come true.
Putin will try his utmost to avoid falling into this trap, and that means that Russia will have to provide massive covert support and aid to Novorussia.
As for the Novorussians, they have to be strong enough to stop the initial assault. If they succeed, then the offensive will be effectively dead. But Strelkov is right, if the Ukrainians break through the Novorussian lines, then Russia will have to intervene.
This is an extremely dangerous situation.