- East Ukraine rebels are going out of their way to show their interest in peace even as they have never been militarily stronger
- This is done so that when the inevitable Ukraine attack demanded by nationalists and the US comes it will be impossible to blame the rebels
- After that the rebels stand a good chance of neutralizing Ukraine attack and moving on the counter-offensive
- At which point it is unlikely Poroshenko will be able to maintain power
- Question is, is he likely to be replaced by a pro-peace or an even more pro-war faction?
Top Novorussian officials from the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (Zakharchenko, Deinego and Pushilin) have held a joint press conference and officially announced that they had taken the unilateral decision to withdraw at least 3km from the front line all their weapons up to a 100mm caliber (weapons of a heavier caliber were supposed to have already been withdrawn according to the Minsk-2 Agreement (M2A); the Novorussians complied, the junta in Kiev did not).
Before that, the Novorussians had already done a similar unilateral action by withdrawing all their forces by over 1km from the town of Shirokino. Predictably, the the government side did not follow suit and stayed on their positions (but did not dare enter Shirokino either, at least as far as I know).
This time around, the Ukraine sdie greeted the new “gesture of goodwill” of the Novorussians with an unprecedented barrage of artillery fire on the city of Donestsk which, again, was shelled all night long.
So what is going on here? Have the Novorussians suddenly gone crazy?
Far from it.
In fact, they have set a very elegant trap for Poroshenko and his western backers. Here is how it works.
On a political level the Novorussians are bending over backwards to prove to anybody willing to listen that they are truly complying with all the provisions of M2A.
The problem, of course, is that nobody in the West is willing to listen. In response, the Novorussians are multiplying the initiatives to make it harder and harder for western leaders to ignore the facts on the ground which are simple: the junta has not even begun complying with M2A while the Novorussians have complied.
As soon as Zakharchenko, Deinego and Pushilin made their announcement, Lavrov called Steinmeier to stress that the Novorussians were doing everything they could and that the pressure should now be put on Poroshenko to follow suit.
Now, of course Lavrov knows that Steinmeier is a US puppets and takes his orders from Uncle Sam and, more importantly, Lavrov also knows that Poroshenko cannot implement M2A, but since M2A was signed, the Russians are now pretending as if the Ukrainians could abide by its terms and they make sure that they, and their BRICS/SCO allies, mantrically repeat that “the Minsk 2 Agreements are the only way to solve this conflict“. In reality, of course, M2A is the best way to achieve regime change in the Ukraine. Why?
Because even though Poroshenko has not implemented any of the M2A points, he is already being openly attacked by the Right Sector and the various nationalist parties for not decisively fighting the oligarchs and the Novorussians.
The situation in the western Ukraine is now dead serious and Dmitri Yarosh has openly described the regime in Kiev “traitors” and called for the numerous Ukronazi deathsquads to rebel and disobey Poroshenko’s orders.
Poroshenko would love to prove his patriotism by triggering yet another large scale attack on Novorussia, but the problem here is that this already failed the last two times around and the Novorussians are now even stronger than they used to be.
Though only a full scale resumption of hostilities would actually test this hypothesis, there is very strong evidence that the Novorussians have successfully achieved their transition from a decentralized militia force to a unified regular army.
This means that they can potentially go from tactical victories to operational level counter-attacks posing a major risk for the regime in Kiev.
They clearly have enough men under arms and they openly admit that their equipment is “adequate”. Hopefully, so is their command and control (which used to be terrible).
Even more telling is the fact that the Novorussian leaders are all clearly very confident about their ability not only to push back any Ukraine government attack, but to counter-attack and inflict major losses. Zakharchenko has openly said so many times. Time was always on the Novorussian side and now this is finally paying off.
The Novorussian confidence is best illustrated by the fact that even though Novorussian intelligence services have established that there are currently 70,000 junta soldiers backed by heavy armor and artillery all along the line of contact they still went ahead with their unilateral withdrawal.
Besides, the Novorussians have had plenty of time to carefully prepare the terrain along the likely axis of attack of the junta forces which, if they attack, will be carefully channeled into carefully prepared fire pockets and destroyed.
I also suppose that the Novorussians have dramatically improved their mobility and fire coordination which will make it much easier for them to engage any attacking force.
So the reality is this: the Novorussians are really not taking much of a risk with their unilateral actions. In fact, they have very nicely combined good political PR and sound military tactics.
Poroshenko is in a terrible situation. Ukrainian economy is basically dead. There is nothing left to salvage, nevermind turn the tide and overcome the crushing economic crisis.
The Right Sector is up in arms and very, very angry. Folks in the western Ukraine are already seriously considering demanding their own special autonomy status. As for Odessa with Saakashvili in charge and the daughter of Egor Gaidar as Deputy Governor, it will inevitably explode, especially since the USA officially pays their salaries.
When Poroshenko goes to the Rada he has to look “tough”, i.e. say the exact opposite of what he committed to do according to M2A. But since even the White House has called the M2A the only solution, Poroshenko is put in the crazy situation of having to look like a peacemaker by day, and execute Nuland’s crazy orders by night.
By now Poroshenko has probably already figured out that he is being used like both a pawn and a fall guy by the USA: when he will be forced to order an attack on Novorussia and this attack inevitably fails, he will be blamed for it all.
Why would the USA order Poroshenko to attack even though such an attack is sure to result in yet another defeat? For two reasons: the (now rather hypothetical) hope that Russia might intervene and because that is the perfect way to get rid of Poroshenko.
Unsurprisingly, Poroshenko has no desire to lose power and, most likely, die, so he is doing his best to avoid taking that dramatic step while continuing to shell Donetsk and the rest of the cities of the Donbass just to prove his “patriotism” and military “prowess”.
The problem with that “solution” is that this kind of shelling does *nothing* to weaken the Novorussian armed forces but only serves to further enrage the people of Novorussia.
When the attack comes
So what will happen when the probably inevitable attack comes? My guess is that the Novorussians will rapidly and effectively counter it and mount an immediate counter offensive, probably towards Mariupol and/or Slaviansk.
At this point the junta will freak out again and beg its western patrons to stop the Novorussians (which is exactly what happened before Minsk 1 and 2).
Obama and Kerry will probably have the nerve to blame Russia for it all again, but in Europe the elites will be in full panic mode, not only because “their” guy clearly was the one to violate M2A and the one to have launched the attack, but also because they will be terrified of the possible depth of the Novorussian counter-attack (their biggest fear is a coastal corridor to the Crimean Peninsula).
Remember the Sarkozy trip to Moscow to beg the Russians not to enter Tbilissi in 2008? I would not be surprised if something similar happened again (with Merkel or Hollande in Sakozy’s role).
And, again, Putin will probably order the Novorussians to stop , but the terrain they would seize would remain in their hands, like in Debaltsevo. Everybody would have to accept that, however reluctantly. At which point I would expect a complete collapse of the regime in Kiev. Who could replace it then?
Regime change sure! But for what?
I only see two options here. Option one is a military coup to “save the Ukraine” and “restore peace”.
That would be a de-facto end of the entire Ukronazi experiment and a basic acceptance of the Putin plan: a de-centralized, unitary and neutral Ukraine with a right of self-determination guaranteed by the Constitution.
The other option is an openly Nazi regime of Bandera freaks à la Right Sector and the various death squads. The accession to power by bona fide Nazis will, of course, only re-start the process of breakup of the rump Ukraine which, form the Russian point of view, this is also a temporarily acceptable outcome.
Russia cannot accept having permanent and unitary russophobic “Banderastan” on her borders, but a breakup of the Ukraine into several “zones of control” by various Urkonazi gangs presents no danger to Russia at all.
I would argue that the worst regime for Russia (and Novorussia, of course) is what we have now: a unitary Ukraine ruled by a completely immoral and spineless oligarch in power, surrounded by Victoria Nuland’s minions in all key positions, with the official recognition and support of the EU/IMF/WB/etc. This configuration clearly has the greatest potential to threaten Russia and it already actually murders people in Novorussia every day. But if the Ukraine follows the Libyan or Iraqi “democracy model” then it will be a much bigger problem for the EU than for Russia.
Putin and Zakharchenko have all the time in the world
The “Ukronazi Ukraine” has by now already acquired enough self-destructive momentum for Putin and Zakharchenko to sit back and wait.
They don’t have to do anything right now other than to prepare for a very likely and desperate suicide-attack by the junta against Novorussia.
Should that happen, the Novorussian will be ready to counter-attack and fast and as deep as possible and then stop again and restart the mantra about “we support the territory integrity of the Ukraine” while thinking “but we can’t help it if the damn thing falls apart“.
Obama and Kerry will, of course, blame Russia for it all, but for who long can anybody blame somebody for doing absolutely *nothing*?
The people of Novorussia unfortunately don’t
The toughest situation so far has been for the people of Novorussia who could take little comfort in the nice theory that time is on “their” side while shells are landing on their houses, schools and hospitals. For them, every minute of this horror was was an emergency which had to be stopped now. Things are now starting to get really ugly in the Nazi-occuppied Ukraine too. Check out this video of a famous Ukrainian blogger (in exile in Russia irrc) in which he reports how the “Ukrop” party (of Kolmoiskii and Yarosh) is trying to get votes by distributing food:
(please press ‘cc’ to see the English subtitles)
And it is only going to get worse, much worse. Politically, economically and socially the Ukraine is dead, even if the body is will warm.
Only a regime change followed by the inevitable de-Nazification, combined with a long term and major international stabilization and reconstruction program might, eventually and slowly, allow the Ukraine to return to some modicum of normalcy, and that only if Russia plays a major role in this effort.
Since such an outcome is absolutely unacceptable to the Empire, the Ukraine will continue to be a “black hole” like Kosovo, Libya or Somalia – a failed state with abject poverty ruled by thugs and Mafia dons. For this reason, a breakup of the country into several smaller entities is probably the least bad option for everybody, especially the Ukrainians themselves.
One big explosion or several smaller ones?
What if you were offered the choice to either be in the room A where 100g of TNT would be detonated at once, or in room B where 5 times 20g of TNT would be detonated sequentially, with some possibly not exploding at all? The choice is obvious, right? The same goes for the Ukraine.
There might be much less danger for the entire continent if the Ukraine was allowed to break up in several parts (Donbass, Central, Souther and Western for example) and this might be much better for the local population too.
For one thing some parts are far more viable than others. They are also very different. And since the Ukraine in its current borders is both a creation of Lenin and Stalin and has no basis in history anyway, a breakup might be a much safer and more natural process than desperate attempts to keep this artificial entity alive.
In ideological terms the Ukraine is a fantastic idea: a large virulently anti-Russian state ‘protecting’ the rest of Europe from the Russian hordes. Great! But as soon as one looks at the practicalities of such a project it becomes immediately clear that it is a crazy notion born in the sick minds of the rabidly russophobic western religious and political elites.
The only question is this: will the western plutocrats agree to give up on the monster they created? The future of Russian does not depend on the answer, but the future of Europe probably will.