Europe is an easier target for Russia than Ukraine

Foremost, because Europe refuses to realize that Russia seriously has embarked on its project to destroy the European Union and to split western Europe and the US after the occupation of Crimea.

One instrument it the financing of European extremist parties.

But the arguments of Tymothy Snyder are even more valid. In an video he presented how Russia’s “European” propaganda war is functioning, its primary target being the European left-oriented public and journalists, who make up a great percentage of the western European populations. Persons with leftist views are especially vulnerable for Russian arguments including “fascists”, “anti-semites”, “imperialist” NATO etc.

This has perfectly worked out. There has been much more public outrage against possible NATO expansion and US arms deliveries than empathy with the approx. 50.000 dead and over a million refugees in the Donbas (for whom very little humanitarian help has been coming in).

Currently, there are Russian preparations for another propaganda campaign: Ukraine is responsible for the “ecological destruction” of Crimea. The reasons is to get more support for a future larger military campaign in south-eastern Ukraine, both domestic and within the European left and ecological movement.

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European countries exporting arms to Russia and to Ukraine

europe1      europe-2

Belarus and Transnistria (Molodva) are included into the “Russian realm” as they host Russian military units / special services with Russian military material; (charts based on /

Who has delivered weapons to Russia?

France, Italy and Germany. Those are countries loudly calling for a “peaceful” solution or a “normalization of the relationship” with Russia. Those are also the countries that have a long history of military-technical cooperation with Russia. Well-known is that the French still have not cancelled their selling of “Mistral” helicopter carriers (which is happily used by Russian propaganda in order to put pressure on France). Only at the beginning of December 2014, Thales, a French defense company suspended a deal to build reconnaissance satellites for Russia – on US pressure. It formerly had participated in upgrading Russian Su-27 warplanes, worked with Russia on Ka-52 helicopters, MiG-AT training aircraft, Su-30 fighter aircraft, or T-90 tanks (they also appeared in Ukraine last year).

German Rheinmetall built a high-tech military training facility for the Russian military/special services. The deal was only stopped after much discussion at the end of August 2014 by a German court. Daily Beast quoted US officials that there was still some German training given to the GRU Spetsnaz – the Russian military intelligence which played a crucial role occupying various parts of Ukraine. But NATO also participated in the training of Russian military, in 2012 for example, NATO and Russia held common “defense missile exercises” in Germany. According to German legislation, some pistols, revolvers, shotguns, rifles and ammunition are so-called “sport weapons” and can be exported without the usual restrictions, and are also excluded from the EU embargo. But there was worse: On 24 February 2015, the European Commission announced it approved the creation of a joint venture by Germany’s Daimler AG and the Russian military equipment enterprise Kamaz. EU policies prohibited selling weapons to Russia, but allowed them to be produced by EU firms working as joint venture in Russia. A possible delivery of diesel generators to Ukraine had been attacked (by the German social-democratic party SPD) as “military support“.

A report (p. 19f.) listed Germany and France as the biggest exporters between 2007 and 2011. Necessary to know that German defense firms’ outputs of “non-lethal” goods (military transport/logistics, surveillance and protective equipment) were five times as much as weapons and ammunition.

Italy for its part has been considered “a primary vector” of international activity of the Russian defense ministry, and the country among other provided Russia with armored vehicles. Russia tried to re-establish technical-military cooperation in February 2015.

Britain had been also a bigger exporter, and had canceled 34 of 285 licences in early summer 2014 – its exports included equipment for launching and controlling missiles, components for military helicopters, small arms ammunition, sniper rifles, body armor and military communications equipment. British media later did not report how many of the remaining licenses were suspended after the EU arms embargo on Russia came into force in August 2014.

Austria and the Czech Republic were minor players in supporting weapons to Russia compared to the above mentioned. The Czech Republic was still exporting German and US fire arms in February 2015 excluded from the EU common military list, possibly enabling Russian provocations. The Czech Republic was one of the few countries serving both sides: They had sent winter gear, and a military logistics officer was based in Kyiv in order to help the Ukrainian army. But this still were no weapons.

It is interesteing to see that the EU common military list – updated in context of the arms embargo on Russia in summer 2014 – has many exceptions, and the EU embargo excludes contracts that came into force before 1 August 2014 (art 4(2)). It is not understandable why the embargo has not been extended after the Russian January/February-offensive.

Who delivered weapons to Ukraine?

Britain delivered 20 out-of-service Saxon armored vehicles in mid-February 2015 (without weapons, 55 were to arrive later), and Lithuania exported “elements of military weaponry” to Ukraine. Poland in September 2014 had declared it would sell weapons to Ukraine which it repeated several times, also at the end of January 2015 (it was unclear if there was concrete business behind those public statements). Finland declared at the end of February to deliver 1,000 LRF-200 laser rangefinders. Russian propaganda reacted aggressively.

The UK  and Poland were going to send military instructors (up to 75 and some dozen respectively), but those are not on the most wanted list of the Ukrainian army and will not have a decisive impact, even if western media might think otherwise.

Something does not add up

There continues to be a sharp discrepancy between the material delivered from western countries either to Ukraine or to Russia.

The role of Germany and France – as with Minsk 1 and Minsk 2 – is one of playing in Russia’s hands. Additionally, Russian media and politics attack countries aggressively that are willing to support Ukraine. In comparison, the reactions of western media and politicians to Russian military cooperation with western European states are laughable.

Such an environment enables Daimler to do business in Russia. But it also allows Russia to invite the Greek defense minister to visit Russia, and to sign an agreement with Greek Cyprus to host Russian aviation and naval forces. It enables Serbia to continue its history of hosting Russian troops (some of the protagonists of the 1990s Balkan wars resurfaced in Ukraine), for example in November 2014 it held joint military exercises with Russian airborne troops.

Bosnian Serb politicians have also prevented a weapons deal between Bosnia and Ukraine.

Let’s see what comes next.

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Where to attack next? Europe is facilitating Russia’s choice

Europe these days remins the author of an episode in UK’s famous “Yes, Prime Minister”. In this specific episode the prime minister is briefed: “Conventional forces are terribly expensive, prime minister. Much cheaper, just press the button.” It turns out neither conventional forces nor the button are functioning.

Europe is exactly in this situation.

Russia has lured western Europe and the US into the strategic mistake (supported by social-democratic/semi-socialist governments) that conventional forces and the military itself are no longer important, NATO forces should not be based in eastern Europe and that Russia is no longer a threat. In the meantime, Russia has built up large conventional forces, re-activated nuclear forces, and militarized society.

Now Europe and the US have to face the consequences.

The lack of European conventional forces and NATO presence in eastern Europe are about to provoke a Russian “Blitzkrieg-style assault” on the Baltic states. There has been some discussion on the possibilities of a Russian hybrid war in this region. This is possible. However, a hybrid war in the Baltics does not make sense if Russia intends to make strategic gains in the region. And there is a very strategic target: The connection of the Russian exclave Kaliningrad with the motherland. Those Russian citizens are watching Russian TV 24/7 and are far more waiting to be rescued from decadent Europe and a possible NATO/US aggression – that can start at any moment according to Russian TV –  than any Russsian minority in the Baltic states.

Could Russia be really interested in this option?

Ukraine faces Russian troops to the north-east, east, south (Black Sea) and west (in Transnistria). But right now, Russia lacks the manpower and coordination for a large operation in Ukraine, in particular to establish a land corridor to Crimea.

The January 2015 offensive of the Russian army was a proof for it. The offensive originally concentrated on four sections, but its forces were only able to attack and to win one target at a time. They had to throw most of their forces at the Donetsk airport in January first, and then in February at Debaltseve with its surrounding villages/cities.

Debaltseve was not only a test for the Ukrainian, but also for the Russian army. Russia got the lesson that its army will need several ten thousand troops for a larger operation using the “cannon fooder method”. Hence announcements to mobilize “100.000” in the Donbas and to free 100.000+ prisoners in Russia in the coming months. Minimal reactions of the western world to Russian atrocities against Ukrainian civilians also facilitate “unconventional measures” in the context of a larger operation, such as airstrikes on strategic objects, including a probable shelling of the Zaporizhzhya hydroelectric dam, already ordered by Stalin in 1941 in order to create a natural border between the enemy forces, which at the time cost some ten thousand civilian lives.

But the Baltic states are also surrounded by combat-ready Russian troops. The fortified Kaliningrad is just to the west. To the south, there is Belarus – it’s army being heavily dependent on Russia, relying on Russian material, instructors and intelligence (just as Ukraine was prior to the fall of the Yanukovych regime). To the east, only a few kilometers away, the Baltic states face Pskov paratroopers with recent combat experience in the Ukrainian August offensive 2014, and at the Donetsk aiport in December/January 2014 (interestingly, they have been not involved in current fights in Ukraine).

We still have Article 5. It obliges NATO members to help the Baltic states in the case of an outside military aggression. But action will take its time as NATO is a highly bureaucratic organization. Thus, a Russian “Blitzkrieg” with the use of conventional forces has the advantage over a hybrid war-scenario that it prevents an adequate NATO reaction and will offer a convenient excuse for NATO members to refuse help. This especially concerns German leaders and the US administration who have preferred appeasement to deterrence.

Europe might be confronted with the loss of some parts of the EU such as Ukraine was confronted with the loss of Crimea.

Is this possible in the future? It is. It will be much easier to open up a large land corridor in the Baltics than in Ukraine in order to secure Russian influences, and – probably even more important – it will show the world that NATO has failed and show the Russian citizens its army has successfully countered a NATO aggression.

What can the Baltic states do?

Little. Estonia had neither tanks nor Javelins. Latvia has three tanks and 971 professional soldiers. Lithuania’s few thousand soliders have 40 Javelin anti-tank missiles at their disposition. They will have to aim pretty good in order to stop an advance of the Russian army.

Call this an open invitation.

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Losses in the battle for Vuhlehirsk/Debaltseve; discussion of overall losses

From 26 January 2015 until 2 February 2015:

Army of the Russian Federation:  “200” – 398  “300” – 628  ТМН – 109
tanks/armored vehicles: 37  аrtillery: 21, other devices: 4

Illegal armed groups: “200” – 1181  “300” – 3022  ТМН – ?
tanks/armored vehicles: 8

Losses of the Ukrainian armed forces: “200” – 107  “300” – 469  ТМН – 31
tanks/armored vehicles: 17  artillery: 14.

As the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung reports, quoting “German security circles” Ukrainian losses go up to 50.000 (dead civilians and soldiers).

This number has not to be taken seriously for two resons: It contradicts the numbers of all available Russian/Ukrainian sources. Second, Russian losses are not mentioned. We have to assume that leaking such a high number rather reflects political goals, i.e. to show the incapability of the Ukrainian army and to support Merkel’s cease-fire (and the number is gratefully used by Russian propaganda). It is also useful to remind that in November 2014, the German Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) had come up with the (false) information that MH-17 had been shot down by “pro-Russian separatists who had captured a Ukrainian Buk“.

It is certain that official military losses of Ukraine are more than the registered 1.200 men, and could be between 3000 and 5000. Ukrainian civilian dead constitute around 5.400 according to the Ukrainian President; but it is unclear how many of the killed volunteer-fighters are in this category. Losses of the Russian army are 6441 men (as of 8 February 2015 with some 3000 missing). According to battle reports regularly published on and other sites, losses of illegal armed groups might be estimated around three times higher. Their composition has varied, but some of them from the beginning had a heavy percentage of volunteers from the Russian Federation. As a rule, those dead have not been counted. Bodies, also of regular Russian soldiers, have diasppeared in mine shafts, with “humanitarian” convoys or by using mobile crematoria.

So, the German number might indeed reflect the number of total dead in Russia’s war against Ukraine, INCLUDING Russian soldiers and volunteers/members of illegal armed groups originating from the Russian Federation.

This number also contains a very important information, not mentioned for political reasons: The losses of the Russian side have been much higher, and underline the inhuman character of its political regime and military campaign.

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Putin threatens to use nuclear warheads against Ukraine, EU

There are two reasons why Germany’s Merkel and France’s Hollande humiliated themselves in Moscow.

The first one is to prevent the delivery of weapons to Ukraine. Those and other European politicians are supported by various ‘experts’ and non-Ukrainian media who claim Ukrainians would use the weapons to either escalate the crisis (i.e. to bomb Russia), would not know how to use them or have an army that is not capable of fighting. Strange enough, the Ukrainian army has been able to prevent a break-through of the Russian army on the front in the Russian January 2015 campaign. But it is easy to ignore this if we have “local rebels” or “Russian-backed separatists” (now more popular) that do the fighting or even a “civil war”. Preventing weapon deliveries to Ukraine at this stage is irresponsible and sets the stage for war in EU and NATO countries.

The second reason is that the Russian president has deployed the ballistic missile system Iskander in Kaliningrad and on Crimea. This system is capable of launching nuclear warheads. Informnapalm reports several sources provided information the Russian president warned of using them ahead of US Secretary of State Kerry’s visit in Kyiv on 5 February 2015.

See the possible range on the following graph (Informnapalm):

This threat reportedly was directed against Ukraine – but it is also a direct threat against the EU (see graph on the deployment of all Russian Iskanders possible to reach EU countries).

The most powerful EU leaders allow themselves to be harassed and still talk to a man that never has kept his promises. In spring/summer 2014, he threatened to invade Ukraine – Ukraine was invaded besides all talks and agreements. Now, he threatens to use Iskander missiles. There are talks and agreements. He won’t stick to talks and agreements, and if he finds it necessary, he will use them.

Talks do not prevent action.

Action prevents action.

Arm Ukraine now.

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You are running out of time, Europe

It’s time to face the truth.

Western “media democracies” are a crucial agenda-setter for politics. The fact that they continue to use the term “pro-Russian separatists” and not “Russians” at this stage makes them to allies of the Russian president and to allies for his expansionist plans.

At the point of writing, there is only a tiny minority of local separatists left as a great part of the original separatists and volunteers fighting against the Ukrainian state have been killed. In January 2015 the powerful group of “Batman” was liquidated – at the moment the “Kazakhs” are done for at Debaltseve and nearby locations. Some of those actually are replaced by Russian or local criminals. All those have been welcome cannon-fodder for the Russian president and always sent at the front line first. They fulfilled two purposes: to wear out Ukrainians and to keep up the façade. The first purpose has only partly worked out (even if there still are many questions, for example why commanders did not give the order to blow-up the Donetsk airport, or why they have risked encirclement at Debaltseve). The second purpose largely worked out: no-body outside Ukraine is ready to officially admit that Russia has been fully responsible for the whole war in the Donbas. Some observers state that the Russian president is too dangerous, and western politicians and media fear what he will do if they would accuse him of leading a war against Ukraine. But it might be worse: Politicians or media editors in the west might not take him seriously.

It is high-scale artillery warfare.

This not taking seriously has two implications: to underestimate Russia, and to underestimate/igore the war in the Donbas. If the west wants to believe Russia is weak, if it wants to believe, the Ukrainian army is not capable of launching coordinated army operations including tank battles at Debaltseve, if the west ignores war realities in the Donbas, we also have to ask if the west is “still in touch with reality”. Why is Russia able to mobilize people, material, media and able to provoke a large-scale artillery war, if it is so weak? Western responsible should not turn their minds away from the military facts: This is not a “civil war” in which everybody uses just what he can, or some kind of “conflict”. In contrary, Donbas-battles are full-scale army operations. The Ukrainian army may have many shortcomings, but it is doing the best it can. Is the EU doing what it can? First, official statements try at all cost to evade the impression that Russia is a threat (and NATO’s proposed rapid-reaction force of some 5.000 does support this picture). Secondly, armies of the EU member states operate in the “peace-modus”, i.e. helicopters and other material might not function, personnel is not ready for combat (The most striking example is Germany). The idea of a conventional army, including heavy artillery and tank divisions has been abandoned a few years ago. Now we have “professional armies” with “rapid-reaction forces”. They might not be ready in the case of emergency. And they might not be ready to face a Russia that does not stick to the rules of war (let alone the rules of diplomacy). So, for example how to counter sophisticated multiple rocket-launch systems with a “rapid-reaction force”? How to counter a “nuclear-incident”, say, over the English Channel? Will NATO really help Baltic countries in the case of hybrid warfare? The public in Europe does not get answers to those questions. Are western responsible really not aware of the fact (and the almost hysteric decline to sent weapons to Ukraine is a proof of it) that the only European army able to face Russia’s hybrid warfare and conventional operations is…. Ukraine?

Russia does not care about human losses.

Such as the west does not care about Russian human losses. They are just ignored. This is well in line with the understanding of the Russian soldier being “material”. In all former wars of the last hundred years, Soviet/Russian soldiers have been trained to be material, so only few of them protest or even desert, and if they ever do, the secret service waits for them behind the front. Being material has not changed until today. Take the recent example of the January 2015 battle for the Donetsk airport that consisted of various storming attempts (volunteer groups, units led by warlords and Russian regular army). Casualties for all have been massive. Only Russian army losses are counted. So, on the Donetsk airport, between 12 and 22 January 2015 losses for the most involved units (98th paratrooper division Kostroma / 331 th and 1065th; 76th guards air assault division Pskov/ 104th, 175th and 234th ; 22 th GRU-brigade, 5th tank brigade Ulan Ude; some of them already being part of the summer 2014 offensive) were: 402 killed, 435 wounded, 192 missing. Those and the few hundred uncounted men lost their life for a huge pile of rubble – the new terminal was finally blown up by the Russian forces and most of the Ukrainians gassed out. The last act of the battle for the Donetsk airport was another proof that Russia does not play by the rules (which unfortunately was no topic in the western press). Since the beginning of the war its forces have used human shields and deliberately attacked civilian objects (ongoing while you are reading this article). The Russian president offered a corridor for the Ukrainian forces blocked in Ilovyask in August 2014, and then gave order to attack and kill outgoing Ukrainian forces. Those are war crimes. As Russia’s wars are largely dehumanized, however, few care about Russian war crimes.

It is about the Soviet Union.

Russia’s history is full of imperialist ambitions that never have been contained by democratic forces or rule of law, and the west is used to accept them. For example, Ukrainians were forced into the Soviet Union just as the Baltic States or Caucasian countries which was silently accepted by the world. Ukraine has been not the first and the last victim. For Russians (not only for its president), the fall of the Soviet Union is the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century. To restore the Soviet Union in its orginal form will be difficult. To restore Russian power in Europe is easier, as it is not primarily a question of military power, but a question of influence. Influence has many forms. It means to coopt the internet, news agencies (see Reuters, AP and DPA reporting on the issue), national media, human rights organizations, artists, political parties and politicians in European countries. Influence can be also ensured by security services, and/or armed forces ripping off territory. All those have the goal of destabilization which works in favor of Russia’s power. Direct neighbors of Russia primarily have to face the threat of terrorist attacks and armed interventions. This includes the option of territorial expansion, such as infamous Novorossiya (ensuring a badly needed land bridge to Crimea), Transnistria, Latvia, parts of Georgia and Kazakhstan, and Belarus. The economic situation in Russia might be bad, but Putin’s presidency has never been about the economy. Russia cares about influence and power first – this might be economic (gas for example), but the Russian world does not fall apart if it is not. There are many instruments (one example), and influence can also be ensured in fueling anti-democratic movements and co-opting political leaders with anti-NATO, anti-EU and anti-liberal arguments.

Face evil.

We do not necessarily have to make comparisons with Hitler (which surely causes the German press to hyperventilate) when it comes to European imperialism, power and war. The picture of Hitler, the use of the word “appeasement” or even drawing parallels between 1939 and 2014(2015) is sometimes appropriate to generate attention. This has not proved productive, as the European consensus is that Hitler cannot by compared with anybody. Full stop, end of discussion. But there should be a discussion: This comparison has been made (albeit rarely), because there is war in Europe that has been initiated for the same reasons Hitler made his territorial acquisitions in Austria and Czechoslovakia. This comparison should also be made because the Russian president and his puppets use similar hate speech, and do everything possible and impossible to support hate in the Russian people. Their targets are the United States, NATO, the western civilization, but above all, it is about Ukraine and Ukrainian “fascists”. More precisely, it is ethnic hate, Russian media/political puppets go for. For this purpose, made-up news and atrocities committed by Ukrainians are presented on an almost daily basis in Russian media. Russia has blamed a Ukrainian for the crash of its currency, and quite successfully discredited Ukrainians; dehumanized them. The best proof is that western correspondents and others (otherwise very concerned with the individual rights of any human being) ignore the incitement of the Ukrainian people.

Face evil. The dehumanization of a certain people is a first step towards mass murder. Russia and its puppets have killed civilians deliberately and did not stick to the rules of war in Chechnya in the 1990s, they do this now in the Donbas (e.g. parading of prisoners of war or using human corridors and truces for dirty tricks). In connection with Ukraine, there is a long Russian “tradition” of violating their human rights in the 20th century. For example, the Red Army between 1918 and 1920 officially fought against Ukrainian nationalists, but practically could kill any Ukrainian. Much of this was also termed “civil war” (a convenient term to disguise ethnic-based warfare). In the early 1930s, Russia’s Stalin was responsible for the liquidation of Ukrainian peasants as a class, just as for the liquidation of Ukrainian intellectuals (four to five million dead). Between 1946 and 1949, 300.000 Ukrainian “nationalists” were deported to Siberia. In the beginning of the 1980s, Ukrainians were the largest ethnic group imprisoned for political reasons (60-70%) (source). The west has not to evoke Hitler. Stalin is even better. Stalin waged ethnic warfare, kept Ukraine with force in the Soviet Union and committed crimes against the Ukrainian nation. The west has seriously to worry about the fact that more than 50% of the Russians see Stalin in a positive light and that they support a president that has taken steps to rehabilitate Stalin and ignored Stalin’s crimes against the Ukrainian nation. The 85% support of the Russian president is also a confirmation that his hate-rhetoric is well-received. Hate and lies are not a guarantor of peace – they are a guarantor of war.

The war against the European Union and the US has already started.

First, information from Russia reproduced in western media, social networks, the use of experts in talkshows etc. directly support Russia’s war in Ukraine. Those measures have to be regarded at least acts of aggression. Unfortunately, media and politics are not ready to acknowledge the extent of propaganda and that they might be manipulated. So, they refuse to accept that information from Russia directly supports war and aggression, and thus are far away from using the term “information war”. Which helps them to ignore Russia is staging a media war against the western media system and to downplay the methods Russia uses. An important pillar of Russia’s strategy here is to count on the western habit that every denial or statement will be duly reported on (such as the mantra-like “Russia denies troop involvement in Ukraine”, nearly two million hits on google). To admit an information war is going on would implicate to reflect certain terms, e.g. the term “civil war”, still used by news agencies and reproduced by national media, or the term “pro-Russian separatists”. This would also imply to admit mistakes which nobody does like to do (the author has not seen a single excuse from authors that denied Russian involvement in the annexation of Crimea; instead there might be references now that Russian involvement had been clear from the beginning). Second, Russia is working full-time in order to destabilize the European Union with the help of those who hate the democratic system. This destabilization is now beginning to threaten the European Union, most pronouncedly involved in this destabilization are extreme right- and left-wing parties: The French Front National has received considerable funds from Russia, such as Greece’s Syriza has personal contacts to Russian fascist Dugin (who called Ukrainians “a race of degenerates) and to oligarchs who directly financed the annexation of Crimea. Both Hungary and Serbia are in Russia’s orbit, such as considerable social strata in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Action is needed.

This is what democracies are not good at. They prefer to react.

Therefore they will tend to lose when being confronted with a determined dictator. Even more if this dictator seemingly has no plan. Remember, Russian culture is not to “have a plan” or to be “rational”. This makes the situation even more dangerous. But there is a solution: make a plan and follow it through. The US would be the first to do so as they are alone and the most powerful country in the world. But their president wants to stay out of international troubles. This will be difficult as Russia has identified America and NATO its main enemy, which is regularly repeated by Russian politicians and media. At this point of time, the American president does not take Russian threats seriously. He certainly will have to at a later stage, but it might be too late then. The EU is too weak to break Russia’s influence – on an institutional scale it struggles with members that tend to support Russia, do not know what to do, or want a more determined line – and therefore determined action in the form of substantial financial and military help for Ukraine on an institutional EU-scale is not possible (this so far has also been true for a combined EU-humanitarian effort for southeastern Ukraine). Single EU-countries have been reluctant to take substantial action, and support has been mostly verbal which amuses the Russian and frustrates the Ukrainian side.

The only country that can and is forced to take action is Ukraine.

Ukraine lacks finance and modern anti-missile weapons (among others), so they cannot act with more determination on the battle field; and they simultaneously are urged by American and European representatives to reform the state without receiving substantial financing. Ridiculously, the single serious plan to refinance and restructure Ukraine is obstructed. In fact, Ukraine has to face four battlefields: the so-called international community focuses rather on anti-corruption reforms than on Russia’s aggression without providing substantial funds, the Ukrainians who have to cope with poverty and go through a humanitarian disaster, and Russia’s aggression that is combined with a global information campaign against Ukraine. Russia for its part shows action and has deployed considerable forces to Russia’s western part and to the Ukrainian border. The claim of some western politicians that they themselves would be more determined if Ukrainian politicians would be can only be termed cynical. President Porosehnko a week ago twittered WorldwakeupRussiainvadedUkraine and parliament declared Russia an aggressor state. Ukraine does not declare war on Russia and does not stage a counter-offensive, because it lacks resources and because it remembers well how bad the 2008 Russian war against Georgia ended for Georgia. A small detail is that the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia (that stated the use of force by Georgia against Russian troops was not justified) was led by Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini who continues to be involved in the Ukrainian OSCE mission. Ukraine so far has evaded Georgian mistakes. But still many in the west blame rather Ukraine than Russia for being aggressive, and responsible for the war (best expressed in the continuous claim that “both sides accuse themselves of being responsible”, some 17.9 million google hits).

Ukraine takes action, but all rhetoric and actions against Russia are highly risky maneuvers.

The west so far has taken the risk of some sanctions that in combination with a falling oil price have caused economic decline in Russia, but had no impact on Russia’s aggression.

What is important for Russia is influence, remember.

The next step to cut influence is easier than sanctions.


99% of the military material in Ukraine is Russian, operated by Russian specialists.

Russia invaded Ukraine.

It is as simple as that.

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Non-military actions Ukraine should take NOW

Fully agree with DajeyPetros who writes: “As was expected, and now that Russia has sufficiently reinforced Donbas, the situation is getting out of control again in East-Ukraine: Volnavakha, Donetsk Airport has fallenLeninsky district Donetsk. Mariupol. Risk of Ilovaisk 2.0 at Debaltseve. Ukrainian POWs getting executed and filmed while they die…Here are some suggestion that Ukraine (and it’s partners) IMMEDIATELY have to do to enhance the situation:

There should be a serious cyber attack on the Russian Troll centre in St. Petersburg putting them out for months, since this is heart of online Russian Propaganda defense.

ARREST Major General Vyaznikov who is on the Ukrainian side of the frontline now in Soledar. He controls and orders the Russian forces in Donbas. See this blog.
Or AT LEAST evict him.

CLEANSE OSCE. Expel all Russian and Serbian citizens working for OSCE SMM. See this blog” (including the example of a fomer long term observer in Serbia who was/is OSCE_SMM observer for Germany tweeting Russian propaganda). However, the most recent failure of the OSCE underlines this mission should be abandoned. The OSCE has allowed a Russian general and his staff to evict to Soledar for “security reasons” from the joint military center (OSCE, Russia, Ukraine) at Debaltseve,  leaving Debaltseve unprotected and by this issusing an informal invitation for the Russian forces to attack. The OSCE has maintained its neutrality in regard to obvious Russian preparations for aggression – this no longer makes the organization neutral, but pro-Russian. Thus Ukraine: cancel the OSCE-mission! This mission has neither made the situation better nor prevented any of the many Russian crimes in the Donbas or beyond. If you want to get a picture of what the OSCE should do, but does not, then check out the work of the analysts DajeyPetros and Conflict Reporter.

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