"The situation is about to quickly escalate, probably in the next days"
The Vineyard of the Saker (February 23, 2022)
Today, I want to begin with a small allegorical story.
One upon a time, there was a bear sleeping in his lair and minding his business. One day, a small group of rodents decided to have some fun time pestering the bear. So they began running around, making a lot of noise (some even dared the bear to come out and fight them) and even threw colorful little pebbles at the bear. The bear mostly ignored them hoping they would eventually tire from that silly behavior and go away. But the rodents not only stayed, they began pelting the bear with even more pebbles and, sure enough, what had to happen happened: one pebble (with “ridiculous genocide claim” written on it) landed right on the eyelid of the bear and that *really* pissed the bear off. He finally got up, moved to the entrance of his lair and looked at the scurrying rodents. The bear wondered, what shall he do with these little rodents next? The rodents wondered about the same thing. And so they told the bear that if he dares leave his lair, they will pelt him with even more pebbles, so he better not move. What do you think the bear will do next?
Yesterday Putin gave a quite amazing (and short) press conference. Not only did he declare that Russia recognizes the LDNR Republics in their own, legal, borders (i.e. the full Donetsk and Lugansk regions), he also listed the four steps needed to be taken by the Ukraine to avoid a direct, unilateral, Russian action:
• The Ukraine must recognize Crimea and Sevastopol as Russian territory
• The Ukraine must officially renounce joining NATO
• The Ukraine must negotiate a settlement with the LDNR Republics
• The Ukraine must be demilitarized and declared neutral
This is clearly an ultimatum, but this time, to the authorities in Kiev.
Now a few simple comments:
Since Russia has recognized the LDNR in their original, administrative, regional borders, this means that all the Ukie forces between the current Line of Contact (LOC) and the borders between the original borders of the LDNR and the rest of the Ukraine are now de facto and de jure a foreign occupying force on the territory of a Russian ally which Russia promised to protect.
Just ponder the implications of that for a while, let it sink in: until yesterday, the Ukronazi forces were on their own territory, at least legally speaking. Now they are abroad and unwelcome.
Quite logically, several DNR and LNR officials have now demanded that Kiev withdraw these forces completely from the LDNR territory. As a small carrot, LDNR officials have said that if the Ukies retreat voluntarily there will be no further action taken. Conversely, that means that if the Ukies stay, the LDNR will do what is needed to make them leave.
That is an LDNR ultimatum to Kiev.
In plain English this means this:
• Putin has demanded that the Ukronazi forces immediately stop their attacks
• The LDNR has demanded that the Ukronazi forces immediately withdraw from all the territories the LDNR claims, and Russia recognizes, as belonging to the LDNR
Some LDNR official have offered this: stop the shelling, move at least your heavy force away from the LOC as you are supposed to under the ceasefire agreements and we won’t move our forces in. In other words, if the Ukies move out, the LDNR forces will stay out, but the territory vacated by the Ukies will become legally LDNR’s.
Since there is exactly zero chance that the Nazis in Kiev will accept, what does that tell you about the next move by the LDNR and, possibly, Russia?
Does anybody still seriously believe that Putin is bluffing?
In Russia, Medvedev has made a quite remarkable “patriotic comeback” with some very good words at the meeting of the Russian Security Council. He also posted this quite mocking tweet after Olaf decided to declare that NS2 would not be certified “now” (whatever that means). Olaf is already starting to backpedal and make ambiguous statements about the long term future of NS2.
And, the beauty of the current dynamics, is that the Germans are doing it to themselves (and to the rest of the EU) while Russia STILL has not used the “energy weapon” against anybody. So Russia cannot be accused of using energy as a weapon or reneging on her obligations!
Russia is offering cheap gas to Germany and the rest of the EU. But if the latter want to please Uncle Shmuel so badly that they are willing to wreck their own economies – by all means, Russia fulfilled her obligation and it sure ain’t her fault that the Germans are now ( at least pretending to) renege on their part of the deal.
If the Europeans want to turn up the pain dial upon themselves, Russia sure won’t object.
And did I mention that the recent increase in energy prices has yielded such a profit for Gazprom, that it has already paid for the Russian investment in NS2! If the Germans really pull out of the deal, there will be huge lawsuits which will make the Germans pay even more. Finally, with the energy prices going up again, Gazprom is making billions of dollars of extra revenue.
As for the USA – the likely increase in the costs of energy (oil and gas) will provide an even further boost to the already very high inflation. But does “Biden” care?
Nope. “Biden” is so drunk on his ideological delusions that he rather accept an even worse inflation if that can hurt Russia (which it won’t, but nevermind that). That his sanctions won’t really hurt Russia is entirely irrelevant, in Zone A all that matters is make believe and verbiage. Facts don’t matter one bit [emphasis added].
I have been saying it for a long while already: there is no “US policy” left, all that’s left is chaos, corruption, gross incompetence, maniacal delusion of still being the planet’s Sheriff combined with a rather comical belief that the US can scare Russia into submission [emphasis added].
Joe, in Russia’s long history much stronger leaders than you have already tried that. Do you want to end like them?
In fact, the US has announced that there will be no Putin Biden meeting and no Lavrov Blinken meeting either. I am sure that both Putin and Lavrov are sobbing in abject fear and total despair…
There is a good chance that all this will end up with a full severance of diplomatic relations between Russia and the USA (along with a few EU Tabakis à la UK).
Furthermore, to show the “determination of the US led free West” the US is sending a few hundred extra troops to the Latvia. And some helicopters from Italy to Poland. And if that was not terrifying enough, Canada’s Trudeau is also sending a few hundred extra Canadian troops to the Baltics.
At this pace, in a few weeks NATO might have a “combined regiment” safely tucked away somewhere in Poland or the Baltics, while knowing full well that Russia will never use any force against the 3B simply because Russia has exactly zero interest in, or desire for, them or their lands.
In fact, these statlets are as much in freefall as Banderastan, why should Russia want them? As for Poland, the more neutral ground between them and Russia, the better for Russia. In history both Russia and Germany have tried to manage Poland, now it is the time for the USA to give it a shot. I wish both the Poles and the US Americans a lot of fun – amusez-vous bien! (though it is still better to have to administer the Polish colony than the Ukie one.
The truth is that even if all the Ukraine’s neighbors simply and magically were allowed to take all the Ukrainian territory they want, a lot would be left unclaimed (most of the central and northern part).
That how bad a shithole country 404 has become… Maybe somebody will just fence them in and feed them like in a zoo?
Does anybody seriously believe that Russia will be impressed by any of that ridiculous nonsense?
Until the time of writing this, the Ukronazis have continued shelling and shooting, but there has been no fullscale ground attack (yet!). The Ukie special services have sent a few diversionary groups into the LDNR and even into a small strip of Russian land. These groups were detected and intercepted by the Russian Border Guards. The Ukies tried to send a BMP few infantry fighting vehicle to rescue their soliders only to have them destroyed by the Russian military’s anti-tank weapons.
Today the Ukies continued to direct their artillery attacks and diversionary groups at the LDNR. Water and electricity are off in some parts of the LDNR. People are still dying every day and there is no signs of the Ukie bombardments abating. Especially violent combats are taking place near the town of Nikolaevka.
The Ukies have also declared a state of emergency (to be approved by the Rada) and are now making more and more noises about re-arming themselves with nuclear weapons. Smart move when Putin says that the Ukraine must be disarmed :-)
By the way, the Russian Investigative Committee has declared that Russia knows, by name, all the folks who on the Ukie side gave orders to shell the LDNR. There are already over 400 criminal cases opened for warcrimes, including 85 top Ukronazi officials, beginning with Turchinov and his military commanders Galetei and Gritsenko, Arsen Avakov and their deputies Shevchuk, Dublian and Gerashchenko. The notorious ZioNazi oligarch Igor Kolomoiskii, the commanders of the Ukie air force and navy (or whatever is left of them by now), the Chief of the Ukie Airborne forces, the Commander of Ukie Special Forces, the main Urkonazi Dmitrii Iarosh and many many more Ukronazis are also on that list.
Frankly, I think that the Ukies are terrified.
I know I sure would if I was in their place.
They cannot simply retreat, there is no way Ze can order that and not be overthrown.
They cannot attack because now it is too late, all these force comparisons between the Banderastani forces and the LDNR forces have become, if not irrelevant, than at least a lot less relevant now that Putin has basically prepared both the military and the legal conditions necessary for any kind of Russian military operation, from strikes with standoff weapons, to a ground and/or amphibious assault. All he has to do now is say “go”. Judging by his tone yesterday, not only do I feel that he is willing to give that order, but I also think that he has accepted that this is the “least bad” option for Russia and the LDNR.
Again, Putin said that he fully intends to disarm the Ukraine, at least from all her heavy weapons. Since the Ukies won’t give them up, I see only one way to achieve this: disarm them by force.
So, in one way or another, I expect major combat action in the Eastern Ukraine in the next couple of days.
Keep in mind that the West’s response to Putin’s words and actions only serve to further convince Russia that 1) more sanctions and subversion is inevitable 2) violence is unavoidable.
Remember these famous words by Putin: "Fifty years ago, the streets of Leningrad taught me one thing: If a fight’s inevitable, you must strike first."
It appears to me that the Kremlin has concluded that a violent fight is, indeed, inevitable. You figure out the rest :-)
In other news, Putin and Aliev have just signed a major cooperation treaty between Russia and Azerbaijan.
Yes, Aliev decided to travel to Moscow and meet Putin on the day Russia officially recognized the LDNR. It is a very smart move by both of these politicians. First, Aliev needs to show Turkey that yes, we are friends and allies, but I will balance that with my friendship and alliance with Russia. Erdogan might be a crazy megalomaniac, but he ain’t stupid and he sure did get that message.
After all, who said that Erdogan must be the leader of the Turkic world?
I am pretty sure that Russia (and China!) would very much prefer Aliev for a very long list of reasons, including the fact that he is very smart, very realistic, quite ruthless when needed and he understand Putin very well (the two are good friends). And since Erdogan is trying to play both the Russian and the Ukie card, here is a clear warning to him, be nice, or else…
So where do we go from here?
I would say that major combat operations against the Ukie forces in the LDNR republics are probably inevitable and, barring some last minute miracle, the Russians will soon disarm a good part of the Ukie forces. Remember that Putin specifically added the disarmament of the Ukraine as one of his demands.
Does anybody think that anybody can stop the disarmament (we are talking about major weapon systems, not AKs) of the Ukraine by Russia in the near/middle term?
Next, I think that Putin will successfully impose all his demands upon the Ukraine, which means two things:
• The Kiev regime will collapse, at least de facto
• The rest of Banderastan will eventually break-up into different regimes and successor states
I think that there is a high probability that the US/NATO will move some forces into western Ukraine, to “protect their people and infrastructure” in and around Lvov, and to declare that “their show of unity and determination stopped Russia from invading the entire Ukraine”. I don’t think that Russia will object too much against any NATO move inside and limited to the Lvov/Ivano-Frankovsk region. These are not historically Russian lands and they are basically irrelevant to Russia.
If the US wants to Poles to oppress the Ukronazis in their own western Ukraine, nobody in Russia will care.
As for the West, to take credit for a defeat is a long US/NATO tradition, so such an operation can be used to save NATO’s face.
But that won’t be enough.
The West has already been beaten politically, and now a military defeat of some kind is probably inevitable.
I am not talking about an invasion of the entire Ukraine (God forbid!) but it will be clear to all that the Russian bear forced NATO to retreat, politically and militarily. The Anglos are too smart to volunteer for a war with Russia. The Polaks are, as always, only hiding behind the backs of their latest (Anglo) masters. The Balts are irrelevant.
So the only option is to fight the Russians down the the last Ukrainian and when that happens, it might not be an “NATO defeat” legally speaking, but like on 08.08.08 it will be a crushing defeat for NATO publicly. Maybe not as bad as Kabul, but much worse than Georgia in 08.08.08.
At that point, a lot of folks will be wondering if NATO is worth the money spent on. And once that process begins, there will be no stopping it.
If the US/NATO/EU had any brains, they would quickly accept the total and final loss of the LDNR, following by a declaration that the Ukraine has become a neutral, demilitarized, state. In exchange for that, Russia would provide firm security guarantees and cheap energy. But that would be common sense, not exactly the kind of mindset which brought us to today’s crisis.
So let’s see what Uncle Shmuel and his Eurorodents will do next.
My expectation is more hot air from the West and more unilateral Russian actions in the East [emphasis added].