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Thread: Ukraine: After the May 25 Election

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    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    Neo Nazis vs. Neo Fascist-Marxists.

    Russia and Ukraine: Not the Military Balance You Think
    Dmitry Gorenburg
    November 10, 2014 · in Book Reviews
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    Colby Howard and Ruslan Pukhov, eds. Brothers Armed: Military Aspects of the Crisis in Ukraine (East View Press, 2014).



    Over the last few months, the crisis in Ukraine has led to a fundamental reassessment of the state of U.S.-Russia relations. The crisis began with Russia’s almost completely non-violent military takeover of Crimea in February-March 2014. A new English-language volume edited by Colby Howard and Ruslan Pukhov highlights the causes and nature of the conflict in Crimea, as well as provides some lessons for both Ukraine and other states that might be subject to Russian aggression in the future.

    This volume provides balanced and comprehensive coverage of virtually all military aspects of the conflict in Crimea, including both Russian and Ukrainian points of view. The experts from the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST) are some of the top Russian military analysts and the quality of their research and understanding of the Russian and Ukrainian militaries is clear in the writing.

    The book begins with a short chapter by Vasily Kashin describing the backstory of the territorial dispute over Crimea. Although it starts with the conquest of the region by Catherine the Great back in the 18th century and mentions more familiar arguments related to the legitimacy of the region’s transfer from Russia to Ukraine in 1954, the main focus is on events after the break-up of the Soviet Union. Kashin highlights tensions over Crimea’s status within Ukraine throughout the 1990s, the role played by former Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov in promoting pro-Russian separatism in Crimea in the 1990s and 2000s, and the contentious negotiations over the division and subsequent status of the Black Sea Fleet and its base in Sevastopol. His key insight is that “the Russian government took no serious measures to support separatist movements in Crimea” prior to its invasion of the peninsula last February. This illustrates that Russian actions during the crisis were not the culmination of a plan to dismember Ukraine, but a reaction to the perceived security threat coming from the Maidan protests that culminated in the overthrow of the Yanukovych government.

    Several chapters review the state of the Ukrainian and Russian military forces prior to the start of the conflict. The two chapters on Ukraine are particularly useful, as relatively little has been written in English on the post-Soviet development of its military. The authors show that during the break-up of the Soviet Union, Ukraine inherited what was, on paper, an extremely powerful military, with weapons systems that on average were more advanced and newer than those allotted to the Russian military. The only significant gap in these chapters is an assessment of Ukraine’s defense industry, and particularly of its connections to Russia’s defense industry. Such an assessment would have been helpful in spelling out Ukraine’s ability to modernize its military equipment and in showing the impact of the end of defense cooperation between the two countries on Russian military modernization programs.

    At the time of its creation, the Ukrainian military was considered the fourth most powerful conventional military force in the world, behind only the United States, Russia, and China. However, these forces were allowed to atrophy throughout the post-Soviet period, with virtually no funding provided for the maintenance of equipment or troop training. Reforms were not carried out and there were no attempts at rearmament to replace aging Soviet equipment. As a result, by 2010 only 6,000 ground forces troops were being maintained in a state of constant combat readiness, while all other units would require at least a partial mobilization before being ready for battle. The air force was in a similar state of disarray, with only 31 fighters, 10 bombers, and eight ground attack aircraft considered operational. Even the pilots in these squadrons lacked adequate training. Overall, only 15 percent of all aircraft and helicopters were considered combat ready, and even these often lacked adequately trained crews. With a few exceptions, Navy ships rarely left port. Only four were considered combat ready. Air defense systems were unprepared, in part because of a ban on live exercises that was instituted in the aftermath of the accidental downing of a civilian aircraft during a 2001 exercise.

    Furthermore, the lack of military reform meant that Ukrainian forces were still based on the western side of the country, where they had been positioned in the Cold War period to defend against the NATO threat. Eastern Ukraine had almost no military presence, as no threat was expected from that direction. There was also little to no coordination among services and the partial transition to professional service from a conscripted force had undermined the unified culture of the military by promoting regional identities. Overall, the book makes clear that the Ukrainian military was not prepared for a serious conflict and did not contemplate the possibility of hostilities with Russia.

    The corresponding chapters on the Russian military discuss the various efforts to reform the military in the post-Soviet period, highlighting the largely unsuccessful nature of these attempts until the Serdyukov reform that was launched in 2009. In fact, the chapter on Russian military reform prior to the Georgian conflict shows that the decline of the Russian military largely paralleled that of the Ukrainian military until the late 2000s. There was a little more funding, to be sure, which allowed for more capabilities to be preserved through better maintenance and slightly more training. And Russia’s strategic nuclear component continued to receive preferential treatment and higher levels of funding even at the worst of economic times. But both the Russian and Ukrainian militaries were dependent on outdated mobilization schemes that were impractical outside of a dictatorial system. In both services, low pay and poor living conditions discouraged potential recruits from signing up as professional soldiers, while demographic decline and draft avoidance had a negative effect on conscription rates. As a result, both militaries were seriously understaffed, with few units at anything approaching full manning levels.

    Mikhail Barabanov, the author of the chapters on Russian military reform, highlights the importance of the Serdyukov reform in creating a more effective Russian military over the last five years. He shows that most of the Russian military’s problems stemmed from its effort to maintain two armies at the same time – the traditional mobilization army and a constant readiness rapid response force – while barely having enough money for one. The key aspects of the Serdyukov reform have been described in numerous publications and do not need to be reprised here. The book summarizes them quite effectively, discussing both the successes and failures of the effort. Oddly, though, while Barabanov views the reform as quite successful overall, every aspect of the reform that he discusses at any length is shown to have largely failed. This leaves the reader wondering how it is possible that a reform that was mostly unsuccessful in achieving any of its specific goals resulted in such an increase in military effectiveness. In reality, several aspects of the reform have been remarkably successful, including the elimination of mass mobilization as the core concept of the military structure, the shift to mobile brigades, and increased training. Other aspects, such as streamlining command and control and improving joint operations among services, are still a work in progress. Finally, the reform did effectively fail in a few areas, especially in manpower and improving the education system. The Russian military today continues to be divided into a less effective set of regular units, many with vacant billets and older equipment, and a smaller number of permanent readiness units that have been first in line for new weapons and are largely staffed by professional soldiers who train regularly under a variety of conditions.

    It is these latter units that comprised the force that invaded and occupied Crimea in late February and March 2014. The key chapter of the book, written by Anton Lavrov, details the Crimea operation. Lavrov shows that preparations for the attack began immediately after Yanukovych’s flight from Kyiv on February 21, with the first unit of the newly established Special Operations Forces organization conducting operations on that day, and airborne troops leaving their base shortly thereafter. Lavrov argues that Russian forces worked together, from the start, with sympathetic civilians and local paramilitary (former Berkut) forces to take power in the region and prevent Ukrainian forces from restoring control over key government facilities or introducing reinforcements from outside the region. He highlights that the Crimean operation employed Russian troops from the outset. Snap military exercises conducted by regular Russian forces on Ukraine’s eastern border provided cover for the actual military operation taking place in Crimea. The initial Russian force in the region was quite small, with several thousand airborne and spetsnaz troops deployed to Crimea in the invasion’s initial phase. A task force from the recently established Special Operations Forces was involved in the takeover of the Crimean parliament on February 27. Additional troops were brought into Crimea from Russia the next day.

    Lavrov emphasizes that Russian troops were stretched very thin during the first week of the invasion. In his analysis, Russian troops were not strong enough to prevail in an armed conflict against Ukrainian forces stationed in Crimea for the first week after the conflict began. They remained vulnerable to a Ukrainian counterattack until March 13 when Russian motor rifle forces, equipped with heavy weapons, entered Crimea and reinforced the troops guarding the isthmus connecting Crimea to the mainland. The success of the operation in its early stages thus depended on ambiguity and Ukrainian reluctance to use armed force against troops that portrayed themselves as local militia, rather than a foreign invading force.

    The final chapter, by Vyacheslav Tseluyko, discusses how Ukraine can rebuild its armed forces to deal with the threat of a future full-scale Russian invasion. Given Ukraine’s limited resources, he suggests that it should prioritize combat training and repairing and upgrading existing weaponry, rather than purchasing new hardware. It also needs to greatly reduce noncombatant positions, reinstitute the draft, and reform the Navy to focus on a coastal defense mission. In terms of strategy, Tseluyko calls for a defensive posture that focuses on protecting large population centers. This would entail preparing for urban warfare and stationing long-range defensive MLR and SAM missile systems in urban areas, combined with creating guerrilla formations that could attack enemy rear areas in the event of an invasion. Tseluyko demonstrates that using these tactics can increase the costs of a Russian invasion to unacceptable levels.

    Overall, the book describes the factors that resulted in Ukrainian inaction in the face of Russia’s takeover of Crimea, while also highlighting the tenuous nature of the operation, which depended on Ukraine’s initial inaction for its success. While Ukraine’s military was undoubtedly much weaker than that of Russia, political factors such as the collapse of the government and Ukrainian soldiers’ initial reluctance to attack Russians, who in many cases lived and served nearby, were more important than the military balance in Russia’s victory. The implication is that the lessons of Crimea are not necessarily easily transferable to other places where Russia might seek to acquire territory, such as the Baltic states.


    Russia and Ukraine: Not the Military Balance You Think
    Dmitry Gorenburg is a senior research scientist in the Strategic Studies division of CNA, a not-for-profit research and analysis organization. Dr. Gorenburg is also the editor of the journals Problems of Post-Communism and Russian Politics and Law and an associate at Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. He has previously taught in the Department of Government at Harvard University and served as Executive Director of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies (AAASS). He holds a Ph.D in political science from Harvard University and a B.A. in international relations from Princeton University. He blogs on issues related to the Russian military at Russian Military Reform | Tracking developments in the Russian military.
    Ukraine’s Army Is Struggling to Care for Wounded Troops
    https://medium.com/war-is-boring/ukr...s-fe63636e9e00

    Average time from the front line to a field hospital—12 to 18 hours

    Evacuating wounded troops is a perilous and necessary job on any battlefield. Now the Ukrainian army is taking a hard look at its battlefield medical practices—and searching for ways to improve.

    The medical situation is awful, to put it mildly.

    Field hospitals are poorly maintained, and the journey from the front line is long and hazardous. The Ukrainians’ losses in armored vehicles and helicopters is also cutting into the army’s ability to get its wounded troops out of danger.

    That’s according to new report by the Ukrainian World Congress and the Ukraine Ministry of Defense. It’s not comprehensive, but based on a 12-day study of the army’s medical evacuation and care procedures in what Kiev terms the zone of Anti-Terrorist Operations, or ATO, in eastern Ukraine.

    “Ukraine definitely has its work cut out for it to even begin to meet basic standards for adequate military combat medical capability,” according to Patriot Defense—a pro-Ukraine activist group that provides medical supplies to soldiers—in a summary.

    One of the most serious problems is that many wounded soldiers don’t receive medical care until far too much time has passed. A soldier can wait an average of 20 minutes to one hour before receiving any first aid at all.

    The average time before a Ukrainian soldier reaches a field hospital is a shocking 12 to 18 hours, the summary stated.

    For the most serious injuries, this can be a death sentence. By contrast, NATO armies train to rapidly evacuate wounded soldiers to a field hospital within a so-called “golden hour,” when chances of survival are highest with surgical care.

    The Ukrainian military trains some of its medical teams to reach the golden hour, but the training is inconsistent, and not all teams have this knowledge.
    A destroyed Ukrainian medical truck on Aug. 30, 2014. Sergei Grits/AP photo. At top—Ukrainian troops evacuate a wounded soldier, who later died, on Aug. 30, 2014. Sergei Grits/AP photo

    U.S. and NATO armies in Afghanistan heavily use helicopters for evacuations. In 2009, then-U.S. defense secretary Robert Gates rushed medevac birds to Afghanistan in an attempt to improve evacuation times. It was a success. The average length of time between an injury and arrival at a hospital dropped from 100 minutes to 42 minutes.

    But Ukrainian helicopters are few and far between.

    “Helicopters used for medical evacuation, what’s left of those not already shot down by Russian forces, are not fit for their purpose for numerous reasons,” Patriot Defense stated.

    Special forces units face more difficulties. Since commandos often fight behind enemy lines, without clear routes of escape, they have to be able to perform emergency surgeries far from their bases.

    But Patriot Defense pointed out that the “special forces medic role with advanced trauma treatment capabilities in the field is non-existent.”

    Nor are there any armored medical vehicles. The field stations that exist—and their supplies—have trouble coping with inclement weather. Namely, when it rains, the field stations leak.

    One thing the U.S. military learned from years of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan is the crucial role that tourniquets have in saving lives—to the point of distributing the devices to as many soldiers as possible. In Ukraine, tourniquets and first-aid kits are scarce—fewer than one percent of soldiers have personal first-aid kits.

    As for what Ukraine can help make the situation less awful, the report makes several recommendations. More medical equipment, of course—particularly hemostatic dressings to staunch bleeding.

    The military needs about 20 mobile ultrasound machines, and the field hospitals need to be redone, modernized and waterproofed. And there needs to be more training, with focus on getting the wounded to care during the golden hour.

    The report also recommends the army buy or adapt four armored vehicles to serve as medical taxis, and purchase civilian medical helicopters for air evacuations.

    Finally, the Ukrainian military should talk to the separatists. If during the fighting, there are wounded soldiers trapped in the field, the two sides need to open up lines of communication—and try to get those wounded troops out.
    Ukraine Digs In Along a Single Front


    Unless a major separatist offensive changes everything

    This summer, the war in eastern Ukraine looked a lot different than it does now. Ukrainian tanks rolled towards the separatist strongholds of Donetsk and Luhansk, only for the pro-Russian fighters to throw them back with the aid of Kremlin-supplied tanks.

    The front lines changed rapidly. Ukrainian troops would capture one town only to disappear in a chaotic retreat. Volunteer battalions got cut off and destroyed. Separatist groups fought each other in disorganized street battalions.

    Now the conflict is starting look like a conventional war—with both sides digging in along a fixed front line. Neither side appears strong enough to uproot the other. That is, unless separatists go on the offensive … with serious Russian help.

    “Both sides are intensely preparing for winter. And above all, to active fighting,” writes Dmytro Tymchuk, a pro-Ukrainian blogger and activist.

    Tymchuk is highly-regarded for his excellent sources within the Ukrainian military. To be sure, he’s writing from only one side of the conflict. His updates are a frenetic mix of stories about logistical problems, records of separatist attacks and worries about where the pro-Russian forces could push next.

    His work isn’t comprehensive. He doesn’t write much about Ukrainian army attacks—likely for security reasons.

    But Tymchuk’s blog does offer an inside look at what the Ukrainian army is dealing with. He has tracked more than 100 separatist attacks on Ukrainian army positions in the past week—at the same time that dozens of tanks, artillery pieces and supply trucks have crossed the border from Russia to reinforce separatist units.
    Russian Cossack fighter in eastern Ukraine on Nov. 11. Mstslav Chernov/AP photo. Ukrainian soldier heads east on Sept. 30. Efrem Lukatsky/AP photo

    Compared to the more rapid movements earlier in the war, the fighting has now settled along a line just east of the Black Sea port of Mariupol, stretching north along the Kalmius River, before bending around Donetsk and slicing through the Donetsk International Airport.

    During one battle near Mariupol in recent days, the separatists exposed several of their tanks and gunmen to the Ukrainians’ line of sight. The Ukrainians hit them with “intense mortar fire,” Tymchuk writes. The barrage knocked out the tanks.

    Some of the heaviest fighting is still taking place around the Donetsk airport. Separatist video uploaded this week shows a group of gunmen encamped in a control tower along the runway—and firing machine guns at a passing Ukrainian truck.

    “Tank incoming!” one fighter shouts. The separatists appear to fire an anti-tank rocket, but miss their target. A Ukrainian armored vehicle then rushes towards the tower, firing at the gunmen as they dive for cover—bits of the building shattering around them.

    The way Tymchuk sees it, the separatists are becoming better armed. He mentions a new high-power sniper rifle targeting Ukrainian troops. The separatists also frequently use mortar and artillery fire as a way to practice and refine their skills.

    Their officers and specialists—Tymchuk writes that these are Russian army officers—use artillery fire as a way of building up databases of targets. If the separatists go on the attack, they could have support from lethal and highly accurate indirect fire.

    In the south, toward Mariupol, the separatist are “deep in battle formations,” Tymchuk writes. At the front are small, highly-mobile groups, “mainly consisting of local militants,” he adds. The tanks sit ready behind them.

    Beyond Donetsk, the front line bends into a bulge to the northeast held by Ukrainian troops. This is where the separatists have directed their heaviest artillery fire. Tymchuk writes that he’s worried a Russian-backed offensive could rush toward the Svitlodarsk reservoir, cutting off the troops holding the salient.

    Across the front, small teams of separatist fighters probe weak spots.

    Further to the north near Luhansk, Ukrainian troops are using machine shops located near the front line to repair equipment, owing to a scarcity of fresh equipment coming in. “Continue active management of the war becomes a problem in many areas—from the electoral component to financial—for the ruling regimes in both countries,” Tymchuk writes.

    The big question is whether the separatists will go on the offensive—perhaps within days—bolstered by a huge surge in Russian military equipment that has moved in over the past week. Tymchuk’s philosophy is that it’s impossible to predict, but that the Ukrainians should prepare for the worst.

    There’s also limited information coming from the separatist side, owing to the particularly secretive nature of Russia’s support.

    We know more than 30 tanks have recently crossed into Ukraine from Russia. One number analysts commonly cite in the press is that there are 100 tanks in eastern Ukraine on the pro-Russian side. But we don’t know how many tanks the separatists have lost to enemy fire or breakdowns.

    But they are building up, and refining their ability to hit Ukrainian positions if they do launch a major attack.
    Last edited by troung; 18 Nov 14, at 00:22.
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

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    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    Poor, corrupt, shit military, ugly domestic politics, totally helpless and outstretched arm begging - yeah sounds like the type of client we need to pick up.

    Kiev not planning to military operation to regain control over Donbass - Ukrainian foreign ministry
    17:29 November 14, 2014 Interfax

    Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said the Ukrainian authorities do not plan a military operation to regain control over the territories in the eastern part of the country, but plan to look for a political solution.

    "We are talking about a political solution. Such a military operation would also affect civilian population, citizens of Ukraine," the minister said in an interview with the German newspaper Rheinische Post.

    Klimkin reiterated that the government of Ukraine intends to continue observing the ceasefire regime and look for a political solution.

    Klimkin said the economic situation in Luhansk and Donetsk will continue worsening. "We are trying to provide as much humanitarian aid as we can, we have made a difficult decision to supply electrical power and gas, although these supplies are not paid for. We can't just leave the people," he said.

    Klimkin said that, if the militia attack the positions of the Ukrainian army again, the attacks will be repelled because the combat capacity of the Ukrainian army has increased considerably.

    "There are thousands of soldiers [in the Ukrainian army] now. They can fight and they have already proved it," he said.

    Klimkin said Ukraine may need financial assistance from the West in the nearest future. We will try getting additional assistance. Our industrial centers are located in eastern Ukraine and we, for example, will not get the coal from the mines that are not working there. We now have to buy it abroad, which is a huge burden. However, I want to make it clear that we will do everything we can to justify such assistance. We want to implement far-reaching reforms in the government and business so that they money is used effectively," Klimkin said.

    Source: Russia Beyond the Headlines - Kiev not planning to military operation to regain control over Donbass - Ukrainian foreign ministry | Russia Beyond The Headlines)
    Ukraine has ignored the far right for too long

    The indifference of officials and mainstream opinion to the election of far-right MPs is hugely worrying

    By Volodymyr Ishchenko
    Published: 17:52 November 17, 2014
    Gulf News

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    Pro-Russian supporters use the term “fascist junta” to criticise the Ukrainian government. This wording is not only obviously wrong from an understanding of the words “fascism” and “junta”, but has also been detrimental to peace in Ukraine by fuelling the civil war.

    If your country is governed by a fascist junta, any progressive person should take arms and fight it. But despite the hypocritical instrumentalisation of the Russian propaganda, the Ukrainian authorities and mainstream opinion in Ukraine continue to show unacceptable ignorance of the danger from the far right and even openly neo-Nazi forces, cooperating with them in elections and allowing them to take positions within law enforcement.

    The major Ukrainian far-right party Svoboda did not get into parliament in recent elections, falling only 0.3 per cent short of the required minimum of 5 per cent. It was not able to repeat its success of 2012 when it got more than 10 per cent, exploiting the image of the most radical party against the former prime minister Viktor Yanukovych in contrast to discredited moderate opposition.

    The party’s support might have been boosted by anti-Yanukovych feelings but it shouldn’t be wholly dismissed as a protest vote; the 4.7 per cent gain is much higher than the 0.8 per cent in 2007 during the last parliamentary elections before his rule. Besides, the Right Sector, made up of fringe ultra-nationalist groups before the mass street violence began in Kiev in January, was able to form a party and get 1.8 per cent, obviously taking some votes from Svoboda.

    It is short-sighted and formalistic to conclude that the Ukrainian far right is insignificant based on the lack of electoral success. The rhetoric of many politicians which could be called centrist or even liberal has moved significantly to the right, competing for the increasingly patriotic and even nationalist voters. There were a number of incidents of hate speech used even by top Ukrainian politicians such as the minister of interior, Arsen Avakov, referring to Donetsk separatists as “colorados”, a pejorative, dehumanising label which compares them with the Colorado beetle due to their orange and black St George’s ribbons.

    In an increasingly nationalist political competition, the far-right parties failed to propose anything outstanding. But it does not mean they cannot do it later.

    Outside parliament, Svoboda (as well as the Right Sector) might well criticise the new government not only on nationalist grounds, but also by highlighting a deteriorating economic situation.

    Despite the failures of far-right parties, 13 far-right MPs have been elected to parliament in the single-member districts or in the lists of formally “non-far-right” parties, including the Radical party of political clown Oleg Lyashko and even the pro-presidential Petro Poroshenko Bloc.

    Moreover, some of the new MPs are not just far right but actual neo-Nazis. Take Andriy Biletsky, elected in a single-member district in Kiev with support from the People’s Front party led by Arseniy Yatseniuk. Biletsky was the head of an openly racist Patriot of Ukraine group which was involved in hate crimes against minorities, and later formed the core of the infamous Azov volunteer battalion, which uses neo-Nazi symbolism. He was celebrated as commander of the Azov battalion and assigned to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the police.

    Biletsky is not the only neo-Nazi recently appointed to law enforcement bodies. In October, Vadym Troyan, another Patriot of Ukraine member and deputy commander of the Azov battalion, was appointed as the head of the police in Kiev Oblast province. A Kharkov human rights group called it a “ disastrous appointment”. At the same time, another infamous extreme right politician from the Svoboda party Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn, who once promoted Joseph Goebbels’s A Little ABC of National Socialism and the 25-point NSDAP Programme, will head up propaganda and analysis in the Security Service of Ukraine. Allowing people with such extreme views control over positions with significant enforcement resources is an obvious danger to democracy.

    But what is striking is that far-right and neo-Nazi views and connections do not seem to be problematic for either Ukrainian officials or mainstream opinion. Even the most typical line of criticism against Svoboda and the Right Sector expressed by liberal-minded people is inherently flawed. They may agree that the far right are dangerous, but they argue that the danger is that their provocative actions and statements can be exploited by Russian media to further discredit Ukraine.

    In this twisted logic the far right are criticised first of all for putting their partisan interests above Ukraine’s national interests. In other words, they are criticised not for being anti-democratic, reactionary, xenophobic and for propagating discriminatory ideas, but for not being nationalist enough. Even in critical discussions around the far-right appointments to high positions within law enforcement, there seem to be more worries about Ukraine’s international image than what neo-Nazis can do against political opponents and minorities and the dangerous resources they might accumulate.

    Ukrainians have already paid a very high price for ignoring the far right. According to research into systematic protests , members of the far right were the most visibly identified political agents in the Maidan protests, from the very beginning of the movement to the overthrow of Yanukovych. Moreover, they were relatively more visible in eastern and southern regions where Maidan did not have the majority support, thus pushing the local population even further away from the protest message. This was not a Russian media invention. On the contrary, it happened as a result of the preceding protest coalition of the centrist opposition parties with Svoboda.

    High far-right visibility was one of the factors which prevented Maidan from growing into a truly national movement against Yanukovych, and formed the ground for the civil war.

    Of course, Vladimir Putin bears a greater responsibility for this. But there is also responsibility of those Maidan supporters who consistently ignored, silenced and downplayed the significance and danger of the far right instead of decisively breaking away. This tolerance has already cost Ukraine lost territories, a mass destruction of industry and infrastructure, and thousands and thousands of lives.

    It is necessary to break with the “it might be beneficial for Putin” logic and start to think what is beneficial for all the people living in Ukraine, and whether the radical nationalist ideas can fit the Ukrainian future to which we aspire.
    http://gulfnews.com/opinions/columni...long-1.1413782
    — Guardian News & Media Ltd

    Volodymyr Ishchenko is a sociologist studying social protests in Ukraine. He is the deputy director of the Centre for Social and Labour Research and a lecturer at the Department of Sociology in the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.


    Ukrainian government accused of fraud with coal purchase in South Africa
    Economy
    November 11, 21:42 UTC+3
    According to the opposition, the cabinet of ministers was caught red-handed in a fraud with coal purchases from South Africa at a price thrice as high as the market prices
    http://en.itar-tass.com/economy/759216

    Ukraine can purchase Russian coal — Ukrainian official
    KIEV, November 11. /TASS/. Ukraine’s Opposition Bloc party led by former deputy prime minister in charges of the energy sector Yuri Boiko has accused the government of fraud in coal purchases from South Africa.

    “The cabinet of ministers has been caught red-handed in a new fraud with coal purchases from South Africa at a price thrice as high as the market prices. Ukrainian heat stations will have to pay $110 per a ton of coal,” the party said in a statement made public on Tuesday. “The price is really fantastic - thrice as high as the market price and twice as high as the price for Ukrainian coal! Today, Ukrainian coal is sold in Ukraine-controlled Krasnoarmeisk at a price of $54 per ton, while Russia’s coal mined in Kuzbass is priced at $30-35 per ton. This sum plus railway tariffs to transport this coal to Ukraine will give $50 at the most. Poland’s coal is priced under $70.” Thus, the opposition party claims, Ukraine’s losses from the purchase of one million tons of such coal would amount roughly to one billion hryvnias (more than $60 million).

    Read also
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    The Opposition Bloc said it was a real shame for Ukraine, which used to produce more than 83 million tons of coal a year, to buy it abroad.

    Ukraine buys South African coal at a price of $86 per ton, taking into account transportation costs to a Ukrainian port. The final price after transportation to a heat station goes up to $110-112. As much as 80% of coal purchases are financed by Britain’s Steel Mont. Three ships loaded with coal have already reached Ukraine, another three are expected later, but the price may be changed.

    On November 4, Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council raised the issue of transparency of the coal purchase deal with South Africa. The Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office opened an embezzlement case. On Monday, Ukrinterenergo director Vladimir Zinevich and Minister of Energy Yuri Prodan were summoned for interrogation.

    The Opposition Bloc demands that those involved in this fraud be called to responsibility. They also insist that the country’s losses be compensated for from salaries of those government members who had taken a decision to buy coal in South Africa.
    Putin Sends His 'Leopard' to the Battlefield of Eastern Ukraine
    Sophisticated Russian weapons have been spotted near Donetsk, signaling a dangerous new phase in the conflict may be underway.
    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/article..._putin_donetsk
    BY Michael Weiss , James Miller
    NOVEMBER 13, 2014

    Russia's invaded Ukraine -- again. Though this time, it appears to be moving in weapons systems hitherto unseen on the battlefield, signaling perhaps the next, more deadly, phase in a six-month war which Vladimir Putin's government continues to deny it is a party to.

    The Interpreter reported on Wednesday that two different journalists documented new and advanced weapons systems in eastern Ukraine: Menahem Kahana took a picture showing a 1RL232 "Leopard" battlefield surveillance radar system in Torez, east of Donetsk; and Dutch freelance journalist Stefan Huijboom snapped these pictures, which show the 1RL232 traveling with the 1RL239 "Lynx" radar system -- as well as what looks like a mobile command unit and escort.

    Military experts tell us that these vehicles are potent additions to the arsenal of the Russian-backed separatists. These armored and weaponized radar systems are meant to operate just behind front lines to track the movement of enemy convoys, troops, incoming artillery fire, and even low-flying aircraft (helicopters or drones). They also act as a precision targeting system, meaning that

    Russian-backed fighters will be able to transform crude artillery and Grad rockets into more devastating munitions

    Russian-backed fighters will be able to transform crude artillery and Grad rockets into more devastating munitions, while simultaneously granting those fighters a better a tactical assessment of the battlefield beyond their line of sight. In fact, the 1RL232 is capable of detecting targets in the air, land, and sea that are up to 40 kilometers away.

    This ground surveillance radar is made even more effective when it is paired with advanced anti-aircraft weapons like the Buk system, a highly sophisticated long-range anti-aircraft weapon that almost certainly shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 last July, or the Strela-10, a short-range armored anti-aircraft system, which the Russian-backed separatists have had since late June or early July.

    While Ukraine is said to operate a small number of 1RL232 systems, we are unable to find any evidence that the Ukrainian military has ever used the 1RL239. Contributors to the website LostArmour, which records Ukrainian military equipment that has been destroyed or captured, believe that this equipment has not been captured from the Ukrainian military. (At the time of publication, the Ukrainian military had not responded to requests for confirmation.)

    Most importantly, to our knowledge these vehicles have never been spotted in eastern Ukraine before today. There have not been any large-scale battles in which Russian-backed rebels have captured Ukrainian military bases in many months. If these systems were captured from Ukrainian forces, then they would have been taken before the cease-fire started more than two months ago; if that were the case, then such game-changing hardware would have debuted before now. Kiev's Anti-Terrorism Operation forces would have likely used them to better target separatist positions. For instance, for the full duration of the cease-fire, both sides have been engaged in a stalemated battle for the international airport in Donetsk, a campaign that has involved daily artillery bombardment, with shells often falling far astray of their intended targets. On Nov. 9, Nataliya Vasilyeva of the Associated Press reported that the previous night had seen the heaviest fighting in Donetsk for weeks. The very next day, Reuters reported the "heaviest shelling in a month" around the airport. The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine reported that three soldiers had been killed and 13 wounded. The 1RL232 or the 1RL239 might have made all the difference in this protracted battle, yet it's never been in documented use before
    Last edited by troung; 18 Nov 14, at 00:35.
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

  3. #3318
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    Would be grateful if you summarised and gave links instead of walls of text copy/pasted... maybe even state your view on what you quote!

    Got forwarded this view from a modern day Russian 'dissident' yesterday, well worth listening to and goes into Russian tactical nuclear possibilities.


  4. #3319
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    Yada yada... Yea they're all fascists etc in Western Ukraine and Kyiv. UPA killed Poles it's true but UPA doesn't exist now and coming from an 'ethnic Polish' family that has property in Ukraine I have experienced no discrimination or victimisation. Hell the Minister of Internal Affairs is an ethnic Armenian born in Baku. I have seen no anti Semetism in the last year that I have spent most my time in Ukraine - quite the opposite; Jewish communities raising money for the Ukrainian army.
    Snapper,

    I recall Minnie saying that anti-Semitism was still an issue in Ukraine. She didn't indicate the scale, but it can be a problem.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    Snapper,

    I recall Minnie saying that anti-Semitism was still an issue in Ukraine. She didn't indicate the scale, but it can be a problem.
    Anti semitism in Ukraine ? Surely not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Louis View Post
    Anti semitism in Ukraine ? Surely not.
    I know. Hard to believe.


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  7. #3322
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    Snapper,

    I recall Minnie saying that anti-Semitism was still an issue in Ukraine. She didn't indicate the scale, but it can be a problem.
    Scale. That's the thing. If I'm not mistake there is anti-Semitism just about everywhere to some degree or another.
    To be Truly ignorant, Man requires an Education - Plato

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    Snapper,

    I recall Minnie saying that anti-Semitism was still an issue in Ukraine. She didn't indicate the scale, but it can be a problem.
    Sure there some freaks who would love to blame any minority for the bad circumstances they find themselves in. As always this is way of not facing the real problems that should be addressed. The vote for nationalist Parties is less than in France say and the willingness of many Jewish Ukrainians, including Minnie, to risk their lives in defence of Ukraine speaks volumes about which system they feel safer with.

    There are loonies on the other side too... Borodai is an anti Semite and alot of them are misogynists. There was a 'trial' in Luhansk a while ago (no defence permitted etc) and after the vote of hands had dutifully condemned the accused one of the leaders came out with this; "If any woman is seen in a bar tomorrow she will be arrested... A woman should be a housewife and a mother... This (going to bars and cafes) leads us to conclusion that all the women are prostitutes. If you want to be a good and faithful Wife stay at home and engage in chores. I repeat our patrols will be given special orders: any women seen in bars or cafes will be arrested. All of them! You'll soon be singing a different tune. Women must stay at home and bake cakes and celebrate International Womens Day. Don't you like it? It's high time to remember that you are Russians! Time to remember your Russian spirituality."

    Lunatics occur all over sadly.

  9. #3324
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    Lunatics occur all over sadly.
    Truth is the first casualty of war. You believe it's only Russians and not Ukranians fighting Kiev. They believe you're bunch of Nazis. Neither of you are going to convince the other until one side or the other wins the war.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAD_333 View Post
    Scale. That's the thing. If I'm not mistake there is anti-Semitism just about everywhere to some degree or another.
    Both Hitler and the Nazi party represented a tiny minority in Germnay. Examining the various militias defending Kiev, while not a pluraility, and certainly not a majority, the Nazis are at least a friggin threat if they ever chose to switch sides.
    Chimo

  11. #3326
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAD_333 View Post
    Scale. That's the thing. If I'm not mistake there is anti-Semitism just about everywhere to some degree or another.
    From what I recall of the comment she said that if it was obvious that she was Jewish she would have problems. I don't recall her elaborating on how significant they might be. I suspect that by the standards of our two nations Ukraine is doing somewhat worse.

    My point here is that in an attempt to defend Ukraine it does no good to understate particular issues. Ukraine is not the pit of Fascism Russia would have us believe, but I'm pretty sure it isn't a paradise of liberal tolerance either. To be honest, it doesn't matter much either way. Ukraine hasn't done anything to justify Russia invading it, occupying it & murdering its citizens.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    Ukraine hasn't done anything to justify Russia invading it, occupying it & murdering its citizens.
    Eastern Ukranians has done everything they needed to justify Russian intervention just as much as the ethnic Albanians did in Kosovo which is exactly why we should stay out of this mess unless it is a war between us and Russia.
    Chimo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfella View Post
    Ukraine hasn't done anything to justify Russia invading it, occupying it & murdering its citizens.
    BTW, BF, you and I do not have the luxuary to be blinded by this conflict. No matter what Putin has done, we cannot ignore the fact that he was invited in. Snapper, on the behalf of Kiev, is asking for our blood, even if only as a bluff. Only NATO and by extension, Australia, have never bluffed.
    Chimo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    BTW, BF, you and I do not have the luxuary to be blinded by this conflict. No matter what Putin has done, we cannot ignore the fact that he was invited in. Snapper, on the behalf of Kiev, is asking for our blood, even if only as a bluff. Only NATO and by extension, Australia, have never bluffed.
    Can't help but think that Ukraine is prepared to claim a Russian Invasion but not formally declare war against it.

    It shan't stand in it's own right as an independent state.
    Ego Numquam

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    Quote Originally Posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
    Eastern Ukranians has done everything they needed to justify Russian intervention just as much as the ethnic Albanians did in Kosovo which is exactly why we should stay out of this mess unless it is a war between us and Russia.
    Im glad I dug through this thread. Changed my thinking on it and now agree that we should stay out unless as you say war with Russia. That will be terrible for everyone. 100% chance of a nuclear exchange as you said. I agree, NATO stomping them will back Russia into a corner making them feel they have no other option.

    Scary.
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    College students are very, very, very dumb. But that's what you get when the government subsidizes children to sit in the middle of a corn field to drink alcohol and fuck.

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