Wednesday 28 November 2018

Updates on escalation on the Russia-Ukraine border

It is early yet to determine the truth of what is happening. Russia is moving its forces to the Kerch Strait but also (reportedly) to the border area.

Hal Turner below reckons that this might be indication that the Ukrainians may be right but that comes with a sense of amnesia. We have been here before. The Russians move some troops and the Ukrainians scream that the Russians are “invading”.

If I had to guess I would say that this is a reponse to the ultimate provocation and is a response.

The Russians,if they wanted to be, could be in Kiev within 72 hours but I do not believe, even after this provocation, is their intention.

Escalation on the Russia-Ukraine border

Here is a comment that I have taken from beneath one of my articles that captures the essence of the sitiuation so far,

"Heads up (video link below) - RT showing that Russia has moved to reinforce its protection of the bridge! An entire Battalion of anti-ship missiles is now being moved to Kerch to protect the bridge from any ships failing to stop (ie carrying devices).

"NATO 100% needs that bridge gone before they can move on Crimea. It is the only road, rail, water, and electric link to Crimea left - yes the bridge IS the only link as Ukraine cut off all land supply to Crimea (not reported in mainstram press) even blowing the power line pylons so they cant be restored.

"The bridge is of crucial strategic importance to keep Sevastopol supplied, hence why it is being targeted. If it all goes hot NATO will just take it down anyway, but there can only be one response to that, same as the resposnce to a US carrier being sunk - nuclear retaliation."

Here is the latest from Jake Morphonios

The airspace above Crimea will be getting very busy with US spy planes. This is described in the video above.
Contacts report USA ramping up spy plane activity over & using RQ-4 Global Hawk (seen 52k ft past Kerch near coastline) and RC-135V, & US Navy P-8A Poseidon (25k ft south of ).
From RT
Russian anti-ship missiles filmed moving towards Kerch after flare-up with Ukraine

The latest report from South Front

Russian Su-30 Used Missiles Against Ukainian Navy Ships Near Kerch Strait, Kiev's Chief of General Staff Says

On November 27th, Ukraine’s state security agency confirmed that its intelligence officers were among the crew of the seized Ukrainian ships.

According to the SBU’s statement the officers were fulfilling counterintelligence operations for the Ukrainian navy, in response to “psychological and physical pressure” by Russian spy services. No details were provided, however it demanded that Russia stop any such activity.
Late on November 26th, Russia’s FSB said that there were SBU officers on board the ships, saying that this is another proof of a provocation staged by Ukraine.
The Russian FSB security agency released a video of three crewmembers of the detained Ukrainian gunboats. In the interviews, the three seamen all confirmed that they violated the Russian border. Mainstream media scrutinizes the interviews, claiming that the men are talking “under duress” and that one of them “was clearly reading from a teleprompter”.
In an escalation of absurdity, Chief of the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces Gen. Viktor Muzhenko claimed that Russian aviation was used against the two gunboats and the tugboat.
Today it became known that Russian aviation was also used during the attack on the Ukrainian ships. A Su-30 fighter jet launched two missiles,” Muzhenko said.
That is unlikely, since there are only reports of several wounded sailors, who are being treated in the Kerch Pirogov hospital. If missiles were, in fact, launched at the boats they wouldn’t get tugged to the Kerch port, because they would simply be in pieces.
In the early hours of November 27, Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his concern over the escalation with Ukraine and the martial law during a conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Kremlin reported.
According to the statement, Putin placed all blame on Ukraine and said the escalation was caused by it due to political reasons.
Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said Merkel in the conversation with Putin stressed the need for de-escalation and dialogue.
The Kremlin warned that the martial law that is to go into effect on November 28th in Ukraine might cause an escalation in the country’s east.
Germany’s foreign minister is suggesting that Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine could work together to resolve tensions between Moscow and Kiev.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas “called on Russia and Ukraine to show the greatest possible restraint, and offered to work on a solution in the Normandy Format.” He further added that “we must do everything for de-escalation, to prevent this crisis turning into an even more serious crisis for security in Europe.”
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe is urging Russia and Ukraine to refrain from “any further provocations” and engage in dialogue to reduce tensions. OSCE secretary general Thomas Greminger said in a statement that “immediate de-escalation is both urgent and essential.” He, similarly, to the UN and the EU, urged Moscow and Kiev “to exercise restraint, step back from any further provocations and immediately engage in dialogue to reduce the risk of further tensions in the region.”

In general, it appears that Ukraine’s “provocation play” appears to be unraveling and come undone at the seams. Thus, Ukraine is attempting to make as many questionable and maybe even absurd claims to see what will get some traction.

Hal Turner is better for his intelligence than for his understanding of geopolitics


27 November, 2018

As of late Tuesday evening (Eastern U.S. Time) about 500 tactical aircraft, combat aircraft, and up to 340 helicopters of the Russian Army have been massed along the border of Ukraine. 

Yesterday, Ukraine implemented Martial Law  in its provinces bordering Russia, claiming they have intel that Russia plans an invasion.  Ukraine MAY be correct.
UPDATE 7:19 PM EST -- Panic buying has begun in local supermarkets near Kherson as martial law comes into full effect. Buckwheat, matches, and salt are purchased in large quantities, with some shortages reported.  
After a naval battle between Ukraine and Russia in the Kerch Strait on Sunday, which resulted in numerous exchanges of weapons fire, and the capture of three Ukraine vessels by Russia, things are heating-up fast in Ukraine.
On Monday, Ukraine President Poroshenko blamed Russia for "aggression" but later, Intelligence reports surfaced that the Ukrainian vessels may have been delivering a NATO device to attack and destroy the Kerch Bridge between Crimea and the Russian mainland.
Also on Monday, Ukraine's Rada (Their Parliament/Congress) approved MARTIAL LAW in Ukrainian provinces bordering Russia, called-up Military Reserves, and began deploying those Reserve Troops to areas which border Russia.
Earlier today, the Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed they have adopted greater security around the Kerch Bridge amid threats to destroy it.
Late today, Ukraine instructed its railroads to make ready for military use of all rail facilities.   
Now, we have these new developments . . .
About 500 tactical aircraft, combat aircraft, and up to 340 helicopters of the Russian Army have been massed along the border of Ukraine as of Tuesday evening, eastern US time.
This was stated at a briefing titled "Military and strategic assessment of the threat of invasion of Ukraine by the armed forces of Russia", said the representative of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Vadym Skibitsky
"Special attention is being paid to the increase of the grouping of aircraft of the airborne forces of the Russian Federation near the state border of Ukraine, and since 2013, the Russian Federation (RF) has been upgrading the entire airdrome network along the Ukrainian border, upgrading the fleet of combat aircraft, and expanding the capabilities of the military aircraft. Currently about 500 tactical aircraft combat aircraft are concentrated along the Ukrainian border. and up to 340 helicopters of the Army Aviation, "said Skibitsky.
He specified that the crews both combat helicopters and tactical aircraft took and participate in hostilities in Syria. "This means that crews have enough experience to use bombs, high-precision weapons on civilian populations," said Skibicki.
He added that the combat radius of aircraft that deployed Russia along the border with Ukraine covers the entire territory of Ukraine.
According to Skibitsky, during the period of aggressive actions of the RF against Ukraine, a significant increase in troops was made, and the formation of new unions and associations near the state border of Ukraine and in general in the European part of the Russian Federation. "Considerable attention of the Russian Federation is paid to the creation and preparation of battalion tactical groups, which are currently deployed along the border of our state. The total number of battalion tactical groups of the RF capable of carrying out combat missions in our territory is 25 units," he informed.
Skibitsky also said that during the strategic exercises of the RF Armed Forces "Kavkaz-2016", "Vostok-2018", "West-2017", issues of the creation of shock groups in the Ukrainian direction, mobilization, and the redeployment of reserve forces and means from the central regions of the Russian Federation were worked out to the borders with Ukraine.

Sudden Military "Exercise"

Russia has made a rather sudden announcement of a "Military Exercise" in its Southern Military District, which borders Ukraine.
From the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD)
To check the readiness of more than 40 formations and military units of the Southern Military District (YuVO) to the beginning of the new school year, complex commissions started from the directorates and services of the district headquarters appointed by the commander of the Southern Military District Colonel-General Alexander Dvornikov.
Representatives of the branches of the branches of troops and services of the Southern Military District check the readiness of the training material base, weapons and military equipment, as well as the state of social facilities in the units and military units of the district subordination, combined-arms units, the Black Sea Fleet, the Caspian Flotilla and 4 air forces and armies Air Defense.
In order to organize the training process in the new academic year, more than 30 combined-arms ranges, shooting ranges, as well as more than 400 training classes and about 200 training complexes at the order base were trained in the Southern Military District.
More than 3.5 thousand targets and radio-controlled firing systems were equipped for conducting training in firing training at combined-arms ranges.
The new academic year in the troops of the Southern Military District will begin on December 1 of this year.

UPDATE  6:15 PM EST --

My sources in the US State Department confirm to me directly there was a telephone conversation earlier this afternoon between Ukrainian President Porochenko and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.  During that call  the U.S. Secretary of State pledged “full assistance, including military assistance,” to protect Ukrainian sovereignty.

UPDATE 6:20 PM EST -- 

USAF Global Hawk drone and US Navy P-8 Poseidon now over the Black Sea monitoring near the Kerch Strait and Crimea


Ukraine regions placed under martial law start preparing defenses: Kherson regional defense council already moved law enforcement to heightened alert, in Kharkiv military troops put to combat readiness, Mykolayiv inspecting fortifications and bomb shelters.
As of 4:40 PM EST this afternoon, Britain is sending HMS Echo - a vessel that specializes in survey exercises, so the Black Sea amid Russia-Ukraine incident.
Echo and her sister ship are designed to conduct survey operations in support of submarines or amphibious operations. She can provide almost real-time tailored environmental information, and also has a secondary role as a mine countermeasure tasking authority platform, for which she is capable of embarking a dedicated mine counter measures command team.
Moscow to host meeting of the Board of the Ministry of Defense of Russia
This is a big deal.  They've called all the military big shots -- ALL OF THEM -- to Moscow on extremely short notice.  Something big is up . . . 

UPDATE 7:19 PM EST -- 

Panic buying has begun in local supermarkets near Kherson as martial law comes into full effect. Buckwheat, matches, and salt are purchased in large quantities, with some shortages reported

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