Hear me now Oh thou bleak and unbearable world, Thou art base and debauched as can be; And a knight with his banners all bravely unfurled Now hurls down his gauntlet to thee!
Maybe I’m being a bit too emotional quoting Don Quixote in "The Man of LaMancha"… especially for a supposedly hard hearted empath. Well, too bad. I’m not dead yet and there are things in the world that still stir my blood. This is one of them.
MOSCOW, August 14, 21:41 /ITAR-TASS/. The Russian Foreign Ministry on Thursday urged the warring sides in Ukraine to cease fire immediately in order to guarantee the security of the humanitarian convoy for the eastern regions of Ukraine. “Now that the multifaceted efforts to settle all aspects of the initiative to provide humanitarian assistance to the population of the south-east of Ukraine has entered the final stage, the Foreign Ministry of Russia is strongly urging the warring sides to cease fire immediately,” the statement said.
“This must be done in order to guarantee the security of the upcoming humanitarian mission. A ceasefire is required by the appalling situation in the South-East of Ukraine,” the ministry said. It also called on the warring parties in Ukraine to show political will and alleviate the suffering of people in the south-east of the country. The passage of the humanitarian convoy to the south-eastern regions of Ukraine will be a test of adequacy for Kiev, Alexander Brechalov, a Public Chamber member, said.
I think we are seeing the beginning of Putin’s end game for Novorossiya and Ukraine. He’s been quiet lately and downright conciliatory in his recent public speech in Crimea. No threats. No demands. No red lines. He just set a convoy of humanitarian aid in motion. He went through the motions of negotiating with Kiev for the passage of this convoy through Kharkov on the way to Lugansk. As expected, Kiev denied entrance of the convoy into Ukraine. No problem. The convoy headed south towards a border crossing controlled by the rebels. As of last report, it’s camped within twenty kilometers of the border only a few hours away from Lugansk.
Shortly after the humanitarian convoy encamped, a Guardian reporter traveling with the convoy watched a column of over twenty BTR-80s and accompanying support vehicles cross the border into Ukraine. Is this true or did the reporter just get turned around on the steppes of Russia? Is this the beginning of a full scale invasion? No, my guess is that this column, if it did actually across the border, is just advanced security for the humanitarian convoy. They reportedly went in with headlights on and in full view of Western reporters. This is Putin hurling down his gauntlet. Moscow is warning Kiev not to interfere with this humanitarian effort, a test of adequacy as Brechalov said. If any artillery or air attacks are made to disrupt the aid effort, I have no doubt the offending units will suffer swift and complete retribution at the hands of Russian forces. Kiev is right royally screwed.
In the last 24 hours, Donetsk has been hit by GRAD, SS-21 ballistic missiles and airburst white phosphorus rounds. However, the rebels have blunted junta attempts to enter or surround the city. Pavel Gubarev’s militia group retook the Marinovka border crossing with Russia. A direct road from Russia to Donetsk is now open. This also closes a pocket with two more junta brigades surrounded. I’ve seen a twitter report of a company of Russian tanks moving north from the Marinovka crossing towards Donetsk. This can’t be a full scale invasion either. It may be just enough to keep this pocket closed.
The other big news of the last 24 hours is the status and whereabouts of Gospodin Strelkov. Rumors have been swirling for the last two days. Kiev said he was severely wounded and in Sevastopol or dead. Others claimed he was fired as Defense Minister and fleeing back to Moscow. The truth seems to be that he is no longer the Defense Minister, either fired or resigned. His current status is unknown, but he is reported to have been reassigned to some other duty in the DPR government. Perhaps he is now a field commander rather than a minister just as Gubarev, the former President of the Donetsk Peoples Republic, just led the rebel assault at Marinovka.
I sense the junta forces are reaching a Clauswitzian culminating point and the Novorossiyan rebels sense the same thing. Something big is in the wind. As my old mentor and good friend, Master Sergeant Albert H. Rivers would say in such a situation, “The shit’s on, good buddy!”