Thursday, March 20, 2014

Global SITREP B17-14: Crunch (Slush) Time in Crimea

FINAL UPDATE 20 March 2014: For all intents and purposes the Crimean Crisis is now over. The Russian Federation won with a military invasion, but without resorting to full-scale combat. Ukrainian forces are retreating out of Crimea which is now the de facto sovereign territory of the Russian Federation. We'll now watch for Putin's gaze to settle upon the next parcel of post-Soviet territorial reconstitution.

18 March 2014: The Russian annexation of Crimea is now a cold, hard fact that will not be undone without war in Europe on a scale not seen since World War II. Russia, in the person of President Vladimir Putin, has thumbed his nose at the US/EU and NATO and declared his intent to wage war against us in defense of Russian interests. For this declaration Putin received a standing ovation by the members of the Russian Parliament. A further Russian military invasion of additional territory in southern and eastern Ukraine may very well follow in the coming hours.

With the confirmed death of one Ukrainian officer and the severe wounding of another today at their base in Simferopol, the capital of Crimea, the remainder of Ukrainian troops are now in receipt of their rules of engagement as authorized by Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. That authorization is to "use weapons to defend and protect the lives of Ukrainian servicemen." Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted this war, now it looks like he has achieved it.

14 March 2014: The above map has been borrowed from a report published yesterday.  It correctly illustrates four indisputable facts-on-the-ground with which Russia must deal forcibly to overcome should the anticipated annexation of Crimea move forward on Sunday and Monday next week.

The first indisputable fact is that a considerable amount of Ukrainian and Russian armor face each other across 25 miles of no-mans land along the only two overland routes between pro-Russia Crimea and pro-Ukraine Kherson Oblast. Ukrainian forces have enough combat firepower at these two choke points to hold their ground and/or repel any Russian assault northwards. By no means are they merely a speed bump for the Russians as Kherson Oblast is heavily populated by Ukrainians loyal to the new government in Kiev.

The second, third and fourth indisputable facts are the water, electric and natural gas supplies that Ukraine controls and has heretofore provided to the Crimean populace. A vote to join Russia will be a vote to cut off these supplies. Hence it will be utilities crunch time in Crimea thereafter. The Crimean economy will come to a screeching halt and the tens of thousands of Russian soldiers now there will become a burden upon the populace because they will be consuming a large portion of whatever water, electric and natural gas reserves are in Crimea. Hopefully they thought ahead and have been saving them for a rainy day, but I would not bet my next paycheck on it.

That will leave Vladimir Putin and his military commanders two unsavory options. Evacuate Crimea and return it to the status quo which existed prior to their invasion, or to get all froggy and jump with a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Frogs usually do not realize when they have jumped into boiling water that death will come swiftly, so a retreat back to their barracks of origin seems to be the best option. Again, I would not bet my next paycheck on Vladimir Putin and his generals being that smart either. The risks are enormous. However, let us pray cooler heads prevail this time around.


DuncanMc said...

I wonder if preparations are being made by Ukrainian forces to disable or even destroy the infrastructure that provides these services? If I were the Russian force commander I would fly in or even drop airborne troops to consolidate those areas to ensure fuel/electrical and water for so large a region.

Sean Osborne said...

That would mean Putin would have to commit the bulk of Russian military forces west of the Ural Mountains to a military invasion of the rest of Ukraine, which is not the act of a sane mind.

mark3210 said...

I'm always hesitant to make predictions, but I sense a lot more major events will happen in the next 8 months before the November mid-terms.

It's cold comfort to those of us who warned about these things in 2008 and again in 2012 to be proven right.

Sean Osborne said...

I hoping we get through the next month nevermind the next 8.

Russian troops are at this time storming all of the Ukrainian military posts on Crimea that they had surrounded in the past two weeks.

Casualties are occurring.

Russia has deployed in the past couple of days a squadron of Su-27 Flanker air superiority fighters into Belarus.

They have also stood up an air defense capability in the A-50 'Mainstay' AEW platform that can "see" any air movement in western Europe and a big chunk of the Middle East.

A weak West finds itself in the same predicament as it did prior to the two previous World Wars. History appears to be repeating.

So where will that missing Malaysian Boeing 777 suddenly re-appear, over the middle of the US in the blinding flash of an EMP, or impacting a certain facility in Dimona, Israel?

NG said...

Our redemption is drawing near...

I believe in the Rapture of the Church and I believe it will happen soon..

Scipio said...

Sean, THANKS for the Real news...OK, elementary question: Wouldn't our radar detect the M370 plane (yes, I too think that it will be used for nefarious purposes) well before a continental fly-over?

hartdawg said...

Quick question, is Afghanistan and Pakistan part of Magog? I think you covered this before but I forget where. And should we expect Russia to move into these areas, and what about Poland? (O.k. that was 3 questions)

Sean Osborne said...

Quick answer. No and no.

The "what about Poland" is that it is firmly a member of NATO.

That means any attack upon Poland is an attack upon the other 27 members of NATO who must (NATO Charter - Article 5) militarily respond to the attack as one nation.

This is why NATO is fighting in Afghanistan and no just the US - the US was attacked from Afghanistan on 9/11/2001 and ALL of NATO has responded in sending military forces into Afghanistan.