Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Ukraine - Entering the End Game - Alexander Mercouris

We have had an extraordinary succession of diplomatic move and counter move over the last two days.

1. Yesterday was the false announcement by Russian media agencies of supposed proposals by the NAF that would have allowed the DPR/LPR to remain if only nominally part of the Ukraine.

2. This morning we had the equally false announcement by Poroshenko's Secretariat that he had agreed a ceasefire with Putin.

3. This afternoon the Kremlin published its plan for a ceasefire. Whilst this purports to be limited to its technical aspects in reality it effectively gives the DPR/LPR what they have demanded all along and since before the ATO was launched, which is the removal of all Ukrainian forces from their territory. The Kremlin's ceasefire proposal throws in a no fly zone for good measure.

This flurry of announcements suggests moves in an end game, which is what I think we are looking at. So what is going on?

First of all it bears reiteration that none of this would be happening were it not for

1. The NAF's battlefield victories and the not so slow motion collapse of the Ukrainian army. Lugansk and Donetsk airports have now definitely fallen. The very latest reports suggest that Mariupol is totally surrounded and that Kiev has only the remnant of right wing militia battalions there and that it is likely to fall or be liberated by the NAF very soon. There are reports of more and more Ukrainian soldiers surrendering or deserting and the hoard of captured weapons in the NAF's hands is growing to prodigious levels. As the junta's military gets weaker the NAF grows stronger. Though Putin has said (echoing comments made a week ago by Zakharchenko - see below my discussion of his press conference on this Page) that the NAF has no plan to advance beyond the boundaries of the DPR/LPR, the main force of the Ukrainian army is now actually concentrated on the territory of the DPR/LPR. If the Ukrainian army disintegrates, which is now looking distinctly possible, it is not clear what organised military force the junta has left to bar an NAF advance on Kharkov, Odessa or even Kiev.

2. As I explained a few days ago (see below on this Page) the true story of the recent EU summit is that for all the talk of sanctions the US/EU has emphatically ruled out the one thing that might at the risk of a very dangerous escalation have made a difference to this situation. This was the possibility of western military intervention in the conflict to bail the junta out. Please note that by "western military intervention" I mean boots on the ground and air strikes. As Mark Sleboda has absolutely correctly pointed out talk of weapons being supplied to the junta is a red herring. The reality is the junta has been getting weapons for weeks from old Soviet stocks in eastern Europe and has never been short of weapons to fight this war.

Complete story at - The Ukraine - Entering the End Game - Alexander Mercouris

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