Video: Ukraine digging in on the Russian border

posted at 5:31 pm on April 5, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

“This region has seen both Soviet and Nazi occupations,” the AFP narrator notes about the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, “and has no desire to see history repeated.” With Russian forces massing on their eastern frontier, Ukraine’s military has dug in on their side of the border in an attempt to deter Vladimir Putin from seizing more Ukrainian territory. In an all-out fight they probably wouldn’t stand a chance, but they want to at least give Putin second thoughts about another easy occupation and annexation:

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk hit out at Russia for carrying out “an armed robbery” and said the country would respond if it tried to annex the eastern regions, home to many Russian speakers as well as industries on which Moscow relies.

“I want to officially warn Russia: we will respond firmly, including through military means, against any attempt to seize Ukraine, to cross borders, or annex eastern or other regions by Russian troops,” Yatsenyuk said.

Moscow has brushed off concerns about the massive military drills it is carrying out near the Ukrainian border. Reports it had withdrawn a battalion of about 500 soldiers have done little to ease what the European Union said Friday was a “very dangerous” situation. …
Ukrainian officials are guarded on the size of the border deployment of an army that experts say is ill-equipped to stave off a Russian invasion after years of underinvestment.

At some point, that underinvestment will likely become a bigger story, too. The new government in Kyiv has demanded that the West take at least some steps to enforce the Budapest Memorandum, in which Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons (Soviet leftovers that they probably couldn’t effectively use anyway) in exchange for security guarantees from Russia and the West. While pro-Russian governments ruled in Kyiv, it made sense for Ukraine’s capital to go elsewhere other than defense, but that situation must have suited Moscow’s purposes, and does even more now. Don’t be surprised if Ukrainians begin looking into defense decisions made by Viktor Yanukovich and accusing him of deliberately leaving the country relatively defenseless against Russia.

They’re not happy with the Western response either, and Japan may be getting a little nervous, too. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel went to Japan this week, and tried to reassure Pacific Rim allies through his comments to the media traveling with him:

Hagel’s reassurances are that the US remains highly engaged with China and is committed to keeping the status quo in place in the Pacific Rim. Other than geography, what about that is different than the US assurances about Russia before the seizure and annexation of Crimea? Japan is not Ukraine, obviously, but the Philippines might not feel quite as sanguine about American reassurances regarding the ability to contain aggressive and acquisitive empires.


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I remain dumbfounded that Chuck freaking Hagel is SecDef.

Murphy9 on April 5, 2014 at 5:34 PM

The next 3 years are going to be “bumpy.” If you are a world aggressor, now is when you make your move.

filetandrelease on April 5, 2014 at 5:40 PM

Japan has no reason to be nervous. Crimea and pacific Rim are night and day. If China was to act up and try to take territory I would be the first in line asking for us to show up with guns in a knife fight. And I am one of those rand Paul supporters people like to call isolationist just to hear the sound of their own voice.

The us has a security treaty to help defend japan and the us will stand by this treaty.

We need to pick our fights wisely. If we need to fight, I vote we defend china over Crimea any day of the week.

coolrepublica on April 5, 2014 at 5:40 PM

The Japanese aren’t stupid. They see the danger and are making their own plans.

crankyoldlady on April 5, 2014 at 5:43 PM

Smart move. Dig and and concentrate all the able bodied who are willing to fight in one spot. That way Vlad can have his air force swoop in and decimate their ranks in one hour long attack that will most likely be back paged by the media after three days.

Much more effective than establishing a guerrilla warfare strategy to bleed the Russian army by a thousand little knives.

KMC1 on April 5, 2014 at 5:45 PM

OT: Is there a blackout at Breitbart?

BuckeyeSam on April 5, 2014 at 5:49 PM

We need to pick our fights wisely. If we need to fight, I vote we defend china over Crimea any day of the week.

coolrepublica on April 5, 2014 at 5:40 PM

Nice slip there. Your communism is showing.

astonerii on April 5, 2014 at 5:54 PM

Another OT: If you haven’t been to MM’s site recently, check out this Twitchy link aggregating Tweets from high school kids complaining about Michelle Obama’s effect on their school lunches. It’s hilarious.

http://twitchy.com/2014/04/05/meanwiches-and-stinkburgers-ticked-off-kids-blame-michelle-obama-for-pitiful-school-lunches-pics/

BuckeyeSam on April 5, 2014 at 5:54 PM

We need to pick our fights wisely. If we need to fight, I vote we defend china over Crimea any day of the week.

coolrepublica on April 5, 2014 at 5:40 PM

Defend a world power? From whom? Their Russian allies?

Stoic Patriot on April 5, 2014 at 5:57 PM

No doubt Mr. Victory Lap is enjoying another day of golf…

Seven Percent Solution on April 5, 2014 at 5:58 PM

Yeah, this area has seen Nazi and Russian occupation. This area also saw massive genocide. Stalin killed 10-12 million Ukrainians in 1932-33. I would be digging trenches now as well.

Krupnikas on April 5, 2014 at 6:08 PM

I remain dumbfounded that Chuck freaking Hagel is SecDef.

Murphy9 on April 5, 2014 at 5:34 PM

I hear that.

Kaffa on April 5, 2014 at 6:15 PM

Obama is stocking up on red lines.

albill on April 5, 2014 at 6:19 PM


U.S. to help in ‘elimination’ of sensitive Japanese nuclear stockpile

THE HAGUE (Reuters) – Japan will turn over hundreds of kilograms (pounds) of sensitive nuclear material of potential use in bombs to the United States to be downgraded and disposed of…

I don’t think that Japan turned over all their nuclear material. They will need a nuclear deterrent in order to stand up against China.

Kaffa on April 5, 2014 at 6:26 PM

Hagel is not reassuring. He comes off as dumb as a tree stump.

blue13326 on April 5, 2014 at 6:32 PM

Hagel is not reassuring. He comes off as dumb as a tree stump.
blue13326 on April 5, 2014 at 6:32 PM

That is an insult to tree stumps.

redguy on April 5, 2014 at 6:41 PM

They will need a nuclear deterrent in order to stand up against China.

Kaffa on April 5, 2014 at 6:26 PM

This.

In five years, or less, Japan will be a nuclear power.

They have no choice.

Rebar on April 5, 2014 at 6:43 PM

We need to pick our fights wisely. If we need to fight, I vote we defend china over Crimea any day of the week.

coolrepublica on April 5, 2014 at 5:40 PM

*facepalm*

Norwegian on April 5, 2014 at 6:46 PM

OT: Is there a blackout at Breitbart?

BuckeyeSam on April 5, 2014 at 5:49 PM

seems it.
1/2 the time I get the 504 error, nginx timeout. rest of time the domain does not even resolve (cannot find page error) making me thing there is a dns issue/hack happening. when that happens cannot even ping server.

dmacleo on April 5, 2014 at 6:51 PM

dmacleo on April 5, 2014 at 6:51 PM

I’m getting the same from Oz. Must be all the queers throwing a hissy fit.

OldEnglish on April 5, 2014 at 6:59 PM

I guess Ed isn’t that only idiot who failed to read the Budapest Memorandum. The only thing the Budapest Memorandum promises is, that if and only if Ukraine is attacked with nuclear weapons, the United States would take the issue to the UN security council.

oscarwilde on April 5, 2014 at 7:01 PM

So Obama sends out Mr. Drunken Uncle to reassure our allies? Slap in the face…

/Bo’s bizzy wit da fun raisin’

Key West Reader on April 5, 2014 at 7:12 PM

coolrepublica on April 5, 2014 at 5:40 PM

You should be the first in line all right.

Murphy9 on April 5, 2014 at 7:33 PM

Smart move. Dig and and concentrate all the able bodied who are willing to fight in one spot. That way Vlad can have his air force swoop in and decimate their ranks in one hour long attack that will most likely be back paged by the media after three days.

Much more effective than establishing a guerrilla warfare strategy to bleed the Russian army by a thousand little knives.

KMC1 on April 5, 2014 at 5:45 PM

If I were the betting type I’d wager they are making a big show of their “fortified” (love the tires) emplacements. This would provide a measure of comfort to citizens looking for their government to do something.

Behind the scenes however, hiding or falsifying the records of all military personnel so there is no clear picture of how many active troops there are and planning on a guerrilla & asymmetric response to invasion is likely. They may farm but they ain’t all farm boys.

roy_batty on April 5, 2014 at 7:38 PM

The day may come when the Philippines will wish that they hadn’t kicked us out of Subic Bay and the Clark Airfield base. Oh well, decisions have consequences.

mydh12 on April 5, 2014 at 7:40 PM

Japan may be getting a little nervous, too. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel went to Japan this week, and tried to reassure Pacific Rim allies through his comments to the media traveling with him. Hagel’s reassurances are that the US remains highly engaged with China and is committed to keeping the status quo in place in the Pacific Rim. Other than geography, what about that is different than the US assurances about Russia before the seizure and annexation of Crimea? Japan is not Ukraine, obviously, but the Philippines might not feel quite as sanguine about American reassurances regarding the ability to contain aggressive and acquisitive empires.

This is a joke right? You do realize that the US has mutual defense treaties with Japan, South Korea and the Philippines don’t you?

The so-called Budapest Memorandum (which isn’t a legal treaty btw) doesn’t say anything about the US militarily defending Ukraine.

If you think we should be doing more over there I sure would like to hear what that might be.

Even before the annexation hotair bloggers really had it in for Putin’ Russia. I wonder why that is.

weathermen on April 5, 2014 at 7:42 PM

I just hope that Putin’s machinations on the eastern Ukraine border really have awakened a ‘slumbering giant’ (NATO) which may serve to keep him in Russia, posturing to little avail. If the Ukraine makes a concerted effort to upgrade and increase their military, with the will to use it to max damage to Russia’s forces, that is also a plus. But, Western Europe must also step up by increasing their military expenditures, and let Putin know that up front. Screw The One – he is the feckless thumb sucker in all this. Timing is everything.

vnvet on April 5, 2014 at 8:00 PM

I feel as if we have turned our back on our allies, and I do not see how they can trust us at all at this point.

GaltBlvnAtty on April 5, 2014 at 8:12 PM

Even before the annexation hotair bloggers really had it in for Putin’ Russia. I wonder why that is.

weathermen on April 5, 2014 at 7:42 PM

Hmm, why might that be? Could it be because Russia is essentially an authoritarian dictatorship without a free press? Could it be because it has a nasty habit of pushing around or even invading (see: Georgia) its independent neighbors? Might it have something to do with Russian facilitation of Iran’s drive to develop nuclear weapons? How about Russia’s unswerving support of Assad’s Syria?

Nah, I’m sure it’s just because we all support Obama against a conservative hero.

Athanasius on April 5, 2014 at 8:44 PM

I remain dumbfounded that Chuck freaking Hagel is SecDef.

Murphy9 on April 5, 2014 at 5:34 PM

…and Republicans helped approve him!

KOOLAID2 on April 5, 2014 at 10:42 PM

Even before the annexation hotair bloggers really had it in for Putin’ Russia. I wonder why that is.

weathermen on April 5, 2014 at 7:42 PM

Hmm, why might that be? Could it be because Russia is essentially an authoritarian dictatorship without a free press? Could it be because it has a nasty habit of pushing around or even invading (see: Georgia) its independent neighbors? Might it have something to do with Russian facilitation of Iran’s drive to develop nuclear weapons? How about Russia’s unswerving support of Assad’s Syria?

No, I don’t think so. Here’s MKH in a recent post for example:

I meant to applaud Russian snowboarder Alexey Sobolev for this pretty badass move.

Alexey Sobolev took part in the slopestyle qualifying on Thursday and as he waited for his scores, he turned the top of his snowboard to camera. The illustration on his board was that of a knife-wielding woman in a black ski mask. It’s the same outfit worn by the feminist rock group Pussy Riot, whose members were jailed after a show an impromptu show in a Moscow cathedral last year

I think if you’re defending pussyriot’s behavior just so you can get a dig in against Putin, something else is going on here.

weathermen on April 5, 2014 at 11:06 PM

Hmm, why might that be? Could it be because Russia is essentially an authoritarian dictatorship without a free press?

Athanasius on April 5, 2014 at 8:44 PM

No, that couldn’t be it, because the Soviet Union is a long time gone, and America is officially friends with people that are a lot nastier than Putin’s Russia.

Including the Ukrainian junta, which, with US support, violently overthrew the democratically elected government, thus starting this whole mess.

Athanasius on April 5, 2014 at 8:44 PM

No, because Georgia, not Russia, started that war, charging into territory that the Russians had been administering since the fall of the Soviet Union, guns blazing in all directions. Georgia would have to be insane to start a tank war with Russia, but that’s exactly what they did.

Might it have something to do with Russian facilitation of Iran’s drive to develop nuclear weapons? How about Russia’s unswerving support of Assad’s Syria?

Athanasius on April 5, 2014 at 8:44 PM

How about it being a terrible idea to get involved in Syria anyway? As for Iran, it’s natural for Russia to pick a cheap way of pushing back, since contrary to assurances when Germany was being re-united, NATO has not only moved East but is now trying to get into internal territories of the former Soviet Union, where a lot of Russians live. And it’s backing corrupt fascists like the Ukrainian junta, who support oppressing those Russians.

Nah, I’m sure it’s just because we all support Obama against a conservative hero.

Athanasius on April 5, 2014 at 8:44 PM

Apparently some people haven’t internalized that the Soviet Union died decades ago, and that Washington has more cultural Marxists than Moscow now.

David Blue on April 6, 2014 at 2:28 AM

Gah, mis-quote.

My point stands though. It’s not Russia that started this mess, it’s the corrupt junta in Ukraine that started it, by overthrowing democracy and showing itself to be anti-Russian, including against Russian-speaking Ukrainians.

David Blue on April 6, 2014 at 2:32 AM

“Other than geography, what about that is different than the US assurances about Russia before the seizure and annexation of Crimea?”

If a US-backed junta violently seizes power in Japan, proves to be a thuggish bunch of corrupt oligarchs, and starts oppressing Chinese people in some territory it owns, then throws a fit because frightened Chinese in that territory vote for succession from Japan and reunion with China, then we can talk about comparisons.

David Blue on April 6, 2014 at 2:43 AM

This is a joke right? You do realize that the US has mutual defense treaties with Japan, South Korea and the Philippines don’t you?

weathermen on April 5, 2014 at 7:42 PM

I’ll say this flat out. If Russia invades Poland, the US will not act. If China in invades Japan, the US will not act. US security guarantees are worthless under this administration. It is clear our allies are afraid we’ll abandon them: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/03/18/this-is-how-joe-biden-reassures-nato-allies/

I fully expect that if Japan is invaded, we’ll hear the same tired litany from the left and from Ron Paul libertarians: “Shinzo Abe is a Nazi, Shinzo Abe provoked China, Shinzo Abe did not apologize enough for World War II, how many American boys are you okay with killing to protect a bunch of foreigners, etc.”

Hopefully all of these countries will realize the US will abandon them a the first sign of trouble and keep rearming. It’s the only way to guarantee their safety at this point.

Doomberg on April 6, 2014 at 8:02 AM

Ukraine is one country we should be helping. The people are Christian, they want democracy, they want a thriving economy unlike some nations we have been helping for 10 years with our blood and treasure and nation building philosophy. I get it that SH was an evil pos that needed to be replaced, but what we have in Iraq now is not much better and we paid a very high price to achieve, ditto Afghanistan.

Kissmygrits on April 6, 2014 at 9:07 AM

There isn’t one scintilla of evidence over the tenure of this administration they support our allies and the status quo that has kept us safe. We’ve watched as our friends have been weakened and foes have become stronger and more bold.

The Obama Administration and a foreign policy largely run by Hillary Clinton has destroyed our credibility and weakened our military. It has produced numerous disasters and the biggest are yet to come. Kerry and Hagel are simply feckless dupes picked to unwittingly continue the march.

This is the legacy and ultimate affect of liberal rule. A much more dangerous world for Americans.

The primary job of a president is to keep our citizens safe. In the rush to set us against each other, hurt the productive sector and “redistribute” wealth by growing social programs and government reach, we are headed for a substantial disaster. Unless we change the course set by this current crop of politicians, it will be upon us in short order.

Marcus Traianus on April 6, 2014 at 9:32 AM

The Chinese military is weak in undersea warfare. Pacific Rim nations are wisely investing their defense dollars in submarines and mines.

We should help them do that.

ShadrachSmith on April 6, 2014 at 11:02 AM

I’m sure out allies are comforted seeing that we aren’t going to have a provocative military stance in the future. Given that we won’t be able to be aggressive, or even defend the US anymore should warm the hearts of our friends in Russia and China. /sarc

Quartermaster on April 6, 2014 at 2:42 PM

Kerry is an empty-headed glory hound, and Hagel is the definition of dupe. Better choices for high government positions could not be found if the goal was to bring the country down a notch.

claudius on April 6, 2014 at 2:47 PM

Other than geography, what about that is different than the US assurances about Russia before the seizure and annexation of Crimea?

Three, painfully, obvious things:

1) We are far more tied by treaties, agreements, history, etc. to Japan and the Philippines.

2) China is now our opponent not Russia.

3) Japan and the Philippines have far more to support what they have against China’s aggression than the artificial nation of Little Russia which has little reason not to be in union with Great Russia (same as with White Russia, which seems to understand reality much better).

jarodea on April 6, 2014 at 4:23 PM

OT: Is there a blackout at Breitbart?

BuckeyeSam on April 5, 2014 at 5:49 PM

seems it.
1/2 the time I get the 504 error, nginx timeout. rest of time the domain does not even resolve (cannot find page error) making me thing there is a dns issue/hack happening. when that happens cannot even ping server.

dmacleo on April 5, 2014 at 6:51 PM

I’ve been having problems at a lot of the conservative blogs I go to, today. Just saying.

Lance Corvette on April 6, 2014 at 6:46 PM