Ignoring U.S., Russia steps up Ukraine offensive

posted at 2:41 pm on July 25, 2014 by Noah Rothman

On Thursday, the U.S. State Department risked exacerbating tensions with Russia when State spokeswoman Marie Harf revealed that intelligence indicates that Russian forces have directly escalated the crisis in Ukraine even after separatist forces loyal to Moscow took down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17.

Harf disclosed to reporters on Thursday that Russia continued to supply rebels with heavy weaponry following the attack on MH17, and even more significant arms are already en route to Ukraine. Moreover, she added, Russian armed forces have been firing on Ukrainian territory from positions inside Russia in order to facilitate the advance of pro-Russian militants.

The Defense Department confirmed State’s assessment of Russia’s military involvement in Ukraine. “For several days the Russians have been firing artillery into Ukraine,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said. “This is clearly a military escalation.”

According to reports, the Kremlin has taken these shots across their bow in stride. There has been no recalibration of Russia’s increasingly direct approach to the ongoing war in Ukraine.

“American officials, citing military intelligence, including satellite images, warned that Russia appeared to be prepping to arm the rebels with more high-powered weaponry – including tanks and armored vehicles – than it previously supplied,” The New York Times reported on Friday. “In Kiev, a military spokesman said that Ukrainian troops were coming under increased fire from the Russian side of the border and that the Ukrainian military had recently shot down three Russian drones.”

Russia’s increasingly direct involvement in the conflict in Ukraine comes as pro-Kiev forces make advances into formerly rebel-held territory. The Times noted that, without further Russian involvement, Ukrainian officials believe that they could totally defeat the rebels “within three weeks.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly made it clear that his government views the stakes in Ukraine to be much higher than do Western powers, and Moscow will likely disregard whatever diplomatic risks are be associated with further escalation if it appears likely that Ukrainian forces will dislodge rebels from the territory they currently occupy.

Putin may have already calculated that there risks associated with that escalation will be minimal.

“[I]f the EU intends to send the strong message it needs, its leaders must reconcile their wish to make a point with the potential to lose a few points off of their GDP,” CNN’s London-based anchor Nina dos Santos warned in a recent op-ed. “To punish Russia,” the headline on that piece observed, “Europe must be prepared to suffer.”

Apparently, they are prepared to do no such thing.

“The European Union reached outline agreement on Friday to impose the first economic sanctions on Russia over its behavior in Ukraine but scaled back their scope to exclude technology for the crucial gas sector,” Reuters reported on Friday. “[T]he narrowing of the proposed measures highlighted the difficulty of agreeing to tough sanctions among countries which have widely different economic interests and rely to varying degrees on Russian gas.”

And Russia is, as The New Republic put it, “insanely dependent” on the income they receive from the export of petroleum products and natural gas. “Due to the Energy Department’s slow approval process, the U.S. has a de facto ban on natural gas exports,” TNR’s Danny Vinik noted.

Without a credible U.S. policy to offset European dependence on Russian energy, Putin will maintain the diplomatic upper hand.


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LilliPutin, in the age of obama, is the luckiest bastard alive.

Schadenfreude on July 25, 2014 at 2:43 PM

Don’t worry it’s really just an offensive-o.

Flange on July 25, 2014 at 2:45 PM

Preznit Cakeboy McSwisheypants will draw another red line soon.

Walter Sobchak on July 25, 2014 at 2:50 PM

If Europe can’t handle this they deserve to be the 53rd state. The American flag is going to run out of room, for all the places in the world that are going to be states.

coolrepublica on July 25, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Ukraine is a dump of a place, with population mainly consisting of continuously drunk lazybodies and gorgeous blonde ladies of questionable repute. Given that Russia itself can be described in very similar terms, sans the “blonde” part (locals are mostly chestnut haired), why do we care?

Rix on July 25, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Walter Sobchak on July 25, 2014 at 2:50 PM

Beat me too it!

bernzright777 on July 25, 2014 at 2:53 PM

Hmmm ignoring the U.S. seems to be rather common these days. Ignore its policies, borders, empty threats.

hawkeye54 on July 25, 2014 at 2:54 PM

I think the Europeans are saying that we can have “peace in our time” by letting the Russians have Ukraine.

The Europeans continue: “Because Ukraine is all the Russians want. And why sweat it then? Who care’s about Ukraine? We need our natural gas from Russia, that’s what’s important. We could work something out where we get most of that gas from the United States, and we can stop the march of Russia before an even greater conflict could ensue. But we are not going to worry about that, because today is a nice day. Feel the warmth on your skin! Enjoy it!”

anotherJoe on July 25, 2014 at 2:55 PM

Obama is irrelevant on the world stage.

ConstantineXI on July 25, 2014 at 2:55 PM

Ukrainian officials believe that they could totally defeat the rebels “within three weeks.”

BS.

Pro-Ukrainian site…
Ukrainian government has no cash for army salaries from after August 1

The Ukrainian government just fell over a third mobilization bill. Where did those previously mobilized go?

sharrukin on July 25, 2014 at 2:56 PM

Relax.

Obama will combine a fundraiser to be held onto a golf course to save time.

Smart Power.

sentinelrules on July 25, 2014 at 2:56 PM

Could be Putin to obama

Now that I introduce myself. Let me say what I am here for.

F%#ck You!!!!
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Ok. bye now!

coolrepublica on June 26, 2014 at 5:02 PM

Schadenfreude on July 25, 2014 at 2:57 PM

If Europe can’t handle this they deserve to be the 53rd state. The American flag is going to run out of room, for all the places in the world that are going to be states.

coolrepublica on July 25, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Let the Germans have it. Don’t think they want it though.

ConstantineXI on July 25, 2014 at 2:57 PM

If Europe can’t handle this they deserve to be the 53rd 58-59th, etc. state(s).

coolrepublica on July 25, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Must follow the obama count.

p.s who the Hell wants those sissies? There are plenty in the US, starting with the eunuch, who’s chief.

Schadenfreude on July 25, 2014 at 2:59 PM

The Europeans continue: “Because Ukraine is all the Russians want. And why sweat it then? Who care’s about Ukraine? We need our natural gas from Russia, that’s what’s important. We could work something out where we get most of that gas from the United States, and we can stop the march of Russia before an even greater conflict could ensue. But we are not going to worry about that, because today is a nice day. Feel the warmth on your skin! Enjoy it!”

anotherJoe on July 25, 2014 at 2:55 PM

“Who cares about Ukraine” pretty much summed it up, even though the comment was obviously intended as sarcastic. In fact, even many locals in the Eastern part of Ukraine don’t care, as long as it doesn’t involve cannons shooting over their heads or tanks rolling through their backyards.

All we do with our involvement is playing into Putin’s hands who can pump his local rating decrying American interference into “Russian internal affairs”. Haven’t we learned the Afghan lesson yet?

Rix on July 25, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Russian forces have directly escalated the crisis in Ukraine even after separatist forces loyal to Moscow took down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17.

You posted this as a statement of fact. Do you have new evidence that no one else has?

SirGawain on July 25, 2014 at 3:03 PM

Ignoring U.S., Russia steps up Ukraine offensive

Why not? Obama does.

BuckeyeSam on July 25, 2014 at 3:04 PM

Putin figures the tissue-thin veil is torn, so why mess around anymore?

He means to find the limits of “flexibility”, if there are any. Bend over, Barry!

novaculus on July 25, 2014 at 3:04 PM

“The European Union reached outline agreement on Friday to impose the first economic sanctions on Russia over its behavior in Ukraine but scaled back their scope to exclude technology for the crucial gas sector,” Reuters reported on Friday. “[T]he narrowing of the proposed measures highlighted the difficulty of agreeing to tough sanctions among countries which have widely different economic interests and rely to varying degrees on Russian gas.”

And Russia is, as The New Republic put it, “insanely dependent” on the income they receive from the export of petroleum products and natural gas. “Due to the Energy Department’s slow approval process, the U.S. has a de facto ban on natural gas exports,” TNR’s Danny Vinik noted.

Without a credible U.S. policy to offset European dependence on Russian energy, Putin will maintain the diplomatic upper hand.

Oh, so *that’s* what this has all been about. At last: clarity.

vlad martel on July 25, 2014 at 3:04 PM

All lies! Russia was defeated weeks ago!

Man, obama kicked putin’s ass.

What a whuppin’.

Putin’s talk was cheap, obama’s sanctions were expensive.

everdiso on June 13, 2014 at 1:11 PM

mankai on July 25, 2014 at 3:06 PM

So is this the Rhineland, Sudetenland, or Poland?

formwiz on July 25, 2014 at 3:09 PM

https://twitter.com/Reuters

Ukraine, Russia political crisis
1h
US ambassador to NATO: More than 15,000 Russian troops amassed along border with Ukraine – @Reuters
End of alert

canopfor on July 25, 2014 at 3:13 PM

Natural gas receipts are now bankrolling a revival of the evil empire. Stop the gas receipts and in every way the Russians will be stopped in their tracks. But this is how addicted the climate change obsessed Europeans are to that gas. They could see their own backyard start to go up in flames and they wouldn’t care. Stop the gas imports and get replacement gas from the US. Everyone wins.

anotherJoe on July 25, 2014 at 3:13 PM

“For several days the Russians have been firing artillery into Ukraine,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said. “This is clearly a military escalation.”

And no one is going to stop Russia, no one. Europe is paralyzed by Putin’s stranglehold on their Energy supplies because of their stupid Green Energy Eco Global Warming nonsense. And the US has been neutered by Obama and his Foreign Policy on purpose. The Ukraine is on it’s own unfortunately.

Johnnyreb on July 25, 2014 at 3:14 PM

We’re in for it when POTUS hears about this!

elifino on July 25, 2014 at 3:16 PM

Oh, and that “replacement gas” for the Russian natural gas is not like “replacement workers” or union busting. Our gas is as good as theirs.

anotherJoe on July 25, 2014 at 3:16 PM

sharrukin on July 25, 2014 at 2:56 PM

Cue the feed from Russia today.

V7_Sport on July 25, 2014 at 3:16 PM

I thought they said Putin was backed into a corner, this was the beginning of the end etc.? Guess not. Putin sees a weak and hollow NATO that does not want a fight, a Europe so dependent on his oil, gas and commerce that they remain mute and finally he sees that clown named Obama and his toady Sec Lurch are a feckless pair of wimps. of course he is going to take advantage of that.

major dad on July 25, 2014 at 3:16 PM

Obama = Neville Chamberlain

The Notorious G.O.P on July 25, 2014 at 3:17 PM

How Obama plans to handle Putin

NoFanofLibs on July 25, 2014 at 3:19 PM

Ukraine is a dump of a place, with population mainly consisting of continuously drunk lazybodies and gorgeous blonde ladies of questionable repute. Given that Russia itself can be described in very similar terms, sans the “blonde” part (locals are mostly chestnut haired), why do we care?

Rix on July 25, 2014 at 2:52 PM

Pretty much what the idiots were saying about Czechoslovakia and Poland in 1939.

The Notorious G.O.P on July 25, 2014 at 3:19 PM

Reuters Top News @Reuters · 28s

Pentagon says the transfer of multiple-launch rocket systems from Russia to separatists appears to be imminent: http://reut.rs/1mNuOvR
==========

Russia transfer of rocket system to Ukraine rebels imminent- Pentagon

By David Alexander

WASHINGTON Fri Jul 25, 2014 2:01pm EDT
**************************************

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/25/us-ukraine-crisis-rockets-usa-idUSKBN0FU1ZL20140725?utm_source=twitter

canopfor on July 25, 2014 at 3:20 PM

Cue the feed from Russia today.

V7_Sport on July 25, 2014 at 3:16 PM

That’s from the pro-Ukrainian side retard.

sharrukin on July 25, 2014 at 3:23 PM

Oh, and that “replacement gas” for the Russian natural gas is not like “replacement workers” or union busting. Our gas is as good as theirs.

anotherJoe on July 25, 2014 at 3:16 PM

The problem is that the Far Eastern market is offering $15-18 while Europe is paying $11-12.

Unless you subsidize European gas deliveries, its going east to where the profits are.

sharrukin on July 25, 2014 at 3:26 PM

https://twitter.com/markknoller

Mark Knoller @markknoller · 1m

“We do know that it was an SA-11 system…in the hands of separatists that brought down the Malaysian airliner last week,” says @PressSec

Replied to 0 times

Mark Knoller @markknoller · 57s

WH/Earnest cites evidence Russia moved heavy weapons into the hands of separatists in Ukraine who were trained by the Russians to use them.

Replied to 0 times

Mark Knoller @markknoller · 1m

On shootdown of MH17, @PressSec says the US has “concluded that Vladimir Putin and the Russians are culpable for this tragedy.”

Replied to 0 times

Mark Knoller @markknoller · 1m

Kerrry says Netanyahu tells him reports that Israeli Cabinet rejected a ceasefire plan are “not true” & will issue statement on that.

canopfor on July 25, 2014 at 3:28 PM

HilKilRod:

Ukraine, Russia political crisis
2m

Hillary Clinton says Vladimir Putin ‘certainly indirectly bears responsibility’ for MH17 shootdown – @*nnbrk
Read more on www.*nn.com

http://www.breakingnews.com/

canopfor on July 25, 2014 at 3:30 PM

NATO? What a joke.

…like Day 2 of Obama’s NATO’s Libya bombing compaign, and the Brits (The Effin’ Brits!) say, “Pardon chaps, could we pause for a bit..we appear to be out of bombs”.

Megyn Kellys Lipstick on July 25, 2014 at 3:30 PM

Pretty much what the idiots were saying about Czechoslovakia and Poland in 1939.

The Notorious G.O.P on July 25, 2014 at 3:19 PM

Poland and Czechoslovakia were never parts of Germany. Despite Sudetenland being populated by German natives, it was a conquest, with the declared intent of “channeling” Wermacht towards the USSR. Russia and Eastern Ukraine are not just close – they used to be the same country longer than the entire existence of the USA – and, unlike two abovementioned East European countries, both are prime shitholes, to which I can testify after being a citizen of one and a long-time resident of the other.

Rix on July 25, 2014 at 3:32 PM

Putin wants revenge and to destroy NATO.

Schadenfreude on July 25, 2014 at 3:33 PM

Moscow will likely disregard whatever diplomatic risks are be associated with further escalation

Putin risks….nothing!!!

Deano1952 on July 25, 2014 at 3:33 PM

In other words: An entire civilian airlines is downed by an AA missile, a few hundred innocent people fall 6 miles to their deaths, and a week or so later the West stamps its collective foot and makes pouty-faces at Poot.

Bishop on July 25, 2014 at 3:34 PM

Wow, quite a change from Putin feels bad, has a bad hair day, can’t get no good pr.

you mean that was all pfluff?

Lonetown on July 25, 2014 at 3:41 PM

Don’t look for any leadership from The Chosen One. He’s out fundraising.

Priorities.

GarandFan on July 25, 2014 at 3:41 PM

I read something in a European history book that was vaguely familiar to this…

mjbrooks3 on July 25, 2014 at 3:44 PM

Obama: “This is not how we game-planned it in the faculty lounge!”

PackerBronco on July 25, 2014 at 3:45 PM

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the West provide some new ‘evidence’ that Putin wasn’t involved in the downing of the Malaysian airliner.

I’d expect this new ‘evidence’ to be something along the lines of ‘the separatists acted alone’ and that the BUK missile launcher was acquired from a site inside Ukraine and that Putin ordered it immediately returned to Russia as soon as he knew they had it.

The reason this new ‘evidence’ will be circulated is because if the West doesn’t find a way to let Putin off the hook they MUST stop him. All eyes are on them and it’s put up or shut up time. However, if some new ‘evidence’ suddenly surfaces to let Putin off the hook, the West and its allies need do nothing and they can call it a ‘regional matter’.

It was always a foregone conclusion that Europe was powerless in the face of any threat to shut off gas and oil supplies from Russia. They are dependent on those crucial supplies, partly because they’ve neglected their own exploration and development and killed much of their own ability to produce energy in their desire for ‘renewable’ energy. Windmills and solar.

thatsafactjack on July 25, 2014 at 3:51 PM

The problem is that the Far Eastern market is offering $15-18 while Europe is paying $11-12.

Unless you subsidize European gas deliveries, its going east to where the profits are.

sharrukin on July 25, 2014 at 3:26 PM

Ok, but I would think that if Russia gas imports is prohibited, the Europeans would pay more to get their gas from us. Either that, or they don’t get it. And I think they would want it, even at a premium. But as far stopping Russia, the Europeans can pay that bit of a premium on gas, or just be happy go lucky and watch things likely get worse and worse with the evil empire back on the march.

anotherJoe on July 25, 2014 at 3:57 PM

3 American journalists locked up in Iran

Schadenfreude on July 25, 2014 at 3:59 PM

Ok, but I would think that if Russia gas imports is prohibited, the Europeans would pay more to get their gas from us.

That simply isn’t going to happen. They talk a lot, but have no intention of actually doing anything.

But as far stopping Russia, the Europeans can pay that bit of a premium on gas, or just be happy go lucky and watch things likely get worse and worse with the evil empire back on the march.

anotherJoe on July 25, 2014 at 3:57 PM

Russia could have taken and kept Georgia in 2008…they didn’t.

Russia could have expanded into Central Asia…they didn’t.

Russia could have moved into the rest of the Ukraine…so far they haven’t.

I expect that they may well at some point, but I am not seeing this expansionist power you are seeing.

They have interests in the Ukraine, just as the US has interests in Mexico. China is more worrisome at this point.

sharrukin on July 25, 2014 at 4:07 PM

Definition of RACIST:

Anyone who thinks Putin is making a fool of Obama internationally.

Anyone who thinks the suit Obama is wearing is more intelligent than the man wearing it.

Anyone who disagrees with the philosophy that, in the time of crisis, for the good of the country, the Constitution should be temporarily suspended and Obama should remain in office until the crisis (which Obama caused) is over (which will never happen).

MaiDee on July 25, 2014 at 4:16 PM

Pretty much what the idiots were saying about Czechoslovakia and Poland in 1939. The Notorious G.O.P on July 25, 2014 at 3:19 PM

Yeah, and 50 million lives later they were satraps of a totalitarian dictatorship.

Good thing we kicked in our 500k dead to prevent them from becoming satraps of a totalitarian dictatorship.

Akzed on July 25, 2014 at 4:22 PM

Russia could have taken and kept Georgia in 2008…they didn’t.

Russia could have expanded into Central Asia…they didn’t.

Russia could have moved into the rest of the Ukraine…so far they haven’t.

I expect that they may well at some point, but I am not seeing this expansionist power you are seeing.

They have interests in the Ukraine, just as the US has interests in Mexico. China is more worrisome at this point.

sharrukin on July 25, 2014 at 4:07 PM

Well, again, you may be right. And good point about China. But as far as Russia, at minimum we need to buff up our missile and other defenses in Eastern Europe in case you are wrong. In addition, are you just conceding that it’s fine and dandy for Russia to take Ukraine?

anotherJoe on July 25, 2014 at 4:24 PM

In addition, are you just conceding that it’s fine and dandy for Russia to take Ukraine? anotherJoe on July 25, 2014 at 4:24 PM

Ukraine doesn’t seem worth Ukrainians dying for. Why do you care?

Akzed on July 25, 2014 at 4:26 PM

HilKilRod:

Ukraine, Russia political crisis
2m

Hillary Clinton says Vladimir Putin ‘certainly indirectly bears responsibility’ for MH17 shootdown – @*nnbrk
Read more on www.*nn.com

http://www.breakingnews.com/

canopfor on July 25, 2014 at 3:30 PM

Don’t bother. No piece of evidence will convince the Putin-fluffers.

slickwillie2001 on July 25, 2014 at 4:26 PM

Don’t bother. No piece of evidence will convince the Putin-fluffers. slickwillie2001 on July 25, 2014 at 4:26 PM

“Hillary Clinton says” is evidence?

What actual evidence do you have?

Akzed on July 25, 2014 at 4:29 PM

So this is now pretty much a straight-up war of conquest, right? All the BS pretense can now be regarded as fully stripped away. Second look at our Clinton-era treaty obligations?

MTF on July 25, 2014 at 4:30 PM

They have interests in the Ukraine, just as the US has interests in Mexico.

sharrukin on July 25, 2014 at 4:07 PM

Wait- are you suggesting we should invade and subjugate Mexico for some reason?

MTF on July 25, 2014 at 4:33 PM

In addition, are you just conceding that it’s fine and dandy for Russia to take Ukraine?

anotherJoe on July 25, 2014 at 4:24 PM

I don’t see it as terribly vital to anyone except Russia.

I wouldn’t much care if China took Mongolia, though Russia might.

There are places and issues that simply have little to no impact on US/European interests.

Resources are not infinite and they should be used for those things that actually matter. IF Putin turns out to be what you fear then I can see having a pro-active hostile policy towards him, but the evidence for that is slim to non-existent.

The US invasion of Panama did not mean the US was the new Hitler, nor did Iraq. A Russian intervention, or military interference in the Ukraine doesn’t mean that Putin is Hitler.

sharrukin on July 25, 2014 at 4:34 PM

Wait- are you suggesting we should invade and subjugate Mexico for some reason?

MTF on July 25, 2014 at 4:33 PM

If Russia or China funded a hostile overthrow of the Mexican government and was intent on bringing them into a miltary/economic alliance?

Yes.

It would be insane to let such a development take place and do nothing about it.

sharrukin on July 25, 2014 at 4:37 PM

I don’t see it as terribly vital to anyone except Russia.

Well, the Ukranians might have some passing interest in the matter.

I see we have the FSB/KGB/GRU posting again. Why can’t you guys just go comment at RT?

MTF on July 25, 2014 at 4:37 PM

Well, the Ukranians might have some passing interest in the matter.

They don’t seem to be all that concerned. The people being mobilized don’t want to fight, nor does the army.

I see we have the FSB/KGB/GRU posting again. Why can’t you guys just go comment at RT?

MTF on July 25, 2014 at 4:37 PM

You Obama supporters are all the same.

sharrukin on July 25, 2014 at 4:39 PM

So this is now pretty much a straight-up war of conquest, right? All the BS pretense can now be regarded as fully stripped away. Second look at our Clinton-era treaty obligations?

MTF on July 25, 2014 at 4:30 PM

No. If it were a straight-up war of conquest it would be over in about 3 days.

The Red Cross just officially designated it a civil war.

Jon0815 on July 25, 2014 at 4:44 PM

If Russia or China funded a hostile overthrow of the Mexican government and was intent on bringing them into a miltary/economic alliance?

For those that missed the reference here, there’s this crazy tinfoil hat theory popular among Russian propagandists that if they can make the charge loudly enough that the Yanukovych government was overthrown by shady “western cash” then the Russian people won’t realize their government is engaged in 19th century empire building through military subjugation.

Pretty weird that they want to use that same line here, but then, its a free country. Sort of. Well, it used to be and since this is an 80′s foreign policy throwback day, what the heck.

And I love the non-denial denial about being paid to post here by the Russkies. Not sure how you get to “Obama supporter” from there, but maybe its in the FSB style guide to misdirect with silliness.

MTF on July 25, 2014 at 4:45 PM

I see we have the FSB/KGB/GRU posting again. Why can’t you guys just go comment at RT? MTF on July 25, 2014 at 4:37 PM

Akzed on July 25, 2014 at 4:46 PM

Good thing the world respects us more now…

Joe Mama on July 25, 2014 at 4:46 PM

Jon0815 on July 25, 2014 at 4:44 PM

Aaannnnddd, we have reinforcements! The new shift is in.

MTF on July 25, 2014 at 4:46 PM

Video of Rebel Buk Launchers Headed Back to Russia? No – Images From Ukraine-Held Territory Since May

Huh. Kerry says no way.

Akzed on July 25, 2014 at 4:48 PM

By the way, HotAir folks, please take care clicking on links provided by FSB/KGB/GRU posters. One never knows what they are loading not the links.

One last point: as I said the other day to the Russian government people posting their government position here, I have a VERY healthy respect for you guys and I’m definitely not looking to pick a fight. I’m leaving now, and I wish you would too.

MTF on July 25, 2014 at 4:52 PM

By the way, HotAir folks, please take care clicking on links provided by FSB/KGB/GRU posters. One never knows what they are loading not the links.

MTF on July 25, 2014 at 4:52 PM

Don’t look kiddies or you will GO BLIND!

The mainstream media loves you and is looking out for your best interests! /sarc

sharrukin on July 25, 2014 at 4:59 PM

For those that missed the reference here

MTF on July 25, 2014 at 4:45 PM

We’ve invested over $5 billion to assist Ukraine in these and other goals that will ensure a secure and prosperous and democratic Ukraine. – Victoria Nuland

I am absolutely certain that incorporating the Ukraine into NATO or the EU was NEVER even considered.

Like I said, the US wouldn’t and shouldn’t tolerate such a thing with Mexico and neither will Russia as regards Ukraine.

sharrukin on July 25, 2014 at 5:06 PM

For those that missed the reference here, there’s this crazy tinfoil hat theory popular among Russian propagandists that if they can make the charge loudly enough that the Yanukovych government was overthrown by shady “western cash” then the Russian people won’t realize their government is engaged in 19th century empire building through military subjugation.

Pretty weird that they want to use that same line here, but then, its a free country. Sort of. Well, it used to be and since this is an 80′s foreign policy throwback day, what the heck.

And I love the non-denial denial about being paid to post here by the Russkies. Not sure how you get to “Obama supporter” from there, but maybe its in the FSB style guide to misdirect with silliness.

MTF on July 25, 2014 at 4:45 PM

You cannot possibly be THAT deep into a crack pipe and survive long enough to type a comment.

First, the “western cash” theory in regard to toppling Yanukovich’s government was already proven true because Victoria Nuland was bragging about it into an open mike. Google her up, maybe you’ll learn something.

Second, I personally don’t give a flying rat’s butt if Russians are building an empire. I’d rather have a Muscovite Kingdom there than another caliphate or a continent-wide Empire Under The Sky.

And third, this “paid to post” thing is kinda ridiculous. Can you prove that a third foot isn’t growing out your ass?

Rix on July 25, 2014 at 5:07 PM

Ignoring U.S., Russia steps up Ukraine offensive

Slava!

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 25, 2014 at 5:26 PM

. . . . . I personally don’t give a flying rat’s butt if Russians are building an empire. I’d rather have a Muscovite Kingdom there than another caliphate or a continent-wide Empire Under The Sky.

Rix on July 25, 2014 at 5:07 PM

.
I totally missed the valid, credible claim being made about the potential for a caliphate being established in the Ukraine.

Is that my fault for missing the obvious, or is it your fault for advancing a “false premise”?
.
What … in the blessed HANG … is a “continent-wide Empire Under The Sky”, as you meant it with those words ?

listens2glenn on July 25, 2014 at 5:40 PM

First, the “western cash” theory in regard to toppling Yanukovich’s government was already proven true because Victoria Nuland was bragging about it into an open mike. Google her up, maybe you’ll learn something.

No, it wasn’t proven true. There’s nothing to Google up. People who were standing in Maidan of Independence weren’t there for the money; this is insane or indeed calculated. The charge that Ukrainians don’t want to fight is false, too, as you well know if you indeed speak Russian and pay any attention (I do and I do). The terrorists are admitting themselves they are losing and retreating, although Ukrainian casualties are high.

I don’t know if it’s a matter of three weeks or three months but there’s no question that without Russia’s involvement the conflict would have been over. Girkin (one of terrorist leaders said so himself) (paraphrasing): “If there’s no support from across the border, we’ll retreat. Pass this info to them (the Russians)”

I can appreciate us not getting involved in every possible pile of crap but we’re talking about a European country with tens of millions in population. This isn’t a minor thing.

PBH on July 25, 2014 at 5:49 PM

Speaking of the caliphate, Chechen thugs, of course, fight on the terrorist side, as has been documented: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/05/28/chechnya-leader-denies-sending-his-men-to-fight-alongside-pro-russia-rebels-in/

PBH on July 25, 2014 at 5:50 PM

By the way, HotAir folks, please take care clicking on links provided by FSB/KGB/GRU posters. One never knows what they are loading not the links. MTF on July 25, 2014 at 4:52 PM

“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain! The great and powerful… Oz… has.. spoken.”

Akzed on July 25, 2014 at 6:37 PM

THe US hasnt kicked out arab oil, while the Saudis, Qatar et all finance terrorism across the globe

I do believe Obama virtually kissed the hand of the Saudi leader

And Moochelle visited the Saudi student Abdul Rahman Ali Al-Harbi from a terror linked family, who was in a medical facility after taking shrapnel running from the Boston bombing.

Alharbi:

The man told police he had dinner Sunday night near Boston’s Prudential Center, about half a mile from the blast site, the sources said.

He also said that he went to the Copley Square area yesterday to witness the finish of the race.

The sources said that, after the man was grabbed by police, he smelled of gunpowder and declared, “I thought there would be a second bomb.”

He also asked: “Did anyone die?”

Moochelle’s pic with the student was plastered over arab tv, with the smiling ambassador. The student went home, apparently no questions asked

Of course, no pics in US media. Walid Shoebat pulled the images or no one would have known. US press had zero interest

entagor on July 25, 2014 at 6:40 PM

Speaking of the caliphate, Chechen thugs, of course, fight on the terrorist side PBH on July 25, 2014 at 5:50 PM

Huh, so the word “terrorist” is pretty much a wax nose eh? You can bend it and shape it however you like.

It’s almost like, if you identify someone or some group as a terrorist, people will think twice about seeking any evidence for it for fear of seeming to be a terrorist sympathizer.

Was there ever a time when we weren’t at war with Eastasia? Sorry, terrorists. I meant to say terrorists.

Akzed on July 25, 2014 at 6:41 PM

Uhm, no. They are terrorists because they are on the record saying that what’s wrong with Donetsk is that “it is peaceful”. People within the insurgency complain about the commander that he’s insane and proposes to shut down public transportation and start blowing up apartment buildings in Donetsk, a city of a 1M+ people. Their tactics are the same as what Hamas uses against Israel. Again, they are on the record saying that they will not fight the Ukrainian army in the open battlefield, they’ll meet them in the city. Then they complain about civilian casualties. This is what I mean when I call them terrorists.

PBH on July 25, 2014 at 6:48 PM

I have noted the neo-Nazi posturing engaged in by the anti-terrorists.

Does that make me a terrorist too?

Akzed on July 25, 2014 at 7:01 PM

Here, let me save you some time:

Today, Svoboda holds a larger chunk of its nation’s ministries (nearly a quarter, including the prized defense portfolio) than any other far-right party on the continent. Ukraine’s deputy prime minister represents Svoboda (the smaller, even more extreme “Right Sector” coalition fills the deputy National Security Council chair), as does the prosecutor general and the deputy chair of parliament — where the party is the fourth-largest. And Svoboda’s fresh faces are scarcely different from the old: one of its freshmen members of parliament is the founder of the “Joseph Goebbels Political Research Centre” and has hailed the Holocaust as a “bright period” in human history.

Akzed on July 25, 2014 at 7:02 PM

Nowhere has this dearth of nuance been more apparent than in the Ukraine crisis. In December, shortly after protests began against Ukraine’s pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych, U.S. Senator John McCain shared a platform and an embrace with Svoboda chief Tyahnybok at a mass rally in Kiev, assuring demonstrators, “The free world is with you; America is with you.” In February of this year, France and Germany oversaw a peace deal between Tyahnybok, two other opposition leaders, and Yanukovych (though soon after, protests forced Yanukovych to flee to Russia). And in early March, the U.S. State Department published a debunking of Putin’s “False Claims About Ukraine,” assuring Americans that Ukraine’s far-right “are not represented” in parliament.

Akzed on July 25, 2014 at 7:05 PM

This would be the same John McCain who serves as apologist for the Syrian rebels, who are, you know, like freedom fighters or something.

He’s such a great judge of character, this McCain guy.

Akzed on July 25, 2014 at 7:06 PM

Meanwhile, in the lead-up to the March 16 referendum on Crimea’s annexation to Russia, Svoboda was busier than ever. One of its chief demands — that all government business be done in Ukrainian — was passed into law, instantaneously marginalizing the one-third of Ukraine’s citizens (and 60 percent of Crimeans) who speak Russian. Then for good measure, the party launched a push to repeal a law against “excusing the crimes of fascism.”

Akzed on July 25, 2014 at 7:07 PM

Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Crimea must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Its justification rings just as hollow as it did four years ago when Russia de facto annexed the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Sound policy, however, can only be based on sound analysis of the players involved. That requires conceding the point — even when made by the Kremlin — that more than a few of the protesters who toppled Yanukovych, and of the new leaders in Kiev, are fascists.
~
Well, at least they’re not terrorists.

Akzed on July 25, 2014 at 7:08 PM

Today, Svoboda holds a larger chunk of its nation’s ministries (nearly a quarter, including the prized defense portfolio) than any other far-right party on the continent.

Akzed on July 25, 2014 at 7:02 PM

And if you had any doubts as to who they are…

http://www.les-crises.fr/images/3100-democratie/3500-ukraine/03-nazis/3-7-resurgence-1991/3-7-2-svoboda/03-embleme-snpu-3.jpg

sharrukin on July 25, 2014 at 7:09 PM

But still, pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

Akzed on July 25, 2014 at 7:14 PM

Video of Rebel Buk Launchers Headed Back to Russia? No – Images From Ukraine-Held Territory Since May

Funny how the Bul launcher video was put out within hours of the plane going down. It’s almost like it was ready to go at a moment’s notice or something.

Akzed on July 25, 2014 at 7:17 PM

Hi, I’m a paid propagandist and if I say Svoboda 100 times, hopefully people will think it’s something important.

Anyway…

Yes, there are Ukrainian nationalists in Ukraine. There are people who explicitly hate people of Russian origin, people who speak Russian, and so on. They exist. Now… Ukraine is right now in the war with Russia backed terrorists, in which Russia participates directly.

I wonder… how popular would be a nationalist, explicitly anti-Russian party during the war with Russia? I guess many people would say… well, I wouldn’t be surprised if…

1.16% (One offing 16 hundredth of a percent) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_presidential_election,_2014#Results

I am Russian. I support having the Russian language as an official language in Ukraine. And yet, I think Ukrainians are amazing because they don’t even come close to endorsing nationalist views. Even in a time of war with Russia.

PBH on July 25, 2014 at 8:39 PM

Russia could have taken and kept Georgia in 2008…they didn’t.

Russia could have expanded into Central Asia…they didn’t.

Russia could have moved into the rest of the Ukraine…so far they haven’t.

I expect that they may well at some point, but I am not seeing this expansionist power you are seeing.

They have interests in the Ukraine, just as the US has interests in Mexico. China is more worrisome at this point.

sharrukin on July 25, 2014 at 4:07 PM

Exactly, look at the end game. Putin knows his nuclear option is cutting off the gas to Europe. Russia isn’t “insanely dependent” on the EU market. For one, Russia has no debt. Second, they can sell more to China. But then they’re stuck buying more Chinese crap than China buys from them (just like us), and they have to broker all sorts of deals through China.

Clearly, the US is trying to push Russia out of the EU. And what a coincidence that our VP’s son was just appointed to the board of a Ukrainian shale gas company. With all that war and chaos, there’s fewer people to muscle out of the way to get permits. They’ve blown the place to smithereens, so it will be easier to put in the infrastructure now. What could normally take a decade will be reduced in half. But of course, that’s no substitute for Russia’s resources. The EU won’t start drilling at home.

Anyway, while Ukrainian revolution is a wonderful opportunity for Burisma Holdings, it is a headache for Putin. But he won’t back down to NATO. He is a cool-headed chess player.

ezspirit on July 25, 2014 at 10:36 PM

Second, they can sell more to China. But then they’re stuck buying more Chinese crap than China buys from them (just like us), and they have to broker all sorts of deals through China.

They seem to be exiting the dollar and creating an alternate world currency. Several Europeans countries are showing interest, including Switzerland and Germany. The southern European nations may have motivation to exit at some point in the future if it works out and can get them out from under the Euro.

Clearly, the US is trying to push Russia out of the EU.

I suspect the EU is not long for this world.

Anyway, while Ukrainian revolution is a wonderful opportunity for Burisma Holdings, it is a headache for Putin. But he won’t back down to NATO. He is a cool-headed chess player.

ezspirit on July 25, 2014 at 10:36 PM

He may have to use the blunt instrument of force, but I would be surprised if he stayed in the Ukraine after removing the Kiev government.

sharrukin on July 25, 2014 at 11:00 PM

Oh look, it’s finally happening, guys! The russophiles have finally come together to form a beautiful daisy-chain of mutual fellatio.

TarasBulbous on July 25, 2014 at 11:30 PM

Russia has huge debt. Tehnically, it’s not the government but state-run companies but these companies aren’t independent entities. Gazprom, the largest Russian gas producer, and Rosneft, the larger oil producer are also Putin’s purses.

Russia cannot easily sell gas to China. Selling gas isn’t like selling access to porn online. You can’t sell gas from every place to every buyer. You need to develop a field and build pipelines. Russia is already considering increasing domestic natural gas prices because the contract it signed with Chine tacitly assumed the necessary infrastructure was already in place. It isn’t and it needs to offset the additional cost of building this infrastructure.

The US has plenty of resources to pressure Russia. The question is whether the US chooses to do it.

PBH on July 25, 2014 at 11:42 PM

timeline, too many links so i left them as text

05-10-12 Shell, Chevron likely to win Ukraine shale gas deals
* Ukraine ranks 3rd in Europe by estimated shale gas reserves
* Winners expected to invest hundreds of millions in exploration
http://af.reuters.com/article/energyOilNews/idAFL5E8GA4MN20120510?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0

11-06-13 Chevron and Ukraine Set Shale Gas Deal
On Tuesday, Chevron signed a 50-year agreement with the Ukrainian government to develop oil and gas in western Ukraine. The government said that Chevron would spend $350 million on the exploratory phase of the project and that the total investment could reach $10 billion
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/06/business/international/chevron-and-ukraine-sign-deal-on-shale-gas.html?_r=1&

02-25-14 Is the US backing neo-Nazis in Ukraine?
In a leaked phone conversation with Geoffrey Pyatt, the US ambassador to Ukraine, Nuland revealed her wish for Tyahnybok to remain “on the outside,” but to consult with the US’s replacement for Yanukovich, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, “four times a week.” At a December 5, 2013 US-Ukraine Foundation Conference, Nuland boasted that the US had invested $5 billion to “build democratic skills and institutions” in Ukraine, though she did not offer any details.
http://www.salon.com/2014/02/25/is_the_us_backing_neo_nazis_in_ukraine_partner/

02-06-14 “F**k The EU” – US State Department Blasts Europe; Revealed As Alleged Mastermind Behind Ukraine Unrest
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-02-06/fuck-eu-us-state-department-blasts-europe-revealed-alleged-mastermind-behind-ukraine

03-05-14 the new “leaders” of Ukraine are allegedly found to have fired against their own people – the same provocation they subsequently used to run Yanukovich out of the country and install a pro-Western puppet government.
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-03-05/behind-kiev-snipers-it-was-somebody-new-coaltion-stunning-new-leak-reveals-truth

03-16-14 In 1997, Obama’s former foreign affairs adviser, and president Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser – Zbigniew Brzezinski – wrote a book called The Grand Chessboard arguing arguing that the U.S. had to take control of Ukraine

Late last year when Ukraine’s now-ousted president Viktor Yanukovych surprisingly canceled plans for Ukrainian integration into the European Union in favor of stronger ties with Russia, the US may have viewed Ukraine as slipping even further out of its reach.
http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2014-03-16/obama%E2%80%99s-former-foreign-policy-adviser-said-%E2%80%93-1997-%E2%80%93-us-had-gain-control-ukrai

03-24-14 The former Chief of the UK Naval Staff, Lord West of Spithead, has said that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry did not understand the history of Crimea before speaking out on the issue, and that the European Union was guilty of encouraging Ukrainians without being able to offer a solution to their domestic problems.
http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-London/2014/03/24/uk-navy-chief-says-kerry-and-eu-wrong-on-ukraine

04-14-14 The record drop in U.S. government securities held in custody at the Federal Reserve is fueling speculation that Russia may have shifted its holdings out of the U.S. as Western nations threaten sanctions.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-14/fed-custody-holdings-record-decline-fuels-russia-speculation.html

04-14-14 White House Admits CIA Director Brennan Was “Secretly” In Kiev
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-14/white-house-admits-cia-director-brennan-was-secretly-kiev

04-28-14 Pro-Russian Mayor Of East Ukraine City Of Kharkiv Shot In The Back
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-28/mayor-east-ukraine-city-kharkiv-shot-back

04-30-14 IMF Approves Loan (To Pay Ukraine’s Gazprom Bill)
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-30/imf-approves-loan-pay-ukraines-gazprom-bill

05-04-14 Dozens Of CIA, FBI Agents “Advising Ukraine Government”, German Press Reports
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-05-04/dozens-cia-fbi-agents-advising-ukraine-government-german-press-reports

05-04-14 The ‘Odessa Massacre’ may portend Ukraine civil war
http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2014/05/03/4-May-14-World-View-The-Odessa-Massacre-may-portend-Ukraine-civil-war

05-04-14 Ukraine Accuses Russia of Engineering Odessa Riots That Killed over 40
http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2014/05/04/Ukraine-accuses-Russia-of-engineering-Odessa-riots-that-killed-over-40

05-04-14 Ukrainian War Crimes Whitewashed by Western Press
But USA Today reports:
Witnesses and journalists reported that as the building burned with people inside, a crowd shouted, “Glory to Ukraine!” and “Death to enemies!” [These are neo-Nazi slogans.]

the associated Press reported that the Russian sympathizers took refuge in the trade union hall on Kulikovo Field Square after government supporters rousted their encampment outside and then burned their tents. Police said the building was set on fire with Molotov cocktails.

At 5 seconds into this 15-second video, you can see a Molotov cocktail being thrown at the building in which the Russian sympathizers:
http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2014-05-04/whats-really-going-odessa-ukraine

05-11-14 400 Blackwater Mercs Deployed In Ukraine Against Separatists, German Press Reports
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-05-11/400-blackwater-mercs-deployed-ukraine-against-separatists-german-press-reports

05-11-14 Caught On Tape: Ukrainian National Guardsmen Shooting At Crowd In East Ukraine Referendum Town
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-05-11/caught-tape-ukrainian-national-guardsmen-shooting-crowd-east-ukraine-referendum-town

05-13-14 Hunter Biden Joins the Ukraine Gas Conglomerate’s Board
while Vice President Biden was visiting Ukraine, the country decided to put Hunter Biden on the board of Burisma.
http://www.redstate.com/2014/05/13/hunter-biden-joins-the-ukraine-gas-conglomerates-board/

entagor on July 25, 2014 at 11:52 PM

If only there were a multinational organization made up of European nations who worked together for defense, and to contain Soviet Russian aggression!

They could name it for its geographic features, such as being nations in the northern hemisphere, on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean…..

Oh, well. I guess it’s just a pipe dream.

There Goes the Neighborhood on July 26, 2014 at 12:53 AM

But will it be an offensive-offensive?

Dunedainn on July 26, 2014 at 3:00 AM

I am Russian. I support having the Russian language as an official language in Ukraine. And yet, I think Ukrainians are amazing because they don’t even come close to endorsing nationalist views. Even in a time of war with Russia. PBH on July 25, 2014 at 8:39 PM

Hey PBH, someone hacked your account and posted lies about you in an attempt to totally discredit you and make you look like a heehawing jackass. You better change your password.

entagor on July 25, 2014 at 11:52 PM

“It’s like you have no shame, with all those facts.” -PBH “Heehaw”

Akzed on July 26, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Oh look, it’s finally happening, guys! The russophiles have finally come together to form a beautiful daisy-chain of mutual fellatio.

TarasBulbous on July 25, 2014 at 11:30 PM

It would be great if this site was more objective in its reportage. For example, RCP’s front page has linked Mark McKinnon’s piece for the Globe and Mail.

Western opinion makes up 10% of the world, while the BRICS account for 40%. It’s stupid to evaluate this situation by what the US (heavily involved in financing the Ukrainian revolution), Canada (who has plenty of their own oil and gas production and would stand to benefit from Russia dropping out of the global market) and Great Britain (independent of the euro, and still not taking a hardline in sanctions) have to say about the matter when you still have India and China’s opinion, especially the latter.

I would happily support the US if they could take the moral high ground here. But what do we have instead? Our CIA involved in destabilizing a government in order to constrain a Cold War adversary. A commercial plane that veered off course into a warzone and crashed… with no Americans on board. And then a bunch of accusations without any factual evidence.

If WWIII breaks out, our sons and daughters will be dying in it, and for what? More blood for oil?

ezspirit on July 26, 2014 at 11:45 AM

Russia cannot easily sell gas to China. Selling gas isn’t like selling access to porn online. You can’t sell gas from every place to every buyer. You need to develop a field and build pipelines. Russia is already considering increasing domestic natural gas prices because the contract it signed with Chine tacitly assumed the necessary infrastructure was already in place. It isn’t and it needs to offset the additional cost of building this infrastructure.

PBH on July 25, 2014 at 11:42 PM

Our stock market bubble has been driven by Chinese acquisitions of American companies and mergers, with our Congress naturally benefitting hugely. That could very well change.

China’s economy is booming. I’m sure they could settle territorial disputes over east Asia with Russia and move forward with investing in infrastructure. It would be mutually beneficial to their countries. All costs would be worked out, as they always are. If China decides to partner with Russia and aggressively push the BRICS bank, look out USD. Again, China holds all the cards.

ezspirit on July 26, 2014 at 12:04 PM