Ukraine army surrounds Donetsk. Will Russia move in?

posted at 10:01 am on August 9, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

With all the focus on ISIS and Hamas, it’s easy to forget that there’s still a war going on in Eastern Ukraine these days. But unlike the other two conflicts, this one may actually be showing some signs of improvement. Ed noted that this move was in the offing earlier this week, and now the AP is reporting today that the Ukrainian military is not only holding their own, but is actually taking back some lost real estate. If these reports are confirmed, they’ve taken control of Krasnyi Luch, located on the road between the two largest Russian separatist strongholds, and now have the city of Donetsk essentially surrounded.

DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — A top commander of the pro-Russia insurgency in eastern Ukraine said Saturday that Ukrainian forces have seized a key town, leaving the rebel region’s largest city of Donetsk surrounded.

The statement by Igor Girkin, a former Russian special service officer better known by his nom de guerre of Strelkov, appears to be a significant admission by the rebels that Ukrainian forces are gaining the upper hand in the four-month-old fight…

“The Donetsk-Horlivka group of the fighters of Novorossiya is completely surrounded,” he said on a rebel social media page. Novosrossiya, or New Russia, is a term widely used for the rebel region.

In a weird sort of echo of the situation that Israel faces, the media is already highlighting an instance where Ukraine forces hit a hospital in Donetsk instead of the rebel target they were aiming at. But I somehow doubt there will be a lot of international sympathy for the Russians or condemnation of Ukraine’s forces for a few errant shells.

With the attention of the world being increasingly distracted, the question seems to be what, if anything the Russians will do about this. We asked last week about whether or not Putin was getting ready to move in force against Ukraine. This latest report confirms that he still has at least 20,000 troops on the border withing shouting distance of Donetsk, and having the pretense of civilian deaths of Russian speaking citizens might be the excuse he needs.

To the east of Donetsk, Russia has again amassed forces along the border with Ukraine, and the United States and NATO said that if an invasion were launched there under the justification of peacekeeping, it would risk turning an internecine conflict in Ukraine into a new war among nation states in Europe.

Speaking in Kiev on Thursday, NATO’s secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, called on Russia to withdraw its troops from the border and “step back from the brink.”

The cold war is looking pretty hot at this point. Ukraine is doing a lot better than initially expected in terms of beefing up their military, but they are clearly still in no shape for a head on shooting war with the full Russian military. And if Russia actually does move in, will anyone try to kick them out? Doubtful, in my opinion. The only thing that would stop Russia at this point is the fear of getting stuck in another long term battle against the natives, such as the one they lost in Afghanistan.


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Makes you feel safe, being the beneficiaries of all that Smart Diplomacy.

formwiz on August 9, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Lets see: The Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Hamas attacks on Israel, ISIS attacks in Iraq, civil war in Syria and Libya, China claiming other country’s maritime territory in the South China Sea, the Latin American invasion of the US, and Ebola in Western Africa. Did I miss anything?

Count to 10 on August 9, 2014 at 10:14 AM

Hopey Iraq Presser bat 10:25, or, 10:30PM:

Iraq crisis
29m
President Obama to deliver statement on the situation in Iraq at 10:25 am ET – via @NBCNews
==========================

https://twitter.com/markknoller

Mark Knoller @markknoller · 22m

Pres Obama will make his statement on the South Lawn, before his scheduled departure for @AndrewsAirForce.

Mark Knoller @markknoller · 28m

Just In: Pres Obama will make a statement on Iraq at 10:25am/ET.
===============================================================

Next Up…
August 09, 2014 10:25 AM EDT

President Obama Delivers a Statement on the Situation in Iraq

The White House

http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

canopfor on August 9, 2014 at 10:14 AM

An errant artillery shell blows off a few shingles from the roof of a small medical clinic: American leftist media froth in righteous indignation.

A civilian airliner clawed from the sky, its passengers falling 6 miles to Earth: American leftist media concentrate on Shakira’s latest music video.

Bishop on August 9, 2014 at 10:15 AM

Ukraine army surrounds Donetsk. Will Russia move in?

Yes. Next question.

they lie on August 9, 2014 at 10:17 AM

Lets see: The Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Hamas attacks on Israel, ISIS attacks in Iraq, civil war in Syria and Libya, China claiming other country’s maritime territory in the South China Sea, the Latin American invasion of the US, and Ebola in Western Africa. Did I miss anything?

Count to 10 on August 9, 2014 at 10:14 AM

Yes. Russian planes intruding on U.S. airspace a few dozen times without any reaction from Dog Eater.

Bishop on August 9, 2014 at 10:17 AM

Russia won’t dare cross the border.
To do so would risk unleashing the awesome power of Barrys DISAPPROVAL.
The lions in their dens tremble at his approach.
Or maybe its just gas.

thelastminstrel on August 9, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Russia has already invaded and occupied Ukrainian territory.

ConstantineXI on August 9, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Yes. Russian planes intruding on U.S. airspace a few dozen times without any reaction from Dog Eater.

Bishop on August 9, 2014 at 10:17 AM

Racist. They fear that Barry will have Mooch unleash the #HASHTAGOFMASSDESTRUCTION.

Putin May laugh at Barry, but Mooch could pull his arms out of their sockets.

ConstantineXI on August 9, 2014 at 10:24 AM

Don’t worry, world.

Obama’s on vacation ‘closely monitoring’ things.

Good Lt on August 9, 2014 at 10:24 AM

A civilian airliner clawed from the sky, its passengers falling 6 miles to Earth: American leftist media concentrate on Shakira’s latest music video.

Bishop on August 9, 2014 at 10:15 AM

Bishop: Ya,..along with the MSM Minion(s) Posse’!!:)

canopfor on August 9, 2014 at 10:25 AM

Iraq crisis
LIVE
Live video: President Obama makes remarks on the situation in Iraq, from the South Lawn of the White House – @NBCNews

http://www.breakingnews.com/

canopfor on August 9, 2014 at 10:26 AM

An errant artillery shell blows off a few shingles from the roof of a small medical clinic: American leftist media froth in righteous indignation.

A civilian airliner clawed from the sky, its passengers falling 6 miles to Earth: American leftist media concentrate on Shakira’s latest music video.

Bishop on August 9, 2014 at 10:15 AM

Well, they (and a few nameless Putin shills around these parts) have to close ranks with their Communist comrades.

Steve Eggleston on August 9, 2014 at 10:28 AM

Ukraine army surrounds Donetsk. Will Russia move in?

Yes. Next question.

they lie on August 9, 2014 at 10:17 AM

Will the Sovi…er…Russians stop before or after taking Kyiv?

Steve Eggleston on August 9, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Yes. Russian planes intruding on U.S. airspace a few dozen times without any reaction from Dog Eater.

Bishop on August 9, 2014 at 10:17 AM

Bishop: MeanWhile,……………:0

China says Japan fighter jets shadowed its planes over disputed waters

BEIJING Thu Aug 7, 2014 1:09am EDT
**********************************

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/07/us-china-japan-idUSKBN0G70B220140807

canopfor on August 9, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Not crazy about the story in the headlines saying the Russians painting “Peacekeepers” on their tanks.

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Oh good, Dumbazz is on TV before bailing.

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 10:31 AM

The only thing that would stop Russia at this point is the fear of getting stuck in another long term battle against the natives, such as the one they lost in Afghanistan.

Unlike Afghanistan, the Sovi…er…Russians consider Ukraine (and eventually Poland, Finland,…) as part of their territory.

Steve Eggleston on August 9, 2014 at 10:31 AM

Hopey Presser:

https://twitter.com/ZekeJMiller

Zeke Miller @ZekeJMiller · 17s

Obama: American forces have so far conducted two successful airdrops

Retweeted by Zeke Miller
How Late Was Obama? @HowLateWasObama · 37s

5 minutes.

canopfor on August 9, 2014 at 10:32 AM

https://twitter.com/markknoller

Mark Knoller @markknoller · 9s

Pres Obama says British PM Cameron and French Pres Hollande today expressed strong support for US actions in Iraq.

Mark Knoller @markknoller · 22s

Pres Obama says US airstrikes have successfully destroyed arms and equipment of terrorist forces moving against Erbil.

canopfor on August 9, 2014 at 10:34 AM

The UN has already preemptively written a strongly worded warning for Russia if they move. Who says the UN isn’t a force to be reckoned with?

Wino on August 9, 2014 at 10:35 AM

Zeke Miller @ZekeJMiller · 15s

Obama: ultimately only iraqis can ensure the stability of Iraq

Zeke Miller @ZekeJMiller · 28s

Obama: “We continue to call on Iraqis to form the inclusive government that Iraq needs right now.”

canopfor on August 9, 2014 at 10:35 AM

Mark Knoller @markknoller · 3s

Pres Obama says he hopes US can prevent ISIL from going up that Mt Sinjar and slaughtering civilians stranded there.

Mark Knoller @markknoller · 1m

In response to a question, Pres Obama says he won’t offer a timetable on how long US airstrikes will continue in Iraq.

Zeke Miller @ZekeJMiller · 5s

Obama: “I’m not going to give a particular timetable” on how long strikes will last

canopfor on August 9, 2014 at 10:38 AM

Hopey Presser:

Zeke Miller @ZekeJMiller · 28s

Obama: “We should have learned a lesson from our long and immensely costly incursion in Iraq”

Mark Knoller @markknoller · now

Once again, Pres Obama emphatic that “we’re not going to have US combat troops in Iraq again.”

Mark Knoller @markknoller · 41s

Pres Obama says US waiting for a legitimate Iraqi Govt to take shape – including a Prime Minister and Cabinet – to unify the country.

canopfor on August 9, 2014 at 10:41 AM

Zeke Miller @ZekeJMiller · 29s

Obama: I think that there is no doubt that their advance…has been more rapid than the intel estimates & the expectations of policymakers.

Zeke Miller @ZekeJMiller · 20s

Obama: “would be a big mistake for us to go in on the cheap” without ensuring political resolution to Iraqi crisis

Zeke Miller @ZekeJMiller · 3s

Obama: “We can keep a lid on problems if we put enough personnel and resources into it, but it can only last” if people on ground cooperate

https://twitter.com/ZekeJMiller

canopfor on August 9, 2014 at 10:43 AM

Only 5 minutes late? If course, he’s leaving for vacation.

NeoDawg on August 9, 2014 at 10:43 AM

Hopey Iraq Presser:

Zeke Miller @ZekeJMiller · 37s

Obama: “I don’t think we’re going to solve this problem in weeks. This is going to take some time.”

Retweeted by Zeke Miller
Phil Mattingly @Phil_Mattingly · 39s

Obama calls ISIL advances “a wake up call for a lot of Iraqis in Baghdad”
==============

Mark Knoller @markknoller · 22s

“This is going to be a long term project,” says the President of ending the ISIL threat in Iraq.

Mark Knoller @markknoller · 8s

“I don’t think we’re gonna solve this problem in weeks,” says POTUS of situation in Iraq. “It’s gonna take some time.’

Mark Knoller @markknoller · 25s

Pres Obama says ISIL brutality alienating populations in Iraq.

canopfor on August 9, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Zeke Miller @ZekeJMiller · 20s

Obama says puzzled by second-guessing of pulling out Iraq troops: “As if this was my decision”

Zeke Miller @ZekeJMiller · 6s

Obama on budget: “right now i think we are okay”

Zeke Miller @ZekeJMiller · 30s

Obama: “Currently we are operating within the budget constraints that we already have and we’ll have to evaluate what happens over time”

Zeke Miller @ZekeJMiller · 3s

RT @gwenifill: “Making space” for Iraq to act = this administration’s democracy building.

Zeke Miller @ZekeJMiller · 17s

Obama re ISIS: “There is a countererrorism component that we are already preparing for.”

Zeke Miller @ZekeJMiller · 20s

Obama: rebuilding Iraqi gov “This is going to be a long-term project.”
===========

Mark Knoller @markknoller · 19s

Pres Obama says helping Sunnis to “feel connected” to a national govt in Iraq will be “a long term process.”

Mark Knoller @markknoller · 6s

“We have to make sure ISIL is not engaging in actions that could cripple a country permanently,” says Pres Obama of Iraq..

canopfor on August 9, 2014 at 10:51 AM

WHY yes he did:

Zeke Miller @ZekeJMiller · 22s

RT @StewSays: Did POTUS just say that withdrawing from Iraq (that he claims credit for) was not his decision?

Zeke Miller @ZekeJMiller · 30s

Obama: WHen you hear people say Mr president no leading more troops, that presupposes that i would have overridden that sovereign government

canopfor on August 9, 2014 at 10:52 AM

Count to 10 on August 9, 2014 at 10:14 AM

yemen and somalia went south even more after he took over and we had troops deployed.

dmacleo on August 9, 2014 at 10:53 AM

Dear Leader is ready to get on that chopper to Martha’s Vineyard, and btw, this Iraq problem is Bush’s fault.

d1carter on August 9, 2014 at 10:53 AM

Hopey Presser:

Zeke Miller @ZekeJMiller · 19s

Obama: “reason we did not have a follow-on force in Iraq is a majority of Iraqis did not want our troops there.”

https://twitter.com/ZekeJMiller
===============================

Mark Knoller @markknoller · 9s

Pres Obama says Iraqi Govt to blame that no residual US troops remained there after the withdrawal.

canopfor on August 9, 2014 at 10:54 AM

Tee time….got to go.

d1carter on August 9, 2014 at 10:55 AM

Hopey Presser:

Mark Knoller @markknoller · 8s

Pres Obama says its “bogus” to blame him for not leaving US ground forces in Iraq. Says it was the Iraqi decision.

canopfor on August 9, 2014 at 10:55 AM

All I know it’s not Dear Leader’s fault….

d1carter on August 9, 2014 at 10:55 AM

canopfor on August 9, 2014 at 10:52 AM

He is either clearly being fed the wrong intelligence and doesn’t comprehend the true nature of ISIS, or he knows full well and feels it is politically not his problem. Either option is truly depressing.

Yes I am aware of the third option (tin hat on).

can_con on August 9, 2014 at 10:57 AM

If only Bush has negotiated a better deal….

d1carter on August 9, 2014 at 11:01 AM

So,another Fancy Speechy, about nothing!!!!

Iraq wouldn’t go my way!

Iraq’s Governments Fault, on ISIS

I was left with Bush’s mess!

Don’t even go there on my Foreign Policy Failure(s)

Its not my fault!!

canopfor on August 9, 2014 at 11:01 AM

canopfor on August 9, 2014 at 10:52 AM

He is either clearly being fed the wrong intelligence and doesn’t comprehend the true nature of ISIS, or he knows full well and feels it is politically not his problem. Either option is truly depressing.

Yes I am aware of the third option (tin hat on).

can_con on August 9, 2014 at 10:57 AM

can_con:

Hes Out of Touch,…the Devil is running loose, and he could
care less!:)

canopfor on August 9, 2014 at 11:04 AM

Don’t even go there on my Foreign Policy Failure(s)

Its not my fault!!

canopfor on August 9, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Did he have on his golf shoes?

can_con on August 9, 2014 at 11:04 AM

canopfor on August 9, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Did he have on his golf shoes?

can_con on August 9, 2014 at 11:04 AM

can_con: Lol, prolly did:)

canopfor on August 9, 2014 at 11:06 AM

https://twitter.com/NATOSource

Retweeted by NATOSource
Capital Journal @WSJPolitics · 17h

Obama leads the most powerful military in the world and has become defined by his reluctance to use it. http://on.wsj.com/V4VWQL

canopfor on August 9, 2014 at 11:07 AM

President JV Obama.

can_con on August 9, 2014 at 11:07 AM

The cold war is looking pretty hot at this point.

Gee…ya think?

“Russian Strategic Bombers Conduct More Than 16 Incursions Of U.S. Air Defense Zones

Reactivating the Soviet base in the Arctic, the planning bases in Cuba and communist South America, and now this latest testing of our defenses. Nope, nothing to be concerned about there…”

http://weaselzippers.us/195889-russian-strategic-bombers-conduct-more-than-16-incursions-of-u-s-air-defense-zones/

workingclass artist on August 9, 2014 at 11:16 AM

Putin May laugh at Barry, but Mooch could pull his arms out of their sockets.

ConstantineXI on August 9, 2014 at 10:24 AM

Nah, in an all-out, to the death, no holds barred cage match, Poot has better pecs, delts, lats, and bis than him (her), although she does have bigger shoulders.

formwiz on August 9, 2014 at 11:23 AM

Dear Leader: Leaving Iraq was not my decision….
He’s just the POTUS…..

d1carter on August 9, 2014 at 11:26 AM

Ukraine army surrounds Donetsk. Will Russia move in?

Looks like the stock investments of Putin and his cronies went way up yesterday when Moscow ended the military maneuvers outside of Ukraine without any further saber rattling. I’m thinking that their personal bottom lines are the only thing keeping them from going in.

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 9, 2014 at 12:35 PM

My prediction based on zero information:

Russian troops will invade eastern Ukraine while Obama is at Martha’s Vineyard.

It just strikes me as an irresistible moment for Putin.

pilsener on August 9, 2014 at 1:27 PM

The Ukrainian Army would sure like to have all these conventional weapons systems back:

Who Destroyed Thousands Of Weapons, Leaving Ukraine Defenseless?

Another country that trusted the USA and should not have.

slickwillie2001 on August 9, 2014 at 1:28 PM

Steve Eggleston on August 9, 2014 at 10:29 AM

I’m pretty sure Putin means to leave Kiev and let Kiev keep Chernobyl, too. It’s not really of much value to him.

He’s just interested in Odessa, where the pipeline head and the gas and oil refineries and storage facilities are located, to the Russian border. You know, all the frontage on the Black Sea, the three major cities of eastern Ukraine where the metallurgical facilities are located, and the more productive half of the Donetz Basin coal mines that aren’t already under Russian territory.

That way he can claim he’s just protecting those ethnic Russian’s interests. The fact that the region was Russian for 239 years or so is in his favor on that score and he’s not a guy to leave any chips on the table.

The world knows that Putin will never be satisfied until he’s retaken the bulk of the map that used to comprise the USSR and re-established Russia as a ‘super power’. He also chafes with many aspects of democracy but seems to have adapted pretty well to most aspects of capitalism. Reclaiming what he thinks belongs to Russia has has been his goal since the fall of the USSR. He thinks that system worked… for him. He also has always seen the fall of the USSR as an opportunity to ‘fix’ what he sees as problems with the old system. He’s much like our progressives in that respect… “never let a crisis go to waste” ( h/t Rahm Emanuel).

thatsafactjack on August 9, 2014 at 2:04 PM

Not crazy about the story in the headlines saying the Russians painting “Peacekeepers” on their tanks.

Cindy Munford on August 9, 2014 at 10:29 AM

That’s to help our own “lying eyes” accept the “truth” in advertising.
That, or they got the Russian tanks mixed up with the U.N.’s. Either way, it’s all good. ////

31giddyup on August 9, 2014 at 2:05 PM

Unlike Afghanistan, the Sovi…er…Russians consider Ukraine (and eventually Poland, Finland,…) as part of their territory.

Steve Eggleston on August 9, 2014 at 10:31 AM

Last time they messed with Finland they suffered well over a million casualties and won just about enough land to bury their dead. Hopefully they learned their lesson.

Walter Sobchak on August 9, 2014 at 2:42 PM

Lets see: The Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Hamas attacks on Israel, ISIS attacks in Iraq, civil war in Syria and Libya, China claiming other country’s maritime territory in the South China Sea, the Latin American invasion of the US, and Ebola in Western Africa. Did I miss anything?

Count to 10 on August 9, 2014 at 10:14 AM

Yes, the WAR ON WIMMENS!

Tard on August 9, 2014 at 3:02 PM

Unlike Afghanistan, the Sovi…er…Russians consider Ukraine (and eventually Poland, Finland,…) as part of their territory.

Steve Eggleston on August 9, 2014 at 10:31 AM

That and that in Afghanistan, the West was arming the Jihadis–Ukraine not so much as a bullet from the US. We could make Ukraine a lot more difficult to take if we supplied them with something more than MREs. The former Soviet NATO members could give them their inventories of old soviet era weapons and everyone could supply ammunition and air defense while the US gave electronic intel. Sadly, it seems that Ukraine is on its own.

KW64 on August 9, 2014 at 4:34 PM

The reason the Ukrainians are doing better is because we sent advisers, and hundreds of retired IDF soldiers of Ukrainian descent went there to train the army.

I wouldn’t bet on the Russians steamrolling them. All the Ukrainians need is antitank guided missiles and IEDs.

Which they’re getting.

A Chair of Some Kind on August 9, 2014 at 6:40 PM

Kiev thinks Putin is bluffing by re-massing Russian troops on the border:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/10/world/europe/ukraine.html?_r=0
Ukraine Strategy Bets on Restraint by Russia
By ANDREW E. KRAMER
AUG. 9, 2014

Dave Turson on August 10, 2014 at 7:48 AM