War in Europe – Ukraine vs. Whom. Lesson thirtyone

It is said by a singular Western source that the Russian annexation of the Ukrainian Crimean Peninsula and the illegal warfare in Donbass is about Russia not wanting to see Exxon and Shell extract gas deposits in Western Ukraine, as Russia would then lose its main source of income, to sell gas to the EU, particularly to Germany.

It is telling that Russia attacked Ukraine by annexing Crimea even before the Olympic Games of 2014 in Russian Sotji had ended. It is also interesting that Euromaidan was initiated just before the winter Olympics in Sotji started. I am a man not prone to belive in coincidences that happens for no apparent reason. Also, Viktor Yanukovych was in Putin’s pocket. What does all this tell us?

For one, Russia absolutely must have had a plan for invading Crimea. They have a plan for invading every country in their neighborhood. All Putin has to do is to say that word, and the ball is rolling. This was a turf war.

On the other hand, the Kremlin has been claiming all along that the US had their hands in the jelly jar, referring to Euromaidan who just so happens was initiated right before the Olympics in Sotji. As I said, I am a man not prone to Believe in apparent coincidences and obvious fairytales. Exxon wanted to steal away Russian gas supplies to various European countries by exploiting Ukrainian gas reserves. Exxon and Obama wanted to transform Ukraine into a modern western democracy. So goodbye Russian gas supplies to the West and goodbye Russian import of vital components, like those for the Russian nuclear deterrent capacity and Russia’s helicopter fleet, components from the former Soviet republic Ukraine, sold to Russia. And goodbye Russian supplies of coal from Ukraine. Putin wasn’t going to sit idle and wait for that to happen. Did I mention that most factories, including those of the above mentioned, in Ukraine are located in the Eastern half of Ukraine?

But the annexation of Crimea explicitly violates the Budapest Declaration. Crimea is not part of Russia. In 1991, there was a referendum where they voted to belong to Ukraine, and in 1994 Russia signed the Budapest Declaration, an agreement to respect Ukraine’s borders forever.

In March 2014, Crimea declared itself independent from Ukraine and applied to join Russia. The Russian military mobilized on the Russian side of the border. 60,000 Russian soldiers were summoned at the eastern border of Ukraine at the time and 20,000 more in the Crimea. Ukraine’s parliament decided to mobilize 40,000 reservists in response to Crimea saying that it would take over the Ukrainian military bases.

When all the voices had been counted after the following referendum in Crimea, 97 percent had voted for that the peninsula should break free from Ukraine and join Russia. The voting populus in the election were said to be more than 80 percent. The number of ethnic Russians in the Crimea was 60 percent of the population in 2014. 25 percent were Ukrainians and 12 percent were Crimean Tatars, smaller ethnicities not mentioned. The Crimean Tatars are generally Russian-hostile since the days of Stalin’s deportations.

If all who did not vote were Ukrainians and Tatars and all Ukrainians and Tatars who voted, voted for Crimea to separate from Ukraine, and all ethnic Russians also voted for a separation, the election result would be correct with a few percent error margin. Neither Ukraine, the EU nor the United States recognized the election result. The Crimean management immediately started a nationalization of Ukrainian property by taking over banks, companies, the railway and an energy company. The EU introduced travel bans and frozen accounts abroad for some Russian and Crimean leaders.

The distinctive feature of this war is Russian disinformation and even more disinformation. It is not easy for a citizen to see passed the Russian disinformation, unless you happen to live in Ukraine. To disinform means to distort, hide or completely concoct information in order to mislead and influence a target group in a certain direction. Disinformation creates what is called “the fog of war”. But one can look at a map and compare it with the news flow and ascertain that the battles have been most intense around the relatively large airports in Donetsk and Luhansk, which are now totally bombarded. Almost 20 percent of the Ukrainian cities are located in the Donbass. In addition, the separatists have a corridor to Russia in the east.

Russia’s main disinformation campaign is still ongoing. Russia claims that they have the right to create buffer zones in sovereign non-aligned states against NATO according to the self-defense principle. Russia has no such right! On the other hand, small states have the right to choose their allies and friends as much as Russia takes that right, without having to be attacked.

Tsar Putin paints a picture of unrest and oppression that now affects ethnic Russians outside of Russia. The fact that the picture is partly and sometimes entirely created by the Russian secret services and/or Russian media can take its time to unravel and not everyone can connect Moscow’s claim with what later emerges. On 27-28 February of 2014, key buildings and airports in the Crimea were occupied, while at the same time Ukrainian military installations were blocked or occupied. Putin vigorously denied that Russia was invading Crimea. The so-called “Small green men” who occupied Crimea lacked identification features. It was just “local self-defense forces,” Putin was saying.

“Russia have no plans to enter eastern Ukraine.” Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in March 2014 to the US Secretary of Defense, while info pointed to that Russian soldiers had stormed three Ukrainian warships, according to the news agency AP’s photographers at place in the port of Sevastopol. “Russian soldiers along the border with Ukraine are only there for military exercises and should not cross the border,” said Shoigu. Defense Minister Chuck Hagel had an almost one hour long phone call with his Russian counterpart where Hagel demanded an explanation why Russia placed forces along the borders with eastern and southern Ukraine. The source is a spokesperson for the US Defense Minister.

Only when the annexation was completed did President Putin confirm that the soldiers in Crimea were Russian soldiers. Interestingly in this context, the medal these soldiers were then to receive, where the embossing on the back shows the dates of the operation as February 20 to March 18. February 20 was the day before Yanukovych fled Ukraine and only on February 26 did the small green men appear in Crimea. Speaking of the annexation, one of the Russian state media for foreigners, “Russia’s Voice”, had a newslet on March 4, 2014; “Russia does not intend to seize Crimea”. What has made Ukraine’s situation worse is the country’s dependence on Russian gas and that they have therefore had to stand with their cap in their hands before Putin when they have made gas deals during the war. Source; Joakim von Braun

Putin has not given up on the idea of seizing the strategically important Ukrainian port and airport in the city of Odessa. While the city of Mariupol is a first step to creating a land road to the occupied Crimean Peninsula in the Black Sea, Odessa is needed to create a longer land connection to Transnistria where Russia has a military base. Transnistria can only be reached through Ukraine or Moldova. They are looking to create a Mare Nostrum (Our Sea) and must eventually conquer the entire coast of Ukraine along the Black Sea.

Since Russia has launched a war on Ukraine, Russia’s only opportunity to reach, supply and support Transnistria is to fly in via Romanian airspace to Moldova’s largest airport at Chisinau in the inland. But Russia cannot supply Transnistria with new ammunition and modern weapons via the airport because Moldova inspects every incoming airplane. Therefore, Russia will sooner or later want to attack Odessa to create a direct land connection to Transnistria and deprive Ukraine of its main port, which will further weaken Ukraine’s economy. In the year of 2014, Russian agents repeatedly infiltrated Odessa from Transnistria and placed bombs in offices and business locations of the pro-ukrainian civil society’s organizations. Source; Euromaidan Press

Euromaidan

Euromaidan was a popular manifestation of discontent that took place on the Independence Square in Kiev against the regime for more than 100 days in 2013-2014, ultimately against the President of Ukraine. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych sneaked away from Euromaidans’ grip on February 21 after the police shooting with deadly outcome, and then appeared in the Russian city of Rostov at Don, where he held a press conference and claimed that he was Ukraine’s legitimate president and that the opposition had carried out a coup d’état. Those of the parliamentarians in Yanukovych’s own Party who had not fled the country loaded with cash, gold and antiques, voted to dethrone Yanukovych in the Ukrainian Parliament (Rada) who dismissed Yanukovych with an 82% majority. By fleeing he had also renounced his presidency. The Russian-friendly Yanukovych was displaced by his people, because he chose a Russian oriented politics and shunned the EU. He was notorious for imprisoning high oppositionists such as Yulia Tymoshenko, the former president of Ukraine, and part of her entourage too. The reason? Yulia made a bad gas energy deal with Russia, the same Russia which Yanukovych himself favored.

 

Homework:

This lesson is only about the beginning and the end goal for Russia in this war. I have one simple question for you; Do you, or do you not put the blame on Russia for the war in eastern Ukraine i.e. in Donbass? Do you, or do you not put the blame on Russia for the Russian annexation of Crimea? Please do not motivate your standpoint to me! A simple yes or no would do.

Sources:
Euromaidan Press
Joakim von Braun

Roger M. Klang, defense political Spokesman for the Christian Values Party (Kristna Värdepartiet) in Sweden

Advertisements

Why Germany cannot repeat its WWII performance Lesson six

This is why Germany cannot repeat the performance of dominating its surrounding world like Nazi-Germany did approximately 1935-1944. Lesson six;

Peak oil has long since occurred in Ploiesti, Romania, where the Germans got most of their oil during World War II.

Lend-Lease. The Allied Lend-Lease to the Soviet Union which made the Soviet Union superior to Nazi-Germany in materiel and also economically during most of World War II. Supplies and military equipment were shipped in convoys around Nordkap in Norway to Murmansk and Archangels. Supplies and military equipment were also shipped from the US to Vladivostok in southeastern Russia with Soviet flagged ships. A Persian Corridor was also available to support the Soviet Union.

From the East, however, there will never be any Lend-Lease going to the western countries. The Germans’ interest in expanding their borders westward is minimal.

Moscow seems to be just the right distance from western Europe to keep Russia from defeat, seen in a historical perspective. Since then that distance has increased. Circumstances may have altered with the development of new materiel like long distance weapons and satellite sensors.

Italy and Spain are no longer fascist states.

Hypothetical German hopes of securing a future fuel supply (and they also, among other things, need a Chrome supply transported by railways westward from Turkey) by taking the oil fields in the Caucasus at Baku and the Caspian sea are vane. Perhaps some Germans hope, as they did in Nazi-Germany with oil from Romania, to seize the oil fields at Caucasus and subsequently load the fuel on barges that can traffic the Danube River. But importing oil from North Africa through the straits in western Turkey and up into the Danube River is certainly seen as an alternative for Germany.

Germany buys an unknown percentual proportion of its oil from Russia, and they buy a lot of gas, gas that runs through the Nordstream pipelines in the Baltic Sea. They have tied theirselves quite a bit to Russia’s supplies of gas and oil to Germany.

Germany can extract liquid fuel from their oil shale and lignite coal, but not nearly enough for the German logistics chain, the motorized army and the air force.

I have put together a 35-point axiom, which can be used to determine a possible outcome in case of a major war. Of these 35 points, Nazi Germany had 17 crucial advantages against 6 for the Soviet Union, and yet Germany lost the war. My conclusion is that this is mostly due to the Soviet endurance through the Allies Lend-Lease, as well as the bombings of Germany including bombings against German-occupied/allied industrial areas and petroleum industries.

(Seventeen German advantages marked *)

1) have a better air force *
2) have a better or more extensive air defense *
3) are more thoroughly trained *
4) have logistic advantages *
5) have the right kind of materiel and equipment in the right amount and constellation, civilian as well as military *
6) have material quality advantages for heavier materiel *
7) have information, intelligence and surveillance advantages *
8) have technological communication advantages *
9) have better and more encryption variables *
10) have a superior leadership and educational doctrine *
11) have the opportunity to choose their battles and where they will take place *
12) have the best country climate *
13) have physically stronger, more sustainable soldiers (mainly concerns voluntary defense/professional soldiers) *
14) have better motivated soldiers *
15) have a better and more sustainable financial system *
16) have a better ability to quickly rebuild ruined industry and destroyed infrastructure (at least when the war looks like in WWII it’s a contest) *
17) have better infrastructure in their home country *

(Six Russian advantages marked ¤)

18) have a weather or season advantage during their warfare, or have weather-resistant clothing for their soldiers, cold-resistant equipment, functional food supplies and indoor accommodation opportunities in severe cold, etc. Deep snow can make transportation and transfer difficult for those who are not equipped and trained, deep mud is even worse, it may cause the most problem for an attacker.¤
19) have a bigger and faster production¤
20) gets financial and material help from the outside world¤
21) have access to oil and oil refineries and kerosene¤
22) have the most (ice free) commercial ports and access to safe shipping routs¤
23) have plenty of or appropriately placed fake targets so that the enemy’s surveillance and attack aircraft will correctly assess the location of the wrong target¤

(Twelve indeterminable or double acting/double edged)

24) are better equipped
25) are better protected and defended by, for example, mines and artillery in a defensive action and artillery during an offensive action
26) are more protected and harder to detect by using better camouflage
27) have better tools, e.g. have night vision devices as standard if you look at the situation today, or have electrolyte powder and potassium permanganate and antibiotics and low-cost performance enhancers, etc.
28) have advantages in terms of fire against targets
29) have better armor on combat vehicles with an advantage of better impact concerning fire against targets
30) have geographic advantages for either defense alt. an offensive (forest areas, steppes, transverse rivers etc.) ¤ *
31) In addition, the best long-range heavy-duty vehicles, adapted for the ground conditions and the accessibility of the offensive (compare with multiplied tactics) ¤ *
32) have a shorter production chain
33) have greater potential/ability to protect industry and infrastructure * ¤
34) have commodity assets within gripping distance ¤ *
35) have the most friendly minded neighboring states or least hostile neighbors

Nazi Germany had 17 of these above listed 35 possible advantages. Opposed are six advantages for Russia, and twelve indeterminable.

Perseverance is obviously such an important factor that it overrides all other factors if you can hold off a quick victory for the opposing side. How else can you explain a German loss even though the Germans had 17 advantages against 6 for the Soviet Union?

The shorter logistics chain (No. 4 above) may not be considered to be a German advantage. However, east Preussia had a partially strategic advantageous starting point at the start of the war, even though east Prussia lacked commodity resources. This advantage Preussia had because Stalin relocated parts of Russia’s industries from western Russia to the east of the Ural Mountains in the summer of 1941.

Another German advantage (not mentioned in the list above) was initially the surprise of the attacker. Although this is usually neutralized relatively quickly it wasn’t in this war. But a Russian advantage at a later stage was that they could maintain and even increase sufficient reinforcements and resources, which the Germans could not hope to maintain for their part.

The Germans can not count on making a reprisal of the overall plan for the daring attack through the Ardennes as in the attack on France in 1940.

Germany lacks nuclear weapon capacity while Russia, the United States, Great Britain and France all have it. But Germany can acquire it, hypothetically speaking.

Lastly, let me remind you that Germany’s constitution today explicitly prohibits Germany from entering into strategic defense alliances with non-NATO countries. For the protocol, I can say that I support this.

Homework:

No homework today

 

Roger M. Klang, defense political spokesman for the Christian Values Party (Kristna Värdepartiet) in Sweden