After Police and Ukrainian National Guard Who Fought Ultra-nationalists to Break Blockade of Donbass Coal to Ukraine Complain in Parliament, Poroshenko Caves to the Radicals
All roads and railway lines leading to the frontline in Donbass have been cut off by the Ukrainian National Guard, National Police, and State Border Guard Service.
More than 800 troops have been deployed to checkpoints on the Ukrainian side of the frontline in Donbass. The blockade checkpoints are reportedly being reinforced with military vehicles.
“Pursuant to the decision of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, today all roads and railway lines leading to the demarcation line have been blocked by forces of the National Guard, National Police, and border guard services in order to ensure control over and prevent the illegal movement of goods,” the National Guard's statement reads.
This escalation comes on the heels of Ukrainian President Poroshenko’s ultimatum to the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics to reverse the nationalization of Ukrainian enterprises.
This new Kiev-enforced blockade follows the recently dispersed blockade of Donbass railways by neo-Nazi battalions who demanded that all trade with the Donbass republics be terminated. The government's failure to suppress the latter initiative on the demand of the Donbass republics provoked the nationalization of hitherto undisturbed Ukrainian enterprises on the territory of the people's republics...
The 'Temporary' Line of Contact is Becoming a Militarized Border:
Even 'Friends of Ukraine' Recognize Poroshenko's Order Will Further Alienate Donbass
It should be noted that prior to Poroshenko's blockade, Kiev has already cut off the water supplies to Lugansk city. The republics can meet over 80% of their own water needs according to the LDNR authorities, but the move illustrates the desperation of the Kiev regime after nearly three years of fighting and failure to impose its will on the breakaway city-states. Alexandr Zakharchenko, the elected leader of the Donetsk People's Republic, signed a decree this week making the line of contact between Donbass and UAF forces the state border of the DPR. Whether this will keep assassins who have successfully targeted Donbass commanders such as Arseniy 'Motorola' Pavlov or Mikhail 'Givi' Tolstykh out is a debatable question, but what's clear is that for civilians with relatives on the other side of the contact line, traveling much less trading back and forth will become more difficult now due checkpoints from both sides. Checkpoints will also be easy targets for mortar or artillery fire from either side making civilians lingering at de facto border queues dangerous:
The head of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Alexander Zakharchenko, has signed a decree giving the contact line in Donbass the status of a state border. According to the document, crossing the border is permitted only though border control posts with compulsory registration.
This decree was signed amidst an intensification of Ukrainian saboteur-terrorist activity. Last week in the Lugansk People’s Republic, a Ukrainian terrorist grouping headed by Major Sergey Ivanchuk was arrested, after which a video circulated across the Internet of Ivanchuk’s interrogation in which he speaks of an extensive Ukrainian subversive-reconnaissance and terrorist network not only in the Donbass republics, but in certain regions of Russia as well.
Many experts, including myself, have long been warning of the Donbass republics’ leaky security system. The order on establishing a border has been necessary for a long time. In reality, there is free movement of a huge number of people and goods on the de facto border between the DPR and Ukraine in both directions. In this situation, what kind of security can there be?
The main goal of Zakharchenko’s decree is increasing security within the DPR and improving the controllability of the movement of people and goods across the border. I would also posit that Zakharchenko’s decree will be supported in the LPR, as the republics have been working quite in sync over the past few weeks and months.
The German Foreign Ministry has mildly criticized the Ukrainian government's declaration of blockade on Wednesday March 15, saying it will likely only harden separatist attitudes in the areas outside Kiev's control. The Russian Foreign Ministry blasted the decision as violating the Minsk Agreements Kiev signed, inhumane and economically destructive:
“Kiev, indulging the extremists who have blocked the railway connection to the region, has itself artificially created a problem for the normal economic functioning of local enterprises,” the Ministry’s official statement read.
“We call on the leadership of Ukraine to not bring the situation to a humanitarian catastrophe and to finally begin strictly implementing its own obligations under the Package of Measures [for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements], including the restoration of social and economic relations with the Donbass.”
The Dirty Deep State's Not So Hidden Hand in the Latest Ukraine Escalation:
Audio Allegedly Captured from UAF Assassins Phones Shows US Trainers Instructions
As the Russia Analyst noted back in February, the intensification of the campaign to assassinate leaders of the Russian-backed breakaway republics in late 2016 and early 2017 coincided with an article published at the influential in U.S. military circles website Small Wars Journal. In that article the author Vincent Duenas, an active duty U.S. Army Major claiming to only be expressing his personal opinions and not those of the U.S. Department of Defense or the Army, advocates targeted assassinations as a tactic for Kiev's forces since major military offensives have all spectacularly failed since the spring of 2015. Duenas writes that Kiev should seek to enforce the Minsk Agreements, but only to its own advantage and selectively (something it hasn't proven capable of at all) -- meaning no withdrawal of heavy artillery. Whether Duenas knows it or not, he is admitting that the UAF are the tactically inferior force that rely on their superior numbers and (not so superiority) in artillery to hold their lines against locals with far more motivation in defense of their home soil than UAF conscripts have to bleed and die for Ukraine.
The Small Wars Journal essay does acknowledge reality to some extent, unusual for the Ukro-nationalist/McCainiac propaganda that passes for analyses in U.S. military focused publications, admitting that Kiev has serious 'hearts and minds' problems in the areas outside of its control (no kidding three years of shelling and no pensions paid plus a near blockade will do that). Maj. Duenas advocates for psychological operations and radio broadcasts into the non-Kiev held Donbass to break the pro-Russian views among the population, but forgets that psyops go both ways -- with the leaders of the LDNR announcing broadcasts to Kiev held territory and humanitarian aid sharing to residents under UAF occupation adjoining the republics. As the video fail from Ukrainian TV reveals above, many people in UAF held towns hate the US/NATO propped up, corrupt oligarchic regime in Kiev (even if they don't necessarily love Russia).
In addition to the Galicia (western Ukraine especially Lvov) centric and often Bandera/UPA (WW2 era collaborators with the Nazis who carried out genocidal acts against the Poles of Volyn) glorifying nature of Ukrainian ultra-nationalism, Maj. Duenas doesn't understand that Kiev is too dead ass broke, sustained by IMF loans it can never hope to fully pay back, and riddled with corruption to pursue the classic 'winning hearts and minds' reconstruction/counterinsurgency strategy (COIN) he advocates. But at least Maj. Duenas understands the 'sticks' rather than carrots side of Kiev's strategy to make life in the breakaway republics as miserable as possible through a permanent siege and constant shelling of areas its troops aren't willing to bleed and die in sufficient numbers to seize:
The military effort must encompass an enemy-centric component and seek to target separatist leaders from the trenches. An aggressive push for Ukrainian Special Operations Forces (SOF) to increase attacks against high-value targets should accompany an aggressive political front. Adhering to the Minsk II agreements to remove heavy weapons will leave the frontline forces exposed, so aggressive targeting should be undertaken to also take out key heavy-weapons sites. Sabotage and subversion by Ukrainian SOF must also be undertaken to reduce separatist organization and capacity. A minimal footprint, but with expanded authority to engage the enemy along the front will provide opportunities for SOF to hone their skills and sow discord among the separatist and Russian ranks. Accompanying this effort, will be the rebuilding of government radio stations in order broadcast psychological messaging about Russian falsehoods.
Note to Major Duenas and the Dirty Deep State: Targeted Killings of Leadership Can Go Both Ways and NATO PMCs Stick Out Like Sore Thumbs in Areas Just Behind the Front lines
In his essay it should be noted Duenas did not address the likelihood of tit for tat retaliation for assassinations of LDNR leaders against Ukrainian or Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) commanders, both in the Donbass and far to the west in areas thought 'safe' well behind the frontlines. Similarly, Duenas essay did not address the prospect of pro-LDNR partisans targeting NATO troops or private military contractor (PMC) trainers, many of whom (particularly those from Canada or Poland) are far closer to the front as 'observers' than the Alliance has ever admitted. While it is unlikely, given its hopes for quiet detente with the Trump Administration, Moscow would countenance direct targeting of NATO personnel, PMCs not wearing the uniform of their country enjoy far less protections against LDNR retaliation. Especially in places like Mariupol that the Azov Battalion imagines it has secured from partisan activity, but in which any foreign volunteer or PMC in fatigues presents an easy target...
The full hour-plus audio alleged to have been found on a captured UAF saboteur's phone released by the Lugansk republic's security service (with a likely Canadian or American regular military instructor and Ukrainian translation into Russian) is embedded below: