Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Putin's invasion of Crimea is counter-productive

Two of the lead stories on the big-selling Donbass newspaper site:

Chairman of Donetsk Regional Council Andrei Shishatskiy today appealed to residents of the region.

"Dear compatriots!

Yesterday I was elected chairman of the regional council.

I want to thank deputies for their trust and support, as well their civic position expressed during and after the session.

Dear friends!

I want you to know, I officially declare that in the oblast there exists the necessary and proper [nastoyashchaya] power to protect you. The regional council and state administration are working in difficult and complex circumstances.

Now the most important task before us is to preserve peace and the integrity of Ukraine. I urge you to remain calm. Do not give in to provocations! Time and the law will put everything in its place.

Thank you! "

[Yesterday provocateurs stormed the regional council building. Shishatsky had to fight his way out and was violently 'roughed up'. Video here ]

Also this piece with headline: "Putin, we do not need your protection!" Donetsk protested against separatism (Photos and video)

It seems this spontaneous demonstration was organised by two young women via social networks. About 2000, mainly students and intellectuals, attended. It is clear by the hastily hand-painted banners that the demo was not organised by 'higher powers'. They organisers, who were surprised by the big turn-out, intend to meet the new Donetsk oblast governor, Serhiy Taruta, and gain his support.

On the British Channel 4 news today, PoR parliamentary deputies Nestor Shufrych and Vadim Novinsky unequivocally declared Crimea to be part of Ukraine..

P.s.At a news conference in Moscow, Mr Putin insisted that the heavily armed men who had taken over official buildings in Crimea and blocked Ukrainian troops in their barracks were pro-Russian "local forces of self-defence" - not Russian troops.

Lot of evidence shows Putin lied about this, even though the armed personnel that taken control of large portions of Crimea have no insignia or marking on their kit.

In unguarded moments some have admitted to journalists they are Russian soldiers.

I suspect having to remove insignia may be troubling for these, no doubt competent, 'pro-Russian forces' and may even be harmful to their morale. Every soldier needs to know the authority he is serving, who his commanding officer is. In order to maintain morale every soldier must be proud to serve 'the badge' on his uniform or the banner at the front of the column.

When these 'pro-Russian forces' face off their Ukrainian counterparts they are in no doubt who they are up against  - it is denoted by the blue and yellow flags and the trident emblems on their uniforms.

Without any markings on their own gear to represent their authority a nagging suspicion will grow that if things get heavy or go wrong, they will be disavowed and sold out...Putin will simply wash his hands of them..

For this reason these 'pro-Russian forces' will be particularly careful and reluctant to use deadly force, even if provocateurs seen hanging around them, as in Belbek today,  are active.

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