Rumors of War with Russia, Part 8: Ukraine's 'Operation Citadel'

Reliable Novorossiya sources indicate this morning that Kiev is massing up to 90,000 troops, hundreds of self-propelled guns, tanks and armored infantry fighting vehicles for an offensive against the pro-Russian Donbass forces. Donetsk has been under heavy bombardment, with hundreds of artillery or mortar shells fired overnight into Sunday. Donetsk People's Republic Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko has declared that a large-scale Ukrainian assault is imminent and cancelled all leave while ordering the DNR [Доне́цкая Наро́дная Респу́блика - JWS]/DPR's tanks and guns to front line positions. [embed][/embed]

The Gathering Storm Clouds and Artillery Thunder Over Donbass On the Kiev side, former interim President Oleksandr Turchynov aka 'the blood Baptist' has visited the front lines and reviewed Ukrainian troops wearing full fatigues and 21st century Israeli assault rifle regalia. Turchinov recently threatened to institute martial law (one of the things Ukrainian officials threaten to do about every week it seems, since the war started) if Russian regular troops come into Donbass to repulse Kiev's planned assault. Kiev's propaganda machine is gloating about inflicting heavy casualties on Novorossiya Armed Forces (NAF) positions and ammo dumps, and the Ukrainian armed forces (UAF) claims of wiping out phantom NAF attacks and killing hundreds of Russian attackers that cannot be substantiated. These are all indicators, together with the timing of a propaganda blitz by Western media outlets in support of the Nazi SS flag waving Azov battalion occupying Mariupol, that a heavyweight slug fest is imminent in the Donbass.

From Russia, there are threats that Kiev and Langley spooks can both read in pro-Russian media that the 'vacationers' of last July and August will return to smash the overconfident Ukrainians:

Regarding “military trade” - here I can reassure (hopefully not in vain). Quite a large group has come, exceeding even that that participated in and covered the Armed Forces of Novorossiya in the winter campaign. Without naming specific figures, I can assume that in the case of large-scale deployments of BD (rus.: боевое дежурство, eng.: combat duty units) on the level of last summer, the number of “vacationers” and vehicles will not be smaller than in august of last year (when the danger of cutting off the people’s republics from the border with Russia was averted and the Ilovaysk cauldron was “brewed.”







Kiev May be Going 'All in' on a Desperate Military Gamble -- Leaving Very Little Armor and Artillery in Reserve if it Loses Big

Colonel Cassad aka Boris Rozhin is a pro-NAF but reliable source on the situation in Donbass. The Crimea-based blogger speaks on the phone with people who know members of Zakharchenko's war cabinet every week. Here's what Rozhin wrote early Sunday:

Reports from several sources of 90,000 troops on Ukie side.

From latest reports MO [Министерство обороны or translated as Ministry of Defense - JWS] DNR .

APU [armed punishers of Ukraine - JWS] prepared to attack [with] 435 tanks, 132 MLRS and 830 units of artillery and mortars

Command of the armed forces by August 16, concentrated for an attack at the separation line three shock troops. In the “With” the enemy has up to 22 battalions.

In its composition: tanks up to 130 units, armored combat vehicles to 950 units, field artillery guns and mortars to 290 units, MLRS to 35 units.

In sector “B” of the enemy force consists of up to 26 battalions. In its composition: tanks up to 230 units, armored combat vehicles 830 units, field artillery guns and mortars to 360 units, MLRS to 75 units.

In the sector of “M” the enemy has up to 20 battalions. In its composition: tanks up to 75 units, armored combat vehicles 545 units, field artillery guns and mortars up to 180 units, MLRS to 22 units.

PS. Something today, even the comments of officials ooze alarmism. The phrase 'fire of a new war in Europe' can still be prevented sounded like a last attempt to appeal to Europe to put pressure on the junta. [German Foreign Minister Frank Walter] Steinmeier also spoke in the spirit that all hangs in the balance and the situation threatens to fall into an escalation scenario.


Center for Syncretic Studies analyst Joaquin Flores based in Belgrade, Serbia says there will be no 'Minsk3' talks after Kiev's next defeat on the Donbass battlefield at the hands of the pro-Russian Novorossiya Armed Forces (NAF) From this major arms build up along the front we can draw at least two conclusions:

The U.S. and Most Likely Poland and Romania Have Been Secretly Providing Kiev with a Massive Amount of Old but Usable Armor and Guns

1) Covert U.S. aid to the Kiev regime over the past several months since the humiliating defeat at Debaltsevo to repair damaged equipment or restore old Soviet armor and cannons from the mothballs must be quite large. Possibly to the point that the much ballyhooed training of Ukrainian soldiers at the Yavoriv complex in Lvov region is a sideshow to the real buildup of a combined armored and artillery 'fist' on the model of American/NATO rebuilding of Croatia's military prior to 1995's U.S. general directed Operation Storm. The rumors reported by Ft. Russ that Kiev was seeking to acquire Warsaw Pact self-propelled guns and tanks from Polish, Hungarian and Romanian stocks and boneyard-bound Bundeswehr Marder IFVs from Germany were likely true.

There is simply no way that Ukraine's piss poor annual output of tanks and cannon wagons could adequately provide for this large of a force. Kiev is throwing the kitchen sink in the form of nearly all of its remaining firepower at the Donbass. If Kiev loses several hundred of its guns and tanks this autumn, there won't be any making good the losses without the Ukrainians directly acquiring (U.S.-taxpayer funded) American armor. There just aren't enough Warsaw Pact tanks and infantry fighting vehicles left in all of Eastern Europe to rebuild Kiev's forces if this offensive fails.

After the failure of Hitler's Operation Citadel, Nazi Germany was left without enough panzers and guns to counter a major Soviet offensive. 72 years later, a decisive defeat this August and September would leave Kiev lacking a sufficient reserve of tanks and cannons to beat back an NAF counteroffensive. Especially if the rumors are true that there will be no Minsk3 ceasefire agreement, and Russia intends to help the NAF cut off Mariupol from Kiev-controlled territory and perhaps  annihilate the city's Nazi Azov battalion defenders.


Washington and Kiev Fear They Are Running Out of Time to Force Russia into Major Overt Intervention in Ukraine or to Maintain the Regime

2) The fact that Kiev has put together a force this large after its most recent conscription campaign barely managed to shanghai er, recruit half of the targeted total of cannon fodder soldiers tells me that the Ukrainian side and their sponsors in Washington badly need some 'victories' over the 'combined Russian-separatist forces' and they need one soon. The most interesting question for readers and the RM brain trust is 'why now'?

In military terms, what Kiev is doing is not radically different from what Adolf Hitler did in 1943 when he gambled on a major offensive to damage the Soviet Red Army that summer prior to the Americans and British invading Italy and France in the West.


Kursk -- the largest tank battle of World War II -- hastened the collapse of Hitler's Third Reich by a year or more, by leaving the Nazis with an inadequate number of tanks and cannons to defend the huge Eastern Front. Russian tactics and strategems don't change, they simply get updated for 21st century warfare. Washington's 'combined NATO-Ukrainian forces' appear to be doomed to repeat Hitler's mistakes committed against the Soviets 72 years ago, as Russia warns the Americans and Ukrainians through pro-NAF social media that Russian 'vacationers' could return to the fight

Unternahmen Zitadel proved to be a microcosm of Hitler's doomed Barbarossa campaign against the USSR. It ended in a bloody, costly failure in which Hitler's elite panzer divisions were ground down by heroic Russian resistance, massed firepower, and clever defense in depth tactics. A similar fate awaits any serious Ukrainian assault that isn't merely an attempt to attrit the NAF but to actually recapture significant territory approaching the Russian border. Kiev is clearly scared that socio-economic forces could become Russia's equivalent to a WW2 'second front' on top of the primary battlefield in the Donbass.  Something besides the visible problems of morale, corruption and inadequate supplies for the front is rotting the U.S.-backed Kiev regime from within, and belying the cocky pronouncements of its NATO and State Department sponsors.

Could it be that it's not just the Kiev regime, but its sponsors in Washington who fear that they've bitten off more than they can chew? Is Washington spooked that the growing conflict with China over the devaluation of the yuan and so-called 'pivot to Asia' could leave American military power overstretched and inadequate if Russia intervenes more forcefully in Ukraine? Or is Kiev's desperate assault, as we suggested in our previous post referencing Secretary of State John Kerry's stunning admission about the weakness of the petrodollar, yet another sign that Washington is desperate to use military means to prop up the crumbling dollar-led Western economic order?|

Why Ukraine's Latest Offensive, Like the Previous Failed Assaults on Donetsk and Lugansk, is Doomed


As we wrote in our previous RM post, the expected axes of attack are predictable and well known to Russian and the republics' intelligence services. A pincer move to attack Donetsk from the south while hitting Gorlovka hard and trying to drive a wedge between the 'separatist' capitals of Donetsk and Lugansk seems to be the ambitious objective of this offensive. DNR sources report that over 160 residents have been killed by Ukrainian shelling of Gorlovka since the start of the year.

Any actions in the north along the Lugansk front are likely to be of a diversionary nature. Exactly what Kiev can realistically hope to achieve with these assaults is an interesting question, though its troops could make some tactical gains in the area of the Donetsk airport in the south on the outskirts of Mariupol at Telmanovo, where Russian reporters indicate Ukrainian reconnaissance by fire has been underway for days. A symbolic 'victory' of putting the Ukrainian flag atop one of the few standing and undamaged buildings in Telmanovo or near the ruined Donetsk airport may be possible for Kiev's troops, although UAF losses will be high. The rest of the battlefield is either too exposed to artillery and GRAD fire across the steppes or too urbanized for rapid advancement, particularly when Kiev itself claims to have fewer tanks and APCs than the 'separatists' -- a lie, but a convincing one perhaps, along with the claim that Russia is providing the NAF with bazillions of tanks and drivers for them from Buryatia in Siberia.

As one NAF fighter, a convicted Communist who was actually anti-Putin before joining the Novorossiya forces put it, "All things considered, we had the same [logistical, supply and command] problems and mess as they [the Ukrainians] did, and we won due to the fact that we [the NAF] had more people who gave a sh*t." He also stated for the record, regarding the number of regular Russian army soldiers 'vacationing' with the NAF, as an excuse for Ukrainian defeats-- it was negligable, possibly with the artillery in the rear and a few tankers, but not much more than that:

I would also like to address the subject of "Buryat battalions", " Buryat tankmen " and the concept of "The Russian troops are the ones fighting, and militia simply creates a smokescreen around them", in general.

Guys, I would be very glad and happy if Russian army really fought there, and the militia stood aside and applauded. I would be very happy if the Russian army repeated the August “surgical strike" and cut off Debaltsevo salient without our participation. But alas. Alas, alas, alas.

All this was done not by the Russian army, but the militia, buried under a pile of paperwork which allegedly contributed to its transformation into an efficient army. And because of this, everything was accomplished with tremendous losses, which could have been avoided if the NAF army was not reorganized by an obsolete template.

Alas, in all of my time fighting and traveling between combat positions, I did not happen to see regular Russian army in the winter campaign. Some specialists? Yes, volunteers. Individual vehicle crews? Possibly. But tank battalions … Or any battalions fighting as normal army units - that I did not see. Nope.  [It looks like the Ukrainian Chief of Staff Viktor Muzhenko who embarrassed Washington and Kiev propagandists by flat out declaring that there were no Russian units, as opposed to individual Russian citizen volunteers fighting at Debaltsevo, actually told the truth and wasn't an agent of the accursed Moskals/FSB after all! - JWS]

Maybe, at the end of the operation the command have finally lost faith in their abilities and chose to "call a friend". I do not know. I would love to see the Russian army in action, but alas, they weren’t there. At least on the LPR side of the front.

If this is the situation of the victorious Novorossiya (DNR/LNR) army that defeated the Ukrainians at Debaltsevo, one shudders to think of how piss poor the leadership and organization of the mainline conscript Ukrainian troops is, as they're about to be sent into battle once more. No wonder so many refer to mobilization as 'mogilization' and new recruits as fresh 'meat' for the artillery grinder. It isn't even clear how long Ukrainian troops could remain in Telmanovo even if they succeed in taking the town due to its proximity to Russia and the possibility of heavy or thermobaric rocket fire from the Russian side of the border -- as happened at Saur Mogila in July and August 2014.

Ukrainian forces have maintained only a limited presence in the abandoned, 'demilitarized' town of Shyrokino near Mariupol for the same reason, because they don't want to get caught in an artillery trap and then get quickly cut off from their supply lines. Commanders have learned lessons paid for in their men's lives that armored 'breakthroughs' insufficiently widened run the risk of being pinched off and encircled before destruction, much like the failed attacks to relieve the siege of Donetsk Airport and the destroyed Ukrainian bulge at Debaltsevo.

Kiev's Lies about Casualties and the Failure of Ukrainian 'Meatgrinder' Tactics aka Just 'Kill [Pro] Russians'

In looking at the map and analyzing the WWI-style Paths of Glory pointlessness of an attack on Telmanovo, the idea of 'bait' ing Russia into more overt intervention and direct fire support for the NAF from their side may be the whole point. But even if the Ukrainians succeed in this and get the #RussiaInvadedUkraine Western propaganda presses rolling at full speed, it seems there's hardly going to be high Ukrainian morale on the front lines after symbolic victories paid for with hundreds or even thousands of lives. Kiev is already struggling to maintain the ridiculous lie that it has lost 'only' 2,400 soldiers whose named and photos appear in the English language, regime mouthpiece Kyiv Post newspaper -- although the regime recently admitted as many as 8,000 Ukrainian servicemen and police officers have defected to the 'separatists' side since the start of the fighting in April 2014.

Further casualties from an offensive that even the Kyiv Post presstitutes can't hide would only magnify suspicions that the Associated Press, Reuters, BBC, Bloomberg and the rest of the Western media are complicit with the Kiev regime and the Pentagon's lies about the real Ukraine war body count. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ)'s bombshell report that over 50,000 people had lost their lives prematurely as a result of the Donbass war as of February 2015 was far closer to the mark, with Ukrainian combatant deaths estimated to account for between 16,000 and 20,000 of that tally. That is several thousand more deaths than what the Soviets suffered through the entire 1980s Afghan War.

On the other side of the lines, the 'combined Russian-separatist forces' perhaps suffered between 5 and 7,000 KIA with a few hundred 'vacationers' or active duty Russian servicemen. Perhaps 1,500 non-servicemen Russian volunteers and a few individual Serbs and other foreigners are included in the NAF losses sheet. The rest of the dead are civilians, a large percentage of them elderly Donbass residents who could not cope with the destruction of their homes, the economic blockade, and the disruption of medicine deliveries. As humanitarian volunteer Yevdokia "Dunya" Sheremetyeva reports in her "Little Hiroshima" dispatches, many Donbass diabetics, including diabetic children, would die without Russian-donated insulin shots which could be rendered useless by the failure or holdup of a refrigeration truck at a checkpoint. Many elderly and children who were simply killed by incoming artillery and rocket fire, whether out in the open, in their homes, or running to the basement bomb shelters.

A Bankrupt Country's Offensive Sustained Only by U.S./EU Money Printing via the IMF

Thus we're left without viable military explanations for Kiev's conduct, and can only explain this new offensive through politics and economics. Namely, V the Guerrilla Economist's maxim that desperate people do stupid and desperate things. The more dispatches from RFE/RL we read about how desperate Russia must be to extract itself from the Donbass conflict, the more we understand it's Kiev that is running out of time and money while exhausting the patience of the Ukrainian 'home front'.

Today nearly half of all Ukrainian economic activity is estimated to occur 'off the books' and hence, removed from the government's taxation rolls. This is not surprising, since no one could afford to live in Kiev on what the official salaries are for many jobs, ranging from bus drivers to government office clerks. the vast majority of the Ukrainian population which isn't being paid directly via the IMF issued funds is clearly getting in the 'game' of supplementing income through street trading, barter, or bribery, or pooling resources with friends and relatives. There is simply no other way, besides nationalist propaganda blaming Putin for everything, we can explain why the Ukrainian economy hasn't already completely collapsed due to the cutoff of trade with Russia. There's no other method by which we can fathom why Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk haven't been overthrown in a third Maidan. The horrifying figures compiled in this report translated by Ft. Russ, "Ukrainian economy after a year of 'reforms' -- banana republic without bananas" speak for themselves.

On the other hand, judging by the shiny new luxury automobiles parked outside the various government ministries and fancy restaurants frequented by politicians and foreigners, not everyone in Kiev is tightening their belts. That of course, also creates resentment among the impoverished Ukrainian masses that all the promises about cleaning up corruption after the nasty Yanukovich was done away with have proven to be lies. Kiev's NATO advertised 'war on corruption' has proven to be even less successful than the war against 'the separatists' for similar reasons -- way too much 'trading with the enemy'.


NAF commander Igor "Bez" (demon) Bezler speaks about how his men literally bought rocket launchers and weapons from corrupt generals and colonels of the Ukrainian army, and alleges that Poroshenko himself was complicit in the arms trade with the rising rebellion in April 2014

Washington's Pet Azov Nazis Receive the Full Leni Riefenstahl Treatment from a Heritage Foundation Paid U.S. Vet and the Presstitutes -- The Russia Analyst Believes These Guys are Being Nurtured as a Neo-Fascist, 21st Century 'Gladio' Group of Operatives Meanwhile, the nationalist battalions aren't so much interested in dying for Ukraine as taking it over when 'Porky' and 'Yats' get pushed aside or flee into the arms of their American puppeteers. 'Simple soldiers' do not after all run kids summer camps to brainwash children into using weapons to defend the Ukrainian Nazism, nor do they accept invitations to speak at the European Parliament, or run full fledged PR campaigns in western media on their own and hidden sponsors' behalf. All of these things are what Azov is doing while it carefully avoids any full-on bloody engagement and leads the serious bleeding and dying to the regular Ukrainian Army in Donbass.

These developments suggest Washington sees a role for its neo-Nazi useful idiots in Azov, now that the Right Sector 'brand' has been somewhat tarnished by the recent, unfortunate shootout with Ukrainian cops in Mukachevo. Azov appears to be replacing Right Sector as Washington's nasty 'stick' in addition to the bribery 'carrots' that ensure its will is somewhat done in Kiev as it is in the Beltway.


21st century fascist hipster chic: Swedish 'former' neo-Nazi Mikael Skillt as the SS flag waving Azov battalion's international spokesman, now a hero to the Heritage Foundation's Daily Signal correspondent Nolan Petersen and Newsweek too

The Russia Analyst also has a theory we've developed on our own about Azov, albeit one influenced by Joaquin Flores' theories of Washington's dialectical control over events in Ukraine. We believe that Azov fighters could form the nucleus of a 'neo-Nazi internationale' as a kind of 'white power' parallel to the CIA's Arab jihadist foreign legion formed back in the 1980s that eventually became Al-Qaeda. With the end goal of using Azov Nazis returning to their European home countries like Sweden as agent provocateurs for U.S.-planned destabilization operations across Europe, which could include for the first time widespread attacks on mosques and Muslims in order to create sectarian and racial violence. The globalists will lovingly nurture their dialectic of 'Islamist migrants versus white power warriors' that only U.S.-puppet 'centrists' who will claim to 'get tough' on both the Islamists and skinheads can save Europe from.

Think of the dialectic between stone cold, 'Knights Templar Mason' and mentally programmed killer Anders Behring Breivik on one side, and socialist Europarties who think mass Mideast and African migration to Europe is 'diversity' whose youth wing suffered from his murder spree. BOTH sides were serving the New World Order objective of dissolving borders and/or discrediting opponents of open borders, in their own way. Azov is part of a similar dialectic by the globalists. These 'ex' Nazi operatives, particularly if they claim to renounce their former racist ideas like the Swedish sniper Mikael Skillt, could aid in the infiltration of European nationalist movements opposed to NATO and the Washington-controlled EU. Targets for this Cass Sunstein style 'cognitive infiltration' operations would include the National Front of France, the Jobbik party of Hungary, and Golden Dawn in Greece. All of whom presently are gaining supporters and share a most distressing, pro-Russian or at least anti-sanctions on Russia position.

Kiev is Attacking on Washington's Orders Before the Ukrainian Regime -- and the Empire -- Lose Control Due to the BRICS Dollar Stabbing Dagger

For the U.S.-propped up Poroshenko/'Yats' regime, the risks that a default on the country's private debt and its multi-billion loan to Russia pose to the temporary stabilization of the devalued hyrvnia are substantial. The Chicago-born carpetbagger serving as Kiev's finance minister, Natalie Jaresko, flew to San Francisco last week for negotiations with multi-billion dollar creditor Franklin Templeton group. By all accounts Jaresko has failed to get Franklin Templeton to agree to Ukrainian demands for a 40% write off of Kiev's debt owed to the international bond fund manager. Nor is there any indication that the two sides are closer to a compromise after days of negotiations, even with the Obama Administration no doubt applying enormous pressure on Templeton's managers behind the scenes. Yet in an embarrassing development for a 'superpower' hegemon, all of Obama's horses and all of his men apparently can't make a few billion dollars in Ukrainian debt go away.

In conclusion, we quote fellow Rogue Money 'brain trust' er Ken "the Shotgun" Shortgen Jr.'s thoughts this weekend regarding the strategic U.S dilemma -- the looming death of King Dollar -- lurking behind another battlefield debacle for Kiev:

The problem for the U.S. is that they have already played most of their cards, and are left resorting to military responses in retaliation of economic threats [JWS emphasis added].  The sudden explosion last week of the Chinese port of Tianjin has many speculating that the West had a hand in this horrific event, and may have been in retaliation to China's devaluation moves earlier in the week.

China has relied upon the American and European consumers for their lifeblood of trade and commerce for many years, but the days of needing to appease this segment of their economy is quickly coming to an end.  Declines in global consumer spending, coupled with the overall deflationary indicators showing we are now in a worldwide recession, has left China with no need to hold a stable relationship with the dollar and with the U.S., especially as the world accelerates its own 'beggar thy neighbor' policies to protect their own, and bring about a new cycle of protectionism.

Plans are only as good as the drawing board when the first shots are fired, and then the battlefield becomes a fluid enterprise of adapt and change.