'Givi' Assassinated in Donetsk, Ukrainian Army Building Up for Another Failed Offensive

The battle lines between the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics and Ukrainian armed forces from December 2016. The UAF have not been able to make advances of more than a few dozen meters into the 'gray zone' or no man's land between the two sides. -- JWS

DNR Leader:
They Can Kill Givi, or Even Zakharchenko, But They'll Never Kill Us All

The internal security of the fledgling republics is porous, pro-Kiev and well compensated spies/smugglers are operating out of Donetsk and Lugansk, and the absence of tit for tat killings of Ukrainian battalion commanders in UAF-held cities behind the lines like Mariupol or Slavyansk has emboldened Kiev to keep targeting the LDNR leadership. Particularly during a period when Moscow is seeking to restrain its satellites as much as possible and has taken the line that Kiev's goal through such assassinations and preparations for an offensive is to spoil any detente between the Trump Administration and the Kremlin.

Nonetheless, killing commanders in Mossad-style hits and behaving as if the Moscow-imposed restraints on the republics is equal to weakness or impunity (when Ukrainian troops are notorious for taking bribes not to fully inspect cargoes for hidden weapons at checkpoints, and hence smuggling thermobaric RPGs or IEDs into Mariupol or Slavyansk/Kramatorsk to assassinate Ukrainian commanders with would be child's play) is one thing. Achieving any real battlefield successes to break the stalemate imposed by Russia's LDNR proxies without prohibitive casualties is something else for Kiev's forces -- an unreachable goal.

The Likelihood of Retaliation and Killing of Ukrainian Neo-Nazi and Security Service Commanders is Rising With Every Successful 'Hit' in Donetsk and Lugansk

If Kiev's sabotage and reconnaissance groups do succeed in taking out their purported next targets -- the heads of the republics Igor Plotnisky and Alexandr Zakharchenko -- then not even Mr. Poroshenko's aides, neo-Nazi battalion leaders, or SBU regional chiefs in Kiev, Odessa, Mariupol or Kharkov (the latter two cities 40 miles from the Russian border) would be safe from direct retaliation in the form of an RPG or heavy sniper bullet through their windshields.

Just as Ukrainian nationalists love to boast of how many sympathizers they have behind the LDNR's lines, there's likely no shortage of Ukrainians who remember the mass murder at the Odessa Trades Union Building or the kidnapping and torture of 'suspected separatist' relatives thirsty for revenge and only needing the implements to be put in their hands by the GRU or the Novorossiya underground. A partisan movement rumored to still exist under the noses of the CIA supported Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), particularly in Odessa, Kharkov and Mariupol -- cities close to Russia or the Russian-backed exclave of Transnistria (Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic). Or does Kiev really think the Nazi LARPers of Azov can competently (and honestly) run enough (non-bribe taking) checkpoints to prevent their own commanders from being taken out by the same methods used against Givi? Of course, revenge won't bring anyone back -- not those murdered in the Odessa Trades Union building, and not Motorola or Givi.

Sexy 'Counterinsurgency' Tactics vs. the Banal Reality of Kiev's Failed War

Notwithstanding the 'advice' of one Army Major in the Small Wars Journal who imagines that the economically moribund, kleptocratic and Stepan Bandera/UPA cult promoting regime in Kiev can actually win the hearts and minds of the people its been shelling or blockading for nearly three years, the war was mostly lost for Kiev after its humiliating defeats at Donetsk Airport and Debaltsevo. With the rapidly modernizing and superior to the UAF Russian Army ready just across the border, Kiev and its backers' dreams of an 'Operation Storm' 1995 Croatia style breakthrough followed by encirclement of the republics are likely to remain just that, fantasies. The best Kiev can hope for is to continue what it's largely been doing since 2014-15 -- scorching the earth and making life as unbearable for civilians left in the LDNR (particularly pensioners with no family and no where to go in Russia or non-combat zone Ukraine) as possible, to punish them for wanting to be part of the Russian world on their ancestors land, rather than the 'patriots of Ukraine's' failed vision of a country.

However, it's precisely the drunken or punitive shelling of towns and cities by the UAF, and the 'separatists shelled their own people' idiocy of Ukraine's propaganda that bar any successful execution of a Small Wars Journal published bit of counterinsurgency 'hearts and minds' advice. Nor does Kiev have even a tiny fraction of the funds that would be required to repair some of the damage nearly three years of fighting did to what had been Ukraine's most industrialized and urbanized region, much less create new industries in the former Soviet rust belt.

The Bigger Picture: Negotiations Between Trump and Russia Are Ongoing, Rumors Fly That Porky is On the Way Out From Bankova Street

The line laid down by Russian President Vladimir Putin last week during his important meetings in Budapest with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been repeated in recent days by the Russian Foreign Ministry and media. The latest round of escalation in the Donbass, particularly the heavy shelling and rocket fire around the industrial or 'promzone' between the UAF held city of Avdiivka and DNR-controlled Donetsk, is due to Kiev needing more money from its 'western partners'. Ukraine is awaiting the next tranche of International Monetary Fund (IMF) money in order to pay civil servants and soldiers salaries, its population is about to be subject to more IMF mandated austerity in the form of protest-fueling electric and gas utility rate hikes, and President Petro Poroshenko's support continues to sink toward single digit approval ratings in public opinion polls.

Meanwhile, according to former Ukrainian parliamentarian Oleg Tsarev, there are serious negotiations underway in Washington not only with Moscow, but also discussing the removal of Poroshenko and his possible replacement by the Hillary Clinton of Ukraine, Yulia Timoshenko. This is consistent with the information also provided by sources to Rostov based academician Eduard Popov, who also believes Poroshenko is on his way out and may be impeached or perhaps will resign in return for being free to take his ill-gotten loot into exile in Canada or Europe. Hence Poroshenko's desperation to make himself less dispensable and draw more IMF, EU or US Congressionally appropriated funds to Ukraine by escalating hostilities in the Donbass:

I am convinced that Donald Trump’s staff is well aware of the state of affairs in Ukraine, aware of the kleptocracy of the Ukrainian pseudo-elite, and the rampant neo-Nazism. And yet the Ukrainian authorities’ temptation to try to put Russia and the US at loggerheads and derail the two countries’ rapprochement is too strong.

Just how successful has Poroshenko’s plan to provoke the new White house boss to take anti-Russian views and steps?Let us purposefully set this question to the side for now and point to another reason behind the escalation of fighting in Donbass, namely, the domestic political factor. In a recent article, I wrote in detail on the anti-Poroshenko front being formed by Ukrainian oligarchs (Pinchuk and Firtash, for example) and the “uncrowned king of Transcarpathia,” the oligarch and shadow leader Viktor Baloga. A campaign against Poroshenko is being openly waged and he is now threatened with overthrow by the oligarchs and their allied forces. Parallel to this, a military conspiracy is brewing in the ranks of the UAF and among the leading Ukrainian neo-Nazi battalions. A disintegration of the ruling parliamentary coalition of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc is underway, which threatens early parliamentary elections. Add to this the fact that this year Ukraine will have to pay back a colossal sum plus interest for loans: 240,897 billion hryvnia (around $9 billion). Ukraine has nowhere from which to take this money. The only source would be yet another, new IMF loan.

— http://www.fort-russ.com/2017/02/deciphering-donbass-escalation-part-3.html

Meanwhile in Washington, Trump permitted his UN Ambassador Nikki Haley to condemn Russia for the latest round of fighting, but afterward Haley met in private with Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin. Mr. Churkin, for his part, echoed his boss Putin's line that Poroshenko and the Ukrainian authorities are cynically escalating hostilities in Donbass in violation of their commitments under the February 12, 2015 Minsk 2 ceasefire agreement in order to disrupt any improvement in U.S.-Russia relations.

As for Trump, his telephone conversation with Poroshenko was brief, perfunctory even, and resulted in no announced commitments. Trump's Vice President Mike Pence has said in recent interviews 'we're watching Russia' but left the door open for cooperation on counter-terrorism against ISIS in Syria. Speaking directly to Fox News Bill O'Reilly, who called Vladimir Putin 'a killer', Trump shrugged and asked O'Reilly whether he realized there were plenty of killers the U.S. had to deal with, and how many people had died as a result of the wrong-headed war in Iraq. O'Reilly and the political class whose party line on Putin he represented were flabbergasted (despite their failure to ever present actual proof Putin has ordered the killing of his political opponents or journalists, only the allegation repeated over and over). The headlines, from the (Langley linked) Washington Post, "Trump Abandons Ukraine", expressed the state of panic stretching from Kiev to the (G)NGO of the Atlantic Council in Washington:

The Ukrainian President Poroshenko had tried for several days to get a phonecall scheduled with President Trump. But on Thursday Trump met, very shortly though, Poroshenko’s opposition in Ukraine Yuliya Tymoshenko. She is a former prime minister and - said mildly- a controversial figure: always scheming, lying and ready to be offered and take huge bribes. But with some help she could probably win an election in Ukraine should Poroshenko step down.

Only on Saturday Trump finally had a phonecall with Poroshenko. The very short readout is a blast. It speaks of “Ukraine’s long-running conflict with Russia” and adds:

”We will work with Ukraine, Russia, and all other parties involved to help them restore peace along the border,” said President Trump.

Ukraine’s conflict is not with Russia and the fighting is not along the border. It is a genuine civil war, ignited by a U.S. regime change operation in Kiev, in witch both side have external support. That Trump does not describes it that way leaves lots of room for interpretation. Is there a new “Russian border” along the current line of the ceasefire [de facto, not de jure, YES — this is the Russia Analyst’s interpretation of Trump’s readout of the call, which Kiev is in denial of — JWS]? What about the Minsk2 process which Ukraine has failed to implement? What about sanctions? [Answer: they will not be lifted anytime too soon, but they can be ignored by Washington’s European allies without punishment by a Trump Administration — JWS]

But the most important points: There is no mention of weapon or other support for Kiev [sorry John McInsane, no Javelin missiles for your Azov Nazis in Mariupol — JWS]. There is no blame on Russia for the renewed violence at the front-line.

My [MoA blogger ‘b’s] instant micro interpretation of the readout was:

Trump to Poroshenko (translated): I know you started this on order of McCain/Graham/Biden. Screw you. You will win nothing. You are out.
Poroshenko had fired up his troops and promised to fight the rebels throughout their autonomous area up to the Russian border. The intend behind that was to sabotage Trump’s policies. Poroshenko will now have to revise those plans.

Trump topped the above readout in an interview with Fox news a part of which was previewed last night (partial transcript):

Bill O’Reilly: Do you respect Putin?

President Trump: I do respect him but -

O’Reilly: Do you? Why?

President Trump: Well, I respect a lot of people but that doesn’t mean I’m going to get along with him. He’s a leader of his country. I say it’s better to get along with Russia than not. And if Russia helps us to fight against ISIS, which is a major fight, and Islamic terrorism all over the world - that’s a good thing. Will I get along with him? I have no idea.

O’Reilly: But he’s a killer though. Putin’s a killer.

President Trump: There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think - our country’s so innocent?

Whoa - Trump is rejecting the U.S. national religion - exceptionalism. The Republicans would have eaten Obama alive had he ever said something like that. “Are you suggesting that Russia which is always killing civilians is morally equal to us who only kill terrorists?” Now the Republicans will be silent about this and the Democrats will howl.

— http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/02/russia-ukraine-neocon-ceasefire-sabotage-fails-to-change-trumps-mind-.html

The Failed Ukrainian Meddling in the U.S. Election Against Trump: Ukrainians Back Off Claims of Millions in Secret Payments to Former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort

While President Trump allegedly told former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko the infamously corrupt 'gas princess' that he would not lift sanctions on Russia imposed over Moscow's actions in Crimea or support for the Donbass republics, this is small comfort to a Kiev government that desperately needs cash and perhaps, if Poroshenko can be persuaded to accept new elections, fresh faces in positions of leadership. It is not a coincidence, that after Poroshenko's ambassador to Washington worked with Democratic party operative if not unregistered foreign lobbyist Andrea Chalupa to attack candidate Donald Trump and smear him and his campaign manager Paul Manafort as Russian agents, that The Donald has given Porky if not Timoshenko a cold shoulder.

Russia's First Channel, citing Politico and other sources, has the story, which was partly covered by Vineyard of the Saker editor 'Scott'. Longtime RogueMoney readers will not be surprised to see Lowdown Dirty Psyops posts star, ex-US Naval War College troll and former NSA analyst John R. Schindler involved in the PR campaign to smear National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn as a Russian agent:

Recently, Andrea Chalupa, who is herself of Ukrainian origin, and acts in the capacity of an unpaid unregistered foreign agent/lobbyist for the Ukrainian Embassy, came back into political spotlight echoing John Schindler’s accusations that Flynn and his son of being paid Russian intelligence service assets. I often wonder about the sources of income of those journalists who have very large social media presences, but write very little or nothing at all.

John Schindler is one of them. After his very public resignation from the USNWC in August 2014, due to alleged sexual improprieties, he keeps his current place of employment in secret.

This however doesn’t prevent John Schindler from having to frequently accuse a retired Army Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn of being a Russian intelligence asset due to his accepting some modest payment to attend RT’s gala banquet in Moscow, where he spoke briefly with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Flynn has denied accepting any payment directly from RT, but says he was paid by his speakers bureau LAI for the trip to interview with Sophie Shevardnadze, granddaughter of the last Soviet Foreign Minister and first President of an independent Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze.

As reported elsewhere, Schindler and Chalupa’s ‘Flynn’s a traitor’ allegations have been magnified in recent days by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius ‘reporting’ that Flynn telephoned the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on the day Obama announced the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats or officers with diplomatic cover. The Trump camp in turn denies that Flynn discussed anything sensitive with Kiselyak beyond condolences over the crash of the TU-154 carrying the Alexandrov Ensemble in the Black Sea on (western calendar) Christmas Day, as well as preliminary planning for the first meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin sometime in 2017.

On January 13th, the plot thickened with the claims of Scott Dworkin, a Senior Advisor-Democratic Coalition and self-proclaimed “#TrumpLeaks creator,” that they reported Flynn to the National Security Agency for breaking the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) on 11/18. the FARA Act requires a foreign agent or a lobbyist to register within 10 days of agreeing to become and agent.

Now, this report and the nature of the attacks on Flynn raises the whole slew of questions about the nature of activities of John Schindler, Dmitri Alperovitch, Andrea Chalupa, her siblings, and many others. These people run around like chickens with their heads cut off between the Ukrainian Embassy, the Ukrainian culture centers in New York and Washington, and the Senate and other places populated with the US policy makers, every one of them is acting as unregistered paid or unpaid foreign agent.

Not that their frantic activities ever bring positive results. As someone pointed out recently, as an example of their disastrous involvement in the US foreign policy making, Ms. Chalupa, who met Schindler at the 2015 Lithuanian Embassy event she was the subject of a recent Politico piece about the Ukrainian Embassy lamenting that their partisanship for Hillary and Ukrainian officials insults of the future president elect Donald Trump may have frozen them out of the new Administration.

With a caution that “if it’s Ukrainians – more than Russians – who are interfering with our country, we have a right to know” George Ellison recently published a comprehensive research on the Chalupas and Dmitri Alperovitch, titled “Why Crowdstrike’s Russian Hacking Story Fell Apart- Say Hello to Fancy Bear.”

Reiterating some Elison’s questions, “Ukraine has been screaming for the US to start a war with Russia for the past 2 1/2 years. Is Ukrainian Intelligence trying to invent a reason for the US to take a hard-line stance against Russia? Can you mislead the federal government about national security issues and not get investigated yourself?”

— http://thesaker.is/guess-whats-neither-meat-nor-fish-but-ms-chalupa-and-john-schindler-by-scott/

Not Just Trump: Europeans Including the Germans Getting Tired of Funding Kiev Kleptocracy's Endless War in the Donbass

The weariness with which many Europeans including even Angela Merkel's Germans are now viewing the Donbass conflict was revealed by the German Ambassador to Kiev, Ernst Reichel. Who said last week to howls of outrage from the Verkhovna Rada and Ukrainian media that the presence of Russian troops in the LDNR should hardly present an obstacle to elections being held in the republics according to Ukrainian law, as the Minsk 2 agreement calls for. After all, Reichel said, Soviet troops were still on the soil of East Germany when the East Germans voted overwhelmingly to reunify with West Germany in 1990. The Ambassador was summoned to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry to 'explain' if not recant his remarks. PolitRussia's Ruslan Ostashko summed it up this way:

Now I understand that the German Ambassador has been summoned to the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Rada deputies want to give him a filibuster on the 25th anniversary of Ukrainian-German relations. Meanwhile, Ukrainian social networks are discussing a boycott of German goods. I can speculate over where the German Ambassador will tell Ukrainian diplomats to stick it, but the joke about boycotting German goods is just hilarious. The Kiev regime is not going to get anywhere. Delaying the end will not work, and judging by the hysterics in German media on the change out of Angela Merkel’s government, this is so even though the Chocolate Reich has finally got some European sympathizers.

When elections in Donbass are held and recognized, this will mean the ideological, moral, and political bankruptcy of the current Ukrainian regime. Perhaps this could be followed by a civil war of all against all. But there’s another scenario in which Ukraine could immediately opt for formal and informal confederalization under which those parts of former Ukraine who don’t like the ideology of contemporary national idiocy could engage in economic and cultural integration with Russia. Meanwhile, all the others could continue to dream about joining the EU, which never needed them and never will.

— http://www.fort-russ.com/2017/02/givis-death-will-not-break-donbass-just.html

On Thursday Harley Schlanger of LaRouchePAC, an American based in Berlin, recounted to RogueMoney Radio his recent visit to the European Parliament and EU Council in Brussels. Schlanger says he met with Italian MEPs who are assembling a left-right-center coalition to move their country out of the euro. Compared to the earth-shaking economic consequences of an Italexit from the eurozone, having Italian or French corporations simply ignore if not openly defy Brussels sanctions against Russia (including the Crimea) is small pasta. The changes coming with the Dutch and French elections this spring and summer promise to shake if not shatter the EU/Atlanticist facade of post-Western unity against 'Russian aggression in Ukraine'.