Last Thursday, the Ukrainian government, echoed by NATO spokesmen, declared that the Russian military is now operating within the Ukraine’s borders. Well, maybe it is and maybe it isn’t; what do you know? They said the same thing before, most recently on 13 August, and then on 17 August, each time with either no evidence or fake evidence. However, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. You be the judge. I put together this helpful list of top ten tell-tale signs that will allow you to determine whether indeed Russia invaded the Ukraine last Thursday, or whether Thursday’s announcement is yet another confabulation. (Credit to Roman Kretsul). Because if Russia invaded on Thursday morning, this is what the situation on the ground would look like by Saturday afternoon.
- Ukrainian artillery fell silent almost immediately. They’re no longer shelling residential districts of Donetsk and Lugansk. This is because the Russians pinpointed their locations prior to the operation, and by Thursday afternoon they were completely wiped out using air attacks, artillery, and ground-based rocket fire, as the first order of business. This overjoyed local residents; their horrible ordeal is finally at an end.
- The look of military activity on the ground in Donetsk and Lugansk changed dramatically. Whereas before it involved small groups of resistance fighters, the Russians operate in battalions of 400 men and dozens of armoured vehicles, followed by convoys of support vehicles (tanker trucks, communications, field kitchens, field hospitals, and so on). The flow of vehicles in and out is non-stop, plainly visible on air reconnaissance and satellite photos. Add to that the relentless radio chatter, all in Russian, which anyone who wants to can intercept, and the operation becomes impossible to hide.
- The Ukrainian military promptly vanished. Soldiers and officers alike took off their uniforms, abandoned their weapons, and did their best to blend in with the locals. Nobody thought the odds of the Ukrainian army against the Russians were any good. The Ukraine’s only military victory against Russia was at the battle of Konotop in 1659, but then the Ukraine was an ally of the mighty Khanate of Crimea, and, you may have noticed, Crimea isn’t on the Ukraine’s side this time around.
- There are Russian checkpoints everywhere. They allow local civilians through, but they detain anyone associated with a government, foreign or domestic, for questioning. A filtration system returns demobilised Ukrainian army draftees to their native regions, whilst volunteers and the officers go to pre-trial detention centres, to determine whether they’d ordered war crimes to be committed.
- Most Ukrainian border crossings are by now under Russian control. Some are reinforced with air defence and artillery systems and tank battalions, to dissuade NATO forces from attempting to stage an invasion. Civilians and humanitarian goods are allowed through. Businessmen are allowed through once they fill out the required forms (which are in Russian).
- Russia imposed a no-fly zone over all the Ukraine and cancelled all civilian flights. There’s quite a crowd of US State Department staffers, CIA, and Mossad agents, and Western NGO people stuck at Borispol airport in Kiev. Some are nervously calling everyone they know on their satellite phones. Western politicians are demanding that they be evacuated immediately, but Russian authorities want to hold onto them until their possible complicity in war crimes has been determined.
- The usual Ukrainian talking heads, such as Poroshenko, Yatsenyuk, and others, are no longer available to be interviewed by Western media. Nobody quite knows where they are. There are rumours that they’ve already fled the country. Crowds stormed their abandoned residences, and were amazed to discover that they were all outfitted with solid gold toilets. Nor are the Ukrainian oligarchs anywhere to be found, except for the warlord Igor Kolomoisky, found in his residence, abandoned by his henchmen, dead from a heart attack. (Contributed by the Saker.)
- Some of the over 800,000 Ukrainian refugees are starting to stream back in from Russia. They were living in tent cities, many of them in nearby Rostov Oblast, but with the winter coming, they’re eager to get back home, now that the shelling is over. Along with them, construction crews, cement trucks, and flatbeds stacked with pipe, cable and rebar are streaming in, to repair the damage from the shelling.
- There are all sorts of intense diplomatic and military activity around the world, especially in Europe and the USA. Military forces are on highest alert; diplomats are jetting around and holding conferences. President Obama just held a press conference to announce, “We don’t have a strategy on Ukraine yet”. His military advisers tell him that his usual strategy of “bomb a little and see what happens” isn’t likely to be helpful in this instance.
- Kiev has surrendered. There are Russian tanks on the Maidan. Russian infantry is mopping up the remains of Ukraine’s National Guard. A curfew has been announced. The operation to take Kiev resembled “Shock and Awe” in Baghdad: a few loud bangs and then a whimper.
Armed with this list, you too should be able to determine whether Russia invaded the Ukraine last Thursday.
1 September 2014
Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity