Yesterday, the government of Ukraine moved with force against the separatists, evoking a Specter of Civil War.
Ukraine unleashed an offensive to dislodge militants from towns in its eastern Donetsk region as the authorities in Kiev said elements of Russian special forces were identified among the anti-government forces.
Four militants were killed and two wounded when Ukrainian troops stormed an airport in Kramatorsk, taking it under control, Russia’s state-run RIA Novosti news service reported. Ukrainian units backed by armored personnel carriers blocked all approaches to the town of Slovyansk, RIA said, citing an a pro-Russian activist, Sergey Tsyplakov. Part of Russia’s 45th Airborne Regiment was spotted in both of the towns, Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister Vitali Yarema said on Channel 5.
The U.S. and EU states say Russia is behind the turmoil that has fueled their worst standoff since the Cold War. Russia, which NATO says has 40,000 troops massed on Ukraine’s border, denies involvement and says the government in Kiev isn’t protecting Russian-speaking citizens. In warnings similar to those that preceded its annexation of Crimea last month, it insists it has the right to protect them with force if needed.
40,000 Troops - Where Are They?
Countless times over the past few weeks the US, NATO, and EU spoke of mass buildup of Russian forces on the Ukraine border. OK so where are the troops?
Pater Tenebrarum at Acting Man notes Putin's Army Still Hiding – Not Even CNN Can Find It
While it certainly appears possible that Russian special forces are lending a helping hand to the separatist movements in the Eastern Ukraine, we can continue to be quite sure that NATO is telling tall tales about the alleged 'massing of Russian troops' at the border with the Ukraine. Shortly after we noted that a UK journalist was unable to find Putin's army anywhere near the border, NATO published satellite pictures that seemed to prove the opposite.
The Russians averred that while these pictures were quite real, they were also outdated, showing the situation at the time drills were taking place last August. It seems they were telling the truth. CNN has sent a team of reporters to the areas where NATO asserted the troops are stationed, and couldn't find them either.