The bad news:
1. The dirty business with Russian “humanitarian aid” continues. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was too quick to declare that the preparation for delivery of the so-called humanitarian aid to the residents of Donbas “has entered its final stage.”
Then, suddenly, Moscow started claiming that attempts would be made [by Ukraine] to destroy the convoy. Allegedly, they were “receiving reports that the subversive group of the Aidar punitive battalion planned to lay mines on certain sections of roads in Luhansk Oblast, in order to destroy vehicles with humanitarian cargo and its accompanying personnel, and then accuse the local militia of terrorism.”
And this statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry unveils the whole Kremlin’s agenda.
Firstly, the territory that the M-04 highway lies across, is controlled by insurgents. There is a section, which has been taken under control by the ATO [anti-terrorist operation] forces, but that only means fire control. To “explain” this, the Kremlin states that the subversive groups will do the job! But Moscow made a mistake by claiming it would be Aidar [Battalion of Territorial Defense]. Had it blurted out [the accusations] aimed at, for example, the special forces of the Chief Directorate of Intelligence with the Ministry of Defense [GUR], that would be halfway believable, since these guys go through subversive training. Soldiers of Aidar [Battalion] do not. Had the Ukrainian authorities wanted to stage such a dirty and intentionally high-profile provocation, they would have sent professional subversives to do it.
Secondly, if Moscow is so worried about its cargo and personnel, then it’s completely incomprehensible as to why it is sending the convoy to Ukraine through an insurgent-controlled territory. They could have handed over the cargo, as they originally announced, to the Red Cross at the border of Kharkiv Oblast, loaded it on board of the ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross] vehicles (as insisted upon by Kyiv), and slept peacefully. From then on, the cargo would be the headache of the ICRC and the Ukrainian government.
Thirdly, having the convoy travel through the terrorist-controlled territory makes any investigation impossible in the event of sabotage. We already witnessed that at the crash site of the [MH-17] Boeing. This means that the insurgents can blow up the convoy and then [Russia] can easily claim that this was done by the ATO forces, a group of Martians, or whoever else. And after the statement by the Russian Foreign Ministry, it is obvious who Moscow will try to blame.
To sum up, it is perfectly clear why Moscow started the whole malarkey with the “humanitarian aid.” [This is] very much true to form for Putin and the FSB. Quite cynical and treacherous–but clumsily done.
2. There was a strong reaction to the message by the British reporters from the Daily Telegraph and The Guardian newspapers, about the fact that last night, they had observed the Russian military equipment crossing the border into Ukraine. NATO went as far as to verify this information (and confirmed it successfully).
The degree of this reaction remains a mystery to me. We, the IR [Information Resistance] group, have confirmed facts of constant deployment of equipment and weapons from the Russian Federation to Donbas, since as early as April [of 2014]. Some time after that, our state authorities also began to talk about this repeatedly.
If the West had not trusted this information, that is exactly why the intelligence services of the Western countries employ high-brow, well-paid analysts. Over the past six months, they could have easily found out (even from publicly available sources), which military units of the Ukrainian Armed Forces were deployed to Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. Based on that, [the analysts] would have concluded that the tanks, the cannons, the Grads [missile launchers], etc. that the terrorists have no shortage of, could not have been taken from the Ukrainian military. And there aren’t too many options left as to where the insurgents could have gotten this equipment from. It does not take an intelligence school to figure it out.
Based on this, I can hardly comprehend why our Western partners are so taken aback today.
3. It’s Christmas for the pro-Russian forces in Ukraine: the former Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council [NSDC] Andriy Parubiy lost the court case against Viktor Medvedchuk, the head of the pro-Russian “Ukrainian Choice” organization. If the followers of Medvedchuk are to be believed, the court ruled that Parubiy’s claims that Medvedchuk–is a criminal involved in organizing a separatist movement–are false and “discredit the honor and dignity” of Medvedchuk.
I am baffled. If the court proved that Medvedchuk organized no separatist movements, then what is Moscow paying him for? Simply because he is Putin’s kum? In that case, congratulations, Viktor Volodymyrovych [Medvedchuk], you’ve set yourself up very well. But I’ll be honest–if Parubiy lied about Medvedchuk, then I don’t know what the truth is.
By the way, Petro Symonenko, the leader of Ukrainian communists complained that the General Prosecutor’s Office opened a criminal case against him. There is a God after all and, fortunately, he is not on the side of Orthodox communists.
The good news:
1. Sadly, we see no drastic changes in the progress of the ATO. The terrorists are mounting counterattacks, trying to regain their lost positions in both Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts. Armed confrontations are underway in the districts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Ilovaysk, Shakhtarsk, and Krasnyi Luch. The situation is difficult in the area of Savur-Mohyla, where our units are constantly under fire. In many areas along the border, shellings from the Russian territory continue, complicating the work of our [Armed] forces a great deal. In addition, the Russians have practically destroyed the “Uspenka” border checkpoint with “Grads.”
But on this background, there are tactical victories–such as the encirclement of the insurgent groups near Mospyne and freeing a number of towns [that are] secondary in the strategic sense. Also, the liberation of the strategically (and “politically”) important Donetsk is underway, albeit slowly, as is preparation for taking Luhansk. We will appreciate these successes today, and look forward to big victories tomorrow.
2. The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko made a statement today that a large part of the [military] equipment that entered the Ukrainian territory from Russia yesterday was destroyed by Ukrainian artillery overnight.
According to our data, at least 100 units of military equipment were transported from Russia to the terrorists over the last two days. It is imperative that [this equipment] does not come anywhere close to Luhansk, or to the encirclement currently being created near Snizhne. If artillerymen and aviators can solve this problem–honor and praise to them.
3. The Minister of Justice Pavlo Petrenko announced that he is convinced a criminal case will be opened against the Russian President Putin due to the current events in Ukraine. “This is my personal civic stance, and not even my opinion as a Justice Minister. This case must go to international courts,” he said.
I also share his opinion. Except, I’m afraid that Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin] may have to be tried posthumously–after he drinks poison while sitting in his bunker at the Central Command Post [of Armed Forces of Russia] and soiling his pants at the sound of advancing Ukrainian tanks.
P.S. Friends, a few words about our experts, to answer some of the questions [we receive]. A month ago, we “legalized” (that is, made public) two more members of the IR group–Vyacheslav Gusarov and Konstantin Mashovets, experts of our Center for Military and Political Studies (CMPS: http://cmps.org.ua/en). Currently, these experts are in the service of the Information and Analysis Center with the NSDC, where they are working for the benefit of our homeland. That’s why when in different instances the media might speak of them as representing the CMPS or the NSDC–this doesn’t really matter. Both options are correct.
Dmitry Tymchuk, Coordinator, Information Resistance
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine