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|Russia Invaded Ukraine | Summary of Russian Aggression against Ukraine | Russian Shooting Down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 | Bellingcat Investigations: MH-17 | Ukraine@War Blog: MH-17|
Starting November 21st 2013 thru to Late Winter 2014, Ukraine was experiencing the Euromaidan Grassroots Civic Movement, a struggle for making sure Ukraine was leaning towards the west, to eliminate rampant corruption, and to increase the quality of life for citizens of Ukraine. Ever increasing protests in Maidan square in Kyiv approached numbers in excess of a million people at a time.
This civil unrest climaxed with the massacre of approximately 100 Protesters on Maidan Square by the Yanukovych regime Berkut snipers (there is some evidence that Russian spetznatz snipers were also active in the carnage). This from February 18th-20th 2014. President Viktor Yanukovych fled the country during the night of February 21st-22nd 2014.
The failure of the Yanukovych Government and the movement towards civil society was perceived as a threat to Russia's persistent meddling in the internal affairs of Ukraine. The collapse of the Yanukovych government would result in Russia having substantially less control over the Ukrainian state. Putin's greatest fear is that Russia would suffer it's own coloured revolution that would target the totalitarian state that Russia had become and decimate the tool of corruption used to keep that state in power.
This fear of a coloured revolution in Russia resulted in several aggressive moves by Russian President Vladimir Putin to destabilize Ukraine and to grab territories of Ukraine. This started with the use of Russian spetznatz snipers in Kyiv supporting the Yanukovych regime circa February 18th 2014.
The Russians then used an obfuscating technique of using unmarked soldiers who were "labeled" by the Russians as "local rebels" -- later was verified by Putin that they were indeed Russian soldiers -- who then progressively seized Crimea. This was at a time when the new government of Ukraine was still being formed and being sworn in. At that time many high ranking Ukrainian military commanders who were appointed by the Yanukovych Government appeared to have a loyalty to Moscow.
The Russian Government interference was started on February 23rd. On February 27th masked unidentified "green men" seized the Crimean Parliament. Over the next few days they continued to seize and/or isolate Ukrainian military installations on the Crimean peninsula. Independence from Ukraine was declared on March 11th. This was followed by a fixed/falsified Referendum on March 16th with pre-printed pre-marked ballots and turnout numbers that in some districts exceeded the registered local population by 132%. The Russian Government then signed a treaty with Crimea on March 18th which led to the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation on March 21st when the treaty was ratified by the Government of Russia.
The next major phase of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine was attacks on Donbas (Eastern Ukraine) and subsequently the Russians created an artificial entity called "Novorossiya". As Crimea went smoothly with almost no fighting at all, the next phase of the Russian Invasion has taken a heavy death toll on Ukrainian soldiers, Ukrainian civilians, and not recognized by Russia but a heavy death toll of Russian military professional soldiers who were opearting covertly in Ukraine.
The plan was to create "local uprisings" in major Ukrainian cities such as Odesa, Mykolayiv, Dnipro (formerly Dnipropetrovsk), Zaporizhya, Kherson, Mariopol, Kharkiv, Donetsk and Luhansk. The methodology was to use unidentified armed groups to seize government buildings and then declare independence from Ukraine.
There was some success in Donetsk & Luhansk Oblasts where Russian special forces (unmarked uniforms) grabbed strategic locations in some critical cities with the help of the local corrupted/compromised Internal Security forces and local police forces. These failed in all other Ukrainian cities in a "grand scheme" to create a new state called "Novorossiya" which would then follow the Crimean model and declare independence and then be swallowed up by Russia. Many times quick action by the Ukrainian Security Services (SBU) and local patriots prevented these plans coming to fruition.
Now why target these specific cities? They all contain critical defence industries under the control of the Ukrainian government that Russia desperately needed. Russia needed it for it's massive re-armament campaign fueled by high energy commodity prices. It was also designed to cut off Ukraine's access to the Black Sea & Sea of Azov. A side benefit would have been a land bridge uniting seized territories of Transdniester (from Moldova) and Crimea (from Ukraine) to the Russian Federation. Kherson was needed so as to control the fresh water supply to Crimea thru the Soviet era constructed canal.
Russia failed with Russian GRU operatives in all the other cities to take their targets -- Ukrainians defeated them and captured many of them and identifying them as Russian citizens and Russian Government operatives (mainly GRU).
The Russian GRU under the command of GRU Colonel Igor Girken, call sign "Strelkov", managed to grab many Ukrainian cities such as Sloviansk, Kramatorsk, Severodonetsk, & Horlivka in the Donbas region with the use of GRU spetznatz units brought in by Il-76 transport aircraft at Luhansk airport. This resulted in the initiation of the Ukrainian Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) lead by the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
Ukrainian Forces had very good success starting in late May thru Mid-July where the existing Russian Forces in Donbas were minimal. The success of the Ukrainian armed forces meant a good 40% of Russian occupied territories were retaken and the existing Russian forces in Ukraine were on the verge of collapse. Much of the Ukrainian border was reclaimed and cut off the Russian forces from their supply chain except in the city of Luhansk area.
There were numerous public calls for help to Vladimir Putin by the Russian proxy leader Girken (please note Girken was a Russian Military Intelligence GRU officer who previously took part in "Serbian war crimes" in Bosnia). As Russian forces were retreating, they requested anti-aircraft weaponry to defend against attacks by Ukrainian Air Force Su-25, Su-24, & MIG 29 arcraft on Russian positions. The Russian military complied by supplying the Russian GRU spetznatz with manpad, Strela-10, & BUK ground to air missle launchers.
At this time there was the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17 on July 17th 2014. Evidence quickly emerged that this was accomplished by a Russian Military BUK Surface to Air Missile Launcher. Various social media photographs and testimony indicated that this was Russian Military and was always under their control.
There was an unverified & unsubstantiated Security Bureau of Ukraine theory that this was a Missile launcher brought in specifically to shoot down a Russian Aeroflot airliner at a specific time and date and thus create the excuse to have a full scale Russian invasion because it could be blaimed on Ukrainian forces. Problem is in many Ukrainian Oblasts (Provinces) there are several villages that have the same name and the crews unfamiliar with Ukraine went to the wrong village -- there are SBU intercepts wireless that seem to support this. Thus the BUK Missile Crew went to the wrong village and thus at the designated time targeted the wrong airliner.
On July 17th 2014, at 13:19 UTC, this airliner was shot down by a BUK Surface to Air Missile Launcher provided and most likely crewed by the Russian 53rd Air Defense Brigade stationed in Kursk, Russia -- since then evidence in Social media posts has shown this unit was transported from Kursk Russia to Donetsk, Rostov Oblast, Russia and then brought into Ukraine via a Russian controlled border crossing and then transported to Donetsk, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine and then moved towards Torez & Snizhne (where it was photographed at multiple points along the path) and then was set up south of Snizhne in a farmers field that was later identified and then shot down MH-17.
Russian officers (who were involved in the training of such units) have stated that this was a sophisticated piece of weaponry that could not be learned overnight and thus was most likely manned by Russian regular military. This was not a point and shoot manpad but a complicated piece of equipment that needed several pieces of equipment in the command and control chain of command -- and they were all located on the Russian side of the border with Ukraine.
Thus Russian military from the 53rd Air Defence Brigade based in Kursk, Russia was the culprit thus committed mass murder. Thus 283 passengers and 15 crew of Maylasia Airlines Flight MH-17 from Amsterdam, Holland to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia was shut down over Hrabove, Donetsk Oblast in Russian occupied Ukraine by a Russian Military Unit. There have been a few very dedicated Internet Investigators who have pieced together the trail of this BUK Launcher and even the identities of their transporters and their crews thru information posted on social media. Never underestimate the desire by military crews to do selfies especially when they do not understand the ramifications of what they did or what they are going to do.
The SNAFU of MH-17 put a damper on the planned Russian invasion of Ukraine of July 2014. The Russians delayed it by a month+ as the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Russian Media and the Russian Propaganda Warriors created a haze of who really shot down MH-17. The timetable was shifted to late Augusrt 2014 and it lead to a much lesser intervention.
The Official Russian Invasion started on August 27th 2014. Of course this was all denied by Putin much as he had denied Crimea (and then later gloated that it really was them).
The massive influx of Russian regular forces tipped the balance in Russia's favour and led to a defeat of Ukrainian forces at Ilovaisk -- what is clear that many Russians were there before the so-called official entry into Ukraine -- 24th of August 2014 and is when Russian troops were first identified in Ukraine. What is not widely acknowledged was that 1/3rd of a Russian Professional Elite VDV (Airborne Assault) unit suffered Cargo 200 (Killed in Action) & Cargo 300 (Wounded in Action) casualties at the hands of Ukrainians. Also not widely covered in the Western Media was the Russian military agreed to a withdrawal of Ukrainian forces via a narrow corridor -- when Ukrainian forces took advantage of that offer, Russian forces obliterated that corridor with artillery fire -- thus their word meant nothing and could be classified as a war crime.
The battles led to the Minsk I Accord on September 12th 2014 in Minsk Belarus under the signatories of Ukraine, Russia, Germany, France and the so-called "rebel" republics (aka proxies of Moscow). Despite a ceasefire a low intensity war was being fought by the Russians. All this bought was time for Moscow to build up arms, ammunition, troops in Russian occupied Donbas.
The first so-called Humanitarian Aid Convoy entered Ukraine on August 22nd 2014. It was controversial as Ukrainian border crossing inspection was not allowed, 3rd party such as the International Red Cross was not also allowed to inspect the convoy. It is widely believed that there was minimal humanitarian aid but mostly ammunition and supplies for existing Russian forces in Russian occupied Eastern Ukraine.
As more Russian "Humanitarian Convoys" went into Russian occupied Donbas, a pattern was recognized that 1-2 days after such convoys arrived, Russian forces escalated their artillery fire and attacks on Ukrainian positions. These so-called "Humanitarian Aid" convoys quickly gained the reputation of ammunition runs for Russian military units in occupied Ukraine.
The Russian so-called Humanitarian Convoys do not leave Russian-occupied Donbas empty either. These convoys have been used to dismantle and ship Ukrainian factories to Russia. This includes all equipment and documentation. Many of the factories are critical military & aerospace technology firms. Such firms included a turbine blade manufacturing plant, an electronic warfare design & manufracturing plant, ammunition plants, etc etc. The beneficiaries are not just Russia, but various Oligarchs that are close and loyal to Vladimir Putin.
The last two years, Russia has been using the railways it captured, including major railway junctions such as Ilovaisk, Debatseve, and Yatsunove. Sense a pattern here? All three were/are major battles and all 3 are major railway junctions. Russia has been shipping out Coal mined in Donbas and lots of scrap steel as it dismantles Soviet-era steel plants to feed Russia's archaic steel industry. In a bizarre way, Russia has done Ukraine a favour once Ukraine gains control over Donbas in the future. The Ukrainian Oligarchs had been squeezing the last bit of life out of these steel plants, thus maximizing profits & without investing in newer technologies. Once Donbas comes back to Ukrainian control, these plants will be created with state of the art technologies and therefore making it better than ever. Russia is still stuck in that Soviet-era technology mode and won't upgrade till they absolutely have to.
Also Russia has been using these railway lines & junctions to bring in more Russian military equipment from tanks, armoured personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, trucks, fuel, ammunition, artillery, self propelled guns, self propelled anti-aircraft weaponry, mutiple launch rocket systems and supplies to support their military in Russian occupied Ukraine.
The next target f the Russian military was Donetsk Airport which was under Ukrainian Military control since retaking it back from Chechen Interior Ministry troops in May 2014. Ukrainians had established well defined kill zones and had made use of IR sensors placed thru the entire airport perimeter to give them advanced warning of ground assaults by Russian military. This allowed the Ukrainian Military to maintain a 3+ to 1 kill ratio and had managed to decimate another 1/3rd of a Russian Professional Elite VDV (Airborne Assault) unit nevermind the so-called volunteer units.
In the end the Russians finally overran the Donetsk airport due to political interference restricting when and were Ukrainian military units could react with massive artillery fire when under attack. The result was the failure of Ukrainian troops in January 21st 2015. What is not specified in these Ukrainian failures is that 3X+ more Russians Military were killed in all these battles because of the effectiveness of Ukrainian artillery. Calls into question what defines Russian Professional Military and it's lack of quality.
The Minsk 2 accord was signed on February 11th 2015 -- what is not recognized by most Western Media is that there was no ceasefire and that Russian regular military used Chechen Units and Russian irregular units as canon fodder. As with Donetsk Airport, the Ukrainian military has very well defined kill zones with artillery. What Minsk 2 did was paralize the effectiveness of Ukrainian artillery units while the Russian army continued to disregard the Minsk 2 agreement. The result was that a Ukrainian stronghold of Debaltseve fell to escalated Russian regular military attacks -- without Ukrainian artillery option they did not stand a chance. Thus Ukrainian forces were forced to withdraw from the critical rail hub of Debaltseve on February 18th 2015. What is not very much publicized, is that the Battle for Debaltseve resulted in the final 1/3rd of a Russian Professional Elite VDV (Airborne Assault) unit was destroyed at Debaltseve. Thus a single elite Russian Professional VDV (airborne assualt) unit was destroyed by the Ukrainian army. Something that most of the Western MsM has ignored but General Clarke in his analysis report had indicated happened.
Since Minsk 2 Russian forces have tried various intrusions but had failed everytime -- in fact some Ukrainian Volunteer battallions regained ground in Shyrokene Ukraine where they recaptured high ground positions thus blocking a direct assault on Mariupol, Ukraine. the understanding is that Russia will try a new offensive against Ukraine sometime in the future. There has been a massive buildup of tanks, APCs, artillery, self-propelled artillery, trucks and 20 combat units inside of Ukraine and another 56 combat units on the border of Ukraine right next to the occupied territories. Six EU countries are now providing minimal lethal weaponry to Ukraine but the ones that count have yet to do so such as the USA.
From 2015-2017 the Ukrainian military has beaten off probing attacks by the Russian forces in Donbas. The majority of the time, the Ukrainian military has beaten back the Russian offensives and then counterattacked. The vast majority of times the Ukrainian Armed Forces has pushed back the Russian forces and gained territory previously held by Russian forces. This has happened time after time in places such as Svitlodarsk, Avdiivka, Dokuchayesk, Starohnativka, Vodyane, & Shyrokene.
Statistics kept by the Ukrainian Military show there has never been a real ceasefire, in fact it has been a consistent low intensity hot war/conflict with peaks and lows matching when it was beneficial for Russia politically.
As part of Russia's hybrid war against Ukraine
Since 2014 various militaries from NATO have provided NATO standard training to the Ukrainian Armed Forces to bring up the Ukrainian Military to NATO standards. This has included American Parratroopers, Regular American army, Canadian military, British military, Polish military, Lithuanian military and several other nations. There has also been special forces training and joint exercises with various NATO countries and Ukraine. This training is crucial and has helped the quality of the Ukrainian armed forces and increased it's ability to defend itself against the Russian military which has retrogated to Soviet-era quality in recent years after a push to modernize their forces.
Ukraine is no longer the stagnant post-soviet military and has been significantly improving the knowledge and training of it's soldiers. Much of the training has been elevated to NATO standards with the help of the various NATO countries.
Hybrid War Methodology was and is being used by the Kremlin. Hybrid War can be described as Total war where massive propaganda, Information warfare, Economic Warfare, Terrorist actions behind Ukrainian lines, obfuscation of direct Russian military involvement, Energy warfare, diplomatic warfare, humanitarian warfare, war crimes, and direct warfare of select times were Russian military forces with insignia were applied. This type of warfare has high and low intensity phases but the goal at all times is to weaken the Ukrainian state and lead to it's collapse but keep the intensity low enough that the West does not intervene directly on the side of Ukraine, supply lethal weapons to Ukraine, and/or impose crippling sanctions on Russia. Russia uses it's place on the Security Council of the UN to block any Security Council Resolutions that may damage it's actions.
A different aspect of Russia's Hybrid war is to influence / control politicians in various NATO countries in it's favour wrt to Russian positions especially Ukraine. It uses money, coersion, kompromat, hacking, election fraud, and it's massive Troll Bot army in propaganda to influence outcomes in it's favour. It is alleged that the Kremlin used it's resources to help Donald Trump get elected President of the United States 2016. There are fingerprints of Russian involvement in the Scottish independence referendum and the Brexit Referendum -- possibly designed to throw the UK off balance and thus less effective on the foreign policy field. Russian influence has been used in Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, and even an attempted armed coup in Montenegro to prevent it from joining NATO.
Also prior to the last Canadian Federal election former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien privately met with Putin in a private meeting -- a month later the Liberal Party of Canada was flush with cash and later won the federal election against a Conservative PM who was hostile to Putin and very pro-Ukrainian. This government once elected decided to cancel the renewal for Canadian training of the Ukrainian army, and also decided to block the passing of the Magnitsky act. Something changed as about a year after being elected, the Canadian Liberal Government appeared to have purged some of the old Chretien old guard cabinet ministers (these cabinet ministers suddenly resigned their cabinet positions and accepted lucrative patronage positions) and the government subsequently shifted to a more pro-Ukrainian stance, and thus reversing their previous stances on support for the Ukrainian military and also support for passing the Magnitsky act. Coincidence?
The Dutch government held a federal election recently where they abandoned electronic ballots in favour of the true tested paper ballot counted by hand. The Russian government had been successful in using the previous Dutch government in delaying the approval of the EU Ukraine Association Agreement. Alot of social media resources was applied against parties favourable to approving the EU Ukraine AA. Russia failed in its attempts to isolate Ukraine. The pro-Russian allies were decimated in the elections.
It has become apparent that the Alt-Right (Russian connections via Aleksandr Dugin) with Russian help did a coup d'etat of the Republican Party of the USA and imposed a Russia-favourable Presidential Candidate who has appeared to have been a willing participant of Russian money laundering for the last 30 years. It was a massive social media campaign funded by the Russians based on electoral data stolen/hacked by the Russian GRU units "Fancy Bear" and "Cozy Bear" who had also hacked the e-mails of the Democratic National Congress and the Campaign manager of the Democratic Presidential Candidate. The Russians used an anti-American social activist who created Wikileaks which has since been identified as having a pro-Kremlin agenda as the means to distribute the hacked materials. The Russian intervention helped elect a pro-Kremlin candidate in a race that both candidates were considered distasteful if not repugnant. Since election, the POTUS attempted to weaken the sanctions against Russia, constantly given pro-Russian positions and statemennts and his own party initiated codifying the Russian sanctions thus restricting his ability to weaken Russian sanctions by passing a veto-proof law and complained about it vehemently after the case. He also has sat on providing lethal weaponry to Ukraine and has still not signed the recommendations. It is perceived that he has been compromised by the Russians. Even Russian Government controlled TV trolls American Intelligence agencies that Russia elected the American President and they were too weak/incompetent to prevent it. The American Constitution and it's structure of three pillars of power have saved the USA from doing the Kremlin's bidding -- Kudos to the American founding fathers for such insight of power.
In France, the Russians had compromised 4 of the 5 parties running presidential candidates. The two parties on the left and the two parties on the right were advocating in their foreign policy pro-Kremlin positions. When it became apparent that a unknown Centrist with a new party was gaining ground the Russian attempted to run a dirt campaign as run previously in the USA by hacking the candidates mail servers and revealed kompromat -- this candidate was prepared for this and had previously created a "honeypot" server with false info and was exposed prior to the elections thus providing for Macron's election victory. It was a perfect example how Russia funded & supported the right and left wings of the spectrum to support their actions. Ideology was not an issue -- all that mattered was a pliant leader who was open to Kremlin initiatives. Kudos to Macron for seeing how the Russians hijacked the American elections.
Presently the German government is in federal elections for Chancelor. Russian fingerprints have been evident in trying to elect a government pliant to the Kremlin. Lets see what happens. It appears the Germans are aware of Russian attempts to influence the elections.
It must be noted that there are many untruths spread by the Russian Propaganda Machine and Western Mass Media that have not taken the time to properly research the events in Ukraine.
The following are some of truths that we wish to get across.
The one fact that is ultimately clear, that this is a Russian Government Invasion of Ukraine, paid for by Moscow, armed by Moscow (where weaponry in occupied Donbas exceeds 3-4 major NATO member countries combined), soldiers supplied by Moscow, officers supplied by Moscow and under tight control of Moscow. In the end this was and is a Russian Invasion of Ukraine.
This section on the InfoUkes web site is a work in progress and components will be added in over the next little while in hopes of dispelling the massive Russian Disinformation campaign being waged out of Moscow and St Petersburg Russia and to provide accurate information.
Staff of InfoUkes Inc.
September 11th 2017
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