Russia and Ukraine, February 13, 2022… Czekmate’s Operational Analysis & Commentary

RIA Novosti is reporting that the Ukrainian Army is provoking the Donbas and Luhansk separatist militia using western weapons and American “Mercenaries” from Academi (Formerly Blackwater Worldwide. It goes on to describe the Ukrainian Army as concentrated in an array against these two regions.

Czekmate thought bubble: ‘Such clear horse-s–t’

Czekmate Comment: This is Russian state media, who’ve gone into justification of a course of action on the part of the Russian government that has yet to make itself plain. The amount of firepower being gathered opposite the Ukrainian frontier and in the Black Sea is massive. However, much of what it is accomplishing in Czekmate’s view is to give Ukraine something to think about in terms of the options available to the Kremlin and consequently how few are available to a defensive Kiev. As stated in one of my musings yesterday, it also forces Ukraine to thin out its military posture nationwide leaving the offensive initiative even more with the Russian Army.

In that light, the RIA article is truly slam-tied propaganda in line with the factional/national interests of Putin’s team. Those who follow Czekmate’s rather unorthodox thought train on the Russian buildup and the diplomacy surrounding it would observe that Ukraine would be unwise to concentrate forces opposite the DPR and LPR. They are more likely to be widely dispersed in order to cover multiple lanes of potential approach by the Russian Army.

In that light the national government under Prime Minister Zelensky has either been admirably cool-headed or criminally complacent about that which is arrayed against them. Much of the anecdotal information about daily life in and around Kiev suggests that churches, schools, bars and clubs are continuing to operate as usual. If the Ukrainian press is accurate, just today the Ukrainian Army cancelled all leave to include recalling troops already on leave. In short, Ukraine seems to be observing a posture that the tensions are overhyped and they are not going to play the provocateur.

Also in the “win column” for the Ukrainian government is that they appear to be successful with the deployment of their diplomatic service. Specifically, they were quick to protest the expansive closure areas for Naval exercises on the Black Sea this past week. Within the past 48 hours they also used the Vienna Document to make a request of the Russian government as to their intentions regarding such a massive deployment of forces. This is exactly what this diplomatic arrangement should be used for. Other treaty mechanisms such as the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty and the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty are in the proverbial hurt locker. But the Vienna Document continues to have buy-in from the Russian government and all other members of the OSCE (Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe).

The bottom line for the Ukrainian government is that they seem to be the adults in the room throughout this entire epoch. As of this writing, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister is tweeting that the Russian Federation did not make its deadline to respond under the terms of the Vienna document.

Update on Russian response to terms of Vienna document. Russia states it has not conducted any unusual military activity in their country. Russia states Ukraine’s claim is not admissible.

Czekmate does not have high hopes for the German Chancellor’s trip to Kiev and Moscow in the next few days. Although, Germany seems to have the best shot for being the most honest broker. They are a party to the “Normandy Format” quad partite arrangement which helped end the LPR & DPR conflict of 2014, Both Ukraine and Russia (In addition to Germany and France) have equities in keeping the arrangement viable. This is borne out in multiple recent Kremlin statements about returning to the Minsk agreement, also a product of the Normandy Format talks in the city of the same name.

German interest is in resolving this matter with little economic damage owing to the exposure of the German economy to Russian trade. Sanctions could actually bite where Germany is concerned. The other western player among the Normandy Format states, France appears to have disengaged. President Macron is a deeply unpopular leader, and one cannot help but consider his journey to Moscow, Kiev, and Berlin last week was an attempt to buttress his reelection chance in August. Putin certainly knew that when Macron made it to Moscow.

“Excuse my language, but we don’t give a $#!+ about all their sanctions. We have already had so many sanctions and in that sense they’ve had a positive effect on our economy and agriculture. New sanctions are nothing positive but not as bad as the West makes it sound.” -Viktor Tatarintsev, Russian Diplomat

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