Month: September 2014

Tanks but no tanks

Today, (or yesterday depending on where you are) on September 2nd, some incredibly significant footage of a significant amount of Russian Federation regular troops supposedly venturing beyond the sovereign borders of Ukraine. The video depicts an entire mechanized battalion positioned between Luhansk city and Krasnodon and speaks to the scale of the Russian incursions into Ukraine. Click here to view the video. 

Continuing on the topic which seems to be the only thing I ever write about anymore: Russian materiel and the implications of it being in East Ukraine. This post will be less focused on pointing out why and how different vehicles come from the Russian Federation as this has already been established plenty. If you still don’t believe that Russia has been supplying military hardware and been directly involved in the conflict then odds are you never will.
In light of the recent counter offensive launched by Novorussia and her friends, which turned a routing rebel force into a mighty army practically bulldozing over Ukrainian positions, it has become apparent that Russia doesn’t want to expose it’s presence to the world more than necessary. This is why the recent images coming out of Ilovaisk now are so interesting, because they show the plethora of Russian armor attacking the Ukrainian enclaves within Novorossian territory. Although militarily the Ilovaisk pocket incident was a crushing victory for the Novorossian forces, the footage that came out of it revealed at least three T-72B3s either captured, knocked out and even at least one completely destroyed.

This behavior would point to a certain level of caution, or as Kremlin would probably consider it: “restraint” by Russian regulars in eastern Ukraine. it’s in the interest of the Russian federation to keep their name out of the conflict as much as possible while still securing a decisive victory, as such, militants of the DNR and LNR are paraded in front of the cameras while regular forces mop up the pockets of resistance and stay in the rear during major pushes for territory. 
During the next couple of days we should expect to see a far more blatant Russian involvement in eastern Ukraine than previously seen. Even considering the US satellite imagery, this recent video is the single largest recorded incursion by Russian Federation troops into Ukrainian territory since Crimea. Tonight has already witnessed one attempt at Mariopol’ and the future of this conflict may very well depend on how well the Ukrainian army can defend it.

As far as civil wars and insurgencies go, the conflict in Ukraine has been incredibly heavy on maneuver warfare since the stunning counteroffensive. Considering this, the Ukrainians have to be extremely careful not to end up having Mariopol’ surrounded. Knowing the might and skill of Russian armor from the last august war in Georgia it should be interesting to see how it will play out when Russia ‘only kind of wants it’. Taking into account the recent success at Luhansk airport in which Ukrainian forces were also deeply entrenched, we should expect to see some very heavy fighting in Mariopol’, and the city may very well be as leveled as the airport by the time Russian armor rolls through.

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