Patrick Armstrong is a former political counselor at Canadian Embassy in Moscow
THE BATTLEFIELD. The rebels have scored huge gains: more "cauldrons”, re-taken the height of Saur-Mogila and reached the sea. People who don’t think Col Cassad is a good source can stick with the BBC and wonder, while looking at the attached map, how the rebels can be in Novoazovsk; or how the Russian aid convoy got into "surrounded” Lugansk. Rather than admit that it has been robotically re-typing Kiev's press releases, the Western MSM will shout that the Russians must have invaded but "If Russia was sending its regular troops, we wouldn't be talking about the battle of Elenovka here. We'd be talking about a battle of Kiev or a possible capture of Lvov”. Kiev isn’t sure what to say: the same official spokesman: Russian invasion? Yes, No; take your pick. The Western MSM is not doing due diligence. How many invasions has it reported? April, June, July. The Russian "buildup on the border”, always alarming, always threatening, whatever the numbers: "very, very sizable” in March, 40K or none in April, 12K in July, 20K in August. They must think we have 20-second attention spans. Two sites to counter the various manifestations of the Western Pravda: the Saker and Cassad.
NOW, SUDDENLY the Germans suggest federalisation, Ashton recommends Kiev get along with Russia, the EU suggests an accommodation with the Customs Union might be possible. Good ideas in March and really good ideas a year ago; but it was all "civilisational choice” then. Kiev is losing on the battlefield, it’s bankrupt, winter is coming, the Europeans don’t want their paid-for gas being siphoned off by Kiev, Russian sanctions are biting.
SPONTANEOUS MAIDAN? It has been revealed that the EU spent €496 million subsiding front groups inUkraine between 2004 and 2013. Then we have Victoria Nuland’s US$5 billion. Brussels and Washington lit the fuse, the fire is burning. Easy to start; hard to finish.
KEY QUESTIONS. On 21 February there was an agreement; then the snipers. July a ray of hope, then MH17. What’s going to derail it now? Who wants Ukraine to get worse? Will the Europeans be distracted again?
DELUSIONS. The West, aided by its synchronised media, gets an idea into its head and can’t get it out again. "Qaddafi is bombing his own people”, so a no-fly zone is the answer; but he wasn’t and it morphed into a full intervention. "The resistance in eastern Ukraine is Russia’s creation”; it isn’t : "Frankly speaking, we cannot discuss any conditions for a ceasefire or possible agreements between Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk. This is not our business; it is a domestic matter of Ukraine itself.” Poroshenko must talk to the people he’s fighting. And the time for federalisation has passed: "By now so much blood has been spilled and so many people have died for freedom. How can we speak of federalization?”
WHERE DO THE REBELS GET THEIR WEAPONS? A lot is captured. CyberBerkut reports over 200 AFVs and a battalion’s worth of Grads. This site attempts to record them, with photos: it claims 214 armoured vehicles captured and 37 artillery pieces. For the interested, here's how a "cauldron” (котёл) is formed; Finns would know it as motti.
MINSK. Putin and Poroshenko met. Here’s Putin’s account: EU association will disrupt present trade agreements with Russia and cost everyone something; Kiev has to talk to Donetsk and Lugansk itself. I guess this is Poroshenko’s: Russians invaded, staying at home, must make a plan.
RUSSIA’S "ISOLATION”. Egyptian president visits; military exercises with China and India; the Mistrals will be delivered. To say nothing of all the new rhetoric coming out of Europe. In a surreal development, Washington is apparently trying to get Beijing to sanction Russia!
STIRRINGS. Pravy Sektor’s head issued an ultimatum to make certain changes, threatening to march on Kiev. He withdrew the threat the next day, claiming sufficient compliance. An economics minister resigned as did the the head of the anti-corruption effort. A field commander has called the high command incompetent or traitors.Protesters in Kiev today demand resignations of Poroshenko and defence minister. Poroshenko dissolved parliament: "Dozens of these so-called ‘people’s deputies’ form the fifth column.”