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Battle for Ukraine
Ukraine Victories Forcing Putin's Hand?

Ukrainian forces are reportedly making steady progress against the pro-Russian rebels, the New York Times reports:

With a fierce onslaught of gunfire and mortar shelling, Ukrainian government forces on Saturday expelled pro-Russian insurgents from Slovyansk, a long-blockaded rebel stronghold, government officials and separatist leaders said.

After rebels fled the city, the scene of some of the fiercest battles throughout the insurrection, government forces raised the blue-and-yellow Ukrainian national flag above the City Council building.

As this continues, Ukraine is achieving something that Washington diplomacy alone could not: it is putting Putin in an ugly place.

If the advances continue and the rebels scatter and run—and thus far, they do not seem to be a particularly courageous or well-organized group—Putin will have to make a choice: either let the rebellion be crushed, vastly bolstering the prestige of the Kiev government and making the Kremlin look like a loser, or intervene to help the rebels more openly, a move that could push the Europeans into enacting much tougher sanctions. Either way, he will end up paying a much higher cost for his Ukraine policy than he wants to, or than he can really afford.

Putin will no doubt continue to try to square the circle: he will attempt to strengthen the rebels without triggering greater sanctions. But continued success on the battlefield may force his hand, and make him choose between expensive isolation or the humiliating defeat he richly deserves.

There’s a lesson for us all here: Even in the 21st century, success on the battlefield matters.


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  • Corlyss

    Putin cares about international isolation about as much as Obama cares about the Constitution. He’s got Europe tied to him with long term energy contracts, he’s branching out to China, and he’s cosseting brutal tyrannies in the Levant as American policy makers put faux democracy and human rights ahead of pragmatic policies to aid agents of stability. International isolation today ain’t worth the paper it takes to publish the latest IPCC propaganda.

    • Andrew Allison

      Ah, the temperate Corlyss we know and love. It seems that you are feeling better! [/grin]

      • Corlyss

        I think I’ll live . . . Nascent feistiness is a symptom of feeling better.

  • Andrew Allison

    Rebel victories? That aside, it would be wise for the Ukraine and the West to provide Putin with a face-saving escape from this misadventure. Poking a bear in the eye is stupid.

  • Duperray

    Total dream: Victory? Never a foreign army succeded to dominate an hostile population (remember Vietnam..).
    Kiev propaganda is always claiming victories, predicting estern collapse within a week, and this for months… and “They” are still alive..! It is clear that Binden pushes Kiev to provoke Russia but european foreign ministers slowly realize that Uncle’s Sam is opposed to peace there, for the estern oil & gas resources. Present quagmire in Ukraine will completely turn off EU support to US and who will become isolated? Obama policy !

  • lukelea

    I wish I could say I know what is going on in the Ukraine. Here is a piece of, presumably, Russian propaganda (or is it true?):

    • J Andris

      Sadly,it’s true..Already they are “cleaning” the local population is Slavyansk..The stated purpose by the vanguard of the Ukrainian army-the national guard and other groups of neonazi volunteers-is to create an ethnically pure(sic) Ukraine..

  • lukelea

    With Crimea out, eastern Ukraine apparently no longer has the votes in the Ukrainian parliament to protect its economic interests, which are diametrically opposed to those in the poorer, less-developed eastern half of the country. It reminds me of the divide between the North and the South over tariffs during the period leading up to the Civil War. Here is some background from Czech physicist Lubos Motl, who is familiar with the region:

    • Jake Summit

      Motl is nothing but a Putinist shill.

      • BobSykes

        Motl is a voice of reason and quite knowledgeable about the real character of the illegitimate fascist junta we installed. In this case, Putin and the Russians are the good guys, and we are the bad guys who are promoting fascism, racism and anti-semitism. Of course, that’s what a modern Democrat does.

  • J Andris

    Of course no word in this little article about the civilians maimed and killed by Kiev’s operation..Just collateral damage,right? The only thing that matters these days in US foreign policy is poking at Putin..

  • Andrew Allison

    Unacknowledged corrections? For shame.

  • OM

    Donetsk is a big city with 1 mln population. The commander there is Girkin aka Strelkov – super experienced and talented guy with war experience from Moldova to Balkans to Chechya etc. (last 20 years). Now I will see how Kiev forces are going to take this city without flattening it to the ground as Grozny. Every day of war is helping Putin. Why? – economics. Ukrainian economy is in free fall. What is going to happen in the Fall? Is the US and the author of the article personally to help Kiev out? nope. another blunder of the White House. This administration is not a match for Putin – as simple as that.
    And the key win for Putin – Crimea. the major naval base of Russia from 18 century. Even just Crimea already would justify the whole turmoil. And the game in Ukraine is far from over. Let’s wait and see

    • Jacksonian_Libertarian

      I think Putin has another problem, what if the Ukrainians fight better than the Russians? They are armed with the same weapons, so the real question is who is motivated to fight harder? I think the Ukrainians, who remember well how many Ukrainians were murdered by Stalin (Holodomor: somewhere between 2.4-7.5 million were killed no one really knows, almost as many as the Holocaust of the Jews by Hitler), will fight like maniacs to prevent Russia from ever putting the boot on their neck again.

  • redfox

    That says once again that for the US, Ukraine is not a country but a territory in which they are virtual war with Russia, moving pawns on the map.
    The West never and nothing helped and didn’t pay. The West only plundered resources controlled countries. So shall it be in the Ukraine, the USA and the EU will just Rob the country. And to pay for the whole circus on the Maidan and the civil war will be the UKRAINIAN PEOPLE.

    Between war and peace, Putin chooses the world. Is this not common choice?

    I want to see the end of the play.

  • Ivan Night Terrible

    Strelkov is new Chief commander of the United forces of Donbass and Lugansk!
    Strelkov is Russian Che Guevara, Simon Bolivar and Garibaldi in one person!! :))

  • ObamaMomFuker

    Obama stupid black monkey

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