Coffee House

MH17 makes the situation in Ukraine an American crisis and an EU catastrophe

19 July 2014

11:39 PM

19 July 2014

11:39 PM

The burning embers of an international airliner litter a Ukrainian field. 298 dead. The west blames Putin. President Putin blames Ukraine and the west. Pro-Russian rebels strip the dead and obstruct the investigation. MH17 has made east Ukraine an American crisis and an EU catastrophe. Still, because the US and EU see the Ukraine crisis in very different ways, it’s difficult to say what will happen next.

First, let’s be clear about culpability. Whatever the Russian government might claim, the Donetsk rebels have an undeniably close relationship with Putin’s intelligence services. In a few months, thugs with AK-47s have become capable of withstanding the Ukrainian military. They’ve ambushed armoured troop convoys. They’ve repeatedly downed helicopters and transport planes. They’ve acted with coordinated focus. In short, they’ve become more than thugs. And there’s only one explanation for their development: their access to training, supply provisions, intelligence support and active operational guidance from Russian intelligence. US intelligence services have no doubt of this.

In large part, that’s why an FBI Rapid Deployment Team (RDT) has arrived in Ukraine. The urgency of this FBI deployment to a hostile environment is an indication of the US concern at what’s happened. Moreover, this RDT is almost certainly supported by FBI or US Special Forces. As they investigate the crash site, these personnel will give America’s policy in Ukraine a new, more aggressive physical character. In Washington, it’s likely that Obama will face pressure from Congress for tougher sanctions against Russia.

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Of course, truly effective sanctions will require EU support. Earning that support will take some deft American diplomacy.

Until now, the US and EU have diverged in their respective strategies towards Ukraine. While Obama has focused on containing Russia’s expansionism, the EU’s focus has been narrower: Merkel cares about European stability, but she’s anxious not to jeapordise Germany’s access to Russian energy. Hollande seeks a stronger EU, yet his defence industry also finds an extravagant trough in the Kremlin. Where Cameron shares American anger, he also wants to preserve London’s facility for Russian finance. These three attitudes explain why Germany has called for ‘co-operation, not confrontation’ with Russia. So far, Putin has manipulated these disagreements to his own advantage. Correspondingly, as Obama seeks EU support, expect him to use increasingly blunt rhetoric. The American President is likely to center MH17 in the ongoing EU identity debate. ‘How,’ Obama will probably ask, ‘can the EU survive tolerating such unrestrained aggression?’

Nevertheless, Putin’s arrogant response is likely to strengthen Obama’s hand. If Russia has indeed moved SA-11 surface-to-air platforms out of east Ukraine (one of which is believed to have shot down MH17), that evidence will be damning. Since the moment MH17 went down, Russia has shown utter disdain for the victims. As an extension, rebel obstruction of crash site investigators was probably a Russian effort to remove evidence that might link them to the attack. In the coming days, it will be interesting to see whether the Obama administration releases satellite imagery (or other intelligence product) that highlights this deception effort. After all, when MH17 went down, the US would have immediately tasked satellites to monitor the crash site. We might see a ‘don’t wait for the translation’ from America’s fiery UN Ambassador, Samantha Power. On the flip side, Putin is hoping that the US won’t want to divulge its intelligence capabilities and sources (the Pentagon and CIA have already had a tense relationship over Ukraine related intelligence).

Ultimately, that MH17’s passengers were predominantly European will equal major EU influence over what happens next. If MH17 had set off from an American city, and if 193 Americans had been killed (instead of 193 Dutch nationals), we’d be looking at a very different situation right now. In that circumstance, amidst footage of American bodies being looted, Obama might have been forced into a direct US military response against the rebels.

Tom Rogan is a Washington DC based columnist for the National Review and a blogger for the Daily Telegraph

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Show comments
  • Roger Hudson

    At least those new microphones have cut out the traffic noise i complained about before, pity they still talk some prejudiced spin.

  • Sapporo

    Why is it ok for the US to offer support to the Ukranians, but not for the Russians to offer support for the Russian insurgents? You, also, overlook the fact that elements of the Ukrainian military defected to the breakaway group taking with them their hardware. You hacks just look ridiculous when you complain about Russian influence and interference with a neighbouring nation that is inextricably linked to Russia by history, language and identity. Kiev is seen as the birthplace of Russians. We have had 70 years of US interference in countries that they have no connection with. What about the EU forcing the Bulgarians to stop building the Southern gas pipeline?

  • Q46

    And the EU trying to roll up Ukraine and ethnic Russians into its Empire to remove the last buffer zone between ‘Europe’ and Russia… next stop the Pacific… played no part in setting the stage?

    Referendum? Well we all know the EU’s modus operandi when it comes to referendum and the People’s wishes, keep voting until you get the ‘right’ answer, or your wishes will be ignored anyway.

    Nothing must stand in the way of ‘The Project’ – Franco-German hegemony of Europe… and both big cogs in the ‘Motor of Europe’ have visited Moscow city limits uninvited in recent history.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …did they enjoy their visit, I wonder?

  • Mick Norris

    Tom,

    You are all over the place with this:

    “In large part, that’s why an FBI Rapid Deployment Team (RDT) has arrived in Ukraine. The urgency of this FBI deployment to a hostile environment is an indication of the US concern at what’s happened. Moreover, this RDT is almost certainly supported by FBI or US Special Forces.”

    RDT are FBI or not, are almost certainly supported by FBI, or not?

    “As they investigate the crash site, these personnel will give America’s policy in Ukraine a new, more aggressive physical character.”

    LOL

    • the viceroy’s gin

      This kid is just trying to cram as much techno-dweeb paramilitary jargon into this as he possibly can, while fanning the neocon flames. You’ll have to forgive him.

  • rtj1211

    Dear oh dear oh dear. ‘Eastern Ukrainian thugs’ and ‘the Ukrainian military’.

    Just how did Poroshenko get into power?? That would be EU/US-funded thuggery in Kiev, would it??

    You need to see a psychiatrist about your ‘western coups are good, Russian resistance is evil’.

    There are no good guys in this conflict, only innocent victims in MH17.

    The longer you go on with your moral nonsense, the longer this will string out.

    We are unprincipled imperialists, they are scheming I don’t know whats (because I don’t speak Russian or Ukrainian so can’t evaluate them as rigorously).

    No sentient Western person now listens to this moral rubbish any more. Not from you , not from the buffoon Johnson, the wordsmith Hannan, the idiot Kerry and the grandstanding Cameron.

    All sentient people know the West is salivating for a big war.

    All sentient people refuse to be any part of it.

    Now it’s about time someone killed some western politicians’ children. How about starting with Obama’s, with Kerry’s, with Boris Johnson’s, with Tony Blair’s??

    They are no more valuable than the dead of MH17. Not at all. IN any way.

    But if we killed them all, armageddon would start.

    What does that tell you about the morals of those who think they are part of the master race eh??

    And who was the last person who claimed such status??

    And what was their fate??

  • rtj1211

    Dear oh dear oh dear. ‘Eastern Ukrainian thugs’ and ‘the Ukrainian military’.

    Just how did Poroshenko get into power?? That would be EU/US-funded thuggery in Kiev, would it??

    You need to see a psychiatrist about your ‘western coups are good, Russian resistance is evil’.

    There are no good guys in this conflict, only innocent victims in MH17.

    The longer you go on with your moral nonsense, the longer this will string out.

    We are unprincipled imperialists, they are scheming I don’t know whats (because I don’t speak Russian or Ukrainian so can’t evaluate them as rigorously).

    No sentient Western person now listens to this moral rubbish any more. Not from you , not from the buffoon Johnson, the wordsmith Hannan, the idiot Kerry and the grandstanding Cameron.

    All sentient people know the West is salivating for a big war.

    All sentient people refuse to be any part of it.

    Now it’s about time someone killed some western politicians’ children. How about starting with Obama’s, with Kerry’s, with Boris Johnson’s, with Tony Blair’s??

    They are no more valuable than the dead of MH17. Not at all. IN any way.

    But if we killed them all, armageddon would start.

    What does that tell you about the morals of those who think they are part of the master race eh??

    And who was the last person who claimed such status??

    And what was their fate??

  • BoiledCabbage

    NATO should intervene and seize the crash site. This was an attack on the people of the Netherlands.
    The militia are acting like Deliverance on steroids

    • Sapporo

      Yes, let’s send hostile troops into a war zone. That will work.

  • Conway

    So far, Putin has manipulated these disagreements to his own advantage.” Putin is clearly a very clever politician – head and shoulders above the nonentities in charge of the EU, the US and the UK.

  • Jacques Strap

    Would people in east Ukraine be shooting down aeroplanes if some in Kiev and
    west Ukraine were not so determined to surrender Ukraine’s sovereignty
    to the EU? I do not think so.

  • beenzrgud

    The US is well known for arming numpties that then go on to cause mayhem, aka blowback. Having some other country arm the numpties will at least be a new experience for Americans !

  • Roger Hudson

    Only when Kerry ( a proven loser) has produced USA ‘intel’ will we have the truth !
    ..Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia … Love BigBrother.

  • Roger Hudson

    This Tom person is obviously a neocon cheerleader. Note the crude emotion button pressers like ‘..strip the dead…”.
    He lets slip that the rebels have been shooting down Kiev transports, it’s a civil war after all, the rebels made a terrible cock-up and slaughtered 298 people not involved in the war.
    I hope he is as interested as i am to hear all the cockpit /kiev air traffic talk.
    In the Bosnian civil war i don’t remember an exclusion zone up to 32,00ft.
    Not that that worried the CIA with their illegal arms drops.

  • Tom M

    One thing jars with me in this article and that is the continual use of the term “the EU says this” and then goes on to quote Angela Merkel.
    The EU might aspire to have one voice for the whole of the European Union states and may even have a High Representative for foreign affairs but at the moment individual states are still allowed to have a foreign policy.

  • andagain

    ‘How,’ Obama will probably ask, ‘can the EU survive tolerating such unrestrained aggression?’

    Shooting down MH17 was not an act of unrestrained aggression. It was an accident. I’m deeply unimpressed by the way Putin and friends keep lying about it, but it was an accident.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      That’s the most likely explanation. I can see no advantage to the separatists from shooting down an airliner, or to the Russians.

      I can see the advantage to the Kiev oligarchs, mind you. It gets neocon nutters fired up, as we see with the Nanny Review guy who wrote this blogpost .

      • Wessex Man

        Yes it was an accident or a mistake in the sense that they intended to bring down a plane from the Ukraine and kill as many as possible. The EU are guilty of courting nutters from the west of Ukraine and Putin is guilty of supplying the nutters from the east of Ukraine. The mistake was that they brought down an airliner full of innocents.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          No, I don’t think anybody intended to kill those innocents, unless it was the oligarchs in Kiev.

    • Jacques Strap

      Oops my finger slipped…

      • andagain

        “Oops I thought that was a military transport.”

        A plane full of passengers looks very like a plane full of soldiers, especially from twenty miles away.

        • Jacques Strap

          A military plane with ‘Malaysian airlines’ written on the side….

          ‘please confirm your identity’

          • andagain

            You must have fantastically good eyesight if you could see that on a blip on a radar screen.

          • The Masked Marvel

            Older systems don’t even see a commercial airliner’s transponder.

  • Greenslime

    Putin plays only to his domestic audience. He does not care about anyone else. He and his bunch of criminal crony’s can’t tell the truth at the best of times. To expect truth at this juncture is risible. The only people who should be surprised at this regime’s chutzpah are the gullible

  • JoeDM

    Claims and counter-claims. It is a war zone, civilian airliners should not have been flying anywhere near there.

    I do not think it will be possible to accurately assess what happened.

    What I do see is the US and the EU using it to create even more tension with Russia.

    • Wessex Man

      That’s a rather crude and silly statement, we know what happened a group of gungho ethnic Russians shot down a civilian airliner killing hunfreds of innocent people, they have had over the last few months support from Russia. Russia today is run much as a Communist State by Putin and his buddies and he is using the bumbling idiocy of the European Union trying to stretch it’s borders as far eastward as possible as an excuse for his own belligerent Empire building, as we saw in Georgia.

      The West now has to wake up and smell the coffee, bring an end to all defense cuts and start to rebuild our armed forces.

      • Baron

        No, Wessex Man, you wrong, only someone who didn’t taste communist Russia could talk such bollocks.

        Putin’s Russia is run along similar lines to those of the other east European countries, former satellites of the USSR, plenty of former party apparatchiks, secret service types in position of power, many as MEPs in Brussels. How come then we are happy with them, not Putin’s men, ha?

        • Wessex Man

          Sorry to disappoint you, I’m not wrong, I’m not happy with the EU, I want the end of this bloated European Union as much as I wanted the end of the USSR.

          That is not the point I was making however, Western Europe as well as the UK has been down sizing their defences for years and relying on a strong USA. We now have the weakest president of the USA of all time, they are not going to come to the rescue of Europe if having tested the waters Putin decides to invade Ukraine and Eastern Europe.

          • Baron

            OK, let’s agree to disagree on whether Putin’s Russi a equals the Red Menace’s construct.

            Baron can assure you though that Putin will meddle in the neighbouring countries but will never ever even think to invade any of the east European countries inhabited by the Slavs.

            Ukraine happens to be a different case. it has been coupled with Russia for centuries, most of the unwashed DNA is both Russian and Ukrainian, hard to separate the two, at some point in the future these two Slavonic tribes will re-unite, you’ll see.

            • Wessex Man

              You are happy then to see the UK’s armed forces reduced to a level below the numbers after the Napoleonic Wars on the half chance that Putin when he sees the weak willed response of the West won’t decide to claim all those countries that he sees as natural vassals of Russia?

              The threat form the Islamists home and abroad has stretched our forces to breaking point now, we need to reverse all the mad cuts of this government and rebuild.

              • Baron

                Nope, not happy at all, but what that has to do with the topic we started with? You don’t seriously think Putin will invade us, do you?

                And yes, agreed, we shouldn’t be at 80,000, whatever Putin may or may not do, the number is laughable.

                • Wessex Man

                  That’s a good point! what it has to do with this subject is that its 100 years since the start of WW1 and our ‘great and good’ Leaders have still not learnt the lessons of history. This could and I pray that won’t lead to another European conflict but at the same time we should always be ready to deal with threats to our liberty and we can’t do that with 80,000.

            • Weaver

              Plus its waaaaay closer and less robustly defended. That always helps if you’re minded of these things.

              • Baron

                Listen, Weaver, one may like or dislike the current Russian set-up, the one who’s in charge, but facts remain just that, facts.

                One would be hard put to find many burghers in Ukraine who have the purity of either Russian or Ukrainian blood, the closeness of the two races extends to the shared history (some of it sickeningly appalling), commercial ties, base cultural traits. Trust Baron, he knows, he’s not only looked it up, he has some personal experience from that neck of the woods.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                If the Balkans aren’t worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier, then what’s East of it isn’t worth it either.

                When you’re a neocon, every problem looks like it needs a cruise missile resolution.

  • Alexsandr

    so people are afvocating having a sanctions war with russia. Now thats a good idea. where does the EU get most of its energy? I cant see the EU agreeing on this any time soon.
    Me, I’d get fracking and put in measures to ensure we dont just export all the energy to the EU, but keep it here in the UK for the benefit of the UK people. Cos with relations with the russians getting difficult, and the mid east going loony, I think we need to look to our own resources.
    And we can also extract coal energy with no mining using Underground Coal Gassification. We should do that too. Now.

    • Jambo25

      We should have been doing this for years. However, with the USA now coming back to near energy self sufficiency it might be easier to wean the EU off Russian energy than we think. Our aim should be to make Russia very very poor.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        This un-Christian attitude is the reason conflict with Russia could occur.

        • Jambo25

          I don’t want to nuke them, merely to punish them. Russia is poor in any case. It has a GDP roughly the same as the UK’s: possibly even lower given recent currency movements but has a population 2.2-2.3 times that of the UK. It appears about 80% of that population approve of Putin’s actions. They can get poorer.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            Yes, you socialist nutters know exactly how everybody is supposed to act, and who to punish. That’s why you are all so despised.

            • Jambo25

              I’m a centre rightist you utter twit.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Heh. It’s always amusing when you socialist nutters try to slide over and crossdress as “conservative”.

                You utter twit.

    • In2minds

      “where does the EU get most of its energy?”

      Windfarms if the Green lobby gets its way!

      • Conway

        I think they’ve woken up and are building brown coal generating plants. Very “green” that!

    • HookesLaw

      Eastern Europe are the most dependent. About a third of Europe Gas and oil comes from Russia so I don’t thjink overall we could be said to be dependant on it.
      If we do not buy it Russia get no renvenue of course.
      Fracking and UCG shows that we need not worry too much about any Russian threats.

      • Alexsandr

        we have to get on and do it then. stop talking about it.

      • Jacques Strap

        That is still alot…..

    • Tom Rogan

      As you point out, energy issue is critical. Should have mentioned that.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …ya’ think?

    • http://ajbrenchley.com/ Fenton!

      Frack, baby, frack!

  • Radford_NG

    In the hours before the crash the EU parliament was debating EU policy to the Ukraine.A member for UKIP asked what use sanctions were against a Russia that had withstood the Siege of Leningrad and the Defence of Stalingrad?

    The vote in favour was supported by all the establishment parties,including British Conservatives and Labour.

    The NO vote came from the Freedom and Democracy Group lead by UKIP and the Italian 5 Star Movement…..also from the Euro-Gauche Group(including Sinn Fein[north and south]……and from Le Penn’s Front National.

    • HookesLaw

      Support from fascists?
      The UKIP comparison is pretty pathetic and show them to be a bunch of appeasers. We are not interested in occupying or invading Russia. UKIP like the racist authoritrian Putin.

      • Baron

        If ‘you’ (whatever you means for the deluded progressives like you) are not interested in occupying or invading Russia, what are ‘you’ doing in Russia’s backyard?

        Baron has said it before, nobody seems to have listened.

        After WW1, the victorious powers blamed the German unwashed for the killing fields, the ordinary Germans rightly resented it, Adolf fed on the resentment, another war followed in about twenty years.

        Those doing the thinking after WW2 blamed, rightly, the creed on Nazism, not the German hoi polloi, acted accordingly, we are still enjoying the fruits of this wise and smart thinking.

        What happened after another murderous creed, that of communism, imploded in the East? The West blamed the Russian unwashed not the evil ideology of communism for the atrocities committed by the USSR, surrounded post communist Russia with Nato bases tighter than the communist Empire before, something Ivan, rightly, resented, has backed Putin, who now feeds on it.

        Ironically, as we’re just over the 20th anniversary of the implosion of communism we better be careful what we do.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …and you like the islamofascist murderers who are butchering Christians in Libya, Syria and Iraq.

      • Wessex Man

        Please supply your evidence that Ukip are a bunch of appeasers Hooky babe. You always come out with bor zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • Bonkim

    Utter Tosh – Little wonder the Eastern Ukrainian freedom fighters will not allow the FBI investigators within their territory. The Us is pretty good at smoke and mirror acts of their own –

  • artemis in france

    This blog is full of spéculation. At the moment Stuart Ramsey of Sky is on the ground at the crash site and has seen only gréât care being exercised by the local population who are collecting the bodies, bagging them and placing them carefully at the roadside. He says thèse are very religious people and are behaving respectfully. He has seen no looting although admits there may have been isolated, rare cases. A little less judgement and a little reflection would help everyone hère. This is a war zone created just as much by the EU as by Russia. Never forget, thèse folk want to be Russian not European. They have a right to self-determination. Look at the mess in Iraq, in Syria, in Libya. Trying to force different cultures to live together doesn’t work. Putin was merely supporting people he thinks of as his own because that is what they want from him.

    Also, why was this plane flying over a war zone. Other airlines’ pilots refused to do so. Malaysian Airlines seem to have a nasty habit of disappearing out of the skies after pilots diverted.

    • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

      I agree with what you write. Also, the US Intelligence services have been pretty good at telling the Ukrainians EXACTLY what was happening regarding troop and equipment movements etc but suddenly are all coy and/or ignorant? Pull the other one!

      • telemachus

        For goodness sake

        Let us get back to the policy forum

        Everyone wants to hear the pledges for 2015

        a million homes

        a new deal on rail ownership

        a higher minimum wage

        devolution to towns and cities

        tackling energy prices

        • telemachus

          As Mark Ferguson said

          “the Labour Party hasn’t had much praise from an organisational point of view recently – but this much is clear. The hard work put in by party staff, Angela Eagle, Jon Cruddas and crucially the (sometimes maligned) leader’s office team has allowed the NPF to function well”
          *
          We should laud all

          • Smithersjones2013

            Talking to yourself? Have you no friends? Just like Billy no mates Miliband then…….

          • Kitty MLB

            Is this the Speccie echo chamber..we are surrounded by your voice.

        • Alexsandr

          a million houses. Concrete over England to house the immigrants. thanks labour, And that will help flooding too -NOT

          And nationalise railways? well network rail already is. And can you remember the investment starved BR days. That will go well then. OSunds like a sop to Millibands paymasters in Unite.

          Tackling energy prices. That will be Millibands climate change act that needs to go, its a major cause of fuel poverty based on a lie.

          and a higher minimum wage will undo all the new jobs created since Labours recession.

          • Jambo25

            WTF has this got to do with MH17?

            • Alexsandr

              dunno. I was replying to tellytubby.

              • Jambo25

                These things happen. They are sent to try us.

        • Smithersjones2013

          Is that Labour’s answer? Pretend nothing is happening. Sticking their fingers in there ears and loudly repeating ‘There’s no place like home”, “There’s no place like home” and hope it all goes away…….

          PS And that list is as much a fantasy as the Wizard Of Oz. The Labour party are malevolent centralist liars. Nothing they do is what it seems.

          • Kitty MLB

            Well yes Labour live in the kunlum mountains
            of Tibet otherwise known as cloud cuckoo land.
            The whole world could crumble around them and they would be totally oblivious to anything
            except their own deluded caterwaulling.

            • Smithersjones2013

              That close? I’ve always found their view of life other worldly as it goes and Miliband clearly is on another planet in my mind..

              • global city

                sorting energy pries that Ed Miliband personally set on the upward trajectory we have suffered.

                Also, the EU’s hubris and expansionist delusions are the cause of the troubles in Ukraine. Ed and telemachus support these, so do not want attention to tarry too long.

        • girondas2

          “For goodness sake
          Let us get back to the policy forum”

          I don’t think we should ignore this act of mass murder just because it overshadows your party propaganda drive telemachus.
          You are utterly devoid of moral integrity.

          Look at it from our point of view. The corpses that litter the Ukrainian countryside really exist, whilst your promises aren’t worth the paper they are printed on.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Devolution to towns and cities is just a Euro-ruse to abolish England, Besides it discriminates against country dwellers so is UNFAIR.

        • mandelson

          Don’t feed this troll

        • Roger Hudson

          And do it without extra cost – clever.

        • Jacques Strap

          Just eff off back to where you came from

    • dramocles

      Al Jazeera has a more balanced take too. A Dutch observer was interviewed and said much the same about the respect being shown at the crash site. Despite the hype being generated by some European politicians you can’t leave bodies rotting in fields in summer heat.

      There’s a lot of political ranting going on right now but we don’t know what really happened yet and it will take time for the truth to emerge (I remember when the USS Vincennes shot down an Iranian airliner – the truth about that took a while to come out).

      • Jambo25

        When Russia shot down KAL007 it took about 15 years and a regime change.

        • Roger Hudson

          And it was still shown to be a cock-up.

          • Jambo25

            That’s OK then.

    • Jambo25

      We don’t know what these folk want as most people keep quiet when groups of heavily armed thugs wander about the area you live in threatening you. There is an extremely good article on the Open Democracy web site “Writing the truth in the People’s Republic of Donetsk” by Aleksey Matsuka. about what is happening in the Donbas. You would be well advised to read it.

    • HookesLaw

      Other airlines were in fact following the same track as this aircraft. The EU did not create this war – the people of the Ukraine wanted to throw off Russian hegemony – but I suppose that idea sustains loony kippers in their pro Putin appeasement.

      • Baron

        This short rant of yours, HookesLaw, goes against all the evidence.

        The destabilising of, then absorbing Ukraine falls neatly within the aim of the undemocratic EU dream of united Europe ‘from the shores of the Atlantic to the Urals’. it was the EU that spent close to 400mn euros in just two years on groups undermining Yanukovych. He may have as corrupt as the ones before him (and the one ruling today, once a member of Yanukovych’s government), but people lived in peace, feared not one another, voted diligently, followed the code of civil behaviour. The armed putsch in February engendered conditions that led to the mess we are in today. Whatever the KGB colonel may have done before or since, the blame for the civil war sits squarely with the Brussels apparatchiks,

        • revkevblue

          Well said Baron, people have short convenient memories as far as the EU’s expansion policy that kicked this off. More blood on their hands, and they gave these people a peace prize. Excuse me while I go and vomit.

        • Makroon

          Yes, and as with the break-up of Yugoslavia, and the attempt to turn Croatia into a fief, the guilty party is Germany.
          MH17 is a human disaster in an unstable war-zone, not an excuse for a bit of Putin baiting.

          • Baron

            Quite, Makroon, that’s about the way Baron’s cutting it, too.

      • Smithersjones2013

        And its people like you who blindly adhere to their delusional doctrine of partisan bigotry who will ensure that there is no solution to issues such as these and as a result inevitably more people will die

      • Wessex Man

        You are a particularly unsavoury piece of work arn’t you much like Jambo25 using the murder of hundreds of innocent people to make a political point in favour of your beloved EU. The ‘Parliament’ of which voted in Junckers in what you and they would call a democratic vote with just the one candidate.

      • Mike

        The EU provoked it by trying to bribe Ukraine into their spehere of influence as they are just as power hungry as Russia was after WWII. As for Farage’s previous comments about Putin, they are still valid. He’s a nasty pice of work but one thing he isn’t is stupid, thats what Nigel Farage actually said and nothing has changed despite attempts at spin from the brain dead europhobes !

      • global city

        I’m actually disappointed reading that. I disagree with quite a lot of what you have to say, especially when it is cloaked in Tory BS, but!

        I never thought I would read such an idiot/apologist post from you.

    • Jambo25

      And a lot of other airlines did go on flying over the area. There were commercial flights continuing to follow that flight path after MH17 was shot down. Commercial airliners often fly over war zones. “This is a war zone created just as much by the EU as by Russia.” If you actually believe this then you are as mad as a hatter. If you are writing it merely for some UKIP type effect then you are merely mendacious and nasty.

      • Wessex Man

        Thank you for your useful cr** you must be blind if you don’t realise that Putin is ready and able to use any excuse to ‘regain’ as he believes Eastern Europe to be back to Russia’s vassals. Are you going to ignore the fact that the European Union Comimssioner Ashton was on the streets of Kiev encouraging rebellion.

        I didn’t even you would sink so low to use something dreadful like this to have a pop at UKip but then sadly you prove me wrong.

        • Jambo25

          I’ll start to think that support of UKIP is a form of mental illness if you really think a blob like Ashton “was on the streets of Kiev encouraging rebellion”. I don’t know if Artemis in France is a UKIPPER which is why I never called him one. I used the term “UKIP type effect” as a number of UKIP sympathisers have been placing some of the blame on the EU since the4 situation blew up. That is clearly nonsensical.

          • Wessex Man

            All you have to do is look it up online from BBC News and there she is. I place the blame on mad minority of ethnic Russians who have be supplied with the weapons to do this by the would Emperor Putin!

            • the viceroy’s gin

              Did you think that Russia would stand aside as these affairs took place directly on their border? Nobody should challenge these separatists, as long as they share this border with Russia and have popular support. It’s an automatic loser.

              • Wessex Man

                That is exactly my point!

          • Smithersjones2013

            I think you are the one with the mental illness if you are fool enough not to know your facts before spouting off!

            The images of Catherine Ashton clinging to the arm of Ukrainian opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk were a stark illustration of how the EU sees a fresh opportunity in the demonstrations that have divided the former Soviet republic.

            “The people of this great country deserve better,” Ashton said Wednesday in Kiev.

            But Ashton’s gesture also belied the fact that in the geopolitical battle over the direction of Ukraine, the 28-nation EU has so far been outhustled, and outmuscled, by Moscow.

            http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/dec/12/spurned-by-president-eu-embraces-ukraine-protest/

            • Jambo25

              That’s your idea of Ashton fomenting rebellion on the streets of Kiev? You people do live in a parallel universe

              • Smithersjones2013

                I agree I do live in a different universe to you. its called the real world! And it doesn’t really matter what I perceive it as its what the Kremlin can make of it that matters and such actions give them more than enough propaganda to further their agenda.

          • global city

            They bought the matches, then fanned the flames once the fire began….till it got too hot and they made for the exit.

            Just a pity that it wasn’t locked.

            • Jambo25

              Yep, offering a sovereign state some kind of association deal. Obviously fascist.

              • global city

                That was merely the first part. Don’t believe me then just go and Google Van Rumpuoy’s own comments in the year before it blew up in their faces.

      • Smithersjones2013

        How would you react if Russia agreed various treaties with France and started sending them defence systems which pointed in your direction?

        That’s what the EU and NATO have been doing to Russia via it’s neighbours for years. This time they have got just that little bit too close to the bear (as they did in Georgia) and the bear has unsurprisingly bitten back.

        Now you can keep your head firmly fixed up your own orifice and pretend that the EU & NATO and their members have no blame in this if you want but every time they try further expansionism eastwards Russia will respond in a similar manner destabilising those republics that skirt its western border by supporting the Russian communities in those countries.

        • Jambo25

          I would take the view that France was a sovereign state and able to make its own decisions without violent, subversive intervention by my state or by my state illegally annexing part of France’s territory by force. Can I, in turn , ask you if your inability to think straight and observe the tenets of international law is what leads you to go in for personal insults rather than debate?

          • Smithersjones2013

            Well you keep living in your sanctimonious little ivory tower procrastinating about the tenets of international law while the rest of us expect our Government to do everything in their power to keep you and everyone else safe.

            Unlike you I can think straight enough to realise that most national governments especially super powers only acknowledge international law when it suits them and the rest of the time they urinate all over it and many will go pretty much to any lengths to serve what they perceive as their best interests!

            As for the personal insults. I just enjoy enlightening certain types of how they are perceived. Given you are not shy of dishing out personal insults yourself what’s your excuse?

            • Jambo25

              Who’s living in an ivory tower? I gave you an answer to a question which you asked. Until France did anything to threaten us we would have no right, nor any reason to attack it. Incidentally, which of Russia’s neighbours are you talking about? Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland and the rest of the East European states are all sovereign states. They have the right to join any defensive alliance they damn well wish if that alliance will have them. They also have the right to buy whatever arms they please without asking Moscow for permission. This is something which Russia hasn’t picked up yet. Russia is no longer a super power or even a great power. It has an economy roughly the size of the UK’s and it is faced with an array of close neighbours which have very good reason to fear, mistrust and hate Russia.

        • Mike

          France has ‘got into bed’ with Russia many times in the past on various matters not necessarily in our interests and the whole world knows they armed Argentina to fight us by proxy. We have a love hate relationship with the French but the one thing we don’t do, is trust them !

        • Conway

          It was Dave who claimed he wanted an EU that stretched “from the Atlantic to the Urals”. No surprise that Putin objected to that.

          • Bonkim

            Not this side of the Channel though. EU stop at Calais – that is near enough for us.

          • Roger Hudson

            I doubt if Cameron wants Russia in the EU, though they should be, being european unlike Turkey.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Qantas and Korea Air Lines had already avoided the area, on their own. Others had issued warnings. You’re an apologist for incompetence.

        • Jambo25

          But dozens of other airlines hadn’t. Stop trying to find ways of excusing Russian barbarism.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …and they were all stupid and Qantas and KAL and the others issuing warnings were not.

            If you’re correct, then the airliners should be flying over that area today. Are they?

            • Sapporo

              The Americans had made it a no-fly zone and the previous 10 flights had flown on a path south of the danger zone.

            • Jambo25

              Some were, even in the aftermath of MH17’s shooting down. I’d imagine they’ve stopped now that they know that a murderous, Russian backed rabble are now at large in the Eastern Ukraine armed with Buk SAM systems and apparently backed by elements of the Russian army.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                You’d “imagine” that airliners would begin to shed the incompetent practices that you were apologizing for in your previous posts? Well, better late than never I suppose. It’s too bad that they weren’t all as competent as Qantas and KAL, perhaps then those 300 people would still be alive.

                And perhaps if you EUSSR nutters hadn’t encouraged street thugs to overthrow the elected Ukraine government, the 300 would be alive as well.

                • Jambo25

                  Yep, it was the fault of the victims. The scuzz who shot the aircraft down were entirely innocent. Malaysian Airways did nothing other than what the vast bulk of airlines do.
                  As soon as I see the term EUSSR being used I am sure that I am dealing with a mentally unstable person.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  No, it was the fault of several clusters of idiots, you EUSSR nutters being a prime one of those.

                  And as soon as one of you EUSSR nutters whines about your handmaiden being called “EUSSR”, I know I’m dealing with an EUSSR nutter.

                • Jambo25

                  Yep viceroy, its your Largactil time.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …what are you fantasizing about now, lad?

        • Jambo25

          And you appear to be an apologist for mass murder.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            No, that would be you EUSSR nutters, who initiated this mess some time ago.

            • Jambo25

              Oh! and how was that?

              • the viceroy’s gin

                It’s been described well enough above, lad. Perhaps you EUSSR nutters are lacking comprehension, which would tend to go along with your lacking of many other mental faculties.

                • Jambo25

                  Perhaps we EUSSR nutters are looking for proof rather than assertion.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  No, it’s certain you’re not looking for proof, laddie. You’ve proven that.

    • Mike

      Like minds and I totally agree. Russia, Eastern Ukraine, the EU and the airline ALL share some responsibility here. War is not an option, sanctions wont work because of energy concerns and UK bankers are skimming too much money from Russian money to stop dealing with a rogue state. All in all its a total mess with a bunch of hapless western leaders out of their depth and lacking any capacity to act in a rationale manner.

    • mikewaller

      Putin is a bog-standard product of the KGB, a type prepared to perpetrate any kind of cruelty as long as it seems to serve their wider geo-political aims. As for his acting in the interests of the East Ukrainians right to self-determination, remember two things. First, the armed thugs (many of whom are Russian “imports”) who have been in open rebellion in that region for months have precluded any possibility of accurately determining what that population really want. Second, when Putin was faced with the Chechen nation’s express wish to leave the Russian Federation he reacted with the utmost savagery to prevent it.

      The most relevant example from history is Stalin’s massacre of the Polish officer class at Katyn Wood and the Russian’s subsequent attempt over decades to put the blame on the Nazis. And Stalin, as we know, is a man Putin very much admires.

      Finally, regarding the Murdoch acolyte who has only just got there, those of us who have been listening to eye-witness reports since it happened, know that it was most certainly not all respect and civilised behaviour from square one. If things have improved now, this would demonstrate no more than that the PR folk in the Kremlin are at last being listened to.

    • arnoldo87

      “Never forget, thèse folk want to be Russian not European. They have a right to self-determination.”

      You could deploy this logic to make a case for the Irish government fomenting trouble in Ulster by assisting the IRA.

      But would you?

  • Ted Cunterblast

    Let us hope for war. Russia would win, easily.

    • telemachus

      Thank The Lord for the nuclear dimension that will prevent that

      Kennedy’s defense secretary Robert McNamara articulated the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction that we give thanks for just now

      In essence it meant stockpiling a huge nuclear arsenal. In the event of a Soviet attack the US would have enough nuclear firepower to survive a first wave of nuclear strikes and strike back. The response would be so massive that the enemy would suffer “assured destruction”

      Thus the true philosophy of nuclear deterrence was established. If the other side knew that initiating a nuclear strike would also inevitably lead to their own destruction, they would be irrational to press the button

      • Kitty MLB

        You’d like a few more wars, would you Telemachus ?

        • telemachus

          That is an absolutely bizarre conclusion from my post
          MAD was to end wars
          The only war I need is a war on poverty

          • Weaver

            LBJ declared that. We’re 50 years in.

            Hows it going?

            • the viceroy’s gin

              Poverty won and forced Versailles Cubed on the losers.

      • Weaver

        Umm…Telemachus….McNamara was instrumental in the movement to flexible response and a more limited war force structure, and an assured second strike capability. Only the latter really bears on your post, and then tangentially.

        MAD is a really bad way to characterise US defence policy of the period.

    • Chris Morriss

      Now you are really having a laugh. Any war with the Russians would be like Putin himself: nasty, brutish and short. The “west” would win, but at a horrifying cost.

    • Jambo25

      You really have no idea; do you?

    • HookesLaw

      What a cr@phead

    • Weaver

      Don’t be silly.

  • Curnonsky

    First, Obama would have to admit he was wrong about Putin before he could take action against Russia (don’t hold you breath).

    Second, Putin will threaten to undercut the negotiations with Iran and if they collapse Obama would, again, have to admit he was wrong about Iran (see previous).

    Ergo, the little colonel wins again.

    • Roger Hudson

      The Obama video shows he is not a gung-ho neocon like Tom Rogan.
      He knows playing golf give one time for careful thought.

      • Wessex Man

        to think about what he’s going to have for Dinner and the next soundbite to his dwindling support.

  • NotYouNotSure

    Its not a crises and its not a catastrophe, its hyperbole, in a months time nobody will be talking about this. Check out which articles get the most comments here and at other sites, its the Israel/Gaza conflict not this.

    • Jambo25

      This time 180 Dutch citizens have been killed. For the Germans that is a crisis. Merkel wants EU stability but also continuing access to Russian gas and oil. She could turn a blind eye when Russia only invaded Ukraine but now hundreds of core EU citizens have been killed. I somehow think that this isn’t going to go away.

      • NotYouNotSure

        Come back to me in a months time, if you can even remember this story in the months time.

        • Jambo25

          Why? Do you suffer from amnesia?

      • Wessex Man

        for once I agree with you and it’s a shocking thing to say that we won’t be talking about this mad mass murder.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          The Russians just need to bow and scrape a bit, and it will disappear from the radar screen.

        • Jambo25

          Actually Wessex, I’m not as anti-UKIP as you think. I think its PoV is a perfectly reasonable one for discussion, though not one I agree with. Its when some UKIP supporters start to see the EU as the 4th Reich or some product of the anti-Christ that I hear the bells start to ring. To see Barosso or Ashton as the leaders of some vast anti-democratic quasi-fascist empire is barking. People like Ashton and friends are hardly fit to be let go to the loo on their own, let alone overturn the European moral and political order.

  • GnosticBrian

    Tom – You write “In a few months, thugs with AK-47s have become capable of withstanding
    the Ukrainian military. They’ve ambushed armoured troop convoys. They’ve
    repeatedly downed helicopters and transport planes. They’ve acted with
    coordinated focus. In short, they’ve become more than thugs. And there’s
    only one explanation for their development: their access to training,
    supply provisions, intelligence support and active operational guidance
    from Russian intelligence. US intelligence services have no doubt of
    this”. So in a few short months a rabbler has been transformed into a highly competent fighting force? Contrast this with years of training provided and tens of billions of treasure expended by the US and UK on the Iraqi Army which folded in a couple of days against lightly armed and untrained ISIS irregulars. Are the Russians really so superior in their methods to the UK and US?

    • Weaver

      No, but they have much better material to work with here.

      Ukrainian armed forces have a reasonable reputation; they’re not a tribal shower like Iraq with wobbly leadership, logistics, and morale. The rebels somehow have come into possession of high end gear and the training to use it in (force development terms) a very short amount of time.

      Also, if you know what you are looking for you could tell from an early stage that some of the rebels were Russian Spetznaz. They stood out amongst the rest of the insurgents like a sore thumb. Seriously, Just looking at the build, weapon handling, comms gear, posture, movement…

      • GnosticBrian

        “The rebels somehow have come into possession of high end gear…” – my understanding (from a source in the region) is that the separatist picked up a lot of kit which the Ukrainian regular army abandoned when they ran away. Compared to modern Russian equipment, I would not describe the ex-Ukrainian material as “high end” nor have I seen any obvious Spetznaz forces – but I’m not an armchair expert.

        • Weaver

          Fortunately, I am an armchair expert. 🙂 OK, I work in defence analysis…

          Yes, most ex-Ukrainian stuff that the rebels looted is relatively lackluster ex-soviet/Russian gear (though there are some bright spots in air defence). Lackmuster does does not make it easy to maintain, deploy, and operate.

          (Ironically, the more sophisticated stuff that arouses suspicion is not the heavy weapons, but the comms, small arms, and ISTAR gear you can see the steroid-pumped balaclavas wondering around with. Plus their weapon handling and bearing. They stand out from the drunken locals by a mile.)

          Anyway, the point here is that something like an SA11/SA17 is a relatively sophisticated systems that take time and training to integrate into any effective force structure. The fact that they clearly had the ADU integrated with an ASR for this shootdown speaks of competence and training. This is not a bunch of weekend revolutionaries – unless the rebels have fluked out and had an entire air defence regiment defect, they have had training (though at the same time, they didn’t check the transponder or flight listings, so not too well trained).

          • GnosticBrian

            If you do indeed work in defence analysis I do hope that it is not for the UK Government given the shocking number of typos in your post – does attention to detail no longer count for anything in defence analysis?

            You have a touching high regard for training and supposed expertise. The crew of the USS Vincennes were supposedly highly trained experts. In broad daylight, they entered Iranian territorial waters and shot down a climbing Airbus on a scheduled flight claiming it to be a diving F-14 fighter. The American enquiry absolved them of any blame. Explanation from the professional analyst or are you really just another armchair wannabe?

            • Weaver

              I’m a professional, but also juggling two small kids at the moment.

              • GnosticBrian

                So no ability to multitask and a propensity to make mistakes under pressure – again, I express the hope that you are not a defence analyst for the UK.

                • Weaver

                  Brian,

                  You’re not completing the argument. You make a lot of statements but they are not linked together, with categorical relationships, to draw a logical conclusion. If you’re attacking my argument the conclusion you’re looking for is possibly “Therefore the shooters were not experts” or something like that, what you’ve posted so far is pretty non sequitor.

                  FYI, I’m private sector now. Left government a little while back because the analytical work is surprisingly badly paid. Incidentally, you’d be surprised how few “defence analysts” the UK gov employs, in the “talking heads” sense of the type you see on TV; a lot of that is subsumed in the intelligence rather than defence communities.

                • GnosticBrian

                  I’m not mounting an argument – there being a paucity of established facts only a fool (or TV pundit) would jump to a firm conclusion at this stage. I am really just asking questions. It seems to me that the media has focussed pretty well 100% on one POSSIBILITY without giving any thought to other, just as likely, scenarios. It is not my area of expertise so I am rather clumsy in my probing.

                  Do you consider the fact that a Ukrainian fighter jet approached to within 5 kilometers of flight MH17 to be potentially significant – after all, the Ukrainians have previous when it comes to shooting down Russian passenger jets and then vehemently denying having done so; 4 October 2001 Tu-154, flying over the Black Sea travelling from Tel Aviv Israel to Novosibirsk.

                • Weaver

                  Fair enough, Brian. Alternatives have broadly been considered and rejected.

                  On fighter jet – and let me say as this appears to be purely Russian sourced I just plain don’t believe them – but let’s assume it’s true and let me show you why this alternative gets rejected around the office.

                  1) The Ukrainians would not shoot down a civil airliner on purpose (and spare me black-flag theories – this would be a terrible way to do it – you’d be found out with near-certainty). Therefore it would have to be an accident of some type.

                  2) It seems to be impossible to construct a plausible accident narrative.You have to have some kind of misidentification, like KAL 007. But the flight was on-course, scheduled time, in contact with ATC, there was clear visibility at altitude, transponder was working etc. Even if misidentified (somehow, given wrong height, speed, size) as a Russian intruder, no warning was given and it strains credibility to think the Ukrainians would fire on a Russian aircraft even in such a context.

                  Finally, Ukrainian fighter jets; for various quite complex technical reasons; almost certainly wouldn’t be single-shot catastrophic kill against large wide bodied airliners. Also, unlike that Tu-154 and the SAM, it is MUCH harder to hit someone with an accidental mid-air release. You really have to be trying to hit with those things.

                  Finally, we have the US claiming a detected missile launch from rebel held areas at the same time. This is well within US technical capabilities with near-zero false positive rate. So either they are lying, or a pair of SAMs got fired at just the right time and place to bring it down. SAM launches are rare. So its pretty damming, from a Bayesian perspective.

                • GnosticBrian

                  You appear to ignore the fact that the Ukrainians have “previous” when it comes to shooting down passenger jets and then mounting strenuous denials. Siberian Airlines flight 1812 was shot down over the Black sea on 4 October 2001 en route from Tel Aviv to Novosibirsk killing everyone on board.

                  Ukraine has/had Buk missiles in the area. Is it not possible that they shot down MH17?

                  I prefer to wait for ALL of the evidence to be assimilated and assessed.

                • Weaver

                  Not ignoring. Provisionally rejecting. It’s possible, but the data points strongly in the other direction. The prior shootdown doesn’t have much evidentiary value in this context. Basically, stronger, more proximate data overrules it (Launches from rebel areas, rebel twitter claim, and recent rebel shootdowns of Ukrainian military aircraft all have much higher value for inference.)

                  I’ll give you 2:1 odds, if you feel like betting.

                • GnosticBrian

                  My background is theoretical physics. We don’t consider the self-interested prognostications of politicians to be “data”.

                  As to gambling, Lord Justice Rowlatt described it as “An irrational agreement whereby two persons lay down money and, on the happening of an event, one of them picks it up”. I leave irrational actions to the weak minded.

                • Weaver

                  That explains a lot. I work with physicists all the time. With a few exceptions, (usually in thermodynamics – why? Possibly because they understand entropy and information properly.) they are invariably useless at statistics and risk management. And I mean bad – much worse than even the engineers – at least on the QA side.

                  Your amusing condescending quote about probability theory illustrates the hazards of excessive specialisation. Tell me, does this attitude extend to your pension management? Because I have some bad knews for you…

                • GnosticBrian

                  It seems unlikely that a real physicist would not understand statistics given the importance of such to an understanding of quantum mechanics. Perhaps you are hanging around with wannabee physicists rather then the real thing.

                • Weaver

                  As I said, the thermodynamics crowd and signals crowd are usually OK and the general physicists lacklustre with stats, but to be fair I haven’t run into many QM specialists around here…

                • GnosticBrian

                  Lies, damned lies and statistics…statistics is NOT a science. As Ernest Rutherford observed, there are only two sciences: physics and stamp collecting. Anyone claiming to be a physicist and not having a good working knowledge of quantum mechanics is a wannabee.

                  Statistics, the subject that gives us such gems as: the vast majority of the population has more than the average number of legs.

                • Weaver

                  “Statistics is NOT a science”

                  That statement is ridiculous and OTT. I mean that’s just LoL stuff; the kindest thing for me to do is assume you were just trying to be gratuitously offensive and not thinking through what you were typing.

                  On the other hand…I’m now wondering if you are a physicist after all. Perhaps you’re bluffing. Let’s see, shall we?

                  QUESTION: Two objects, A and B, are 1LY apart from perspective of an observer C at rest located near B. C perceives A is travelling directly towards B & C, with an angle of incidence of 1/3Pi radians between their velocities. C perceives A speed to be 0.92c and B’s speed to be 0.97c. What is the speed of B perceived from A? You may assume constant velocities and no local acceleration.

                  Now, I can solve that. How about you?

                • Weaver

                  “My background is theoretical physics. We don’t consider the self-interested prognostications of politicians to be “data”. ”

                  You gave the Russian reports on Ukranian fighters full credence, and that was self-interested prognostication. What isn’t, in some sense? But it agreed with your prejudices so you didn’t question it. You know, in my background we have explicit checks for cognitive bias and red-team this sort of thing.

                • GnosticBrian

                  I give full credence to NO ONE.

                  I’m sure that you enjoy playing lots of games – ludo a speciality of yours?

                • Weaver

                  Not really, but I was ranked about 2050 ELO; a bit out of practise though these last few years!

                • GnosticBrian

                  The world is divided into two; those who can, and those who need to practice.

                • Weaver

                  I find its those who engage in bimodal distribution classification and those who don’t 😉

          • Airey Belvoir

            ADU, ASR, gosh, you must be jolly clever to use all these acronyms. My old chemistry teacher used another, APK, which stood for Anxious Parade of Knowledge.

    • Chris Morriss

      Possibly thousands of these “thugs” are actually Russian military in disguise.

      • Jambo25

        A lot of the ‘leaders’ of the People’s Republic of Donetsk are Russian citizens.

        • Baron

          Jumbo25, you display an amazing ignorance of the region.

          Would it surprise you to know there are plenty of Russian citizens in Kiev, other parts of Ukraine?

          Also, name one of the ‘leaders’ who carries a Russian passport. Can you?

          • Jambo25

            Alexander Borodai and Igor Strelkov. Strelkov possibly isn’t his real name but both are Russian citizens. Strelkov is widely thought to be a Russian security services agent. I’m not sure if Pavel Gubarev is a dual national but he certainly has links with Russian Neo Nazis. I’m not sure about Denis Pushilin but he certainly had contacts with the Russian underworld. Vladimir Antyufeyev is definitely Russian: was involved in the Donetsk region but now seems to have moved to stirring up trouble in Transnistria..
            There are very good and trustworthy reports of numbers of mercenaries and volunteers arriving from the North Caucuses. They are often called Chechens but are much more likely to be ethnic Russians who were involved in the inter ethnic fighting there and are now moving on to more mercenary trouble elsewhere. They certainly all carry Russian passports.
            The nice young men who invaded Crimea (All 25,000 or so of them.) were definitely Russian. I’d guess Spetsnaz , Paratroopers., Marines and probably some FSB troops Several parties of Russian service personnel, travelling in civilian clothes, within Ukraine, have been arrested. Definitely Russian but maybe only on holiday.
            I willingly confess to having no great expertise in Russian history and politics. My special fields of study lay further West but I do Know enough to get by. I also have a number of East European friends and relatives plus a long time studying areas of Eastern Europe. From that 2 things stand out. One is the hatred and loathing that many East Europeans have for Russia and the Russians and the other is that virtually few will have any doubts that the vast bulk of responsibility for this massacre lies not just with the Yahoos in the Eastern Ukraine but with Putin and the Russian Thugocracy as well.

          • ArchiePonsonby

            Aren’t you glad that you asked? (See below!)

          • Chris Morriss

            Don’t be naïve, Red Baron.

      • GnosticBrian

        Evidence? Do you also characterise the fascists who overthrew the elected Ukrainian President as thugs? What of those who burned all those civilians in Odessa? Do you remember when the Ukrainians shot down a Russian passenger jet over the Black Sea in 2001 and denied it for more than a week in the face of evidence? Whatever the local rights or wrongs, the UK should keep well clear.

    • Holly

      The day will come when these thugs ignore Russia.

      Not so long ago Putin was telling the world how he would ‘deal with the terrorists’, what would he would have done if they then went on to prevented the dead being respectfully given back to their families.
      This is the second most disgusting part of the downing of an aircraft, the first being the missile attack.

      • GnosticBrian

        Holly – did you take the same approach when the USS Vincennes entered Iranian territorial waters and shot down an Airbus on a scheduled flight? The highly trained and professional American crew using state of the art equipment claimed that the climbing passenger jet was a diving fighter aeroplane. The American investigation cleared their men of any blame. But you expect a far higher standard of irregular forces. Obama told the world that he was going to close Guantanamo within a year of being elected. B Liar told us that their were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Gordon Brown told us that he had ended boom and bust. I will let you into a very badly kept secret of the grown up world – politicians, the world over, say whatever suits them best at the moment irrespective of whether it is true or not.

        • Jambo25

          I expect Russia not to invade another sovereign state and permanently annex part of its territory. I expect Russia to crack down on Russian citizens who enter another sovereign state to start or support civil war. I expect Russia not to allow its border to be crossed and recrossed by participants in that war. I expect the Russian government not to encourage by word or deed the continuation of that war. I expect the Russian government not to go in for provocative military build ups on the border of that other sovereign state. I expect the Russian not to threaten other states in the Baltics or Poland either by word or deed.

          • Baron

            You expect too much from Russia, little from the undemocratic EU, bullying US. How about expecting the EU to stop meddling in other nations’ affairs?

            Also, Russia was robbed of Crimea in 1992, not Ukraine in 2014, the language of the peninsula is Russian, most of the inhabitants are Russian, the land has been claimed by Russia more than anyone else since the creation of Rus in 1613.

            • Weaver

              They signed a piece of paper agreeing to respect Ukrainian sovereignty in 1992, in exchange for getting their nukes back. The process was sponsored by UK, US, Fr, as part of the general cold-war settlement. So in addition to Russia’s UN undertakings, the legal case is clear-cut.

              Now, you may argue a strong moral case for Crimea returning to Russia, based around self-determination. I might even agree with you. Here Russia might have advocated peaceful return, perhaps following a genuine referendum with international supervision, with the deployment of peacekeeprs. But they didn’t. They invaded under a flimsy pretext, staged a sham plebiscite, and annexed it.

              Sometimes the pursuit of a legitimate objective can be ruined by illegitimate means.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                The Russian military were already in Crimea, by treaty. They did not “invade”.

                A group of hooligans had just overthrown the legitimately elected Ukranian government, and had just outlawed the Russian language, so there was reason to fear the newly crowned idiots.

                They held a referendum in Crimea for separation, which passed overwhelmingly, which is not at all surprising, no matter that you’re quelle surprising all over yourself.

                And now a group of Russian sympathasizers want to split off East Ukraine, a not unsurprising happenstance. Best you neocons let them go, and stop wasting time, money and blood. The Ukraine military won’t hold up any better than the Iraq creampuffs you propped up, I suspect.

                • Weaver

                  Viceroy

                  I’d just suggest you try to separate your ethics from your analysis. Confounding them weakens both.

                  (Seriously? Do you think that was a fair referendum?)

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  I’d suggest you not concern yourself with my supposed ethics/analysis non-separation, especially as your neoconism appears to be an un-separated monolithic blob.

                  I dearly hope that you are not foolish enough to believe that referendum would have come out any other way than it did. Now wipe off all that quelle surprise and get yourself cleaned up.

                • Weaver

                  I’m genuinely uncertain Viceroy. I’ve seen some stuff (unverifiable) that suggested the actual (as opposed to reported) voting was 60-40 for anschluss, on a low turnout, so who knows what a free and fair election would have returned?

                  If you’ve got any good fix on what real opinion is in the area, I would be happy to consider it!

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …are you still burping-up quelle surprise, lad?

                • Weaver

                  It was a polite request for data…evidence…that sort of thing.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  I’d refer you to the vote totals, lad. They wouldn’t track % of EUSSR/NATO whiners, I’d guess.

                  I’d also refer another to common sense and historical underpinnings, but such may not be profitable in your case .

              • Baron

                Good point, and right, too, Weaver, Baron buys it except the West also promised not to surround Russia with NATO bases, you aware of it?

                Baron’s aware the Russians when the USSR was around (not unlike the Germans when the Austrian corporal was in charge) behaved barbarically, but he also believes neither the Russian nor the German unwashed are inherently barbaric, predisposed to harm others. The hoi polloi do what the creed, or rather those who have installed, maintain it, their lieutenants, are telling them to do.

                Our relationship with Russia after the evil of communism collapsed hasn’t differed much from the times when the Red Menace thugs ruled there. Our warmness has only been partial for mostly selfish reasons, we need fossil fuels, they have it.

                • Weaver

                  Yes, if you’re referring to the CFE treay….that discussion merits a longer post.

                • Baron

                  Quite, Weaver, you see, Baron ain’t backing the KGB colonel, he’s a nasty piece of work, what pi$$es the barbarian is we are often as nasty as him, pretend to hold the moral grounds, and in this case even nastier.

                  Just google the surname of the boy in no 10 and ‘from the Atlantic to the Urals’ (Baron cannot furnish the link, it gets deleted by the defenders of free speech). It is the EU’s push East, not his West. Why?

            • Jambo25

              Actually, I think the Tartars were there first. Probably also some Pontic Greeks.

          • GnosticBrian

            When did Russia invade “another sovereign state”? That sort of thing is the exclusive preserve of the USA (more than 30 times since WW2 – including the invasion of a Commonwealth country, Grenada) and the UK (Suez, B Liar’s wars).

            The Crimea is ethnically and historically Russian. The people of Crimea VOTED to return to Russia. Why do you deny them the right to self-determination? Did you also object to the people in Northern Ireland, in Gibralter, in the Falkland Islands voting to remain British? Do you deny the people of Scotland the right to their referendum on independence?

            • Jambo25

              Well as the Tsarist regime lets have a list. Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Hungary, The Ottoman Empire. I’m sure there are lots of areas of Central Asia I could fling in.
              As the old Soviet Union; Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, Rumania, Czechoslovakia, East Germany and Afghanistan. As the reborn Russia Georgia (You didn’t forget them; did you?) and Ukraine.
              I am a Scottish nationalist and I would have had no objection, whatsoever, to Crimea holding a referendum to join Russia but without the Russian invasion. That kind of destroyed any high ground you were aiming for.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                I don’t really care much about what happened in the Sov days, truth be told.

                Crimea was not invaded, lad. Russia was there by treaty. If you think that referendum was going to come out any other way than it did, you’re even dumber than the average socialist jock.

                Georgia territory was in dispute, and some bigmouth nationalist with John McCain’s blessing and similar McCainiac lunacy decided to get an even bigger mouth, and received a backhand slap for his trouble.

                The moral of the story is don’t poke the bear on his borders.

                And “moral high ground” is not at issue, certainly not if we’re talking oligarchs, the EUSSR and the neocons.

                • Jambo25

                  Yep those 25,000 Russian troops who took the place over were simply day trippers who liked the place so much they decided to stay. Likewise, whether you like it or not the Russians invaded the territory of another sovereign state , in Georgia. There was no dispute about Georgian territory until the Russians got involved. In the meantime there was a genuinely popular nationalist movement in Chechnya which wanted independence from Russia and witnessed massacre and utter destruction so bad that the Chechen mainstream eventually went loon bogle Islamist and there is now a state anarchy in the North Caucusus which has bled into the international arena.
                  Russia is no longer a superpower. Its scarcely a great power. I’m not advocating military action against the country though a large supply of first rate weaponry to the Ukrainian armed forces wouldn’t go amiss. No, the proper action is to institute real trade sanctions against the place to make the Russians feel as poor as they really are.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Again, the Russians had treaty rights to deploy forces in Ukraine. There was no invasion, no matter how much your fantasies suggest otherwise .

                  Yes, there was a dispute in Georgia, and the idiot down there decided John McCain was a fine strategic adviser, and got a backhand slap for his trouble.

                  Chechnya was a part of Russia, and the separatists refused to take the long road, much like the Georgia idiots and these Ukraine oligarchs, and took up arms. That was a tragic mistake.

                  It doesn’t matter what you think Russia is, or isn’t. What matters is keeping idiots like you from provoking them directly on their borders. That will go badly for you, lad. You’re too stupid to understand how and why, but trust me, it will go badly for you and any other EUSSR nutter.

                  And you EUSSR nutters are buying massively from Russia, laddie, and handling their finance. You best quit with your numpty frolicking about “sanctions”. You look like a fool even mentioning it.

                • Jambo25

                  I don’t think sending in tens of thousands of spare troops without the permission of the Ukrainian authorities was part of the treaty. Nor was seizing Ukrainian state property and effectively imprisoning representatives of the Ukrainian state. I also doubt if annexing part of the sovereign territory of the Ukraine was part of that treaty either. In fact, hadn’t Putin already guaranteed Ukrainian territorial integrity in turn for Ukraine getting rid of its nukes? And those Georgians. Christ they were asking for it as well. Imagine them thinking that they could do what they liked on their own internationally recognised territory. They should have asked for Russian permission. So, who’s next. Latvians, Lithuanians or Estonians? They’ve all got Russian minorities who I’m sure would like the Rodina to protect. What about the Poles and Finns? They were kind of Russians up until 1918. Russia is a kleptocracy run by thugs.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  You don’t think, is right. Russia and Ukraine had treaty for a Russian troop presence. It doesn’t matter that you were ignorant of that, and it doesn’t matter that you don’t like it, or its form or count, or that your EUSSR fascist buddies can’t overrule it.

                  They had a treaty.

                  The East Ukraine thugs took over state property. The West Ukraine thugs took over state property. What’s your point? One’s bad because you EUSSR nutters say so, and one’s good because you EUSSR nutters say so?

                  The people of Crimea voted to become part of Russia, overwhelmingly they voted. That is all.

                  No, Putin guaranteed nothing to nobody about “territorial integrity”. Stop fantasizing, laddie. Just stop. You really look like a fool making these absurd assertions.

                  As mentioned, Georgia muscled up on the Bear’s border. That is always a mistake, whether by the Tblisi idiots, or by you EUSSR idiots. The Tblisi idiot got slapped down for his trouble.

                  If you want to move over to discuss the Poles or any other discussion topic, have at it, lad. I might suggest that you EUSSR nutters not prompt a bunch of street thugs to overthrow the Polish goverenment. Just a suggestion, which you’re likely too stupid to take, no doubt.

                • Jambo25

                  1) I’m pretty sure there was no treaty right to pour 25,000 troops into Crimea. 2) I’m also sure that there was no treaty right to annex a part of Crimea. 3) I’m also sure that in 1994 the Russian Federation signed the Budapest Memorandum guaranteeing, amongst other things, Ukrainian territorial integrity. 4) I’m also sure that Georgia didn’t invade Russian territory but I am sure that Russia invaded Georgian territory.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  You’re pretty sure about nothing except that you’re blathering aimlessly on topics you’re completely ignorant of.

                  The Russians didn’t “pour 25,000 troops into Crimea”, you dolt. They didn’t have to. They had about that many there already, by treaty.

                  You dolt.

                  Again, just to keep it simple for you EUSSR nutters, let’s repeat this. There was no treaty right for Russia to annex Crimea, and there was no treaty right for you EUSSR nutters to encourage street thugs to overthrow the legitimately elected government in Ukraine. It doesn’t matter that you EUSSR nutters have decided one of those actions is good and one’s bad. They’re both bad, or they’re both good, you EUSSR nutter.

                  You EUSSR nutters encouraged street thugs to execute an illegitimate overthrow of the elected government in Ukraine. You and your thug friends opened a floodgate, and thus you abrogated any “territorial integrity” agreement. You see, once you initiate civil war, this is always what happens, lad. You should remember this, next time you EUSSR nutters contemplate another civil war.

                  I’m sure your Tblisi buddies acted a fool on Russia’s border and I’m sure the Bear swatted them down. They shouldn’t do this again, no matter if McCain tells them to.

                  You should just quit arguing this point, laddie. You EUSSR nutters have come acropper… again.

                • Jambo25

                  1) Russia flew in thousands of troops to the Crimea after they seized the airports. They also poured armoured and other mobile forces over the land border. 2) As far as I know the EUSSR (Your delusional description) didn’t arm or organise anybody in Kiev. However there were fairly well founded reports at the time that Yanukovych was getting a lot of encouragement from Moscow to use “a whiff of grapeshot” to clear the streets. Putin was not pleased when Yanukovych collapsed and apparently he wasn’t too impressed with the level of corruption shown by his regime either. Even by the deplorable standards of Russia. It was spectacular.
                  2) You seem to be a spectacularly nasty as well as ill-informed and more than slightly deranged person. Not to put too fine a point on it you appear to be the ‘nutter on the bus’ that nobody wishes to make eye contact with.
                  3) Here’s a conundrum that you might wish to turn your fevered little brain to deal with. You see the EU (Sorry EUSSR) as an evil, aggressive expansionist entity yet on the BBC I’ve just heard that the UK government in the person of Philip Hammond (The most Eurosceptic Foreign Secretary ever of the most Eurosceptic EU (Sorry EUSSR member) attack his EUSSR colleagues for their unwillingness take on Russia over this. Now why would all these “EUSSR nutters” be doing the exact opposite of what you say they are doing when good old Eurosceptic, Philip Hammond, wants to take a much more energetic anti-Russian line.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  No, you have no proof of your accusation that “Russia flew in thousands of troops to the Crimea”. That is only your fantasy. They had treaty rights to have armed forces in Crimea, as mentioned. You are simply ignorant of the facts and data.

                  You EUSSR nutters encouraged the street thugs in Ukraine to engage in an overthrow of the elected Ukraine government, meaning you EUSSR nutters are directly culpable in initiating this Civil War, which has now cost the lives of 300 innocent airline passengers. Congratulations, EUSSR dolts.

                  It’s amusing reading you calling somebody else ill informed. You are truly an ignorant and poorly educated socialist nutter, lad. You truly are clueless about all of this, and yet you spout off incessantly. Amazing.

                  No need bothering with any of you socialist nutters and your worthless chickenfighting over your EUSSR nutter project, lad. It’s a waste of time.

                  Again, I suggest you EUSSR nutters not initiate Civil Wars in any more countries, particularly not those on the borders of the bear. One would have thought even dolts like you would have figured this out by now, but apparently not.

        • Weaver

          Both are technically accidents, but culpable ones.

          I’m sure they didnt mean to shoot down an airliner. But MH17 may actually be a war crime, because it took place between parties who are clearly subject to LOAC and the rebels did not take reasonable steps to identify their target. They fail the distinction test.

          I agree USS Vincennes got off far too lightly. That was rank incompetence too.

          • GnosticBrian

            The Vincennes incident was no accident; the American skipper left his designated area of operation deliberately looking for trouble.

            Do you have EVIDENCE of Russian involvement in this shooting down? Remember that the Ukrainians have previous. They shot down a Russian passenger jet over the Black Sea in 2001 and vehemently denied any involvement for more than a week despite evidence to the contrary.

        • Wessex Man

          You supercilous plonk, terrorists shot down an airliner with hundreds of innocent people on board murdering them and you seek to belittle people like Holly and to display your fantastic knowledge of Russian weapons and intrigues.

          You are as bad as Hookslaw and teletubby

          • GnosticBrian

            The ad hominem attack – the response of those who lack the intellect to mount a coherent argument.

            I have neither claimed nor displayed any knowledge of Russian “weapons and intrigues”. I leave that sort of thing to the armchair pundits.

            Just a small point – where is your EVIDENCE that “terrorists shot down an airliner”? Are you referring to the Ukrainian air force fighter that approached to with 5 kilometers of flight MH17? Don’t you think it would be sensible to wait until real experts have sifted and considered the evidence before venting your splean?

            By the way did you support the USS Vincennes shooting down a passenger jet on a scheduled flight? Or do you characterise the Americans who did that as “terrorists”? Consistency?

            • Wessex Man

              that’s typical response of someone who is happy to be a useful idiot!

              By the way, I consider the USS Vincennes actions to be the usual American gungho response that manages to kill more of their own servicemen in training than any modern day opponent. Why on earth would I support it, my intellect wouldn’t allow me to support any crude killing of innocents, pity you see nothing wrong with Putin pouring in hardware to their allies in Eastern Ukraine, i am listening to David Cameron’s speech listing movements of weaponry from Russia with love to the ethnic Russians as observed by Spy Satellites.

              Bt the way did you support the Russians shooting down a South korean Airlines jet KAL 007 that had strayed into the Russian Kamchatka Peninsula killing all 269 on board, with not one expression of remorse?

              • GnosticBrian

                Another ad hominem insult – seems that5 you lack faith in the power of your argument.

                I think that the Soviet Union was justified in the shooting down at night of KAL 007 over the key defence area of Sakhalin.

                KAL 007 came shortly after the Soviets had been embarrassed by Mathius Rust landing a private plane in Red Square.

                The Soviets had been monitoring a large four-engined American spy plane that had been flying around and around in the area hoping to observe a missile launch. The launch did not take place, the spy plane headed home. By a tragic coincidence KAL 007 came up over the horizon on time and on the spy plane’s well-trodden track. An interceptor was sent up. The Soviet Pilot attempted to alert the Korean pilot by flashing his lights and firing warning bursts of Cannon fire. The Korean responded by climbing. The Soviet pilot was authorised to fire and did so.

                You will be aware that the UK and USA have flown hundreds of spying missions over the Soviet Union. I am unaware of any equivalent Soviet spy plane flights over the UK or the Continental USA. If you continually tweak the Bear’s tail you have to expect a reaction – and you don’t need to be a “useful idiot” (Stalin’s description of western left wingers) to realise that.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  The Sovs used the West’s open society as their intelligence gathering tool of choice, and they never had the aviation sophistication to develop quality spy planes as did the West, which were a necessity for them as the Sovs simply closed off physically what they wanted to close off, which the West really couldn’t do. Both espionage and airspace intrusions are illegal, so there really wasn’t much difference between them in that respect, and drawing moral distinctions between them on such a basis is misguided.

                • GnosticBrian

                  Do your observations extend to the Mig 25? They regularly overflew Sinai in the early seventies and were clocked at Mach 3.2. Israel, despite foreknowledge, never mounted a successful interception.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  They couldn’t hold that speed for extended operational periods, and only at restricted altitudes, and so could be nowhere as useful as other of the West’s spy plane types. I do believe some of them were shot down, as well, although perhaps not while flying on reconnaissance missions. I’m not sure the Migs ever had the electronic warfare capability of the West’s types, which was their real edge. If you’re flying high enough and can spot the ground attacks as they’re coming up, it gives you time to run away from them, or counter them. The Sovs weren’t as advanced as the West in that regard.

                  The Sovs weren’t as good about aerial refueling, too. Their planes were fuel hogs, and that limited them.

                • GnosticBrian

                  I believe that very few military aircraft can sustain high mach number flight. It is one of those “fun facts” that Concorde clocked up more supersonic air miles than all of the world’s other supersonic aircraft combined. I’ve seen this widely reported but have never been able to run down the hard stats, hence it is a “fun fact”

                  Do you have a source for the shooting down of a Mig 25? I have never found any claim that stacked up. They were indeed gas guzzlers – poor intake design. Mind you the English Electric Lightning would not win any economy run. Point interceptors, both.

                  The “backward” nature of Soviet electronics was widely trumpeted by western aerospace companies until they were asked to consider the effect of an electromagnetic pulse from a high yield bomb on current Soviet and current western aircraft. The penny then dropped. The high specced western aircraft would fall out of the sky with all of their “fly by wire” electronics fried. The Mig 25 and others would continue to fly. The Soviet kit was designed to fight a nuclear war.

                  Soviet design was rarely fancy but it did reflect battlefield realities – like having a bottle opener on the bottom of an AK47 magazine. This avoided the feed problems that Americans suffered after using the lips of their M15 mags to open beer bottles.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  I’d intuitively believe the Concorde statement to be true. It was a dedicated supersonic machine, and flew long distances. Most others cruised slower, even if they were supersonic warplanes, and used the speed only when necessary.

                  I can’t claim an inviolable source for the Mig shootdown. And I’d question it myself, as it was most likely unsophisticated users who would have suffered losses. It’s hard to shoot down modern warplanes.

                  Good point about the electronics. I don’t know if the Sovs would have fired a big bomb at a cluster of attacking aircraft, but if they did it could have fried a bunch of them.

                  That M-16 magazine was just cheap, is why it was failing. The best thing to open a beer bottle is a plastic disposable butane cigarette lighter. The edge of the cap digs into the plastic and you can just vault it off sharpish, and it makes a satisfying pop, and all of the soldiers would know how to do this, if not with a disposable lighter than with something else similar. I bet the “beer bottle” story was just cover for the manufacturer’s poor durability of design on that magazine. It wouldn’t be the first time.

                • Wessex Man

                  You realise in your own seperate little world of wonder at all things Soviet are forty years out of date.

                  So what weapons was the Korean Airliner carrying? Could not the Soviet have climbed with it? was it unable to climb as high as the Korean plane? or are you the apologist for all things Soviet/Russian that I believe you to be?

                • GnosticBrian

                  If you are right, in your armchair analysis, then it is amazing that the Soviet era Buk missile (seventies design) brought down a modern jet liner flying above 10km.

                  Again, from your armchair perspective, you may not have realised that spy planes are invariably unarmed; so why would I expect KAL 007 to have been carrying weapons? It was, as a question of fact, many hundreds of miles away from track and had flown over two very sensitive Soviet defence zones.

                  Yet again, from your armchair perspective, you may not be aware that at high altitude the wings on aircraft that are optimised for high speed (for example an interceptor) produce insufficient lift to maintain flight at lower speeds such as that of a climbing jumbo jet. The Russian pilot took the climbing and slowing down manoeuvre to be a deliberate attempt at evasion.

                  Sorry to disillusion you, but I am not at all pro all things Soviet / Russian. I am just immensely sceptical of what I’m told by politicians / journalists post B Liar’s wars of aggression. But I’m happy for you to sit back in your armchair, swallowing all that the guff that they try to feed us, without engaging any critical faculties.

                  If you retain a vestige of critical faculties and would like to clear the cobwebs, you might ask yourself why MH17 was flying where other airlines feared to go (and Malaysian Airline still fly over the Syrian conflict zone); and if the Americans have satellite imagery showing a missile launch from separatist territory, why haven’t they produced it (they were quick to produce such imagery of supposed Russian troop concentrations)?

    • Jambo25

      No but their mercenaries are superior to Iraqis.

      • GnosticBrian

        Your EVIDENCE for paid (ie mercenary) involvement is?

        • Jambo25

          Well the obvious large scale presence of Regular Russian Army units in the seizure of the Crimea. The recorded phone and radio conversations that the Ukrainians claim to have. Reports from what’s left of the freeish media in the Donbas (Though that has largely stopped) and the near unanimous view of virtually every EU government as to the nature of the fighting in the Ukraine. However, I’m sure that they are all wrong and you are right.

          • Baron

            Jumbo25, a piece of knowledge you may like to remember. There operates a chain of shops in Russia that sell army surpluses, amongst them uniforms, no insignia, but anyone can buy the stuff. The owner wants to move to Crimea, too.

            It’s no proof Putin’s men aren’t there, but it’s no proof that there’re there ether.

            • Jambo25

              I bet they don’t sell Buk systems though or manpads or Dragunov sniper rifles.

          • GnosticBrian

            Jambo25 – the Crimea was and is Russian. It was “given” to the UKraine by the Ukrainian Nikita Khrushchev in 1954 when Russia and Ukraine were both part of the “indissoluble” Soviet Union. The people of Crimea voted overwhelmingly to return to Russia.

            f you respect the right of the p[opulation in Northern Ireland, in Gibralter, in the Falklands islands to decide to remain British; if you respect the right of the people in Scotland to decide whether or not they wish to remain British – why do you deny the right of self-determination to the people of Crimea?

            Have you ever used a telephone in Russia or the Ukraine/ The recordings produced by the Ukrainians are amazingly clear – none of the usual background noise. I wonder why that might be?

            If you believe what the politicians in the EU tell you, I have this bridge for sale which will interest you.

            • Weaver

              “Have you ever used a telephone in Russia or the Ukraine/ The recordings produced by the Ukrainians are amazingly clear – none of the usual background noise. I wonder why that might be?”

              Well, either they have a tap directly on the transmitter and the signal is not being squeezed over copper, or they simply cleaned the audio before release. Its not my speciality though; if you’re an expert in signal processing, feel free to gainsay me.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                …you’ve rather conveniently excluded at least one other explanation.

                • Weaver

                  Well, duh, obviously it might be a forgery. But a clean-ish tape is not evidence itself…

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  If it’s a tape made by a government that has form in shooting down airliners, and covering it up, you may want to add that excluded explanation firmly into the mix.

                • Weaver

                  Bayesian inference already discounted for 2001 priors.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …did you draw an inviolable red line around your inference?

              • GnosticBrian

                Your skills don’t extend to a knowledge of the telephone hardware in left bank Ukraine? And you think that Spetznatz or Spetznatz trained irregulars would speak in the clear over a public network?

                As a “professional defence analyst” do you rule out the possibility that the supposed conversations were recorded in a studio? Or perhaps an awareness of “black ops” isn’t one of your specialitys either?

                I’m a theoretical physicist and have worked on how to extract weak signals from strong background noise.

                • Chris Morriss

                  I work on similar DSP signal processing most of the time. If the background noise was strong, then even the best matched filters produce their own ‘signature’ which can be detected. Most background telephone noise is not that strong, but it’s correct to ask why it was filtered out, unless the audio came via US intelligence. If you want to fake the noise, then just resend the audio over a GSM link a few times.

            • Jambo25

              I deny the right of self determination to nobody. I just maintain that a vote after a Russian invasion isn’t really self determination. Similarly, what is going on in Eastern Ukraine clearly isn’t self determination either but an attempt by the Russian Thugocracy to destabilise Ukraine.

              • GnosticBrian

                Which Russian units “invaded” the Crimea and when? Russian forces were at the level agreed when the Soviet Union broke up. Ukrainian forces in the region dissolved after months of not being paid – and even you could hardly expect the Russians to0 pay them.

                What is your EVIDENCE for the presence of Russian paid mercenaries in left bank Ukraine? If you believe what politicians and the media tell you, I have a very nice bridge for sale which may interest you.

                The thugs in Ukraine are the fascists who overthrew the democratically elected President. The same thugs that burned large numbers of civilians in Odessa.

                • Jambo25

                  1) Yes; all those obviously special forces units weren’t there. All those very efficient, well built young men with state of the art Russian weapons and comms equipment but strangely unmarked uniforms weren’t there.
                  2) Evidence of mercenaries. Well intercepted radio and field telephone calls about Chechens and comments by one of the pro Russian Chechen warlords.
                  3)Actually, Ukraine has one of the lowest far right political representations on mainland Europe There is at least one high ranking Jew in the government. On the other hand we know that Bo

                • GnosticBrian

                  “We are socialists, we are enemies of today’s capitalistic economic system for the exploitation of the economically weak, with its unfair salaries, with its unseemly evaluation of a human being according to wealth and property instead
                  of responsibility and performance, and we are determined to destroy this system under all conditions.” – Hitler’s speech on May 1, 1927.

                  “Professional defence analyst” – armchair wannabe!

                • Jambo25

                  WTF are you on about? If you cannot maintain some form of rational discourse then just pack it in.

                • Wessex Man

                  What he’s on about is picking an argument with you, me or anybody to prove just what a giant amongst men he is.

                  What he is proving is that he is a pointless waste of time.

                • Jambo25

                  He is definitely weird. You and I argue a lot but I would reluctantly attest to your basic rationality

              • the viceroy’s gin

                West Ukraine is a thugocracy, so it’s pretty much a squabble between thugocracies, if that’s your point.

                • Jambo25

                  That’ll be the Ukraine that has an elected government having got rid of the Yanukovych Kleptocracy which still largely controls Eastern Ukraine

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  That’ll be the Ukraine that illegitimately overthrew its elected government, and illegitimately swapped oligarchs, to no discernible benevolence.

                  As I say, a squabble among thugocracies, although you seem to have chosen sides, in some strange fashion.

                • Jambo25

                  That’s the Ukraine which is a sovereign state and can therefore sort its own affairs out, internally, without outside invasions. Its also worth pointing out that the corrupt bunch of Kleptocrats they got rid of are now largely the Russian separatists going all woozy over Russian speakers’ rights in the Donbas. In other words the utterly corrupt, thieving mates of Yanukovych. They’ve been stiffened, of course by Russian Neo Nazis like Borodai and the delightful Ivan Strelkov (Probably not his real name) who many people think works for the Russian security services.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  No, that Ukraine is not a sovereign state and is even now sticking its hand out begging for charity. It engendered an internal overthrow of its elected government, and due to that self induced instability, has invited additional schisms amongst its population and regions, which are currently underway. When your EUSSR comrades eventually run out of cash to give them, and they are forced to turn to the Russians, as ever, they will pay dearly for their previous stupidity.

                  They replaced one group of thugs with another group, lad. You really should stop picking sides here. It’s pointless. Your thugs are not the thugs we’re looking for.

                • Jambo25

                  Give me your definition of what a sovereign state is then, sweetie pie.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  You can look up that definition for yourself, lad. Suffice to say that when you EUSSR nutters saddled up your street thugs and decided to start playing musical oligarchs, the need to describe the region formerly known as “Ukraine” as a sovereign state ceased. It’s the badlands now. It’s whatever status the Somalia badlands are in, or whichever piece(s) it’s in today. Congratulations.

                • Jambo25

                  I don’t have to look it up sweetie pie. I studied Politics and Government (Amongst other things) so I know what it is. I want to know if you do. You seem to be terminally confused.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Heh. You “studied”, lad? That’s amusing, because you’re as dumb as a stump, like most of you EUSSR nutters.

                • Jambo25

                  Well, I’m sure that you can provide evidence of what a thugocracy it is. Its just that I had the odd impression that things like anti-Semitism and gross corruption were rather more common in the wonderful People’s Republic of Donetsk.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Thugocracy is what you EUSSR nutters have installed in Kiev, lad, your hypocritical bleatings nothwithstanding.

                  You’d be wrong about the anti-semitism in West Ukraine, lad, but you’re wrong about most things. You might want to look up Himmler’s favorite camp guard.

                  I am amused that you’re blathering about “corruption”, lad, and in that region of the world. You really are precious. Just as cute as the dickens, you are.

            • Conway

              I see in a previous post you denigrated Weaver for his typos. I suggest you re-read your post and eat some humble pie.

              • GnosticBrian

                Thank you – I only have one good eye and it is failing.

                Unlike Weaver, I claim NO professional expertise in defense analysis where attention to detail is so very necessary – unless one is helping Alastair Campbell compile another dodgy dossier.

    • Baron

      An outstanding point, GnosticBrian.

      For what it’s worth, all the KGB colonel wanted was Crimea, its naval facilities, the only ones that don’t freeze in the winter this side of the Urals, any pro-EU government in Kiev would have cancelled the lease, let Nato boats come in. The Donbass upheaval is an irritant for him, no strategic gain in holding it, only a drain on resources.

      • Weaver

        Useful as a bargaining chip though? And it ties Kiev down for a modest cost in Russian support.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Russia will eventually have the upper hand in all of Ukraine. The oligarchs on all sides are greedy familiars, and they have no use for EUSSR apparatchiks, unless they deliver cash with no strings attached, which it appears the EUSSR is running out of .

          • Weaver

            Judgement reserved. The EU, loathesome as it is, has deeper pockets than Russia despite strings. Popular Ukrainian sentiment is now very much anti-Russian too. Hard to call balance of forces.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              It has deeper pockets perhaps, but only if the People allow them to be emptied. It appears we’re seeing pushback against this. And interest rates are rising.

              Popular Ukrainian sentiment in the West is always going to be anti Russian. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be pro-German.

            • Wessex Man

              Deeper pockets, they actually want to raid our private pensions now because the Bank is bare!

        • Baron

          Who knows what’s in the mind of the KGB colonel, Weaver, but Baron reckons the uprising in Eastern Ukraine was not of his design, it smells like a local initiative, he only supports it because he has no other option for the time being.

          Tying Kiev down? Hmm More likely speeding up closer ties between Kiev and NATO. Does he need that?

          • Wessex Man

            What? of course his evil little hands are all over it!

            • Baron

              Except for annoying Kiev and their American backers, Wessex Man, there is no other advantage in backing the rebels. He has no need for another ‘piece of high quality dirt’ as the German Frau allegedly put it when she learned he got Crimea. The negatives – inflamed international opinion, the cost, the likelihood of tougher sanctions and stuff like that – outweigh any positive gain from his involvement there.

              • Wessex Man

                There’s none so loyal as the blind!

          • the viceroy’s gin

            That’s a very good point. Brother Vlad would have preferred to have Findlandized Ukraine as a whole. A schism makes that less likely, or at least makes it far more complex for him.

            • Weaver

              Agreed that he would have preferred to Finlandise, but suspect he chose annexation as best feasible option.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Well, once the EUSSR nutters fomented a violent coup there, and the violent coupists immediately outlawed the Russian language, the handwriting was on the wall, and changes were on the way.

                It wasn’t an annexation, by the way. There was a vote, and Obama obviously approved the absorption of Crimea, or it couldn’t have happened so quickly.

                • Weaver

                  I think we will just have to disagree about the legitimacy of that vote. And I’m also mystified by your logic with Obama there.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Not much to disagree on, lad. You EUSSR/NATO types initiated a violent coup in Ukraine, overthrowing the legitimately elected government, and the coupists quickly banned the Russian language. It would be only logical that a Russian majority in longtime Russian province Crimea would vote up that resolution, a happenstance not at all untoward internationally.

                  I would suspect you’d be mystified by many things, though, including the US’ rapid and easy acquiescence to that move, obvious though it might be to the rest of us . Putin might be happy to run over the EUSSR dweebs, but he knows that the US body politic can make trouble for him, if they get riled. He got the go ahead, clearly, although such was given far too precipitously, with nothing asked in return.

                • Weaver

                  I vote UKIP, mate. Be more careful with your inferences, please.

                  I can believe that Crimea might vote for union with Russia. Maybe even probably. But I’m not certain of it. There is little to no objective polling data. The “referendum” was neither free nor fair, and I find it reflects poorly on your argument and good faith that you contest such a point.

                  I’d just say, if Putin was so sure of carrying the vote, why did he need to cheat so badly? Why the low turnout?

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Actually, your easy assertions make it clear that you’re a fantasist, and have no use for available data.

                  Don’t really care what you claim to vote for, lad. It’s immaterial to the discussion.

                  So now, as you’ve been exposed, you’ve gone sophist, is it? So it’s not “certain”, is it? So the discussion is about “certainty”, suddenly? I see. Good luck with your semantics, lad. It’s quite distasteful to those of us discussing the reality of the situation.

                  If you’re looking for freedom, fairness and good faith, I’d suggest you look for discussion re other regions, lad. The contested lands of the EUSSR and the various oligarchs isn’t for you. Best you let the adults deal with those topics.

                  And now your fantasies tell you that Putin was “certain”, but also “cheated” and the turnout was “low”. All these assertions after your yammering some nonsense about the need to address “available data”.

                  You really need to withdraw from this discussion, lad. I’m starting to feel embarrassed for you.

                • Weaver

                  Viceroy,

                  Please, I know you’re trying to insult me with a feigned patronising air, but c’mon. You know perfectly well there’s a point of EQ/IQ at which being gratuitously rude to someone just doesn’t work. Please desist…its doesn’t get us anywhere.

                  Now, a little test I have for being constructive rather than abusive online is this “if this exchange was put before your employer, what would they think?” It really helps to concentrate the mind before one presses that return key!

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Stop whining, lad. Your arguments are woeful, but you really needn’t debase yourself in the bargain.

                  I’m not trying to “get anywhere” with you, lad. As mentioned, I’m starting to feel embarrassed for you. You don’t appear to have much upstairs.

                  And whatever might concentrate your mind, tests or otherwise, I recommend it, lad. You need something, for sure.

                • Weaver

                  The insults don’t work, Viceroy.

                  I would have preferred a serious conversation. Nevermind.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Stop whining, lad .

                  You are not capable of a serious conversation, as mentioned.

          • Weaver

            Putin’s action does both, I think. Yes, I don’t think he’s thought this through sufficiently…

  • godot

    Now for NATO’s council of war … after all the huffing and puffing, Putin will get away with this, just as he has got away with all the incidents he is implicated in over the years. A few more sanctions will be slapped on Russia. Putin will continue to court rogue/failed states around the world – witness his recent foray to Cuba, Nicaragua, Argentina to gather “allies”. Funny old world

    • Makroon

      It seems highly probable that this was a tragic accident, caused by some inept “para-military separatists”.
      Your claim that this was planned, and carried our deliberately by an evil and deranged Putin, is stupid and paranoid.

      • Chris Morriss

        But Putin acts and talks as if he’s “evil and deranged”. If it looks like a thug, talks like a thug and acts like a thug”, then just perhaps…

    • Roger Hudson

      NATO has been a job creation scheme/ arms_bazaar since 1990, why has it always been anti-Russia.
      Putin has been let down by the Donets bully-boys, not just shooting Kiev transports but now a neutral in their civil war, 298 innocents killed in mistake for a military plane. Putin was really waiting for winter when the gas-tap will become important.
      I read some ‘expert’ encouraging Germany in particular to build alternatives to gas, i say ‘ do it by October’.

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