There is fear in Russia that the U.S. is egging the Ukraine into a renewed active conflict with its renegade eastern Donbass region and thereby into a war with Russia.

In his latest RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP Patrick Armstrong recollects the most recent developments:

UKRAINE. 1 Nov: Russian buildup on Ukraine border shrieks controlled US media. 2 Nov: CIA Director Burns goes to Moscowsaid to warn Moscow against military operations. 3 Nov: Dmytro Yarosh appointed adviser to the commander-in-chief of the Ukraine armed forces, Defence Minister resigns. 4 Nov: US official visits Kiev. 7 Nov: Kiev says no indication of Russian buildup on border.
What just happened? Moscow got its message across and Washington turned its puppet off? (If so, nobody told Blinken.) Hard to imagine anyone in Kiev thinks “a good little war” would improve the wretched situation. But Yarosh might. This time I think Moscow will use force – if they didn’t get the hint in the spring, there’s no point in more hints: time for facts. (Ossetia 2008; but faster.)

Earlier this year the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky closed TV and media that favored the opposition. Last week the 26 years old English language KyivPost outlet was shut down after its owner was threatened.

Zelensky has recently lost the majority in the Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian parliament. The leader of Zelensky’s party ‘Servant of the People’ Dmytro Razumkov, was removed from his position as speaker of the Rada after some conflict with Zelensky. Razumkov has now founded a new party and 21 parliament members from the ‘Servant of the People’ joined him in a new faction. 226 seats are needed for a majority in the Rada. ‘Servant of the People’ had 244 seats but is now down to 224.

Ukraine is in an energy crisis. It did not use the summer months to fill its gas storage. It lacks thermal coal to generate electricity and to heat its cities. It will now import coal from Poland, the United States and South Africa. That is not only expensive but also likely too late to avoid blackouts:

Considering these factors, the [Energy Minister Herman Haluschenko] stressed the need to develop domestic coal mining.

“It is important that we look at the possibilities of rapidly increasing domestic production. And if there are such opportunities and there is an opportunity to invest in domestic coal, this is the key priority,” he stressed.

The Donbass region has large coal reserves and mines. Rapidly increasing domestic coal production by occupying it might be some peoples’ idea to avoid rolling blackouts.

This week the Foreign Minister of the Ukraine was in Washington DC for U.S.-Ukraine Strategic Dialogue talks. There was a lot of war mongering about a ‘Russian escalation’ that is not happening. Russia is not interested in one but had earlier said that it would protect the Russian people in the renegade Donbass provinces.

In July 2020 the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence wrote a Summary Assessment of Intentions of the Political Leadership of the Russian Federation.  It concluded that Russia does not a war with NATO but would not back away from an immediate threat. It also says:

We assess that Moscow is increasingly concerned about U.S. military activity, especially in Europe, and that this increases the potential for unintended Russian escalation.

This month the U.S. Navy has send the guided missile destroyer Porter and the command ship Mount Whitney into the Black Sea. The later is of special interest:

“The region can already be viewed as a potential theater of war. The USS Mount Whitney command ship is known for its visits to trouble spots. It was seen near the coasts of Iraq and Libya, and visited the Black Sea in 2008, when a war broke out in South Ossetia. It sailed to our shores in 2014, too, after Crimea reunited with Russia,” [military expert Vladislav Shurygin] added.
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