How will the Ukraine war end?

How will the Ukraine war end?

  • Rebels win,Eastern Ukraine goes independent

    Votes: 89 50.6%
  • Putin invades Kiev, NATO doesn't move

    Votes: 47 26.7%
  • Putin invades Kiev, NATO fights Russia

    Votes: 10 5.7%
  • Rebels lose, Ukraine stays united

    Votes: 30 17.0%

  • Total voters
    176
Trucker Putin opens Russia bridge link with annexed Crimea
Putin's driven a truck over the newly built Kerch straight bridge. I wonder what it will be named? He drove the 12 miles of the bridge in an orange Kamaz truck wearing jeans:
“At last, thanks to your talent, this project, this miracle, has happened,” Putin told the workers.
Poroshenko is clearly unhappy:
In Kiev, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said: “The illegal construction of the Kerch bridge is the latest evidence of the Kremlin’s disregard for international law.

“It is particularly cynical that its opening is happening on the eve of the latest anniversary of the deportation of the Crimean-Tatar people by the Stalin regime.”
$3.6Bn cost to build it. It'll be the longest dual-purpose span in Europe. Rail link due to open end of 2019, cars able to use it from tomorrow:
Built at a cost of 223 billion roubles ($3.60 billion), the bridge will be the longest dual-purpose span in Europe. The Kremlin said it would be opened to cars on Wednesday and the rail section was due to be completed at the end of 2019.

“Putin initiated this project himself. Many didn’t believe these plans were possible,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday ahead of the ceremony.

“This is an extremely important day from this point of view and in a practical sense and in symbolic terms.”
France (Foreign Ministry spokesman) and the EU (European External Action Service spokesman) condemn the opening:
“France condemns the construction by Russia of the Kerch Bridge, which deprives Ukraine of full access and the use of its internationally recognised territorial waters,” a French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.

The spokesperson of the European External Action Service said in a statement on Tuesday the bridge was “another violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

“The European Union continues to condemn the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by Russia and will not recognise this violation of international law,” the spokesperson said.
 
Trucker Putin opens Russia bridge link with annexed Crimea
Putin's driven a truck over the newly built Kerch straight bridge. I wonder what it will be named? He drove the 12 miles of the bridge in an orange Kamaz truck wearing jeans:

Poroshenko is clearly unhappy:

$3.6Bn cost to build it. It'll be the longest dual-purpose span in Europe. Rail link due to open end of 2019, cars able to use it from tomorrow:

France (Foreign Ministry spokesman) and the EU (European External Action Service spokesman) condemn the opening:
That they've built the bridge spanning an international waterway exacerbates a potential flashpoint.

Kerch Strait Now a Flashpoint for Russian and Ukrainian Forces - Jamestown

I can see it as a potential leverage for controlling access to Mariupol and SE Ukraine.
 
Just a short note re. previous attempts to bridge the strait. The Germans built a cableway across the strait and it was used to help evacuate stores from the Taman bridghead in late 1943. A road/rail bridge across the strait was nearing completion at the same time but was destroyed by the retreating Germans. The Soviets then (Summer '44) built a bridge using material left by the Germans. They did not protect the bridge supports and these, and the bridge, were destroyed by ice in the Winter of 44/45.
There's film of the 4km long cableway here, at 14 minutes into the film:
 
Just a short note re. previous attempts to bridge the strait. The Germans built a cableway across the strait and it was used to help evacuate stores from the Taman bridghead in late 1943. A road/rail bridge across the strait was nearing completion at the same time but was destroyed by the retreating Germans. The Soviets then (Summer '44) built a bridge using material left by the Germans. They did not protect the bridge supports and these, and the bridge, were destroyed by ice in the Winter of 44/45.
There's film of the 4km long cableway here, at 14 minutes into the film:
Bridge foundations that can resist ice require fairly large and well protected foundations and so would be time consuming to build. A temporary bridge that wasn't able to resist ice however could be put up much more quickly. Even ferry docks can be damaged by ice unless they are well protected (one was torn out by ice here last winter).

The cableway was an interesting solution.
 
Eyeing possible Polish U.S. base, Belarus says no Russian base, for...
Belarus saying no to Russian bases at the moment. Apparently it depends on what happens with any intended US base in Poland. They want to keep military dialogue and ‘hot lines’ open to control tensions:
Asked if Polish proposals to host a U.S. base amid fears of Russian aggression could prompt Belarus to revise its rejection of any Russian base, Makei said: “I think there will be some reaction to this intention to deploy a new military air base.

“Nothing is impossible ... As of today ... we are not going to deploy new foreign military bases on the territory of Belarus because we would like to contribute to security in our region and we don’t want to be a troublemaker.

“So we are not going to deploy right now new military bases. But looking to the future we should take into account the future steps which will be taken by our neighbors.”

Makei stressed that Belarus, under Alexander Lukashenko who has been president of the former Soviet republic for 24 years, wanted to keep open “military dialogue” in the region, including maintaining “hot lines” to control tensions.
They are willing to provide ‘peacekeeping’ troops for the Russia/Ukraine conflict:
Belarus was still willing to provide peacekeeping forces to help resolve the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, he said, an offer Lukashenko first made four years ago. A company of about 100 troops was ready and Belarus could send more, Makei said, adding there was new interest among the various parties.
Hoping for greater trade with the EU, they’re taking small steps. Currently 51% with Russia and 27% EU. To balance it 1/3 each with Russia, EU and RoW, including in the article increased trade with China:
Where 51 percent of Belarussian trade was currently with Russia and 27 percent with the EU, Makei cited a target of a balance of about a third of trade with Russia, a third with the EU and a third with the rest of the world.

He said that discussions with Europe’s EBRD development bank indicated that two Belarussian banks could be ready for privatization in a few months. Other privatization candidates included cement and building materials firm Krasnoselskstroymaterialy and the Krinitsa brewery.
As ever, Belarus treading a fine line.
 
U.S. welcomes Ukrainian law to aid NATO 'interoperability'
US state Dept happy about a new proposed Ukrainian law aimed at easing ‘interoperability’:
The United States on Friday backed a Ukrainian effort to bolster its security sector, including implementing a new law aimed at easing “interoperability” between NATO and Ukrainian armed forces, the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

Kiev’s new national security law “will further deepen Ukraine’s Western integration, the department said, adding that “the United States stands ready to continue supporting Ukraine’s defense and security sector reforms to bolster Ukraine’s ability to defend its territorial integrity.”
 
The Fake Murder that Fooled the World, Panorama - BBC One
Panorama tonight:
Found in a pool of blood, Arkady Babchenko, a Russian journalist and critic of President Putin, was declared murdered in Ukraine in May. But a day later he was back from the dead, appearing alive and well at a Kiev press conference. Speaking to all the key players for the first time, Jonah Fisher has the inside story of how to fake a murder. Why did Ukrainian security services stage his death? And in the propaganda war between the truth and fake news, what, if anything, did it achieve?
 
Sanctions push last Western hotel chain out of Crimea
Best Western have left the last western franchised hotel in Crimea. It’s now the Sevastopol Hotel and Spa:
“The Best Western Sevastopol Hotel”, a Soviet-era building on the quayside in the port of Sevastopol was one of the few visible signs of an international business presence left since the 2014 annexation. Other major brands, among them McDonald’s Corp and Radisson Hotels have already quit Crimea.

The hotel is still running but branding identifying it as a Best Western hotel has been removed from the building and is now identifying itself on booking sites under the name “Sevastopol Hotel and Spa”
 
Rebel leader in east Ukraine killed in blast
Self proclaimed ‘rebel leader’ is reported to have been killed in an explosion. Russia is blaming Kiev:
Alexander Zakharchenko, who led the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic since 2014, died “as a result of a terrorist act”, the separatist-run Donetsk News Agency reported.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said it had every reason to believe Kiev was responsible for Zakharchenko’s death, RIA news agency said.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Zakharchenko’s death showed that Kiev had decided to engage in a “bloody fight” and had passed up on its promises of seeking peace, RIA reported.
With reporters falsifying their own deaths, the ‘fake news’ pushed by the agitprop, lies and disinformation; it’s difficult to know if this is true and who did it. No tears shed, but it makes me wonder whether this is an ‘excuse’ needed to kick it all off again.

The 42 year old coal mine electrician, apparently had Moscow’s support. TBH, it’d be hard to think of anyone in that situation not having Miscow’s support:
Zakharchenko, a 42-year-old former coalmine electrician, became leader of the Donetsk Republic in November 2014. Other rebel leaders say he was handpicked for the role by Moscow. A vote held by separatists confirmed him in office.

The separatists have blamed Ukraine for previous attacks inside rebel-held territory.
The rebels are not immune to infighting as well:
The separatists have been dogged by infighting that has, on occasion, turned violent. Several past leaders of the separatists have fled the region, saying they feared for their lives after their comrades turned on them.
 
Rebel leader in east Ukraine killed in blast
Self proclaimed ‘rebel leader’ is reported to have been killed in an explosion. Russia is blaming Kiev:

With reporters falsifying their own deaths, the ‘fake news’ pushed by the agitprop, lies and disinformation; it’s difficult to know if this is true and who did it. No tears shed, but it makes me wonder whether this is an ‘excuse’ needed to kick it all off again.

The 42 year old coal mine electrician, apparently had Moscow’s support. TBH, it’d be hard to think of anyone in that situation not having Miscow’s support:

The rebels are not immune to infighting as well:
Hoo bloody ray.

Another one bites the dust.

Trouble is that it could mean someone more aggressive is going to be place man for the Russians.
 
As for assasination of the Donetsk separatist leader Zakharchenko (along with 5 his bodyguards) then it happened in a restaurant 'Separ' (=Separatist)

that belongs to the head of separatist's security service. It is heavily guarded place and it is impossible to stage such a terror act without help of a traitor.
Radio Business FM presented views of
- Russian government - of course Kiev authorities are blamed. The reaction was very nervous. Kiev was accused in terrorism.
- Ukrainian secret service SBU tells about 2 versions - criminal conflict among the separatists and 'hand of Moscow'
- Russian liberal experts point out that Zakharchenko was not the best possible leader from Moscow's point of view
- Ukrainian politologist Vadim Karasyov said that highly likely the explosion was staged by Ukrainian secret services.
There are reports (still not confirmed) that suspected assasins were detained.

Newly apponted Separatist leader Dmitry Trapeznikov prefers Crimean variant - to join Donbass to Russia.

Moscow could recognise independence of Donetsk and Lugansk republic and after a referendum declare them as part of Russia with demand to Kiev authorities to leave parts of Donetsk and Lugansk areas that are still under control of Kiev. It means war and soon Russian paratroopers along with separatist units could be in Kiev.
 
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As for assasination of the Donetsk separatist leader Zakharchenko (along with 5 his bodyguards) then it happened in a restaurant 'Separ' (=Separatist)

that belongs to the head of separatist's security service. It is heavily guarded place and it is impossible to stage such a terror act without help of a traitor.
Says it all, leading on to:
Radio Business FM presented views of
- Russian government - of course Kiev authorities are blamed. The reaction was very nervous. Kiev was accused in terrorism.
Naturally
- Ukrainian secret service SBU tells about 2 versions - criminal conflict among the separatists and 'hand of Moscow'
The latter seems ‘more’, if not ‘highly likely’
- Russian liberal experts point out that Zakharchenko was not the best possible leader from Moscow's point of view
As above
- Ukrainian politologist Vadim Karasyov said that highly likely the explosion was staged by Ukrainian secret services.
Yeah, Ukraine is just ‘spoiling for a fight’:rolleyes:
There are reports (still not confirmed) that suspected assasins were detained.
Chechens?
Newly apponted Separatist leader Dmitry Trapeznikov prefers Crimean variant - to join Donbass to Russia.
Nudging from ‘more’ to ‘Highly likely’ Kremlin job.
Moscow could recognise independence of Donetsk and Lugansk republic and after a referendum declare them as part of Russia with demand to Kiev authorities to leave parts of Donetsk and Lugansk areas that are still under control of Kiev.
Of course. But you need to get the ‘victim’ angle in somehow.
It means war and soon Russian paratroopers along with separatist units could be in Kiev.
Yeah.... okay :rolleyes: That’ll be more Cargo 200 trucks heading home and more babushka’s not able to know about their sons as ‘war dead’ are a state secret. Anyway you need to finish with Idlib and the rest of Syria first. That is unless Putin uses it to ‘threaten the west’ if/when they strike Assad’s CW again.

I don’t suppose it occurs to Vlad to accord with Minsk 2? Or does he need another war after his ratings dropped due to the pension reforms?
 
(...) Newly apponted Separatist leader Dmitry Trapeznikov prefers Crimean variant - to join Donbass to Russia.

Moscow could recognise independence of Donetsk and Lugansk republic and after a referendum declare them as part of Russia with demand to Kiev authorities to leave parts of Donetsk and Lugansk areas that are still under control of Kiev. It means war and soon Russian paratroopers along with separatist units could be in Kiev.
I understand that Trapeznikov was deputy PM prior to this. There is little to nothing about him in the western media. What was known about him in the Russian media prior to this? Was he a well known figure? Was he the leader of a different faction than Zakharchenko? Is he likely to be an interim leader, or is he likely to assume the PM's office on a more permanent basis?
 
Dmitry Trapeznikov - Wikipedia
That didn’t take long :) Wiki sources this for his background of being in charge of a football fan group and then as Mgr of that club in 2001. Much of that has already been published in pro separatist media, be it Russian or the actual areas themselves:
Three and a half verticals DPR
Before that he worked as deputy head of the Petrovskoy District Council of Donetsk city and at the same time was the leader of the fan-club of Donetsk 'Shakhtar' football team, belonging to Rinat Akhmetov. He started working as the FC Shakhtar manager back in 2001, while studying in the Donetsk State Academy of Civil Engineering and Architecture.
The Wiki page doesn’t mention the infighting a great deal. How much credence to give it remains to be seen, but on the face of the article he’s prepared to use firearms to get his way:
Trapeznikov was Leshchenko's subordinate while serving as the 'head of the department of internal and foreign policy of the head of the DPR'. Their relations spoiled so much that one day Trapeznikov even shot Leshchenko in his leg with his own pistol. This incident had no consequences for both, but after that Trapesnikov overtook control of the key figures of Zakharchenko's 'administration'.
E2A:
Dmytro Trapeznikov, the newly appointed leader of the self-proclaimed "DPR", announced the continuation of the course of "Integration with the prospect of joining the great Russia."
 
I understand that Trapeznikov was deputy PM prior to this. There is little to nothing about him in the western media. What was known about him in the Russian media prior to this? Was he a well known figure? Was he the leader of a different faction than Zakharchenko? Is he likely to be an interim leader, or is he likely to assume the PM's office on a more permanent basis?
The new separatist leader is not a well-known figure. Previously I didn't hear about him.
There are reports that the owner of the restaurant fled.
 
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