Ukraine Sitrep 5 Feb 2015

Things are building up to a crisis. Putin will need to convince Merkel and Hollande when they meet in Moscow (see next paragraph) that no Russian troops are in Ukraine. It is my belief that Russian volunteers are fighting in Ukraine just as is the case with the EU. There was a Dagens Nyheter interview with a Swede who was fighting with the Azov Battalion, the unit that has adopted the SS Panzer Das Reich symbol, Spaniards are fighting with the Novorussians (“pro-ryska rebeller”), Dutch with the Ukrainians, etc. Even Americans have been fighting in Ukraine against the breakaway republics. See The Russian-Ukrainian border is too long and tortuous and it is not possible to close the border, either to stop Russian volunteers and their weapons or even to stop trade across this border. Ukrainian refugees continue to pour into Russia while the Ukrainian army desert in droves or seek refuge in Russia from the Ukrainian phosphorus bombs. If the Russian army is in Ukraine how come the US espionage satellites and spy-planes do not show this? The Ukrainians themselves say that they have not encountered Russian units. I am sorry to say that Western leaders are clueless as to the situation on the ground in East Ukraine, so they believe the worst and the biases of their own Western media.

Merkel and Hollande to meet Putin in Moscow: see

Signs of dissent between EU and USA: see

USA pursuing an aggressive line: NATO to strengthen presence in Central Europe:


Ukraine SITREP: Debaltsevo cauldron finally closed?

 This time this sure looks official: the Russian TV channel REN-TV  has announced that the Debaltsevo cauldron has been finally closed, just north of the city of Debaltsevo itself and not further north up the highway where this had been expected.  The same reports say that the DNR and LNR forces met, so we are not talking about holding the highway under direct artillery fire anymore, but about Novorussian forces actually digging in across the highway and truly closing it down.  Earlier this evening, Colonel Cassad was reporting the highway still not closed, but if you look at his map, you can clearly see the location where the two forces apparently joined a few hours later (right over the word ДЕБАЛЬЦЕВО).
Map from Colonel Cassad

I took a quick look at and here is what I saw there:

Debaltsevo on

On this map the Novorussian units have still not closed the cauldron.  Weird.

So who is right?

My gut feeling that the cauldron has probably been closed.   My guess is that the junta was so concerned about this that it sent two SU-25 to provide close air support to the surrounded junta forces (both aircraft were shot down).  This was probably a last desperate attempt to prevent the cauldron from closing.

We should know soon.

No major developments elsewhere along the line of contact.

The Saker

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