Russian special forces caught red handed on camera

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Russia continues to deny that it has armed forces in Crimea, but it was only a matter of time before someone slipped up. Not only do the mysterious “self-defence forces” use Russian guns, uniforms and vehicles (complete with Russian military number plates) but at least one of them has forgotten to take all the identifying labels off his army uniform (Russian language original), leading to a social media profile naming his special forces unit.

Of course Putin doesn’t expect us to believe him. His plausible deniability is entirely for domestic consumption. His own polls show disapproval of his current actions running at an unprecedented 73%. Russians have no appetite for a shooting war with Ukraine, with whose citizens many have close personal and family ties. With chinks starting to show in his story, how long can Putin keep domestic opposition at bay?

(With thanks to @captsolo for the tip)

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  • sherdy

    Putin himself may not have much appetite for a shooting war with Ukraine. But the chess master certainly seems to have the Americans and Europeans in check.

    While a standoff with economic sanctions could prove costly, Putin can carry the financial loss for a while, but then he can turn off the gas tap which supplies the most of Europe. That might just result in checkmate.

    Realising this potential move that may be the reason some of the Europeans are somewhat less that bellicose for now.

    But of course nothing in the future is certain, to quote Harold Wilson: ‘Events dear boy, events’.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    That was McMillan who said that.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Macmillan even.

  • sherdy

    MrJoe, – Apologies. Fuzzy memory syndrome.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Yes, I suffer from that a lot myself.

  • Tir Chonaill Gael

    Don’t believe the hype. Yes, the Crimea is gone, but the citizens there were likely to vote for autonomous status within the Ukraine in the forthcoming referendum regardless of Putin’s intervention.

    He has no chance of retaining influence in western Ukraine, and if he does send troops into eastern Ukraine then he’ll face crippling economic sanctions. While, Putin may rock the boat a little more in Donetsk, Kharkiv etc. using Russian citizens / astroturfers to do so, but there’s no chance of further military intervention: particularly so given the unpopularity of his policy within the Russian Fed. itself.

  • sherdy

    Tir, – Do you not think the annexing of Crimea will be sufficient trophy for Putin? He will be able to show it off as a victory for Russian speaking people.

    You think he may face crippling economic sanctions – possibly. But on the other hand he can respond by closing of the natural gas which the most of Europe depends on. Then he can also divert his oil supplies to China who will only be too glad of an extra source.

    Did you not think it ironic listening to Kerry and Hague complaining about the Russians interfering in Ukrainian affairs while they are trying to do exactly the same?

    There is also the fact that the Americans with their British poodle in tow have been invading Muslim countries, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths and political chaos over the last 10-15 years.

    Their arrogance is outstanding. They make Putin look like a good guy – not that I believe he is.

  • erewhon
  • Harry Flashman

    Has Russia denied that it has armed forces in Crimea? It would be a bit of a stretch when it has had a bloody great naval base in the Crimea with thousands of soldiers, sailors and marines openly stationed there for the best part of two centuries.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Of course, Harry. I think that the final outcome here will be that Crimea is transferred to Russia.

  • Harry Flashman

    Given that it was Russian before Khruschev handed it over on a whim to Ukraine that does seem the fairest option.

    I’m absolutely no fan of Russia but I have to say the Crimea has been their territory for two hundred years, they have fought wars to retain it against the British, French, Turks and Germans and it is a place of vital strategic importance to the Russians. For the West to huff and puff about this is absurd.

    Russia isn’t leaving Crimea, no more than the US is leaving Guantanamo or the Brits Gibraltar.

  • Son of Strongbow

    Of course there are Russian troops in Crimea legitimately. However they are there subject to an agreement with Ukraine that requires them not to venture outside their sovereign base areas as operational units without Ukraine’s agreement.

    Russian troops have breached that agreement and have deployed outside their bases to blockade, and in some cases enter, Ukrainian military facilities.

    The current situation in Crimea is like the British Army moving off the Dhekelia Cantonment in Cyprus in unit formation and deploying around the Cypriot National Guard HQ at Nicosia. Something that might raise the odd comment here and there.

  • Son of Strongbow

    The Crimea’s peoples are not all Russianophiles. Ethnic Ukrainians live there too and the Crimean Tatars have their own well-founded concerns about increased Russian influence.

  • Harry Flashman

    Like I say I’m no fan of Russia or Putin, but there is diddly squat anyone can do about it. The Crimea is Russia and it’s just going to stay that way in the foreseeable future. There are things you can change in this world and things you can’t, there’s no point getting your knickers in a twist about something that cannot be changed.

  • Son of Strongbow

    Strange that relating some facts about the situation in Crimea is responded to by some undergarment related hyperbole.

    Who btw said that the demographics in the Crimea could be “changed”? Both the US and the European Union are not contemplating trying to eject the Russian Army.

    Meanwhile the Russian supported Crimean government are organising a referendum to be held in ten days that calls for union with Russia.

  • Greenflag

    Perhaps they could have organized a referendum before the Russians sent in their army ? H Flash is right though.

    The history of ethnic cleansing and worse in the Crimea dwarfs Northern Ireland’s troubles .
    Russians make up 58% of the population , Ukrainians 24% and the rest are predominantly Tatar who are the fastest growing demographic and are also Sunni Muslims . The Tatars have issues with the Ukrainian Government and have set up their own ‘assembly’ .They have even more issues with the Russians .

    Perhaps the Ukrainians were thinking of demanding a fair price for the use of the Peninsula by the Russian warm water navy ? and the Russians decided why not get it for nowt ?

    But what about the reputed $70 billion gone missing from the Ukrainian treasury and Yankovich’s apartment (worth $100,000 market prices ) being sold through a third party to the Ukrainian (Yankovich’s government ) for a slightly over valued $17 million ?

    The money’s been routed via Switzerland /Austria /City of London and into some of the 100 offshore tax havens . It will be interesting to see how much the Ukrainian govt recovers . London and other centres are now reputedly freezing overseas assets of Yankovich and his gangsters -naturally enough after they’ve all earned the huge commissions on the transfers .

    This is just another mega theft event in the wholesale pillaging of the world economy and it’s nations by our ‘respectable ‘ western banksters :(
    -

  • Harry Flashman

    OK, you’ll have to forgive me for being terminally dimwitted but just so as we’re all on the same page, violently overthrowing the democratically elected government and installing a new government that promptly cracks down on ethnic minority civil rights and bans opposition parties (while welcoming anti-Semitic neo-Nazi parties) that’s fine. The EU and US approve of that.

    Hmmm.

    However the democratically elected parliament of a particular region calling for a referendum for the people to vote on whether they want to secede from the nation to which they attached on a whim by a Communist dictator, the EU and the US regards that as “illegal”.

    Hmmmmmmmmm.

    Did anyone tell the Scot Nats about the illegality of regional referendums by the way? I think they ought to know.

  • Greenflag

    HF

    ‘you’ll have to forgive me for being terminally dimwitted ‘

    Go and dimwit no more -terminal in this case is preferable to ‘eternal ‘ ;) ?

    I would have replaced some descriptions in your broad brush above.

    ‘violently overthrowing the democratically elected government ‘

    You mean violently overthrowing the kleptocrat Viktor Yanukovych ?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Yanukovych

    ‘installing a new government that promptly cracks down on ethnic minority civil rights and bans opposition parties (while welcoming anti-Semitic neo-Nazi parties) that’s fine.’

    Russia Today (RT) is not the BBC – The revolt against Yanukovych brought together many different groups including the far right or as I refer to them the far wrong be they in the Ukraine , UK , USA or anywhere else.

    ‘Did anyone tell the Scot Nats about the illegality of regional referendums by the way? I think they ought to know..

    There are other ways to influence the Scots vote . There was the Osborne threat, the Barrosso (I’m not a Catalan ) EU threat , RBS , Standard Life and other major financial sector corporations might not want Scottish oversight of their off shoring electronic capabilities .

    .
    The Americans are dependent on Russia to get their astronauts into space . The EU countries are dependent on Russia for energy -natural gas – as is the Ukraine . The Germans export twice as much to Russia as they import so theres another dependency .
    .
    Maybe the Russian bear is having teething troubles learning how ‘democracy ‘ works as is the Ukraine as indeed is Northern Ireland . The Ukraine had a slightly higher GDP per capita as Poland prior to the Soviet implosion . Today Polish GDP per capita is treble that of the Ukraine .

    Why ? Corruption is the main answer . To what extent Russian former Soviet politicos were involved remains somewhat murky but you can bet they were no slouches at cleaning out anything of value in the Ukrainian national treasury of the time or other State assets . Yanukovych and his clan just looted what was left .

  • Harry Flashman

    He may have been a kleptocrat but he was still democratically elected. The new government’s hands aren’t exactly clean when it comes to that kind of thing, or do we still operate on the he’s a sonofabitch but he’s our sonofabitch mentality?

    If regions aren’t allowed to vote themselves out of countries in which they don’t feel compatible, then when are we giving Kosovo back to Serbia, or is it only friends of the Russkies we like to stick the boot into?