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Will Guerrilla Warfare Linger Long After Ukraine Takes Donetsk?
Townhall.com ^ | July 14, 2014 | Mike Shedlock

Posted on 07/14/2014 1:48:07 PM PDT by Kaslin

Pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine hope for support from Putin, but no such support is on the horizon. It may be weeks or longer , but one by one, the Ukrainian army is taking back rebel-controlled areas.

Next up, Donetsk: A rebel city encircled by Ukraine’s army.

A week has passed since the turning point of the Ukrainian army’s triumph in Slavyansk, 110km north, the rebels’ main stronghold in eastern Ukraine, but from which the militants fled last Saturday. Many headed to Donetsk, vowing to make a final stand.

Slavyansk fell after weeks-long siege and relentless shelling, with electricity and water turned off – for which each side blamed the other. But analysts and Donetsk residents warn similar tactics would risk too many casualties in a city nearly 10 times the size. Ukrainian officials have pledged not to bomb Donetsk, though many residents are not reassured.

“It has been a considerable achievement this week of the Ukrainian armed forces in eastern Ukraine, but the heaviest work is still to come,” says Jonathan Eyal, international director at the Royal United Services Institute, a military think tank. “Securing the large cities is a far more difficult task. The Ukrainian forces will have much less to rely on in terms of sympathetic infrastructure. The police, for example, are locally recruited, and more pro-Russian.”

The rebels, meanwhile, seem to be pinning hopes on help arriving from Russia, which still has a big military presence less than 100km away at the border.

As the fighting rages, Ukraine reported 23 of its servicemen killed on Friday, including 19 in a missile attack near the border. A day earlier Kiev said it had killed more than 50 rebels in airstrikes near Donetsk.

In the broader Donbass, Ukraine’s industrial heartland of which Donetsk is the centre, hundreds have died. US agribusiness giant Cargill closed a $50m sunflower seed processing factory after it was occupied by armed militants.

Armed rebels – some locals, others from Russia – occasionally roam Donetsk on foot, or roll by in tanks and trucks.

To exit the city, cars must pass through armed separatist checkpoints. “Be careful, the Fascists are a few kilometres down,” a rebel guarding the road south said, referring to Ukraine’s approaching military – widely portrayed by Russian television since the ousting of Ukraine’s president Viktor Yanukovich – as ultranationalists.

Down the road, the commander of a Ukrainian military squad asks: “What’s it like up there? Are there many of them? Are they locals or fighters from Russia?”

Ukrainian officials say they aim to blockade Donetsk, forcing separatists to surrender or retreat. A military spokesperson talked of a “surprise” for the separatists, But it was unclear if that meant incursions into the city, which could involve bloody urban warfare – giving Russia a pretext for an invasion to protect the region’s large Russian-speaking population.

Separatists appeared to be entrenching themselves for potential guerrilla warfare. Kiev accuses them of using Donetsk as a human shield.

“We are preparing our defences,” Igor Strelkov, the separatists’ military commander, told a Thursday press conference in the city’s government administration building, now surrounded by separatists with Kalashnikovs and shoulder-fired rocket launchers. It was his first public appearance since fleeing from Slavyansk with his men.

What Now?

The Ukrainian army is about to retake Donetsk. They can take it quicker by brute force, or it may take weeks or months to starve it out.

In spite of pledges to not bomb Donetsk, the government has not shown the least bit of patience or willingness to negotiate. They offered a ceasefire - but only if the rebels laid down their arms. Ceasefire on those terms means surrender, and the rebels refuse.

One way or another, sooner or later, Ukraine will retake Donetsk. Then what? Scars and resentment will linger for years, even in the best of cases. And if Ukraine backs down on promises to give regions more autonomy, prolonged guerrilla warfare is a possibility.



TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Russia
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 07/14/2014 1:48:07 PM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Color me surprised that after taking Sebastopol, Putin left the rest of the pro-Russian gang in the Ukraine out to dry. Could it be because he’s concerned about economic sanctions from the West? After all, he’s got their heating fuel under control with the turn of the tap.


2 posted on 07/14/2014 1:50:33 PM PDT by Pearls Before Swine
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To: Kaslin

It has already started...

There was a separatist attack against a ports border gaurds office in Mariupol a few days ago, reports that a supply convoy was attacked somewhere outside of mariupol yesterday, and several reports of “Partisan” actions around Slavyansk and Kramatorsk in recent days, including a mortar attack on Kramatorsk Airport last night.


3 posted on 07/14/2014 1:59:39 PM PDT by tcrlaf (Q)
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To: Pearls Before Swine

If Putin gets a simmering guerilla-movement in E. Ukraine without overtly giving it help, he gets what he wants.


4 posted on 07/14/2014 2:00:22 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy

There are a LOT of problems for the Gov in Kiev, beyond what is going on in the Southeast.

The tires are appearing again on the Maidan, there have been clashes between the Right Sector bunch that supports the new Gov and the Maidanites, and Poroshenko is threatening to bulldoze the tent citty of the Maidanites.

Add in reports of anti-war unrest in the western part of the country, now that casualties are mounting, the Maidanites sudden turn AGAINST the EU and the proposed austerity measures, and no one except the Gov Heads getting paid in months, the place is a powderkeg.


5 posted on 07/14/2014 2:05:00 PM PDT by tcrlaf (Q)
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To: tcrlaf

Putin merely sees that as a bonus.


6 posted on 07/14/2014 2:06:38 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy

“Putin merely sees that as a bonus.”

He probably does...
It means the West (Meaning the U.S. Taxpayer, of course) is going to have to pony up the subsidies to keep Ukraine stabilized, that the Russians were paying for two decades.


7 posted on 07/14/2014 2:08:34 PM PDT by tcrlaf (Q)
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To: tcrlaf

The New Cold War will do to Russia what the old Cold War did to the Soviet Union, smash it to pieces.


8 posted on 07/14/2014 2:14:31 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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To: Tailgunner Joe

The Cold war ended for ONE reason.

Ronaldus Maximus....

He got the Saudi’s to go along with dumping the worldwide price for oil, and drilling, pumping as much as possible. It bankrupted them...

Good luck trying that today. Or have you forgotten how racist/Homophobic/planet-destroying/whatever the TV says “Drill baby, Drill!” is today?


9 posted on 07/14/2014 2:18:30 PM PDT by tcrlaf (Q)
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To: tcrlaf

Good for Russia. They need the money, anyway. (Making one wonder why the Russians are scrambling to find a way to give handouts to the Ukrainians).


10 posted on 07/14/2014 2:18:54 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: Kaslin

So we’ve sorted out who the good guys and the bad guys are in the Ukraine?


11 posted on 07/14/2014 2:19:16 PM PDT by lurk
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To: lurk
Russian: Ukrainians bad
Ukrainian: Russians bad
12 posted on 07/14/2014 2:21:21 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy
Russian: Ukrainians bad Ukrainian: Russians bad

...and everybody hates the Jews.

(apologies to Tom Lehrer)

13 posted on 07/14/2014 2:22:54 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: dfwgator

Ron Paul: USA bad


14 posted on 07/14/2014 2:25:35 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy
If Putin gets a simmering guerilla-movement in E. Ukraine without overtly giving it help, he gets what he wants.

Guerrilla tactics work both ways. How many acts of sabotage and assassination would it take to make Crimea unworkable as a base for the Russian Navy?

15 posted on 07/14/2014 2:27:19 PM PDT by PapaBear3625 (You don't notice it's a police state until the police come for you.)
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To: tcrlaf

Part of the new Cold War is the proxy war in the Mideast between the Saudis and Russia’s islamofascist Iranian allies. The stage is set for a repeat performance.


16 posted on 07/14/2014 2:27:28 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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To: lurk

Thank you. It is all very clear now.


17 posted on 07/14/2014 2:32:25 PM PDT by lurk
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To: dfwgator

“...and everybody hates the Jews.”

If that were true, then there wouldn’t be any.


18 posted on 07/14/2014 2:44:37 PM PDT by vladimir998
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To: lurk
So we’ve sorted out who the good guys and the bad guys are in the Ukraine?

Anyone supported by George Soros, Obama, and the sodomite EU is bad.

Soros to EU: Help 'new Ukraine' against 'new Russia'

George Soros’ Giant Globalist Footprint in Ukraine’s Turmoil

19 posted on 07/14/2014 2:50:21 PM PDT by Count of Monte Fisto (The foundation of modern society is the denial of reality.)
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To: Count of Monte Fisto

Thank you for your kind words about Raúl Castro. He doesn’t get the respect he deserves on FR.


20 posted on 07/14/2014 2:53:36 PM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy

~Good for Russia. They need the money, anyway. (Making one wonder why the Russians are scrambling to find a way to give handouts to the Ukrainians).~

To keep freeloaders fed or they would blow a pipe out of frustration.

Now, then underclasses’ EBT cards are void and Kiev yuppies got lost in a new economic reality they’ve collectively created I’d like to see them run West to EU.
It would be so ironic to see Merkel got that same mess US has on the South border.

It was pretty much predictable if you ask me.


21 posted on 07/15/2014 12:21:36 AM PDT by wetphoenix
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