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Posts by cunning_fish

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  • Ukrainian radical ultranationalists [video from BBC News]

    03/03/2014 2:06:39 AM PST · 7 of 62
    cunning_fish to Grzegorz 246

    What action? It is very strange to see Pole who loves Ukrainian nationalist.

  • Ukrainian radical ultranationalists [video from BBC News]

    03/03/2014 1:52:29 AM PST · 2 of 62
    cunning_fish to vertolet888

    Sasha Beliy - a Ukrainian gangster and a lieutenant of Dimitri Yarosh - a Maidan protest leader. Here he is attending a session of Rovno regional parliament. Note AK and knives he is using to back his ‘advice’ to vote for a free housing for ‘Maidan heroes’ and to criminalize Communist party and Party of Regions:

    This same person again visiting a district attorney. Note how he is using necktie to suffocate attorney and beats his deputy in a face:

    Sasha is ‘famous’ for traveling into Chechnya to fight along terrorists. He is advocating ‘Greater Ukraine’ expanding further into mainland Russia and Poland, including killing local Polish and Russian population ‘to make sure no Jews left alive anywhere near’.

    I guess Ukies are now happy with their protests. These are guys running the show now.

  • De Blasio’s anti-rich policies are driving wealthy people out of NYC

    03/03/2014 1:51:02 AM PST · 21 of 57
    cunning_fish to 2ndDivisionVet
    Meanwhile Putin is on the way to 'liberate' Russians of Brooklyn from tyrant DeBlasio:)
  • The ex-Israeli soldier who led a Kiev fighting unit

    03/02/2014 11:11:36 PM PST · 7 of 7
    cunning_fish to JadeEmperor

    >>>>In the 1920’s there were Zionists working against the British rule, establishing ties with Mussolini.

    Early on there were Jews joining the Mussolini party.

    How did that turn out?

    I realize the Right Sector/Svoboda are the minority, but they are leading direct action part of the revolution.

    In 1905 the Bolsheviks were a small minority. The Tsar was deposed and no one took them seriously.<<<<

    Bingo! Who said Israel is without it’s own useful idiots?

  • Putin cooks-up Obama’s chicken Kiev moment: Diplomacy's prez's preferred weapon...

    03/02/2014 10:50:23 PM PST · 2 of 14
    cunning_fish to 2ndDivisionVet

    >>>John McCain, his Republican opponent, seized on Russia’s semi-invasion of Georgia in 2008 as an example of where he would draw the line against Moscow’s expansionist creep.<<<<

    McCain is wrong. Russians took all they wanted from Georgia in 2008, short from removing president from power.
    I’m really surprised with their move on Ukraine but I still don’t believe it is about to occupy all of it.

  • Ukraine mobilizes after Putin's 'declaration of war'

    03/02/2014 10:46:37 PM PST · 89 of 98
    cunning_fish to Tonytitan; hoagy62

    >>>The Typhoons are a memory. All six have been retired and 3 have been scrapped. The other three are sitting with empty missile tubes as the R-39’s have been retired from service. They may get the new Bulava missile, they may not. Probably depends on how successful the new Borei-class boomers are. Three are built, two are in active service. The remaining Typhoons will probably be scrapped.<<<

    7 Delta IV boomers are still in service with Russian Navy too.

  • NATO warns Russia to cease and desist in Ukraine

    03/02/2014 3:48:31 PM PST · 47 of 186
    cunning_fish to annalex

    >>Unfortunately the sanctions have a way of hurting the man on the street the most, especially now that Russia imports everyday goods.

    LOL. Have you seen any `Made in USA` things lately? And I don’t think China would join any sanctions.

  • NATO warns Russia to cease and desist in Ukraine

    03/02/2014 3:31:13 PM PST · 22 of 186
    cunning_fish to annalex

    >>The latter, by the way, will hurt them like bitch. Their entire existence is predicated on villas in the mediteranean, American college for the kids, and generally acceptance into the Western polite society. Magnitsky law hurt them in the right spot; it should be expanded.

    It is probably a nice way to improve a Russian economy. Oligarchs would have to invest at home.

  • Ukraine party accused of anti-Semitism receives top positions in new government

    03/02/2014 3:19:53 PM PST · 43 of 46
    cunning_fish to dfwgator

    Sasha Beliy - a Ukrainian gangster and a lieutenant of Dimitri Yarosh - a Maidan protest leader. Here he is attending a session of Rovno regional parliament. Note AK and knives he is using to back his ‘advice’ to vote for a free housing for ‘Maidan heroes’ and to criminalize Communist party and Party of Regions:

    This same person again visiting a district attorney. Note how he is using necktie to suffocate attorney and beats his deputy in a face:

    Sasha is ‘famous’ for traveling into Chechnya to fight along terrorists. He is advocating ‘Greater Ukraine’ expanding further into mainland Russia and Poland, including killing local Polish and Russian population ‘to make sure no Jews left alive anywhere near’.

    I guess Ukies are now happy with their protests. These are guys running the show now.

  • Here's how to Deter Putin...DO IT NOW!

    03/02/2014 2:30:01 PM PST · 103 of 147
    cunning_fish to Ivan Mazepa

    >> I don’t see the link of him smacking the guy around and don’t know the full background story to comment.

    Here is your link:

    >>It’s Rivne, not Vilno. Vilno / Vilnius is in Lithuania, different country, but that ok, you’ll get it right next time.

    Thanks for a correction. But what difference does it really make?

    >>What he’s asking from the council in this video is to criminalize the Communist Party and the party of Regions, demand for Communist/Regions to buy apartments for the families of three people who got killed on Maidan. If that’s the most “damning” request, then I’d say they got off light. Communist/Region government just killed 80 people, and retribution could have been much much worse, they could have made piñatas out of them. The only deaths of Communists/Regioners I recall took place in Kyiv on Feb 18 or 19 when protesters torched their office.

    `Asking` by toting a gun at lawmakers? I guess it is how you `unanimously` impeached your president there:)

    >>The only deaths of Communists/Regioners I recall took place in Kyiv on Feb 18 or 19 when protesters torched their office. Since then, mostly, it’s been public shaming. Occasionally, physical assaults and arson of party offices - charges which were committed by both sides. Klitchko’s Udar party got firebombed just couple of days ago in eastern Ukraine.

    Nice, I guess it is a kind of democracy which really worth to fight for.

    >>I don’t see the link of him smacking the guy around and don’t know the full background story to comment. Same with “anti-Polish, anti-Jew and anti-Polish Jew” charges, if he said or not. Publicly , the leader of the Right Sector, Yarosh, denounced antisemitism

    Look better for it. Of course it is about time to denounce his antisemitism as far as he is an official politician now.

  • 8 Steps Obama Must Take to Punish Russia

    03/02/2014 6:14:15 AM PST · 34 of 55
    cunning_fish to Zhang Fei

    LOL. 4,6,7 are especially laughable. Trade ties between US and Russia are dismal and mostly involve exports of US-grown foods into Russia which is nowhere near as critical for Russians as it is to US farmers.
    And it is so good that Afghan op end is near because US military there is even more dependant on Russian support. Also NASA cannot even bring a thing to space without their assistance.
    Is there any sphere with Russians dependent on US?
    The only beneficiary of such a cooling between two nations is a Russian regime. The lesser traveling between US and Russia = the lesser US influence within their country.

  • Here's how to Deter Putin...DO IT NOW!

    03/02/2014 4:02:08 AM PST · 68 of 147
    cunning_fish to GeronL

    Sasha Beliy - a Ukrainian gangster and a lieutenant of Dimitri Yarosh - a Maidan protest leader.
    Here he is attending a session of Vilno regional parliament. Note AK and knives he is using to back his ‘advice’ to vote in a certain way:

    This same person again visiting a district attorney. Note how he is using necktie to suffocate attorney and beats his deputy in a face:

    Sasha is ‘famous’ for traveling into Chechnya to fight along terrorists. He is advocating ‘Greater Ukraine’ expanding further into mainland Russia and Poland, including killing local Polish and Russian population ‘to make sure no Jews left alive anywhere near’.

    I guess Ukies are now happy with their protests. These are guys running the show now.

  • Ukraine vs. Russia -- here's what's really going on

    03/02/2014 2:10:29 AM PST · 84 of 98
    cunning_fish to goldstategop

    >>>Russia is simply to going to avoid Western Ukraine because it would not be welcome there and the costs of occupying it are simply too high to be worth the risk. The West can have it if it wants.

    Not to mention the West of Ukraine is ox and a cart and Kiev only survives redistributing wealth created by docile hardworking easterners to politically active western freeloaders.

  • Armed men seize Crimea parliament and hoist Russian flag

    03/02/2014 1:46:35 AM PST · 66 of 67
    cunning_fish to dfwgator

    I guess it is a nice time for Poles to restore justice and kick some Nazi butts.

  • Armed men seize Crimea parliament and hoist Russian flag

    03/02/2014 1:45:09 AM PST · 65 of 67
    cunning_fish to dfwgator

    I guess it is a nice time for Poles to restore justice and kick some Nazi butts.

  • Russian servicemen confiscate weapons in Crimea region

    03/01/2014 11:51:34 PM PST · 8 of 28
    cunning_fish to BlueDragon

    Please, don’t start again Blue!

  • Here's how to Deter Putin...DO IT NOW!

    03/01/2014 11:36:00 PM PST · 36 of 147
    cunning_fish to GeronL

    >>They are also not even close to a majority in Parliament that ousted the cretin Yanukovych with a large majority.

    I won’t dispute, you are right. The problem is revolution is over and someone has to be in charge. And it is not all of these enthusiastic protestors.

  • Russian servicemen confiscate weapons in Crimea region

    03/01/2014 11:30:59 PM PST · 4 of 28
    cunning_fish to Salman

    LOL. I guess a headline supposed to make you think as they are disarming civilians. Goebbels media.

  • Chechens ready to keep peace in Crimea - Kadyrov

    03/01/2014 11:22:48 PM PST · 41 of 43
    cunning_fish to dfwgator

    >>>Heck, the Soviets STARTED the war when they agreed with Hitler to carve up Poland.

    To be honest Poland was in game too, teaming with Germans to carve Czechs earlier.

  • Putin points out to criminal actions of ultranationalists in Ukraine in conversation with Obama

    03/01/2014 11:17:00 PM PST · 32 of 32
    cunning_fish to ncalburt

    >>what a bold faced lie. your justifying Putins invasion with crazy Nazi astroturf and smearing. Your peddling Putins propaganda here on FR.

    Putin is a murderous thug .<<

    You guys told me the same on Libya, Egypt and Syria years ago.

  • Here's how to Deter Putin...DO IT NOW!

    03/01/2014 11:06:29 PM PST · 19 of 147
    cunning_fish to Jeff Head

    Bull. Apart from breakaway regions Georgia had a stable pro-American government. In Ukraine you don’t have any stable government but uncontrolled armed groups of whatsoever affiliation running wild with all kinds of weapons. Kiev doesn’t control a thing there as far as a dozen Russians arrives at major airbase and captures it without a shot fired. And Ukrainian naval flagship flies a Russian St.Andrew.
    Not even a Ukrainian military decided which is their side, let alone Ukrainian people and you want to intervene, on part of whom?
    Imagine a US warship sunk or aircraft shotdown. Whom will you blame for it? Russians, Muslims, Nazis, Anarchists, Isolationists?

  • Russian troops take over Ukraine's Crimea region

    03/01/2014 10:03:27 PM PST · 38 of 41
    cunning_fish to dfwgator

    >>Will Putin now lay claim to Brighton Beach?

    LOL. It is a predominately Ukrainian ghetto.

  • An Open Letter to Russia

    03/01/2014 9:19:36 PM PST · 24 of 24
    cunning_fish to wideawake; Navy Patriot

    >>Oh, this is a photograph of every single Ukrainian patriot?

    Al-Qaeda was not the majority in Libya and Egypt too. Taliban wasn’t a majority in Afghanistan during Soviet invasion too.

    Who cares? As soon as a government is smashed they are extremists who run the show. They have firebombs, they have arms abandoned by defunct law-enforcement and ready to use both, while constitutionalists, evangelists, democrats and the rest of patriots are sitting back home scared for their butts because there is no one to police the streets left. That is a nature of forced regime change in every failed society including Ukraine.

    Russian intervention is certainly an improvement.

  • Ukrainian Neo-Nazis Declare that Power Comes Out of the Barrels of their Guns

    03/01/2014 8:42:34 PM PST · 46 of 48
    cunning_fish to grania

    >>It was posted on another thread that Russia expelled the US ambassador.

    It was probably McFaul if they have still kept him in Moscow.

    A first untrained diplomat working as an Ambassador to Russia ever, famous for spending more time with local LGBT and Occupy Moscow crowd than he did with Russian official.

    He also once went to what Russians has for Pentagon and demanded to have a meeting with generals. It was very unusual but some people gathered to listen him.

    McFaul said he learnt from US military that you guys are always cheating on arms treaties, he has researched a problem and came to a conclusion that you have to paint symbols on top of your mobile missile launchers to distinguish from 18-wheelers and easily count it from space to sort things out.

    I guess all the guys were about to laugh their butts out but somehow kept calm and one of them told McFaul that they have no idea if they can decide on their own without Foreign Ministry and lawmakers but since it is the first time in history they have been visited by a foreign Ambassador this way and none the less bearing such an unorthodox proposal they simply can’t let him go away with nothing.

    Would you please have a cup of tea here and give as a few minutes to discuss?

    In a half hour they went back and said it is a tough decision, we are risking so much but we tend to agree to your proposal. On the other hand there is a guy with us who studied a diplomacy for two semesters many years ago before being a dropout from university and coming to military. He insists that diplomacy is a two-way road and it’s a must for us to ask something in return. McFaul agreed and they said that missile guys agreed to mark their trucks but navy guys wants McFaul to make USN paint a rainbow pattern on top of every Ohio-class and disable dive function so they can count and track it from space too. None was able to hold laugh at the time.

  • Ukraine Finds Its Forces Are Ill Equipped to Take Crimea Back From Russia

    03/01/2014 7:16:10 PM PST · 27 of 58
    cunning_fish to mylife

    >>>How is it that Ukraine is not armed and one of the only decent supply’s of cheap ammo in this country is from Ukraine?

    Here is the answer. They have sold it all.
    In 1992 Ukraine was a #3 global military power with some 800,000 standing army, thousands of jets including hundreds nuke strategic bombers, over 10,000 tanks and APCs, some 3000 nukes and hundreds of warships.

    Russians has stolen the nukes, air force and navy were rusted away or sold to China, tanks and APCs went to Africa, small arms to America.

  • Ukraine Puts Military on Full Alert After Russian Intervention Threat

    03/01/2014 7:03:15 PM PST · 33 of 50
    cunning_fish to GeronL

    >>I bet learning Russian was mandatory in Ukraine schools during the Soviet era.

    In Cuba and Germany too. What is your point?

  • Ukraine Live: Prime Minister of Ukraine Says Russian Military Intervention Would Lead To War

    03/01/2014 6:42:40 PM PST · 15 of 22
    cunning_fish to ClearCase_guy

    Galician Nazis has a NATO membership as their dream, just like a Georgian dictator at the time.

  • Congress pushes for Russia sanctions, Ukrainian aid

    03/01/2014 6:38:36 PM PST · 29 of 39
    cunning_fish to Revolting cat!

    >>Sanctions are possible and should be instituted. Mikheil Saakashvili in this morning’s WSJ says that the last time he was in Miami, there were crowds of Russian oligarchs there vacationing. He said, deny them visas and they’ll turn on Putin.<<

    I guess they’ll probably invest elsewhere. Russian elites aren’t as cosmopolitan as one can think.

  • Ukraine Live: Prime Minister of Ukraine Says Russian Military Intervention Would Lead To War

    03/01/2014 6:32:58 PM PST · 13 of 22
    cunning_fish to ClearCase_guy; RummyChick

    Imaging Mexico bidding to join Warsaw Pact in 1979?
    What has to be a US reaction?

  • CNN claims Putin is Bullying Obama

    03/01/2014 6:25:36 PM PST · 81 of 147
    cunning_fish to kcvl

    Yep, they were telling that Putin has visited Bush in hospital on his last visit skipping a meeting with Obamao.
    Putin and Bushes are pals, maybe it is how Putin makes a campaign for Jeb?:)
    Democrats are surely a disaster for Russian interest. They are propping every Muslim, communist and Nazi they can in both Russia and Russian-friendly nations to destabilize and ruin it.
    Putin`s Sec of State Lavrov is certainly outclasses both Clinton and Kerry and Russians are able to effectively play against rats for now, but they must be nervous for sure.

  • The flagship of the NAVY of Ukraine "Hetman Sahaidachny" defected to the Russian (Translated)

    03/01/2014 6:11:46 PM PST · 24 of 37
    cunning_fish to Navy Patriot

    >>The Russians and Eastern Ukranians remember the US from Serbia/Kosovo, and they remember the ethnic Russians in South Ossetia.

    To be honest there weren’t too much ethnic-Russians in Ossetia.
    Ossetians are simply Christians of Iranian origin living in this area for centuries. Russians historically maintained relations with them to use imaginary or real threats from local Muslims towards Ossetians to ride in and kick some Muslim butt.
    This time it was a fellow Christian Georgians who behaved as nasty as usually Muslims does in Russian opinion and it made sense to play Ossetian card against them.
    It hasn’t helped that Georgians has treated Ossetians as untermenschen.
    It is exactly what made Georgian Iranians a Russian nationals. For persecuted non-citizens of a banana republic of Georgia, falsely advertised as a young democracy and vibrant economy by neo-cons, Russian citizenship offered by consular office in Tskhinvali was a bargain.
    Even as Georgians has fixed their attitudes and offered some rights to Ossetians it couldn’t help much. Unlike for the rest of Georgians, crawling through a Russian border at night wasn’t a requirement to get a good job for them anymore. Not to mention they could travel to about the half of the world without visas with Russian passport.

  • Ukraine nationalist leader urges top terrorist Umarov 'to act against Russia'

    03/01/2014 5:02:34 PM PST · 9 of 11
    cunning_fish to jimbo123

    ‘...and then go here to Odessa to deal with our Jewish problem once and for all.’
    Ok, Dmitry.

    >>Just like Anthony Weiner’s Twitter account?

    Yarosh`s sympathy towards Islamic terrorism is well known.

  • The flagship of the NAVY of Ukraine "Hetman Sahaidachny" defected to the Russian (Translated)

    03/01/2014 4:55:37 PM PST · 5 of 37
    cunning_fish to tcrlaf

    >>Ukraine has virtually no Navy. The flagship of the NAVY of Ukraine “Hetman Sahaidachny” today switched to our side. They hung out St. Andrew’s flag.<<

    They don’t have air force as well. How could a dozen Russians arrive to a major airbase in Crimea and capture it without a shot fired? It seems like Ukrainian military has picked sides and don’t want Galician Nazis to run the show.

  • ULUS-KERT: An Airborne Company's Last Stand

    03/01/2014 8:54:29 AM PST · 1 of 10
    After Groznyy fell, Chechen forces regrouped in the rough, mountainous areas of southern Chechnya. By late February, a large Chechen force of from 1,600 and 2,500 fighters had concentrated in the town of Ulus-Kert, where the Abazolgul and Sharo-argun rivers join.1 The area was one in which the Russians had not dared enter during the First Chechen War. This time, they did not hesitate to follow.

    A Russian Airborne Forces (VDV) tactical group attacked Chechen forces at Ulus-Kert, forcing them southeast. One of the VDV tactical group's regimental task forces, based on the 104th Guards Parachute Regiment (GPR) of the 76th Guards Airborne Division (GAD), was to block the gorge while the VDV tactical group encircled the Chechens.

    Area of Operations

    The small town of Ulus-Kert is surrounded by extremely steep, mountainous terrain. Approximately 6 kilometers south of the town and extending far to the southeast are the Dargenduk Mountains. A road leading generally south out of Ulus-Kert and up the northeastern edge of the Dargenduks crosses over a 1,410-meter hill, referred to as Hill 1410. Approximately 1.5 kilometers directly southeast of Ulus-Kert is Hill 705.6. Just about one-half kilometer south of Hill 705.6 is a narrow opening to a small gorge. Three and one-half kil-ometers southeast of Ulus-Kert, on the gorge's easternmost side, is Hill 776. Hill 787 is only 1 kilometer farther south.

    A road leading southeast from Ulus-Kert over Hill 705.6 turns south into the gorge. Another road intersects the first then leads to the western edge of the saddle between hills 776 and 787 where it divides into mountain paths crossing the saddle. Hill 787 is approximately 4.3 kilometers north of Hill 1410. At the time of the operation, the weather was foggy and cold, with snow on the ground.

    The Chechens planned to escape advancing Russian forces by using the advantage of the mountainous terrain southeast of Ulus-Kert. After slipping through the passes, the fighters could seize the strategic population centers of Makhkety, Elistanzhi, Zaduli, Kirov-Yurt and Vedeno, which provided a west-to-east corridor in relatively low, flat terrain through which remaining Chechen forces could withdraw to Dagestan.2 From Dagestan, they could renew the struggle on more favorable terms.

    The VDV tactical group's mission was to counter the Chechen force's objectives by blocking its escape through the mountains then encircling it so artillery and combat air support could be used. Engaging infantry soldiers in direct combat was to be kept to a minimum. The plan to encircle Chechen forces—a common Russian tactic—reflects the Russians' desire to minimize casualties.

    The First Chechen War had not been popular with the Russian populace because of the high death rate. Tension was also rife in the Russian command arrangement. Airborne forces felt they were being used as cannon fodder to reduce casualties among motorized infantry troops. Underlying this tension was the old rivalry between Russian airborne forces and ground forces. Historically, the VDV had been a separate service. Briefly in the late 1990s, it had been subordinated to ground forces. Newly appointed commander of Russian airborne forces Colonel General Georgiy Shpak had obtained a reversal of this decision and zealously guarded the VDV's independence.

    Shpak streamlined the organization and obtained new missions for it, primarily in peacekeeping operations. By the time operations around Ulus-Kert were under way, the grouping of airborne forces had been subordinated to Colonel General Gennadiy N. Troshev, Commander of the Eastern Grouping of Federal Forces, who reported directly to General of the Army Viktor Kazantsev, who commanded the Operations Group, Joint Grouping of Federal Forces, in the North Caucasus. The arrangement was not a happy one; airborne forces felt they were not being properly supported.3

    The Battle Begins

    The VDV tactical group was a task force based on divisional parachute regiments augmented with VDV command-level assets, such as reconnaissance subunits. The 104th GPR task force was assigned the mission of blocking Chechen escape routes east through the mountains. 104th GPR, like most Soviet/Russian parachute regiments, had three airborne battalions, an artillery battalion equipped with two S9, 120-millimeter, self-propelled guns and various support assets. Each airborne battalion had three airborne companies numbered sequentially one through nine, with the first, second and third companies composing the 1st Airborne Battalion and so on. Each 104th GPR company was augmented with reconnaissance and/or SPETSNAZ subunits from the VDV command to form company tactical groups.4

    Hills 705.6, 776, 787 and 1410 were the main features of the net 104th GPR used to encircle the Chechen force. The VDV tactical group's main body crossed the Sharoargun and Abazolgul rivers, pushing the Chechen force out of Ulus-Kert toward the southeast. 104th GPR's 1st Company, 1st Airborne Battalion, still had not crossed either the Abazolgul or the Sharoargun. An unidentified 104th GPR company was on or near Hill 705.6. 4th Company and an unidentified 104th GPR airborne company, two VDV SPETS-NAZ groups and an elite Federal Security Service (FSB)—successor to the KGB—SPETSNAZ group, known as Vympel, were on Hill 1410. Present at 2d Airborne Battalion Headquarters on Hill 776 were Commander, 2d Airborne Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Mark Niko-layevich Yevtyukhin, and Captain Viktor Romanov, the commander of an artillery battery of the regimental artillery battalion who was heading a forward observer team. 6th Company, commanded by Major Sergey Molodov, was en route to the saddle between Hills 776 and 787. 104th GPR was engaged in positioning companies to block escape routes over the mountains.

    The Chechen force, retreating to the southeast of Ulus-Kert along a road leading over Hill 705.6 away from the main advancing body of the VDV tactical group, was looking for the first unguarded or weakly held way over the mountains. The 1,600 to 2,500 fighters wore winter camouflage and were well equipped with various small arms, grenade launchers and mortars. They were supported by a logistics train of hundreds of pack animals.

    Day 1, 29 February 2000

    Early on 29 February, a 104th GPR airborne company encountered a significant Chechen force on the road leading southeast out of Ulus-Kert. Russian paratroopers engaged the Chechen fighters for control of Hill 705.6. The Russian company, significantly stressed during the fight, gained control of the hill and pushed the Chechen force southeast into the small gorge below. The company was most likely heavily supported by artillery and helicopters, as was the usual Russian operation in this war.

    The 104th GPR commander ordered 2d Airborne Battalion elements to block the saddle between hills 776 and 787, which was the next possible path over the mountains for the Chechens. The 2d Airborne Battalion headquarters was already in place on Hill 776. The 2d Airborne Battalion element was to be in place by 1400. In the early morning, 6th Company, including the third platoon, 4th Company, and two reconnaissance groups, probably from the regimental reconnaissance platoon, started on foot toward the saddle.5

    6th Company, with the other elements, minus the company's third platoon, arrived by late morning, ahead of schedule. The company commander established a linear defense in the saddle between the hills, fronted by a minefield facing west toward the gorge. The defense focused on the Chechen forces' expected direction of escape. No access routes through the minefield were prepared nor were platoon positions sited to be mutually supportive.6 After establishing company positions, troops began their afternoon meal, leaving their positions and congregating in the open.7

    The Chechen force clearly had a better grasp of the situation. The fighters had been listening to 104th GPR communications and used this advantage and good ground reconnaissance to locate 104th GPR subunits and to set ambushes. At 1230, a 6th Company reconnaissance patrol encountered approximately 20 fighters just outside company defensive positions. That the Chechens could approach that close without detection shows that the Russians had conducted no deep reconnaissance of the approaches to the saddle.

    The Chechens, armed with automatic weapons, grenade launchers and mortars, reacted quickly, seizing the initiative. The small force was probably followed by a combat element, which would have been consistent with Soviet-style reconnaissance doctrine that places great value on immediately seizing the initiative in any engagement by having a strong combat element close behind the advance reconnaissance ele-ment.8 Chechen reconnaissance elements also worked their way around the Russian position in the saddle and attacked from the rear where there were no defenses.9 With Chechens in the rear and no escape routes through their own minefield, 6th Company pulled back and dug in on Hill 776. Their retreat was so precipitous that they abandoned mess kits still full of food.10

    Chechen fighters, laying down constant fire on 6th Company, received reinforcements as the main body arrived. The force encircled 6th Company and sent waves of fighters into the attack.11 By the end of the first day, 6th Company had suffered 31 dead—a 33 percent killed in action (KIA) rate.12 6th Company had barely survived three basic errors: failure to establish an all-around defense; failure to aggressively conduct reconnaisance of the enemy's expected approach route, especially given the Chechen reputation for tactical skill, reconnaisance and working around the flanks; and failure to heed warnings about the Chechen force's approach.13

    For some reason, 6th Company did not anticipate with sufficient seriousness and energy the danger it had been assigned to forestall. It seems likely that weak command at the company level was compounded by a lack of timely supervision by the adjacent battalion headquarters.

    Day 2, 1 March 2000

    Early in the morning on Hill 1410, a reinforcement group of two VDV SPETSNAZ platoons, one Vympel SPETSNAZ group and two airborne companies departed on foot for the saddle. The group encountered several ambushes while traversing terrain as steep as 70 degrees. At approximately 0330, one VDV SPETSNAZ platoon broke through to Hill 787 but was forced to dig in because of stiff Chechen opposition.

    The 1st Company was also sent to reinforce 6th Company. While attempting to cross the Abazolgul River northeast of Ulus-Kert, the unit encountered a Chechen ambush force of up to 60 men. Despite repeated attempts to fight through the Chechen ambush, the 1st Company was forced to dig in on the river's bank. At 0300, during a brief lull, 2d Airborne Battalion deputy commander Major Aleksandr Dostovalov, with 4th Company's third platoon, broke through to the encircled company. While relief forces were being held back by ambushes, waves of Chechen fighters continued to assault 6th Company on Hill 776.14 When Romanov's legs were blown off by a mortar round, the battalion commander took over.

    While some reports question the lack of artillery and combat air support, others indicate that both where present throughout the four-day engagement. In his report to defense minister Igor Sergeyev, Shpak states that 2d Airborne Battalion "was supported by a self-propelled artillery battalion of the 104th Parachute Regiment and by army aviation."15 The presence of an artillery forward team with 6th Company, which included a battery commander, indicates that artillery support was at least adequate. While Shpak's statement and other reports make it certain that VDV artillery was employed throughout the engagement, it is unclear how effective it was at reducing Chechen numbers. Also unanswered is whether additional artillery assets were employed to support 6th Company.

    Press reports also cite use of "Grads"—122-millimeter BM-21 multiple-rocket launchers that VDV units do not have.16 Accounts of other engagements in the southern mountains show that the Russians employed available artillery from a number of units in coordination with army aviation helicopters. These accounts stress that artillery continued to fire when helicopters disappeared with daylight. Only one Russian hel-icopter in the Chechen theater had night capability. This supports Shpak's statement that 6th Company received no aviation support at night. Helicopter support was further limited by foggy conditions during the fighting.17

    The Chechens continued heavy attacks on Hill 776 from all directions throughout the early morning. Paratrooper officers showed an unhesitating willingness to sacrifice themselves, a trait the Germans had frequently noted in the grandfathers of the men on the hill. Dostovalov, already wounded, attacked a group of Chechens trying to carry off a wounded soldier and dispatched them with a grenade. Junior soldiers were equally valiant. After Private Aleksandr Lebedev ran out of ammunition, he threw himself and his last live grenade into a group of Chechens who had wanted him to surrender.

    At approximately 0500, the Chech-ens breached 6th Company defenses. Cumulative casualties and odds of at least 10 to one were too much for the dwindling Russian force. As Chechens overran Hill 776, fighting became hand-to-hand, and Chechens began shooting wounded Russians. The already wounded battalion commander took over the radio from the wounded Romanov and called in artillery fire on his own position, shouting into the radio, "I call artillery on myself!"18 The Chechens suffered grievously from the artillery, and at 0610, communications with the battalion commander were lost.

    As the second day of fighting closed, 6th Company counted another 26 paratroopers killed and many wounded. Counting the 31 men who had fallen the day before, 6th Company had suffered a KIA rate of almost two-thirds—57 out of 90 men.19 Chechen casualties also continued to mount. Repeated human-wave attacks are costly, especially when the defenders are supported by artillery and aviation.

    The Chechens had been throwing themselves at Hill 776 to keep open a path for the rest of their force. This movement was interrupted by the arrival of the relief force from Hill 1410. Major Andrey Lobanov, commanding a 45th VDV Reconnaisance Regiment SPETSNAZ group, was with this force. He noted that hundreds of pack animals had already passed by. The Russians moved into the saddle and found 6th Company's abandoned positions and soon encountered a large Chechen group. The Russians retreated to Hill 787 from which they could cover the saddle.

    The Russians intercepted the Chechen commander's desperate orders: "Do not engage in battle. Force your way forward."20 With the remnants of 6th Company still holding out on Hill 776 and new Russian forces on neighboring Hill 787, the Chechen escape route was dangerously constricted. The Russians sent a reconnaissance platoon into the saddle to find a better position. Instead, it found an ambush by Arab volunteers, covering an attempt by the main Chechen convoy to escape. Having suffered five wounded, the Russians committed another company, hoping to stop the Chechen escape attempt.21

    Day 3, 2 March 2000

    Late in the morning, the 1st Company broke through Chechen forces and reached the battle area. However, it could not relieve 6th Company, which was still under close attack. One officer and 32 men were still alive. Deputy company commander Captain Roman Sokolov had arrived in Chechnya barely 13 days before. Wounded in the hand, he organized the survivors' final defense. He placed the six most junior soldiers in the care of Sergeant Andrey Proshev and ordered them to escape. Then, as the Chechens pressed the attack, Sokolov called artillery fire down on his position as a desperate attempt to fend off the enemy. Another 16 paratroopers on Hill 776 were killed in the continuing fighting.22

    Day 4, 3 March 2000

    The struggle for control of Hills 776 and 787 ended on the fourth day of the fighting. The last 11 paratroopers on Hill 776 were killed.23 The relief force found Proshev's small band of survivors.24 The surviving Chechens, who had not been able to escape over the saddle before the relief's arrival, slipped back down into the gorge pursued by paratroopers and hunted by helicopters. The Russian pursuit took them about 5 kilometers east to the village of Selmentausen where a number of escaping Chechens had concentrated.

    Mopping Up

    The Chechens won a Pyrrhic victory. Tarrying to bludgeon through 6th Company allowed VDV forces to fight through difficult terrain and Chechen ambushes to close off the main body's escape. Most surviving Chechens were ultimately forced back into the gorge, where troops from 104th GPR took a number of prisoners.

    While no 6th Company personnel surrendered or were taken prisoner, the four-day struggle resulted in the death of at least 84 VDV soldiers, including 13 officers. Even after losing its senior officers, 6th Company held its final positions against a much larger force.

    Chechen casualties included approximately 400 dead. According to Krasnaya Zvezda, the official newspaper of the Russian Ministry of Defense (MOD), this figure was based on radio-intercept data, intelligence reports, eyewitnesses, local residents and captured Chechens.25

    The Arab volunteers fighting with the Chechens appeared, in particular, to have suffered severely. Heavy Arab casualties would not be unusual among particularly fanatical units, nor would it be unusual for the Chechens to have pushed the Arabs first into harm's way. Lobanov counted 200 enemy dead on Hill 776 alone, along with 75 Russian paratroopers. Survivor Viktor Sokirko stated, "I took a notebook from the pocket of one of the gunmen with a roster of 100 people; the bullet had hit him right in his heart; it had gone through his Koran."26

    The bodies of the 84 fallen VDV troops were evacuated on foot, with combat aviation providing support. It was shaping up to be a bloody month for the Russian Army; it had a total of 156 dead—a higher KIA rate than during the grimmest comparable period in the storming of Groznyy.27

    6th Company accomplished its mission. The Chechen force was blocked from escaping the encirclement. More important, Chechen commanders realized that they could not seize strategic population centers in the low terrain and would be forced to stay in the mountains. In the next few days, a number of Chechen fighters surrendered to the Russians. The day after the battle ended, a Chechen field commander surrendered with 73 men, including 30 wounded—the largest surrender to that date. Made up largely of Chechen teenagers, this band had actually escaped over the saddle before the relief arrived on 2 March. It surrendered on the outskirts of Selmentausen. The young men had had enough of war.28


    The loss of 6th Company provoked an interservice exchange of recriminations. At a news conference, Shpak bluntly blamed the disaster on the Eastern Grouping of Forces' commander, to whom the airborne troops had been subordinated. Shpak's subordinates added their fire: "It all began back in Dagestan, when Kazantsev sent the airborne troops to their death and protected his own infantry."29 They claimed airborne forces had been stretched too thin and "in isolation from the main forces. . . . [T]he grouping command treats the airborne troops as cannon fodder."30

    By the middle of March, cumulative airborne casualties gave ammunition for their charges. Shpak reported that 181 airborne soldiers had been killed and 395 wounded in Chechnya out of a force of about 5,100 men. The total Russian force in Chechnya had averaged about 100,000 and had lost 1,291 Defense Ministry troops and 617 Interior Ministry troops for a total of 1,908, suffering 3,190 and 2,107 wounded. Airborne forces had numbered five percent of the force and suffered 10 percent of the deaths.31

    Shpak had a point. While the operational concept of blocking and trapping the Chechens was sound, the net was too weak. 104th GPR was forced to commit individual companies, which could not be easily reinforced, to oppose the breakthrough attempt of a lethal brigade-size unit. The airborne net should have been backed up with larger motorized rifle formations. Shpak's complaints carried enough weight to have the Grouping of Airborne Forces transferred from Troshev's command to the Joint Grouping of Federal Forces—the overall headquarters for operations in Chechnya.

    Reconnaissance and Security

    Kazantsev, former commander of the Grouping of Airborne Troops in Chechnya, accurately described the situation: "Such heavy losses could have been avoided. Reconnaissance must be carried out more carefully."32 After walking over the battlefield, Lobanov, who fought forward with the relief, also said pointedly, "There is a continual question in my head: Why was there no information that such a horde of gunmen was breaking through?"33 Compounding this failure was the lackadaisical attitude toward the company's security. 6th Company had blinded itself, allowing Chechens the priceless element of surprise. Had 6th Company been properly alerted and ready in proper defenses, it might have been able to hold off the Chechens successfully until relief arrived. One elemental failure cascaded into another, which might explain why the battalion commander suddenly emerged as the defense's motivating force once the disaster unfolded.

    However much the Russian official line emphasizes the heroism of 6th Company paratroopers, the results of the official inquiry ordered by President Vladmir Putin was professionally blunt. The force was accused of "slovenliness, laxity and unprofessionalism."34 The force showed a glaring loss of basic tactical skills at the company level during the encounters. Such basic tactical considerations should have been uppermost in the company officers' minds. Whether this was a local aberration or indicates pervasive problems throughout Russian Army elite forces, the VDV's failure poses important questions about Russian capabilities. While the VDV performed credibly and often with distinction in the Second Chechen War, there have been enough blatant exceptions to conclude that even the VDV's skills are no longer of a uniform high standard, despite Shpak's reforms.

    Pride of Corps

    On the positive side, 6th Company recovered and fought well against enormous odds once it moved to Hill 776 under the effective leadership of the battalion commander and his deputy. Other Russian airborne and SPETSNAZ forces in the area, responding to reinforce 6th Company, fought their way into the area and eventually stopped the Chechen breakout. All this occurred in enormously difficult terrain and weather conditions and against tenacious Chechen resistance. Because the Chechens are notoriously atrocity-prone, especially toward members of the more elite Russian military organizations, fighting to the death makes a necessity.

    Media reports consistently indicate that no 6th Company soldiers were taken prisoner. They refused to give up their position, even while knowing they would be overrun and killed. The VDV is known as an elite force composed of soldiers with high morale, discipline and a sense of purpose. Their actions make it clear that this characterization held true. Despite glaring tactical mistakes in security and reconnaissance, the Russian airborne spirit successfully imbued its men with the morale and courage that come with pride of corps.

    Despite the bad publicity surrounding the casualty figures in this battle, the Russian Army achieved an important victory. By holding Hill 776 long enough for additional VDV troops to fill the area, 6th Company defeated the Chechen strategy to break out of the mountains and regain the initiative. Chechen fighters, seeing they could not break through Russian lines, were forced to scale back their objectives. Instead of employing relatively large groups against vulnerable population centers, Chechen leaders realized they had to break up into smaller formations to wage war at a much lower level.

    But, this was an expensive Russian victory. Russian blood and valor had to make up for the deficit in basic combat skills, an issue larger than one small-unit leadership failure. The entire Russian force has suffered too many similar catastrophies for the fate of 6th Company to be just a tragic exception. Still, there was significant improvement in battlefield performance between the First and Second Chechen Wars, although performance levels still remained low, which reflected how bad things had become. The failure of an elite force such as the Russian airborne shows how fragile and perishable such skills are.

    The Aftermath

    The battle of Ulus-Kert was quickly enshrined in heroic myth, its theme loudly echoed by Russian media, the Ministry of Defense and the airborne forces themselves. This reflects popular support for the war and the military and a renewal of Russian nationalism. It also served to distract public attention from manifest failures the catstrophe revealed. Certainly the results of the official inquiry commissioned by Putin will never be made public. Nonetheless, he issued a decree decorating all of the fallen paratroopers, with all 13 officers and nine enlisted men receiving Russia's highest medal—Hero of the Russian Federation.35

    A memorial service was held on 14 March at the Novopasskiy Monastery in Moscow. The service was conducted by Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alekisy II of Moscow and all Russia, and was attended by Putin, Chief of the Russian General Staff General Anatoliy Kvashnin and national and military leaders. It was an enormous statement of resolve. Likewise, the funeral of most of the Russian dead at their home garrison in Pskov was a heartfelt demonstration of this sentiment. Most of the dead were buried in Pskov where the funeral service was held in the ancient Trinity Cathedral.

    Speaking at the funeral, Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev stated, "This battle for a nameless height was the turning point of the entire Chechen campaign. It was a do-or-die crisis for the fallen, and they chose to follow the paths of their ancestors in similar desperate straits. Just such decisions were made by Russian servicemen on Kulikovo Field, on Lake Chud, at Borodino and at Sevastopol. In the winter of 1941 Panfilov's legendary heroes defended the last line with their lives on the approaches of Moscow. Nowadays the Argun Gorge has been just such a line for the Guards' paratroopers."

  • At heart of Ukraine drama, a tale of two countries

    03/01/2014 6:35:58 AM PST · 1 of 3
  • A Jewel in Two Crowns [Soviet Sevastopol]

    02/28/2014 8:07:26 PM PST · 4 of 23
    cunning_fish to annalex

    >>Galina Onischenko’s<<

    BTW, her name is ethnic-Ukrainian.

  • Russian soldiers take over Crimean airports: minister

    02/28/2014 7:32:23 PM PST · 93 of 106
    cunning_fish to Zhang Fei

    >>Not a single GI was involved in pushing the Russians out of Afghanistan. All the Ukrainians need is food, money and equipment.<<

    In 1985 Soviets has planned to withdraw from Afghanistan by 1989 and they did. BTW, they were a primary source of food, money and equipment for the majority Afghans, including Afghan military which actually fought on Russian side.

  • Jackson Doughart: Stumbling into an ethnic quagmire in Ukraine

    02/28/2014 6:58:29 PM PST · 32 of 41
    cunning_fish to freeandfreezing

    >>In reality there are lots of different viewpoints in Ukraine, just like every other nation. Many people opposed the corruption of Yanukovych’s government, enough so his own party members voted against him in Parliament. Are you accusing them of being Nazis too?<<

    You are right, sir! The problem there are no mechanism to exercise different viewpoints left. Yep, the government was bad and it was demolished and what next? Radicals got an upper hand as there is no one to enforce the law. Libya, Egypt anyone?

  • Senator John McCain: “We Are All Ukrainians”

    02/28/2014 6:50:38 PM PST · 6 of 95
    cunning_fish to PaulCruz2016

    Leave it to John ‘Jihad Bob’ McCain. Ein Berliner.

  • Ukraine pleads for U.S., U.K. help after Russian 'invasion'

    02/28/2014 6:46:47 PM PST · 115 of 121
    cunning_fish to cripplecreek

    >>I see the Israeli papers have noticed the attacks on Jews. They aren’t really taking any sides but have certainly noticed.<<

    Some people are simply unable to handle freedom.

  • Ukraine pleads for U.S., U.K. help after Russian 'invasion'

    02/28/2014 6:37:19 PM PST · 111 of 121
    cunning_fish to lentulusgracchus; cripplecreek

    >>Luser. Just run the red flag up over your house, then. Oh, and mail in your voter ID card — since you don’t want to play any more.<<

    Why won’t you put a Nazi flag on and travel to Ukraine to help these idiots burn their neighborhood and then blame it on Jews, Russians, Lutherans and whoever?

  • Jackson Doughart: Stumbling into an ethnic quagmire in Ukraine

    02/28/2014 6:13:55 PM PST · 29 of 41
    cunning_fish to MadMax, the Grinning Reaper
  • Ukrainian leader dismisses armed forces chief of staff

    02/28/2014 6:06:09 PM PST · 29 of 34
    cunning_fish to FreeReign

    >>A little less than 75% of parliament voted for impeachment.<<

    And what? How is it relevant in terms of demographics?

  • Ukrainian leader dismisses armed forces chief of staff

    02/28/2014 5:57:57 PM PST · 23 of 34
    cunning_fish to FreeReign; cripplecreek; VanShuyten

    >>Ethnic Russians make up 17% of the population of Ukraine.

    That’s not “a good many”.<<

    Numbers like that means nothing in terms of Ukrainian demographics.

    That 17% are people who clearly identifies themselves as Russians. They don’t know a word in Ukrainian, they are refusing to stand to Ukrainian anthem and has a Russian flag flying in their yards.

    Another 40% of Ukrainians actually calls themselves Ukrainians but they still don’t speak Ukrainian, they are watching only Russian movies, listening to Russian music, and they are getting their news from Russian media. They are Ukrainians in name only.

  • Jackson Doughart: Stumbling into an ethnic quagmire in Ukraine

    02/28/2014 5:25:33 PM PST · 5 of 41
    cunning_fish to cripplecreek; txhurl; jimbo123

    “The Jews in the USSR constitute the most faithful support of the ruling Bolshevik regime, and the vanguard of Muscovite imperialism in Ukraine. The Muscovite-Bolshevik government exploits the anti-Jewish sentiments of the Ukrainian masses to divert their attention from the true cause of their misfortune and to channel them in a time of frustration into pogroms on Jews. The OUN combats the Jews as the prop of the Muscovite-Bolshevik regime and simultaneously it renders the masses conscious of the fact that the principal foe is Moscow.” - Stepan Bandera - a Ukrainian nationalist leader.

    Just from a Goebbels book. And anyone surprised why Russians are so suspicious towards Ukrainian ‘freedom fighters’?

  • Obama declares ‘happy hour’ with Dems minutes after Ukraine tough talk

    02/28/2014 5:22:12 PM PST · 27 of 51
    cunning_fish to jimbo123

    “The Jews in the USSR constitute the most faithful support of the ruling Bolshevik regime, and the vanguard of Muscovite imperialism in Ukraine. The Muscovite-Bolshevik government exploits the anti-Jewish sentiments of the Ukrainian masses to divert their attention from the true cause of their misfortune and to channel them in a time of frustration into pogroms on Jews. The OUN combats the Jews as the prop of the Muscovite-Bolshevik regime and simultaneously it renders the masses conscious of the fact that the principal foe is Moscow.” - Stepan Bandera - a Ukrainian nationalist leader.

    Just from a Goebbels book. And anyone surprised why Russians are so suspicious towards Ukrainian ‘freedom fighters’?

  • Ukrainian leader dismisses armed forces chief of staff

    02/28/2014 5:01:40 PM PST · 16 of 34
    cunning_fish to cripplecreek

    >>People seem to forget that a good many Ukrainians are ethnic Russians who have been there for generations.<<

    Yes, police was loyal to elected government. We are yet to see what military thinks about this situation. I guess they still have officers who served in Soviet military. I don’t think they are going to shoot at Russians.

  • Ukrainian leader dismisses armed forces chief of staff

    02/28/2014 4:58:40 PM PST · 15 of 34
    cunning_fish to Enterprise

    >>I wonder if Russia would be so bold if every Ukranian citizen had a high quality sniper rifle or scary assault rifle with high capacity magazines.<<

    In fact neither Russia nor Ukraine are discriminating against such. I think SKS and AK (Saiga) are common hunting rifles there. BTW, Kalashnikov are selling SVD on civilian market as Tigr (Tiger) there.

  • Ukraine Crisis Live: Russia Admits its Troops Are Moving in Crimea

    02/28/2014 4:38:28 PM PST · 84 of 90
    cunning_fish to GeronL

    >>Russian troops: No where near a naval base<<

    APCs are certainly a naval version BTRs. Note built-in snorkels for amphibious landing. BTW, Ukrainian navy has similar BTRs, thus they don’t have trucks like the one in this pic in their inventory.

  • Ukrainian leader dismisses armed forces chief of staff

    02/28/2014 4:22:18 PM PST · 11 of 34
    cunning_fish to tcrlaf

    To be honest, Ukrainian military might have more ethnic Russians within it’s ranks than Russian military.
    BTW, Israel’s DF is undisputed 3rd in the world for a number of enlisted Russians.