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by Stephen Lendman
Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015 at 11:57 AM
Ukraine Conflict Continues Despite Ceasefire
by Stephen Lendman
It doesn't surprise. Washington wants war, not peace. So does Kiev. On Tuesday, RT International's press crew was shelled near Donetsk's airport.
At the time, they were filming. Correspondent Murad Gazdiev twittered: "Just came under #Ukrainian mortar fire in #donetsk airport. Seemed to be targeting us. Footage on RT. Everyone fine."
On air, Gazdiev said:
"When we were about halfway through the airport - we were by the hangars - mortar shells started whistling down right next to us, within 50 to 100 meters."
"There was a lot of cover and we got behind that. There were a dozen, maybe more mortar shells. And they just kept coming down where we were making for."
"I can’t say with certainty they were targeting us, but it certainly appeared that way. Wherever we went, shells landed."
"You could tell it was mortar shells. They made a whistling sound and then bang - a detonation."
Ceasefire headed toward conflict resolution remains pure fantasy. Kiev bears full responsibility for continued violations.
Yet Poroshenko wants EU and NATO officials to condemn rebels. Vice President Biden blamed Russia most of all. Said costs will increase if violations continue.
Former NATO commander James Stavridis said Ukraine is "headed toward yet another frozen conflict." It could go on for years.
At the same time, Ukrainian forces are being battered. Fort Russ reported Debaltsevo cauldron troops surrendering in large numbers.
Der Spiegel reported German intelligence saying Ukraine's army is disintegrating. When war began, its forces numbered around 130,000.
Most young men want no part of fighting their own citizens. They avoid conscription.
Kiev is heavily dependent on oligarch-controlled volunteers, foreign mercenaries, and extremist groups like the Right Sector and Azov Battalion.
According to Der Spiegel, "a report delivered recently to the Chancellery in Berlin by Germany's foreign intelligence service, the BND, the Ukrainian army is slowly disintegrating, demoralized by the separatist advances and short on personnel."
"Even arms deliveries from the West, the BND believes, would be more likely to overwhelm the Ukrainian army than it would to make it a more effective fighting force."
At the same time, Ukraine's economy is close to collapse. Its currency, the hryvnia, fell to a historic low on Wednesday.
Things are "increasingly unsettled," said Der Spiegel. Growing public anger has people talking about "a new Maidan."
Ukraine's Unian information agency admitted its Debaltsevo forces face possible annihilation.
Saying reports "soldiers…sent to the media indicated that the situation they face…is dire."
Ukraine's deputy 40th Battalion commander, Yuriy Sinkovsky, said "(t)he situation is critical and outrageous."
"The OSCE representatives did not arrive as promised yesterday, (and) the guys are almost completely surrounded."
"(We're) waiting for reinforcements. (They) failed to come. There are prisoners. (Dead bodies) cannot be evacuated."
"The roads have been mined. (My troops) are sitting, watching, waiting for the battalion to be killed."
"(A)mmunition is running out. There is almost no food left. Morale is weakening…(E)nemy forces are much stronger. We're getting exhausted."
"(I)t is unacceptable just to watch (my troops) dying." When contacted about untenable conditions, Kiev military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said he had "no information about the 40th Battalion."
Journalist Olga Germanova posted Facebook comments saying Kiev forces plead for help. They can't hold out much longer. They fear they'll all be killed.
Kiev denies Debaltsevo is surrounded, its forces defeated.
The reliable Saker site reports all his sources confirm Debaltsevo largely in rebel hands. "(J)unta forces are in full retreat," he said.
"(T)he cauldron 'lid' is closed…(J)unta forces are either surrendering or fleeing south…"
They're running out of everything. "It's over for the Ukie forces in" Debaltsevo. Rebels control the strategic area.
Thousands of Kiev forces were defeated. Many killed or wounded. Most demoralized unwilling to keep fighting for a lost cause.
Kiev abandoned them. The Saker called what happened "truly catastrophic new for" Kiev junta officials.
Russian military experts said half of Kiev's "combat capable units" are lost.
Ukrainians know their government is lying. Information available online and through Russian media explain dire conditions Kiev suppresses.
The Saker believes neo-Nazi forces like the Right Sector and Azov Batallion may storm Kiev. On the one hand, to vent their rage on junta officials.
On the other, because it's safer to attack Kiev than Donetsk or other rebel held areas.
"Poroshenko better watch his back," said the Saker. Unconfirmed rumors suggest he "evacuated his family to Germany."
"Bottom line: yet another brilliant victory for (rebel) forces and yet another humiliating defeat for" Kiev's US-backed junta.
The reliable Colonel Cassad site reported similar information. Headlining "Debaltsevo is ours. We won't leave."
Kiev refused DPR's offer for a "green corridor" to let its forces withdraw unharmed.
Its propaganda machine tried creating the myth of a "Ukrainian Stalingrad." Things are ending disastrously. "People die for propaganda phantoms," said Colonel Cassad.
"(E)ven without Debaltsevo, the cease-fire is one foot in the grave." It's pure fantasy.
Intermittent fighting continues in other areas ahead of Kiev intending once again to escalate things full-force once it rearms and regroups.
With more help from Washington. Obama wanting congressional authorization for unconstrained permanent war may find US troops on the ground fighting in Donbass before long.
Minsk accomplished nothing. Peace is pure fantasy. Fighting continues.
Kiev's military spokesman Lysenko said "there is no ceasefire, and so there is no precondition for a pull-back of heavy weapons."
Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) parliament Speaker Denis Pushilin said "(w)e will not do anything unilaterally. That would make our soldiers targets."
US-supplied weapons keep pouring into Ukraine. Obama's claim about providing them still under consideration is another of his Big Lies.
On Tuesday, Putin said "(a)cording to our data, weapons are already being supplied (to Kiev). This is not surprising."
He's well aware they're coming from Washington and other NATO countries.
Using diplomatic language, he explained he's "convinced that whoever is supplying the weapons, the number of victims may grow, but the outcome will not change."
"The vast majority of soldiers serving in the Ukrainian army have no motivation to participate in an internecine conflict away from home, while the Donbass militia have every reason to defend their families."
Putin urged Kiev not to prevent trapped Debaltsevo forces from surrendering. "(A)t least (don't) punish those who simply want to save their lives," he stressed.
"Our mission is to save the lives of those caught in the cauldron, and to make sure that the situation does not inflame relations between Kiev and the rebels further."
Putin remains hopeful Minsk will work despite previous ceasefire failures. So far, evidence isn't on his side.
On Monday, State Department spokeswoman blamed rebels for Kiev ceasefire violations. Citing the "government of Ukraine" as her source, she said:
Its "forces (were) fired on 129 times in the last 24 hour by Russia-backed separatists…including attacks on a convoy evacuating the wounded from Debaltsevo."
"These aggressive actions and statements by the Russia-backed separatists threaten the most recent ceasefire and jeopardize the planned withdrawal of heavy weapons called for in" Minsk.
Psaki ignored continued Kiev force shelling. Including targeting civilian areas.
Debaltsevo's situation could have been resolved days ago. Kiev ordered its forces to keep fighting.
Rebels are blamed for junta violations. The battle for Ukraine's soul continues.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.
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