Moon of Alabama
Fighting in east Ukraine has restarted. This is an attempt by "deep state" forces to prevent any rapprochement between the U.S. and Russia under the new Trump administration.
The west-Ukrainian forces under command of the coup government of President Poroshenko started a large attack against the Russian supported Ukrainian self-defense forces in Donetsk and Lugansk governate.
A ceasefire arranged after the Minsk II agreement provided for demilitarized zones along a line of separation. The Ukrainian government has so far avoided to fulfill the Minsk II agreement that would allow a reuniting of the country. An OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), which includes officers from NATO countries as well as Russia, is supervising the ceasefire and issues daily reports.
On January 26 the SMM reported:
The SMM recorded more ceasefire violations  in Donetsk region, including about 420 explosions, compared with 228 in the previous reporting period. More than 160 explosions were recorded around the Svitlodarsk area, with exchanges of fire also recorded around Avdiivka and Yasynuvata.
The Mission revisited a Ukrainian Armed Forces permanent storage site, whose location corresponded with the relevant withdrawal lines and observed that 12 tanks (T-64) and four mortars (2B9 Vasilek, 82mm) were missing, as previously noted.
The SMM followed up on reports of a blockade of a railway track near government-controlled Hirske. The railway leads towards the “LPR”-controlled settlements of Donetskyi and Sentianivka (formerly Frunze) (49 and 44km west of Luhansk, respectively). The Mission had observed a train travelling east through Donetskyi on 23 January. The SMM observed that the tracks had been blocked by tree trunks under a bridge on the southern edge of the settlement. About 20 unarmed men wearing camouflage clothing told the Mission that they were veterans from former volunteer battalions. The SMM observed a tent near the blockade site.
The observations on the 26th pointed to the preparation of a full attack which was launched on January 28:
The SMM recorded fewer ceasefire violations in Donetsk region between the evenings of 27 and 28 January compared with the previous reporting period (including about 330 explosions compared with about 520). In the following 24 hours, however, the SMM recorded over 2,300 explosions, primarily in the Avdiivka-Yasynuvata-Donetsk airport area.
The SMM observed that the intense artillery barrage was launched north to south originating from the government held area.
The NAZI volunteer battalions from west-Ukrainian Galicia are spearheading the attack. There is ongoing fighting with intense artillery usage on several points along the ceasefire line (map). One main battle ground is the city of Avdeevka in the demilitarized zone north-west of Donetzk city.
The U.S. government propaganda site RFERL sees a "creeping offensive" initiated by the government side. Even the belligerent and anti-Russian Washington Post editors have to acknowledge that the Ukrainian government started this round. While unreasonably blaming Russia they observes:
Ukrainian commanders acknowledge that in recent weeks their forces had moved some positions forward in the no-man’s land between the front lines.
During the last two years the Ukrainian army experienced a massive build up. New equipment came in from the U.S. and other NATO countries and U.S. training missions tried to teach some basic fighting tactics. But while the newly conscripted 250,000 men army looks big on paper it still lacks any coherence and will to fight for the coup government and its U.S. overlords. Only the NAZI "volunteer battalions" have some fighting spirit but they are up against people defending their immediate homes. Any large offense from the government side will thus fail.
The fight was planned and started just after the inauguration of the new U.S. president Trump. Trump has acknowledged that Crimea is part of Russia as its population is overwhelmingly Russian. He has announced to seek good relations with Moscow. He will likely eliminate sanctions against Russia.
For the Ukrainian coup government and its neo-conservative supporters this marks the end of their dreams. If it loses U.S. and NATO support the Ukraine must declare bankruptcy, the government will be kicked out and the country will, over time, move naturally back into the Russian sphere.
To prevent that Poroshenko was ordered to launch a new attack while blaming Russia. He did as his mentors told him and traveled to Berlin in the hope of German support. But such is not coming. The German government let it know that it sees through his games and has no interest in them. The government friendly daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung "leaked" (translated here) that Berlin knows that Poroshenko started the fight to influence Trump and to prevent any sanction relief for Russia. But Berlin believes that the gimmick will fail and Merkel fears that Poroshenko will end up losing another round of the war while Russia will still get the better relations it seeks.
One would hope so. There is nothing to win for western-Europe, or anyone else, in another fight with Russia.
Neither the Trump administration nor the EU has blamed any side for relaunching the conflict. The civil NATO head Stoltenberg stayed within the official line blaming neither side. That surely is not to Poroshenko's favor.
The massive buildup of U.S. and NATO troops along the Russian border as well as the renewed fighting in Ukraine are part of the imperial plan initiated under Obama to squeeze Russia into a minor global role. It is an extremely dangerous endeavor. Russian history shows that it will not allow such. Trump will hopefully reverse the Obama plans and, as far as one can currently tell, seeks to arrange friendly cooperation with Russia wherever feasible.
The destination of the last official foreign visit of former Vice President Biden was Ukraine. The World War III promoting Senator McCain visited Kiev on New Years eve. Both were heavily involved in the earlier coup against the constitutional Ukrainian government. Biden's son is involved in natural gas business in Ukraine. Did they leave directives or suggestions?
The current attempts in Ukraine to sabotage a U.S. Russian rapprochement will probably not be the only ones. Some "accident" in the Baltic or "mistake" in Syria could surely be arranged by "deep state" rogue force. If such happens nether side should fall for it.
Politico wrote about the John McCain / Lindsey Graham New Year visit to Ukraine a month ago. Notice what they said:
“I admire the fact that you will fight for your homeland,” Graham told Ukraine’s 36th Separate Marine Brigade in the town of Shyrokyne, about four kilometers from the line of contact, according to a video released Monday by the Ukrainian presidency.
“Your fight is our fight,” Graham said during the visit on Saturday alongside President Petro Poroshenko. “2017 will be the year of offense”, he continued. “All of us will go back to Washington and we will push the case against Russia. ..."
McCain, a former Republican presidential candidate and prisoner of war in Vietnam, said: “I believe you will win. I am convinced you will win and we will do everything we can to provide you with what you need to win. ..."
That is obviously incitement to start a new war. But with their opposition to Trump McCain and Lindsay are out of the decision circles in Washington DC. They can write as many furious op-eds as they want but no one is going to read them and start a war with Russia.