Saturday, August 16, 2014

More Ukraine

Ukrainian separatists were boasting today of large scale reinforcements from Russia: tanks, armored personnel carriers and troops.

DONETSK, Ukraine — The new pro-Moscow leader in the breakaway republic of Donetsk bragged openly today that Russia has strengthened his besieged rebel forces with men, armored vehicles and tanks. His boast would appear to confirm Ukrainian claims that the Kremlin is stepping up backing for the insurgents, defying the West with a dangerous escalation of the conflict Russian President Vladimir Putin said midweek he hoped would end soon.

Alexander Zaharchenko, who was appointed “prime minister” of the self-styled Donetsk People’s Republic earlier this week, told The Daily Beast that the rebels have received reinforcements from across the border, and specified in an interview with Russian radio station that “1,200 men trained in Russia have joined his force and that separatists have received also 120 armored personnel carriers and 30 tanks.”

It's not clear exactly what Putin is up to. This seems likely to be enough troops for the rebels to stave off defeat, but probably not enough for any kind of win. Ukraine can't fight Russia, but the talked about full-scale invasion hasn't happened yet.