Russia Hardly Even Trying to Disguise 'Stealth' Invasion of Ukraine
So much for those peace talks. Russia's military launched another attack in Ukraine, according to Kiev.
From The New York Times:
Tanks, artillery and infantry have crossed from Russia into an unbreached part of eastern Ukraine in recent days, attacking Ukrainian forces and causing panic and wholesale retreat not only in this small border town but a wide swath of territory, in what Ukrainian and Western military officials described on Wednesday as a stealth invasion.
The attacks outside this city and in an area to the north essentially have opened a new, third front in the war in eastern Ukraine between government forces and pro-Russian separatists, along with the fighting outside the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk.
Exhausted, filthy and dismayed, Ukrainian soldiers staggering out of Novoazovsk for safer territory said Tuesday they were cannon fodder for the forces coming from Russia. As they spoke, tank shells whistled in from the east and exploded nearby.
State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki describes it as a likely "Russian-directed counteroffensive."
For what it's worth, the self-designed leader of the so-called People's Republic of Donetsk assured last week that something like the current scenario would happen soon.
The Associated Press (AP) suggests that "the bold offensive along a new southeastern front" indicates that "separatists are seeking to create a land link between Russia and Crimea, which also would give them control over the entire Azov Sea." Logistically, it would be near impossible for fighters in the separatist-held cities of Donetsk and Luhansk to have reached this front on their own, the mayor of the newly-embattled city of Novoazovsk told AP. The fighters would have to cross a large amount of Ukrainian-controlled territory, whereas Russia could easily send troops from just across the border.
Although Russian regular soldiers were captured in Ukraine on Monday and admitted that they are, in fact, Russian soldiers, the Kremlin continues to deny any involvement, and claims it can't really help the situation. Says President Vladimir Putin:
We, Russia, cannot talk about any cease-fire conditions whatsoever, or possible agreements between Kiev, Donetsk and Luhansk. We can only facilitate the creation of an environment of trust in the course of this possible and much needed, in my opinion, negotiation process.
Putin does admit that sometimes soldiers accidentally cross the border.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who insists that the war is a "domestic armed conflict," says that he intends to send another humanitarian aid convoy into Ukraine, despite objections from the international community and the fact that the last one brought little aid (but did bring plenty of armored vehicles) and stole Ukrainian military equipment on its way out.
Read more Reason coverage of Ukraine here.