Is the Ukraine Russia's Trojan Horse?
Despite all the sanctions, Russia's Putin is still toying with the Ukraine, keeping the West baffled about his strategy. Does he plan to invade part of it? Take on NATO in the Baltic?
Russia is has been conducting massive war games near the Ukraine border using its powerful air force, army and conducting missile tests. Just across the border in the Ukraine, Ukrainian forces are eliminating the pro-Russian forces at Donetsk, capturing more territory Putin considers his red-line. The pro-Russian forces are being beaten back and seek the Russian army, now some 20,000 with tanks and heavy weapons.
The Ukraine is a true civil war. The pro-separatists are Russians who want to have part of the Ukraine under Russia and over 1100 have died so far. It is curious why Putin is having a five day war game along the border using its more sophisticated aircraft- over 100- including Su-27, Mig-31. Su-34 and Su-24. Their most advanced attack helicopters, the Mi-24 and Mi-28N, will be conducting air to ground attacks. The maneuvers are all in the southeastern border regions where the separatists are located. Some 280,000 residents have been forced to flee the battle areas in the Ukraine, most are going to Russia. This provides Putin the excuse to send in the troops on humanitarian grounds.
The frayed nerves along the border were worsened when 400 men from the 79th Ukrainian Airborne Regiment, after being trapped in a pocket between separatists and the Russian border ran out of ammo and food. The unit defected and surrendered to Russian troops.
Putin's has many options: he can send in the troops and seize the part of the Ukraine he wants, he can stoke fear of this along the border to wear down the Ukrainian's morale, which has already taken a downturn, he can retaliate against the sanctions imposed by shutting down markets that American goods are sold to, he can seek ways around the sanctions with China, India or Iran, he could threatened the Baltic states where NATO has very little anything to stop them.
Putin's show of force along the border is blustering directed at the weak Ukrainian army who can barely beat the pro-separatists! The economic situation there is growing more dire every month for its citizens, Russia can simply wait them out until they bargain without a war happening.