This first article, from Zero Hedge is long but a fascinating and detailed view of the ominous threat that the situation in the Ukraine presents. It is definitely worth reading in full, below are just a few of the more pertinent sections:
Ukraine is back in the news cycle and for good reason. The previous cease-fire has broken, fighting is intensifying, and the western-supported and installed leadership in Kiev is losing the campaign. At this point, the West's choice is to either double down and bet even more on a badly failing set of policies, or admit it has lost this round and seek to deescalate the situation.
Meanwhile, Europe has finally woken up to the risks and seems to be ready to carve out a different path than the US. A lot hinges on the apparent 'truce' deal between Russia and Europe's leaders this week.
As the President Hollande of France put it on Feb 7th, "If we don't find not just a compromise but a lasting peace agreement, we know perfectly well what the scenario will be. It has a name, it's called war." Of course - since the deal's signing, shelling has continued with more deaths.
He's not simply referring to an escalation of the factions fighting within Ukraine. He's warning about the real deal: a wider conflict that could easily spread into Europe, and possibly, the embroil powers across the world.
In short, the crisis in Ukraine was not the result of Russia's actions, but the West's. Had the prior President, Yanukovych, not been overthrown, it's highly unlikely that Ukraine would be embroiled in a nasty civil war. Relations between Russia and the West would be in far better repair.
Looking at the state of things, it's not going well militarily for the Kiev regime. Huge losses and persistent reports of low morale among Ukrainian troops tell the tale: Kiev is losing badly.
The rebels have encircled and ruined a number of Kiev forces over the past several months in what are called 'cauldrons', where the encircled forces are slowly ground down and destroyed. This appears to have finally happened in Debatlseve, which would be just another in a long string of heavy losses for Kiev.
The losses in prior cauldrons have been staggeringly high, with many analysts concluding that Kiev has been underreporting losses by as much as 90%.
Part of what plagues Kiev's forces is the age-old problem of fielding an unmotivated force. Not everybody is excited to be fighting against people from within their own country. Moreover, training is poor, equipment and ammunition are in poor shape and supply, and pay is often late in coming if it comes at all. This is a very usual litany of problems that have plagued struggling armies through the centuries.
On the other side of the battle lines, you have people fighting for their homes, their families and their ethnic community, which the Kiev regime has promised to exterminate if and when it's given the chance.
But leaving the shoddy reporting aside, the main summary here is that the intense fighting in Ukraine has resulting in mounting losses for Kiev.
All of which provides the context for this week's hurriedly-brokered 'peace summit' that will involve France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine.
Europe has begun the process of splitting away from the US on the matter of Russia and Ukraine.
What's interesting is that an emergency meeting is being convened amongst several of the top leaders in the world, but look who's suspiciously absent from the talks:
Note the progression of what transpired, which we can piece together from this and other articles. US Secretary of State John Kerry was in Kiev meeting with the president and prime minister of Ukraine, but did not attend similar meetings with Hollande and Merkel held on the same day.
Then Hollande and Merkel jet straight off to Moscow for high level talks.
Missing in action from the Germany-France-Ukraine-Russia talks is John Kerry, President Obama, or any other ranking US official. This speaks volumes about where we are in this narrative.
When the US started down this path of confrontation with Russia, which remains a complete strategic mystery to nearly all thoughtful observers, there were two large possible outcomes: isolating Russia and fracturing its growing ties with Europe, or accidentally fracturing the strong ties between the US and Europe.
Oops. Looks like we've opened Door #2.
The key issue, apparently, is that the US, true to form, is ready to send in military arms to the Ukraine regime, and Europe thinks that's a bad idea for multiple reasons. I could not agree more.
After all, when has the US arming one side of a regional conflict led to regional peace and a good outcome for the citizens of any particular area? If you can't think of any recent examples, neither can I. The track record of late is nothing short of being a complete disaster for the people of the various countries involved. Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Yemen, and Nicaragua come to mind.
But the people of Ukraine have to be kicking themselves right about now. Not only did they fall for the rosy promises of change and hope peddled by the West, they also believed the West would be a better partner for them than Russia. Worse, instead of finding a way to have both as partners, they adopted the West's idea that it had to be one or the other. And now their country is being rent apart.
So what? the average American might ask. Ukraine is half a world away. Who cares what happens there?
Putting aside the humanitarian reasons for not prolonging or intensifying a regional conflict, we risk not just only America's century-long ties with western Europe, but possibly the next world war. We are pushing our agenda and armaments right up against the Russian border -- for reasons that are still completely opaque at this time -- and Russia, understandably, will simply not stand for that.
In Part 2: America Vs Russia: What's At Risk, we explore in depth what's truly at risk here, why a lasting peace agreement in Ukraine is highly unlikely to happen anytime soon, and the biggest risks concerned citizens in the West should prepare for right now.
Ukraine’s Right Sector leader Dmitry Yarosh said his radical movement rejects the Minsk peace deal and that their paramilitary units in eastern Ukraine will continue “active fighting" according to their "own plans."
The notorious ultranationalist leader published a statement on his Facebook page Friday, saying that his radical Right Sector movement doesn’t recognize the peace deal, signed by the so-called 'contact group' on Thursday and agreed upon by Ukraine, France, Germany and Russia after epic 16-hour talks.
Yarosh claimed that any agreement with the eastern militia, whom he calls “terrorists,” has no legal force.
In his statement, Yarosh claimed that that the Minsk deal is contrary to Ukraine’s constitution, so Ukrainian citizens are not obliged to abide by it. Thus if the army receives orders to cease military activity and withdraw heavy weaponry from the eastern regions, the Right Sector paramilitaries, who are also fighting there “reserve the right” to continue the war, he said.
The Right Sector paramilitary organization continues to deploy its combat and reserve units, to train and logistically support personnel, while coordinating its activities with the military command of the Ukrainian army, paramilitary units of the Defense Ministry and the Interior Ministry, he said.
Bluntly rejecting the German and French initiative, Yarosh said President Petro Poroshenko should have turned to the US or UK which “observe a consistent anti-Kremlin policy.”
“This could be devastating for the whole agreement,” Lode Vanoost, a former OSCE security consultant, told RT. “It could destroy it before it even starts. Now the fact that they announced it already one day ahead could of course mean that they sort of tried to force some kind of provocation so that the other side would react giving them an excuse to go on. But nevertheless this is indeed a very dangerous situation, yes.”