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musical interlude XXXI

Ukraine War: role of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundnation

As DPR forces move south to Rinat Akhmetov’s[1] territory, let’s check in with his recent efforts.

Here is a website of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation‘s humanitarian center. The English language versions of press releases are spotty, so please see the Russian language version, here (russian), or machine-translated, here, (machine-english) via google translate.

Highlights, according to the above website: evacuating children and refugees, delivering humanitarian aid, and his vertically integrated energy/utility company, DTEK, is systematically restoring electricity service to the greater Donetsk city region, where it has been systematically knocked out by Ukrainian siege efforts while the Ukraine was on the offensive.

At the same time, reportedly Ukraine’s forces have been leaving Maruipol, which has been spared fighting by being under Akhmetov’s protection.

Interesting stuff. I wonder if he is working out his own personal side-deal to ensure cheap natural gas supply for his businesses?

[1] Rinat Akhmetov is the richest person in Ukraine, and Forbes #101 in the world in April 2014.

Ukraine War: glass half empty, or glass half full?

I am starting to see a debate between 3 sides:


(1) Russians from Russia are defending Russians in Donetsk/Lugansk, who are attacked by Ukrainians from Ukraine, who are attempting to impose a new order on the Russians in Donetsk/Lugansk.

(2) Russians from Russia are attacking Ukrainians from Ukraine, who are attempting to impose a new order on Russians in Donetsk/Lugansk.

(3) Russians from Russia are attacking Ukrainians from Ukraine, who are attempting to maintain the existing unchanged order on Russians in Donetsk/Lugansk and have done nothing aggressive.


Western media typically goes for (3), but they have a track record of non-stop lying.

Russian media typically goes for (1), but they have a track record of non-stop lying.


Therefore I’m going to go with (2).

Note that according all 3 of the above versions of the story, neither of the combatants is native to the region where the fighting is happening. 

Therefore the correct solution would be for all Ukrainians not native to Donetsk/Lugansk to leave, and all Russians not native to Donetsk/Lugansk to leave.


[disclosure: I am rating the above a 4/10 on the scale of intellectual honesty. I believe this puts me above 98% of all other mainstream news and most other bloggers and commentators, who I think on average are maybe a 2/10.]


musical interlude XXX

Ukraine war, maps, 27-29th Aug. [updated]

Last updated: 29 Aug, 0800 Eastern US time.

Ukrainian official PR map, 29th Aug

Ukrainian official PR map, 28th Aug

Ukrainian official PR map, 27th Aug

NR/separatist map, 29th Aug

NR/separatist map, 28th Aug

NR/separatist map, 27th Aug

another more confusing online-app map (NR/separatist)


(28 Aug) note, NR/separatist claims of military presence west of Maruipol (!). This was claimed in the DPR press release below:

Keep in mind that this city has been under the protection of Rinat Akhmetov, richest oligarch in Ukraine, who has in the past cut deals to prevent it from being destroyed by fighting. Here is a post on Akhmetov’s recent activities.


(29 Aug) other little observations: For better or worse, Western media is describing the current activity (claims are that there are ~1000 Russian soldiers, backed up by Ukrainian statements and sketchy satellite images) as an “all out invasion by Russia”. Little mention that Ukraine’s offensive ran out of steam 1-2 weeks ago, but this was concealed from Western audiences at first. Also, Russian President Putin calls for NR forces to create humanitarian corridors to allow encircled Ukrainian troops to surrender and return home. NR leadership has reportedly agreed. (The surrounded Ukraine troops would need to agree to surrender too)


Collection of links to more internet news sources on this subject:

Ukraine war update 24 Aug 2014 [updated 25 Aug]

[updated 25 Aug 0800 eastern US time. maps below]

24 Aug: NAF / Separatists report making a move to the south, surrounding a zone approximately around Amvrosievka with 4000-5000 Ukraine forces. [update - NAF also reported 1000 soldiers captured or killed (?), 40 pcs armor destroyed, 12 captured].

25 Aug update: separatists also report recapturing some Lugansk territory to begin to relieve the siege.

Cleaned-up machine translation of initial report of southern attack:

08/24/14. 12:22. Posted by Staff militia (NAF). “During the last battles we have been able to liberate the following localities: Novodvornoe, Agronomicheskoe, Novokaterinovka, Osykovo, Klenovka, Stroitely, Leninskoe. Today DNR army, making offensive movement, completely blocked (surrounded) of a powerful group of the punishers (i.e., Ukraine) in the area of settlements Voykovsky, Kuteynikova , Blagodartnoe, Alekseevskoe, Uspenka and Ulyanovsk. Encircled significant enemy forces, namely, the headquarters of the Army Corps of 8, 28 th and 30th Mechanized Brigade and 95th airmobile brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. At the same time, were surrounded about 5 thousand military Armed Forces of Ukraine, as well as about 50 tanks, 200 armored combat vehicles (BMP, BTR, BMD), 50 multiple rocket launchers “Grad” and “Hurricane”, more than 100 artillery pieces and mortars. During counteroffensive militia (NAF) managed to destroy more than 150 Ukrainian military battery systems “Smerch” (4 pcs.), 12 “Grad”, 17 tanks, more than 30 armored vehicles, 50 vehicles with ammunition. Currently, the district municipality Olenovskoe, there is fierce fighting between forces of the militia (NAF) and Ukrainian punishers. “

initial source (russian):

google map, for reference:,38.1953335,11z

and here is a pro-separatatist (and very optimistic) video describing the general situation and offering his opinions. Discussion of the above situation is approx. 15 minutes into it. The video also claims separatists moving in to try to retake Debaltseve,  (strategic highway junction connecting Donetsk, Lugansk, and points to the North) and more… (video narration in Russian, it will be quite useless without that, sorry…):

Online map form the above video (some kind of google-maps-based web-app!) (russian):

more legible maps [updated]

separatist reporting, from Aug 24:

separatist reporting, from Aug 22:

english translation, of the above, from Aug 20: 

     you can see Amvroisevka is in the south.

map from Ukraine’s side (according to it the attack came from Russia):

from Aug 25:

from Aug 24:

collection of Ukraine war alternative news sources:  

New Aspen “Policy Concensus” on Russia? [The Daily Star]

Link from Naked Capitalism. Interesting article about “new policy concensus”. Although the article doesn’t go into detail on specific policy or concensus, it tells us the debate remains grounded in the standard interpretation of the facts, and yet is able to make some progress towards conclusions that are more realistic than those which began the Ukraine crisis.

I would be interested in exploring the contradictory assumptions about Russia’s imminent decline, vs Russia’s imperialistic rise?

Also of interest is baseline view that Russian actions are unprovoked westward expansionism, against a passive and docile NATO which does not engage in eastward power projection or soft-regime-change tactics. I would be curious to know whether there is any trace of the alternate view that Russia is acting reactively to neutralize what it believes are credible threats to its security.

Nevertheless, it sounds like there is some recognition that fighting Russia would be counterproductive in today’s world. This is encouraging. Would be interesting to follow up on the contents of this meeting.


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