From the State Department’s Twitter feed.
Department of State
U.S. calls on Russia and the separatists it backs to halt all attacks and fully implement Minsk commitments.
The Big Lie continues. There is no way for “Russia” to halt any attacks in the Ukraine because “Russia” is not engaging in any attacks in the Ukraine. Not even one. 100% of the attacks in the Ukraine are being carried out by the separatists. 0% by the “Russians.” I have been closely monitoring the situation in the Donbass every day since this latest fighting broke out. I have not yet found any evidence at all for any Russian troops fighting in the Donbass. Zero. Not even one. And if they were there, the evidence would be available. For one thing, the Committee of Soldiers Mothers would be talking about it and so would the opposition press in Russia.
And yes there are many opposition media outlets in Russia – newspapers, magazines, internet sites and I believe TV channels. Hardly anyone pays attention to them, but they are there nonetheless. Much of the opposition media in Russia is run from out of Russia, mostly in Finland and the Netherlands. A number of papers and magazines are published in the West and distributed on a regular, even daily basis in Russia. They are on sale every day in Moscow. Just check your nearest newsstand. Hardly anyone buys or reads them, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there.
Most opposition journalists get away scot-free in Putin’s Russia. I figure ~3% of them encounter any significant persecution such as arrest. In fact, I think the Russian Opposition is much more vigorous than the US Opposition. In the US, there is almost zero organized opposition to US foreign policy. It’s backed by 100% of the mainstream media. Name one large US media outlet of any type that opposes US foreign policy. Name one. One.
Last August, a large number of Russian soldiers, even whole units, did indeed cross the border. They fought until September and then most of them left. I think there were up to 7,500 of them at one time. They did take some casualties, and at least 50 Russian soldiers have died.
The last Russian soldier that I confirmed as going across went in November.
I can confirm, as per the Soldiers Mothers Committee, that a number of Russian soldiers are being asked or coerced to “volunteer” to go to the Rostov. They are encouraged to volunteer to go to Rostov and they are told that they may go over the border to Ukraine at some point. Some soldiers do not want to go to Rostov and they are being threatened. So apparently some Russian units are being relocated to the Donbass for possible infiltration into Ukraine at some future point. But right now, they are just sitting in the Rostov.
There are some pro-Novorussian sources who think there are 1,000-3,000 Russian soldiers in the Donbass, but they are mostly in the rear of the front. I cannot confirm that and I have no idea what they are doing there, if anything.
One thing that is for sure is that Russia is supplying the rebels with lots of great equipment. A Big Lie is that Russian humanitarian convoys are being used to send over military stuff. There was a huge furor in the West in July when a Russian humanitarian convoy was stuck at the border and the Ukies would not let it go through for a long time.
All the Western media kept insisting that there were weapons in this convoy. The convoy ended up being inspected by neutral observers a total of 50 times. No inspection ever found one piece of military equipment. Finally the convoy went across and 100% of the “free” Western media kept screaming that there were weapons in the convoy. Somehow those 50 inspections must have missed them. This shows the sort of lying we are being exposed to.
The truth is that there is nothing in those humanitarian convoys but humanitarian goods, the need for which is great. And there is no need to disguise or camouflage the military supplies going over the border as the Russians simply drive their supplies right across the border, often in huge convoys.
A good question is who is driving those tanks, APC’s and other military vehicles across the Russian border into Ukraine, where they form large convoys inside Ukraine. I believe that it is mostly Novorussian soldiers driving those vehicles, though I am not sure. Apparently a lot of Novorussians have military training. Many were in the Ukrainian Army, and many others were in the Russian Army. Some others were in the armies of East Bloc countries. Others who had no training are trained at rebel training camps, some of which are located across the border in Rostov. There the Russians have turned over whole bases to the rebels, and I believe Russian military instructors train the rebel soldiers.
So the Russians are training the rebels, housing them at rearguard bases and supplying them. But there are few to no Russian troops in Ukraine and Russians themselves do not carry out any attacks in the Ukraine. So there is no point in telling the Russians to stop their attacks as they are not conducting any in the first place. It is dubious to what extent the Russians control the rebels as the rebels do not seem to follow Russian orders or do what the Russians want them to.
However, when the rebels get too out of control, as they did in early September when they conquered huge swathes of land, Russia voices its displeasure by cutting off the weaponry, supplies and money. So in that sense, Russia is capable of having a final veto on rebel actions when the think the rebels have gone too far. But the war around Debaltsevo is the rebels’ own doing. They are not following Russian orders there. I have no idea what the Russians think of the fighting, but they don’t dislike it too much as they haven’t cut off the money and guns.