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The Power Vertical

The Daily Vertical: Time For A Little Reality Check

The Daily Vertical: Time For A Little Reality Checki
February 10, 2016
The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday. Viewers can suggest topics via Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page.
By Brian Whitmore

The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday. Viewers can suggest topics via Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page.

A transcript of today's edition of The Daily Vertical can be found here.

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Comment Sorting
by: JLNancy
February 10, 2016 12:29
Reality-check, indeed.

You do realize that Frederica Mogherini, EU’s Foreign Policy Chief, is married to a partner in a Brussels’s public relations firm that lobbies for the RU state-owned natural gas monopoly GAZPROM...

And, yes, Ukraine’s a fledgling democracy.

And, yes, Minsk 2 was never really implemented. On more than one occasion, Russia agreed to truces and cease-fires with Ukraine while Russian-backed forces continued to press their offensive.

Immediately after the agreement, Russian military and Moscow-backed terrorists invaded and took over Debaltsev in Donbas. (then forcibly evacuated Ukrainian occupants from homes there, as they did in other E. Ukrainian areas, “ You have to go, you have to leave, we have to make room for the Russians, You can’t live here anymore.”)

Russia's efforts to keep Ukrainian military off balance extended to the manipulation of diplomacy and cease-fires to gain military advantage on the ground. RU backed military ignored and mocked the agreed cease fire (“You cease, we fire.”);

RU-backed militants and RU terrorists NEVER withdrew their RU armaments, but just HID them better!!! (Note - Among the tactical methods and armaments RU provides in eastern Ukraine:
- Multiple drones at different altitudes over the same area to search for Ukrainian government troops, then target them with artillery and rocket launchers. (The approach delivers rapid large fire strikes "with an intensity and speed of target location in such an attack last summer near the eastern city of Shyrokine near Mariupol.)
- Russian-supplied artillery shells and rocket-fired sub-munitions with devastating effect against Ukraine's personnel and armor units. They use scatterable land mine munitions that hit tanks at their most vulnerable points and thermobaric warheads, which ignite and kill everything within several acres. (One three-minute combined rocket and thermobaric attack wiped out two Ukrainian mechanized battalions in Zelenopillya.)
- Russia's T-90 tanks, impervious to most shoulder-fired anti-tank missiles and can fire a spray of pellets at incoming warheads to disable their guidance systems and send them flying out of control into the sky or the ground.)
Per Minsk 2, captive Ukrainian soldiers and civilians (journalists, researchers, volunteers even pregnant women) were to be freed per the agreement and yet are not released..

Anyway, how appropriate was it to allow an aggressor state like RU broker any Minsk agreement deal that was based on false premises and designed for RU to carry out its war on Ukraine where this aggressor RU state insisted they still had a position to dictate while at the same time denied their involvement..
In Response

by: Greg from: Canada
February 11, 2016 14:28
Thank you JLNancy, the west lead by Merkel continue to ignore Russia's aggression and failure to implement Minsk. I believe Putin has no plans to implement this accord and will continue to press his military to advance. The only way to stop Putin is to stand up to him militarily, Merkle and company are fooling themselves.

by: Dave from: Boston
February 10, 2016 13:17
I wish Ukraine was not so corrupt. Europe is right to draw a line in the sand with Ukraine's lack of progress in reform or battling corruption. Seems like their leaders are happy with things broken and corrupt.
In Response

by: Steven from: Ukraine
February 10, 2016 18:48
And it is okay for Germany to have built a combat warfare training center for and in Russia? It is okay for Hollande of France and Merkel of Germany to continue to "hammer" Ukraine while not reciprocating in kind to Russia? It is okay for Europe to betray Western values of Democracy by selling those values out to get back to business with Russia as usual? And it is okay for your country, the U.S., to make a mockery of its signature on the Budapest Memorandum? Please tell us all why your signature means more than the ink you wasted signing it? And please don't tell me the U.S. isn't corrupt. I guess you never heard of "buying" members of Congress via Lobbying at the peoples expense.
In Response

by: Kevin from: Australian
February 10, 2016 22:31
Dave. Ukraine is struggling to get Russia and corruption off of its back. And struggling to bring peace to the Donbas areas. Little green men don't want it to happen! Its about power and money. Please remember the USA lent the money to Germany before WWII so they could fund a war. (This is not mentioned in to many history books as the winners write history). We see the result of WWII today still going on! Capitalism running democracy is corruption in itself.

by: Yoshua
February 10, 2016 14:43
Europe and the Euro zone is in a deep crisis. European banks have today $1 trillion in non-performing loans and the Euro zone is now on the brink of a financial collapse. On top of this Europe has to deal with a migrant crisis that there seems to be no end to. Europe wants to end the conflict with Russia and return to business as usual... but Russia isn't interested.

Russia annexed Crimea and started a war in Eastern Ukraine and could care less about Western sanctions imposed on Russia.

Russia has also joined the Alawite regime in Syria and is now bombing the Sunni population in Syria, which will create another mass exodus of refugees to Turkey. Turkey will not be able to cope with the flow of refugees and will therefor push the refugees into Europe.

Russia is at war with Europe and doesn't care if Europe wants to end this conflict or not.
In Response

by: mark from: fellows
February 10, 2016 21:40
Rumours of Europe's demise are greatly exaggerated. If any state is going to collapse in the near future, it is Russia.

And to say that Russia doesn't care about sanctions, well, why are they trying to get OPEC to cut back oil production? Strange too that OPEC has INCREASED production in January. And events connected with their fellow Sunnis in Syria may have had something to do with it.

The problem for Putin, of course, is that he cannot borrow effectively--due to the sanctions. HIs only alternative is to use his currency reserves, which will run out rather quickly.

So if Putin really thinks his recent actions will bring Europe to its knees, he is living in a far worse dream world than anyone ever imagined.

by: Peter from: US
February 10, 2016 17:38
Good analysis, Brian! But a disheartening turn of events.
In Response

by: Gotno_Gizmo from: Kiev
February 11, 2016 11:40
Yoshua, you have hit the nail on the head. I may detest Putin but what he has done is to illustrate the ineptness of the western (for the most part career politicians with narrow life experience). He has outwitted them at every stage and they are in a state of catch up in response to situations unfolding. The EU politicos and their establishment are showing their incomptetence and tardiness particularly to their NON dealing of the needs of the the "refugee' situation.
I am 72 years of age and I yearn to have leaders with the greater capabilities who were around in my youth, but then they had survived a war and had developed some grit and guts unlike the wimpish mouthers that we suffer today.

by: Anonymous
February 10, 2016 19:20
in Minsk 2 agreement Russia is not a party but a guarantor
in his text no obligation exists towards russia .

by: Kevin from: Australia
February 10, 2016 22:22
Will Europe ever wake up? Putin's statement about the near abroad, Russian speakers, that were moved into countries by the USSR to do inbreeding so they were forever Russian. Putin will not let go until he has what he wants and is using all sorts of Hybrid warfare to do so. Look up the meaning of a fascism and you find it fits Putin and his ideology perfectly. When Europe wakes up it will probably to late. then they cry for the Americans to help them. Once Russia has you its forever. Listen to Putin chat about the Baltics! human life is nothing when god Putin has you in his hands. Have the European politicians ignored his cluster bombing in Syria? Assassination of political rivals and radiation poisoning in the UK?
Frederica shaking the hand of the devil, she is part of the Hybrid warfare game. Disinformation and always someone else's fault...... never Russia. Putin starts the problem with little green men then jumps in to fix it.

by: Darcy Hula from: Canada
February 11, 2016 04:03
Thank-you Brian for your continued representation of the difficulties experienced by the sincere (some) Ukrainian effort to clean-up their corruption and cronyism. Unfortunately Ukraine is not alone in this battle. It is a human condition that continues unabated around the world. True change can only occur if the heart and mind recognize the essential truths of sincerity, honesty and empathy. Psychopathy is a sickness. If the sick know they are sick they may then wish to be healed.
Please keep up the good work.

by: Reminder from: Belgium
February 11, 2016 15:36
I could be mistaken,..but wasn't the release of Nadiya Viktorivna Savchenko also one of the conditions of Minsk2 ? We should not forget to mention her.

by: AJ ( Canada )
February 12, 2016 04:18
Great job Brian! Another excellent summary of what is the reality of the situation in Eastern Ukraine and Russia's involvement to destabilize the country. I really enjoy your daily reports and look forward to them each day.

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The Power Vertical is a blog written especially for Russia wonks and obsessive Kremlin watchers by Brian Whitmore. It offers Brian's personal take on emerging and developing trends in Russian politics, shining a spotlight on the high-stakes power struggles, machinations, and clashing interests that shape Kremlin policy today. Check out The Power Vertical Facebook page or