If the US has become the undisputed world leader in sending non-lethal "military advisors" to the middle east, then Russia is learning fast, and as Interfax just reported, the head of the Russian Armed Forces chief of staff Gerasimov just confirmed that Russian "military specialists" are now working in the Donetsk region, although not to support the separatist army, but to promote "conflict de-escalation." One just has to admire politically correct war talk. But the punchline, from both Interfax and Bloomberg which also just reported this news, is that Russia is doing so at the "request of Ukraine's head of general staff." In other words, Ukraine actually invited the Russians.
- RUSSIAN MILITARY SPECIALISTS WORKING IN DONETSK REGION TOWARD CONFLICT DE-ESCALATION AT UKRAINIAN GENERAL STAFF'S REQUEST - RUSSIAN ARMED FORCES CHIEF OF STAFF GERASIMOV
The Russian press agency reports that "Representatives of the Russian armed forces led by Lt. Gen. Alexander Lentsov have been sent to the community of Debaltseve in the Donetsk region at Ukrainian armed forces chief of staff Col. Gen. Viktor Muzhenko's request," Gerasimov said at a meeting with military attaches of a number of foreign countries on Wednesday.
"This mission has been tasked, together with the OSCE, with helping the conflicting parties, which are the Ukrainian forces and the local militia, to find compromise solutions on de-escalating the tension and withdrawing the troops from the contact line," he said.
The same from Bloomberg:
- Russian military representatives sent to Debaltseve in Donetsk region at request of Ukraine’s head of general staff, Interfax reports, citing Valery Gerasimov, head of Russia’s general staff.
- Russian military mission led by General Alexander Lentsov, will work with OSCE to help defuse tensions among belligerents
To think there was a time the S&P would tumble on just the hint the Russians were close to Ukraine's borders: it appears even algos habituate...
- And while this update was quite unexpected, the rest of this morning's jawboning, mostly from Russia's Medvedev, was just as one would expect.
- U.S. administration is behaving inadequately, unpredictably, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says in interview on state TV.
- Medvedev says he has good relations with U.S. President Barack Obama
- Putin’s economic ideas in speech this week were “liberal”
- Russia’s given Ukraine >$80b in gas discounts since 1990s
- Russia not excluding EU partners in Turkish gas link
On the topic of the recently cancelled South Stream:
- European partners may join proposed Russian project to create gas route to EU via Turkey, gas hub at Turkey-Greece border, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says in intw on Russian state TV.
- Medvedev comments on plan proposed by Russia after canceling South Stream gas pipeline project to Bulgaria
- “It’s no less interesting idea, which European partners could join; partners from the European Union and other partners. However, that’ll be another project and there’ll be another entry point”
- “The story with South Stream is pretty sad. This is a mutually beneficial project, in which eight countries participated. We’ve come a long way, but the project broke down”
As for the Donetsk region: next up, yet another referendum whether or not the region should join Russia, yet more monetary integration, until finally the Crimea scenario repeats itself and Russia is the proud owner of territory right above some of eastern Europe's biggest shale deposits, oh and some of the best coal mines Europe has to offer.