by John Galt
November 19, 2014 19:55 ET
Yesterday, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty had the following report on the Russian troop build up on the Ukrainian border:
BRUSSELS — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says there has been a “serious military buildup” both in conflict-torn eastern Ukraine and on the Russian side of the border, and he has urged Moscow to pull back its forces.
Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels that information from NATO and other sources including the OSCE pointed to “a military buildup…inside Ukraine, but we also see a military buildup on the Russian side of the border.”
“And we speak about troops, we speak about equipment, and we speak also about artillery and very modern air-defense systems so this is a serious military build-up,” he said upon arrival for a meeting with European Union defense ministers.
Follow that up with this report via TheAviationist website and things are beginning to look quite ominous for the survival of the Ukrainian military in Novorossiya:
According to the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, the Russian Federation is continuing to amass forces at the border, including radar stations and Mig-31 Foxhound combat planes, interceptors capable of a maximum speed of Mach 2.83.
An unspecified amount of Mig-31s based at Perm have been deployed to Millerovo airfield, in the Rostov region, close to the border with Ukraine, a sign that Moscow may be preparing to actively control the airspace over Luhansk Oblast.
The MiG-31 is a two-seater derivative of the MiG-25 in service since 1983. Designed to face U.S. supersonic strategic bombers flying at low altitude (B-1B bomber), the MiG-31 has quite good low-level capabilities and features a radar with look-down-shoot-down capability. Equipped with a HUD (Head-Up Display), the Foxhound is older and less maneuverable than Mig-29 and Su-27, but it is still an amazing interceptor, with a top speed of Mach 2.83 and an operational range of 1,450 km.
Although the production of the Mig-31 ended in the early 1990s, the Foxhound interceptor is being upgraded to extend its operative life up to the 2028 – 2030, until a replacement will be available.
To provide some perspective this deployment puts the planes in less than a 20 minute hot take off to intercept position over the strategic town of Lugansk and well within one hour of the hotly contested Donetsk area.
With President Obama distracted by the disaster ongoing in Iraq due to the march of ISIS closer and closer to Baghdad and his newly self-created domestic policy issues, I believe the Russians are detecting an opening to launch a Blitzkrieg offensive to secure Mariupol and the rest of the Novorossiya region, perhaps even as far west at Odessa, before extremely harsh winter conditions set in and impeded any major movements until the spring. By sealing off Ukraine’s access to any port city, their navy would become irrelevant overnight and the ground forces dependent on long lines of supply from NATO over land through hostile nations and regions.
As many current and former Western generals have been warning, assuming that Putin is in a weakened state is a miscalculation Western leaders used to commit in the past with the old Soviet Union and other Communist powers of the Cold War. The upcoming threat from Russia’s forces appears quite real and would deal a fatal blow to the military effectiveness of the mercenary and regular forces currently deployed by the Ukraine leaving much of their nation vulnerable to further action from “rebel” groups during a winter where energy and military supplies will be greatly constricted by the Russian noose being deployed around their nation.