by John Galt
August 7, 2016 16:10 ET
The headline and story from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is consistent with what appears to be a buildup to a confrontation in the Southern Ukraine before the autumn rainy season begins:
Crimean Tatar activists have reported armed checkpoints being erected at scattered sites around the Russian-occupied peninsula, and unusually large concentrations of Russian hardware in northern regions.
Ukraine-s border guard service, meanwhile, reported that Russian authorities had blocked all road entry to the Black Sea peninsula for several hours on August 7.
Nariman Celal a top official with the executive body of the peninsula’s Crimean Tatar minority, reported tanks and other heavy weaponry concentrated around two key northern settlements, near the administrative border with the Ukrainian mainland.
While this might well be a training exercise, the perception on the ground based on an increase in attacks in the Donetsk region by Ukrainian forces may require everyone to pay attention to what is happening on the peninsula. The incidents where there has been contact along the border and increased military equipment sightings plus new checkpoints are highlighted in the map above, with the circled area referenced in this story via LifeNews in Russia:
Saihan Tsintsaev Today at 09:37
Shootout occurred early in the morning on the border of Russia and Ukraine in the Crimea Krasnoperekopsk district. As a result of the incident one person was killed and three were wounded. Injured taken to a local hospital.
– In hospitalized gunshot wounds to various parts of the body. In general, their condition can be assessed as an average, – told Life source in law enforcement.
Circumstances of the incident are being investigated.
There is no ongoing fighting at this time, just more troops being moved into the border region as these videos from Kerch in the Eastern Crimea indicate:
Again, despite ongoing shelling from the Ukrainian regime on civilian targets in the Donetsk area, there is no fighting at the Crimean border, so these troop movements being reported might be part of a regular rotation. However if one tunes into the Western media and propaganda machine, one might think otherwise(from The Daily Signal, August 3rd):
Moscow’s seizure of Crimea and military intervention in Ukraine have countries throughout Eastern Europe preparing for war with Russia.
In NATO’s Baltic member countries, the ranks of civilian volunteer militias have swelled since Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine in 2014, reflecting the deadly seriousness with which politicians and populations in Eastern Europe consider the possibility of war with Russia—a sometimes difficult concept for Western Europeans and Americans to understand.
The Soviet era, with all its attendant oppression, limited opportunity. Stifling of free expression is still a living memory for many in Eastern Europe.
Then today from the Ukrainian media,, first via UNIAN:
“Witnesses report that large groups of Russian military hardware have been massed near Armyansk and Dzhankoy. Dzhankoy has been cordoned off by troops with tanks and other equipment,” Deputy Chairman of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis Nariman Dzhelalov wrote on Facebook on Sunday.
And then this story from the same source:
“We’re expecting it at any time,” Lysenko said, answering a question about the possible aggravation of the conflict. Officials have noted the repositioning of equipment and the rotation of the military along the entire contact line from the enemy’s side, along with border crossings at uncontrolled sections.
“In the north of Crimea, Russian troops are also carrying out their maneuvers, and for a while the movement at checkpoints was suspended on the initiative of the Russian side. This means the occupiers are conducting their maneuvers, and we need to be aware that at any moment, at any hour, they can start a large or small-scale offensive,” Lysenko said.
Then this story from Ukraine Today on August 5th:
Ukrainian military intelligence says combined Russian-separatist occupation forces are getting ready for a large-scale offensive near Avdiivka, Zaitseve, Opytne and at the so-called Svitlodarsk salient.
Vadym Skibitsky, the representative of the Main Intelligence Directorate at Ukraine’s Defence Ministry told journalists at a briefing in Kyiv that the militants are pulling in heavy weapon’s to the contact line, fortifying their positions and replenishing arsenal of munitions.
“The situation in the ATO zone remains tense as Russian occupation forces are making stealthy preparations for offensive and assault actions near Avdiivka, Zaitseve, Opytne and at the so-called Svitlodarsk salient,” Skibitsky said.
Stay tuned because if the Russians or Ukrainians intend to act it must be soon before the autumn rainy season begins which would negate any advantage in air power and armored maneuvering for either side in a lightning offensive.