Another Russian force may attempt to move from Crimea, North East towards Melitopol on Route M18. Novooleksiivka will be first Ukrainian town attacked.
On April 3, Russia lodged a complaint with Turkey for the presence of American warships in the Black Sea in violation of the Montreaux Convention. In 1936, as the world moved towards war, the nations that bordered on the Black Sea entered into a diplomatic accord, the Montreaux Convention, that generally provides that non-Black Sea Power states may enter ships of a limited total tonnage and gun size but must give 15 rather than the 8 days notice for Black Sea states.
The Convention recognizes Turkey’s right to militarize or just stop the application of the Convention. It also makes clear that no non-Black Sea Power war ship may stay in the Black Sea more than 21 days, in any event. The Russians were upset and raised the issue with the Turkish government after two U.S. Naval warships sat 20 miles off the Russian coast while during the Sochi Olympics. The announced purpose was to protect against terrorist attack. While the USS Mount Whitney, a command and control vessel, and the USS Taylor,a soon-to-be decomissioned missile frigate were on station they both activated the ships’ transponder system that allows the ship to be tracked by GPS and pushed to the internet. It was interesting to monitor the ships’ position on MarineTraffic.com while watching the Olympics. I figured it would infuriate the Russian president at the time.
The well publicized grounding of the Taylor forced it to stay in the southern Black Sea Turkish port of Samsun. The Russian Government complained that it stayed longer than the allowed 21 days. Turkish Government politely disagreed.
Today, news was released that the USS Taylor had apparently completed repairs on Crete and was again transiting the Turkish Straight heading back into the Black Sea. The U.S. presently has the DDG-75 USS Donald Cook, a US Naval Aegis Guided Missile Destroyer, in the Black Sea. Under the Montreaux Convention, the U.S. can generally have total warship tonnage not to exceed certain tonnage or certain gun size. The Convention was written in 1936, the Battleships Era. The control mechanisms of the Convention were ultimately concerned with ship gun size and number. Under the Convention, a ship the size of the Donald Cook with a single 5 inch deck gun would barely qualify as a capital ship but, its total fire power, in real terms, exceeds the fire power of a fleet of WWII battleships, of any size.
It will be interesting to see if the Russian seizure of Crimea has brought a permanent U.S. force in the region. With a number of smaller littoral warships of significant fire power like the Freedom Class Littoral Combat Ship of 3,000 tons and a variety of Special Operations vessels of small displacement the U.S. Navy may keep the Russians guessing for a long time.
For some time I have been very concerned about the lack of any credible tank force in Europe. During the First Cold War, the expected attack came from massive amounts of Soviet armored forces pushing through. The point of attack was generally considered to be the Fulda Gap a region north of Bavaria in the Hesse-Thuringian border region with then, East-Germany. Back then as now the ultimate defense was based on the deployment of nuclear weapons to deter the attack in the first instance. During the period up to the late 1980’s the U.S. possessed artillery rounds that could deliver a small yield nuclear weapon 30-50 km to the center of a tank force theoretically eliminating it. To counter this the Soviet forces developed sealed radiation protected tanks. Here is a frightening look at the test firing of one of these rounds in the early 1950’s. http://goo.gl/r5FX0u It is not surprising the Germany wanted no part of this scenario.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the need for a massive response to the Soviet force was no longer necessary nor politically acceptable. As Germany worked to incorporate the East into its society, the Russians were also occupied with domestic matters consolidating its Kleptocracy. But all the while, the post-Reagan explosion of U.S. military spending that was in great part a cause of the Soviet collapse, continued to push exotic weapons systems through the procurement pipeline. One weapon developed in a joint endeavor between the U.S. and Sweden was developed that may be a game changer particularly when fighting an enemy dug in in a city like the current Russian Green Men is Slovyansk Ukraine.
The “Excalibur” artillery round is a combination of the traditional artillery round with so-called “smart weapon” technology. Like most weapons programs the Excalibur has endured the ups and downs of cost increases and budget cutbacks but still remains as part of the U.S. arsenal. The round has been used in Iraq and most recently in Afghanistan. The Taliban has named it “the Finger of Death.” Here is a Raytheon ad for its system played with the “Everything Explodes” as background music. http://goo.gl/mImt1E
The Ukrainian Army could use these accurate weapons on the buildings being held in the East. They are designed to avoid collateral damage and, if a shot goes off course, the round can be deactivated prior to impact. Ukraine exports the 2S19M1-155, a 155mm variant of the 2S19 Msta self propelled howitzer that could be used to deliver the round. Here is a link to a Wiki. http://goo.gl/C0izQo
The image of the Green Men is meant to strike terror and hopelessness in the population. The small number is multiplied by the clever use of TV that gives the impression of a growing force of super humans. But if they are targeted with long range sniper rifles like the Barrett .50 cal. Sniper Riffle, the masked men will not be seen again in Slovyansk. Here is a video showing this weapon in action. http://goo.gl/cxPgTm
Russia has found a clever way to invade without a credible ground force. If you fight them, you need to use weapons generally unseen to the citizenry in these cities that reverse the terror coefficient and make the Little Green Men run for their lives.
Forces are at this time moving into Donetsk. No sign of border activity of 5th columns controlling border cities like Luhansk with Donetsk with a pretty big airfield getting the attention leads me to opine that the ‘Stanislavski’ school of Russian aggression perhaps planning something for the folks back home to watch: An airborne invasion of Donetsk. Russia’s “Bastogne.”
KIEV. April 19. UNN. April 19 morning, most of the ships and support vessels of the Naval Forces of Ukraine , formerly based at Lake Donuzlav raised the Ukrainian flag and set a course to the port of Odessa, UNN referring to the newspaper “Fleet Ukraine .”
In particular , due to the agreements reached between the defense ministries of Ukraine and South Russia a naval base in the town Novoozerne that captured by Russian special forces , leaving the middle landing ship “Kirovograd ” anti corvette “Vinnitsa ” gun boat ” Kherson ” tug “Kovel ” tanker” Gorlivka “and tug boat” Novoozerne . ”
Putin’s claim to be protecting the ethnic Russian populations of Crimea and Eastern Ukraine is simply a diversion from his real goal. A very large part of the Russian military production capacity is located in cities of Eastern Ukraine.