April 14, 2021
You, of course, have already seen this photo, which can even now be inserted into a history textbook to illustrate Russia’s foreign policy at the beginning of the twenty-first century.
The military attache of the Russian Federation in Latvia, Ruslan Ushakov, flipped off neighbors who complained about him for having a feast during the plague, that is, a party during the covid pandemic. Everything about the photo is lovely, including the fact that the attache hid from the police, but then ran back out into the yard. And the fact that he was rude from behind a fence, confident that no one could get at him here, and even that he favored the spiritless western fuck-you over the traditional Russian kukish (“fig”).
No director could have produced a better metaphor for the Russian authorities. When it comes to their thoughts, their families, and their wallets, they live in the West. They are terribly afraid of retribution, so the Magnitsky Law cuts them like a knife. They are rude to everyone around them when they know that they will not be able to get to them. Because in front of them, instead of a fence, we stand, unwitting or voluntary hostages.
And one more thing. Would you make indecent gestures to your neighbors, and so enthusiastically? I wouldn’t. Would you steal bicycles in a city? Deal drugs? What other exploits have Russian diplomats been up to recently?
Russian diplomats are the face of our country, and so this is how our country looks to the world. And in this case you cannot even say that there is no need to blame the mirror. I see myself in the mirror, not Ushakov and his fuck-yous. And you, too, are unlikely to recognize yourself in it. This is scum from the bottom of the pond that has floated to the surface. And while some people catch their fish in this muddy water, we are suffocating.
No, this is not what I was taught at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Foreign Ministry in the early noughties.
Tensions between Russia and Ukraine have been growing for weeks following the breakdown of a ceasefire in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, which Russia invaded in 2014, and a massing of Russian forces nearby. Yesterday Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s defence minister, admitted that Russia had built up two armies and three airborne units on its western borders for “combat-training exercises”. Russian amphibious vessels have also moved from the Caspian to the Black Sea. Ukraine claims that there are 40,000 Russian troops on its eastern border and 40,000 more in Crimea. Tod Wolters, the commander of America’s European Command, said the build-up “mirrors the size and scope and scale” of that which preceded Russia’s previous invasion. But war might not be Russia’s ultimate goal. It may just be to intimidate Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, into offering concessions over Donbas—such as greater autonomy for pro-Russian separatists—and to test just how far America and Europe will go in supporting Ukraine.
-The Economist Espresso, 14 April 2021
Geolocations of Russian military equipment movements on the borders of Ukraine: an interactive map
Russia has deployed a field hospital on the border with Ukraine – German media (photos, videos)
April 14, 2021
Russian military camp south of Voronezh Photo: Tagesschau
To the south of Voronezh, the Russian military has built an entire tent city, equipped with a field kitchen and guarded by military police
The Russian army has deployed a huge field military camp near the Ukrainian border, south of Voronezh, which includes a field hospital, as reported by the German news program Tagesschau.
“The entire field is filled with military equipment. You can’t walk there, let alone drive. With their chains and wheels, they plowed up the whole field,” a local resident told the program.
Israel Defense Forces officer and military analyst Yigal Levin noted in a column for Fokus that the deployment of field hospitals is a grave sign of preparations for full-scale military operations.
According to Tagesschau, eyewitnesses told them that the military has built a whole town out of tents. Flags are flying everywhere, smoke is coming from smoke vents, military trucks with water tanks are constantly passing by, and a field kitchen is up and running.
The field camp is patrolled by military police.
All evidence suggests, Tagesschau notes, that the Russian servicemen have settled in this area for the long haul and are not going to leave quickly.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday, April 13, that all “verification activities” currently taking place near the borders of Ukraine and involving the participation of Russian servicemen, were scheduled to be completed “within two weeks.”
Also, an interactive map tracing the movements of Russian troops toward the borders of Ukraine has appeared on the internet. It records all instances of the transfer of Russian army equipment, weapons and personnel to the borders of Ukraine and to occupied Crimea.
Iskander operational-tactical missile system units from the Western Military District have been delivered to Voronezh, ostensibly to participate in a parade.
In turn, at a meeting with the French Ambassador to Ukraine, Ukrainian Defense Minister Andriy Taran said that Russia is capable of preparing the “Georgia 2008” scenario.
Thanks to Yigal Levin for the heads-up. Translated by the Russian Reader