The President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, claims he has proof that Russia is planning a ‘large-scale ground attack against Ukraine’, according to local media.

The recent confrontation began when Russia prevented three Ukrainian navy vessels from passing beneath a bridge in the Kerch strait, blocking the way with a cargo ship. Two naval vessels and a tug boat were subsequently fired upon and seized.

Earlier today, Ukraine declared martial law in response to the Russian actions against its naval vessels and the claims of a ‘large scale invasion’ being planned.

In a televised address to the nation, President Poroshenko said the move was necessary to defend Ukraine from a possible Russian invasion, he also promised that a presidential election scheduled for March would go ahead as planned.

An emergency United Nations Security Council was called earlier today. During the emergency meeting, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the council that Russia actions were an “outrageous violation of sovereign Ukrainian territory,” saying it was “another reckless Russian escalation” and that “in the name of international peace and security, Russia must immediately cease its unlawful conduct and respect the navigational rights and freedoms of all states.”

During the meeting, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs of the United Nations Rosemary DiCarlo told the council:

“We strongly urge both the Russian Federation and Ukraine to refrain from any ratcheting up of actions or rhetoric and remind both of the need to contain this incident so as to prevent a serious escalation that may have unforeseen consequences.”

There are conflicting reports of an escalation in Donetsk. Some reports in pro-kremlin Russian media are stating that Ukraine has launched a massive artillery barrage however that has not been confirmed.

Downing Street Press Secretary James Slack said “further evidence of Russia’s destabilising behavior in the region and its ongoing violation of Ukrainian territorial integrity. Russia must not be allowed to use force to exert greater pressure on Ukraine.”

RED: Areas in which martial law has been implemented.

Additionally, Ukrainian lawmakers have overwhelmingly backed the imposition of martial law along Ukraine’s coastal regions and those bordering Russia in response to the incident. A total of 276 lawmakers in Kiev backed the measure, which takes effect on 28 November 2018 and will automatically expire in 30 days.

Earlier in the day, the UK Government condemned Russia after it attacked and seized the Ukrainian naval vessels.

“We condemn Russia’s act of aggression. This incident provides further evidence of Russia’s destabilising behaviour in the region,” Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman told reporters.

“The UK position is clear, ships must be allowed free passage to Ukrainian ports in the sea of Azov. We urge all parties to act with restraint. Russia must not be allowed to use force to exert greater pressure on Ukraine.”

This came after recent comments from the UK’s Chief of the General Staff, General Mark Carleton-Smith, claiming that Russia is a greater threat to Britain than Islamic State.

“The Russians seek to exploit vulnerability and weakness wherever they detect it. Russia today indisputably represents a far greater threat to our national security than Islamic extremist threats such as al-Qaeda and Isil.”

General Mark Carleton-Smith has played a leading role in many recent operations at home and abroad, including the campaign to defeat Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, supporting to British Overseas Territories impacted by Hurricane Irma and the military’s support to areas badly affected by the snow earlier this year.

While speaking to The Telegraph, he also mentioned the danger posed by Russian attempts to undermine the UK using unconventional means, saying:

“Russia has embarked on a systematic effort to explore and exploit Western vulnerabilities, particularly in some of the non-traditional areas of cyberspace, undersea warfare,” he said.

“The Russians seek to exploit vulnerability and weakness wherever they detect it,” he added.

For a brief summary of the recent confrontation, have a look here.

58 COMMENTS

  1. Bit sceptical but I am sure NATO have their own information to decide whether this is true or not. If it is then it would be a major escalation and would certainly mean sanctions. I just cannot see it.

    • the russians bluff will have to be called at some stage if only to clear the fog and let the world see its clear intentions. the invasion, because that is what it is can be a precursor to a grander plan for the whole part of the world as the russians again are looking to expand its borders. cold war? we’re already in one. and outspending and forging on technologically, did for the warsaw pact, and will do so again.

    • Sanctions ? lol. Rob, If you look at the Past and look at the State of Russia’s Economy then look at the Strategic Importance of the Ukraine together with It’s Ports and other Assets, not to mention the Conflict currently ongoing in the east of the country nor the Annexation of the Crimea, You’d really have to be Blind not to see exactly what’s going on there. I’ll put it another way, If Russia does invade the Ukraine and the West/Nato/US/UK etc stand by and do nothing, then you can kiss goodbye to Georgia, Latvia, Estonia and every other former Soviet Union State.
      If I’m wrong then Happy Days but If It happens then we are all heading towards another Cold/Hot war. But this time, there Is another threat building at a Phenomenal rate and It’s an even more dangerous threat to the West short of Nuclear weapons being launched.
      Anyway, got to go, My Takeaway’s just arrived.

      • Its not going to happen. Russia relies heavily on the export of gas and oil, so yes sanctions can hit it hard and where it hurts. The annexation of Crimea and war in the east is one thing, a whole scale invasion is quite another.

        Putin wants power and a legacy but they will not be achieved by going to war with the West, quite the opposite.

        • Latvia and Estonia are NATO members, Russia wouldn’t stupid enough to test NATO directly. Georgia on the other hand, is anyone’s guess.

          Sanctions don’t work, as Russia is such a major oil/gas exporter to China and ultimately a large number of other countries. The days of the US placing sanctions on someone and the rest of the world following are long gone.

      • Russia has also begun buying up land INSIDE Finland, along strategic roads and islands.

        It’s looking like they’re either going to try to smash Ukraine hard, or its a diversion and they’re going to attack Finland and dig in deep whilst Nato sends its troops to the wrong area.

  2. Scary stuff.

    If Russia does invade Ukraine, what does the west actually do. I highly doubt we will go to war over it, but is that the right or wrong decision only the historians will be able to argue about it. I for sure would not want to be the one making that call.

    • At some point you have to draw a line in the sand. However, our Armed Forces will step up to the mark when required as always, I just don’t think we have enough!

    • the total isolation of russia and a status of a rogue nation, the same as north korea, will do the russians a lot of harm. complete isolation and worldwide embargo’s will bring putin and his cronies to heel.the russian economy is a total mess an explosion of western capabilities will reduce its influence very quickly.

    • Not fighting for the Ukraine and its sovereign integrity would be a mistake- a defensive war to keep the Russian Army on the borders of the Ukraine would be justified. Last time we appeased and ignored a dictator was in 1938-1939 and look where that got us. NATO will have to stand up to Russia sooner or later. The question is does Russia and Putin actually want a hot war that they have literally no chance of winning. Better to fight Putin in Ukraine then in the Baltic states or in North Germany or Poland
      The west has the manpower, wealth, resources and defence industrial base to outfight, out-build and utterly defeat Russia in a conventional war.
      However Russia will use chemical, biological weapons- they have one of the largest stockpiles in the world. We are going to urgently need to dust off our NBC capabilities and rapidly invest heavily in that area.

    • You will think this Ukrainian president sucked milk from same breast as USA and ISRAEL presidents. Their lies are the same.

  3. Seems a bit unlikely. Seizing the Crimea and using some historically relevant (to Russia) facts is one thing. Supporting militarily Russian minority dissident rebels in eastern Ukraine using possible mistreatments of that Russian minority as justification is one thing. Planning a large scale invasion of what is internationally recognised as another sovereign nation is an action on another scale entirely. Russia have shown that at the moment they’re all about sowing discontent and causing instability, in they’re neighbours certainly but also further afield. Perhaps ultimately with the intention of invading some country somewhere but i can’t see what Russia gains from a large scale invasion of Ukraine now, at this time. Even if it’s just an invasion of eastern Ukraine its hard to see the positives when in the long term support for the rebel forces in the area will probably achieve some success.

    • Jason, The Ukraine Is a Strategic Target with many Assets Including Military Facilities, It’s also a great place to test western resolve. Take the Ukraine unopposed and you can virtually walk In to the entire former Soviet Union. well that’s how I see It but I am a bit thick at this stuff !

      • I see the potential advantages for Russia of controlling the Ukraine of course, and i suppose i can even accept that the Ukraine has strategic and asset advantages that Russia may be inclined towards re-possessing. However i don’t see anything worth risking the backlash, economically, politically and perhaps even militarily that a stand up straight forward conventional invasion would bring, even if that invasion was restricted to the eastern border regions. It just seems too aggressive and way too reckless for very limited returns at this moment in time, even if successful. Putin is many thing but reckless for nothing ?, i just can’t see it. He doesn’t need to be apart from anything else. Still very popular amongst his own people. He has time to play the slow game in the Ukraine. Just my opinion, could be totally off track of course.

  4. In the 1930’s the Germans took Austria with the Anschluss, then after a threat of invasion Czechoslovakia was given to them by the allies in the interests of maintaining peace, part of the shameful appeasement policy. Only when Poland was invaded was there war.
    Sound familiar? If the Crimea is a modern equivalent of Anschluss then what will Ukraine be? Appeasement or the line in the sand?

    • I don’t understand this argument, would standing up to Germany militarily a few years earlier made any difference to how history played out, would it have stopped ww2 or would have it just brought it forward a couple of years?

      • There is plenty of evidence to suggest that Hitler would have backed down if he had been resisted. It is precisely that there was no resistance of any kind which emboldened him and convinced him that further conquest would be easily achieved. It is the same with Russia today

        • There is plenty of evidence of the reverse. Hitler was pretty much insane, he fully believed that the path and was single minded, there was never a chance of him standing down. Look at his raise to power, plenty stood in his way including failure and prison but he never blinked. There was never any stopping him, short of cutting the sanctions in place after ww1 but france would have never have accepted that.

          • On the contrary its been shown that sanctions on particular resources would have near crippled his ability to act even if he had wanted to in the 30s. But such measures were not taken.

        • In his book, Rise And Fall of the Third Reich, William Shirer, who was there, with good sources, said that there was a coup on the part of the German General Staff ready to jump off if the Western powers had not folded at Munich. The orders to arrest Hitler and his minions were already issued, but were rescinded when word of Chamberlain’s trip to meet with Hitler were announced.

    • Your forgetting they already annexed two chunks of Georgia in 2008, under that logic Crimea is Czechoslovakia and anymore is Poland.

  5. Wasn’t it the case in 2014/15 when the Ukraine Conflict started that Mr Putin, in trying to deflect attention from his obvious plans that if indeed Russia was interested in conquering Ukraine their Army would be in Kiev within a fortnight.If an invasion were to happen now I think the Ukraine Armed Forces are much better prepared and trained but I wouldn’t want to bet as to any outcome,if Kiev was taken it would take a lot longer than Two weeks.

  6. Leaving Mariupol and not connecting Crimea with the Donetsk conquest was a big mistake for Putin. It puts the Sea of Azov as Ukranian ulcer within Russian territory which Ukraine at some stage could use when necessary.

  7. If Russia is serious about taking Ukraine (i don’t buy it, as they would have done already if they wanted to) then the only thing that will stop them is a huge military build up on the Ukrainian border by the west.

    The problem is assets don’t teleport and so they need to be moved and countries need to coordinate, which all takes a lot of time, during which Russia will see it as an act of aggression and advance any attack plans.

    There is realistically no way to stop Russia attacking at this point.

    Admittedly we should be seriously looking at reinforcing the NATO border around Ukraine.

  8. It is unlikely that Russia would invade all of the Ukraine, they will on the other hand seek to continue ‘Creeping annexation’ of areas they see useful to them.

    Closing the Sea of Azov to the Ukraine shows their true intent, there have been multiple attempts to take the industrial city of Mariupol by Russian supported separatist forces. Removing sea access to Mariupol would be a serious kick in the teeth to Ukraines struggling economy.

    It is the same old tactic as used to annex Abkhazia and South Ossetia. A slow build up of tensions with constant support of separatist forces and acts that rub the nose the wrong way of the national government until they eventually break and deploy forces or shoot at Russian forces. Russia then cries foul and strikes quickly to annex the area to protect the local ‘Russian population’! Poroshenko is walking into the same trap that Mikheil Saakashvili did in 2008 which is rather ironic in its own way. I was in Kiev last year in September and got caught up in a Mikheil Saakashvili rally that was near my hotel. The day that he was in town the State Security Forces did a bomb check of my room just after midnight much to mine and my brothers (who was sharing my room) bemusement.

  9. The west would be hopeless in a war with Russia, especially in Ukraine. Not only do we lack man power but more importantly we lack firepower. Most countries armies are equipped with light wheeled vehicles designed for counter insurgency. Ours being a prime example with once proud tank regiments being equipped with nothing more then glorified technicals. There’s no way NATO can defend Europe and deploye any meaningful force to Ukraine. It’s time we start re arming.

    • Harry – in that case the Qualitive superiority of Airpower would be the difference as it was supposed to be at the height of the Cold War I would have thought.

      • Once again we have to few. We only have 5 combat squadrons of typhoon if I recall correctly, are four tornado squadrons will be disbanded next year, only with one F35 squadron to take its place. Whereas Germany can only operate 3% of its combat aircraft. While ares are more technically advanced russian simply has greater numbers and more replacements.

        • Harry – the ‘we’ you refer too should be NATO and all the resourses that can bring to bear,it wouldn’t just be a UK initiative.The Russian Airforce is some way from having deployable 5th Gen Aircraft in its inventory in any meaningful numbers.

          • Okay but how many 5th gen fighters does nato have operational at the moment? Also can we ruly on nato. Especially with the history of countries like Spain and France. Even with trump in power, Americas presence is questionable.

        • We could easily stop Russia invading Ukraine. The west, even without Russia has the firepower to stop them or at least make them thinking twice before attacking.

          The problem is Ukraine is a mess both politically and economically, and i would seriously question whether reinforcing Ukraine is a positive move.

          Russia needs to be tempered, but not sure Ukraine is the bastion of western ethics to make the line in the sand.

      • The jackal is a good vehicle for reconisance and could arguably be a better replacement for CVRT then AJAX. But to waste three regiments on using them while we have CVRT, is nonsense.

        • It replaced the CVRT Scimitar and the other CVRT family members in those regiments.

          I had read and listened to our chaps who use it that it is capable, but surely only in certain environments? Against a peer enemy and in replacement of light, but fully armoured vehicles, I think is ridiculous.

          Use it to support the Paras and the Marines. Let the RAC get on with using proper armoured vehicles.

          • If the reconisance vehicle is doing its job properly it shouldn’t need to engage with the enemy, plus speed is better protection then enything else. Besides the CVRT is lightly armed and armoured which basically makes it useless in a fire support role and has only enough protection to defend against indirect fire.

        • In fact the CVRT is worn out, limited with its weak aluminium armour, outdated 30mm and sights, and now very unreliable engine which is maintenance intensive ( hence we sold so many to the Baltic countries) Jackel is just as good in the recce role as the Scimiter, even without the 30mm, as if you have to use your main weapon system in the recce role you have pretty much failed. Yes the jackel is also limited in its it’s ISTAR equipment, only hand held ISTAR, and yes it would be great to have another vehicle, off the shelf, but we don’t. The Jackal is here to stay and we just get on and make best use of the assets we have. And those other variants of the CVRT are used even less and many are hanger queens. And this is where the problems starts as the replacement vehicle, the ajax, to heavy, still not the best ISTAR equipment and it’s having trouble finding a role now, as the idea of mixing tracks and wheels in the ridicules strike Brigades negates the advantage to which both bring. Trying to make it into a light tank idea is chuff and will get lads killed. Boxer for the strike roles, ajax should get the new CTC cannon with the warrier upgrade stopped as it’s years late and vastly over budget, and, be moved to the armoured Brigades, and the warrier hulls become the battlefield support vehicles. Alas I am going off topic, as this is a vast subject on its own.

          • Meant to say the warrier turrets with the CTC cannon be placed on to the boxer for the strike role, as the ajax already has the CTC cannon. Trying to type to fast oops.

          • Totally agree. AJAX Replace warrior, all recce units get Jackal and other RAC units transfer to Boxer equped with cannons for fire support.

          • Can the Ajax carry a section like Warrior?

            Agree the Strike Brigades are flawed. I’d love to see the CGS rationale for them other than that they provided cover for cuts.

            Points taken on the Jackal. Most interesting.

          • Danielle, the Ajax will need a tweek somewhat to carry more than 4 as the rear is packed full of mission profiled kit. The Ares, both over watch and APC version of the PMRS variants could be adjusted to increase to a section of 6 (be aware a 7 man section in a Warrier is a good day, and 6 men sections or less, while reducing operational flexibility and firepower, is the norm sadly). It could be done if the MOD wanted to, but as the build schedule and numbers are contracted, it would the change to the contract etc which would be a problem. But to summarise, stop the warrier upgrade with the 40mm CTC turret, get more boxer (400 already ordered but 1500 have been mentioned, which coincides with the numbers of both wheels and tracks in service such as 432, bulldog, PMVs etc) and fit the CTC turret to the boxer, put the boxer in the strike Brigades, ajax to the armoured Brigades, and give it a real role, and use the warrier hulls as the battlefield support vehicles if needed. But what do those of us who actualy use the bloody stuff know hey lol.

          • Thank you Airborne. Agree with Boxer.

            Yes I’d read the 1500 figure on Gabs blog where I guess you also got the figure.

            Ajax was originally meant to go to the armoured brigades which are now devoid of their own recc regiment when they were sent over to strike.

            This is all General Carter’s work apparently.

          • Yes gabs blog is without doubt the best I have come across, and also, yes, General Carter has a lot to answer for with the current state of the army. I mean we are all looking for that nice pension, but what do you have to do, what principles and knowledge do you have to give up to get it? Carter will soon become a knight and then his work is done!

  10. It seems to me that Putin is stirring the pot to provoke a Trumpian renunciation of NATO. Note that after Western capitals weighed in with condemnation, Trump tweeted. To attack NATO.

    Putin may be intending this event to advance his project of rupturing the Western alliance, bit by bit, with Trump as his agent.

    If so, we will hear little about this for a few days- but Trump will continue to attack NATO; then, Russia will return the ships and their crews.

  11. Reinforce the Baltic’s sell more arms to Ukraine and impose crippling sanctions on Russian exports of oil and gas as we did against Iran. Russia will be starving and bankrupt like Venezuela within 2 years.

    Sell Ukraine all Tranche 1 typhoons and they could take out Russian Air Force on their own. Putin cant replace losses and he won’t get far into Ukraine with no air cover.

    • Could be a good move but realistically can Ukraine afford any Typhoons? And would that be the RAF selling its own Tranche 1s or would BAE build more for them? If the latter, fine. If the former, areas going to replace them? Otherwise we’re just reducing our own capability even further.

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