Has Russia Won?

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Last Friday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko stated that he will impose martial law if pro-Russian militants advance in their attacks.

“If Ukrainian troops are attacked, we can do everything to introduce martial law,” Poroshenko said in an interview with the Ukraina TV channel.

The President’s comments come as the conflict in eastern Ukraine has recently intensified at the border formed as a result of the Minsk ceasefire agreement signed on February 12, 2015.

According to Ukraine’s anti-terrorist operation press center, shelling of the positions of Ukrainian troops are carried out using the artillery systems with caliber higher than 100 mm, which should have been withdrawn as stated in Minsk II protocol. In the Shirokino region, which is in Mariupol, there is a non-stop fighting.

Russia: Winner or Loser?

With noticeable escalation of fighting in eastern Ukraine, experts and analysts are weighing in whether the Russian-Ukrainian conflict can be considered Russian victory or not.

ValueWalk interviewed Bogdan Syroyid, the analyst of ‘AcademiaUa’, one of Ukraine’s analytical centers.

“While we [Ukraine] have all tried to believe that Russia will adhere to the ceasefire agreement, we understood that it’s not of Putin’s interests. He plans on advancing further into Ukraine…and he won’t stop with Ukraine. It won’t satiate his sick needs,” Syroyid said.

As ValueWalk reported just a week ago, Russia was warning the US that the training of its 300 troops in Ukraine could escalate fighting in the region. The United States, in turn, expressed its concern that Russia had stepped up its military presence in Donetsk and Luhansk by conducting military drills and deploying air defense systems near the frontline.

Putin Is Likely To Begin All-out War In Mid-May

“You see, Putin is now waiting for greenery in Ukraine – the perfect conditions for any war. I believe that once there will be more grass on the ground and more green leafs on trees – so that the rebels get more opportunities for masking and setting up ambushes – the Kremlin will order its rebels and soldiers start advancing further into Ukraine and basically begin an all-out war,” the expert expressed his concern.

Trees usually turn green in mid-May, which means there are a little more than two weeks for Russia to supply all the weaponry it believes will be enough to satisfy Putin’s craziest desires.

That was actually a similar scenario back in winter: a gradual increase of fighting intensity during New Year holidays and a rapid escalation in the second half of January.

“Judging by the recent developments in the world – Europe is thinking to end sanctions, the recent failure of the Ukraine-EU summit – it sure seems like Russia is winning. Although I can’t really say “winning” because if you look at Russia’s current state now, it’s definitely not a win,” Syroyid said.

“People in Russia are scared. They are pretty much isolated from the world, and it’s a fact. Although there are many ways of isolating them from the world even more, and these ways should be implemented. Does it sound unfair or inhumane? Of course, it does. But when you make a decision to support a tyrant and dictator, whose policy disrupts peace in the world, you bring it all upon yourself,” he added.

Pro-Russian Rebels Are Very Excited To Fight Americans

There were numerous comments by pro-Russian rebels in Russian media that US’s decision to deploy its troops to Ukraine will only motivate them engage in more severe fighting due to their openly expressed hatred to the Americans.

The questions is: if during the next weeks or months there will be reports of the US soldiers getting injured, or worse, dying – will the Obama administration finally begin supplying lethal weapons to Ukraine’s government?

“Pro-Russian rebels are very excited about the US troops being in Ukraine, I know that. And the reason is obvious. Putin’s policy of growing this extreme and sick hatred in Russian people bears its fruit,” Syroyid said.

Kacper Rekawek, a Polish expert on the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, has recently written an extensive and well-researched paper on foreign fighters in Ukraine. The paper concluded that the number of foreigners engaged in fighting in eastern Ukraine is relatively low – around 300 on each side. By contrast, there are at least 20,000 foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria.

Just like in Iraq and Syria conflicts, foreign fighters in eastern Ukraine are motivated by radical ideology more than money. “They, as a group or as lone individuals, might constitute a threat to European security and must be closely monitored,” Kacper Rekawek told Financial Times.

The paper published by Polish Institute of International Affairs, states that the Russian allegations that a “NATO foreign legion” is fighting on Ukraine’s side is complete nonsense, while it is also not true that the separatists have been joined by some sort of “Donbass international brigades”.

Rekawek’s study estimates that most of the foreigners fighting for the pro-Russian separatists are from Germany (up to 100), Serbia (up to 100), Hungary (up to 30) and the US (up to 25). On the Ukrainian side, most of the foreginers come from Belarus (up to 100), Georgia (up to 100) and Croatia (32 or more), Rekawek says.

Meanwhile, Ukraine is taking safety measures to be ready for any attack by the Russian-backed separatists or Russian agents during May 8-9 celebrations of victory over Nazi Germany in 1945, which usually bring thousands of people on to the streets.

Could Russia revenge the US’s decision to send its troops to Ukraine and attack the remaining territory of Ukraine during the World War 2 victory celebrations on May 9 and thus begin the World War 3?

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