Red Alert: Rocket Fire Could Signal New Offensive on Mariupol
AnalysisReports of heavy rocket artillery firing on the eastern parts of the city of Mariupol, Ukraine, as well as a statement made by a separatist leader, indicate the potential preparation of an offensive on the city. While this would be a significant escalation and an indicator of Russian intent to push further into Ukraine, potentially forming a much-rumored land connection to the northern border of Crimea, there are also several indicators required for such an offensive that are currently still missing.
Reports of heavy rocket artillery firing on the eastern parts of the city of Mariupol have been widely reported, with the death toll rising to 27 people. Mariupol has been shelled in the past, notably in early September, but as the cease-fire took affect separatist forces generally conducted attacks only outside of the city. It is not clear whether this is simply an intensification of relatively static fighting along the front between Russian and pro-Russian forces on the one side, and Ukrainians, or the beginning of a Russian-led offensive to widen the pocket, or the opening move in a broader strategic offensive to link up with Crimea, 200 miles to the west of the pocket.
The widespread use of Grad Multiple Launch Rocket Systems indicates that this is a planned action with significant logistical support that it involves extensive use of Russian troops, though Grad fire has been widely used throughout the conflict. There have been indications that Russian forces, including Russian Marines, have moved into the eastern Ukraine pocket controlled by pro-Russian forces, giving the Russians offensive options. Heavy artillery preparations frequently precede Russian attacks, particularly by concentrated MLRS attack. Given the amount of munitions needed to supply concentrated fire, the Russians tend not to use them casually. The presence of Grad missiles indicates the possibility of artillery preparation for a broader offensive.
The attack comes days after the Russian forces secured the Donetsk Airport, important in defending the right flank of any offensive westward. It also comes days after Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of U.S. Army forces in Europe, came to Ukraine and publicly announced that a small number of U.S. Army trainers would be arriving in Ukraine. While any large-scale offensive would have been considered and planned for much longer, the decision of the United States to send Lt. Gen. Hodges could have affected the dynamic of internal Russian calculations.
In any event, we do not yet know Russia’s strategic intentions. This could simply be an attempt to signal the danger Russia could pose to their negotiating partners in the west. It could be an attempt to extend the pocket they hold modestly. It could, finally, be the opening of an offensive toward Crimea.
The Russian position in Crimea is untenable. Crimea is easily isolated should Ukranian forces strengthen or Western forces get involved. Russia holds Crimea only to the extent that the West chooses not to intervene, or to the extent that it extends a relatively wide and robustly defended land bridge from Russia to the Crimea. Crimea and the Sevastapol naval facilities are of strategic importance to Russia and the decision to hold these facilities but not extend their power makes diplomatic sense, though it is not militarily rational. Either Russia can build the geographical structure to support Crimea, or it becomes a permanent weak point in the Russian position. The Russians do not want a massive confrontation with the West at a time of economic dysfunction, yet at the same time, having made the decision to hold Crimea, they will not have a better moment for consolidation.
This is an ongoing conversation in Moscow. It is not clear that it is over. The artillery may simply be a minor probe or it could be the preface to an assault. We know that there has been a significant increase in Russian presence in the pocket, but it does not seem to us that the Russians are logistically ready for a major offensive yet.
Taking Mariupol is a first step to a broader offensive. It is also an end in itself, anchoring the southern flank in the city, though may not even be that. However, the MLRS barrages on Mariupol open the door to multiple avenues of exploitation and have clearly moved the fighting to a new level, not so much in intensity, but in raising serious questions of strategic intention.
Brief Comment from Brianroy
Currently, the United States (which is involved in both creating a European based New World Order, and is also a direct nation-state sponsoring terrorism via its foreign usurper in power, Obama) is sending Military Trainers into the Ukraine
where they landed at L'viv, some 40 miles from the Polish border, to be deployed to points of interests where the Russians are either invading or may likely invade. We should also expect that these will also deploy, by necessity, at training emplacements some 200 miles or less from the new borders with Russia, or the new front lines if the Russians press their advantage in Mariupol.
The U.S. Department of State, assisted by dozens from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, is believed to have installed a Coup Government in the Ukraine
-- (as also reported by Germany's Bild and so known on Russian Television
in which retaliation to German Security Services that leaked already publicly known such info of F.B.I. and C.I.A. Ukraine involvement through Bild (and merely vetted the accusations), our national arch-traitor who help coup the U.S. Government with Obama's foreign identity documents theft from the U.S. Department of State in March 2008, now head of C.I.A., John Brennan authorized and had 3500 German Intelligence Agent identities compromised and exposed to the world as part of his insidious insanity
in order to strip the country of its natural resources for foreign profiteers who support or are familial relations to those in the illegal (i.e., contrary to the Constitution of the United States empowered) Obama Administration, from George Soros
to usurper Vice-President Joe Biden's son.
Monsanto, with major shareholder guidance from eugenicists like billionaire Bill Gates,
is also involved in the agricultural takeover
of the Ukraine, with the (what I editorially say and believe to be a 100% correct) alleged intent to genetically contaminate and infect all of Ukraine's wheat with a copyrighted strain owned by Monsanto, so as to prevent one of the last major locations of uninfected organic wheat from being grown anywhere in the world. In about 20 years time, we can expect that a series of Monsanto based or Monsanto caused mutations upon its copyrighted wheat strains will render the both wheat and corn as useless to both standard human and animal consumption, and good only for processing into an alcohol for hard liquor or as a fuel source only. To which as in the book of Revelation, it was so stated in regard to the coming Tribulation Period, and the opening of the 3rd Seal:
5And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. (KJV)
(5) And when he open-opened the THIRD SEAL
6And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine. (KJV)
(6) And I attentively heard a voice in (the) midst of
[[[[[[ Mariupol Update January 25, 2015....
"Red Alert Update: At the Heart of the Mariupol Crisis is republished with permission of Stratfor."