(Pictured: Russian forces, near Markyne, Novoazovsk District, Donetsk Region within last 48 hours)
The second Ukrainian ceasefire appears to have fallen apart as reports from around the country indicate that heavy fighting has resumed.
Though Western media has yet to report on activity that began Sunday, independent journalists and eye witnesses have been updating social networks with photos, videos and first-hand accounts.
It’s all-out war in the Ukraine with multiple Ukrainian cities now under attack by rockets, mortars and heavy artillery fire
Other sources note that as many as 50,000 Russian military personnel have massed either inside of Ukraine or directly on its border, with heavy armor, including T-90A tanks making their way to the hot zones:
Ukrainian activists on August 14-15 published photos of the Russian amour on their Facebook page. Military authorities in Ukraine believe the number of Russian troops within and close to its borders has risen to more than 50,000, raising fears of a substantial escalation in the conflict raging in Ukraine’s eastern regions.
Sources on twitter are confirming that Russian T90-A tanks are beginning to move into the Ukraine and heading for the city of Donetsk to reinforce rebel held (pro-Russian) positions.
Current intelligence suggests that once Russian military hardware reaches Donetsk, a battle for the strategic port city of Mariupol Ukraine will commence. Mariupol, steel-making city of 500,000 is the biggest, urban center in the conflict zone still controlled by Kiev.
Fighting and a major war resumption in Ukraine is underway, as noted by Mish Shedlock:
- Intense shelling from multiple positions started in #Donetsk
- South of #Donetsk very heavy combat, I see lots of explosions there, very scary
- Intense shelling started also in #Starohnativka.
- #Mariupol can hear heavy shelling from the east.
- Intensity of Ukrainian shellings on #Putilovka and #Spartak is increasing!
- Ukrainian shellings on #Sahanka and #Oktyabr (with MRLS Grad)! East of #Mariupol
I can find no confirmation anywhere else. I called my friend Jacob Dreizin (a reader who speaks Russian and can read Ukrainian) and asked what he knew about a major escalation and received this reply:
“Not yet, but likely soon. It’s simply too hot for a major advance now. Temperatures are in the 90s (32+ Celsius). We will not see a major advance until temperature breaks to the mid-70s (24 or below Celsius). That may happen sometime this week“.
Dreizin did say the shelling has been the most intense since March, before the Minsk accord.
With a population of nearly one million people, the contested city of Donetsk is at the center of the dispute. Videos below show that the city is now under heavy artillery attack:
Last year the United States targeted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s personal assets, along with the assets of scores of other Russian officials and businessmen. At that time we warned that Putin would not take such a move lying down and surrender to the will of the West.
As the President of Russia, what do you do when those same sanctions now target your personal wealth and business interests? Do you sit idly by while $40 billion dollars are confiscated from your personal accounts? What course of action do you take next?
That is exactly the position that Vladimir Putin is now in, and according to the following report, National Security Adviser Susan Rice makes it clear that the United States is seriously considering this as an option.
The strategy may have worked out great when the United States seized the assets of deposed leaders in Egypt and Libya. It’s an entirely different matter when you target the President of a nuclear armed nation and one who has had no qualms about going head-to-head with the United States, not just in rhetoric but with his actions both economically and militarily.
It’s been suggested that Vladimir Putin may have prepared a multi-pronged strategy that may include an attack on U.S. financial markets as part of a broader war strategy, the timing of which would be almost impeccable given that a variety of analysts and insiders have warned that the Fall of 2015 may see an increase in the acceleration and intensity of economic crisis.
Why blame domestic fiscal policy or central bank machinations when Russia would be an ideal scapegoat for a U.S. stock market crash and subsequent economic collapse.
Details remain sketchy, but if Russia has in fact put boots on the ground in Ukraine then we could well be seeing the opening salvos of World War III in real-time.