On Sep 9th, the Dutch released a preliminary report on the Malaysian Boeing that crashed in the Donbass. The report stated that "high-energy objects" were the cause of the crash and that "no human or technical error" (onboard) were to blame. So, as for the official investigation, all we got was so far was "Duh!".
Interestingly enough, it's the Ruskies who have been routinely bringing the issue up in various foreign minister statements and UN Sec Council meetings. But beyond that, the catastrophe has disappeared to all but a few internet and twitter fanatics. There's been a couple of other rumors, but nothing worth detailing. Additionally, the ATC recordings and data are still classified and unreleased to the public.
Sadly, the 300 lives lost that day now seem to be a mere footnote to the crisis.
Yesterday, there was an artillery/GRAD attack that hit the parent's neighborhood (Kuibyshivks'kyi District of Donetsk). Two shells landed 20m (~60ft) from their house and blew all the windows out. Everyone is ok, but shrapnel from one of the rounds killed a man on their street. I have a couple of unremarkable pics of the impacts, but they're too big to post here. If I think of it over the weekend, I'll resize them at home and post up here.
This video shows the worst of the attack at a market about 1/4 from their apartment. It's one I've seen many times and even walked through there the last time we went back. Crazy to see something so familiar look like it does now.
At least 20 civilians were killed this week in Donetsk from indirect fire (artillery/GRADs).
I've been quiet the last several weeks, because I didn't think there's was much to highlight. I think that's about to change next week.
Throughout the "cease-fire" Donetsk has been struck daily with indirect artillery/rocket fire and the occasional Tochka-U tactical ballistic missile. As I mentioned earlier and as Turd highlighted, Donetsk was hit HARD today. As a result, all schools are canceled tomorrow in Donetsk. I also said that Zaharchenko called off the truce...well, technically what he said was that "if Kiev is bombing us every day, it's not really a cease-fire." Whatever.
The militia commanders (who are not unified under any single command) have detested the Minsk cease-fire discussions and have routinely made statements to the fact that they aren't 100% beholden to Zaharchenko. The problem is, they need ammo...from Russia...to do anything other than small engagements to barely change the tactical situation. Also today, one of the more notable commanders, Mozgovoi (translated as "Brain" sometimes on google translate), announced that his command and the Lugansk militias are now united. No word as to what that entails for the militia in the Donetsk Oblast.
So if you've been listening to Batchelor/Cohen, you know that Ukraine has parliamentary elections scheduled for this Sunday, 26 October. I'll also remind everyone what I said a week or so ago...that Ukraine has regrouped and amassed troops North/Northeast of Donetsk. Thus, we're entering another window where Ukraine could re-start the offensive against the Donbass.
Personally, sis-in-law and mom-in-law are back in Kiev for the next couple of days to try one last time for a visa for sis to come help us with Little SS #2. We're 95% sure it won't work, but gotta try. Dad-in-law and bro-in-law are back in Donetsk. Also, on Saturday, my wife's former colleague was killed in Donetsk when his car was hit by Ukrainian artillery. He wasn't a militia man...just a guy working on Saturday, taking computer supplies to a customer.
So, FWIW, next week marks another window of opportunity where the false peace in Ukraine could shift back into gear.
I know there's a lot going on today, but there's been some more info indicating Ukraine is poised to make a very quick, decisive strike on Novorussia.
All the big sources that I watch have indicated a major massing of Ukrainian troops and armor in three, main strike groups. Two are around Donetsk (one west and the other north) while the 3rd is centered around Debaltsyevye (between Donetsk and Lugansk cities). The numbers for these have been estimated around 10,000 troops and 300-400 vehicles in each strike group. My father-in-law also saw the strike group to the west of Donetsk when he traveled to see his mother a week ago. He said that it was "staggering" how much stuff was massed in one place.
Then today, Igor Strelkov (former militia commander who was forced to return to Russia or face the cut-off of supplies to Novorussian forces) spoke out and also confirmed the presence of the strike groups. His analysis is that the positioning indicates Ukraine wants to make a rapid assault on Donetsk to secure all or part of it. Simultaneously, Ukraine will strike south between Lugansk and Donetsk to the Russian border--cutting off supply routes and communication. Ukraine will then declare a unilateral cease fire and negotiate terms from a position of strength.
Saker has also commented on these things today and rightfully concluded that the fact Russia has opened up the "Voentorg" arms supply chain indicates Russia is fully-aware (and concerned) by what they are seeing out of the Ukrainian troop positioning. He also rightfully concludes that it's serious enough for Russia to risk ongoing/increased sanctions in order to supply and prepare the Novorussian militia from what they analyze is an impending attack on Novorussia.
So, while news is dominated by Ebola, Ottawa and everything else, know that all signs point to the Ukraine war going live again. And the stakes are high as winter is approaching and US-backed Kiev needs SOMETHING to change the slow death spiral that the bankrupt Ukraine is currently on.
First podcast is Saker answering reader's questions.