June 2014 – UKRAINE – So much for the Ukraine ultimatum. As we reported yesterday, at the same time as Ukraine president Poroshenko implemented a unilateral “ceasefire” proposal which was said to have been accepted by Russia only for Russia to roundly dismiss it saying it sees the Ukraine step an “ultimatum,” alleged Ukraine gunmen shelled a border crossing on Russian territory near the town of Rostov. What, however, made clear that no Ukraine civil war de-escalation is coming, especially not on Kiev’s terms, were reports that overnight pro-Russia separatists, which Ukraine and NATO now consistently say are being reinforced by Russia, something the Kremlin is denying, retaliated in a mirror image of yesterday’s shelling, attacking Ukrainian posts on the border with Russia and a military base, and tried to storm an airforce base, according to Reuters. The fresh action came just hours after the start of a ceasefire at 10 p.m. on Friday by Ukrainian forces, ordered by President Petro Poroshenko as part of his plan to end the rebel insurgency in the east of the country. A government forces spokesman said the separatists used mortars and sniper fire to attack Ukrainian posts at Izvareno and Uspenka on the border, wounding nine Ukrainian officers. In other incidents, rebels with big caliber machine guns and grenade-launchers attacked a Ukrainian military position at Avdiyivka, near the main regional town of Donetsk, as well as a Ukrainian post at Kreminna. As was clearly obvious from the beginning, there go any attempts at de-escalation. But what is most surprising, is what happened next.
As Interfax reported a few hours ago, cited by Voice of Russia, Putin once again punked everyone, and certainly western ambitions for “peace” on its terms, when over 65,000 military servicemen and about 5,500 items of weapons and military hardware were unleashed in the latest surprise snap military drill in Russia, or as Valery Gerasimov, the chief of staff of the Russian armed forces called it an ongoing comprehensive surprise combat readiness test of the Russian Central Military District forces. “Over 65,000 troops, about 5,500 weapon units and vehicles, over 180 planes, and about 60 helicopters will be involved in the test,” Gerasimov said at a conference with the Russian Defense Ministry command staff on Saturday. The maneuvers are designed to test the training level of the troops in performing their duties through shooting practice, control exercises, the use of aircraft and airborne drops, Gerasimov said, Interfax reports. During the first 24 hours, the troops’ readiness for immediate deployment on a combat mission will be checked. After that, military units will switch to tactical training, marching in battle formation to firing ranges for practice, Shoigu said. Air Force units in the district will relocate planes to operational airfields to check their readiness for action in new locations. In particular, the 98th Airborne Division will be relocated from the Ivanovo Region of the Volga Federal District to the Urals for paratrooper jump exercises at the Chebarkul firing range. The minister specifically ordered units to avoid any possible damage to civilian installations and infrastructure during the military drills, and to ensure the safety of military personnel, arms and hardware. The June 21-28 drill is the second stage of general exercises in the Central Military District, Shoigu said. A special commission has already verified the general situation in the district and now the war games will give the picture of combat readiness of the troops stationed on a swathe of huge territory from the Volga River through the Urals Mountains to Siberia, and from the Kara Sea in the Arctic to the steppe on Russia’s southern border with Kazakhstan. –Zero Hedge