Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...

Tag: Ukraine

Outrage Over Making Military Women March in High Heels

Meanwhile, in Ukraine...

Plans by Ukraine’s defence ministry to have female soldiers march in high heels instead of army boots in a parade next month have caused angry reactions.

Iryna Gerashchenko, an opposition member of parliament, said it was sexism, not equality.


Ukraine is preparing to stage a military parade on 24 August to mark 30 years of independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union.


The defence ministry say the shoes are part of regulation-dress uniform.


Many in Ukraine expressed shock at the plan, with a group of lawmakers calling on Defence Minister Andriy Taran to offer an apology.


“The story of a parade in heels is a real disgrace,” commentator Vitaly Portnikov said on Facebook, arguing that some officials had a “medieval” mindset.

Ms Gerashchenko said she initially thought the pictures of women soldiers rehearsing in combat trousers and black pumps with block heels was a hoax. She said it was sexism, not equality, and wondered why the ministry thought heels were more important than designing body armour tailored to women.

Russia Escalates War on Ukraine

There’s still a war going on in Europe and Russia is being… well… Russia.

Russia has fired on and seized three Ukrainian naval vessels off the Crimean Peninsula in a major escalation of tensions between the two countries.

Two gunboats and a tug were captured by Russian forces. A number of Ukrainian crew members were injured.

Each country blames the other for the incident. On Monday Ukrainian MPs are due to vote on declaring martial law.

The crisis began when Russia accused the Ukrainian ships of illegally entering its waters.

The Russians placed a tanker under a bridge in the Kerch Strait – the only access to the Sea of Azov, which is shared between the two countries.

Russian jets fly over the bridge, and a tanker is seen under the huge arch of the bridge. Photo: 25 November 2018Image copyrightPHOTOSHOT
Image captionA tanker under the bridge shut all navigation from and into the Sea of Azov

During a meeting of Ukraine’s National Security and Defence Council, President Petro Poroshenko described the Russian actions as “unprovoked and crazy”.

Ukrainians Begin Visa-Free Travel in the EU

Happy day for them. Note the requirements.

Kiev (AFP) – Ukrainians were on Sunday celebrating the first day of visa-free access to the European Union, with thousands crossing the border as President Petro Poroshenko proclaimed a dramatic “exit” from Moscow’s grip.

The move is symbolic for Kiev, where a pro-EU revolt in 2014 toppled the previous Russia-backed government and was followed by Moscow’s annexation of the Crimea peninsula sparking a protracted ongoing conflict with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

“The visa-free regime for Ukraine has started! Glory to Europe! Glory to Ukraine!” Poroshenko tweeted early Sunday as many travellers started crossing the border and posting selfies.

Only those with biometric passports — containing a microchip with personal data, including fingerprints — can take advantage of the visa-free travel for the time being, for stays of up to 90 days every six months that don’t include work.

US Reiterates Demand that Russia Vacate Crimea


Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula following a military intervention and a hastily organized referendum, which was rejected by the international community.

“The United States does not recognize Russia’s ‘referendum’ of March 16, 2014, nor its attempted annexation of Crimea and continued violation of international law,” said Toner.

“We once again reaffirm our commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

In the statement the US also called on Russia to “cease its attempts to suppress freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, association, and religion” among Crimean Tatars, ethnic Ukrainians, pro-Ukrainian activists and journalists.

Pro-Russian Rebels Launch Attacks in Ukraine

It looks like Putin is probing to see what kind of response he gets.

(CNN)Fighting in eastern Ukraine between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian armed forces is escalating, officials have warned.

A higher number of ceasefire violations were reported between Sunday and Monday evenings, compared with the previous 24 hours, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine said Monday.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said eight Ukrainian soldiers were killed in the Donbass region in two days.
“Russian occupation forces carried out massive attacks across the contact line using all available weapons, including (artillery, mortars and tanks) — all prohibited by the Minsk agreements — and small arms,” the ministry said. At least 26 troops were wounded.

Trump Says Putin Won’t Invade Ukraine

I still can’t believe that the Republicans nominated this clown.

Washington (CNN)Donald Trump said Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin won’t make a military move into Ukraine — even though Putin already has done just that, seizing the country’s Crimean peninsula.

“He’s not going into Ukraine, OK, just so you understand. He’s not going to go into Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down. You can put it down. You can take it anywhere you want,” Trump said in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “This Week.”
“Well, he’s already there, isn’t he?” Stephanoploulos responded, in a reference to Crimea, which Putin took from Ukraine in early 2014.
And the Dems nominated someone who will continue the foreign policy that allowed this to happen.
We’re screwed.

Political Retribution?


Three former lawmakers close to the ousted leader have been found dead in Ukraine in the past two weeks, in what their party has called a consequence of their persecution by Kiev’s new pro-Western government.

Their deaths followed four suicides earlier this year of regional officials who were working under the old regime.

Although Kiev rejects allegations of any connection between the three events, some are calling for a thorough probe to quash any suspicion that top figures in the corrupt old regime are being extrajudicially punished.

Fighting in Ukraine Escalates

Yeah, that thing in Ukraine is still going on.

Dozens of people have been killed or wounded as fighting escalates along the front line in eastern Ukraine and the battle for Donetsk airport continues.

Artillery fire was reported in several areas of the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions and a hospital in Donetsk city was hit, reports said.

Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels both said they controlled the airport.

As Russia warned Ukraine not to make a strategic mistake, Kiev said more Russian troops had crossed the border.

Russia has repeatedly denied claims that its regular forces are in eastern Ukraine, but has admitted that a number of “volunteers” are fighting alongside the rebels.

Ann Romney: “Putin would have known there would’ve been consequences to that”

Does anyone think she’s wrong?

Ann Romney says Russia would not have invaded Ukraine had her husband, Mitt, been elected president. In a clear shot at the Obama administration, Romney told Yahoo News and Finance Anchor Bianna Golodryga, “I do not believe there would  have been an invasion, of course, in Ukraine. I believe Putin would have known there would’ve been consequences to that.”


Russia Continues To Provoke


(CNN) — Two U.S. jets intercepted six Russian planes that neared U.S. airspace off Alaska on Thursday and Canadian planes intercepted two Russian bombers that approached Canadian airspace, NORAD reported.

A U.S. official told CNN’s Barbara Starr that officials in Washington think the incidents were related to the visit by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who talked to Canadian officials Wednesday and President Barack Obama on Thursday. The United States promised Ukraine $46 million in nonlethal aid for its battle with pro-Russian militants.

ISIS Beheads Another American

It’s like a punch in the gut. RIP Mr. Sotloff.

ISIS has released a video that shows the beheading of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff and says the murder is retaliation for the Obama administration’s continued airstrikes in Iraq.

Sotloff is the second American journalist to be killed by ISIS, and his death comes two weeks after James Foley was executed in a similar video.

What is ISIS’ objective here? Unless they are completely stupid, which they are not, they do not seriously think that beheading Americans on video will convince the United States to cease air strikes. Clearly they are intending to inflame American public opinion. Why?

Here’s what I think… ISIS is goading American into a ground war with the expectation that we will not do it. By doing this, ISIS looks strong and it becomes a powerful recruiting tool and demoralizes their opponents in the territories they occupy. If America did respond by sending in ground troops in large numbers, ISIS would be screwed. They know that. But they have watched our president. He did nothing in Libya to avenge the death of an Ambassador and others. He did nothing in Syria. He pulled out of Iraq. He’s pulling out of Afghanistan. He did nothing in Ukraine. He’s done nothing as Chinese and Russian forces taunt American assets. Obama staked two campaigns on pulling American forces home and downsizing the military. He is not about to reverse course and be forced to admit that he was wrong to abandon Iraq.

Obama has been weighed, measured, and found wanting. They know he won’t respond with force to the beheading of Americans and they are counting on it.

America recedes on the world stage

Despite the hiatus from the blog, my column for the West Bend Daily News has been running like clockwork. Although it is a slow clock that only chimes on Tuesdays. Here it is.

Much has been said about President Barack Obama spending his time golfing while the world burns. While the imagery may have been exaggerated, the reality is close to the mark. At the very least, as Obama was on Martha s Vineyard enjoying the links, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion troops marched into Ukraine.

This step by Russia has been coming for a while and is a direct result of America’s failed foreign policy under Obama. It has long been known that President Vladimir Putin, the ex-KGB agent and Communist strong man, has a passion to return Russia to its former glory as a world power.

In order to advance that goal, Putin staged the invasion and assimilation of Crimea earlier this year. The formula was simple and has been used by tyrants from Mao to Hitler. First, Russia funded and fomented Russian sympathizers in Ukraine to rebel. Second, those sympathizers asked Russia for help to protect them. Third, Russia takes over.

The same thing is playing out for the rest of Ukraine as I write this. Russia instigated and funded a rebellion against the Ukrainian government. Then Russia sent in soldiers and supplies to protect the rebels under the pretense that they are ethnic Russians being persecuted by the Ukrainian government. The next step is obvious. Russia intends to annex all of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Obama has watched this unfold and done nothing. Even when the rebels with Russian missiles shot a civilian airliner out of the sky, Obama did nothing. Now that the Russian invasion is advancing further, Obama held a news conference and promised to perhaps gradually levy some more sanctions on Russia, if the Europeans agree. Putin is acting with impunity precisely because he knows that Obama will not do anything.

Lest one thinks that Ukraine is none of America’s business, it most certainly is. Ukraine is rich with agricultural, manufacturing and natural resources that will vastly strengthen Russia’s position in the world and allow it to dominate European and world affairs. Furthermore, we must not forget that the United States promised to protect Ukraine’s sovereign borders. In 1994 after the breakup of the Soviet Union, President Bill Clinton signed the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances committing the United States to protect Ukraine in exchange for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons.

By breaking that promise, Obama is signaling to our nation’s allies that we will not honor our commitments. The ramifications will be long-reaching.

Why would any nation promise to give up any weapons based on Obama s promises? Iran? Syria? North Korea? And even longtime allies like Japan are rumbling about abandoning their decades-long disarmament because the promise of American security is no longer unassailable. Obama s abandonment of Ukraine to the Russian horde will lead to a more dangerous world.

Just across the Black Sea in the Middle East, another Obama foreign policy debacle is coming to the fore. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has taken control of large swaths of Syria and Iraq with barbaric consequences for all who opposed them. Once again, Obama’s unwillingness to act led to the crisis the world now faces.

When Syrians launched their civil war against the dictator Bashar al-Assad, Obama stood by and refused to support them. After Obama famously drew his red line saying that America would retaliate if Assad used chemical weapons, Assad promptly used them and Obama’s red line was proven to mean nothing. When the rebels were infiltrated and taken over by Islamist terrorist organizations, Obama still did nothing.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, Obama rushed to remove American soldiers for domestic political reasons leaving a vacuum of power and a weak Iraqi government in their wake.

The result is that vacuum is being filled by ISIL. Over two weeks after Obama stopped briefly on his way to a golf game to express sympathy for the vicious beheading of an American journalist, James Foley, by ISIL, Obama again tool to the microphone to address the issue. He declared that we don t have a strategy yet on ISIL and did not give any time frame for when we would have one. Meanwhile, he is spending American treasure and risking American lives on air strikes that he has admitted do not support any broader strategy other than, perhaps, allowing Obama to cast the illusion that he is doing something.

But why does America not have a strategy for ISIL yet? We have known about their growth and advances for years. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said more than a week ago, They’re beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology, sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess, they are tremendously well-funded. This is beyond anything that we ve seen. So we must prepare for everything.

Why haven t we? With all of the resources of the federal government who have known about ISIL for years, why is there not a strategy? It is a dereliction of duty on a presidential scale that America does not have a plan to deal with ISIL even as their followers are tweeting threats from America s streets.

History remembers Nero as playing his lyre as Rome burned. History will remember Obama for his handicap.

(Owen Robinson’s column runs Tuesdays in the Daily News.)



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