Fortunately, I do have one very reliable source for information. In fact, it is my most trusted source for information right now. Stratfor, a source I’ve referred to before in my posts, is cutting edge in ferreting out information, and it is often there that I turn when I really want to know what is happening. While I don’t intend this as a commercial, I will say that if you’re not a subscriber, I would still highly recommend their site to you.
A prime example of Stratfor’s usefulness is that I learned a lot from a recent report they released on May 3, 2014. From them I learned that it is being reported by Kiev, that the Military Observers, from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe or OSCE, were freed earlier in the day on May 3, 2014. In the same report, I also learned that the Ukrainian Security Service released a video implicating Russia in the kidnaping, and that there was actual footage showing a phone conversation about the impending OSCE visit, which led to their being taken hostage on April 25, 2014. This footage purports to contain this conversation that was taking place between Russian Military Intelligence Colonel Igor Girkin, an alleged separatist leader in Eastern Ukraine, and Vladimir Lukin, a special representative to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Naturally, the Russians have denied this involvement, while the Ukrainians are holding out the video as evidence against that notion.
The real challenge of course is the credibility of everyone’s sources. Personally, I believe the Ukraine’s version of events, just as I believe that the violence in Odessa was in part brought on by individual Russian Separatists from the breakaway region of Transdneistria. (Located between Moldova and Ukraine, Transdneistria has been mentioned before in one of my earlier postings.) The deliberate destabilizing of Eastern Ukraine by outsiders is quite apparent to me, just from the other things emanating from Russia. For example, Russia denies any involvement with the OSCE team, yet after sufficient pressure, they are finally released; the Russian press is stating that there are fascists running things, when there are none; and my favorite, the use of the SA-7 ground to air missile or man portable air defense (MANPAD) system, to shoot down two MI-24 helicopters. These are semi-complex weapons systems that require both access and training in the ability to use them. In short, it would take a soldier, and not just a protestor, to pull off this feat. This time around, the evidence is overwhelming. What isn’t overwhelming is just what is the situation on the ground. Right now, it simply is too hard to call, but I can assure you it isn’t good. ~ Michael S. Pauley