AK-74M and GP-25 - Imgur

The situation in Ukraine continues to deteriorate, and the only good thing coming out of that whole situation is that we get to gawk at the Russian hardware on display. There are a large number of soldiers currently around Russia’s Black Sea base in Crimea, strangely wearing no identifying patches. But one person on Reddit (/u/NihilNovae_Su) has sifted through the images from various news sites and identified the top-of-the-line brand new Russian-built firearms they’re toting. Make the jump for some more pictures (re-printed with permission) . . .

GM-94 Grenade Launchers - Imgur

PKM and AK-74M accessories - Imgur

PKM Machine Gun accessories - Imgur

PKP Machine Gun - Imgur

SVD-S Sniper Rifle - Imgur

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252 Responses to The Guns of Russia’s Ukraine Incursion

  1. I recall earlier some of the Kiev protesters were using various firearms as well. Is there a piece up anywhere on what guns they were using?

    • I’ve seen pump shotguns, pellet guns and a hunting rifle or two. They were poorly armed at best.

      • I think I may have seen some .22lr target rifles as well. But yes, poorly armed. This is what happens when a disarmed populace has to rely on the few arms that have been hidden away for years to fight a tyrannical government.

        • The selection of guns on Maidan had nothing to do with “disarmed populace”, it’s just what people had at hand when the bullets started flying from the other side. Remember, until then, it was meant to be a peaceful protest, and even once rocks and molotovs started flying around both sides shied away from shooting.

          In practice, Ukraine gun laws are not so bad. You can own a semi-auto AR or an AK, for example. Some AKs were actually caught on video on Maidan.

        • So a better armed and confident population would help things over there?
          That’s just what Putin wants – a reason to respond with force to extreme civil unrest with armed civilian combatants.

        • Having more than basic knowledge of Russians (married to one for 8 years) I think a knee-jerk response that “Ukraine good, Russia bad” in this instance is just being sucked in by MSM propaganda.

          It is foolish to think that any people who have lived under conquerors and Tsars and oppressive communist regimes for thousands of years can be expected to think and act in any situation the way Americans would, or that they would be able to operate under our exact political and constitutional system. In many cases it is totally outside their experience or even their concept of reality. Evaluating what is happening over their based solely on our political perspective and what you can glean from MSM reporting, which is bound to be pro-Ukraine, will lead to false conclusions in almost every instance.

          The Crimean peninsula has been fought over by Russian armies since Katherine the Great. It was given as a political expediency to the Ukraine in 1954 by the Soviet Union and even so has had a majority Russian population ever since, somewhere between 60 and 70% at this time. The Russian Black Sea fleet is based in Sevastapol. I have friends in Simferopol, Russians, and strongly pro-Putin.

          While there have been strong animosities and resentments between Ukraine and Russia since Stalin starved millions there to support his factories and then tens of thousands of Ukrainians joined the Nazis during the Great Patriotic War, aside from reclaiming or promoting the independence of Crimea and possibly Odessa, the Russians do not have any territorial ambitions on Ukraine. Does anyone, even the new pro-European new Ukraine government, really believe they would last more than weeks or that Europe or the U.S. would declare war if Russia really wanted to take them by force?

          Despite all the media hype this is more like if San Diego county decided to break away from California and U.S. troops were sent there to prevent Sacramento from taking them back by force.

          I believe we should consider our own situation here, historically:

          “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness…” This is as true for the majority in Crimea as it was for the American colonies.

        • Putin is rebuilding the evil empire. The would be the KGB head thug, now in suit vs a uniform. So YES Russia bad, As the bumbling fools in the Whitehouse have no clue what is going on or what to do. See also 1938 Chamberlain.

          Ask your wife why there are so many “Russians” in Ukrania. Get the book “Bloodlands” for some help. Key was the mass genocidal mass starvation of the countryside by……. RUSSIA/Stalin before WWII and then mass deportations to Siberia during and after WWII. Then “resettlement” by ……… RUSSIANS. See also the Baltic states.

          Russia – commie thugs, nothing except the clothing (and petro$) has changed since 1980. Obuma is living in the Clinton fantasy world of the 90s mythical “peace dividend”. Makes even Jimmy Carter look good..

        • Thanks Cliff H for the insight. There is definitely more going on in Ukraine and the Crimea than what the Fox Neocons and ObamaHawks would like us to know or believe.

        • >> aside from reclaiming or promoting the independence of Crimea and possibly Odessa

          And Donetsk. And Lugansk. And Kharkov. And Dnepropetrovsk.

          Basically, look at which cities already have the Russian flag flying over their administration. These are all potential candidates for extending the invasion. Russian TV has already shown a map like this:

          https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bhtce4aCEAAEc_9.jpg

        • int19h: It really is clear that a concerted effort to break off the Donbas region, the list of cities you recited, is underway. The most troubling aspect is that if Putin pushes this, he will not be able to back off, this because if a united Ukraine results from negotiation, Ukranians will have overwhelming reason to pursue much greater alliance with the EU. I would suppose Putin accepts this line of reasoning, and therefore has every incentive not to back off.

        • Cliff H,
          I’m not going to respond to most of your statements except to say that they are (by your own admission) sympathetic to Russia. Ukraine has been in conflict with Russia for much longer than you lay out in your statement. The Hetmanate was formed in response to Russian aggression and the practice of serfdom (a form of slavery).

        • >> The Hetmanate was formed in response to Russian aggression and the practice of serfdom (a form of slavery).

          Huh? Hetmanate was formed by Khmelnitsky to coordinate the Cossack uprising against Poland (Ukraine being a part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth then) – the same uprising that, ultimately, resulted in the signing of Pereyaslav Rada which made Ukraine a part of the Tsardom of Russia.

          If you’re referring to the Cossack state that preceded the Hetmanate (which didn’t really have any firm power structures in place, being very much a frontier society), then that is also incorrect. It was not “formed in response to Russian aggression”. Most of the lands of Ukraine (and Hetmanate) were part of Kievan Rus, which is a precursor state for both modern Russia and modern Ukraine, and the people inhabiting it were then a single eastern Slavic ethnicity and culture, albeit with regional variations. Cossacks, specifically, were slowly formed by a trickle down of settlers to the lower reaches of the rivers of the region, most notably Don, after the demise of the (non-Slavic) steppe nomads that previously dominated that region.

          This started pretty early on, sometime in 13th century, when there was still no distinct Ukrainian and Russian culture, and the single state had just fragmented under the strikes of Mongols from the East, and Grand Duchy of Lithuania from the West. Now it’s true that much later on – around 15th century – the settlers were quite often serfs from Russian Tsardom/Empire and Poland-Lithuania, who were running away from their lords (both countries had serfdom, and both, as they centralized, have gradually strengthened the bondage it implied to the point where it was slavery in all but name). However, this serfdom was practiced against the native peasant population of Russia and Poland, it was not some kind of slave trade in prisoners of war or something, which your comment would seem to imply from “aggression”.

          So the Cossack state, which largely set the roots of the modern Ukrainian nationhood and statehood, was a unique warrior-democracy frontier society created by the mixing of the more adventurous settlers and refugees (from both slavery and law in general) of all nations that lived in or near that region – Ukrainians, Belarusians, Russians, Poles, Tatars, and the numerous Turkic nomadic steppe tribes.

        • @int18h,

          If that map is truly Russia’s objectives then the Ukrainian military has no choice but to commit the entirety of their forces to battle (to include calling up all military-aged males for service). Any scenario in which Russia tries to take territory beyond Crimea will be bitterly contested by Ukraine in open war.

        • Well, so far it’s the map of regions where the locals (or people posing as locals) raised Russian flags over the local govt buildings… this does not necessarily translate to definitive list of military objectives, but given the recent UN speech by the Russian representative, with its whole “protect Russians against oppression” angle, all of those can potentially be justified on those grounds.

          Ukraine has already started low-scale mobilization – not everyone, not most even, but key people are being called into duty to organize the rest of it if needed. Volunteers are already swarming the voenkomats (military commissariat – an administrative agency in a given region that manages draft and mobilization). It should be noted that this is happening in Eastern Ukraine, as well. Here’s photos from voenkomat in Dnepropetrovsk: http://www.056.ua/article/486756. But they are currently turning them down, telling people to go home and wait until mobilization is officially announced.

  2. Actually, all of these weapons are in service with the majority of former Soviet Republics. The original poster is promoting the paranoid fantasy Russia would bother to send covert troops when they have several dozen veteran divisions that they could roll in the old fashioned way. White the hardware is fairly cool, can we keep the fantasies to a minimum?

      • So are you saying that these are NOT Russian Marines, that the helicopters flying in were not from Russia, and that the vehicles with Russian license plates spotted by the news media that carried armed soldiers who surrounded Ukrainian military bases and asked the bases to surrender are not Russian military vehicles full of Russian soldiers? That the Kremlin did not specifically authorize Putin to use military forces in both Crimea and in eastern Ukraine? Man, that must be some isolated Pacific atoll you’ve been vacationing on.

        • Or someone who realizes that there is a large Russian ethnic majority in Crimea who might not be ecstatic wight he change in leadership in Kiev. That same ethnic majority who would have no problems obtaining Soviet block equipment and uniforms.

        • And who is bank rolling and training this ethnic majority? Uniforms I could see, though they are way too coordinated to me, but the hardware they are sporting didn’t come from a surplus auction. I’ve seen several close up shots of the vehicles and a lot of them look like they have new paint jobs, way too shiny to be surplus used equipment. Now why would that be? Oh right, to cover up the Russian military markings. The thing is, you are thinking exactly what Putin wants people to think to buy him time. He didn’t find out about the protests in Ukraine when the rest of us did. He has probably seen this coming for weeks if not months and has been gearing up the whole time. I wouldn’t put it past him to help things a long just to give him an excuse to go in.

        • @Charles

          You forget that the Soviet block has mandatory military service. Almost every male over age 30 has served in the military at some point. This looks to me like a local paramilitary group who is concerned that their democratically elected president was overthrown by people who have openly decried their very existence

          It’s possible they are getting support from the Russians, but it also would not be the first time that first line Russian small arms wound up on the open market. Don’t forget, Crimea is a relatively wealthy portion of Ukraine with close ties to the Russian military complex. It would not be difficult for a paramilitary group to obtain small arms and other equipment.

        • Mate you are living in a fantasy world if you think this is a “paramilitary force”. They’re far too uniformed in appearance, they look too professionally trained, and they are all sporting the latest in Russian small arms. In short, these guys look very well funded and highly organized, far above the funding and organization level you’d expect of a paramilitary unit. Plus it’s EXTREMELY rare to see paramilitary forces equipped with IFVs and APCs and you NEVER see them using military aircraft.

          Or you could just be a Putin fanboy.

        • It fairly stuns me that you could refer to the overthrow of “their democratically elected” leader. After first taking out the previous president on trumped up charges a sham election was held. I haven’t heard a different opinion from the EU, the Canadians, or other credible sources. You are actually talking the Kremlin line.

        • pwrserge: I get where you are coming from, but Moscow has made statements confirming that these are in fact Russian troops, authorized by parliament. If Moscow had denied that they were Russian troops, I’d could totally see these guys being paramilitaries or some kind of militia.

        • Ok… So it looks like crowds of Crimean protestors are about to storm those Ukrainian bases in Crimea. I’ll be ready to call this an “invasion” when you see Russian flags in Kiev. Until such a time, the Russians are basically keeping a bunch of Ukrainian sailors from getting lynched.

          Note that the commander of the Ukrainian Navy has pledged allegiance to Crimea and not the new government in Kiev.

          Note: Good or not, Yanukovich was elected. He was also VERY popular amongst a large chunk of the Russian speaking population. What we saw in Kiev was no less than a coup against a democratically elected government. (Justified or not)

    • I don’t dispute that these weapons are in service in many of the old Soviet Republics, and I don’t know what the poster’s motives are, paranoid or not. However, are you arguing that the troops in the unmarked uniforms are NOT Russian troops?

      • I would point out that it would make little sense for Russia to start an international incident this way. The “troops” are ethnically Russian residents of Crimea (Ukrainian citizens) who are worried about anti-russian radicals taking their coup in Kiev to the logical conclusion.

        Let’s recall the war in Georgia… If the Russians were making a move on Crimea, they would be a lot less subtle.

        • Negative. They are Russian troops. You see Putin isn’t an idiot. He knows that if he sends in full fledged Russian units with all the military markings to verify, the United Nations and the international community may get involved immediately, and slow down his power move. By sending in unmarked units, he is playing the “Fog of War” card and delaying a U.N. response or a response from any other nation until everything can be “verified” to the satisfaction of the lazy politicians. He is just buying extra time to get everything moving and into position.

        • @Charles

          If this was a military takeover, it is one of the most inept ones in the history of warfare. I think it is far more probable that the ethnically Russian majority in Crimea are simply trying to make sure that the same people who decided to throw a democratically elected president out of power don’t come down to Crimea.

          Don’t forget, the protestors in Kiev were largely ethnically Ukrainian. A large portion of them really don’t like the fact that Crimea is more Russian than Ukranian. (and has been for centuries.)

          I have relatives in Semferopol and Sevastopol. The were rather pissed about the coup in Kiev.

        • I never said it was a military take over. Putin’s end game could be a lot of things. Nonetheless, it may appear anemic to you, but it is more than enough to overwhelm the Ukrainian forces in Crimea. Besides, those unmarked troops are a delaying action. The veteran divisions are rolling in right now.

        • This is also Putin’s back up to his back up plan. He’s been “subtle”, helping Yanukovic get elected (after getting booted the first time), then dangling $15 billion in “loans” to get Ukraine to join his Trade Union of Former Soviet Socialist Republics. Now, he’s going with Plan C: keep control of the territory of strategic interest to him and won’t require occupation while leaving just enough ambiguity to give him wiggle room until done is done (although using vehicles with Russian plates isn’t as inconspicuous as it could be).

        • You guys seem to forget that a very large percentage of Ukrainian citizens are ethnically Russian. Yanukovich was elected by these people and the fact that their votes were basically ignored is bound to get them nervous.

          Let me use myself as an example… I was born in Kiev when it was still a regional capital for the Soviet Union. I can understand Ukrainian, but can’t really speak it. While I have lived in the US for more than two decades at this point, I still consider myself ethnically Russian, nor Ukrainian.

          Now this is where we need to talk about possibilities and probabilities. Is it POSSIBLE those are Russian troops? Yes, of course it is. However, it is far more PROBABLE that this is a local group who has access to Soviet equipment that has decided that they don’t like being dictated to by a vocal minority in Kiev. Don’t forget, Yanukovich was actually rather popular in large areas of the country. (Like the Crimea.) The fact that there was not a peaceful and lawful transition of power is going to make people in those areas more than a bit upset.

        • ‘…it would make little sense for Russia to start an international incident this way.’

          Why not? What, do you think Putin’s trembling in fear over BO’s feckless response? Face it, America is being led by a bunch of pussies and western Europe always has been.

        • BTW, I do believe there were a lot of ethnic Germans in the Sudetenland.

        • pwrserge,

          The dead giveaway that the unmarked troops were Russians were, wait for it… They are all wearing the basically brand-new Ratnik digital print uniforms of the Russian army. They look absolutely nothing like any of the Ukraine armed forces uniforms.

          Yeah, they could’ve given the uniforms to Ukraine’s army, but – really?

          I was trying to explain the situation to my wife tonight… The way I put it in a western analogy, sort of directly comparable to the US – what if Quebec suddenly seceded from Canada and swore allegiance to the EU or France, began violently protesting against Canadian federalism, and Canada didn’t have the necessary manpower to contain what could spiral out into a nationwide rebellion. What if Canada requested military assistance from the US? Would sending a couple NG units constitute an invasion of Canada?

          I’m trying really hard to stay neutral on this one. I understand why the protestors are upset and did what they did. I also understand why the ethnic Russians of Ukraine would feel allegiance to Russia, and why the deposed government might request military assistance from Russia.

          This is why this is absolutely none of our business.

          Frankly, the best case scenario I hope for, is the peaceful split of Ukraine along its ethnic division lines, if those can be quantified in terms of a well-defined national border. It seems to me based on what I’ve read that the west/east split of the Ukraine is fairly well defined – would you agree?

        • My partner, who is Russian, and was an Officer in the Russian military tells me that this is 99% likely a Russian PMC organization, or a GRU unit in disguise. The equipment is too clean, too modern, too diverse and very much too specialized to be, as you say, in the hands of a bunch of concerned citizens.

          I’m pretty sure he knows what he is talking about far more than many people at this point, considering the fact that he did everything he could to run away from the country when he had a chance.

        • There is a kink in the “none of our business” angle. From what I know, the U.S., the E.U., and Russia were all part of a treaty ensuring the security of Ukraine when the USSR broke apart. I don’t know all the details, but “ensuring the security” could, COULD, *COULD*, depending on how lawyerly types read the agreement, entail coming to the military aid of Ukraine if attacked. Such agreements have been weaseled out of before, but it complicates things.

        • “The veteran divisions are rolling in right now.”

          The Russians have no veteran divisions. What you see in the Ukraine are the Russian “elite” forces. They are the equivalent of the US XVIII Airborne Corps

        • @Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

          “BTW, I do believe there were a lot of ethnic Germans in the Sudetenland.”

          So the Volksdeutsche in Warsaw and Krakow were just waiting to be liberated?

        • >> Don’t forget, the protestors in Kiev were largely ethnically Ukrainian. A large portion of them really don’t like the fact that Crimea is more Russian than Ukranian. (and has been for centuries.)

          This is bullshit. The protesters in Kiev were a mix of Russians, russophone Ukrainians, and full-fledged Ukrainians from both western and eastern regions of the country. Reason being, they were there protesting a corrupt government, that robs everyone equally.

        • >> Frankly, the best case scenario I hope for, is the peaceful split of Ukraine along its ethnic division lines, if those can be quantified in terms of a well-defined national border. It seems to me based on what I’ve read that the west/east split of the Ukraine is fairly well defined – would you agree?

          There’s no well-defined border.

          There are three broad categories in Ukraine:
          – Russians who speak Russian (and maybe a little bit of Ukrainian)
          – Ukrainians who primarily or only speak Russian
          – Ukrainians who primarily speak Ukrainian (but still speak Russian – everyone does)

          The only region where actual Russians form a majority is Crimea, the others are all split. Ukrainian language dominates the West. Russian language dominates the East, especially southern part near Crimea, but most people who speak it there still self-identify as Ukrainians not Russians. Central regions, including the capital, are more like 50/50.

          Crimea also has Crimean Tatars, about 10% of the population, Muslim, and who have an ax to grind against Russia as a state – they were deported en masse in 1944 on Stalin’s orders due to high rates of collaboration with the Axis during the occupation of the region by the latter. They were only allowed to return to Crimea in 1989. Needless to say, they’re not happy about the perspective of Crimea being a part of Russia again.

        • @Gov. William J. Le Petomane

          Did you forget that the Sudetenland was ceded to France under the treaty of Versailles? It has always been a part of Germany until then.

          Crimea has been Russian for centuries. This new radical Ukrainian nationalism makes a lot of ethnic Russians feel persecuted. For example, we are considered hicks because we don’t speak Ukrainian. (Even though the language effectively did not exist two decades ago.)

        • Sorry Serge, but the Sudetenland is in Czechoslovakia. Are you thinking of the Saarland? Please consult a map before replying next time.

        • @foggy

          Yeah… I get those confused. Sudetenland includes places like Bohemia… (which of us will claim that Bohemians are not German?) The portion where the territory was ceded under Versailles remains valid as the area was part of the Austrian Empire and very germanic.

        • pwrserge, you’re thinking of Alsace-Lorraine. Germany took it from France in 1871, France took it back in 1918, etc…

          My point about the Sudetenland, in case it was missed here, is that just because there are Russian speaking people in Crimea, it doesn’t mean that Putin’s motives are pure. Not that Putin is Hitler, but at the time I’m sure there were many naive people justifying the annexation. And bear in mind, a lot of people realized Hitler wasn’t a nice guy or anything, but nobody knew Hitler was Hitler yet.

        • pwserge,
          Really? The Ukrainian language didn’t exist a couple of decades ago? Then how did my 94 year old great aunt insist on marrying a Ukrainian speaker 30 years go? What language was she speaking to my grandmother when my father was a child? Rubbish.

        • As it is today? No, it did not. The language has changed rather drastically in the past 20 years. I grew up hearing it first hand, I should know.

    • “when they have several dozen veteran divisions that they could roll in the old fashioned way”

      …Am I missing something, isn’t that what they just did??

      • If it were, there would be a Russian Federation flag flying over Kiev. This is a local paramilitary group. These guys are way too half assed to be spetsnaz.

        It is quite likely that they are getting under the table support from the Russians, but I fail to see the problem with that. The majority of Crimea is Russian, they voted for the president that the radicals in Kiev just ran out of town. It would be natural that they are concerned and taking measures.

        • After a couple days of thinking about it, I can see why the Russians would be concerned enough to either support a local group or send some troops in. A disorderly change of power (maybe justified, maybe not) just took place right on Russia’s border. And there is also the ethnic relationship that you speak of.

          Frankly, I think a lot of Americans (myself included) don’t have a real understanding of what ethnic ties may mean to some people. It’s a foreign concept to me. My ancestors got to this country in the 1870’s and the only thing I retain from the old country after several generations is my last name. But that is not how it is for other people in the world, especially those with centuries long relationships with one-another.

          Hope nobody takes me too seriously – I’m just a guy with a keyboard. But I do hope the whole thing gets settled without any Russian ammunition being fired at anyone out of any Russian rifles.

    • What an odd allegation. Officers of the Russian 76th Division, a non-conscript bunch, have already been reported to be commanding the operations by Moscow news sources. The Black Sea Fleet has not only Marines, but one of the better Spec Ops units permanently assigned. The choppers flying the “Ukranian” troops you speak of are Russian BS Fleet choppers, which I only assert because Ukraina does not have the model in inventory. Moscow isn’t even pretending their troops are not in charge.

      When a commander was asked by BBC two days ago whether he could tell them his nationality he replied “no, obviously not,” Doesn’t get much clearer than that.

      • “No, obviously not.” is somehow clear? As I said… You’re forgetting that Crimea has a huge Russian population that is rather pissed about events in Kiev. They have been talking about seceding for almost a decade, the fact that they just saw an elected president run out of office by a mob might have simply been the tipping point.

        I’d like to see a citation on those “Russian news sources”…

        • pws, if the troops around the Ukranian bases in the Crimea were Ukranian, they would certainly say so. You haven’t been getting a major newspaper. The Russians aren’t even denying the movement throughout the Crimea and also toward Kharkov.

          Ukranian troops would be willing to announce that they were such. Russian troops would not. There isn’t more to the troop issue.

          No one is surprised that Russian will not let the Crimea or other largely ethic Russian areas of importance remain part of any Ukraine that allies with Europe. But denying that that is what is going on, the establishment of military control such as could either a. bully the Ukraine back to the Moscow line or b. retain control if “a.” fails, simply doesn’t fit the facts.

    • I didn’t detect the ‘covert troops’ issue. Virtually every source simply assumes that BDU jackets without insignia were issued to various troops that would normally be identifiable. The troops themselves are unwilling to state their own nationality, which makes the issue simple enough. It isn’t about cloak-and-dagger, but about being able to say later “those troops where Ukrainian.” I’ll point out what you already know, that Ukrainian troops wear name-tags, rank insiginia, and unit identifiers, as do Russian troops. In other words, someone had to take trouble to get the fellows into nameless rankless jackets.

      Also, the photos with this post are about small arms. Much better photos of units in place and maneuvering are available from the press and online.

    • pwr: From Bloomberg Financial News today: “Ukraine’s defense minister said Russia sent 6,000 more soldiers into Crimea within a 24-hour period over the weekend and that number is increasing “every hour” according to Yuriy Sergeyev, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations. The new government in Kiev said efforts to speak with Russia’s Foreign Ministry were ignored.”

      You can find the same coverage in the Times of London, Neue Zürcher Zeitung and other papers.
      There simply isn’t any doubt in anyone’s mind (save, perhaps, yours) that the troops on maneuver and surrounding Ukranian bases are Russian.

    • From the Guardian: Senior US officials dismissed claims that Washington is incapable of exerting influence on the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, but were forced to admit that Crimea had been successfully invaded by 6,000 airborne and ground troops in what could be the start of a wider invasion.

      Crimea successfully invaded by Russian troops….admits Washington…….

      • You do remember that Russia has large military bases in Crimea? Right? Would the US transferring the 101st Airborne to Stuttgard constitute an “invasion” of Germany?

        • You’re really not going to give up are you? I’ll answer this one at least. . . if the US sent troops to Germany and had them surround NATO bases there, while the Germans ask for clarification from the US about the nature of the troop movement and receive nothing but silence then one would call that an invasion, and a rather sneaky one at that.

          Besides that, you’re denying your own point, either these are Russian troops ‘transferred’ to Russian bases in the Crimea (who subsequently got lost and ended up out Ukrainian bases) who forgot to sew unit insignia on their jackets before the ‘transfer’ or they are a shadowy Ukrainian para-military unit inexplicably using Russian weapons and uniforms sans patches, driving Russian military vehicles with Russian license plates.

          There is a third option that seems a little more likely and has far fewer major holes in it; that these are Russian troops quietly but obviously ‘invading’ to protect Russian interests. (If the government doesn’t want the troops of another government in it’s territory it’s called an invasion when they show up anyway.)

          What’s pretty certain is that it’s not all three!

        • @Ardent

          Or, you know… It could be a local paramilitary group with Russian support that does the surroundings while the Russians more more troops to their bases to back them up. Simple, no?

    • They’re wearing brand new Russian digital camo. This was adopted in 2008, and no other ex-USSR military has it. In particular, Ukrainian army still uses the old, 1984-pattern Soviet camo.

      Besides, there are numerous witness statements that the soldiers themselves identified as Russian.

      • Because nobody can get unmarked camouflage gear commercially? Good thing half my gun stuff is not in ACU. [/sarc]

        • Trollo, I have been posting here for almost two years. Just because I point out blatantly flawed arguments does not mean that I am a paid GRU plant.

        • Posts in this thread indicate you’re utterly clueless. Perhaps you can help Obuma sort thngs out.

        • Dipshit. I am FROM Ukraine. I know far more about this situation and the background of it that the majority of this board combined. The only people clueless here are those applying cold war stereotypes to the 21st century.

          As for assholes who keep pointing to the “Russian” genocide of “Ukrainians” in the 20s and 30s… I call bullshit.
          1. Staling was Georgian, not Russian.
          2. The famine was targeted at all farmers in Ukraine, not just ethnically Ukrainian ones.
          3. There have been Russians living in Ukraine since the 1700s and the Crimea has been majority Russian since the 18th century.
          4. My family has personal experience in all the incidents above. I have relatives in both Kiev and Sevastopol. I just visited them for Christmas this year. I have TALKED to the protestors myself. They are hardline Ukrainian ultra nationalists.

          Sit down and shut up. This is none of America’s business.

        • So pray tell me, where can I buy a full set of the new Russian army gear? Camo, helmets (those are new, too), boots etc?

          Why do you persist in peddling that nonsense when even the Russian government had itself openly admitted that it has troops on the ground in Crimea?

          FWIW, I’m Russian, and I have plenty of friends in Ukraine, so don’t claim that you know something that I do not – unless you’re literally posting from the streets of Simferopol right now.

        • You are an obstinate commie pro Putin loving troll. Just come out and say it instead of going on and on with your nonsense. Honesty is respectable, however, invasions in the 21st century are not.

    • FWIW, that the white arm bands you see on a lot of the unidentified, yet heavily armed and well disciplined masked pro-Russian gunmen is a practice also employed by Spetsnaz GRU. There’s security camera footage of a really tooled up team seizing one of the government buildings in Crimea and they are definitely know what they’re doing.

    • pwrserge, here you go, the Monday Morning “the Russians are not invading” edition, via Reuters:
      KIEV (Reuters) – Russia’s Black Sea Fleet has told Ukrainian forces in Crimea to surrender by 5 a.m. [12:00 a.m. EST] on Tuesday or face a military assault, Interfax news agency quoted a source in the Ukrainian Defence Ministry as saying.

      The ultimatum, Interfax said, was issued by Alexander Vitko, the fleet’s commander.

      The ministry did not immediately confirm the report and there was no immediate comment by the Black Sea Fleet, which has a base in Crimea, where Russian forces are in control.

      “If they do not surrender before 5 a.m. tomorrow, a real assault will be started against units and divisions of the armed forces across Crimea,” the agency quoted the ministry source as saying.

      Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/russia-gives-ukrainian-forces-in-crimea-ultimatum-to-surrender-2014-3#ixzz2uus9zOLc

      • Yes… and the stooges in the Ukrainian government would have no reason to lie. [/sarc] More than likely, the this demand came from armed Crimean citizens who want the surrender of occupying troops from a government that was forced on them via a coup.

    • So, Serge, you work for RTI, or Pravda- sorry- Rossiya Segodnya? Those old KGB propaganda and Dezinformatsiya techniques still come in handy. The West still has many useful idiots that will eat it up. Your English is almost as good as Vladimir Pozners.

      What’s mainly wrong in Europe is that they’re still just a bunch of tribal cultures, and it all comes down to blood. It’s dressed up in nice things and the trappings of civilization, but the Nazi’s came from the same culture that brought us Beethoven, Faust and Bach. When we Americans see these sorts of conflicts, we should reflect for a moment on the uniqueness of America in human history, and how hard it is to get past tribalism.

    • Seems that you are from Mars, considering of your comments about weapons and other former and today RF military equipment

  3. So the Ruskies are buying stuff on the net illegally? There are laws out here that are pretty darn specific about exportation of stuff like gun sights, etc. in this country. So what gives?

    Look at this page and the disclosure from Optics Planet which states:

    “Government Export Restriction This item may be regulated for export by the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. Department of Commerce. Please see our Export Policy prior to placing your order.”

    http://www.opticsplanet.com/eotech-512-holographic-red-dot-sight-aa-battery-aiming-dot-reticle.html

    • The main function of many of the OP “export restricted” statements is to make the items sexier for US buyers. The exception to that is Gen3 and 4 NV equipment and IR sights and cameras. I’m not going to bother, but you can check my comment by looking into current DoJ prosecutions of unapproved export sales. The indictments will list the equipment that was involved.

      I have to say I laugh at some of the “but you can’t do that!” comments. We can buy Genn4 NV and select-fire weapons for use on the farm, but you think the Russians cannot obtain similar items? I don’t get it. Borders shmorders. Ask the next Mexican lawn-service guy you meet, if you can speak new world Spanish.

      Literally tons of drugs flow across our borders every week. And you thing NV, EO’s, and such are difficult to move?

      • You must understand that Holder/DOJ is tied up with prosecuting the Black Panthers and votig fraud, Cleaning up the IRS and ATF. Fixing the border problems. No time to worry about arms exports to our communist “friends”.

        “PEACE IN OUR TIME” guys.

    • You can buy genuine Aimpoints and Eotechs in Russia. As noted, they can be exported legally, though it’s a convoluted process, which also makes them that much more expensive.

      Naturally those aren’t army issue, but some troops run them on their own money. There are also organizations which take people’s donations for troops to buy this kind of gear, that mostly goes to those serving in “hot spots” like Chechnya. Their presence in the photos would indicate that these are not your common conscripts.

    • You can Get American made equipment all over the world.
      You can get them from illegitimate sellers on sites like eBay, or you can get them from legitimate brick and mortar shops.

      Or the US government just hands over a bunch of shit for free, id you tell them that you like capitalism.

  4. wtf is that guy on the bottom-right doing?

    Oh well. You can bet we had a hand in the government getting tossed… I’m sure if Russia did something similar in Mexico we’d react as well.

    • If WE did something similar in Mexico (which, in fact we never had legal title to), there would not be a damn thing the Russians or the rest of the world could actually do. Which is the situation in Crimea.

      • Bingo, buddy assisted firing position. Can be done like that standing or sitting, or prone across the back if the other guy is at right angle to the shooter. Last one isn’t so good because one of you is exposing the maximum possible profile to the target.

        After being trained how to do this, I don’t know if we ever actually used it.

        • My ears are ringing just thinking about being that poor bastard without ear pro. >_< Time and place, priorities, blah blah blah, but 7.62x54R muzzle blast at point blank? Ouchies.

        • Wow, that sounds horrible for the guy who is acting as the platform! A loud rifle going off with the muzzle so close to your ear…. Not saying soldiers shouldn’t do that, just making an innocent observation.

        • Yeah… Now imagine a gunner pulling that trick with an MG42… (The Heer used that as standard practice for grenadiers.)

        • It’s likely the guy with the rifle was just taking a look at something through the scope. Not the most safe thing to do, but not necessarily meaning anyone is about to get shot either. And the guy with the SVD in that pic also has an AK-74 slung while the guy acting as the “bipod” doesn’t seem to be carrying any other weapon, so he may have just let the other guy use his scope to check something out.

  5. Interesting they have EO Techs… maybe they’ve been obtained from a secondary market?

    Zenit AK accessories are pretty pricey. Circle 10 AK is carrying them on their website now, though.

      • The Russians produce sights which are better than the Chinese knockoffs, but worse (everything is….) than EOTechs. The 512 is not so tightly controled, but export of the night-vision compatible models are more restricted. So they say.

    • These are likely genuine as you can buy them in Russia. Not standard issue, naturally, but some people buy them out of pocket.

  6. Another variation of the 1949 Kalashnikov design. Oh Wow! I think I’ll trot right out and buy one.

    Not!

    Charlie

        • The ideal would be two rolls of duct tape. One with the American Flag on it, the other red with the hammer and sickle.

          And to mess with people it would probably be a 7.62 AR and 5.56 AK.

  7. What amzase me how much modern military Russia seem have these days. The old days where Russia would attack with numbers and using subpar military equipment are pretty much over. Large part Russia may be thrid world counrty but they field Millitary seem developing right long with all other frist world counrtys militarys in arms quality.

    • You realize those days were over decades ago, right? USSR was already a pretty damn modern army in Afghanistan, and operated not all that different from how Americans do there today. Look up the casualty figures for Soviet troops vs mujahideen…

  8. Interesting, to be sure, but I don’t ascribe much meaning to it. I don’t know enough about the people/weapons of the area, and I’m not terribly inclined to believe random people from the internet.

    • Much meaning to what? I don’t even understand the points of contention in this thread.

      Anyone who supposes several thousand Russian troops are not taking part in securing Crimea, or that thousands more haven’t been marshalled to the border close to Kharkov hasn’t been reading the Moscow papers. Forget the net.

      The points to be scored by Russia with the likes of pwrserge’s relatives are enormous, and they know it. Putins task is to make the ethnic Russian population in Ukraina feel secure, so that they will take on much of the work themselves. I have no doubt this element is succeeding.

      • This isn’t about making ethnic Russians in Ukraine ‘feel secure’. This is about making the Russians in Moscow feel like they have a buffer state between them and NATO.

        Russia has always tried to turn the governments on it’s borders into puppets. It hasn’t always succeeded, but it has always tried.

        • Why can’t it be both? Is it better to allow ethnic Russians to be persecuted in an area where they hold the majority of the population?

        • Rossignol: What I meant by making ethnic Russians feel secure was this: To have any chance of succeeding in a revanchist play for Crimea, Russia has to encourage ethnic Russians to join the effort without fear that they will later be branded quislings by a united Ukraine. I think the Russian military move is intended to encourage ethnic Russians to feel secure in such public actions.

          I find it curious that people are ignoring the the entire run-up to this military action, the decade-long struggle of Ukraine to join the western trading system. Certainly the EU has a huge security stake in the integrity of Ukraine, as it is the conduit for much of their natural gas supplies. Further, the Ukraine provided, during the not-long-ago Soviet era, a staging area for Russian repression of eastern-bloc-by-force nations.

        • Persecuted how exactly? By making them take a one hour class of Ukrainian in primary schools?

        • Persecuted by making a language that 90% of them can not speak “official” and providing no alternative. Modern Ukrainian did not exist as a language until 1995. 50%+ of the dictionary has no relation to classical Ukrainian.

          Go for a job interview anywhere in Ukraine without being able to speak Ukrainian… Let us know how that turns out.

        • >> Persecuted by making a language that 90% of them can not speak “official” and providing no alternative.

          Yes, Ukrainian is the sole official language of Ukraine (but the Autonomous Republic of Crimea had always had Russian as the second official language on its territory). So? Do they forbid people from speaking Russian? No. 90% of newspapers and literature published in Ukraine is in Russian. There are more schools in Crimea that teach their students in Russian than in Ukrainian. Heck, a good half of the population there don’t even speak Ukrainian, which just goes to show that this:

          >> Go for a job interview anywhere in Ukraine without being able to speak Ukrainian… Let us know how that turns out.

          is also bullshit. Unless you live in the western regions where people routinely speak Ukrainian, even in Kiev, most likely the interviewer will start speaking to you in Russian right away!

          >> Modern Ukrainian did not exist as a language until 1995. 50%+ of the dictionary has no relation to classical Ukrainian.

          Are you a linguist? Heck, do you even speak Ukrainian?

          Modern Ukrainian exists since roughly mid-19th century, due to the efforts of people who took the then-language of rural peasants and carefully codified it, using the historical written language used in Grand Duchy of Lithuania (when most of Ukraine was a part of it) as a guide to resolve ambiguities. There’s no such thing as “classical Ukrainian”, because the language was mostly oral, and dialects differed widely all across the country before standardization, so they had to pick some baseline to work from.

        • Ok… Go watch modern Ukrainian TV and tell me how many words were added to the language since 1990.

          I can understand informal spoken Ukrainian perfectly. However, the language in use now is not the same language I learned in school in 1989.

          Do I need to even mention the fact that Ukrainian radicals blame ethnic Russians for Stalin’s genocide despite the fact that their ancestors starved right alongside ethnic Ukrainians? Believe me, walking around downtown Kiev in early January was very uncomfortable because I look Russian. I was hassled no less than three times and the only way I got out of it without violence was to pull out my American passport.

      • For the record, after reading all of what’s been going on in this post, I have learned quite a bit, and now I have a better understanding of the situation.

  9. Tangential point of clarification: Isn’t there some sort of treaty or limitation on things like EoTech being sold to other countries?

    • Export to other nations of EOTechs which are not NV-compatible has been allowed. Once such an item is out of the country it might as well be in a Russian armory. For example, an arms dealer was recently arrested by the US for exporting 3,000 pairs of Gen3 NV googles, which is a big step up from an EO 512. He succeeded in exporting them, but the US wants to punish him for doing so.

  10. The Russians have moved in the Crimea because (a) it was originally part of Russia but Khrushchev gave the province to the Ukrainian SSR in 1954. The ethnic makeup of the region is about 60% ethnic Russian, 25% Ukrainian and 15% Tartar. Not all the ethnic Russians are all that hot about rejoining the motherland’ and (b) Russia has several military installations in the Crimea under an agreement signed at the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. The small Ukrainian Navy and one light brigade of Ukrainian troops are stationed there. The unit is incapable of resisting the existing Russian forces in already stationed the Crimea and certainly is in no position to repulse the additional Russian troops moving into the area.

    The Russian army is a shadow of the great Red Army of the 1980s. The Army is down to 285K troops with 150K stationed on the western border. Most of these units are not very well trained or motivated. The troops you see on TV are elite airborne/air mobile units and marines.

    The Ukrainian regular army is about 75K and they are equipped pretty much like their Russian opponents. They aren’t any better trained but may be better motivated than the Russians since they will fighting on home turf. If Russia invades the main Ukraine and the Ukrainian army fights well this will go for the Russians about as well as the Falklands went for the Argentines in 1982. The Russians no longer have the manpower to subdue and occupy the entire Ukraine. This is all predicated on the assumption that the Ukrainians will resist a Russian invasion of the main territory of historic Ukraine. If the government folds in it will be like the Anschluss in 1938.

    • How much of that ethnic make up is due to induced famines and Russification of the area during the Soviet days? That’s what I’ve been hearing, but Interwebs, truth, etc. etc.

      • In Crimea, not so much. The area has been ethnically Russian since the empire took the region in the 18th century. While Russification did take place, it was mostly targeted at areas around the center of the country. My family suffered quite a bit from it. Ironically, westerner and historic revisionists want to frame the entire thing as an ethnic focus when ethnically Russian peasants starved right alongside their Ukrainian neighbors.

        • Please xcuse me, pwrserge, if elsewhere I assumed your relatives were ethnic Russian Ukranians.

          If anyone is wondering whether the Crimea is and will be Russian-controlled, I find it puzzling. Why? If the Ukraine succeeds in allying with the EU, Russia simply will not tolerate it, and does not need to.

          The issues throughout the region will be won or lost on an economic basis. The military maneuvers are an important issue, but the economic flows of money and resources, gas and metals, are much more important.

        • @ ropingdown

          They are ethnically Russian Ukrainians. Didn’t keep them from starving before and after the war. The Soviet caused famine was more about breaking the spirit of farmers who owned their own land than about persecuting any ethnicity.

          To give you an idea… My great grandmother was from the Crimea but was resettled in central Ukraine in the 20s. She is the only member of her family who survived the famine. Similarly, after the war, my great uncle (her son) was a watchman at a grain facility who refused to bust his neighbors for sneaking mouthfuls of grain while they were starving. He got sentenced to several decades of hard labor for that. On another branch of my family, my great grandfather was executed and buried in a mass grave for daring to own his own farm. His son, (my grandfather) despite later getting the highest award a civilian can receive for his work in Geology was considered “politically unreliable” for his entire life.

          Both of those branches are ethnically Russian.

    • Full disclosure: I’m of Ukrainian extraction, and make no apologies for my bias.

      Russia is run by a petro-ologarchy (Gazprom, etc.) that wants to monopolize the overland AND maritime transit of gas and oil to Ukraine, Turkey, and the EU. Clinching Georgia, now Ukraine and eventually the Black Sea will make it impossible for producers like Azerbaijan to get oil to Europe. Even if the U.S. and Britain are happy to ignore the Promises they made in the Budapest Memorandum, the prospect of a complete Russian monopoly on Europe’s fuel supply should be alarming. At the very least, Russia should be kicked out of the G8, all Russian assets frozen, and the country embargoed.

      If America and Europe are too gutless to do anything, Turkey might. There is a substantial Tatar diaspora in Turkey, Ankara has had excellent relations with Kyiv, and the prospect of an expanded Russian Black Sea presence gives the Turks the willies. A couple thousand Spetsnaz are really no match for the Turkish military.

      • The world isn’t going to go to war, not Turkey, not anybody, to keep Crimea in Ukraine. I expect the same would be true if Moscow decided Donetsk, the Donbas generally, and other territory in the eastern Ukraine needed to be under Russian suzerainty. The world might scream, but I don’t believe it would go to war.

        As, long ago, a Russian Language major having many Ukranian study mates and friends, I feel your pain.

      • Not to relevant but: Norway and a huge supply of firewood FTW! That is in response to the monopoly on oil and gas.

        • I think the Norwegian “hot blondes” thing is so bogus. Finland has lots of blondes. Sweden has lots of blondes. Norwegians run more to brown hair in my experience. I been through Norway at least three times, the length and breadth of the country. Brunettes. And your opinion on that, Lolinski?

        • My observation is there is definately both, though there is more blondes. Usually it is 50/50.

          Most important observation is probably that like any other country, Norway has beautiful women. I know because I have travelled a bit and observed the local population (nice way of saying that i gawked at good looking women passing by). What I am trying to say is that people under 40 (and a good deal over 40) are generaly good looking, especialy members of the opposite sex (this goes both ways).

        • Agree with the attractive bit, but that’s common enough in Europe. See, e.g., Spain.

      • Several issues with your theory:

        1) Historically, the Turks have not faired well against Russia in military conflicts.
        2) Turkey is a member of NATO and would need NATO authorization to mount any sort of pre-emptive action in the Black Sea, especially against Russian forces, which would be EXTREMELY problematic.
        3) The Russian navy is already the dominant naval force on the Black Sea and except for the Bosporus Straight Turkey has little influence on their activities.
        4) As mentioned in the “Turkey is in NATO” point, an attempt to block Russian ships from using the Straight of Bosporus would likely be a severe provocation, possibly an act of war, which NATO would not have the stomach for.

        NATO can’t agree that Iran shouldn’t have nuclear weapons, are they going to go to war with Russia over Crimea?

        • Turkey wouldn’t technically need NATO approval to attack Russia (though diplomatically it would be hard to imagine them going it alone). The problem is that Turkey would not longer receive NATO support if the Russians (and their proxies) counterattacked, which isn’t a protection they are likely to surrender.

        • Not that I think Turkey is going to do anything but the Turkish Army would outnumber the Russian forces. They are also better trained than the Russians, have comparable equipment and more than likely have local air superiority. As I said above, the Russian military isn’t the “Big Read Machine” anymore. Their only reliable force is the one they are using in the Crimea.

  11. Also, has the Zenit muzzle device been demonstrated to be better at reducing recoil and muzzle drift than the traditional Half Moon and Zig Zag ’74 style muzzle devices?
    Or is it just tacticool?

    • I think it’s actually natural gas, but I think you’re on the right track.

      The other thing to remember is Putin and his cronies are KGB through and through. They just dropped the facade of “GREAT SOCIALIST REVOLUTION” and are pretty blatant about it being “Russia for Russians (named Putin & Co.)”. The USSR breaking up has never sat well with the autocrats in charge. Putin’s trying to form his Trade Union of Former Soviet Socialist Republics to address this.

      • What would be funny, if it were not infuriating, is the drivel coming out of some far-left groups that never got the news that the USSR broke up a quarter century ago, and that the present Russian government is a petro-oligarchy of mobsters, leveraging a fundamentalist Orthodox church, ethnic chauvinism, and homophobic laws to distract the population from their kleptocracy. Google “Centre for Research on Globalization”+”Ukraine” and be amazed at the pro-Putin propaganda. These people are as disgusting as the Michael Parenti types who denied that ethnic cleansing occurred in Kosovo, or that the Khmers Rouges committed wholesale slaughter.

        • “homophobic”??? despising the sodomy lobby has something to do with this? You forgot to preach for the legalization of pot.

      • “Trade Union of Former Soviet Socialist Republics”? Unacceptable! Do you have any idea how long it will take before the acronym for this will roll off the tongue like ‘USSR’ used to?

        Just imagine trying to sing ‘ . . .back in the, back in the, back in the TUFSSR!’

        Also, how much creativity must one lack to have a Union of Soviet Socialist Republics well established, have it fail, and attempt to reassemble it under a new name which is still Union of Soviet Socialist Republics with ‘Trade’ and ‘Former’ pasted in. Will we see the old CCCP plastered everywhere with editors carets adding the Cyrillic letters for trade and former in the proper places (it would make an interesting image, perhaps on a submarine or a missile)?

    • A sensible man, who hits the nail on the head.

      Azerbaijan is a friendly, pro-Western Shi’a Muslim country that would love to sell oil and gas to Europe…but this would compete with the likes of Gazprom.

      • Azerbaijan is already selling oil and gas, esp. oil. Where do you think most of the country’s budget comes from?

      • “…a friendly, pro-Western Shi’a Muslim country…”

        I am not that familiar with Azerbaijan politics, however, I’m pretty sure that the statement above, regardless of what they might WANT us to believe, is an oxymoron. If they are friendly, or seem to be pro-western, it is only because they want our money. If it came right down to: “Are we pro-western or are we Shi’a Muslim?” their can be little doubt which side their answer would fall on.

        • They are Shia Muslim nominally, but they’re not a particularly religious country – less so than Turkey, even. People identify with that religion as a matter of national and cultural identity, but they are not strictly observing, and you don’t e.g. see women wearing veils, or the entire country stop when it’s time for one of the daily prayers. In that sense they’re kinda like Tatars in Russia.

  12. Modern might be a relative term, here. The Russians made a big deal about how they were going to do “precision bombing” in Chechnya, then basically carpet-bombed Grozny, WW2-style. In Georgia they rolled a bunch of tanks, artillery and infantry to take over South Ossetia, which is a very small piece of real estate. They’ve sent a small number (the average of the news reports seems to be around 30,000) of troops into Crimea, but eastern Ukraine directly borders Russia so you have to count however many Russian troops are right across the border, which is most of them since Moscow is a day’s drive from Kiev. If they go at it, I predict the result will look more like the Yugoslav wars than Afghanistan.

    The parallels to 1936 are eerie, with the showcase Olympics in the dictator’s country followed soon after by military actions that all the educated intellectuals insisted were things of the past that would never happen in the evolved, modern world. I wonder how many Poles are looking up real estate prices in the western parts of their country right now…

    • With Russian attitudes towards the rebels in Chechnya and the depredations of the local ethnic Russian population at the hands of the Chechens, the Russian concept of “Precision bombing” very likely meant the complete destruction of every building inside the borders of Grozny. That was precisely their aim. You can be sure, given the equipment and opportunity, that would also have been the aim of the Chechens for any Russian city they could have reached.

      • Seed squatters in territory of your neighbors then cry about anything that happens (which you initiate). Has that EVER happened before?

        • Dipshit. Russians in Crimea predate the existence of a Ukrainian state by several centuries. Crime was not “Ukrainian” until the 1950s and first became Russian in the 18th century. Crimea has had an independence movement from Ukraine for almost two decades. They are virtually autonomous even before the coup in Kiev. My family has lived in Crimea for more than two centuries, in Ukraine for almost a full century.

          Sit down and shut up.

  13. Facebook group: Ak Operators Union, Local 47-74 displays this kinda gun pron daily. I have even ordered some hardware they highlighted.

  14. A lot of the reason for all of this going on , is that the Saudi’s wanted an oil pipeline to go to Europe , but it would have to go through Syria , then the Saudi’s told the US that they would pay the US to get Syria out of the way , so Islamic terroristic mercenaries were hired to take on the legitimate government of Syria , intent on toppling it . Then Russia along with China , since they have a mutual aide agreement , joined and advised the US and other NATO members to not get any further involved . At this time , if you have access to RT television , it has been stated by witnesses that there were US ,UK , and German agitators in Kiev promoting a takeover of the Legitimate government in power , which was friendly with Russia , and I might add there is a pipeline that leads to Europe from Russia , are ya’ll putting two and two together yet? Someone wants to cut Russia out of having access to shipping oil to Europe and leaving the Saudi’s the only choice . As for the weapons you have here , myself I put more trust in them than weapons our military has , been there done that , when your bacon is out there sometimes simple is better . Be prepared and ready. Keep your powder dry.

    • RT? Russian Times? THAT’S your super duper source of secret information? If Putin stepped in dog shit, he (and thus, RT) would claim it was part of a vast Western (and perhaps Zionist) conspiracy to undermine the Great Russian Motherland.

      There are a few things RT can be very enlightening about. Anything to do with Russian foreign policy is not one of them.

  15. Oh by the way the shovel on the soldier at the top of the article ,on his right side , is used as a weapon , these are special ops troops , I would say Spetznaz , or there mobile Marines , these are very well trained troops . As you can see they have no worries showing on what you can see on their faces , strict discipline does this . Be prepared and ready. Keep your powder dry.

    • There’s nothing special or magic about “spetsnaz shovel”. It’s just an entrenching tool that is used by all branches of the Russian military, including army and marines. Yes, some special units also train to fight with them, and even for non-special units it may come in handy for things other than digging out trenches, but it’s primary purpose is still the latter.

  16. Holy crap, those guys are Russian? I thought they were Connecticut SWAT teams confiscating “assault weapons” in New Haven.

    • If in doubt when attempting an ID, the CT SWAT will be the guys with the higher-quality armored vehicles, and will be pointing their weapons at every person in sight. All dogs will be lying tits up and not breathing..

    • Yeah, I thought the same thing at first…

      Then I realized none of the masked, ninja commandos were grossly over weight. So, I knew they couldn’t be America’s masked, ninja commandos.

      The other nations of the world have yet to pick up on the necessity of the tactical beer belly.

  17. I’ll take this over “the Guns of the CT Insurrection” any day of the week, fellas.
    And the comments have been more enlightening than any of the coverage I’ve seen.

  18. My guess is these are not well armed ethnic Russian Ukrainians. This is a RF special forces raid with the intention of provoking an armed response from Ukrainian troops. Once bullets start flying, Putin will have the excuse he needs to send in tanks to “protect” the ethnic Russian population.

    • It is much more likely that these troops are in fact there to protect the ethnic Russians who have lived there for centuries and other Russian interests in the Black Sea, from the newly installed pro-western government in Kiev.

      Putin is no dummy and I think he would like to see this resolved by a massive show of force (brandishing) without having to start a shooting war that Ukraine knows it would lose anyway. The chances of any other country, much less the U.S., going to war over this are extremely small.

      Kiev has no military option here and if Putin wanted a shooting war he could have initiated it and Ukraine would not stand a chance. Any Ukrainian force or soldier who fires a shot at any of the “Russian” troops now in Crimea would be an absolute idiot.

  19. So people want to believe that random paramilitary units sprang up everywhere at once, neglecting the fact that Russia (read USSR) has done exactly this shit in the past? Hello, Afghanistan?! And, wait for it… Nazi Germany did it before!

    This tinfoil hat bridage crap is beyond bizarre. I’m sure all these guys’ wives are resupplying them with food, water, and ammo, too. lol

      • Don’t forget Rurik and Kievan Rus. The history of the area within the boundaries of present Ukraine is one of ceaseless invasions and re-populations since at least AD (CE, if you like) 800.

  20. I’ve been checking out their equipment all week. Even a blind person can see they are Russian military. It looks like some of their gear and equipment is still copying US equipment. I might have to copy an AK build now as I like the folding stocks.

    Also a lot of people don’t understand what’s going on in Crimea. Prior to 1945, Crimea was home of the Tatars. After WW2, stalin got ticked off that the Tartars were supportive of the Germans and had them forcibly moved out of Crimea. He then moved Russians peasants in to occupy Crimea, right into the already standings houses of the Tartars. Stalin did this all over in their acquired territories, moving Russians in to live in various regions. Now fast forward a few decades and you have second, third or fourth generation Russians living in Crimea. The Tartars who still live there or moved back are usually supportive of Ukraine. The Russians living Crimea are of course supportive of Russia. Having a Russian population in a country gives Russia an easy excuse to meddle in the affairs of that country. You can see that happening now with Putin saying he has to protect the Russian speaking people of Crimea. There is also a lot of fear mongering that Ukrainians are going to persecute the Russian speakers. I find that ridiculous because if you visit Kiev, everybody and their grandma speaks Russian because it was once part of the Soviet Union. In the villages and the west, more people speak Ukrainian.

    • Let me quibble: The Crimea was “a” home of Tatars, the remnent of the Crimean Khanate. The Russian population has been substantial for hundreds of years. In 1905 the Tatar population in Crimea was about the same (ca.600,000) as that of Tatarstan (ca.500.000). Today I think Tatars are but 12 or 13% of the Crimean population. The Tatars are more strongly associated with the Volga basin and the islamic regions of Kazakstan etc.

      I don’t think ethnic Russians are very enamored of the Islamic (mostly) Tatars, or Islam generally. I would expect Russia to protect its lines against any marginalization of ethic Russian or Eastern Orthodox populations.

      • Yeah, you are right on the population. I forgot to put this in there as I was half asleep last night when I wrote it, after the Russian empire claimed Crimea there were Russians living there for a long time before 1945 and the resettlement of people. I am sure Russia is not enamored with the Islamic Tartars. The track record with islamic groups in Russia hasn’t been pleasant especially after Chechnya and Dagestan. I think they still have operations ongoing in the Caucus region. I think the Tartars make up about 15% of the current population from what I was reading this week.

    • As a person with family members who ARE ethnically Russian Ukrainians, I can confirm that even before the coup, Ukrainians persecuted ethnic Russians.

  21. Russia indisputably has an immediate and direct national security interest in what happens in the Ukraine. As mentioned here previously, it has multiple natural gas lines that export gas from Russia to Europe and bring Russia millions and millions in hard currency in return. it cannot economically afford to risk that asset. Second, it has its naval base at Sevastopol, a base that gives Russia unchallenged control over the Black Sea, and the Black Sea gives it ready access to the Mediterranean. Again, it cannot afford any threat to that asset. He has a far better excuse going into Ukraine than we did going into Iraq or Afghanistan.
    I really don’t think that Putin cares who is in charge in Ukraine–as long as that government assures Russia’s critical national interests. Putin does not want to occupy Ukraine or run the country (although I would not be surprised if he annexed Crimea or assisted it in gaining independence from Ukraine), he just want to cut a deal–his deal–and he is used to making deals at the point of a gun, just as he did in Georgia. But this time he is using his elite troops, not just a bunch of conscripts and worn out equipment, all the better, in a blitzkrieg kind of way, of limiting bloodshed. So far he has succeeded brilliantly. and other than sanctions, there is not a damn thing that the US or NATO can or will do about it.

  22. How come half of the soldiers I’ve seen walking around this warzone don’t have any magazines in their AKs?

    • Because it’s not actually a warzone (yet?). So far, not a single shot was fired by either Russian or Ukrainian troops in Crimea. Basically, Ukrainians retreated to their army bases and stand ready, while Russians encircle them and also stand ready. In a few places they’ve tried to negotiate the “surrender of control”, whereby Ukrainian soldiers are supposed to lay down weapons and leave the area freely – sometimes successful, sometimes not. In some areas, they have negotiated “cooperative security”, where Russian soldiers are posted alongside Ukrainian ones on the security perimeter of the base. In one case, Russians did actually attack the Ukrainian garrison in order to disarm them – with flashbang grenades (successfully).

      Basically, Russian troops were ordered to take over Crimea, but apparently the RoE is to not fire the first shot. OTOH, Ukrainian troops were not told anything specific, and the only order that they’ve got from Kiev is to “avoid confrontation”. So we have this weird state where Crimea is basically occupied, but Ukrainian army units are still all over it doing nothing, yet not disarming.

  23. Every blog mentioning the Russian illegal invasion of Ukraine has these new and exiting trolls spouting the Putin version of events.

    Hilarious.

  24. >> You guys seem to forget that a very large percentage of Ukrainian citizens are ethnically Russian. Yanukovich was elected by these people and the fact that their votes were basically ignored is bound to get them nervous.

    According to the polls, the very large percentage in question is something like 15-20%. There are also plenty of Ukrainians who mainly speak Russian (but still consider themselves Ukrainian and answer as such if asked in a poll). Some identify on the basis of citizenship and not ethnicity etc.

    Yanukovich was originally elected under a different constitution, the one that gave him much less powers. One of the first things that he did was force the supreme court to declare the new constitution adopted in 2004 invalid, and revert the country to the old one; that was, effectively, a coup. At that point it doesn’t really matter if he was elected or not.

  25. >> From what I know, the U.S., the E.U., and Russia were all part of a treaty ensuring the security of Ukraine when the USSR broke apart.

    It’s pretty short, read it:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budapest_Memorandum

    The gist of it is that US, UK and Russia have collectively pledged to guarantee Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, in compensation for Ukraine turning over its nukes (to Russia) which it inherited from the USSR. It was a condition on which Ukraine agreed to sign the nuclear non-proliferation treaty as a country that does not possess nukes (and therefore forgoes any future claim to have them).

    It has been clearly breached by Russia now, but the only obvious implication of that is that Ukraine is likely no longer bound by the NPT and could acquire nukes if it wanted to and had the capability. It doesn’t have any explicit clauses that require other signatories to enforce it, though some argue that this is clear from the spirit of the memorandum if not the precise wording. Yet others argue that as it is a memorandum and not a treaty, it’s really just a statement of intent and not a binding pledge.

    • Treaty or not, this was enacted when Ukraine was under an entirely different government. I would argue that the forced removal of an elected president and installation of an interim government makes all prior treaties null and void.

      No international treaty can be considered as sacrosanct for all time when the political actions of countries are forever fluid. I seem to recall that Hitler and Stalin had a treaty at one point to. When Hitler violated that treaty was Stalin supposed to continue observing it?

      Political situations change and sometimes treaties have to be ignored or re-negotiated. I think this may be one of those times.

      • “Political situations change and sometimes treaties have to be ignored” Funny, Hitler said the same thing.

      • >> Treaty or not, this was enacted when Ukraine was under an entirely different government. I would argue that the forced removal of an elected president and installation of an interim government makes all prior treaties null and void.

        Ukraine had changed a lot of governments in the 20 years since the memorandum was signed. There was at least one case of massive public protests in the aftermath of electoral fraud causing the results to be dismissed and re-election to run. This could have been the case here too, but Yanukovich escalated it to a full-fledged revolution by ordering his troops to fire at the protesters, and then fleeing the country when it didn’t work.

        That’s not how international treaties work. Generally speaking, when a government signs a treaty, it signs it on behalf of the country, and so long as future governments, no matter how they come to power, are considered legitimate and do not explicitly withdraw their support for the treaty, it remains in force. E.g. Bolsheviks had to explicitly denounce all treaties and all debts of the Imperial government in the aftermath of their revolution.

        You should also understand that the “elected president” line does not fully describe what happened here. Yes, Yanukovich was originally elected in 2010, but it was under a different Constitution – the one that was adopted in the aftermath of the protests in 2004, and was meant to weaken the presidential office and give more power to parliament so as to prevent the president from becoming dictatorial. Very shortly after his election, however, he pressured the Supreme Court of the country to declare the 2004 constitution invalid, and revert the country to the old one. Four SC judges have actually resigned rather than sign that decision. This was extremely controversial, and many people have considered it an outright coup.

        Furthermore, later during the protests themselves, on January 16, the president and his party passed a bunch of laws that became known as “dictatorship laws”. Go ahead and read them for yourself, then tell me if that guy still looks legitimate to you: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-protest_laws_in_Ukraine#Provisions

        >> No international treaty can be considered as sacrosanct for all time when the political actions of countries are forever fluid. I seem to recall that Hitler and Stalin had a treaty at one point to. When Hitler violated that treaty was Stalin supposed to continue observing it?

        When Hitler violated the treaty, it became null and void, just like any contract. But that was an explicit violation – in other words, doing something that directly contradicts the pledges made in the treaty. OTOH, the Budapest Memorandum did not say anything about being dependent on which government is in power in the state, so the revolution does not violate the treaty in any way – it is strictly an internal affair of Ukraine. The only thing that Ukraine could do that would violate the treaty, is developing its own nuclear weapons.

  26. These are not Ukrainian paramilitary forces. Not only are they wearing newly issued ratnik uniforms, but the Russian Federation, is not going to be handing out the weapons that their front line troops are armed with especially if they have eotech sights on them.. I wouldn’t be suprised that the first Russian boots on the ground weren’t spetsnaz securing the airport.

  27. I have been surprised by two things watching the video and still images. First is the common use of optics. The second is that I ‘ve noticed a number of these Russkies or Crimean nationals without mags in the guns. Wonder if they have an ammo shortage too? Lol

  28. PW,
    The reality is the Russian army is a joke that can barely function. Sending in Spetsnaz like this gives the idiots of the world the idea that Russia is only interested in giving the Ukrainians the ability to map their own future. Rolling in barely functional divisions would shatter the illusion of the powerful Russian army.

    • I don’t like Russia much but I think you are underestimating them. Sometimes I think they are doing it on purpose, to make people underestimate them. If they drove the Nazi war machine out, they can crush Ukraine.

      • You need to do some reading. Start with WWII (in particular logistics/”Lend Lease”) then 1980-2000.

        • … and you think that Ukraine can take the armed forces of the Russian Federation? When more than a third of their general population and a vast majority in the actual regions involved would welcome Russian citizenship?

          I take it back, you’re MODERATED

        • Neiowa, approximately 90% of the fighting and dying in WWII was on the eastern front. As for logistics, the movement and rebuilding of aircraft and other manufacturing to the Ural region is worth a look. Compare the efforts (both in soldiering and manufacturing) of the Russians in WWII to those of, say, the French. Or Italians. Or Spaniards. Or Swedes.

          Which brings to mind the Swedish allowing the Germans to use the Swedish rail system to transport troops to and from Norway, the continued sale of iron ore and ball bearings to Germany, etc. Neutral? Sure. Complicated world.

        • Everyone knows that Afghanistan is a hostile place, there is a reason for quotes like:

          “Afghanistan—where empires go to die. ”
          ― Mike Malloy

          or my personal favorite:

          “You go to war in Afghanistan — And everybody dies.”

          Both the Russians and Brits were taught this.

  29. What is with everone knocking the AK? Its a good weapon, sometimes a little rough around the edges; mostly the US importers fault,(Century: you’ve f’d up a gun I’ve had the displeasure of owning) but are otherwise functional.

    • Given that he’s the only one trying to maintain order in Ukraine when a bunch of lawless radicals decided they didn’t like the results of a democratic election… Yeah…

      Was Yanukovich a scumbag? Yes. However, he was a lawfully elected scumbag. The anarchists in Kiev violated the rights of everyone who voted for him. (Which includes an overwhelming majority of people in Crimea.) What guarantee do those people have that the radicals will stop there?

        • No… Someone who believes in the rule of law. You can’t stage a coup and then play victim when large areas of the country don’t want to play ball and ask their neighbors for help.

          The proper solution to the standoff in Kiev was a negotiated settlement and a national referendum. The fact that the radicals in Kiev decided to run a democratically elected president out of town makes their entire government illegitimate. (or if it is, in fact, legitimate… It’s a lesson we American’s should take to heart. Apparently overthrowing a democratically elected president is A-OK according to Obama.)

        • I think if advancing the ‘rule of law’ is your agenda, the place to see it come into existence should be Moscow. That would be such an entertaining novelty.

      • And as the situation further develops pwrserge is revealed as another source of the Disinformation campaign waged along with invasions.

        Not. Shocked.

        • As I said, scumbag, I’ve been here for almost two years. Keep your paranoia to yourself.

        • @pwrserge
          Willing participant or useful idiot. Hell Stalin had most of the US left denying that he was killing his own people until well after his death. Nothing new here.

          Account age does nothing to prove or disprove credibility.

  30. Obozo is setting himself up for back to back punk bitch of the year awards. First Putin and Syria and now Putin and Ukraine. While obozo is a little bitch I prefer he does nothing, it’s not our business.

    …now, back to guns…. I love that grenade launcher. I wonder if they were filled with tear gas or HE?

  31. Kudos to CliffH for a balanced sit rep. However the analogy with SanDiego County is wrong. The way I see it here is a better analogy to what had happened in Ukraine so far. Say A rogue group of Canadians instrumented a coupe in California, burned down some gov property, chased out legislators, installed a people’s governor (also a canadian). French is about to become and official language. The police had self disbanded after having received multiple death threats to them and their families. California is on the brink of civil war, as near half of population is mexican and they don’t want those canadians in charge. Mexico, sharing the border with CA is very interested in not having a refuge crisis at the border with thousands of mexican-americans potentially leaving san diego for mexico 🙂 . So they move in about a 100 federal troops that replace now absent police and maintain law and order in the street. Until the situation is settled and San Diegans can vote on their future.

  32. Regulars or local militia? In all the coverage of all the militias I’ve seen from around the world a couple of things stand out. True local militias are compsed of the very young and the very old with all ages in between, They’re raggedly dressed and armed and their transport is a hodgpodge of mismatched vehicles.

    The guys in the Ukraine are all young and fit and uniformly armed and equipped. They’re regulars.

    • Don’t forget that up until very recently Ukraine had universal military service. Finding a bunch of fit young men with training would not be difficult.

      • You’re streatching too hard for this one Serge. An uprising by citizens to quell, as you called it, the overthrow of the legally elected government would include all ages and types. These guys are regulars. To call them anything else just lessens your credibilty.

        • Ah… But whose “regulars”? Don’t forget Crimea has had a strong independence movement for decades. These could just as easily be small units formerly from the Ukrainian military that have been re-equiped by their Russian “allies”.

      • If there ever was any legitimate question, this sets the issue to rest:

        The Russian military has given Ukrainian forces in Crimea until 5 a.m. Tuesday (10 p.m. ET Monday) to surrender or face a “storm,” Interfax news agency reported.

        “If they do not surrender by 5 a.m. tomorrow, we will start a real storm in Ukrainian bases in Crimea,” according to the statement sent by the Russians to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, a ministry source told Interfax. NBC News could not immediately confirm the report.

        The ultimatum was attributed to Alexandr Vitko, chief commander of Russia’s Black Sea fleet.

        • Until that same ultimatum is released by a Russian source we have only the Ukrainian’s word on this. We’ll see in a few hours. I really hope that’s not the case.

  33. [Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs] Lavrov justified the deployment of Russian troops in Ukraine as a necessary protection for his country’s citizens living there. “This is a question of defending our citizens and compatriots, ensuring human rights, especially the right to life,” Lavrov said.
    http://wtop.com/?nid=220&sid=3573747&pid=0&page=2

    Russia has thrown the Sudetenland card on the table.

    • Given that the overwhelming majority of the Crimean population actually IS Russian and have been trying to secede from Ukraine for two decades… It’s a valid card.

      • So, if Mexico wants to send troops into CA, AZ, New Mexico and Texas you’re good with that? These states actually belonged to Mexico at one time and they have a very large population of Mexicans in them.

      • Luckily there was a poll recently (run February 8 to 18 of this year) on just this question:

        http://bm.img.com.ua/berlin/storage/video/300×200/b/cc/bf175f98a6fe837e34ff30f6b8590ccb.jpg

        These are the percentages of people who said that they want their region to be a part of Russia rather than Ukraine. The top is 41% is Crimea. Granted, this was a week or two before they kicked out Yanukovich, so now those percentages are going to be a little bit higher, so I’d believe 50+% in Crimea. But definitely not everyone or even the “overwhelming majority”.

  34. “I was not elected to watch my people suffer and die while you discuss this invasion in a committee!”

    I can see NATO and the EU discussing all this and doing nothing while the Russians invade their neighbor. Call it the modern Sudetenland or the Russified Bush Doctrine, but I really see the rest of the world standing by and letting the Russian invade a sovereign nation. Ukraine better be scared and mobilize their army…..show of meaningful force will make Putin back down.

    • >> Ukraine better be scared and mobilize their army…..show of meaningful force will make Putin back down.

      The problem is that Ukraine doesn’t really have much meaningful force to show on its own – certainly not enough to be a match for Russia – and Putin knows it full well. He won’t back down unless he’s facing a more credible threat.

      The overall attitude among Russian citizens also seems to be very brazen, more or less along the lines of “finally” and “let’s kick some more ass”.

  35. What about ukraine’s weapons ? Isn’t it a possibility that ukraine bought guns to Russia ? I mean Russia use French made boat, but that doesn’t mean France attacks Ukraine ? And it isn’t because somali pirates use AK-47 that they are Russian.

    Weapons and military forces are two differents things.

    • T, it’s not about the weapons per se. Russia and Ukraine both use AK-74, for example, since they both are ex-Soviet republics and still maintain most of the same weaponty. It’s all the other equipment: most telling are uniforms (Russia introduced the new digital camo in 2008, Ukraine is still on old 1980s-era Soviet camo), but also helmets, load bearing vests etc. All of these match precisely the current loadout of the Russian armed forces; the only noticeable difference is that identifying patches are absent.

  36. That may be an AK 103, the difference is that the AK 74 has a fixed stock, while the 103 has a stock that flips to the side. There’s also been an uptick in Russians using sights like the eotech instead of their own knockoffs, this also goes for helmets and plate carriers.

    • Nope, that’s AK-74M, which also has folding stock, and is the primary service rifle of Russian armed forces since 1991.

      Also, AK-103 is chambered in 7.62×39, so the magazine curve is quite distinctive. The only guns in the AK-1xx series chambered in the standard Russian 5.45×39 are AK-105 (which is a 12 inch short carbine), and AK-107 (with balanced automatics). Neither are a direct replacement for AK-74M.

  37. Nick,

    I would be interested if anyone has done a similar analysis of weapons used in Eastern Ukraine.

    The personnel look like Spetznaz to me.

    New uniforms, airborne AK’s, serious chain of command (the few videos I have seen).

    Any ideas of anyone doing that analysis yet?

    Wayne
    Luvsiesous.com

    • There hasn’t been anything there that looks like a well-organized force – it’s a rather varied mix of uniforms and firearms. Most uniforms seem to be those of the Ukrainian border guard – unlike Russian digital camo seen in Crimea, this is much older and is readily available for purchase. Firearms are mostly AK-74 (the original one, with non-folding stock – not the newer AK-74M that is the standard issue firearm of Russian armed forces, which is the one we’ve seen in Crimea) – I suspect that you confused the fixed steel frame stock with the “airborne” version, but it’s not. Some people carry even ARs (of local manufacture – Zbroyar makes a pretty decent semi-auto AR in Ukraine)..

  38. @pwrserge

    If there was no Russification of Crimea what happened to all the tartars who lived there? They seem a bit pissed off, something to do with Stalin deporting the pop to gulags?

  39. American Men Risk Lives to Find Love Abroad

    Mass protests. Snipers. Political unrest. The threat of martial law. Nothing seems to dissuade American men from traveling to Ukraine in search of love.

    Ukraine, that little country whose borders are currently under siege by masses of Russian troops to the East, has been in the news a lot lately. A time-line of critical events in the country’s last 6 months would read something like: November: Ukrainian President abandons bid to join European Union / Pro EU – Anti Government Protests Develop as thousands of protesters gather in Independent Square, Kiev. December: As protests grow to 300,000, activists seize government buildings. January: Draconian anti-protests laws are enacted, then repealed as protests grow. February: Protesters are shot by Ukrainian secret police, almost 100 people die. President Yanukovich is overthrown and leaves country. Russian troops amass on the Ukrainian borders. Armed men seize Crimean airport. March: Russia invades Crimea, fires warning shots to unarmed Ukrainian soldiers trying to recapture Crimean airport. Mass protests, supporting both sides, organize and march in city centers throughout Ukraine. April: Russia threatens to invade other cities in Ukraine’s Eastern front. Indeed, the political situation in Ukraine is unstable and volatile enough to erupt into chaos in any given area and at any given time.

    But why should any of that stop a determined guy from getting on a plane to go right to the heart of conflicted areas to find a wife!

    A number of undeterred Romeo’s, armed with a US passport and all the objectivity of a bull elk during rutting season, are getting aboard planes bound for Ukraine’s far east. Their mission: to court, seduce and ultimately marry one of the thousands of beautiful Ukrainian women who may be more determined than ever to find a husband and get out of Dodge. Phoenix-based A Foreign Affair, the last international dating company to still operate group romance travel tours to Ukraine, offers their clients the opportunity to at least travel together with the support of an American tour leader and savvy locals to cities like Kiev, where AFA started conducting romance tours 15 years ago. A romance tour, lest you haven’t heard, is a 10 day, tightly orchestrated singles event where 2 dozen guys get the chance to meet literally hundreds of foreign women through a series of parties and individually arranged dates. CEO John Adams gets a daily briefing from staff abroad each morning, and then picks up his phone to clue in his upcoming tour clients. “We’ve taken double, even triple the precautions in making sure our guys are well informed of the risks as well as the rewards of travel to Ukraine right now,” Adams says, “including offering a complete refund all money if they decide to back out, and it’s clear that nothing is going to stop them from getting on that plane. It’s almost as if the more serious the situation gets in Ukraine, the more determined these guys are to go. We’re obviously concerned and doing as much as we can to present the facts to our guys, but until the situation reaches a level truly life-threatening, as long as they want to go, we’ll go.” Adams also told us of a romance tour currently underway in the cities of Dnepropetrovsk and Zaparozhye where socials have been attended by a “record number of women.”

    Virtually every city in Ukraine has experienced some level of protests or unrest, albeit with very few injuries or arrests per se. People on the ground are saying despite what you see in the news each day, life goes on. People go to work, come home, take their kids to swimming lessons, meet friends for a dinner out at the cafe.

    Are guys making their way to the front-lines going to get extra credit from Ukrainian ladies for making such a monumental effort? “I don’t know about that,” says Cory, an AFA tour client from the midwest, “but come to think of it I have been dumped by women before who left me for active military guys. It was like – ‘this guy gets shot at so he’s manlier.’ I mean seriously – what is that!” When asked if he was aware of the imminent risks involved in traveling to Ukraine for love – versus other, more peaceful destinations like the Philippines, one would-be foreign bride finder laughed. “Oh, sure. Absolutely. But there may not be a better time to try this. Think of the impact all of this has had on Ukrainian women, many of whom struggle to find a reliable life-mate in the best of times. If there’s gonna be any kind of a coup detat while I’m there – I hope I’m the one being occupied.”

  40. last photo in article, its not SVD.. rifle is made in russia, its originally for hunting and its called IZMASH Tigr… you can buy it everywhere in the world, except USA…. and i thought, this website is called truth about guns…. lol

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