Richard North, 17/04/2014  

000a BBC-017 2S9.jpg

Yesterday, we saw Armaggeddon on the cards, with a convoy of Ukrainian museum pieces marching on Slavyansk, slated by the Mail and others as the prelude to World War III. As it turned out, though, the great military cavalcade ground to a halt in the most humiliating of ways as pro-Russian separatists, backed by angry crowds, seized six of their toys and paraded them through the streets.

Shouts of "Russia! Russia!" from crowds gathered in the rebel-held eastern Ukrainian town of Slavyansk greeted the vehicles as they drove past the town hall. They had been taken earlier from Ukrainian troops in Kramatorsk, a 20-minute drive from Slavyansk, having been sent to dislodge an armed rebellion that is quickly consolidating control of the area.

The BBC is on the case and, as far as I can gather from their report, the activist stashed some of the liberated armour, which had the BBC's Gabriel Gatehouse haring off in search of them.

According to this girlie-boy, he duly found one of these "tanks", their trophy pictured above. And this is one of those rare times where you just love being a nerd. The "tank" – as will be obvious even to our regular ex-readers - isn't a tank.

This, of course, is a 2S9 Nona, a self-propelled 120mm mortar, first introduced into the military in 1981. This is one of those geriatric pieces of kit that has no real role in putting down a putative uprising, once again demonstrating the very obvious fact that this attempt at military intervention was not a serious play.

Despite the best attempts of the legacy media and western politicians to talk up the crisis, the immediate outcome of the current round of activity seems to have been the Russian acquisition of a few more museum exhibits, in an operation that even the warmongering Telegraph is admitting was a "fiasco". 

The provisional Ukrainian government has got serious egg on its face and WWIII has been postponed for a few millennia. It's over before it even started, about as real as the BBC's tanks. The media wuzzies will have to work a little harder if they want to get it up and running again, while the politicians will have to stack up some more air miles.

Meanwhile, in the face of western impotence and incompetence (a truly toxic mix),  the Russians and Ukrainians are getting on with "sorting" their problems between them, which really amounts to Ukraine doing what it's told. If you want an example of "fax democracy", I suppose Kiev is as good a place as any to start looking.


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