Ukraine starts to get its act together

Ukraine starts to get its act together

…yesterday, members of an SBU anti-terrorist unit got ambushed/dry-gulched by the separatists or Russian special forces, or both, and there is some evidence the attack took place as the SBU guys were trying to negotiate. In other words, the Russian/separatists murdered the SBU officers while pretending to be peaceful. I can’t say what the truth to that is but an upshot is, as one report puts it, now the SBU is “very dedicated to dealing with the separatist terrorists.”

This is SBU speak for “out for blood, since the Russians took theirs.” Now, Ukraine’s government is far from efficient, and some of it – like the Donetsk police force – may be fairly called rotten and corrupt.

But the SBU is a different animal, and I would not want them mad at me.

But of Ukrainian government organizations, almost any Ukraine observer will say the SBU is the most professional and contains the highest-quality staff. This is a simple continuation of the Soviet KGB professional standards. It is worth noting that, during both the Orange and Maidan revolutions the SBU in great part avoided taking sides. The reports in Ukrainian defense media (for instance, Konflikty i Zakoni) say that the SBU is taking the lead in dealing the the separatists, and that the operation will be systematic and “at times be a complete surprise for the terrorists.”

What I think this means is that the SBU will stick to the generic KGB uprising supression playbook. The first step is an information offensive to undermine the morale of the insurgents/terrorists. I suspect the report of the 10 separatists shot dead at an unknown Slavyansk checkpoint we might well credit to an SBU planner. It is hard to think of a rumor that would make a guy, usually a local cop or former military guy who has thrown his lot with the separatists, more nervous about manning a checkpoint out in the middle of an irate population.