Several news sources are suggesting that troops from the US based mercenary company Academi, previously known as Blackwater and then Xe, have arrived by air at Kiev airport and have been deployed to eastern and southern Ukraine districts where the local populations are Russian speaking and generally more aligned to Russian influence than the Ukrainian tendency to align with the West.
The move follows the Russian’s deployment of what, according to the Daily Beast, seem to be mercenary troops from Russia’s own equivalent of America’s Academi mercenary outfit, a group called ‘Vnevedomstvenaya Okhrana’, who are currently deployed in Crimea ostensibly to protect Russian bases there and the Russian speaking people in the Crimea who align with Russia.
While diplomatic activity hopefully will diffuse the stand-off, the two opposing mercenary groups are consolidating their positions on the ground. Meanwhile, Russian regular troops are moving to the west of Russia and are engaged in various military exercises. As the US sends warnings against such ‘provocative’ exercises, neocon warhawks in America insist that the US move troops and airpower into former Warsaw Pact nations in east Europe and even post nuclear weapons to these now NATO nations.
On the diplomatic front, sanctions are being talked about. The big problem with sanctions, however, is that they are likely to hurt the West as much as it does Russia. Currently, Russia provides Europe with around a quarter of its gas, most of it via the Ukraine. Trade worth billions of dollars to both sides would be seriously disrupted. Sanctions in the long term could well be detrimental to Russia if Russia did not have anyone else to turn to. Sanctions though are only likely to push Russia even closer to China, and China, in turn, could make economic life in the West very difficult if it so chose to do in support of Russia.
At this stage, both sides are sabre-rattling with little likelihood of anything more than each side taking pot shots at each other. While this in itself can be dangerous and lead quickly to escalation, both sides realise that a full on hot war between Russia and the US is out of thee question. Both sides sending mercenaries to the region that may come to blows with each other may well be the extent of any further violence in the region.
Anything further is unimaginable.