(Igor Plotnitsky (Valeriy Melnikov, Sputnik))
I received a special email report yesterday from the OSCE about a bombing that damaged the car carrying LPR leader Igor Plotnitsky. But in the typical fashion of the OSCE’s email reports from the Donbass, it was vague on details. In subsequent hours, RT and The Duran have done more in-depth reporting.
The head of the Lugansk People’s Republic, Igor Plotnitsky, has been injured after an explosion rocked his car on the morning of August 6. It is reported he is undergoing surgery due to the injuries he received.
The incident took place in the city of Lugansk, the capital of LPR, the headquarters of the LPR People’s Militia told RIA Novosti. Two other people were injured.
It is not clear at present whether the blast occurred inside the car or near the vehicle.
“Plotnitsky is in a grave condition and is undergoing an operation,” a source told Interfax.
The explosion also reportedly damaged the facades of nearby buildings and shattered surrounding windows. Police have cordoned off the area where the explosion took place.
….Plotnitsky received shrapnel wounds, which caused damage to his liver and his spleen, a hospital source told Interfax.
An advisor to the head of the Security Service of Ukraine Yury Tandit told the 112 Ukrainechannel that Plotnitsky was deliberately targeted, adding that the LPR leader was in serious condition. “My sources report that an assassination attempt has been carried out,” he said.
A source in LPR General Prosecutor’s Office told Interfax that saboteurs could be behind the attack.
Viktor Poplavsky, an expert from Russia’s Defence Ministry, told the Life.ru news portal that he believed more than a kilo of explosives were used to create the bomb. “If the bomb was planted in the car or under the car, there would have been practically no chance of survival,” he said, adding that the explosive device might have been placed somewhere near Plotnitsky’s car.
Alexander Mercouris, over at The Duran, has provided some more context of what might be behind the attack, including in-fighting within the LPR:
Whilst there is a strong possibility that the assassination attempt was the work of the Ukrainian secret service the SBU, it is by no means impossible that it is the result of factional infighting within the Lugansk People’s Republic.
Whereas the political situation in the neighbouring Donetsk People’s Republic has stabilised with its leader Alexander Zakharchenko apparently both effective and popular, the same has not been true of the Lugansk People’s Republic where Igor Plotnitsky is a controversial figure and where there has been a string of unsolved murders going back to the early part of last year.
The most notorious of these murders was the one in May last year when the popular militia leader Alexey Mozgovoy was killed in a roadside ambush. Mozgovoy was a known critic of Plotnitsky’s and was opposed to the Minsk II peace process, which Plotnitsky, Zakharchenko and Russia have all backed. Inevitably Plotnitsky was accused by some of Mozgovoy’s murder, though evidence for that is slight. Others blame the Ukrainian SBU. The Ukrainians, for their part, predictably blame Mozgovoy’s murder on Russia’s military intelligence agency the GRU.
The continued instability in the Lugansk People’s Republic must be causing the Russian authorities serious concern. Whatever their long term aims for Ukraine, the Russians need the two people’s republics to be politically stable if the Minsk II process to which they are committed is to have any chance of success. Almost certainly, in the aftermath of the assassination attempt there will be concerned discussions underway in Moscow about what can be done to stabilise the situation in the Lugansk People’s Republic. It is not impossible that the Russian authorities will take a hand in the investigation of the assassination attempt.
I will keep up with this story and post any substantive updates I find.
A couple of weeks back, I posted a link and excerpt regarding The Intercept‘s report that former NATO commander General Philip Breedlove’s personal emails had been hacked, including some exchanges with other hawkish academics and military leaders, such as retired General Wesley Clark, that revealed Breedlove’s active attempts to undermine president Obama’s relatively tempered approach to dealing with the Ukraine crisis by using mendacious public claims in order to escalate the crisis in support of the coup government in Kiev.
Der Spiegel has now published a more thorough investigative report with respect to those hacked emails.
The newly leaked emails reveal a clandestine network of Western agitators around the NATO military chief, whose presence fueled the conflict in Ukraine. Many allies found in Breedlove’s alarmist public statements about alleged large Russian troop movements cause for concern early on. Earlier this year, the general was assuring the world that US European Command was “deterring Russia now and preparing to fight and win if necessary.”
The emails document for the first time the questionable sources from whom Breedlove was getting his information. He had exaggerated Russian activities in eastern Ukraine with the overt goal of delivering weapons to Kiev.
The general and his likeminded colleagues perceived US President Barack Obama, the commander-in-chief of all American forces, as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel as obstacles. Obama and Merkel were being “politically naive & counter-productive” in their calls for de-escalation, according to Phillip Karber, a central figure in Breedlove’s network who was feeding information from Ukraine to the general.
“I think POTUS sees us as a threat that must be minimized,… ie do not get me into a war????” Breedlove wrote in one email, using the acronym for the president of the United States. How could Obama be persuaded to be more “engaged” in the conflict in Ukraine — read: deliver weapons — Breedlove had asked former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Breedlove sought counsel from some very prominent people, his emails show. Among them were Wesley Clark, Breedlove’s predecessor at NATO, Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs at the State Department, and Geoffrey Pyatt, the US ambassador to Kiev.
One name that kept popping up was Phillip Karber, an adjunct assistant professor at Georgetown University in Washington DC and president of the Potomac Foundation, a conservative think tank founded by the former defense contractor BDM. By its own account, the foundation has helped eastern European countries prepare their accession into NATO. Now the Ukrainian parliament and the government in Kiev were asking Karber for help.
Regular readers here need no introduction to Victoria Nuland and Wesley Clark , two dangerous warmongers. Both the Der Spiegel and Intercept articles go into more about Phillip Karber and I encourage readers to follow the links to both articles and read them in their entirety.
Meanwhile, Russia has invited officials from NATO for discussions toward the goal of de-escalating tensions between the two.
Russia has proposed to NATO a “positive program” for developing relations, aimed at decreasing tensions between Moscow and the US-led military bloc, Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said.
“NATO’s military experts have been invited to Moscow in September for consultations concerning military and political situation in Europe,” Antonov said in a statement to the media.
Russia is ready for a constructive dialogue with NATO despite differences in approach to the reasons and consequences of the decisions made at the bloc’s summit in Warsaw in July, Antonov stressed.
During the gathering in the Polish capital, NATO member states labeled Moscow “a source of instability” and ordered an increased military presence near Russian borders.
The decisions made at the summit have been thoroughly analyzed by Russian experts, Antonov said.
One of the issues to be discussed in September is military flights over the Baltic Sea.
According to Antonov, Russia is “considering the option of performing military flights over the Baltic only with ID transponders on,” but only if NATO does the same.
NATO’s military attaches have been informed of Moscow’s offer to review the earlier existing military programs in the format of Russia-NATO Council, Antonov said.
He noted that the renewal of the Cooperative Airspace initiative between NATO and Russia would be especially useful in the current situation.
Antonov said NATO states’ military attaches will also be invited as observers to Russian Army’s Kavkaz-2016 drills, which are planned for September.
“Russia’s Defense Ministry proposed to start exchanging assessments at a military level regarding the terrorist threat, primarily to counter the spread of IS [Islamic State, formerly ISIS/ISIL] and other terrorist organizations,” he said.
“Russia is also ready for cooperation to avoid incidents at sea and in the air, based on bilateral agreements and consultations with the defense ministries of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Sweden and Finland to address mutual concerns over military activities in the border areas,” Antonov said.