According to a recent DailyMail article, among many other news sources, the U.S. has proof that Russia is launching rockets from multiple-launch vehicles within its own borders against government targets across the Ukrainian border. They are literally blasting away at Ukraine troops, and allegedly sending equipment and supplies to the rebel factions still holed up in eastern Ukraine.
What the hell is going on over there?
There are several graphics on the page that claim to be satellite imagery showing artillery within Russian territory launching rockets at deployed Ukrainian military units. Now my first thought is how the hell does anyone know if those are what they say they are and not whatever the hell the government wants them to be--what if Russia is telling the world the truth that the West is lying?
Let's assume that Russia is supplying and providing some support for the separatists in eastern Ukraine, what then? Russia has gone to great lengths, including enduring economic sanctions and general ridicule, to ensure instability in its neighbor. If they have no intention of occupying Ukraine as they did Crimea, why engage in this type of proxy war and endure international scorn?
If this intelligence is accurate, then the world response will be very interesting. If nobody stops Russia, then the comparisons to Germany will be inevitable--appeasement doesn't work, right? How far will NATO members go to contain these type of Cold War-era tactics? Is Russia planning something else?
Why tangle with the EU / US system, knowing it could mean the end of your leadership? Does Russia have a play with China that will balance out the equation? Imagine if they announced an alliance with China? Wooo! Wouldn't that make this game all that much more interesting?
Perhaps they know the simple truth: the West has lost its appetite for military conquest and might makes right, preferring smaller, drawn-out conflicts and diplomatic solutions. Perhaps Russia waited until the West was soft enough, like it was after WW1 when another war was unthinkable; an ongoing 'War on Terror' coupled with drawn-out conflicts, genocides, and disasters all over the world has sapped the West's will and economies. If there was ever a primetime to stir up the shit, now would be it.
Is Russia making a play, pushing Cold War II into a hot war and forcing the war-weary, cash-strapped West toward bankruptcy?