Still no news from Moscow, so I decided to quickly address a frequent misconception: US weapon deliveries and their effectiveness.
US weapons deliveries to the junta
US political culture and propaganda has deeply ingrained in the minds of those exposed to the corporate media the notion that weapons or technologies win wars. This is not so. Or, not really so.
Yes, when the difference in technologies is very big AND very wide, meaning a full generational change across most key weapon systems, this can help. But not one weapon system alone, and not when the difference in quality is marginal.
Furthermore, a simpler, more "primitive" weapon which totally outclassed on the testing range can suddenly become much better suited to real combat then some techno-marvel. This is, by the way, one of the biggest problems with US weapons. Here is how they are designed:
You take all the latest and most advanced technologies, put them together, then create a new "superior" design, then design a new mission profile to fit that design, then sell (figuratively and literally) the new concept to Congress, especially to those Congressmen who come from the districts where production is planned - and, voilà, you have your brand new top of the line US weapon. And the costs? Who cares?! Just print some more money, and that's it.
Russian weapons are designed in a totally different way:
Take a mission profile, determine a need, then take all the cheapest, simplest and most reliable technologies available and combine them into your weapon system, then have that prototype tested in military units, then modify the weapons system according to the military's reaction and then produce it.
In other words, US weapons are designed my engineers and produced by businessmen and politicians, they are not really designed for war at all. Russian weapons, in contrast, are ordered by the military and created by design bureau's and they have only one objective: real, dirty and ugly warfare.
This is why the good old MiG-29 could fly better with its old fashioned hydraulics then the F-18s with fly-by-wire. It was never that the Russians could not built fly-by-wire aircraft (the SU-27 already had it), but that for the MiG-29 design goals, it was not needed.
What I am getting at here is two things: a) US weapons are not nearly as good as their marketing and b) "older" Russian weapons are often much better for actual warfighting.
Let's say the US delivers large quantities of Javelin's to the junta. So what? All that Russia will have to do in reaction is deliver 9M133 Kornets to the Novorussians. Can you guess which system is both cheaper and better?
When the US gave the junta counter-battery radars what did Russia do? The same thing. Now both sides have them.
Now here comes the key question: which of the two sides relies more on armor and artillery? Exactly - the junta.
When confronted with a problems, Americans love to do to things: throw money at it and throw technological "solutions" at it. This never works, but that is what they are good at.
The fact is that even in the 21st century what wins wars is not money or fancy gear, but courage, determination, moral strength, will power and the rage which seizes you when faced with brute, ugly evil.
The junta forces have none of that. Their death squads (Aidar, Azov) can't fight a real ugly battle, and the regular military is demoralized. You can throw all the money and fancy gear at these guys, but they will never have the will power of the soldiers of Givi, Motorola or Mozgovoi.
The real reason why US weapon deliveries to the junta would be a big deal is not military, but political - it would be a visible sign of direct US aggression against Novorussia and, through it, Russia herself. That is why the Russians that the consequences of such deliveries on a large scale would be very serious. But in purely military terms, it would change very little.
Novorussian mobilization plans
Everybody has heard that Zakharchenko announced that he would mobilize 100'000 men on a volunteer basis (at least initially). Some believe that the idea here is purely to "match" the junta's plans. I don't think so. Let me explain why.
One of the biggest problems for the Novorussians has always been the inability to protect their flanks and put enough men in each town or location they hold. They have been very careful with this and this is why their forces did not end up trapped in "cauldrons" though the risk was real in Gorlovka and near Mariupol. The Novorussians plan to create three additional motor-rifle brigades which will allow them to not only enter, but hold much larger chunks of territory. These forces will not be ready anytime soon, but by late spring early summer the Novorussians might have enough forces to *safely* blockade Mariupol and secure the rest of the line of contact. These need not be highly trained crack assault forces, just normally trained motor-rifle battalions with additional fire support. And, remember, to hold a line you do not need a solider in a foxhole every couple of feet. You just need to hold a few key positions, have artillery support ready and a defensive reserve group.
So my belief is that what Zakharchenko was saying to the junta is this: "if you continue like this, we will soon be coming for you".
Anyway, let's see what the latest negotiations bring (if anything). I am personally very skeptical. We shall soon find out.