Russia and Ukraine Current Events

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Article:
MOSCOW/KYIV, Feb 17 (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden said on Thursday there was now every indication Russia was planning to invade Ukraine in the next few days and was preparing a pretext to justify it, after Ukrainian forces and pro-Moscow rebels traded fire in eastern Ukraine.

The Kremlin accused Biden of stoking tension and released a strongly worded letter which accused Washington of ignoring its security demands and threatened unspecified "military-technical measures". Moscow also ejected the number two official from the U.S. embassy.


Things are heating up in the Ukraine situation.

The last Ukraine thread got closed down for devolving into political arguments. Please keep this thread restricted to discussion of current events.
 

yoshy

New Member
The last Ukraine thread got closed down for devolving into political arguments. Please keep this thread restricted to discussion of current events.
My apologies for getting caught up in that.

On topic, there was some doubt in the previous thread about Russia's plans to use false flags to justify invasion. Some more on that:

NATO has ‘seen’ Russian false-flag attempts in Ukraine, Stoltenberg says​

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday the Western alliance has “seen attempts” by Russia to stage a false flag operation in Ukraine, amid reports of shelling in the east of the country.

“We are concerned that Russia is trying to stage a pretext for an armed attack against Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said at a press conference. There is “still no clarity, no certainty about Russia’s intentions,” he added.
https://www.reuters.com/world/europ...e-west-moscow-dispute-troop-moves-2022-02-17/

Putin baselessly claims 'genocide' is happening in areas of Ukraine controlled by Kremlin-backed rebels​

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday claimed, without evidence, that "genocide" is occurring in the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine, where Kremlin-backed rebels have been fighting a war with Ukrainian forces since 2014.

"In our view what is now happening in Donbas is genocide," Putin said during a joint press conference in Moscow with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, per BBC News. Similarly, Putin in December said the conflict in the Donbas "looks like genocide."
https://www.businessinsider.com/put...-in-donbas-region-of-ukraine-2022-2?r=US&IR=T
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Very specific predictions have so far been very wrong.
Article:
The mess began last Friday, February 11th, when National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan gave an address warning American citizens to evacuate Ukraine. “If a Russian attack on Ukraine proceeds, it is likely to begin with aerial bombing and missile attacks that could obviously kill civilians without regard to their nationality,” he said. “I will not comment on the details of our intelligence information,” he added, before doing just that: “I do want to be clear: It could begin during the Olympics,” i.e. before the Beijing games end on February 20th.

Around the time of Sullivan’s comments, American reporters began telling audiences a curiously detailed story about upcoming Russian invasion plans. PBS NewsHour’s Nick Schifrin cited “three Western and defense sources” in saying Vladimir Putin had already made up his mind to invade. He then cited six sources — “US and Western officials” — who told him the U.S. expected an invasion of Ukraine the following week. These voices left little to the imagination, saying the invasion would be a “horrific, bloody campaign,” with two days of aerial bombardment, followed by electronic warfare and possible regime change:

[....]

That afternoon of the 11th, Politico cited “a person familiar” (not even “a person familiar with the matter,” just “a person familiar”) in reporting that Joe Biden held an hourlong call with Western leaders pegging February 16th as a possible invasion date:



And selling artillery fire across the demarkation line as a false flag operation is a bit of a stretch:
Article:
The operatives were trained in urban warfare and using explosives to carry out acts of sabotage against pro-Russian rebels, US officials said.
 
Very specific predictions have so far been very wrong.
Yes but it was pretty obvious they would be (*), makes me think it was just Nato trying to delay an invasion, but to what ends? What does it matter if it happens in March instead of say January, it still happens, maybe something to do with the threat of Russia turning off the Gas to western Europe is less but I'm just guessing

(*) eg say Russia plans to invade jan 1
USA announces - "Russia Invasion is going to happen Jan 1st"
Russia - no its not, all lies (quick delay the Jan 1 invasion plan otherwise we look like idiots)
Result is USA looks incompetent, untrustworthy and Russia looks honest
 
a) it's still bunk if it's obvious
b) did the media treat it as self-defeating prophecies?
a/ yes its bunk, but I'm just questioning what possible reason the USA gained from saying it, when they knew from saying it that it would cause russia to alter their plans so it became false. You can only claim the sky is falling a few times before ppl stop listening to you.

b/ most media is overly sensationalist, and anyways I wouldnt expect that to appear as 'news' thats more of an 'opinion' piece

I was actually in Ukraine a couple of years ago, I half-heartedly tried to get to the east, but it was too difficult and a long journey to boot that I didn't do but my experiences from speaking with the ppl there, is practically noone believes the propaganda news on either side, unlike say in china where a sizeable chunk of the population believes the propaganda.

https://liveuamap.com/ FWIW this sites quite good, of what spots to avoid
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
News item of a sabotage attempt. "112 Ukraine" is an opposition-aligned news channel.
Article:
Today in Horlivka (occupied by militants) explosions of tanks with chlorine (at sewage treatment plants) and ammonia (on the territory of the Styrol enterprise) were prevented. This is stated by so-called "Ministry of State Security of DPR".

The militants said that "the sabotage-terrorist act was aimed at creating the prerequisites for a large-scale environmental disaster on the territory of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and the escalation of the conflict."

It is noted that during the "special operation" the security guard of the enterprise, born in 1957, was wounded.

At the same time, as reported by TASS, citing the "police of the People's Republic", "the saboteurs who tried to get into the chemical facilities spoke Polish."

The JFO HQ stated that such information is an outright lie and a provocation on the part of the militants.


Ukraine ministry of defense (emphasis mine):
Article:
The information sphere is now filled with fakes that reveal the true intentions of the Russian side. When Russian puppets intimidate people with the attack of our army and call for evacuation, it proves once again that they see Donbas uninhabited. Ukraine, on the contrary, wants peace in Donbass and its revival. Because this is our land, our people live there. We do not plan any offensives. Because it could pose a threat to our citizens in the temporarily occupied territories. We value every life, unlike the Russian troops who shell kindergartens and schools. Yesterday, Russian propaganda spread a blatant lie about the shelling of Stanytsa Luhanska, which we quickly refuted. Today they invented another fake about some sabotage groups, which allegedly were going to arrange a chemical attack in Horlivka. They even shot a staged video. But as for themselves, they fired at the UN humanitarian mission at the entry checkpoint in Happiness. This is something that our partners and we have repeatedly warned about - the Russian side is preparing various stagings to justify their crimes. This is a manifestation of information warfare. I appeal to the citizens once again - do not believe in fakes and do not be afraid. The Ukrainian army is ready to repel the enemy, but will act within the framework of the agreements and will in no way pose a danger to the people," said Minister of Defence of Ukraine Oleksii Reznikov.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Mutual allegations that the other side is planning to attack. I'm waiting for "pre-emptive strike" rhetoric.

Article:
President Biden said Friday that he is "convinced" that Russian President Vladimir Putin has made the decision to invade Ukraine, and that U.S. intelligence indicates he will target Kyiv — the capital and a city of 2.8 million people.

"Last night, Russia agreed that Secretary Blinken and Foreign Secretary Lavrov should meet on Feb. 24 in Europe, but if Russia takes military action before that date, we’ll be clear that they have slammed the door shut on diplomacy," Biden said.

Article:
Denis Pushilin, the head of the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), told Russian media that the situation was "unfortunately" moving toward "major war."

Pushilin said in a video posted online that his forces have observed an increase in the number of Ukrainian military personnel and weapons along the line of contact.

He claimed that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will soon give an order for the military "to invade the territory of the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics."
 
He claimed that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will soon give an order for the military "to invade the territory of the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics."
Yes smart guy Zelensky not invading(*) in the preceding 6 years but instead waiting until russia first amasses a truckload of troops on the border and then go yes finally now this is the perfect time to invade. You have to wonder who this propaganda is aimed at, if it wasn't so serious it would be comedy gold writing :D

(*)Not sure if you could label going into part of your own country an invasion but well
 

Ashley Pomeroy

New Member
The conflict puts me in mind of the Cuban Missile Crisis, but less exciting. Khrushchev was a much more experienced political operator than Putin, and he did manage to achieve some concessions, but he still over-extended himself and it wasn't worth the cost. In comparison Putin's political goals are much more vague. What does it matter is Ukraine is a member of NATO? The extra five hundred miles doesn't make a huge amount of difference in the modern age. He's now in a position where he can't back down without losing face, but continuing with an invasion would be just a waste of money for nothing much in return.

Looking back at his foreign policy achievements there's a pattern whereby he seems to be emulating other, more successful interventions, but without a clear strategic goal. He comes across as a modern-day Mussolini, a surface imitation of a great leader with no underlying depth. It'd be interesting to know how much, if anything, this is costing the Russians. How much does it cost to station masses of troops on the border with Ukraine? Probably not much, but are they using more petrol to keep the tanks running than they would otherwise use to heat the barracks? Obviously Ukraine has to follow suit, but with only one-third the troops. Is it just an attempt to show the world that he can afford to intervene in Syria and Ukraine at the same time?

Alternatively, cherchez la femme as they say in France. And yet Putin comes across as a curiously asexual figure, so perhaps that isn't a factor.

I did a tour of Chernobyl and the surrounding area a few years ago. It struck me that I might not have another chance. From what I remember Ukraine is large but mostly flat and has a big wide river running up and down the middle of it. Chernobyl is on the western side of the river, but within artillery range of the eastern side, which raises the question of whether it would have to be abandoned again.

You'd think Israel would step up its game and offer its Iron Dome system to Ukraine at a greatly-reduced price, but perhaps it's not as effective against artillery shells than unguided rockets.
 

Leak

Member
Yes smart guy Zelensky not invading(*) in the preceding 6 years
Well, he's only been president since 2019, so even if he played the president on TV before that he probably would have had a hard time ordering an invasion in those first three years...
 
Well, he's only been president since 2019, so even if he played the president on TV before that he probably would have had a hard time ordering an invasion in those first three years...
toche, I give you that.
but hard time? (the laws of reality excepted ;))
He convinced ppl to vote for his role on TV and that translates to reality, and what we have seem in the US nothing is impossible now, next step alex baldwin fresh off his shooting some ukrainian woman, declares his intention on 5th avenue to run for president in 2024
 

Willie

Member
I was reading Heather Cox Richardson's "Letters From An American" last night and this stuck out as an interesting explanation as to why we're predicting Putin will do this or that:
>>>"Former director of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Chris Krebs pointed out that the advances the United States intelligence community has made in the last few years in counteractive measures have enabled the U.S. to head off plans “before they’re set in motion.” U.S. officials are alerting Putin to the fact there are leaks in his team, putting his plans at risk. This can cause strife and perhaps make leaders rethink their policies. As Krebs tweeted, it “[p]uts some sand in their gears, creates mistrust, and can slow down planning and operations…. The deliberate approach by western gov[ernmen]ts to anticipate Russian disinfo[rmation] & get in front of it is a positive evolution.”<<<
https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/february-18-2022?utm_source=url
Apologies if this post isn't formatted properly.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Yes smart guy Zelensky not invading(*) in the preceding 6 years but instead waiting until russia first amasses a truckload of troops on the border and then go yes finally now this is the perfect time to invade.
We had a change in the White House recently, with the previous occupant more aligned with Russia than the current one. This would mean a pre-2021 campaign would likely not have had US backing, while Ukraine clearly has US backing now.

It's also possible that the Russian force buildup is a result of Russia learning of Ukranian plans to retake the Donbass - you make it seem as if the timeline would need to be the other way around.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
The conflict puts me in mind of the Cuban Missile Crisis, but less exciting. Khrushchev was a much more experienced political operator than Putin, and he did manage to achieve some concessions, but he still over-extended himself and it wasn't worth the cost. In comparison Putin's political goals are much more vague. What does it matter is Ukraine is a member of NATO? The extra five hundred miles doesn't make a huge amount of difference in the modern age. He's now in a position where he can't back down without losing face, but continuing with an invasion would be just a waste of money for nothing much in return.
The objective of the Cuban missiles was to deter a US invasion of Cuba (cf. Bay of Pigs, Operation Northwoods), in that it was successful. I don't know the exact geopolitical benefit of a communist Cuba, but I expect it's been worth it to the USSR.

Thoughts similar to yours make me think that Putin's objective is not to invade Ukraine, but to deter Ukraine from re-taking the Donbass. To achieve this, Russia must show credibly that it can invade Ukraine. If I was Russia, I'd leak a detailed invasion strategy plan to the West because it serves that objective.

Ukraine cannot legally enter NATO as long as it is embroiled in its national/interational conflict, and the peace process has stalled. It's in Ukraine's interest to end this conflict by force, and it is in Russia's interest to prevent that.
 

BombDr

Senior Member.
It's also possible that the Russian force buildup is a result of Russia learning of Ukranian plans to retake the Donbass - you make it seem as if the timeline would need to be the other way around.
That is stretching things a bit far.

Firstly, there has been no attempt at retaking the Donbass and Ukraine's military is certainly not configured to do that.

Secondly, it would be a bit absurd for Ukraine to assume Russia would do nothing whilst attempting this futile action, considering the amount of Russians already in the area and the 'normal' amount of Russian military that are regularly parked nearby.

Thirdly, the 'predictions being wrong' thing is a bit of a non-sequitur, as they were always stated as possibilities, and the H-Hour can be shifted at any time for the conditions to be right - I sat in Shaiba Air Base for a week, with the rest of 7th Armoured Brigade, being told that we would be taking Basra 'tomorrow', and we would get up, get ready and then stand down for whatever reason.

Fourth, Putin just likes to keep people guessing, and is a 99% cunningly rational man, and the 1% of irrational insanity he has is his hatred of 'the West' and the fact that all the old Warsaw Pack countries have jilted Russia for someone new.

I watched RT today, which I don't recommend, and its been 24/7 claims of genocide, shelling that causes no casualties, refugees fleeing to Russia from imaginary Ukrainian attacks, and endless anti-western psychobabble.
 

Hevach

Senior Member.
Additional on the predictions being wrong: Intelligence is a game of deception, and untangling it without eyes inside is not easy.

Plans NATO or Ukraine or the US release as intercepted may intentionally not be accurate to what they intercepted for many reasons, including obfuscating how good their information is or falsely telegraphing intended defense strategy.

Plans or orders they intercept may not be accurate for equally many reasons, including falsely telegraphing attack strategy or just cranking up the noise ratio to make it difficult to discern the correct orders.

And then there's the opposite direction: tipping too much hand can also reveal what you DON'T know, revealing the holes in your intel network and the openings the other side could exploit.

It's a very complex game played on several fields - public and private intel, and the actual theater of conflict. Right now we're only seeing the plays on that public intel field without the private intel context behind them, and we get occasional glimpses of the larger moves in the theater. So at any given time things are not going to add up in every direction and that's generally how the game is played.
 

Z.W. Wolf

Senior Member.
This video attempts to explain how Putin sees this. This is a case of, "Agree or disagree, but at least understand." It's important to understand what Putin is thinking, even if you disagree.

 

Z.W. Wolf

Senior Member.
I think it's because History has shown that those strategies have no reasonable chance of affecting the outcome. Putin doesn't care because they don't affect him personally nor do they make it significantly more likely that his regime will fall. I'm sure he recognizes that they will increase the misery of the Common Russian Citizen; but c'est la guerre.
 

BombDr

Senior Member.
It's also worthy of note that the German re-unification in 1990 came with the promise to not extend NATO eastward.
Another red herring. At absolute best, this was a verbal affirmation, with the Soviet Union, which no longer exists.
There was no treaty or UN resolution or the like, and any such suggestion was made prior to Putin becoming the nutter he is now. Secondly, whoever supposedly made such a remark was not authorised to speak on behalf of the whole of NATO, or to veto any sovereign state from applying to join.

If all of your ex-girlfriends are running west to get away from you, its most likely that you are the problem.
 

DavidB66

Active Member
It's also worthy of note that the German re-unification in 1990 came with the promise to not extend NATO eastward.
We would need to see the full context of this. The version I've seen in a UK newspaper (probably The Times) is that the promise made to Russia and/or the USSR at the time of German reunification was specifically not to extend NATO forces in Germany beyond the Elbe, and had nothing to do with other parts of Eastern Europe. The passage quoted in #22 above suggests something more than this, but again we would need to see the context.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Article:
What the Germans, Americans, British and French did agree to in 1990 was that there would be no deployment of non-German NATO forces on the territory of the former GDR. I was a deputy director on the State Department’s Soviet desk at the time, and that was certainly the point of Secretary James Baker’s discussions with Gorbachev and his foreign minister, Eduard Shevardnadze. In 1990, few gave the possibility of a broader NATO enlargement to the east any serious thought.

The agreement on not deploying foreign troops on the territory of the former GDR was incorporated in Article 5 of the Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany, which was signed on September 12, 1990 by the foreign ministers of the two Germanys, the United States, Soviet Union, Britain and France. Article 5 had three provisions:



....
Russia behind the Headlines has published an interview with Gorbachev, who was Soviet president during the discussions and treaty negotiations concerning German reunification. The interviewer asked why Gorbachev did not “insist that the promises made to you [Gorbachev]—particularly U.S. Secretary of State James Baker’s promise that NATO would not expand into the East—be legally encoded?” Gorbachev replied: “The topic of ‘NATO expansion’ was not discussed at all, and it wasn’t brought up in those years. … Another issue we brought up was discussed: making sure that NATO’s military structures would not advance and that additional armed forces would not be deployed on the territory of the then-GDR after German reunification. Baker’s statement was made in that context… Everything that could have been and needed to be done to solidify that political obligation was done. And fulfilled."

”Gorbachev continued that “The agreement on a final settlement with Germany said that no new military structures would be created in the eastern part of the country; no additional troops would be deployed; no weapons of mass destruction would be placed there. It has been obeyed all these years.” To be sure, the former Soviet president criticized NATO enlargement and called it a violation of the spirit of the assurances given Moscow in 1990, but he made clear there was no promise regarding broader enlargement.
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
5 key questions that could determine the shape of Russia's invasion

1. Will Putin's "peacekeeping force" deploy only to the territory already controlled by the separatists, or attempt to secure the much larger areas in Ukraine claimed by the two "republics"?

Either scenario could spark a broader conflict. The latter would be a clear declaration of war.

5. Will Russia's military maneuvers be limited to the east for the time being, or will U.S. warnings that Putin's planning a full-scale invasion targeting Kyiv soon come to fruition?

Some analysts argued that yesterday's gambit was the peak of Putin’s escalation. Many others contended it was just one step in a much larger military operation.


In my opinion, the North Stream 2 gas pipeline project has two main purposes:
1. strengthen economic ties between Germany and Russia (ex-chancellor Schröder works for Gazprom), which is good for peace;
2. prevent Ukraine from stealing gas out of the currently used pipeline.

I'd not be happy if this project was abandoned; it's on hold right now. Any decisions regarding the pipeline won't affect the German dependence on Russian gas.
 

Ravi

Senior Member.
Anyone here wondering what Biden will do or plan to react?
In other words: I am not American and wondering how the US are looking at this..
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Anyone here wondering what Biden will do or plan to react?
In other words: I am not American and wondering how the US are looking at this..
jen psaki ...Press Secretary...gives a press conference everyday ...available on youtube. she sometimes has to "fix" some statements Biden makes but it seems whatever she says in the press conferences is the actual administration game plan (vs Biden who is prone to gaffes).
https://www.youtube.com/c/WhiteHouse/videos

Basically from what i've seen he says big sanctions if Russia invades. we will back up the ukrainian people (whatever that means). no us troops into ukraine.

Kamala harris (VP) is supposedly heading the negotiations and her brief speeches the last days are on youtube too. but she is one of those people who literally never say anything... just word salad.
 

DavidB66

Active Member
1. strengthen economic ties between Germany and Russia (ex-chancellor Schröder works for Gazprom), which is good for peace
They might not see it that way in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland...

If Putin says 'We have no more territorial demands to make in Europe', then they should really be worried.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
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FatPhil

Senior Member.
They might not see it that way in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland...

If Putin says 'We have no more territorial demands to make in Europe', then they should really be worried.

Who's "they"? The politicians here indeed don't seem to see it that way, but we have not magically been blessed with any more sensible politicians than any other country.

As someone who's arse is sat 200km from the Russian border right now (and typing on a Russian-keycapped keyboard, because inertia is strong), there's one thing I very very much want to see - and that's the EU and Russia trading gas through NordStream II for reasons including that listed by @Mendel. Not to overlook the fact that we have a slight[*] over-dependence on imports here, so we need to significantly improve our energy policy - but that would require competent politicians - call me again in 2222 and ask me how we're doing with that.

Note, however, that I'm hedged such that if things turn "bad", in the short term I'll profit nicely. I may be a bit of an idealist, but I'm not stupid.

[* Edit: I possibly[**] overuse litotes - emphasis through understatement - this is such a case.]
[** Ditto, see what I mean?]
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Not to overlook the fact that we have a slight[*] over-dependence on imports here, so we need to significantly improve our energy policy
we're getting alot of oil from Russia too. not a huge percentage
Article:
The most recent data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows that in May [2021], the U.S. imported 844,000 barrels per day of crude oil and petroleum products from Russia. That’s almost 10% of all the U.S. imports for that month.

Historically speaking, this is a large amount, setting a new monthly record for Russian oil imports.


but enough that they (Biden and VP) are warning of escalating gas prices. I think Biden is just praying Putin wont move because our poorer classes (including low middle class) are already hurting from our inflation issue.

He's having a bad year.
 

BombDr

Senior Member.
The GRU are cloning websites in order to emit misinformation:

https://www.bellingcat.com/news/202...nment-websites-linked-to-russian-gru-hackers/

This was all predictable, and despite multiple denials and sarcastic mockery from the Kremlin and RT about 'NATO hysteria', it has occurred exactly as predicted.

From the claims I have garnered from Russian sources they are saying:

1. Genocide by Ukraine against ethnic Russians in the east:
https://www.businessinsider.com/put...-in-donbas-region-of-ukraine-2022-2?r=US&IR=T

2. Ukrainian government is a Junta of Nazis.
https://www.barrons.com/news/moscow...-targeting-junta-in-power-in-kiyv-01645678207
https://www.rt.com/russia/550408-special-operation-putin-donbass/

3. Ukraine is starting a new nuclear weapons programme.
https://tass.com/world/1407773

4. NATO is 'pumping Ukraine' with modern weapons.
https://tass.com/world/1369873

5. Ukrainian special forces attempted a chemical incident and five were killed:
https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2022/02/21/russia-says-kills-5-ukraine-saboteurs-a76494

As far as I can tell, there is zero evidence for any of these claims. The Russians have not discovered a mass grave, there is not one Nazi elected representative in Ukraine and the President is a Jew, Ukraine has no WMDs of any description, all of the weapons supplied by NATO are short range and tactical in nature, Russia has not provided a single stitch of evidence of this supposed incursion in which Ukrainian SF were killed.

I imagine as the conflict progresses, there will be more false claims to make the west chase its tails.
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
NATO's definitely supplying Ukraine with weapons, I have no idea how modern classifies as modern, but they're current to us, so I'd say that makes them modern. We sent some ballistic supplies just last week and more are on the way now.
 

Hevach

Senior Member.
There are weapons and combat vehicles that have exclusive top-shelf versions that are kept for the country that makes them and not exported but they're getting the modern export tier stuff. Common claims peg most of that as equal or superior to the best Russian stuff, but a lot of it hasn't gotten real world use to prove it.

Russia heavily outnumbers Ukraine (for example, Ukraine has several hundred Javelin anti-tank missiles, but Russia had an estimated 1100 tanks on the border. The last US aid package included Javelins, but no word on how many. They're pricy and it was a $60 million package) and I would expect them to win regardless, but how well a lot of these weapons match up will decide the blood-and-treasure cost.
 
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