Russia and Ukraine Current Events

FatPhil

Senior Member.
If there was any evidence, however flimsy, of any NATO supplied missile attacking the Kerch Bridge, I imagine the Russian propaganda apparatus would be screaming blue murder about it.

Just because they've already solved the crime doesn't mean they won't solve it again with a different scapegoat a few days later.
 

Itsme

Active Member
I think Putin's motives are pretty obvious. The only way for him to beat the NATO block is to sow division. So he is trying to use his 'friends' to obtain influence and to sow division at the same time.

He tries to make the US a suspect in the pipeline sabotage, while tightening his bond with Turkey by giving them the prospect of becoming the central gashub of Europe. If Erdogan takes the bait, suspicion towards Turkey will grow within NATO while Erdogan will lean even more to the Russian side (a double win for Putin).

At the same time he uses Victor Orban (Hungary's prime minister) to plea for peace negotiations led by Trump (who is much softer towards Russia than Biden, at some occasions Trump almost sounded like a Putin fan). Trump is susceptible to Putin's favorite pressure point: fear of a nuclear war.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Infrastructure is a legitimate target for military forces in time of war.
No question that this bridge provides Russia with s military advantage and is thus a legitimate target, but I don't think that's true of all infrastructure?
Article:
under the Statute of the International Criminal Court, “intentionally directing attacks against civilian objects, that is, objects which are not military objectives”, constitutes a war crime in international armed conflicts.

Article:
Rule 8. In so far as objects are concerned, military objectives are limited to those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose partial or total destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage.
 

Duke

Active Member
No question that this bridge provides Russia with s military advantage and is thus a legitimate target, but I don't think that's true of all infrastructure?
Article:
under the Statute of the International Criminal Court, “intentionally directing attacks against civilian objects, that is, objects which are not military objectives”, constitutes a war crime in international armed conflicts.

Article:
Rule 8. In so far as objects are concerned, military objectives are limited to those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose partial or total destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage.
Guess it depends on how you define infrastructure and military advantage. Broadly anything that supports the day to day running of society can be considered infrastructure....roads, bridges, communications, railways, airports, power generation facilities, etc are all examples of infrastructure that could support military efforts. I can't think of an element of infrastructure that couldn't be rationalized as a legitimate target given the right circumstances. What do you do if an enemy is using a hospital or place of worship as a command and control center to direct operations against you or to billet healthy combat forces?

Late in my career I worked with a retired USAF colonel who served in the Coalition air tasking organization in Saudia Arabia during Desert Storm. Lawyers were in each tasking cell to review and approve targets to ensure compliance with international law. He expressed frustration with the "legal beagles" (as he referred to them) being ultraconservative in defining what they considered to be legitimate targets under international law. I doubt either the Russians or Ukrainians are that concerned about compliance.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
What do you do if an enemy is using a hospital or place of worship as a command and control center to direct operations against you or to billet healthy combat forces?
that's a clear-cut case of a legitimate target, you'd be targeting combatants?

my point is that hitting any bridge, or power substations far from the front, etc. would be neither legitimate nor legal. The ICRC website lists the relevant Russian Federation regulations in the rule-adjacent "practice" section, though they don't illustrate how these rules are enforced. However, a lack of enforcement doesn't make it legitimate.
 

Duke

Active Member
that's a clear-cut case of a legitimate target, you'd be targeting combatants?
Which was my point, any element of infrastructure can be rationalized as a legitimate target given the right circumstances.
my point is that hitting any bridge, or power substations far from the front, etc. would be neither legitimate nor legal.
Not true. The whole concept of strategic bombing is to hit targets well behind "the lines" to cripple an enemy's ability to make war. For example, when the Brits hit the Ruhr Valley dams in 1943, there wasn't a line of contact between opposing conventional military forces anywhere near the bombing. Taking out those dams destroyed or damaged several hydroelectric plants that supplied power to the general populace, not just war production plants and the German military.

The ICRC website lists the relevant Russian Federation regulations in the rule-adjacent "practice" section, though they don't illustrate how these rules are enforced. However, a lack of enforcement doesn't make it legitimate.
The winners determine what was legitimate. Arthur Harris, the head of Bomber Command and architect of the RAF's horrific nighttime firebombing raids over Germany, was/is considered a war hero in the UK. They even erected a statue of him in London. Had the Germans won the war, he'd have been tried as a war criminal, if not shot outright. The same is true of Curtis LeMay for his raids over Japan, up to and including the use of atomic bombs.
 
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captancourgette

Active Member

To those that believe it was a truck bomb, where did it explode in the above picture?.
I know nothing about bombs but to me this looks like 2 explosions
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
First, a note why this is on topic:
Article:
Russia hits dam in central Ukraine, in latest attack on civilian infrastructure
Updated 10:16 AM EDT, Thu September 15, 2022


For example, when the Brits hit the Ruhr Valley dams in 1943, there wasn't a line of contact between opposing conventional military forces anywhere near the bombing.
You are talking about this:
Article:
Operation Chastise: The RAF's Most Brilliant Attack of World War II

[...]

Hastings puts a final perspective on his book by opining that modern readers may be shocked that a civilian dam was deliberately targeted, noting that after the war a modification was made to the Geneva Conventions making such an attack potentially a war crime.

This is the start of that section:
Article:
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977.

PROTECTION OF WORKS AND INSTALLATIONS CONTAINING DANGEROUS FORCES

Article 56 -- Protection of works and installations containing dangerous forces

1. Works or installations containing dangerous forces, namely dams, dykes and nuclear electrical generating stations, shall not be made the object of attack, even where these objects are military objectives, if such attack may cause the release of dangerous forces and consequent severe losses among the civilian population. Other military objectives located at or in the vicinity of these works or installations shall not be made the object of attack if such attack may cause the release of dangerous forces from the works or installations and consequent severe losses among the civilian population.

The only exception is "if it is used for other than its normal function and in regular, significant and direct support of military operations".

It's unambiguous.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.

To those that believe it was a truck bomb, where did it explode in the above picture?.
I know nothing about bombs but to me this looks like 2 explosions
The damage on the rail line was caused by the fuel cars that were set on fire; footage of the burning train suggests there wasn't an explosion near it (all cars remain upright etc.).
 

Hevach

Senior Member.
There's only burns around the right break. The left break has no markings to indicate an explosion or fire, suggesting that segment collapsed from physical forces (displacement of the roadway or shearing of connections) and not primary blast damage.
 

Duke

Active Member
There's only burns around the right break. The left break has no markings to indicate an explosion or fire, suggesting that segment collapsed from physical forces (displacement of the roadway or shearing of connections) and not primary blast damage.
And the relatively clean nature of the left break looks like it occurred at the joint of two segments of the bridge, an area you'd expect to be structural weaker than mid segment.
 

Duke

Active Member
First, a note why this is on topic:
Article:
Russia hits dam in central Ukraine, in latest attack on civilian infrastructure
Updated 10:16 AM EDT, Thu September 15, 2022



You are talking about this:
Article:
Operation Chastise: The RAF's Most Brilliant Attack of World War II

[...]

Hastings puts a final perspective on his book by opining that modern readers may be shocked that a civilian dam was deliberately targeted, noting that after the war a modification was made to the Geneva Conventions making such an attack potentially a war crime.

This is the start of that section:
Article:
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977.

PROTECTION OF WORKS AND INSTALLATIONS CONTAINING DANGEROUS FORCES

Article 56 -- Protection of works and installations containing dangerous forces

1. Works or installations containing dangerous forces, namely dams, dykes and nuclear electrical generating stations, shall not be made the object of attack, even where these objects are military objectives, if such attack may cause the release of dangerous forces and consequent severe losses among the civilian population. Other military objectives located at or in the vicinity of these works or installations shall not be made the object of attack if such attack may cause the release of dangerous forces from the works or installations and consequent severe losses among the civilian population.

The only exception is "if it is used for other than its normal function and in regular, significant and direct support of military operations".

It's unambiguous.
Or in other words, by specifying an exception the Geneva Convention acknowledges even infrastructure elements they expressly protect can be rationalized as legitimate targets given the right circumstances.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Or in other words, by specifying an exception the Geneva Convention acknowledges even infrastructure elements they expressly protect can be rationalized as legitimate targets given the right circumstances.
Yes. "The right circumstances" being direct military use.
You can't (today) consider a reservoir dam a legitimate target unless the military has repurposed it somehow.

So we agree that this was stated overly broadly:
Infrastructure is a legitimate target for military forces in time of war.
Then please reread #563 and #564.
 
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Mauro

Senior Member

To those that believe it was a truck bomb, where did it explode in the above picture?.
I know nothing about bombs but to me this looks like 2 explosions
There was only one explosion, which cut one of the two road lanes, about midway between one supporting column and the next. The road span is one big sheet of steel (with a little concrete and then asphalt poured on top): having being cut in two it fell into the water, dragging with it the two undamaged side pieces up to the nearest expansion joints, which then slid from the supports, something like this:

1665762550754.png

I have read somewhere that Kerch bridge only has expansion joints every 4th column, which is consistent with the damage in the picture [If anyone is interested there is a rather detailed documentation online for the road Kerch bridge, the problem is it being in Russian.. I could not understand from the document where expansion joints are placed, maybe someone else can: https://ia601500.us.archive.org/15/items/crimean-bridge/Crimean_bridge.pdf].

The damage to the railway bridge, as @Mendel said, is a secondary effect of the main explosion setting the fuel train on fire (the presence of the train may have been purely coincidental I think, and added bonus).
 

Duke

Active Member
Yes. "The right circumstances" being direct military use.
You can't (today) consider a reservoir dam a legitimate target unless the military has repurposed it somehow.

So we agree that this was stated overly broadly:

Then please reread #563 and #564.
You're moving the goalposts, and conveniently omitted a redirect to #565 where you said, "my point is that hitting any bridge, or power substations far from the front, etc. would be neither legitimate nor legal." So if my statement was overstated, yours was flat wrong, unless you can show us something in the CG that specifies an infrastructure element is, under international law, not a lawful target as function of location or distance from a location. That was the point I was challenging.
 

qed

Senior Member
As a general hacktivist (and ideal pacifist) I found this interesting.

The Ukrainians are downing and capturing drones with electro-magnetic pulse "guns". I imagine Robocop too might be susceptible.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GPLsJ4FLuA

The skeptic in me wonders how effective these really are.

Plenty tech getting a real world testing in this war.
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
You're moving the goalposts, and conveniently omitted a redirect to #565 where you said, "my point is that hitting any bridge, or power substations far from the front, etc. would be neither legitimate nor legal." So if my statement was overstated, yours was flat wrong, unless you can show us something in the CG that specifies an infrastructure element is, under international law, not a lawful target as function of location or distance from a location.

Not to mention the non-trivial fact that Russia's aggression against even military targets in Ukraine is unlawful under international law. And it's utterly irrelevant whether that aggression occurs near the 'frontier' of opposing ground forces.

Resolution ES-11/1 "Aggression against Ukraine" adopted by the General Assembly on 2 March 2022:

Article:
The General Assembly,

Reaffirming the paramount importance of the Charter of the United Nations in the promotion of the rule of law among nations,

Recalling the obligation of all States under Article 2 of the Charter to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations, and to settle their international disputes by peaceful means,

. . .

2. Deplores in the strongest terms the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine in violation of Article 2 (4) of the Charter;

3. Demands that the Russian Federation immediately cease its use of force against Ukraine and to refrain from any further unlawful threat or use of force against any Member State;
 

Hevach

Senior Member.
"Drone" means a huge range of things. The video omits, but the EDM4S has a range of 3-5 km.

A big military drone like those ones Russia got from Iran isn't likely to care about an EDM4S.

Loitering munitions like the Switchblade (as far as I know Russia isn't using anything like this so I have to use a Ukrainian example) are saturation weapons, and the EDM4S is a point to target weapon, so even if it works, you get one and the other five get you.

But both sides are making huge use of simpler quadrotor drones like they show the EDM4S taking down in the video. Some are military models but plenty are straight off the shelf civilian units. They're still useful for surveillance and scouting and they've been rigged to drop bombs or intentionally crash carrying them. Some of the military models have small guns or rockets. Depending on how fancy they are if you kill their communication they might crash, make an automatic landing, hover in place, or backtrack their course until they reacquire signal. In all the recoverable cases there's a chance the operator will have already given it up as destroyed so unless it flies right back to him it's as good as.
 
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Mauro

Senior Member
Thunderfoot, a debunker I follow, argues, on his secondary channel, that the explosion could not be the truck: it originated way to the right. He does admit he cannot explain the first frame with the truck aglow.
Yes, the explosion looks offsetted to the right of the road in the video feeds, this made me doubt the truck theory too at first because it suggests a hit on the side of the bridge. I cannot explain while the explosion looks that way, but there's evidence of a complete hole in the road roughly where the truck was supposed to be, in the rightmost lane:

1665768564461.png


By the way, I have another reason why it's improbable it was a missile: if they had just one missile of a new kind, unknown up to now, I think they would have targeted the railroad bridge, which is much more important for Russian logistics than the road one.
 

Duke

Active Member
As a general hacktivist (and ideal pacifist) I found this interesting.

The Ukrainians are downing and capturing drones with electro-magnetic pulse "guns". I imagine Robocop too might be susceptible.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GPLsJ4FLuA

The skeptic in me wonders how effective these really are.

Plenty tech getting a real world testing in this war.
I'm more of a kinetic weapon guy and not a EE, so I claim no knowledge of these EW based anti-drone systems. That said, systems I think operate on similar principles have been used in the real world over the past few years. Two that come to mind and got a lot of attention were the taking down of the drone(s) that shut down London's Gatwick Airport around Christmas in 2018, and the USN/USMC taking down an Iranian drone that was harassing the USS Boxer in the Straits of Hormuz in July 2019.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/annato...tech-to-end-gatwick-airport-xmas-drone-chaos/

From the article:

The British army reportedly employed Israeli anti-drone tech to finally put an end to the illegal drone operations that shut the U.K.’s second busiest airport London Gatwick for almost 36 hours in the lead up to the festive period.


https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zo...-boxer-knocked-down-threatening-iranian-drone

From the article

The Pentagon says that personnel on the Wasp class amphibious assault ship USS Boxer knocked down an Iranian drone that came within a "threatening range" as the ship sailed through the volatile Strait of Hormuz. Subsequent reports said that a U.S. Marine Corps all-terrain vehicle with an anti-drone detection and jamming system sitting on the ship's flight deck brought down the unmanned aircraft with an electronic warfare attack.


Sounds like the technology has evolved over the past few years to make it man portable.
 
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LilWabbit

Senior Member
Conflicting statements from Poland on the PERN oil pipeline leak. Prime Minister Morawiecki says "many pieces of evidence point to Kremlin."

Article:
Russian interests may be behind the accident at the Druzhba oil pipeline, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said. The prime minister did not make direct accusations but noted that many clues point to the Kremlin. Moraviecki said that it has not yet been established whether the accident was sabotage or accidental damage.

“A thorough investigation is underway, many pieces of evidence point to the Kremlin, but we want to be very responsible in our conclusions. We should not make hasty conclusions about every breakdown.” Polish pipeline operator Pern has ruled out sabotage for now. “According to the first signs and the nature of the deformation of the pipeline, there are no signs of external influence at this moment,” a statement reads.
 

qed

Senior Member
Do we learn anything by the failure (so far) to repeat the bridge attack?

Surely failure to repeat rules out missiles and such like, and suggest a now difficult to repeat "special operation" such as a truck bomb.
 

Hevach

Senior Member.
Maybe, but not necessarily. Ukraine has been broadcasting warnings for a while for Russian civilians to flee before attacks start in earnest, and that bridge is the escape hatch. The previous demonstration that Crimea is in range was on an airbase (and sparked a decent exodus), this could be meant as the "really, nothing is safe," shot, which could be followed by another escape window. Especially as Russia isn't operating air or navy out of Crimea anymore there's possibly less immediately urgent targets.

This logic doesn't care what means were used, only that Ukraine regulars were behind it and not partisans or outside actors.
 

Ann K

Senior Member.
From today's news feed:

Russian soldiers have shot dead a Ukrainian musician in his home after he refused to take part in a concert in occupied Kherson, according to the culture ministry in Kyiv.

Conductor Yuriy Kerpatenko declined to take part in a concert “intended by the occupiers to demonstrate the so-called ‘improvement of peaceful life’ in Kherson”, the ministry said in a statement on its Facebook page.

The concert on 1 October was intended to feature the Gileya chamber orchestra, of which Kerpatenko was the principal conductor, but he “categorically refused to cooperate with the occupants”, the statement said.
Content from External Source
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2...rpatenko-for-refusing-role-in-kherson-concert

This seems to be part of a pattern of Russian "cultural genocide" for which they've long been notorious.
The Executed Renaissance (or "Red Renaissance", Ukrainian: Розстріляне відродження, Червоний ренесанс, romanized: Rozstriliane vidrodzhennia, Chervonyi renesans) is a term used to describe the generation of Ukrainian language poets, writers, and artists of the 1920s and early 1930s who lived in the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic and were subsequently persecuted, denied work, imprisoned and, in dozens of cases, shot during the Great Terror (August 1937 – November 1938).
Content from External Source
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executed_Renaissance
 
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Duke

Active Member

New app lets civilians help shoot down drones and missiles in Ukraine​

https://m.jpost.com/international/article-719836

From the article:

Ukraine has created an application for mobile devices that will help air defense units supplement radar information about an air target to better the chances of taking it down, according to Ukraine's Strategic Communications Department.

"If you see an air target, for example, a cruise missile or a suicide drone, you need to open "ePPO" on your smartphone, select the type of air target, point your smartphone in the direction of the target and press the big red button."


Difficult for me to believe the information can be relayed to the appropriate air defense locations fast enough to allow for defective action. I guess the argument could be made, however, this is a modern, all inclusive (at least to those Ukraines with cell phones) version of the Royal Observer Corps used by the UK in WW2.
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
Russian news agencies said the military jet crashed during a training flight from a military airfield
The Defence Ministry also said the crash was caused by an engine fire.

Interfax quoted the local emergencies ministry as saying five floors of the apartment building were on fire and the upper floors had collapsed.
Content from External Source


This Su-34 crash kinda fits the 9/11 forum just as well as the Ukraine forum?

(it also reminds me of the F-104 crashing all over the place way back when)
 

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Duke

Active Member

How the World Will Know If Russia Is Preparing to Launch a Nuke​

From the article:

Officials from the United States and the United Kingdom have emphasized that they do not see indications that Russia is actively preparing to launch a nuclear strike. And the signals the global community has to draw on in monitoring the Russian nuclear weapons program, while not infallible, are robust. That means the world would likely know if a nuclear attack were imminent.


https://www.wired.com/story/russia-...22&utm_medium=email&utm_source=nl&utm_term=P4

"Not infallible" brings to mind how the US (and the rest of the world?) missed the build up to the testing of nukes by India in 1998.


India blasts take US intelligence by surprise

From the article:

U.S. intelligence agencies failed to detect any signs that India was preparing for the underground nuclear weapons blasts carried out yesterday and were embarrassed by New Delhi's extensive efforts to hide the tests.

The Indians engaged in elaborate "denial and deception" of U.S. satellites and other spying in the weeks leading up to the three tests at the nuclear center near Pokhran, in the northwestern state of Rajasthan bordering Pakistan.


https://irp.fas.org/news/1998/05/980512-wt.htm

I think we can assume the Russians will engage in equally "elaborate 'denial and deception' of U.S. satellites and other spying" methods if preparing to employ nukes against Ukraine. Of course even if we did see them preparing to use nukes, what could/would we do?
 

captancourgette

Active Member
"denial and deception"
It wasn't 100% clear in the article.
They state they had"zero warning" but the word "denial" saiz to me the opposite if asked beforehand. i.e.
USA "It looks like you are about to test a nuclear weapon, Are you going to conduct a nuclear test"
India "No we are not"
in which case the USA did have an idea india was about to conduct a test hence asking and receiving a denial. This is similar to USA saying russia was going to invade ukraine and russia denied it.

Though perhaps they are using the word afterwards as in
India "We have not had a nuclear test, your manmade earthquake measurements are wrong, such a explosion never took place"

In short I'm not sure what the word denial is referring to

EDIT: OK looked a bit more. It seems USA was unaware beforehand and india did admit to conducting the tests afterward, thus I think the 'denial' is just the article writer miswriting. It seems part of the reason USA was unaware is due to india being aware of when the US spy satelittes passed overhead and also doing the preperations at night.
2 points that make it easier for USA to detect now, 1. tech is 24 years improved, 2. USA are aware something could go on thus will be watching like hawks unlike the 1998 india test which came out of the blue.

Then again how easy would preparations be to detect. Surely the whole point of nuclear weapons is for them able to be shot off within short notice, I'm pretty sure Russia or USA could launch a nuclear missile and the other side not being aware until the thing has left the ground/sub.

EDIT2: To make it clear, sorry I'm a terrible explainer.
But to me the news about US etc hasn't seen any indication that Russia is about to launch a nuke, to me sounds just like a statement made to reassure the population, if russia/usa wanted to they could launch one in 5 minutes time, thats the whole point of MAD
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
In short I'm not sure what the word denial is referring to
Article:
Denial and deception (D&D) is a Western theoretical framework[ for conceiving and analyzing military intelligence techniques pertaining to secrecy and deception. [...]

In the D&D framework, denial and deception are seen as distinct but complementary endeavors. Denial most often involves security and concealment to prevent foreign agents, photographic surveillance, electronic monitoring, or even the media from revealing secretive diplomatic or military matters. Deception is the construction of a false reality for the adversary through intentionally "leaked" false information, false stories implanted in the media, dummy or decoy structures or military formations, or numerous other measure.

Surely the whole point of nuclear weapons is for them able to be shot off within short notice, I'm pretty sure Russia or USA could launch a nuclear missile and the other side not being aware until the thing has left the ground/sub.
You're mixing up strategic and tactical nuclear weapons. Tactical nuclear weapons are similar to other complex ammunitions, and the US can probably tell when they're being readied.
Article:
The smallest tactical nuclear weapons can be one kiloton or less (producing the equivalent to a thousand tonnes of the explosive TNT). The largest ones can be as big as 100 kilotons.

Strategic nuclear weapons are larger (up to 1,000 kilotons) and are launched from longer range.

By comparison, the atomic bomb the US dropped on Hiroshima in 1945 was 15 kilotons.
 

captancourgette

Active Member
OK thanks I was not aware of the D&D term (outside of roleplaying).

I'm aware of the difference between the 2 sorts of nuclear devices, my point is the US would have very little indication that russia was about to launch a tactical nuclear warhead

eg this Russian plane can launch a tactical nuclear missile
http://www.military-today.com/aircraft/su_30.htm

How can USA know they are about to launch this plane many hours in advance?, its not like a rocket to space where they have to wheel it out to the launchpad, then slowly fuel the rocket, wait for the good weather and then launch. They could easily attach the nuke to the plane inside a hanger sight unseen, hence I believe the statements about Nato not seeing any indication that russia is going to launch a nuke as just words to calm the public.

Maybe Nato is thinking well if russia was about to launch they would prepare to do X & Y & Z as countermeasures for Nato reprissals because thats rational, but we have seen multiple times so far in this war Russia doing illogical and downright stupid military actions.
 
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LilWabbit

Senior Member
Detecting the deployment of nuclear weapons (especially strategic nuclear missiles) is not difficult as the Wired article cited by @Duke writes:

Article:
"The procedure for deploying these weapons would include a number of steps,” says Podvig, who is also a senior research fellow at the UN Institute for Disarmament Research. “First taking these weapons out of their bunkers, loading them on trucks, and driving them to an airfield—moving them closer to the delivery systems—and doing a checkup procedure. My understanding is, you would see the movement of the launchers, the missiles, the aircraft. It would be a pretty visible operation, and quite frankly, I think Russia would want it to be visible."

Global powers monitor each others' nuclear weapons programs through a combination of aerial and satellite surveillance and other signals intelligence. The analysis is part art, part science, as monitoring of North Korea's nuclear program has particularly shown, given the country's extreme isolation. And while GCHQ's Fleming and other researchers caution that there is never perfect information, global knowledge of Russia's nuclear program and long-standing intelligence operations inside the country will likely allow international observers to spot any Russian nuclear preparations.


As to the Indian 1998 Pokhran test mentioned by @CaptainCourgette, the US intelligence failure to detect it was not due to lack of adequate technology but due to a clever deception by the Indians to make US satellites focus on Chandipur instead of Pokhran:

Article:
But was it really a technological failure on the part of the satellites? Many believed so. Because the Indian scientists or technocrats had done a remarkable job by working during the nights to evade the satellite detections. But what was more important, they diverted the US, or for that matter the global, attention to the missile-testing range at Chandipur in Odisha.

In what was the build-up to the 37th test of the Trishul surface-to-air missile, the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) moved more equipment than was required for the firing. It is believed that the apparatus put up at Chandipur resembled that of the Agni intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM). While the Chinese signals surveillance facility at Coco Islands was activated in anticipation of an Agni launch, it was the same build-up that led the US satellites to focus their cameras at Chandipur rather than Pokhran.

It was a brilliant strategic deception created by India. As a result, continued monitoring of the images which came of the activities at the Chandipur missile testing range led to complacency in the US National Security Agency, which was responsible for deciphering satellite surveillance. The Vajpayee government’s public reassurance all those days that there were no plans to go nuclear further led to this complacency.


As the Wired article also states: "As is the case in the US and among other world nuclear powers, Russia's intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles are always deployed and in a constant state of readiness." What's virtually impossible to detect or to predict is the exact moment Russia would decide to launch these missiles that are in a constant state of readiness.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
They could easily attach the nuke to the plane inside a hanger sight unseen
Yes.
And hours or days before, the nuclear warhead has to be transported from secure storage to the hangar. If the warheads are all still in storage, Putin isn't able to attach them to any planes in the short term.

Your original assertion, that these nukes are ready to be launched at a moment's notice, is true for the strategic nuclear arsenal, ICBMs and the like.
 

captancourgette

Active Member
And hours or days before, the nuclear warhead has to be transported from secure storage to the hangar. If the warheads are all still in storage, Putin isn't able to attach them to any planes in the short term.
These places are ~1080km away from Kyiv, so well within flight distance
https://fas.org/blogs/security/2019/02/engels-saratov-nuclear-upgrades/
Engels which is a military airbase has nuclear weapons storage, plus theres a large nuclear weapons storage at saratov 36km away

EDIT: I agree that getting ready for nuclear war should be apparent beforehand to Nato satelittes, but a solitary tactical nuclear weapon, nah mate, Russia or USA could prepare it without alerting the other side
 
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Duke

Active Member
OK thanks I was not aware of the D&D term (outside of roleplaying).

I'm aware of the difference between the 2 sorts of nuclear devices, my point is the US would have very little indication that russia was about to launch a tactical nuclear warhead

eg this Russian plane can launch a tactical nuclear missile
http://www.military-today.com/aircraft/su_30.htm

How can USA know they are about to launch this plane many hours in advance?, its not like a rocket to space where they have to wheel it out to the launchpad, then slowly fuel the rocket, wait for the good weather and then launch. They could easily attach the nuke to the plane inside a hanger sight unseen, hence I believe the statements about Nato not seeing any indication that russia is going to launch a nuke as just words to calm the public.

Maybe Nato is thinking well if russia was about to launch they would prepare to do X & Y & Z as countermeasures for Nato reprissals because thats rational, but we have seen multiple times so far in this war Russia doing illogical and downright stupid military actions.
They could also use surface-to-surface tactical battlefield missiles to deliver tactical nukes, as well as nuclear artillery rounds.
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
EDIT: I agree that getting ready for nuclear war should be apparent beforehand to Nato satelittes, but a solitary tactical nuclear weapon, nah mate, Russia or USA could prepare it without alerting the other side

The Russian 9K720 Iskander short-range ballistic missile system (see below) has been in active use against targets in Ukraine and can also carry a tactical nuclear warhead.

8D255A9A-43AF-4EFB-820A-FA6B9849F7B6.jpeg

Satellites, radars and signals intelligence can detect Iskander launchers moving into positions just as they can detect the movement of larger missiles or other military materiel. However, it's trickier to establish if batteries of Iskander launchers include missiles with tactical nuclear warheads alongside conventional warheads. The hit probability of a given surface-to-surface missile in a salvo depends on the salvo size.

Iskander launcher batteries firing salvoes of missiles (including decoy munitions) with a narrow spread concentrating around the target makes it that much more difficult for even an advanced surface-to-air missile system to counter them all. But it's not a given that the individual missile(s) armed with a tactical nuclear warhead in a salvo of conventional warheads survive the 'enemy's' air defence. And if multiple nuclear-armed Iskanders are fired in a given salvo to increase hit probability, it poses a risk of both wastage of nuclear warheads (for Russia) and operationally excessive damage (a risk for both Russia and the target country).
 

Duke

Active Member
The Russian 9K720 Iskander short-range ballistic missile system (see below) has been in active use against targets in Ukraine and can also carry a tactical nuclear warhead.

8D255A9A-43AF-4EFB-820A-FA6B9849F7B6.jpeg

Satellites, radars and signals intelligence can detect Iskander launchers moving into positions just as they can detect the movement of larger missiles or other military materiel. However, it's trickier to establish if batteries of Iskander launchers include missiles with tactical nuclear warheads alongside conventional warheads. The hit probability of a given surface-to-surface missile in a salvo depends on the salvo size.

Iskander launcher batteries firing salvoes of missiles (including decoy munitions) with a narrow spread concentrating around the target makes it that much more difficult for even an advanced surface-to-air missile system to counter them all. But it's not a given that the individual missile(s) armed with a tactical nuclear warhead in a salvo of conventional warheads survive the 'enemy's' air defence. And if multiple nuclear-armed Iskanders are fired in a given salvo to increase hit probability, it poses a risk of both wastage of nuclear warheads (for Russia) and operationally excessive damage (a risk for both Russia and the target country).
To my knowledge, the Ukrainians don't have an anti-missile capable air defense system, anyway. In that case, even being forewarned they lack the ability to shoot down an Iskander once it has been launched.

The best defense against a missile is to destroy it on the ground before it can be launched. A lesson learned out of Desert Storm was the difficulty in finding and destroying mobile missile (SCUD) launchers. They would "shoot and scoot." Some post-war sources claimed there was no evidence the Coalition destroyed any mobile SCUD launchers. The Ukrainians don't have anywhere near the resources of the Coalition, so I don't like their chances of taking out mobile launchers even with Western ISR support.
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
To my knowledge, the Ukrainians don't have an anti-missile capable air defense system, anyway. In that case, even being forewarned they lack the ability to shoot down an Iskander once it has been launched.

The best defense against a missile is to destroy it on the ground before it can be launched. A lesson learned out of Desert Storm was the difficulty in finding and destroying mobile missile (SCUD) launchers. They would "shoot and scoot." Some post-war sources claimed there was no evidence the Coalition destroyed any mobile SCUD launchers. The Ukrainians don't have anywhere near the resources of the Coalition, so I don't like their chances of taking out mobile launchers even with Western ISR support.

Yes, Iskanders are still a tough nut for Ukraine but not all the cruise missiles which they have been shooting down quite effectively. But some help seems to be on the way (see the article below). According to many experts Russia doesn't have significant stockpiles of Iskanders left (which are, by the way, the successors of the infamous SCUD).

Article:
The U.S.-supplied NASAMS and German IRIS-T air defense systems can even shoot down Iskander missiles, Ukrainian air force spokesperson Yuriy Ihnat said in an interview with RBK Ukraine. Ukraine's existing air defense architecture works well at shooting down Kalibr, Kh-101, and Kh-555 cruise missiles, but is not able to effectively counter Kh-22, Kh-31, Onyx, and Iskander systems, he said.
 
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