Russia and Ukraine Current Events

Mendel

Senior Member.
China has cut off some exports to Russia also
I tried to find reports supporting this but couldn't.
Article:
Western sanctions push Russia and China even closer

The Chinese government said in a statement that it strongly supports "respecting and safeguarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries," including Ukraine, but has stopped short of condemning Russia's invasion, and has criticized the imposition of sanctions on Russia.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
since when are iraqis people of color?

Zelensky says talks with Russia might happen as early as "today" (i think its almost night over there so not sure what today means)
Source: https://youtu.be/fVIOccxAa1I?t=13


Source: https://www.facebook.com/zelenskiy.official/posts/3020012681582421

Article:
Володимир Зеленський
2 hrs ·
The result of the conversation with Alexander Lukashenko.
We have agreed that the Ukrainian delegation will meet with Russian without prior conditions on the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, in the area of the Pripyat river.
Alexander Lukashenko took responsibility for the fact that at the time of the departure, negotiations and return of the Ukrainian delegation, all planes, helicopters and missiles placed on the Belarusian territory will remain on the ground.
 
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Hevach

Senior Member.
since when are iraqis people of color?
Western understanding of Middle Eastern demographics are terrible, but so is the definition of what is and isn't white, the US still didn't recognize quite a few pale-as-the-driven-snow groups as white when they stopped bothering to explain the categories and just made the checkbox optional. My parents lived at a time when they legally couldn't check "white" because they were Italian but had a grandmother with a Celtic surname, and Italian Celts weren't included when Italians were moved from Mediterranean to White.
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
Western understanding of Middle Eastern demographics are terrible, but so is the definition of what is and isn't white, the US still didn't recognize quite a few pale-as-the-driven-snow groups as white when they stopped bothering to explain the categories and just made the checkbox optional.
i dont know what your words mean.

are you saying "yes, iraquis are people of color?"

(either way, there are plenty of uncivilized white people.. so i dont think CBS were being white supremacists with their comment.. i think he just meant "there arent terrorist groups running around in Kyiv". At least that is how i took it.)

edit add: yea that seems what he meant
Article:
“But this isn’t a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan, that has seen conflict raging for decades,” he commented. “You know, this is a relatively civilized, relatively European – I have to chose those words carefully, too – city where you wouldn’t expect that or hope that it’s going to happen.”
 

Z.W. Wolf

Senior Member.
There have been a lot of little instances where logistical support or communication have been lacking in the offense.

For example, the first Russian unit to arrive in Kyiv was a police riot suppression team that got lit up on arrival. Logically they should have been the last to arrive as their job comes after the battle to suppress civil unrest.

There's a number of videos of Russian vehicles stopped and out of fuel, my favorite being one in which a Ukrainian truck stops to talk to them, and the soldiers admit they don't know where the truck with their ammunition is so they're functionally unarmed.

And before I post this next link, as I said, intel is a complex game and everything that the public sees has been through several strategic and agenda filters, but they do sometimes add up:

Source: https://twitter.com/RihoTerras/status/1497537193346220038


This release alleges that Putin expected the battle to wrap up in four days (and here we are in day three, only one major city has fallen, Kyiv stands and early reports are that the force hitting Kharkiv has been captured), likely expecting the government to simply evaporate and the people to panic and capitulate*.

As such the supply chains are literally what was in those border bases. Rockets in particular are months out, but pretty much everything is only in supply for a matter of days, rifles and bullets are about all that will last past day 10.


Everything is part of the game and should be viewed as such, but this is much more consistent with what's coming out of the combat zone than pauses to regroup or probing strikes ahead of a proper attack - the number of people left behind at the border bases is lower than you'd expect for logistical support, let alone reinforcing attacks.


*Ukraine has a cultural heritage of giving invaders the finger. From the Mongols to the 20th Century their cultural story is one of going torches and pitchforks against all comers and making victory costly.

Yesterday there were rumors that the Chechen soldiers in the fight had withdrawn, today Ramzan Kadyrov confirmed that they were and that Russian tactics were failing. Kazakhstan also refused a call from Russia to join the fight.
This is random nonsense.

There is always random nonsense. I wish I could present a 1945 Japanese newspaper article that proved, through economic analysis, that the U.S. could not sustain the B-29 offensive. And of course "We 100 Million" - the Yamato Race - the Japanese - have always repelled invasion and cannot lose.
 

Z.W. Wolf

Senior Member.
An epitome of the naïve, wishful thinking type of reporting we're getting comes from this incident.


00:28 Russian patrols appeared to be making progress into the city this morning, but that didn't last long. Here they were pulling back. No surprise when you see the welcome they got from the locals.

This is being presented as a Russian offensive being defeated and turned back by Ukrainian forces. These were lightly armed reconnaissance patrols going in and coming back out as planned. One of the patrols was successfully ambushed, but it's likely that most of the platoon bailed out of their vehicles and made it out on foot or in stolen cars, as is hinted at later in the report. These are elite troops. They're resourceful.

The Russian military is built around artillery. They do recon and probing attacks then devastate the enemy with coordinated artillery strikes.

But without getting bogged down in details...

The Russians seem to be having logistics problems that have stalled the major offensive for a few days. But they'll sort it out. Putin will do whatever it takes to win the Major Military Phase. Which looks to be pretty ugly.

He can't win the second phase. Holding the country. It's the Insurgency Phase that may make this the worst war in Europe since WWII; eclipsing the Bosnian War.

The political situation is very unsettled.

This discussion highlights the scariest scenario. The road to nuclear war.
 
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Woolery

Active Member
An epitome of the naïve, wishful thinking type of reporting we're getting comes from this incident.
This was a single platoon doing reconnaissance. It was not an armored column trying to take the city.
Sorry if I’m being dense, but I tried to find where the Sky News journalist described the column as an “armored” column “trying to take the city” and came up empty. Can you time stamp when that was mentioned?

I did hear the journalist describe the visible line of vehicles and troops as an “enemy column,” but from what little I understand of military jargon, a column is simply a formation of soldiers marching together in which the file is longer than the width of the ranks in the formation. That does appear to fairly describe the grouping being filmed.

Other than the narrator’s melodramatic tone, I had trouble pinpointing what might’ve been misleading about the report.
 

Z.W. Wolf

Senior Member.
I have the bad habit of writing a post and then editing it over and over. You've quoted an earlier version of my post... and I even changed the video I linked to. So please look at my final(?) version of the post.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
I found a detailed strategic assessment. The highlights:
Article:
Russian forces largely conducted an operational pause on February 26-27 but will likely resume offensive operations and begin using greater air and artillery support in the coming days. Russian airborne and special forces troops are engaged in urban warfare in northwestern Kyiv, but Russian mechanized forces are not yet in the capital. Russian forces conducted limited attacks on the direct approaches to Kyiv on both banks of the Dnipro River, but largely paused offensive operations in northeastern Ukraine. Russian forces likely paused to recalibrate their – to date largely unsuccessful – approach to offensive operations in northern Ukraine and deploy additional reinforcements and air assets to the front lines.

Russian forces from Crimea slowly pushed north toward Zaporizhie and the southeastern bend of the Dnipro River and east along the Azov Sea coast toward Mariupol on February 27. Russian forces advancing east from Crimea began initial assaults against Mariupol the morning of February 27. These advances risk cutting off the large concentrations of Ukrainian forces still defending the former line of contact between unoccupied Ukraine and occupied Donbas.

Ukrainian resistance remains remarkably effective and Russian operations especially on the Kyiv axis have been poorly coordinated and executed, leading to significant Russian failures on that axis and at Kharkiv. Russian forces remain much larger and more capable than Ukraine’s conventional military, however, and Russian advances in southern Ukraine may threaten to unhinge the defense of Kyiv and northeastern Ukraine if they continue unchecked.

DraftUkraineCoTFeb27,2022.png

Russian forces may additionally be preparing for an additional line of advance from Belarus into Western Ukraine. ISW previously reported a Russian armored column assembling in Stolin, Belarus on February 25 to support a possible advance into Rivne Oblast, in western Ukraine.[36] Russian forces have not launched a ground attack as of publication. A Russian offensive in western Ukraine would likely seek to cut Ukraine off from ground shipments of Western aid through Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Photoshopped picture of Putin?
why photoshopped? because his tie is a bit dated? i've seen guys wearing those ties still.

they got him from multiple angles...articles mention turkey, syria. so a bit dated.
1646013876031.png


Article:
Photo by: Alexander Zemlianichenko
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Turkey acted contrary to its own interests by downing a Russian warplane. (Associated Press/File)



edit add:
Article:
Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures during his annual news conference in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015. President Vladimir Putin says Turkey acted contrary to its own interests by downing a Russian warplane. Speaking at a televised news conference Thursday, Putin said that he sees no possibility of overcoming the diplomatic strain under the current Turkish leadership. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
Historic-political analysis of how the war is going

I excerpted it (as per Metabunk policy), but I recommend reading it in full at https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1497993363076915204.html

Article:
Why Russia will lose this war?

Much of the "realist" discourse is about accepting Putin's victory, cuz it's *guaranteed*. But how do we know it is?

I'll argue that analysts 1) overrate Russian army 2) underrate Ukrainian one 3) misunderstand Russian strategy & political goals

Consider a timely paper on Russian army by Bismarck Analysis. It's good & informative. It's correct on its land-based and artillery-centric character. It's also correct that Minister of Defence Serdyukov greatly increased army's efficiency in 2007-2012. But it's still misleading

Yes, Minister Serdyukov indeed reformed the army. He increased its efficiency, fought with corrupt and crony armament producers improving the army supplies. As a result he became extremely unpopular, made tons of powerful enemies and was ousted in 2012 losing his power and status

His successor Shoygu knew better than that. Now who's Shoygu? Shoygu is the *only* single Russian minister who uninterruptedly worked in government since 1991, since the very beginning of Russian Federation. He worked for all presidents, all prime ministers avoided all purges [..]

Serdyukov fought with interest groups and was destroyed. Shoygu was smarter than that. He launched a PR campaign presenting himself as the "saviour" from the Serdyukov's legacy. Whatever his predecessor did, was dismantled. Media cheered, people cheered, interest groups cheered

[...]

So. Land-maxing requires minimising the naval ambition. Does Russia minimise its naval ambition? No. It feels obliged to maintain as much Soviet naval legacy as possible. Keep old ships afloat, build new ones, maintain and expand infrastructure for the ocean navy

Here is another dilemma. Regional fleets can be effectively used in land wars. For example, Russia declared "navy manoeuvres" and then attacked Ukraine from the sea. That's cheap and effective. But keeping a regional fleet doesn't sound sexy. It's efficiency-maxing, not PR-maxing

And Russia is PR-maxing. Putin declared that the share of new ships should reach 70% by 2027. Old Soviet ships are becoming obsolete, Russia's building new ones. BUT. Major Soviet shipyards are located in Ukraine. So now Russia expands shipyard infrastructure to reach this goal

Soviet naval legacy is a curse of Russian military. USSR could afford ocean fleets with carrier strike group. Russia can't. But abandoning Soviet ambitions would require suppressing their own hubris (impossible). So they strive to maintain it. Ergo: they can't and won't land-max

[Blitzkrieg]

How does it reflect on this war? First, Russian invading force is small. It has LOTS of artillery ofc. But it's not numerous enough to win. Pro-Russian analysts compare their advance with Barbarossa. But unlike Wehrmacht in 1941 Russian invaders have only *ONE ECHELON OF TROUPS*

How is a Blitzkrieg organised? By echelons. First echelon is moving forward as fast as they can. Ofc this means that lots of defenders will be left in their rear. But then the second echelon comes, then third, etc. They finish defenders, occupy territory, control the supply lines

If Russia launched a proper Barbarossa-style Blitzkrieg that would happen now - first, second, third echelons. But the second echelon didn't come. It never existed. Why? First, Russia's *not* landmaxing and thus doesn't have so much resources and infrastructure for the land war

Secondly, launching several echelons would require long arduous preparation. You need to mobilise them, move to the borders, quarter, maintain and supply. It's not that easy. It's a hard job that should have been done well in advance to wage a Blitzkrieg. And it hadn't been done

Why Russia didn't prepare a proper Blitzkrieg? And now we come for the third and main reason. Blitzkrieg is a war strategy. Blitzkrieg is how you break & suppress the enemy who's actually fighting. Russia didn't plan it because it didn't plan a war. It planned a Special Operation

Ofc partially that's just modern discourse. After WWII traditional understanding of sovereignty as of legal right of sovereign rulers to wage offensive war died. As a result modern states never admit they're waging wars. They're waging "pacifications", "counterterrorism", etc

[..] Modern world abolished the distinction between the enemy and the criminal, a key idea of the Roman Law. Powers do wage wars, but to do so they need to criminalise and dehumanise their enemies. Hence, all the "terrorist" discourse. In a sense Putin is going with the flow

But on a deeper level Putin is absolutely correct. His declaration of "special operation" in Ukraine is sincere, because he didn't expect the war. He doesn't know how to do wars. For all of his life he's been organising and launching the special operations [...]

Later he initiated conflicts each time his had to boost his popularity and tough image. Chechnya, Georgia, Syria. But neither of this was a war. Every conflict was a Special operation waged:

1) for political goals
2) against small force which had no chance to win against Russia

Putin fought only with small countries. Chechnya - 1 million people, Georgia - 4. Syria had more, but he fought with rebels, with no proper training or armaments. Also "counterterrorist" discourse allowed Russians to simply level entire cities to the ground with no consequences [...]

Putin decided to repeat this little trick again. Hence, not that numerous army of invasion, only one echelon of advance, etc. But Ukraine is much bigger - it has 44 million people. What was Putin thinking? Apparently he was expecting zero resistance from the Ukrainian army

Putin had a good reason to believe so. Indeed, in 2014 Russian regulars ("ихтамнеты" = "there aren't any of them there") easily destroyed Ukrainian forces in Debaltsevo and Ilovaysk. He saw that Ukrainian army is weak and he can easily route them simply sending Russian regulars

Strategically speaking Putin fucked up. He defeated Ukraine, inflicted pain and humiliation. Anyone with an IQ above the room temperature knew the war is not over and Russians would strike again. But - Putin didn't finish Ukraine back then. He thought he'd always have a chance

What happened next was quite predictable. Inflicting a painful but not critical defeat on your enemy is risky. Yeah, they kinda became weaker. But the balance of power within them changed. [...]

Nothing motivates as hard as an existential threat. First, Ukrainians admitted the truth:

«I'll be frank. Today we have no army. Now we can assemble a group of 5 thousand capable soldiers max [out of 125 on paper]"

- reported minister of defence in 2014

In 2014 Ukrainian equipment was awful. Almost 100% vehicle and ammunition were 25+ year old Soviet stocks. Moreover, most of it just expired. Like vehicles existed on paper but were never checked or used since 1991. Their radiators, accumulators all rotten and unrepairable

[...] That's how Ukrainian army looked back then. No wonder it was immediately crushed by Russian regulars in Debaltsevo and Ilovaysk and Putin had every reason to believe that resistance will be broken the moment he launches his regular army en masse

A lot has changed. First, Ukraine has had six drafts. Men were drafted and sent to Donbass. Then most demobilised and returned to civilian life. This Donbass contingent was around 60 thousand soldiers and constantly rotated. So now Ukraine has 400 000+ veterans of Donbass war

Many of them were in combat. Thus Ukraine has huge number of veterans with combat experience. Probably more than Russia. Yes, Russia has been fighting in Syria. It never published the size of its force but it's estimated to be 2-3 thousand. Most Russian soldiers have not seen war

Furthermore, combat they've seen is different. Russian soldiers are used to fighting only when they total superiority. In Syria they would just level cities to the ground with bombers. Meanwhile, Ukrainian soldiers have fought only against far stronger and better equipped enemy

Equipment-wise this war took Ukrainian army half-resupplied. It developed many innovative weaponry of its own, but almost none of it was produced on large scale. In most cases soldiers have only few prototypes of new, Ukrainian-produced weaponry

Ukraine ordered 48 Turkish Bayraktars TB2 drones. That's not bad - more than twice what Azerbaijan had in Karabakh. But only 12 of them got to the troops by now. Ukraine is also developing new, stronger drone Bayraktar Akinci together with Turks, but it's too late for this war

However, Ukrainians got a number (unpublished) of American-produced Javelins and M141 Bunker Defeat Munition, & British-Swedish produced MBT LAWs. Together with Ukrainian produced anti-tank weaponry such as «Stugna-P», RK-3 "Corsar" and «Barrier» it helps to fight Russian tanks

Ukrainian troops hadn't received many new tanks by the time Putin attacked. But they got new armoured vehicles, such as domestic-produced Cossack-2 with Turkish produced Aselsan fighting modules and a number of American armoured vehicles, humvees, etc

Finally, Ukraine created a new type of troops - the troops of territorial defence, whose number is estimated in 60 000. It's a copy of the Polish troop type. These are civilians who get military training and can be mobilised in a day to fight only in their own town and region

Why? Well, that's pretty obvious. If Russia made a proper Blitzkrieg with several echelons of attack, Ukraine would lose anyway. But Russia didn't. And Ukrainians bet that they wouldn't. First - it's costly and difficult for a state security regime which isn't landmaxing

Second, Putin expected Ukrainian army to run away or surrender in the first day. Like most of foreign observers expected. Now they're of course changing the narrative, but if you look at their posts few days ago they didn't believe that Ukrainians would make any real resistance

So Putin attacked with only one echelon. Troops pushed forward leaving many non-destroyed Ukrainian regulars and levy behind. In a proper Blitzkrieg a second and third echelon would have come to finish Ukrainian defenders. But they didn't. These additional echelons didn't exist

Which immediately created the supply and replenishment problem. The first echelon pushed forward. It needs a supply in ammo, in fuel and well, in people. But these supply convoys are being attacked by the regulars and territorial defence troops left behind, [and] by those few Bayraktars Ukraine got

And reportedly by the levy whom the government just distributed guns. These people would be unable to stand against the Russian columns but they can attack convoys. Consider that Ukraine has many veterans with combat experience among civilians [...]

What does it mean? Putin's plan didn't work. Cuz he didn't plan for war. He never fought a war and has no idea how to fight them. He has been always doing Special Operations and this is a Special Operation, too. They should have just run away or surrender, but they keep fighting

The defeat in this operation will inflict enormous consequences for Putin and his regime. They are unlikely to survive this defeat. Meanwhile, it's unlikely that Putin wins by the same methods

It's not that Russian morale is low, it's rather that it depends on how hard the war is.Most Russian troops would be enthusiastic or wouldn't mind against a small foreign vacation with fun and adventures. Fighting a hard long war with real possibility of death is another matter [...]

What Putin can do?

1. Start destroying infrastructure (done)
2. Blockade cities (done)
3. Simply level cities with bombers and artillery like in Chechnya or Syria (may be)

The first two would inflict humanitarian catastrophe and as he hopes break the will

Third one is more problematic. Unlike Chechnya or Syria where you could easily justify the open genocide with "fighting jihadees" which is a fair play in the "war on terror", here it would be more difficult and actually might draw the NATO response. Still, I can't exclude this

So my prognosis is: if the fight continues and victory is not achieved Russian ability and willingness to fight will be disappearing quickly. Putin doesn't have a choice but many of his subordinates do

Even in case when Russia doesn't technically lose and some source of armistice/agreement is achieved, Ukraine already won. Why? Many describe this conflict as kinetic. Bullshit. Human conflicts or interactions are not kinetic. They are mythological and run by myths

Money is a myth. It exists only because we believe so. Power is a myth. Nation is a myth. Institutions are purely mythological. Consider the story of the burning of Moscow in 1572. Ivan the Terrible divided his country to Zemschina (land) and Oprichnina (taken apart)

Oprichnina was under his personal rule. Oprichniks - his forces - launched terror campaign against Zemschina. They slaughtered entire noble houses, massacred cities, killed enormous number of commoners facing no resistance. Why? Were they strong and brave? No. Because if the myth

Russian people existed within a myth of Orthodox monarchy. [...]

Oprichniks became very brave and badass. Because mythology of the Russian people prohibited 99% of them to resist these security forces. So with the time they decided they are really cool. In 1572 when Crimean Khan attacked Moscow Oprichnik forces went to face him

Kinetically speaking they had overwhelming superiority. Guns, cannons, much heavier armor or weaponry. Their defense and firepower was very much stronger. But they were routed in one day simply by arrows. Because they were used to fight people whose myth prohibited to resist them [...]

They were not used to getting arrows in the face. The very realisation they are not demigods but mortals shocked them. They ran away dropping their armor, guns and cannons. Moscow was burnt to the ground despite having total "kinetic" and technological superiority

So. Power is mythological. Russian state security are gods within their own mythological space where they represent the god like state. But what they found that Ukrainians left this mythological space. Thus Russian state security has no power there. They are just mortals

And finally. The very fact of resistance against so much superior enemy very much empowers the Ukrainian mythology. It's enormous mythos building we are witnessing. The very phenomenon of war is inconceivable without taking into account mythological dimension

[...]
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
An article from last year (!) on Russian logistics anticipates the pause we're seeing, and also the lack of depth of the initial Russian advances. The article itself is full of detailed information and discusses several scenarios. I selected some paragraphs I thought relevant:
Article:
While the Russian army definitely has the combat power to achieve these scenarios, does Russia have the logistics force structure to support these operations? The short answer is not in the timelines envisioned by Western wargames. In an initial offensive — depending on the fighting involved — Russian forces might reach early objectives, but logistics would impose requirements for operational pauses. As a result, a large land grab is unrealistic as a fait accompli. The Russian army has the combat power to capture the objectives envisioned in a fait accompli scenario, but it does not have the logistic forces to do it in a single push without a logistical pause to reset its sustainment infrastructure. The Russian Aerospace Forces (with a sizable tactical bomber and attack aircraft force) and attack helicopters can also pick up fire support to alleviate artillery ammunition consumption.

The Russian army makes heavy use of tube and rocket artillery fire, and rocket ammunition is very bulky. Although each army is different, there are usually 56 to 90 multiple launch rocket system launchers in an army. Replenishing each launcher takes up the entire bed of the truck. If the combined arms army fired a single volley, it would require 56 to 90 trucks just to replenish rocket ammunition. That is about a half of a dry cargo truck force in the material-technical support brigade just to replace one volley of rockets.

Historically, urban combat consumes massive amounts of ammunition and takes months to conclude. During the two most prominent examples, the battles of Grozny in the Chechen wars and the Battle of Mosul in 2016, defenders tied down four to 10 times their numbers for up to four months. At Grozny, Russians were firing up to 4,000 shells a day — that’s 50 trucks a day.

One of the strengths of the Russian army in a war in the Baltics or Poland would be its ability to mobilize reservists and civilian trucks. Russia still has a massive mobilization capacity built into its national economy, a legacy of World War II and the Cold War. However, mobilizing civilians to fight a war has major economic and political costs. To maintain political stability at home, the Russian people would have to genuinely believe they are defending their country.

The Russian army will be hard-pressed to conduct a ground offensive of more than 90 miles beyond the borders of the former Soviet Union without a logistics pause. For NATO, it means it can worry less about a major Russian invasion of the Baltic states or Poland and a greater focus on exploiting Russian logistic challenges by drawing Russian forces further away from their supply depots and targeting chokepoints in the Russian logistic infrastructure and logistic force in general. It also means that Russia is more likely to seize small parts of enemy territory under its logistically sustainable range of 90 miles rather than a major invasion as part of a fait accompli strategy.

So, according to this, the Russians probably aren't running out of rockets, they just can't get them to the front lines. And the operational pause isn't because the Ukranian defense is so great, it's because Russian logistics is so bad.
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
Article:
HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE FLED?

The head of the United Nations refugee agency said that more than 500,000 people had fled Ukraine for neighboring countries since Russia’s invasion started on Thursday.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, gave the updated figure in a tweet. A day earlier, he had said that 368,000 people had crossed into Poland, Hungary, Romania, Moldova and other countries.

Shabia Mantoo, a UNHCR spokeswoman, said the latest and still growing count had 281,000 in Poland, more than 84,500 in Hungary, about 36,400 in Moldova, over 32,500 in Romania and about 30,000 in Slovakia.

The rest were scattered in unidentified other countries, she said.

Article:
WASHINGTON — A senior U.S. intelligence official says Belarus is expected to send troops into Ukraine as soon as Monday to fight alongside Russian forces that invaded Ukraine last week.

Belarus has been providing support for Russia’s war effort, but so far has not taken a direct part in the conflict.

The American official has direct knowledge of current U.S. intelligence assessments and says the decision by Belarus’ leader on whether to bring Belarus further into the war depends on talks between Russia and Ukraine happening in the coming days. The official spoke anonymously to discuss the sensitive information.

I've not yet seen reports of this actually happening.

Article:
BERLIN — The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog says missiles have hit a radioactive waste disposal site in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, but there are no reports of damage to the buildings or indications of a release of radioactive material.

In a statement late Sunday, International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi says Ukrainian authorities informed his office about the overnight strike. He says his agency expects to soon receive the results of on-site radioactive monitoring.

The report came a day after an electrical transformer at a similar disposal facility in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv was damaged.

Such facilities typically hold low-level radioactive materials such as waste from hospitals and industry, but Grossi says the two incidents highlight a “very real risk.” He says if the sites are damaged there could be “potentially severe consequences for human health and the environment.”

Article:
KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s Interior Ministry says 352 Ukrainian civilians have been killed during Russia’s invasion, including 14 children. It says an additional 1,684 people, including 116 children, have been wounded.

The ministry’s statement Sunday does not give any information on casualties among Ukraine’s armed forces.

Russia has claimed that its troops are targeting only Ukrainian military facilities and says that Ukraine’s civilian population is not in danger.

While there are recurring reports of high-rises etc. being shelled (or, in some cases, sabotaged with explosives), I haven't seen evidence that this is occurring as part of an intentional campaign.

Article:
WARSAW, Poland -- While countries like Poland and Hungary have welcomed fleeing Ukrainians, some foreign citizens seeking to leave Ukraine have reported difficulties at the Polish border.

An Indian volunteer in Poland said Sunday some Indian citizens seeking to flee Ukraine into Poland are stuck at the border leading into Medyka, Poland, and unable to cross.

The problem seems to be that if you're a foreigner in Ukraine, or maybe a refugee from some other country, the VISA-waiver for entry into Poland does not apply, making you in effect a "second-class" refugee.
 

Z.W. Wolf

Senior Member.
Whatever the reason, the Russians don't seem to be following their own military doctrine, including use of air power. Is it a logistics problem, sheer incompetence, low morale... or is it a political policy? Could all of this have been just to surround cities with strong forces and use this as a bargaining chip? A political bluff more forceful than just positioning forces at their own border?

If they gain something then withdraw that would eliminate the problem of holding the country.

Hard to see what they'd gain. Maybe it was just a failed attempt at regime change? Hard to see what the offramp would be from that.

Or maybe it was always policy to go light at first, and then if that doesn't work increase the intensity?
 
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BombDr

Senior Member.
It looks to me as if this first phase could be a limited offensive meant to do two things.

- A probing attack to see what the defense strategy is going to be.
They've found that the conventional Ukrainian forces have dispersed.
They've found that the civilian population is aggressive.

-A buildup of forces and logistical support within the country. Instead of a "blitzkrieg" attack which moves away from their base of power and stretches their supply lines back to Russia and Belarus, they are establishing forward bases to stage offensive equipment and building bases for logistical support. They have the luxury to do this because they're moving into a country they overmatch so badly.

This is essentially moving day, with just enough offense to clear and hold open the supply corridors, which at this time is simply the highway network. This is "mud season" in that part of the world and moving cross country is not a realistic option. So the supply corridors are limited in capacity. It's taking time.

At the same time they're finding out what and where they need to strike.

If this is so it points to an ominous conclusion. If the population has proven to be the enemy, when the real offensive starts they're going to target the population. It will probably be swift and devastating.
I disagree. Its going to be slow and costly. Russian vehicles are running out of gas, and various soldiers have expressed that they are not sure where they are. Secondly, for all their boasting of the modernisation of the Russian military in recent years, they have not established air superiority over Ukraine, and all the kinetic actions appear to be during daylight, suggesting they don't have night vision capability. They also appear to be sticking to roads, making themselves vulnerable to ambush and air attack, as well as following predictable routes.

So far, it has been demonstrated that the 'sun visor' defence canopy over the tanks is a worthless, desperate morale gesture against either the Javelin or NLAW missiles and from what I am gleaning from my sources, not a single tank has survived a hit from these weapons. Seeing as thousands more are on their way, as well as thousands of German Panzerfaust 3 rockets, the cost to Russian armour will only get worse.
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
Reading these, I begin to believe that the biggest mistake Putin may have made is to give a good practical demonstration of his military not being as terrifying as he'd like us to think it is. Of course, a bully with nukes always has that last resort that is hard to feel sanguine about. But the mighty Russian army/airforce, while not in any sense a paper tiger, may not actually be a real tiger either.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
why photoshopped? because his tie is a bit dated? i've seen guys wearing those ties still.

they got him from multiple angles...articles mention turkey, syria. so a bit dated.
1646013876031.png

Ah, the original image is horizontally flipped so wasn't showing up on a Google image search.

I also thought it looked a bit cartoonishly evil and that his head seemed too big for his body. But apparently that's how he actually looks.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Ah, the original image is horizontally flipped so wasn't showing up on a Google image search.
oh yea i did flip it. so many online pics (esp if they dont want to pay licensing fees) are flipped that its the first thing i do before image searching. if the original [phtoshopped one:flipped] doesnt work then i do the flipped one.

Yandex might have been quicker. i always forget that one unless i strike out with google, but really yandex is a better search i think. and in this case (russian) would have probably found it quicker. Took me longest to find a version (of the real photo) that named the photographer :)
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Reading these, I begin to believe that the biggest mistake Putin may have made is to give a good practical demonstration of his military not being as terrifying as he'd like us to think it is. Of course, a bully with nukes always has that last resort that is hard to feel sanguine about. But the mighty Russian army/airforce, while not in any sense a paper tiger, may not actually be a real tiger either.
one could say the same about the us military based on how things go (or dont go) in other countries. but i'm not sure i'd describe us as a paper tiger. i usually see it as us cheaping out on necessary resources. ie: what we could do and what we're willing to do seem like different things to me. (unless our military actually does suck, then i admit i am wrong)
 

Rory

Senior Member.
Does anybody know what the Ukraine armed forces are up to? I keep reading about the Russians' movements and what Ukrainian citizens are doing but not much on their soldiers. I know they're outnumbered but there are still quite a lot of them.

Maybe it's not being reported on since it might be useful info to the Russians?

Also: tail-end of a 17-mile long column moving towards Kiev:

1646092520604.png
https://www.reuters.com/world/europ...kyiv-convoy-stretches-miles-maxar-2022-02-28/
 
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BombDr

Senior Member.
Does anybody know what the Ukraine armed forces are up to? I read about the Russians' movements, and what Ukrainian citizens are doing, but not much on their soldiers. I know they're outnumbered but there are still quite a lot of them.

Also: tail-end of a 17-mile long column moving towards Kiev:

1646092520604.png
https://www.reuters.com/world/europ...kyiv-convoy-stretches-miles-maxar-2022-02-28/
This column keeps getting longer with every report!

I have no personal knowledge of what the Ukrainian military is doing, but I imagine they will be preparing a counter-offensive of limited air-land integrated attacks. If they can keep the Russians outside the cities, then the real estate of the countryside is tactically irrelevant and just somewhere for Russians to get lost, run out of gas or sit waiting to be attritted by ambush, artillery or drone attack.

If Ukrainian numbers are to be believed, the Russians are losing +- 1000 killed per day, and one wonders what exactly are the magic numbers that make this adventure too costly to the Russian public...?
 

Rory

Senior Member.
This column keeps getting longer with every report!

Could be some confusion as it was also stated that it was "17 miles (27km) from the centre of the capital". But:

According to Maxar Technologies, the satellite-imaging company that released the photos, the convoy is nearly 17 miles long (27km) and "contains hundreds of armoured vehicles, tanks, towed artillery and logistics support vehicles".

https://www.bbc.com/news/live/world-europe-60542877
Content from External Source
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Article:
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has officially filed a request for Ukraine to join the European Union.

He asked for a fast track admittance to the bloc under a special procedure amid the country's ongoing conflict with Russia, Reuters reported.

"Our goal is to be with all Europeans and, most importantly, to be equal. I'm sure that's fair. I am sure we deserve it," he said in a speech that was broadcasted from the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
This column keeps getting longer with every report!

Even longer now:

Satellite imagery company Maxar Technology says that earlier reports indicating the column of Russian armour advancing on Kyiv is 17 miles (27km) long are inaccurate.

The convoy actually stretches about 40 miles, according to Maxar.

The company added that new images also show ground troops and attack helicopters in southern Belarus, less than 20 miles from the Ukraine border.
Content from External Source

Reported on the BBC 16 minutes ago.
 

BombDr

Senior Member.
Even longer now:

Satellite imagery company Maxar Technology says that earlier reports indicating the column of Russian armour advancing on Kyiv is 17 miles (27km) long are inaccurate.

The convoy actually stretches about 40 miles, according to Maxar.

The company added that new images also show ground troops and attack helicopters in southern Belarus, less than 20 miles from the Ukraine border.
Content from External Source

Reported on the BBC 16 minutes ago.
From a tactical standpoint, it could bee seen as 'wow, scary big' or 'wow, how many ambush opportunities?'
 

BombDr

Senior Member.
Air superiority would be nice in a situation like this.
Neither side has it, so I would say these Russian lads are a bit vulnerable right now. Seeing as they are sticking to the roads, it could be another Grozny in which they let them into a killing zone from which they cannot reverse out again.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
“But this isn’t a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan, that has seen conflict raging for decades,” he commented. “You know, this is a relatively civilized, relatively European – I have to chose those words carefully, too – city where you wouldn’t expect that or hope that it’s going to happen.”

The reporter, Charlie D'Agata, made an apology for those comments the other day (from 2:30):


Source: https://twitter.com/i/status/1497697012900368385


“I spoke in a way that I regret, and I’m sorry about that,” he said, adding that he was trying to convey that Ukraine had not experienced “this magnitude of war ” in recent years, unlike other countries.

“You should never compare conflicts anyway, everyone is unique… I used the wrong choice of words and I apologize for any offense I may have caused.”

https://goodwordnews.com/cbs-news-c...-is-more-civilized-than-iraq-and-afghanistan/
 
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NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
Yet another take on Putin that somewhat echoes the article Mendel had in post #94. Basically that he's not the head of a regime that decided to invade Ukraine, rather he IS the regime, with no guidance at all. Not saying it's right or wrong, just more info to digest.

A pull quote:

However, that phrase — “the Putin regime” — which has been stuck to all discussions of Russian politics now for almost twenty years, in some ways itself helps explain why so many people who believed they understood the country turned out to be so wrong about the Ukraine conflict. It has become clear that what exists inside the Kremlin is no longer a “regime” at all—a system of government where multiple figures can impact and feed-into decision making, from security chiefs to billionaires—as many believed.

Instead, it has transformed into what political scientists call a personalist dictatorship, where the whims of one man, and one man only, determine policy, a fact that has terrifying implications for Russia and the world.
Content from External Source
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/worl...-missed-about-russia/ar-AAUq4cL?ocid=msedgntp
 

NoParty

Senior Member.
Even longer now:

Satellite imagery company Maxar Technology says that earlier reports indicating the column of Russian armour advancing on Kyiv is 17 miles (27km) long are inaccurate.

The convoy actually stretches about 40 miles, according to Maxar.

The company added that new images also show ground troops and attack helicopters in southern Belarus, less than 20 miles from the Ukraine border.
Content from External Source

Reported on the BBC 16 minutes ago.
A pic
https://www.axios.com/satellite-ima...yiv-4f0b3318-e2ee-4693-b7bf-22a2d1c8854b.html
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
From a tactical standpoint, it could bee seen as 'wow, scary big' or 'wow, how many ambush opportunities?'
It's making me think that the Russians have secured this corridor enough to not be very afraid of ambushes or attacks from the air. Or maybe they simply have no other choice.

I frankly have no idea how the air battle is going, propaganda legends like the "ghost of Kiev" aside. I've been assuming that most downed Russian aircraft were hit by ground-based air defense, and it looks to me that Russia can conduct aerial operations pretty much where it wants to—and yet it appears to conduct ground advances without air support. It's much easier to get a map of how the ground forces are doing than to find evidence of what's happening in the air.

Belarus has still not actively entered the war.

Article:
A Russian ballistic missile carrying a cluster munition struck just outside a hospital in Vuhledar, a town in the Ukrainian government-controlled Donetska region, on February 24, 2022, Human Rights Watch said today. The attack killed four civilians and injured another 10, six of them healthcare workers, and damaged the hospital, an ambulance, and civilian vehicles.

An international treaty banning cluster munitions has been adopted because of their widespread indiscriminate effect and long-lasting danger to civilians. Cluster munitions typically explode in the air and send dozens, even hundreds, of small bomblets over an area the size of a football field. Cluster submunitions often fail to explode on initial impact, leaving duds that act like landmines. Neither Russia nor Ukraine is among the ban treaty’s 110 states parties.

Both Russia and Ukraine stockpile the Tochka ballistic missile equipped with a cluster munition warhead.

Ukrainian government forces and Russia-backed armed groups used cluster munitions in eastern Ukraine between July 2014 and February 2015, according to investigations conducted by Human Rights Watch, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) monitoring mission, and others.

With attacks like these, there's the same attribution problem we had with MH-17: based on the assumption that this was a mis-targeted attack intended to hit somewhere else, the missile could've come from either side. And as terrible as this ammunition is, both sides have used it.

Does anybody know what the Ukraine armed forces are up to? I keep reading about the Russians' movements and what Ukrainian citizens are doing but not much on their soldiers. I know they're outnumbered but there are still quite a lot of them.

Maybe it's not being reported on since it might be useful info to the Russians?
Yes. Never report on your own forces.

I don't know that they're outnumbered yet, given that the Russian troop strength engaged in maneouvres pre-invasion was given as 150,000, and some estimates for Ukraine exceeded 200,000. Obviously Russia has more tanks and aircraft etc. overall, but they have to get them to Ukraine, and supply them. And Ukraine is getting NATO intelligence, which helps even the battlefield a little.

Russia is not allowing independent war coverage. I followed the Iraq war via a Russian private intelligence outfit, I haven't seen anything similar available for Ukraine. I anticipate that power outages may curb social media coverage of the invasion, and then the picture we're getting of the invasion may become murkier.

Article:
Ukrainian refugees in neighboring countries
Estimates as of Feb. 28, 2022
SmartSelect_20220301-080338_Samsung Internet.jpg

Zelensky accused Russian troops of slaughtering civilians in Kharkiv and requested a no-fly zone from NATO and the U.S. Both have ruled that out because it would bring them into a direct military conflict with Russia.

That's the kind of support I had been hoping for from the outset, but realistically it would've required a UN Security Council resolution to justify it, and that's not happening.
Article:
Zelensky said he'd allow prisoners with combat experience to be released to help defend Ukraine and "compensate their guilt."

Ukraine's deputy defense minister claimed Ukraine has received "thousands" of requests from foreign volunteers to join a new "International Legion" to fight Russia.
Who knows how many neonazis are in the latter 2 groups.
 
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econ41

Senior Member
Yet another take on Putin that somewhat echoes the article Mendel had in post #94. Basically that he's not the head of a regime that decided to invade Ukraine, rather he IS the regime, with no guidance at all. Not saying it's right or wrong, just more info to digest.
To a cynical observer who happens to come from a "Western" (style) democracy the status is not dissimilar to the US situation where the regime of the current "administration" allows the President to act as if he is "the Regime". It ain't all that different to the Russian setup in the allocation of power.
A pull quote:

Instead, it has transformed into what political scientists call a personalist dictatorship, where the whims of one man, and one man only, determine policy, a fact that has terrifying implications for [His Country] and the world.
Content from External Source
Yes.

(Now where did I put my hard hat??? ;) )
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
To a cynical observer who happens to come from a "Western" (style) democracy the status is not dissimilar to the US situation where the regime of the current "administration" allows the President to act as if he is "the Regime". It ain't all that different to the Russian setup in the allocation of power.
The US president's actions are subject to judicial review. Big difference.
Article:
According to Nolette's analysis, state attorneys general have won 51% of their suits against Trump and lost less than 11%. More than a third haven't had any sort of judicial action yet.

Note also Biden's difficulties in getting certain bills passed. You never hear that about Putin.
 

Z.W. Wolf

Senior Member.
History will tell us what happened in the earliest days of this war.

Did the Russians attack along too many axes at a time and bog down against unexpectedly effective resistance?

Or was the plan from the beginning to open up and defend multiple avenues and relentlessly pile in? A patient operation of siege and devastating offensives. If the early offensive by battalion tactical groups led to a Ukrainian collapse... great. But the second echelon was already in motion.

If the first, they will learn and correct. History is full of that kind of thing.

Either way, the early days of the war led to two things.
-The Russians are gathering data. That's what recon and probing attacks do. The drones, the electronic surveillance... They're learning what and where to target.
-Ukrainian regular forces are being depleted, without hope of being replenished. They have no time nor means with which to rebuild. Talk of javelin and stinger missiles being shipped in from other countries misses the point that these weapons are only effective as part of a coordinated system. Where is the heavy artillery, armored vehicles, air power, logistical support, etc., etc. going to come from?

Modern war is an industrial operation of information and devastation from a distance.

Dark days ahead. The cities face encirclement. Food is running out. The Russians may open a corridor of escape for civilians who go... where? Other countries? Or into vast Russian re-education compounds? Then comes the devastation from a distance, the armored columns slashing up major roads and setting up new bases... It's a dark picture.
 
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DavidB66

Senior Member
And Ukraine is getting NATO intelligence, which helps even the battlefield a little.
I hope so, but I haven't seen any specific statements about this, in contrast to statements about supplying weapons. Perhaps in the nature of the case any intelligence activity would be kept secret. For example, if the US/NATO is flying reconnaissance drones over Ukrainian territory, the less the Russians know about it the better.
 

DavidB66

Senior Member
The latest update on Ukraine in The Times (London, paywalled) states that:

An intelligence briefing from the Ministry of Defence in London this morning said: “Russia has failed to gain control of the airspace over Ukraine prompting a shift to night operations in an attempt to reduce their losses.”

I don't automatically believe any statement by the MoD, but a Russian shift to night operations, if true, would be significant. It's difficult to see any reason for it other than effective opposition in the daytime, whether from fighters or ground-to-air missiles, flak, etc.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
I haven't seen any specific statements about this, in contrast to statements about supplying weapons. Perhaps in the nature of the case any intelligence activity would be kept secret.
The White House, 9/2021:
Article:
Deepening Strategic Defense Cooperation:
The United States and Ukraine have finalized a Strategic Defense Framework that creates a foundation for the enhancement of U.S.-Ukraine strategic defense and security cooperation and the advancement of shared priorities, including implementing defense and defense industry reforms, deepening cooperation in areas such as Black Sea security, cyber defense, and intelligence sharing, and countering Russian aggression.

Note the specific denial here, and what it avoids denying:
Article:
3:36 p.m. ET, February 26, 2022
Pentagon denies Russia's claim that it's "highly likely" US used surveillance drones to help Ukrainian navy
From CNN’s Nathan Hodge and Vasco Cotovio in Moscow and Oren Lieberman at the Pentagon

The Pentagon has denied a claim from the Russian Ministry of Defence saying it is "highly likely" that the United States used some of its surveillance drones flying over the Black Sea to help the Ukrainian Navy attack its vessels.

“On the evening of February 25, during the evacuation of 82 Ukrainian servicemen who voluntarily laid down their arms from Zmeiny [Zmiiny] Island, 16 boats of the Ukrainian Navy, using the 'swarm tactics,' tried to attack the ships of the Black Sea Fleet,” Russian defense ministry spokesperson Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said in a statement on Saturday. “During the attack by Ukrainian boats over the provocation area, US strategic unmanned aerial vehicles RQ-4 'Global Hawk' and MQ-9A 'Reaper' were overhead.”

“It is highly likely that it was American UAVs that directed Ukrainian boats at the ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet,” Konashenkov said.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby denied the claims:

“Russian claims that the United States was involved in any way with Ukrainian naval operations near the Zmiiny Island are false. We did not provide ISR or any other support. Chalk this up to just one more lie by the Russian Ministry of Defense,” he told CNN.
 

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