Thoughts and Comments on Current Russian,Ukrainian Conflict/War

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Steve Shannon

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Since the last three posts have been interesting and well informed speculations, I may as well add my two cents worth.

In my opinion, Russia has lost too much of its armed forces to rationally continue the invasion in any sort of offensive military manner. Therefore they must go on the defensive and hope to stay in the game by economic or political means.
There was no rationality to the invasion in the first place, but I agree; they’ve sacrificed a lot of their armed forces. If nato ever did want to strike unilaterally this would be the perfect time. That it hasn’t is proof of Russia’s lying.

The Russians have the very easiest path to immediate relief. All they have to do is pull out and all military activities against them end. It’s the old “When you’re in a hole stop digging” strategy. Their country hasn’t had its cities obliterated and its populace displaced or killed.

They could almost certainly offer to begin paying reparations to have many international sanctions lifted as well. Of course they would have to sacrifice Putin and probably some politicians and soldiers to war crime prosecutions, but the needs of the many outweigh the lives of a few REMFs and UEMFs.
 

boatgeek

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One of the parts of this conflict that seem ... different is the use of non-military satellite info for military purposes. The big one has been using the NOAA forest fire tracking satellites to see where fighting is happening on the ground. This article is a story about that, particularly focused on whether Ukraine has successfully crossed a river that the Russians could not.

Note: Daily Kos is an unabashedly political website. This article is not political, though there are some in the comments and in "other headlines" off to the right. If you don't want to even see another point of view, don't click the link.
 

afadeev

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For the sake of argument let's say that something occurs within Russia and the Russian forces are withdrawn from Ukraine and whomever is in charge claims "Victory" or at the very least that the aims had been achieved.
Now what?
Without a peace treaty with Ukraine, unilateral Russian withdrawal will lead to Ukrainian forces counter-attacking and retaking all previously occupied territories.
With a peace treaty, Ukraine likely regains those territories peacefully (among other conditions).
Either way, Ukraine returns to pre-2014 borders, and is likely way on its way to joining NATO, not far behind Finland and Sweden.

Pretty much, exactly the opposite outcome relative to what Putin desired.
Never mind what happens in Belarus after Belarusians who are currently fighting on the side of Ukraine, start heading home in a few spare captured tanks.

Ukraine is a mess that will take years and years and 100's-of-billions to rebuild. Millions of its citizens are refugees that cannot return because there is nothing to return too.
It's bad in Ukraine, but not THAT bad. Russian army never got to occupy and damage more than 20% of the country.
There are numerous reports of folks already rebuilding damaged apartment blocks in Kiev and Kharkiv.
Some of the worst damaged areas may not be easy to bring back to life, but that's likely way <5% of the total capacity.

Russians can write off $300B of frozen foreign reserves, as assets lost to future reparations to Ukraine.
Most of Russian oil and gas pipelines flow over Ukrainian territory, so the potential for Ukraine to extract reparation from hydro-carbon transit taxation is limitless.

And what of Russia?
That's the biggest puzzle.
Russia started this war.
Only Russia can decide to end it. And I don't see how Putin can turn-off all the hype and hysteria about anti-Nazi special operation that he has propagated to date. And even if he could, he has done enough damage for Ukrainians to not let him off the hook without extracting a major pound of flesh.

Basically, Russia is loosing by attrition now. Once all western arms arrive and Ukrainians are trained to put them to maximum effective use, Russia will start loosing on the battlefield. 0-6 months from now.
As Putin fully knows, Russian imperial leaders come to grief soon after they loose wars. It's not an outcome he can cherish, or avoid.

How will the world ever trust that nation again?
How can there ever be anything approaching "Normalized" relations between Russia and "The West"?

It wont, and there wont be. For a little while.
The West and Europe have "permanently" cut ties with Russia economically, politically, and strategically. They wont be going back for a few years to a decade.
After some period of disengagement, we'll forget, and return to doing business with Russia, looking for ways to make money in that market.
By that time Russia may, or may not be, anywhere close to a country that we would recognize either politically, or geographically.

Except for Ukrainians. Those folks wont forget about Russian brutality and genocidal tendencies for generations to come.
This is their 1776-1783, war of independence.
They only have one strategic path forward - into NATO, by all means necessary. However long it takes.

To one degree or another Russia must continue this war to completion, meaning the total subjugation of Ukraine as that is the only way they can bury the calls for War-crimes tribunals and reparations responsibility that a "victorious" Ukraine will demand of them.

Logically, this is a true statement. However, there is no, and there has never been, a path to victory for Russia via military occupation of Ukraine.
The entire invasion gamble was based on a delusion that Ukraine will roll over and capitulate in days. Once that failed to materialize, they really haven't had a solid Plan-B.
There in lies the idiocy and the tragedy of this war.

Even a partial occupation (of Donbas and Ukrainian sea-shore) appears beyond Russian military capability. And now that Ukrainian forces getting steady supply of superior offensive western weaponry, Russia is risking major battlefield reversals over this summer. Even if those could be hushed up on Russian TV, at some point pretty soon Russia will also run out of the manpower and military equipment to wage war.

Then what?
If Putin is half-as-smart and well informed as some give him credit, he will negotiate a fig-leaf peace settlement.
If he is not, he will escalate. Until he runs out of the few additional BTGs he can scrape together. Already, Russians are pulling forces from Syria, Georgia, and the entire perimeter of their borderland. If this goes for much longer, Chinese, Japanese, Fins, Georgians, and Turks will be able to reclaim parts of their landmass lost to Russia over the course of the 20th century by just bicycling over the undefended borders.

The end result will still be same - Russian forces will get kicked out of Ukrainian territory.
The only open question is with how many additional casualties from both sides, and in what time frame.

a
 
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afadeev

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“Ukraine Is Going to End Up Winning” | GoodFellows: Conversations From The Hoover Institution
With Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, former commanding general, US Army Europe, joins Hoover senior fellows H. R. McMaster and John Cochrane discussing what to expect next.

  • I hear people say the most important thing it to stop the fighting ... that's NOT the most important thing. The most important thing is to protect our values, and make sure that all our other adversaries don't walk away from this thinking that they can get away with this.
  • There is no battlefield advantage for Russians to employ a tactical nuclear weapon. And it would be impossible to the US to stand by if they did. This is what F35 was invented for. 5 days, and everything that Russia has on the ground will be gone. And Russian general staff is well aware of that.
  • How come Russians have not mobilized their reserves? Because they would be humiliated if they tried - they have a terrible mobilization system, they haven't practiced it, and they have no equipment to give to them.
  • Ukraine is going to win, don't know how long it's going to take. Ukraine is going through its formative experience. In the end, we'll see a united Ukraine, that's liberal, democratic, united with the West (probably part of NATO, formally or informally), and is a peaceful and prosperous country.


 
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afadeev

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Russia’s latest and greatest T-90M apparently isn’t immune to the Javelin. The good news seems to be that it doesn’t lose its top like older designs.
Saw this T90 walk-about (turn ON subtitles, select auto-translate to English):



The turret did go airborne, but landed back on the hull.
Looks like the tank has the same flaw as the older tanks (autoloader full of ammo around the turret), plus constructed more flimsily the the older T72 and T80. The explosive force of the ammo cookoff breached the engine firewall, and disassembled the aft engine compartment.
 
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rharshberger

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Saw this T90 walk-about (turn ON subtitles, select auto-translate to English):



The turret did go airborne, but landed back on the hull.
Looks like the tank has the same flaw as the older tanks (autoloader full off ammo around the turret), plus constructed more flimsily the the older T72 and T80. The explosive force of the ammo cookoff breached the engine firewall, and disassembled the aft engine compartment.

It should have a similar flaw, the T90 was a upgrade of the T72 so it share the same lineage as the T80.
 

teepot

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The US had use of a Turkish AFB. The F111's from RAF Lakenheath would rotate through there. When the first Gulf War was about to begin, the USAF was going to fly into Iraq from there. The Turks said no. Strike one. They bought Russian missiles and lost the F35. Strike two. The are committing genocide against the Kurds. Strike three. The TB2's were bought, not given. So no joy for the Turks on that one. Now they want to stop Finland and Sweden from joining NATO because they won't label the Kurds terrorists. Strike four. If this was baseball they would be gone. I wouldn't make concessions with them. Erdogan is a dictator cut from the same cloth as Putin. My line with him would be, how about some sanctions for the genocide. Do you want to stay in NATO? Well you haven't shown that you are a benefit to NATO any more. Do you want to go it alone. Maybe you could partner with Russia.

Someone finally commented on my hat with the Ukrainian flag on it. He said I like your hat. That got us talking. He showed me a picture of him in a shirt that had red, white and blue strips on it and blue and yellow strips in the form of a shield. Nice shirt. We both lamented the lack of interest in Ukraine of our fellow Pahrumpians. But then, I don't think a lot of the people around here are smart at all. I've called enough of them morons and idiots while driving, than nice guy.
 

smstachwick

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Video of uncertain provenance seems to show slow and uneven shifting of front lines in south and east Ukraine.

Uncertain provenance indeed. Not something I’d consider independently reliable, based on the presentation of stuff on his channel, but this development would be exciting if it could be verified.
 

georgegassaway

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Comment: E-bikes being battle tested.

I had heard of snipers on "motorcycles", helping to knock off generals and higher officials (nicknamed "gray hairs". Little point in randomly shooting young troops).

So this makes a hell of a lot of sense, very little noise with a eBike, so "stealthy". Especially compared to a normal motorcycle. BTW - I modified my bike to an eBike. Replaced the rear wheel with one with the motor in the hub, then added the other bits, from a conversion kit. Looks like the same kind of rear motor hub on that bike (a relatively BIG motor hub, so a LOT of torque compared to mine. And a freaking huge battery.

Oh, also THIS. The snipers sometimes operate at night. An electric bike has a far far less thermal footprint than a regular motorcycle and muffler. The humans would have more of an infrared thermal image than the electric bike itself.

In other news, a NPR tally of Ukraine news for May 17:


Some notable portions:
---------------------------------------
Ukraine's last stand in Mariupol appeared to be over, as fighters holed up in the Azovstal steel mill laid down arms after an almost three-month Russian siege of the southern port city. Since Monday, more than 260 Ukrainian soldiers — including 53 seriously injured — have been evacuated to Russian-occupied territory in eastern Ukraine. More fighters in the plant's catacombs await similar evacuation. Russia called it surrender; Ukraine said the fighters had completed their mission, with officials expressing hope they would soon return in a prisoner-of-war exchange.

Historically neutral Finland and Sweden moved forward with their bids to join NATO, as Turkey stands in opposition to the plan, which requires unanimous support of all 30 NATO members. This week, Turkey's foreign minister is slated to meet with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and President Biden will meet with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.

The International Criminal Court dispatched what it called "the largest ever single field deployment" of war-crime investigators to Ukraine. The team includes 42 investigators, forensic experts and support staff to gather potential evidence "in a manner that strengthens its admissibility in future proceedings." The prosecutor at The Hague-based international tribunal opened an investigation into potential war crimes committed by Russian troops in Ukraine shortly after the invasion began on Feb. 24.
----------------------------------------------------

Note that last part. There was discussion in the thread earlier about one reason for Russia to win was to avoid War Crime investigations. But that is happening on several fronts.

Also in that vein, this report on 60 Minutes Sunday, about the "Bellingcat" organization. They are doing some incredible work using mostly Social Media in Ukraine to document War Crimes. Well, technically it is the Ukraine citizens that are documenting it, Bellingcat us using some advanced software to find and compile it. One of the first things they did, was to track the travel of the truck, with the Buk missiles that shot down the MH17 airliner over Ukraine in 2014. They not only traced it to where it was when it launched the missile, but all the way back to its base in Russia. One of the ways they traced it back in Russia was by Russian troops doing Selfies with it. The Russian military then banned them from doing that, the "Bellingcat" law. And Bellingcat has gotten a lot better, and bigger, in the last 8 years.

 
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Greg Furtman

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I read an article the other day that said dead Russian soldiers are not being sent home or even buried, but just dumped all together in some areas. A Russian woman looking for her brother had to hire people to search through all the bodies to find his dead bodies. It really does seem that Russian soldiers are nothing more than cannon fodder to Putin & his cronies. I think that if this gets well known back home Putin is in deep doodoo.

 
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In addition to electric bikes being modified to carry NLAW anti tank weapons, a Danish company is making a mortar shell bomb rack which can be hooked up to commercial drones.

And here's a video where the Ukrainians are using the newly acquired American M777 howitzers.
"From America with love"


Also saw a clip where the Ukrainis are using abandoned tanks that ran out of gas or were mired in mud against the Russians.
 

boatgeek

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Also saw a clip where the Ukrainis are using abandoned tanks that ran out of gas or were mired in mud against the Russians.
The #1 or #2 military equipment supplier to Ukraine's army is the Russian army, in abandoned but functional equipment.
 

Peartree

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The #1 or #2 military equipment supplier to Ukraine's army is the Russian army, in abandoned but functional equipment.
I saw another piece that showed how Ukrainian welders and fabricators were building "new" armored vehicles out of destroyed Russian tanks and other tracked vehicles.
 

afadeev

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Like the old joke - "French rifle from WW2 for sale! In great shape! Never fired, only dropped once!".
In a similar (silly) vein:

Why is Russia's war with Ukraine not a War?
'cause:
  • Knock knock, who's there: Russian special tank stock liquidation sale
  • Knock knock, who's there: Russian special fertilizing operation
  • Knock knock, who's there: Russian tank recycling program
Also:
  • T72 turrets going airborne is not a design flaw. It's a new meaning to "tank detachment"
  • Russian tankers motto - we fly at dawn!
Long form:
Russians are attacking a Ukrainian farm, and hear a Ukrainian voice from over the hill:
"One Ukrainian soldier is better than 10 Russian soldiers!"​
Russian general laughs, as he sends 10 men to capture it. There is gunfire for a minute and then everything goes silent for a moment, and they then hear the same voice;
"One Ukrainian soldier is better than 50 Russian soldiers!"​
Annoyed, Russian general sends fifty men to capture the hill. There is gunfire and bombs going for ten minutes, and everything goes silent again. Suddenly, the same voice yells out;
"One Ukrainian soldier is better than a hundred Russian soldiers!"​
Enraged, the general sends a hundred men, accompanied with tanks, artillery, mortar teams, and tells them to not return until the hill is theirs. For half an hour hell breaks loose, bombs and explosions, gunfire, screams and death all around, and then it goes silent again. One Russian soldier crawls back, severely wounded and battered. Before the general could say anything, the soldier says;
"Do not send more troops, comrade general, it's a trap! There is two of them."
 
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afadeev

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Well, this is getting weirder and stranger by the day - the very same spot where Ukrainians used M777's to destroy 3 waves of Russians attempting to cross a river over pontoon bridges (aka the slaughter on Siversky Donets), there is now satellite evidence of a Russian tank detachment that is ... searching for cruiser Moskva?

It's one thing to try to ford a river in a tank - Russians have air snorkels for tanks that try that. These guys didn't even attempt to use those. They just drove their tanks 30 feet into the river, deep enough to flood them up to the top of the turret hatches, and bailed out? What was that?
:questions:

There is another round of reports that Putin is personally involved in planning battalion-level military movements, and had picked THAY spot to cross the river. And his generals don't have the balls to argue, or report on failed operations, so they keep fording the same river on the same Putin-chosen spot, and pray that Ukrainian artillery will run out of ammo?


1652979170216.png


 
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Antares JS

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There is another round of reports that Putin is personally involved in planning battalion-level military movements, and had picked that spot to cross the river. And his generals don't have the balls to argue, or report on failed operations, so they keep ford the same river in the same Putin-chosen spot, and just pray that Ukrainian artillery will run out of ammo?

The same kind of stuff happened on the eastern front during WWII. The choices came down to try to follow the orders to the letter and maybe survive vs. disobey/correct superiors and definitely get shot.
 

modeltrains

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4:32 So does it mean that Russia is winning? Probably between these two there are no clear winners. Well it seems clear that both sides are tolerating pain a lot of pain. Perhaps in the end a lot will be decided by who eventually has the capacity to tolerate more pain.

 

Dan Griffing

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There was no rationality to the invasion in the first place, but I agree; they’ve sacrificed a lot of their armed forces. If nato ever did want to strike unilaterally this would be the perfect time. That it hasn’t is proof of Russia’s lying.

The Russians have the very easiest path to immediate relief. All they have to do is pull out and all military activities against them end. It’s the old “When you’re in a hole stop digging” strategy. Their country hasn’t had its cities obliterated and its populace displaced or killed.

They could almost certainly offer to begin paying reparations to have many international sanctions lifted as well. Of course they would have to sacrifice Putin and probably some politicians and soldiers to war crime prosecutions, but the needs of the many outweigh the lives of a few REMFs and UEMFs.
If Putin is in failing health, his replacement by a Russian leader like Navalny who admits that all invasion of Ukraine was wrong, and who initiates a total reversal would be a great first step to get the sanctions lifted.

But I don’t think any progress possible with Putin in power and without addressing the war crimes by Russia against the Ukrainian people.
 

smstachwick

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Well, this is getting weirder and stranger by the day - the very same spot where Ukrainians used M777's to destroy 3 waves of Russians attempting to cross a river over pontoon bridges (aka slaughter), there is now satellite evidence of a Russian tank detachment ... searching for cruiser Moskva?

It's one thing to try to ford a river in a tank - Russians have air snorkels for tanks that try that. These guys didn't even attempt to use those. They just drowned their tanks, and bailed out?
:questions:

There is another round of reports that Putin is personally involved in planning battalion-level military movements, and had picked that spot to cross the river. And his generals don't have the balls to argue, or report on failed operations, so they keep ford the same river in the same Putin-chosen spot, and just pray that Ukrainian artillery will run out of ammo?


View attachment 519324


They’re using the drowned tanks to create an artillery-proof bridge. It’s called military science, look it up.
 

Dan Griffing

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They’re using the drowned tanks to create an artillery-proof bridge. It’s called military science, look it up.
Look it up? Where? Surely you must be joking. This makes as much sense as creating air fields from destroyed fighter planes. There are much more cost effective ways to achieve the same objective.

From just a military perspective, the overall strategic planning for the whole Russian invasion of Ukraine has been equally half-witted. IMO, this appears to be the result of generals underneath Putin being unable to criticize the plan at all and simply following orders without considering the consequences or determining the best way to accomplish them. And its cost Russia 10s of thousands of Russian lives and the lives of over a dozen of their generals.

Notwithstanding the tens of thousands of innocent Ukrainian dead, how many more Russians will have to die in this insane and immoral invasion before someone in Russia will pull the plug on Putin?
 

smstachwick

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Look it up? Where? Surely you must be joking. This makes as much sense as creating air fields from destroyed fighter planes. There are much more cost effective ways to achieve the same objective.

From just a military perspective, the overall strategic planning for the whole Russian invasion of Ukraine has been equally half-witted. IMO, this appears to be the result of generals underneath Putin being unable to criticize the plan at all and simply following orders without considering the consequences or determining the best way to accomplish them. And its cost Russia 10s of thousands of Russian lives and the lives of over a dozen of their generals.

Notwithstanding the tens of thousands of innocent Ukrainian dead, how many more Russians will have to die in this insane and immoral invasion before someone in Russia will pull the plug on Putin?
I was, in fact, only joking. I’m sorry that that wasn’t clear, this is the Internet after all.
 
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