[Discussion] Ukraine - Russian Invasion and Discussion

A place for aggregated discussions of a possible conflict, it’s implications and effects, news updates and personal accounts if any. If the expected conflict kicks off, I will change the title but the function will stay the same.

I have to think that Ukraine's recent strikes on Russian strategic ballistic missile early warning radars have significantly changed the risk analysis. These were targets that Russia explicitly warned were inside the nuclear response protocol and Ukraine busted through the barrier by knocking them out with drone strikes. And the fact that Russia was silent about it, sucked it up, and did f*ck all about it made their threat of nuclear response for expanded NATO involvement less credible. It seems too convenient that Germany, France, and America's announcements of authorizing the use of provided weapons on Russian soil followed shortly thereafter.

‘Time is our life’: Volodymyr Zelenskiy on balancing urgency with diplomacy in the war against Russia

The interview came at perhaps the toughest moment for Ukraine since the early days of the war. Zelenskiy insisted, however, that it was too early to write off the country, and that he remained positive despite all his frustrations. “I’m not in despair at all … I don’t feel like we are on a sinking ship which is going to the bottom. We are not shouting ‘save us’.”

The president is, however, shouting for more urgency. Russia is on the offensive in the Kharkiv region, an advance that came after months of delay in the US Congress over the passing of a major support package, limiting Ukraine’s battlefield capacities. Then, there was the ban on using western weapons to hit Russian military targets across the border, limiting its ability to defend itself.

In the hours after the interview, the US administration finally shifted on that issue, allowing Ukraine to use certain US weapons on targets in the Russian border areas around Kharkiv. It is a permission that may have been more useful three weeks ago, when Ukrainian intelligence could first see Russian troops gathering across the border in preparation for the assault. This sense of decisions being taken long after Ukraine needed them has been a recurring motif of western policy making over the past two years, and one that has caused much frustration.

“The attitude to time is completely different,” Zelenskiy said, becoming animated. “We feel this price more painfully than in the partner countries, because no one in their families has died. And thank God for that. But you don’t know what war is until it comes to your home, to your street. To a friend of yours, someone you studied with, or someone you knew, or someone you loved.”

The president has long experience in trying to bring the visceral reality of war to life for foreign bureaucrats who follow it on maps or in the news. “Sometimes, to understand the price that we are paying, you don’t need just a political will, but also a deeper understanding of the consequences. You have to understand that a day of contemplating, day of decision-making, day of dialogues … takes people’s lives,” he said.

The expressive face, the frequent gesticulations and the intense eye contact all make a powerful impression – it is not difficult to see why international leaders have so often changed their minds after one-on-one meetings with Zelenskiy.

“You say time is money. For us, time is our life,” he said, switching from Ukrainian to English, as he did multiple times during the conversation.

Now that the US has authorized the Ukrainians to shoot at planes in Belgorod, what are the chances that the Putinites intentionally fly passenger flights into the war zone?

My guess is 100%.

At this point, I would have thought most of the world would shrug at a plane-shaped crater full of dead Russians and say "turnabout is fair play"

Also, it isn't like the US hasn't shrugged off shoot-downs of civilian airliners.

So.

Ukraine launched three subsonic drones from someplace in Ukrainian controlled airspace where it crossed over 370 miles of Russian controlled airspace and the most heavily militarized area on the planet covered by what is supposed to be the most sophisticated integrated air defense network in human history. When they got to their target, they destroyed at least one and perhaps two of Putin's bespoke "fifth generation" SU-57 fighters as they lay on their heavily guarded airbase.

At this point, the Ukrainians are just trolling. This would be like someone smuggling 40 kilos of methamphetamine through a TSA checkpoint.... in the belly of a live Beluga whale.

Pretty much the same organization that let a West German 17 year old fly a Piper Cub (or similar) across the Soviet Union and land in Red Square, in the 1980's.

Robear wrote:

Pretty much the same organization that let a West German 17 year old fly a Piper Cub (or similar) across the Soviet Union and land in Red Square, in the 1980's.

Cessna 172, but yeah.

Joe Biden says ‘democracies can deliver’ as G7 agree $50bn Ukraine aid deal

Joe Biden claimed “democracies can deliver” as he announced the leaders of the G7 western economies had finally reached an agreement that will mobilise an extra $50bn (£39bn) of aid to Ukraine using frozen Russian state assets.

Speaking at the G7 summit in Apulia on Thursday, Biden hailed the breakthrough as he met Ukraine’s president Volodymr Zelenskiy and announced the two countries had also signed a 10-year bilateral security agreement, ending 12 months of difficult negotiations.

“We are putting our money to work for Ukraine, and giving another reminder to Putin that we are not backing down,” Biden said at a joint press conference with the Ukrainian leader.

Biden said arrangements were being made to provide Ukraine with five Patriot missile defence systems, saying: “Everything we have is going to Ukraine until its needs are met.”

But he ruled out US weapons being used to strike deeper into Russia beyond the weapons bases being used to strike the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. “In terms of longer range of weapons into the interior of Russia we are not changing our positions,” he said.

Zelenskiy described the deal as the “strongest agreement” struck since his country’s independence in 1991. “Today is a truly historic day,” he said.

The Ukrainian leader described the security guarantee as “a very detailed legally binding agreement” that lasts not just for the duration of the war but afterwards, too. He said the deal covers intelligence cooperation and the strengthening of Ukrainian defence industries.

Zelenskiy said he had been given undertakings by the Chinese president Xi Jinping that Beijing would not sell weapons to Russia. “He gave me his word,” he said. But Biden argued that China, by supplying technology and dual-use components, was in fact arming Russia.

Earlier in the day, Biden sought to rally western political leaders as they face an unprecedented attack from the populist right, saying: “We stand at an inflection point in history that occurs every five or six, seven generations, and the decisions that we make now will determine the course of our future.

“I’m proud to announce the US has mobilised more than $50bn in investments around the world. Together we are showing democracies can deliver.”

His remarks came as the G7 reached an outline provisional deal to use the profits derived from frozen Russian sovereign assets to underwrite a $50bn loan to Ukraine designed to help fend off the impact of Russian military attacks.

The agreement, hammered out in complex legal talks over the past three months, will see a special fund operating by the end of the year with the cash flowing through multiple external channels to fund the military budget and reconstruction needs.

A loan syndicate would be established including multiple lenders sharing risk, but the scheme will not be run entirely by the EU or the US. The interest on the large loan is to be funded not by Ukraine but from the profits derived from the frozen Russian state assets.

Apart from the principle of mobilising frozen assets, one of the points of contention, still not fully resolved, was the ultimate indebtedness in the event of a default. Those who argued the entire tranche of Russian state assets could be transferred to Ukraine immediately as compensation for Russia’s unlawful attack came up against a wall of resistance from the IMF, which warned the repercussions of such a precedent could be fatal to confidence in the financial system.

It is not expected that the cash will be provided in a lump sum, and the danger from Ukraine’s perspective was that EU states would feel they can hold back providing planned aid on the basis that Ukraine has a new regular revenue stream.

But US officials said there were doubts about Ukraine’s capacity to absorb such a large sum in one tranche, and about its impact on inflation in Ukraine.

Speaking earlier Jake Sullivan, the US national security adviser, said: “The simple proposition is we got to put these assets to work. The complex proposition is how you do that specifically. I think we are on the verge of a good outcome.”

The aim is to make sure proceeds from the loan start reaching Ukraine well before the US presidential elections in November – and by then it will be hard for the fund to be unravelled by any Trump administration.

The bilateral security agreement between the US and Ukraine has not yet been published but is the 16th such bilateral agreement Ukraine has now reached. As an executive order, it could be undone by a Trump administration, but the intention is that the accumulation of agreements collectively adds up to a form of security assurance that, although not a substitute for full Nato membership, will make Russia think harder about a further attack on a country with such a matrix of western security alliances. Ukraine remains committed to seeking Nato membership.

In the world’s other major conflict, G7 leaders are largely waiting on whether Egypt and Qatar can persuade Hamas to tone down their proposed amendments to the Biden peace plan disclosed three weeks ago. The draft G7 communique expresses their concerns about Israel’s ongoing ground operations in Rafah, but does not explicitly call on Israel to stop their current actions or set out any consequences if they do not.

The draft statement reads: “We are concerned about the consequences of the ongoing ground operations in Rafah on the civilian population and the possibility of a large-scale military offensive that would have further disastrous consequences on civilians. We call on the government of Israel to refrain from such an offensive, in line with its obligations under international law.”

It also urges that “all parties must refrain from any unilateral action that undermines the prospect of a two-state solution, including Israeli settlement expansion and the ‘legalisation’ of settlement outposts. We condemn the increase in extremist settler violence committed against Palestinians, which undermines security and stability in the West Bank and threatens the prospects for lasting peace.”

The statement also reaffirms its commitment to the vision of a two-state solution in which two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, coexist side by side in peace within secure and recognised borders.

It also calls for the recognition of a Palestinian State at an appropriate time and that Gaza and the West Bank should be administered jointly by the Palestinian Authority.

Putin, at the Kremlin bowling alley:

Dan Carlin interview with book author of "NuclearWar: A scenario"

the reason I post it here is twofold.
1. Putins increased use of nuclear sabre rattling
2. Biden's responsibility to avoid nuclear escalation

While I agree that Putin's rhetoric is strategic and he's not a nihilist, we cannot simply ignore them.

Why the West should take Russia’s nuclear threats more seriously..

It's a tightrope, which it seems to me Biden has been walking quite carefully.

The article in The Bulletin should have also noted that Putin-run troll farms were spreading the talking point that voting for Clinton was tantamount to voting in favor of nuclear war. He's been saber rattling at this level for over a decade and it's been about Ukraine the whole time.

Which is all to say that I'm not sure if that means we should take his threats more or less seriously, but he does this all of the time. As the article points out, that's how he was even able to invade Ukraine in the first place.

Conscription squads send Ukrainian men into hiding

Dark storm clouds threatened to upend Serhiy and Tania’s beach wedding. But as the couple walked down the long white staircase to greet their guests, the empty chairs signalled there was a bigger problem. In total, half of their guests were missing.

Their family and friends sent their apologies but explained that the risk of attending had been too great.
What if they had been caught by one of the conscription squads, which now roam Ukraine’s streets?

With many of its soldiers dead, injured or exhausted, the Ukrainian government has stepped up its efforts to mobilise more men.

A new law, introduced in May, requires every man aged between 25 and 60 to log their details on an electronic database so they can be called up. Conscription officers are on the hunt for those avoiding the register, pushing more men who do not want to serve into hiding.

Overlooking the Black Sea in the southern city of Odesa, Tania quietly murmured that she understood why her friends and family did not want to fight.

Her father was killed on the front line in October, during the attritional battle for Avdiivka, and the 24-year-old is now terrified of her new husband being conscripted. “I don’t want this to happen to my family twice,” she said.

More than two years into the war, almost everyone knows someone who has been killed. Grim news has poured out from the front, of Ukraine being vastly outnumbered and outgunned.

Over the phone, the couple’s friend of 15 years, Maksym, relayed such tales. Among the dead are around a dozen of his friends and acquaintances. “There are more than a million police officers in Ukraine, why should I fight when they are not?" he said.

Maksym, who has a young daughter and wife who is seven months pregnant, said he was sorry to miss the wedding but was afraid of being “grabbed” by conscription officers who he likened to “bandits”.

Putin has seen many of his stated "Red Lines" crossed with no nuclear repercussion. He has no problem using them simply to cause FUD. The one that has been consistent, is that he will use nukes when the existence of Russia is threatened in a real way.

No one wants to do that. So. The bluffing is the way he's run his entire career.

Prederick wrote:

I was just remarking to my friend that Oryx has the Russians down some 6000 non-tank armored vehicles (IFV's, APC's, AFV's). Considering these armored battle taxies have been so integral to their human wave attacks, this appears to be as big a development as their current count of 3129 tanks lost. Even if they don't run out of metal, the vehicle loss data gives us a pretty good benchmark for estimating the cost in Russian human capital as well. From the best estimates we have, the Russians are losing 600-900 men A DAY. For context, on the high end, that is roughly twice the casualty rate the United States suffered on both sides of the American Civil War and more than three times the rate we suffered in World War Two. For further context, Russia's population is roughly the size of America's in 1942.

It is hard to tell what effect this will have on a postwar Russia demographically. It is unlikely that many of the
one million young professionals that left Russia will return. Large swathes of territory in far off places like Buryatia or Dagestan are going to lack for anyone but crippled pensioners. Thousands of pardoned murderers and rapists with recent combat experience will terrorize the civilian population upon their return. Infrastructure that relies on foreign expertise and material support will decay and fail. Discontent will brew over as promises are broken, salaries are not delivered, and domestic inflation skyrockets as the ruble mills can't make Russia produce more of anything anyone wants to buy. China, flush with Russian debt will gobble up whatever remains of lucrative Russian businesses and mineral and water rights.

This is the death of Russia.

Paleocon wrote:

This is the death of Russia.

May it be a quick one.

I think we can confidently say this is catastrophic for Russia's demographics and that whatever comes next is going to be crazy.

The death of Russia is a sad prospect. I want the death of Putin and all his authoritarian buddies.

WizKid wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

This is the death of Russia.

May it be a quick one.

Oh it won't be. It'll be long and interminable and goddamn f*cking miserable for most everyone involved.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

The death of Russia is a sad prospect. I want the death of Putin and all his authoritarian buddies.

I’m honestly torn on this. I don’t wish the calamity of societal collapse on anyone but Russia is not a country in the modern sense of the word. It’s a geographically contiguous (for the most part) colonial empire. Its citizens in Moscow and Leningrad rule over exploited minority subjects in territories with no local representation. Freedom for those subjects would be justice long delayed.

The sinking of the titanic was a miracle for the lobsters in the galley.

Ukraine endures widespread blackouts as Russia attacks critical infrastructure

Ukrainians are having to cope with widespread emergency blackouts as Russia continued to pound critical infrastructure over the weekend.

In recent months Moscow has intensified its attacks against Ukraine’s energy grid. On Friday night Ukrainian energy facilities came under a “massive attack”, the Ukraine’s energy ministry said. Several workers were injured as a result of shelling at one of the facilities.

“The situation in the energy sector remains difficult,” the ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

Volodomyr Zelenksiy said this month that Russia had damaged or destroyed more than half of Ukraine’s power generation, causing the worst rolling blackouts since the full-scale invasion in 2022.

Ukraine began implementing rolling blackouts on 15 May, with entire districts of the capital disconnected from the power grid to save energy.

In an address on Saturday evening, Zelenskiy urged Ukraine’s western allies to speed up deliveries of air defences. “Modern air defence systems for Ukraine – such as Patriots, accelerated training of our pilots for F-16s, and most importantly, sufficient range for our weapons – are truly necessary,” he said.

Ukraine has at least four Patriot systems, provided by the US and Germany. Since Zelenskiy made repeated pleas for additional defence weapons, Germany, Romania and the US have each pledged to send Kyiv a Patriot system.

On Friday the Netherlands announced that it, in collaboration with another, unnamed country, would supply Ukraine with an additional Patriot missile system. Zelenskiy has said Ukraine needs seven to “secure our main urban agglomerations” against Russian missile attacks.

Until these deliveries arrive, it is expected that systematic attacks on power infrastructure will continue, forcing residents in Kyiv to improvise.

It looks like there is an uprising in Dagestan at the moment. Violence has been reported in the regional capitol as well as other areas as far as 70 miles down the Caspian Sea coast. For context, Dagestan and Buryatia are the two republics most exploited by the Putinite military for flesh contributions for the Ukrainian invasion. Locally and internationally, this is recognized as an attempt by Putin to lower the percentage of Muslims and Asians to purify his vision of a "greater Russia" filled with white orthodox Russians. It is no accident that attacks have centered around Orthodox places of worship.

Any links?

Robear wrote:

Any links?

It's mostly being reported as a terrorist incident, but the political motivation behind this smells a lot more like a wider military uprising.

It sounds like it's over, though.