[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.

This does make me wonder what the go dead date is given the current burn rate. We know Putin assembled a war chest and has petrochemical income but a billion a day is a pretty big additional expense on an economy that was never operating with a lot of fat in it to begin with.

I mean, Iran has been under sanctions for like fifty years, and the ayatolla is still in power. The Soviet union survived for decades. I would not expect any dramatic changes or revolutions for a while.

Paleocon wrote:

It looks like this war, not counting the sanctions, is costing Russia about $900m per day.

That would be about $27 billion a month.

According to The Cost of War Project at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan combined cost us an average of $23.7 billion a month. That figure includes just about everything: direct Congressional war appropriations; war-related increases to the Pentagon base budget; veterans care and disability; increases in the homeland security budget; interest payments on direct war borrowing; foreign assistance spending; and estimated future obligations for veterans’ care.

Back in 2014 a Congressional Research Service analysis put our monthly burn “for military operations, base support, weapons maintenance, training of Afghan and Iraq security forces, reconstruction, foreign aid, embassy costs, and veterans’ health care for the war operations initiated since the 9/11 attacks” at $10.3 billion a month.

I somehow doubt that it's costing Russia *way* more to fight a war in its backyard than it cost us to fight two wars on the other side of the planet.

Doubly so when you Google the $900 million a day claim and find every mention links back to the Newsweek article which only references Sean Spoonts, editor-in-chief of SOFREP, as the source and provides no other detail of the analysis.

You have to dig through SOFREP's site to find their "analysis" (which they've hidden behind a soft paywall) and it amounts to this:

SOFREP wrote:

Newsweek asked us yesterday what we thought the war was costing Russia each day for a story they were working on and we came up with $900 million per day. We imagine this is the approximate cost, of pay, food, fuel, bullets, equipment maintenance, and replacement costs of their daily operations.

By far the biggest chuck of SOFREP's estimate has to be replacement costs. But that's fundamentally misleading because the rubles for the equipment that's being destroyed now was spent years--even decades--ago.

On top of that Russia doesn't have the military budget or the actual manufacturing capability to replace the legacy equipment it's expending.

For example, estimates put the loss of the Moskva at $750 million. However much it cost Russia to construct, that money was spent in the 70s and 80s. Considering that five of the Moskva's planned sister ships were cancelled in 1991 Russia hasn't had the money or ability (the Project 1164 Atlant class ships were built in a Ukrainian shipyard) to replace those ships for over 30 years.

And since late March several military intelligence services have determined that sanctions have shuttered Russia's largest tank and armored vehicle production facilities. There's just not enough high tech Western tech components to manufacture or repair modern tanks. When a T-72B3 Mod. 2016 gets captured or destroyed, it's just gone (Russia's currently lost 100 of the approximately 550 it had). There is no replacement cost because another can't currently be manufactured.

And even if the sanctions would magically disappear tomorrow, Russia's military budget couldn't handle maintaining it's current expenditures *and* replacing all the equipment it's lost. Hell, this is why there's like 20 T-14 Armatas in existence and its production delivery date has been mysteriously pushed back year after year since 2015.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine is definitely costing it a pretty kopek, but not $900 million a day.

Russia's GDP in good times - 2019 - was $1.7T. Ours was over $21T. Russia could, all other things being equal, take a hit of about $1.9B a month, or $63M a day.

But things are *not* equal, and I'm willing to bet that they are losing more than that. This is not something they can shake off. They don't need to lose $900M a day. If they are losing, say, 1/3 of that, they are really getting hammered.

Corruption, malfeasance and incompetence have costs well beyond the obvious.

maverickz wrote:

I mean, Iran has been under sanctions for like fifty years, and the ayatolla is still in power. The Soviet union survived for decades. I would not expect any dramatic changes or revolutions for a while.

Iran, much like North Korea, has figured out how to create a state of economic hibernation by belt tightening nad relying on coercion for political longevity. Notice though that they aren’t invading their neighbors or engaging in similarly catastrophic actions.

OG_slinger wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

It looks like this war, not counting the sanctions, is costing Russia about $900m per day.

...

By far the biggest chuck of SOFREP's estimate has to be replacement costs. But that's fundamentally misleading because the rubles for the equipment that's being destroyed now was spent years--even decades--ago.

...

Russia's invasion of Ukraine is definitely costing it a pretty kopek, but not $900 million a day.

Replacement "costs" are still losses, though. They're just a loss of assets instead of actual cash. They may be assets that they have no intention of replacing (and no way to replace them even if they wanted to), but their army is losing a serious amount of its value, from trained troops and commanders to tanks and armaments. Their army had a certain "value" to it, and every day that value is becoming less and less. I'm not sure the $900 million per day number is accurate, either, but Russia's taking a pretty serious hit every day this goes on.

Replacement cost may be the wrong metric to use here but some sort of metric seems warranted. The loss of the investment in training and experience for a major general, for instance is something that needs to be considered when understanding what this war is costing Russia. If for no other reason than to understand how such an accrued investment is being squandered.

If this war continues as it is proceeding now for the next six months, it is hard to imagine Russia fielding a credible military anytime in the next decade.

Paleocon wrote:

If this war continues as it is proceeding now for the next six months

This is what I don't understand. In reading various assessments, there are those analysts that are predicting a stalemate/grind lasting up to two years, to those that argue RUS will be unable to conduct any offensive actions by end of June, to those that argue UKR will have up to 1 million under arms by end of June and will be able to mount an offensive.

I'm not seeing how RUS will be able to do anything more on the offense, perhaps ever?

I'm skeptical that UKR will be able to mount the type of offensive that can push RUS all the way out of the Donbas and Crimea.

But I also don't see how RUS can continue to occupy the territory it has claimed in the last three months. What happens when their troops are completely exhausted and all their equipment is at the bottom of the rivers and UKR has NATO weapons that lets them strike from outside RUS range? Can RUS even hold territory against a sufficiently motivated and resourced foe?

UKR will target RUS forces. RUS forces will keep shelling and rocketing nazi civilian targets in closer range.
Palestinians have been able to launch rockets into Israel for decades without much more than people + rockets.

Top_Shelf wrote:

I'm skeptical that UKR will be able to mount the type of offensive that can push RUS all the way out of the Donbas and Crimea.

Ukraine says "Hold my wheat bruh".

Daily Kos wrote:

Back to the Battle of the Izyum Salient, Russian telegram claims five Ukrainian brigades are moving in on Izyum from the north, looking to directly cut off supply lines to the bulk of the Russian forces in the salient. That would be the equivalent of 10-15 Russian BTGs which seems … fantastical. Given how well Ukraine has fought, Russians may be mythifying them so they seem 10 feet tall and three times their number. But for context, a Ukrainian brigade is around 1,600 troops and 200 armored vehicles. If these reports are correct, we’re talking about 1,000 armored vehicles, and a metric buttload of artillery, raining on Russian positions. Ukraine had 20 brigades pre-war, with another four in reserve, which are likely already in action. More are being created from reservists, but there’s no indication they’ve had to be fielded just yet. So five brigades would be a massive commitment of forces.

Why do you all refer to countries by three letter acronyms?

Top_Shelf wrote:
Paleocon wrote:

If this war continues as it is proceeding now for the next six months

This is what I don't understand. In reading various assessments, there are those analysts that are predicting a stalemate/grind lasting up to two years, to those that argue RUS will be unable to conduct any offensive actions by end of June, to those that argue UKR will have up to 1 million under arms by end of June and will be able to mount an offensive.

I'm not seeing how RUS will be able to do anything more on the offense, perhaps ever?

I'm skeptical that UKR will be able to mount the type of offensive that can push RUS all the way out of the Donbas and Crimea.

But I also don't see how RUS can continue to occupy the territory it has claimed in the last three months. What happens when their troops are completely exhausted and all their equipment is at the bottom of the rivers and UKR has NATO weapons that lets them strike from outside RUS range? Can RUS even hold territory against a sufficiently motivated and resourced foe?

It is a whole lot easier to start a war than it is to end one irrespective of how badly you might be losing it. Six months is not a lot of time for a leader willing to trade lives for time.

Reporting on Ukrainian military readiness is understandably hazy, but I have seen credible accounts that the Ukrainians are indeed close to spinning up brand new brigades, after those brigades started to form at the onset of the war and have been in training this entire time.

If, Ukraine has sizeable forces of fresh troops that are equipped with NATO or good conditioned Warsaw materials, then I think it is realistic to take an offensive into the occupied Donbas areas.

If they don't have a lot of new troops in the pipeline, then I think the best outcome is pushing back to the February borders.

Either scenario assumes the Russians don't completely collapse and transition to at least a marginally effective defense after culminating.

As for Crimea, I think a change of leadership there will have to depend on local partisans or regime change in Russia.

Keldar wrote:

Replacement "costs" are still losses, though. They're just a loss of assets instead of actual cash. They may be assets that they have no intention of replacing (and no way to replace them even if they wanted to), but their army is losing a serious amount of its value, from trained troops and commanders to tanks and armaments. Their army had a certain "value" to it, and every day that value is becoming less and less. I'm not sure the $900 million per day number is accurate, either, but Russia's taking a pretty serious hit every day this goes on.

I think the Russian armed forces had a previously assumed status and value--that of a military superpower--and their invasion of Ukraine has forced everyone to suddenly update those assumptions pretty dramatically and negatively.

I agree with you that their military has and continues to lose a serious amount of value (or combat capability or whatever you want to call it).

But I also am coming to think that a sizeable chunk of that loss of value or capability stems from an ongoing reset in our expectations that Russia's military should be much, much more formidable and that it's current performance is due to fundamental deficiencies in Russia's force structure (infantry light BTGs that are turning out to be pretty sucky for offensive operations, understrength logistics capabilities, etc.), leadership, training, etc.

Perhaps that's because we've historically fixated on the hardware side of Russia's military power--the sheer number of vehicles, etc.--and we're now seeing that those vehicles are poorly maintained and the troops that operate them are poorly trained, motivated, and led. Not to mention that the vast majority of Russia's hardware is really woefully outdated vehicles that have been rusting away in storage depots for decades. That hardware has been a fictional strength of the Russian military and we're just recognizing or acknowledging that it doesn't exist now.

Or perhaps its because this is the first time we're seeing Russia's performance against a near-peer adversary and Russia's strategies and tactics just aren't up to snuff anymore (perhaps they never were).

maverickz wrote:

Why do you all refer to countries by three letter acronyms?

I do it just for ease of use on my phone.

In the US, we have over-estimated Russian capabilities since at least the Sixties, for political reasons. Fear of the Russians helped Reagan get elected, and excused massive growth in the military. Which, ironically, is not only technologically advanced, helping to win this war, but probably also amazingly overpowered. And now the reckoning has a chance of coming, if the Republicans don't take over.

We could end up with a smaller standing force, but with fantastic weapons and technologies.

Growing evidence of a military disaster on the Donets pierces a pro-Russian bubble

Perhaps most striking, the Russian battlefield failure is resonating with a stable of pro-Russian war bloggers — some of whom are embedded with troops on the front line — who have reliably posted to the social network Telegram with claims of Russian success and Ukrainian cowardice.

“I’ve been keeping quiet for a long time,” Yuri Podolyaka, a war blogger with 2.1 million followers on Telegram, said in a video posted on Friday, saying that he had avoided criticizing the Russian military until now.

“The last straw that overwhelmed my patience was the events around Bilohorivka, where due to stupidity — I emphasize, because of the stupidity of the Russian command — at least one battalion tactical group was burned, possibly two.”

Mr. Podolyaka ridiculed the Kremlin line that the war is going “according to plan.” He told his viewers in a five-minute video that, in fact, the Russian Army was short of functional unmanned drones, night-vision equipment and other kit “that is catastrophically lacking on the front.”

“Yes, I understand that it’s impossible for there to be no problems in war,” he said. “But when the same problems go on for three months, and nothing seems to be changing, then I personally and in fact millions of citizens of the Russian Federation start to have questions for these leaders of the military operation.”

Another popular blogger, who goes by Starshe Eddy on Telegram, wrote that the fact that commanders left so much of their force exposed amounted to “not idiocy, but direct sabotage.”

And a third, Vladlen Tatarski, posted that Russia’s eastern offensive was moving slowly not just because of a lack of surveillance drones but also “these generals” and their tactics.

“Until we get the last name of the military genius who laid down a B.T.G. by the river and he answers for it publicly, we won’t have had any military reforms,” Mr. Tatarski wrote.

Western military analysts have also pored over the imagery and say the attempted crossing demonstrated a stunning lack of tactical sense.

They have speculated that Russian commanders, desperate to make progress, rushed the operation. Some also suggested that it was a reflection of disorder in the Russian ranks.

It has always been like this, since the beginning. Even their beloved World War 2 was a military disaster for the Soviet Army. They are bad at war because the, then Soviet and now the current Russian, ruling/leadership systems are unable to properly wage war. They are not designed for good information flow or logistics.

IMAGE(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d1/World_War_II_Casualties.svg/1280px-World_War_II_Casualties.svg.png)

You can fight on a lie, but it's harder when you've built a culture of lying into the system as well. You can propaganda your way through a lot, but not through... y'know... a river crossing during a war.

Unless you're aiming for this:

IMAGE(https://i.kym-cdn.com/entries/icons/facebook/000/004/130/bagdad-bob.jpg)

Basically, Russia and Putin broke Rule Number Four.

Prederick wrote:

Finland in favour of application to join Nato

I'm sure this will be received calmly and with common sense in Moscow.

I stg, if I have to live through a nuclear war as seen through Twitter, I will never forgive God.

And predictably, Sweden's up next.

Just... like... every reasonable ending I can imagine for this war is some level of colossal own-goal for Putin & Russia.

He supposedly very ill, which explains why he took the gamble, but he also had every reason to expect it to have worked. The Time interview with Zelenskyy has him say that Russian troops got very close to capturing or killing him in the first few hours of the invasion. Had that happened, the invasion likely would have gone exactly how Putin expected it to. And the rest of the world pretty much expected that to happen too.

It seems very likely that US intelligence was not aware of the change in Ukraine's ability and resolve to fight back against a Russian invasion since 2014, or that someone deliberately kept that knowledge from Trump and any of his people, because there's no way that Trump wouldn't have passed on that information to Putin had he known.

Stengah wrote:

that someone deliberately kept that knowledge from Trump and any of his people, because there's no way that Trump wouldn't have passed on that information to Putin had he known.

If that is true, that person or team are real heroes.

Key intel not being shared with Trump by some saviour or Trump and team just being incompetent as to what intel they had access too.

Probably going with the latter considering the comical stuff coming out of the White House at the time.

I'll take a combination of the two. Someone decided not to share something because they knew Trump didn't read anything anyways.

https://www.reuters.com/world/europe...

Hah! HAHA! Probably should have thought of that before scoring an own-goal.

Watching the Russian army get destroyed by the very same drones they encountered in Nagorno Karabakh demonstrates a unique inability to learn even from failure. It’s like they keep bringing scissors to a rock party thinking they just need more scissors.

I've seen reporting that the US military trainers thought the Ukrainian high command and officer corps weren't receptive about needed reform, when in reality the Ukrainians were taking the training to heart, they were just obscuring that to the trainers.

In other words, the Ukrainians thought the US was an intelligence risk.

I think it is likely the CIA had a better handle on the situation but the fact that the Ukrainians likely feared leaks from the Pentagon is pretty damning.

Were they wrong to think that? Sadly, the answer is probably no.

Some elements of the Pentagon have always over-estimated what the Russians can do, and certainly Trump put a lot of his loyalists in positions that would have toed his line while he was abusing the Ukrainians.

Robear wrote:

Some elements of the Pentagon have always over-estimated what the Russians can do, and certainly Trump put a lot of his loyalists in positions that would have toed his line while he was abusing the Ukrainians.

Ukraine has been subject to the whims of greater powers for longer than a single presidency.

I want to say overestimating enemies, while bad, is never worse than underestimating them...