[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.

TheGameguru wrote:
fangblackbone wrote:

I just had a scary thought on how the world will end.
The scale and disruptive capabilities once we weaponize nanotechnology is staggering.

And make no mistake we will use it...

Nahh…climate change has way to much of a head start.

CO2, the OG nanotech

according to ISW, Putin has fired Dvornikov for excessive drinking.

Paleocon wrote:

according to ISW, Putin has fired Dvornikov for excessive drinking.

There is a joke there that is nothing but an offensive Russian stereotype and I will not make it. I am trying my best to be a better person and not make it.

Spoiler:

GWAHHH!

Being fired for cause by the cause of which you were fired for cause.

I mean, who wouldn't be drinking excessively if they suddenly found themselves, in 2022, reliving 1943 as part of the Wehrmacht high command?

If he fires people for drinking, his subordinates must wonder if they can fire him for what he's smoking?!

That's how he got his position in the first place.
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Sounds like the HIMARS are showing up now. And UK has agreed to train 10k UKR recruits over next 3 months on NATO platforms.

Also, Institute for the Study of War relays UKR claims that in occupied territories, RUS forces are manufacturing gas leaks in civilian buildings to force men into the streets to be pressed into service and RUS conscripts are asking UKR doctors to give them medical notes to get out of serving.

I am surprised they can actually get those conscripts to advance. Considering how little regard they have shown for their welfare, I am pretty sure I would surrender at the first sign of contact with the enemy if I were in a similar circumstance.... right after fragging my psycho Russian commander. I surmise most people would.

Paleocon wrote:

I am surprised they can actually get those conscripts to advance. Considering how little regard they have shown for their welfare, I am pretty sure I would surrender at the first sign of contact with the enemy if I were in a similar circumstance.... right after fragging my psycho Russian commander. I surmise most people would.

Apparently the Russian commander is behind the conscripts and is ready to hose them down with a machine gun if they don't advance.

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The war in Ukraine has entered a new, and more difficult, phase

How has Russia learned from its errors in the initial stage of the war? First, instead of trying to attack all of Ukraine from multiple angles, a gambit that strained supply lines and left troops exposed to attacks from the rear, it has focused its campaign on Ukraine’s east, using long-range artillery, air and missile strikes on a massive scale against a smaller range of targets. The Russians have also been willing to destroy large parts of towns in order to seize or surround them. The agile urban fighting that the Ukrainian army excelled at is minimized in the Donbas, whose relatively flat terrain favors armored warfare, airpower and missiles. These weapons, as well as the ratio of soldiers there, favor Russia by a wide margin.

In Sievierodonetsk, Russian tactics – which often destroy entire urban districts before sending in ground troops – have presented Ukrainian commanders with a conundrum: retreat and live to fight another day, or stand their ground and possibly see some of their best troops killed or captured. The outlook for Ukraine in Sievierodonetsk looks grim at best and preordained at worst. About 70% of the city is now under Russian control, and US defense officials assess that Russia could take all of Luhansk within weeks.

Volodymyr Zelenskiy and his advisers seem to believe that with enough time, heavy weaponry, economic aid and political commitment from Ukraine’s western partners, its army can turn the tide and nullify the Russian military’s recent gains. While Kyiv insists that diplomacy is the only way the war can end, Zelenskiy himself has declared that any peace talks with Moscow will have to wait until after Russian forces withdraw to pre-24 February lines.

Yet at a time when Russia has captured as much as a fifth of Ukraine’s territory, Zelenskiy’s stance may become less and less tenable. Russian forces will not voluntarily vacate territory they have captured at such great cost simply to begin a negotiation on ending the war, not least because Putin now sees the momentum favoring his forces. In fact, the Kremlin seems to be digging in for a long-term presence. In parts of Russian-occupied territory, like the Kherson oblast, rumors of a referendum incorporating the area into Russia are prevalent. In the cities of Kherson and Melitopol, Russian passports are being handed out to residents, hardly a sign that Russia is thinking about pulling out.

If Russian troops hunker down behind heavily fortified lines and Putin, in an effort to sow disunity among Ukraine’s western backers, declares an end to his “special military operation”, Ukrainian forces will face the much harder task of evicting Russian troops from territories in which they are well ensconced.

To do that, Ukraine will require the sorts of weapons it lacks in significant numbers. Ukraine’s military will, in short, have to build up the capacity for a large-scale offensive – and at a time when it is losing many of its most battle-tested soldiers. As many as 200 Ukrainian troops are dying in combat every day – that’s 6,000 a month. These casualty numbers would be difficult to sustain for any army, let alone one engaged in a high-intensity, bloody war of attrition against a foe with an advantage in firepower.

Paleocon wrote:

I am surprised they can actually get those conscripts to advance. Considering how little regard they have shown for their welfare, I am pretty sure I would surrender at the first sign of contact with the enemy if I were in a similar circumstance.... right after fragging my psycho Russian commander. I surmise most people would.

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Ukrainian state security just publicly announced that they broke a spy ring involving a member of the Ukrainian parliament, Andriy Derkach, at the beginning of the war. Derkach was recruited in 2016 and was an asset of the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Federation (aka the GRU).

Russia gave Derkach, who is the son of a KGB agent, millions of dollars a month to assist in the invasion by hiring groups of mercenaries that would be pre-positioned in Ukrainian cities. The mercenaries would have been tasked to help Russian forces take over key areas, suppress defenders, etc. Two brigades of mercenaries were supposed to rush to Kyiv, seize the Government Quarter, and convene a chamber in the Verkhovna Rada to vote for a new government.

I bring Derkach up because of this picture:

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That's Rudy Giuliani meeting with Derkach in 2019. Giuliani was in Ukraine hunting for dirt on Hunter Biden that Trump could use and Derkach, as a Russian agent, was more than happy to help. Derkach supplied a number of faked items that Republican politicians and conservative media used to press their false claims that Biden interfered with Ukrainian anti-corruption activities and pressured the government to overlook his son's work at Burisma.

Derkach was sanctioned by the US government in September 2020 for attempting to influence the U.S. electoral process. But now we know he is a Russian spy so there's absolute proof that Russia f*cked with our elections (twice now) and needs to be held accountable.

Or the Polish or Bessarabian Gaps. The Russians have no shortage of foreign lands they feel entitled to and butthurt about not possessing.

It'd be a real shame if a conflict broke out between Russia and NATO and the US decided to detain anyone who's been in league with Russia indefinitely.

Rat Boy wrote:

It'd be a real shame if a conflict broke out between Russia and NATO and the US decided to detain anyone who's been in league with Russia indefinitely.

I was just talking with a Ukrainian friend of mine who said he thought the Ukrainians were being very careful to demonstrate real distinctions between the Russian disregard for international norms and Ukrainian attempts to maintain organizational discipline and compliance with laws of war. He also said, though, that he could very easily see the temptation to just disappear that traitor into a dark basement someplace in the Carpathians and waterboard him until he revealed the names of every last motherf*cker that even lent him money.

Why the west risks condemning Ukraine to slow strangulation

Speaking at a private dinner in London recently, a senior serving British military officer argued that the west had no choice but to see Ukraine as just one phase in a decade-long battle with Russia. “If Ukraine wins, Russia will never accept that. If Russia wins, it will go further,” he said.

Yet in Whitehall they fear the “F word” – fatigue – and worry that the west with its TikTok-attention span and bias towards instant gratification does not have the resolve for the years-long sacrifice required to defeat Russia, or even stem the military tide in the villages of eastern Ukraine.

That anxiety is shared by Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the Ukrainian president, who in a speech to marketing professionals in Cannes this week pleaded with them to use their creative ingenuity to keep the world focused on his country’s struggle: “Don’t let the world switch to something else,” he said.

So the succession of summits over the next week – European Council, G7 and Nato – come at a pivotal moment in the four-month-old war, not just on the battlefield but in the equally important parallel contests to maintain domestic support, damage the Russian economy and build geostrategic alliances.

Every effort at the summits will be made to show unity and resolve, but there is little disguising that this is a dark point. Inflation across the eurozone rose above 8% last month. A gallon of petrol has risen above $5 (£4.09) in the US. Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, the weaponiser of everything, is turning off gas supplies to Europe and blocking sub-Saharan Africa’s grain. US security assistance to Ukraine since the invasion began on 24 February is valued at $5.6bn, but it is estimated that the country needs $5bn-$7bn a month to function.

This part caught me, or at least stuck out, as I've seen a bit indicating this already:

But it is the third theatre of war – the influence war – where the west is faring unexpectedly poorly. There is a growing awareness that the west’s narrative that Putin is fighting a colonial war and is responsible for its ripple effects is meeting indifference and even resistance in the global south.

With more than 40% of wheat consumed in Africa usually coming from Russia and Ukraine, one of the key organisers of the G7 summit in Germany, Wolfgang Schmidt, said it was vital to prevent Moscow and Beijing from dividing the G7 from the so-called Brics countries by blaming western sanctions for the shortages. Germany had invited leaders from Indonesia, India, South Africa, Argentina and Senegal, in part to prevent Russia and China succeeding in their goal.

Schmidt said: “When you talk to leaders outside Europe and the alliance at the moment then you will realise their perception of the [Ukraine] war is completely different from ours. They might say: ‘Yes, we are not OK with a country invading another.’ But and then comes the big but: ‘It is your sanctions that drive up food prices, energy prices and have a devastating effect on our population.’”

Ann Linde, the Swedish foreign minister, said that during her meetings with Asian and African ministers she also came across a narrative that the west was more engaged in Ukraine than it has been in wars in the south.

Her Austrian counterpart, Alexander Schallenberg, said that in his recent travels in India and the Middle East he discovered that although the EU may have won the information war on Ukraine in Europe, “a very different narrative” existed elsewhere. Outside Europe “we are the culprits, we are the reason for oil, seeds, grain and energy not being on the market or overpriced,” he said. “This is a war in Europe. But there’s another European war, because the shockwaves can be felt everywhere. It’s the first war since the second world war where you can feel the effects globally.”

A massive battle is now under way to accuse Russia of using hunger as a weapon of war. The blame game could not have higher stakes. Largely due to drought in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, 16.7 million people in east Africa are already dependent on food assistance. That number is likely to increase by 20 million by September alone. The World Food Programme claimed the Ukraine ripple effect would mean a further 44 million people worldwide would be classified as “food insecure or at high risk”.

Prederick wrote:
A massive battle is now under way to accuse Russia of using hunger as a weapon of war. The blame game could not have higher stakes. Largely due to drought in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, 16.7 million people in east Africa are already dependent on food assistance. That number is likely to increase by 20 million by September alone. The World Food Programme claimed the Ukraine ripple effect would mean a further 44 million people worldwide would be classified as “food insecure or at high risk”.

Putin, good KGB man that he is, is always willing to replay Stalin's greatest hits.

British MoD is confirming that the artillery strike that injured Gerasimov actually did happen and did actually kill his bodyguard despite Russian denials.

That was a while back, right? Or did he get hit again?

Looks like someone installed the IMU upside down again. Oops.

https://www.reddit.com/r/interesting...

for reference: https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-...

Prederick wrote:

Why the west risks condemning Ukraine to slow strangulation

But it is the third theatre of war – the influence war – where the west is faring unexpectedly poorly. There is a growing awareness that the west’s narrative that Putin is fighting a colonial war and is responsible for its ripple effects is meeting indifference and even resistance in the global south.

With more than 40% of wheat consumed in Africa usually coming from Russia and Ukraine, one of the key organisers of the G7 summit in Germany, Wolfgang Schmidt, said it was vital to prevent Moscow and Beijing from dividing the G7 from the so-called Brics countries by blaming western sanctions for the shortages. Germany had invited leaders from Indonesia, India, South Africa, Argentina and Senegal, in part to prevent Russia and China succeeding in their goal.

Schmidt said: “When you talk to leaders outside Europe and the alliance at the moment then you will realise their perception of the [Ukraine] war is completely different from ours. They might say: ‘Yes, we are not OK with a country invading another.’ But and then comes the big but: ‘It is your sanctions that drive up food prices, energy prices and have a devastating effect on our population.’”

Ann Linde, the Swedish foreign minister, said that during her meetings with Asian and African ministers she also came across a narrative that the west was more engaged in Ukraine than it has been in wars in the south.

Her Austrian counterpart, Alexander Schallenberg, said that in his recent travels in India and the Middle East he discovered that although the EU may have won the information war on Ukraine in Europe, “a very different narrative” existed elsewhere. Outside Europe “we are the culprits, we are the reason for oil, seeds, grain and energy not being on the market or overpriced,” he said. “This is a war in Europe. But there’s another European war, because the shockwaves can be felt everywhere. It’s the first war since the second world war where you can feel the effects globally.”

A massive battle is now under way to accuse Russia of using hunger as a weapon of war. The blame game could not have higher stakes. Largely due to drought in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, 16.7 million people in east Africa are already dependent on food assistance. That number is likely to increase by 20 million by September alone. The World Food Programme claimed the Ukraine ripple effect would mean a further 44 million people worldwide would be classified as “food insecure or at high risk”.

Russian online propaganda has been targeting Africa and Asia from the very start of the war and doing so in ways that tap into those regions distrust or dislike of the West:

The Atlantic wrote:

My pro-Ukrainian online world was punctured on March 2, when I saw two hashtags trending on Twitter: #IStandWithPutin and #IStandWithRussia. Very quickly, disinformation researchers began to see suspicious patterns associated with the hashtags, arguing that both bots and “engagement farming” were being used. A deep dive on the profile picture used by one account propagating the hashtags led to a Polish Facebook group dedicated to dating scams. At least in part, the early signs indicated that a deliberate, if hidden, effort was under way to make these hashtags trend.

The pro-invasion hashtags were enough to make my colleagues and me take notice. By March 9, just under 10,000 Twitter accounts had shared one of the hashtags at least five times, an especially engaged, active “core.” So we decided to do our own research into these accounts: Who was behind them? And what were they doing?

The way we typically do this on Twitter is by placing accounts on a map based on who they follow, retweet, or like—so-called engagement graphs. These allow researchers to determine how genuine a set of accounts might be, and whether they seem to be working in some measure of coordination. But a new generation of powerful models has emerged, allowing us to go further, analyzing how these accounts use language in a much more general sense—turns of phrase, hashtags, and really everything else, too. This opens up new opportunities to understand how accounts interact on social-media platforms.

We fed the last 200 tweets from each of the 10,000 accounts into these new models to create a linguistic fingerprint of the users, and then plotted the accounts on a graph. This might sound convoluted, and in a sense it is (you can read our 38-page white paper if you’d like), but what this process really does is put Twitter accounts that tend to use similar language close together on a map. The power here is in turning linguistic similarity into something not only measurable, but visible. And language is what Twitter is all about.

From there, we compiled a roster of randomly selected accounts from across our new map and delved into them, to try to draw out what set each of the different clusters of accounts apart. What struck us immediately was how clearly each cluster seemed to relate to geography—to the purported national identities and languages that the accounts used.

There was a dense knot of accounts identified as Indian that largely retweeted a stream of messaging in English and Hindi supporting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. Another group used Urdu, Sindhi, and Farsi, with users primarily identifying as Iranian or Pakistani. One node was ostensibly from South Africa but included Ghanaian, Nigerian, and Kenyan users talking about public health, fuel shortages in Nigeria, and former South African President Jacob Zuma. A final cluster was the only one not characterized by language or geography. Accounts in this grouping sent the fewest tweets and had the fewest followers; many had been created either on the day of Russia’s invasion or on March 2, the day of a key United Nations vote condemning the invasion—and when I saw those hashtags suddenly trend.

Although each cluster was linguistically different from the rest, they had patterns in common. All saw a small uptick in messages on the day of the invasion, and then a very sharp increase on March 2 and 3. And all but one (the South African cluster) were doing the same thing: frenetic amplification. Seventy to 80 percent of the accounts’ activity was retweeting others, and on the day of the UN vote, many published a parade of pro-invasion memes.

The memes pushed vivid anti-colonial and anti-Western imagery mixed with Putin strongman motifs and solidarity among the BRICS: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Some applauded Russia’s great friendship toward India or Putin’s apparent role in African liberation movements, but many were really about the West, its own seeming hypocrisy, and the alleged aggression of NATO expansion.

This research casts a small and admittedly imperfect light on what might be happening. We focused on Twitter, and influence operations can use a number of parallel channels. These are our impressions as researchers; others looking at the same data might have found different things. I can point to suspicious patterns, but little is definite in this world, and nothing in our analysis lets me pin this unusual social-media activity directly on the Russian state.

Still, the early data are revealing, the activity suspicious. These accounts came alive for UN votes on the invasion, propelled in part, I suspect, by one or more “paid to engage” networks—groups of accounts that will shift their Twitter usage en masse to deliver retweets for a fee. But real people (we are unsure precisely how many) are also helping the hashtags trend. That interplay between organic and inauthentic activity is the most important subtlety of this research. It also gives us our most important conclusion.

Insofar as this was a coordinated campaign, we saw little attempt to address (or impersonate) Western social-media users. To the extent that we saw real people using the hashtag, very few were from the West.

Look beyond the West, and the information war feels a lot different. “We’ve seen many suspicious TikTok accounts parroting Russian ideology or valorizing Russian aggression in Southeast Asian languages such as Malay and Indonesian,” Ng Wei Kai, a journalist for Singapore’s The Straits Times newspaper, told me. “Comments sections on news accounts [are] flooded with pro-Russian views. Much of the content made in non-English languages also takes a mocking or warning tone about Singapore’s decision [to sanction Russia], as if to say, Don’t be like them; there will be consequences for the sanctions.” In India, as the journalist Tushar Dhara notes, the level of genuine sympathy for Russia can be striking. “There is genuine warmth for Russia and the Soviet Union, for its diplomatic and military support to India going back decades,” Dhara told me.

This analysis was also done in mid-March and the author--one of the few experts in the world on this--hasn't done any follow up. This is going to turn out like every other accusation of propaganda and manipulation by Russia: people strongly suspecting and their gut telling them the obvious, but refusing to outright accuse, only to confirm months or years later that, yeah, the Russians were spreading sh*t non-stop on-line.

Paleocon wrote:

British MoD is confirming that the artillery strike that injured Gerasimov actually did happen and did actually kill his bodyguard despite Russian denials.

A recent Telegram from a Russian 'journalist' from RIA Novosti:

Telegram wrote:

Disturbing news comes from the front. The Armed Forces of Ukraine began the hunt for Russian headquarters. Prior to this, they tried to cover the control centers with Soviet cannon artillery, but it was extremely rare to hit. And "Points" and "Tornados" were shot down by Russian air defense on approach.

With the advent of Western artillery systems, everything changed. Shooting accuracy has increased dramatically. Apparently, Excalibur shells and Western artillery crews did appear at the front.

Now we will have to disperse the equipment, and conduct control from buried command posts. Actually, this is exactly what the Soviet instructions prescribed.

You'll also note that the propagandist is not only claiming that the West is supplying Ukraine with artillery, but that Western/NATO troops are manning those systems.