Author Topic: Russia/Ukraine Crisis 2022  (Read 4039 times)

Jubal

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Re: Russia/Ukraine Crisis 2022
« Reply #30 on: March 02, 2022, 09:30:34 PM »
Whilst I think it's important that we deprive the Russian state of the capacity to finance Putin's war, I think we may soon also have to think more on how to reduce humanitarian damage in Russia as well as Ukraine with how heavily these sanctions are biting. Collective punishment for Putin-regime crimes feels wrong: it's not like Putin cares about ordinary Russians, or like they had a fair chance to elect anyone else. And the more people in the west go full Russophobia, the more it pushes Russians into Putin's hands, to a certain extent.

Crass takes of today award go to the Scottish and Welsh nationalists who are comparing being part of the United Kingdom to being Ukraine under threat from Russia. Whether or not you agree with Scots/Welsh independence that just feels intensely wrong as a comparison.
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dubsartur

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Re: Russia/Ukraine Crisis 2022
« Reply #31 on: March 03, 2022, 06:32:58 AM »
Whilst I think it's important that we deprive the Russian state of the capacity to finance Putin's war, I think we may soon also have to think more on how to reduce humanitarian damage in Russia as well as Ukraine with how heavily these sanctions are biting. Collective punishment for Putin-regime crimes feels wrong: it's not like Putin cares about ordinary Russians, or like they had a fair chance to elect anyone else. And the more people in the west go full Russophobia, the more it pushes Russians into Putin's hands, to a certain extent.
I agree.  The overwhelming international response has been encouraging, given that Russian state broadcasters seem to have been told to prepare the line that "A multipolar world has finally become a reality - the operation in Ukraine is not capable of rallying anyone but the West against Russia."  But its important that we use this anger to hurt Putin and his backers and help Ukrainians and not just to make ourselves feel better.

Short of NATO attacks on Russian forces in Ukraine (which I would have trouble supporting), and aside from helping refugees, the two things which seem most useful are finding and freezing the stolen wealth of oligarchs, and making sure that Ukraine has enough arms for its people.  Industrialized war consumes astonishing amounts of munitions.  I would like to hear more about which factories have increased production starting yesterday. 

Some Americans are saying that it has been a warm, wet February around Kyiv.  The Pripet Marshes north of Kyiv are hard to navigate in the best of times.  And many of the Russians do not seem to have been rotating their truck tires once a month to spread the pressure and sun damage, so they are prone to bursting when they drive offroad with heavy loads.  The Black Sea coast has a different climate and different soil, so that may explain why the advance on Kyiv was so slow and chaotic and why the Russian army has more success in the south.

Putin has scheduled a speech for 3 March on the "special operation" in Ukraine. I wonder if he will change his line that this is nothing the Russian people need to worry about just a glorious reunification of the Russian people.  Because if this war goes on, he will need more from the Russian people than "keep your head down and send your sons to the army."  While thousands of people (including a survivor of the Siege of Leningrad) have been arrested for protesting the war, Dr. Jeremy Morris says that most ordinary Russians he talks to are following the state line.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2022, 07:24:27 PM by dubsartur »

dubsartur

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Re: Russia/Ukraine Crisis 2022
« Reply #32 on: March 05, 2022, 04:17:37 PM »
Russian and Russia-based journalists say that Putin has imposed censorship stricter than in late Soviet times, including up to 15 years in prison for calling the war a war and a special school curriculum.  The last remaining independent radio, TV, newspapers, and news sites have been shut down or stopped talking about Ukraine; journalist Alexy Kovalyov of https://meduza.io/ has fled. 

One party in the Duma is writing a bill to conscript all antiwar protestors and send them to the Donbass.

In xenophobia news, Kovalyov says that his domain name provide namecheap has taken down all domains registered to Russians including his website https://noodleremover.news with investigative journalism on Russia today.

Edit: I hear that Mastercard, Visa, and paypal have more or less independently halted service in Russia.  That is definitely going to hurt ordinary Russians more than the oligarchs.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2022, 05:25:29 AM by dubsartur »

dubsartur

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Re: Russia/Ukraine Crisis 2022
« Reply #33 on: March 12, 2022, 08:33:28 PM »
On myths, a news article on the Kyiv grandmother who destroyed a drone with a jar of tomatos is https://life.liga.net/istoriyi/article/eto-byli-pomidory-ligalife-nashla-kievlyanku-sbivshuyu-vrajeskiy-dron-bankoy-konservatsii - https://dronedj.com/2022/03/08/ukrainian-woman-russian-drone-cucumbers-tomatoes/

Per https://siderea.dreamwidth.org/, Someone has made a music video of clips of Ukrainian farmers recovering Russian equipment and a popular Ukrainian children's song "Here comes a tractor, a blue tractor."


Anglo military commentators seem to be slowly coming around to the realization that the "overwhelming Russian offensive using their fearsome doctrine" may not always be a day or two away.  They can do a lot of damage with what they have where they have it.

Jubal

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Re: Russia/Ukraine Crisis 2022
« Reply #34 on: March 13, 2022, 01:25:08 AM »
Yes, the war still grinds on. It's very very hard to know what's happening and what will break first - the Ukrainians' ability to provide resistance against the much larger Russian forces, or the Russian economy. It's just so depressing watching it all.

It does seem like the original Russian plan was shock and awe - apparently they packed dress uniforms for an expected victory parade at the expense of supplies - but given that's faltered, it soes seem like their new preference (or perhaps forced circumstance) is a much more slowly-surely approach where they don't try and push anything too fast but maybe try to build a new picture of inexorable Russian progress. But whether Russia can keep that up, I don't know.
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dubsartur

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Re: Russia/Ukraine Crisis 2022
« Reply #35 on: March 13, 2022, 04:39:04 AM »
Although my understanding is that Russia does not have more troops, just more tanks, artillery, and aircraft.  And it seems like many of those aircraft can't actually fly, or at least not in groups of more than 2 or 4 or in the vicinity of modern air defenses.  All those tanks and guns can do a lot of damage.

I am told that Ukraine has 6 groups of 60,000 veterans who each passed through training, did a term in the Donbas War, then returned to civilian life.  So even though Russia has a larger population, Ukraine has more trained combat veterans to draw upon. 

Kvetun Armoury is one of the entire businesses which has upped sticks from Russia to anywhere that accepts their passport and is not ruled by Vladimir Putin (they chose Georgia which was previously not known in the medieval reproductions industry) https://kvetun-armoury.com/
« Last Edit: March 13, 2022, 04:50:35 AM by dubsartur »

Pentagathus

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Re: Russia/Ukraine Crisis 2022
« Reply #36 on: March 13, 2022, 03:05:03 PM »
I'm pretty sure Russia has more troops in total on paper but on practice they can't actually mobilise all of them at once of course, or at least not without stripping literally every other border of troops. And that's even disregarding the logistical issues of supplying large troop numbers.
Russia does have a lot of artillery though, they honestly could be doing a hell of a lot more damage than they already are. Hopefully that's not the next step but who knows.

psyanojim

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Re: Russia/Ukraine Crisis 2022
« Reply #37 on: March 13, 2022, 07:25:04 PM »
One other thing thats amazed me - the number of videos I've seen of Ukranian defenders sprinting to battle in civilian vehicles, unloading their vicious arsenal of anti-tank missiles, then scooting off before the enemy can react.

With the increasing lethality of modern hand-held anti-armor weapons, it makes a lot of sense.

Unarmored civilians vehicles do have a lot of advantages over armored military ones in this environment - significantly faster, more mobile, more fuel efficient, lighter (less likely to stick in mud or on poor roads) etc.

Has anyone read the book 'Red Storm Rising' by Tom Clancy? He pretty much predicted the effectiveness of NATO anti-tank weapons mounted on much lighter mobile vehicles in that book.

Although he didnt quite reach the extreme concept of a 'rocket Honda Jazz' :D

dubsartur

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Re: Russia/Ukraine Crisis 2022
« Reply #38 on: March 14, 2022, 01:00:41 AM »
Russia does have a lot of artillery though, they honestly could be doing a hell of a lot more damage than they already are. Hopefully that's not the next step but who knows.
I think that may come down to logistics again.  Rockets and howitzer shells are heavy, and the Russian army is short of trucks.  Back when Putin was making threats, one of the arguments that he would not act on them went like this:

Quote
The Russian army does not have enough trucks to meet its logistic requirement more than 90 miles beyond supply dumps. To reach a 180-mile range, the Russian army would have to double truck allocation to 400 trucks for each of the material-technical support brigades. To gain familiarity with Russian logistic requirements and lift resources, a useful starting point is the Russian combined arms army. They all have different force structures, but on paper, each combined army is assigned a material-technical support brigade. Each material-technical support brigade has two truck battalions with a total of 150 general cargo trucks with 50 trailers and 260 specialized trucks per brigade. 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. There is also between six to nine tube artillery battalions, nine air defense artillery battalions, 12 mechanized and recon battalions, three to five tank battalions, mortars, anti-tank missiles, and small arms ammunition — not to mention, food, engineering, medical supplies, and so on.

https://warontherocks.com/2021/11/feeding-the-bear-a-closer-look-at-russian-army-logistics/

Now of course the Russians are trying to lay pipelines, rebuild bridges, and get Ukrainian railroads back in service, but its hard when there are drones in the air and when sometimes your engineers get shot up by the Territorial Defense or your truck convoys roll into a minefield and an artillery barrage.  This is why the Americans spent a few weeks bombing Iraq and smashing its airforce before they invaded in 1991 and 2003 (and the US military was built for a war like this, the Russian army is not).

The Russians also seem to have bad command, control, and communications, so they can't do showy things like having 200 shells from 100 guns hit the same target at the same time. 

Edit: I suspect that many of the officers who are drifting out of radio contact with their units know that this was is unjust and unlikely to end well, so they are doing the least possible.  That is also preventing the Russian army from being as devastating as it could be in theory.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2022, 02:00:59 AM by dubsartur »

Pentagathus

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Re: Russia/Ukraine Crisis 2022
« Reply #39 on: March 14, 2022, 09:21:31 AM »
Russia does have a lot of artillery though, they honestly could be doing a hell of a lot more damage than they already are. Hopefully that's not the next step but who knows.
I think that may come down to logistics again.  Rockets and howitzer shells are heavy, and the Russian army is short of trucks.  Back when Putin was making threats, one of the arguments that he would not act on them went like this:
True for Kyviv but Kharkiv is basically on the Russian border so Russian troops there should be able to be supplied largely by rail (of course there has been shelling here but how heavy is it compared to how heavy it could be?) and Kharkiv and Mariupol are on the coast where Russian ships should be able to supply their troops. I know Kherson was taken so perhaps it wasn't shelled because the Russians were expecting to take it, could be the same with Mariupol.
Looking into it Kharkiv has been shelled pretty heavily already so I could be way off here. I'm also pretty sure rockets and bombs are very expensive so a relatively conservative approach makes sense considering the cost. And of course the cost of rebuilding these cities if Russia actually wants to annex these regions is a factor to consider and it may be that annexation of these border regions is still the goal (it looks like they're trying to annex Kherson in a similar manner to how they took Crimea, which makes some sense since it secures water supply to Crimea).

dubsartur

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Re: Russia/Ukraine Crisis 2022
« Reply #40 on: March 14, 2022, 04:36:56 PM »
Russia does have a lot of artillery though, they honestly could be doing a hell of a lot more damage than they already are. Hopefully that's not the next step but who knows.
I think that may come down to logistics again.  Rockets and howitzer shells are heavy, and the Russian army is short of trucks.  Back when Putin was making threats, one of the arguments that he would not act on them went like this:
True for Kyviv but Kharkiv is basically on the Russian border so Russian troops there should be able to be supplied largely by rail (of course there has been shelling here but how heavy is it compared to how heavy it could be?) and Kharkiv and Mariupol are on the coast where Russian ships should be able to supply their troops. I know Kherson was taken so perhaps it wasn't shelled because the Russians were expecting to take it, could be the same with Mariupol.
Looking into it Kharkiv has been shelled pretty heavily already so I could be way off here. I'm also pretty sure rockets and bombs are very expensive so a relatively conservative approach makes sense considering the cost. And of course the cost of rebuilding these cities if Russia actually wants to annex these regions is a factor to consider and it may be that annexation of these border regions is still the goal (it looks like they're trying to annex Kherson in a similar manner to how they took Crimea, which makes some sense since it secures water supply to Crimea).
According to this handy map dated 13 March there is no railway along the coast from Crimea to Mariupol in the Donbas.  The closest railhead in Russian hands is Melitopol (and I have heard there are Ukrainians sitting across the railway to Melitopol).



And there are no other major ports along the Ukrainian Sea of Azov coast west of Mariupol.  You can unload cargo onto open beaches or into little fishing and tourist harbours, but its slow and has limited capacity.  And this is not D-day, the Russians did not spend years planning how to build harbours to supply months of major combat operations before they took and de-mined the first port.

I am not sure about the siege of Kharkiv either, other than that the Russians are attacking everywhere with an army which does not actually outnumber the Ukrainians (those 150,000 or 190,000 men they amassed are similar in size to the Ukrainian army).  And they seem to have expected that Kharkiv, so close to the border, would greet them with flowers not light antitank weapons.

Jubal

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Re: Russia/Ukraine Crisis 2022
« Reply #41 on: March 14, 2022, 05:42:05 PM »
Yeah, a lot of the miscalculation around places like Kharkiv seems to be around the idea they would be greeted as liberators (reminiscent of the US invasion of Iraq there). And they clearly have been shelling Kharkiv very hard including use of e.g. cluster munitions, which will have done more to push Russian-speaking Ukrainians away from Russia than anything that's happened previously.

I've seen lots of posts of people online suggesting different ideas of what Russia's strategic objectives in the war are, and I suspect they're all operating from the incorrect premise that Russia has a clear strategic objective at this point. I suspect to the extent that Russia has much of a strategic outlook it's just "how far can we push to maximise leverage and options in the inevitable negotiation stages" - but even that is muddied by the fact that some people in Russia still feel compelled to pretend that a long-term occupation of Ukraine is achievable whilst other people in Russia feel compelled to pretend that the war's objectives are limited and that independence for the Donbas and recognition of Russia's annexation of Crimea would be sufficient to end the war. The sort of superposition of contradictory ideas about what's happening can be very effective for information warfare, but aren't a very good way of working out what to do with an actual army. So the army just keeps rolling forward with very little idea of what it's doing there, which must be horrendous for morale.
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dubsartur

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Re: Russia/Ukraine Crisis 2022
« Reply #42 on: March 14, 2022, 09:46:29 PM »
Some people say they have seen photos of Territorial Defense travelling in unmarked cars, and the Ukrainians have released photos of a Russian ambulance full of weapons.  So Russians are shooting up civilian cars which don't stop, and Ukrainians may start firing on Russian ambulances. 

Edit: The Ukrainians claim to have destroyed 200 vehicles and a headquarters near Melitopol on the Dneipr, so even in the area close to Crimea, there are still large Ukrainian forces operating behind the columns.

I've seen lots of posts of people online suggesting different ideas of what Russia's strategic objectives in the war are, and I suspect they're all operating from the incorrect premise that Russia has a clear strategic objective at this point. I suspect to the extent that Russia has much of a strategic outlook it's just "how far can we push to maximise leverage and options in the inevitable negotiation stages"
I think that is why many Anglo military and think-tank commentators have overestimated Russia's chances.  Their whole identities and careers are tied to the idea that through professional advice and the latest military equipment, any state can use a bureaucratic military to achieve rational policy objectives.  But what do you do when the chief executive is totally out of touch with the facts on the ground, his subordinates are too scared to say so because they would have to explain why the army was in bad shape, and you need their permission to move towards objectives you can actually achieve?  That was the US and UK situation in Afghanistan and Iraq for a long time, the military was not there to win just to avoid embarrassing the current government by losing.  And from the government's point of view, making the concessions that would lead to achievable objectives were more embarrassing than keeping the war going.

Its possible that the Russians will break through somewhere before they run out of bodies and equipment, but I don't know what they would be able to achieve that would last even ten years.

Edit: A US DoD spokesperson says that the US has not seen any significant Russian forces outside the initial 190,000 troops entering Ukraine.  So again, the invaders were outnumbered even before the Ukrainians started arming the people and calling up veterans of the Donbas War.  They have more artillery, tanks, and aircraft but not more troops (and to take defended cities you need huge numbers of infantry).
« Last Edit: March 15, 2022, 04:52:59 PM by dubsartur »

Jubal

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Re: Russia/Ukraine Crisis 2022
« Reply #43 on: March 16, 2022, 12:14:11 PM »
As I think I said upthread, we seem to now be in a world where "pound this city into rubble" is simply an easier task for most militaries to accomplish than "capture this city intact" and that probably isn't a good thing for the fate of cities in wartime.

A Turkish journalist on Twitter posts:
"Russia greatly values Turkey’s balanced attitude towards the Ukraine crisis and appreciates Ankara’s full implementation of Montreux convention on the straits, Lavrov tells Cavusoglu in Moscow"
Which is interesting, given where all Ukraine's favourite Bayraktar drones come from. And I think suggests that Moscow knows it's in a great deal of trouble here.

Also, Russia is set to start defaulting on loans already, which is going to really start hitting their ability to pay for literally anything:
https://www.standard.co.uk/business/russia-debt-repayment-default-ukraine-putin-b988421.html

This article has some interesting thoughts about China's role and outlook:
https://www.rferl.org/a/china-long-game-russian-invasion/31755869.html
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Pentagathus

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Re: Russia/Ukraine Crisis 2022
« Reply #44 on: March 16, 2022, 01:06:55 PM »
Kyiv seems to be under heavier bombardment now, I imagine this is meant to put pressure on Ukraine for the negotiations going on. Ukrainians clearly aren't going to welcome Russian control anywhere so I guess Putin might as well use full on terrorism against them now.