Author Topic: Russia/Ukraine Crisis 2022  (Read 4077 times)

Jubal

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Re: Russia/Ukraine Crisis 2022
« Reply #60 on: May 03, 2022, 05:45:12 PM »
The war rattles on - pretty hard to tell exactly what's happening in the east, except that it's not happening very fast.

There are some rumours that Russia may soon formally declare war: technically and bizarrely, Russia hasn't done this because it wanted to keep its "special operation" nonsense front up. Declaring war would in legal terms mean the Kremlin can start conscripting to replenish its manpower.

Also, Russia is now in a spat with Israel, a country it nominally didn't have awful relations with, after the Russian foreign minister repeated the libel that Hitler was part-Jewish, and then when Israel's prime and foreign ministers reacted angrily the Russian foreign ministry released a staggeringly anti-Semitic historical-revisionist statement. How To Make Friends And Influence People: Lavrov Edition seems to continue to go badly...
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dubsartur

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Re: Russia/Ukraine Crisis 2022
« Reply #61 on: May 04, 2022, 03:21:22 AM »
There are people compiling daily maps of territorial control in proper resolution (eg. https://nitter.net/Nrg8000) and continually updated lists of lost and captured vehicles from open-source intelligence (eg. https://www.oryxspioenkop.com/2022/02/attack-on-europe-documenting-equipment.html.  Its pretty clear that the Ukrainians are pushing back the Russians from Kharkiv, the Russians are making small advances east of Kharkiv but losing equipment fast.  There are still no signs that they have dramatically increased the size of their forces in Ukraine, while Ukraine is training several hundred thousand volunteers and reservists and arms are flooding in from the west and south.

After the first week this has been Stellungskrieg not Bewegungskrieg, so its governed by the relative ability of the two sides to reinforce their own troops and destroy the enemy.  As I explained in a recent essay, its been hard to see how Russia could win a war like that since it became clear in March that the Russian military is not better than its opponents.  For all the hot air about drones and precision munitions and the design of Soviet armoured fighting vehicles, you can understand this war just fine with Xenophon, Maurice, an atlas, and a good economic history of either World War (plus one A4 sheet of paper with statistics on the countries and armed forces).

A historian of the Eastern Roman Empire is literally going through Emperor Leo's book on generalship from the 10th century and pointing out that the Russians are doing things which Leo says will bring defeat https://nitter.eu/chrysoboullon/status/1513182013825634306#m
« Last Edit: May 04, 2022, 03:48:06 AM by dubsartur »

psyanojim

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Re: Russia/Ukraine Crisis 2022
« Reply #62 on: May 05, 2022, 12:52:23 AM »
very interesting Hoover Institute discussion video on Ukraine

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZ09BqDkfWI

a couple of former US 3-star generals on the panel giving interesting commentary

dubsartur

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Re: Russia/Ukraine Crisis 2022
« Reply #63 on: May 07, 2022, 04:42:24 AM »
I am seeing contradictory claims from Ukrainian officials about when Ukraine will counterattack east of Kharkiv: one source says now, another says in June.  A lot probably depends on what weapons and vehicles they get and how fast they can train people to use them.  And of course Ukraine has already counter-attacked around Kharkiv to push the Russians out of artillery range of the city centre.

I'm not sure what is happening around Kherson in the south-west, I think the Ukrainians have pushed forward a bit but the rest of the southern front is quiet. 

My understanding is that unless Moscow declares war, the current crop of conscripts will be able to return to civil life soon. And the closer that deadline comes, the harder it is to force conscripts to sign on as contractors by promising to make the rest of their time in service hell.

dubsartur

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Re: Russia/Ukraine Crisis 2022
« Reply #64 on: May 27, 2022, 01:43:55 AM »
The canadian political magazine Maclean's has an interview with a Canadian-Ukrainian who went from the Canadian Army Reserve, to signing on to play professional soccer in Ukraine, to the International Legion, to the Territorial Defense

He had the impression that the Ukrainian government saw the International Legion more as something to use in propaganda ("we have x volunteers from y countries helping us against the Russian fascists") than in combat.  He felt that the training was very basic and seemed designed not to weed anyone out.

Quote
I hadn’t been at the Yavoriv base long, though, when I realized the International Legion wasn’t all it was hyped up to be. A lot of people had taken up President Volodymyr Zelensky’s call for help, but that didn’t translate into a capable fighting force. Some of the guys lacked the mental discipline to be soldiers. There would be a drill, for instance, and they would take their time putting on their shoes and getting dressed. At a boot camp for Canadian reserves, they would have been punished for that.

They weren’t receiving the kind of training—the yelling and breaking people down—that scares away people who lack the mental toughness to operate in a war zone. This training seemed designed to give them just enough basic skill that commanders could throw them into the fight. We did some physical training and some offensive and defensive tactical manoeuvres, and that was about it. Most of the volunteers seemed to think they were there on some kind of adventure vacation. I was skeptical they would ever be ready.

Gwynne Dyer is past his prime, but he does have the interesting observation that post-Soviet Russia is still run by former Communist officials.  So its hard to tell which parts of their troubles are inherent in the Russian state, and which parts are specific Communist dysfunctions.  The oligarchs are not exactly savoury, and Kamil Galeev is suspicious of Russian 'opposition leaders' and emigrants with lots of money.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2022, 03:14:25 AM by dubsartur »

dubsartur

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Re: Russia/Ukraine Crisis 2022
« Reply #65 on: July 07, 2022, 07:46:32 PM »
Its been hard to follow the Russia-Ukraine war since fighting focused on the eastern front.  Now that most of the fighting is artillery exchanges and attacks on Ukrainian fortifications, not so many photos and videos come in to the public domain to let us test UA and RU statements.  I am skeptical of Ukrainian claims about how many of their soldiers are dying or how much more artillery the Russians have given that its in their interest to look like they need help.  Three general observations:

- Russia is engaging in WW I style offensives against prepared positions and can't cut off a 30 km wide salient.  Nathan Russer has stopped providing daily maps because the lines hardly move.  'Success' in operations like this is inflicting more damage than you suffer and I don't know who is doing better in that respect.
- Ukraine has mobilized its population, Russia still relies on volunteers and peacetime levels of conscription.  Among other things, Russian soldiers have many procedural ways to avoid the war as long as they are under peacetime law.
- Ukraine is receiving a flood of arms and supplies, Russia is isolated and had an economy which heavily depended upon imported goods

So just like in March, Ukraine's long-term prospects are much better than Russia's.  The next important event will probably be a big Ukrainian offensive in August or September.  If I had to guess I would predict it will be in the south where Russian forces are spread thin, farther from their supplies, and have not entrenched for eight years.

Edit: the other significant event would be action by non-belligerent powers to allow Ukraine to export grain from Odessa before people who need it starve

Edit: on 7 July, Russian forces announced an operational pause to rest and recuperate.  So Russia now states that it is unable to continue its last offensive in Ukraine https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-july-7 

Edit: also, for the past several months shell-dumps in occupied Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia have been exploding.  A lot of Russians and Donbas 'volunteers' will have died in those blasts, and equipment will have been destroyed.  So its hard to tell who is losing soldiers and equipment faster, just that Ukraine is almost certainly getting new equipment and recruits faster.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2022, 05:37:40 PM by dubsartur »

Jubal

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Re: Russia/Ukraine Crisis 2022
« Reply #66 on: July 09, 2022, 11:42:00 PM »
The new chain that replaced McDonalds in Russia has run out of fries due to a potato shortage, reportedly, which doesn't suggest wonders for how Russia's wartime economy is doing.

I think you're probably right that a counteroffensive towards Kherson is most likely, though they could try to push a wedge along the northeastern border from Kharkiv with the aim of cutting off and collapsing the morale of the Russian armies that have been pushing through the Donbas. Either way, I think there's probably a sense of urgency for the Ukrainians, since there's probably a reasonable medium term fear of EU/US support weakening in the medium term due to the economic pain it's causing.
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BagaturKhan

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Re: Russia/Ukraine Crisis 2022
« Reply #67 on: July 10, 2022, 07:48:16 PM »
I know, that i must not write in this topic, but i want to say one thing. Because of difficult world situation, "russian" became like "enemy" for many people. I am russian\half-ukrainian. And after this war, i started to be deleted from many my friends in Discord and other platforms. I was deleted from several channels because of it. Because of nothing.
And i don`t know how to be now. I don`t want to be like enemy for many my western friends and for friends, who are from Europe and USA. I am more "western" guy, and always was. I respect Britain and respect european way to life. I respect Queen Elizabeth. And will do it. But i am not the enemy, really
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Jubal

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Re: Russia/Ukraine Crisis 2022
« Reply #68 on: July 11, 2022, 01:33:35 PM »
I'm sorry, that's tough. :/ I know quite a few Russian friends who are against the war (or who are somewhat justifiably too nervous to say either way). I do think people have to have some balance in how they see Russia: there is no plausible solution to current crises that doesn't involve a large Russian state still existing. Even if big chunks of non-ethnically-Russian areas split off, the core European state is far from tiny. So we have to nurture the idea that Russia can be better than it is right now, not just assume that everyone and everything about Russia is irredeemable, in my view.

I think the cautious side of my brain on this does say that Russia, like many countries in the slow process of losing their Empires, has a lot to unlearn about how most Russians (even more liberal/urban ones) tend to see the world and the countries around them. Even the Russian opposition are fairly chauvinist about the country's ethnic minority groups: there's a lot of change that's needed. But that change has to come from Russians who want a more outward-looking, freer country, and I know a good number of such people are out there.

Anyhow, sorry things have been rough for you around this: do know that you're always welcome here.
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BagaturKhan

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Re: Russia/Ukraine Crisis 2022
« Reply #69 on: July 11, 2022, 06:40:34 PM »
Quote
, sorry things have been rough for you around this: do know that you're always welcome here.
Yeah, thank you, Jubal. But the situation is really hard. I don`t know how to be now. I don`t want to be a pariah for other people, because i have russian blood (50%). I hope, people from Discord will understand the truth in future.
Fully finished stories about "World of Infinitas"
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- Tale about doge Bertolino
- What is space

dubsartur

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Re: Russia/Ukraine Crisis 2022
« Reply #70 on: July 12, 2022, 02:30:29 AM »
Hi Bagatur,

  I am not good at talking about these things.  One of the utterly predictable results of Putin's war has been a wave of nationalism and xenophobia and binary thinking.  There has not been a lot of help for the Russians who fled to Georgia or Turkey or Kazakhstan and found that their credit cards did not work any more.  Many of the Russians who are dying are just poor boys from rural districts whose parents did not have money or connections to keep them out of the army, and Russians in Russia have to make hard choices.  There are too many soft people making hard talk on social media who will never face any consequences for their talk.

  I am analyzing the war as a war because that is an area of my expertise.  I can't moralize any better than anyone else, and I can't comment on the background to the war any better than anyone who reads newspapers.
...
Aside from attacking Kherson, I think the Ukrainian army may well strike south between the Dniepr and the Don to try and liberate the areas which have very little Russian military presence and threaten or break the land route from the Don to Crimea.  I think there are rivers between Kharkiv and the first railroad in Russian-occupied territory, and crossing a river against someone with artillery, tanks, and aircraft is hard.