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Ukraine War Part 7: Delete your army


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Aren't naval mines a thing?  Googling says they're relatively low cost and effective.  Wouldn't NATO give Ukraine 10,000 of them and just mine the fuck out of the Black Sea coast?

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1 minute ago, Maithanet said:

Maybe I'm just succumbing to wide eyed optimism, but I'm moving more and more towards the opinion that Russia cannot take Kyiv without using WMDs.  I mean, I guess if this thing grinds on for many more months it would be possible, but there's little chance of it falling in the next month.  So if Russia is going to pin thier strategy on taking Kyiv to improve thier bargaining position, that sounds pretty dubious to me. 

I would think that a renewed focus on taking Mariupol and then isolating and taking Odessa feels more viable, as then the Russian Navy would be involved, which Ukraine had little answer for.  Alternatively Mariupol + Kharkiv would also be a strong negotiating position, if the intention is to give Kharkiv back and make Ukraine shoulder the huge burden of rebuilding the city.

I'm not sure they can take Kyiv with WMDs. Chemical weapons are tricky to use if you want to move troops in afterwards: you have to wait for the chemicals to disperse. One wrong timing and half your advance force is suddenly keeling over as it advances. Kyiv is also too massive. Unless they unload vast quantities over the city, they can't guarantee securing. Uncontaminated pockets will be able to ambush Russian troops, limited to very narrow axes of advance, as they pass.

We also have to assume that, unless they totally fucking stupid, the Ukrainian military will have at least some stockpiles of gas masks and breathing gear, though probably not enough for the soldiers and the ~2 million civilians still in the city.

It might make more sense - in its horrific way - to deploy or threaten deployment in Mariupol as an example and a demand for Kyiv to surrender. The city is much smaller, it's surrounded and pressed hard against the sea, and neutralising it is not as time-sensitive.

Against that, Poland and the USA have both said that chemical weapons use may be a gamechanger in the rule of the war. I suspect that means those Polish jets will immediately fly straight to Ukraine, and maybe NATO openly starts talking about a no-fly zone.

Interesting article here that NATO has too well-defined its red lines and this allows Putin extreme freedom of movement, and NATO should consider re-defining its strategic involvement to put Russia on the back foot, despite the risk of Russian retaliation.

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On 3/12/2022 at 4:28 PM, Werthead said:

The Russians have said that Western aid and arms convoys in Ukraine will be considered "legitimate military targets."

Not sure what that means in fullness.

58 minutes ago, Werthead said:

Depending on what way you look at it, Russia got lucky or had great intelligence to know there were no NATO or US personnel at the base they hit this morning. I believe NATO announced that all personnel had been withdrawn from Ukraine before the conflict began, but still, a higher risk to take. One missile overflying the target by five miles and landing on Polish territory could have made this a lot more fraught.

At the moment, Russia, for all its brutality, is seemingly acting within something approaching the rules of engagement that were understood during the Cold War: anyone on contested territory is fair game if they have no real good reason to be there and if the country they are from is not a belligerent. And after their warning to target weapons supplies, this seems to be a clear sign that they mean that to be on Ukrainian soil.

It is an escalation but a very carefully calculated one. I think it is also a sign perhaps of a lack of Russian confidence: in other conflict zones the US and Russia have supplied opposite sides and it's turned into a proxy war of who can get the most supplies in. The very rich and capable USSR could match the US and its allies, but clearly Russia cannot, to the point where Russia fears that the amount of weapons pouring in could turn the tide of the conflict or occupation.

NATO must also be broadly comparing the risks involved of continuing to supply Ukraine versus the staggering amount of firepower that are already in the country and not yet engaged, versus Russia's dwindling resources in the theatre.

 

Some Dutch volunteers are said to be injuried in the attack. I wonder if the numbers of killed and wounded are not understated.

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2 minutes ago, broken one said:

Some Dutch volunteers are said to be injuried in the attack. I wonder if the numbers of killed and wounded are not understated.

I think Russia went all-in on this one. 35 Kalibrs - assuming they were all Kalibrs - is a pretty hefty investment in one attack (bearing in mind the Russian factories can currently churn out ~180 a year, and can't at the moment because they use French electronics). I wonder if they wanted this to be a one-time attack to lay waste to the entire facility and prevent its continued use, but too many of the missiles were intercepted to make that viable. The number still overwhelmed the defences, though (the previous highest number of Kalibrs used on one target in one hit in the war I believe was 8).

I am seeing repeated information about Kalibrs being intercepted and shot down, which the Russians are probably very angry about, as that's not supposed to be remotely possible.

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39 minutes ago, Maithanet said:

I would think that a renewed focus on taking Mariupol and then isolating and taking Odessa feels more viable, as then the Russian Navy would be involved, which Ukraine had little answer for.  Alternatively Mariupol + Kharkiv would also be a strong negotiating position, if the intention is to give Kharkiv back and make Ukraine shoulder the huge burden of rebuilding the city.

I think this would be ideal (from the Russian POV), but after 600 marines revolted rather than disembark last time, the Russian Navy is wary of trying again. That's why they're trying to bring up ground forces via Kherson and Mykolaiv, but Mykolaiv is not only holding out, but its defensive perimeter seems to have expanded (perhaps linking up with the airfield) and is risking cutting off Russian forces to the NW. Those forces are currently stymied by a Ukrainian counter-attack at Voznensensk.

I've seen a suggestion that Russia could use the military forces in Transnistria, not far to the NW of Odesa, but there's only ~1,500 Russian troops there, unless the actual Transnistrian military could get involved. But that's 7,000 max, and they wouldn't march all of them out of Transnistria, so again not enough.

Also, Ukraine operates the home-built Neptune antiship cruise missile, a massively upgraded version of the Kh-35, and Odesa is fortified with them. Ukraine also operates GRAD missile artillery which has been ranged onto the sea approaches to Odesa. They drove one Russian warship a week or so back already.

Edited by Werthead
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5 minutes ago, Tears of Lys said:

From the BBC.  Anyone else know more about this?  Ukraine: Spam website set up to reach millions of Russians - BBC News 

I'm somewhat hindered by my broken right arm/hand.

Yup, sounds like they are having some success, if limited.

800 Russians arrested at protests in 37 cities, 300 in Moscow alone today. Apparently in some cities there were no arrests at all, and in some areas people have been vandalising vehicles displaying the Z-symbol, or even tearing off the insignia from people wearing it. Some signs people are associating the symbol with Russia's current economic crash dive more than supporting the war.

The number of arrests seems quite low compared to previous days (apparently 1500 were arrested on one day at the start of the conflict), I wonder if they're running out of cells or something.

Edited by Werthead
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4 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

@Werthead

Do we have any idea… why… the Russian Marines refused their attack orders?

The version of events coming out of Ukraine is that the marines of the 810th Brigade were largely conscripts, who were never supposed to have been there to begin with, and they were (rightfully, I suspect) terrified of spearheading a landing. Whether it's true or not, we don't really know.

 

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8 minutes ago, Ran said:

The version of events coming out of Ukraine is that the marines of the 810th Brigade were largely conscripts, who were never supposed to have been there to begin with, and they were (rightfully, I suspect) terrified of spearheading a landing. Whether it's true or not, we don't really know.

 

Russia has a draft for its Navy and Marine Corp?

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2 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Russia has a draft for its Navy and Marine Corp?

Yes. Although Russian marines - Naval Infantry - are part of the Navy and are not a discrete service.

I'm just thinking of what Stego would say at the idea of drafting marines, giving them under 12 months of training and their first combat action is literally storming the most heavily-defended beachhead this side of Normandy. Jesus.

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7 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Russia has a draft for its Navy and Marine Corp?

To add to what Wert said, this article (which, per the Internet Archive, dates from 2017) said that they were working to phase out conscripts.

They obviously have not succeeded in doing that, five years later.

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30 minutes ago, Tears of Lys said:

From the BBC.  Anyone else know more about this?  Ukraine: Spam website set up to reach millions of Russians - BBC News 

I'm somewhat hindered by my broken right arm/hand.j

 

Sometimes i am tempted to open spam email, especially when title suggests i have won lots of money but then i recall i have not gambled. If the title suggested i am co-responsible for mass murder... somehow i doubt in effectiveness of this kind of communication.

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Zelensky has given positive notes about the negotiations, saying the two sides are now talking turkey rather than exchanging utterly unrealistic positions.

The French are being much more pessimistic, but I'm pretty certain that, no matter how good the French and German arguments are and Putin might even agree with them, he'd still they are bullshit because it's coming from NATO. He'd praise the exact same proposals coming from a more friendly source or if he came up with them.

If there is a negotiated settlement, he will 100% take credit for it, or use it to emphasis Russia's bilateral relations with another power like Israel or China.

Apparently even the US believe that Russia is now engaging in "substantive" negotiations.

Whether these are substantive enough to halt the violence in the near future is more doubtful. But I very much doubt that Russia is unaware of the rate they're churning through troops and combat provisions and that this may not be sustainable in another few weeks.

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Just now my daughter told us at the evening meal of her friend from class whose family has taken in a Ukranian refugee. A woman, highly pregnant, with her 7 year old son, no relatives , no connections, just a backpack, no other belongings in a foreign country where she doesnt speak the language.

F*** Putin

This family are good people with a large old country house, but when they told her (with gestures and  some broken  russian ) that she can stay as long as she wants, she just broke down.

F*** Putin

My husband has a russian PhD student with relatives in Mariupol. Two week ago she had a mental breakdown in his office. Since then she is highly depressive and he fears for her.

F*** Putin

An Ukranian PhD student also in this group has a one bedroom apartment. Since Monday his grandmother and two of his aunts are staying with him.

F*** Putin

 

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3 minutes ago, Kalibuster said:

So this is interesting and concerning. I don't know what China is going to do here.

China refused to give them spare parts for their civilian aircraft, I highly doubt they'll give them military equipment, or Russia can really afford to pay for a lot of it.

I think China will decline, but they might make the West sweat a bit first by making positive noises. We have that US-Chinese meeting in Italy tomorrow.

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Syrian and Belarussian troops, Chinese gear… so basically a concession that the Russian army is shit

Given the ruble’s tumble, a small company of mercs and some Chinese weapons will probably cost Russia the same as an Iron Man suit

Edited by Derfel Cadarn
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