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Ukraine 14 - Back to the Mud


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36 minutes ago, Werthead said:

Particularly interesting, and in accordance with the FSB insider leaks, is that only 3 casualties are from Chechnya, the same as Moscow. It looks like Kadyrov has deployed his troops mainly in rear echelons, only going to the battlefield when it is secured to take anything that isn't nailed down (and many things that are), and staying out of the heavy fighting. This is allowing Kadyrov to maintain his military power base whilst other Russian regions expend theirs. That puts Kadyrov in a good position with a mostly-intact military should the situation continue to degenerate.

 

FTFY

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20 minutes ago, Winterfell is Burning said:

The insults to Israel are just so Russia can add antisemitism to their propaganda arsenal to motivate their citizens...to fight Nazis. Before Hitler appeared, you could argue there was no nation in the world with a bigger antisemitic history as Russia, and even after Hitler, Stalin continued with persecutions. 

To be fair, France had the Dreyfus Affair. I've heard some historians say that if someone were to go back in time and tell someone in the early 1900s Europe about the Holocaust without naming the country, many people likely would have guessed France as the country where it would have been perpetrated. That Russia is also a "competitor" in such a race is a pretty damning indictment of major European powers at the time. 

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Ukraine has sealed some of its border crossings with Transnistria with roadblocks. Some reports of a buildup of Russian forces near Kherson. I wonder if they're going to try another do-or-die push on Odesa, possibly trying to use the Transnistrian troops at the same time.

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Not sure if that one belongs here or rather in the international news thread, but it's somewhat war related.

Orban has (hopefully) managed to alienate Poland enough with his pro Putin stance, that they won't block any EU internal sanctions (cutting him off from quite a bit off those sweet EU billions). Hungary being the one that is effectively blocking an EU ban on Russian oil. Now the question is, how will that Budapest Despot react. There's some concern that he might want use Hungary's veto power to effectively render the EU's Ukraine summit useless. 

So that's gonna be interesting. 

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5 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

This is a tad “black helicoptery” but interesting.  Could the Russian military use the May 9th parade and concentrate of military power in Moscow to take out the Russian dictator?

Could they?  Sure, anything is possible.  Is it likely?  I would not think so.  I would need a lot more than some vague connecting of the dots. 

1 hour ago, Werthead said:

Ukraine has sealed some of its border crossings with Transnistria with roadblocks. Some reports of a buildup of Russian forces near Kherson. I wonder if they're going to try another do-or-die push on Odesa, possibly trying to use the Transnistrian troops at the same time.

Everything I've read indicates that the Transistria troops (even the ones with Russian passports) are poorly trained, poorly equipped, and want no part of a war with Ukraine.  If Russia orders those troops into Ukraine, those orders might get ignored or met with excuses rather than action.  Until demonstrated otherwise, I'm going to assume that any military action from Transnistria is a bluff. 

Ss for Kherson, the Russians would need to capture and hold Mykolyiv if they are going to push into Odessa.  That is not something they can do in just a couple days.  They probably can't do it at all, but definitely not in just a couple days.  So really any talk about "will the Russians try to take Odessa" is really a question of whether they will make a dedicated push into Mykolyiv.  They made several unsuccessful attempts in early March, but haven't gotten close since then. 

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Posted (edited)

Macron and Putin have spoken by telephone, their first contact since 29 March. It sounds like Putin's lines were the same as in previous statements: Kyiv is not taking peace talks seriously, the supply of arms to Ukraine is not helping to end the war and Ukrainian war crimes are not being reported in the same way that Russian ones are (ignoring the fact that the apparent filmed execution of a Russian prisoner by Ukrainian soldiers was widely condemned a few weeks ago). Macron for his part said that Russia should halt its "devastating aggression" and live up to its status as a permanent UN Security Council member.

Meanwhile, India has issued its strongest condemnation of the war so far and called on Russia to find a peaceful, negotiated settlement to the conflict.

The  Ukrainian push east of Kharkiv has reached the Donets, with Staryi Saltiv retaken. If they can threaten Kupiansk to the south-east, that will cut the main supply line to Izium and the Donbas offensive.

ETA: Molodova south of Staryi Saltiv, also on the Donets, has been retaken.

Edited by Werthead
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Posted (edited)

ok...

So...

1 - Russia has more dissent in the 'outlying provinces' for want of a better term.

2 - A majority of the 'Russian' troops fighting in Ukraine come from these outlying provinces.

3 - As a direct result of military/internal security incompetence, the troops from the outlying provinces are taking extremely heavy casualties. This cannot be playing well with the folks back home in the outlying provinces.

4 - At the same time, Russian internal security is stretched thin - and taking severe losses of their own in Ukraine.

5 - So...at what point does Russian Internal Security in the outlying provinces find themselves in seriously deep shit? As in slow motion/half assed rebellion shit without the manpower to suppress it?

 

Edited by ThinkerX
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3 minutes ago, ThinkerX said:

ok...

So...

1 - Russia has more dissent in the 'outlying provinces' for want of a better term.

2 - A majority of the 'Russian' troops fighting in Ukraine come from these outlying provinces.

3 - As a direct result of military/internal security incompetence, the troops from the outlying provinces are taking extremely heavy casualties. This cannot be playing well with the folks back home in the outlying provinces.

4 - At the same time, Russian internal security is stretched thin - and taking severe losses of their own in Ukraine.

5 - So...at what point does Russian Internal Security in the outlying provinces find themselves in seriously deep shit? As in slow motion/half assed rebellion shit without the manpower to suppress it?

 

As to 5. The sooner the better.  :)

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28 minutes ago, ThinkerX said:

ok...

So...

1 - Russia has more dissent in the 'outlying provinces' for want of a better term.

2 - A majority of the 'Russian' troops fighting in Ukraine come from these outlying provinces.

3 - As a direct result of military/internal security incompetence, the troops from the outlying provinces are taking extremely heavy casualties. This cannot be playing well with the folks back home in the outlying provinces.

4 - At the same time, Russian internal security is stretched thin - and taking severe losses of their own in Ukraine.

5 - So...at what point does Russian Internal Security in the outlying provinces find themselves in seriously deep shit? As in slow motion/half assed rebellion shit without the manpower to suppress it?

 

The answer to 5 is that nobody knows, the Russians themselves included, and might not even happen, but once it starts, there's no putting the genie back in the bottle.

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If these outlying provinces are taking massive casualties, this seriously reduces their potential manpower for possible revolt as well. Locals will be massively angry but that's not increasing the odds of secession. Besides I also had another serious look at the situation, and North Caucasus and Tatars look to be the ones who can truly cause troubles for Russia. Others aren't numerous enough and often are landlocked inside Russia and inside Russian-populated territories; Tuvans or Chukchi aren't going to agitate for independence.

As for Transistria, if Russia has 25K troops stationed there, then indeed they can take over Moldova or try to push inside Ukraine. But as far as I know, it's more in the 5.000 range. Considering Ukraine is sending troops at the border, I wouldn't even try a move against Moldova and would just focus on defense.

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10 hours ago, Werthead said:

Macron and Putin have spoken by telephone, their first contact since 29 March. It sounds like Putin's lines were the same as in previous statements: Kyiv is not taking peace talks seriously, the supply of arms to Ukraine is not helping to end the war and Ukrainian war crimes are not being reported in the same way that Russian ones are (ignoring the fact that the apparent filmed execution of a Russian prisoner by Ukrainian soldiers was widely condemned a few weeks ago). Macron for his part said that Russia should halt its "devastating aggression" and live up to its status as a permanent UN Security Council member.

Meanwhile, India has issued its strongest condemnation of the war so far and called on Russia to find a peaceful, negotiated settlement to the conflict.

The  Ukrainian push east of Kharkiv has reached the Donets, with Staryi Saltiv retaken. If they can threaten Kupiansk to the south-east, that will cut the main supply line to Izium and the Donbas offensive.

ETA: Molodova south of Staryi Saltiv, also on the Donets, has been retaken.

One kind of wonders what could be expected of the Kyiv peace talk position other than GTFO of our country Russian MFers. I suppose Russia wants a guarantee that Ukraine won't join NATO or become a member of the EU, but I am guessing Russia does not want to come out of this with only a bit of paper with some promises written on it, they also want some land, right?

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10 hours ago, ThinkerX said:

- So...at what point does Russian Internal Security in the outlying provinces find themselves in seriously deep shit? As in slow motion/half assed rebellion shit without the manpower to suppress it?

Never, it is wishful thinking. Russia as a nation might just be at the point there they still have some strenght to bear bad things, but not much strenght to fight against them, even if the wanted to. And they do not even seem to want to, not that much.

Whatever change there can be, it should come from somewhere near the top, too, or it will have a hard time unifying the effort. Not from the very top, as it is unrealistic, but whereabouts.

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Posted (edited)

Shoigu has just said that any NATO convoy or transport on Ukrainian territory will be considered a legitimate military target.

There was some confusion and it was thought he was referring to any NATO transports bound for Ukraine (i.e. still in NATO territory) but it appears he means once they are on Ukrainian soil they will be considered fair game.

I don't believe that's actually a change in the Russian position at all. AFAIK, there are no NATO transports on Ukrainian territory, it's transferred to Ukrainian transports in NATO territory and then carried over. Once the material is in Ukraine, it's a legitimate military target as even the British have acknowledged.

So this sounds like a bigger deal than it really is: it's just Russia restating its preexisting position in a way to sound tough or threatening, as they've actually done several times through the conflict.

Meanwhile, the EU is close to an agreement on a ban on Russian oil, with a special exception for Hungary and Slovakia which will only be required to comply by the end of 2023.

Russia's Chief Rabbi has also criticised Lavrov's comments and asked for an apology. The Russian religious community usually presents itself fairly harmoniously (despite reported  religious friction in the country, with not uncommon reports of antisemitism), so it's unusual for that kind of criticism to be made. There about a quarter of a million Jews in Russian.

Russian landing ships previously in the Black Sea apparently pulled back to Novorossiysk on the Russian Black Sea coast last week. Speculation that they've just been pulled back out of drone range after the two patrol boats were sunk earlier in the week, or that the Russians fear Sevastopol might be in range, so if they're going to do a naval assault they might set out from Novorossiysk instead, despite it being 400 miles away (meaning the troops will be cramped and uncomfortable for a lot longer before disembarking). However, they've been there for nine days now.

10 hours ago, Clueless Northman said:

If these outlying provinces are taking massive casualties, this seriously reduces their potential manpower for possible revolt as well. Locals will be massively angry but that's not increasing the odds of secession. Besides I also had another serious look at the situation, and North Caucasus and Tatars look to be the ones who can truly cause troubles for Russia. Others aren't numerous enough and often are landlocked inside Russia and inside Russian-populated territories; Tuvans or Chukchi aren't going to agitate for independence.

As for Transistria, if Russia has 25K troops stationed there, then indeed they can take over Moldova or try to push inside Ukraine. But as far as I know, it's more in the 5.000 range. Considering Ukraine is sending troops at the border, I wouldn't even try a move against Moldova and would just focus on defense.

Tatarstan has a long-standing grievance with Russia going back to their language teaching being suppressed a few years ago and, before that, Tatarstan's special treaty relationship with Moscow being rescinded. There's a lot of dislike for Moscow there, fuelled by religious backing. They wouldn't rebel against Moscow by themselves, but they could go for independence at the same time as general troubles elsewhere. The North Caucasus is probably key, especially Dagestan (which has taken a lot of casualties as well) and Chechnya, where Kadyrov is playing his own game.

Edited by Werthead
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Posted (edited)

Hmm.

Quote

Ukrainian officials reported with increasing confidence that the Kremlin will announce mobilization on May 9. Ukraine’s Main Military Intelligence Directorate Chief Kyrylo Budanov said on May 2 that the Kremlin has begun to prepare mobilization processes and personnel ahead of the expected May 9 announcement and has already carried out covert mobilization.[1] Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council said that high-ranking Russian officials are trying to legitimize a prolonged war effort as the Third World War against the West, rather than the "special military operation” against Ukraine, as Russian President Vladimir Putin has hitherto framed Russia’s invasion.[2] ISW has no independent confirmation of Russian preparations for mobilization.

I'm assuming that this will be phrased as an "existential struggle against western influence." Russia actually declaring war on NATO would be insane.

That said:

 

Quote

 

The Kremlin has dismissed speculation that President Vladimir Putin plans to declare war against Ukraine and mobilise nationally when Russia commemorates the Soviet Union's victory in World War Two.

Russia's biggest public holiday, Victory Day, is held annually on 9 May. World War Two cost more than 20 million Soviet lives.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has called the speculation "nonsense" and says "there is no chance of that".

 

 

 

Edited by Werthead
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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

Hmm.

I'm assuming that this will be phrased as an "existential struggle against western influence." Russia actually declaring war on NATO would be insane.

That said:

 

 

 

They said that invasions rarely start on Wednesdays, so they started this one on a Thursday. Therefore, I assume they will declare war/mobilization on May 10.

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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has called the speculation "nonsense" and says "there is no chance of that".

Yup. That's settled then.

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14 minutes ago, 3CityApache said:

Yup. That's settled then.

You might hope it's a message to ordinary Russians fretting about being drafted, or having family members drafted. Saying it won't happen and then doing it five days later would not be a great move for engendering domestic trust in the government.

Of course, they might also not declare war on Ukraine but might still call up a more modest mobilisation (say another 100,000-200,000 troops) so it's technically correct but also not really.

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