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Ukraine 14 - Back to the Mud


Maithanet
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The question is: would mobilisation really help them with their invasion? Can they equip those extra troops? Can their logistics supply them? Given the problems they have had so far, more troops is just more mouths to feed. Unless they really fear unrest at home and need the extra troops against that.

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Here's a thread about Russian mobilization.

The author is basically arguing that mobilization is risky for Putin because it is a clear escalation and would therefore make it harder to sell a modest victory as a "win" to the Russian public.  RIght now, with control of much of Luhansk/Donbas as well as a land corridor to Crimea, Putin could easily declare victory on May 9 (although the war would continue).  However if mobilization is declared, then such achievements would seem too meager for Russia, and they would probably need to capture Odessa/Kyiv in order to justify such a disruption.  And any troops Russia would bring to bear from mobilization are many months away and of questionable military value regardless. 

He makes a good argument, although who knows how much good information Putin is getting right now, he may have blundered into a trap where his bad information is getting worse and worse as the war turns against him. 

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Given how quickly Putin moved to silence Russian-Israeli tensions after a Syrian government jet was accidentally shot down by the Israelis, it's interesting that he's making no such move here.

Pissing off Israel (adding a fourth nuclear-armed power to the list of countries willing to support Ukraine) feels like a pointless move. Why not keep them on side and moving away (however slowly and slightly) from the US as he was achieving previously?

 

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Im from the US of A and I was for the Iraq war at first untill the "truth" came out. I remember a great deal of the world was completley against it from the jump. Just curious as to the feeling of the Ukraine invasion. Is it as condemmed as the USAs attack against Iraq or more? 

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8 minutes ago, Werthead said:

Given how quickly Putin moved to silence Russian-Israeli tensions after a Syrian government jet was accidentally shot down by the Israelis, it's interesting that he's making no such move here.

Pissing off Israel (adding a fourth nuclear-armed power to the list of countries willing to support Ukraine) feels like a pointless move. Why not keep them on side and moving away (however slowly and slightly) from the US as he was achieving previously

I have to assume that Russia sees the domestic benefit of whipping up antisemitism to foment the war as worth the cost in terms of whatever Israel will do in response.

Which is really very sad. 

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1 minute ago, Chad Vader said:

Im from the US of A and I was for the Iraq war at first untill the "truth" came out. I remember a great deal of the world was completley against it from the jump. Just curious as to the feeling of the Ukraine invasion. Is it as condemmed as the USAs attack against Iraq or more? 

I would say it depends on your audience.  Russia has been doing a strong PR campaign in much of Africa, South Asia and South America.  From what I've heard, the reaction there is mostly mixed, rather than pro or anti-Russia.  But if you're talking about within the global West (US/Europe/Australia/Japan) then opposition is definitely stronger than it was to Iraq 2003. 

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11 minutes ago, Chad Vader said:

Im from the US of A and I was for the Iraq war at first untill the "truth" came out. I remember a great deal of the world was completley against it from the jump. Just curious as to the feeling of the Ukraine invasion. Is it as condemmed as the USAs attack against Iraq or more? 

I'd say more. Saddam Hussein was seen as a dictator, he'd already been responsible for around a million deaths due to the Iran-Iraq War and the Gulf War, he'd used chemical weapons and he'd clamped down on internal rebellions against Kurds and the southern Arabs around Basra. Hussein was clearly not a nice person and there weren't too many people weeping at his regime being overthrown.

It's also true that he was not particularly threatening anyone in 2003 or being more dangerous than he had been before, and that the USA and UK dramatically exaggerated (if not falsified) evidence that Iraq was an imminent danger to other countries. That triggered massive protests against the war within those countries and criticism from other countries (particularly from France, and French-US relations were badly soured for quite a long time). However, other countries (even Russia, where they ironically thought the idea was insane, and China) did not impose sanctions on the USA or take economic action against them. The USA was simply too dominant and powerful in economic terms for that to be effective (it would be less so today, of course).

The Iraq War was moronically stupid, costly and self-defeating, but the Russian invasion of Ukraine is even more-so for Russia, and Russia's reasoning for the war is thinner than it was for Iraq and that was already very thin indeed. The international community has been much more willing to impose devastating sanctions on Russia and use the United Nations to punish them.

It is true that Russia has used its ties in other areas of the world to try to divide opinion, but it is only somewhat successful. India has moved from neutrality to a somewhat more pro-US position and did condemn the fighting in its strongest terms yesterday, and even China, which everyone expected to support Russia more enthusiastically, seems to have taken a more neutral viewpoint (its news channels have been reporting on Russian atrocities against civilians and also blaming the west for NATO enlargement inflaming the situation), including abstaining on multiple UN votes where it was expected to vote in favour of Russia. Israel, which was playing mediator and being surprisingly positive about Russia, now seems to have been driven into supporting Ukraine more by Russia's own actions.

Edited by Werthead
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The Russian rhetoric agianst Israel seems so illogical. Israel was pretty neutral and them and Russia have a long history of coopertation, and it seems crazy to blow all that up for rhetorical puffery. 

Edited by Darzin
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3 minutes ago, Darzin said:

The Russian rhetoric agianst Israek seems so illogical. Israel was pretty neutral and them and Russia have a long history of coopertation, and it seems crazy to blow all that up for rhetorical puffery. 

Putin was always eager to copy Stalin, an anti-semitic campaign is just another step.

 

3 hours ago, Maithanet said:

I would say it depends on your audience.  Russia has been doing a strong PR campaign in much of Africa, South Asia and South America.  From what I've heard, the reaction there is mostly mixed, rather than pro or anti-Russia.  But if you're talking about within the global West (US/Europe/Australia/Japan) then opposition is definitely stronger than it was to Iraq 2003. 

I can't speak for the other countries, but here in Brazil the support for Ukraine is overwhelmingly bigger. Unfortunately, the minority support for Putin includes the two leading candidates for the next election

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ok...

so... Russia goes the full mobilization route.

Problems abound.

1 - The 'good' military toys are fast becoming depleted. Sanctions will make replacing them extremely difficult.

2 - The mothballed military toys have almost certainly suffered major degradation just from sitting with lack of maintenance. They will be damn lucky to get even a quarter of them in semi-operable condition...plus they were not that great to start with.

3 - lack of trained people will make getting around points one and two even more difficult. talking mostly transport/tanks in points 1 & 2.

4 - Russia is a kleptocracy - literally a government of thieves, with massive top to bottom corruption. Which means that massive amounts of military toys will go missing - as in major portions of the overall inventory.

5 - Being a kleptocracy, the thieves in charge *CANNOT* tolerate competent military commanders, period. Competent military commanders are automatically a dire threat to the thieves in charge. This is going to severely affect the mobilization process. Anarchy.

6 - By now, folks in the 'outlying provinces' are probably getting...highly annoyed...at their people sent away to a distant war and coming back in body bags. The Russian response will almost certainly be recruit even more of these people, which will make them even unhappier - to the point where some sort of slow-motion rebellion or grass roots resistance becomes...more possible.  

Edited by ThinkerX
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4 minutes ago, ThinkerX said:

ok...

so... Russia goes the full mobilization route.

Problems abound.

Or to put it another way, there are many reasons why the Russians are underachieving in Ukraine.  Terrible logistics, poor air support, bad strategy, lack of effective NCOs, and outdated technology have all played a role.  Poor infantry performance is also on the list, with a combination of bad training, low morale and insufficient numbers all contributing to that performance. 

Mass mobilization will solve the numbers problem, but not the training and morale problems (it will probably make them worse).  And even if mobilization solved the problem of the poor infantry performance, it certainly won't solve the other shortcomings I listed.  Lots of minimally trained conscripts will only make the logistics and NCO problems worse, not better.

Not to mention that mass mobilization is a solution for 2023.  It wouldn't make any difference for fighting in the spring and summer, when the expected Ukrainian counterattacks will hit. 

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Another thread about Putin's limited options right now.  He's arguing that even if Putin wanted to just stop the war with the borders they control today, that Ukraine would certainly not accept that.  Russia is facing a situation where the end of this war is no longer in Putin's control. 

In his podcast a few days ago Michael Kofman said "wars end when the losing side agrees that it's over."  Russia was absolutely expecting to be dictating peace terms to Ukraine in the first month, but that is not what happened.  Instead we're looking at a situation where Russia holds a lot of territory, but its forces are increasingly spent.  Ukraine on the other hand has more fresh troops finishing training and new NATO equipment arriving every week. 

If the Ukrainians start retaking significant territory, what can the Russians do about it?  Ukraine still has air control over most of the middle of the country and interior lines.  It is realistic to think that once the Russian offensive is exhausted in the next week or two that Ukraine will have their choice of where to deploy their new troops and equipment.  They could mass everything in the South and attempt to cut off Kherson in just a few days.  Russia would struggle to get reinforcements into the area in that kind of timeframe.  Likewise they could attack east from Kharkiv (even more so than they are now).  There are many potential axes for counterattack, and Russia has a huge front to defend.  This war could start falling apart pretty fast for Russia once they start losing ground. 

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I don't get why people think Putin can declare a fake victory and have that facade not immediately crumble.  It's not like the Ukrainians will say "okay, if you say so", give up their territory and stop fighting. 

1.  If the Russians immediately evacuate, UKR moves into abandoned areas.

2. If the Russians stay, UKR keeps fighting until forcing the invaders out.

3. If the Ukrainians in Donbas are defeated, that's temporary until they can call in more units and restart the fight.

Russians can't just call dibs and say the fighting is over.

 

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2 hours ago, Darzin said:

The Russian rhetoric agianst Israek seems so illogical. 

 I imagine that belief in things one says triggers a temptation to say them no matter what. As if they believed in their own propaganda.

Russian state uses disinformation and prejudice since Tsarism, long enough for the people to absorb it all.

Edited by broken one
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42 minutes ago, SpaceChampion said:

I don't get why people think Putin can declare a fake victory and have that facade not immediately crumble.  It's not like the Ukrainians will say "okay, if you say so", give up their territory and stop fighting. 

I haven't been been following this thread that much lately so you may be referring to something else entirely, but generally the idea of Putin declaring a "fake victory" is it would be facilitated by Ukraine/the west giving him on off-ramp via empty and/or minimal concessions.

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3 minutes ago, DMC said:

I haven't been been following this thread that much lately so you may be referring to something else entirely, but generally the idea of Putin declaring a "fake victory" is it would be facilitated by Ukraine/the west giving him on off-ramp via empty and/or minimal concessions.

Or alternatively, he could just declare victory on May 9 and then keep fighting because nothing has changed.  Putin has declared victory in Syria several times, and they still have troops there. 

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Incredible stuff. Oleksandr Halunenko helped design the world's largest plane, he flew it with the Russian space shuttle on its back, survived the occupation of Bucha and went back to Hostomel afterwards to inspect the plane's wreckage. He set 110 world records in the plane.

ETA: Sorry, 110 records on one flight. Later on he did another flight, carrying five tanks, setting another 124 record in one day.

Another account from a South Ossetian unit that fought in Ukraine and basically fled as soon as they realised their equipment wasn't working properly and their officer was too scared to actually give them orders under fire. They went back to South Ossetia (a breakaway Georgian statelet, basically Georgia's Luhansk) and told nobody else to go.

Edited by Werthead
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2 hours ago, SpaceChampion said:

I don't get why people think Putin can declare a fake victory and have that facade not immediately crumble.  It's not like the Ukrainians will say "okay, if you say so", give up their territory and stop fighting. 

1.  If the Russians immediately evacuate, UKR moves into abandoned areas.

2. If the Russians stay, UKR keeps fighting until forcing the invaders out.

3. If the Ukrainians in Donbas are defeated, that's temporary until they can call in more units and restart the fight.

Russians can't just call dibs and say the fighting is over.

 

 

1 hour ago, DMC said:

I haven't been been following this thread that much lately so you may be referring to something else entirely, but generally the idea of Putin declaring a "fake victory" is it would be facilitated by Ukraine/the west giving him on off-ramp via empty and/or minimal concessions.

Personally I'm not sure why Russia should get an off-ramp. Especially one that allows them to diminish the victim of their attacks. I think that sets a horrific precedent wherein a nuclear armed state can be essentially defeated in the field and yet still carve off chunks of their victim while ALSO getting appeased by the international community in the form of eliminated sanctions and strategic concessions regarding alliances and defense agreements.

If the Ukrainians want to surrender -and that's what this 'off-ramp' talk is, surrender with a pretty face - that's their business. Ain't nobody nowhere with a decent reason to say otherwise. But I think it worth bringing up for all of my nervous friends that when faced with leaving your own people in the hands of a tyrant (not some nebulous others you've never encountered), announcing defeat despite the deaths and valor of your own defending troops, and then diminishing your own geopolitical freedoms (you CAN join this alliance you CAN'T join this one, all at Russia's discretion of course)... Vague fears of escalation are not going to seem so scary when your own people are already dying and actually defeating the invader. 

The greater fear of those who decry Ukrainian efforts at self determination appears to be that the Russians will use, in response to their continuing non-victories, nuclear weapons against Ukrainian cities or positions in the field. This completely hypothetical and absolutely unprecedented possibility is so terrifying to many, it seems, that the disincorporation of vast swathes of someone else's homeland is taken completely for granted when discussing 'off-ramps' and other capitulatory efforts to appease the murderous tyrant.

I fear that so much discussion of exit ramps and face saving for the invader sets the stage for people to feel that Ukraine is in the wrong if they don't want to give him that in return for their blood that has been spilt. In return for their cities that have been reduced to nothingness. And in return for their territory and national sovereignty that gets stripped away. It's easy to write off costs for peace when you aren't the one paying the bill.

Furthermore the absolute inundation of these predetermined giveaways makes me suspicious of Russian bots and web agents (since even before the invasion) priming the most gullible parts of the Twitterverse with Russian-centric conditions for peace, again, to sap international support for Ukraine if they should refuse hard terms from the side that is basically losing.  It's the kind of long term planning that the late period Romans would have used, if they'd had the internet in the 10th century, and something I seriously hope the U.S. would consider when it's done transforming into a fascistic hellscape. "I only want a little this, a little that... Is it really worth all this badness?" Is a pretty good abusive technique in relationships, and I contend we've already seen that such an arrogant and lazy declaration from population stealing, hospital bombing, conscript using treachers is like honey in the ears of some folks. Anything to get the terrible realities of violent and aggressive polities far far away where it belongs. 

Pay attention; American fascists of the future. If Russia isn't using the technique I've hypothesized above, you should. Could probably peel off entire states at a time from Mexico while your Twitter agents complain that Russia made you do it by killing Trotsky.

Edited by Babblebauble
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8 minutes ago, Babblebauble said:

I fear that so much discussion of exit ramps and face saving for the invader sets the stage for people to feel that Ukraine is in the wrong if they don't want to give him that in return for their blood that has been spilt.

That's not remotely what I was talking about and it's absurd to suggest I was.

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