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Ukraine 15 - Si vis pacem, para bellum


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2 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Are all Russian speaking Ukrainians supporting the Russian invasion of Ukraine?

I personally wouldn't know for certain, but I did see several commentators say or write that the war had achieved the same level of unity in the Eastern regions of Ukraine as it has in its West. So... as far as I know, close enough.

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27 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

Look at this map. Or this one.
These maps were everywhere in the media from the start here.
 

This is why I barely come here anymore.

*I* do not give Putin anything. If we're talking Russia being 3 times more populated than Ukraine (possibly 4 or 5 times more if we don't count Ukrainian Russian-speakers :rolleyes:), I'm not the one who made it so. If we're talking Russia having thousands of nukes, I'm not the one who gave it to them. And if we're talking about Ukraine being a divided nation, I'm not the one who wrote the history and geography.

It is infuriating and depressing to see any argument in favor of de-escalation turned into an apology of Putin, and it has become impossible for me to respect anyone who uses this kind of insulting, underhanded rhetorical tactic.
 

I totally dispute it. Ukraine is now an actual threat to Russia: there is absolutely no way to be certain that the Ukrainians will not, now or at a later date, seek revenge against the Russian people. Unless Ukraine is crushed right now.
See? The same logic that y'all use to support your proxy war against Russia can be used against Ukraine.
It would be funny if it wasn't so tragic.
That's how war propaganda works. As long as you don't recognize that the other side can use the exact same reasoning as you do (i.e. that they are actually human), you will remain locked in conflict.

In neurological terms, I believe recent research tells us that you're using your dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, or DLPFC, in order to refuse what you perceive as injustice. The problem being that refusing injustice may also lead you to refuse reality.
The reality is that if Ukraine becomes big enough, militarily speaking, to fight with Russia on equal terms (and we're getting there fast), then Russia will nuke it. Well, unless Putin is actually wise and meek :rolleyes:.
Just because a course of action is morally right does not mean it is the best. Sometimes it is better to compromise with morality in order to guarantee a satisfying outcome. Conversely, it is not rational to take great risks in the name of morality alone.

Of course it does. :rolleyes:

I'm afraid, if the cap fits, wear it.

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

I personally wouldn't know for certain, but I did see several commentators say or write that the war had achieved the same level of unity in the Eastern regions of Ukraine as it has in its West. So... as far as I know, close enough.

Are they saying Russian speaking Ukrainians are supporting the Russians or that most Russian speaking Ukrainians are supporting Kyiv? I believe it is the latter.  Zelenskyy is a native Russian speaking Ukrainian.

I do see your point about worrying that Ukraine, when it sees its power may not stop.  That said.  It seems to me that the only alternative is to stop supporting Ukraine and let the Russians steamroll and annex them… again.  Which, as @Zorral points out simply emboldens the Russians to push for control of other former imperial territories.

How would you prevent that potential problem?

Edited by Ser Scot A Ellison
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18 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

Look at this map. Or this one.
These maps were everywhere in the media from the start here.

I'm not sure this really means very much. It's easy to interpret this as 'these people want to join Russia', but do they? Even if they did, the most important thing to not forget is, it's not up to foreign countries to decide whether people in neighbouring countries should come join them. Even under the laughable pretence of 'special operations' and liberation. I'd guess that Russian support in the east of the country has fallen dramatically since the invasion, and their willingness to join a country led by a crazed dictator would be quite low. There is also the fiction that ethnic Russians are being persecuted that was being widely spread by Russia, but again, it's fiction.

21 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

It is infuriating and depressing to see any argument in favor of de-escalation turned into an apology of Putin, and it has become impossible for me to respect anyone who uses this kind of insulting, underhanded rhetorical tactic.

At what point does de-escalation simply become surrender? That is the difficulty a lot of people have with the position you are pushing, along with the Chomskys of this world. For there to be a de-escalation there has to be a point where Russia realises it cannot win, and no I don't think we are there yet. Ukraine does need to be supplied with weapons to get to a point where Russia will negotiate on even terms, before that point, it is simply going to bully Ukraine to get what it wants. The rest of the world cannot sit back and allow that to happen. 
 

24 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

The reality is that if Ukraine becomes big enough, militarily speaking, to fight with Russia on equal terms (and we're getting there fast), then Russia will nuke it. Well, unless Putin is actually wise and meek :rolleyes:.
Just because a course of action is morally right does not mean it is the best. Sometimes it is better to compromise with morality in order to guarantee a satisfying outcome. Conversely, it is not rational to take great risks in the name of morality alone.

I don't know how true that is, but I suspect that Ukraine is not even close to be able to compete with Russia in terms of being able to pose any kind of threat to its sovereignty. From what I've seen Ukraine has been supplied a lot of equipment to counter Russias invasion, but it's a very different story if the expectation is to actually take the fight to Russia. Russia would destroy Ukraine in that scenario, even with all the difficulties its been facing. I'm sure Ukraine knows this.

Above everything, the West could cut Ukraine off from everything if it ever turned its objectives further than taking back the bits of Ukraine that Russia stole. If the advantage for Ukraine is that its being supplied with weapons, it's other problem is that the supply can be switched off very easily and it's heavily dependent on world opinion. 

I just don't see a scenario where Ukraine moves to invade Russia, there are far too many reasons for it to not happen. Using that as a reason for cutting them off now, and letting Russia take bits of their nation doesnt really add up. 

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25 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

Look at this map. Or this one.
These maps were everywhere in the media from the start here.

What do these maps prove?

Being a Ukrainian citizen with Russian as your primary language doesn't really mean much if you still choose to live in Ukraine and support the government. Some of the most ferocious resistance to the Russian invasion has come from Russian-speaking Ukrainians. Zelensky speaks Russian.

Speaking Russian does not make you Russian, nor does it mean you want to be ruled by Russia, nor does it mean that Russia has any kind of claim on your land. That's Putin's logic, not actual logic. By that measure, Mexico (or Spain!) would be justified in annexing most of southern California, Arizona, New Mexico and vast chunks of Texas tomorrow.

Most of the actual Russian-speaking Ukrainians who support Russia were carved off in 2014, which was the whole (massively self-defeating) point of the exercise. Those who were left behind swung to supporting the government.

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*I* do not give Putin anything. If we're talking Russia being 3 times more populated than Ukraine (possibly 4 or 5 times more if we don't count Ukrainian Russian-speakers :rolleyes:), I'm not the one who made it so. If we're talking Russia having thousands of nukes, I'm not the one who gave it to them. And if we're talking about Ukraine being a divided nation, I'm not the one who wrote the history and geography.

Ukraine was much more a divided nation before Russia broke away the most contentious regions, leaving the rest to unify strongly behind the government in Kyiv. That mistake was on Russia.

Your other points are just saying, "Russia is bigger than Ukraine and can order it around and do what the fuck they want to it and nobody should do anything about it." Don't be surprised if that point is rejected wholesale.

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It is infuriating and depressing to see any argument in favor of de-escalation turned into an apology of Putin, and it has become impossible for me to respect anyone who uses this kind of insulting, underhanded rhetorical tactic.

That's because any reasonable argument for de-escalation at the moment relies entirely on Russia. Russia is the aggressor, it has attacked a nation that was no threat to them and it has made a series of demands to end the war which have almost all been met already or were put on the table by Ukraine for negotiations, so its own casus belli for the war no longer exists (even if it ever did).

It is wholly on Russia to end the war and de-escalate because it started this mess. Ukraine doing the same thing means Ukraine surrendering.

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I totally dispute it. Ukraine is now an actual threat to Russia: there is absolutely no way to be certain that the Ukrainians will not, now or at a later date, seek revenge against the Russian people. Unless Ukraine is crushed right now.

Does Ukraine have nuclear weapons? Has Ukraine made claims on the territory of the Russian Federation? Does Ukraine have the ability to put thousands of jets and tens of thousands of missiles in the sky and hundreds of warships to sea? Does Ukraine have the political capability or international backing to launch an invasion of Russia?

The answer to all these questions is a resounding no. Ukraine is not an existential threat to Russia and barely a threat to it at all outside of its own self-defence. The only reason Russians are dying is because they are on Ukrainian soil. If Ukraine turns around and launches an invasion of Russian territory that sees Russian civilians killed and Russian cities bombarded, its support and supplies will dry up very quickly, and Ukraine is aware of that.

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See? The same logic that y'all use to support your proxy war against Russia can be used against Ukraine.
It would be funny if it wasn't so tragic.
That's how war propaganda works. As long as you don't recognize that the other side can use the exact same reasoning as you do (i.e. that they are actually human), you will remain locked in conflict.

But but but both sides!

That might work in certain circumstances, but it does not work when one country has invaded another for imperialist reasons, and certainly not when it is the Russian side that does not recognise the sovereignty, self-determination and, indeed, humanity of the Ukrainians.

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In neurological terms, I believe recent research tells us that you're using your dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, or DLPFC, in order to refuse what you perceive as injustice. The problem being that refusing injustice may also lead you to refuse reality.

Ah, pop neuroscience, the go-to excuse for justifying atrocities. Are you sure you're not an R. Scott Bakker alt?

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The reality is that if Ukraine becomes big enough, militarily speaking, to fight with Russia on equal terms (and we're getting there fast), then Russia will nuke it. Well, unless Putin is actually wise and meek :rolleyes:.
Just because a course of action is morally right does not mean it is the best. Sometimes it is better to compromise with morality in order to guarantee a satisfying outcome. Conversely, it is not rational to take great risks in the name of morality alone.

Ukraine has said, repeatedly, that it knows there is a risk of it winning on the battlefield and Russia using WMDs to intimidate them into surrendering anyway. The Ukrainian government is willing to take that risk because otherwise Ukraine disappears as a sovereign state, and many, many Ukrainians would literally rather die than live under Russian control again.

The Ukrainians have also pointed out that Russia could have done that on February 23rd and saved themselves tens of thousands of lives. The fact they did not indicates that Russia sees massive risks in resorting to WMDs in anything other than the defence of its own territory, including losing the allies it has left and creating a stampede of other countries to getting nukes, including ones directly bordering or very close to Russia (Japan is already hosting an internal debate on acquiring nuclear weapons, and that argument is almost certainly going on behind closed doors in, at least, Poland, Australia and South Korea).

As most of Ukraine's partners have said, Ukraine is in a better position than anyone else to judge at what point these dangers become real and what they are willing to tolerate, and its partners will accept Ukraine's decisions on those points (to the point that the UK, at least, has said it is willing for Ukraine to negotiate sanction relief with Russia in negotiations). 

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Of course it does. :rolleyes:

Russia has made it clear that it seeks the reunification of the former territories of the USSR to create a buffer between it and the west, putting tens to hundreds of millions of people currently living in liberal(ish) democracies (ish) under autocratic rule. Some Russians, including Medevev, have gone further and said they want to see all of Eurasia "from Lisbon to Vladivostok" unified under Russian influence.

The fact such goals are laughably unattainable given current Russian military capabilities does not mean they are not goals that are on the list, and if Russia can't get there it will go as far as it can before it is stopped, whether that's just Belarus, Kazakhstan, Georgia and other non-NATO members or eventually encompassing NATO members as well.

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8 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

I personally wouldn't know for certain, but I did see several commentators say or write that the war had achieved the same level of unity in the Eastern regions of Ukraine as it has in its West. So... as far as I know, close enough.

Same level of unity in defense of Ukraine, yes. There is no meaningful difference in support for Ukrainian struggle between Ukrainian-speakers and Russian-speakers (with the exception of those who already picked a different side in 2014), as evidenced by firm defense of Kharkiv, Odesa and Sumy by the locals.

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7 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

It seems to me that the only alternative is to stop supporting Ukraine and let the Russians steamroll and annex them… again. 

That is surely an exaggeration.

If only because the Russians are completely unable to steamroll anything in the first place.

6 minutes ago, Heartofice said:

At what point does de-escalation simply become surrender?

How much should one compromise with an aggressor?
I think the reason why no discussion is possible in this case is that pacifists like Chomsky or myself see that conflict always ends through compromise, whereas many here think it is immoral to grant anything to an aggressor (if only because it might encourage future aggression).
The question then become what can push Russia to the negotiating table if not some form of compromise.

There may be a world in which Russia is ignored altogether and the objective is to turn the border (or a border) into some kind of Maginot-line, with low-intensity warfare continuing for the foreseeable future. There would be no actual peace, but the war would be limited to a specific area.
At this rate, this may be the best one can hope for.

 

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

How much should one compromise with an aggressor?

There are plenty of ways for Putin to spin victory, that would seem like a compromise for Ukraine.  Putin has said that he wants to demilitarise and 'de-nazify' Ukraine, there are many ways of demonstrating that he has done this that do not need to include giving him bits of land. 

Why should we accept a negotiation position that includes war goals of carving off bits of countries? We shouldn't, and we don't need to. The only way to get to that position is for Ukraine to be strong enough to prevent Russia bullying it.

Edited by Heartofice
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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

If only because the Russians are completely unable to steamroll anything in the first place.

Because Ukraine had prepared to fight back.  I just don't get you having these positions.

It's as though you are living in a different dimension than we are.

Which is possible, since I don't have intimate comprehension and knowledge of how All of Europe, Turkey (which I can see clearly is of, at best, a conflicted position on Russia's invasion of Ukraine -- it may be a sort-of Russian ally, but it can't whole-heartedly support INVASION of another sovereign state in the region either), Saudi Arabia, etc. think about this.

This nuance to which you refer frequently -- what is it beyond, if Ukraine continues its resistance to being forced by military means to submit to Putin's fascist bespoke loafer on its neck forever and ever -- nuclear threat.  And no consideration for what happens then -- even to France -- if Ukraine goes belly up and kisses the loafer.

IOW, you seem incapable of seeing there is no compromise, because compromise means both sides, and Russia will accept nothing -- at this point -- if there is no military resistance from Ukraine and losses to Russia.  I won't compromise on anything if there is resistance.  Ukraine is damned if it does and doesn't (all women are in this position from birth so women get this).  Yet you demand that everyone except Russia stand down.

Edited by Zorral
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5 hours ago, mormont said:

It's controversial to say that arming the Ukrainians escalates this into a longer and larger conflict. Because if you stop and think about that, what is the alternative? That the conflict would be shorter and smaller if the Ukrainians were not equipped well enough to stop the Russians, i.e. if the West would just let the Russians win. 

Again, Scot is the only one talking about not arming Ukraine at all.  The interviews, and my question, were about where the limit is on that. 

And that gets back to the point about the rebuttal to those interviews be ing largely a straw man argument.  

Clearly there are limits.  Neither NATO or the US have been willing to do a no fly zone.  Is that denying Ukraine agency?

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

That is surely an exaggeration.

If only because the Russians are completely unable to steamroll anything in the first place.

How much should one compromise with an aggressor?
I think the reason why no discussion is possible in this case is that pacifists like Chomsky or myself see that conflict always ends through compromise, whereas many here think it is immoral to grant anything to an aggressor (if only because it might encourage future aggression).
The question then become what can push Russia to the negotiating table if not some form of compromise.

There may be a world in which Russia is ignored altogether and the objective is to turn the border (or a border) into some kind of Maginot-line, with low-intensity warfare continuing for the foreseeable future. There would be no actual peace, but the war would be limited to a specific area.
At this rate, this may be the best one can hope for.

 

If the United States were to attack and take military control of the Southern third of British Columbia… before Canadians stopped the American advance into Canada.  Are you saying Canada ceding the portions of British Columbia seized by the hypothetical American invasion would simply be the price of peace?  How does that not encourage another seizure later after US Forces have time to recover and re-requip?

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4 minutes ago, Larry of the Lake said:

Again, Scot is the only one talking about not arming Ukraine at all.  The interviews, and my question, were about where the limit is on that. 

And that gets back to the point about the rebuttal to those interviews be ing largely a straw man argument.  

Clearly there are limits.  Neither NATO or the US have been willing to do a no fly zone.  Is that denying Ukraine agency?

 

 

The No fly zone is off the table, in part, to leave room for reasonable escalation if Russia uses WMDs.  Chomsky is doing more than that.  He wants Ukraine to agree to cede territory in exchange for “peace”.  While he should be well aware that Russia is kidnapping Ukrainians from areas under Russian control.

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It's sad to see people in here saying that Ukraine's got to give something up they don't wanna just because they personally are uncomfortable with the idea of other people fighting for their ideals/homes/lives. There's being a pacifist and there's being a bootlicker, and the latter is not a position it's plausible to respect. 

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21 minutes ago, Zorral said:

Because Ukraine had prepared to fight back.  I just don't get you having these positions.

It's as though you are living in a different dimension than we are.

Which is possible, since I don't have intimate comprehension and knowledge of how All of Europe, Turkey (which I can see clearly is of, at best, a conflicted position on Russia's invasion of Ukraine -- it may be a sort-of Russian ally, but it can't whole-heartedly support INVASION of another sovereign state in the region either), Saudi Arabia, etc. think about this.

This nuance to which you refer frequently -- what is it beyond, if Ukraine continues its resistance to being forced by military means to submit to Putin's fascist bespoke loafer on its neck forever and ever -- nuclear threat.  And no consideration for what happens then -- even to France -- if Ukraine goes belly up and kisses the loafer.

IOW, you seem incapable of seeing there is no compromise, because compromise means both sides, and Russia will accept nothing -- at this point -- if there is no military resistance from Ukraine and losses to Russia.  I won't compromise on anything if there is resistance.  Ukraine is damned if it does and doesn't (all women are in this position from birth so women get this).  Yet you demand that everyone except Russia stand down.

My impression is that public opinion in the UK, Scandinavia, the Baltics, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Czechia, Moldova is firmly supportive of Ukraine;  in Italy and Germany, more mixed.

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56 minutes ago, Gorn said:

Do you think Ukrainians are unaware of this risk? That they lack the mental capacity to make such decisions for themselves, and thus the option to do so should be removed from them?

Do you think that Putin's "wisdom and meekness" is the only thing preventing him from using nukes?

If there's one constant among Chomsky types, is the refusal to admit agency to not only Ukranians, but basically anyone not following the "natural" course of history for them, which is the "oppressed" people of non-Western countries (basically, the proletariat) fighting against Western/capitalist forces (the bourgeoisie). Defending themselves by any means necessary and choosing death over surrender to the great enemies of the bourgeoisie stand-in in part because you want your country to be more Western/capitalist doesn't compute. Reminds me of those end-of-the-world religions and cults after the day of rapture doesn't come and the followers keep trying to find justifications and reviewing "calculations" because they can't just admit being wrong.

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46 minutes ago, Larry of the Lake said:

Again, Scot is the only one talking about not arming Ukraine at all.  The interviews, and my question, were about where the limit is on that. 

As for that, see above remarks to Rip. The objectives Ukraine is trying to achieve by using these weapons are entirely defensive. If that changes, then a discussion about limits is appropriate, and it will be short, because the flow will be cut off. Until then, I have to turn it round and ask what you think these limits should be? Because so long as Ukraine is using the resources to repel an aggressor and even to equip its army to repel future aggression, I'm OK with giving them what they ask for. 

46 minutes ago, Larry of the Lake said:

And that gets back to the point about the rebuttal to those interviews be ing largely a straw man argument.  

Clearly there are limits.  Neither NATO or the US have been willing to do a no fly zone.  Is that denying Ukraine agency?

No, because a no-fly zone is an action NATO would be taking. That's like asking if me deciding not to drive you somewhere is denying you agency.

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Even if your only motive is to prevent a nuclear war, the logical conclusion is still that Ukraine should be strongly supported.

It isn't "meekness and wisdom" that prevents Putin from launching nukes, it is the fear of Western response. If, based on lack of response to his aggression, he feels confident that there will be no strong response to nukes either, he will launch them.

And this isn't hypothetical - it was the lack of strong Western response to the annexation of Crimea made him confident enough to launch this invasion in the first place.

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It is true that Ukraine has become less inclined to seek negotiations or compromise, even Zelenksyy just admitted as much.  Why?

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"It is difficult because there is the line that can hardly be crossed, after Bucha, Irpin, Mariupol and other towns and cities," Zelensky said, referring to Russian massacres of Ukrainian civilians.

"We cannot avoid this meeting with the president of the Russian Federation, but after the atrocities that they committed, I cannot be too excited about such a meeting or meetings with the intermediaries."

As the article goes on to note, while Zelenskyy still remains committed to a peace deal, these atrocities harden the Ukrainian people - and parliament - against granting any territorial concessions. 

So, to sum up, it becomes more difficult for Zelenskyy to sell compromise and negotiations to his constituency as Russia commits more and more war crimes and atrocities against that constituency, but according to the likes of Chomsky this is all "the West's" fault.  Or at least the onus is on "the West" to somehow get both parties to the table and broker a compromise.  Because that sounds so easy.

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1 minute ago, DMC said:

So, to sum up, it becomes more difficult for Zelenskyy to sell compromise and negotiations to his constituency as Russia commits more and more war crimes and atrocities against that constituency, but according to the likes of Chomsky this is all "the West's" fault.  Or at least the onus is on "the West" to somehow get both parties to the table and broker a compromise.  Because that sounds so easy.

You just have to look at Armenia getting rocked by unrest after an early compromise letting go of land to Azerbaijan to see that Zelenskyy's fears are absolutely correct and that that might even damage Ukrainian democracy in the long run if revanchist sentiments fester.

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Posted (edited)

Has anything significantly changed in the past couple days or is it the same tug-of-war we’ve been following for months?

I haven’t heard of any major shift, though I’ve been consciously avoiding the topic so I may have missed it. Thanks in advance. 

Edited by RhaenysBee
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