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Ukraine #17: Is There Life on HIMARS?


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38 minutes ago, James Arryn said:

I agree that generally, w/e we think of other countries morally, there is no special reason they are bound to fragment any more than any others. Except right now Russia is engaged in a seemingly endless series of military engagements that they cannot sustain or afford indefinitely. Already troops are being pulled from other duties…duties which might help keep a country from fragmenting…to fight in the Ukraine. These are reasons why the risk of fragmentation is heightened. Still improbable, but a lot less so than if they were just maintaining. 

I'd say the main reason to see Russia fragmenting is that Russia is made up of different states already (hence "Russian Federation") consisting usually of a Russian minority and indigenous majority (or vice versa, and those areas will obviously stay Russian) and in some cases those areas are incredibly remote from Moscow (Moscow is further from Vladivostok than New York is from Berlin, for example, and Vladivostok is still 4000km from Russia's far eastern-most point).

Many of those areas are part of Russia because of Russia's imperialist expansion from the 17th Century onwards and remain part of Russia solely because of Russia's military power. Many of the provinces have secessionist movements of varying degrees of enthusiasm, and in the absence of a strong central authority would strongly consider seceding. Think of if Madrid or London experienced a major loss of political and military power, Catalonia and Scotland could hold unilateral independence referendums (again, in the former case) and secede. Except these local versions might be thousands of kilometres from the capital and you can't get troops out to them very easily because your airborne transport has been grounded due to a lack of spare parts and by the time you can get out there, they may have signed a plethora of deals with China (which is way closer and far more powerful) that you can't really argue with.

I do think that there's a powerful sense of historical inertia in a lot of places though, and it might take a long time for them to realise how weakened Moscow has become and how much more power they have, and by that time the war might be over and Russia has started raising more troops and can now put down a rebellion somewhere else. 

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2 minutes ago, Werthead said:

I'd say the main reason to see Russia fragmenting is that Russia is made up of different states already (hence "Russian Federation") consisting usually of a Russian minority and indigenous majority (or vice versa, and those areas will obviously stay Russian) and in some cases those areas are incredibly remote from Moscow (Moscow is further from Vladivostok than New York is from Berlin, for example, and Vladivostok is still 4000km from Russia's far eastern-most point).

Many of those areas are part of Russia because of Russia's imperialist expansion from the 17th Century onwards and remain part of Russia solely because of Russia's military power. Many of the provinces have secessionist movements of varying degrees of enthusiasm, and in the absence of a strong central authority would strongly consider seceding. Think of if Madrid or London experienced a major loss of political and military power, Catalonia and Scotland could hold unilateral independence referendums (again, in the former case) and secede. Except these local versions might be thousands of kilometres from the capital and you can't get troops out to them very easily because your airborne transport has been grounded due to a lack of spare parts and by the time you can get out there, they may have signed a plethora of deals with China (which is way closer and far more powerful) that you can't really argue with.

I do think that there's a powerful sense of historical inertia in a lot of places though, and it might take a long time for them to realise how weakened Moscow has become and how much more power they have, and by that time the war might be over and Russia has started raising more troops and can now put down a rebellion somewhere else. 

I agree with most of what you are saying except I don’t think it’s much more true of Russia than most large nations. With the possible exceptions of Australia and Canada, pretty much every large nation has become large by being acquisitive/imperialist, and both of those avoided it by being the (non-expansionist) leftover of possibly the most expansive modern nation. Every large nation is made up of states with very different cultures/values and open to fragmentation along those lines. So too for most smaller nations. Belgium is almost literally 2 countries with 2 languages, for example. Texas is mostly populated by people who want to secede atm. Sri Lankans have fought each other much more and longer than any outside nation. A lot of geopolitical folk think Spain is already kind of stalling inevitable separation. One of Canada’s biggest political parties is literally a party of separation. Etc. 

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1 hour ago, James Arryn said:

Already troops are being pulled from other duties…duties which might help keep a country from fragmenting…to fight in the Ukraine. These are reasons why the risk of fragmentation is heightened. Still improbable, but a lot less so than if they were just maintaining. 

I'd say, risks of local rebellions in non-Russian areas would become real, and some kind of fragmentation would become possible, if Russia ended up in a direct shooting contest with NATO and got most of its armor, planes and artillery downright destroyed. Then, it would be hard-pressed to contain all possible rebellious places.

 

1 hour ago, Werthead said:

in some cases those areas are incredibly remote from Moscow (Moscow is further from Vladivostok than New York is from Berlin, for example, and Vladivostok is still 4000km from Russia's far eastern-most point).

Pointless trivia: if you take off from Kamchatka at 12.05 PM, you're actually going to land at Moscow before noon - after crossing an ungodly amount of timezones obviously.

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Don't know if this was posted before: Why Zelensky is purging the security services of Ukraine

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Could a general of the SBU, the security service of Ukraine, really have helped Russia take the city of Kherson? Could a colonel have tipped off the Russians as to where the Ukrainians had lain mines north of Crimea?

The Ukrainian government certainly appears to believe that fifth columnists within the SBU have been Moscow’s secret weapon in this war – this week Volodymyr Zelensky fired the head of the agency (and his childhood friend) Ivan Bakanov, along with the country’s prosecutor general, Iryna Venediktova. A total of 651 alleged treason and collaboration cases have now been opened against prosecutorial and law enforcement officials, and more than 60 officials from Bakanov and Venediktova’s agencies have been accused of working against Ukraine in Russian-occupied territories.

 

Of course, many corrupt officers were targets for Moscow’s recruitment. However, one of the many reasons why Russia’s initial attack in Ukraine failed was that Putin believed there was a trove of Ukrainians, including corrupt officers paid by Moscow, ready to welcome the invasion. But while many officials, oligarchs and officers gladly took Russian money, when the invasion arrived they had no real intention of helping Putin’s forces.

 

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18 hours ago, broken one said:

Or where should they hide ammo depots, in the open steppe? 

I guess AI try to be unbiassed but it could not work well.

It also seems very much that AI are blaming the victim.  When people are on the receiving end of unprovoked, ruthless, aggression, they’ll fight back in any way they can.

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4 hours ago, SeanF said:

It also seems very much that AI are blaming the victim.  When people are on the receiving end of unprovoked, ruthless, aggression, they’ll fight back in any way they can.

That's obvious. Immoral objectivity. Artificial Intelligence, funny coincidence :p

10 hours ago, James Arryn said:

I agree that generally, w/e we think of other countries morally, there is no special reason they are bound to fragment any more than any others. Except right now Russia is engaged in a seemingly endless series of military engagements that they cannot sustain or afford indefinitely. Already troops are being pulled from other duties…duties which might help keep a country from fragmenting…to fight in the Ukraine. These are reasons why the risk of fragmentation is heightened. Still improbable, but a lot less so than if they were just maintaining. 

on the other hand... All the troubles Russia has with its enormous size and underdevelopment of infrastructure show the feudal / cleptocratic way it is administered does not work. They had a lot of time and money made on oil to try to transform their economy, but they did not, instead they spent it to build army and bribe people, and so the troubles grow, same with distance to developed countries. I think a state of this size should have government system similar to the one in the USA in order not to fall into pieces. Transformation in this direction seems impossible because of culture, history etc. So, is there any alternative to fragmentation?

Edited by broken one
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6 minutes ago, Matrim Fox Cauthon said:

Considering how many forces Russia is redeploying to the Kherson Oblast, I'm growing increasingly skeptical that Ukraine will be able to retake it. It's sounding pretty grim. 

It looks to me like they’re reinforcing failure.  Pushing soldiers into a city that’s almost cut off from supplies is the kind of folly Hitler insisted on, in the last two years of the War.

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There are reportedly between 9 and 12 new BTGs in Kherson, totalling 25,000 troops (combined with the existing troops). However, they are lacking artillery support, they are located far forwards of their railhead resupply centres (the nearest have all been destroyed), and there is one resupply bridge over the Inhulets still standing. The rest are destroyed or reduced to light traffic only. Several pontoon bridges thrown across the river have also been destroyed.

Concentrations of these troops have been targeted and hit repeatedly by drones, HIMARS and regular artillery. Reportedly all AA coverage in the area has been destroyed, allowing the Ukrainian Air Force to mount the first mass-bombardment of Russian positions since the start of the war, which resulted in heavy Russian losses with no Ukrainian Air Force losses and virtually no ground fire. To properly hold Kherson city, the Russians have had to split their forces on both sides of the Inhulets and another force on the far bank of the Dnipro itself to deal with the partisans attacking from the direction of Melitopol, which has reduced their forces available for an assault on Mykolaiv or holding Kherson.

In addition, Ukrainian forces are reporting substantial holes in the Russian lines. A regular Ukrainian army detachment was able to cross the Inhulets, slip through the Russian lines, raid a Russian POW facility in Kherson city and liberate several dozen prisoners who had been threatened with execution, and returned safely to Ukrainian positions outside Mykolaiv.

In addition these "new" BTGs have been transferred from Donbas and are already exhausted from constant combat operations for the past five months (although some rotation has been taking place, there are significant numbers of Russian units operating in Ukraine continuously since 23 February and have not been able to leave), allowing Ukrainian forces there to reconstitute and in some cases carrying out fresh attacks, particularly towards Izium, and shoring up defensive lines around Kharkiv.

The Russians still have a strong defensive position around Kherson city, with three layers of concentric defence (shades of Kursk in WWII), but those defences are useless without resupply and fresh troops to hold them.

There are also some rumours that the Mykolaiv-Kherson front might be a massive feint and the Ukrainians might be preferring to attack on the Zaporizhzhia-Melitopol axis, which would force an evacuation from Kherson anyway, or even a possible offensive towards Izium, which would threaten recent Russian gains in Donbas.

Edited by Werthead
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That is a good update wert, but I'm not seeing anything like that on my Twitter feed, which is usually some of the best informed people.  I'm talking mostly about your second and third paragraphs, about aa being knocked out, large scale uaf bombings and a prison break.  Those all sound like pretty dramatic developments.  Where are you seeing that?

Edited by Maithanet
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1 hour ago, Maithanet said:

That is a good update wert, but I'm not seeing anything like that on my Twitter feed, which is usually some of the best informed people.  I'm talking mostly about your second and third paragraphs, about aa being knocked out, large scale uaf bombings and a prison break.  Those all sound like pretty dramatic developments.  Where are you seeing that?

The Times (may be paywalled).

They have reporters in Mykolaiv talking to both the military commanders for the whole theatre and the civilians authorities.

"Last month a special operations force filmed themselves walking right into Kherson, storming a building and releasing five Ukrainian prisoners that a group of Russian soldiers had tried to ransom." Not quite as dramatic as the second-hand account I heard earlier, but still impressive.

"They have also been eroding Russian anti-aircraft defences. This has allowed the Ukrainian Air Force to fly more sorties over the area, culminating in what observers described as a "massive attack" on enemy positions in the Kherson region. "I think the orcs already lack air defence systems, because they were eaten by the HIMARS," wrote Sergei Naumovich, a Ukrainian military blogger. "This is the first time such a large-scale air assault by the Armed Forces of Ukraine on these positions is taking place."

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An old university pal is a professor at U of Vic, in BC, runs the Victoria Hand Project, making low cost 3D printed prosthetics, and is seeking donations to help Ukrainians in needs of artificial limbs.  https://globalnews.ca/news/9040709/victoria-charity-public-support-ukraine-prosthetics/

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Victoria Hand Project founder and chief technical officer Nick Dechev said requests from Ukraine have been coming in for “some time,” but the charity hasn’t found the right “opportunity” to help them.

Once it finds the right local partners, it can apply for grants and corporate donations, he explained. The organization also plans to hold a series of fundraisers in September.

“The hands themselves don’t cost very much, it’s more a function of helping to pay the prosthetists that will be working with patients,” said Dechev.

“We don’t have any hard numbers on how many people have lost limbs in Ukraine.”

Other costs include shipping fees for the materials, and transportation and accommodation for patients, he added. Each prosthetic uses about $150-worth of materials.

https://www.victoriahandproject.com/donate

Edited by SpaceChampion
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On 8/6/2022 at 7:48 PM, Matrim Fox Cauthon said:

Considering how many forces Russia is redeploying to the Kherson Oblast, I'm growing increasingly skeptical that Ukraine will be able to retake it. It's sounding pretty grim. 

According to J. Wolski and some Polish retired high rank officers: probably there will not be any Ukrainian offensive in the Kherson oblast right now. As you said, Russians brought a whole army there and Ukrainians cannot afford any risk. The famous offensive may be just a bait, and preparation to smart, active defence, which undermines Russian offensive plans in the east, luring them to relocate forces to the south, and satisfies Ukrainian politicians, who demand success (or sth that may be sold as success to the public). In the meantime more weapons and ammunition from the west arrive. And the area is naturally isolated, so Russians are now in risky situation.

Edited by broken one
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