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Ukraine 22: Anyone else holding their breath?


Ser Scot A Ellison
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Even a single sheet of plastic can provide more insulation than you might think.  On a cold, still day, plastic wrap could actually improve the temperature to something livable.  The problem is the wind will go right through it.

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Russian Calendar Guy has been doing some free BDA work for the Ukrainians again by posting photos of himself and his date paper in front of HIMARS strikes on railways used by the Russians for supply near Ilovaisk.

Not only has he provided more evidence of the amazing accuracy of the HIMARS strikes, but my buddies from the old Motorola Government Business sector say his photos of the surviving rocket bodies also show that the machine shop that the ammunition came out of was right down the road in Tempe, AZ, made by Systems 3.

Also, 10/10 for the accompanying music.  

 

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27 minutes ago, Wilbur said:

So much negativity in this video.  A little J-B Weld and they can be on their way.

What makes me laugh most is that someone up the command hierarchy told these guys to "repair" that truck.

Yeah, a vehicle taking a HIMARS strike will be turned into Swiss cheese.

It's like them saying they need to adapt new armour to be HIMARS-resistant, which I'm not sure is actually physically possible unless the tank is in the middle of a single steel cube about 10 metres thick. The only good thing (for the Russians) is that HIMARS can't hit mobile targets very well.

Edited by Werthead
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17 minutes ago, Werthead said:

Yeah, a vehicle taking a HIMARS strike will be turned into Swiss cheese.

It's like them saying they need to adapt new armour to be HIMARS-resistant, which I'm not sure is actually physically possible unless the tank is in the middle of a single steel cube about 10 metres thick. The only good thing (for the Russians) is that HIMARS can't hit mobile targets very well.

Yet! 

 

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Yeah, it's been reasonably quiet for a few days. Mostly skirmishing. Unclear what became of those Ukrainian counter-attacks that actually seemed to cross the Dnipro, seems like a lot of Ukrainian fake messaging was going and partisans and local loyalists were doing things like raising flags spontaneously to try to spook the Russians.

One interesting thing at the G20 was that someone got Xi on camera saying that the use of WMD in Ukraine was something China found unacceptable.

Lots of crazy tabloid rumours floating around, including one that Putin has prepared a "bolt hole" in a friendly African country to flee to if things really go south for his regime.

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In local news, Ira, the freshman girl of the Ukrainian family we are helping, made her high school Freshman/Sophomore basketball team.

Never played basketball prior to this summer, worked diligently, made the cut, only complaint was that one of the sophomores got her favorite jersey number, so she had to settle for number 12.  My eyesight was very blurry on Friday as we drove her home after practice.

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So, in retrospect this video from just before the invasion seems to have considered the prospects of how things would go early on pretty well. But it does not at all predict a counter-offensive by Ukraine and seems to assume that direct US military involvement would be needed to push Russia out. I guess Russia still hasn't been pushed out, but it has been pushed back and stalled.

I would also say that the Ukraine invasion is a good example of nuclear assurance, as opposed to deterrence. With nukes Russia was pretty assured that the US and other Nuclear powers (Britain, France) would not directly enter the fight. Without nukes Russia would have for sure been faced with the immediate deployment of at least US and probably UK troops to fight with Ukraine. Indeed the US and UK might have deployed troops before the invasion, on the invitation of the Ukraine govt. Thus Russia would never have invaded if it did not have nukes.

Edited by The Anti-Targ
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7 hours ago, The Anti-Targ said:

So, in retrospect this video from just before the invasion seems to have considered the prospects of how things would go early on pretty well. But it does not at all predict a counter-offensive by Ukraine and seems to assume that direct US military involvement would be needed to push Russia out. I guess Russia still hasn't been pushed out, but it has been pushed back and stalled.

I would also say that the Ukraine invasion is a good example of nuclear assurance, as opposed to deterrence. With nukes Russia was pretty assured that the US and other Nuclear powers (Britain, France) would not directly enter the fight. Without nukes Russia would have for sure been faced with the immediate deployment of at least US and probably UK troops to fight with Ukraine. Indeed the US and UK might have deployed troops before the invasion, on the invitation of the Ukraine govt. Thus Russia would never have invaded if it did not have nukes.

Not to mention Poland as well, probably in a very large deployment.

However, I do wonder if that would have worked anyway. Ukraine invites 20,000 NATO troops into the country for exercises. Does Russia still invade? Having nukes means nothing when their opponent has nukes as well. You either accept that and launch a conventional war you will undoubtedly lose, or you refuse to accept that and launch a nuclear war you will undoubtedly lose as well.

I think that's a very interesting question.

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The thing is, I think the nuclear powers are extremely reticent to get into direct military conflicts with one another simply because they might escalate into nuclear war. So a nuclear power has first mover advantage when attacking a non-nuclear country. And when the attacking nuclear power is a country run by the people who run Russia, the other potential antagonists definitely think Russia is mad enough to launch nukes if it knows it will lose the conventional fight.

China will be watching and wondering whether the US believes China is just crazy enough to use nukes if the US directly engages over Taiwan. I don't think China is crazy enough to use nukes, and I think the US also doesn't think China is crazy enough to use nukes, and I think China thinks the US thinks China isn't crazy enough to use nukes. So they are having a staring contest over Taiwan, wondering whether one or the other will start thinking differently. And of course there is North Korea, who probably is crazy enough to use nukes, and who knows what will goad them into it? They could well believe that US directly fighting China over Taiwan means taking on North Korea next, so they could launch just because the US decided to try to beat down China.

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3 hours ago, The Anti-Targ said:

The thing is, I think the nuclear powers are extremely reticent to get into direct military conflicts with one another simply because they might escalate into nuclear war. So a nuclear power has first mover advantage when attacking a non-nuclear country. And when the attacking nuclear power is a country run by the people who run Russia, the other potential antagonists definitely think Russia is mad enough to launch nukes if it knows it will lose the conventional fight.

China will be watching and wondering whether the US believes China is just crazy enough to use nukes if the US directly engages over Taiwan. I don't think China is crazy enough to use nukes, and I think the US also doesn't think China is crazy enough to use nukes, and I think China thinks the US thinks China isn't crazy enough to use nukes. So they are having a staring contest over Taiwan, wondering whether one or the other will start thinking differently. And of course there is North Korea, who probably is crazy enough to use nukes, and who knows what will goad them into it? They could well believe that US directly fighting China over Taiwan means taking on North Korea next, so they could launch just because the US decided to try to beat down China.

How times have changed. When China wanted help from the Soviets for the development of their Nuclear Weapons Stalin of all people was terrified and considered Mao too crazy for nukes. Rumoredly there was a dialogue along the lines, in which Stalin pointed out that a nuclear war would results in hundreds of millions of dead. To which Mao more or less replied, who cares, there are (close to? (at the time)) a billion Chinese. Implying China can live with a hundred million less.

China eventually got their nukes, because some scientist defected.

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Some interesting rumours swirling within Ukraine and on Russian Telegram that Hungary has negotiated for Russia to cede control of the Enerhodar nuclear facility to the IAEA, who in turn will return control to the Ukrainian energy authorities. Apparently keeping the plant safe and preventing it from turning into a hazard is so expensive the Russians are looking to offload it, even if it means going back to Ukrainian control.

There's also the rumours that have been going on for a few weeks now that Putin agreed to listen to the hawks in the expectation that their plans would deliver a crushing victory and instead they've delivered a total fiasco, and he may be more inclined to look for a diplomatic way out and push all the blame onto the hawks and maybe Shoigu. 

Edited by Werthead
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21 minutes ago, Werthead said:

There's also the rumours that have been going on for a few weeks now that Putin agreed to listen to the hawks in the expectation that their plans would deliver a crushing victory and instead they've delivered a total fiasco, and he may be more inclined to look for a diplomatic way out and push all the blame onto the hawks and maybe Shoigu. 

When would that have occurred?  With mobilization?  Seems obvious that the benefits of mobilization are not yet apparent.  If mobilization were going to help Russia, it would be after the troops had some time to train and equip.  Which wouldn't be for a few months at the absolute earliest.  Yes, I know that a portion of the troops mobilized went straight to the front, but that was because Russia didn't have the capacity to train them all at once anyway, so they made the heartless decision that some of the troops would go to the front with basically zero training to "learn by doing".  THis of course failed, but the troops that actually recieved some training are only now appearing (or will in the next few months) and those are much more likely to make some difference.  The problem is that Russia is running out of equipment to give them, so they lack many of the essentials of modern warfare like night vision, drones, comms, body armor, etc. 

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47 minutes ago, Werthead said:

Some interesting rumours swirling within Ukraine and on Russian Telegram that Hungary has negotiated for Russia to cede control of the Enerhodar nuclear facility to the IAEA, who in turn will return control to the Ukrainian energy authorities. Apparently keeping the plant safe and preventing it from turning into a hazard is so expensive the Russians are looking to offload it, even if it means going back to Ukrainian control.

There's also the rumours that have been going on for a few weeks now that Putin agreed to listen to the hawks in the expectation that their plans would deliver a crushing victory and instead they've delivered a total fiasco, and he may be more inclined to look for a diplomatic way out and push all the blame onto the hawks and maybe Shoigu. 

I wonder if he actually can climb down. With the official annexation of the occupied regions and declaring it Russian territory, how on Earth can he get out now. That's a genuine question. Ukraine insists on restoration of its territory (and rightly so), if concedes there, he will have some explaining to do. The official reason was/is still de-Nazification, but the Ukrainian Goverment is still in charge. So what did all those brave Russian men die for then? 

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