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Ukraine 31: Icarus Edition


The Wondering Wolf
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20 hours ago, Zorral said:

No.

I remember remarking on another site that for Matt Gaetz, MTG etc., every dollar that gets spent on Ukraine is a dollar that could be used for corporate welfare and reducing the tax bills of the richest 0.5%.

To which I got the response: 

“You’re too kind to them.  They see Putin’s Russia as a blueprint.”

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjeix4TEREQ

Translation: German Chancellor Scholz(SPD) has denied the Ukranian request to send them the Taurus cruise missile, even though some ministers such as foreign office minister Annalena Baerbock(Green Party), defense minister Pistorius(SPD) as well as the UK(that sends the very similar Storm shadow cruise missile) tried to convince him otherwise. Scholz apparently is concerned that the Ukrainians will use it against the Kertsch strait bridge and that ground personnel from germany has to go to Ukraine to insert the geodata. As a consolation prize he wants to send Ukraine additional Patriot systems (It's unclear how many). Obviously Ukraine is disappointed and they have not given up yet to get the system some day.

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Well, my understanding is, that Ukraine can't use Taurus right now anyway. They need a carrier (likesay F16s; yes, it's air to ground) which they currently lack. So from that perspective I don't think it's that big of an issue for the moment.

Also German language.

Reisner thinks this boiling the frog/containment strategy is not working as intended. He thinks if the west wants Ukraine to succeed, they'd need to go all in and supply them with everything is the way to go, even if that means risking that Russia collapses the conflict escalates. The current situation he called purgatory.

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16 minutes ago, Bironic said:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjeix4TEREQ

Translation: German Chancellor Scholz(SPD) has denied the Ukranian request to send them the Taurus cruise missile, even though some ministers such as foreign office minister Annalena Baerbock(Green Party), defense minister Pistorius(SPD) as well as the UK(that sends the very similar Storm shadow cruise missile) tried to convince him otherwise. Scholz apparently is concerned that the Ukrainians will use it against the Kertsch strait bridge and that ground personnel from germany has to go to Ukraine to insert the geodata. As a consolation prize he wants to send Ukraine additional Patriot systems (It's unclear how many). Obviously Ukraine is disappointed and they have not given up yet to get the system some day.

Ukraine is fully capable of hitting the Kerch Strait Bridge right now with Storm Shadow. They haven't because they want to leave it open as an escape option for people fleeing Crimea, although that calculus may change.

And yes, the "boiling the frog" option only worked whilst Russia was able to escalate themselves: we seem to have hit a plateau where Russia can't escalate any further beyond going to tactical nukes anyway, so the west might as well go all-in. This current offensive has failed to break through the Russian lines to the strategic depths as originally hoped, but it has drained Russian manpower and materiel.

One possible, lesser victory from this offensive is the vectoring of Russia's best heavy assault troops into defensive operations. Russia was likely planning a further winter or spring 2024 offensive of their own, and Ukraine has forced them to use their best troops on the defensive in Bakhmut and around Tokmak instead, which likely denudes Russian offensive capacity further down the line. Possibly not decisively, but the best Russia might now hope for is a very slow, grinding advance somewhere like the offensive earlier this year that only achieved in taking Bakhmut (at ludicrously high cost, only to lose half of it again). Although there are signs of them trying to restart things in the Kreminna direction again.

Edited by Werthead
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1 hour ago, A Horse Named Stranger said:

Well, my understanding is, that Ukraine can't use Taurus right now anyway. They need a carrier (likesay F16s; yes, it's air to ground) which they currently lack. So from that perspective I don't think it's that big of an issue for the moment.

F 16 can‘t use either Taurus or storm shadow afaik(they could use the similar US AGM 158 JASSM, but no way they’re gonna get these from the republicans). The Ukrainians are using storm shadow/scalp missiles by fixing a hardpoint from a British Tornado to their Suchoi 24 strike bomber, and then put the scalp on that hardpoint. That‘s some serious McGyvering… since the Tornado can also fire Taurus missile I think the same „system“ should work as well…

OTOH since they managed to fire a modern European system from a 70s Soviet aircraft, they might find a way to fire them from the US f-16 as well… anyways if they get Taurus this year they have plenty of time to put the system in place for another offensive next summer…

Edited by Bironic
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1 hour ago, Werthead said:

Ukraine is fully capable of hitting the Kerch Strait Bridge right now with Storm Shadow. They haven't because they want to leave it open as an escape option for people fleeing Crimea, although that calculus may change.

And yes, the "boiling the frog" option only worked whilst Russia was able to escalate themselves: we seem to have hit a plateau where Russia can't escalate any further beyond going to tactical nukes anyway, so the west might as well go all-in. 

Yes I know about the Kerch strait bridge (and I think everyone in the German military has explained that to Scholz too). Imho it’s just another pretense by Scholz to not send them. We had that discussion with every single weapon system from helmets to Leopards and now Taurus…he seems to do that mainly because of his personality( not what I would call someone who has a very clear idea of where he wants to go on any subject, and undecided) as well as German internal politics which has both a strong pro Russia and a strong anti war wing (even in his own party, the last chancellor from his party was putins buddy Schröder remember)…

But sending them now after the US crisis, the Slovak and polish diplomatic fallout with Ukraine would have given a strong signal that Germany as the leading European nation stands firmly behind Ukraine. Don’t get me wrong Germany has done a lot, but Scholz is really doing the country’s international standing a disservice.

The whole boiling the frog approach was built on let’s say muddy ground to begin with. Putin escalated the war on the 24.2.2022, he didn’t say let’s just use infantry and small weapons in the invasion otherwise NATO might see it as an escalation… it was quite clear from around April to October in that year that Russia has no further means to escalate the war unless it uses some sort of WMD (which he then was strongly dissuaded to do by both „enemies“ like biden or Allies like Xi jinping).  And I think I never heard any Ukrainian say don’t give us this or that weapon because putin might nuke Kiyv… that’s mainly a western concern and Putin would certainly not use them against NATO, he didn’t invade the Baltic states even though they were/are much easier to take than Ukraine for the exact same reason… and since the Ukrainians are the ones fighting and suffering I think it’s mainly their decision to take…

Edited by Bironic
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Russia has rush-built a bunch of tower blocks in Mariupol to show how they will rebuild in the occupied territories. Unfortunately, the guttering burst in the cellars and the authorities haven't bothered to fix them, meaning these buildings are literally full of shit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Bironic said:

The whole boiling the frog approach was built on let’s say muddy ground to begin with. Putin escalated the war on the 24.2.2022, he didn’t say let’s just use infantry and small weapons in the invasion otherwise NATO might see it as an escalation… it was quite clear from around April to October in that year that Russia has no further means to escalate the war unless it uses some sort of WMD (which he then was strongly dissuaded to do by both „enemies“ like biden or Allies like Xi jinping).  And I think I never heard any Ukrainian say don’t give us this or that weapon because putin might nuke Kiyv… that’s mainly a western concern and Putin would certainly not use them against NATO, he didn’t invade the Baltic states even though they were/are much easier to take than Ukraine for the exact same reason… and since the Ukrainians are the ones fighting and suffering I think it’s mainly their decision to take…

I don't mind the strategy of "boiling the frog". I feel Putin would only ever use nukes when he has nothing else to lose, but I think he is psychopathic enough to do that. It isn't easy for him though, there is an entire chain of people he depends on to follow his demented orders and I imagine they would have to feel just as hopeless as him especially if they were doing so while breaking Russian law. By gradually turning up the assistance I think this has weakened him and made such a response much less likely. Of course the strategy does involve constantly turning up the heat without stopping. The frog is eventually supposed to boil.

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9 hours ago, Makk said:

I don't mind the strategy of "boiling the frog". I feel Putin would only ever use nukes when he has nothing else to lose, but I think he is psychopathic enough to do that. It isn't easy for him though, there is an entire chain of people he depends on to follow his demented orders and I imagine they would have to feel just as hopeless as him especially if they were doing so while breaking Russian law. By gradually turning up the assistance I think this has weakened him and made such a response much less likely. Of course the strategy does involve constantly turning up the heat without stopping. The frog is eventually supposed to boil.

Don't get me wrong, I am actually very positive about the boiling the frog strategy. But what the west (led by Joe Biden, since the US military budget is more than twice as high than all the other countries in the Ukraine defense group, ca. 55, combined) seems to settle is let's not boil the water but just make it uncomfortably warm so that after years and years of suffering on both sides the frog leaves the kettle exhausted, but basically alive and kicking.

It was clear very early on that in a long war the support of Ukraine in the west will eventually wane, while Putin will hang on. Thus a long, indecisive war is generally in the interest of Putin. With this in mind the US(and its western allies) should have boiled the frog somewhere between February 22(when Putin escalated the war) and 3 January 23(when Biden lost his majority in the House of Representatives). This would have meant that a decision about crucial weapon systems such as US/western fighter jets, Atacms, Abrams/western tanks &armoured vehicles, air defense systems such as Patriot, BVR missiles etc. should have been reached by then. Which would have meant that these systems(maybe not in the numbers that Ukraine needed or wanted) would have been ready sometime during the long planned Ukrainian Counter offensive (roughly May to October 23).

To put it simply: boiling the frog means killing the frog(aka Ukraine wins), which is a low risk/high reward strategy, while exhausting the frog is more a high risk/low reward strategy...

 

Edited by Bironic
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2 hours ago, Ser Rodrigo Belmonte II said:

If Putin uses tactical nukes against Ukraine out of desperation,will the west even respond militarily then or just deem it too great a risk to escalate further and stay out ?

Former US military commanders (such as Ben Hodges or David petraeus) have hinted that the US would respond with a conventional strike against the Black Sea fleet(destroying it for good).
Apparently even „Allies“ such as xi jinping have told Putin that this idea is a step too far. Since then the threat to use nukes is mostly relegated to Russian media, while Putin himself has talked less and less about it. 

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3 hours ago, Ser Rodrigo Belmonte II said:

i dont think biden has the guts to openly declare war on Russia tbh

If I look at Joe Biden I see sort of the opposite of what American Politicians generally are (kind of the opposite of the various Trumps, Obamas, Clintons, Reagans and Kennedys): Really bad at selling himself to the pubic and the media, but very thorough at the actual day to day business of what we call in German "sachpolitik"(actual politics, not window dressing and election campaigns)very respected behind closed doors and on the international level. And Putin is exactly the kind of man that sees through a facade and showmanship, to see the actual person behind it. Finally it wouldn't be a declaration of war anyways (we're not in the 19th century anymore), it would be a 5 hours special military operation. And he would have the backing of the entire world to do it (yes that includes china).

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On 10/6/2023 at 4:31 AM, Ser Rodrigo Belmonte II said:

If Putin uses tactical nukes against Ukraine out of desperation,will the west even respond militarily then or just deem it too great a risk to escalate further and stay out ?

Based on various things various officials let out last year, when the threat was deemed great, the United States told Russia privately that the detonation of a nuclear weapon on Ukrainian soil (including Crimea and the Donbas) or the deliberate sabotage of nuclear plants in Ukraine would result in a colossal retaliatory conventional strike by NATO forces, aimed at destroying Russian command and control points in occupied territories, the destruction of AA systems, artillery systems, radars, missile destroyers and key pieces of infrastructure. There would be no NATO strike on Russian or Belarusian soil itself, apart from AA or artillery systems targeting NATO forces, and airfields for the launch of any retaliatory strikes against NATO forces or countries. Apparently this was a compromise agreement after Poland, the Baltic States and possibly the UK argued for a much more hardline position, including the deployment of large masses of NATO troops in Ukraine and the direct involvement of NATO in pushing Russia out of Ukraine (but not attacking Russian soil itself), which was deemed much more likely to trigger WWIII.

The severity of the statement seemed to convince Russia to change tack. I suspect an equally large influence was Russia not being able to work out where to actually use a tactical nuclear weapon in any way that was militarily significant.

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Ukrainian attacks force Russia to relocate Black Sea fleet
Kyiv has managed to partly restart seaborne grain exports, but there are still fears that Russia will interfere with civilian vessels.

https://www.politico.eu/article/ukraine-attack-crimea-russia-ships-relocate/

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KYIV — Ukraine has hammered Russia's Black Sea fleet so hard that Moscow is shifting much of it away from Crimea, allowing Kyiv to reopen its ports to grain vessels despite Russia's blockade threats.

“As of today, Russia is dispersing its fleet, fearing more attacks on its ships. Some units are relocating to the port of Novorossiysk. They try not to visit Sevastopol so often because they don't feel safe there anymore,” Ukrainian navy spokesperson Dmytro Pletenchuk told POLITICO.

Ukraine unleashed a series of carefully planned attacks against the fleet and parts of its crucial infrastructure in recent weeks — destroying key air defense systems, landing commandos on Crimea, and pounding the fleet's base in Sevastopol in an attack that heavily damaged a submarine and a missile carrier and put the fleet's dry dock out of commission. ....

 

 

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There are currently eight Black Sea Fleet ships in Sevastopol, although some of them are in for repairs. So it's not clear they've been forced to evacuate the western Black Sea. Their capability is certainly diminished, though.

Ukraine has stepped up heavy attacks on Kopani (west of Robotyne) and Novoprokopivka (south of Robotyne), so it looks like they are pushing forwards before the weather turns. The 47th Brigade destroyed four Russian tanks in one day on the Novoprokopivka front.

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