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Ukraine Conflict: Crimea-a-River


Werthead
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They did, after all, allow Georgia get out of hand, so it has blown.

Well, if wasn't them responsible, somebody was.  Everybody better watch out.  

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Saw a blurb claiming Russia had amassed over half a million troops and that Ukraine had retreated to a more advantageous position as a result. Looks like a setup for a bloody mess.

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The West Doesn’t Understand How Much Russia Has Changed

Gift Link for behind sub pay wall:

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/05/15/opinion/putin-china-xi-jinping.html?unlocked_article_code=1.sE0.NQju.DOm3pUXyrztR&smid=url-share

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....  From the economy, education follows. Members of the Russian elite are scrambling to find Mandarin tutors for their kids, and some of my Russian contacts are thinking about sending their children to universities in Hong Kong or mainland China now that Western universities are much harder to reach. This development is more than anecdotal. Last year, as China opened up after the pandemic, 12,000 Russian students went to study there — nearly four times as many than to the United States. ....


 

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Belbek Airbase in Crimea took an absolute pounding overnight. At least one complete S-400 complex was destroyed, and it looks like multiple hangers were breached. Some fuel storage may have also been hit. So far, unclear if any aircraft were destroyed.

It sounds like the US has now taken the gloves off and allowed Ukraine to target military installations and troops in Russia that are directly attacking Ukrainian positions.

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Some Russian milbloggers are claiming that Crimea is under the largest, most sustained attack Ukraine has launched on it to date. Belbek Airfield has been hit a second time, more explosions reported in Simferopol, Sevastopol, Dzhankoy and Gvardeyskoye. Apparently drones have been shot down by the AA defences around the Kerch Bridge, but it wasn't the main target for the attack. Additional AA assets have been hit and maybe some aircraft at Belbek (although if they didn't move them after yesterday, they're idiots).

Some Ukrainian counter-attacks on Russian positions on the Kharkiv border, at least one report of Ukrainian forces using close drone support to drive Russian forces back from one village.

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The situation on the Kharkiv front appears confused. The Ukrainians have actually regained some of the lost territory, not a vast amount, but a couple of villages seem to have been retaken and in some areas the Ukrainians report they are conducting limited counter-offensive tactical operations. The Russians have already deployed second-echelon units which is completely bizarre unless they already either suffered catastrophic troop losses in the first wave (Russian losses have been heavy as normal, but not that heavy) or the entire offensive was undermanned, which jives with earlier reports that Ukraine wasn't expecting the attack for another few weeks as Russia have only accumulated 10-15%, maybe less, of the troops they really needed to make the attack convincing. Russia sent several tank groupings forward without drone or artillery support, with the natural loss of those tanks.

It looks like some Russian forces held in the second echelon or on the flanks have instead been redirected to Vovchansk, where Ukrainian resistance has stiffened considerably. Some suggestions that Vovchansk might became the next Avdiivka or Bakhmut, which seems rather premature.

A further possibility is that this entire attack is a prelude to a larger attack but Ukraine and western sources simply aren't seeing vaster formations holding back ready to attack. Russia is congregating a further grouping of troops in central European Russia for later deployment, but so far that formation does not appear very significant in size.

Although there are signs of cautious optimism, there are also increasing and more effective glide bomb attacks going on along the front, and although Ukrainian reinforcements have arrived, they have not yet accumulated mass to try to retake the entire border region. Ukraine's tactic now is to try to knock the Russians back before they can fortify, until they have perfected tactics capable of deep penetration of Russian heavy defences. If they fail to do that here, they could lose that strip of border territory (limited as it is for now).

Denmark has announced $816 million of support for Ukraine, including sourcing new F-16s and funding NATO CAPs over the Baltic. This is a massive amount of money given Denmark's size.

Unmanned surface vehicles reportedly engaged Russian coastal patrols off Crimea. Some Russian military sources seem to be disturbed by the deployment of Ukrainian drones with AA capabilities (and the possibility of surface or submersible drones moving close to the coast and launching effective artillery attacks at shore targets).

One Russian milblogger reporting that the combined impact of attacks on Russian oil and gas infrastructure, plus the AA and air positions in Crimea, has already cost billions of dollars, which Russia cannot really afford. He also noted that Russian aircraft hangers are still not properly hardened, leading to some aircraft being knocked out of commission just by shrapnel or debris.

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103 Ukrainian drone strikes overnight. The port at Novorossiysk took multiple hits, with NASA's FIRMS satellites picking up a massive blaze in the warehouse part of the port, apparently from a fuel storage area that took a direct hit. Crimea took a pounding for the second night in a row, with Sevastopol losing all power and going into rolling blackouts today. Russian internet connectivity in Crimea was also targeted and largely knocked out.

The Tuapse refinery on the Black Sea took multiple hits and was left ablaze.

Allegedly, the air defence commanders of some Russian areas hit by previous drone strikes have been sent to the front to serve in storm units, but I'd take that with a pinch of salt for now.

Analysis of the two attacks on Belbek Airfield confirms destruction of the main fuel storage area and one S-400 complex. Competing claims of either one or two MiG M-31s and maybe one Su-27 destroyed.

According to Zelensky, recent initiatives have resulted in a large amount of artillery ammunition finally reaching Ukraine in recent days. With the incoming shells from the Czech initiative, he believes Ukraine will have, for the first time since the war started, enough shells to get things done. We'll see if that's just positive talk soon enough.

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4 minutes ago, Werthead said:

According to Zelensky, recent initiatives have resulted in a large amount of artillery ammunition finally reaching Ukraine in recent days. With the incoming shells from the Czech initiative, he believes Ukraine will have, for the first time since the war started, enough shells to get things done. We'll see if that's just positive talk soon enough.

I don't see why he would say that if it weren't true.  It's not like troops at the front are going to be convinced - they can see with their own eyes whether there are enough shells to go around.  It's encouraging. 

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I am starting to wonder here. On other sites, I occasionally interact with Russians who somehow made it onto the Western internet. Almost all of them view Ukraine as an illegitimate country and will go on at length about the need to obliterate Ukrainian Nazis. For that matter, they view the West as being a sort of front for a Nazi regime centered in the US, with the rest of NATO as bootlicking vassal states. Plus, they will go on about how the USSR singlehandedly won WWII and how Russia is the 'greatest nation ever.' They are either dismissive or utterly baffled about the rest of the war - and the massive assistance Russia received from the West.

Economic arguments about the relative wealth of Russia versus the West don't seem to register at all - they either dismiss it as part of the Nazi plot or view it as a sort of bribe, for want of a better term. They complain bitterly about NATO expansion - but arguments about how the new countries entering NATO did so out of fear of Russian aggression leave them baffled. The concept of a genuine alliance instead of a boss/vassal-type situation seems beyond their comprehension.

 

As far as Ukraine is concerned, to them, Russia is winning. Ukrainian losses across the board are far higher than Russia's, and reports of Russia employing human wave tactics are Nazi propaganda. They endlessly cite reports of Ukrainian draft dodgers yet dismiss such accounts from within Russia. Press gangs? Those don't exist.

 

What does stymie these people is that despite Russia being clearly superior, the battle lines remain fixed.

Now to the crux - to these people, and presumably most other Russians, Russia is the greatest nation ever whose greatest moment was fighting the Nazis. They see the Ukrainian war as a continuation of this - Russia CANNOT lose. God and pride and history are on their side.  So, what happens to this mentality when Russia does decisively lose the Ukrainian war? Especially when the reality of their collapsing economy hits home?

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5 minutes ago, ThinkerX said:

I am starting to wonder here. On other sites, I occasionally interact with Russians who somehow made it onto the Western internet. Almost all of them view Ukraine as an illegitimate country and will go on at length about the need to obliterate Ukrainian Nazis. For that matter, they view the West as being a sort of front for a Nazi regime centered in the US, with the rest of NATO as bootlicking vassal states. Plus, they will go on about how the USSR singlehandedly won WWII and how Russia is the 'greatest nation ever.' They are either dismissive or utterly baffled about the rest of the war - and the massive assistance Russia received from the West.

Economic arguments about the relative wealth of Russia versus the West don't seem to register at all - they either dismiss it as part of the Nazi plot or view it as a sort of bribe, for want of a better term. They complain bitterly about NATO expansion - but arguments about how the new countries entering NATO did so out of fear of Russian aggression leave them baffled. The concept of a genuine alliance instead of a boss/vassal-type situation seems beyond their comprehension.

 

As far as Ukraine is concerned, to them, Russia is winning. Ukrainian losses across the board are far higher than Russia's, and reports of Russia employing human wave tactics are Nazi propaganda. They endlessly cite reports of Ukrainian draft dodgers yet dismiss such accounts from within Russia. Press gangs? Those don't exist.

 

What does stymie these people is that despite Russia being clearly superior, the battle lines remain fixed.

Now to the crux - to these people, and presumably most other Russians, Russia is the greatest nation ever whose greatest moment was fighting the Nazis. They see the Ukrainian war as a continuation of this - Russia CANNOT lose. God and pride and history are on their side.  So, what happens to this mentality when Russia does decisively lose the Ukrainian war? Especially when the reality of their collapsing economy hits home?

There was a former poster here, who was of Russian (or thereabouts) heritage who I believe lived in thr US or Canada. He fancied hinself as a pick-up artist, but I doremember one comment he made where he said Russians don’t care how bad it is for them, so long ss it’s worse for someone else

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1 hour ago, ThinkerX said:

I am starting to wonder here. On other sites, I occasionally interact with Russians who somehow made it onto the Western internet. Almost all of them view Ukraine as an illegitimate country and will go on at length about the need to obliterate Ukrainian Nazis. For that matter, they view the West as being a sort of front for a Nazi regime centered in the US, with the rest of NATO as bootlicking vassal states. Plus, they will go on about how the USSR singlehandedly won WWII and how Russia is the 'greatest nation ever.' They are either dismissive or utterly baffled about the rest of the war - and the massive assistance Russia received from the West.

Economic arguments about the relative wealth of Russia versus the West don't seem to register at all - they either dismiss it as part of the Nazi plot or view it as a sort of bribe, for want of a better term. They complain bitterly about NATO expansion - but arguments about how the new countries entering NATO did so out of fear of Russian aggression leave them baffled. The concept of a genuine alliance instead of a boss/vassal-type situation seems beyond their comprehension.

As far as Ukraine is concerned, to them, Russia is winning. Ukrainian losses across the board are far higher than Russia's, and reports of Russia employing human wave tactics are Nazi propaganda. They endlessly cite reports of Ukrainian draft dodgers yet dismiss such accounts from within Russia. Press gangs? Those don't exist.

What does stymie these people is that despite Russia being clearly superior, the battle lines remain fixed.

Now to the crux - to these people, and presumably most other Russians, Russia is the greatest nation ever whose greatest moment was fighting the Nazis. They see the Ukrainian war as a continuation of this - Russia CANNOT lose. God and pride and history are on their side.  So, what happens to this mentality when Russia does decisively lose the Ukrainian war? Especially when the reality of their collapsing economy hits home?

There is a very high probability they're from Russian troll farms, and are paid to go online into overseas forums and spread propaganda. It's a pretty decent-paying job, especially as you're sitting on your arse probably in a nice office in Moscow and not, for example, being blown into small pieces on the battle front.

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2 hours ago, ThinkerX said:

I am starting to wonder here. On other sites, I occasionally interact with Russians who somehow made it onto the Western internet. Almost all of them view Ukraine as an illegitimate country and will go on at length about the need to obliterate Ukrainian Nazis. For that matter, they view the West as being a sort of front for a Nazi regime centered in the US, with the rest of NATO as bootlicking vassal states. Plus, they will go on about how the USSR singlehandedly won WWII and how Russia is the 'greatest nation ever.' They are either dismissive or utterly baffled about the rest of the war - and the massive assistance Russia received from the West.

Economic arguments about the relative wealth of Russia versus the West don't seem to register at all - they either dismiss it as part of the Nazi plot or view it as a sort of bribe, for want of a better term. They complain bitterly about NATO expansion - but arguments about how the new countries entering NATO did so out of fear of Russian aggression leave them baffled. The concept of a genuine alliance instead of a boss/vassal-type situation seems beyond their comprehension.

 

As far as Ukraine is concerned, to them, Russia is winning. Ukrainian losses across the board are far higher than Russia's, and reports of Russia employing human wave tactics are Nazi propaganda. They endlessly cite reports of Ukrainian draft dodgers yet dismiss such accounts from within Russia. Press gangs? Those don't exist.

 

What does stymie these people is that despite Russia being clearly superior, the battle lines remain fixed.

Now to the crux - to these people, and presumably most other Russians, Russia is the greatest nation ever whose greatest moment was fighting the Nazis. They see the Ukrainian war as a continuation of this - Russia CANNOT lose. God and pride and history are on their side.  So, what happens to this mentality when Russia does decisively lose the Ukrainian war? Especially when the reality of their collapsing economy hits home?

Sounds like MAGA morons.

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45 minutes ago, SpaceChampion said:

Sounds like MAGA morons.

Some of them might be. I am surrounded by MAGA-types. Several of them are pro-Russia to such an extreme they are literally quoting Russian propaganda - 'de-Nazification,' Ukraine 'not a real country,' NATO a scheme by the New World Order. They complain that NATO broke agreements by 'expanding eastward' and don't care to hear those countries joined NATO because of Russian bullying. Reminders of the bad old days when Russia bossed the Warsaw Pact around and communist atrocities were met with 'Russia is different now.' Fortunately, they are a minority even within MAGA.

But, going from word choice and certain 'miscomprehensions' for want of a better term. I think most of them are Russians. 

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25 minutes ago, ThinkerX said:

Some of them might be. I am surrounded by MAGA-types. Several of them are pro-Russia to such an extreme they are literally quoting Russian propaganda - 'de-Nazification,' Ukraine 'not a real country,' NATO a scheme by the New World Order. They complain that NATO broke agreements by 'expanding eastward' and don't care to hear those countries joined NATO because of Russian bullying. Reminders of the bad old days when Russia bossed the Warsaw Pact around and communist atrocities were met with 'Russia is different now.' Fortunately, they are a minority even within MAGA.

But, going from word choice and certain 'miscomprehensions' for want of a better term. I think most of them are Russians. 

I like to ask those geniuses to provide a copy of any agreement signed and ratified by NATO to not expand eastward.  They generally sputter and say… that’s not what I ment…

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52 minutes ago, ThinkerX said:

But, going from word choice and certain 'miscomprehensions' for want of a better term. I think most of them are Russians. 

That's not what i meant.  I meant those types of Russians are as ignorant and jingoistic sheep as the MAGA morons, not that they were Americans pretending to be Russians.  Every country has that crowd, unfortunately.

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6 hours ago, ThinkerX said:

Now to the crux - to these people, and presumably most other Russians, Russia is the greatest nation ever whose greatest moment was fighting the Nazis. They see the Ukrainian war as a continuation of this - Russia CANNOT lose. God and pride and history are on their side.  So, what happens to this mentality when Russia does decisively lose the Ukrainian war? Especially when the reality of their collapsing economy hits home?

This isn't true, most Russians are apathetic and not terribly invested in politics. People going on forums to argue in English are either highly invested nationalists paid propagandists or both. 

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13 hours ago, ThinkerX said:

Now to the crux - to these people, and presumably most other Russians, Russia is the greatest nation ever whose greatest moment was fighting the Nazis. They see the Ukrainian war as a continuation of this - Russia CANNOT lose. God and pride and history are on their side.  So, what happens to this mentality when Russia does decisively lose the Ukrainian war? Especially when the reality of their collapsing economy hits home?

If East Germany is any indication, these people become Nazis. 

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I’m assuming Russia starting a new front along the border is a reaction to the increased munitions expected from America and Czechia. 
 

Some dumbass general thought an attack there might break through and end the war before the new supplies for Ukraine started arriving in large numbers. 

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Russia assembled a fairly large mechanised column in Bakhmut and drove it straight at the eastern part of Chasiv Yar. Ukrainian forces obliterated the column with drones and artillery as it crossed three miles of open ground with no cover and apparently no artillery cover.

Ukraine is expanding aerial assaults from Robotyne to Kherson, engaging Russian positions south of the Dnipro with glide bombs and short-range missiles and artillery.

Another mechanised attack on Soloviove in Donetsk Oblast ran into heavy drone and artillery fire, losing a T-72 and two IFVs.

For unclear reasons, Russian forces that had just made it into Vovchansk converted a hospital in a makeshift command centre despite it being right on the front line. Unsurprisingly, after Russian forces piled into the hospital it underwent a sudden demolition event, with presumably uncomfortable results for everyone inside. Of course, this means that Vovchansk won't have a functional hospital for some considerable time, no matter who ends up controlling it long-term.

Michael Kofman, one of the most traditionally pessimistic of western commentators on the war, has assessed that Russia has until the end of this year to make good progress, otherwise its prospects in 2025 onwards become more doubtful.

The Georgian President has vetoed the "foreign agents" law and will send back a new version with amendments. This punts off the crisis, but only for a couple of weeks.

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