The Bear and the Sunflowers
February 28, 2022 4:18 AM   Subscribe

Part two of the Russia orders troops into Ukraine thread. Also on mefi: Ukraine, Russia and space and the story of the Ghost of Kyiv. Over in metatalk, for mefites directly affected and ways to help, a metatalk thread, and remembering the Shire, a quiet respite thread when you need a break.
posted by dorothyisunderwood (850 comments total) 89 users marked this as a favorite
 
Repeating from previous thread, since it might be useful: in case you know anyone fleeing Ukraine right now, the recommended smaller border crossings are Dołhobyczów-Uhriniv (with a reception point for refugees in Dołhobyczów) and Budomierz-Hrushiv (reception point in Krowica Sama some 6 km away). As of 7AM today the waiting times for pedestrians there were under 2 hours, as opposed to 70+ for cars on main crossings in Medyka and Korczowa, plus 700+ pedestrians waiting for processing in Medyka.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 4:25 AM on February 28 [36 favorites]


Epony-serious
posted by DeepSeaHaggis at 4:27 AM on February 28 [20 favorites]


The other thread, despite some shaky moments, didn't go badly at all IMO. One issue that did arise was ensuring focus was kept on the topic at hand. I would suggest asking two questions about a comment before posting it.
  1. Is it directly about Russia's invasion of Ukraine?
  2. If it's about a person's or country's response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, is it novel, informative and relevant or is it dragging an unrelated argument or grudge into the thread?
And thanks everyone for some great contributions to the previous thread!
posted by Busy Old Fool at 4:36 AM on February 28 [54 favorites]


Adam Tooze's Chartbook this morning dealt with the effects of sanctions on Russia's central banking, and the possibility of a worldwide shock in the form of a sudden $300b going missing from short-term money markets.
posted by mittens at 4:45 AM on February 28 [13 favorites]


Never thought this random username would be relevant... But this thread is helping me stay a little bit sane over here in Poland, though I suspect I'll be taking a long break soon. Feels like the beginning weeks of the pandemic, where the news occupied 90% of my brain.

And yay! There were rumours for a while, but Ukrainian navy has now confirmed that the heroes of Snake Island ("Russian warship go fuck yourself") have been taken prisoner rather than killed outright.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 4:52 AM on February 28 [95 favorites]


Just a reminder that while there are, relatively speaking, not so many MeFites who live in countries bordering Russia or Ukraine, we are going to be disproportionately represented in these threads. So please be careful and measured when discussing the possibilities of escalation or spillover conflict, totally valid topics for discussion by the by, and keep in mind that we are already having to contemplate, and possibly plan for, some rather horrific scenarios.
posted by Kattullus at 5:06 AM on February 28 [101 favorites]


Five Essential Commodities That Will Be Hit by War in Ukraine, The Conversation, Sarah Schiffling & Nikolaos Valantasis Kanellos, Feb 24, 2022:
The war in Ukraine is threatening further disruption to already stretched supply chains. Ukraine and Russia may only account for a small proportion of the imports of major manufacturing nations like Germany and the US, but they are essential suppliers of raw materials and energy for many crucial supply chains.

Though the economic consequences of a war that threatens the lives and livelihoods of many Ukrainians will always be secondary to the looming humanitarian crisis, here are five areas likely to see trouble ahead:

1. Energy
2. Food
3. Transport
4. Metals
5. Microchips
Details in the article.
posted by cenoxo at 5:11 AM on February 28 [4 favorites]


If we are doing hopes for this new thread, here is a quote from the acoup blog posted in the previous thread:
The mistaken assumption here is to assume that this conflict is really fundamentally about NATO or the United States, but it isn’t – it’s about Ukraine and Russia. Consequently, as noted, even forewarned, there was relatively little that NATO could do to stop this from happening.
posted by mumimor at 5:35 AM on February 28 [43 favorites]


My wish is that this thread is kept free from horrifically imaginative scenarios. If you see one, flag and ignore is the best strategy.
posted by tiny frying pan at 5:40 AM on February 28 [39 favorites]


Attack On Europe: Documenting Equipment Losses During The 2022 Russian Invasion Of Ukraine

I'm the last person to reduce this war, or any other, to a simple military scorecard. But this looks like a relatively unbiased tally of equipment losses from both sides (relying on open source photo or video evidence, and continually updated). Ukraine is understandably trumpeting only the aggressor's losses; Russia is denying any losses at all. The link gives us all a more realistic view. Russia is indeed taking the majority of losses, but it comes at a heavy price for the Ukrainians as well.
posted by Kabanos at 5:46 AM on February 28 [7 favorites]


maybe this type of reflection is better saved for after the war is over but

This war feels different. Seeing people post on the front page of reddit about soldiers at their doors. Watching tiktok videos of people who last month were office workers now throwing IEDs at tanks. Watching a gif of kid exploring on said tanks, and finding corpses inside and littered around. Reading about russian soldiers being halted by villagers, or catfished on tinder, or arrested when they get lost.
posted by rebent at 6:06 AM on February 28 [17 favorites]


Ukraine and Russia have started peace talks at the Belarusian border. I don't know that it means much yet, but it's at least a start.
posted by JDHarper at 6:10 AM on February 28 [4 favorites]


Thanks mumimor for linking that acoup blog post, I found it extremely clear eyed. Also to echo some of your sentiments from the previous thread, I've been overall heartened by the western and European response to this crisis (I live in Germany).

Doug Saunders is a writer for the Globe and Mail who I respect a lot, and he's covering the conflict. Here's his latest: In 30 minutes, Germany ended decades of policy on military, energy, debt and Moscow.
posted by Alex404 at 6:14 AM on February 28 [12 favorites]


Looking for some deeper perspectives:

Clearly everyone is right to be rooting for Ukraine in this, and its been heartening to see them stand up to Russian aggression - the Snake Island thing, and Zelensky staying put, have captured everyone's imagination.

But what has been going on in Ukraine since 2014? Donbas and Luhansk - is that just Russia stirring things up or are there genuine societal rifts in Ukraine? And the nazi thing .... the Azov Brigade definitely exists - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azov_Battalion - is this just a small faction of 'misguided youth' or does their existence point to something more troubling in Ukrainian politics in general?
posted by memebake at 6:28 AM on February 28 [2 favorites]


The latest minor casualty of the conflict: a UK price comparison website’s mascot, a Russian oligarch meerkat.
posted by acb at 6:28 AM on February 28 [1 favorite]


Switzerland has announced that they are closing their airspace to flights from Russia and adopting EU sanctions against Russia.
posted by scorbet at 6:30 AM on February 28 [13 favorites]


Is there any evidence that Ukraine has a worse Nazis-in-the-military problem than, say, the US or UK or any other country? Nazis being drawn to the military/police seems to be a universal problem.
posted by acb at 6:32 AM on February 28 [80 favorites]


Finland polling for NATO membership has gone above an absolute majority for the first time.

Putin's not going to have any toes left with how often he's shot himself in the foot.

But what has been going on in Ukraine since 2014? Donbas and Luhansk - is that just Russia stirring things up or are there genuine societal rifts in Ukraine? And the nazi thing .... the Azov Brigade definitely exists - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azov_Battalion - is this just a small faction of 'misguided youth' or does their existence point to something more troubling in Ukrainian politics in general?

You should ask their Jewish president being targeted for liquidation by the Wagner group. Personally I always preferred Tchaikovsky. I think we could all use an unscheduled performance of Swan Lake.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 6:32 AM on February 28 [18 favorites]


We can do without the "just asking questions" as to whether Putin's unhinged rants about de-Nazifying Ukraine have some merit after all.
posted by Gelatin at 6:33 AM on February 28 [94 favorites]


This war feels different. Seeing people post on the front page of reddit about soldiers at their doors.

One thing that's different: At least in the West, this is the first war on social media.
posted by NotLost at 6:35 AM on February 28 [13 favorites]


I wonder how countries plan to enforce the airspace bans. Canada initiated one, but Russia appears to continue to fly through Canadian airspace, anyway. I'm curious what enforcement options are on the table, without escalating or expanding the conflict.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 6:37 AM on February 28


Thanks mumimor for linking that acoup blog post, I found it extremely clear eyed. Also to echo some of your sentiments from the previous thread, I've been overall heartened by the western and European response to this crisis (I live in Germany)

Seconded on the acoup article. Also glad to hear there's some reason for hope in the general region. (Actually some musicians in Eastern Europe I follow on social media have been very active with spreading the word on mutual aid etc.)

I hadn't been following the first thread and just read back over the past few days -- oof. Like tiny frying pan said, hopefully we can do our best to limit the uninformed doom-mongering here. (That's what Facebook and Reddit are for!)

The most informative article I've seen on the situation, in terms of explaining the overall recent political context, was published in Time Magazine at the beginning of the month.
...The leading voice for Russian interests in Ukraine, [Viktor] Medvedchuk’s political party is the biggest opposition force in parliament, with millions of supporters. Over the past year, that party has come under attack. Medvedchuk was charged with treason in May and placed under house arrest in Kyiv. Just last month, the U.S. accused him and his allies of plotting to stage a coup with help from the Russian military...

Last February, days after the Inauguration of President Joe Biden, America’s allies in Kyiv decided to get tough on Medvedchuk. The Ukrainian government started by taking his TV channels off the air, depriving Russia of its propaganda outlets in the country. The U.S. embassy in Kyiv applauded the move. About two weeks later, on Feb. 19, 2021, Ukraine announced that it had seized the assets of Medvedchuk’s family. Among the most important, it said, was a pipeline that brings Russian oil to Europe, enriching Medvedchuk and his family—including Putin’s goddaughter, Daria—and helping to bankroll Medvedchuk’s political party.

The first inkling of Putin’s response came less than two days later, at 7 a.m. on Feb. 21...
posted by viborg at 6:37 AM on February 28 [18 favorites]


I don't believe a word Putin says but I don't see why asking questions should be a problem at metafilter

I'm not one to kink shame but JAQing off in public is very rude.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 6:41 AM on February 28 [68 favorites]


There is definitely antisemitism in Ukraine but I don't know if I'm comfortable saying Ukraine has any bigger of a white supremacy and anti semitism problem than the United States, and a Russian invasion isn't going to solve that problem, is it?
posted by dis_integration at 6:41 AM on February 28 [39 favorites]


If there is anyone on the fence about doing what they can to help Ukrainians in Ukraine and refugees who are fleeing at the moment:

Please do. Every little thing helps. My parents, my siblings and I fled a satellite state of the Soviet Union decades ago and I will never forget the help that we received along the way across two countries. There were bad parts: the piss and shit filled bed I was given on arrival to a refugee camp in the west was horrific, and I remember my mother’s cries when she saw it. The Nazis who cursed her when she tried to wave down a car to take me to the dentist. The local kids who bullied us and sent me to the hospital. For every one of those things: someone did something kind to offset it. The grandmother who invited us for dinner in a camp I lived in for three years. Another woman who organized a weekend trip from the camp to the mountains and bought me a postcard I had my eyes on (I still have it.). The couple who pulled over with their car to pick me and my brother up when we were getting beat up by other kids. The people I don’t know who donated food for our family and others in one of the camps — as a child nothing excited me more at the time than to see what goodies I would get in the small cardboard childrens’ box every week.

The shame I have is that now I live again kilometers away from what’s happening now and I want to go and help but I’m afraid I’ll only break down. I am crying just writing this. But I am trying to work up the courage. If you have the strength, the time, or the money, please help. You will not be forgotten.
posted by UN at 6:41 AM on February 28 [197 favorites]


On the (very low) chance that anyone here is legitimately confused about the claims of neo-Nazi activity in Ukraine, this comment in the last thread linked to this Guardian article about the antisemetic nature of that claim.

In short, Zelenskyy isn't a proponent of Christian Nationalism but a target of it.
posted by All Might Be Well at 6:41 AM on February 28 [51 favorites]


But what has been going on in Ukraine since 2014?

I found this piece from Ukrainian anarchists helpful. (I think it was near the top of the original Ukraine thread, but one could well be forgiven for missing large chunks of that long and quick-moving thread.)
posted by eviemath at 6:42 AM on February 28 [15 favorites]


Ok thanks to the people who took my question in the spirit in which it was meant.
posted by memebake at 6:43 AM on February 28 [5 favorites]


Is there any evidence that Ukraine has a worse Nazis-in-the-military problem than, say, the US or UK or any other country? Nazis being drawn to the military/police seems to be a universal problem.


That is a very complicated question but the short answer is: "No".

If you ask the larger question, not of "Nazis" but of extreme ethnonationalists then I think there is no evidence that there are more in Ukraine than elsewhere.

The complication here is that some of the anti-Soviet resistance movements had people in them who were actually aligned directly with literal Nazis. So if you go looking into the past of Ukraine for symbols of resistance, you will run into people who were not just aligned with Nazis (also, to put it mildly, not great) but people who had a directing role in the Ukrainian holocaust. Stephan Bandera in particular despite his later arrest by the Gestapo is every bit as bad as people who were hanged after Nuremburg. Certainly the Azov brigade guys are Nazis. So a far-right white supremacist in the British or US military is less likely to be drawn to Nazi symbolism and self-identification, even if they may hold broadly similar views, because their particular tradition of military glory is built on fighting and defeating actual Nazis.

On the other hand, at the most recent elections the far right took 2% of the election, beaten by a Jewish actor. The claim that Ukraine is a Nazi state should be seen for what it is, a preposterous claim made by someone who is himself an ethnonationalist thug with an eliminationist bent.
posted by atrazine at 6:44 AM on February 28 [121 favorites]


The Azov Battalion is a unit of Ukraine's National Guard.

Read the Wikipedia article that memebake posted.

It's entirely reasonable to raise an eyebrow at that.

And Putin's invasion of Ukraine is still appalling and brutal, and his justification of "de-Nazification" is an obvious fig leaf.

Both things can be true simultaneously.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 6:45 AM on February 28 [23 favorites]


The Ukranian National Guard account posted its Nazis dipping bullets in pigs blood to attack Muslim Chechens yesterday. This is a nuanced way of looking at it and the question of how we talk about the Ukrainian nazis.

The tweet is still up with a tag that it violates Twitter's rules about hateful content.
posted by Mavri at 6:46 AM on February 28 [9 favorites]


I don't believe a word Putin says but I don't see why asking questions should be a problem at metafilter

Because your "just asking questions" amount to "shouldn't we consider whether Putin's justifications for the war are valid after all," when the notion that ethnic Russians were clamoring to break away from Ukraine was debunked back when Putin seized Crimea.
posted by Gelatin at 6:48 AM on February 28 [34 favorites]


Some stray thoughts to tie in [sorry. US politics -- please bear with me briefly and let's not get bogged down in this]: the ongoing conflict with Putin over the Ukraine was also a significant factor in the election of Trump, as detailed in that Cadwalladr tweetstorm linked upthread: "This failure [of Facebook to stop the disinformation campaign] is at the heart of what is happening now in Ukraine. Because the first offensive in the Great Information War was from 2014-2022. And Putin won. And he won by convincing us it wasn't even a war."

Also, in terms of the information 'battleground' it's worth noting that 62% of Americans believe Putin wouldn't have invaded the Ukraine if Trump were president. Sorry again for dwelling on this but just the sheer irony that Putin in effect invaded because of Biden's strength, relative to Trump; while even a large portion of Democrats believe the exact opposite. It's enough to make me think Putin is still winning the information conflict, with the able assistance of Zuckerberg, Murdoch et al.
posted by viborg at 6:49 AM on February 28 [19 favorites]


There were rumours for a while, but Ukrainian navy has now confirmed that the heroes of Snake Island ("Russian warship go fuck yourself") have been taken prisoner rather than killed outright.

I like to think these guys will be never have to pay for a drink for the rest of their days.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:50 AM on February 28 [24 favorites]


Most countries in Europe have some element of neo-nazis. Russia has an actual right-wing authoritarian despot. It's like if Mussolini called out Hitler for being a Nazi
posted by mumimor at 6:51 AM on February 28 [39 favorites]


Finland polling for NATO membership has gone above an absolute majority for the first time.

Putin's not going to have any toes left with how often he's shot himself in the foot


Not only that but there's discussion going on right now about sending weapons and ammunition to Ukraine as well. Until now it's been solely defensive equipment and this decision will be a sea change in the wider "let's not do anything to piss off Russia" policy that has plagued Finland for decades.
posted by slimepuppy at 6:54 AM on February 28 [3 favorites]


Most countries in Europe have some element of neo-nazis. Russia has an actual right-wing authoritarian despot. It's like if Mussolini called out Hitler for being a Nazi

Do most of those countries post videos of their Nazis doing Nazi things on their official Twitter feeds?

I have no idea if the US military or European militaries have more Nazis than Ukraine, but if a US military account posted video of its soldiers dipping bullets in pigs blood, no one would downplay it. We can support the Ukrainian people and recognize Putin's bullshit while also acknowledging how fucked up and dangerous this is.
posted by Mavri at 6:56 AM on February 28 [19 favorites]


The events of the last few days have also resulted, hearteningly, in that even if there was some nascent desire among some to align with Russia, Putin's actions have destroyed it in favor of patriotic fervor.
posted by Gelatin at 6:57 AM on February 28 [4 favorites]


I'm absolutely with Mavri here, that was such an awful look for the Ukrainians.

Most countries in Europe have some element of neo-nazis. Russia has an actual right-wing authoritarian despot. It's like if Mussolini called out Hitler for being a Nazi

Like if Hitler had called out Churchill more like.
posted by viborg at 6:59 AM on February 28 [11 favorites]


What really sets this war apart is how it's being fought with smartphones as much as weapons.

From oridinary Ukrainians, Belarussians, and even Russians crowdsourcing intelligence on the Russian forces by posting pics and videos of their locations and movements toward the war zone, to Ukrainians forcing their POWs to immediately call their parents or record videos for their parents telling them that they love them and want to go home, to the Ukrainian President filming daily selfies in front of landmarks to show his people that he's still in Kiev, to Ukrainian politicians and ordinary people posting social media messages that address Russian soldiers directly, I've seen nothing like it before.

I think we're seeing a paradigm shift in the general public's access to information about and thus perception of war as significant as that of television coverage of the Vietnam War.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:05 AM on February 28 [72 favorites]


I have no idea if the US military or European militaries have more Nazis than Ukraine, but if a US military account posted video of its soldiers dipping bullets in pigs blood, no one would downplay it. We can support the Ukrainian people and recognize Putin's bullshit while also acknowledging how fucked up and dangerous this is.

It's Islamaphobic but keep in mind the Chechens weren't exactly coming down on their party buses for a bachelor party. They were sent there to do war crimes at an arms length from Putin. They are traitors to their people who thought they could walk into the place, shoot some Ukrainians and then start raping the women who stuck around.

There's also the aspect that the US military would just be kicking a dog while it's down. Ukrainian forces are fighting for their homes against a foreign aggressor who on paper is far more powerful than them. So yes, it's distasteful and racist but I'm not going to tut-tut people who, quite frankly, don't have the luxury of being civil right now.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:06 AM on February 28 [23 favorites]


Anybody have any numbers re: market reaction and Russian ruble? 7:05AM here in California. Market in NY has been open for an hour....
posted by goalyeehah at 7:06 AM on February 28


Anybody have any numbers re: market reaction and Russian ruble? 7:05AM here in California. Market in NY has been open for an hour....

There are no numbers. Liquidity is zero. No trades are happening besides sell orders piling up. No market maker is touching it.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:07 AM on February 28 [5 favorites]


Tshbo > I wonder how countries plan to enforce the airspace bans. Canada initiated one, but Russia appears to continue to fly through Canadian airspace, anyway.

Russian airline Aeroflot violated Canadian airspace after ban, Transport Canada says, CBC.ca, Feb 28, 2022.
posted by cenoxo at 7:09 AM on February 28 [2 favorites]


It's Islamaphobic but keep in mind the Chechens weren't exactly coming down on their party buses for a bachelor party.

Following "it's -ist" with "but" is never good, IMHO. I'm well aware of why the Chechens were coming and I certainly wouldn't be objecting to a video wishing non-islamaphobic violence on them. Downplaying Nazis is bad. Just, always bad. I don't think it minimizes support for Ukraine or opposition to Putin to take that position. I mean, it's well-established at this point that African and Indian people are being put to the back of the line at border crossings while they're trying to escape. People are on TV talking about how awful it is that civilized blue-eyed Europeans are being attacked. It's not a derail or Putin apologia to acknowledge this and be disturbed by it.
posted by Mavri at 7:13 AM on February 28 [42 favorites]


There's evidence Russia is using surgical cadavers to fake Ukrainian "atrocities".
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:13 AM on February 28 [9 favorites]


Following "it's -ist" with "but" is never good, IMHO.

It's "-ic" in this case.
posted by Pendragon at 7:20 AM on February 28 [3 favorites]


but if a US military account posted video of its soldiers dipping bullets in pigs blood, no one would downplay it

Am I the only one here who remembers Abu Ghraib? Several months elapsed between when Amnesty International first sounded the alarm and when it got major press coverage in the US, and it wasn't until months after that there was even an internal investigation much less consequences.

I'm certain that deliberate disrespect of enemy combatants' religious beliefs happens routinely in the US military and the only reason we don't hear about it very often is that the US has its soldiers smartphones under much tighter control. Where Ukrainian soldiers seem to be free to post whatever they want with no approval process or other top-down social media policy.

I'm not saying that justifies any of this, but soldiers doing dumb offensive disrespectful stuff is not uniquely Ukrainian behavior and is in fact a pretty standard dehumanization technique used by soldiers everywhere to psych themselves up to be able to kill people.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:20 AM on February 28 [73 favorites]


We went to the rally in the Ukrainian Village neighborhood in Chicago yesterday. Big crowd, not just Ukrainians, but Lithuanians, Estonians, Azerbaijanis, Romanians, Hungarians. People who grew up in the USSR/in the Soviet Bloc really wanted to stand with Ukraine. It was good to see.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:20 AM on February 28 [39 favorites]


Has anyone seen confirmation on mainstream news that Chechen general Magomed Tushaev is a casualty of this war or is it just a lively online rumor?
posted by Selena777 at 7:20 AM on February 28


Following "it's -ist" with "but" is never good, IMHO. I'm well aware of why the Chechens were coming and I certainly wouldn't be objecting to a video wishing non-islamaphobic violence on them. Downplaying Nazis is bad. Just, always bad. I don't think it minimizes support for Ukraine or opposition to Putin to take that position.

I think this is a good illustration of how respectability politics is used as an appeal to neutrality and, to borrow from Elie Wiesel, that neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:26 AM on February 28 [31 favorites]


I thought this twitter thread from Australian international negotiator Dmitri Grozubinski is a nuanced take on his personal experience with an Azov Battalion member. If anyone is interested in nuance, that is.
posted by Superilla at 7:28 AM on February 28 [13 favorites]


I posted this link in the Ghost of Kiev thread, but I think it bears repeating here. It's a Feb 25 Guardian article explaining the domestic dog whistle Putin is sounding with his nonsensical claims of denazification.

By claiming that the aim of the invasion is to “denazify” Ukraine, Putin appeals to the myths of contemporary eastern European antisemitism – that a global cabal of Jews were (and are) the real agents of violence against Russian Christians and the real victims of the Nazis were not the Jews, but rather this group. Russian Christians are targets of a conspiracy by a global elite, who, using the vocabulary of liberal democracy and human rights, attack the Christian faith and the Russian nation. Putin’s propaganda is not aimed at an obviously skeptical west, but rather appeals domestically to this strain of Christian nationalism.
posted by Paul Slade at 7:32 AM on February 28 [21 favorites]


Am I the only one here who remembers Abu Ghraib? Several months elapsed between when Amnesty International first sounded the alarm and when it got major press coverage in the US, and it wasn't until months after that there was even an internal investigation much less consequences.

That was disgusting too and no one here would be downplaying it! Objecting to nazis isn't respectability politics! Jesus, I'm out. This is why people quit metafilter.
posted by Mavri at 7:32 AM on February 28 [26 favorites]


the thing is, pointing out concerns about Nazi elements in Ukraine's National Guard etc, at this time.. I mean, I'm guessing aside from the observation, you're in no position to do anything about it? I am also guessing that you're removed from the conflict sufficiently to have that kind of space to appreciate all kinds of angles? and forgive me for my presumption, but that is all very distasteful. if Canada was invaded tomorrow by the US of A and someone chirped in about "PAT KING MAKES THIS PROBLEMATIC Y'ALL" you're not doing any favours.
posted by elkevelvet at 7:35 AM on February 28 [31 favorites]


It is certainly true that the social media impact of this war is paradigm shifting, but I also feel like the use of social media was pretty prevalent in Syria and the Arab Spring. There was an immediacy to the events in Cairo and Aleppo that was afforded to the wider world by participants posting on Twitter and Facebook, and I have mixed feelings about that precedent being eclipsed by the social media narrative in Ukraine.

There's certainly a difference in that better data infrastructure makes it easier for a wider array of the populace to post news as it happens; but the proximity of Ukraine to most of Europe and the whiteness is also certainly a factor. I do hope that when the next set of conflicts and oppression flares up in Africa or Asia, and citizens of those countries display their courage and bravery on Reddit or TikTok that we won't be so quick to keep scrolling.
posted by bl1nk at 7:36 AM on February 28 [21 favorites]


The continued use of the word “nazi” to refer to all racist behaviors by some Ukrainian’s is not helping the discourse here.
posted by wemayfreeze at 7:37 AM on February 28 [31 favorites]


Historical Ukrainian Jewish Town Hit by Russian Missiles [Foreign Policy, report from Feb. 25]:

Hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin offered “denazification” as a flimsy pretext for his invasion of Ukraine, Russian missiles hit the Jewish hub of Uman, Ukraine, killing at least one civilian. Ukraine has begun evacuating its cities of civilians, including Uman.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:39 AM on February 28 [4 favorites]


Is there any evidence that Ukraine has a worse Nazis-in-the-military problem than, say, the US or UK or any other country? Nazis being drawn to the military/police seems to be a universal problem.

In a lot of ways the Nazi problem in Ukraine is not as bad as in the United States. They have been flushed out, and are under the Ukrainian military's chain of command, and they know they have tp show themselves not to be savages. And they're segregated.


Meanwhile, the neonazi Russian party has people in the Luhansk puppet government.
posted by ocschwar at 7:41 AM on February 28 [6 favorites]


I'm out. This is why people quit metafilter.

Yeah wtf. I'm having a really hard time parsing Your Childhood Pet Rock's intended meaning with regards to "respectability politics". Y.C.P.R. if you grasp that context of oppression then why would you even try to make the initial 'two wrongs make a right' comment that you did? The potential war crimes of the Chechens gives zero justification for Islamophobia.

Does anyone of the folks who liked the 'respectability politics' comment want to share your insight on why that was particularly valuable? Admittedly I'm in the dark here but I just spent some time digging into it, and it's hard to see how that supports Y.C.P.R.'s previous apology for hate speech at all.
posted by viborg at 7:41 AM on February 28 [7 favorites]


Objecting to nazis isn't respectability politics!

It's not objecting to nazis. It's trying to paint all of those fighting for Ukraine with a nazi brush. Some of the Ukrainian armed forces are most probably nazis or have nazi like beliefs. I don't think you'll ever find a fighting force that doesn't have some ultranationalist elements. And I stand behind that when I choose my side. Because there is no other side to be chosen. This isn't voting green in an election.

It's like when a box of graham crackers puts "low in fat" on the box. All graham crackers are low in fat. They're just trying to create an artificial distinction. Which is why it's respectability politics not a valiant crusade against nazis.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:41 AM on February 28 [14 favorites]


We're hearing mixed things from our family in Romania about efforts to welcome refugees. The people are stepping up to help, and some heartening things are happening. But the support seems to be largely private/non-profit/church-based and the government doesn't seem to have a coherent plan in place, so it seems to be pretty varied from place to place and from situation to situation.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:42 AM on February 28 [7 favorites]


That was disgusting too and no one here would be downplaying it! Objecting to nazis isn't respectability politics! Jesus, I'm out. This is why people quit metafilter.

I think the issue here is that while one side is dipping bullets in pig's blood and that's bad because it's disrespectful to religious beliefs, the other side is cluster-bombing kindergartens and that's bad because they're indiscriminately killing children.

Focusing on the former when the latter is going on is a super weird choice of priorities.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:42 AM on February 28 [102 favorites]


viborg: Does anyone of the folks who liked the 'respectability politics' comment want to share your insight on why that was particularly valuable?

If so, please please do it on the grey, not here.
posted by Too-Ticky at 7:45 AM on February 28 [47 favorites]


I think we can acknowledge historical and contemporary Nazism and broader anti-Semitism, other unpleasant prejudices (and one of my wife's ancestors fled Odessa with a Cossack bullet hole so I'm not remotely dismissive of it) without promoting the pro-invasion talking points of a country that has a history which is scarcely better (that Cossack wasn't working for the emperor of Ukraine).
posted by atrazine at 7:46 AM on February 28 [11 favorites]


I'm not sure this discussion is really serving anyone that well. I think the differences in opinion are clear, maybe best to leave it for now and pick it up again at a different time and place.
posted by biogeo at 7:46 AM on February 28 [77 favorites]


Apparently Russian state TV has been hammering the "all Ukrainians under arms = Nazis" theme, which might be why it's cropping up in today's discourse.

I can't pretend any insight into the average Russian on the street, but I have to think they prefer the version of events in which Russia is the beleaguered hero. Unfortunately, the fallout from the sanctions will probably reinforce that preference.
posted by Iridic at 7:48 AM on February 28 [11 favorites]


+1000 to that, biogeo.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:48 AM on February 28 [5 favorites]


Assistance page for refugees arrving in Romania: refugees.ro

Assistance page for refugees arriving in Hungary: Help for Ukrainians
posted by kmt at 7:48 AM on February 28 [12 favorites]


It's trying to paint all of those fighting for Ukraine with a nazi brush.

No one is doing this here, that's completely a straw man [person]. And we aren't exclusively focusing on this issue, but given the predominance of pro-militarist voices in Western corporate media, we are trying to raise awareness of some of the serious issues that corporate media would like to sweep under the rug. To call these very legitimate concerns "distasteful" -- especially when so much of the military aggression in recent decades, in Russia, NATO countries, etc, has been centered on demonizing Arabs and Muslims -- it's quite insensitive.
posted by viborg at 7:49 AM on February 28 [13 favorites]


I would just love if this thread could stick to reliable news and direct impacts of the news, and there could be other threads about armchair generals debating how much civilization it's ok to end, or what does Nazi even mean, or whatabout this or whatabout that. I'm using this thread for the majority of my news about the war because other media sources are just so damn toxic. Can we please keep the focus tight and the commentary light? I thank you.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:49 AM on February 28 [128 favorites]


Another thing to keep in mind is that there is a difference between holding Nazi views and organizing a Nazi militia. And the difference is money. I think we all know who had an interest in having a pretext for holding a part of Ukraine under military occupation, and that person has a habit of funding both sides of an ethnic conflict so he can step in with a mission civilatrice.

Abandoning Ukraine because of the Azov battalion will result in a more Nazi world. not less.
posted by ocschwar at 7:50 AM on February 28 [22 favorites]


Gelatin: Because your "just asking questions" amount to ...

Respectfully, no it doesn't amount to that. I was careful to make it plain that Ukraine had my support before I asked the question. You and I have both been members of metafilter for over 12 years. One of the reasons I come to metafilter is to see nuance and thinking beyong the surface level stuff that's everywhere else. I'm supporting Ukraine but I want to understand who I'm supporting and what the issues in play are. The world is not cleanly divided into good guys and bad guys. So I think understanding nuance is important. Thanks to superilla, mavri, atrazine and eviemath for providing that nuance.
posted by memebake at 7:51 AM on February 28 [17 favorites]


we are trying to raise awareness of some of the serious issues that corporate media would like to sweep under the rug

Unfortunately, it's also boosting Putin's propaganda that Russian media would like to see amplified.
posted by Gelatin at 7:52 AM on February 28 [18 favorites]


Years ago, I was at a gathering of Christian conservatives. The host of the event had started as an Anglican but had converted to Orthodoxy. There were a number of Orthodox clergymen there, one of whom started talking to me about a “Drang nach Westen.” When I gave him a puzzled look, he gave me a disgusted one in return and walked away. I wonder now if this invasion is part of what he was talking about, the recapture of the West for Christian conservatives using Russia as the hammer.
posted by No Robots at 7:54 AM on February 28 [2 favorites]


There will most definitely be a time for talking about and paying attention to the various political forces within Ukraine itself. Lots of historical situations have shown that care has to be taken both during and after conflict to keep regressive/fascist sub-groups from seizing control. So it’s important to not forget about the Azov Battalion or entirely sweep them under the rug. But also highly important to be aware of the parallel disinformation war that Russia is waging, and take care not to feed that. This sort of propaganda warfare is new for most of us, so let’s also maybe be compassionate in helping each other figure out how to deal with it?
posted by eviemath at 7:57 AM on February 28 [75 favorites]


Everyone is pretty stressed, and I understand that this is largely an information war so I can understand people typing fast replies to stuff. I'm going to just read for a bit.
posted by memebake at 7:59 AM on February 28


I for one, found the twitter thread detailing the Azov Batalion use of pig blood-dipped bullets interesting and newsworthy, while am aware of how Putin has employed those specific Chechens as his point unit (and in fact, of course Chechnya is quite divided on being in Russia).

What i didn't find useful was the reflexive comments that's pretty much worried on optics as tho this thread is just an exercise for PR management.

That news about the Batalion can have just been posted and noted without having to strenuously object to the racist quality of Ukrainian neo-facist elements. I think this thread in particular has a number of good faith participants, but do the Americans and non-europeans participating need to be handheld on every dimension of doom commenting? At least the nuclear derail is put to bed for now.
posted by cendawanita at 8:00 AM on February 28 [9 favorites]


We went to the rally in the Ukrainian Village neighborhood in Chicago yesterday.

I went to a rally in Toronto yesterday, that was 30,000 strong. It was the same thing – along with the Canadian and Ukrainian flags there were ones from Poland, Georgia, Belorus, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, etc. There were expressions of support from an array of Asian communities, with Hongkongers in particular eager to draw parallels to their ongoing fight for democracy.

I still feel as helpless as before, but the solidarity was great salve for the pain of the past few days.
posted by Kabanos at 8:01 AM on February 28 [21 favorites]




Sometimes, just asking questions is really, you know, just asking questions.

I, for one, had not even heard of the Azov Battalion until yesterday. I'm sure that many are in a similar boat.

It is perfectly legitimate to ask "so what's up with these Nazis in the Ukrainian military, anyway?"

By all means, feel free to make folks aware that the history and politics of said Nazi unit is complex and nuanced, and that Russia is overstating and exploiting the situation for propaganda purposes. Just do so civilly, please.

I'm perfectly willing to learn about such things – but I have to be allowed to ask questions, without being accused of carrying water for Putin. I most certainly am not – and I don't think anyone else in this thread is, either.

At any rate, telling people that they're forbidden to ask questions – or else they clearly love Putin and support this invasion – is unlikely to make anyone sympathetic to your position.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 8:03 AM on February 28 [36 favorites]


I regret adding to the derail upthread, sorry

I hope it's okay to share this, because I'm in Canada and I don't have a lot to offer otherwise:
- Gov't of Canada will be matching donations to Canadian Red Cross for humanitarian relief efforts
- Chrystia Freeland, Canada's Deputy Prime Minister, has been very prominent in the recent demonstrations in solidarity with Ukraine. She is pretty great, I think.
- from what I read (and did not realize until a couple of days ago), after Russia, people of the Ukrainian diaspora are most highly represented in Canada. You sure see it as you go west.
- Saturday, a couple of families in my Albertan community began a spontaneous demonstration at the (other) set of traffic lights, down by the cannabis store, and the group grew rapidly. I just wanted to share that, because the so-called "freedom" rally of anti-vaxxers/anti-mandate types had set up about a block east. The ratio of supportive car horns was about 10:1 in favour of Ukraine Solidarity.
posted by elkevelvet at 8:08 AM on February 28 [15 favorites]


Though "I'm just asking the question" can at times be poisonously disingenuous, this instance did not, at all, seem to be like that - I took as the simple, "can someone give me the over-view" which it's sometimes important to have.
I would ask everyone to assume best intentions (especially as, compared to so many other places on the internet, there aren't really any operating trolls here (sigh, I hope that doesn't bite me in the ass))
posted by From Bklyn at 8:09 AM on February 28 [19 favorites]


Given that Ukraine has far greater problems at the moment than some Ukrainian soldiers having Nazi views, debating the Azov Battalion and the far right in the military can probably wait at least until the conflict finishes.
posted by acb at 8:10 AM on February 28 [10 favorites]






Has anyone seen confirmation on mainstream news that Chechen general Magomed Tushaev is a casualty of this war or is it just a lively online rumor?
On Sunday, via the Kyiv Independent, the President's office reportd a successful ambush of Chechen forces in the area of the Hostomel Airport which is supposed to have claimed the life of Magomed Tushaev. Feels consistent with stories of groups of Russian troops roaming in different parts of Ukraine without a lot of coordination and getting isolated and destroyed, but also no independent confirmation outside of what the Ukrainians are reporting.

So, more than an online rumor, but still sort of sitting in fog of war/possible official propaganda status.
posted by bl1nk at 8:19 AM on February 28 [7 favorites]


Sitting in D.C., genuinely full of nuclear terror. Just like I was here as a kid. Livid that I have to live through this again, and that my kids now have to face it.
posted by ryanshepard at 8:21 AM on February 28 [12 favorites]




At the end of his speech Kyslytsya asked for the delegates who voted for the admission of the Russian Federation to the UN to raise their hands to confirm that Russia was admitted to the UN as per the procedures under the charter.

Nobody raised their hand.

It's difficult to post video because the session is still ongoing.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:25 AM on February 28 [6 favorites]


President Zelensky signed an application of Ukraine to EU membership.

Does anyone have an explainer of why this would be something the EU wants, outside of the current pro-Ukraine sentiment?
posted by mittens at 8:29 AM on February 28


Russian oligarchs criticize the Kremlin over their war on Ukraine — and a few are specifically named, with quotes:

Russische Oligarchen kritisieren den Kreml (auf Deutsch)
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 8:30 AM on February 28 [3 favorites]


But what has been going on in Ukraine since 2014? Donbas and Luhansk - is that just Russia stirring things up or are there genuine societal rifts in Ukraine?

Ukraine is sandwiched between Russia, with whom they share historical, language and economic ties, and Poland/Hungary/Romania, who are all part of the EU with the prosperity that implies. Whether to be closer to the EU or to Russia (and how close) has been an open and important question in Ukrainian politics since independence. Some, but not all, of the people in Donbas and Luhansk favour a "very close to Russia" answer to that question.
posted by plonkee at 8:31 AM on February 28 [6 favorites]


Russische Oligarchen kritisieren den Kreml (auf Deutsch)

Google Translate.
posted by ryanshepard at 8:34 AM on February 28 [1 favorite]




I'm guessing that the likes of Lord Lebedev know that they need to start singing like birds if they want the good times to continue.
posted by acb at 8:38 AM on February 28 [1 favorite]


“My wish is that this thread is kept free from horrifically imaginative scenarios. If you see one, flag and ignore is the best strategy.”

Absolutely. There is no reason for anyone to present "horrifically imaginative scenarios". I think the objection to blithely talking about nuclear weapons being deployed is unquestionably justified because it's horrific.

It's important to recall that this digression in the previous thread came about as the result of someone rightly questioning the wisdom of those urging NATO take direct military action against Russia in defense of Ukraine — and, we need to be clear about this — that includes enforcing a no-fly zone against Russian forces over Ukraine.

Someone repudiating the wisdom of direct NATO intervention cannot avoid mentioning the possibility of an escalation because that is both almost the entirety of the argument against doing so and is easily a consideration of global humanitarian importance. (But there's no need to elaborate on the details.)

I am deeply alarmed at any insinuation of the idea that it's appropriate for people to agitate for a direct intervention in this conflict by NATO while, in contrast, anyone responding to this with the argument that escalation is a risk that can't be justified is somehow inappropriate and unacceptable because even a mention of why this is the case requires considering something horrifying. That's the point! To argue for a direct intervention is to argue for a high possibility of the unthinkable happening! The people clamoring for a direct intervention are the ones who bear the burden of explaining how they can justify a likely unthinkably horrifying consequence, not the people correctly pointing out that such clamoring is irresponsible.

The reason this matters and is crucially important is demonstrated by the simple fact that we're having this argument here, of all places. MetaFilter is not known as being warmongering armchair generals who are willfully blind to the consequences of war. So how is it that such arguments are appearing here? It must be because they are (disturbingly) appearing everywhere.

And I, personally, am deeply astonished and frightened at this. I recognize that Russia is egregiously in the wrong and that it's entirely justified for everyone to support Ukraine wholeheartedly. But it can't be just these sentiments which explain the ubiquity and carelessness of these arguments. There must be something else going on.

Part of this is, I think, a kind of arrogance and callousness about western military intervention that's a result of the wars of the last twenty years. Americans, especially, but also Europeans, have somehow become accustomed to waging large-scale wars that occur far away and where they are heavily insulated from its realities. (You can also see this in a lot of the implicit racism — suddenly, with Ukraine, it's "us" and not the "other".)

But it also surely must be that we've now had almost two generations that have come of age after the end of the Cold War. I fear that too many people assume that the realities behind the fears of the Cold War no longer exist when, in fact, they assuredly still do. Furthermore, I fear that too many people are uneducated about the last sixty or seventy years of warfare around the globe and the geopolitics that underlie it. Aside from some nerve-wracking skirmishes between Pakistan and India in Kashmir, there have been no nuclear powers directly engaged in conflict during this entire period. Yes, there have been proxy conflicts this entire time, but this is precisely because direct conflict has been, and still is, too big a risk.

This discussion is neither superfluous nor irresponsibly speculative. It is the very heart of the matter. It sketches out the very hard boundaries of what is acceptable and what is unacceptable in responding to this conflict. It implies both the limits of Russia's rational choices and it calls into question Putin's reasoning.

Obviously, I have no influence on the rest of the Internet or pundits on television or, especially, frightened Ukrainian officials and civilians. But I would like to think that those of us here on Metafilter can be informed and aware enough to recognize why arguing for any kind of direct conflict is, well, irresponsible and — in effect if not intent — heartless. There would be no cause to even mention the possible horrors of an escalation if there were no longer any calls for these kinds of escalation. So let's not.

Also, and equally important, I think this whole "de-nazification" discussion is, firstly, harmful in that it engages in toxic propoganda, and, secondly and crucially, this matter has already been addressed in these two threads by the repeated linking of this outstanding article.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:40 AM on February 28 [65 favorites]


Does anyone have an explainer of why this would be something the EU wants, outside of the current pro-Ukraine sentiment?

The EU would prefer that countries in Europe were stable, democratic, and open for business. Membership of the EU is one way to assure that. Economically, while Ukraine is certainly less wealthy than the EU states, with 44 million people it is a business opportunity and most of the countries that have joined the EU have had economic challenges when they did so. This 2013 article is outdated about Ukrainian politics but probably still right on the fundamental benefits for the EU.
posted by plonkee at 8:41 AM on February 28 [6 favorites]




The question my google-fu has been unable to answer is: why now? I haven't been able to find anyone having a discussion about that topic.
posted by hoodrich at 8:47 AM on February 28 [2 favorites]


From an economic point of view, as the last wave of accession countries get richer, the EU is looking for more cheap labour. (And from the perspective of one of semi-ex sources of said labour, the deal is pretty sweet, we basically rebuilt our infrastructure off EU funds plus being in the common market is very useful.) From an ideology one, Ukraine is in Europe, they are willing to obey the rules and integrate, this is exactly what the EU was created for.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 8:52 AM on February 28 [16 favorites]


Wow. Just wow. This is on top of a 20% interest rate.

At some point, there'll be no more hard currency for Putin to extort from his own people and he'll get caesared. Let's hope everyone keeps putting the squeeze on this fucker.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 8:52 AM on February 28 [13 favorites]


banning Russians from depositing foreign currency in bank accounts outside Russia.

Absolutely mindblowing. Millions of Russian emigrants around the globe are going to have to choose between retaining their citizenship and being able to live in their countries of residence. What do they do if they aren't dual citizens, or able to become one, and so don't have an alternative to fall back on?
posted by rory at 8:53 AM on February 28 [14 favorites]


From an economic point of view, as the last wave of accession countries get richer, the EU is looking for more cheap labour. (And from the perspective of one of semi-ex sources of said labour, the deal is pretty sweet, we basically rebuilt our infrastructure off EU funds plus being in the common market is very useful.) From an ideology one, Ukraine is in Europe, they are willing to obey the rules and integrate, this is exactly what the EU was created for.

This. One advantage that capital has always had over workers is its ability to move wherever it needed to. Within the EU there is nowhere for capital to run. It has to play fair or risk workers moving with their feet which is easily achievable when you have freedom of movement and a trading bloc which limits the race to the bottom on imports. The EU isn't perfect but it gives the people of the periphery a decent playing field in the fight against capital.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:56 AM on February 28 [17 favorites]


I, too, would like to push back on what seems like a stunningly short-sighted rah rah rah pro-war attitude coming from observers in the U.S.

Ukraine is unequivocally in the right here. Russia is unequivocally in the wrong. But I can't help but think that Ukraine's ability to push back on Russia and prevent the expected easy victory is actually a frightening development, for Ukraine most of all. Because as we know, nuclear powers - especially nuclear powers led by megalomaniacs who are fighting wars outside their borders to distract from problems at home - may not be able to win conflicts, but they don't ever have to lose them, either.

If Russia had rolled to an easy victory, the situation would've been clear: the war was unjust, the takeover morally indefensible, the puppet government they installed illegitimate. They would have moved from a simple military engagement to a political/diplomatic struggle they could not possibly have won. The entire world would've rallied in support of Ukraine, taking in refugees and documenting and trying to prevent abuses of power; the West would have imposed astonishing sanctions; all of Russia would've suffered for a stupid war they didn't want - all of which would've made more likely the best possible outcome, which was an overthrow of Putin from within.

But...again, as we know from experience, the longer the war goes on, perversely, the more popular it will become. Russians will start to lose familiar members to combat, so pulling out will seem a betrayal; the propaganda machine will have time to work its magic; "both sides" will be described as commit atrocities, as they will, because that's inevitable in war. People support their leaders during wartime; they just do. Surely there's nothing Putin would like better to have a war to fill the news, and foreign enemies to blame for all the problems he has created?

Meanwhile, in Ukraine, the suffering will increase, and the conflict among the regions - which now most people in Ukraine seem to recognize is largely a function of Russian interference - will take on a life of its own, as the death toll rises and people begin to keep score. If it goes on long enough, people that were perfectly happy to live alongside each other before the war started will start to genuinely hate each other. Even as the major powers try to negotiate, the people on the ground won't be able to leave the hatreds behind. The worst case scenario, ten years from now, is a region as ridden by intractable conflict as the Middle East, sitting right in the middle of two nuclear powers in decline.

Again, the Russian invasion was wrong. I support Ukraine. But maybe we could try and learn from our own history and pause for two seconds before we go all-in on simplistic military solutions to incredibly complicated problems?
posted by Merricat Blackwood at 8:58 AM on February 28 [20 favorites]


It is typical of oppressor to find and highlight extremists and other off-putting/undesirable individuals in the oppressed community under the guise of just pointing out, just asking questions. This happens to the African Americans during the civil right struggle, against the ANC in South Africa during the struggle for apartheid as some examples.

You should be careful when people are fighting for their survival and existence to get caught up in what are the common problems in every organization or culture. When you highlight those things you are just helping the oppressors justify their actions. If that isn’t your intention then you should stop.
posted by interogative mood at 9:01 AM on February 28 [38 favorites]


I, too, would like to push back on what seems like a stunningly short-sighted rah rah rah pro-war attitude coming from observers in the U.S.

>

I'm not saying that justifies any of this, but soldiers doing dumb offensive disrespectful stuff

yup. My grasp of history tells me that dumb offensive disrespectful stuff is a fact of war. That's what war is. It's not a call to glory. It's a call to the worst in us. My dad fought in World War Two, saw prolonged front line combat action as a young barely post-teenager. It scarred him for life, gave him nightmares even as an old man. The most he ever said about it was, "I saw terrible, terrible things, and not just from the other side."

So I don't view being a soldier as being particularly heroic. I view it as maybe the worst job on the planet. But nevertheless one that must sometimes be done. Because those running things have, in their way, overtly and subvertly, fucked things up. Diplomacy and good will have failed. Some leader has decided that he has no other choice (there's always another fucking choice) and set loose the so-called dogs of war, past which point it's delusional to think anyone's in control anymore. Unless you believe in the devil.

Again, the Russian invasion was wrong. I support Ukraine.
posted by philip-random at 9:04 AM on February 28 [14 favorites]


Can public support from his people disappear rapidly for Putin? It's happened to strongmen before. This video may be therapeutic for some. Historian Maria Bucur explains how Ceaușescu's final speech was essentially the dissolution of his authority and support, broadcast live to everyone in the country. It's amazing, because at a rally his staff organized, to which people were required to show up and cheer for him, the crowd turns on him anyway, his resolves evaporates, and he and his wife are forced to duck inside and hide. He went from overseeing a massive rally with people shouting their support to scampering away in under 20 minutes. He was fleeing by helicopter within 24 hours and shot dead in the street within four days.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:04 AM on February 28 [29 favorites]


"Ukrainians are uploading videos on TikTok about how to drive abandoned or captured Russian military vehicles."

Surely there's nothing Putin would like better to have a war to fill the news, and foreign enemies to blame for all the problems he has created?

No, what he wanted was "The resolution of the Ukraine question." A drawn-out war is much worse for him.

f it goes on long enough, people that were perfectly happy to live alongside each other before the war started will start to genuinely hate each other.

The Russian-speaking regions in the East are getting shelled indiscriminately by the Russian army. This doesn't seem like a recipe for driving the locals into Putin's arms.
posted by BungaDunga at 9:09 AM on February 28 [7 favorites]


Mod note: Hey, yow! We got a lot of thread pretty fast starting early in the morning, at a time when everybody's really fuckin' stressed, and that's a mess up there. I don't know how clean-up-able it even is, but I'm leaving a note for now in any case. It feels like commenting the last bit has at least cooled down a bit, but I'm gonna ask everybody to try and take a couple steps back and figure out if they're here to discuss, specifically, things happening in Ukraine re: the Russian invasion or if they're here to fill time picking at loose threads around that because nothing super visible is happening. The former is a good use of this space. The latter is kind of exactly what went wrong with the political megathreads back in the day.

I know there's a lot of free-floating nervous energy, but turning it inward like some Sterling engine of bad internet rhetoric that melts the site is not what we need to be happening. Please, if you're mixing it up about "sure, invading Ukraine is bad, but..." or "yes, Nazis are bad, but..." hit the brakes and think several steps ahead toward what impact you're going to be having on the conversation and on anybody having to sit here reading that sentiment. Fuck Nazi, nazis are bad. Fuck Putin, invading Ukraine is bad. We're all at raw-nerve warning, let's not find new interesting shitty angles to piss each other off with. Thank you.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:11 AM on February 28 [136 favorites]


Does Putin have a (relatively) face-saving way to back down? If he does, I think he might take it now: this invasion is not going like he thought and the economic impact is very high.

However, I can't see any form in which he backs off and claims anything short of defeat. In that case, this will go on until: 1) he achieves a very high cost "victory," or 2) others in Russia have the leverage to boot him out.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:11 AM on February 28 [10 favorites]


But maybe we could try and learn from our own history and pause for two seconds before we go all-in on simplistic military solutions to incredibly complicated problems?

Ukraine lost any option to do anything but defend itself militarily the minute Putin began his invasion. No one should apologize for being inspired by their defense of their autonomy.

The rest of the world is supporting Ukraine in its defense, but notably not employing "simplistic military solutions" to punish Russia for its aggression. Rather, they're using sanctions and increased unity to put pressure on Putin and make the cost of pursuing his aggression exceed any perceived benefits.

At this point, it's Putin who's responsible for Russia's actions, and no one else.
posted by Gelatin at 9:14 AM on February 28 [65 favorites]


The question my google-fu has been unable to answer is: why now? I haven't been able to find anyone having a discussion about that topic.

Part one was accomplished in Crimea in 2014. Part two was 2014-2016: waging information war to weaken the West, culminating in Trump and Brexit. He bided his time while these played out, in the hope that they would destabilise the EU and NATO and improve the odds of a successful full invasion. The pandemic arrived unexpectedly in 2020 and was still a significant problem in 2020-21, so last winter was out. By last summer, the vaccines were looking good, so Putin felt able to move head with part three: he wrote openly about his ambitions and started moving the necessary pieces into position. He waited for the end of the Winter Olympics to keep China happy. Two days after they finished, he declared the eastern regions of Ukraine independent and stated his intention to invade. Two days after that...
posted by rory at 9:15 AM on February 28 [47 favorites]


In the spirit of a more constructive conversation I would just like to say that Volodymyr Zelenskyy, currently the most badass person on the planet, is 5 feet 7 inches tall and I am inordinately happy about it.
posted by saturday_morning at 9:15 AM on February 28 [35 favorites]


It's difficult to post video because the session is still ongoing.

Are you watching it now? How is it going, I’ve been waiting for this all weekend and news reporting of the UN usually sticks only to the sound bites.
posted by corb at 9:16 AM on February 28


But maybe we could try and learn from our own history and pause for two seconds before we go all-in on simplistic military solutions to incredibly complicated problems?

Also, much of the strongest support for Ukraine is coming not from the US but from other European nations, who are sending guns, shoring up their own defences, inflicting financial damage, and welcoming refugees. And we have our own histories to learn from.
posted by plonkee at 9:19 AM on February 28 [21 favorites]


Can public support from his people disappear rapidly for Putin? It's happened to strongmen before. This video may be therapeutic for some. Historian Maria Bucur explains how Ceaușescu's final speech was essentially the dissolution of his authority and support, broadcast live to everyone in the country. yt It's amazing, because at a rally his staff organized, to which people were required to show up and cheer for him, the crowd turns on him anyway, his resolves evaporates, and he and his wife are forced to duck inside and hide. He went from overseeing a massive rally with people shouting their support to scampering away in under 20 minutes. He was fleeing by helicopter within 24 hours and shot dead in the street within four days.

This, incidentally, is why Putin suppresses all protest actions, even the few people who turn out for pro-Putin protests. He doesn't want his legitimacy decided by the people assembling in a popularity contest. It's far easier to rig an election than co-ordinate millions of people showing up on the streets. That way if anyone ever questions his legitimacy as Russian leader? He won the election. Don't like it? Vote him out. If you can. Those rabble on the streets? Anti-democratic agitators from The West™.

Sadly, if anyone is ending Putin's it'll probably be the Siloviks.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 9:22 AM on February 28 [4 favorites]


I can say some things about some basics. This is not a groundless analogy.

The little house on the corner. Sold for $80,000 dollars, three years ago. It has maybe 1,200 square feet. After a remodel to upgrade, and repair the damage from squatters the house sold for ~$240,000 late last year. The new owner wants rents of $2,000 per month. The artificial rise in value and what it means for our block is that our families can no longer buy in. I can't buy in.

The Black Sea, aside from it's historic everything and stragegic everything, is likely where regular Russians go on vacation. With the rise in Ukraine's prosperity and investment opportunities for any one with some extra cash, The Black Sea will not be affordable. In my neighborhood, a mixed neighborhood, middle class, to less advantaged, Saudi Arabians are even getting in on the easy money. Houses sit empty, with automatic lights and cars in the driveway. As the cost of living goes up rents go up in Ukranian cities, they will have to buy in to the system that does this.

The Russian oligarchs have taken a lot out of Russia, and their most conspicuous consumption, probably takes place outside Russia. As the countries who align with the west grow more expensive, Russians stay the same, and the robbery of their nation by cronyism stands out more, when they can't afford to go to the beach. Ukraine's application to join the EU just stands there as one of the major reasons for invasion. Euros, handled by EU banks insulate Ukraine from Russia's finances. Yet Ukraine hosts Russia's pipelines, and it is harder to hide the corruption, when profits now have to go to pipeline rent and maintenance, and the margins thin, and the promise of prosperity gets lost, on it's way back out of Russia, via cronys who party elsewhere.

It is very important to accept and respect international boundaries. It is important for nations who want to trade, to treat trade as something superior to theft, to war, even to competition. It is important to protect our planet from us, that is front and foremost.

I have maintained the fossil fuel industry has been in a war with all of us for a long time, and I am not so sure this is not an extention of their death throes. There are all kinds of monies at work here, Russia proposed to be Europe's gas station, who would want to belay that? Russia has made a huge bet on fossil fuels, a system we all know, has to end. This is a time to do a lot of thinking, and figure out how everyone can win.
posted by Oyéah at 9:22 AM on February 28 [19 favorites]


"Russian warship go fuck yourself" is the "Nuts!" of the 21st Century.
posted by nickmark at 9:23 AM on February 28 [21 favorites]


I found this interview with a Ukrainian LGBT activist who is staying and standing in Kyiv very telling.

I hope that Metafilter can be more welcoming--it has only become more obvious since 2014 that the USA is losing the information war with Russia, and I hope that Ukrainian bravery can help us turn our own tide.

The EU has proclaimed the obvious, and shown some willingness to move the economy away from methane gas as part of the fight against Petro -authoritarianism.

I wish the USA were as strong, and as willing to recognize that its environmental justice and climate goals are a tool against the war--but, instead, Moniz's fires will be burning in Corpus Christi and Cameron tonight.
posted by eustatic at 9:23 AM on February 28 [6 favorites]


Are you watching it now? How is it going, I’ve been waiting for this all weekend and news reporting of the UN usually sticks only to the sound bites.

I've been on and off since Nebenzya's little rant. After that point it's basically every country getting on the record on where they stand so very dry, boilerplate, and procedural. I expect the wonks on Twitter should let me know when it's time to tune back in.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 9:25 AM on February 28


please delete if this is a derail, because again I'm sharing from a Canadian perspective, but it is sure interesting to see the trajectory of attitudes over several generations, where up until a few generations ago there was still a residual bias against Canadians of Ukrainian ancestry among some households (the ones with the "right" ancestry, which pretty much meant British and the "apex English").. my partner's mother frowned upon her fraternization with kids in the neighbourhood with names that ended with -chuk and -sky, for example.

Now we have a Deputy Prime Minister who celebrates her Ukrainian heritage. In a response to a focus on the ultra right and fascist tendencies we see emerging, let's not be blind to promising trends and positive signs.

question: anyone else seeing chatter about "joining the fight"? I started seeing stuff in social media in the past 24 hours, people are posting links to information and it's early days, but it's definitely one of the threads of this history.
posted by elkevelvet at 9:26 AM on February 28 [5 favorites]


"Russian warship go fuck yourself" is the "Nuts!" of the 21st Century.

For those who are wondering about the reference, Oversimplifed dramatizes Anthony McAuliffe fairly well.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 9:29 AM on February 28 [1 favorite]


anyone else seeing chatter about "joining the fight”

I’m seeing a lot of it, but then I would, being veteran-adjacent. The high cost of tickets to Poland seems to be a deterrent factor, but there’s a lot of rumors that abound. Some people on Twitter are saying the Ukrainian government will buy your ticket if you contact the embassy, which I highly doubt. There’s a lot of pooling of gear going on, though I’m also not sure how much military gear one can bring into Poland right now.
posted by corb at 9:35 AM on February 28 [5 favorites]


Once again the Russians did something worse than a crime: a blunder.

Now that we know they took Snake Island without killing the guards, I have to question their competence for their failure to make a big show of it. The island is held by Ukrainians for symbolic reasons. And the narrative for the Russian war is that they are recapturing a wayward province inhabited by a fraternal nation and rescuing them from Nazis. This was their opportunity to make a spectacle that supports their narrative, and instead they let us think they blew the guards to kingdom come.

Putin. Is. Just. Not. That. Smart.
posted by ocschwar at 9:35 AM on February 28 [5 favorites]


FIFA have finally fully suspended Russia. No Football Union of Russia bullshit. They're gone.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 9:38 AM on February 28 [48 favorites]


Americans, especially, but also Europeans, have somehow become accustomed to waging large-scale wars that occur far away and where they are heavily insulated from its realities. (You can also see this in a lot of the implicit racism — suddenly, with Ukraine, it's "us" and not the "other".)

The Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association (AMEJA) Statement in Response to Coverage of the Ukraine Crisis
posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 9:39 AM on February 28 [38 favorites]




But maybe we could try and learn from our own history and pause for two seconds before we go all-in on simplistic military solutions to incredibly complicated problems?

It's very possible that this could become a world war by not doing enough in the early stages, because of alliances. In that vein, WW2 is informative. The most simple military solution, which has already passed us by, was to move tanks into Ukraine by invitation, before the invasion, mirroring Putin's move into Belarus. It may have played out that Putin would have been forced to retreat because he would have been told that sound military doctrine does not allow his opposing force to mass indefinitely on someone else's border, under his verbal threats, in such a small and remote attack area. Putin's withdrawal would have been a huge defeat without a battle. Contrast that with now, where the defending generals want to expand the fighting into Belarus because Russia is using it as a staging and supply area, especially because it suffers from a hated dictator who micromanages from ego and ignorance, therefore vulnerable. The good part so far is that Putin was unable to easily capture Ukraine's military and use it to advance into Poland or the Baltic states on a liberator's public relations roll. Nobody can give up now. Power is the throne of psychosis, and it is a secret ideology that almost everyone understands too late.
posted by Brian B. at 9:45 AM on February 28 [11 favorites]


Hats off to cortex and the rest of the mods that are having to manage these threads. Huge thank you. I think we've maybe collectively calmed things down a bit at least. Let's keep their workload down if we can.

And don't forget to use AskMe as a resource/outlet too, where appropriate. Finding additional sources of info, or finding answers to questions that are a bit more tangential to the current ongoing invasion might be a bit more successful on AskMe, and less derail-y on this main thread. (Not that AskMe doesn't have it's own share of flameouts! Don't do that!)

Some recent examples of Ukraine/Russia related questions:
Ukraine and world politics
Ukraine vs. Russia for Dummies
Why didn't Putin invade Ukraine during the last US presidency?
Even... A Twofer
posted by Kabanos at 9:48 AM on February 28 [27 favorites]


FIFA have finally fully suspended Russia. No Football Union of Russia bullshit. They're gone.

At last.
posted by Gelatin at 9:50 AM on February 28


FIFA have finally fully suspended Russia. No Football Union of Russia bullshit. They're gone.

Well, that's a great start. Now what about the rest of FIFA? *ducks flaming tifo*
posted by loquacious at 9:53 AM on February 28 [4 favorites]


On a different note. One of the official Russian media organizations that has clearly planned out their entire news cycle accidentally published a story yesterday that celebrated the quick victory in Ukraine and the decision to re-incorporate Ukraine into Russia. So now we know what how they thought it was going to go. They were going to do the same playbook as Crimea. Ukraine would just be a province of Russia.
posted by interogative mood at 9:55 AM on February 28 [47 favorites]


Maybe I'm cynical when it comes to FIFA, but sounds to me more like banning Russia from WC qualifiers is a negotiating tactic to make the eventual bribe more lucrative.
posted by Room 101 at 9:57 AM on February 28 [2 favorites]


why now? I haven't been able to find anyone having a discussion about that topic.

Why 2022?

-The Russian army will only get weaker from here on out. The nation is facing a demographics crunch for the forseeable future, and you need a lot of 20 year olds to run an operation on this scale.

-Putin will only get weaker from here on out. He rose to power as the vital young alternative to the Soviet dinosaurs; now he's the unhealthy old man. He likely considers his legacy incomplete while there's any chance Ukraine could turn to the West, so he's forcing the issue now while his authority is still absolute.

-The opposition is (or was) as weak as it 's likely to get. Germany, the keystone of the EU, depends on Russian energy and will need years to find alternate sources. The US, the head of NATO, is led by an unpopular and irresolute president. After Biden rolled over for two senators from his own party, Putin probably liked his odds.

Why Winter 2022?

-Ukraine get notoriously muddy come the spring thaw. "Tanks don't fear mud," as the old Russian saying has it, but you can't put your entire supply train on treads. The Russians are struggling to supply their troops as it is; that problem will get much worse in a few weeks when the roads dissolve.

Why late February 2022?

-Putin didn't want to upstage the Beijing Olympics.
posted by Iridic at 10:02 AM on February 28 [29 favorites]


make the eventual bribe more lucrative

I'm sure FIFA's highly efficient bribe maximization department is working flat out on that. The ban is really going to piss off the average Russian-on-the-street though.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 10:04 AM on February 28


rebent: Watching tiktok videos of people who last month were office workers now throwing IEDs at tanks

or even...

@DavidHog111: "You’ve heard of car jacking but have you heard of tank jacking? Here’s a how to for our friends in Ukraine 😁"

There's a really fantastic TikTok vid embedded in the tweet.
posted by Buntix at 10:06 AM on February 28 [7 favorites]


Interesting viewpoint on why so many in the west thought Putin was bluffing, and makes a good pairing with the Time article linked above.
That phrase—“the Putin regime”—which has been stuck to all discussions of Russian politics now for almost 20 years, in some ways itself helps explain why so many people who believed they understood the country turned out to be so wrong about the Ukraine conflict. It has become clear that what exists inside the Kremlin is no longer a “regime” at all—a system of government where multiple figures can affect and feed into decision-making, from security chiefs to billionaires—as many believed.

Instead, it has transformed into what political scientists call a personalist dictatorship, where the whims of one man, and one man only, determine policy, a fact that has terrifying implications for Russia and the world.

The political science literature suggests that personalist dictatorships are more erratic and dangerous to the outside world than other sorts of autocracies.
Researchers have found they are more likely to start wars, for instance (institutionalized civilian-run regimes are about as apt to use force as democracies), and also tend to perform worse militarily (not surprising, since their leaders are often surrounded by yes men).
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 10:06 AM on February 28 [27 favorites]


Tank (personnel carrier) video debunked, sadly.

Hey apparently this is a Russian TikToker from Vladivostok, not a Ukrainian. And the video is from last year.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 10:13 AM on February 28 [7 favorites]


Maybe now the IOC can finally ban the Russians for doping at the Olympics?
posted by Melismata at 10:16 AM on February 28 [4 favorites]


accidentally published a story yesterday that celebrated the quick victory in Ukraine

Gonna wager that wasn't "accidental"
posted by DeepSeaHaggis at 10:20 AM on February 28 [1 favorite]




Some updates on the refugee situation on the Polish side from today's Wyborcza (paywalled alas): there's so much material aid at the border that calls are going out not to bring more, especially clothing and toys since they have lots. The queues remain epic and lacking in infrastructure and supplies, but once on the Polish side it's decently organised - local buses bringing people to reception points, food trucks and country housewives' associations (kind of traditional mutual aid and crafts societies) feeding people, police and volunteers coordinating transport offers.

Official response is good, with temporary lodging set up all over the country (schools, hostels etc), free public transport and healthcare. Far more organized than our Covid response, frankly. Lots of aid, both government and private, going east into Ukraine, and many Ukrainian men since we had up to 2 million Ukrainians living here before the war. Construction sites in particular are scrambling to replace workers.

The Ukrainians have said that starting tomorrow they'll simplify exit procedures so hopefully queues will get shorter. Sounds like that's the main nightmare part of the journey.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 10:26 AM on February 28 [31 favorites]


Meanwhile, no news on Elon Musk's offer to help with Starlink communications:
I asked SpaceX head of comms this weekend on details about Starlink in Ukraine. Didn't hear back. Still not clear on what's being provided to whom and how it will function amid the conflict. Will report on it if I get answers from the co. (or employees) obviously.
Of course, it's still early days, so it might not be just a hollow gimmick like the cave rescue submarine or the Tesla Covid ventilators.
posted by acb at 10:34 AM on February 28 [16 favorites]


Is it clear what are the strategic objectives of Russia? Based on watching gifs and clips, it looks to me like they drive into a random urban location, wandering about, killing civilians for no reason, and getting attacked/driven off.

What is their checklist for victory?

Are they trying to capture strategic assets to control something important, like a port or facility?

Are they trying to destroy defensive capabilites so that they can bring in an occupying force?

Are they trying to intimidate the government into signing a treaty that benefits Russia? "we promise to stop murdering your citizens if you give this and that state to us"?
posted by rebent at 10:36 AM on February 28 [1 favorite]


I'm starting to follow Task & Purpose on Youtube. Good analyses of what's happening.

TLDW:

1. The slow progress of the Russian army does not mean they are being defeated. You have to pause to let your supply line catch up behind you or you get overextended and wiped out.

2. The columns appear to be bifurcated between columns of fresh inexperienced recruits who get wiped out, and columns of competent career soldiers. The latter is what you see in Kharkiv and advancing from the Crimea. If you're expecting kids and you get veterans, you're in for a bad day as a defender.

(my conclusion: outside pressure must build up or Ukraine will fall.)
posted by ocschwar at 10:36 AM on February 28 [22 favorites]


So the International Ice Hockey Federation is meeting this morning and the expectation is that they are suspending both Russia and Belarus, respectively the 3rd and 14th ranked men's teams in the world.

Major upcoming IIHF events include the annual men's World Championships, hosted by Finland this spring, as well as the under-20 tournament (popularly known as the World Juniors) in Canada which was postponed from December after an honestly kind of hilarious run-in with Omicron. Both Russia and Belarus will be expelled from both tournaments.

Next year's World Juniors were scheduled to be held in Omsk and it looks like this will also be taken away.

I know this is extremely small potatoes compared to the gravity of what's going on, but it's heartening to see, especially now that FIFA wised up. Plus, Putin loves hockey. Like, really loves hockey. So does Lukashenko.

Hockey has severe problems — racism, sexism, sexual abuse, worker abuse, corruption — and no matter how fun it is to watch, you wonder what good can possibly come of paying high-school dropouts millions of dollars a year to injure each other in pursuit of a rubber disk. It's been a long time since I felt pride in this little corner of the cultural world that I still, despite it all, enjoy.
posted by saturday_morning at 10:40 AM on February 28 [16 favorites]


I understand Russia's strategic objective is to snuff out the threat of a successful, pluralist, culturally Slavic democracy next door making it look bad and encouraging its people to think that a better world is possible. Whether this is achieved by annexing Ukraine, saddling it with an even shittier kleptocracy than Russia, or wiping it off the earth is of secondary importance.
posted by acb at 10:41 AM on February 28 [11 favorites]






I love all the great Ukraine stories and don't doubt them per se, but the fog of war and all that. Russia can certainly still win, it's just being careful about destroying all the infrastructure. They haven't (yet?) but their back into winning at all costs.

Hopefully, I'm wrong about this lay person's guess and Ukraine manages to be stay free and/or drive Russia back.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:59 AM on February 28 [3 favorites]


A friend of mine with relatives in Ukraine pointed me to this thread from Dr. Ian Garner on how Russian social media may not be working as effectively as propaganda used to.
posted by Mchelly at 11:00 AM on February 28 [13 favorites]


Looks like the UN special meeting is either over or in recess? Anyone following any good UN wonks to know when there will be a vote?
posted by corb at 11:06 AM on February 28 [1 favorite]


That thread is worth reading. It includes a joke apparently going around in Russia: "Don't drop your iPhone. It will be your last."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:06 AM on February 28 [14 favorites]


"Don't drop your iPhone. It will be your last."

To think -- for a few bright shining decades they finally had blue jeans
posted by saturday_morning at 11:11 AM on February 28 [8 favorites]


@SShadowless: With Russia being cut off from world banking systems, it’s going to be interesting to see which people and groups, who, having previously laughed off insinuations they were paid by the Kremlin, will now suddenly find themselves short of cash.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:18 AM on February 28 [38 favorites]


This feels like a pretty good summary of a bunch of stuff c/o Yuval Noah Harari

Why Vladimir Putin has already lost this war:

When planning his invasion of Ukraine, Putin could count on many known facts. He knew that militarily Russia dwarfs Ukraine. He knew that Nato would not send troops to help Ukraine. He knew that European dependence on Russian oil and gas would make countries like Germany hesitate about imposing stiff sanctions. Based on these known facts, his plan was to hit Ukraine hard and fast, decapitate its government, establish a puppet regime in Kyiv, and ride out the western sanctions.

[...]

With each passing day, it is becoming clearer that Putin’s gamble is failing. The Ukrainian people are resisting with all their heart, winning the admiration of the entire world – and winning the war. Many dark days lie ahead. The Russians may still conquer the whole of Ukraine. But to win the war, the Russians would have to hold Ukraine, and they can do that only if the Ukrainian people let them. This seems increasingly unlikely to happen.


emphasis mine
posted by philip-random at 11:24 AM on February 28 [16 favorites]


Plus, Putin loves hockey. Like, really loves hockey.

I'm no fan of full contact professional sports, but I used to play a little hockey. You wouldn't want to pass the puck to me but I sure could skate. If you needed someone taken out by a vaguely fridge shaped homing missile filled with bricks I was all about it.

And right now? Right now I can't help but enjoy the totally inappropriate fantasy of strapping on some skates and body checking him right through the side boards into the Pliocene era. Heck, put Lukashenko and a whole team of doughy Russian kleptocrats and oligarchs on the ice and I'll play pinball with the lot of them. I'll hit them so hard they'll never want to look at a hockey rink ever again and they'll spend the next twenty years trying to erase the idea that hockey ever even existed in Russian culture.

Hell I could do it in figure skates with toe picks and a dress. Forget the hockey stick and give me a witchy broom and let me at it, I'll steamroll over him like an entire pissed off roller derby team.

Ugh, help, I feel so weirdly patriotic. I wonder if this is how my grandpa felt in the USAF/USAAF during WW2.

NUTS.
posted by loquacious at 11:33 AM on February 28 [44 favorites]


There’s absolutely no military reason why Russia won’t dominate and “win”. If they lose, it would be stunning. I don’t see Putin letting that happen, which is scary in its own way.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:34 AM on February 28 [8 favorites]


Part of all this response by the West is sending a message to China about Taiwan.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:38 AM on February 28 [18 favorites]


Perhaps future generations will see the term Pyrrhic Victory replaced by Putinic Victory.
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:40 AM on February 28 [9 favorites]


He has too few troops with a miserable level of morale. Putin may take a city, but the occupation is going to end him.
posted by cmfletcher at 11:52 AM on February 28 [6 favorites]


Plus, Putin loves hockey. Like, really loves hockey.

My brother once played hockey against Lukashenko.
posted by No Robots at 11:56 AM on February 28 [7 favorites]


It's been notable that while the Ukrainians are destroying Russian vehicles and killing Russian soldiers, they're also sending messages via social media that it doesn't have to be that way -- that getting captured by the Ukrainians may be embarrassing (They'll tow your APC away! They'll make you call your mom!), but it won't be deadly.

I wonder if the demoralized Russian conscripts are getting that message -- why risk your life for Putin when you can "get lost" and get captured by the Ukrainians?
posted by Gelatin at 11:58 AM on February 28 [22 favorites]


Are we putting too much emphasis on the narrative of this invasion via social media? I keep seeing viral stories that ultimately get discredited, or the details get clarified so as to render the initial statement mostly inaccurate.

"first casualty" and all that, but right now I do feel like I'm in a bubble. I'm happy to see so much of the world's public opinion join ranks against Russia's aggression, I'm just a little uneasy with some of the wilder claims that smooth out the horror that this is war, destroying lives on both sides. So far there is no real demonizing of the Russian peoples in this space and I am grateful for that.
posted by elkevelvet at 12:03 PM on February 28 [16 favorites]


Are we putting too much emphasis on the narrative of this invasion via social media? I keep seeing viral stories that ultimately get discredited, or the details get clarified so as to render the initial statement mostly inaccurate.

I just ignore all stories from both sides.
It's not that I don't respect the Ukrainian sources, I just know I need to wait and see. And hope.

Today I went to meet with a Russian friend. We tacitly avoided the bear in the room until saying our goodbyes. Then he said: I can't sleep without drinking half a bottle of vodka. He was probably exaggerating. But he had tears in his eyes.
posted by mumimor at 12:17 PM on February 28 [37 favorites]


The US, the head of NATO, is led by an unpopular and irresolute president. After Biden rolled over for two senators from his own party, Putin probably liked his odds.
This is not helpful, in that what US propaganda Putin listens to, may influence his hubris, sure, but this statement was offered as fact, and I disagree. Personally I would go late nite talk show host about the two Senators and ask, "What does someone, have on them to cause them to derail their party's agenda?" No one is responsible for Putin's choices but Putin, he is a monolith. He underestimated the latent power of the EU and if anything his actions have absolutely strengthened the EU, and the civilized alliances all over the area, including Turkey. There are always surprises, you never know who was brought on board. The strength of the resistance from everyone but Belarus, has to be shocking to Russia. The facts of these matters as revealed to Russians in general, has to be cause for thought.
posted by Oyéah at 12:29 PM on February 28 [9 favorites]


Are we putting too much emphasis on the narrative of this invasion via social media?

I think - I won't say this on Twitter, but there's not a lot of information war going on on Metafilter - that it's important to consider social media in the context of the ongoing hybrid war.

I caveat; I fully support Ukraine in repelling the Russian invader, by any means necessary. But part of that is in fact controlling the information war in order to both win over public opinion and destroy the morale of Russian troops, and there are a few key markers that is what's going on.

First - a lot of the genre of "cool soldiers making social media videos about how they will kill Russians" - which, again, I love and adore - must be considered as essentially the modern equivalent of propaganda leaflets. You'll note they always hit a few key points - 1) Russians are attacking civilians, this is an immoral war 2) Russians are losing and dying even in their immoral war 3) Prisoners of war are well treated. This is pretty much textbook for how you perform psychological operations in an effort to inspire desertions.

But there's some things that are important to note. Again, unfortunately! But the videotaping of prisoners of war is in fact a move of the losers. People who are winning wars do not need to take individualized videos of each prisoner of war. You'll note Russia is largely not doing this - it's because they have largely conventional military dominance. It is and has always been a desperation move, and it's hard to see those videos without thinking it. Yes, it's a way of proving that the captures are real - but it's also because they are massively outnumbered and making desperate actions.

Similarly - though it's covered with a lot of patriotic language, the fact that the Ukraine is offering six times the average monthly salary to soldiers likely means that they either do not expect to be in a position to pay out at the end of a month, either through casualties or takeover, or that they are desperate to keep their own army together and motivated - this suggests some really heavy fighting with bleaker casualties than have been reported by Ukranian forces.

Additionally - you don't release the prisoners with military experience from your jails unless you are totally, absolutely, and completely fucked.

Ukraine has been holding out bravely and I appreciate their fighting spirit - but they absolutely cannot do this alone, and I think a lot of whether they surivive as as nation or not is going to come down to whether intervention happens.
posted by corb at 12:31 PM on February 28 [59 favorites]


Not sure which side it would hurt more, certainly both, but it seems like being in a war zone and all, something might happen to the natural gas pipelines.
posted by ctmf at 12:32 PM on February 28


I don’t see Putin letting that happen, which is scary in its own way.

For people who won't consider that as a possibility, it's important to remember that Putin happily levelled Grozny in 2000 in the name of eerily-familiar-sounding "liberation." That doesn't even take into account what happened to Grozny between 1994 and 1995, then in 1996 in the First Chechen War (under Yeltsin).

Hey corb - the UN's journal page (links to today's journal - you can toggle by date) tracks goings-on for both the General Assembly and Security Council. It's a bit of a rabbit hole, but the UN is a bit...Byzantine by nature.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:34 PM on February 28 [4 favorites]


Today I went to meet with a Russian friend. We tacitly avoided the bear in the room until saying our goodbyes. Then he said: I can't sleep without drinking half a bottle of vodka. He was probably exaggerating. But he had tears in his eyes.

I have a Russian friend who fully immigrated to the US I haven't talked to since before the pandemic. We first met back in the early 2010s, but we didn't have a lot in common besides drinking coffee and smoking in a local neighborhood plaza, going out to eat now and then and talking a lot about stuff like shared history about the Cold War and specifically talking about the space race and aerospace stuff.

Like it was really cool to have a friend of the same age that was on the other side of the Iron Curtain and being able to compare personal perspectives about all of that, especially through the lens of the space race and aerospace and how terrified we were of each other as kids throughout the 80s, and how stupid the nuclear arms race was. We agreed with each other a lot about all of this and how mad and insane it really was.

We were there for each other through some tough stuff, like he helped me out when I ended up homeless and was packing my bike up to take off on my bike tour of survival and doom. I went back and helped him when he was in the hospital dealing with kidney disease and losing a foot to a circulatory infection and was an inpatient for almost a month.

Over the years we crossed threads more and more on a lot of political and cultural issues, and after spending some time at his apartment house sitting I learned and realized he was pretty hard line pro Putin and spent a lot of time streaming heavily pro-Russian state news at ear splitting volumes, which was honestly relatively new information to me.

And unfortunately I had to break things off because we just started getting into pretty serious arguments and culture war territory, especially with the invasion and occupation of Crimea in 2014-2015, and disagreeing about that annexation and war of aggression I realized we'd probably never find common ground there. That and Trump got elected and Russian propaganda was really starting to come into open play.

It bummed me out, There's only been a few select times that I've had to go no contact and quit on a friend or just quietly drift away.

I don't really want to re-initiate contact at this point, but I've spent a lot of time wondering where he's at now, with all of this. If he is still pro-Putin or if he still voraciously consumes Russia's state sponsored media with all of the fervor of a Trump supporter and Fox News.
posted by loquacious at 12:41 PM on February 28 [16 favorites]


Thanks mandolin conspiracy, it looks like we are in part 2 of the session. I believe this is the correct link for anyone who wants to watch live.

Thus far, the funniest thing was the Russian ambassador being like "you can't just disregard the position of the Russian federation!"
posted by corb at 12:42 PM on February 28 [5 favorites]


The biggest shocker has been the quick response by FIDE the international governing body for chess which has long been a Russian controlled entity. They have pulled the Olympiad from Russia and put a couple of players with close Kremlin ties under ethics investigation.
posted by interogative mood at 12:44 PM on February 28 [16 favorites]


Meanwhile, no news on Elon Musk's offer to help with Starlink communications:

Mykhailo Fedorov, Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, who's initial tweet prompted Elon Musk's response and promise, now tweets a photo indicating that some starlink terminals have arrived.
posted by Kabanos at 12:45 PM on February 28 [8 favorites]


The United States is expelling 12 members of Russia's mission to the UN in New York, accusing them of being intelligence operatives from Russia who have abused their privileges of residency in the U.S. by engaging in espionage activities against the US.
posted by RichardP at 12:55 PM on February 28 [18 favorites]


‘It’s not our war — it’s Putin’s war’ What would Boris Nemtsov say about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine? We don’t have to wonder. [Meduza, Feb. 28]:

On February 27, 2015, politician Boris Nemtsov was murdered in the center of Moscow. In the final years of his life, he advocated against the military conflict in East Ukraine, vocally supported the 2014 Maidan Revolution, and frequently gave interviews with Ukrainian journalists. In the months leading up to his murder, Nemtsov was working on a report about Russian military intervention titled “Putin: War,” which was posthumously published by his colleagues. To mark the anniversary of his murder, Meduza is publishing some of the anti-war statements Nemtsov made in the months leading up to his death.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:57 PM on February 28 [13 favorites]


Maybe someone's mentioned this before but at the bottom of this thread, one of the 'Related Posts' displayed is 'Let's be clear: Russia is invading Ukraine right now (August 28, 2014)' and scanning through it, its striking how similar it all is, including musings about how far Putin might go. But the difference is that the international response in 2014 was a lot more muted and tentative. It would take an essay by someone more clued up than me to answer why. But presumably Zelensky and his democratic mandate are a lot to do with it.
posted by memebake at 12:57 PM on February 28 [2 favorites]


I think it’s important to be skeptical of Elon Musk’s generosity. He doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to delivering usable hardware in these emergency situations. It it often more hype than delivery. For example ventilators, mini subs for cave rescue, etc.
posted by interogative mood at 12:58 PM on February 28 [15 favorites]


He doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to delivering

He should get a hyper loop
posted by ctmf at 1:02 PM on February 28 [7 favorites]


I think it’s important to be skeptical of Elon Musk’s generosity. He doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to delivering usable hardware in these emergency situations. It it often more hype than delivery. For example ventilators, mini subs for cave rescue, etc.

I'm no Musk fan boy, but the difference will probably boil down to the fact that this is already a commercial product. The ventilators & the mini sub were R&D projects that had to be started and brought to fruition in a short time.

With Starlink, the satellites are already up there, and terminals already exist. So I guess it's mostly a matter of shipping existing equipment as fast as you can with accounts already created, its doable.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 1:19 PM on February 28 [7 favorites]


I think it’s important to be skeptical of Elon Musk’s generosity. He doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to delivering usable hardware in these emergency situations.

I'm a big Elon Mush skeptic as well....but then I've never tried to get consumer satellite base stations into a war zone quickly - the logistics must be complicated (and I haven't seen a good source as to if the Starlink network itself has appropriate coverage over Ukraine etc). And at least the hardware already exists in this case. Finally, and without being a systems or RF engineer, I wonder if some one is pausing for a moment to ask the question- if these become a front line device of reliable information for Ukrainians in the event of Russia taking over and cutting the cellular internet/filtering it, can these devices be easily tracked or targeted through the signals (realizing the base station is largish (compared to a phone) and broadcasts to the satellite network). I hope not, but would be a hell of a thing to find out in the field.....and I'd be at least a little worried about it before switching it on if I was living in fear of an invading force trying to squish this sort of thing.

Edit: And Elon's Stalink access for Tonga post the Volcano, did pan out it seems - albeit later and in a fairly limited way.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 1:21 PM on February 28 [2 favorites]


Re: StarLink, based on the Kyiv Independent Twitter feed, this effort is making active progress
posted by itesser at 1:32 PM on February 28 [2 favorites]


Maybe someone's mentioned this before but at the bottom of this thread, one of the 'Related Posts' displayed is 'Let's be clear: Russia is invading Ukraine right now (August 28, 2014)' and scanning through it, its striking how similar it all is, including musings about how far Putin might go. But the difference is that the international response in 2014 was a lot more muted and tentative. It would take an essay by someone more clued up than me to answer why. But presumably Zelensky and his democratic mandate are a lot to do with it.

Well, I can give you a few reasons why they're different to me anyway.

1) Crimea really was arbitrarily moved from Russia to Ukraine in the 1950s (although it has had a very complicated history of sovereignty which is not well summarised by that sentence and you should be suspicious of anyone who makes only that argument)
2) Crimea is majority Russian speaking
3) Crimea has had a number of referenda on autonomy / independence with a variety of results but which, taken together, point towards an identity which is distinct from Ukraine as a whole. Though also distinct from Russia - I'm not counting the post occupation referendum on becoming Russian since it was widely boycotted.
4) The stated purpose of Russia's occupation was not the permanent destruction of another nation-state.

That last one is the big one for me. Putin isn't asking for Russian majority regions to have special language rights, or to be part of Russia (not that I think the use of force is legitimate for achieving those either by the way), or for the border to be in a slightly different place. He is conducting a war with the stated aim - stated by him - of ending independent Ukrainian nationhood.

Finally, and without being a systems or RF engineer, I wonder if some one is pausing for a moment to ask the question- if these become a front line device of reliable information for Ukrainians in the event of Russia taking over and cutting the cellular internet/filtering it, can these devices be easily tracked or targeted through the signals (realizing the base station is largish (compared to a phone) and broadcasts to the satellite network).

Yes but the Russians will focus on military communications hardware and it's not trivial to locate a device broadcasting directionally to a satellite.
posted by atrazine at 1:34 PM on February 28 [9 favorites]


Starlink needs a ground station in view of the same satellite you connect to, which backlinks to the internet. (Planned inter-sat networking is not in use yet AFIAK.) So besides the logistics of driving a truck to the Polish border, this also relies on there being ground stations near enough. There is one near Warsaw, but will it cover eastern Ukraine?

It's a fairly directional beam, but you would definitely only want to run it when there was nothing around. And move in between uses..
posted by joeyh at 1:35 PM on February 28 [2 favorites]


The columns appear to be bifurcated between columns of fresh inexperienced recruits who get wiped out, and columns of competent career soldiers.

Some background on the Russian military: the Russians have traditionally had a conscript-heavy army since WWII. There is mandatory military service for men, which I think you can satisfy in a number of ways (at least in the 90s I was told you could), but many choose the military. So as a result, the junior enlisted billets of many Russian units are young guys just doing their 12 months o' fun so they can go home.

Per CSIS:
Russia currently fields an active-duty military of just under 1 million men. Of this force, approximately 260,000 are conscripts and 410,000 are contract soldiers (kontraktniki). The shortened 12-month conscript term provides at most five months of utilization time for these servicemen. Conscripts remain about a quarter of the force even in elite commando (spetsnaz) units.
Some of the higher-tier Russian units have a greater percentage (in some cases, theoretically 100%) of contracted, professional soldiers. The informal term for such soldiers is "kontraktniki", which is a word I expect we'll be hearing a lot of in the future.

So in general, you would expect to see a sort of two-tiered force. And if you asked someone from the US to plan out an invasion with such a force, they would probably tell you to use your contracted, professional forces as the "tip of the spear" to seize key locations in the enemy interior, destroy communications and command infrastructure, and otherwise lay the groundwork for the bulk of the invasion/occupation force, and keep the gap-year kids in the rear.

But that doesn't seem to be what happened. It's not clear yet (at least from this vantage) what exactly happened at the Hostomel airport, and I suspect it's going to be the subject of a lot of study at places like West Point and Sandhurst. But it seems like it was supposed to be an classic airfield seizure (something that most modern militaries rehearse) that went very, very wrong. And not just a single "oops", but rather a series of errors piling onto each other (intelligence failure / bad estimate of Ukrainian anti-air capability, failure to gain even local air superiority before an air assault, seemingly no plan for evac if things went bad, etc.). In the end, it appears the initial assault force was destroyed, and possibly two transports of paratroops who may have been the relief force were shot down en route. (And while I absolutely stand with Ukraine, damned if that isn't a really shitty way for a soldier to die; whoever authorized those planes to go in should be looking at a lengthy Siberian vacation.)

At any rate... what we are seeing is, broadly, not consistent with the really scary estimates of Russian capability that everyone was talking about post-Crimea. (See: "RUSSIA GIVES LESSONS IN ELECTRONIC WARFARE" and "Russia's 'New Generation Warfare'" for a sense of Western thinking). These were the guys who were supposedly capable of putting a drone-guided artillery shell onto anyone who dared turn on a cellphone in the battle area. And yet what we're seeing looks more like a military that can't talk to itself, and where frontline units don't even have NVGs or GPS receivers.

I don't quite get it. Did they not send their hot-shit units at all, for some reason? Are, or were, parts of the Russian military less than on-board with the plan? Does Putin perhaps not trust some of the top-tier military units, for some reason? Or did the Russians really give it the "full send", only to be repulsed by the Ukrainians anyway, perhaps destroying those elite units in the process?
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:50 PM on February 28 [35 favorites]


With the caveat that I have no idea how significant this is, I was still somewhat heartened to see reports that the local council of one of the Moscow neighborhoods, Yakimanka, has unanimously condemned the invasion of Ukraine. I was pessimistic about anti-war protests in Russia, but there seems to be more than anyone was expecting.
posted by Kattullus at 1:53 PM on February 28 [18 favorites]


Ukrainian hero stories aside, there is a dramatic uptick in the stories about Russia gaining control of the war while Ukraine takes more desperate measures:

- Ukrainian military running out of ammo
- Ukraine willing to take anyone into their Foreign Legion
- Russian direct attacks on civilian infrastructure
- Russian bomber use indicates air superiority
posted by meowzilla at 2:01 PM on February 28 [6 favorites]


I think it makes some sort of a sense after I watch this video from yt user RealLifeLore. Russia wants the instability to keep Ukraine out of NATO, and also deny Ukraine from developing energy resources in the East and the Black Sea EEZ. They need to keep Crimea, and to do that they need to rescue it, because it isn't doing well. They seem to have sent the better-trained units to the South, while keeping Ukraine busy on all sides.

Also implied in the video, is that this is Russia's best last shot at salvaging long-term relevance. As soon as Ukraine becomes an energy-producer competitor, Russia is in trouble.
posted by ctmf at 2:12 PM on February 28 [3 favorites]


Ukraine willing to take anyone into their Foreign Legion

I think this piece at least is also in part due to Ukrainian embassies being absolutely overwhelmed by questions about how people can join the Territorial Defense, a lot of embassy sites are down and non functional just from the constant traffic.

The one thing I'm wondering is - there's a lot of foreigners heading in, I'm not sure how neighboring countries are going to feel about the influx, nor am I sure if they have enough logistical infrastructure to stand these up as a coherent fighting force.
posted by corb at 2:17 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]


With regards to communications, Putin tried to deceive even his own soldiers about what he was going to do, and where he was going to do it, and also deceive Ukraine about where his troops are. The messages from conscripts who are shocked to learn they are in Kyiv, and killing civilians, after being told they were going to the Black Sea speaks of this. The result is confusion.

I worry that after some losses, some humiliation, Putin will set about proving his awfulness, and he has a proven track record. There is still time to end this peacefully, and with reparations, but that is going to take some fancy footwork.

Also now everyone's cards are coming out of the new, multi-deck shoe. Teamwork, yes, previously hidden strengths, new levels of cooperation, I am good with this. Biden's restraint is so great, I am sure he makes good use of his excellent military advisors, and his allies. I am glad he is not a grandstander, blabbermouth or hot head. Putin using his nation to abuse another nation, unprovoked, Russians deserve better.
posted by Oyéah at 2:17 PM on February 28 [8 favorites]


Maura Reynolds talking with Fiona Hill in Politico. It is, as almost always with Ms. Hill, somewhat bracing.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:21 PM on February 28 [17 favorites]


Did nothing come of the peace talks at the Belarusian boarder?
posted by sammyo at 2:21 PM on February 28


Fiona Hill: World War III? We're already there.
posted by y2karl at 2:21 PM on February 28 [20 favorites]


atrazine: If you ask the larger question, not of "Nazis" but of extreme ethnonationalists then I think there is no evidence that there are more in Ukraine than elsewhere.

I'm not anywhere close to an expert on any of this, but I did read this report (PDF) from Freedom House, published last year, which discusses the far right in Ukraine, Georgia, and Armenia. It says that, between the three nations, the far right is the most developed and socially legitimate in Ukraine ("professionalized with mainstream visibility") and the least in Armenia ("poor organizational coherence and marginalization in Armenian society").
posted by clawsoon at 2:22 PM on February 28 [7 favorites]


Russian authorities are cracking down on Novaya Gazeta, probably the best respected investigative newspaper in Russia. The paper is polling their subscribers as to whether they should continue publishing while censored, or suspend operations until the end of the war. This is weirdly late, again suggesting that things hadn’t been coordinated across the whole of the government, and that many departments are struggling to keep up.
posted by Kattullus at 2:23 PM on February 28 [15 favorites]


Did nothing come of the peace talks at the Belarusian boarder?

I don't think anyone expected the talks to amount to anything other than to establish initial positions. Putin's demands for peace are ridiculous. Ukraine's demands are to not give the Russians territory. Now they will dance around while Putin commits more atrocities.
posted by gwydapllew at 2:24 PM on February 28 [2 favorites]


Did nothing come of the peace talks at the Belarusian boarder?

Russia repeated its war aims as its negotiating position: de-nazification/demilitarization of Ukraine, no NATO. In other words, stalling while appearing to co-operate.

They're going to continue talking though, which is not nothing, I guess. Probably offers some window into where Russia is at, mentally.
posted by fatbird at 2:25 PM on February 28 [3 favorites]


meowzilla, I figured that Russia was unfortunately telling the truth about finally establishing airspace control, since it would be easy to disprove. Which means things will get uglier fast, both bombers and more artillery and other heavy equipment being moved to bombard cities.
posted by tavella at 2:27 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]


I don't know the exact quote, but it's something like "You can't win at the negotiating table what you're losing on the battlefield".
posted by meowzilla at 2:37 PM on February 28 [2 favorites]


Possible element in "why now?" -

Business Insider - Ukraine credits Turkish drones with eviscerating Russian tanks and armor in their first use in a major conflict

This is a very cheap (for military values of "cheap", something like $5 million US each) drone that has apparently been very effective against Russian equipment - including in the separatist regions of Ukraine - already.

And then it turns out that earlier this month Turkey and Ukraine inked a deal to start co-producing the drones in Ukraine.

Obviously Putin's been planning & preparing for this war for a while, but knowing that Ukraine would shortly have immediate access to that kind of hardware might have pushed his timetable up.
posted by soundguy99 at 2:37 PM on February 28 [12 favorites]


If this is of interest to anyone — from the Reddit r/worldnews subreddit:

“ We will be hosting an AMA tomorrow at 7PM GMT/2PM Eastern/11AM Pacific with Reuters reporter Andrew Marshall, who is currently on the ground in Ukraine and will be open to answering questions regarding that conflict. ”
posted by Silvery Fish at 2:37 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]


From the link seven comments above:
Reynolds: The more we talk, the more we’re using World War II analogies. There are people who are saying we’re on the brink of a World War III.

Hill: We’re already in it. We have been for some time. We keep thinking of World War I, World War II as these huge great big set pieces, but World War II was a consequence of World War I. And we had an interwar period between them. And in a way, we had that again after the Cold War. Many of the things that we’re talking about here have their roots in the carving up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Russian Empire at the end of World War I. At the end of World War II, we had another reconfiguration and some of the issues that we have been dealing with recently go back to that immediate post-war period. We’ve had war in Syria, which is in part the consequence of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, same with Iraq and Kuwait.

All of the conflicts that we’re seeing have roots in those earlier conflicts. We are already in a hot war over Ukraine, which started in 2014. People shouldn’t delude themselves into thinking that we’re just on the brink of something. We’ve been well and truly in it for quite a long period of time.

But this is also a full-spectrum information war, and what happens in a Russian “all-of-society” war, you soften up the enemy. You get the Tucker Carlsons and Donald Trumps doing your job for you. The fact that Putin managed to persuade Trump that Ukraine belongs to Russia, and that Trump would be willing to give up Ukraine without any kind of fight, that’s a major success for Putin’s information war. I mean he has got swathes of the Republican Party — and not just them, some on the left, as well as on the right — masses of the U.S. public saying, “Good on you, Vladimir Putin,” or blaming NATO, or blaming the U.S. for this outcome. This is exactly what a Russian information war and psychological operation is geared towards. He’s been carefully seeding this terrain as well. We’ve been at war, for a very long time. I’ve been saying this for years.

Reynolds: So just as the world didn’t see Hitler coming, we failed to see Putin coming?

Hill: We shouldn’t have. He’s been around for 22 years now, and he has been coming to this point since 2008. I don’t think that he initially set off to do all of this, by the way, but the attitudes towards Ukraine and the feelings that all Ukraine belongs to Russia, the feelings of loss, they’ve all been there and building up.

What Russia is doing is asserting that “might makes right.” Of course, yes, we’ve also made terrible mistakes. But no one ever has the right to completely destroy another country — Putin’s opened up a door in Europe that we thought we’d closed after World War II.
posted by y2karl at 2:41 PM on February 28 [42 favorites]


Worth noting that those same Turkish drones absolutely crushed the Armenian army last year. It seems like the era of the tank is over. It’s a new era.
posted by interogative mood at 2:45 PM on February 28 [7 favorites]


The UN General Assembly is alternating between very polished speeches, and the verbal equivalent of knife fighting. Most people speaking support the resolution, or support it with some snark. Exception thus far is Syria, which is full on supporting Russia.

"The Soviet Union is dead, and no fantasy, no war, will ever bring it back" - Albanian ambassador
posted by corb at 2:45 PM on February 28 [16 favorites]


This war feels different. Seeing people post on the front page of reddit about soldiers at their doors. Watching tiktok videos of people who last month were office workers now throwing IEDs at tanks. Watching a gif of kid exploring on said tanks, and finding corpses inside and littered around. Reading about russian soldiers being halted by villagers, or catfished on tinder, or arrested when they get lost.

Please introspect this. Colonized/racialized people in places like Palestine, Yemen, or Iraq don't just appear out of thin air to fulfill the destiny of being brutalized by conflict. They have jobs too; they have hobbies and personalities and dreams too; their kids don't have a special genetic adaptation that makes finding corpses non-traumatizing.
posted by dusty potato at 2:51 PM on February 28 [84 favorites]


I've been reading a bit about Aleksandr Dugin. It seems like nobody knows whether Putin takes his mysticism seriously, but Putin does seem to be taking his geopolitics seriously:
Ukraine should be annexed by Russia because "Ukraine as a state has no geopolitical meaning, no particular cultural import or universal significance, no geographic uniqueness, no ethnic exclusiveness, its certain territorial ambitions represents an enormous danger for all of Eurasia and, without resolving the Ukrainian problem, it is in general senseless to speak about continental politics". Ukraine should not be allowed to remain independent, unless it is cordon sanitaire, which would be inadmissible.
posted by clawsoon at 2:54 PM on February 28 [5 favorites]


The always-thoughtful Rebecca Watson has some opinions and suggestions about handling propaganda and misinformation (video, 12 minutes) during this invasion of Ukraine.
posted by biogeo at 2:57 PM on February 28 [3 favorites]


At any rate... what we are seeing is, broadly, not consistent with the really scary estimates of Russian capability that everyone was talking about post-Crimea.

I'm going to put a trigger warning on this comment. If you're really stressed out about all of this you might want to skip this comment.

Yeah, this has been personally worrying me, too, as well as a lot of professional analysts. A lot of this doesn't make any sense and so far it's either a soft feint testing the boundaries and softening things up or there's something really rotten in Moscow.

But in either case things aren't what they should theoretically appear to be and that should be seen as a dire warning.

Metaphorically speaking there's a known aphorism in modern ground warfare that states if your opposing force suddenly retreats or de-asses the front lines it should not be automatically interpreted that that particular battle or skirmish has been won but that they're about ready to shell, rocket or carpet bomb the area and you should also similarly de-ass the area in a hurry.

I have a really difficult time following the line of thinking that Putin just wasn't prepared enough for this kind of commitment or that there aren't feints within feints happening.

He may have gone utterly mad, he may be overconfident, but it is not tactically or strategically prudent to assume there's not more going on behind the scenes. Putin is old school KGB/FSB. He knows propaganda and manipulation, and he definitely knows how to utterly raze a city.

For example, as far as I know there haven't been any reliable reports of thermobaric weapons being used and it's confusing to me why this is so and at odds with their tactics, because they've definitely been using cruise missiles capable of and designed for delivering thermobarics.

Putting the specter of tactical battlefield nukes aside, Russia doesn't actually need to resort to those to blow Kyiv to bits and wipe most of it off the map and it should be considered a weird warning sign and point of concern that large scale thermobaric weapons haven't been deployed.

Trigger warning: Keep in mind that Russia may be one of the only countries that has been fairly reliably determined that they were mad enough to possibly build some kind of nuclear doomsday device with a dead man's switch as a last resort "Fuck You!" to the whole planet should the USSR or Russian Federation fall or get wiped out in a full scale nuclear war.

That "Why do we need a world without Russia in it?" pull quote unfortunately likely has some really scary teeth behind it.
posted by loquacious at 2:59 PM on February 28 [11 favorites]


UN General Assembly Emergency Session Part II is adjourned, will start again morning of Mar 1. Can anyone more familiar with the United Nations than me answer why someone hasn't just moved to call the question? At this point we're at six hours of debate with only three speakers in even kind of oppositition.
posted by corb at 3:01 PM on February 28



He may have gone utterly mad, he may be overconfident, but it is not tactically or strategically prudent to assume there's not more going on behind the scenes. Putin is old school KGB/FSB. He knows propaganda and manipulation, and he definitely knows how to utterly raze a city.


I think we can call that into question. The Russian failure to capitalize on the capture of Snake Island indicates to me that their propaganda capabilities are overrated. They had Steve Bannon help them "flood the zone with shit" in the United States, but they don't know how to navigate social media in their own country and even their control of Vkontakte isn't enough for them to properly control the narrative inside of Russia.
posted by ocschwar at 3:06 PM on February 28 [5 favorites]




UN General Assembly Emergency Session Part II is adjourned, will start again morning of Mar 1. Can anyone more familiar with the United Nations than me answer why someone hasn't just moved to call the question? At this point we're at six hours of debate with only three speakers in even kind of oppositition.

I can take a couple of days... All members get to speak ...
posted by Pendragon at 3:13 PM on February 28 [3 favorites]




"I wish I didn’t have to explicitly say this, but declaring the Ukrainian president an international sex symbol does not help the Ukrainian people, even remotely."

I dunno. Right now we're in the stage of events that morale for Ukrainians can come from the most unlikely places. I personally didn't put much stock into the Ghost of Kiev story, but I also decided it wasn't my place to "debunk" it, as it were, because this kind of mythology in dire times can have a surprising effect on morale, effectiveness, staving off panic, etc. Ukraine isn't that much isolated from the world's communication zeitgeist, and something like the weird (probably unsustainable) veneration of Zelensky very well might aid Ukraine, at least in terms of knowing that the world is watching, and most of it cares about Ukraine.

TL;DR: "does not help....even remotely"? I contend it might, at the very least remotely. Possibly more.
posted by tclark at 3:15 PM on February 28 [25 favorites]


it's 2022 and the barn door is open: we *will* be subjected to clips of Zelensky winning Ukraine's version of Dancing with the Stars. You cannot close that barn door, and while I can appreciate the spirit of the comment, I think Jezebel is as guilty as anyone right now looking at their own angle to capture eyeballs and clicks.
posted by elkevelvet at 3:29 PM on February 28 [22 favorites]


Escalation. Ukraine's ambassador to the United States appealed to members of the U.S. Congress for more assistance on Monday as her country resists a "brutal war" from Russia, saying Russia had used a vacuum bomb on Monday in its invasion of Ukraine.
For vacuum bomb read thermobaric.
posted by adamvasco at 3:30 PM on February 28 [4 favorites]


saying Russia had used a vacuum bomb on Monday in its invasion of Ukraine.
For vacuum bomb read thermobaric.


God damn it.
posted by loquacious at 3:35 PM on February 28 [2 favorites]


we had a few days of the social media 'glow' for those of us in the West who could watch from a safe distance, I get the feeling things are slipping a gear into something quite a bit less pleasant than recycled clips of Zelensky dancing

I do pray, I don't know where the prayers go but sometimes it's just something to do. How is it one war was fought once, and then the stories of the war ensured there were no other wars? Come on, people
posted by elkevelvet at 3:38 PM on February 28 [4 favorites]


Russia is moving to withdraw diplomats from Canada.

Is this in response to something Canada has done, specifically?
posted by lazugod at 3:39 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]


@Loquatious: I have a really difficult time following the line of thinking that Putin just wasn't prepared enough for this kind of commitment or that there aren't feints within feints happening.

I dropped this in the first thread, but maybe it bears bringing up again:

- Russia has always been a disorganized, semi-shambolic, massively bureaucratic autocracy that hardly ever agrees with itself or the Boss at the top. And that goes back to the Tsars.

The Soviets were not unified in opinion during the Cuban Missile Crisis, but U.S strategists were making their decisions based on the idea that they were dealing with a USSR that was making considered unanimous decisions.

we see reports of multiple Russian commanders finding out really late that their units were actually going into Ukraine.

- KGB has been described as having a “throw it against the wall see if it sticks” approach to strategy. Putin in particular, as a product of the KGB, is not a smart guy. He’s not strategic or well read or educated. He’s rather a short-term thinker who sees something sticking to the wall, and decides “what’s next?”

One descriptor of the 2016 election shenanigans was
𝚃𝚑𝚎 𝚁𝚞𝚜𝚜𝚒𝚊𝚗𝚜 𝚠𝚎𝚛𝚎 𝚕𝚘𝚘𝚔𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚝𝚘 𝚝𝚛𝚒𝚙 𝙷𝚒𝚕𝚊𝚛𝚢 𝙲𝚕𝚒𝚗𝚝𝚘 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚋𝚕𝚘𝚘𝚍𝚢 𝚑𝚎𝚛 𝚗𝚘𝚜𝚎; 𝚝𝚑𝚎𝚢 𝚠𝚎𝚛𝚎 𝚗𝚘𝚝 𝚎𝚡𝚙𝚎𝚌𝚝𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚝𝚘 𝚋𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚔 𝚑𝚎𝚛 𝚗𝚎𝚌𝚔
Sometimes the guy playing 4th dimensional Chess is doing so thinking nothing more than one move ahead.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 3:44 PM on February 28 [19 favorites]


Probably the air space ban. You really shut down airlines when you close Canadian air space.
posted by ocschwar at 3:44 PM on February 28 [11 favorites]


@lazugod, I know Canada has shipped material to Ukraine, and some of what was shipped could be considered military/offensive capacity stuff; air space was closed to all Russian air traffic recently; Deputy Prime Minister is vocal in condemning, and her Ukrainian heritage may colour things in that regard. DPM Chrystia Freeland was banned from entering Russia years ago.

Not sure if that adds up to the complete withdrawal of all Russian diplomats from Canada? Surely contributing factors.
posted by elkevelvet at 3:46 PM on February 28 [3 favorites]


I haven’t seen anything in the Canadian press yet confirming Russia withdrawing all diplomats from Canada.
posted by fimbulvetr at 3:49 PM on February 28


There was a pro Ukraine rally outside the Russian embassy in Ottawa on the weekend that was called out as being "hostile" too. The tweet mentioned that diplomatic withdrawals from other Western nations is likely to follow.
posted by peppermind at 3:50 PM on February 28


Side note on Freeland (her Wikipedia page has a rundown of some of her journalism) -- she was the Moscow bureau chief for the Financial Times, among other jobs. She's been vocal about asset seizures from oligarchs and other people connected to Putin long before all of this. And is not allowed into Russia as a result.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:54 PM on February 28 [6 favorites]


This rumour about Russia withdrawing diplomats from Canada seems to be coming from a tweet from someone who does not appear to be particularly knowledgeable about this.
posted by ssg at 3:56 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]


The tweet suggests that the Russians would pull all their diplomats from a number of western countries. That’s usually a prelude to an attack of some kind. We’ll see if that happens. Seems like the oligarchs and the generals will pump the breaks on Putin at some point or at least try to.
posted by interogative mood at 4:03 PM on February 28


If Russia were to physically attack Canada and other western countries, I do not think it would matter whether they withdraw their diplomats or not. I wouldn't take this as an indication that they plan to do so.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 4:08 PM on February 28 [2 favorites]


I have a really difficult time following the line of thinking that Putin just wasn't prepared enough for this kind of commitment or that there aren't feints within feints happening.

I was puzzled as to why you'd send in the conscripts first, but I decided that maybe I was looking at it wrong; Putin doesn't view a few thousand grieving parents as any threat to him, and perhaps even intends their children to be weaponized as martyrs, while damage to the professional side of the army can't be replaced as easily. Also, aren't most of these stories from the north and east, while they seem to be making solid progress in the south? Maybe it's just that his primary goal is cutting Ukraine off from the sea and making a solid link to start eating away at Moldova later, and as much of the land east of the Dnieper as the disposable units can conveniently take. Leave the rest of Ukraine as an economically crippled rump state stuffed with refugees. I mean, I'd think that would be the backup plan with the first plan being a decapitation strike and putting in Medvedchuk as a puppet, possibly to sign off on absorbing Ukraine into Russia, but it more or less fits with what we are seeing?
posted by tavella at 4:08 PM on February 28 [9 favorites]


Yeah, there are no credible reports that Russian diplomats have been pulled from Canada...yet. What has been confirmed is that Canada will be sending anti-tank weapons to Ukraine (CBC, within the last hour).
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:09 PM on February 28 [6 favorites]


Maybe it's just that his primary goal is cutting Ukraine off from the sea

yes, that's the most plausible (to me, not an expert) of the several theories in the video I posted upthread. Between the Donbas and the coast, it achieves denying Ukraine's natural energy resources, rescuing Crimea, and pressuring Moldova next via the same "independent state" fiction in Transnistria. I'm sure complete annexation would be a bonus. I think Russia can take Ukraine, but not hold it. No matter, as long as Russia does not retreat fully from the South, the constant state of fighting will suppress foreign investment in energy development for decades. And all that seems to check with indications.
posted by ctmf at 4:18 PM on February 28 [8 favorites]


I don't really know anything about military tactics, but I've learned from Roman history that for a period of about 200 years, the Roman legions used a tactical formation called the maniple, in which the front line was composed of the least experienced troops, which would be pulled back and replaced by more experienced troops once they tired, with finally the most experienced veterans taking the front line only if both previous lines failed to achieve victory. The theory, as I understand it, is that this was intended to weaken or tire out the enemy before hitting them with the most effective troops, who would still be fresh, further increasing their relative strength. I don't know if the Russian military is intentionally trying to do something similar, and the apparent attempt and failure of a shock-and-awe style invasion would argue against it, but it's possible that sending in the conscripts first was deliberately done in accordance with this type of tactic, making sure the Ukrainian fighters are fatigued before sending in the most experienced Russian troops to finish the job. I hope not, and I hope it has just been a series of ineffective blunders by Putin's regime that will continue, but I don't think we can count on that.
posted by biogeo at 4:34 PM on February 28 [13 favorites]


Putting the specter of tactical battlefield nukes aside, Russia doesn't actually need to resort to those to blow Kyiv to bits and wipe most of it off the map and it should be considered a weird warning sign and point of concern that large scale thermobaric weapons haven't been deployed.

Leveling Kiev, the historical home of ancestors of the Russian people, the Kievan Rus, is directly contrary to his claimed casus belli, which is to free the Ukrainian people from Fascists who have seized control of the country. If he levels Kiev then he loses much of his popular support in Russia (which is already under attack by a skilled social media team in Ukraine.)
posted by leotrotsky at 4:35 PM on February 28 [8 favorites]


I also wonder whether Putin thought the West would simply be too drained after dealing with the pandemic for the last two years. Maybe he assumed that with nerves frayed, treasuries drained, and societies polarized by vaccine status, the rest of the world just wouldn't be able to get terribly worked up about Ukraine.

In which case he seriously underestimated how much we needed a good guy to root for, and an enemy with a human face.
posted by saturday_morning at 4:40 PM on February 28 [33 favorites]


Leveling Kiev, the historical home of ancestors of the Russian people, the Kievan Rus, is directly contrary to his claimed casus belli, which is to free the Ukrainian people from Fascists who have seized control of the country.

“To save the city, we had to…..”
posted by Silvery Fish at 4:41 PM on February 28 [4 favorites]


"Sadly, like Volgograd, the holy city of Kiev was damaged in the struggle to liberate it from fascists, but we will rebuild it even more gloriously then before." Various historical monuments are rebuilt as shrines to Putin complete with photo ops. It's like Q; if your audience is willing to buy any ludicrousness as facts as long as it emotionally satisfies them and fits their mythos, reality doesn't matter. And the Russian public has been pretty drugged up on near-universal propaganda media for a long time now. Not all of them, obviously there are many insanely brave Russians who have been protesting, but I'm not sure enough see through it to be a threat.
posted by tavella at 4:46 PM on February 28 [5 favorites]


In which case he seriously underestimated how much we needed a good guy to root for, and an enemy with a human face.

Or how much we are all so done with everybody’s shit. If my small Venn diagram of overlapping socially- responsible people and organizations is any indication, we are all tired and so, so determined to keep moving forward despite all of the infuriating side-nonsense, and it has given birth to this incredible tenacity to stop nonsense even before it has a chance to get a foot over our threshold. The pandemic has made fighters out of a lot of people.
posted by Silvery Fish at 4:49 PM on February 28 [25 favorites]


A moment ago, I heard my roommate laugh harder than I have ever heard him laugh before. He told me it was because he'd just read this news:

The International Tae Kwon Do organization has just revoked Putin's black belt.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:09 PM on February 28 [56 favorites]


Various historical monuments are rebuilt as shrines to Putin complete with photo ops.

If you look at images of Grozny in 2000 vs. now, that's exactly what happened there. Not implausible.

Then there's this weird detail regarding shoddy construction of a showcase tower in Grozny, a fire, and Gerard Depardieu's Putin boot-licking.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:15 PM on February 28 [5 favorites]


Putin is stalling. He is hoping to kill the Ukrainian government. Then negotiate in the mirror. He thinks the Belarussians will deliver, and some other threatened peoples betray. Putin is not going to stop. He is Russia' s monster to take care of. They need a referendum on this war, and the nuclear downwinds from it. Putin will not stop willingly. Too many of his fans have told him, he is the most powerful man in the world. But, he is a middle man, between China, the Tundra, his oil and gas, and the EU. Not enough glory for him. But I see the perseverance of his people, and they have a right to be a proud nation, and they deserve better.
posted by Oyéah at 5:18 PM on February 28 [4 favorites]


I have to admit that I still don't quite understand why this invasion has prompted a response so much bigger than the response to Putin's earlier invasions of various sovereign states.
posted by clawsoon at 5:22 PM on February 28 [5 favorites]


@tamarisk - “ One wonders if conditions that can produce something like moral exhaustion may also tend to produce something like moral clarity.”

Yes. I think you’re right, and thank you for drawing the line to connect the two. Cognitively and emotionally that rings true.

And I laughed out loud at that pup! It’s adorable, but I bet it getting it into the shelter was neither quick nor incident-free.
posted by Silvery Fish at 5:26 PM on February 28 [3 favorites]


@clawsoon: it may be similar to the mounting Western response to Germany/ Japan during the 30s/ 40s. One invasion (Austria/ Manchuria) goes without comment; the second invasion (Czechoslovakia/China) draws sanctions and scorn; the third invasion (Poland/ Japanese annexation of Indochina) leads to the war.

Essentially, Putin's earlier Georgian and Ukrainian wars exhausted the patience and apathy of the west. Europe and the USA now understand that he will not stop unless he is forced to stop.
posted by LeRoienJaune at 5:28 PM on February 28 [31 favorites]


On a lighter theme, it’s been really interesting is how fast the conversation around fossil fuels has changed… Nuclear is back on the table in Germany, and it will be interesting what other green energy is accelerated. I work in the climate change sphere, and frankly this is radical.
posted by larthegreat at 5:30 PM on February 28 [46 favorites]


Some of the answers to that question that people have given before make sense to me (complete invasion with the apparent intention of annexing an entire sovereign nation rather than just a region; the extent to which Ukrainians have access to and are skillfully using social media; racism that grants greater sympathy to Ukrainians as opposed to, say, Chechens). But I think another good answer is that human systems are chaotic, in the mathematical sense. Small, even random differences in how people respond at critical points create feedback loops that may amplify or dampen certain kinds of responses. There may have been just enough outrage by the right people in the right places at the right times during the early hours of the invasion to help establish and sustain the greater international response to this invasion. And I don't think any of these explanations are mutually exclusive.
posted by biogeo at 5:31 PM on February 28 [31 favorites]


@clawsoon It's bigger, it involves allies of allies, everyone's fucking angry and bonkers from the last couple of years such that we're kinda done with BS like this, his justification is sooo transparent, domestically political dealings with Ukraine have put brought it forward in our relative attention, Putin and his military seem to be making surprising decisions, and, um, the landscape, cities, culture and people are more readily identified with by Europeans and Americans.
posted by DeepSeaHaggis at 5:31 PM on February 28 [19 favorites]


I have to admit that I still don't quite understand why this invasion has prompted a response so much bigger than the response to Putin's earlier invasions of various sovereign states.

The size of Ukraine is one thing, for sure.

But I have not seen the obvious mentioned a lot on this thread: The Biden administration spent months warning people about this attack and publicly sharing intelligence to this effect. Even when the warnings were treated with skepticism it forced people to think about contingencies. In addition, the approach was one of partnership building among allies; taking direct military options off the table from the start probably made people much more comfortable working against Putin and not viewing it as America and Russia both increasing tensions and dragging Europe into it.

Contrast that to Crimea, when I feel the west was caught flat-footed. Or Georgia, when the US looked a lot more unilateral in its aspirations.
posted by mark k at 5:50 PM on February 28 [40 favorites]


“For people who won't consider that as a possibility, it's important to remember that Putin happily levelled Grozny in 2000 in the name of eerily-familiar-sounding 'liberation'.”

Please pardon me: this is lengthy, but I think it's warranted and (I hope!) worth reading.

Since early in the other thread I've noted a lack of discussion of this extremely relevant history and it's worried me because I think an informed discussion about this war isn't possible without this background.

I don't have a good source at hand and, anyway, it's a topic that is easily googled.

In brief(!), though (and from memory) the wars in Chechnya established Putin's position in Russia, was the inflection point in post-Cold War Russian history, and undoubtedly was formative in Putin's psychology as a national leader.

The Chechen rebellion had been an embarrassment to Russia, the early response to it was bungled, Chechen terrorists were emboldened to act even in Moscow (and also later, in desperation), and this perceived (actual) weakness of the central government alongside the kleptocrat gangsters running amok had plunged Russian national sentiment to extreme pessimism and cynicism.

Then Putin came along and waged possibly the most brutal and total war against a population that we've seen in last two decades. Grozny was practically wiped off the map. After 9-11, the West simply didn't care about the brutality and war crimes the Russian military committed in Chechnya because the Chechens were (or predictably became) Muslim extremists.

As Chechens were slaughtered wholesale, they increasingly became terrorists and guerrilla fighters and, inevitably, were a key contingent of fighters in the Middle East. (BTW, the Boston Marathon bombers were ethnic Chechens who had been radicalized by this network of extremists.)

So while Putin prosecuted an intensely bloodthirsty and indiscriminate war against Chechnya, the West turned a blind eye or even encouraged it. And, as I said, Putin was very successful.

The subjugation of Chechnya, the installation of a cronyist governance there, and then Putin's authoritarian prosecution of the kleptocrats (set aside for the moment that he is one of them) made Putin very popular with Russians and began a resurgence of national pride and a sense of security. He used this as his foundation from which to progressively consolidate his power, which he has steadily done (excepting a brief caesura of Medvedev's rise and fall).

I think the relevance of this to the current situation is obvious and ominous.

Which brings me to:

“...and after spending some time at his apartment house sitting I learned and realized he was pretty hard line pro Putin...”

Touched upon in what I just wrote, I've long felt that Europeans and North Americans and others have been very unaware of how most Russians have experienced the post-USSR period and are therefore unfortunately very baffled by Putin's popularity.

Yes, there's been a worldwide rise of right-wing authoriatarianism and populism with the cult of personality. That's been global. Russia and Putin have contributed to this, but they are neither the cause of it nor is Putin's popularity a result of it. Similarly, given the historical circumstances, there was inevitably going to be an agitprop revanchism in Russia — this is what happens when Great Powers fall in real or relative terms (the latter which is happening in the US). But that alone doesn't explain Putinism. It's insufficient.

Putinism, his popularity in Russian, and the national sentiment of Russians is best understood first and foremost in its immediate context of Yeltsin's Russia. That was an impoverished Russia where armed kleptocratic gangsters ran rampant, pensioners were thrown from their homes, Russia had become irrelevant as a geopolitical power, and had become sort of a playground for neoconservative and neoliberal western capitalists to enact their fantasies. (I think this intersects with and exacerbates Russia's worries regarding Western European "encroachment" on its sphere of influence in the form of an expandimg NATO.)

This was a profoundly low point for Russia and Russians. Putin not only became the symbol of the repudiation of and recovery from this dismal state, but he was, for better and worse, its architect and prime mover. Along the way, he enlisted right-wing nationalists and the cultural conservatives of the Orthodox church in this "renewal" and this has formed what is, in relative terms, a modern stabilized Russian state.

However, in recent years Putin has accelerated his personal consolidation of power along with the relative diminishment of that of his partners. He has become more isolated and has taken his national popularity for granted.

Given this, it's difficult to predict exactly how this war and its consequences will affect the national mood. On the one hand, the destabilization of Russia's economy and the consequent lowering of its standard of living may turn some of his population against him. It was Putin's perceived engineering of Russia's return to global respect and the stabilization of the economy which endeared him to them, after all. On the other hand, the global isolation and the economic hardship, and the unifying effect of war on the national sentiment may cause Russians to rally behind him and thus this war. It's probably too soon to tell.

In any case, all this history is crucially important to properly understand — or, at least, to attempt to begin to understand — this war, what it means, how it may proceed, and what policies are best to navigate to the best possible outcome and avoid the worst.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:53 PM on February 28 [111 favorites]


The people of the Caucasus are different enough to be seen as other, while Ukrainians are seen as fellow Europeans / white people. The war against Ukraine before now was much less clear cut because it at least somewhat plausibly had some local support in the areas in question. And Syria is just a totally different situation. Russia hasn't invaded a country like this since the fall of the USSR.
posted by ssg at 5:54 PM on February 28 [3 favorites]


Ha, so I see we all generally agree with the litany of reasons for the attention being paid.
posted by DeepSeaHaggis at 6:01 PM on February 28




Andrew Pretty, who sits on Dildo's community committee

Sorry, shit's fucked, but this will never not be funny.

Just a side note, if people need a break that still stays on topic: Selo i Ludy just posted another livestream from their basement in Kharkiv (with neighbours who are also there because it's a suitable basement for shelter).
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:09 PM on February 28 [24 favorites]


Bless you mandolin conspiracy
posted by Kabanos at 6:19 PM on February 28 [3 favorites]


When a Sunny Place for Shady people tells you to go....
Monaco, a tax haven often favoured by the super-wealthy, will proceed with freezing assets and imposing sanctions on certain Russians following President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, the Monaco Royal Palace said on Monday.
posted by adamvasco at 6:44 PM on February 28 [12 favorites]


One other difference between Chechnya and Ukraine that may have something to do with the difference in world reaction to them is that Chechnya was and is recognized by the international community as being a part of Russia, whereas Ukraine is a sovereign nation. That certainly doesn't make what the Russians are doing to Ukrainians any better or worse than what they did to Chechnyans, but it's a significant difference from the point of view of other sovereign nations (and, I think, of international law).

Another possibility (which I'm more confident about having actually had some responsibility for the difference) is that for the past, what, ten years or so, Russia effectively has been at war with democracies in general (though not in a way that is often recognized as being "war"). And people, including governmental leaders, have slowly been catching on that actual, serious damage can be and has been done in this way.
posted by Flunkie at 6:50 PM on February 28 [12 favorites]


Y'all, it's Kyiv, not Kiev. Check that your autocorrect hasn't changed it before you hit post (preview is handy for this).
posted by cooker girl at 6:54 PM on February 28 [20 favorites]


I think Zelensky must be given some amount of credit as well for making world leaders care about this war.
posted by cosmic owl at 6:54 PM on February 28 [13 favorites]


(content warning: wartime rape)

20 hours or so ago I came across a Reddit thread posted by a woman whose town was overrun and who was abducted and sexually assaulted by Russian soldiers. This should not be a surprise. I suspect the rapes started in Belarus during the staging along the border. The Reddit thread (which may have since been deleted, which I cannot find now, and which I may not want to find), was very well moderated, with responses limited to the important practical matters of the woman getting medical help with emergency contraception and post-exposure prophylaxis for STDs.

Wartime rape is usually something that is documented and discussed months, years, decades after the fact. This is the first war in which it might be getting publicized within hours, owing to social media. And that might be the thing to do. There is no way to prevent these crimes except by either killing the invaders or getting Putin to retreat. So they are going to keep being committed.
However, what we have here is a Ukrainian side that is clearly driven by honor, and which can make clear how its code of honor relates to this set of women: " the pain is ours, and the shame is Russia's."

Let Zelensky say those words, and let the oligarchs understand it's yet another way in which the war will come back right to them.
posted by ocschwar at 7:17 PM on February 28 [36 favorites]


we had a few days of the social media 'glow' for those of us in the West who could watch from a safe distance, I get the feeling things are slipping a gear into something quite a bit less pleasant than recycled clips of Zelensky dancing

I think that little 'glow' may end up saving Ukraine in the long run.

Many expected a story of the Russian army moving at lightning speed and taking everything and making it a 'fait accompli' that Russian has taken Ukraine, and at that point getting the Russians out requires actions nobody are going to take. And the story fades in the background.

Instead we have a story of resistance, heroic head of state, collaboration from neighboring nations, Russian duplicity & fallibility, economic sanctions that pack a real punch and wide approval for western government to do something about the situation. Quite the difference from last week I'd say. This is by no means over, and I'm sure it'll get ugly, but the world is not indifferent, however that was achieved, it's a good thing.

And I'm sure we'll never get an admission of this, but the Russian meddling with elections and the social media weaponization might also have convinced western leaders that Putin needs to be dealt with and it's the best opportunity they'll get at taking a swing at Putin's Russia for a long time.

(and that's exactly what Flunkie said while I was not reading the thread)
posted by WaterAndPixels at 7:21 PM on February 28 [32 favorites]


bad bad bad bad bad

After the classified briefing on Ukraine/Russia, Sen. Graham said, “I expect a scorched earth policy to unfold here in the coming days regarding Ukraine. I expect wholesale slaughter of Ukrainian citizens by the Russian military.”
posted by sammyo at 7:21 PM on February 28 [6 favorites]


meddling with elections and the social media weaponization

Not to mention the constant cyber-attacks that I've been saying for years need to be classified as actual acts of war. That's why I find it interesting someone upthread posted a link implying that NATO will consider cyber-warfare as Article 5-triggering acts. I find that unlikely, but it may lay the groundwork for overt retaliation by US CYBERCOM.
posted by ctmf at 7:29 PM on February 28 [9 favorites]


With regards to why the reaction is so different this time, I wonder if, on top of all the rational reasons that have been mentioned, part of it is also fed by sheer emotional reaction to just how fragile the world order has been shown to be in the past few years.

I mean, in 2016 the totally ridiculous and unthinkable happened and Trump got elected, in a campaign centered on Russian disinformation and hacking and interference - and overnight America got a president who couldn't care less about things like democracy or rule of law (on the contrary, he fumed and railed against anything he saw as constraining him) and was pretty clearly in it just to loot and grift. Four years of the so-called "leader of the free world" courting strongmen as his best friends, with Putin in first place, and openly disrespectful of Europe; no one could be sure a second term would even be avoided, and even in the aftermath of his loss half of America believes in a big lie supported, in part, by Russian disinformation. And there's a good chance it'll all pick up again in 2024. In the UK, Brexit, which started as a massive act of trolling that not even the trolls took seriously, was suddenly approved in a referendum, because it turns out nationalist identity and racist grudges can defeat unity and cooperation and a pan-Europe identity and any shred of rationality or common sense.

And Putin was actively, smugly involved in all of these developments, which flew straight in the face of the post-WWII order in Europe and the values it was based on. He also did gratuitous outrageous things like poisoning people on other countries' soil and supporting Belarus in hijacking a plane over another country's airspace to kidnap a former resident who had applied for asylum in an EU country. The Russian Olympics doping scandal in Sochi was completely ridiculous and full of contempt for international regulations; the skating scandal last month was a vivid reminder of that contempt. Putin just announced a close relationship with China, the country that's been emerging as the most serious threat to the US/EU-centered world order. And everything's so fragile right now with this surreal pandemic, and raging populism and disinformation and trauma. Everywhere you look, there's Russian-fed trolls and destabilization. Truckers protesting in Canada? Decent odds Russia's involved in that too.

I'm so sick of it. Maybe enough other people's patience has frayed to a breaking point too. And maybe after all these years of "what the hell even was this ridiculous year", even the most insulated leaders are finding it difficult to summon up much complacency or confidence that things are too stable to fall apart. (This is total speculation based on personal feelings, clearly.)
posted by trig at 7:31 PM on February 28 [70 favorites]


I find that unlikely, but it may lay the groundwork for overt retaliation by US CYBERCOM.


The ease with which cyber-attackers can frame other parties and get their attack mis-attributed makes me less than happy with that.
posted by ocschwar at 7:34 PM on February 28 [5 favorites]


Slimy move by the Canadian government to loudly announce their ban on (crude) oil imports from Russia, which we haven't done since 2019 anyways, while not mentioning the continued import of refined oil, of which we imported $250M last year. A drop in the bucket for Russia and Canada both, but apparently we couldn't even make that tiny sacrifice.
posted by ssg at 7:37 PM on February 28 [4 favorites]




This was mentioned upthread, but I don't remember seeing a link to the actual article.

RIA Novosti news agency accidentally published an article, tagged with a publication date of 8AM on February 26, already celebrating a Russian victory and collapse of the Ukrainian state within an anticipated two days. Web archive link. (Sorry if a double)
posted by Kabanos at 7:47 PM on February 28 [7 favorites]


Are there any practical implications of the EU application being filed? I understand the symbolic importance, but not much beyond that.
posted by meese at 7:52 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]


Are there any practical implications of the EU application being filed?

Pre-accession assistance is one of them.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:59 PM on February 28 [3 favorites]


ssg, I see we do our sanctions like we do our GHG emissions controls.

There's apparently a long Russian convoy heading to Kyiv.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 8:00 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]


"A country can only apply once it satisfies certain conditions, including having a free-market economy and stable democracy and accepting all EU legislation as well as the euro. Then it submits its application to the European Council, which asks the European Commission to assess the country's ability to meet those criteria.

If the commission's assessment is favorable, the..."

Does anyone know if the EU council can fast fucking track this thing in 2 days because, it's getting worse militarily by the hour and at a geometric rate.
posted by clavdivs at 8:02 PM on February 28 [3 favorites]


I really love hearing the crows that perch by the Kiev web cams.
posted by ocschwar at 8:03 PM on February 28 [4 favorites]


Treasured Paintings Burned in Russian Invasion, Ukrainian Officials Say (NYT) (web archive link) - Maria Primachenko is my absolute favourite artists, and a very famous Ukranian cultural hero. Her art is such a celebration of people and animals, of the folk traditions and her own experiences and the world changing. You can browse some of her works here.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 8:04 PM on February 28 [25 favorites]


That 40+ mile convoy seems like a great place to drop a fscking missile or three...
posted by kaibutsu at 8:10 PM on February 28 [3 favorites]


The fact that it hasn't happened yet is an ominous sign.
posted by meowzilla at 8:12 PM on February 28 [7 favorites]


Yeah, even destroying the road just to slow them down seems like a first step.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 8:17 PM on February 28 [2 favorites]


Vasylkiv: why this small Ukrainian town is now a big Russian target (The Guardian)
Natalia Balasynovych, the mayor of Vasylkiv, woke up at 5.13am last Thursday and thought there was a fireworks display outside.

She quickly realised that, in fact, Vladimir Putin had launched an assault on Ukraine. Missiles were raining down on her town.

[...]

Balasynovych, 37, has been in local politics since her 20s and is known as a campaigner for women’s rights and the victims of domestic abuse. Now she finds herself coordinating her city’s response to a Russian assault.

[...]

Weapons have been handed out to all who want them, something she concedes will probably fuel a domestic violence catastrophe in future. “But for now, victory is more important,” she said.
I, like most people of good will, support the Ukrainians' military and armed civilian resistance to the Russian invasion. But I'm sure Balasynovych is right to worry about what this will mean for civil society in the less immediate future, regardless of what happens to Ukraine's sovereignty. Violence begets violence, and while violent resistance may be the only good option for the people of Ukraine right now, the damage to civil society and the peaceful rule of law is always one of the casualties of war. I do feel a certain grim satisfaction in hearing about the successes of the Ukrainians' violent resistance, but it's always tempered by an awareness of the terrible cost they are paying and will continue to pay for it. This is yet another crime for which Putin should answer.

Anyway, this is just a small part of the article, the rest of which is also very interesting.
posted by biogeo at 8:23 PM on February 28 [21 favorites]




Иди Hаxуй: "The full range and depth of Russian obscenities – which overlap with Ukrainian obscenities – is notoriously hard to convey written down"
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:50 PM on February 28 [11 favorites]


After the classified briefing on Ukraine/Russia, Sen. Graham said, “I expect a scorched earth policy to unfold here in the coming days regarding Ukraine. I expect wholesale slaughter of Ukrainian citizens by the Russian military.”

Although without having access to the briefings, the rest of us can only speculate, one item that has been circulating about the OSINT world in the last day or so, are estimates that Russia is probably on the verge of using up its stockpiles of precision guided munitions (PGMs).

It would not surprise me of Graham got a very sobering assessment of possible civilian casualties in the scenario where the Russians continue forward into the cities with conventional, non-precision weapons.

I know it's a very long shot, but I just wonder, with more than a little hope, if there's a point where some senior person in the Russian military realizes they are going nowhere good with Putin. The Russian military loves their WWII history; at some point a reasonable person has to start to see the parallels between Putin and der Führer, particularly if Kyiv starts to look like it's going to be a reenactment of Stalingrad. Russian institutions, if not the current Russian government de jure, have dealt with dangerous leaders before; at what point does the system decide to spit Putin out like it did Khrushchev? The Russians have always kept their "regime change" in-house.

If there is at this point any reasonably-good outcome, that would be it. But it seems like it's purely on the Russian side to realize there's no good outcome in continuing.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:50 PM on February 28 [6 favorites]


to assess the country's ability to meet those criteria.

Well depending what probable future factors you consider, I'm not sure Ukraine has the ability to meet those criteria. Which isn't their fault.
posted by ctmf at 8:51 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]


Y'all, it's Kyiv, not Kiev.

Context: KyivNotKiev
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:55 PM on February 28 [11 favorites]


Karl...Y2karl posted that excellent link on Hill and fine pulll qoate. She had good teachers;

"But he’s (Putin) putting down a challenge to the entire system after World War II in which business has prospered. Because this kind of action, if it goes unchecked again, could happen anywhere. It really raises questions about the future stability of Asia. It could be a massive war in Europe. If Russia and Ukraine fight, for years to come, refugees going across the border, European countries pump weapons into Ukraine, whatever happens on what the Russians call the military-technical front, that could mean all kinds of things. It’s a massive destabilization effect."
Barron's article/interview with Hill one month ago.
posted by clavdivs at 9:04 PM on February 28 [4 favorites]


Good interview and I have a lot of respect for Hill.

It’s not going to be good for global business if we end up in a massive war in Europe.

I hope, and wish I could believe, that’s true.
posted by maniabug at 9:28 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]


One way to stymie the invaders is to remove the street signs. Ukravtodor, the State Agency of Automobile Roads of Ukraine, posted this image on facebook with the following message (translated):
“!! ️URGENT
Dismantling road signs on all roads of the country. Priority #1 – indicators, names of settlements. Collected signs are handed over to local authorities and roadmen.
The enemy has a pathetic connection, they don’t orientate the area. Lets help them go straight to hell.
Ukravtodor calls on all road organizations, territorial communities, local authorities to immediately start dismantling road signs nearby.
DONT YOU FUCK AROUND
Strong language from a state agency! Even more charming is the translation of the sign itself:
↑ GO FUCK YOURSELF
← GO FUCK YOURSELF AGAIN
→ GO FUCK YOURSELF BACK TO RUSSIA
posted by adept256 at 9:39 PM on February 28 [51 favorites]


This huge convoy of Russian equipment rolling towards Kyiv seems to be the big story of the moment. It may have as many as 100,000 Russian soldiers and will be a huge test. We might see Kyiv fall or we might see a repeat of the famous highway of death from the 1991 gulf war. We won’t know for several hours or maybe a day what has happened.
posted by interogative mood at 9:47 PM on February 28


the poet in me wants to see the massed Russian convoy roll into town to find almost nobody there. And then a couple of days later, everything starts to burn ...

There's certainly precedent ...
posted by philip-random at 9:56 PM on February 28 [4 favorites]


a majority of DaDa poets agree with this
brilliant Jack Handyist statement.
posted by clavdivs at 10:07 PM on February 28 [3 favorites]


Javelins to the left of them, drones above them, shattered and sundered the 60 KM convoy.
posted by interogative mood at 10:19 PM on February 28 [5 favorites]


I’m seeing conflicting reports - that it’s potentially not 40 km long but rather 4 km long and 40 km away from Kyiv. Does anyone have anything solidly sourced?
posted by corb at 10:56 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]


Claudius, I am confused....
posted by DeepSeaHaggis at 10:56 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]


The Guardian:
Satellite images taken on Monday show a Russian military convoy north of Kyiv that stretches for about 40 miles (64km) in an area north-west of Kyiv. It is substantially longer than the 17 miles (27km) reported earlier in the day, according to the US company Maxar.

Maxar, which filed a series of satellite images on the Russian military buildup on the Ukraine border, also said additional ground forces deployments and ground attack helicopter units were seen in southern Belarus, less than 20 miles (32km) north of the Ukraine border.
posted by biogeo at 11:39 PM on February 28 [4 favorites]


I'm not sure Ukraine has the ability to meet those criteria... (for EU membership)


Greece did not really meet the criteria either, Goldman-Sachs did the heavy lifting there. I do wonder what the legal and diplomatic ramifications of entrance into the EU will be, given that EU is already in Ukraine's corner - short of sending actual troops.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:44 PM on February 28 [1 favorite]


When alot of folks are confused, like when Marie Osmond recites 'Karawane', I remind myself of historical anti war sentiment and peek at Russian tanks burning.
posted by clavdivs at 11:44 PM on February 28 [7 favorites]


What worries me currently is the amount of territory Russia has taken to the southeast, and Mariupol is at serious risk of being surrounded. If Mariupol is taken, that gives Russia the land bridge between Crimea and the Donbass region, with control of much of the coast. With no way to bring relief to Mariupol, and Russia willing to use thermobarics, that is going to be very, very grim for the defenders.

I am wondering if the push towards Kyiv was primarily made up of the conscripts and obsolete tanks (many of the Russian tanks so far destroyed are T72s), thrown forward with weak logistics, keeping the Ukraine army busy - everyone 'knew' that Russia was going to go for a fast encirclement of Kyiv, so they took advantage of that to draw attention while sending the veteran units elsewhere. If the Russian forces near Kharkiv can break through to join up with the crimean advance, they could potentially encircle and cut off a large amount of Ukrainian forces still defending the original line of control to the Donbass.

I'm sure if the initial forces rushed forward to attack Kyiv and Kharkiv had met with little resistance and basically put them under siege or even occupation quickly that Russia would have been happy with that, but I'm not convinced they went for it with western doctrine, i.e. fast spear attack with elite forces, apart from possibly the airport attack.

Given the rush advance with inexperienced troops has now been held back, the next step is to bring up the good tanks, heavy artillery and thermobarics and shell Kyiv and Khakiv to pieces, while the Ukranian army is pincered and crushed in the south east. Which goes without saying, will be truly horrific. I really, really hope I'm wrong.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 11:48 PM on February 28 [12 favorites]


I guess I'd be curious to know what the Ukrainian army is doing here. I think it's likely good I don't know for operational intelligence reasons, but I can't imagine they're not seeing the possibility and just letting it happen. Are they pulling back to shrink the salient? Are the attacks by the Russian forces pinning them down? Is there going to be an attempt to gather and then break the envelopment when the line is complete but thin? I assume and hope there is a plan but all the chat I've seen has been about what the Russians are doing and not the reaction. I did say to my partner I don't see how the Ukrainian's get the operational tempo back right now and that so far seems to be accurate.
posted by Carillon at 11:57 PM on February 28


What worries me currently is the amount of territory Russia has taken to the southeast

The wehrmacht's 11th army, with 11 artillery battalions, 7 infantry divisions, 1 panzer division, and the luftwaffe's 4th air fleet laid siege to the naval fortress of Sevastopol in 1942. The siege lasted 8 months and 3 days.

Sevastopol is currently in Russian hands.
posted by adept256 at 11:59 PM on February 28 [4 favorites]


Reading through the thread this morning from Netherlands and finding that a ton of the comments in here fall into some combination of categories which include

- Speculation about what might happen by people in the US with only a passing familiarity with the history of the region or who happen to have a Russian friend
- Speculation about Putin’s motives that are just intellectual exercises without grounding or sourcing
- Repeating unverified reports of awful shit sourced from some random Reddit thread or unsubstantiated tweets, some subset of which are almost certainly propaganda designed to get spread in exactly this way

It would be lovely if this could stop and we could get back to links / updates / verified news / insight from folks who have actual expertise and/or history in the region.
posted by lazaruslong at 1:15 AM on March 1 [88 favorites]


Here a list of recommended books available in English translation. Link is to threadreader.
Whilst i do not know Uilleam Blacker, i know and trust the people who retweeted his reading list.
I think reading an actual book will help me curb my nervous energy around the situation and worry for those i know living in Ukraine.
Also, Austria does not share a border with Ukraine, but still it is difficult not to be nervous, the Slovak/Ukrainian border being less than 600km away. but that is luxury worry, compared to living there.
posted by 15L06 at 1:27 AM on March 1 [7 favorites]


Ps. 600km away from Vienna, to be clear.
posted by 15L06 at 1:30 AM on March 1


re: The West getting more involved this time compared to 2014 - is it to do with oil/gas? Thats usually a factor. And this is happening in the context of Europe experiencing an energy crisis.
But as people are saying it does seem to be a combination of factors. There seemed to be a change in the Western stance once it became clear that Ukraine and Zelensky were not going to rapidly fold.
posted by memebake at 1:31 AM on March 1


The news in Germany this morning is somber, and isn't too different from what I'm seeing in English-language media. People are admiring the fearlessness and resolve of the Ukrainian people, and proud that western powers have mustered have fast, coordinated, and decisive response.

However the apparently massive convoy is frightening. Die Zeit isn't engaging in unnecessary speculation of Putin's current plans, but it's hard to expect anything but that this will be a horrible week for Kyiv, and the people still there.
posted by Alex404 at 1:32 AM on March 1


There seemed to be a change in the Western stance once it became clear that Ukraine and Zelensky were not going to rapidly fold.

it's unlikely that the major decisions were made only after the initial invasion, as western intelligence has been observing this build up for months. I think ultimately the western stake on this is about maintaining the current world order, and showing the kinds of non-military power it can still dramatically exert on the countries that are subject to it. For many reasons the annexation of Crimea was not enough to set this off, but a flat out invasion of Ukraine is.

I mean, I also believe in the genuine humanitarianism of the various leaders of the western world. People are aghast, and need to figure out how to respond without triggering a war between nuclear powers. In some ways were seeing the deployment of a new sort of weapon, and we still don't know the extent of its power. The outcome will certainly colour any later speculations about e.g. an invasion of Taiwan.

I think it's also important to keep in mind that for the current crop of Western leaders, which are on the whole a more center/left (not far right, anyway) bunch than they have been in a while, de-legitimizing Putin will yield major political payoff. From Trump's surrender summit, to the various far-right European parties that bat eyelashes at Putin, a decisive victory will be a huge blow to fascism, in no small part by undermining the macho posturing that holds so much of it up.

So there's a lot of potential upshot for the western world. But it's going to be absolutely horrific for Ukraine. My only hope is that if (a big if) things do go well, Ukraine can be brought into the EU, and receive the kind of support that never would have been possible while Putin was a threat.

But Putin is still very much a threat, and nothing is yet written. I would like to see Putin defeated decisively, but I pray for successful peace talks.
posted by Alex404 at 1:53 AM on March 1 [15 favorites]


I remember the televised senate hearings during the first impeachment, I made a note on the pronunciation of Kyiv. 'Key-ev' is the Russian manner, Ukrainians say 'Keev'. In particular I noted who was saying it. Alexander Vindman, the whistle blower, and Fiona Hill the veteran diplomat, were using the Ukrainian pronunciation. Gordon Sondland, the guy who bought an ambassadorship off Trump, was saying it the Russian way. All of Trumps defenders were saying 'key-ev'.

It's what gamblers would call a 'tell'. The way they say that word. You could tell that they weren't familiar with Ukrainians despite their positions, and they were invariably Trump's people.

It's something to listen out for when people talk about this.
posted by adept256 at 2:05 AM on March 1 [54 favorites]


Wow, Kabanos, that article is chilling. I'm particularly struck by the repeated use of "Anglo-Saxon" as a racial category, and this from Ria Novosti.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 2:16 AM on March 1


Mod note: I'm going to heartily second the request to try to stick mainly to news, updates, backgrounding from qualified sources, and similar. Lessons learned from the old US presidential election / Trump megathreads is that some people become hyperfocused (constant doomscrolling) and when there isn't some specific dialed-in discussion point (significant new news) for even a short period of time begin turning on each other, dissecting, accusing and attacking other comments and commenters, and generally rambling off into various side alleys of discussion that result in huge flamewars for basically no reason. The problem is that this becomes like a runaway train, and moderators cannot possibly apply the sort of attention required to line-item these sorts of threads, especially with reduced coverage and also currently short-staffed. But just trying to do that even when we had full hours / full staff during the last 5-6 years led to absolute burnout. Please try to keep this a productive space to keep up with what is happening and not a place to shed aggression and anger.

Some ways to help: • don't post every random "what-if" / "what-about" thought that occurs to you, because they often take on outsized importance in the discussion even though you may think you're just sort of harmlessly ruminating; • don't post your idea of the worst possible thing that might happen; • don't foreground US politics and concerns; • don't be an armchair general (some people here do have personal experience, and it's often useful insight — that doesn't mean everyone's personal ideas need to be shared); • try not to allow a stray comment to entirely overtake the discussion; • try to assume good faith generally; • don't over-comment or fill up the thread with nervous-energy posting, since many people want to be able to keep up with actual events here; • if you have an actual concrete question that might derail or inflame the thread, please use Ask Metafilter instead; • be compassionate, generally, yes, but also specifically: events may seem much more abstract to you, depending on where you are, than to people who are closer to the line of fire and fallout, and treating the situation as an interesting or entertaining game theory sort of thing is not good. • DO share reliable information, updates and analyses. Finally, please, please take breaks from these threads. Contact us if you have any questions, ideas, or concerns. Thank you.
posted by taz (staff) at 2:25 AM on March 1 [98 favorites]


Belarus joined the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Tuesday, with the country’s troops entering the Chernihiv region in northern Ukraine, Ukrainian authorities confirmed. In a tweet posted on Tuesday morning, the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, confirmed earlier reports that Belarusian troops were on Ukrainian soil. From Politico.
posted by Bella Donna at 2:31 AM on March 1 [1 favorite]


The border crossing situation between Ukraine and Poland is a bit better today, with queues shorter on all border points. The new recommended crossing is Zosin-Ustylug at the very eastmost tip of Poland, which was opened to people from all Ukraine (it's usually limited to "small border movement" for people living within 30 km of the border and was only expanded to a proper car crossing last summer), with a two-hour car queue as of 7AM and a reception point in Horodlo. The pedestrian queues are still large, though smallest in Budomierz, Zosin and Korczowa at under 100 people each.

Chef Jose Andres is bringing his expertise in disaster feeding of mass crowds to Hrebenne, the crossing nearest to Lviv, and working with Polish NGOs including nuns from the Caritas charitable organisation. The refugee situation seems to be well-managed so far, and I've seen multiple messages and videos from POCs showing that they've managed to cross without issue. The Nigerian contingent is especially well-organised, it seems.

Posts are circulating on Facebook and media that Poles going to the border should plan wisely, since there are petrol queues, hotels are slammed within 50 km of the border and there's generally a surfeit of volunteers. All posts looking for particular aid / lodging / assistance I've seen are updated within 30 minutes with "all provided for, too many messages to answer each one in person!" My grandmother mentioned that the two times she'd seen this level of mass mobilisation before were Solidarity in 1980-1981 and the mass blood drives for Hungary when they got invaded in 1956.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 2:45 AM on March 1 [41 favorites]


Regarding the Ukrainian EU membership application: European Council president von der Leyen is supportive:
Ukraine is "one of us and we want them in the European Union", Ursula von der Leyen has told Euronews. The interview came after Brussels announced it was sending weapons to Ukraine, banning Russian-backed media in the EU and prohibiting Russian aircraft from the bloc.

But despite backing Ukraine for EU membership, she gave no indication it would be the rapid accession demanded by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Saturday. Von der Leyen told Euronews: "We have a process with Ukraine that is, for example, integrating the Ukrainian market into the single market." We have very close cooperation on the energy grid, for example. "So many topics where we work very closely together and indeed over time, they belong to us. They are one of us and we want them in."
Polish President Duda calls for immediate "candidate status" in a tweet:
Poland advocates an express path for Ukraine’s membership in the EU. The candidate state status should be granted immediately and talks on the membership started promptly thereafter. Ukraine must also have access to EU funds for reconstruction. This is what Ukraine deserves🇵🇱🇺🇦🇪🇺
Slovakia's PM and President also supports fast tracking the application
Prime Minister Eduard Heger (OĽaNO) wants to develop a “special track” of Ukraine’s integration into the EU. Membership of Ukraine was also supported by president Zuzana Čaputová. Both of them are in close contact with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who calls on the EU to grant Ukraine immediate membership.

“We woke up to a new world on Thursday morning. Today, we can’t try to fit this world into the old rules. Ukraine is a country at war and we will have to help rebuild after the war is over. That is why we have to come up with a new way for EU accession,” Heger said.
However, other leaders are stressing the long-term nature of that process, such as Netherlands' Prime Minister Rutte:
It is "not a good discussion" to have right now, Rutte said during a debate in the Tweede Kamer. "We're not going to help Ukraine that way." Expanding the European Union is a very complex, time-consuming and complicated process, the prime minister said.

He argued for much more intensive cooperation in the short term with countries in Eastern Europe. This applies not only to Ukraine, but also to Moldova and Georgia. Cooperation can be strengthened through the Eastern Partnership that the EU has concluded with these countries, he stated.
posted by autopilot at 2:58 AM on March 1 [13 favorites]


It's worth noting that EU candidate status comes with significant pre-accession aid programs, twinning schemes and both organisational and infrastructural assistance - basically teaching the candidate country how to function with common market procedures and how to effectively spend EU money. Poland's formal accession process took 7 years, but we were using some of the funds even before we got formally started.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 3:50 AM on March 1 [20 favorites]


I was wondering the other day whether or not it would make sense for the EU/NATO to incentivize mass defection of the Russian military with visas and such, and then I saw where Ukraine was offering to pay Russians who surrendered.
posted by Thistledown at 4:31 AM on March 1 [3 favorites]


In the eyes of the world and almost certainly history, Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine on Thursday was an epic miscalculation, drawing comparisons to Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein for cold-blooded aggression that could challenge the world order and change its borders. The Russian leader appeared almost delusional in a pre-dawn speech from the Kremlin announcing a “special military operation” to “protect” Donbas, the eastern region where Russian-backed separatists have waged a war for eight years. Putin, instead, immediately ordered Russian tanks into Ukraine and air strikes on the capital and more than a dozen cities in a country of forty million people. “Peace on our continent has been shattered,” the nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg told reporters. “We now have war in Europe on a scale and of a type we thought belonged to history.” Putin’s “reckless” attack risks “countless innocent lives,” Stoltenberg warned.

Putin is now, at minimum, a pariah condemned by leaders across the world. “Putin is the aggressor. Putin chose this war,” President Biden said in a speech to the nation announcing new sanctions on Russian financial institutions and élites. He charged that Putin “has much larger ambitions than Ukraine.” “He wants to, in fact, reëstablish the former Soviet Union,” Biden said. “His ambitions are completely contrary to the place where the rest of the world has arrived.” In one of a flurry of statements reflecting outrage globally, the European Commission chief, Ursula von der Leyen, called Russia’s act “barbaric” and dismissed its justifications as “cynical.” In a tweet, the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said he was appalled by Putin’s “horrific” decision to pursue “a path of bloodshed and destruction.” Putin’s military offensive put him on the diplomatic defensive. The French President, Emmanuel Macron, called the attack “a turning point” in history that will have a profound and lasting impact across the continent.

Putin may now also qualify as a war criminal, according to the Geneva Conventions of 1949. War crimes include willful killing and extensive destruction of property “not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.” The term has been inconsistently interpreted and unevenly applied to leaders or countries—including to the U.S. and its officials—who have initiated aggression for reasons considered unjustified. In Ukraine, Putin’s “war of choice” has clearly violated international law through his invasion of a sovereign country and attempt to oust its government. After an emergency United Nations Security Council meeting, on Wednesday, the Secretary-General, António Guterres, warned that the Russian invasion could be the “worst war” of the century “with consequences not only devastating for Ukraine, not only tragic for the Russian Federation” but for the entire world.
Putin’s Historic Miscalculation May Make Him a War Criminal
posted by y2karl at 4:52 AM on March 1 [6 favorites]


Ukraine will not be fast-tracked into the EU. Regardless of their heroism and everyones emotional support and also the weapons, the country is still plagued by corruption and cronyism and authoritarian tendencies. I think a lot of EU countries feel Poland and Hungary were fast-tracked a bit, in spite of those seven years i claim sanctuary mentions.
posted by mumimor at 4:56 AM on March 1 [12 favorites]


Putin’s Historic Miscalculation May Make Him a War Criminal

Putin's war crimes make him a war criminal. This is really not complicated, New Yorker subeditors.
posted by ambrosen at 5:00 AM on March 1 [49 favorites]


Putin's war crimes make him a war criminal.

Not to mention he was already a war criminal to begin with.
posted by kmt at 5:05 AM on March 1 [19 favorites]


Psssh, I suppose next you’re going to claim that innocent dictators don’t just accidentally blunder into war crimes due to miscalculations.

/s
posted by eviemath at 5:07 AM on March 1 [1 favorite]


For the 1st time in a modern conflict, the regular forces of Russia are communicating without digital mode, making them fully audible by everyone.
Shadowbreak intl - twitter
posted by adamvasco at 5:12 AM on March 1 [13 favorites]


Ukrainian author Yevgenia Belorusets is keeping a war diary in Kyiv. I don’t know who the translator is, but it’s probably Bela Shayevich who translated Belorusets’ Modern Animal, which I heartily recommend. Belorusets’ publisher, isolarii, is posting the entries on their site as soon as they’re translated. Here’s an excerpt from her latest diary entry:
My thoughts become as dark as the windows of my apartment. While cleaning, I thought that when I write this diary, I should make a joke about household recommendations during war. My tip would be: "Cleanliness is a must in a dark room with taped windows—if you were going to do it earlier and are almost crying now, go ahead and mop your apartment anyway. True, you will not see anything. And the apartment may not get much cleaner, but following procedures and implementing plans is more important."

The fourth day of the war is over. Half the city is fighting against the normalization of violence that is knocking on every door. War also tests us to see if we have even a touch of compassion for those sent here to murder. Since the war began, 16 children have been killed across the country. In my town, nine “civilians" (I hate that word more and more) have died so far and 47 have been injured, including 3 children.

The destruction of the small town of Shchastye, "Happiness," in northeastern Ukraine began with an electrical station being shelled. At some point it was destroyed, the light went out, the water, the heating. In distress, people, especially elderly residents, went outside to get water or food. Then the soldiers attacked, with artillery and rockets. A bus with fleeing people was fired upon. No journalists work in this area at the moment, no one counts the injured, the dead. Who will describe what Putin has done to the Donbas since the beginning of the war, since his operation "Protection of the People of Donbas from Ukrainian Fascists"?

By occupying these territories and waging information warfare, Putin has managed to isolate this region from the world. The occupied territories have not been observed by human rights organization since 2014, and now the Russian army is once again showing how little it values the lives of these people.

From the news I learn that in the settlement of Ivankiv in Kyiv Oblast, the Regional History Museum was destroyed. In it were the works of Maria Primachenko, one of the most famous 20th century artists in Ukraine. A joint exhibition of my photography and her painting had been planned for the fall, which is a great honor for me. I am sure that, somehow, somewhere, this exhibition will take place.
posted by Kattullus at 5:50 AM on March 1 [65 favorites]


Last Friday, I expressed my increasing concern, echoing those of world leaders and citizens of the world alike, over the events unfolding in Ukraine.

Today, I wish to announce that I have decided to proceed with opening an investigation into the Situation in Ukraine, as rapidly as possible.
Statement of ICC Prosecutor, Karim A.A. Khan QC, on the Situation in Ukraine: “I have decided to proceed with opening an investigation.”
posted by y2karl at 6:01 AM on March 1 [26 favorites]


From The Globe and Mail in Canada:
Ukraine’s Parliament says Belarusian troops have now entered Ukraine, joining the Russian attack on the northern city of Chernihiv. A resident in the city told The Globe and Mail that Chernihiv is now completely surrounded.

“There is no evacuation. All exits have been mined by Ukrainian forces. We don’t have any opportunity to get out. Like Leningrad, we are locked in,” Anna Palkova-Svirchevska, a 31-year-old psychologist in Chernihiv, told The Globe and Mail, referring to the siege of the Soviet city during the Second World War.

She said she was in her home with her sister and parents and could hear near-constant rocket fire outside. “Our army is fighting hard. When the Russians fail to enter, they start terror by attacking apartment buildings, just attacking simple people.”

posted by Bella Donna at 6:07 AM on March 1 [12 favorites]


BBC live coverage right now is saying "The Russian defence ministry warns Kyiv residents that it is preparing to hit targets in the Ukrainian capital. It warns of attacks on Kyiv technology centres, urging nearby residents to leave."

I am on a call with one of my teammates who left Kyiv, but whose brother is still there. He is expecting that he might be conscripted soon, but it's unclear. He's basically doing his IT work in between checking on people. We've told him that work isn't important right now, but with all the waiting it's actually a welcome distraction.
posted by freecellwizard at 6:19 AM on March 1 [17 favorites]


Twitter link: To all refugees of Ukraine, your passport is your train ticket to the Netherlands. We hope NS can play an active part in helping Ukranian families travel to safety at this time. We wish you safe travels.
NS is the national train service here in the Netherlands.
Message for refugees from Ukraine

NS is saddened by the horrific situation in Ukraine.

Marjan Rintel, CEO NS/Dutch Railways: We hope NS can play its part in contributing towards a better situation for fleeing Ukrainian families. Our message to all the citizens of Ukraine who have to leave their homes and their country is simply: “with immediate effect your passport or ID-card is your train ticket to The Netherlands. Our NS-staff will help you to make your journey through Europe as convenient as possible. We wish you safe travels”.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:54 AM on March 1 [31 favorites]


I'm ignorant of rail in Europe (beyond Italy and the UK). Does this mean refugees can board trains outside of the Netherlands and get there without any fare, or are they just talking about border controls?
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:02 AM on March 1




Chernihiv is now completely surrounded.

To put this into context for those (like me) who don't know the country personally, Chernihiv is a city of just under 300,000 people, established sometime before 907, with a cathedral that dates to the 11th century.

Kharkiv is a city of one and a half million, around the size of Turin. Kyiv is around the size of Rome and Athens by metropolitan area, at three and a half million. Kharkiv is young in European terms: it was founded in 1654. Kyiv was founded in 482.
posted by rory at 7:13 AM on March 1 [17 favorites]


I'm ignorant of rail in Europe (beyond Italy and the UK). Does this mean refugees can board trains outside of the Netherlands and get there without any fare, or are they just talking about border controls?

So I think the deal here is that this is just for NS run trains. The point is that if every EU country does it (or a lot of them) then it helps.

Passengers with a Ukrainian passport or ID card are exempt from rail ticket charges in Poland, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Denmark. This is a couple days old, I think more EU countries have since signed on in addition to Netherlands.

So now if you are in Germany and want to board an NS train to go to Netherlands you can.
posted by lazaruslong at 7:20 AM on March 1 [13 favorites]


Mod note: One deleted. Sooo ... here's the thing, it would be very easy for this thread to become a LOT about Trump instead of focusing mainly on Russia, Ukraine, Europe, etc. I think the best thing is that if you have something or several things that are more Trump-focused, perhaps making a separate post for that discussion would be the best solution. Thank you!
posted by taz (staff) at 7:34 AM on March 1 [53 favorites]


I'm as pro "kick their ass Ukraine" as the next sane person, but stories like that also make me shake my head: "Foreign students fleeing Ukraine say they face segregation, racism at border".
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:39 AM on March 1 [8 favorites]


https://www.arlnow.com/2022/02/28/statutes-of-liberty-dear-russian-diplomats-and-government-officials-in-washington-mon1/

Law Office of James Montana PLLC is offering free legal services to Russians, especially diplomats and Russian employees in DC, on how to get asylum in the US.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 7:41 AM on March 1 [6 favorites]


That was hell of a question from Daria Kaleniuk to Boris Johnson, and I'm glad I don't have to answer it because really there are no good answers.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 7:44 AM on March 1 [7 favorites]


as many have expressed in multiple ways, this is a horrific test of humanity in so many ways.. for all our tribal-ness, our capacity for cruelty and violence, we've made it this far and every time one of you posts an item on a little stab in the darkness.. one small attempt that is non-violent (i.e. procedural, legal-based, etc) it makes me hopeful. So much of what happens every day is a clear example that our killing days as a species are very much with us, but we have to hope.
posted by elkevelvet at 7:47 AM on March 1 [6 favorites]


Regarding the question by Daria Kaleniuk of a no fly zone over Ukraine, that’s a nonstarter at the moment because you can’t call it a no fly zone without enforcing it and the only way you can enforce it is by EU/NATO shooting down Russian aircraft, which would put those countries at war with Russia.
posted by furtive at 7:54 AM on March 1 [14 favorites]


There may be some good news emerging from this. In the day of immediate social media combined with news coverage, the invasion of a country can be seen clearly as an atrocity. There can be wrongs perpetrated by the invaded country, but they are overwhelmed by the civilians and civilian settings that are killed / destroyed only in the invaded country.

The war, not being on Russian soil, doesn't have equal outrages.

Perhaps this will lead to fewer extraterritorial invasions in the future.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:57 AM on March 1 [2 favorites]


For vacuum bomb read thermobaric.

(Using photographs and videos, the following article discusses the existence and use of Russian thermobaric rockets in Ukraine. Mods - if you feel this is inappropriate, please delete.)

The Truth About Russia’s Terrifying TOS-1A Thermobaric Rocket Launchers Now In Ukraine – The infamous TOS-1A combines a multiple launch rocket system with thermobaric projectiles to produce a weapon capable of horrific destruction., The War Zone, Thomas Newdick, February 28, 2022.
Of all the numerous and varied weapon systems that Russia has so far introduced to its ongoing invasion of Ukraine — many with admittedly mixed results so far — one has stood out in particular for the media coverage it’s generated. The TOS-1A, which Russia categorizes as a "heavy flamethrower," is a unique type of multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) based on a T-72 tank chassis.

The TOS-1A has an infamous reputation based on the characteristics of the thermobaric rockets that it fires. There is also much misunderstanding of how it works and a good deal of speculation on how it’s likely to be used in this conflict, especially with the suggestion that Russia may be about to employ siege tactics in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, and even possibly Kyiv, its capital….
posted by cenoxo at 7:58 AM on March 1 [1 favorite]


However, everyone can give lots of weapons to Ukraine, and then Ukraine can shoot down Russian aircraft, and that's fine.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:58 AM on March 1


There is a fascinating thread here. Suggesting that Russian forces are not using digital radio, but are broadcasting in clear, and further that a lot of forces don't have full comms at all.

I'm sceptical I guess, because it seems like such a huge shortcoming in any kind of modern military, but I have yet to see it being debunked.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 8:01 AM on March 1 [2 favorites]


Suggesting that Russian forces are not using digital radio, but are broadcasting in clear

Heh. Seems they never learn.
posted by No Robots at 8:05 AM on March 1 [1 favorite]




From the Guardian

Russia’s war in Ukraine: complete guide in maps, video and pictures

What’s the latest?

Russian forces have bombarded the government headquarters in Ukraine’s second biggest city, a huge armoured column is rolling towards the capital, and details have emerged of an attack that killed scores of Ukrainian soldiers in the east.


(last updated about twenty minutes ago)
posted by philip-random at 8:18 AM on March 1 [3 favorites]


Regarding that "huge armoured column", from Jack Detsch, US National Security reporter:
NEW: Russia's 40-mile long tank, artillery, and supply convoy moving toward Kyiv has mostly "stalled," per a senior U.S. defense official.

"We don’t believe that it is making a lot of progress," the official said, partly due to supply troubles.
Also:
NEW: A "significant number" of more than 150,000 Russian troops invading Ukraine are very young men drafted into military service, per a senior U.S. defense official.

"Many of them weren’t even aware that they would be sent into a combat zone," the official said.
posted by fight or flight at 8:26 AM on March 1 [1 favorite]


philip-random, that's a great Guardian link. I finally ponied up the $$ to have a proper subscription.
posted by freecellwizard at 8:30 AM on March 1 [3 favorites]


Two and a half minute video from the Associated Press, taken in Kharkiv, showing a temporary maternity ward in a bomb shelter, and an interview with a woman who is sheltering with her family in their basement.
posted by Kattullus at 8:31 AM on March 1 [2 favorites]


the only way you can enforce it is by EU/NATO shooting down Russian aircraft

You'd probably also want to blow up any Russian air defense too, they've got mobile anti-air batteries with them. So you'd have to be hitting their hardware on the ground. At that point... why stop there?
posted by BungaDunga at 8:33 AM on March 1 [3 favorites]


Just this guy, y'know -
Re "There is a fascinating thread here. Suggesting that Russian forces are not using digital radio, but are broadcasting in clear, and further that a lot of forces don't have full comms at all."
What is the likelihood that the communication issues are disinformation being spread by Russian military?
posted by 8dot3 at 8:36 AM on March 1 [5 favorites]


(by why stop there I mean: if you're already blowing up bits of Russian military hardware on the ground, the distinction between a no-fly zone and just going to war with Russia seems hard to maintain)
posted by BungaDunga at 8:36 AM on March 1 [2 favorites]


Translator chokes up as Zelensky addresses the European Parliament.

One detail from this worth mentioning: Kharkiv is home to the most universities of any city in Ukraine.
posted by rory at 8:37 AM on March 1 [13 favorites]


What is the likelihood that the communication issues are disinformation being spread by Russian military?

Radios are hard
. The US drones over Iraq and Afghanistan weren't usually encrypted either.

I totally believe that if the US military struggled to get communications perfected in Iraq and Afghanistan, despite having years and billions to spend on it, Russia is having huge teething problems with their secure communications.
posted by BungaDunga at 8:41 AM on March 1 [7 favorites]


great Guardian link. I finally ponied up the $$ to have a proper subscription.

I subscribe to their weekly print magazine -- the only magazine I still read. It's pricey, I guess, but it's good way to support their generally excellent journalism. I also love that they show up at my door about ten days or two weeks after the stuff they're covering was front page news. Which has proven to be a great perspective for me on tracking just how stories and issues grow and play out.

For instance, the most recent one I received is dated 18-February. The cover story is Putin's Gambit -- Russia's Next Move.

Amid bleak western intelligence briefings, fading diplomatic hopes and an exodus of foreign nationals from Kyviv, one key question has remained unanswered up to now: exactly how far is Vladimir Putin ready to go to achieve his goals?

Other major stories include the Novak Djokovic covid stuff, Canada's trucker situation (Trudeau having just opted for emergency powers), the Winter Olympics etc.

World moves fast these days.
posted by philip-random at 8:53 AM on March 1 [6 favorites]


If anyone is looking for somewhere else to donate to, the World Central Kitchen is a humanitarian relief team of chefs and other food specialists who are on the ground in various crossing points around Ukraine, providing hot meals to refugees as they reach them.
posted by fight or flight at 9:00 AM on March 1 [18 favorites]


One underappreciated point about a no-fly zone is that, as well as requiring NATO to shoot down Russian planes, it also requires NATO to attack any weapons systems that can fire into the no-fly zone and threaten NATO planes — so it means bombing Russian radar and missile systems over the border within Russia itself.

Source: this Foreign Policy interview with the former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe Philip Breedlove — who for mystifying reasons, nevertheless describes himself as a proponent of the idea.
posted by Klipspringer at 9:02 AM on March 1 [18 favorites]


The Ukraine Invasion Reveals Putin to Be Shockingly Weak
Forget Russia’s tanks. Its economy is more vulnerable, and our economic sanctions are more potent, than we knew.
Timothy Noah/The New Republic

TBH, I find the article a bit flippant, given the terrifying circumstances. But the basic concept is that Russia is running out of money at a much higher speed than they perhaps thought they would, and that might be correct. Two weeks ago, no one imagined that the Europeans who depend on Russian gas would agree to sanctions. But they did.
(And anecdotally, today a Danish tabloid asked its readers wether they were OK with gas shortages to help Ukraine, and a majority answered yes. The next question was if people who aren't hit by higher gas prices are willing to help those who are by taking a tax rise, and a majority answered yes. I hope this gives you who are overseas an impression of the sentiment here).
posted by mumimor at 9:05 AM on March 1 [44 favorites]


I hope this gives you who are overseas an impression of the sentiment here.

Indeed it does. Perhaps oil and gas exporters should make special arrangements to help those in need.
posted by No Robots at 9:09 AM on March 1 [1 favorite]


Average infantryman Chris Cappy over at “Task and Purpose” (𝚄𝙽𝙸𝚁𝙾𝙽𝙸𝙲 “𝙷𝙾𝙾𝙰𝙷!“) has a video wherein he shows what appears to be a piece of paper taken off a captured Russian soldier and uploaded tot he web by his Ukrainian captors, about 7:50 into the vid.

Said piece of paper shows the soldier what his day one goals were, where he should go and what to attack, and directions to get there. According to Cappy, this indicates that the average Russian units aren’t using GPS to navigate.

So I’m inclined to believe reports that they’re also broadcasting on open frequencies. And the Ukrainians absolutely should be taking down their road signs so the Russians don’t know on which street to turn left.

The war in Georgia in 2008 exposed massive flaws and inadequacies in the military that modern Russia inherited from the Soviets.. But maybe they haven’t addressed those problems as much as people think they have, or as much as the Russians have told themselves they have.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 9:09 AM on March 1 [4 favorites]


However, everyone can give lots of weapons to Ukraine, and then Ukraine can shoot down Russian aircraft, and that's fine.

Well the Russians are pretty unhappy about it but yeah, oddly enough when you put it that way, those seem to be the rules. The Russians trained and equipped the Vietnamese and everyone accepted this strange convention then.
posted by atrazine at 9:13 AM on March 1 [13 favorites]


So what's preventing Ukraine from pulverizing that stalled Russian convoy with TB2s drones and/or their own armor?
posted by escape from the potato planet at 9:20 AM on March 1 [2 favorites]


The Ukrainians have a limited number of those drones (a year from now they would have had 5x as many...) and probably have the same kinds of logistical and communications problems of the Russians but as long as they are fighting to defend fixed points those problems affect them less than they do the Russians.
posted by atrazine at 9:24 AM on March 1 [4 favorites]


Presumably Russia has sufficient air superiority over and AA defenses in the convoy that they don't think it would be effective. If it's stalled, it may be because the Ukrainians are making trouble for it other ways.
posted by tavella at 9:26 AM on March 1 [1 favorite]


or, why blow up one or two tanks with a finite number of missiles when you can blow up a fuel truck that ten tanks need to function?
posted by bl1nk at 9:30 AM on March 1 [9 favorites]


Well the Russians are pretty unhappy about it but yeah, oddly enough when you put it that way, those seem to be the rules. The Russians trained and equipped the Vietnamese and everyone accepted this strange convention then.

Question for those more knowledgable than me: when the Russians trained/equipped the Vietnamese, or the Americans did the same things in Afghanistan during Russian occupation, were those things done openly? I mean, not just "everyone knows it's happening" but actually officially, publicly? I am too young to remember those events, but what's striking to me right now is all the various European countries just straight up announcing publicly "we are sending weapons to Ukraine."

The distinction between going to war and sending weapons to someone else who is at war is certainly important, but my impression is that often there's at least a fig leaf of deniability in the latter case, and there is no attempt at this now. Is that unusual?
posted by judgement day at 9:39 AM on March 1 [1 favorite]


If reports of 5000+ Russian casualties are even close to true, that is larger than all the Russian casualties during the 9 years of the Second Chechen War (1999-2008).
posted by gwint at 9:40 AM on March 1 [4 favorites]


Gwint, from your link it says 8000 military casualties from the Second Chechen War. It also describes those casualties as fatalities, which is a bit unordinary, while the Twitter link says 5770 Russian casualties, which probably includes injuries.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:44 AM on March 1


I was focusing on just the Russian soldiers ("3,676 Russian soldiers, 2,364-2,572 Interior Ministry troops, 1,072 Chechen police officers and 106 FSB and GRU operatives killed.") but point taken.
posted by gwint at 9:46 AM on March 1


Paul McLeary, Politico: "US defense official again rejects no fly zone in Ukraine: "There's no discussion about it here. There's no debating about it here. It's not something that we have to take to NATO... The president of the United States, the commander in chief, said we're not going to be fighting in Ukraine and certainly if you were to enact a no fly zone that puts you in the fight, it's just not gonna happen.”"
posted by BungaDunga at 9:50 AM on March 1 [5 favorites]


Dmitri Peskov, the press representative of the Kremlin, has reportedly said that the EU is not a military alliance unlike NATO, so Ukraine's eventual membership doesn't impact strategic stability issues (no English source but it was in Wyborcza's paywalled live report). So that may be the compromise that emerges is a demilitarised Ukraine in the EU, and the EU getting its act together on the political and military unification on the double?
posted by I claim sanctuary at 9:51 AM on March 1 [6 favorites]


GQ: "This is the first time in my life that I am writing about a country’s president hoping he will not be murdered by the time I’m done. The current bout of Zelensky worship is different from our normal fawning over a politician, because this time we want it to work as a protective spell, too. We are making a pop idol out of a man who may be sacrificing his life as we speak, if not live on air, then something very close to it. We’re throwing up jokey tributes as insulation against a scarier truth: Zelensky is not a superhero, not a meme, not a vessel for our revenge fantasies against Putin or Trump. He is a human who rose to the occasion. All we can really do is look at him and hope that, if we are called to such unimaginable duty, we have it in us to do the same."
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:51 AM on March 1 [77 favorites]


Question for those more knowledgable than me: when the Russians trained/equipped the Vietnamese, or the Americans did the same things in Afghanistan during Russian occupation, were those things done openly? I mean, not just "everyone knows it's happening" but actually officially, publicly? I am too young to remember those events, but what's striking to me right now is all the various European countries just straight up announcing publicly "we are sending weapons to Ukraine."

The distinction between going to war and sending weapons to someone else who is at war is certainly important, but my impression is that often there's at least a fig leaf of deniability in the latter case, and there is no attempt at this now. Is that unusual?


I'm not an expert in this, and this also puzzles me. I'd guess it's primarily because it happens in other countries and the weapons are provided as a defensive capability, so the actual security of the attacking country is not in jeopardy, they can stop the attack if they don't like the losses their taking.

Its super hypocritical, and it kinda makes me think of divorcing parents going at each other through their kids, it's vile.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 9:53 AM on March 1


Looking at the numbers on the equipment loss link upthread, is it normal to have so much equipment abandoned? Or is this a symptom of logistics troubles and/or morale problems?
posted by echo target at 9:54 AM on March 1 [1 favorite]


The president of the United States, the commander in chief, said we're not going to be fighting in Ukraine and certainly if you were to enact a no fly zone that puts you in the fight, it's just not gonna happen.”"

correct me if I'm wrong. I'm pretty sure Russia stayed out of both Gulf Wars in a military sense. This feels like a similar position. Which doesn't mean there's not lots of other stuff that can go on either unofficially, or in non-military ways.

Its super hypocritical, and it kinda makes me think of divorcing parents going at each other through their kids, it's vile.

it's war
posted by philip-random at 9:55 AM on March 1 [6 favorites]


Screenwriter and Russian American Michael Idov's thoughtful essay on making culture as a Russian speaker in the U.S.
As long as Vladimir Putin remains in power, I will not write in Russian anymore.

In doing this, I am neither assigning collective responsibility nor weaseling out of it. People and their governments are different things, in autocracies especially. I have plenty of Russian friends and colleagues who hate what their country has become but are objectively powerless to change it. Using the famed Soviet “salami tactics” of reducing freedom one slice at a time, Putin’s regime has cut off all avenues for electoral reform or even peaceful protest. On the streets of Moscow, where 10 years ago 100,000 could march unimpeded, people go to jail for one-person pickets. Where an independent candidate could once win a regional or municipal seat, all opposition has been replaced with tightly cropped AstroTurf. Every viable resistance figure, from Alexei Navalny on down, is imprisoned or in exile. Only extralegal means of change are left, and one cannot demand of Russian people that they go that route. Certainly not from Los Angeles.

Language is never the enemy. In my American life, I am, in fact, ultrasensitive to any point where anti-Putinism shades into Russophobia. I smile at Stephen Colbert’s barbs about Putin but not at the comic accent he adopts to deliver them. I feel a bit sick when The New York Times uncritically quotes a former U.S. official calling Russians “organically ruthless” or gives a platform to the idea that lying is a Russian invention. And yes, it was just as offensive to me when Ukraine curbed public use of Russian as part of its national policy. Because language, I repeat, is never the enemy.
posted by spamandkimchi at 9:56 AM on March 1 [16 favorites]


Radios are hard. The US drones over Iraq and Afghanistan weren't usually encrypted either.

I totally believe that if the US military struggled to get communications perfected in Iraq and Afghanistan, despite having years and billions to spend on it, Russia is having huge teething problems with their secure communications.


The biggest problem for militaries around the world is that since the end of the cold war civilian and military industries have effectively flipped on who gets the bleeding edge of technology. When you look back at computing from the '80s and early '90s where was the edge of computing power? It was with the military. Then it filtered to civilian applications. When Sega went to make its famous bleeding edge arcade boards in the '90s where were they pulling the 3D hardware from? Lockheed Martin. Where do we get the most GPU power from now? Nvidia. It's placed directly into the hands of civilians, the military has to line up with the rest of them.

Now look at radio. Who needs the best radios? Cellular networks and their customers by far. What's the army not doing while they're on mission? They're not watching cat videos on YouTube. But all the know how on making all of this radio functionality in a small space is being drawn into the civilian sector more than the military ones. An engineer from Qualcomm or Infineon has probably forgotten more than what Boeing knows about the latest advancements in radio communication and chip integration. The X65 looks like something a wizard would conjure next to whatever Boeing is trying to trot out. The armies of the world are now a second class citizen in comparison to capital.

Effectively the army wants an iPhone level of innovation in SDR but their procurement and contract system means only the Windows CEs of the world get to look in. Literally. So much military hardware is built on it despite being obsolete it's not funny.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 9:56 AM on March 1 [23 favorites]


More from Idov's essay:
A nonnegligible, though by no means main, part of Putin’s post-Crimea strategy was to make sure that Russia had little use for people like me, and that people like me had little use for Russia.

It succeeded. Over time I realized I stopped understanding my own audience or how I could or should address it. Pop culture, which had an exciting, lively amateurishness about it in the 2000s and early 2010s, now felt slick but stagnant. Literary fiction peddled the same phantasmagorical PoMo claptrap it had since the 1990s. Russian hip-hop, which I passionately followed and which had birthed some of the country’s best new music and poetry, curdled into apolitical, TikTok-friendly hedonism; rappers with anything real to say were forced to flee, silent, or silenced.
posted by spamandkimchi at 9:58 AM on March 1 [8 favorites]


Russia officially stayed out of the first Iraq war. Unofficially we could hear Russian broadcast in the open when shit started going really bad for the Republican Guard units. “Advisors” from sponsoring superpowers are often on the ground during conflicts.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 10:02 AM on March 1 [4 favorites]


Ex-world champion chess player, Garry Kasparov, always a Putin critic, is virtually calling for revolution to overthrow Putin and his supporters.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:07 AM on March 1 [8 favorites]


Where do we get the most GPU power from now? Nvidia. It's placed directly into the hands of civilians, the military has to line up with the rest of them.

Just to add to this point, military applications have very different requirements in terms of battery life, weight, hardiness of construction, encryption standards (though civilian encryption is probably leading the technology curve here too), backwards compatibility, reliance on existing infrastructure, typical usage (cat videos) and so on. It's a hard problem for all militaries, and I'm not at all surprised that Russia would be using regular unencrypted radio transmissions.
posted by mrgoat at 10:09 AM on March 1 [4 favorites]


I listened to a radio interview with an Icelander (Icelandic language link), an approximately sixty year old metalsmith who’s living with his Ukrainian wife in Zaporizhzhia in southeastern Ukraine. Basically, they don’t have fuel to flee, so they’re staying put. As of this morning, the fighting hadn’t reached them, but they’ve been going to a bomb shelter two or three times per day.

One point he made was that when the war started, most of the people in the city were resigned to the Russian army rolling in and the Ukrainian government fleeing. And, broadly speaking, they felt they could live with that. But the resistance of the Ukrainian army and government has completely changed that, and now the citizens of Zaporizhzhia are ready to resist and fight. And Zelenskyy, who wasn’t very popular, has now achieved a kind of saintlike status.

If nothing else, this invasion is binding the Ukrainian nation together like nothing before. It will be a foundational myth.
posted by Kattullus at 10:12 AM on March 1 [59 favorites]




Three statements/letters from the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center in Kyiv:

Russian forces strike Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Site:

We, at the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center, built on Europe’s largest mass grave of the Holocaust, work to preserve historical memory following decades of Soviet suppression of historical truth, so that the evils of the past can never be repeated. We must not allow the truth to - once again - become the victim of war.”

Earlier today, before the attack on Babyn Yar this afternoon, the leadership of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, issued a strong condemnation of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s use of language related to the Holocaust, and loudly condemned the country’s aggression against Ukraine, pledging to document and submit war crimes committed by Russian forces to the International Court of Justice in the Hague.


The Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center strongly condemns Russian aggression against Ukraine:

As experts who work with the Holocaust research and commemoration, we are deeply outraged that the aggressor country has used genocidal rhetoric to justify its shameful actions. Russia has vulgarly instrumentalized anti-Nazi rhetoric and is trying to take on the role of a fighter against Nazism.

Open Letter to Mr. Karim A. A. Khan QC, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court:

President Putin accused Ukraine of committing genocide against the Donbass inhabitants. As an expert in both the field and region, I want to certify that after close examination of the facts and reports, there has not been a single trace of the crimes qualified as genocide since 2014.

The so-called genocide that President Putin used to justify war against Ukraine starting on February 24, 2022 at 4:00 a.m. is a lie.

Mr. Kahn, the academic council of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial asks you as the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to make a legal statement about this so-called genocide.

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:14 AM on March 1 [25 favorites]


great Guardian link. I finally ponied up the $$ to have a proper subscription.

The Guardian do have some great coverage of Ukraine, but their brexit coverage has been rather patchy and they also have a recent history of publishing articles that push transphobic tropes and identify male violence with trans rights. They are still better than most of the other UK press but thats not exactly a high bar to reach.
posted by Lanark at 10:14 AM on March 1 [21 favorites]


Perhaps this will lead to fewer extraterritorial invasions in the future.

I first read that as extraterrestrial interventions on my phone here and thought...

Fewer!? Boy, we could use one right now!
posted by y2karl at 10:18 AM on March 1 [8 favorites]


Question for those more knowledgable than me: when the Russians trained/equipped the Vietnamese, or the Americans did the same things in Afghanistan during Russian occupation, were those things done openly? I mean, not just "everyone knows it's happening" but actually officially, publicly? I am too young to remember those events, but what's striking to me right now is all the various European countries just straight up announcing publicly "we are sending weapons to Ukraine."

Weapon supplies are a funny thing because to prosecute a war you need weapons. If you decide to invade the people supplying weapons, nobody will supply them to you. So everyone sort of looks the other way on the people providing weapons to a point. If the US gave Ukraine a nuke and the button the calculus would change.

I believe, at least in Western Europe, it ultimately comes down a shift in global thinking post-cold war. Imperialism brought the continent to ruin and Europe started to shy away from it overtly as policy. There's specifically no EU army because they don't want the EU to see itself as an imperial power. If one builds an army what temptation is there other than to make good use of it?

The problem is that too far in the other direction doesn't help either. From the imperialism of the Gulf War and the fuck up in Somalia what did we get out of Clinton? Rwanda. They were too scared to make a move because it was too easy to fuck it up. Over a million people died. So turning away to a purely non-interventionist stance doesn't help either. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. That's probably why the US decided to intervene in Kosovo with NATO. For whatever good or bad the war brought to the region, at least they stopped the ongoing genocide of ethnic Albanians in the FRY.

A war between Russia and NATO/EU will have no winners. Right now Ukraine bogging down the Russian war machine is what's stopping Russia from annexing the country and turning to Transnistria and Moldova. If he was able to walk over both of them without the EU raising a peep, will they stand up for their own partners in the Baltics? Can they start shit in Republika Srpska to establish an ethnically loyal client state in the Balkans? There's nothing to be gained by turning away and putting the red line on the border because if Putin actually tries and gets easy wins he will be emboldened and the EU will have to face a much bigger decision with much bigger stakes not far in the future. There's no good outcome in turning away from the conflict. This is a chance for the EU has to show Putin what he's up against should he decide to keep going if anything it should change the calculus from "the EU are spineless, I keep racking up these victories! I can make a land bridge to the Baltic!" to "holy shit these fuckers are going to fight, I better not start shit in Ida-Viru".
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 10:22 AM on March 1 [11 favorites]




Maybe, this is why Putin is sitting so far away from people. So they won't notice, he isn't really there, and it makes it harder to visually compare the photo exposure levels of "real" other people in the room. This would be for inside Russia, not at the table with Macron.

Maybe the isolation at the long table with the two Russian military officers, is not Putin's isolation, at all, but a matter of security levels of those present, siloing. I am sure Russia didn't forget about the Sub captain who didn't fire nukes, because he received believable, outside word, there was no incoming nuclear strike.
posted by Oyéah at 10:37 AM on March 1 [1 favorite]


Tucker Carlson @ Fox is shocked, shocked that Dems have labeled him pro-Russia in the lead up to the war in Ukraine. As always, the MeidasTouch has the tapes.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 10:38 AM on March 1 [22 favorites]


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reply_of_the_Zaporozhian_Cossacks

Ukraine troops way ahead of you (I think this photo dates from a while back)
posted by BungaDunga at 10:40 AM on March 1 [10 favorites]






that clip of Tucker Carlson has me choking on my own bile

it's a helpful illustration for the sheer time commitment to impact ratio.. sometimes it's not about learning new things, but the clarification of things can be useful. how long have we been fighting this war
posted by elkevelvet at 10:52 AM on March 1 [7 favorites]


it's a helpful illustration for the sheer time commitment to impact ratio.. sometimes it's not about learning new things, but the clarification of things can be useful. how long have we been fighting this war

And when you think about the sheer ubiquity of it...how many bars, waiting rooms, airport lounges, etc., is this stuff blaring in, day and night, for years and years, reaching even people who wouldn't tune into it on their own?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:56 AM on March 1 [17 favorites]


Carlson's use of the phrase "root for" when he says things like "And why shouldn't I root for Russia? Which I am." is very telling. Fuckers like him don't see this as any different than a sports rivalry.
posted by biogeo at 11:01 AM on March 1 [34 favorites]




What about Russia's impending ammunition shortage? Has that been debunked?
posted by acb at 11:07 AM on March 1


Those fighter planes from the EU probably aren't showing up.

It's almost as if believing everything you're told on social media isn't a good idea, especially in the middle of a war, especially in the middle of a war conducted partially through spreading misinformation through social media.

How many more times do people need to be told not to spread any random crap they find online as if it's fact?
It's not even clear where that 70 jet total came from in the first place. The link attached to the Tweet from the Rada goes to a Ukrainian-language channel on the Telegram social network that is called "Armed Forces News UA," but that does not appear to be official. As the "No One Under Eighteen" emoji makes clear, the feed includes content that is very much "not safe for work."
Shocking that a random Telegram message isn't legit.
posted by fight or flight at 11:09 AM on March 1 [16 favorites]


Fuckers like him don't see this as any different than a sports rivalry.

There's plenty of commentary, if not scholarship, on sports as a substitute for war that keeps people in an "our side, and a side must be chosen" mentality. Keeping this in mind makes it easy to see when someone is being unserious about the consequences of war, since the lingo of fandom is so ingrained in culture. If you start using those words, I know you're going in a bad direction.
posted by rhizome at 11:10 AM on March 1 [16 favorites]


Tribalism is a hell of a drug.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 11:17 AM on March 1 [3 favorites]


There's plenty of commentary, if not scholarship, on sports as a substitute for war that keeps people in an "our side, and a side must be chosen" mentality.

This is part of why I drifted away from watching pro sports. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I just wanted to see a good game. I'd be a terrible president of the US; I don't really care about being the #1 country ... I just want to be a pretty good country.
posted by freecellwizard at 11:18 AM on March 1 [14 favorites]


I think we need to pull attention back to Ukraine, not Fox news, etc.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:23 AM on March 1 [44 favorites]




An analysis of Turkey’s position as the nation that controls access tot he Black Sea, and the details of the Montreaux Convention, which governs who can have access via the Turkish Straits, particularly warships.

Article 19 of the MC seems to be the most pertinent, which details what Turkey is allowed to do in times of war where they are not a Belligerent. It makes a distinction between “Black Sea Powers” (Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Romania, Georgia, and Bulgaria) and everyone else.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 11:29 AM on March 1 [2 favorites]


The Guardian do have some great coverage of Ukraine, but their brexit coverage has been rather patchy and they also have a recent history of publishing articles that push transphobic tropes and identify male violence with trans rights. They are still better than most of the other UK press but thats not exactly a high bar to reach.

I'm not sure that this kind of media policing is appropriate in this thread. It's been discussed at length on the grey, which seems like the place for it.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 11:41 AM on March 1 [45 favorites]


Slava Malamud who used to cover the Washington Capitols, the team Putin's uber fan Alex Ovechkin play's for in the NHL, has an interesting thread on how he was blacklisted for speaking out against Alex calling Ukrainians fascists. It'll be interesting seeing if this gets picked up by the numerous sports writer who already commented on the thread. One of the interesting things Slava mentioned is that Ovechkin could probably have an impact on this if he wanted since he has a huge following in Russia, and is pretty much untouchable even by Putin.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 11:44 AM on March 1 [7 favorites]


I think it's time for all of us to review what staff member taz said in this thread a few hours ago about not posting every random thought one has, or foregrounding US politics or concerns.
posted by Epixonti at 11:45 AM on March 1 [36 favorites]


Heather Cox Richardson: Please take note of how dramatically Twitter has changed since the freezing of Russian assets. Suddenly all those anti-Biden “American patriots” have disappeared.
If true that is really interesting, not because it tells us what we already knew, but because it tells how there was always a simple solution to the problem.
posted by mumimor at 11:48 AM on March 1 [27 favorites]


there is a line and I will leave it to the mods to let us know when it's crossed, but let's remember this is a community weblog and up to a point a lot of stuff will get shared that might not fall neatly into every member's wheelhouse of "what is fit." I am guessing one person's annoyance at a given item appearing, is matched at times with real appreciation from another? Up to a point anyhow. One thing this is not is an RSS feed of vetted news updates and hard analysis only stuff. It is that, but it's not only that.
posted by elkevelvet at 11:53 AM on March 1 [15 favorites]


Could all of this suspend the action of the Russian troll farms and affect the upcoming U.S. elections?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:54 AM on March 1 [17 favorites]


>Dmitri Peskov, the press representative of the Kremlin, has reportedly said that the EU is not a military alliance unlike NATO, so Ukraine's eventual membership doesn't impact strategic stability issues

The EU does have very specific language around mutual defence, independent of NATO:

This clause provides that if an EU country is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other EU countries have an obligation to aid and assist it by all the means in their power, in accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter.

This obligation of mutual defence is binding on all EU countries


I'm not sure at what moment a new candidate nation for membership falls under this umbrella.
posted by Rumple at 11:58 AM on March 1 [2 favorites]


Regarding POC refugees, a big group of Nepalese students from Kyiv have had trouble on their refugee journey - they were kept back from the border crossing because of priority for mothers with children, and then on the Polish side had trouble getting transport to Warsaw until some Nepalese living in Poland came to ferry them to train stations. In Warsaw it was again difficult to find lodging for 60 people, so 50 of them are bunking down for the night in the offices of Wyborcza newspaper. (Usual Wyborcza paywall, article in Polish.)
posted by I claim sanctuary at 11:59 AM on March 1 [12 favorites]


The Ukraine Invasion Reveals Putin to Be Shockingly Weak

Russia has been around for a long time, and Putin has managed to survive within (and at the helm of) its government for decades. I’d call him calculating, deceptive, dissembling, dangerous, and ruthless, but certainly not ‘weak’.
posted by cenoxo at 12:30 PM on March 1 [2 favorites]


there is a line and I will leave it to the mods to let us know when it's crossed, but let's remember this is a community weblog and up to a point a lot of stuff will get shared that might not fall neatly into every member's wheelhouse of "what is fit."

it's a community weblog but this thread is specifically about the invasion of Ukraine. please take wargaming about vietnam and "how will this affect US elections" to another thread if there's interest???
posted by lazaruslong at 12:31 PM on March 1 [40 favorites]


MSC, Maersk, and CMA CGM who collectively control 47% of the container shipping market have suspended all non-essential deliveries to Russia.

Only food, medicine, and humanitarian supplies will be transported. Ocean Network Express and Hapag Lloyd have also joined but control much smaller share (13.9% between them) of the market.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 12:32 PM on March 1 [34 favorites]


I think maybe a large amount of the "Putin is weak" rhetoric comes from looking at his military strategy through the eyes of more conventionally ethical militaries. Yes, he has a military that doesn't execute tactics well, that compartmentalizes information to the point of leaving its own soldiers ill-informed and/or confused, and does not necessarily fight with a lot of heart.

Here's the thing though: those things are only dealbreakers if you feel a stewardship for the people in your armed services and a statesman-like obligation to fight fair. If you're willing to use your troops as cannon fodder, cheerfully flinging them into deadly battles until you get the progress you want, incinerating them in mobile crematoriums as you go so you to hide your losses, if you're willing to bomb the shit out of apartment blocks to terrify your opposition, if you feel no compunction about busting out thermobaric weapons in populated areas or shooting missiles at elementary schools, it's sort of incidental whether your army is organized and efficient. So long as you have a lot of soldiers and they have a lot of weapons and you're willing to stubbornly use up a lot of both, you can still get results.

We're all sure hoping Putin doesn't get the results he wants this time, but it would be naïve to pretend it hasn't been the case so far.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:46 PM on March 1 [22 favorites]


For hockey-related news, I recommend Russian Machine Never Breaks, a blog for the Washington Capitols which is the team Ovechkin plays for. They've posted and discussed Ovi's statement hoping the war ends soon and confirming his wife, children and parents are currently in Russia. They also have posts on actions of the NHL, the KHL, the IIHF and some other related articles. The hockey reddit is full of whataboutisms.
posted by beaning at 12:48 PM on March 1 [3 favorites]


Speaking of Maersk, they got boned by the NotPetya attack a few years ago, which is believed to have come from Russia.

This must feel really good for them. :7)
posted by wenestvedt at 12:48 PM on March 1 [5 favorites]


Adidas, Visa, and MasterCard halt key Russian services. The official Russian Apple store is no longer taking orders.
posted by Silvery Fish at 12:51 PM on March 1 [7 favorites]


I think any assessments of Russian performance may be premature. This is still early days and Ukraine may yet find itself overwhelmed as Russia escalates the level of violence against civilians and defenders.
posted by interogative mood at 12:52 PM on March 1 [12 favorites]


I have to admit that I still don't quite understand why this invasion has prompted a response so much bigger than the response to Putin's earlier invasions of various sovereign states.

I have been thinking about this quite a lot, and think it's a few things, none of which really go well with any convenient narrative, in part because most narratives tend to neglect the human factor, which needs to be taken into account here and cannot be overstated.

1. Zelenskiy made a very human appeal, being reasonably sure that he was going to die. Ambassadors and world leaders are not used to people they know dying. They're used to seeing numbers of casualties, of seeing horrific footage, but those are all somewhat distanced and abstract. Seeing a man that many of them knew and had conversations with say "Yes, this is the last time that you may see me alive, I'm staying to fight with my people" is huge.

2. The ambassadors themselves are used to people dancing around the truth, or using politicized language to avoid the truth, but not used to naked lying. It's one reason that they initially did not believe US forecasts; because the Russian ambassador had been evasive about the territories but very clear that there was no full scale invasion planned and even ridiculing it. People - their allies - went out on limbs for them. Watching the Security Council meeting, where the Bolivian ambassador explains how he fought for less condemnatory language in the resolution, and watching his face as the Russian ambassador just blatantly lied and gave zero fucks about it - these people are personally offended as well as politically offended. That matters - because they are people that have the ears of decision makers, and when people are personally engaged, they go above and beyond their ordinary duty.

3. People, themselves, are not used to their leaders giving a fuck about them or about ideals. When is the last time you saw a general, much less a world leader, going to the front lines of combat? Of being offered chance after chance to evacuate and leave his people behind and refusing? The very fact that the Ukranian leadership is resisting in the capital rather than leaving and forming a government-in-exile is enormous and deeply affects the will of the Army and the people to fight back.

4. The Ukranian social media game is incredibly, incredibly strong. This is in part I think because they reached out to net-aware folks early and begged them for help. But they've encouraged journalists, encouraged their citizens, to take a lot of footage - and have been translating significantly into English. This is a big difference - most outsiders don't translate footage they see, which is why previous conflicts have not gone as viral.


The real danger that I see is that in part /because/ of the unified response, we are starting to see pushback, a lot of usual anti-establishment types are now doubling down on supporting Russia, and are pushing their propaganda. I've definitely seen the Twitter pushback, and am seeing it in left spaces as well. This is dangerous, because it risks creating a divided front and removing the resolve of people and nations to help. Similarly, making this a political battle internally I think will also cause issues.
posted by corb at 12:52 PM on March 1 [71 favorites]


I think any assessments of Russian performance may be premature.

I disagree. While your second sentence is certainly true, it can also be true that Russia's armed forces have not performed according to anyone's expectations, least of all Putin's. After days of fighting, it's hardly too early to evaluate their performance, as long as one keeps in mind that poor Russian military performance so far does not necessitate Russia's defeat or Ukraine's victory.
posted by Gelatin at 12:58 PM on March 1 [10 favorites]


For context, it took the US three weeks to capture Baghdad in the 2003 Iraq War. It took twelve days for Russia to win in their war against Georgia, a country that has tenth the population and size of Ukraine. We just got to day seven.
posted by meowzilla at 1:08 PM on March 1 [12 favorites]


Peter Pomerantsev on Putin (Link to Guardian article).

(...) I was born in Kyiv – though from childhood I grew up in London – and much of my work is there. They’ve all chosen to remain and take up arms. Over the last years we’ve all been researching Ukrainian identity together. We’ve found that what unites Ukrainians is the resilience and resourcefulness to survive endless hardships: a people who have got through the oppressions of Russian tsars; Stalin’s enforced famine; the second world war (where most of the fighting was in Ukraine); Nazi occupation; Chernobyl; the revolution of dignity … and now this.

My friends are taking up arms, and when I message them are miles more calm, resolute and focused than I am, typing away in a Nato country and praying for the best.


Highly recommend following Pomerantsev on Twitter: @peterpomerantsev
posted by 15L06 at 1:10 PM on March 1 [5 favorites]


I think maybe a large amount of the "Putin is weak" rhetoric comes from looking at his military strategy through the eyes of more conventionally ethical militaries. Yes, he has a military that doesn't execute tactics well, that compartmentalizes information to the point of leaving its own soldiers ill-informed and/or confused, and does not necessarily fight with a lot of heart.

Did you read the article?
I know I sort of played it down in my presentation, but it was absolutely not about military strengths and weaknesses and entirely about the unexpectedly strong economic sanctions that have been imposed and their effect.
posted by mumimor at 1:12 PM on March 1 [3 favorites]


For context, it took the US three weeks to capture Baghdad in the 2003 Iraq War. It took twelve days for Russia to win in their war against Georgia, a country that has tenth the population and size of Ukraine. We just got to day seven.

It took 3 weeks for the US to make it the >600km to Baghdad through inhospitable desert terrain from Kuwait on poor infrastructure and then 6 days to take the Republican Palace.

The Russians basically got to start the war in the outer suburbs of Kharkiv and pretty close to Kyiv and the Ukrainians seem to be no closer to capitulation than when we started.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 1:21 PM on March 1 [17 favorites]


Did you read the article?
I know I sort of played it down in my presentation, but it was absolutely not about military strengths and weaknesses and entirely about the unexpectedly strong economic sanctions that have been imposed and their effect.


I didn't, but I also wasn't replying to that link/comment. I apologize that the "Putin is weak" phrase popped into my head as I commented and made it seem like I was. I've since read the article you shared and it was good stuff. At the time I commented, it was a sort of flyby of a comment I had half-drafted from earlier about the repeated assertion (in various places, not even specifically here) that Putin's army is underwhelming. It got finished a fair bit later when work allowed. The repetition of that phrase was accidental.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:36 PM on March 1 [8 favorites]


The Ukrainian military resistance is inspirational and impressive, but there should be no illusions that it is anything other than a hold and delay action. It's purpose is to diminish Russian resolve, allow international support to organize, garner sympathy, allow irregular resistance to form for after conventional military falls, even (horribly) force the Russian hand to take more drastic and awful actions if they want to advance. Historically, sieges against an urban entrenched military can take months or longer, so they may be able to force that.

The corollary to this military resistance is the horrible toll it takes. This is compounded by the fact that there is no reasonable path to Ukrainian military dominance and victory in a conventional sense. Stopping the Russian advance is one thing, but trying to reverse it would e entirely another.

This is why the international diplomacy, sanctions and other actions are so essential. The brave fight is to give these slower elements time to wear on Russia and force a decision to withdraw. It is also why considerations such as the EU membership application have an outsized narrative importance. A country can apply to join the EU - and state within the country of Russia cannot. Russia's aim is explicitly to make the second a fact on the ground. The longer it is not, the harder it becomes for the international community to stomach and the more likely that over time Ukraine can maintain an independent identity.
posted by meinvt at 1:43 PM on March 1 [54 favorites]


If you're willing to use your troops as cannon fodder...

Putin's only real strength seems to have been that he's a psychopathic bully who's discovered the one simple trick for success in life: if you have enough power you can ignore all the norms and checks and balances because 9 times out of 10 no one will stop you.

There's an interesting thread by Kamil Galeev on how Putin has utilised conflict to create and bolster his position
3 theses on the Russian-Ukrainian war:

1. Putin's decision to start the war on Ukraine isn't foreign policy. It's domestic one. Putin first consolidated his power through the war in 1999-2000 and it worked. So he repeated this trick every time his popularity started waning🧵
This includes the TBH fairly convincing theory that he engineered at least some of the Russian apartment bombings (300+ killed, 1000+ injured) that Ivan Fyodorovich mentioned upthread, that were entirely laid at the feet of Chechen terrorists and justified the war that first brought him to a position of consolidated power over the country.

By only having lickspittle loyalists to run things below him and allowing the oligarchs to rob the country wholesale he does seem to have actually hollowed out Russia's actual power and military ability. But that is massively offset by being willing to use what he does have in ways unthinkable to anyone with any social awareness or moral compass. Hence using nerve agents to assassinate loose ends on foreign territory, and using the skript kiddie "active measures" brigade to interfere with democracies.

a lot of usual anti-establishment types are now doubling down on supporting Russia

Which is really very disappointing. There's the literal body-horror hybrid of the Red and White armies trying to take the land that once was Makhnovshchina. Using the exact same accusations of anti-Semitism to justify it as they did the first time.
posted by Buntix at 1:47 PM on March 1 [15 favorites]


Ukraine World video, "How To Talk About Ukraine" advises, eg, "Russia's re-invasion of Ukraine, Russian aggression against Ukraine"; "Russian occupation forces" (instead of Ukraine crisis; pro-Russian separatists).
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 1:56 PM on March 1 [4 favorites]




Speaking of terminology, I think it's time to retire "elite" in reference to any units of the Russian military. We should have retired that kind of talk after their failure in Beslan, really. What makes these Chechens "elite" is their proximity to Putin, and the convenience that they have no local links to any part of Russia where they might be deployed to repress dissent. And their real or perceived brutality.

Russia does not have special operations capacity. It just has pretorian guard units.
posted by ocschwar at 2:04 PM on March 1 [11 favorites]


Well fuck. A group of football hooligans in Przemyśl, Poland, beat up three African refugees and attacked white Ukrainians as well, riding around town to find people to attack with baseball bats. The police seem to be on it, but for fuck's sake, people. Way to play into Putin's narrative.

(Some other specials from our ultra right wing fascists today: a protest march against Germany to commemorate soldiers who fought against Soviet occupation after WWII - no idea why - and breaking into the cardiac hospital in Anin to protest against "Covid segregation". Someone give me a mallet and the ability to teleport...)
posted by I claim sanctuary at 2:10 PM on March 1 [11 favorites]


If they are Praetorian Guards, perhaps they should keep up on some other historical traditions of Roman Praetoria Guards.
posted by fimbulvetr at 2:11 PM on March 1 [12 favorites]


I claim sanctuary: sorry; I'm confused. Who was carrying bats? The Polish football hooligans, or the Ukrainians? Who in this scenario is playing into Putin's narrative?
posted by escape from the potato planet at 2:17 PM on March 1 [1 favorite]


Does somebody has good link explaining how the Chechens went from rebelling against Russia to fighting for them? I understand it got reinvaded and absorbed in Russia and a puppet leader installed, but how does that translate to men willing to fight for Russia?
posted by WaterAndPixels at 2:19 PM on March 1 [5 favorites]


I've been looking (and finding) more Ukrainian journalists and news media to follow for updates that focus on the impacts to Ukrainians.

Meanwhile "The final death of all independent and dissenting voices in Russian media begins" as Ekho Moskovy (radio) and TV Rain go off the air.
posted by spamandkimchi at 2:24 PM on March 1 [7 favorites]


Putin’s Memory Laws Set the Stage for His War in Ukraine, LawFare, Francine Hirsch, February 28, 2022:
Two days before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Russian State Duma introduced a bill attaching fines and prison sentences to a 2021 law banning “any public attempt to equate the aims and actions of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany during World War II, as well as to deny the decisive role of the Soviet people in the victory over fascism.” What does this bill have to do with the invasion of Ukraine? In short, everything. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s rewriting of the history of World War II has set the stage for his war in Ukraine.

Over the past week, Putin has cynically used the language of “denazification” in a barrage of propaganda to rally Russians behind a war against Ukraine. He has misrepresented the unjust invasion of Ukraine as a humanitarian intervention. And he has falsely accused “the Kyiv regime” of committing “crimes against peaceful people” and carrying out the “genocide” of Russians—using the language of Soviet and international war crimes trials after World War II.

Putin is tapping into the deep emotions surrounding the memory of World War II. The Soviet Union lost 27 million people in the war. Victory Day, celebrated every year on May 9, remains the most important Russian national holiday. Many Russians believe that the rest of the world has never fully appreciated their sacrifice….
More in the article.
posted by cenoxo at 2:36 PM on March 1 [9 favorites]


There are Chechens on both sides of this fight: Islamic Battalions, Stocked With Chechens, Aid Ukraine in War With Rebels (Ksenia Svetlova, The Media Line, 2022-02-28)

I'm not sure of the continuity, but Chechen volunteers have been part of the fight against the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine for quite some time (Andrew Kramer, NYT, 2015-07-07).
posted by Not A Thing at 3:04 PM on March 1 [11 favorites]


Here's the thing though: those things are only dealbreakers if you feel a stewardship for the people in your armed services and a statesman-like obligation to fight fair.

This isn't true at all. Those things are also dealbreakers if you expect to ever face a professional, well-integrated enemy, or want to hold out a pretense that you could do so.

Those things are absolutely announcing to the world some really severe limits on the ability of Russia to project power beyond its borders.

Those things are telling Poland that with a little more money and professionalization, it could tear any Russian expeditionary force to pieces even without assistance from NATO.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 3:10 PM on March 1 [21 favorites]


The Kyiv Independent@KyivIndependent⚡️Ukraine’s Air Force, along with units of the army and territorial defense, destroyed a large Russian military convoy near the city of Bashtanka in Ukraine’s southern Mykolaiv region.

Military bloggers reported that the convoy contained up to 800 vehicles.6:17 PM · Mar 1, 2022
posted by bluesky43 at 3:24 PM on March 1 [9 favorites]


Hah. The Russian subreddit has been quarantined due to misinformation.

I mean reddit is still terrible, it took them forever to ban /r/The_Donald and misinfo is all over the place still in so many shitty subs but I guess it's something.
posted by loquacious at 3:30 PM on March 1 [5 favorites]


Here's a link for the quote in bluesky43's comment.

From Google Chrome auto-translation:

"The column of enemy equipment destroyed by the Ukrainian air force, military and terrorist defense near the city of Bashtanka in the Nikolaev area included 800 units."

"The head of the Nikolaev regional military administration Vitaly Kim informed in the Telegram that the Ukrainian military lost only one helicopter during this operation, at the same time its pilots remained alive."
posted by escape from the potato planet at 3:37 PM on March 1 [3 favorites]


Thanks. The Kyiv Independent has been an incredibly up-to-date and accurate English source. They have an excellent twitter feed and website.
posted by bluesky43 at 3:42 PM on March 1 [5 favorites]


Ukraine foils assassination attempt on Zelensky by Chechen special unit
By TAL SPUNGIN - 1h ago (the Jerusalem Post)

A unit of Chechen special forces sent on a mission to assassinate Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky was "eliminated," head of Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov announced on Ukrainian parliament's official television station Rada TV on Tuesday. According to Danilov, Ukraine received intelligence on the assassination attempt from Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) agents
"And I can say that we received information from representatives of the FSB, who today have no desire to take part in this bloody war," he claimed. The special unit belonged to the Kadyrovites, a Chechen paramilitary organization aiding Russian forces in their invasion of Ukraine.
posted by bluesky43 at 3:56 PM on March 1 [18 favorites]


In the context of photography, if I mention tank guy or napalm girl, you probably know the photographs I refer to. Powerful, stirring images. Shocking and horrifying. A crime to suppress.

I've been hesitating for too long. I don't know what to say. I know it's important, I know it's going to be with me for a long time.

As you may have heard, the TV broadcasting tower in Kyiv was bombed today, there was a large fireball. [warning, very graphic] This photograph was supposedly taken soon after.

I'm sorry. I don't know what else I can do.
posted by adept256 at 4:00 PM on March 1 [6 favorites]


I am sorry that you had to see that photo, adept256. I am sorry the world exists where those images are real.
posted by gwydapllew at 4:02 PM on March 1 [7 favorites]


"And I can say that we received information from representatives of the FSB, who today have no desire to take part in this bloody war,"

Classic. Imply Straight up announce they have disloyal moles, start the infighting and encourage anyone who might be already thinking of being disloyal that they wouldn't be the only one. Whether true or not, that's right out of the instruction manual.
posted by ctmf at 4:02 PM on March 1 [17 favorites]


Mod note: Just tossed a warning in front of that photo link, adept256. I know you tried to provide some context there, but let's skip implicit context and just flat-out warn if there's something like pictures of dead bodies.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:06 PM on March 1 [35 favorites]


Good call. It's a sunny day, I'm going for a walk.
posted by adept256 at 4:10 PM on March 1 [12 favorites]


Putin is tapping into the deep emotions surrounding the memory of World War II. The Soviet Union lost 27 million people in the war. Victory Day, celebrated every year on May 9, remains the most important Russian national holiday. Many Russians believe that the rest of the world has never fully appreciated their sacrifice

The Russians are right. The Soviet Union took unbelievable civilian and military losses in WW2, and were decisive in winning the war in Europe. These two facts really don't get the understanding they should for reasons relating to the Cold War. I will note however that Ukraine was a major battleground in that fight, and many of those Soviet citizens who died, did so near their homes in Ukraine. Including as victims of genocide and of political persecution. In this particular war, there are two sides who can invoke the memory of WW2, and only one side who can do so with any honour.
posted by plonkee at 4:14 PM on March 1 [33 favorites]


Three pieces of potentially not-bad news from the Kyiv Independent (I hear you ctmf) and then I'm going for a walk too.

The Kyiv Independent@KyivIndependent·1m⚡️Russian troops in Crimea refuse to take part in Ukraine invasion.
The Center for Defense Strategies, citing their sources in the marine personnel in Crimea, says members of Russia’s 810th Detached Marine Brigade are in a “demoralized state."605572,176

The Kyiv Independent@KyivIndependent·4m⚡️Estonia to provide Ukraine with Javelin anti-tank missiles and ammunition. Latvia will also send 30 trucks of ammunition, supplies, and fuel to Ukraine, according to the head of the Lviv Regional State Administration Maksym Kozytskyi.515712,958

The Kyiv Independent@KyivIndependent·8m⚡️Valerii Zaluzhny, Commander-in-Chief of Ukraine’s Armed Forces stated that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has slowed down. According to Zaluzhny, Russian forces have lost their tactical initiative and have been forced to mobilize reserves to continue their offensive.
posted by bluesky43 at 4:19 PM on March 1 [9 favorites]


And now for something lighter: Ukrainian battle cats.
posted by loquacious at 4:23 PM on March 1 [23 favorites]


If you're just tuning in, here is Ruth Deyermond, Senior Lecturer at the Department of War Studies, King's College London with a short thread on the war and where we are with the Russian government’s goals of re-writing the European security order to reflect a weakened West and a stronger Russia.

To recap, in the last week, the Russian government has:
Launched an unprovoked invasion of the whole of Ukraine for no obvious reason;
Embarrassed itself militarily;
Caused NATO and the EU to unite as they haven’t done for years, if ever before;
Caused Germany to overturn 75 years of post-WW2 defence policy;
Caused Switzerland to break with 200 years of neutrality;
Caused Finland to debate joining NATO;
Caused neutral Sweden to send lethal aid to Ukraine;
Triggered crippling sanctions, which currently appear to be sending the Russian economy back to the 1990s;
Caused Nord Stream 2 to be cancelled;
Caused Western energy companies to walk away from Russian partners;
Caused a rethink of the energy relationship with Russia by European states – a critical relationship for the Russian economy;
Been shut out of most of Europe’s airspace;
Annoyed the oligarchs;
Got Russia kicked out of Eurovision, the World Cup, and international ice hockey;
Triggered an ICC war crimes investigation;
Triggered significant domestic protests, despite the great costs to the people involved in them;
Caused the EU Parliament to recommend accepting Ukraine as an accession candidate
Caused widespread discussion about Putin’s mental health;
Transformed a former comedian and Paddington voiceover from a not very popular president to a global icon of courage and resistance;
United countless people around the world in admiration of Ukraine.

But apart from that, it’s all been a great success.
posted by Kabanos at 4:27 PM on March 1 [135 favorites]


On the thread of militaries struggling to keep up with tech and innovation having migrated solidly into the civilian sphere here's a good story about Microsoft volunteering into cyberdefense of Ukraine via the New York Times
posted by bl1nk at 4:42 PM on March 1 [2 favorites]


To recap, in the last week, the Russian government has:

This is a great synopsis.

Not to delve too down the speculation path, but — over the years of watching international summits, it’s appeared to me that other world leaders despise Putin. Not that “We are standing politely due to irreconcilable policy issues,” but a visceral loathing for the person. Has anyone come across any media that touches on this?
posted by Silvery Fish at 4:50 PM on March 1 [1 favorite]


Sanctions bite
Via Axios: The Operator of Nord Stream 2, wholly owned subsidiary of Russia's Gazprom files for bankruptcy and fires all employees.
Long viewed as a Kremlin influence project that would increase Europe's energy dependence on Russia, Nord Stream 2 was one of the first targets of the flurry of Western sanctions
posted by adamvasco at 4:53 PM on March 1 [8 favorites]


Learned today that the reason Zelenskyy was unpopular before the war is that he was the pro-Russian president. Ukraine still has razor's edge elections, and Zelenskyy, a native Russian speaker whose platform included a conciliatory take towards Russian speakers, as well as a more sympathetic look at the economic anxiety in the Donbas (probably the only people out there who can use the phrase unironically.) Pro-Russian in that sense, not pro-oligarch or pro-Putin.

And, he has not budged on those issues.
posted by ocschwar at 4:55 PM on March 1 [22 favorites]


Commercial spy satellites put Russia’s Ukraine invasion in the public eye, SpaceNews, Sandra Erwin, February 27, 2022.
posted by cenoxo at 5:00 PM on March 1 [5 favorites]


To recap, in the last week, the Russian government has:
Launched an unprovoked invasion of the whole of Ukraine for no obvious reason; …

I mean this is kind of exactly why we shouldn't be listening to US-hegemony academics, such as people in International Relations faculties. They are very good at spinning a nationalistic narrative that Putin is merely irrational and incompetent, and writing this sort of tweet to make fun of the enemy. The narrative is trying to turn Russia into another North Korea; that's the subtext of all the sanctions to bring about its economic collapse.

The obvious reason is Russia see Ukraine as being about to flip in political alignment, and because Russia has little actual power it is resorting to violent force to get what it thinks it needs. The provocation stems from the US expanding its sphere of influence over the course of postwar history in Europe. Any academic who cannot start with this context as provocation enough, who cannot see the US as being a fundamental antagonizer, is exactly what Chomsky calls an irresponsible intellectual. The kind that serves the narratives of the elites. Call Putin evil if we must, but let's not pretend what brought this about came from thin air.
posted by polymodus at 5:11 PM on March 1 [14 favorites]


And, he has not budged on those issues.

And, honestly, it feels like the equivalent of “only Nixon could go to China”. He’s got all the credibility in the world right now, and is going to be a voice that has the trust of a lot of people who might otherwise decide to throw their lot in on the other side.
posted by notoriety public at 5:14 PM on March 1 [1 favorite]


Ah, yes. Self-determination for all peoples, except Eastern Europe. A truly consistent moral philosophy.
posted by tavella at 5:15 PM on March 1 [31 favorites]


A better article that explains Russia's behavior, what impresses me is how reasonably Chomsky lays historical context all out, without even having to know the events that happened since the interview happened weeks before all this:

US Approach to Ukraine and Russia Has “Left the Domain of Rational Discourse”
posted by polymodus at 5:16 PM on March 1 [2 favorites]


I mean this is kind of exactly why we shouldn't be listening to US-hegemony academics, such as people in International Relations faculties. They are very good at spinning a nationalistic narrative that Putin is merely irrational and incompetent, and writing this sort of tweet to make fun of the enemy.

What IR scholars are saying that Putin is irrational? Name them please. The one person you linked to above, Ruth Deyermond, is saying that Putin invaded Ukraine for "no obvious reason". That's not saying that Putin is irrational, only that the reason for the invasion isn't clear. Which it isn't, and thats why so many of us are speculating.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:25 PM on March 1 [20 favorites]


From polymodus‘ link:
The Russia-Ukraine crisis continues unabated as the United States ignores all of Russian President Vladmir Putin’s security demands and spreads a frenzy of fear by claiming that a Russian invasion of Ukraine is imminent. [emphasis mine]
Well that didn’t age well, did it?
posted by eviemath at 5:26 PM on March 1 [68 favorites]


Like I said in the previous thread, I think Putin really clarified things last week. What more needs to be said.
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 5:28 PM on March 1 [2 favorites]


Mod note: Folks, maybe let's not go down a rabbit hole of arguing about which US-centric analysis is right/wrong/whatever, and keep it more to the actual happenings in Ukraine.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:28 PM on March 1 [40 favorites]


That's not saying that Putin is irrational, only that the reason for the invasion isn't clear. Which it isn't, and thats why so many of us are speculating.

There have been quite a few links in this and the previous thread, eg. from Fiona Hill and other Russia experts, that have pretty clearly explained the reasons behind Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. I mean, I personally don’t think they are at all good reasons. But they are clear and known.
posted by eviemath at 5:29 PM on March 1


On postview, sorry cortex :(
posted by eviemath at 5:30 PM on March 1 [2 favorites]


Full Translation: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s Feb. 23 Speech, LawFare, Dominic Cruz Bustillos; February 24, 2022:
On Feb. 24, just hours before Russian forces launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on the orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy released a short address directed to both the Ukrainian and Russian people. The Ukrainian president spoke first in Ukrainian, before switching to Russian, in an emotional appeal to the population of the neighboring country.

Some snippets of the speech are available in English, but a complete translation was hard to find. So below, I’ve translated Zelenskyy’s full remarks from both Ukrainian and Russian into English. I’ve also included a transcription of the original speech in Ukrainian and Russian, and readers can watch the speech itself here and below (without subtitles).
Scroll below the embedded video to view the translations.
posted by cenoxo at 5:31 PM on March 1 [10 favorites]


Everyone who works for Gerhard Schröder has resigned.

Imagine destroying a legacy because you'd rather be a crony for a losing autocrat.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:32 PM on March 1 [38 favorites]


It is interesting how dramatically Ukrainian public attitudes toward NATO changed after the 2014 invasion.
posted by clawsoon at 5:34 PM on March 1 [4 favorites]


I'd like to add to the list:

Caused Steven Seagal to have a higher belt rank than Putin in the international martial arts world.
posted by NoThisIsPatrick at 5:41 PM on March 1 [35 favorites]


many of those Soviet citizens who died, did so near their homes in Ukraine.

Lyudmila Pavlichenko, the deadliest sniper of WWII, was born in what is today Kyiv Oblast and killed 187 fascists in the Siege of Odessa in 1941 (and a total of 309 altogether).

Anyway here's some Woody Guthrie for you.
posted by Not A Thing at 5:44 PM on March 1 [9 favorites]


For those of us mainlining Ukrainian media coverage and who have some financial flex, GoFundMe fundraiser for Ukrainian media. Link via Emily Tamkin.
posted by spamandkimchi at 6:04 PM on March 1 [4 favorites]


State of the Union thread (to hopefully keep this one on topic)
posted by Rhaomi at 6:09 PM on March 1 [7 favorites]


Thanks Rhaomi. BTW he's leading off with Ukraine, praising the people there.
posted by freecellwizard at 6:11 PM on March 1 [1 favorite]


Ukraine Conflict Update for March 1st
posted by Kabanos at 6:24 PM on March 1 [3 favorites]


Regarding this discussion of Putin's state of mind...

What isn't clear and has led to doubts about the clarity of Putin's thought process is the wholesale invasion of Ukraine which has self-evidently damaged all of the very interests Putin says are crucial to Russian security.

What is crystal clear and quite reasonable are Russia's justified worries about the West's encroachment on its critical sphere of interest.

Furthermore, it isn't even in the least necessary to minimize the fears, interests, and rights of Russia's Baltic and Eastern European neighbors when one wishes to articulate that Russia's worries have merit, or, indeed, if one wishes to point out that the US and NATO have arguably been short-sighted and too self-interested in the NATO expansion right up to Russia's doorstep.

Many informed writers on these issues question the wisdom of these policy choices without using it as a "whataboutism" or even a mealy-mouthed apology for Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

If an argument is effectively "The US/NATO forced Russia to invade Ukraine" then that should be big, red flag.

In my previous comment, I touched upon what I, personally, believe are the most justified roots of Russia's grievance against the West: the opportunistic, paternalistic and even rapacious way in which the West pushed rapid "economic reform" on Russia (and Eastern Europe) in the 90s. More than the NATO expansion, I think those policies were not only short-sighted, but also selfish, heartless, and contributed to enormous human suffering. I have strong feelings about this. But I would never let those feelings become an apologetic of Putin or a minimization of the senseless brutality which is this invasion of Ukraine.

As someone who is older, was an adult when the USSR collapsed, has been deeply interested in Russia and the US's relevant policies since then, and as someone who is (as per my previous comment) informed and very concerned about the Russian experience and national sentiment during this time, it would never occur to me to wave away the ills of Putinism or the horror of this invasion as being primarily a matter of US imperialism. The flip side of the arrogance of the US-centrism of American chauvinism is the effective US-centrism of a reflexively anti-American critique. Fuck that. It's reductive and insulting to Russia, Ukraine, and Europe.

Yes, I get it: a manichean vilification of a mustache-twirling Putin that ignores the complex history and choices by numerous parties the led to this moment is rhetoric that obscures more than it illuminates. And those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it. But whether intentional or not, anything that acts as misdirecting whataboutism is unhelpful at best and malicious at worst.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:46 PM on March 1 [60 favorites]


Ironically, "the West" didn't push Russia to adopt the unregulated free market extremism they ended up doing. They did that by inviting the AEI and other acolytes of Milton Friedman to advise them. They ended up with the insanity advocated by the US far right, not what the US or other western nations had actually adopted for themselves.

This happened largely because governments were far more focused on keeping the nukes and missiles under control than exactly what the economic reforms in Russia ended up being. Letting it happen was a mistake, but it wasn't something forced upon Russia as a precondition of receiving aid.
posted by wierdo at 6:55 PM on March 1 [29 favorites]


Take this with a huge giant salt lick-sized brick of skepticism but a group associated with Anonymous is claiming that they've taken down or control of the RosCosmos Control Center and claiming that Russia no longer has control of their spy satellites.

Which I'm really not sure I would believe that they've rendered them out of control but if they did it could have repercussions that might mean more than they lost access to their spy satellites.

https://twitter.com/YourAnonTV/status/1498792639877074945


https://www.reddit.com/r/ukraine/comments/t4kype/hacking_group_shuts_down_the_control_center_of/

posted by loquacious at 6:58 PM on March 1 [3 favorites]


Is there any chance we could return to discussing what's going on in Ukraine right now? Can there be another thread for extended historical analysis?
posted by 8dot3 at 7:12 PM on March 1 [13 favorites]


Agreed, 8dot3. I think the analysis is important but it doesn't pair well with the explicit scope of this thread. Highly encouraged! I've been tempted to respond to some of the very thoughtful comments but I could see how derail-y the conversation would likely get.
posted by DeepSeaHaggis at 7:15 PM on March 1 [6 favorites]


Heather Cox Richardson: Please take note of how dramatically Twitter has changed since the freezing of Russian assets. Suddenly all those anti-Biden “American patriots” have disappeared.

If true that is really interesting, not because it tells us what we already knew, but because it tells how there was always a simple solution to the problem.


This would be a genuinely interesting thing to try to measure, and also seems like something to be taken with a massive grain of salt simply being asserted by a person on Twitter.
posted by atoxyl at 7:17 PM on March 1 [22 favorites]


There are people who try to track this rigorously, though, and I'd love to learn what they have or might find.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:22 PM on March 1 [3 favorites]


Ugh, I hope the spy satellite thing is not true, because that's the kind of thing that might freak them out enough to think they're about to be attacked.

I want them to be able to see that our missiles are sitting quietly in their silos doing nothing.
posted by Reverend John at 7:26 PM on March 1 [8 favorites]


Roscosmos is the civilian space program, analogous to NASA. Taking down their control centre means they can't talk to or control their segment of the ISS.
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 7:29 PM on March 1 [10 favorites]


This platform about how expanding NATO, caused Putin to attack Ukraine, and attempt to steal a nation away from it's people, is an example of poor education in some circles. Allegedly in elementary school. we learn to take responsibility for what we do, and we learn we cannot blame others for our choices. Putin has chosen mass murder, and destruction, for reasons of his own mental state, and his inability to function in a peacful fashion, in a world, striving for peace, against heavy odds. I am tired of hearing this, glueing down the edges of blanket criticism of the current administration, or how things that only one party did, caused this. The Guardian ran an editorial from the Cato institute today, disgusting stuff, when one party is responsible for this. I am preparing to listen to the Repubican rebuttal to the SOTU and I know I will be hearing it there.
posted by Oyéah at 7:37 PM on March 1 [26 favorites]


I think that hacking Roscosmos is illegal and everyone should put a stop to it.
posted by Oyéah at 7:38 PM on March 1 [2 favorites]


I'd be surprised if the mods would let a historical analysis thread stand, since it's likely to produce some unpleasant arguments. I'm happy to be proven wrong, though.
posted by clawsoon at 7:39 PM on March 1


We could use it to relitigate the 2016 primary.
posted by Marticus at 7:40 PM on March 1 [70 favorites]


Ukraine Motorsport Commission Asks The FIA To Ban Russian Drivers – A meeting to discuss the future of Russian drivers is planned for Tuesday, Jalopnik, Bradley Brownell, Feb 28, 2022.
…if you’ve watched the news at all this week, Russia has invaded the Ukraine. As a result many attempts are being made by international governments, businesses, and financial institutions to get Russia to, um, not do that any more. Russia and Russian athletes have already been banned from pretty much every other sport on the planet save motorsport. Ukraine’s motorsport federation has requested that the FIA follow other sports examples and commence with the bannenating.
posted by cenoxo at 7:40 PM on March 1 [1 favorite]


Oyéah, thank you for that. That's basically what I wanted to say but I knew I wasn't going to put it so parsimoniously.
posted by DeepSeaHaggis at 7:41 PM on March 1 [1 favorite]


I just got the following email from my internet/phone provider.:
Sonic is supporting efforts to keep our customers connected to their loved ones during the recent events in Ukraine. We're offering our customers unlimited long-distance calling from the U.S. to Ukraine through the month of March. Additionally, calls made in February will be retroactively reimbursed. Free calls apply to both landlines and mobile numbers.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:43 PM on March 1 [15 favorites]


No need to declare captured Russian tanks, other equipment of invaders as income – NAPC
"Have you captured a Russian tank or armored personnel carrier and are worried about how to declare it? Keep calm and continue to defend the Motherland! There is no need to declare the captured Russian tanks and other equipment, because the cost of this ... does not exceed 100 living wages (UAH 248,100)," NAPC's press service said."
Ukranian car thieves, your time has come.
posted by MrVisible at 8:54 PM on March 1 [47 favorites]


Ugh, I hope the spy satellite thing is not true, because that's the kind of thing that might freak them out enough to think they're about to be attacked.

Yeah, I don't think that it's true, especially about spy satellites, because that wouldn't be RosCosmos but would probably be FSB. Even if it's true it's like saying "hey we hacked NASA" instead of the NRO or CIA.

But the Zarya segment of the ISS is generally controlled from the ground and that is RosCosmos, which would be bad if it was true if someone was actually interfering with that. Not to mention whatever other civilian or comms satellites RosCosmos may administer.

I mean I don't think I have this on any of my bingo cards but things are so wacky that "Anonymous accidentally breaks ISS/Zarya or kicks off Kessler Syndrome orbital debris event hacking RosCosmos instead of FSB because this timeline is stupid" sounds almost plausible at this point.
posted by loquacious at 8:59 PM on March 1 [11 favorites]


Ukraine Motorsport Commission Asks The FIA To Ban Russian Drivers –

I think I heard that the FIA has decided to let them keep racing but they're not allowed to reference Russia or fly the flag.

and here it is:

FIA will allow Russian drivers to compete under FIA flag

the comments are surprisingly un-apocalyptic, insightful even. So far.

Well the FIA is even more spineless than soccer. At least soccer changed it's mind and got serious after getting roasted. Frankly, in my lifetime (53) I've never seen the world, people and corporations so united against any country. I guess people are starting to remember their WWII history.
posted by philip-random at 9:02 PM on March 1 [4 favorites]


Rogozin claimed some attacks on the main website yesterday.
posted by clavdivs at 9:04 PM on March 1


(Following up on bluesky43’s comment above), Ukraine Claims Russian Double Agents Helped Foil An Assassination Attempt On Zelensky, The War Zone, Joseph Trevithick, Mar 1, 2022:
Late on Monday, Ukrainian authorities claimed that they had foiled an attempt to assassinate President Volodymyr Zelensky. Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council chief Oleksiy Danilov disclosed this plot at a briefing, according to an official post on the Telegram social network.

Danilov said that Kadyrovtsy, members of a paramilitary force that reports directly to Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Russia's semi-autonomous republic of Chechenya, had been behind the attempted murder and had been killed by Ukrainian forces. He further said that disillusioned members of Russia's Federal Security Service, better known by the Russian acronym FSB, had tipped off Ukraiian authorities.

So far, there is no independently verifiable evidence to go along with this reported assassination attempt. At the same time, there is certainly circumstantial evidence to support it. On February 24, the day that the invasion started, Zelensky had said that there were already "sabotage groups" inside Kyiv hunting for him and his family. That followed earlier reports that U.S. officials had obtained intelligence indicating the Kremlin had a list of Ukrainians, which included the country's president, who would be either killed or rounded up in camps as part of Putin's "special military operation."…
More details in the article.
posted by cenoxo at 9:14 PM on March 1


I wouldn't give too much credence to the bit about a disillusioned FSB member, of course.
posted by ryanrs at 9:25 PM on March 1 [2 favorites]


Honestly, I don't give any credence to any 0-day news coming out of ukraine. Propaganda happens on all sides, plus people are just wrong about, like, everything in a war. Don't be too quick to believe every breathless report, from a "good" source or no.
posted by RustyBrooks at 9:37 PM on March 1 [31 favorites]


Take this with a huge giant salt lick-sized brick of skepticism but a group associated with Anonymous is claiming that they've taken down or control of the RosCosmos Control Center and claiming that Russia no longer has control of their spy satellites.

Keep that salt block handy, but this sounds more like a mission by the U.S. Space Command.
posted by cenoxo at 10:02 PM on March 1


I wouldn't give too much credence to the bit about a disillusioned FSB member, of course.

Not too much, but it's going to live in a back corner of my mind.

Same as Putin.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:06 PM on March 1 [1 favorite]


Russia is a colonizer; not the victim of European aggression against the world; they were one of the Empires that plundered the world. Instead of Africa and North America they built their economies in central and northern Asia. And eventually treated much of Eastern Europe as their colonies.
posted by interogative mood at 10:20 PM on March 1 [27 favorites]


Ah yes the terrible aggression of a country they consider 'theirs' choosing to leave. Won't someone think of their poor sphere of influence?
posted by Carillon at 10:40 PM on March 1 [41 favorites]


From polymodus‘ link:
The Russia-Ukraine crisis continues unabated as the United States ignores all of Russian President Vladmir Putin’s security demands and spreads a frenzy of fear by claiming that a Russian invasion of Ukraine is imminent. [emphasis mine]
Well that didn’t age well, did it?

I think it's important to note that this isn't Chomsky saying this at all, it's the preamble to the interview, the introductory remarks written by the journalist interviewer. The way it is quoted makes it sound like Chomsky mispredicted something. The part to read is Chomsky's responses to the questions.
posted by polymodus at 10:44 PM on March 1 [4 favorites]




Some more refugee news this morning - the Przemyśl incident involved four or five hooligans beating up three Indian students, plus a few small groups of hooligans screaming invectives at refugees in front of the railway station. The police dispersed the latter and are looking for the attackers. Fortunately the baseball bats (a common football hooligan weapon here because they claim they're on the way to play... Poland has all of 7 baseball fields in the entire country) seem to have been a rumour, because only one of the students needed medical assistance for a hand injury.

The police are also dispelling fake rumours of attacks by non-white refugees on Poles (ugh). The rumours of people coming to the border and trying to offer rides to single young women only have actual eyewitnesses alas.

The border crossings are much better, worst car queue is in Medyka (35 hours, down from 80+), small crossings doing well. Polish drivers are now crossing into Ukraine and ferrying people to the border, going as far as Lviv. Getting out of the besieged cities is the difficult part now, with trains limited to women with young children.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 11:50 PM on March 1 [16 favorites]


I want to make a narrow point about language.

Please avoid using phrases like “sphere of interest” uncritically. They legitimize the imperialist conception of the world, where militarily powerful countries can boss around militarily weaker countries.

As someone living in Russia’s self-proclaimed “sphere of interest”, I’d very much like that phrase to go away.

This is not to say that it isn’t valuable to explain how Putin and the Russian government sees things, but there is no need to adopt their way of speaking.
posted by Kattullus at 12:10 AM on March 2 [71 favorites]


For the people bringing up Putin’s demands for his empire safety zone ... Those concerns and similar keep coming up every time I check on this thread by various posters, so here’s some opinion from one regular person born on territory Putin has declared to be his:

1. We’ve already heard Putin’s concerns straight from the horse’s mouth. We got the message, we understand the message.
2. But know there is a large number of people living here in these so-called spheres of influence (Kattullus mentioned the issue with that phrasing above). Not hundreds, not thousands, but something like a hundred million people or so. We have an opinion on things such as not wanting to be part of this Neo-Soviet Union dictatorship. We like to pick the clubs we join.
3A. If you haven’t been here, I invite you to visit. I think you’ll see we are more like you than you realize — I write this in earnest: you’ll see we’re not chess pieces in some sort of empire building game between big nations. Seriously, come visit if you can.
3B. If you have been here and/or know people here — what is your motive? When you repeat the demands of a dictator actively trying to destroy a nation in real-time, as in right now there are people being killed here, it may be worth asking yourself this.
posted by UN at 12:36 AM on March 2 [106 favorites]


Those of us who grew up during the Cold War remember a time when the "buffer" between East and West was the border running through the middle of Germany and a physical wall surrounding half of Berlin, with border guards staring across it into enemy territory. Putin doesn't want hundreds of miles distance between Russia and NATO, he wants a situation where he controls his supposed "buffer zone" and not the people of the countries concerned. It's anathema to every principle of self-determination that we claim to hold.
posted by rory at 1:17 AM on March 2 [31 favorites]


Journalist and author James Meek, who has lived in and written about both Ukraine and Russia, was interviewed yesterday by Thomas Jones for the London Review of Books podcast.

It’s a pretty good summary of how things got to this point, and what the options are. You can find the LRB podcast on most podcast services.
posted by Kattullus at 1:22 AM on March 2 [4 favorites]


Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s path from comic to symbol of courage: an excellent piece putting those funny clips of Zelensky that have been surfacing on Twitter into context.

It helped me clarify why the Jezebel piece saying "enough with the Zelensky thirst" felt slightly off to me. People finding a new "crush" in Zelensky aren't trivialising the invasion: we can admire him and be concerned for Ukrainians simultaneously. It's possible to laugh at old clips and marvel that he was a comedian before he became president while also being impressed with his courage and resolve.

That's because comedy is anything but trivial. Good comedy takes wit and intelligence, and at its heart is about joy. Comedians devote their days to bringing joy to others—to celebrating life. It's important work, serious work, and recognising that may be one reason Ukrainians voted for him in such numbers in 2019.

Along with learning about Zelensky's past, I was sobered to learn of the place of Odessa in Ukrainian and former-Soviet culture. Odessa has hosted an annual comedy festival since 1972. Many early Jewish comedians in the US emigrated from Odessa to New York a century ago. As someone who's lived many years in another comedy festival town, that helps me understand and relate to the city and its country; to care more about them.

Comedy isn't incidental to the story of Zelensky and Ukraine. It's another reason to support them. Because crushing that joie de vivre under an autocratic occupation diminishes the world.
posted by rory at 1:43 AM on March 2 [67 favorites]


> Does somebody has good link explaining how the Chechens went from rebelling against Russia to fighting for them? I understand it got reinvaded and absorbed in Russia and a puppet leader installed, but how does that translate to men willing to fight for Russia?

@kamilkazani: "News about 10 000 Chechen troops leaving to Ukraine alarmed many. And yet, one must know context to understand its meaning. Many assume that after Putin's victory Chechnya became just part of Russia and thus Chechen troops are just Russian regulars of Chechen origin. Not quite..."[1]

not knowing anything about russian/soviet history, i've found galeev's threads[2] super insightful and illuminating on the current situation, but also really interesting in their own right.
  • @kamilkazani: "I started my substack with a text 'How Russia got so big and so cold'? History of Russian imperial expansion, teaches some important lessons about Russian big strategy. Media focuses too much on its ideological context and too little - on economic one..."[3]
  • @kamilkazani: "Let's discuss Putin speech. He declared Ukrainians to be 'Neonazis' and promised to 'denazify' them. Indeed the 'Nazi' character of Ukrainian statehood and identity has long been a central thesis of Russian propaganda. Let's discuss why and how it reflects ideology of Putinism..."[4]
  • @kamilkazani: "Why Russia will lose this war? Much of the 'realist' discourse is about accepting Putin's victory, cuz it's *guaranteed*. But how do we know it is? I'll argue that analysts 1) overrate Russian army 2) underrate Ukrainian one 3) misunderstand Russian strategy & political goals..."[5]
  • @kamilkazani: "The War in Ukraine in American context: In such a polarised country as the U.S., Russian invasion of Ukraine was immediately weaponised by the opposing political forces and became a basis for mutual accusations. Some of these accusations sound very reasonable..."
> But apart from that, it’s all been a great success.

@Noahpinion: "Every piece of Russia's seeming incompetence in this war -- the bad logistics, the desertions, the poor planning -- seems to come back to the fact that the people making the plans felt ashamed of what they were doing, and knew that soldiers would feel ashamed too. The reason they didn't tell Russian soldiers what they were doing -- leaving them confused and disorganized and demoralized -- was that they knew they were ordering them to do was bad."

@shashj: "'in some cases, Russian troops have deliberately punched holes in their vehicles' gas tanks, presumably to avoid combat, the official said. The Pentagon official declined to say how the military made these assessments'"[6]

@ichbinilya: [Yandex] is the largest technology company in Russia and the country's second-largest search engine. The former head of its news division, Lev Gershenzon, just made this remarkable post on Facebook, addressed to his former colleagues. My translation..."

@TimOBrien: "Putin might make himself master of a much-expanded empire. But early indications are that he may be on the verge of a rude realization of his own: Robbing one's enemies of their complacency is a big mistake."

@sentdefender: "Ukrainian Special Forces were reportedly able to Target their first Russian Military Unit using a Government created Website that urges Ukrainian Citizens to post Russian Military Locations as well as Abandoned Equipment..."

@AceJaceu: "Ukrainian Minister of Defense reports that 'new' Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs having arrived in the country and already doing strike operations against the Russian Occupation Forces. It seems the TuAF flights to Poland had a purpose."[7]

@vorobyov: "Ukrainian think tank Center for Defence Strategies has obtained the list of names of 120 thousand Russian troops that have invaded Ukraine..."[8]

@Mij_Europe: "Senior EU officials tell me the EU is considering offering qualified Russian 🇷🇺 citizens EU 🇪🇺 passports - to accelerate Russian economic brain drain. This is just one of many innovative measures being considered to complement economic sanctions now in place. Other ideas include offering asylum and refugee status for soldiers that want to desert the Russian army - to incentivise defections - as long as they have not committed war crimes. Plus many more. The policy ingenuity is remarkable 🇪🇺🇺🇦"

> I'm as pro "kick their ass Ukraine" as the next sane person, but stories like that also make me shake my head: "Foreign students fleeing Ukraine say they face segregation, racism at border".

fwiw...
@digitalsista: "Again.. Romania seems to be the best exit!! #AfricansInUkraine"

also btw...
The Battle of Kyiv - "Troops encircle Kyiv today as they did eighty years ago, another incursion by another tyrant, more blood soaking the black earth. This time the tyrant says he is trying to 'denazify' Ukraine by killing its Jewish president; he is bombing Russian speakers in Russian-speaking cities so that, he says, they will be free to speak Russian..."

@kyfialko: "I am extraordinarily proud of my country & the spirit and resistance of my people. But for folks abroad, please be careful not to flatten this into a narrative of a scrappy army of badasses led by their relatable, lovable leader. This is a very real war..."
posted by kliuless at 2:22 AM on March 2 [53 favorites]


My reluctance to engage with Chomsky is not so much whether he is definitively wrong, but that from my perspective 2200km from the fighting, the Americans are secondary players. The main story is Europe militarily and economically supporting Ukraine without triggering WW3.
posted by plonkee at 2:25 AM on March 2 [40 favorites]


Updates for 2nd March, several sourced from Kyiv Independent. Usual fog-of-war warnings apply.

Heavy bombardment of civilian areas in Ukrainian cities intensifies, including capital Kyiv and 2nd largest city of Kharkiv, with dozens killed. Video of a missile strike on the tallest structure in Ukraine, the 385m TV tower in Kyiv. 5 civilians walking past underneath were killed.

Russian paratroopers have landed in Kharkiv, reportedly attacking a military hospital, and there is ongoing fighting.

Kherson in the south appears to have Russian vehicles in the centre, and have reportedly taken the river port and railway station. This means Russian soldiers from the Crimea may have secured a crossing of the Dnieper River.

The key southern port of Mariupol, part of the separatist Donetsk oblast but under Ukrainian control since 2014 has been surrounded by Russian forces, under heavy shelling, and unable to evacuate the wounded.

A Russian Brigade in Crimea is reported (In Ukrainian media) to have refused to mobilise. A US defence official has claimed morale of Russian forces is "flagging", with some not expecting the resistance they have received.

Ukraine has requested access to real-time Western commercial satellite data, particularly synthetic aperture radar (that can see through clouds, and at night) so they can get rapid updates on movement of Russian vehicles.

For something lighter, an old clip has resurfaced of Ukrainian President Zelenskyy (when previously playing the character of President of Ukraine in "Servant of the People") when he receives a phone call congratulating him on joining the EU.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 2:36 AM on March 2 [14 favorites]


Here is an example of how ideological language works. If you want to defend an aggressor, you couch their actions in entirely passive terms. They are ever only to be shown as reacting, as being forced into situations, of not being able to do anything else, or at best as accidentally stumbling into a situation. This is the way US aggression and imperialism has always been justified for decades and decades, by almost all the mainstream American media for example.

And now the (to use a phrase from a previous thread) parochial moral narcissists of the "it's only imperialism if America does it" variety are attempting to flip the script and describe the aggressive, violent Russian invasion in similarly passive terms, as being entirely forced into the invasion, as only reacting to NATO, as only defending, and so on. It's exactly the same phrasing used to justify US aggression.

It's good to be mindful of such ideological use of language.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 2:37 AM on March 2 [81 favorites]


It's the Exonerative Tense, as seen in phrases like “officer-involved shooting”.
posted by acb at 2:43 AM on March 2 [49 favorites]




Mod note: Deleted most of the Chomsky derail. Shall we leave it here? Thanks.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane (staff) at 3:00 AM on March 2 [46 favorites]


> Ex-world champion chess player, Garry Kasparov, always a Putin critic, is virtually calling for revolution to overthrow Putin and his supporters.

@Kasparov63: "Glad Biden started w Ukraine and his words were fine, if brief considering the stakes. It's his actions that have lagged, both in targeting the oligarchs and supporting Ukraine. Ukraine doesn't have time and Putin is escalating by the hour. My worry is that Putin doesn't believe Biden. After a summit and a couple of calls, Putin clearly doesn't think Biden is a serious threat. He thought the same about Europe, and is being proved wrong. I hope Biden does it too, but it remains to be seen. Putin declared war on the US and the world order it represents long ago. Ukraine is the military target of that war now, but election interference, hacking, disinformation, etc are still warfare. US sacrifice & commitment are necessary and Biden should communicate that. The GOP of old is long gone, but a reply not showing US political solidarity with the president in a global security crisis is still pathetic to see. Especially after years of Trump kissing up to Putin and blocking aid and slandering and extorting Ukraine."

@Kasparov63: "Mobilize. Defend Ukraine, which is paying a price in blood for the complacency and corruption of the free world that is watching them die. Boycott Russian oil and leave every table with Russia, from Iran deals to green deals. Cut Putin off so there is no way back with him. Putin is one man. His mad designs require thousands, millions of people to carry them out. They should all know there is no way back for them if they continue, that their lives are over. Yes this requires sacrifice and risk, but it will only grow the longer we delay. The appeasers have carried the day since Putin invaded Ukraine in 2008. Are we safer now? The danger will be even greater should Putin be allowed to commit genocide in Ukraine and then look for his next target. The price only goes up."

@freedomhouse: "Autocrats are collaborating with one another to spread new forms of repression. Read more about these concerning antidemocratic alliances now in our #FreedomInTheWorld 2022 report: http://FreedomInTheWorld.org"
posted by kliuless at 3:11 AM on March 2 [11 favorites]


Russian Sociologist Grigory Yudin demonstrated against the invasion and ended up in the hospital. He says we’re living in a new era.

Today, it’s common for Russians who are pained by what’s happening to feel self-recrimination and shame; they try to justify themselves or apologize. These are understandable and kind-hearted feelings, but they can’t lead to action. At the end of the day, this is not a war that the Russian people is waging against Ukraine. Russians will get nothing out of this war, they will lose in the most monstrous possible way, it will be an immense catastrophe for the country — all we’ll get is global hatred, a destroyed economy, a crushed society, and possibly a defeated army.

And finally, we will lose that unshakeable basis for respect that historically evinced reverence from people all over the world: we will lose our image as a liberator nation, a hero nation — the victor in the worst of all wars. And that is why we must stop this catastrophe, why we have to unite with Ukrainians and Belarusians. Circumstances are such that Ukrainians are resisting in their own way, whereas Belarusians and Russians have to find a different means. One that won’t prevent them from looking themselves in the eye afterwards.

posted by rory at 3:16 AM on March 2 [34 favorites]


plonkee: […] from my perspective 2200km from the fighting, the Americans are secondary players. The main story is Europe militarily and economically supporting Ukraine without triggering WW3.

I agree, but I would go a step further. The US itself is tertiary, with Russia and Ukraine being primary and the neighboring countries being secondary.
posted by Kattullus at 3:21 AM on March 2 [21 favorites]


Long ago, I had an uncle from my father's side who — knowing my mother's sister worked for his former employer — would regularly ask me how she's doing in her job and then promptly use my response as his springboard to rant for, like, forty minutes non-stop about his awful experience at the company and about how horrible the owners were. She was, in fact, experiencing a lot of the same crap that he did, but his lack of interest in her well-being or experience was transparent. It was a merely an opportunity to talk about himself and his resentments. It was invariably super-uncomfortable and sometimes a bit alarming because of his myopic monomania.

The piece by Volodymyr Artiukh that Grandgousier linked to is very good. I highly recommend it.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:30 AM on March 2 [17 favorites]


Yes. It's probably a truism that things change very slowly but you only notice that they've changed all of a sudden - I'm actually surprised how irrelevant the US is in this (I'm not surprised how irrelevant the UK is, but then I live with its increasing irrelevance daily).

What Europe has become, I don't know, but I'm curious to find out, for the first time in probably decades.
posted by Grangousier at 3:34 AM on March 2 [7 favorites]


The BBC is adding new shortwave frequencies for the people of Ukraine. Old school. And crucial. 5875 kHz from 8/10 UTC and on 15735 kHz from 2/4 UTC. - via Kevin Core
posted by Lanark at 3:35 AM on March 2 [24 favorites]


Anyway, here's a song.

e: shows explosions and destruction, etc, nothing gruesome, but just fyi.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 3:41 AM on March 2 [1 favorite]


:We could use it to relitigate the 2016 primary.:

Thank you, Marticus. I needed the laugh.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 3:45 AM on March 2 [4 favorites]


I agree, but I would go a step further. The US itself is tertiary, with Russia and Ukraine being primary and the neighboring countries being secondary.

Yes, you're quite right and apologies. That Ukrainian patriotism is real is less surprising to me than that Europe is responding collectively so heavily, but the Russian invasion and resulting defence by Ukraine is indeed primary.
posted by plonkee at 3:53 AM on March 2 [1 favorite]


The Kyiv Declaration: Ukrainian civil society leaders’ six asks for the world
posted by Kabanos at 4:06 AM on March 2 [11 favorites]




Erdogan plays a delicate game with Russian warships– Turkey’s support for Ukraine fuels hopes of a renewed relationship with the west , Financial Times, Laura Pitel (Ankara), March 2, 2022:
In the run-up to Vladimir Putin’s assault on Ukraine, Moscow notified Turkey of its intention to send one of its most imposing warships, laden with cruise missiles, through the heart of Istanbul to join the impending onslaught.

But the Admiral Flota Kasatonov [WP] — and three other vessels that had been expected to traverse the Dardenelles and Bosphorus straits — did not make the journey over the weekend, as Russia had planned, two western officials told the FT.

On Monday, president Recep Tayyip Erdogan indicated that he would enact a clause in the 1936 Montreux Convention that allows Ankara to curb the passage of naval vessels belonging to warring parties. “We have the authority and we have decided to use it in a way that will prevent the crisis from escalating,” he said.

While the Turkish foreign ministry did not respond to a request for comment on the four ships, diplomats believe that Turkey, for years viewed in western capitals as an unreliable Nato member that had grown too close to Moscow, asked Russia not to send them….
posted by cenoxo at 5:08 AM on March 2 [18 favorites]


Isolarii, who publish Yevgenia Belorusets' war diary on their website (which I linked to before), have put her book Modern Animal up for sale, as well as F Letter, an anthology of Russian feminist poetry, with all profits donated to relief, aid, and supplies in Ukraine. Go to the Isolarii website and scroll down to find the "buy" buttons.
posted by Kattullus at 5:38 AM on March 2 [8 favorites]


This would be a genuinely interesting thing to try to measure, and also seems like something to be taken with a massive grain of salt simply being asserted by a person on Twitter.

Well since the invasion of Ukraine began I have not seen my usual 4:30am rightwing hashtag in my Twitter's trending section supported by people in non-US time zones while there is no domestic pushback. No Trudeau is Hitler, No Biden is A failure. They seem to have just disappeared. So I assume either those energies have been redeployed elsewhere or their controllers are not willing to work for pennies since I can't believe Twitter would do anything to stop them.
posted by srboisvert at 5:39 AM on March 2 [43 favorites]


One of Russia’s strongest active players Alexander Grischuk, normally know for his humor Was nearly in tears and gave a very powerfully statement press conference following his match yesterday (Starts at 4:32 in video)
posted by interogative mood at 5:49 AM on March 2 [21 favorites]


Player of what?
posted by eviemath at 6:04 AM on March 2 [1 favorite]


Alexander Grischuk is an elite chess player.
posted by schyler523 at 6:23 AM on March 2 [4 favorites]


Thanks
posted by eviemath at 6:26 AM on March 2


I don't know much about chess but that clip was very powerful, considering that Grischuk may have just destroyed his career in Russia.
posted by maggiemaggie at 6:31 AM on March 2 [10 favorites]


Since the thread has slowed down for now, I'd like to thank kliuless for those geo-political insights and diverse opinions from Kamil Kazani and others above. Thanks for highlighting some of the background complexity in play.

One of the things Kazani says is '[Putin] didn't expect resistance and started looking for a way out immediately.' Can anyone explain what evidence there is for the 'looking for a way out' part of that claim?

sorry, edit to correct Galeev to Kazani as I think that is the proper surname
posted by glasseyes at 6:37 AM on March 2 [4 favorites]


One of the things Kazani says is '[Putin] didn't expect resistance and started looking for a way out immediately.' Can anyone explain what evidence there is for the 'looking for a way out' part of that claim?

You don't directly encourage your opponent's military to conduct a coup if you're winning decisively.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 6:52 AM on March 2 [1 favorite]


Alexander Grischuk for president. On why it's best for Russia if its leaders relax, take the long view, and avoid going into destructive egotistical tantrums over borders: "Russia breaks several times in history, but it is always resurrected. Russia is like the liquid terminator."
posted by Don Pepino at 6:54 AM on March 2 [7 favorites]



Well since the invasion of Ukraine began I have not seen my usual 4:30am rightwing hashtag in my Twitter's trending section supported by people in non-US time zones while there is no domestic pushback. No Trudeau is Hitler, No Biden is A failure. They seem to have just disappeared. So I assume either those energies have been redeployed elsewhere or their controllers are not willing to work for pennies since I can't believe Twitter would do anything to stop them.


On my feed I see a tweet from a new account (randomnameLongNumber) saying the CDC's removal of mask guidance shows Joe Rogan was right.

It seems to me the troll farm is running at a low pace just so they know if their access is cut off, but they have no set message to push right now. Not paying the trolls? Directing the trolls to go learn Ukrainian? Don;t know.
posted by ocschwar at 6:56 AM on March 2 [2 favorites]


The Ukrainian MFA has an information portal up about the war.
posted by Not A Thing at 6:57 AM on March 2 [2 favorites]


MFA =? Ministry of Foreign Affairs?
posted by eviemath at 7:02 AM on March 2 [1 favorite]


I agree, but I would go a step further. The US itself is tertiary, with Russia and Ukraine being primary and the neighboring countries being secondary.

This is something where the script got flipped in a way that I wasn't expecting -- in the lead up to the war, the public dynamic was all Russia vs US in a simplistic cold war narrative, with Ukraine almost secondary and Europe involved around the edges but not shaping the narrative in any way. That the situation very quickly ended up with a united and newly assertive Europe as a main player was not what was expected and has changed the dynamic in a huge way.

Given the amount of military and intelligence aid the US continues to provide, I'm not sure it's quite correct to put the US as tertiary, but it's definitely secondary at best.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:03 AM on March 2 [8 favorites]


Ministry of Foreign Affairs?

Yes, per footer: "This is the official website of Ukraine. The information is verified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine."
posted by Not A Thing at 7:09 AM on March 2


New initiative coordinating volunteer material support from countries neighbouring Ukraine:
Material for Ukraine
posted by kmt at 7:14 AM on March 2 [1 favorite]


Also, Hungarian low-fare airline WizzAir, offering 100.000 free tickets for refugees from Ukraine.
posted by kmt at 7:17 AM on March 2 [5 favorites]


The one elite chess grandmaster who has been vocal in support of Russia has been Sergey Karjakin, who started his career playing for Ukraine. He has been tweeting about unpunished atrocities by Ukrainian nationalist thugs, like the Odessa trade union building fire in 2014 - which did happen, and wasn't punished by Ukrainian authorities, and I personally think it's naive to believe that everyone on "our side" will always do things we support - and, anyway, Karjakin is facing an ethics hearing. "It is now unclear whether he will be able to compete" in the Candidates Tournament, which chooses the next challenger for Magnus Carlsen's world championship title.
posted by clawsoon at 7:18 AM on March 2


One of Russia’s strongest active players Alexander Grischuk, normally know for his humor Was nearly in tears and gave a very powerfully statement press conference following his match yesterday (Starts at 4:32 in video)posted by interogative mood

Thanks for posting this. It's a very powerful video - I was annoyed the interviewer interrupted Grischuk's history comments. I also thought that the views he expressed were ones I hadn't seen in any press coverage and seemed unfiltered. Excellent post.
posted by bluesky43 at 7:30 AM on March 2 [9 favorites]


Ukraine wants review of Russia's right to UN Security Council seat, says foreign minister
Reuters

"We are confident that after a legal analysis it will turn out that Russia is illegitimately in the UN Security Council," he said in a televised briefing.

He also said so far more than 1,000 volunteers from 16 countries were on their way to fight alongside Ukrainian forces battling the invasion by Russia. "The applications keep coming."
posted by bluesky43 at 7:33 AM on March 2 [14 favorites]


Numerous Russian science fiction and fantasy writers come out in favor of the Ukraine invasion in an open letter (per File 770).

Prominent among them is Sergei Lukianenko, author of the Night Watch series of novels and Guest of Honor for Science Fiction Worldcon 2023, to be held in Chengdu, China.

Certainly this is trivial relative to the real suffering of Ukrainians today, but a matter of concern for people who were already contemplating the ethical questions posed by attending a con in China, in light of its human rights abuses.
posted by newdaddy at 7:34 AM on March 2 [15 favorites]


Interesting twitter thread on sanctions effects on aviation:
I work in the aviation sector, and I can tell you that for all intents and purposes Russian aviation has - at best - about three weeks before it’s show over.
....
Very few aircraft are actually owned by airlines, and instead most are owned by lessor companies, most of which are Irish. Under the sanctions regime, the view in the legal community is that those leases have to be terminated, otherwise Irish companies will be criminally liable.
Insurance effects, access to repair and maintenance, and wrinkles of civilian airspace issues as well. The usual shakers of salt for all such musings (everyone is an omnicompetent multivalent expert in every field!) apply, but it's some potential effects I certainly wasn't thinking about before.
posted by Drastic at 7:44 AM on March 2 [25 favorites]


Dip Flash: […] in the lead up to the war, the public dynamic was all Russia vs US in a simplistic cold war narrative, with Ukraine almost secondary and Europe involved around the edges but not shaping the narrative in any way

That wasn’t the public dynamic, but the ludicrous narrative in English-language media. That thread is still there, but Anglosphere media organizations have improved vastly since the invasion began.

I don’t know if it was because the various newsrooms course-corrected of their own volition, or because all the news is happening in Ukraine, Russia, and to a lesser extent, in various border countries, and therefore the reporters had to put their focus there. That’s where it should’ve been from the very beginning.
posted by Kattullus at 7:44 AM on March 2 [25 favorites]


"A lot of people try to make sense of the current crisis with maps, so why don't we talk a bit about why the approach of the majority of media in this regard is not the best. And why it might actually (inadvertently) represent the way Putin wants us to think." Mateusz Fafinski offers a twitter thread on the problem of maps of the current war.
posted by mittens at 8:00 AM on March 2 [18 favorites]


Illia Ponomarenko with the Kyiv Independent tweets that Ukraine will give captured soldiers back to their moms. Moms may, the army says, pick up their captured offspring in Kyiv by entering through the Ukrainian-Polish border.
posted by Hypatia at 8:11 AM on March 2 [25 favorites]


"We are confident that after a legal analysis it will turn out that Russia is illegitimately in the UN Security Council," he said in a televised briefing.

Did anyone else notice when the Ukrainian Ambassador to the UN asked for a show of hands from the GA if they voted for the Russian Federation's admission? I don't believe I saw any. If we're talking about International Law, then the devil is in the details, and it would seem that if the Russian Federation can't produce the paperwork, they don't have a valid claim as a successor state to the USSR.
posted by mikelieman at 8:18 AM on March 2 [18 favorites]


The lack of show of hands was noted in some analysis I read, and I think that's Ukraine's tactic - Russia should have never been on the security council to begin with.
posted by bluesky43 at 8:21 AM on March 2 [2 favorites]


“Prominent among them is Sergei Lukianenko...”

It's been about 13 years since I read Lukyanenko's Night Watch books, but this doesn't surprise me at all. And he's been very vocally hostile to Ukraine for many years.

There was also a very weird running theme in those Night Watch books (I've not read anything else by him) — Lukyanenko's training and former profession is Freudian psychotherapy and there is much antiquated Freudian theory with its associated misogyny as an unquestioned worldview that really surprised and disoriented me. It seemed very anachronistic, like from a certain kind of fiction of the fifties and sixties. I wondered if that was still cultural currency in Russia — it pretty much faded from view in the US by the beginning of the 90s.

This seems relevant in some sense, but I don't know how to articulate it.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:23 AM on March 2 [5 favorites]


Richard Engel
@RichardEngel
·
52m
After Russia strikes Holocaust site. Zelenskyy: "I appeal to all the Jews of the world: don't you see what is happening?” - “millions of Jews, do not remain silent right now, because Nazism is born in silence, so shout about killing civilians, shout about killing Ukrainians."
posted by bluesky43 at 8:24 AM on March 2 [20 favorites]


Illia Ponomarenko with the Kyiv Independent tweets that Ukraine will give captured soldiers back to their moms.

I was just watching a video of a young Russian soldier who had surrendered his arms crying while he spoke to his mother (and while being fed by Ukrainian volunteers).
posted by fight or flight at 8:27 AM on March 2 [8 favorites]


Ukraine will give captured soldiers back to their moms. Moms may, the army says, pick up their captured offspring in Kyiv by entering through the Ukrainian-Polish border.

The people who are using Yelp restaurant reviews in Moscow to spread Ukrainian war news need to get on this.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:37 AM on March 2 [16 favorites]


Did anyone else notice when the Ukrainian Ambassador to the UN asked for a show of hands from the GA if they voted for the Russian Federation's admission? I don't believe I saw any. If we're talking about International Law, then the devil is in the details, and it would seem that if the Russian Federation can't produce the paperwork, they don't have a valid claim as a successor state to the USSR.

It's interesting but it seems doubtful it'll go anywhere. This article goes into it in a bit more details. And brings up a few interesting points like China not wanting to go there due to issues with Taiwan, and even the UK being reticent since if Scotland secedes is the UK still the UK that was named to be a permanent member?
posted by WaterAndPixels at 8:37 AM on March 2 [9 favorites]


I sadly just found out that pianist Valentina Lisitsa, a Ukrainian by birth is pro-Putin, pro-invasion.
posted by storybored at 8:38 AM on March 2 [3 favorites]


This would also be a great time for Israel, which has granted passports to many oligarchs, to seize those guys and their property.
posted by maniabug at 8:39 AM on March 2 [15 favorites]


A twitter thread from three hours ago that does a good job of characterizing what's going on in Ukraine besides bombing (NPR correspondent). Below is just the first tweet.
Tim Mak
@timkmak

Good morning from Ukraine to those waking up in the U.S.:
Kyiv remains in Ukrainian hands. And in fact the flow of dramatic information about Russian advances appears to have slowed.
Reports are that Russia has turned up its bombardments on civilian areas across the country
7:39 AM · Mar 2, 2022·TweetDeck
posted by bluesky43 at 8:40 AM on March 2 [1 favorite]




Biden administration launches new 'KleptoCapture' task force to go after Russian oligarchs (msn.com)

WASHINGTON – The Biden administration announced a new task force Wednesday that will enforce sweeping U.S. and allied sanctions imposed on Russia for its unprovoked war in Ukraine.
The task force is yet another approach the Biden administration has taken in lockstep with transatlantic allies to hold Russian President Vladimir Putin and complicit Russian elites to account.
The group of interagency law enforcement officers from the FBI, Marshals Service, IRS, Postal Inspection, Homeland Security Investigations as well as agents from the Secret Service will investigate and prosecute sanctions violations in connection with Russia's ongoing assault in Ukraine.
posted by bluesky43 at 8:45 AM on March 2 [15 favorites]


Giving birth in a bunker in Kyiv
For us there was a small room without any doors, only a shower curtain that separated us from the main room with 50 people in it. There was no medical technology, just a gynaecological chair. I was trying to not even look over there and hoping to go back to the hospital soon.

Then my waters broke. My doctor looked at me and said: “OK, we will do it here, it’s too dangerous to wait.”
...
Every morning now I wake up a bit earlier just to look at him sleep, he looks like a small angel. I also look out the window to see if the buildings have stayed in their places or if they’ve been ruined.

posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 8:50 AM on March 2 [13 favorites]


I think this was referred to above re: Yelp reviews. which is awesome.
Keyboard army using restaurant reviews to take on Russian state media (reuters)

March 2 (Reuters) - Rather than commenting on the food and service at Russian restaurants and cafes, some users have begun posting online reviews detailing Russian actions in Ukraine to try to smuggle information past the tight control of state media.
Russia's communications regulator has accused 10 local media outlets of falsely depicting what Russia calls a special operation to demilitarise Ukraine. On Tuesday, Russia took radio station Ekho Moskvy off air, because of its coverage of the invasion.
But online comments on platforms such as Google Maps and Afisha.ru, a widely used lifestyle and entertainment website in Russia, are harder to contain - especially as internet users turn to online tools such as VPNs to circumvent restrictions on social media.
In a review of one of Moscow's most popular seafood restaurants on Afisha.ru, one user wrote: "The deployment of troops in Ukraine is a war, not a special operation. Russian military kill children and civilians!!!!" Another wrote: "The place was nice! However, Putin spoiled our mood by invading Ukraine. Rise up against your dictator, stop killing innocent people! Your government is lying to you."
posted by bluesky43 at 8:52 AM on March 2 [39 favorites]


More about the effects of aviation sanctions:
EU sanctions against Russia will hit lessors hardest, but other aerospace players also impacted, FlightGlobal, Dominic Perry, 1 March 2022.
EU to prohibit sales of aircraft and spares to Russian carriers, FlightGlobal, David Kaminski-Morrow, 25 February 2022.
posted by cenoxo at 9:08 AM on March 2 [5 favorites]


It seems to me the troll farm is running at a low pace just so they know if their access is cut off, but they have no set message to push right now. Not paying the trolls? Directing the trolls to go learn Ukrainian? Don;t know.

Biden administration launches new 'KleptoCapture' task force to go after Russian oligarchs

What I started seeing on Twitter right after the announcement was a deluge of comments/replies complaining that "Oh, Garland's going to go after oligarchs just like he failed to do for Jan 6." So that could be a new rhetorical angle for the troll community.
posted by rhizome at 9:47 AM on March 2


News on the UN vote on the resolution condemning the invasion. Newsworthy because of the voting spread apparently. One cite: @Finbar Bermingham
Landslide: UN vote condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine passes:

141 in favour
5 against
35 abstentions

China abstained while Belarus, North Korea, Eritrea, Russia and Syria voted against.

posted by cendawanita at 10:01 AM on March 2 [6 favorites]


The interview with sociologist Grigory Yudin is so good (linked by rory above). I thought this exchange is especially important from an ethical standpoint:
Question by interviewer:
In this moment, do you feel like more of a human being or more of a scholar? Or is that the stupidest question ever? Let me rephrase: Do we analyze or flee?

Yudin:
No, it’s not stupid at all; it’s a pretty logical question [to ask] in a decisive historical moment. It’s important to understand that these two positions coexist within every researcher and must partly coincide. You have to know what you believe in and what you’re analyzing for: if you analyze to no specific end, just because you were ordered or asked to, you’ll end up like Elvira Nabiullina [the head of Russia’s Central Bank]. You risk becoming a war criminal.
posted by spamandkimchi at 10:06 AM on March 2 [26 favorites]


This would also be a great time for Israel, which has granted passports to many oligarchs, to seize those guys and their property.

I had the same thought earlier today and then promptly saw this headline…

”Yad Vashem, Israel’s official Holocaust memorial and museum, is embroiled in controversy after attempting to intervene in planned sanctions against Israeli Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, owner of the Chelsea Premier League soccer team and a longtime supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

Personally I’m not surprised in the slightest about this from Yad Vashem. It has never been remotely willing to extrapolate Holocaust remembrance into advocacy for any oppressed or threatened groups other than Jews, and increasingly specific Jews at that. I had such an unpleasant experience at the museum when I visited in the early 2000s — it was the straw that broke my youthful experiment with Zionism.
posted by saturday_morning at 10:29 AM on March 2 [14 favorites]


Okay, I know Zelensky's past as a champion with the Ukranian version of Dancing with the Stars has been shown.

I just ran across this from Talking Points Memo about Zelensky doing a comic dance routine in leather pants and high heels.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:01 AM on March 2 [7 favorites]


Is this the right time and place to take a moment to shout "NO WAR BUT CLASS WAR!"

Because that's kind of what war has always been about. It's not us poor people that keep starting these wars. It's always the authoritarians, the autocrats, the kleptocrats and oligarchs starting them to protect or increase their wealth and power and using weaponized classism and poverty to get people to fight these wars, all while these same assholes manufacture and sell the weapons being used and profiting from our deaths.
posted by loquacious at 11:06 AM on March 2 [28 favorites]


To clarify on the dance routine posted by dances_with_sneetches, I can't find the source but I read a translation that said the song lyrics were about standard Ukrainian food. Apparently Zelensky is saying "onions" in the "sexy face" close-up.
posted by zug at 11:08 AM on March 2 [3 favorites]


The interview with sociologist Grigory Yudin is so good (linked by rory above). I thought this exchange is especially important from an ethical standpoint:
/linked above. This is an amazing article. I found this quote especially relevant to our times

You know, right now we’re in a moment that, for all its uniqueness, nonetheless recalls the events of the 20th century. Hannah Arendt, I think, very rightly said on this point that there are times when you have to accept your powerlessness to change the world as a whole and figure out what you’re personally responsible for — in such a way that afterwards you’re able to live with yourself, that you can stand to look at yourself in the mirror.
posted by bluesky43 at 11:10 AM on March 2 [17 favorites]


glasseyes: Since the thread has slowed down for now, I'd like to thank kliuless for those geo-political insights and diverse opinions from Kamil Kazani and others above.

I was reading through those Twitter threads and I noticed a huge error in one of them, regarding the Russian liberation army, fighting on the side of Nazi Germany, which he gives as having a million soldiers. That’s off by an order of magnitude, it was more like a hundred to a hundred and thirty thousand soldiers.

If I had the time or energy, I’d fact-check everything else to see if this is an isolated error, or a pattern, but I really don’t have the mental space right now to devote to that effort.
posted by Kattullus at 11:13 AM on March 2 [11 favorites]


From The SFJAZZ website:
As an expression of solidarity with the people of Ukraine, SFJAZZ is interrupting our normal Fridays Live programming for a free broadcast featuring Kyiv's DakhaBrakha, filmed at the SFJAZZ Center on July 18, 2018.

During this broadcast, we encourage everyone to donate generously to the DakhaBrakha Fund, with 100% of the proceeds going directly to the band, to be reallocated to their families as well as organizations aiding civilians in Ukraine. To amplify DakhaBrakha's powerful music and message, the broadcast will be free to anyone – go to SFJAZZ.org/watch, or download the SFJAZZ app.

“Every day we read about people getting killed,” Marko Halanevych says. “It’s really important to have support from civilized countries. Everybody wants to stop the war, to stop Putin and Russia, so we can develop the country and democracy.”

Fridays Live (formerly Fridays at Five) was created to provide much needed support to musicians during the pandemic. To date, the series has raised over $600K for artists. With another crisis now affecting the lives of one of our artists, we hope this series can continue to unify and generate support in a time of need.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 11:14 AM on March 2 [8 favorites]


The more I read/see about Zelensky, the more impressed I am that he turned a performing career into politics, AND DIDN'T SUCK LIKE TRUMP.
Also, damn, those heels!
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:18 AM on March 2 [11 favorites]


I don't give any credence to any 0-day news coming out of ukraine.

I think part of the problem with news right now is it’s not neutral. Good news for Ukraine keeps its morale up to fight; bad news does the opposite. No nation has an interest in lowering Ukrainian resolve. And I support this! People are fighting for their lives and homes against a country wiling to do indiscriminate war crimes. But it does make the fog of war /particularly/ thick right now.

Does anyone know what has happened with the convoy?
posted by corb at 11:29 AM on March 2 [13 favorites]


141 in favour
5 against
35 abstentions


Disappointing to dig into the abstentions: China, basically all of South Asia, significant African countries. Represents perhaps 40% of the world population. I can understand the geopolitics & history behind the moves but that's where we are.
posted by mark k at 11:38 AM on March 2 [4 favorites]


India's abstention and general cozying to Putin through this is the most surprising to me. I don't want to create a big derail, but if anyone knows a good resource to help me understand India's relationship with Putin's Russia during the last few years, I'd be interested to read it.
posted by biogeo at 11:46 AM on March 2


There was this a couple of hours ago, not seen anything with more info or corroboration.

@JackDetsch: "NEW: U.S. believes Ukrainian troops are targeting Russia's stalled 40-mile convoy of tanks and artillery that is "stalled" miles from Kyiv city center: senior U.S. defense official."
posted by Buntix at 11:47 AM on March 2 [2 favorites]



Is this the right time and place to take a moment to shout "NO WAR BUT CLASS WAR!"

Class War Possum
posted by art.bikes at 11:49 AM on March 2 [10 favorites]


India's abstention and general cozying to Putin through this is the most surprising to me. I don't want to create a big derail, but if anyone knows a good resource to help me understand India's relationship with Putin's Russia during the last few years, I'd be interested to read it.

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/12/07/india-russia-broaden-ties-and-military-cooperation.html
posted by exolstice at 11:50 AM on March 2 [4 favorites]


Thanks for that note Katullus
posted by glasseyes at 11:50 AM on March 2 [1 favorite]


India buys arms from Russia, and they have been cozying up to him because he wants to create a similar faux-democracy in India from what I understand. That's as far down that rabbit hole as I want to go in the Ukraine thread though
posted by thebotanyofsouls at 11:51 AM on March 2 [14 favorites]


I don't give any credence to any 0-day news coming out of ukraine.

A certain amount of salt is of course necessary with assertions without evidence. But there is ample footage and photos circulating on social media, which is being picked up by the major news networks and verified. The ongoing bombardment of cities is being heavily documented for example, so while the exact details in any given place may be somewhat unclear or subject to updates, the overall change from maneuver warfare to scorched earth tactics against civilians akin to those used in Grozny and Syria by the Russians is becoming very clear, as is the evidence that Russia has had significant losses of vehicles and soldiers killed, wounded or surrended.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 12:12 PM on March 2 [2 favorites]


Twitter thread from crop scientist Sarah Taber that among other highlights explains how a Russian thermobaric bomb launcher got captured by Ukrainians, in part because the ground hasn't frozen as usual this winter. Putin Wars IV: The Revenge of the Changed Climate.

We only have a couple of mentions of Mariupol in this thread so far, but it sounds as if the situation there is desperate, with water supplies cut after 15 hours of bombardment.

Also +1 on Mateusz Fafinski's thread (linked by mittens above) on the trouble with maps that show areas "under Russian control": "Every map is a projection of power. ... Beware of maps bearing easy lines."
posted by rory at 12:21 PM on March 2 [16 favorites]


Russia poking its nose into its neighbors' airspace is not that uncommon, I think? eg this from last June: "NATO member Estonia said Wednesday that two Russian fighter jets have violated its airspace, in what it claimed was the fourth such incident this year," and Danish airspace in 2020.

That's not to say these sorts of incidents don't take on an extra level of meaning in light of current events but they're not particularly worrying in themselves.
posted by BungaDunga at 12:30 PM on March 2 [2 favorites]


Four Russian warplanes violate Sweden's airspace.

If memory serves, Russia does this habitually; but of course the signaling effect is especially loud right now.

The Turkish closing of passage to Black Sea has me wondering -- could Germany, Denmark and Sweden exert the same control over access to the Baltic? In terms of the width of the various straits, and any applicable treaties or law.

EDIT: The Copenhagen Convention of 1857 made them international waterways. Russia is a member and contributed to the payment Denmark received.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:32 PM on March 2


Want to also recommend the Lawfare podcast "Making Sense of the Unprecedented Sanctions on Russia" It puts into perspective how quickly and aggressively these sanctions have been put into place.

The Daily, NYTimes' daily news blog also has an interesting report about the implementation of sanctions and the some on the machinations in the EUParliament to get them moving.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:37 PM on March 2 [1 favorite]


The Turkish closing of passage to Black Sea has me wondering -- could Germany, Denmark and Sweden exert the same control over access to the Baltic? In terms of the width of the various straits, and any applicable treaties or law.

The biggest problem is that closing a strait means firing on people who refuse to respect the closure. For EU states to fire on Russian merchant shipping, little alone their naval vessels, would be an act of war and that's specifically what we're trying to avoid here.

This is why sanctioning the central bank's reserves and cutting Russia off from SWIFT has so much bite. It doesn't matter if the shipping lanes are open if Russia can't use any money they have to pay for the goods.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 12:42 PM on March 2 [6 favorites]


Reuters: Four Russian warplanes violate Sweden's airspace.
the first time since 1939 that Sweden has sent weapons to a country at war
I'm kind of surprised by that, given how many weapons Sweden sells. They've sold to Saudi Arabia, for example, which is involved in Yemen, though I'm not sure if the years of selling and years of war have overlapped.

A bit closer to the topic at hand, it looks like Sweden supplied the Czech Republic and Hungary with fighters when they joined NATO, since their existing air forces weren't NATO-compatible. Presumably Ukraine would be another potential customer if Ukraine ever joins.
posted by clawsoon at 12:45 PM on March 2 [4 favorites]


Yes, although unlike a no-fly zone there seemed to me like there might be some worth in declaring the straits closed and then compelling Russia to violate that declaration -- short of an actual blockade, requiring them to flout international and maritime law.

But, as above, they permanently purchased passage a long time ago (and most of the time, in the most reductive sense trade is good and tends to prevent war). So attempting that would work the other way, if anything.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:45 PM on March 2 [1 favorite]


Corb:
Does anyone know what has happened with the convoy?

Just saw a thing on r/WorldNews* that the convoy is in smoking ruins.
However, the article link went to thesun.co.uk, so I am unwilling to take that as fact. I'm trying to see if anyone else has posted anything about it.

*forgive me Metafilter, for I have sinned
posted by 8dot3 at 12:52 PM on March 2 [3 favorites]


Mod note: Several comments deleted. Can we stop the Chomsky derail? Thanks.
posted by loup (staff) at 12:53 PM on March 2 [36 favorites]


While seemingly everything we currently know about Zelenskyy is indeed pretty cool, the level of sudden hero worship has me fearing a molochnyy kokteylʹ kachka moment before long.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:55 PM on March 2 [7 favorites]


The Sun is crediting those photos to Reuters and AP -- so the question is whether the captioned location is accurate, or whether these are additional photos of one of the other convoys that was hit by Ukrainian drones (or artillery).

EDIT: Looks like it might be Bucha, but from days ago -- not the column currently being reported on.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:59 PM on March 2


Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich plans to sell Chelsea FC and donate all profits to the victims of the Ukraine War. Potentially big depending on how the sale is structured.
posted by nathan_teske at 1:00 PM on March 2 [7 favorites]


Potentially big depending on how the sale is structured.

...if he follows through.
posted by clawsoon at 1:06 PM on March 2 [7 favorites]


the convoy is in smoking ruins.

There's more than one convoy, apparently. The one that was destroyed was in the south. The one outside Kyiv is still there, though reportedly stalled.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 1:11 PM on March 2 [1 favorite]


...if he follows through.

Agreed -- you don't get be an oligarch by having scruples.
posted by nathan_teske at 1:23 PM on March 2 [1 favorite]


Alisher Usmanov's megayacht siezed.

Democratic governments are coming for the oligarchs.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 1:35 PM on March 2 [23 favorites]


The big picture is that Russia continues to squeeze Ukraine; but Ukraine’s military remains an effective combat force. Neither side has reached air superiority. Russia continues to have significant supply problems, while Ukraine seems to have adequate supply to keep fighting.

Possible developments:
- Kherson seems to be the first city where the Ukrainian military has been driven out by Russia. It is unclear how much civilian resistance and insurgent fighting is going on.
- Russian soldiers seem to show limited willingness to fight and there are reports they are struggling to get fuel and rations. It appears they have been forced to resort to looting to get basic rations. There are also reports that soldiers from Donbas and Crimea are refusing to engage in offensive operations.
- Russia has begun attacking Ukraine’s rail networks and it is unclear if trains will be able to continue between Kyiv and Poland.
posted by interogative mood at 1:40 PM on March 2 [2 favorites]


I have taken
the megayachts
that were in
the dry dock

and which
you were probably
saving
for summertime

Forgive me
they were expensive
so sweet
and so gold
posted by Lanark at 1:50 PM on March 2 [62 favorites]


Meanwhile on ebay: Russian Tank T72 (used) - Pickup from Ukraine only.

Currently sitting at £42K with 85 bids...
posted by Buntix at 1:56 PM on March 2 [11 favorites]


Don't think it's been mentioned so far but the International Mathematical Union to be held at St. Petersburg later this year is (finally) boycotting Russia and will hold its huge every-four-years conference online:

Mathematicians Protest Russia Hosting Major Conference
Many mathematicians welcomed the IMU’s decision not to hold the ICM in Russia, though some questioned why it took so long to change course. In an online statement, the group of Ukrainian mathematicians who had been organizing the boycott said, “We welcome the decision of the IMU to pull the International Congress of Mathematicians from Russia. Unfortunately, this right call was not made before the full scale invasion of the Russian troops to our country.”

There are academic blogs keeping tabs on the ongoings around this, one of them Prof. Woit at Columbia

And the conference will be free and virtual, so will be pretty cool for anyone curious about higher maths to check that event out later.
posted by polymodus at 2:01 PM on March 2 [9 favorites]




Beau of the 5th Column discusses “Staying behind and Kherson”.

A “Stay-Behind Network” are the agents of a country’s forces who don’t fight on the front lines, but who blend into the civilian population that comes under foreign occupation, and who form the cadre of a resistance movement. So we’re talking IEDs, bombings, and assassinations against the occupation forces, once they let their guard down.

For those of us from the late 1900s, it kinda means “WOLVERINES!”, but professionals rather than just untrained amateurs.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 2:06 PM on March 2 [8 favorites]


Interesting bit from the latest Weeds podcast episode; from what they've heard (as American journalists, just to let you know what kind of salt to take this with) the tipping point for European leaders was the conversation they had with Zelensky where he said "This is probably the last time you will see me alive." According to what they've heard, European leaders on the call had a strong emotional reaction to that, and understandably so, and they say that was the moment that tipped the scales and galvanized them into action. This is for all practical purposes a rumor, but makes sense and seems to match the timeline of European action.

Similarly, the Ezra Klein podcast hosted two discussions about the sanctions, one on Friday and one on Monday, because the sanctions situation changed so much in that little bit of time.

I'm thinking a lot about the social media blitz in support of Ukraine, which seems to have played a big part - maybe a key part - in winning all this very serious material support from Europe. I'm not smart or informed enough to comment further, frankly. It just looks a lot like some people are taking social media very seriously as a war front in it's own right (Fiona Hill sort of pointed to this trend in her interview in Politico) and on that front, Ukraine is seriously winning, and the turf claimed on social media has had a real and serious impact on the material battlefield.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 2:07 PM on March 2 [9 favorites]


The Sydney Opera House last night.

Australian Parliament House last night.

Australia to spend $70 million on ammunition, small missiles to help Ukraine fight against Russia

Mr Morrison said the government was receiving around 100 visa applications from those in Ukraine a day, which were still being processed as a "top priority".

People wanting to come to Australia from Ukraine have been urged to apply for various visas on offer, instead of just the ones available to refugees.


It seems a lot of countries are checking their pantone swatches regarding refugees.
posted by adept256 at 2:07 PM on March 2 [13 favorites]




It seems a lot of countries are checking their pantone swatches regarding refugees.

Australia has been notoriously anti-refugee for decades. At least since Howard got in as PM and started the Pacific Solution which has had nothing but bipartisan support from both Labor and the Conservatives. It's a shameful stain on my country. One we'll never be able to wash clean from the fabric of our nation.

If there's a reason why Australia never sings the second verse of its anthem, Advance Australia Fair, it's because this is smack in the middle of it:
For those who’ve come across the seas
We’ve boundless plains to share;
I can't imagine an Australian earnestly singing those lines and then their heads not exploding from the sheer hypocrisy.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 2:11 PM on March 2 [10 favorites]


The biggest problem is that closing a strait means firing on people who refuse to respect the closure

The Bosphorus is less than a kilometer wide; it can be blockaded quite effectively with only a handful of ships putting the initiating event back on the Russians.
posted by Mitheral at 2:13 PM on March 2 [4 favorites]


While seemingly everything we currently know about Zelenskyy is indeed pretty cool, the level of sudden hero worship has me fearing a molochnyy kokteylʹ kachka moment before long.

I mean there are lots of reasons why Zelensky was polling like under 25% before the most recent Russian re-invasion. I won't go into all of it here - it could be it's own post. Suffice to say he is not an angel, is most likely corrupt to some degree (hello Ukrainian politics), and is far from a perfect defender of democratic processes and ideals. So I feel like the press and social media are soon going to (re)discover that (gasp!) he is a flawed individual. And it will be "Shocking!". I was never crazy about him, but he is, without doubt, the perfect man for this moment. And I hope the Western hero-worship helps him get all the help that Ukraine desperately needs right now.
posted by Kabanos at 2:15 PM on March 2 [52 favorites]


Mentour Pilot published a video on sanctions and the future of Russian aviation.
posted by phliar at 2:20 PM on March 2 [7 favorites]


And now, for more curses from fearless Ukrainian women, we bring you this video.

“You do not know our city. Here every second woman is a witch. You won't be able to get a hard-on tomorrow”
posted by Kabanos at 2:22 PM on March 2 [31 favorites]




“You do not know our city. Here every second woman is a witch. You won't be able to get a hard-on tomorrow”

If looks could kill...
posted by adept256 at 2:28 PM on March 2 [1 favorite]




The biggest problem is that closing a strait means firing on people who refuse to respect the closure

Transiting the strait means navigating through 3 separate channels that are among the most busy shipping channels on earth and are all under a mile wide. Attempting to get into those channels, much less through them without a pre-approved shipping plan and assigned schedule is not feasible. Assuming you were not stopped by the Turkish coast guard and boarded while you waited for tides or other traffic to move out of your way; you’d run aground or collide with another big ship.
posted by interogative mood at 2:31 PM on March 2 [6 favorites]


Suffice to say he is not an angel, is most likely corrupt to some degree [...] and is far from a perfect defender of democratic processes and ideals. So I feel like [we] are soon going to (re)discover that (gasp!) he is a flawed individual. And it will be "Shocking!". I was never crazy about him, but he is, without doubt, the perfect man for this moment.

aka Winston Churchill circa 1940.
posted by philip-random at 2:37 PM on March 2 [20 favorites]


I've made an FPP for discussion of the origins and implications of the conflict that doesn't fit in this thread. Please add useful links to it (I'm starting from a point of ignorance, so I'm happy to have more sources added), and please be respectful so that the mods don't delete it. Thanks!
posted by clawsoon at 2:40 PM on March 2 [19 favorites]


This may be naive of me, but it's a serious question and I would appreciate hearing people's thoughts. Is there reason to believe public pressure, whether through social media or otherwise, can reduce the willingness of Russia soldiers to commit war crimes like targeting civilians? And how should we respond to reports of war crimes committed by Ukrainian forces? Like announcing they will not take prisoners, for example.

To be clear, I fully support Ukraine. The Russian invasion is monstrous. But I'm having trouble understanding the ethics of the situation in terms of condemning war crimes and atrocities as they happen because I don't want to lend my voice to the chorus of pro-Putin propaganda.
posted by Space Kat at 2:50 PM on March 2 [4 favorites]


The treaties surrounding the Bosporus permit Turkey to refuse passage in the way that they have, just as those surrounding the Danish straits do not (TIL).

So then the NATO deterrent comes into play in violating any lawful Turkish prohibition, beyond the practicalities of playing bumper boats.

My recollection is that there are also treaty terms restricting what kind of warships the US is able to introduce to the Black Sea, which is one of the reasons Erdoğan gives for the questionable canal megaproject he wants to do.
posted by snuffleupagus at 2:50 PM on March 2 [1 favorite]


Ukrainian special forces will now kill instead of capture Russian artillerymen in retribution for their indiscriminate shelling of Ukrainian cities.

Looks like certain elements are done playing


Looks like that tweet has been deleted. The revised tweet is "⚡️Correction: Ukrainian special forces will no longer capture Russian artillerymen.

The command of Ukraine’s Special Operations Forces has warned that it will not spare Russian artillerymen in response to their “brutal shelling” of civilians and cities."
posted by BungaDunga at 2:57 PM on March 2 [2 favorites]


Buntix: "Meanwhile on ebay: Russian Tank T72 (used) - Pickup from Ukraine only.

Currently sitting at £42K with 85 bids...
"

And the tax treatment is light
posted by chavenet at 2:58 PM on March 2 [3 favorites]


My recollection is that there are also treaty terms restricting what kind of ships the US is able to introduce to the Black Sea

Oversimplifying here but the treaty limits mean that, at best, the US could have 2-3 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers in the Black Sea for up to 21 days. A carrier, let alone a carrier strike group, is *far* over the tonnage limits allowed.
posted by nathan_teske at 3:02 PM on March 2 [2 favorites]


it's simple, if you are fighting an invading force and their artillerymen launch destructive salvoes against homes and apartments in your village/town/city and you have an opportunity to neutralize said artillerymen.. are you taking them prisoner? shooting them outright? brutalizing them, and sending out the video on social media to the other enemy artillerymen?

obviously it's not simple, but I have to try and imagine how I'd respond. Like, a few blocks away and they take out my former street, my 80-something neighbour (a Baba, incidentally), the young family next to her. I would lose my head.
posted by elkevelvet at 3:05 PM on March 2 [5 favorites]


India buys arms from Russia, and they have been cozying up to him because he wants to create a similar faux-democracy in India from what I understand. That's as far down that rabbit hole as I want to go in the Ukraine thread though

It's an interesting geopolitical rabbit hole when you realize that Russia is currently really counting on China to save their bacon tradewise right now since they are cut off from the rest of the world's goods. China and India have very long running low key hostilities. On the other hand all that Russian military hardware is going to be on sale for super cheap through both official and unofficial channels and India would like some to counter the Chinese dominance in region. Interesting time to shop for an aircraft carrier I imagine.
posted by srboisvert at 3:05 PM on March 2 [4 favorites]


Space Kat: And how should we respond to reports of war crimes committed by Ukrainian forces?

I'm worried about this, too. The response to the invasion has produced the kind of unanimity that's required for an effective response, but that has also almost always been accompanied by a tolerance for war crimes as long as they're done by "our side".
posted by clawsoon at 3:07 PM on March 2 [5 favorites]


Any war crimes Ukranian fighters commit against combatants who CHOSE to attack a sovereign nation are going to pale in comparison to the war crimes committed by the invading force that is indiscriminately slaughtering civilians. Do not dare both-sides this. All war crimes are bad, but not all war crimes are equal.
posted by rikschell at 3:12 PM on March 2 [34 favorites]


Can you commit a war crime in defense of your own sovereignty? It's true that the Russian soldiers don't deserve agony any more than Ukrainian civilians, but there are no holds barred when it comes to expelling an unprovoked foreign invader, no matter what international law says
posted by dis_integration at 3:13 PM on March 2 [6 favorites]


accompanied by a tolerance for war crimes as long as they're done by "our side".
Can you commit a war crime in defense of your own sovereignty?

That was fast. (I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure the Geneva Convention doesn't have an out for "but the other guy started it", and for good reason since it wouldn't mean anything at that point)
posted by CrystalDave at 3:17 PM on March 2 [25 favorites]


This almost seems like it's meant to be in contrast the treatment the soldiers who are surrendering are receiving (hot tea and calls home), as if to say, if we know you've been the one shelling us we will treat you as a combatant not as an unknowing innocent.
posted by OHenryPacey at 3:18 PM on March 2 [4 favorites]


I've got mixed feelings about the prisoner videos, because while they may fall under the "protect from public curiosity" clause, they are clearly aimed at *saving* lives, rather than humiliating the soldiers or forcing false confessions or ginning up blood lust in Ukrainians. Getting more soldiers to surrender, getting Russian soldiers to be less eager to continue the war. It's hard for me to condemn the Ukrainians for that, given the position they are in.
posted by tavella at 3:21 PM on March 2 [12 favorites]


I think China will resume business with Russia if they actually win; but right now they are waiting to see and trying to avoid getting caught up in it. I suspect they hope Putin fails and Russia falls apart with various regions of Central Asia and Eastern Russia becoming separate countries they could dominate and acquire resources from.
posted by interogative mood at 3:23 PM on March 2 [3 favorites]


All war crimes are bad, but not all war crimes are equal.

Giving no quarter (or executing prisoners) is the classic atrocity, at the unit level. And it's OK to say so. Would I have the restraint not to kill the people who were shelling my city? I don't know.

The people in charge of Ukraine's armed forces (or that twitter account) are to be accorded the knowledge of the law of war. That they're willing to say these things means that they think the deterrent effect on the soldiers who crew these weapons is more important than the optics. Consider the reports of ratfucking of equipment by unwilling Russian crews that are trickling out...

Let's wait and see what they actually do.
posted by snuffleupagus at 3:26 PM on March 2 [5 favorites]


war crimes are international law.
you can commit war crimes while defending your own nation's sovereignty. execution of prisoners is among the ways. see generally and incompletely, the geneva conventions and their additional protocols, with particular attention to conventions iii and iv.
there is a good case for a mobile special forces unit declining to take prisoners for tactical expediency, but it is weakened by making a threatening announcement beforehand.

vanishingly few plausible war crimes are prosecuted.
posted by 20 year lurk at 3:27 PM on March 2 [10 favorites]


rikschell: Any war crimes Ukranian fighters commit against combatants who CHOSE to attack a sovereign nation are going to pale in comparison to the war crimes committed by the invading force that is indiscriminately slaughtering civilians. Do not dare both-sides this. All war crimes are bad, but not all war crimes are equal.

This feels like a perfect illustration of the point I was making. I'd argue that, "But what about the much worse war crimes the other side is committing?" is a bad argument in favour of war crimes done by us, and at the same time it's almost inevitable that the argument will be made at a time like this. I'm sure everyone is familiar enough with the horrible things done by the "good guys" in most wars - by "our side" - and with the justifications like this that are given for them, that I don't have to list the many, many examples.
posted by clawsoon at 3:32 PM on March 2 [6 favorites]


Any war crimes Ukranian fighters commit against combatants who CHOSE to attack a sovereign nation are going to pale in comparison to the war crimes committed by the invading force that is indiscriminately slaughtering civilians. Do not dare both-sides this. All war crimes are bad, but not all war crimes are equal.

Moral issues aside (not recommended to put these aside!) it is a very bad idea to announce the desire to torture and kill your enemies unless your goal is to pressure them into fighting to the death. This was a problem in the World War in the Pacific where some of the Japanese soldiers believed that the Americans would kill them if they surrendered so instead they fought to the death making the battles for islands particularly terrible.
posted by srboisvert at 3:36 PM on March 2 [9 favorites]


you can commit war crimes while defending your own nation's sovereignty. execution of prisoners is among the ways. see generally and incompletely, the geneva conventions and their additional protocols, with particular attention to conventions iii and iv.


Ctl+F 'sovereign' = 0 hits in either of those Conventions. Are you talking about the provisions meant to address civil war? Please provide an actual citation.
posted by snuffleupagus at 3:38 PM on March 2


I think the meaning was “things you do can still be war crimes, even if you are defending your territory” not “war crimes are allowed if you’re on defense.”
posted by snofoam at 3:40 PM on March 2 [9 favorites]


Ah, OK. Thanks.
posted by snuffleupagus at 3:41 PM on March 2 [1 favorite]


sorry yeah. not permission: qualifying acts may be banned by the conventions, regardless of whether at home.
posted by 20 year lurk at 3:44 PM on March 2


it is a very bad idea to announce the desire to torture and kill your enemies unless your goal is to pressure them into fighting to the death. This was a problem in the World War in the Pacific...

Those were islands, and also all the mutual racism.

The calculus is perhaps a bit different where the demonstrated alternative is surrendering and receiving tea and scones from people more or less like you. Or just saying fuck it and withdrawing to the hinterland in expectation of stalemate. Everyone in-country has a lot more information than we do, at least about those choices; and the lack of comms in the peripheral, conscripted units works both ways.
posted by snuffleupagus at 3:49 PM on March 2 [1 favorite]


Maybe… speculating about uncommitted and/or unreported war crimes is not the best thing this thread could be doing?
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:55 PM on March 2 [56 favorites]


I think China will resume business with Russia if they actually win;

Ukraine Turns To West For Fighters; Plans To Drop MiG Fleet: April 13, 2021.

"Arming Ukraine with the latest variants of US fighter aircraft will take a long time...A parallel dilemma is the US effort to prevent sale of the Ukraine’s Motor Sich aircraft engine business in Zaparozhiye to a Chinese firm, Beijing Skyrizon. US intelligence estimates that if China’s defense sector acquires this strategically important technology it would significantly aid their efforts to build more capable fighter aircraft. China still depends on engines imported from Russia."

"China’s Skyrizon takes Ukraine to The Hague over failed Motor Sich bid" from a few years back.

"China is interested in Ukraine's defence-industrial complex, says report: Feb 21, 2022

Goes further to Erik Prince in 2021


As I understand it, Russian troops have closed in on Zaporizhzhia and it's powerplant. Ukraine has a large industrial complex and everyone wants it.
Situation iscomplex and time deep.

At this point, deals, speculation and casualties seem so distant, almost not relevant, IMO.
posted by clavdivs at 3:58 PM on March 2 [8 favorites]


Mod note: Folks, "what if war crimes, go!" is not a sidebar discussion we need to have in here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:02 PM on March 2 [47 favorites]


Wow. Feeling grateful to Erdoğan was not a square I had on my 2022 bingo card.

(I'm certain that he's still the same bloody and horrifying autocrat that he was last week, of course. But this is more than I expected from him.)
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 4:04 PM on March 2 [12 favorites]


It's been interesting to watch Mykhailo Fedorov (Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine) and his team take their own particular approach to the war effort. There's been the Elon Musk starlink thing, but also: posted by Kabanos at 4:14 PM on March 2


I mean there are lots of reasons why Zelensky was polling like under 25% before the most recent Russian re-invasion. I won't go into all of it here - it could be it's own post. Suffice to say he is not an angel, is most likely corrupt to some degree (hello Ukrainian politics), and is far from a perfect defender of democratic processes and ideals.

I greatly admire Zelenskyy, but am under no illusion that he was a perfect man or politician before all... this. IIRC, there were revelations about his finances from one of the P papers that weren't complimentary, and I'm sure there's other things given there's been a Russian-instigated civil war going on in Ukraine for 8 years.

However, I, like I suspect many Europeans, compare him to our own leaders and imagine what they would have done in his place. In my case, 'led' by Boris Johnson - the toxic haystack Trump impersonator - the comparison does much to flatter Zelenskyy.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 4:20 PM on March 2 [29 favorites]


Netflix Pauses All Projects, Acquisitions From Russia, Variety, Elsa Keslassy & Ethan Shanfeld; Mar 2, 2022:
Netflix has paused all future projects and acquisitions from Russia amid its invasion of Ukraine, Variety has learned.

The streamer had four Russian originals in the pipeline, including a crime thriller series directed by Dasha Zhuk, which was shooting and has been put on hold. The 1990’s set series was Netflix’s second original series filming in Russia, following “Anna K” which wrapped last year. A source close to Netflix said the company was assessing the impact of current events.

On Monday, The Walt Disney Company announced it will similarly be pausing all theatrical releases in Russia, including Pixar’s “Turning Red,” set to premiere in the country on March 10. A few hours after the announcement, Warner Bros. halted the release of “The Batman” in Russia.

Elsewhere in the film and TV industry, Russia has been barred from major festivals and award shows. The Cannes Film Festival announced on Tuesday that it will not welcome any Russian delegations or attendees with ties to the government, while Series Mania Festival and MipTV said there won’t be a Russian presence at their respective events, in accordance with the French government’s sanction against Russia.

On Monday, the Beinnale arts exhibition in Venice scrapped its Russian pavilion, as the Venice Film Festival continues to mull its response to calls for a boycott of Russian movies at the event. The Glasgow Film Festival in Scotland took a similar stance, decided to pull its two Russian titles this year: Kirill Sokolov’s “No Looking Back” and Lado Kvataniya’s “The Execution.” Switzerland’s Locarno Film Festival, on the other hand, announced it would show Russian films at its upcoming edition in August.
See other ‘Ukraine’ news at Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, and Deadline.
posted by cenoxo at 4:42 PM on March 2 [3 favorites]




Number of Russian soldiers killed is as high as Ukraine’s president claims, senior Western military source says

I weep for them, too. They're mostly children, barely young adults, thrown into the meat grinder of a war and told to commit murder and atrocities at gunpoint for a sickly insecure madman for whom all of everything would never be enough.
posted by loquacious at 4:51 PM on March 2 [76 favorites]


quite possibly the richest person on the planet, but it wasn't enough, yes
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 4:59 PM on March 2 [2 favorites]




Georgia applies immediately for EU membership.

Putin, having blown his left foot clear off, now witnesses the bullet ricochet and blow his right foot clean off.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 6:05 PM on March 2 [31 favorites]




I grew up behind the Iron Curtain in the 70s. Maybe NATO expanded eastward because no one wants to live under Russian madmen again.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 6:08 PM on March 2 [46 favorites]


Beau of the 5th Column: “The Ukrainians offering ~$40k to Russian conscripts who surrender and want asylum in Ukraine is brilliant”

He points out that a large number of those who Russia conscripts into the army are dissidents and non-conformists and assorted folks who have no reason to fight for Putin. Conscription is a form of punishment in Russia.

So maybe the option of Ukrainian citizenship and a fresh start is gonna be a tasty option rather than going back to the hometown that sent you to the army
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 6:37 PM on March 2 [22 favorites]


I briefly wondered what a Russian soldier may be paid, then it occurred to me they get paid in rubles. I'd rather be paid in doge right now.
posted by adept256 at 7:15 PM on March 2 [14 favorites]


Also compare that $40k and being alive, to the current Russian payment of 2m roubles (around $17k) for _dying_.
posted by meowzilla at 7:37 PM on March 2 [11 favorites]


Russia Blocks Its Last Independent Television Channel – A night of resignation, fear, and defiance at TV Rain., New Yorker, Masha Gessen, March 2, 2022:
…Mikhail Fishman, who hosts a Friday-night news-analysis program, was in the studio with TV Rain’s editor-in-chief, Tikhon Dzyadko. … Fishman was offering some observations on the state of the war. “Vladimir Putin didn’t believe that the Ukrainian state and the Ukrainian nation exist. … He started a war against Ukraine to prove his point, and he has proved the opposite.”

Fishman then directed viewers to a quote from a Guardian column by the historian Yuval Noah Harari, who enumerated the stories of heroism and resolve that Ukrainians had racked up in just a few days: “The president who refused to flee the capital, telling the US that he needs ammunition, not a ride; the soldiers from Snake Island who told a Russian warship to ‘go fuck yourself’; the civilians who tried to stop Russian tanks by sitting in their path. This is the stuff nations are built from. In the long run, these stories count for more than tanks.”

While the quote was on the screen, Fishman looked at the news feed on a laptop in front of him. It said that the Russian prosecutor general’s office was demanding that the Web sites of TV Rain and the radio station Echo of Moscow be blocked. Both media outlets were guilty of violating a ban on calling the war a war, the invasion an invasion, and the aggression aggression….
Definitely a bad sign: more in the story.
posted by cenoxo at 7:38 PM on March 2 [19 favorites]


Russian Billionaires Are Moving Their Superyachts to Avoid Having Them Seized – At least four vessels are currently sailing toward the Maldives and Montenegro., Robb Report, Rachel Cormack, March 1, 2022.
posted by cenoxo at 7:48 PM on March 2 [1 favorite]


Russian Billionaires Are Moving Their Superyachts to Avoid Having Them Seized – At least four vessels are currently sailing toward the Maldives and Montenegro., Robb Report, Rachel Cormack, March 1, 2022.

The US never signed the Paris Declaration Respecting Maritime Law. Bring back Letters of Marque and Reprisal.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:19 PM on March 2 [12 favorites]


God should send a hurricane to the Maldives and then do a mike drop.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:21 PM on March 2 [1 favorite]


Hey now, the one who'll suffer most would the local Maldivian people in that fantasy.
posted by cendawanita at 8:31 PM on March 2 [24 favorites]


I was checking on flightaware for Aeroflot flights after Canada and the US banned them from their airspaces— and indeed the only plane I could see not in Russia was one headed to the Maldives. (Is there more connection than it being a favorite of oligarchs?)

(There was also a somewhat sad plane that had gone on a somewhat crazy path to get to the Kaliningrad oblast from Moscow, avoiding the airspace of the Baltics on the way; must have doubled the flight length.)
posted by nat at 8:35 PM on March 2 [1 favorite]


If there will be any flights left. 2/3 of the civil Russian plane fleet is leased. Those leases expire at the end of March.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:43 PM on March 2 [2 favorites]


The American navy should immediately provide an armed escort to these super yachts and bring them to a safe US harbor to ensure the safety of their crew and the ships during this time of war and anti-Russian sentiment on the high seas.
posted by interogative mood at 8:51 PM on March 2 [8 favorites]


Is there more connection than it being a favorite of oligarchs?

They don't have an extradition treaty with the US, and other than being a really nice diving destination the archipel is very rarely hit by hurricanes so maybe that's a good place to park your boat long term.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 8:55 PM on March 2 [1 favorite]


Russian airlines face outcast status as jetmakers freeze parts, Reuters, Jamie Freed & Tim Hepher, March 2, 2022:
…The United States said late on Tuesday that it would follow the European Union and Canada in banning Russian flights in a move that is likely to trigger Russian retaliation.

Boeing said it had "suspended major operations" in Russia, where it also has research and engineering centres. Airbus said it is halting supply of parts and services to Russian airlines but is also analysing whether its Moscow engineering centre could continue providing services to local customers. It did not say what kind of work this might involve.

Sanctions against Russia, which calls its actions in Ukraine a "special operation", will have greater consequences than those on Iran or North Korea, given the size of its market. "With Western lessors also looking to repossess jets that are operated by Russian carriers, the Russian aviation sector is now on a footing that is similar to North Korea and Iran – and similar to where it was under Soviet rule," wrote Vertical Research Partners analyst Rob Stallard.

Russia accounted for 6% of airline capacity in 2021, according to consultants IBA. Its airlines have a total of 332 Boeing and 304 Airbus jets, or about two thirds of Russia's fleet, Cirium Fleets data shows. How quickly those are starved of parts will depend on how many critical items airlines hold. Jetliners are subject to constant oversight ranging from daily checks to heavy maintenance every six years….
More details in the article.
posted by cenoxo at 9:18 PM on March 2 [3 favorites]


[A]nti-Russian sentiment on the high seas.

Georgian Refueling Ship Tells Russian Ship Running on Empty to Paddle Home

What's interesting here is that the Georgians used the 'Russian ship go fuck yourself' formulation. So the incident at Snake island going viral has inspired more of the same. Maybe someone in the Maldives will say 'Russian super yacht go fuck yourself' just because people can't resist a meme.

A singular act of defiance being shared and used as inspiration isn't exactly new, though social media being used in warfare as a tool for this is.

FWIW, there were memes in WWII.
posted by adept256 at 10:31 PM on March 2 [15 favorites]


They don't have an extradition treaty with the US, and other than being a really nice diving destination the archipel is very rarely hit by hurricanes so maybe that's a good place to park your boat long term.

There's no formal extradition treaty but the Maldives have extradited Russian criminals to the US previously upon request so it may not be as safe as the oligarchs think it is.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 10:51 PM on March 2 [7 favorites]


From the last Task and Purpose video:

5:53 40-mile convoy isn't "stalled", is actually just parked outside the range of the defenders but within the range of their own artillery/rockets
11:30 Russian's aren't "retreating" from encircled cities, but simply a pause for negotiations before attacking it with artillery
12:30 Original Russian invasion plans were 15 days
posted by meowzilla at 10:52 PM on March 2 [13 favorites]


Well, shoot, looking at Twitter, the IRA has outsourced its work to Indian bot farms. It was nice for a second
posted by DeepSeaHaggis at 1:50 AM on March 3 [1 favorite]


George Monbiot on Putin apologists among the Western left.
posted by rory at 1:53 AM on March 3 [6 favorites]


War brought Vladimir Putin to power in 1999. Now, it must bring him down.

The western sanctions need to target the people who actually enable Putin’s actions: his entire senior security and administrative apparatus. Not just the few dozen people already targeted, but the thousands of second-tier officials in the presidential administration, the military and the security services. These people are not billionaires, but all are multimillionaires, with much to lose. Ruin the lives of these several thousand people, and let them judge who is to blame. Seize the mansions in England and Spain, forbid the vacations in Courchevel and Sardinia, throw their children unceremoniously out of Harvard and Oxford, and let them stay in Russia, with no way out and no imported goods to spend their stolen money on. Make the cost a real one, a personal one, and let them see if it is worth the price to maintain a deranged, power-hungry tsar on his throne. Let them decide if they want to follow him into the abyss.
posted by rory at 2:00 AM on March 3 [11 favorites]


Another yacht seizure.
This time in La Ciutat, S. France. M/Y Amore Vero - 86m.
posted by adamvasco at 2:22 AM on March 3 [9 favorites]


More African students decry racism at Ukrainian borders (Aljazeera).

Black and brown refugees are once again being turned away in Europe amid Ukraine migrant crisis (USA Today).
Meanwhile, popular discourse in the West frames refugees from Ukraine as "qualitatively different" from refugees from other parts of the world, said Tazreena Sajjad, a professor of refugees and migration studies at American University. Ukrainians are being perceived as European, white Christians, she said.

"There is a racialized hierarchy in this world in terms of whose lives are worth saving, whose rights are worth human dignity, whose lives are disposable. And in migration policies that becomes very, very evident," she said.
posted by fight or flight at 2:48 AM on March 3 [16 favorites]


A thread explaining the implied poor Russian Army truck maintenance practices based on a photo of a Pantsir-S1 wheeled gun-missile system's right rear pair of tires & the operational implications during the Ukrainian mud season.

When you leave military truck tires in one place for months on end ... the side walls get rotted/brittle such that using low tire pressure setting for any appreciable distance will cause the tires to fail catastrophically via rips.

There is a huge operational level implication in this. ... The Russians simply cannot risk them off road during the Rasputitsa/Mud season.

Given the demonstrated levels of corruption in truck maintenance ... there is no way in h--l that there are enough tires in the Russian army logistical system. So their wheeled AFV/truck park is as road bound as Russian Army columns were in the 1st Russo-Finnish War.
posted by rory at 2:48 AM on March 3 [21 favorites]


Given the amount of military and intelligence aid the US continues to provide, I'm not sure it's quite correct to put the US as tertiary, but it's definitely secondary at best.

Biden lets European leaders take center stage on Ukraine

The strategy is not without risk for Biden’s own domestic political concerns, depriving him of opportunities to tout achievements as he faces low approval ratings and attacks from Republicans who call his response weak.
posted by infini at 3:00 AM on March 3 [5 favorites]


The Progressive Economy Forum had a good article on sanctions. They reckon China is critical. SWIFT isn't a big a deal as it's sometimes portrayed as there are workarounds. Most Russian central bank assets are in gold and renminbi-denominated assets.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:13 AM on March 3






It seems like the Russian Botfarms have got their act together. Twitter this morning was flooded with #IStandWithRussia posts.

Hopefully it's a bit too obvious and too late. But we'll see.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:42 AM on March 3 [3 favorites]


I'm stuck on this "stalled" Russian convoy. Why hasn't Ukraine bombarded it with artillery and/or drones? If it's really cut off from supply lines, then won't they start running out of food soon? (I know that Russian soldiers have been looting grocery stores, so maybe their food needs are under control for the moment.)

News reports make it sound like a sitting duck. It also sounds like - once it *does* get resupplied - it's going to be a critical threat to Kyiv, and therefore to Ukraine as a whole. So I don't understand why Ukraine isn't seizing the opportunity to destroy it. (Clearly, there *is* some reason. But I don't get it.)
posted by escape from the potato planet at 3:56 AM on March 3 [2 favorites]


Ian Dunt wrote a clear explainer on western sanctions, including the commodities exception which has so far kept the ruble from collapsing further.
posted by Kattullus at 3:59 AM on March 3 [2 favorites]


So I don't understand why Ukraine isn't seizing the opportunity to destroy it.

This question is being asked over and over. Ukraine has definitely already thought of this well before armchair experts on the internet.

The responses I've seen amount to:
- the convoy is almost certainly well equipped with anti-aircraft defence weapons, it's not just a sitting duck
- they may already be attacking it, but verified intelligence coming out of the region is unclear for a number of reasons, up to and including the fact that talking about Ukrainian military movements online puts them at risk
- it might be a trap

FWIW, the US does believe Ukraine is targeting the convoy already.
posted by fight or flight at 4:05 AM on March 3 [13 favorites]


infini: Biden lets European leaders take center stage on Ukraine

Of course, whenever European leaders do anything, it can only happen because the US government lets them. *rolleyes*
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:06 AM on March 3 [36 favorites]


Russia refuses to launch internet satellites, pointing at sanctions, Jennifer Korn, CNN Business, March 02, 2022:
The business fallout from the war in Ukraine is about to extend to outer space.

OneWeb [Wikipedia], a London-based satellite startup striving for global internet connectivity and a key competitor to Elon Musk's StarLink satellite internet constellation, was set to launch a batch of 36 internet satellites Friday as part of its plan for a 648-satellite constellation. But those plans are now in jeopardy as Roscosmos, Russia's space agency, appears set to roadblock the effort.

A Russian-built Soyuz rocket operated by France's Arianespace SA was meant to deliver the satellites into low Earth orbit, launching from Russia-owned Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. OneWeb and Russia inked a multi-year deal for satellite launches, with the company launching its satellites exclusively on Russia's Soyuz rocket.

But Dmitry Rogozin, Director General of Roscosmos and a former Deputy Prime Minister with a flair for inflammatory rhetoric, is refusing to go ahead with what should be a routine launch in response to UK sanctions on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

The agency is requiring that the UK government sell all stakes in OneWeb and that the company guarantees the satellites will not be used for military purposes, according to an ultimatum spelled out on Twitter from Roscosmos' offical account. Roscosmos stressed the demands are "due to the UK's hostile stance towards Russia" on Wednesday. The deadline for requests to be met is 9:30 pm Moscow time Thursday, Rogozin said in an interview with Russia 24….
More unintended consequences are coming over the horizon: Rogozin Takes Aim at Space Cooperation With U.S., Europe, Including ISS, SpacePolicyOnline, Marcia Smith; March 2, 2022.
posted by cenoxo at 4:09 AM on March 3 [2 favorites]


I'll hold off on posting more as I'm trying not to just speak on this from the perspective of Finland, but this Twitter thread from former Prime/Foreign minister of Finland is worth a quick read. The tone of conversation in the government in Finland is "let's discuss, wait and see" which depending on your own perspective, either calm and collected or frustratingly indecisive (deliberately or not).
posted by slimepuppy at 4:10 AM on March 3 [2 favorites]


Niinisto just released this

"In the midst of an acute crisis, however, it is particularly important to keep a cool head and to assess with care the impact of past and possible future changes on our security – not hesitating, but with care," Niinistö wrote.

posted by infini at 4:17 AM on March 3 [2 favorites]


More clarifications from Finnish press

"The United States uses stronger rhetoric. It is a matter of providing support to Finland and Sweden," Petra Sarjas, the communications director at the ministry, told Yle
posted by infini at 4:20 AM on March 3 [1 favorite]


fwiw i'm on track for a finnish passport within 24 to 36 months, and as a permanent resident, certainly liable to be requisitioned for labour in the event of a national emergency - this was made quite clear during the two such emergency declarations over the past two years of the pandemic
posted by infini at 4:22 AM on March 3 [8 favorites]


Dmitri Rogozin hates gays, jews and immigrants. When he was the ambassador to NATO, he hung a portrait of Stalin in his Brussels office. It's been said that leaving him Roscosmos is equivalent to giving Scott Pruitt the EPA. Roscosmos staff loathe him after he fired veteran cosmonauts because they called him an idiot.

Just another example of a Putin stooge given positions far beyond their competency. This is the guy who threatened to let the ISS deorbit and crash land just this week. I mean, Elon's a wanker, but I will cheer every victory given him by this vile piece of shit.

I only hope Roscosmos survives him to regain the pride of the Russian people and glory it once earned.
posted by adept256 at 4:24 AM on March 3 [14 favorites]


I have a hard time seeing the Roscosmos thing as anything but flailing on Russia’s part. What is our response meant to be? For all intents and purposes, it’s Russia invoking another sanction on itself and saving the rest of the world the trouble.
posted by notoriety public at 4:32 AM on March 3


Dr. Sabine Fischer, a fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, has some thoughts about why the Kreml apparently miscalculated, well, everything regarding the invasion.
posted by Harald74 at 4:33 AM on March 3 [5 favorites]


Dual US/EU citizen here (living, yes, in continental Europe) asking that we stop it already with the huffy American-vs-European-leadership derails. I can't see what it adds to the discussion, beyond pulling focus away from what is currently going on with the people who are *at this time* most directly impacted by this nightmare clusterfuck. We can fight about this in another thread if people really feel the need. Thx.
posted by TinyChicken at 4:44 AM on March 3 [34 favorites]


Fiona Hill with Stephen Colbert from last night. A chilling detail comes from a time she sat next to Vladimir Putin at a dinner.
posted by y2karl at 4:47 AM on March 3 [5 favorites]


Russia Condemned for Alleged Use of Cluster Bombs in Ukraine - There must be "an immediate halt to use of the internationally banned weapon," said the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munition Coalition., Andrea Germans, Common Dreams, February 25, 2022:
Allegations on Friday that Russian forces have used cluster munitions in its ongoing assault on Ukraine elicited sharp condemnation Friday from critics of the indiscriminate weapons. The International Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Munition Coalition (ICBL-CMC) expressed alarm in a statement about "the threat of further harm to civilians including humanitarian mine action partners."

"We call for an immediate halt to use of the internationally banned weapon, and urge all parties to guarantee protection of civilians, respect for international humanitarian law, and the international norm banning use of cluster munitions and landmines," the group said.

One hundred twenty-three nations have joined the Convention on Cluster Munitions, committing states to ban the use, production, stockpiling, or transfer of the weapons, which disperse bomblets over a widespread area and pose lasting threats as unexploded fragments become de facto landmines.

The international treaty also obligates signatories to destroy their stockpiles of the weapons. Neither Ukraine, Russia, nor the United States are signatories to the international treaty….
Photographic and video evidence of cluster munitions usage follows in the article.
posted by cenoxo at 4:57 AM on March 3 [6 favorites]


Dual US/EU citizen here (living, yes, in continental Europe) asking that we stop it already with the huffy American-vs-European-leadership derails.

I agree with this in principle, but it’s going to be hard to avoid, with most of the US (and anglophonic) news overemphasizing America’s role, both as a leader in efforts to help Ukraine and as a cause for the war. Still, the usual rubric of “do I need to write a comment on this right now?” is worth keeping firmly in mind.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:04 AM on March 3 [11 favorites]


fight or flight:

This question is being asked over and over.

I don't doubt you. However, I, personally, have not seen it asked nor answered – and I've been following these MeFi threads (and discussion elsewhere) fairly closely.

Ukraine has definitely already thought of this well before armchair experts on the internet.

Obviously. That's why I said: "Clearly, there is some reason".

Thank you for the remainder of your reply.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 5:21 AM on March 3 [2 favorites]


BBC: Ukraine: Russia faces war crimes investigation

"An investigation into possible war crimes in Ukraine has been launched, after Russia was accused of bombing civilians.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor said evidence was being collected on alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

It came after 39 nations called for an inquiry to be opened."

Other sources are saying that this is the largest such complaint ever.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 5:25 AM on March 3


Russian, Belarusian athletes barred from Beijing Paralympics - IPC (Dhruv Munjal, Reuters, 2022-03-03)
posted by Not A Thing at 5:48 AM on March 3


"Ukraine authorities say seized Russian tanks don’t need to be declared on tax form"

This is funny, but it's also a good piece of propaganda, with Ukraine going, "Yes, there's a war on, but our bureaucracy is still quietly working away on the pieces of everyday life that you need handled." That's a powerful way to say "We are a functioning, sovereign state, that not only has not collapsed, but that continues to have the more technical areas of bureaucracy hard at work."

It's also, in its way, a democratic statement: You're worried about the tax treatment of seized Russian tanks, so we're worried about the tax treatment of seized Russian tanks. We're not a coercive autocracy but a responsive democracy.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:14 AM on March 3 [71 favorites]


Septuagenarian survivor of the Siege of Leningrad, Yelena Osipova, arrested at war protest. Report links to video clips of Osipova being arrested by riot gear clad police.
posted by Mitheral at 6:15 AM on March 3 [8 favorites]


Ukraine jets hit Russian column; Russia has used thermobarics, Ukraine military says
The strikes, he said, are being conducted by Ukraine Su-24 and Su-25 fighter jets, artillery and missile barrages.
Russia still does not have air superiority this far in. Those fighters are from the '70s and Russia still can't take them down.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 6:21 AM on March 3 [8 favorites]


Military Times: Ukrainian jets hit Russian column north of Kyiv.

Plus, discussion of Russian use of thermobaric weapons.
posted by newdaddy at 6:25 AM on March 3 [3 favorites]


I don't know poop about military strategy but can the Russians achieve air superiority when the Ukrainians have a steady supply of ground to air missiles that can be carried by a single person?
posted by cmfletcher at 6:30 AM on March 3 [3 favorites]


Beau of the Fifth Column calls those SAM missiles a "no fly zone in a box."
posted by ocschwar at 6:48 AM on March 3 [10 favorites]


I also don't know anything about military strategy, but I do know that Ukraine seems to be receiving a good deal of anti-aircraft weapons from both Germany/Netherlands and the US:

Germany will add 2,700 anti-aircraft missiles to its arms shipments to Ukraine following a first delivery of defensive weapons, Berlin government officials said Thursday.

Amid fears of Russian air dominance, US to send anti-aircraft Stingers to Ukraine
posted by gwint at 6:51 AM on March 3 [5 favorites]


Russia still does not have air superiority this far in. Those fighters are from the '70s and Russia still can't take them down.

Both Russia and Ukraine have the same anti aircraft weaponry (The Buk missile) but presumably it's a more effective weapon when deployed defensively than when bogged down in the muck.

Whatever the reason, the failure of the Russians to obliterate Ukraine's air capacity is really baffling strategically. Certainly the first thing the US military would do here is destroy as many airbases as possible with long range missiles and then use fighter/bombers to take out what was left, otherwise your armored columns are just cannon fodder.
posted by dis_integration at 6:52 AM on March 3


Speaking of Ukrainian jets, one thing I've been wondering about but haven't seen much discussion of is the fact that Ukraine is one of a handful of nations that has the ability to build reliable jet engines for military aircraft.

Here's an article from a couple of years ago talking about Chinese interest in Ukraine's Motor Sich which makes a contrast with the current state of Russian jet-building:
Motor Sich is the only aeroengine enterprise from the Soviet era still capable of producing an entire jet engine completely on its own. In contrast, most Russian engine firms have lost so many personnel and other assets since the fall of the USSR that they require three or more firms working cooperatively to design and build a single new engine.
The Chinese interest in Motor Sich concerned the American government so much that it forced Ukraine to make a choice:
Ukraine will halt the takeover of an aircraft engine maker by a Chinese company, responding to U.S. objections over the prospect of important military technology falling into Beijing's hands.

...when tensions between Beijing and Washington forced a choice between the two, Kyiv prioritized its relationship with a crucial security partner [the US]...

Russia, which bought military aircraft engines from Motor Sich, was the company's biggest customer before the Crimea annexation. The loss of this business left Motor Sich struggling...

Kyiv's decision to fight the [Chinese] takeover [of Motor Sich] ties into the conflict with Russia.

China has made inroads in Ukraine through its Belt and Road infrastructure initiative, and Beijing became the country's top trading partner in recent years as Kyiv slashes business dealings with Russia. But as China and Russia develop closer military ties amid mounting Sino-U.S. tensions, suspicions arose that Moscow has a hand in Skyrizon's pursuit of Motor Sich.
posted by clawsoon at 6:54 AM on March 3 [7 favorites]


I think it was in the previous megathread that someone mentioned Ukraine had no resources to speak of except field of grain. This indian business magazine maps its lithium, titanium and rare earth deposits.
posted by infini at 7:01 AM on March 3 [8 favorites]


Ukraine asks ICANN to delete all Russian domains – Plus: Namecheap tells customers in Russia they are no longer welcome, citing 'war crimes', Thomas Claburn, The Register, Mar 1, 2022:
…In an email [PDF], [First Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykhailo] Fedorov asked Göran Marby, CEO of ICANN, to impose sanctions on Russia, arguing that the Putin regime has used internet infrastructure to propagandize its war effort. Specifically, he has asked for the revocation of domains “.ru”, “.рф”, “.su”, and others used by the Russian Federation, shutting down DNS root servers serving the Russian Federation, and contributing to the revocation of associated TLS/SSL certificates for those domains. … Doing so would block about five million domains from the global internet, and would significantly affect Russia's ability to communicate online.

Fedorov's message was posted to an ICANN mailing list by Oksana Prykhodko, who said she's a member of civil society in Ukraine and is enduring a sixth day of bombing in Kyiv. In response to Prykhodko, Erich Schweighofer, a professor at the University of Vienna and ICANN community participant, wrote:
“ICANN is a neutral platform, not taking a position in this conflict but allowing States to act accordingly, e.g. blocking all traffic from a particular state.” … "We know and we are aware of the very difficult and dangerous situation. [The] EU will support you. However, removing Russia from the internet does not help supporting the civil society in this country for a democratic change. ICANN is a neutral platform, not taking a position in this conflict but allowing States to act accordingly, e.g. blocking all traffic from a particular state."
That sentiment was confirmed on Tuesday when the RIPE Network Coordination Center, the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) for Europe, the Middle East and parts of Central Asia – one of five RIRs that oversee Internet resource allocations – rejected Fedorov's request to take down the Russian internet. "It is crucial that the RIPE NCC remains neutral and does not take positions with regard to domestic political disputes, international conflicts or war," wrote Christian Kaufmann, chairman of the RIPE NCC executive board.
Not everyone shares that view – details follow in the article.
posted by cenoxo at 7:02 AM on March 3 [1 favorite]


I don't know poop about military strategy but can the Russians achieve air superiority when the Ukrainians have a steady supply of ground to air missiles that can be carried by a single person?

They have a very short range, so they are useful in combatting helicopters and ground attack aircraft. A bomber at 30,000 feet dropping a bomb on you, not so much.
posted by Harald74 at 7:09 AM on March 3 [4 favorites]


I'm stuck on this "stalled" Russian convoy. Why hasn't Ukraine bombarded it with artillery and/or drones?

Somewhere, there are F-4 and A-10 drivers who are in tears, looking at the photos and thinking, "We literally practiced for this exact situation for FORTY FUCKING YEARS!"
posted by mikelieman at 7:22 AM on March 3 [21 favorites]


I don't know poop about military strategy but can the Russians achieve air superiority when the Ukrainians have a steady supply of ground to air missiles that can be carried by a single person?

Sort of. Ultimately it comes down to whether the military can achieve the objective without interference. In general, as Harald74 has stated, MANPADS have a low range so getting aircraft above 20,000 feet is a non-starter. However, in any sort of strike or close air support operation what you gain in safety by altitude you lose with accuracy. So while one can send in a bomber above the altitude of personal SAMs, their ordinance may not be able to hit the target at which point it doesn't matter how safe ones aircraft are.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:25 AM on March 3 [2 favorites]


I don't know poop about military strategy but can the Russians achieve air superiority when the Ukrainians have a steady supply of ground to air missiles that can be carried by a single person?

It depends, it's a bit of a sliding scale. Air supremacy is when you have unquestioned dominance of the sky; you can count on your own air strikes being largely or entirely completed, air support for ground operations is generally available on-demand, transport by helicopter is largely a safe method, and can deny the same to the enemy. Of course it's still a warzone, so even with near total supremacy, you can get caught out sometimes even by 'obsolete' or underpowered static defences, and aircraft are always vulnerable on or near the ground. NATO defines supremacy as the "degree of air superiority wherein the opposing air force is incapable of effective interference"

For air superiority, you have a more favourable position than the enemy, so you can perform your own operations most of the time without being stopped (but have some risk of opposition), while they will largely fail to be able to attack your areas of control. Air superiority can vary over particular areas, so you might have superiority near to your own fixed defences, but be at parity outside the for example.

The flip side of both is aerial incapability (for supremacy) and aerial denial (for superiority) and it's zero sum - the more control you have, ipso facto the less the other side has. But aerial denial is still possible against a superior air force, and that's where modern man portable AA missiles come in. They have a much smaller effective range (both distance, and height) than fixed installations with radar etc, but are still effective against near, low level aircraft e.g. trying to helicopter in assault troops, or tactical close air support against fortifications/armour.

So the Russians do have some high altitude superiority it appears; they are able to commit repeated air and missile strikes against the cities. That means they should also have a sufficiently strong air defence in the areas they do control to keep out old ground-attack planes like the Su-24, and indeed supress or destroy their airfields. That the Russians don't appear to be able to do either, despite their massive numerical air advantage on paper, shows the state of the Russian airforce is not all its cracked up to be.

A certain amount of air denial by the Ukrainians is in theory all they should have left based on expectations pre-invasion. That they clearly have a lot more air capability than that, as well as the Turkish drones, is surprising, and heartening.

* Drones rather throw a wrench in the old doctrines - they are still pretty useless for taking out other planes, but can take out enemy armour or light vehicle columns, and since they're cheap and low flying, and can be launched from near the action, they're hard to suppress even if you have air superiority.
posted by Absolutely No You-Know-What at 7:26 AM on March 3 [17 favorites]


Very insightful (IMO) article from a Central European perspective by Reka-Kinga Papp. She is Hungarian, living in Vienna.
posted by 15L06 at 7:26 AM on March 3 [3 favorites]


The news was at first so squarely focused on Kyiv and Kharkiv that I hadn't heard about Odessa, which isn't showing on news maps yet as a focus of the invasion, but very much is:

‘We told ourselves it wasn’t shelling’: The early days of Russia’s invasion through the eyes of Odesa’s residents. Gorodetskaya was awake when the invasion began — she had been watching the UN Security Council’s deliberations, but switched to watching Vladimir Putin’s national address. She assumed that if he was giving it at night, it had to be something important. “By the middle of his speech I knew Putin was going to attack. As soon as he finished, an explosion boomed outside. I thought it was fireworks — from collaborators celebrating his speech. But there were no fireworks that night,” Yuliya recalls.

That story is from Meduza, the same site that interviewed the Russian sociologist I linked yesterday. It's based in Latvia, hence still online. Its English edition editor just posted a chilling tweet:

Russian lawmakers have introduced legislation that would conscript into the military anyone arrested for protesting against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. These people would be forced to fight in the invasion itself.

(He adds a note of caution, but says, "I, for one, would be scared.")

There have been many tweets yesterday and today from Moscow-based foreign correspondents, and outsiders with Russian connections, about people leaving Russia, being questioned at airports, and racing to get out before martial law is declared.
posted by rory at 7:35 AM on March 3 [10 favorites]


Somewhere, there are F-4 and A-10 drivers who are in tears, looking at the photos and thinking, "We literally practiced for this exact situation for FORTY FUCKING YEARS!"


Can't find the. source now, but I recall early on it was said that the Russian mechanized infantry is the only force out there that actually can fight back against A-10s. Don't know what weapons and doctrines enable this.
posted by ocschwar at 7:43 AM on March 3 [1 favorite]


The Ukrainian government may have overstepped: Washington Post, The gory online campaign Ukraine hopes will sow anti-Putin dissent probably violates the Geneva Conventions:
Anyone can scroll through hundreds of faces of people the [Ukrainian] government says were killed just hours earlier or who remain captive, their darkest moments immortalized in video for the world to watch. And because it’s on Telegram, viewers can get a notification and react, with emoji, any time a new video is added.

...

Ukrainian officials have argued that the chilling images will alert Russians to a devastating war effort the Kremlin has sought to conceal.

...

But the tactic also could be interpreted as a violation of the Geneva Conventions, which say governments must “at all times” protect prisoners of war from “insults and public curiosity.”
To be clear, Russia is engaging in far, far worse (the war itself, targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure), but this kind of thing hurts Ukraine's moral position, and I hope they don't go any further with it.
posted by jedicus at 7:43 AM on March 3 [5 favorites]


According to experts I know on Twitter, Putin told Macron that he has much more expansionist aims to conquer Ukraine than we thought:

https://www.lemonde.fr/international/live/2022/03/03/guerre-en-ukraine-apres-un-echange-avec-poutine-macron-pense-que-la-russie-veut-prendre-le-controle-de-tout-le-pays_6115927_3210.html
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:45 AM on March 3 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure how widespread (or useful) this is, but along the lines of Russians using Yelp reviews to spread information, I've seen social media posts about people booking AirBnB stays in Ukraine (and not going, obvs) in order to send money and notes of support to Ukrainian hosts.
posted by TwoStride at 7:49 AM on March 3 [3 favorites]


Russian lawmakers have introduced legislation that would conscript into the military anyone arrested for protesting against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. These people would be forced to fight in the invasion itself.

I would be more concerned that those "conscripts" would never make it to the front to be forced to fight, but would just disappear and be listed as MIA or KIA.
posted by fimbulvetr at 8:03 AM on March 3 [14 favorites]




Transfer three A-10 aircraft squadrons to Ukraine now

Who's going to fly them ? Are there Ukranian pilots who are trained in A-10's ? No ? Stupid plan then....
posted by Pendragon at 8:13 AM on March 3 [7 favorites]


Russia 'to introduce martial law' over war in Ukraine

Russia could be about to impose martial law, a number of sources have said, after the country's parliament announced it would convene for an extraordinary session on Friday.

Such a move would allow the Kremlin to announce general mobilisation, tighten censorship, shut the borders and intern all foreigners. 
posted by rambling wanderlust at 8:13 AM on March 3 [3 favorites]


Somewhere, there are F-4 and A-10 drivers who are in tears, looking at the photos and thinking, "We literally practiced for this exact situation for FORTY FUCKING YEARS!"


If there are TOS-1 carriers in the convoy, then evidence from Syria suggests that a few anti-tank missiles could accomplish the same as an A-10 for the cost of a tank of gas....
posted by Buntix at 8:14 AM on March 3 [1 favorite]


Can't find the. source now, but I recall early on it was said that the Russian mechanized infantry is the only force out there that actually can fight back against A-10s. Don't know what weapons and doctrines enable this.

The A-10 is basically a flying tank used exclusively by the USAF. They are heavy, slow, but can take a hell of a pounding. Hence, typical self-propelled AA guns would struggle against them along with MANPADS. As far as adversaries, the Russians would be the only ones that would be fighting it. So their MRBs have SAMs as part of their standard equipment. This makes the mechanized more expensive though.

Compare to a German Panzergrenadiers battalion. Plenty of anti-tank because if they're going to be fighting they'll be facing east not west and Russia straight up has the most tanks of any army in the world. How many? More than the US and China put together. You fight for the army you anticipate because it's impossible to build a force to fight every army. Would an A-10 obliterate Panzergrenadiers? Damn straight. Good thing the Germans aren't planning on fighting them.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:14 AM on March 3 [2 favorites]


Who's going to fly them ? Are there Ukranian pilots who are trained in A-10's ? No ? Stupid plan then....

Fly them? Service them? Spare parts for patching up airframes? Ordinance? It's not like they come with extra bombs and missiles on the airframe when they're delivered. Are the Ukrainians going to use them for one strike and they're done? ECMs? You bet your ass the pilot is going to be hitting flares and chaff flying away from that column. Those need to be available to be replenished or else the second sortie is just a suicide mission of a 40 million dollar airframe and skilled pilot. Might as well send a missile that's an order of magnitude cheaper instead.

People always underestimate just how much of prosecuting a war is logistics, not just mind boggling numbers of powerful hardware. The absolute obsession with logistics and the sheer amount of money that is poured into it is what makes the US such a powerful fighting force.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:34 AM on March 3 [30 favorites]


Back on track, folks, please.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:36 AM on March 3 [9 favorites]


Septuagenarian survivor of the Siege of Leningrad, Yelena Osipova, arrested at war protest. Report links to video clips of Osipova being arrested by riot gear clad police.
posted by Mitheral


I assume a nonagenarian. The siege of Leningrad was 80 years ago.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:40 AM on March 3 [13 favorites]


Updates from The War Zone, March 2, 2022:

Russia Says Its Forces In Ukraine Have Captured Europe's Largest Nuclear Power Plant – Ukrainian forces continue to fight back as Russian forces attempt to press the advance on multiple fronts while bombarding major cities:
POSTED: 11:45 AM EST — The International Atomic Energy Agency issued a statement earlier today that said Russian representatives had informed the organization that its forces were in control of the area surrounding the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in southwestern Ukraine. That press release also said that Russian officials had informed the IAEA that personnel at the plant were continuing to "work on providing nuclear safety and monitoring radiation in [the] normal mode of operation. The radiation levels remain normal," indicating that they had taken control of the facility...
Russian Amphibious Assault Ship Armada Seen Off Crimea As Fears Of Odessa Beach Landing Grow – While the huge Russian column north of Kyiv has stalled, a major assault on the Black Sea port city of Odessa might soon begin.
UPDATED: 4:20 AM EST — Eight Russian amphibious landing ships have been filmed sitting right off the western shore of Crimea. These likely include some of those we tracked from the Baltic Sea leading up to the invasion. Clearly, this is an ominous sign. Many think Odessa will be their destination…
posted by cenoxo at 8:41 AM on March 3 [2 favorites]


It’s worth noting the A-10 article is from DefenseNews and written by Everett Pyatt, a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Navy for shipbuilding and logistics. I’m sure there’s reasonable arguments to be made but rote dismissal without considering the source is silly
posted by wemayfreeze at 8:49 AM on March 3 [7 favorites]


Moldova applying for EU membership.

Russia keeps driving their potential conquests into the arms of the EU.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:51 AM on March 3 [15 favorites]


Also probably not good: Estonian-owned ship sunk off Odessa after Russian action.
posted by newdaddy at 8:53 AM on March 3


I’m sure there’s reasonable arguments to be made but rote dismissal without considering the source is silly

The reasonable argument is that it takes a minimum of six months to train a young Air Force pilot into an A-10 pilot.
posted by Pendragon at 8:56 AM on March 3 [3 favorites]


Putin is speaking right now. RT has English translation but keep in mind that it's the RT so it's basically Russian state propaganda.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:56 AM on March 3


He's fucking unhinged. The people of Ukraine have been "brainwashed" by "nazi propaganda". Russia is fighting against "neo-nazis". He's talking about how this is "how gangsters act". This is so much projection it's not funny.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:59 AM on March 3 [15 favorites]


Who's going to fly them ? Are there Ukranian pilots who are trained in A-10's ? No ? Stupid plan then....

The articles mentions 'minimal pilot retraining'... not sure they have time/resources right now for retraining. These planes were not high tech or fast, but good take a good pounding (numerous reports of those being landed without all their engines and missing a bunch of parts and bits of the wings).

It’s worth noting the A-10 article is from DefenseNews and written by Everett Pyatt, a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Navy for shipbuilding and logistics. I’m sure there’s reasonable arguments to be made but rote dismissal without considering the source is silly

Interesting, and from somebody who clearly understands the importance of logistics. Maybe it's implied to them that the US would be supplying the up until the closest border.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 9:04 AM on March 3 [1 favorite]


(May I respectfully request moving to a new thread? It’s becoming harder to keep up via Safari on iOS which keeps insisting on jumping back to the top if I follow any of the links shared here. Thanks.)
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 9:05 AM on March 3 [3 favorites]


It’s becoming harder to keep up via Safari on iOS which keeps insisting on jumping back to the top

Before you leave the page, click on the time stamp of the last post read. Then if you find yourself back at the top, click in the address bar and hit return (not refresh). It may take a second to find your place.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:12 AM on March 3 [10 favorites]


new thread, and maybe we consider e.g. clawsoon's contribution (separate thread for purely historic analysis.. what prompted Russia's act of aggression, relations between countries going back years/decades/centuries, etc). Do we need a separate thread for speculation on details of what might happen with the fighting? which armaments might get shipped, and if shipped how will they be piloted and re-armed, and how might Russia respond? the layers of mights and maybes, especially re: weaponry and such, is really getting into war games territory.
posted by elkevelvet at 9:14 AM on March 3 [5 favorites]




Also probably not good: Estonian-owned ship sunk off Odessa after Russian action.

What do you mean not good? These are Estonians. Only we can get a ship sunk on a landmine.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 9:18 AM on March 3 [7 favorites]


There was a good follow on quote-thread to that one rory shared about operational vehicle maintenance, in which it turns out that the tyres were very cheaply made knock-offs entirely unsuitable to handle even the weight of the vehicle, never mind off-roading it.

@KarlMuth: "Bit of a tire expert here. Those aren't Soviet-era heavy truck radials. Chinese military tires, and I believe specifically the Yellow Sea YS20. This is a tire I first encountered in Somalia and Sudan; it's a bad Chinese copy of the excellent Michelin XZL military tire design. 🇫🇷"

The cheap tyres were probably due to corruption and stupid greedy people being elevated above their ability.

@AureliaVerity: "Russia runs day-to-day on "pofigism" a vague sense of detached fatalism. It's not that a system of theoretical accountability doesn't exist, it's that people don't think anyone will bother with it. It is easier to approve a lost tank than to investigate."

The spirit of Švejk is with all of those abandoning their tanks. Whether punching holes in the diesel tanks to legitimately fuck off elsewhere, or more sensibly selling the engines, fuel, and armaments to the recently invaded in order to buy small dogs.
posted by Buntix at 9:21 AM on March 3 [11 favorites]


Russia still does not have air superiority this far in. Those fighters are from the '70s and Russia still can't take them down.

This is all based on somewhat stale conventional wisdom, but for what it's worth:

While early production MiG-29s and SU-27s are definitely getting long in the tooth, they remain capable fourth generation fighters that can be armed with current missiles. Even Russia's upgraded versions are considered '4.5' generation, with better avionics and radar and some fancy tricks like thrust vectoring, which is mostly useful for airshows. Russia has a handful of truly new fifth generation fighters, which we seen used only very sparingly -- they don't want to lose them.

Fifth generation fighters are characterized by things like stealth, supercruise, phased array radars and better data capabilities. If anything, they're more multirole and less pure dogfighters/interceptors than the Fulcrums and Flankers, which recognizes the modern doctrine that the airframe mostly serves to get standoff weapons into range to launch. For US fighters, fifth gen brought stuff like helmet mounted targeting, which is a big deal in a dogfight; but at least some SU-27s already had that.

I don't know what missiles Ukraine has, but the beyond visual range air to air missile R-77 'Adder' used by former Soviet/client air forces has an engagement zone extending to between 80km (50mi) and 193km (120mi) depending on the version. So Ukrainian planes don't need to be flying over Kyiv to defend Kyiv, and they can be based even further away than that.

Also consider that since they're all operating different versions of the same airframes, and Russia doesn't have the same kind of datalinks and networking that NATO forces do (at least not universally across its various units), it may be difficult for more capable Russian SAMs like the S-400 that are emplaced within Russia or Belarus to know for sure who they're shooting at unless they ground their own planes, in which case those SAM sites are vulnerable to air strikes -- the border won't protect them in open war. And, of course, taking the risk that Ukraine would accept significant aircraft losses to those SAMs over the border in order to strike at that convoy, if it's not provided with actual air cover.

So, the result is that so long as you're considering only aircraft and SAMs, if Russia wanted to wipe the skies of Ukrainian planes they'd have to be willing to lose a significant number of their own fighters (and trained pilots) and/or accept losses of unprotected SAM systems (and more aggressive convoy strikes).

What's more mystifying is why they haven't been able to destroy the airbases Ukraine is operating from, presuming those assets are still based within Ukraine. It may be because they need them intact for their own operations, or anticipate they may not be able to afford to rebuild what they wreck once its in the hands of a puppet. Or it may be because they haven't yet reached the point they're willing to employ high-altitude strategic bombers to hit airfields nestled in civilian areas.

This is a little frivolous, being from a terminally online wargamer perspective, but it bears watching re: the weird cycle of appraisal of Russian capabilities:

Ukraine -- Russia's big OOF
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:36 AM on March 3 [5 favorites]


keep in mind that it's the RT so it's basically Russian state propaganda.

Yeah I wouldn't mind a blanket mefi ban on linking to RT
posted by Press Butt.on to Check at 9:45 AM on March 3 [22 favorites]


Do we need a separate thread for speculation on details of what might happen with the fighting? which armaments might get shipped, and if shipped how will they be piloted and re-armed, and how might Russia respond? the layers of mights and maybes, especially re: weaponry and such, is really getting into war games territory.

For me, I vote we keep it a part of the thread and to not separate. I like comprehensive overviews. And it helps me time and attention-wise to not go back and forth between threads.
posted by goalyeehah at 9:46 AM on March 3 [5 favorites]


Do we need a separate thread for speculation on details of what might happen with the fighting?

I vote yes for new thread and no for this sort of speculation, honestly. I don't know how many actual military experts we have on the Blue but I don't believe it's enough for any thread like that to be less than, as you said, "war games"-esque speculation, which isn't particularly useful and, imo, comes across as a slightly tasteless "hobbyist" interest in what is a very real and very horrible situation.

Keep it to a thread for news, information sharing and on-topic discussion.
posted by fight or flight at 9:47 AM on March 3 [32 favorites]


Meanwhile on the Russian version of CNBC a guest segment goes really wrong.
posted by interogative mood at 9:51 AM on March 3 [7 favorites]


Keep it to a thread for news, information sharing and on-topic discussion

Fight or Flight, Agreed. This is more in line with my thinking. No to speculation
posted by goalyeehah at 9:53 AM on March 3 [3 favorites]


isn't particularly useful and, imo, comes across as a slightly tasteless "hobbyist" interest in what is a very real and very horrible situation.

Understanding what the forces involved can and can't do is in fact useful in being able to filter other information of various sorts (raw reporting, the combatant's claims on social media, poorly informed politically motivated calls for things like 'no fly zones').

Politics short of war also have "real and very horrible" consequences, yet no one would suggest we should not attempt to understand political realities and instead just trust what politicians tell us for fear of offending 'taste.' Clemenceau is perhaps not the best person to quote right now, but he did famously say 'war is too important to be left to the generals.'
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:56 AM on March 3 [7 favorites]


According to a tweet by Meduza reporter Eilish Hart: “Russia and Ukraine have agreed on the provision of humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians, and deliver food, medicines etc. in the places where the worst fighting is taking place.”
posted by Kattullus at 9:57 AM on March 3 [10 favorites]


Understanding what the forces involved can and can't do is in fact useful

Unless you're an expert in Ukrainian & Russian military tactics, weapons capabilities and military organisation, and you somehow have access to accurate, up to date, on the ground information, you can't possibly understand what forces can and can't do, much less convey that in a useful way beyond excitedly regurgitating information from the news/Google/social media/Reddit, which would put you at the level of "hobbyist".

If you are that expert, I would happily agree that your input is both useful and warranted. If you're not, it's just speculation, and this thread could use a lot less of that, in my opinion. Maybe once things are less immediate, that would be the time and place to talk about armaments and whether X can beat Y. I don't think right now is that time or place for that sort of conversation in the place of accurate information sharing.
posted by fight or flight at 10:10 AM on March 3 [34 favorites]


I think limited non-expert speculation is inevitable and not that disruptive but let's keep it limited.
posted by biogeo at 10:13 AM on March 3 [17 favorites]


excitedly regurgitating information

What?


Is there a new standard on Metafilter that anyone who wants to comment on or discuss anything that is happening in the moment needs to be subject matter expert? It's in fact normal to talk about what might happen in war during a war.

If people can't be civil with others who are interested in different information than they are, then perhaps another thread would indeed be best.
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:15 AM on March 3 [12 favorites]


This is likely to be one of the most important events of our lifetimes. The threads are going to get a little messy at times. Everyone's nerves are frayed. Let's be easy on each other.
posted by gwint at 10:19 AM on March 3 [39 favorites]


Is there a new standard on Metafilter that anyone who wants to comment on or discuss anything that is happening in the moment needs to be subject matter expert?

No ... but

And if we really want to discuss this BUT, I recommend a META.
posted by philip-random at 10:21 AM on March 3 [11 favorites]


Meanwhile on the Russian version of CNBC a guest segment goes really wrong.

Can someone tell me what this is about? The clickbaity wording doesn’t give me any idea, and I can’t go to a link that might auto load sound right now.
posted by nat at 10:26 AM on March 3 [4 favorites]


What's more mystifying is why they haven't been able to destroy the airbases Ukraine is operating from, presuming those assets are still based within Ukraine. It may be because they need them intact for their own operations, or anticipate they may not be able to afford to rebuild what they wreck once its in the hands of a puppet. Or it may be because they haven't yet reached the point they're willing to employ high-altitude strategic bombers to hit airfields nestled in civilian areas.

It's kind of hard to destroy an airfield. You can crater the runways but they're easily repaired, and most of the airframes in this context are designed to be operated from rough or (euphemistic milspeak) 'unimproved' runways. There's a reason, for example, that you can close the engine inlets on a Mig 29 Fulcrum and let it breathe through dorsal intake louvers. Suspect that the juice isn't really worth the squeeze, given the other risks posed by an operable integrated air defense system that Ukraine employs. (Which, incidentally, the Russians ALSO have and is why slow-moving attack jets like SU-25s and A-10s are extremely vulnerable in this environment.)

(Since, apparently, people are getting twisted up about expertise now, I'm a civilian pilot trained through multiple ratings by an F-15 Strike Eagle WSO and this topic was ancillary to, but part of, the training we did in the context of aeronautical decision-making and selecting the right equipment for the right mission.)
posted by Thistledown at 10:28 AM on March 3 [34 favorites]


In Berlin, people at a train station hold up signs saying how many refugees they can take in.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 10:30 AM on March 3 [18 favorites]


There's a whole fun subfield in economics about 'predicting the present.' Basically, information is spotty so that (even at the best of times) you have a terribly incomplete picture of /right now/. (sounds relatable, right?) Using the available clues to fill in the blank is already pretty similar to predicting the (near) future.
posted by kaibutsu at 10:32 AM on March 3 [3 favorites]




Has anyone seen an analysis comparing Putin support from the left and the right?
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 10:34 AM on March 3 [2 favorites]


nat: Can someone tell me what this is about?

There is a translation in this comment.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 10:36 AM on March 3 [2 favorites]


Russian mechanized infantry is the only force out there that actually can fight back against A-10s. Don't know what weapons and doctrines enable this.

[People who are not interested in the nuts-and-bolts of military doctrine can probably skip this comment.]

This is probably true. Until recently, a lot of late-Cold War doctrine and cat-and-mouse technology development seemed consigned to the literal scrapheap of history (a whole lot of people in the US defense establishment basically went "welp, never gonna have a land war in Europe again, might as well cancel all those fancy Commie-killing machines" in the 90s/00s).

This actually kept the A-10 alive longer than it might otherwise have been, because it turned out to be really excellent in AFG/IRQ for CAS against dudes with machine guns but no actual modern anti-air capability. It is really hard to bring down an A-10 with machine guns, and its gun makes a hell of a mess against lightly-armed vehicles and infantry. It eats technicals for lunch. It's also a relatively cheap platform to operate.

However, it is pretty vulnerable to IR-seeking missiles. It is absolutely not a stealth platform. You would not want to fly it against a modern "combined arms" force, like a Russian Motor Rifle BDE, which is what they (theoretically, on paper anyway) have in Ukraine now.

Late Cold War combined arms doctrine—where whole divisions of NATO armor would be fighting Warsaw Pact armor over a blasted, irradiated hellscape of central Europe—foresaw the anti-armor role of the A-10 being taken over by attack helicopters, primarily the AH-64 Apache (and a number of now-cancelled followon projects), Eurocopter Tiger, and the Soviet Ka-50 (which has been spotted in Ukraine, possibly one forced hard landing) and Mi-28, which were felt to be more survivable anti-armor/CAS platforms due to helicopters' low-altitude flight characteristics and maneuverability, and in particular the Apache's ability to hide behind terrain and buildings while feeding targeting data to standoff weapons fired from elsewhere. If the USSR hadn't collapsed when it did, there probably would have been several more iterations of stealthy anti-armor helicopters, followed by anti-helicopter helicopters, new SAMs for armor units, stealthy armor, etc. Nasty stuff—but nobody saw it as an evolutionary line worth going down after the CW seemed to be over.

Yeah I wouldn't mind a blanket mefi ban on linking to RT

I would not support this in the form of a "blanket" ban. Enemy propaganda has value, in that it gives insight into what the enemy wants someone else (maybe you, maybe their civilian/political establishment, maybe the UN, etc.) to think. Cogent analysis of propaganda can sometimes 'back out' interesting insights. You just have to be in the right mindset and not take it at face value—as you probably shouldn't take a whole lot of sources right now.

anyone who wants to comment on or discuss anything that is happening in the moment needs to be subject matter expert?

This would be an exceptionally stupid rule, since we have no way of judging anyone else's qualifications on anything, and any attempt to do so is basically going to involve requiring people to dox themselves (and then invite a whole lot of resume nit-picking and general dick-measuring contests). I am personally wholly uninterested in doxxing myself on the public Internet in order to prove my bona fides; you can take my analysis as coming from a golden retriever with particularly good typing skills, if you choose, and do with it what you will.

I don't know about anyone else, but the reason I come to Metafilter during these kind of events is specifically for the analysis. If I just wanted a firehose of "what might be going on in Ukraine", I can always read the #Ukraine feed on Twitter.

There's a whole fun subfield in economics about 'predicting the present.' Basically, information is spotty so that (even at the best of times) you have a terribly incomplete picture of /right now/. (sounds relatable, right?) Using the available clues to fill in the blank is already pretty similar to predicting the (near) future.

This is also about 90+% of intelligence analysis. Sure, the people in the three-letter world have access to information that the public does not, but a whole lot of what goes on in those "war rooms" involves a bunch of semi-informed people batting around possibles with each other, trying to find connections between disparate bits of data and figure out coherent stories that fit the data. Sure, they like to give confidence percentages, but often that's little more than "X% of people in this room think this is not totally stupid".
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:38 AM on March 3 [61 favorites]


Understanding what the forces involved can and can't do is in fact useful in being able to filter other information of various sorts (raw reporting, the combatant's claims on social media, poorly informed politically motivated calls for things like 'no fly zones').

You have a point, but… this invites a lot of theorizing, even by experts, much less amateur enthusiasts, and that’s… fine?, but everyone needs to remember that we have MeFites reading this who live in the immediate area, even more who live in Eastern Europe, and they are, quite evidently, dealing with shocking levels of stress and fear which would not be well served by generalist theorizing. People trying to calculate when and if they should (or if they even can) evacuate really don’t need that, I think.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:41 AM on March 3 [13 favorites]


Wrt a potential moratorium here on RT links: I'm going to be hearing Putin's reframing from my in-laws by way of Tucker Carlson. It is very helpful for me to know what those points are before going in so that I can rehearse some composure. I watched as much as I could stand of Putin speaking from the link upthread and learned that the racism at the Ukrainian border toward African and Indian students is being used as evidence of neo-Nazism. It's awful, but I'm so glad I can chew that over in my own private space before being sidestruck with it.

This situation isn't going away. It's coming into our homes and families. I do have a value for specific links at specific times to information about what is coming at us in the information war.

tl;dr: clearly marked specific rare links are of general benefit, in my opinion
posted by droomoord at 10:43 AM on March 3 [11 favorites]


Another approach to donations: people on Reddit are booking AirBnBs in Kyiv and other embattled cities (but not ones near the borders which are needed by people leaving the country) to put ready cash into the hands of Ukrainians. AirBnB has waived fees. (A note to use established listings.)
posted by TWinbrook8 at 10:49 AM on March 3


Seems like a Russian staff officer may have been killed. Definitely not what they were expecting if true.
posted by Carillon at 10:49 AM on March 3 [1 favorite]


Re: the AirBnB post upthread....

I want to give money and keep it as close to the ground as possible.

I noticed ads today coming from non-profits. While well-intended, I want 100% of my money used productively, not a % going for salary, expenses, etc.

I know there has been a lot of links posted on other threads. It's going to take awhile to find them. If anyone knows of ways I can get my money direct or as close to direct as possible (families of individuals you know), please message me. Families with AirBnB, artist with Etsy accounts, etc.

Anything
posted by goalyeehah at 10:52 AM on March 3


I kinda agree with both sides of the above discussion and I'm inclined to think that there's not so much a need to delineate precisely what's appropriate in this thread so much as it's important to remember that quality, not quantity is the key idea, and also that this is life and death stuff and sensitivity is required. I appreciate gentle reminders to stay on track and to avoid posting bothersome comments, but at the same time I am not comfortable with relatively aggro community modding which seems unnecessary in the same general sense as it's bad to turn up the temperature in a sensitive thread.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 10:54 AM on March 3 [16 favorites]


Thistledown...and everyone else who provides information/links re: technical and logistic question.

It's a huge service to give us better understanding on what's going on. I appreciate it.

"...the signals we give — yes or no, or maybe —
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.'

"A Ritual To Be Read To Another" - Bill Stafford
posted by goalyeehah at 10:59 AM on March 3 [2 favorites]


Re: close-to-the-ground donations —

My friend Karolina Fedyk is an academic in Poland. She is working with a coalition of groups who are meeting refugees at the border, and staging car convoy(s) into Lviv and back. They are helping to provide basic necessities such as food, water, rides, translators, safe accommodations. The group is @letjaha on Twitter and their fundraiser is here.
posted by newdaddy at 11:02 AM on March 3 [8 favorites]


As someone who knows very little about military technology, I find it incredibly useful to hear about the forces involved. It seems odd to talk about a war without talking about the forces doing the fighting. This is where sub-threads would be nice, like

aid_and_updates
military_analysis
causes_and_origins

But since we don't have that, let's just all think twice before posting (especially all the rumors from social media) and choose our posts carefully.
posted by freecellwizard at 11:07 AM on March 3 [5 favorites]


Has anyone seen an analysis comparing Putin support from the left and the right?

Putin supporters from the right love him because he's a trad and hates LGBT. Putin supporters on the left love him because anything against US imperialism is good.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 11:08 AM on March 3 [18 favorites]


Mod note: We're not going to blanket-ban RT links. It would not be cool to build a FPP around them or to present them as gospel, but posting them in these threads saying, "Here's what the state-controlled Russian outlet RT is saying ..." or whatever -- that's fine. More context is usually better, so if you can explain why it's propaganda and what it's trying to do, or link to a twitter thread where an expert breaks it down, or whatever, that's even more helpful.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 11:20 AM on March 3 [32 favorites]


As someone who knows very little about military technology, I find it incredibly useful to hear about the forces involved.

Part of the problem though, is that the long derail was not about "the forces involved." It was "what if the US had sent over a bunch of X," which the US hasn't, to the best of anyone's knowledge, then a discussion over what X was and whether it would be useful or not. And... I kind of like that kind of discussion, but I don't think it's appropriate in this thread.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:22 AM on March 3 [16 favorites]


[...] we have MeFites reading this who live in the immediate area, even more who live in Eastern Europe, and they are, quite evidently, dealing with shocking levels of stress and fear which would not be well served by generalist theorizing.
Speaking as someone who lives in Poland, I appreciate well-informed theorising and speculating, even as it relates to the military equipment that may well kill the family members of the Ukrainians I know. Hypotheticals based on highly unlikely scenarios are less welcome and hypotheticals based on a poor understanding of the situation (more of a problem in the previous thread than this one) are irksome.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 11:30 AM on March 3 [20 favorites]


Christo Grozev of OSINT group Bellingcat seems worth reading/following on Twitter for up to date and verifiable information (it is the literal definition of what these guys do).
posted by vers at 11:31 AM on March 3 [13 favorites]


Re: AirBnB rentals.

What other cities in Ukraine are recommended?

To others, maybe of better assistance to rent the lower price rooms.
posted by goalyeehah at 11:34 AM on March 3


Your Childhood Pet Rock, I think that's most of what Putin's supporters are saying, but there's also a shared belief that big countries (or at least some big countries) should be allowed to do what they want.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 11:37 AM on March 3


My alma mater, UC Riverside, where I got a degree in Russian studies a hundred years ago, sent out this link that has some very short analyses by some experts, in case anyone's interested.

Q & As include:

1. Putin’s dark designs: Restore the pre-1917 Russian empire

"D’Anieri, a professor of political science and public policy, is an expert on Eastern European and post-Soviet politics, and wrote a 2019 book titled “Ukraine and Russia,” and a 2007 book, “Understanding Ukrainian Politics: Power, Politics and Institutional Design.”

2. Vicious, ruthless aggression, Adolf-Hitler style

"Piotr Górecki is a professor of history at UCR. He immigrated to the U.S. from Poland at 13 years old, and his parents were young adults and members of the Polish Resistance during World War II. His father was a Holocaust survivor. Górecki’s research specialty is Polish and Eastern European history during the Middle Ages. He maintains an active interest in the current affairs of Europe — especially as it pertains to democracy and threats to it."

&

3. Will economic sanctions make Putin blink?

"UCR Professor Jana Grittersová is a native of Slovakia, which borders Ukraine. She is a former central banker at the National Bank of Slovakia and an economist at the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union. Grittersová has studied and written extensively on the political economy of transition and reform in the post-communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe, including Ukraine."
posted by small_ruminant at 11:41 AM on March 3 [20 favorites]


Seen on Facebook, Mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania changed the street address of the Russian embassy; street is now named "Heroes of Ukraine" and letters will not be delivered to the embassy without the correct address.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 11:44 AM on March 3 [45 favorites]


In Berlin, people at a train station hold up signs saying how many refugees they can take in.

For some reason, seeing people holding those signs with the stick figure families hit me hard, as a stark juxtaposition of the good in the vast majority of this human family versus… the other thing.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 11:47 AM on March 3 [16 favorites]


Slow repetitious video about Christian preachers who are Putin fans. The video blames this on Trump, but I'm inclined to think they might love Putin even without Trump.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 12:25 PM on March 3 [4 favorites]


Looks like the RT issue may be moot.

RT America ceases productions and lays off most of its staff

posted by sammyo at 12:40 PM on March 3 [21 favorites]




One good resource for Russian and Ukrainian military info is the Janes Analysis: Ukraine Crisis web page. Its March 03, 2022 analysis piece is the annotated map Russian forces' positions in Ukraine as of 09:00 3 March (click to enlarge). Scroll down the page for earlier articles.

See also their search results for "Russia Ukraine".
posted by cenoxo at 1:00 PM on March 3 [9 favorites]


FAA declares US airspace a no-fly zone for Russian citizens.

This also seems to apply to Russian green card holders who fly small airplanes, like a couple of people I know who work in Silicon Valley and like to fly rental Cessnas.
posted by phliar at 1:04 PM on March 3 [4 favorites]


This also seems to apply to Russian green card holders who fly small airplanes, like a couple of people I know who work in Silicon Valley and like to fly rental Cessnas.

Ugh. That’s heading in the direction of Japanese internment camps. Not okay.
posted by eviemath at 1:18 PM on March 3 [11 favorites]


FAA declares US airspace a no-fly zone for Russian citizens.

This also seems to apply to Russian green card holders who fly small airplanes, like a couple of people I know who work in Silicon Valley and like to fly rental Cessnas.
posted by phliar at 1:04 PM on March 3 [+] [!]


IS it clear if Russian citizens can still fly as ticketed passengers on commercial planes in US airspace? I'm stuck on "for the benefit of" in the statement and how that's interpreted / applied. Also it's late and I missed my window of opportunity to make an easy planned get out with my family (currently in ru) so my brain has been on fire for a few days.
posted by WeekendJen at 1:28 PM on March 3 [12 favorites]


AA declares US airspace a no-fly zone for Russian citizens.

It reads to me as if Russian citizens may travel by standard commercial planes or by any non-Russian registered or crewed plane and that affected operators may apply for exemption.


PURSUANT TO 49 USC SECTIONS 40103 AND 40113(A), ALL RUSSIAN AIR

CARRIERS AND COMMERCIAL OPERATORS, REGARDLESS OF THE STATE OF

REGISTRY OF THE AIRCRAFT; ALL AIRCRAFT REGISTERED IN THE RUSSIAN

FEDERATION; ALL RUSSIAN STATE AIRCRAFT, REGARDLESS OF THE STATE OF

REGISTRY OF THE AIRCRAFT; AND ALL AIRCRAFT, REGARDLESS OF THE STATE

OF REGISTRY, OWNED, CHARTERED, LEASED, OPERATED OR CONTROLLED BY,

FOR, OR FOR THE BENEFIT OF, A PERSON WHO IS A CITIZEN OF THE RUSSIAN

FEDERATION ARE PROHIBITED FROM OPERATING TO, FROM, WITHIN, OR

THROUGH U.S. TERRITORIAL AIRSPACE, EXCEPT FOR AIRCRAFT ENGAGED IN

HUMANITARIAN OR SAR OPERATIONS SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY THE FAA,

STATE AIRCRAFT OPERATIONS GRANTED A DIPLOMATIC CLEARANCE BY THE U.S.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND AIRCRAFT EXPERIENCING IN-FLIGHT EMERGENCIES.

ALL EXCEPTED AIRCRAFT OPERATIONS UNDER THIS NOTAM MUST RECEIVE

APPROPRIATE ECONOMIC AUTHORIZATION FROM THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF

TRANSPORTATION PRIOR TO CONDUCTING FLIGHT OPERATIONS TO, FROM,

WITHIN, OR THROUGH U.S. TERRITORIAL AIRSPACE.

posted by beaning at 1:31 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


strikes me as an extreme and probably not intended, but plausible, read.
posted by 20 year lurk at 1:36 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


If it's necessary to have a prolonged discussion about what kind of discussion is (and isn't) allowed in these threads, then perhaps someone should post a MetaTalk.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 1:36 PM on March 3 [6 favorites]


I doubt very seriously that this NOTAM applies to regular airline operations.

The word "operate" or "operator" has a specific meaning in FAA-speak - which means this applies - most likely - to charter operations, flight instruction, and general aviation operated under Part 91 and Part 135 rules. (Airlines operate under a different set of rules called Part 121.)

I'd be shocked if this applied to airline operations even though it doesn't explicitly say so.
posted by Thistledown at 1:38 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]


I expect and hope this does not extend to commercial flights carrying Russian passengers. I would assume the intent to be to prevent Russian airlines and private jets from operating in US airspace. Something broader would be surprising, to say the least.
posted by prefpara at 1:41 PM on March 3


FAA declares US airspace a no-fly zone for Russian citizens.

This also seems to apply to Russian green card holders who fly small airplanes, like a couple of people I know who work in Silicon Valley and like to fly rental Cessnas.


Is that a very wide net to annoy the oligarchs and prevent their private jets to operate in the US whatever tricks they use?

Flying's not a fundamental right and your average citizen doesn't own/operates/lease planes, so this could be an acceptable exceptional & temporary measure.

With the amount of US/Canadian/European living/working in Russia I can't imagine we'd something like the Japanese interment camps, because Russia would surely reciprocate.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 1:41 PM on March 3 [6 favorites]


For a basic military hardware reference, open/download the Janes Ukraine Conflict Equipment Profile, 28 February 2022 [PDF]. Note that its embedded links won't work unless you're a Janes subscriber.
posted by cenoxo at 1:45 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


I'm a commercial pilot and definitely not a lawyer; it seems to me that this NOTAM does not apply to Russians travelling on ordinary US airlines, but about targeting oligarchs in their private jets.

I'm sad that my Russian friends can't fly small airplanes, but it's true that flying is not a fundamental right, and we already know that ordinary Russians will be hurt by the sanctions even if they oppose Putin (as my friends do).
posted by phliar at 1:48 PM on March 3 [8 favorites]


Is that a very wide net to annoy the oligarchs and prevent their private jets to operate in the US whatever tricks they use?

Flying's not a fundamental right and your average citizen doesn't own/operates/lease planes, so this could be an acceptable exceptional & temporary measure.

With the amount of US/Canadian/European living/working in Russia I can't imagine we'd something like the Japanese interment camps, because Russia would surely reciprocate.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 4:41 PM on March 3 [+] [!]


It probably is as you say - designed as an annoyance. There's second order effects though, and I don't want to derail too far on this, so this is the last I'll post on this topic - but a massive chunk of the world comes to the U.S. to train pilots because General Aviation is considerably more affordable here than most places. Many pilots build their time by flight instructing and there's a greater-than-zero number of flight instructors from Russia and Eastern Europe in this country. Flight instructors don't get paid and can't build time if they don't fly. This kinda sucks for them.
posted by Thistledown at 1:49 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


Sounds like a fairly targeted sanction on oligarchs' private jets, without crossing the line of being a bill of attainder. A few middle class amateur pilots getting caught up in that net is not great, but owning or piloting aircraft is not a basic right. I don't think the comparison to the unlawful internment of US citizens and legal permanent residents of Japanese descent during WW2 applies. But it is good to be vigilant for the rights of Russians in the US and Europe right now.
posted by biogeo at 1:50 PM on March 3 [9 favorites]


Personally I don't think the parallels to WW2 Japanese internment camps apply, since those were actually US citizens. The Russians being targeted are not US citizens.
posted by phliar at 1:54 PM on March 3 [16 favorites]


So it seems our non-official consensus is that a private Russian citizen:
(a) may fly any non-Russian aligned commercial airflight into US airspace (Delta, JapanAir, Qantas, BritishAir, etc)
(b) may fly any charted/private plane that is not registered to Russia or crewed by Russians and does not have the purpose solely of transporting that person (i.e., they can't charter a private flight to relocate either cross-countries/continents or internally within the USA; not sure if this would impact a flight that also included non-Russians but I imagine hockey teams with Russian players who need to cross the USA/Canada border are working on this).

Nobody is allowed to fly in USA air space on a Russian registered/crewed plane, whether that flight is commercial or private/chartered.
posted by beaning at 1:54 PM on March 3


Maybe an AskMe would lure someone with FAA or appropriate legal qualifications?
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:01 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


For a basic military hardware reference, open/download the Janes Ukraine Conflict Equipment Profile

Thank you, that's a really good reference. (But also, ugh, when you think of the hospitals, theaters, galleries, schools, etc. that might exist if the funds and brains for this stuff were directed elsewhere.)
posted by Kabanos at 2:15 PM on March 3 [7 favorites]


Today I learned that former heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko (not to be mistaken for his brother, also former heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir) is mayor of Kyiv. So far as I can tell from that description, he is a pro-European conservative.
According to information gained by the German magazine Der Spiegel, the target was to "set up Klitschko purposefully as a new strong man in Kyiv—in order to counter this way the Kremlin's growing influence".
Apparently the Klitschko brothers, along with (three weight class champion) Lomachenko and (current heavyweight champion) Usyk have all headed home to fight. Usyk may be giving up an opportunity for a million-dollar rematch with Anthony Joshua by doing so.
posted by clawsoon at 2:41 PM on March 3 [6 favorites]


The Kyiv Independent@KyivIndependent⚡️Zelensky: Close the sky or give us aircraft.

While speaking with media, President Zelensky called on NATO to close the sky over Ukraine. He asked how many more Ukrainians have to be injured for this decision to be made. If it can't be made, "give us planes,” he said.2:01 PM · Mar 3, 2022

/I know this is controversial and what closing the air space would imply. Zelenskyy knows that too, and this is a desperate request.
posted by bluesky43 at 2:48 PM on March 3 [7 favorites]


A no-fly zone enforced by NATO surely leads to an escalation by Russia.
posted by Pendragon at 2:54 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


Elon Musk @elonmusk 5h
Replying to
@FedorovMykhailo @SpaceX

Updating software to reduce peak power consumption, so Starlink can be powered from car cigarette lighter. Mobile roaming enabled, so phased array antenna can maintain signal while on moving vehicle.

/I know, it's Elon Musk but he's doing a good thing.
posted by bluesky43 at 2:56 PM on March 3 [10 favorites]


A no-fly zone enforced by NATO surely leads to an escalation by Russia.

A no-fly zone is an escalation. It's an act of war; effectively NATO joins the war. You don't have a no-fly zone without shooting down aircraft that defy it.
posted by tclark at 2:57 PM on March 3 [27 favorites]


A no-fly zone enforced by the US or NATO would be a declaration of war on Russia, a nuclear-armed state. This could be seen as a selfish view, but I do not want to declare on Russia, as I believe it could very plausibly lead to global thermonuclear war.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 2:58 PM on March 3 [14 favorites]


"I do not want to declare war on Russia," that is. Past the edit window.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 3:04 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


Note that Zelensky also offered the alternative of "give us planes", which is presumably the outcome he's reasonably aiming for.
posted by clawsoon at 3:07 PM on March 3 [24 favorites]


Whatever the reason, the failure of the Russians to obliterate Ukraine's air capacity is really baffling strategically... otherwise your armored columns are just cannon fodder,

Maybe to save it for use later? Originally, at least.
posted by y2karl at 3:09 PM on March 3


I mean, I get it. I don't want to declare war on Russia either. But Putin lied to the whole world a week ago—what makes you think he's telling the truth now? After the last "nazified" Ukrainian is killed, and a puppet government is installed in Kyiv, do you really think the Russian army is just going to go home?
posted by newdaddy at 3:21 PM on March 3 [7 favorites]


Japanese internment camps apply, since those were actually US citizens.

According to wikipedia, about 2/3rds were citizens.
posted by small_ruminant at 3:32 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]


Mod note: Folks, nudge here toward talking about what's happening instead of going down rabbit holes on what might or wrestling over analogies. As always, if there's a pause in actual news we don't need to fill time with speculation.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:39 PM on March 3 [17 favorites]


Putin Gives the Mad Man Theory a Try, Michael Krepon, Arms Control Wonk, February 27, 2022:
Vladimir Putin has announced that his nuclear forces are on “high combat” alert. He’s playing the mad man card, threatening the use of nuclear weapons to get what he wants. Richard Nixon tried this at the outset of his presidency to prompt the Kremlin to help him wind down the war in Vietnam. Nixon’s signaling was so muted that it didn’t affect the Kremlin’s behavior. Later, during the 1973 war in the Middle East, Nixon tried a different approach, sending the message to increase the readiness level of U.S. strategic forces in the clear so that Moscow would intercept it.

All in all, Nixon was too calculating to make his mad man pose credible. Donald Trump, on the other hand, was typecast for the role. North Korea’s Kim Jong-un has also tried out for the part, but play acting is one thing; prompting Armageddon is another.

Putin knows this. He doesn’t do subtlety well, so he has dispensed with it. His announcement came in a televised meeting with his top two men in uniform, citing as his justification sanctions and “aggressive statements” by leading NATO powers. He no doubt hopes that by playing the mad man card, the West will back off.

Is this a power move, or does it convey that his war of choice in Ukraine is not going as well as planned? If Putin’s gambit fails, then what? And what’s the most effective way to respond to his nuclear threats?...
More in the article.
posted by cenoxo at 3:44 PM on March 3


@NewsHour (PBS newshour)
19m
When Russian troops came into the office of the mayor of Konotop, Ukraine, he escorted them out and made sure they drove away. "We are ready to fight till the end — till the victorious end — to defeat these Russian cockroaches," he tells
@nickschifrin
.
posted by bluesky43 at 3:44 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


In very minor sporting ban news, the Fédération Equestre International (FEI) also banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from competing.
posted by sepviva at 3:55 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


The Ukrainian Navy's Flagship Appears To Have Been Scuttled — The pride of the Ukrainian Navy's fleet, the frigate Hetman Sahaidachny [WP], is now partially sunk., Tyler Rogoway, The War Zone, March 3, 2022.
posted by cenoxo at 3:58 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


De Spiegel journalist reports Russia blocks Twitter, Facebook, BBC, Deutsche Welle, App Stores
In Moscow, Medusa, the BBC, Radio Svoboda, and Deutsche Welle are down.
Facebook and Twitter do not work. Users cannot log in to their accounts.
Wikipedia, the App Store and Google Play have also stopped opening.
posted by adamvasco at 4:08 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


A clever vexillologist has suggested that this lovely field of flowers on a sunny day may be most restful for eyes tired of war. Remember to take a break and look after yourself!
posted by adept256 at 4:10 PM on March 3 [4 favorites]


Russia blocks Twitter, Facebook, BBC, Deutsche Welle, App Stores

I follow a few queer artists in Russia who have been tweeting about their fear and disgust over the last few days, and trying to try and get commissions/fundraising to help them flee the country. Now their twitter accounts have gone silent. I really hope they're still able to get help.
posted by fight or flight at 4:12 PM on March 3 [10 favorites]


Live CCTV camera from the largest Nuclear Power plant in Europe which is currently getting shelled by Russian forces.
posted by interogative mood at 4:19 PM on March 3 [4 favorites]


A clever vexillologist has suggested that this lovely field of flowers on a sunny day may be most restful for eyes tired of war. Remember to take a break and look after yourself!

Does anyone else keep trying to magic-eye those flowers or is it just me?
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 4:27 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]




I genuinely don't understand what is going on at Zaporizhzhia. Are the Russians confused about where they are? Are the weapons they are discharging at/near the nuclear power plant incapable of causing a catastrophic event? I can't believe they would just be that reckless/suicidal. What the fuck is happening?
posted by prefpara at 4:31 PM on March 3 [4 favorites]


Thread #3, I Give You, Kyiv, These Polissia Flowers and This Bright Sun is up and ready. I think around 800+ posts, the mobile starts to lag on people's phones.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 4:37 PM on March 3 [10 favorites]


Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine is on fire, says mayor of local town

And the iodine pills I had in my amazon cart are now out of stock.
posted by srboisvert at 4:38 PM on March 3 [7 favorites]


If I were a betting man, it’s to cause a nuclear incident that Putin can then blame on Ukraine, claiming that the Ukrainians did it on purpose to send fallout into Russia, and then use that as justification for his own use of nukes. Who cares if such a claim is blatantly false? Hasn’t stopped him so far.
posted by notoriety public at 4:38 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


Fighting at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant intensifying on the live webcam. Administration building held by Ukrainian forces being destroyed by vehicle mounted weapons.
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:40 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


I did not think that in 2022 we would be watching a live stream of a military attack on one of the world's largest nuclear plants. Yet here we are.
posted by ssg at 4:47 PM on March 3 [11 favorites]


I did not think that in 2022 we would be watching a live stream of a military attack on one of the world's largest nuclear plants. Yet here we are.

I'm already feeling sorry for Julie Nolke's past self.
posted by clawsoon at 4:49 PM on March 3 [46 favorites]


Oh wow. When this all started I was google-maps-ing all around Ukraine to try to get an idea of the place, and this huge facility caught my eye, a massive nuclear plant with multiple reactors and some kind of elaborate canal-and-pool cooling system with evaporative sprayers. That was Zaporizhzhia. One of the above linked videos opined that Russia's failing to disable Ukraine's power and internet had allowed the public there to communicate, documenting the locations of military movements and completely failed to "shock and awe" the people because they weren't nearly as disoriented as intended. So now finally attacking a major power plant is sensible but boy I hope they're shooting at the substations and cooling pumps, not the fuel storage etc. I can't help but worry that they might try to cause another Fukushima.

(Incidentally what first caught my eye to the plant was a huge smoke plume coming from a nearby smokestack on the historical google view -- I hope that one is a coal burning plant like it seems.)
posted by traveler_ at 4:52 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


Cheryl Rofer @CherylRofer · 12m
None of the reactors at Zaporizhzhia is likely to explode in the way Chernobyl did.

But Russians must move away from the plant.
@Cheryl Rofer bio:
Retired nuclear scientist writing on national security, nature, science, and women's issues. Writes at Nuclear Diner and Lawyers, Guns & Money. She, her
New Mexico nucleardiner.wordpress.comJoined April 2009
posted by sebastienbailard at 4:55 PM on March 3 [4 favorites]


Per other tweets, Rofer's calming take is that a nuclear meltdown would take "some time." The big concern seems to be a cooling failure. So not a sudden and immediate catastrophe like Chernobyl. But not not a catastrophe if the cooling system goes down and can't be revived.
posted by prefpara at 4:57 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


If you want to disable a country's electric power grid, there is no need whatsoever to directly attack power plants. Simply dropping aluminum strips (or any other conductive material) over major transmission lines will short them out and cause protective relays to trip them offline. If you do this to more than one or two major transmission lines over a relatively short period of time, it will take your adversary a long time to bring the system back online.

This simple method has been used in war by the United States and probably others; it is simple, "safe", and known to work.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 4:58 PM on March 3 [8 favorites]


I mentioned Zaporizhzhia last night.This is insane, the Russians want this area intact. But No. fucking terrorists.
posted by clavdivs at 5:03 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


boy I hope they're shooting at the substations and cooling pumps, not the fuel storage etc.

The cooling pumps are at least as important!
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:04 PM on March 3 [9 favorites]


this is what's scary about this war - the sheer recklessness and incompetence that russia is showing us - what happens when they start realizing how screwed they are, even if they manage to occupy ukraine?
posted by pyramid termite at 5:08 PM on March 3 [10 favorites]




trust this thread would end on a cliffhanger ...
posted by philip-random at 5:14 PM on March 3 [5 favorites]


☢️🥛🍪
posted by rambling wanderlust at 5:51 PM on March 3 [10 favorites]


If you want to disable a country's electric power grid, there is no need whatsoever to directly attack power plants. Simply dropping aluminum strips [...] it will take your adversary a long time to bring the system back online.

This is true. So, since the Russians are not doing that, the question arises: why aren't they?

One possibility is because controlling the powerplant allows you to turn the power back on again when you choose. And back off. That's some non-trivial leverage over the population served by the plant.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:43 PM on March 3 [4 favorites]


The Ukrainian Navy's Flagship Appears To Have Been Scuttled

Anyone know if there is some convention that beligerent nations don't have to recognize a vessel being re-flagged during wartime? (Such that trying to hand it over to Bulgaria or Romania or Turkey, etc, wouldn't have worked.)
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:02 AM on March 4


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