I Give You, Kyiv, These Polissia Flowers and This Bright Sun
March 3, 2022 4:35 PM   Subscribe

Title from Maria Primachenko's painting - thread #3 for the invasion of Ukraine. Related on metafilter: The Bear and the Sunflowers, previous invasion thread. Also, the Historical origins of the Ukranian conflict, The Ghost of Kyiv and on Metatalk, a thread on how to help Ukraine and news resources and an earlier thread for people directly affected and how to help. Please remember: this is a fast-moving and terrible topic. Discussion should be Ukraine-centered, with US news added only when it is highly relevant (take it to Joe Biden's first State of the Union thread.) If you need to take a break, visit the new free thread for non-serious chat, or Remembering the Shire on metatalk for specifically good moments.
posted by dorothyisunderwood (682 comments total) 76 users marked this as a favorite
 
PBS NewsHour
@NewsHour
The face of Ukrainian opposition to the Russian invasion has been the country's president, Volodymyr Zelensky. @johnyangtv details Zelensky's improbable rise from comedian to president, and now, to becoming the man of the moment.
posted by bluesky43 at 4:41 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]




CNN is now reporting that there is a fire at a nuclear power plant. There is a live stream from a cctv camera on site.
posted by interogative mood at 4:54 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


Please, somebody reassure me, how many million counts of attempted murder is each artillery strike on a nuclear reactor? Is it as bad as it sounds?
posted by adept256 at 4:54 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


There's a live cam of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant--Europe's largest--which is currently being attacked by Russian forces.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:54 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


From the Kyiv Independent:
Russian forces are firing at Europe's largest nuclear power plant, the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in Enerhodar, a city on the Dnipro River that accounts for about one-quarter of Ukraine’s power generation.

The city’s Mayor Dmytro Orlov said the plant is now on fire.
(Pointless aside: I have to say it's bizarre/hilarious to see people on twitter angrily @ing NATO into tweets about this, as if they're complaining about their baggage being lost on a flight or getting bad service in a restaurant.)
posted by fight or flight at 4:55 PM on March 3 [8 favorites]


This video seems to be a suitably cautious and somewhat(?) informed assessment of the air war so far.
posted by clawsoon at 4:56 PM on March 3


Is it as bad as it sounds?

A thread from James Acton, co-director of Carnegie Nuclear Policy Program:
Short thread on the dangers of the fire at Zaporizhzhya NPP.

As of 8am this morning, according to Ukraine's regulator, three of six reactors were connected to the grid; the other three were offline. However, ALL the units will need cooling if they have any fuel inside. (1/n)

I assume that the three operational reactors have now been scrammed (switched off). In this case, all six reactors will be reliant on external power for cooling. (2/n)

A fire could damage the connection to the national power grid (if it was still intact after the shelling). It could also threaten backup power supplies (including emergency diesel generators and diesel supplies). (3/n)

I'm sure this fire will be a priority for fire services. But I can only imagine what else they have to deal with right now and fire crews are at obvious risk in traveling to the plant. (4/n)

Without cooling, there will be a meltdown--precisely what happened at Fukushima in 2011. The meltdown there was accompanied by explosions in three units (IIRC) caused by hydrogen (produced by water being split as the fuel cladding burnt).

I'll speculate that the plant was probably not deliberate targeted and it was essentially collateral damage. The Russian campaign has been brutal and sloppy. But, right now, it doesn't matter much, frankly. (6/n)

Russia must stop all operations in the vicinity of the plant (say within 50 km) immediately and allow Ukrainian operators and emergency services to deal with the situation. No ifs no buts. (7/n)
posted by fight or flight at 4:58 PM on March 3 [28 favorites]


An accident at this plant would be like setting of a dirty bomb in Europe. This might be a tipping point where NATO feels like it has to intervene. Holding my breath.
posted by interogative mood at 5:00 PM on March 3 [8 favorites]


@H__Ukraine Review Editor and scholar of race in the USSR Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon compiled some resources for BIPOC Ukrainian refugees.
posted by spamandkimchi at 5:03 PM on March 3 [9 favorites]


Attacking a nuclear plant is a war crime.

I started watching HBO’s Chernobyl mini-series last month. Watching another episode this week was a rather different experience.
posted by mbrubeck at 5:19 PM on March 3 [19 favorites]


Please, somebody reassure me, how many million counts of attempted murder is each artillery strike on a nuclear reactor? Is it as bad as it sounds?
Well, if you (like many, maybe most, people) think a nuclear power plant could explode in a similar manner to a nuclear bomb, then no, it is not as bad as it sounds. Nuclear power plants can have very bad failure modes, but they are not capable of going off like a nuclear weapon.

However, they can certainly release a lot of radiation and radioactive material (fallout) into the environment; think Chernobyl or Fukushima. So, it is very much not good.

Furthermore, (as I mentioned near the very end of the previous thread) 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.

I can see no excuse to militarily attack a nuclear power plant for any reason.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 5:26 PM on March 3 [41 favorites]


Chris Hayes msnbc just had an expert who stated that the Ukrainian power plant is of a very different design than Chernobyl with many safeguards in place to protect against a meltdown. He also indicated that this nuclear power plant is of immense strategic importance because it supplies a large portion of the electricity to Ukraine (sorry I don't have a link this was just now live). Attacking a nuclear power plant is horrible horrible but this was reassuring.
posted by bluesky43 at 5:41 PM on March 3


If we assume the Russians are rational actors executing a real plan, then presumably they want to take control of the plant and cut off Ukraine's electricity, not cause a nuclear meltdown and commit suicide.

On the other hand, they are fucking shelling it
posted by prefpara at 5:50 PM on March 3 [24 favorites]


Russia’s Oil Exports Are Plunging Even Without Sanctions: "While Western leaders are yet to put any sanctions on Russia’s energy exports, the country’s oil industry is already struggling as international refiners are reluctant to do business with Russia."
posted by clawsoon at 5:54 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


Russia’s Oil Exports Are Plunging Even Without Sanctions: "While Western leaders are yet to put any sanctions on Russia’s energy exports, the country’s oil industry is already struggling as international refiners are reluctant to do business with Russia."

Can't get paid if the hard currency reserves are either frozen or lucked in a Russian vault.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:59 PM on March 3 [3 favorites]


On the third hand, they might be that fucking stupid. Somewhere in that plant is the bus-bar. It's a big hunk of aluminum that connects the plant to the transmission system. There's probably a multiphase step up transformer attached to it. Blow those up and the plant is offline.
posted by ocschwar at 6:03 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


Anderson Cooper had a nuclear expert on who seemed very concerned. While these reactors are have a lot of safeguards in place in case of an accident, this is isn’t an accident. The safety systems have some built in assumptions like not being an active war zone.
posted by interogative mood at 6:07 PM on March 3 [11 favorites]




Perusing wikipedia it looks like these reactors are gen 3, pressurized water reactors. Similar in essence to Three Mile Island or Fukushima. If I read it correctly, safety upgrades at other plants of the type but not this site include core catchers and backup generators inside the containment building for keeping coolant circulating. So I do think Fukushima-style failure modes are on the table here and really worrying.
posted by traveler_ at 6:17 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


BTW, the attack on Zaporizhzhia may qualify as a war crime.

The only window is this:

2. The special protection against attack provided for in paragraph 1 shall cease:

(b) for a nuclear electrical generating station only if it provides electric power in regular, significant and direct support of military operations and if such attack is the only feasible way to terminate such support;

and as people said above, there's plenty of ways to take out power linkages that are not shelling the damn plant.
posted by tavella at 6:18 PM on March 3 [4 favorites]


Chechens Fighting Chechens in Ukraine: Kadyrovites are now ranged against anti-Kremlin veterans of the Chechen wars in the war for Ukraine
Amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a new war-within-a-war is unfolding.

This time, between countrymen: the Chechens sent by the republic’s pro-Russian leader, strongman Ramzan Kadyrov, and those fighting against him, on the side of Ukraine.
posted by Ahmad Khani at 6:30 PM on March 3 [9 favorites]


If you break their nuke plants now they’ll have to buy your carbon later.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:32 PM on March 3 [10 favorites]


This reminds me about the recent report that the US dropped a bunker-buster onto a Syrian dam to try and kill some militants. The dam held, but only because the bomb didn't actually go off- even with the dud bomb, preventing disaster required a cease-fire and a lot of cooperation between everyone involved:
Critical equipment lay in ruins and the dam stopped functioning entirely. The reservoir quickly rose 50 feet and nearly spilled over the dam, which engineers said would have been catastrophic. The situation grew so desperate that authorities at dams upstream in Turkey cut water flow into Syria to buy time, and sworn enemies in the yearslong conflict — the Islamic State, the Syrian government, Syrian Defense Forces and the United States — called a rare emergency cease-fire so civilian engineers could race to avert a disaster.

Engineers who worked at the dam, who did not want to be identified because they feared reprisal, said it was only through quick work, much of it made at gunpoint as opposing forces looked on, that the dam and the people living downstream of it were saved.
Not bringing this in as a whatabout, but as a case study in what can happen when someone decides to start shelling a power plant, and what might be necessary to avert it.
posted by BungaDunga at 6:32 PM on March 3 [37 favorites]


Via Guardian's live blog: "Authorities at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant say the facility is secured and “nuclear safety is now guaranteed” after Russian military shelling starts fire, Agence France-Presse reports."
posted by BungaDunga at 6:43 PM on March 3 [12 favorites]


And "Ukraine says 'essential' equipment at nuclear plant not affected by fire, reports IAEA"
posted by BungaDunga at 6:44 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


A lot the Russian actions in the war are like an extreme example of Sarah Kendzior's analysis of post-Soviet autocracies (which she has also extended to crime families such as the Trumps): the breaking of norms is the point, as it sends a message that you are above the law and above repercussions. It's a kind of propaganda of power and quite different from the Nixonian "madman" theory discussed in the previous thread.
posted by Rumple at 6:45 PM on March 3 [60 favorites]


A thread suggesting folks take a deep breath WRT the nuclear power plant. The author is not a nuclear scientist but works in the nuclear energy sector. And multiple reports that the fire was in a training facility and not at a reactor. Hoping these are the right takes and all is not 10X Chernobyl, though it's hard to know anything with much certainty right now.
posted by prefpara at 6:46 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


Invading Ukraine is itself a war crime; no added bells or nuclear whistles needed.
posted by Gadarene at 6:47 PM on March 3 [40 favorites]


This is important context from Ahmad Khani's link above, and, like potassium iodide pills, is a useful antidote to the sort of context-free, breathless commentary one finds on CNN or MSNBC. Maybe turn off the US cable news for a minute. They've never been great, and always terrible with regard to contextualizing anything outside of the U.S.:

Chechnya itself serves as a microcosm of what Russian President Vladimir Putin would like to establish in Ukraine. An always-restive part of the Russian and then Soviet empires, Chechnya broke away from Moscow’s control in 1991, becoming a de facto independent state in the North Caucasus. The first attempt to reimpose federal control, in the form of the first Chechen war from 1994 to 1996, ended in humiliating failure for Russia: The Chechen fighters, despite being severely outgunned and outnumbered, scored a stunning victory and forced a Russian withdrawal. When Putin came to power in late 1999, he did not repeat the mistake. The Chechen capital Grozny was leveled, and key leaders were bribed to switch over to the Russian side with their troops. One of these, Akhmad Kadyrov, was installed as president. After his assassination in 2004, his brutal, uneducated son Ramzan was made the republic’s head. Kadyrov has since ruled Chechnya with an iron fist, ruthlessly crushing dissent with his own Moscow-funded militia, the Kadyrovtsy (from the Russian for “Kadyrov’s men”). Having fought in eastern Ukraine in 2014, these men are now back in greater numbers to bolster the Russian ranks in their invasion of the entire country.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:49 PM on March 3 [6 favorites]


So yesterday/the day before, it mostly seemed to be India-based accounts taking up the disinfo role, today it seems to be cryptobro accounts. Anyone else having the same experience?
posted by tavella at 6:56 PM on March 3 [6 favorites]


He also indicated that this nuclear power plant is of immense strategic importance because it supplies a large portion of the electricity to Ukraine (sorry I don't have a link this was just now live

I think this actually very clearly demonstrates where the Russians are at right now - not necessarily creating war crimes for brutality's sake alone, but they are on a desperate timeline in order to make Putin's promises a reality. Russia has already admitted they've lost 600, which means of course that the actual number is many times that. For that, in order to make Putin look like the strongman he has promised the Russian people he is, they need to bring the war to a swift close.

This does not excuse these war crimes. But it does set a reasonable level for what sort of further war crimes we can likely expect.
posted by corb at 6:57 PM on March 3 [15 favorites]


But it does set a reasonable level for what sort of further war crimes we can likely expect.

And that's what's worrisome - the example of of Chechnya is important because of the lengths they went to there after not-fully-realized previous attempts. The difference this time (not the only one, but a key one) is a country with contiguous EU/NATO borders, which throws a whole bunch of things in the air.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:21 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


It's a kind of propaganda of power and quite different from the Nixonian "madman" theory discussed in the previous thread.

Agreed. Though the MM theory is used when (one) already is supposedly above the law and the fall back postion is usually forced peace, which no one earth has yet proved. Kendzior does not include a country entrenched in a war with a, a "Nixon" at it's head and how'd that work. Old Russian proverb about money: " Money is like down-one poof and it's gone." Feifer' Russians is not a bad take concerning societal elements from that era.

I think this document is interesting concerning the led up to invasion. It's about how grown ups talk in private when they should pubically.
"This make you uncomfortable”
UN security council meeting, 31, January, 2022.
speaks for itself. To the OP, apologies if this is a derail but I think it's important for past, present and future.
posted by clavdivs at 7:37 PM on March 3 [6 favorites]




Given European and Asian market resections to just the possibility that this might of been a major nuclear disaster I suspect that there will be some action in the next 24 hours to protect these installations. perhaps a recommendation that safe zones be established 50km around them where European soldiers will provide security.
posted by interogative mood at 8:10 PM on March 3


Military historian Bret Deveraux has another long entry on ACOUP about Protracted War and how it applies to Ukraine. It's pretty somber reading suggesting that strategy would be very long and painful for Ukrainians.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:19 PM on March 3 [9 favorites]




Rob Lee:
The best thing the US can do to help Ukraine is to convince Putin that de-escalation is a less costly and risky option for him than continuing the war. Calling for regime change or assassination does the opposite.

NATO arms exports are shaping Russia's cost-benefit analysis by making the war more costly. These comments will just become fodder for Russian news to argue that regime change has always been the US' goal, which isn't true.

Russia is sustaining far higher casualties than in any of the previous wars under Putin and the Russian economy is suffering increasingly severe disruptions. That will likely lead to a domestic backlash. The question is whether that will happen before Russia levels Kyiv.

US policy should be focused on shaping Russia's incentives before that happens.
posted by gwint at 8:21 PM on March 3 [21 favorites]


Task & Purpose on what the Russian army is doing right now.

TLDR: they are not far behind their original schedule. Outside pressure must be brought to bear on Russia or they will likely take Kyiv.
posted by ocschwar at 8:31 PM on March 3 [7 favorites]


It's the individual stories that I crave.

Here's the BTS Army Ukraine co-founder showing some of the k-pop memorabilia they took with them as they fled Ukraine and the other co-founder in the west of Ukraine volunteering to distribute humanitarian aid.
posted by spamandkimchi at 8:40 PM on March 3 [7 favorites]


Where is the Russian Air Force? Experts break down why they might be hiding — "It is clear to us that Russia is losing aircraft and helicopters at a damaging rate.", David Roza, Task & Purpose, Mar 3, 2022:
If the past 80 years of warfare have taught us anything, it’s that air supremacy, the term for making an enemy air force incapable of resistance, is essential for winning a conventional war. That’s why experts are scratching their heads trying to figure out why the Russian combat air force, despite being 15 times the size of its Ukrainian foe, has not achieved anything close to air supremacy.

“The modernized and massive Russian military force that currently surrounds Ukraine on three sides can muster air and missile strikes that would likely overwhelm Ukrainian airpower and air defenses and severely damage military and other facilities,” wrote RAND senior policy researcher Dara Massicot in an op-ed for Defense One on January 19, about five weeks before Russia launched its invasion on Feb. 24.

According to Flight Global’s 2022 World Air Forces directory [PDF file], Russia has 1,511 combat aircraft, while Ukraine has a mere 98. But a week into the war, the Russian air force is yet to steamroll Ukraine’s the way Massicot and others thought.

“[T]he roughly 300 modern combat aircraft which the [Russian air force] positioned within easy range of the main contact zones in northern, eastern and southern Ukraine appear to have largely stayed on the ground throughout the first four days of fighting,” wrote airpower expert Justin Bronk.

The absence of Russian combat aircraft has allowed the Ukrainian Air Force to fly low-level counter-air and ground attack sorties, Bronk wrote in an essay [The Mysterious Case of the Missing Russian Air Force] on Monday for the United Kingdom defense think tank, Royal United Services Institute.

“The fact that Ukrainian troops and civilians have been able to see (and rapidly mythologise) their own pilots continuing to fly sorties above major cities has also been a major morale-boosting factor that has helped solidify the extraordinary spirit of unified resistance shown across the country,” Bronk said.
...
Other experts took a similarly critical view of Russia’s performance in the air. Members of the U.S. think tank the Atlantic Council wrote in an assessment [broken link] on Wednesday that, while exact numbers are vague, “it is clear to us that Russia is losing aircraft and helicopters at a damaging rate. We believe that a root cause of these Russian losses is the Kremlin’s failure to secure even localized air superiority over Kyiv.”...
More analysis in the article.
posted by cenoxo at 8:44 PM on March 3 [5 favorites]


So, what we're seeing is that the BTS Army is in full retreat? Dire times, indeed.
posted by kaibutsu at 8:44 PM on March 3 [6 favorites]


it mostly seemed to be India-based accounts taking up the disinfo role

Yeah, I noted seeing that in the last thread. Dunno bots or if actual accounts. Not too many Name+Initial+Long Number so if they're IRA bot accounts, they've upped their game. I was considering that their times of activity would correspond to regular business hours in much of Russia which would give the IRA plausible deniability of "Yeah, that's when we're working but - look! - totally, actual Indian citizens"
posted by DeepSeaHaggis at 8:58 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


The fire at the powerplant is now extinguished. Rather glad I slept through that incident.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 9:00 PM on March 3 [19 favorites]


You can fake maintenance on a truck and still drive it around for a lot longer than you can with a fighter jet. It's possible that Russia's air force is in the same state of repair as those trucks that are falling apart on the road to Kyiv.
posted by Hatashran at 9:01 PM on March 3 [23 favorites]


No offence to gwint. responding to rob Lee

convince Putin that de-escalation is a less costly and risky option for him than continuing the war.

Smart as it addreses Putin escalate/de-escalaion strategy. Seems contingent on If Putin has finished escalating which appears to be a not nyet.

These comments will just become fodder for Russian news to argue that regime change has always been the US' goal, which isn't true.
Silly because it's true that offering fake news that Putin needs to retire is not a wise moral choice.

"Russia is sustaining far higher casualties than in any of the previous wars under Putin and the Russian economy is suffering increasingly severe disruptions."

refer please to "Russian History".

The question is whether that will happen before Russia levels Kyiv
.
Depends on that convoy. That battle has yet to be decided.

US policy should be focused on shaping Russia's incentives before that happens

Listening to European experts has worked and is working, incentives are like gift bags, if the card reads get the fuck out, it spoils the surprise.
posted by clavdivs at 9:02 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


AFP News Agency on Twitter
#UPDATE Ukraine emergency services say they have extinguished a fire at Europe's largest nuclear power plant. Kyiv blames Russian military shelling for the blaze.

"At 06:20 the fire in the training building of Zaporizhzhia NPP in Energodar was extinguished. There are no victims"
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:08 PM on March 3 [5 favorites]


DHS grants temporary immigration status to all Ukrainians in the US, Rafael Bernal, The Hill, 03/03/22:
For the next 18 months, Ukrainians already in the United States will be allowed to remain in the country and work without fear of deportation.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Thursday designated Ukraine for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), a program that protects foreign nationals from deportation to countries that have undergone natural or human-made disasters.

“Russia’s premeditated and unprovoked attack on Ukraine has resulted in an ongoing war, senseless violence, and Ukrainians forced to seek refuge in other countries,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said. “In these extraordinary times, we will continue to offer our support and protection to Ukrainian nationals in the United States.”

The Biden administration had earlier vowed not to deport people to Ukraine, Russia and seven other European countries in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine....
posted by cenoxo at 9:26 PM on March 3 [27 favorites]


‘My Cousins Are Killing One Another’: War in Ukraine Splits Mixed Families — Because of their countries’ complex and intertwined history, many Ukrainians and Russians have relatives who are standing on opposite sides of the conflict., Emma Bubola, The New York Times, March 3, 2022.

“My son is almost 6. His mother’s country of birth bombs his father’s.”

posted by cenoxo at 9:38 PM on March 3 [2 favorites]


The Kyiv Independent on Twitter
Airbnb is suspending all operations in Belarus and Russia, the company’s CEO Brian Chesky announced on Twitter on March 3.
"Booking" in Ukraine to funnel them money is still a thing.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:08 PM on March 3 [4 favorites]


The developers of STALKER 2 have posted a video explaining why their game may be delayed. If you want to support them you can still preorder the game on steam.

I was wondering about the status of Atomic Heart, a game in development by Russian developer Mundfish. Well, it's complicated. Some of their team are based in Ukraine.

Sometimes it's Irish fishermen, sometimes it's kpop superfans. Gamer culture can be pretty toxic, when they find out Putin is spoiling their fun they'll find a way to make their displeasure known. For once it may be justified, so go be your bad self gamers.
posted by adept256 at 11:22 PM on March 3 [4 favorites]


If, for some reason, you're still up in certain time zones such as mine that would suggest you're sleepless (or work nights), the Russian State Duma is meeting and there's a livestream. It's not translated but if you've watched any other legislative proceedings, it's worth watching faces and tone of voice. It's the embrace of the Big Lie by the Duma's speaker Vyacheslav Volodin.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:25 PM on March 3 [8 favorites]




Thanks for the links mandolin conspiracy!
posted by kmt at 11:33 PM on March 3 [1 favorite]


Kevin Rothrock: Police are raiding the Moscow offices of the human rights organization @hrc_memorial

Via Memorial's Twitter.

Memorial's English-language site.

From early January: The closure of Memorial, one of the oldest civil rights groups in Russia, caused an outcry in the country and around the world. It had been prominent in uncovering the crimes of the Stalinist regime and remembering the victims of the Gulag. But the authorities accused the organisation of trying to undermine the state order.

This is literally the content -- in stricter, and more far-reaching form -- of the various pieces of legislation being "voted" on in the State Duma right now.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:24 AM on March 4 [13 favorites]


From the ACOUP link posted by TheophileEscargot, an Ukrainian musical ditty praising the Bayraktar drone.
posted by porpoise at 12:42 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]


There’s been coverage in the Icelandic media about the horrific situation for people with disabilities in Ukraine. The simplest way to put it is that the safety net, and just general social network, for people with disabilities has been torn asunder by the war. Also, a lot of the everyday rhythms of life during wartime can present impossible obstacles for some. Not everyone can stay in line for hours for food. Not everyone can walk to a bomb shelter, or go downstairs into the basement, when the air raid sirens go off. For some just the noise of the sirens overwhelms them. And there are people who require electrical equipment to stay alive. On top of that, people with disabilities have disproportionately stayed behind, because it is more difficult for them to flee.

That’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of stories of human kindness, of people going out of their way to help fellow human beings in need. People have been staying behind to take care of relatives, friends and neighbors with disabilities, for example Yevgenia Belorusets, whose war diary I’ve linked to before. And people have carried others up and down stairs into basements during air raids, or to a nearby bomb shelter.

Karl Þormóðsson, the Icelandic metalsmith in Zaporizhzhia I mentioned in the last thread, is an example. He has been driving between stores getting food, and between pharmacies collecting medicines and medical supplies, for people in his neighborhood who cannot do that themselves. In an interview he described it as a privilege that he could help people in such difficult circumstances. From what he said, and what I’ve seen elsewhere in the media, there are countless people like him in Ukraine, doing their bit to help others whose situation is even worse than their own.

Oddly, when I looked him up online, I found a mention of him in a news report from when he was 12 years old. He was walking home to the farm he grew up on from school in the nearby town of Akureyri. A sudden, fierce storm hit and he got caught out while crossing a bridge. The wind was too fierce for him to move forwards or backwards and he had to cling on the railing to avoid being blown off the bridge. He was stuck there for half an hour before he was rescued. I can’t help but see that story as a metaphor for all the people of Ukraine, who find themselves clinging on for dear life as the storm rages, unable to move forwards or backwards because of the forces pressing on them.

People with disabilities who have managed to get out of Ukraine have been receiving needed care and accommodation in the countries they have fled to. But getting out just isn’t possible for many people with disabilities, which is why it’s critically important that the organizations which assist people with disabilities remain intact, and have the funds, equipment and staff to keep functioning.

The Icelandic organization for people with disabilities, Þroskahjálp, has been working with Inclusion Europe. Here is more from the Inclusion Europe website, who have been making an appeal for help.
posted by Kattullus at 1:14 AM on March 4 [65 favorites]


storybored: "Having conversations with friends and family about Ukraine."

This is really good stuff, neatly encapsulated. It'll work for $controversialissue, not just Ukraine. [But it applies to Ukraine!]
posted by chavenet at 1:16 AM on March 4 [7 favorites]


The following article summarizes the shady deals of Orbán from the last 11 years, which explains why the Hungarian government ended up less than enthusiastic about sanctions on Russia and providing aid to Ukraine. (I've alluded to these deals before but didn't find a good english summary.)

Spies, business deals and criminals. How Orbán favors Russian interests instead of Western ones

This one was new to me:
Vladimir Lyubishin and his son of the same name had long been living in Hungary, from where the Russians were selling arms – for example, discarded weapons of the Hungarian Defence Forces. When representatives of a Mexican drug cartel showed up as potential customers, they did not turn them down either. Among many other things, they wanted to buy anti-aircraft missiles that they would shoot at the helicopters of the U.S. coast guards, and besides cash, they would have paid the for them in cocaine. But not long after the deal had been made, the Lyubishins were raided by Counter Terrorism Centre (TEK) special forces.

Direkt36 revealed the Lyubishin’s story in the autumn of 2018. In a secret international investigation under the codename ‘Perseus’ it was the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that captured the two Russians in a sting operation. Subsequently, the Lyubishins were to stand trial in New York City. Throughout the whole investigation, the U.S. cooperated with Hungarian authorities, this is why they were stunned when the Orbán government suddenly denied a U.S. extradition request for Lyubishin and his son, and sent the two men to Russia instead.
posted by kmt at 2:14 AM on March 4 [16 favorites]


On (SF writer and occasional MeFite) Charles Stross' blog: A letter from Ukrainian artists to the world artists.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:39 AM on March 4 [10 favorites]




Updated link for Bayraktar

Time for a boombox at the UN
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:27 AM on March 4


An extraordinary meeting of the North Atlantic Council (NAC) at the level of Ministers of Foreign Affairs will take place at the NATO Headquarters on Friday 04 March. The meeting will be in person and will be chaired by the NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg. The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Finland and Sweden, as well as the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign And Security Policy, will take part. Link goes to the press release which covers schedule and access.
posted by Silvery Fish at 4:31 AM on March 4 [5 favorites]


Oh, god, they're not going to send Truss, are they?

She'd probably be late for the meeting as she was detained taking selfies outside, posing with a tank or something.
posted by Grangousier at 4:53 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]


While we're talking about personal and popular responses, there's a prominent Final Fantasy 14 ("FFXIV," an MMO) streamer known as Zepla, originally from Louisiana, who relocated to Ukraine a few years back and has now had to flee to Poland from her home in Bucha (via Lviv). Zepla first talks about life in Ukraine and US and the threat of war (January 20, 2022).

She was then interviewed by some gaming outlets in early February when the crisis was starting to heat up, but like most people in Ukraine didn't think it was as urgent as Western media was reporting. Feb. 3 stream.

Her Feb 23 update after leaving the Kyiv area; and now her March 2 update, telling the full story of crossing the border with her Ukrainian boyfriend just ahead of the conscription order coming into force and what his family went though getting out after initially deciding to remain in Kyiv.

If you've heard of her before but are not a FFXIV player, it may be because she's been outspoken about emotional abuse and resulting mental health issues.
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:54 AM on March 4 [14 favorites]




OSINT group Oryx is Documenting Equipment Losses During The 2022 Russian Invasion Of Ukraine

From that link: A detailed list of the destroyed and captured vehicles and equipment of both sides can be seen below. This list is constantly updated as additional footage becomes available.

This list only includes destroyed vehicles and equipment of which photo or videographic evidence is available. Therefore, the amount of equipment destroyed is significantly higher than recorded here. Small arms, munitions, civilian vehicles, trailers and derelict equipment are not included in this list. All possible effort has gone into discerning the status of equipment as captured or abandoned. Many of the entries listed as 'abandoned' will likely end up captured or destroyed. ATGMs and MANPADS are included in the list but not included in the ultimate count. The Soviet flag is used when the equipment in question was produced prior to 1991.


Current tallies as of 8 am EST on 3/4:
Russia - 587, of which: destroyed: 236, damaged: 8, abandoned: 137, captured: 205
Ukraine - 190, of which: destroyed: 71, damaged: 4, abandoned: 44, captured: 71
posted by vers at 5:20 AM on March 4 [2 favorites]


Not only are those capture numbers lopsided; they represent at-par replacements or upgrades for Ukrainian forces, whereas captured Ukrainian equipment is presumably less meaningful to Russian forces.

Interesting that some NLAWs have been captured, but no Javelins. Perhaps the NLAWs are being given to irregulars, but not the more expensive, reusable and sensitive Javelins.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:31 AM on March 4 [3 favorites]


Most peoples in the east of Europe and Central Asia have a fairly recent history of struggle against, and/or colonization by, the Soviet Union, and before that the Russian Empire. So there are a lot of patriotic songs, poems, and other cultural products that are linked to that struggle. So there is a wellspring of patriotic culture that has been drawn on to show support with Ukraine.

I’m a bit of two minds about it. The greater part of me thinks that anything that is done to galvanize support for Ukraine, and to show Ukrainians that they are supported, is a good thing. But a part of me worries that mixing historical oppression with a contemporary war is a combination that could overheat.

That said, I still welled up when I watched this video of a Finnish choir singing Finlandia, the patriotic hymn by Sibelius (that English-speakers might recognize as the music used for the Anglican hymn “Be Still My Soul”), but substituting the name Ukraine for every time the lyrics mention Finland.
posted by Kattullus at 5:59 AM on March 4 [28 favorites]


Current tallies as of 8 am EST on 3/4:
Russia - 587, of which: destroyed: 236, damaged: 8, abandoned: 137, captured: 205
Ukraine - 190, of which: destroyed: 71, damaged: 4, abandoned: 44, captured: 71


In other words, Ukraine has captured more vehicles than they have lost in combat.
posted by Gelatin at 6:18 AM on March 4 [10 favorites]


Kattullus: I still welled up when I watched this video of a Finnish choir singing Finlandia

And so many people in the audience were singing, too! Lovely.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:29 AM on March 4 [2 favorites]


Lindsay Graham tweets a call for Putin's assassination.

It's a thing regular people can idly muse about, but maybe don't tweet that if you're a US senator.

(FWIW, even less-informed little people tend to quickly realize that a power vacuum in the third largest army's regime might not be good.)
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:51 AM on March 4 [25 favorites]


Trevor Noah makes a good point about how this war atrocities have captured people's imagination because it involves "white" people.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:51 AM on March 4 [23 favorites]


Crimeans are basically white, too.

Maybe you can make a case that white people are more likely to be helped, but even that isn't reliable.

I think COVID has something to do with the response. It's a relief to have a well-defined human enemy.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 7:12 AM on March 4 [11 favorites]


I've seen that theory, and I think there's something to the idea that there's a lot of bottled up anger from the pandemic that is finding a channel here. I would add to that the possibility that people have been feeling incredibly helpless for a very long time, and in this situation there are finally some clear, concrete actions that visibly do help. It feels good to have some agency.
posted by prefpara at 7:15 AM on March 4 [23 favorites]


I would like to reiterate that it's caught the imagination of people in Europe because it's somewhere else in Europe.
posted by Grangousier at 7:17 AM on March 4 [72 favorites]


Trevor Noah makes a good point about how this war atrocities have captured people's imagination because it involves "white" people.

I don't want to downplay the racial/racist aspect of this, but (and I know a but like this is always problematic), there is a difference between wars that happen thousands of kilometers away and that can never impact your everyday life, and wars that are happening in your direct neighborhood and can rapidly lead to bombs in your own backyard.

I have abstained from writing about this, because I don't want to contribute to the war-gaming on these threads. But it looks like a lot of real experts agree that the next natural step for Russia, if an actual war with NATO happens, is to go for the Baltics.

If there is a war in the Baltic Sea, several people in this (MeFi) community are living in places that are obvious first targets. Not as in "the Russians might cross the border 500 km away", but as in "it would make sense for the Russians to bomb this particular site in order to incapacitate this NATO function" I don't want to go into more detail, see above. Supporting Ukraine and Ukrainians is in our immediate self-interest.

For other European regions there are other considerations at play. And this doesn't absolve anyone from racism, specially not if you are on the other side of the ocean. But right here and now it has to do with simple survival, not feelings about race or corona or some other shit (pardon my language).
I see it as an immense intelligence failure that the USA hadn't seen the European reaction coming, just as it was an immense intelligence failure on the European side that "we" thought Putin was bluffing.
posted by mumimor at 7:21 AM on March 4 [84 favorites]


It's not just Noah making the case, people are telling on themselves.
posted by xigxag at 7:22 AM on March 4 [17 favorites]


On the one hand, I understand that people have a strong reaction when "Hey, it's my neighbor." The fault is in not recognizing when it happens to other people, they are equal in suffering.

One of the news commentators in the Noah clip said: "This is a relatively civilized, relatively European . . . city where you wouldn't expect or hope that it's going to happen."

Emphasis mine.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:25 AM on March 4 [18 favorites]


Poland update: border crossings are basically working fluidly, with waiting times not exceeding 2 hours except for Budomierz and Korczowa. I've seen information for POC refugees to avoid the busiest Medyka, since they're the ones most likely to turn people away.

And of course the usual right wing suspects are making noises about "not the right people" getting in, including the televangelist Rydzyk. We've known that Putin had a lot of money invested in our political scene since he organised regular wiretaps of government ministers in restaurants in 2014 (via a guy with proven FSB connections) leading to the lost election of 2015, but the refugee hate thing is sort of a shibboleth for who's getting paid by Moscow. Honestly, we were the dry run for 2016 America.

Apparently right now the most needed thing in reception centres are hygiene items and underwear because people either didn't pack toiletries or have run out. Conveniently, the Rossmann drugstore network is giving everyone buying basics for refugees 40% off.

(Poland remains absolutely free of refugee camps, with everyone housed privately by volunteers or staying in mass reception centres for a few days until they find housing or travel onwards. No idea how that'll look once things shake out long term, because rentable flats are going fast, but the influx has slowed a bit.)
posted by I claim sanctuary at 7:27 AM on March 4 [28 favorites]


Microsoft Will Suspend All New Sales of Products and Services in Russia. Apple, Intel, Oracle have already done so.
posted by gwint at 7:29 AM on March 4 [10 favorites]


Interesting that some NLAWs have been captured, but no Javelins. Perhaps the NLAWs are being given to irregulars, but not the more expensive, reusable and sensitive Javelins.

NLAWs are anti-armor weapons, while Javelins are anti-air. The former are much more likely to be in a situation where they may end up captured.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:29 AM on March 4


I very much appreciate the updates from folks in countries receiving refugees.

NLAWs are anti-armor weapons, while Javelins are anti-air. The former are much more likely to be in a situation where they may end up captured.

No. Stingers are anti-air. You can shoot at Javelin at a helicopter in direct attack mode, not in top attack (the rotors confuse it).

Javelins are a more elaborate system than NLAW. It's reusable, and the optic is useful as a gee-whiz spotting scope even without the launcher attached.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:32 AM on March 4 [2 favorites]


Javelins are most definitely anti tank weapons. There is an anti-air Javelin that was made by the UK but it is not in use in the Ukraine.
posted by PenDevil at 7:34 AM on March 4 [3 favorites]


Volodymyr Zelensky survives three assassination attempts in days:
Two different outfits have been sent to kill the Ukrainian president — mercenaries of the Kremlin-backed Wagner group and Chechen special forces. Both have been thwarted by anti-war elements within Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).

Wagner mercenaries in Kyiv have sustained losses during their attempts and are said to have been alarmed by how accurately the Ukrainians had anticipated their moves. A source close to the group said it was “eerie” how well briefed Zelensky’s security team appeared to be.
I had been wondering when The Wagner Group would appear. But the most interesting (heartening?) point in the above is that the Ukrainians may have been tipped off by someone in the FSB.
posted by gwint at 7:38 AM on March 4 [30 favorites]


Many people from the region as well as experts and those who live there won't be the first to downplay the racism towards non-europeans and also antisemitism. But a lot of the commentary that's driven by american framing betrays a very american naivety in trying to transpose white supremacy as a theoretical framework in the region where whiteness as that peculiarly american and colonial European project is expressed differently. Not for nothing Slavic Twitter made jokes this whole week that it took an entire war for the Germans, French, and the Brits (aka Western Europe) to recognize them as Europeans.

For sure there's a sense of familiarity but it's more explicitly regional rather than ethnic or at least in that white American way. And don't worry, European self-regard is plenty strong. I mean, I'm from an ex-colony.
posted by cendawanita at 7:41 AM on March 4 [43 favorites]


On the one hand, I understand that people have a strong reaction when "Hey, it's my neighbor." The fault is in not recognizing when it happens to other people, they are equal in suffering.

First of all, I totally agree with Trevor Noah about the journalists he comments on, and I have no doubt that this racist perspective is widely shared.

I also agree with you that we should show the same compassion for people who suffer in other parts of world. I personally do my best in my everyday practice, through political activism and spending.

But I was not writing about compassion for neighbors or strangers. I was writing about a situation where we feel that this can very likely escalate into a situation where bombs may fall right where we are in the most literal sense. Not over on that power plant by the ocean or that military base in the empty part of the country. Nope: right f-ing here where we are. It does make a difference in perspective.
posted by mumimor at 7:41 AM on March 4 [38 favorites]


the Ukrainians may have been tipped off by someone in the FSB.

Would Putin's former function be in today's FSB or SVR?
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:43 AM on March 4


Also: I was talking about nuclear power plant construction and Japanese reactions to the Zaporozhzhya fire to a retired pediatrician today. She's having flashbacks to both WWII and Chernobyl, to how many problems her little patients had afterwards.

And while we were talking, I remembered my endocrinologist telling me not to worry about a thyroid biopsy (thankfully she was right). Because most Polish women between 36 and 50 have benign thyroid cysts and tumours, due to childhood radiation exposure.

This whole thing is triggering so many levels of societal traumatic memories in Poland.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 7:43 AM on March 4 [42 favorites]


And yeah, that the whole world is preoccupied over this invasion is a function of 'first world' hegemony. All world wars are European wars if you notice. Nowhere else will ever earn that moniker. But it's not american whiteness per se. The Roma is also another group heavily discriminated in the current crisis, and a group that's likely would've passed for white, just as the many Eastern European groups, in America.
posted by cendawanita at 7:44 AM on March 4 [18 favorites]


this comes to mind: during a remote meeting, would've been Day 3 of the invasion of Ukraine, and someone mentioned the Ukrainian refugees we might be welcoming in the months ahead and for some reason a woman felt the term 'refugee' was not appropriate and I have not had a chance to find out why she felt this way. she certainly did not have qualms with the way we referred to the Syrian refugees sponsored by the community.

it's an important topic, I think it reveals a lot about people, but discussing it right now also feels a bit like contemplating the extent to which Elon Musk is a problematic figure while Starlink is making an immediate impact for many Ukrainians right now. most of us are quite removed from the conflict, it seems we cannot help ourselves.
posted by elkevelvet at 8:04 AM on March 4 [3 favorites]


Moscow Mitch indeed
posted by rikschell at 8:06 AM on March 4 [45 favorites]


while Starlink is making an immediate impact for many Ukrainians right now.

Wait, is it? Did someone actually ship a bunch of Starlink base stations into the country already?
posted by BungaDunga at 8:07 AM on March 4


I had been wondering when The Wagner Group would appear. But the most interesting (heartening?) point in the above is that the Ukrainians may have been tipped off by someone in the FSB.

Take that with a big grain of salt. It is more likely that the Ukrainians are benefiting from Nato sigint and spy work and that they want to sow dissent and confusion in the FSB and Russia by implying leaks, dissent and betrayal.
posted by srboisvert at 8:10 AM on March 4 [20 favorites]


Wait, is it? Did someone actually ship a bunch of Starlink base stations into the country already?

Yeah a bunch arrived, and then Musk announced that they should be very careful using it so as not to provide bright electronic targets for Russian missiles.
posted by PenDevil at 8:10 AM on March 4 [6 favorites]


Be careful in how you interpret military analysis on the news and other popular media. Analysts, historians, etc. (especially amateurs) have spent a lot of time looking at battle maps in history books with big colored arrows of ground troop movement and captured territories, and from the perspective of "fixed" history. I've also noticed they have a tendency to speak as if what they think are Russian plans and objectives (e.g. to capture a city) are somehow inevitable and permanent. (E.g. "In the following days the Russians WILL capture Kherson/Odessa/Whatever"). Or that that ground forces on some "front" have moved forward since yesterday. Etc. Wars haven't been fought like that since WWI. What is happening is that while certain areas have certainly been captured or "fronts" established by ground forces (mainly in Donbas where the war has been going on for years, as well as near Crimea and the northeastern border), in the rest of the country Russian forces are either moving through or attacking certain places. There may or may not be Ukrainian counter attacks or further defensive actions, we just don't know yet. And nothing is fixed or inevitable.

One of the biggest threats to Ukraine remains missiles/shelling/bombing of towns and cities. Civilians in residential areas are dying every day because of this. Please continue to urge your representatives/MP/MEP to keep supporting Ukraines air/missile defense and other defenses, and to pressure Russia to end the invasion as soon as possible.
posted by thefool at 8:18 AM on March 4 [30 favorites]


It's easy to get sucked into watching news of a foreign war like it's a History Channel documentary, in this age of instant info, quick video media etc. I'm as guilty of this (or more so) as anyone. Just be careful that it doesn't make you burn out on information, lose perspective on how you can try to help, even have some small influence on what can happen in the future, etc.
posted by thefool at 8:22 AM on March 4 [16 favorites]


to BungaDunga's comment, I regret editorializing (immediate impact for Ukrainians) because I have no f&&king clue

it's probably early to call it either way
posted by elkevelvet at 8:25 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]


Novaya Gazeta has stopped reporting on the war, after being threatened with criminal prosecutions. I have lost the tweet where I saw it, but apparently they’ll keep reporting about the effects of the war, and the sanctions, in Russia. Just not on the war in Ukraine itself.

I expect that the calculation by the Russian authorities is that it would drive more people to protest if they actually shuttered the newspaper.
posted by Kattullus at 8:36 AM on March 4 [4 favorites]


war atrocities have captured people's imagination because it involves "white" people.
I mean, this is true. It is definitely, inarguably true. In no way am I going to try to say it's not.

And obviously people who live in Russia's immediate environs are in greater danger.

And it's not (for once, thank God) all about the USA and what we decide to do in our great paternal wisdom and so on and so on world without end with our meddling bullshit. (Though our past meddling bullshit certainly continues to obtain. Our thumb on the scale for Yeltsin, for instance. That did not turn out to be a net positive and is not unrelated, from what I [barely] understand.)

HOWEVER. It's also not like North America has no skin in the game at all. I am personally invested in this particular war because of me and mine. I don't only care because of adorable Zelensky and all the poor little white children in their knitted hats. Fucking Putin is a real and direct threat to average slobs here, too, even way over here distant from him. Here's my logic:

Without Putin and his IRA and CozyBear and Cambridge Analytica and whateverall continuing propaganda onslaught, Trump and Trumpism don't get off the ground. Without Trumpism, DeSantis et al. don't climb as high. Without DeSantis acting the despot with total impunity, my state doesn't fire our sane surgeon general and hire a wacked out Frontline Doctor who discourages vaccinations and masking, Florida doesn't decide to "buck the CDC," a popularly elected member of my county's school board doesn't get kicked off the board by DeSantis on an invented pretext and replaced with a fundamentalist loon appointee who ensures that my county's heroic mask-mandating WaPo-op-ed-writing superintendent gets fired a few days ago, we retain mask mandates, school is safer, my schoolteacher boyfriend is safer, I am safer, our elderly parents are safer. Skin in the game now, this early on. If Putin is let to continue his machinations, if he gets stronger, it clearly clearly will get worse and worse, here, too.

Also, whatever in the hell this is about: a surprising amount of investment activity in Russia coming out of Kentucky. What the fuck is that? It's creepy, is what, and anything creepy tends to lead right back to Putin. You can smell the creepy dank poisoner stench of this monstrous horrormovie slug everywhere around here, a world away. He is a terrifying threat to the entire planet, afaict.

So I am therefore very much personally invested in doing whatever possible to assist anybody working toward his downfall and toward preventing his getting even more hideously influential over the rest of the world. Think locally, act globally. Putin sure as fuck is.
posted by Don Pepino at 8:41 AM on March 4 [89 favorites]


Putin says the bombs falling on Kyiv are fake news. Face, meet palm.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 8:58 AM on March 4 [4 favorites]


Wasn't sure what you were referring to about Kentucky, Don Pepino, so I found this TIME piece that talks about Russian investment in a Kentucky aluminum plant that bears similarities with the political leverage of Nord Stream. Or were you thinking of other things?
posted by brambleboy at 8:58 AM on March 4 [1 favorite]


It's upthread; sorry, should've linked it.
posted by Don Pepino at 9:01 AM on March 4 [2 favorites]


a situation where we feel that this can very likely escalate into a situation where bombs may fall right where we are in the most literal sense
Yeah, I mean I try to be reflexive about media and consider how things are reported in general, but right now I know what October 1962 must have felt like and will be spending tomorrow jerry-rigging a fallout shelter in our root cellar overlooking the Baltic.
posted by St. Oops at 9:04 AM on March 4 [14 favorites]


The BBC have also announced that their journalists within Russia will no longer be reporting because of the criminalisation of non-state journalism.

Although reporting continues outside Russia: Ukraine war: 'My city's being shelled, but mum won’t believe me' (Maybe already posted above, I can't tell.)
posted by Grangousier at 9:07 AM on March 4 [27 favorites]


That report of parents not believing their children is quite heartbreaking.
posted by zenzenobia at 9:21 AM on March 4 [28 favorites]


I'm an idiot and my (Australian) govt is worse, but:

someone mentioned the Ukrainian refugees we might be welcoming in the months ahead and for some reason a woman felt the term 'refugee' was not appropriate and I have not had a chance to find out why


...if you need refuge, how could it be that you are not a 'refugee'?

(incidentally: fuck Australia's major parties for their consistent abuse of refugees).
posted by pompomtom at 9:30 AM on March 4 [7 favorites]


Last week This American Life rebroadcast an episode on Putin that is quite good, including lots of history on the apartment building bombings before the Chechnyan war. The final story in the podcast is about students arguing wit htheir teachers about current events, making surreptitious recordings, and just demonstrating the information asymmetry between the old and young.
posted by kaibutsu at 9:36 AM on March 4 [17 favorites]


@Don Pepino I feel the same, but from the other direction. Some of "mine" are in Ukraine now trying to survive the war. Other more distant relatives live in Russia. One thing we can do from outside Ukraine or Russia is work to elect people in our own countries who are definitely NOT pro-Putin, and try to avoid similar situations or worse for Ukrainians, for Russians, other eastern Europeans, and for people around the world.
posted by thefool at 9:45 AM on March 4 [14 favorites]


...if you need refuge, how could it be that you are not a 'refugee'?

I think the distinction that these people are trying to articulate is that refugees are typically from countries that have nominal value systems that have only partial things in common with Western countries and for a lot of people those differences are a source of conflict or at least suspicion. Nominal Ukrainian values are almost identical to nominal European Union ones. They're not seen as refugee because there's if there is any process of integration to go through it's going to be very short. They slot right in so to speak.

I also think the thing that needs to be kept in the forefront of everyone's mind is why they slot right in and that it's no coincidence that a person on the street probably couldn't tell the difference between a Ukrainian and a Swede at 40 yards. Ultimately, colonialism sucks and colonialism is what programs this idea into us that white people, even though whiteness is basically a political construct, are "civilized" and it bleeds through into what we consider a refugee.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 9:47 AM on March 4 [6 favorites]


(Obviously Australia will accept many refugees as long as they are Christian and white).
posted by pompomtom at 9:49 AM on March 4 [3 favorites]


that a person on the street probably couldn't tell the difference between a Ukrainian and a Swede at 40 yards

I bet most Scandinavians can tell a Slav from a Scandinavian at 100 yards. As many above have mentioned, there is an anti-Slav sentiment in wide swaths of the Western European population. And still I hear every day of people who nominally belong to the demographic who are suspicious of Slavs getting into their vans and going down to help at the Ukrainian border.
posted by mumimor at 9:52 AM on March 4 [30 favorites]


Putin says the bombs falling on Kyiv are fake news. .
If you encounter anyone who maybe believes this or is expressing skepticism you can send this: https://twitter.com/johnsweeneyroar/status/1499010863520436225 (Great, somewhat personal, reporting in English from John Sweeney btw, and many others.) Luckily so far it hasn't been a lot, but it could get much much worse if Russia is able to get artillery closer. And it's already bad with many civilian casualties in e.g. Kharkiv, Chernihiv, and lots of other places.
posted by thefool at 9:53 AM on March 4 [6 favorites]


That report of parents not believing their children is quite heartbreaking.

A friend of mine who's Russian grew up in Soviet Ukraine. Her father was doctor in the Soviet army, and they lived in a place that was a major point of deployment for the invasion of Afghanistan, and he was sent there as part of the early waves that was deployed.

Before all of this, she was a frequent visitor to Russia because of family and friends who are there, and we've had lots of discussions about what Putin's up to and how he's perceived.

Her father came back disgusted by the dissonance between the propaganda about Afghanistan and the reality of what was actually happening there, which was also plain to see from her vantage point as a kid in Soviet Ukraine - soldiers shipped out, coffins came back. At one point he was questioned by the KGB about some of the things he had to say, but for whatever reason, nothing came of it. But it was, you know, questioning by the KGB.

When the Soviet Union starting falling, she and her mother left for Canada and her father stayed (their marriage had fallen apart just before the Soviet collapse). He passed away a couple of years ago but she was pretty staggered by the fact he bought into Putin's rhetoric around Crimea and supported the invasion of eastern Ukraine despite her efforts to point out it was very much the same sort of propaganda he was able to see through all those years ago.

As a sidebar, and it's kind of a minor point in the grand scheme of things, the Calvert Journal has suspended publication out of opposition to the war. Its coverage has included the work of lots of young artists in Russia, eastern Europe and central Asia, including many who are queer and trans that people like Lukashenko, Kadyrov, Putin and others have been unable to snuff out despite their terrifying efforts to do so.

Here's their statement from last week:

As of this Friday, The Calvert Journal ceased publication until further notice. At a time when Russian acts of war are being committed in Ukraine, we cannot in good conscience continue our work covering culture and the arts like business as usual. We are against this war in Ukraine and call for its end.

Our website will remain online, with our archive material still accessible to whoever would like to read it. In the meantime, we will be taking a break to rethink what the mission and purpose of The Calvert Journal could be in a changed Europe.

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:03 AM on March 4 [15 favorites]


Putin says the bombs falling on Kyiv are fake news.

TIL that the Russian president's name is transliterated in French as "Vladimir Poutine." The French-language press does the same in Canada, where I assume it's viewed with more amusement.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 10:04 AM on March 4 [18 favorites]


I bet most Scandinavians can tell a Slav from a Scandinavian at 100 yards.

One of the odder experiences I had in my European couch surfing days was during the time I spent in Helsinki. I had a wonderful time, but one night at a random bar, a large, drunk, but otherwise friendly seeming Finnish man sat down at our table. He slowly took a dislike to me though, apparently due to my Slavic features. After asking my name my Finnish friends had to work hard to get rid of him without things escalating.

Had I two neurons to rub together, I could have mentioned that I am of Ukrainian heritage, not Russian, but since even my grandparents were born in Canada and my grasp of eastern European (and Finnish) history was shaky, the importance of the difference was not apparent to me at the time. I certainly wouldn't miss it now, and this war is certainly causing a bit of self reflection on my part.
posted by Alex404 at 10:05 AM on March 4 [23 favorites]


Khabarovsk, 10 hours ago

Going east, Khabarovsk is the last major city before you hit the Pacific ocean. It's somewhat encouraging that Russia is having to pull working hardware from the furthest reaches of their territory.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 10:09 AM on March 4 [6 favorites]


FWIW, it was Ukrainians who created Canadian multiculturalism.
posted by clawsoon at 10:30 AM on March 4 [24 favorites]


(...which I think gave the word and modern concept of multiculturalism to the world, though perhaps that's my Canadian chauvinism talking?)
posted by clawsoon at 10:39 AM on March 4


The French-language press does the same in Canada, where I assume it's viewed with more amusement.

A long time ago, a younger me found very hilarious that the Russian president was named Poutine. It is become considerable less funny over the years, although this tweet from the official Ukraine twitter account is absolute gold.

For those who don't know Poutine is a Quebec dish consisting of French fries, cheese curds & gravy, and is very very very much much much better than the description would imply.

There's even a restaurant who decided to rename the dish on its menu because of current events, that smelled more of a publicity stunt than anything else though.

Poutine week was Feb 1-14 this year, we came really close to this being a very bad coincidence.
posted by WaterAndPixels at 10:44 AM on March 4 [15 favorites]


I'm sorry to say I've seen some discussion of the "not refugees" thing. A major argument is that people can just go back to their home countries. There was a remarkable failure to understand that people could be temporary refugees until they could get transportation to their home countries.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 10:55 AM on March 4 [2 favorites]


Thank you for posting that, clawsoon.. I will be learning more about this thanks to you. It looks like this discussion in Canada coincides with the career and service of Ray Hnatyshyn, Canada's first Ukrainian Canadian senator and going on to be Governor General during Mulroney's term as PM (appointed 1989).
posted by elkevelvet at 11:00 AM on March 4 [4 favorites]


Viewing this thread through Recent Activity, exactly 1 out of the past 10 comments has literally anything to do with the developing events in Ukraine. Could we maybe tone down the noise a weensy bit?
posted by Not A Thing at 11:01 AM on March 4 [37 favorites]


Agree with Not A Thing. The topic of ethnicity and refugees is IMO very complex and possibly deserves its own thread. But in here it is a derail.
posted by 15L06 at 11:06 AM on March 4 [6 favorites]


A Russian senator close to Putin (the widow of his ex mentor) has spoken openly in the Duma about Russian losses being much higher than admitted. Apparently draftees enlisted in December were sent to fight with barely any training (illegal in Russia, they need 4 months) and out of a unit of 100 only 4 survived. The mothers of soldiers are now clamouring to at least know what happened to their sons.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 11:22 AM on March 4 [27 favorites]


Russia is now blocking Facebook and YouTube, which was expected after the crackdown on "fake news". Clearly they're losing control of the PR war, but means little to the people actually in Ukraine.
posted by meowzilla at 11:22 AM on March 4 [5 favorites]


US News & World Report: Belarusian Forces Will Not Take Part in Ukraine War, Lukashenko Says
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko said on Friday that the Belarusian armed forces were not taking part and would not take part in Russia's military operation in Ukraine.

A close Russian ally, Lukashenko said he spoke to President Vladimir Putin at length by telephone on Friday. Russia has used Belarusian territory to carry out a multi-pronged invasion of Ukraine.

(Reporting by Reuters; editing by John Stonestreet)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:33 AM on March 4 [10 favorites]


A Russian senator close to Putin
Very significant.
posted by clavdivs at 11:38 AM on March 4 [7 favorites]


Incidentally, Senator Narusova is also the mother of Ksenia Sobchak, an entertainer with political ambitions who has been enjoying tacit regime tolerance of her opposition due to her family. I'd assume Sobchak left his wife and daughter plenty of dirt on Vladimir Vladimirovich, but I also remember seeing speculation Ksenia was playing a role, being a fairly safe token opposition figure. She's certainly outspoken and liberal, including pro LGBTQ.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 11:50 AM on March 4 [5 favorites]


WSJ : Ukraine’s Special Forces Hold Off Russian Offensive on Kyiv’s Front Lines
Weapons from the West make a big difference—as do the Russians’ poor tactics, Ukrainian officers say
posted by adamvasco at 11:50 AM on March 4 [2 favorites]


Garry Kasparov posted this yesterday as part of a long thread RE NATO involvement:
If they care so much about the fine print and think Putin does too, ask Zelensky to issue Ukrainian passports to any volunteer to fly in combat. Sell jets to Ukraine for €1 each and paint UKR flags on them…
posted by TWinbrook8 at 11:53 AM on March 4 [8 favorites]


Mod note: Deleted a handful of comments that strayed into issues of race and racism that had nothing to do with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Left a bunch more that were also derails.) It is fine and okay to talk about how racial and ethnic issues impact the current conflict, but please remember that there is an active shooting war that is actively impacting members of this site and their families, and largely theoretical arguments about US or Australian or French attitudes towards race that we've had many times before rapidly become a derail. It would be perfectly fine to have a thread about, for example, racism in the US media's coverage of foreign wars. But going down the rabbit hole on US media coverage of Sudan or Vietnam is totally off-topic for this thread, and derailing the conversation to repeatedly decry American news coverage rapidly becomes a way for Americans to recenter the conversation on themselves and their concerns, while claiming to denounce that.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 12:07 PM on March 4 [90 favorites]


CocaCola is staying on in Russia, making money.
posted by Lanark at 12:09 PM on March 4 [8 favorites]


Ukrainian Women Bring Back Traditional Floral Crowns To Show National Pride
This week on Tales of the Unreal:
An armored tank and fuel supply convoy for the Army of Chernobog pauses in a field on its deadly trail northeast.
Commander: Did you hear that?
Assistant: Hear what, Sir?
[several feminine figures emerge from the edge of the forest, begin singing]
Commander: No no no no. Shit! I told them we shouldn't have waited until June!
Assistant: What is it sir, I don't understand?
[women continue singing as they walk forward towards the tanks, barefoot and touching the tops of the wheat; as they do, every welded piece of metal within in a kilometer slowly un-welds, and petroleum is transubstantiated into milk]
Commander, shouting into radio: Turn around! Go back! It's the Latvians! They sent witches!
Assistant: [turns into pig]
posted by bartleby at 12:25 PM on March 4 [26 favorites]




TIL that the Russian president's name is transliterated in French as "Vladimir Poutine." The French-language press does the same in Canada, where I assume it's viewed with more amusement.

Well, this is the alternative.
posted by saturday_morning at 12:35 PM on March 4 [18 favorites]


Residents say shelling of Schastia and Volnovakha is revenge for standing up to ‘Russian aggression’. ’90% of houses are damaged’: Russia’s Syria-honed tactics lay Ukraine towns to waste.
posted by adamvasco at 12:42 PM on March 4 [2 favorites]


CocaCola is staying on in Russia, making money.

So is Pepsi at the moment. And McDonald's.
posted by Foosnark at 12:43 PM on March 4 [3 favorites]


An aside here...In regard to Zelensky, I keep thinking of the Shakespeare quote that ends Preston Sturges "Miracle of Morgan's Creek"

'Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.'
posted by goalyeehah at 12:47 PM on March 4 [2 favorites]


CocaCola is staying on in Russia, making money.

So is Pepsi at the moment. And McDonald's


You’d think sanctions would impact their ability to do business. Financial firms are prohibited from dealing with prohibited counties, why should food and beverage be different?
posted by leotrotsky at 12:47 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


CocaCola is staying on in Russia, making money.

So is Pepsi at the moment. And McDonald's.


Well, so let's boycott them all. (I already do, but I'm going to suggest this to my classes next week)
posted by mumimor at 12:48 PM on March 4 [6 favorites]


Cogent, a significant ISP and a key provider to Russian state-owned online resources, has cut off access to Russia.
posted by All Might Be Well at 12:52 PM on March 4 [11 favorites]


Chavnet, that is an excellent article, and notes down why I find it increasingly harder to take the western seriously other than as a potential danger. The last Ukraine thread were excellent examples of what the author is talking about.

I hope people read it and try to learn something from it. Ukraine and this part of the world more generally genuinely doesn't need uninformed punditry. I fit hadn't gone in lockstep wiht the right in Putin adoration, it might have cared more about the fate of minorities in Russia - as always, the canary in the goldmine when it comes to violent psychopaths like Putin. What is happening now was absolutely foreseeable at the latest in 2014.
posted by doggod at 12:53 PM on March 4 [9 favorites]


Meanwhile Sainsbury is removing russian products and renaming Chicken Kyiv's
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 12:56 PM on March 4 [5 favorites]


Ikea closed all its Russian stores yesterday, officially for want of products, and stopped exporting items made in Russia. I suspect we should take better care of our Pokal glasses, since Russian-made may be harder to obtain. (The new pink ones are made in Spain though, so I suspect they'll retool that line for clear glass easily enough.) Some chipboard furniture may also be affected.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 1:02 PM on March 4 [8 favorites]


Reuters: Latvian capital to rename Russian embassy address to Independent Ukraine street
The move followed an announcement on Thursday that Vilnius in neighboring Lithuania will change the name of a street where the Russian embassy is located to Heroes of Ukraine Street.
Seems to be a trend.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:03 PM on March 4 [21 favorites]


So is Pepsi at the moment. And McDonald's

Pepsi havent made a decision/announcement yet, but Coca Cola have confirmed they are staying. The @CocaCola twitter feed is now filled with replies containing very graphic content.
posted by Lanark at 1:05 PM on March 4 [6 favorites]


CocaCola is staying on in Russia, making money.

The absolute best thing about the video in that tweet was hearing this former BBC reporter say - in his slow, measured, thoughtful BBC cadence - " Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you, Coca-Cola, Fuck you."
posted by 8dot3 at 1:05 PM on March 4 [27 favorites]


I can't help but be very wary of watching companies/politicians jump on the bandwagon of anti-Russian sentiment (I hesitate to call it "hysteria", but it feels like it's getting there). It's good to remember that many Russians didn't want this war either and they will also be victims as their economy collapses. I'm all for McDonald's continuing to exist in Russia if it means Russian citizens can still afford to eat.

Does anyone have any good sources of reporting from within Russia (if that's even possible) of the impact of sanctions and so on?
posted by fight or flight at 1:07 PM on March 4 [11 favorites]


If they care so much about the fine print and think Putin does too, ask Zelensky to issue Ukrainian passports to any volunteer to fly in combat. Sell jets to Ukraine for €1 each and paint UKR flags on them…

There's precedent for the €1 per plane thing at least, that's how much Poland paid Germany for a bunch of MiG-29s it was retiring.
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:09 PM on March 4 [4 favorites]


CocaCola is staying on in Russia, making money.

On the flip side:

Ukrainian supermarket chains stop selling Coca-Cola products as company continues to operate in Russia.

Silpo, Novus, and Varus chains remove all Coca-Cola products, Schweppes, Sprite, Fanta, and BonAqua drinking water. “This shameless company continues to work for the invaders in full strength,” the Novus statement reads.
posted by vers at 1:14 PM on March 4 [8 favorites]


I'm all for McDonald's continuing to exist in Russia if it means Russian citizens can still afford to eat.

Is there any reason to believe that the absence of McDonald’s would price Russians out of the ability to eat?
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 1:14 PM on March 4 [34 favorites]


Bloomberg: "Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. have been purchasing beaten-down company bonds tied to Russia in recent days, as hedge funds that specialize in buying cheap credit look to load up on the assets"
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 1:22 PM on March 4 [2 favorites]


You’d think sanctions would impact their ability to do business. Financial firms are prohibited from dealing with prohibited counties, why should food and beverage be different?

I initially thought about the stupidity of providing anything to Russia because one would effectively never get paid for whatever they send. There's no way to obtain hard currency and no way to get hard currency out of the country right now bar smuggling briefcases of cash.

But then when I think about Coke's business model it becomes obvious. Coke syrup is sold mostly to bottlers who then bottle it locally for consumption. All Coke does is provide the syrup and the demand through advertising. Coke brought in $38.6 billion in revenue on $15.3 billion of costs of the product. Because really, in the grand scheme of things, the syrup costs peanuts to make. Even a temporary lull in collecting revenue for syrup sales is nothing compared to the amount of money it costs to make up lost mindshare later. Coke syrup is functionally useless without demand for it.

Bloomberg: "Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. have been purchasing beaten-down company bonds tied to Russia in recent days, as hedge funds that specialize in buying cheap credit look to load up on the assets"

Fucking capitalist vultures.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 1:27 PM on March 4 [21 favorites]


I'm not a reporter, but thus far I can confirm from ground that Ikea and H&M have been hastily shuttered as have authorized Apple dealers that didn't sell other brands. Prices on food have not gone up notably in comparison to inflation in the rest of the world. Construction materials have nearly doubled. Electronics are sky rocketing. WAs looking to dump some rubles before they mean nothing so I figured to buy a phone and they jumped about 5000 rubles (about $70 in mid feb) from yesterday till today. I don't really need a new phone and usually keep my phones until they could be history museum exhibits, but I bought one figuring I can sell in for profit as soon as tomorrow if things go completely shit.

Noted at Auchan (french owned walmart type store) that the sugar shelf was almost empty and people seemed to be trying to grab the last few bags like they were precious, but I have no idea if that was just in that store or is more wide spread.

People are just starting to loose jobs as foreign contracts are severed. I would say effects so far have been minimal, the real pain begins next week I think.

There were some rumors about "mobilization" (martial law) being announced today after the duma session, but that happily did not happen (though the word was brought up in the rousing rendition of theatrical "debate"). Important to note that regular mobilization (when the fresh faces are called up for their mandatory year of military service) is every year in April, so maybe that could be expanded or pushed forward. Also of note is that a signature piece of legislation for Putin has been that only career soldiers are sent to war combat, not the conscripts, and certainly not fresh ones.

Edit to add, and this is a derail, but McDonalds is a fairly pricey option for a casual meal, but the quality compared to US McDs is way way better. Noone will go hungry if McDonalds (or KFC or Subway or Burger King which are all in Russia) close.
posted by WeekendJen at 1:27 PM on March 4 [94 favorites]


Fucking capitalist vultures.

"But I repeat myself..."
posted by wenestvedt at 1:28 PM on March 4 [16 favorites]


I'm all for McDonald's continuing to exist in Russia if it means Russian citizens can still afford to eat.

What does that even mean??
posted by mumimor at 1:30 PM on March 4 [11 favorites]


Also of note is that a signature piece of legislation for Putin has been that only career soldiers are sent to war combat, not the conscripts, and certainly not fresh ones.

The difference between a conscript and a career soldier is a signature on a piece of paper and a commander that tells them to sign it or be considered an enemy of the Russian people. They're sending people who are conscripts in everything but name.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 1:31 PM on March 4 [6 favorites]


Your Childhood Pet Rock, I know what's happening, was just trying to highlight one more way he's a lying POS.
posted by WeekendJen at 1:33 PM on March 4 [14 favorites]


The run on sugar... It's a Polish thing, but I think Russians are just as likely to put in stores to make moonshine, though I suspect they don't use the battle of Grunwald as an aide-memoire. (1 kilo of sugar, 4 liters water, 10 decagrams of yeast. Never made it, but apparently you can distill it to a liter of 50% alcohol.)
posted by I claim sanctuary at 1:35 PM on March 4 [5 favorites]


I wrote up a whole thing but, on preview, deferring to WeekendJen and other Russian Mefites to speak to conditions in Russia. I hope things aren't too rough on you all.
posted by fight or flight at 1:36 PM on March 4 [5 favorites]


I didn't look at the price today, but you can buy store brand vodka for less than sugar usually. Auchan store brand is "kashdie dein" which means "every day" Every day vodka.
posted by WeekendJen at 1:38 PM on March 4 [15 favorites]


More good news on the oligarch front: Italians have seized Alexey Mordashov's yacht.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 1:38 PM on March 4 [16 favorites]


Masha Gessen in The New Yorker: “The War That Russians Do Not See”
On March 1st, schools around the country held special social-studies classes on the war in Ukraine. The online publication Mediazona, another independent news organization that has been branded as a “foreign agent,” obtained a script sent out by the education ministry. Its F.A.Q. section begins, “Question: Are we at war with Ukraine? Could this have been avoided? Answer: We are not at war. We are conducting a special peacekeeping mission, the goal of which is to contain the nationalists who are oppressing the Russian-speaking population.”
posted by Going To Maine at 1:40 PM on March 4 [10 favorites]


Irn-Bru are exiting the russian market. So if you wanted to boycott Coca-cola there's options.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 1:43 PM on March 4 [14 favorites]


And from a few days ago, also by Masha Gessen in The New Yorker, since all they do now is write about Ukraine: “How Putin Wants Russians to See the War in Ukraine”
What small ways Putin once had of checking in with outer reality have fallen away during the pandemic. One example is the conference of Russian and foreign political scientists that he has gathered every fall since 2004. But, in 2020, he came to the event only virtually, and last year he isolated himself from the gathering and appeared in person only once, to allow the attendees to ask him questions; he sat on a distant stage, with a moderator who had been quarantining for two weeks.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:45 PM on March 4 [3 favorites]






Freelance Demiurge: "Bloomberg: "Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. have been purchasing beaten-down company bonds tied to Russia in recent days, as hedge funds that specialize in buying cheap credit look to load up on the assets""

“Don't forget the real business of war is buying and selling. The murdering and violence are self-policing, and can be entrusted to non-professionals. The mass nature of wartime death is useful in many ways. It serves as spectacle, as diversion from the real movements of the War. It provides raw material to be recorded into History, so that children may be taught History as sequences of violence, battle after battle, and be more prepared for the adult world. Best of all, mass death's a stimulus to just ordinary folks, little fellows, to try 'n' grab a piece of that Pie while they're still here to gobble it up. The true war is a celebration of markets.” [Thomas Pynchon, Gravity's Rainbow]
posted by chavenet at 2:07 PM on March 4 [15 favorites]


Oh man, from that Meduza article:
Elena
Samara Oblast

My son and I are in the oncology ward, soon he’ll have an operation and he needs a joint replacement. The type he needs is only manufactured abroad, each one is made individually to order. What will happen now is unknown. His doctors don’t know whether they’ll be able to place an order, and if they can, whether it will be made and brought here on time, because the operation has to take place within a strictly defined period of time.

I can do absolutely nothing in this situation. The doctors hope that everyone there understands that children with cancer are not to blame for anything.
posted by prefpara at 2:10 PM on March 4 [8 favorites]


CocaCola is staying on in Russia, making money.

That's pretty much on brand for Coke.
posted by Mitheral at 2:14 PM on March 4 [2 favorites]


the goal of which is to contain the nationalists

"Contain" is an interesting word. The other day I was digging around for Russian propaganda stuff and came across this blog post with a map. It argues that the only truly Ukrainian part of Ukraine is the part that was under "Polish papist occupation and misrule from the 15th through the 18th centuries." I've been wondering since I read that if a limited war aim for Putin - short of wholesale regime change in Ukraine - is a map that looks something like that, where the nationalists are "contained."
posted by clawsoon at 2:24 PM on March 4


It's good to remember that many Russians didn't want this war either and they will also be victims as their economy collapses

Russians I know in the U.S. (many of whom are here for reasons very related to the governance of Russia) aren’t too pleased by some of the stuff thrown around on social media, either.
posted by atoxyl at 2:25 PM on March 4 [6 favorites]




I'm still chatting with Russians on facebook so take that block with a grain of salt.
posted by small_ruminant at 2:41 PM on March 4 [4 favorites]


Reuters: Ukraine still has 'significant majority' of its military aircraft -U.S. official

Also, this:
The Pentagon has established a new hotline with Russia's ministry of defense to prevent "miscalculation, military incidents and escalation" in the region as Russia's invasion of Ukraine advances.

The "deconfliction" hotline would be an open phone line based at the European Command's headquarters and would fall under Air Force General Tod Wolters, who leads all U.S. forces on the continent.

"In our initial test of it, (the Russians) answered the phone," the official said.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 3:02 PM on March 4 [10 favorites]


Replying to clawsoon’s map above, one of my grandfathers , born under the “polish papist rule” section would have very strongly objected to not being called Ukrainian, and being lumped into Poland, when he and his family were never treated as citizens under that rule. He would tell stories of independence in 1918, and how for a brief moment in his childhood his family had peace, and an identity with other Ukrainians that was worth defending and fighting for. (And that they did… 5/7 of his siblings were killed first by one invader then the next), with similar stories across all of my ancestors.

TLDR Please be careful of overly simplistic maps, if nothing else the last 3 threads have shown me how many “Eastern European” experts are trying to westsplain my family’s experience as if we were mere playing pieces on a game board. Ukrainians have a right to choose their own sovereignty, and I as with any group of people the process won’t be clean or pretty, especially now.
posted by larthegreat at 3:25 PM on March 4 [62 favorites]


good reminder from larthegreat.. from a lifetime (and marriage) ago, my father-in-law at the time grew up in a place and depending on the year you asked, it was part of Poland, Ukraine, or Germany.
edit to add: no matter what other people thought the place belonged to, the people there knew who they were
posted by elkevelvet at 3:34 PM on March 4 [32 favorites]


Another reminder for American Mefites in this thread to please stop interjecting to soapbox or tell Russian/Ukrainian Mefites what they "should" or "must" be doing. Step back and let the people affected by this situation speak.
posted by fight or flight at 3:58 PM on March 4 [34 favorites]


The Kyiv Independent@KyivIndependent·7m⚡️The U.S. Embassy did not send a message on behalf of U.S. Chargé d'Affaire Kristina Kvien saying that there "will be strong shelling tonight," and that Russians will target all civil activists after capturing the city and imposing martial law...

The Kyiv Independent

This message is “fake and seems intended to inspire panic,” according to press attache Daniel Langenkamp."
posted by clavdivs at 4:07 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


The Week, the week's best photojournalism. Almost all of them are Ukraine related. I particularly like the one where Putin's waxwork in Paris is dismantled.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:10 PM on March 4 [5 favorites]


Another reminder for American Mefites in this thread to please stop interjecting to soapbox or tell Russian/Ukrainian Mefites what they "should" or "must" be doing. Step back and let the people affected by this situation speak.

A reminder for you that you don’t know what “American Mefites” situation is: people often have relatives or loved ones in affected areas, and particularly with the International Legion standing up, people who are war fighting or war fighting adjacent may not be who you think they are. Not everyone will be speaking from the sidelines and not everyone may be comfortable identifying their connections on an open website. The people affected are everywhere.
posted by corb at 4:13 PM on March 4 [33 favorites]




Latest update posted on the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs portal suggests concerns that Russian troops might move in from Transnistria:
21:31
The bridge connecting the banks of the Kuchurhan river, was blown up to prevent enemy invasion from the territory not controlled by the government of Moldova.
The railway bridge between the Ukrainian village of Pavlivka and the Moldovan township of Pervomaisc was blown up today, March 4, around 17:00, according to eyewitness reports.
posted by Not A Thing at 4:32 PM on March 4


Vladislav Davidzon: Jewish Ukraine Fights Nazi Russia

In the last thread I had mentioned Zelensky's mixed record and controversial public persona before the war. And phillip-random subsequently pointed to a parallel with Churchill. Davidzon captures it perfectly for us both:

"Ukrainians voted for a mixture of Benny Hill and Boris Johnson, and somehow wound up with Churchill."
posted by Kabanos at 5:06 PM on March 4 [38 favorites]


I don't give a shit about his past. If he has dodgy money now would be good time to cash out. But he's staying. They will kill him, he knows that, and he's staying. It's a Brand New Day.
posted by adept256 at 5:30 PM on March 4 [22 favorites]


About the special social studies classes in Russia that Masha Gessen mentions, this is from a Tumblr post:

"A few days ago, every school in the country received instructions to hold special classes to explain to kids why “the liberating military operation” was necessary and what happens now. The teachers have been given manuals on what to say and how to answer the kids’ questions. Some of the answers include: “Don’t worry if you hear that some countries don’t want to be friends with us anymore. There are other countries who do, and besides, Russia is a very big country, so we have everything you can possibly need right here.” By “other countries”, my guess is, they mean North Korea. After the class, the kids are supposed to take a test. It’s electronic, entered through a QR code, and the answers are automatically logged in. Questions include: “Explain why the liberating military operation was necessary” and “Expand on what the Russian government is doing to help people of Lugansk and Donetsk.” The results of the test are tallied, and if some kid doesn’t give the right ones, their parents are called in for “a talk”.

The author also makes an impassioned case against the blanket sanctions on ALL Russians whether or not they support the war, and especially against the imposed isolation of Russian scientists, artists and musicians, who are in many cases anti-Putin. The two Russian films pulled from the Glasgow film festival were anti-Putin.

https://twentybiteen99.tumblr.com/post/677832296038023168/random-things-what-happens-when-you-protest-in
https://twentybiteen99.tumblr.com/post/677832280317853696/i-must-admit-i-am-overwhelmed-and-slightly
posted by subdee at 5:43 PM on March 4 [24 favorites]


The Kyiv Independent on Twitter
US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said on March 4 at the UN that Russian forces are now 20 miles, and closing, from Ukraine’s second largest nuclear facility – the Yuzhnoukrainsk Nuclear Power Station in southern Ukraine’s Mykolaiv Oblast.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:45 PM on March 4


Konstantin Kisin on BBC Question Time

worth a few minutes
posted by philip-random at 5:56 PM on March 4 [5 favorites]


THREAD I know it sounds contra-intuitive, but it feels that Russia and its army are about to collapse. RU obviously has no reserves left: the tanks they send to the front are very old, without active armor, look like training machines. They do not have trucks, using civilian ones

From Sergei Sumlenny
posted by Roach at 6:35 PM on March 4 [4 favorites]


I don't know who Sergei Sumlenny is, but that twitter thread seems outright delusional to me.
According to Ukrainian intelligence (and they get much info from the US I guess) Russia has already used 95% of all its ground forces gathered for the invasion, and it makes almost 100% of Russia's active ground forces. Effectively, Ukraine has eliminated Russian ground forces
Reports that Russia has "used" 95% of its ground forces gathered for the invasion does not mean that 95% of those forces have been killed/captured/etc. It means that 95% of those forces have been deployed.

Unless there is something of tremendous import that both I and the entirety of the western mainstream media are missing, this is complete nonsense. I wish it were otherwise.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 6:51 PM on March 4 [28 favorites]


Regarding the surprising inability of Russia to establish air superiority over Ukraine: Is the Russian Air Force Actually Incapable of Complex Air Operations?
posted by Kabanos at 7:05 PM on March 4 [10 favorites]


"used" 95% simply means deployed or sent into Ukraine, not used up or destroyed.
posted by mono blanco at 7:09 PM on March 4 [8 favorites]


The move followed an announcement on Thursday that Vilnius in neighboring Lithuania will change the name of a street where the Russian embassy is located to Heroes of Ukraine Street.

Seems to be a trend.
A northern Ontario MP is calling on the city of Ottawa to rename a portion of the street outside the Russian Embassy in honour of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.

NDP MP Charlie Angus presented the motion in the House of Commons on Thursday, calling for Charlotte Street in Sandy Hill to be renamed Zelensky Boulevard.

The motion received unanimous consent in the House.
I am delighted the people of the Timmins/James Bay have elected a former punk rock bassist to Parliament seven times now.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:33 PM on March 4 [10 favorites]


Reuters: Ukraine still has 'significant majority' of its military aircraft -U.S. official

The extent to which the Russian military has underperformed expectations must be causing NATO planners to rethink a lot of their assumptions.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:50 PM on March 4 [6 favorites]


Charlie Angus needs to catch up! Ottawa already put up "Free Ukraine" street signs around the Russian Embassy a couple of days ago.
posted by peppermind at 7:55 PM on March 4 [4 favorites]


I appreciate the sentiment, but if it's an address that a Russian representative will have to print on official media, why not "Putin Sucks Blvd?"
posted by rhizome at 8:21 PM on March 4 [7 favorites]


Cogent, a significant ISP and a key provider to Russian state-owned online resources, has cut off access to Russia.

Doesn't that play into Russian propaganda gaining an upper hand?
posted by pashdown at 8:28 PM on March 4 [1 favorite]


Ukraine street seems like a much better idea than naming things after Zelensky, or any other living politician. He's the man of the hour but who knows what the future holds?
posted by Wretch729 at 8:34 PM on March 4 [12 favorites]


'Ukraine crisis presents clash of cultures, identity, and politics.'
Updated February 23, 2022.
"If you want good insight into what Vladimir Putin is really fighting, I would direct you to Ivan Kotliarevsky’s “Eneida,” a parody of Virgil’s “Aeneid,” "

'Joint Statement on Russia’s War Against Ukraine'
February 24, 2022

"...including LGBTQ rights advocates. He also seeks to silence scholars who have researched Stalinist atrocities such as the Holodomor, the complexities of World War II, and other subjects that do not correspond with Putin’s affirmative view of Soviet history."
The list of signatories should speak for itself.

President Sauli Niinistö with Judy Woodruff:

"What we see today is more united European Union and Europeans than ever.
And that means that Europe will also develop its defense and take more and more — much more responsibility of its own security"
Finland Formalizes Deal for 64 Block 4 F-35s.Feb. 11, 2022.
expected delivery in 2 + years.

Finnish volunteers deliver 140 DJI Mavic Mini drones to Ukraine military
posted by clavdivs at 8:39 PM on March 4 [13 favorites]


Ukraine street seems like a much better idea than naming
Як інжир залишають на статуї.?
posted by clavdivs at 8:46 PM on March 4


I found the recent pocket report on the way pretty solid for those who want hot takes a coupled with recommendations for action using a 401k rebalance.
posted by larthegreat at 8:59 PM on March 4



Finnish volunteers deliver 140 DJI Mavic Mini drones to Ukraine military

So cool, I have that model! Easy to learn and it seems like a new must have at squad or platoon level for any armed forces. Who wouldn't want an almost invisible observer 200m up, giving you a view for kms in every direction?
posted by Meatbomb at 10:12 PM on March 4 [3 favorites]


Temporary ceasefire begins in Mariupol and Volnovakha to set up humanitarian corridors. (Kiev Independent)

Mariupol has lost electricity, water and heat; food supplies are running low. Civilian evacuations start in about an hour. Although the area does not have a good history with ceasefires (2014).
posted by meowzilla at 12:12 AM on March 5 [3 favorites]


Reuters: Ukraine still has 'significant majority' of its military aircraft -U.S. official

The extent to which the Russian military has underperformed expectations must be causing NATO planners to rethink a lot of their assumptions.


I'm taking all information of this kind with a whole bag of salt.

BUT, if it is true, it does trigger a sense of deja vu with me. You see, I am an army brat. And the grandfather who survived WW2 was very involved in "stuff" in the East Block during the Cold War and a personal friend of Lech Wałęsa. Both dad and granddad were constantly worried about the Sovjets. My step-dad was in a shady industry, that traded weapons-related technology on both sides. It was legal, but as I say shady. Whatever, all three of them were worried about my leftist inclinations, and tried to install in me a healthy fear of the Sovjets.
Then what happened was that in 1989, I got a job in Berlin, and started going there very often. 1989 was the year of me making bad choices. I missed going out on the town in Paris with Madonna during that summer. And I missed a private party right next to the wall in Kreuzberg on November 9th 1989. I'm an idiot. But the spring of 1990 I tried to make up for my previous failures. With my West Berlin friends, I explored the East on car rides I remember as sunny and bright in every sense of the words. And one day, we came upon some Sovjet barracks on Frankfurter Strasse. I was fascinated. Those of you who have also grown up with barracks and all that probably know how we see them differently than civilian kids. We were allowed in, maybe for a bribe, and roamed about for a while.
The soldiers were scrappy, very short and skinny. They were predominately from the Asian part of the USSR, since the Sovjets understood that it would be difficult to get Russian, Belarussian and Ukrainian soldiers to shoot at Europeans. They routinely sold parts of their uniforms (and probably also weapons) on the market on Potsdamer Platz to get a bit of Deutschmark for food, cigarettes, booze, so their looks were highly unregulated.
There was an outdoor washing station, with a long metal sink and many cold-water faucets. I tried to turn a faucet and it was rusty and calcified. The lawns weren't mown and the buildings looked derelict, we weren't allowed inside, fair enough. Vehicles were parked all over the place, in no order. Understand that it was very clear that this decay could not had happened within the past year.
When we came out, we were all laughing hysterically: this was the mighty army we had been taught to fear for our whole lives!
Back home, I was thoroughly debriefed by both dad and granddad. They thought it was funny too, but not as much as I did. They knew that I knew how a well managed army should look. And when my granddad later asked me what I thought of the dissolution of the Sovjet Union and the Warsaw Pact, I answered that there would be war in Europe within ten years. And he was very angry, so we made a bet. I won, but he never honored the bet, he was so sad and disappointed. I don't know why I knew, at the time it was a gut feeling. I had traveled around and made friends in many of the former East Block countries during -90 and -91, and there was -- something -- I couldn't put my finger on it.

With this all said, I don't find it impossible to believe that Russia never built a modern defense system after the end of the Cold War. Who would have done that? The same generals who had managed the obviously ridiculous army we saw that day in Frankfurter Strasse? Putin? Putin is not a modernization kind of person, and anyways: where would they even start and how would it go unnoticed? Hardware isn't everything, counting the fighter jets means nothing.

There, I just said a lot of stuff I have not being saying for the last week. Maybe I'll regret it in another week. But right now, it helps me hope for Ukraine.
posted by mumimor at 12:54 AM on March 5 [84 favorites]


What's a sovjet?
posted by adept256 at 1:04 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


the proper spelling for Soviet
posted by porpoise at 1:06 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


What we called the leaders in the USSR back then in ancient times.
posted by mumimor at 1:07 AM on March 5


An alternative transliteration from Cyrillic for Soviet, I believe.
posted by biogeo at 1:07 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


(my spell control didn't protest)
posted by mumimor at 1:08 AM on March 5 [3 favorites]


Ha, since you began with a headline about aircraft I thought ... nevermind.
posted by adept256 at 1:19 AM on March 5 [8 favorites]


Maybe I'll regret it in another week. But right now, it helps me hope for Ukraine.

I appreciate the dose of hope, as my own mood fluctuates around this matter. The NATO countries are doing their utmost to starve the bear, but the Ukrainians ultimately have to defeat it if they're going to hold on to their country. Before the war most would have assumed that wouldn't have been possible, but now we simply don't know. It seems hard to imagine that Putin can successfully conquer Ukraine in any sustainable way, but how much death and destruction will Ukrainians endure before the bear is exhausted?
posted by Alex404 at 1:21 AM on March 5 [5 favorites]


small_ruminant: I'm still chatting with Russians on facebook so take that block with a grain of salt.

Are you still able to reach them?

When I saw news of the ban I sent a friend of mine in Russia a message through Messenger letting them know that I’d be able to help if they needed to transit through Finland to rejoin their spouse (who lives elsewhere in Europe), and we chatted for a while (they aren’t leaving immediately).

But since then they’ve been dark on Messenger. Which isn’t unusual, per se, but since I couldn’t find anything definitive about whether Messenger is working or not, I figured I should ask.
posted by Kattullus at 2:21 AM on March 5 [4 favorites]


And just hours after purchasing 2 new Samsung phones, Samsung announces they will suspend shipments to Russia. I'm not going out today, so I'm not sure if that means stores will close now, but I assume they will as stock dwindles. I bought the phones from a Samsung store and there were 4 sales people working and they were all on the side of facts.

We actually bought a tv as well, but from an electronics store and went with a Chinese brand, Haier, because they use the same technology and the Chinese brands have not increased much in price due to the war (a bit due to inflation / covid supply chain stuff). I guess Chinese phones will be the only ones available soon. They are nice and cheap and the tech seems good, but I just didn't trust them not to spy on me exponentially more than my standard androids and sell the info to a bunch of wear fascists that can't seem to administer their own systems anymore.
posted by WeekendJen at 2:28 AM on March 5 [14 favorites]


Facebook, twitter, the web in general all accessible using (US) commercially available VPNs. All hail VPNs.

If I was smarter I would set up something where people can donate VPN services to russians. Mine is paid from my US bank account.
posted by WeekendJen at 2:29 AM on March 5 [15 favorites]


@ben_golub: "A very odd tone shift on Russian state TV: (1) calling the war a war. (2) some light banter about a military coup in Russia... A later segment features several weird minutes of banter about the history of regicide in Russia... Guests note that regicide is not only a European sport, and has been the mode of departure of numerous Russian monarchs."

also btw...
@t0nyyates: "Suppose Russia manage to occupy Ukraine in some form, the immediate post war period is going to be very tense. The Russian leadership will feel more exposed than they did, realising that their forces are much less capable than they thought. And hard to improve under sanctions..."*

@kamilkazani: "TL;DR Uneasy relations of Kremlin with generals. In peacetime army is easily controlled through procedures. But in the war procedural power wanes, generals become proud and independent. Thus you gonna kill them en masse after each war..."
posted by kliuless at 2:56 AM on March 5 [16 favorites]


Incidentally, speaking recently on the evening news, the mufti of the Ukrainian Muslim community, Said Ismagilov—appearing straight out of central casting in a flowery black robe embroidered with golden flowers, a white turban, and steel-rimmed glasses—made such a stirring defense of the loyalty of Ukrainian Muslims to the Ukrainian state that he brought the newscaster who was interviewing him, a young woman, to tears.
After reading this sentence in the article Kabanos linked to above, I went looking for more info on Ismagilov. His English Wikipedia article hasn’t been update for a while, but it has a lot of info. He’s Tatar, of which there are 400 thousand in Ukraine. They suffered greatly during Soviet times, and thousands faced expulsions from their ancestral land after the forcible annexation of Crimea in 2014. I couldn’t find a video with the newsreader reacting, but I think this is the television address he gave when the invasion began (here is the text in English translation). He was interviewed yesterday for an article about him, and is still in Kyiv.
posted by Kattullus at 3:15 AM on March 5 [26 favorites]


The most hilarious thing from people here is the belief that russians will go hungry if McDonalds stops working.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 3:19 AM on March 5 [23 favorites]


Russia has lost three fighter jets in the last 24 hours which has got to be putting the fear of Jebus into some Generals in Moscow as it's clear they don't have air superiority and Putin must not be in the greatest of moods when they head in to his office to deliver a briefing.
posted by PenDevil at 3:20 AM on March 5 [5 favorites]


Michael Kofman, a military analyst specializing in Russian matters who seems to be respected by most everyone in his field, wrote a short Twitter thread last night (lightly edited for clarity):
I try not to make too many predictions. I think given all the problems in the Russian campaign, delusional assumptions, an unworkable concept of operations, little prepared for a sustained war like this, I give it ~3 more weeks before this is an exhausted force.

Exhausted in terms of combat effectiveness. What follows next I don’t know. Maybe a ceasefire where both sides reorganize and resupply, maybe a settlement. It depends on the course of the war and the situation in Russia.

That’s not indicative of either side winning, or the war ending. I can’t predict how the next few weeks will go. Just looking at it from my limited perspective, I see this phase of it as bounded, especially given how the war began.

I fear folks may read this too positively. A lot can happen in a few weeks. A ceasefire is often not the end of a war, but rather may enable its continuation.
posted by Kattullus at 3:33 AM on March 5 [12 favorites]




I hope the info trickling out about the lack of preparation and strategy for people being sent to the front lines with make more people question the true capacity and ability of the police to control the narrative by suppressing protests. I am definitely not denying the danger of protesting. A lot of the protesters arrested are carrying signs, standing in the front, or loudly shouting and leading chants. In my fantasy I see large blocks of silent people walking, giving the police the problem of figuring out which one to arrest next. Also, whereas before people might have assumed that the city cameras have some high tech bleeding edge facial recognition or something to just be able to identify and arrest / fine people after the fact, now maybe we can assume that they don't have the coordination for such efforts since even if they claim they do, it's likely a lie told by local officials to secure funding for such tech and personally pocket the money without implementation.
posted by WeekendJen at 4:06 AM on March 5 [13 favorites]


I have to say, when I saw that Sky News was fired upon, I wasn't actually expecting more than maybe a potshot. They're lucky to be alive. The sheer amount of gunfire makes the other two stopped cars especially worrisome.

Warning: Live fire, no blood or gore
Sky News Escape
posted by Trifling at 4:12 AM on March 5 [8 favorites]


Ukrainian athletes dig deep on day one of Winter Paralympics . Excerpt:
Ukrainian athletes showed resilience in the face of the turmoil engulfing their war-torn homeland Saturday, racing to the top of the medal table on day one of the Beijing Winter Paralympics with an impressive haul of seven.

With more than 1.2 million of their fellow citizens now refugees and fears of a food crisis mounting, the Ukrainian Paralympians on the slopes in Zhangjiakou dug deep.

The team claimed three golds, three silver and a bronze in the biathlon events, just days after an arrival in the capital their top official had dubbed a "miracle" following an arduous journey.
posted by Kattullus at 4:38 AM on March 5 [13 favorites]


I have quit FB a long time ago, but I haven't shut down my account, because some people still contact me via messenger. So last night, I made a post about boycotting Coca Cola, Pepsi and McDonalds, and despite my non-existence on the platform, it has till now been liked by 59 people and shared by 16. One FB-friend added Carlsberg and Arla to the list.

I'm thinking that some of you might be on FB and can do something similar, including adding more problematic multinationals to the list?
posted by mumimor at 4:50 AM on March 5 [4 favorites]


This pre-invasion analysis originally appeared at: Foreign Policy, The West’s Weapons Won’t Make Any Difference to Ukraine – U.S. military equipment wouldn’t realistically help Ukrainians—or intimidate Putin, by Samuel Charap, a senior political scientist at the Rand Corporation, and Scott Boston, a senior defense analyst at the Rand Corp., January 21, 2022.

If you can’t get past FP’s paywall, you can also read it at: U.S. Military Aid to Ukraine: A Silver Bullet?, Samuel Charap and Scott Boston, The RAND Blog, January 21, 2022. It’s too long to quote adequately here, apart from the authors’ opening paragraphs and conclusion (see embedded links in the article):
With Russian forces massed on Ukraine's borders, the policy discussion in Washington increasingly has focused on what the United States can do to help its Ukrainian partners defend their country. Just this week, the Biden administration has approved deliveries of U.S.-made Stinger shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles to Kyiv, in addition to upping provision of other military equipment. Allies, including the United Kingdom, are providing their own assistance, too.

The justification for the aid has varied. Some have made the case that U.S. military assistance to Ukraine can change Russia's calculus now, possibly deterring Moscow from launching an attack. Others claim that aid to the Ukrainian military can have a real impact on a possible fight with the Russians, making it meaningfully more challenging for the Kremlin to achieve victory and ruling out certain military options Russia might be considering. And there are also voices who call for additional capabilities merely to raise costs for Moscow—that is, to kill more Russian soldiers—so as to create political problems for President Vladimir Putin at home, although without much expectation that Ukraine would prevail.

None of these arguments is convincing. That does not mean security cooperation with Kyiv should cease. It does mean that military assistance is not an effective lever for resolving this crisis.

[Analysis here…]

In normal times, there are many good reasons for the United States to provide military support to Ukraine. But these are not normal times. Military assistance now will at best be marginal in affecting the outcome of the crisis. It might be morally justified to help a U.S. partner at risk of aggression. But given the scale of the potential threat to Ukraine and its forces, the most effective way Washington can help is to work on finding a diplomatic solution.
posted by cenoxo at 4:59 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


Everyone writing now seems to agree the ATGMs and drones have been a big deal in defying expectations of an overwhelming Russian victory. The policy wonks were wrong about policy being the most important thing, especially in the final moments before war breaks out. Quelle surprise.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:15 AM on March 5 [16 favorites]


Poland's government has just issued a strong statement that they consider Ukrainian territorial integrity inviolate and won't accept any changes to it. Coming as it did in a press conference with Secretary of State Blinken (and his up to date intelligence information) and combined with some of Putin's remarks about "containing" Ukrainians and a decisive solution to Ukraine, I have a deep suspicion someone just offered Poland the 1921 solution of splitting Ukraine between Russia and Poland. Thank heavens they're not quite that stupid.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 5:16 AM on March 5 [39 favorites]


Fucker on TV speaking now at a table surrounded by invited women for March 8th, the closest to other humans he has been since the beginning of covid. I suppose he trusts them more than men. A classic weakness.

But anyhow the "good" news is that while he said he has 3 options for the "mobilization" of the country, he is not enacting any at this time.
posted by WeekendJen at 5:23 AM on March 5 [4 favorites]


I have a deep suspicion someone just offered Poland the 1921 solution of splitting Ukraine between Russia and Poland.

Sounds like someone in the State Department needs their security clearance reviewed. Trump's people burrowed deep.
posted by adept256 at 5:25 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


Has Russia occupied Odessa or not? The reporting on it is frustratingly vague. If so that’s a huge problem for any kind of diplomatic solution while they remain.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:26 AM on March 5


It's a Daily Beast story, so the style is a bit over-the-top, but some of the content about what's showing up on Russian state television is interesting:
...Kartapolov claimed that Russian troops were ordered to seize Ukraine’s nuclear plants to prevent Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky “from building a dirty bomb” with which to attack Russia.

...Soloviev asked: “Are we de facto at war with NATO?” Kartapolov concurred: “De facto, we are at war with NATO, because all of Ukraine’s military formations are carrying out NATO’s tasks..."

...“Our position is clear and transparent, including during these negotiations. The essence is as follows: Ukraine will recognize Crimea as the Russian Federation, as well as DPR/LPR [‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ and ‘Luhansk People’s Republic’] within their administrative borders. Ukraine will change its social and state system and become a neutral, demilitarized country. That’s it.”

...In a glib and nonchalant manner, Soloviev noted: “Ukraine is sinking into the stone age. Most of its territories are on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe.”
posted by clawsoon at 5:30 AM on March 5 [9 favorites]


The most hilarious thing from people here is the belief that russians will go hungry if McDonalds stops working

This was one line in one persons comment. Dredging it back up to dunk on it replicates one of the more toxic dynamics of social media discourse. Trying to extend that to “people here” and not just, again, one line in one persons comment, makes it even worse. Can we try to elevate here? That goes for being smart about how you favorite, too.

posted by wemayfreeze at 5:33 AM on March 5 [101 favorites]


Has Russia occupied Odessa or not?

It doesn’t look like Odessa has been occupied yet in The Guardian’s current maps.
posted by cenoxo at 5:37 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


to prevent Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky “from building a dirty bomb” with which to attack Russia.

Putin's currently holding court with a tableful of air stewards (guess they have the free time) and is pushing the same line.

@mjluxmoore: “Those who are fighting in Ukraine are fighting for the future of our children,” says Putin, claiming Russia’s preventing Ukraine from developing a nuclear weapons program aided by the West. He’s billed the invasion from start as a defensive operation, contrary to the evidence [thread + video with more]
posted by Buntix at 5:39 AM on March 5


A podcast recommendation, BBC’s Ukrainecast has been a good morning listen for me in a range of voices and perspectives on the war.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 5:40 AM on March 5 [3 favorites]


When will Putin’s army run out of money? Not fast enough to save Ukraine. – Moscow’s international reserves have been halved. But its energy sales are likely to earn it enough cash., Jeremy Kahn & Andrew Marquardt, Fortune, March 03, 2022.
…Sanctions are already devastating the country economically. The ruble has taken a beating, losing 50% of its value on Monday after the sanctions were announced over the weekend. The currency has continued to slump over the past several days, at one point dropping an additional 8% on Wednesday. Before the crisis began, the Bank of Russia said its reserves were sufficient to cover 20 months’ worth of imports. That figure is likely to be 10 months now.

But Russia can likely still tap around $300 billion in foreign currency and gold reserves after the U.S. and various other governments said they would cut off the Bank of Russia's ability to access foreign exchange reserves held in their territories. That includes some $132 billion in gold that it holds in the Bank of Russia’s own vaults, as well as foreign currency that it holds domestically or holds abroad in countries like China, that have not agreed to enforce sanctions against Russia….
posted by cenoxo at 6:24 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]




It feels like with the overall rate things are going, that Russia could end up being a vassal state to China soon…
posted by rambling wanderlust at 6:33 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


Yah that analysis that said US providing equipment "wouldn't help" Ukraïne fend off the Russian monsters should put those policy "analysts" under suspicion for the remainder of their careers -- if it doesn't end them -- as they were clearly spouting the Kremlin line. Nice work if you can keep it, comrades.
posted by spitbull at 6:37 AM on March 5 [16 favorites]


In the three hours since my last post, the Russian AF have lost another 2 jets (1 x Su-30, 1 x Su-25).

Losses like that are not sustainable, especially on day 9 of a war they were supposed to have air dominance of 6 days ago.
posted by PenDevil at 6:38 AM on March 5 [15 favorites]


There seems to a new form of PR push going on that I think is an oblique defence of Russia. They don't directly defend Russian aggression but they seem to be arguing in every possible way against sanctions or defence of Ukraine. The focus is on the theoretical (and quite likely) immiseration of the Russian people without mentioning the very real ongoing obliteration of Ukrainian people.

It seems very similar to the defenders of right wing racist speech like the signatories on the Atlantic Letter who are incredibly silent when state legislated CRT and LGBTQ censorship actually happens.
posted by srboisvert at 6:39 AM on March 5 [19 favorites]


It feels like with the overall rate things are going, that Russia could end up being a vassal state to China soon…

One thought on reading that link above on Russia's apparent issues with coordinating complex air operations beyond simple bomber escort was that it's certainly something China could help them do, with no direct risk and reasonably surreptitiously.

But at what cost in their own relations....

Nice work if you can keep it, comrades.

It could definitely be that, but also never underestimate the predisposition of professionals to find that their profession is the key to solving a problem (and so should receive all the attention and funding).
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:40 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


That includes some $132 billion in gold

What are they gonna do, put the gold on a caravan of trucks and drive it to China?
posted by dis_integration at 6:55 AM on March 5 [3 favorites]


Any outcome is fine for China. If Russia wins the west gets a black eye and they get to do more energy deals with Russia at discounted rates because of sanctions. Russia loses, then Russia will need Chinese money to rebuild and assistance. Russia loses and falls apart, then they can dominate the new countries in the Russian Far East and Central Asia.
posted by interogative mood at 6:56 AM on March 5 [9 favorites]


Looking at official Chinese news, they have limited coverage of Ukraine which mostly consists of reporting of official Russian statements. The main focus is on Xi and China, including his calls for "ethnic unity".
posted by clawsoon at 7:01 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


“Don’t worry if you hear that some countries don’t want to be friends with us anymore. There are other countries who do, and besides, Russia is a very big country, so we have everything you can possibly need right here.” By “other countries”, my guess is, they mean North Korea.

Or the United Kingdom which seems shockingly unwilling to impose sanctions cementing their position as the premier league laundry of looted russian wealth.
posted by srboisvert at 7:03 AM on March 5 [22 favorites]



Any outcome is fine for China.


Not quite. Russia was supposed to be the hegemon in the 'Stans for the belt and road initiative. China can't do it because of awkwardness related to the Uighur genocide. Now there's a power vacuum in the Stans, and unrest in Kazakhstan.
posted by ocschwar at 7:15 AM on March 5 [8 favorites]


I'm seeing unfounded speculation online about a Russian Special Flight Squadron aircraft headed from Moscow to Washington DC.

Most likely reason for flight from Interfax: Rossiya Special Flight Squadron flight en route to Washington to bring home Russian diplomats declared personae non grata by U.S.

FlightRadar24 info for the plane.
posted by vers at 7:33 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


The Kyiv Independent@KyivIndependent·30m⚡️Putin says Ukraine could 'lose its statehood.' Russia’s dictator Vladimir Putin said that if Ukraine “continues to behave in the same way,” that will “bring into question the future of its statehood,” during a meeting broadcast on TV.

The Kyiv Independent@KyivIndependent·25m⚡️Nuremberg Trials prosecutor: Putin should be 'behind bars.' Benjamin Ferencz, the last surviving prosecutor of Nazis officials at the 1945-1946 trials, told the Mirror that “those responsible should be held accountable for aggression, crimes against humanity and plain murder.”
posted by bluesky43 at 7:42 AM on March 5 [4 favorites]


What's the significance of "⚡️"?
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:44 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


The Kyiv Independent uses the lightning bolt to mark its breaking news tweets, for people who want to quickly find the latest info in its Twitter feed.
posted by mbrubeck at 7:48 AM on March 5 [9 favorites]


That's copied from the Kyiv Independent twitter feed - it's their emoji, I can guess but I'm not sure what they intend by it.
posted by bluesky43 at 7:49 AM on March 5


One thing I’ve noticed in photos and videos of protests in Russian-occupied areas, is that people dress up like they’re supporting the national sports team, wearing Ukrainian flags as capes and painting the flag on their face. There are lots of flags, but other symbols aren’t widely visible. They also shout what sounds like the kind of chant you hear at football matches. Here’s a Twitter thread with videos.

At first I was a bit surprised, but then I realized for most of the people protesting, their only experience of demonstrative patriotism is supporting national sports teams, so that’s the model they have.
posted by Kattullus at 7:52 AM on March 5 [7 favorites]


This for the many Americans who have friends/relatives/loved ones impacted by the Russian invasion (and for any one else who is interested in a view from a NPR correspondent in Kyiv). Link to a long twitter thread.

Tim Mak
@timkmak Good Morning from Ukraine to the US. Kyiv is still in Ukrainian hands. Overnight, Russian/Ukrainian militaries signaled an agreement on a temporary ceasefire and humanitarian corridor for the evacuation of civilians from the embattled towns of Mariupol and Volnovakha.

BUT...
posted by bluesky43 at 7:57 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


Kattullus: At first I was a bit surprised, but then I realized for most of the people protesting, their only experience of demonstrative patriotism is supporting national sports teams, so that’s the model they have.

I've read that nationalism in the former Yugoslavia didn't just imitate sports fandom, it was literally centered around football club supporters. Is there any of that here?
posted by clawsoon at 8:00 AM on March 5 [3 favorites]


Clawsoon, Yup.

https://www.rferl.org/a/ukraine-protests-sports-fans-euromaidan/25244357.html
Two years ago, the violent reputation of Ukraine's soccer hooligans prompted calls in Europe for a Euro-2012 boycott.

Now, the "ultras" -- as hard-core soccer fans, including many violent hooligans, are commonly known in Eastern Europe -- have found political redemption by safeguarding Ukraine's Euromaidan protesters as they face off against police and the so-called "titushky," the pro-government thugs who many allege are hired muscle.

--- continues...

posted by Buntix at 8:06 AM on March 5 [8 favorites]


I haven’t noticed any obvious football ultra groups in the protest videos I’ve seen, nor any symbols associated with any of the major Ukrainian football clubs. But given that most football ultras are of enlisting age, and given their generally macho culture (which goes both for left and right-leaning ultra groups) I expect most of them have been recruited into the Ukrainian national guard.
posted by Kattullus at 8:10 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


I don't know what other symbols of patriotism would be expected? Like the flag of Ukraine is primarily a symbol of Ukraine, not the flag of a football team? There's the trident from the Ukrainian coat of arms too of course, but it wouldn't be as ubiquitous on flags.

I just want to push back a bit at the idea that Ukrainians don't have experience protesting for independence or other patriotic causes??? They've been doing it since before independence from the USSR in 1991!
posted by Kabanos at 8:24 AM on March 5 [29 favorites]


From a reporter for the Kyiv Independent
Illia Ponomarenko 🇺🇦@IAPonomarenko🔥Russians have been defeated in Mykolaiv, lots of vehicles and equipment left behind11:20 AM · Mar 5, 2022 from Ukraine
posted by bluesky43 at 8:26 AM on March 5 [17 favorites]


people dress up like they’re supporting the national sports team, wearing Ukrainian flags as capes and painting the flag on their face. There are lots of flags, but other symbols aren’t widely visible

My first thoughts seeing so many flags was that it was impossible to spin any images of the protests as anything but support for Ukraine, and not eg take photos out of context and say they were in support of the Russian forces. That, and you don't need more symbols when the message is just: we're still Ukraine.
posted by BungaDunga at 8:35 AM on March 5 [14 favorites]


Kabanos: I just want to push back a bit at the idea that Ukrainians don't have experience protesting for independence or other patriotic causes???

I didn’t mean to suggest that at all, but I see how what I wrote could be construed that way.

I was struck by the visual difference of the protests against the Russian occupiers than to, say, the Maidan protests of 2013-14, where there were many kinds of symbols visible. But I take your point that most people would only have Ukraine flags.
posted by Kattullus at 8:40 AM on March 5 [3 favorites]


This could be significant.

@AviMayer: "BREAKING: Israeli Prime Minister Bennett flew to Moscow in secret during Shabbat and is currently meeting with Russian President Putin."
posted by Buntix at 8:53 AM on March 5 [7 favorites]


Kind of hard to make witty placards in a city under siege. And while during Maidan ideology mattered - a lot of it was pro EU Ukrainians against the ones happy to be a Russian satellite state - here the message is simple: this is Ukraine.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 8:53 AM on March 5 [5 favorites]


@AviMayer: "BREAKING: Israeli Prime Minister Bennett flew to Moscow in secret during Shabbat and is currently meeting with Russian President Putin."

Interesting. Could be related to this from a couple weeks ago? From Reuters: Zelenskiy asks Israel to mediate with Russia, Ukraine envoy says
posted by vers at 9:02 AM on March 5 [4 favorites]


Israeli Prime Minister Bennett flew to Moscow in secret during Shabbat and is currently meeting with Russian President Putin

That's probably in relation to this; it won't hurt if the visit includes diplomacy on Ukraine, but it probably won't help much either.
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 9:06 AM on March 5 [3 favorites]


Putin may actually be getting pressure from citizens that are not happy about the actual loss of life that's occurring. Word that thousands of deaths will filter through or around the official channels.
posted by sammyo at 9:08 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


JERUSALEM, March 5 (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin on Saturday to discuss the Ukraine crisis, his spokesperson said. Israel, home to a substantial population of Russian immigrants, has offered to mediate in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, though officials have previously played down expectations of a breakthrough. While Israel, a close ally of the United States, has condemned the Russian invasion, voiced solidarity with Kyiv and sent humanitarian aid to Ukraine, it has said it will maintain communications with Moscow in the hope of helping to ease the crisis. Israel is also mindful of Moscow's military support for President Bashar al-Assad in next-door Syria, where Israel regularly attacks Iranian and Hezbollah military targets. Contacts with Moscow prevent Russian and Israeli forces trading fire by accident. Bennett, a religious Jew, took a flight in violation of Sabbath law because Judaism permits this when the aim is to preserve human life, his spokesperson said.
posted by bluesky43 at 9:08 AM on March 5 [18 favorites]


Kattullus - understood! And a fair point. Maidan started with a lot of EU and pro-European symbols, and accumulated all form of other symbols as it evolved. And an interesting comparison, in that Maidan was in large part a protest of Ukrainians against their own corrupt leader, whereas now they protest an occupying military force (not to diminish Russia's role in the events preceding, during, and after Maidan).

But yeah, if we're contrasting the protests with 2013, today's protests in occupied Kherson have been surprising and absolutely remarkable! As some commentators have noted, it's a city that mobilized very few people during Maidan protests, but now they have come out in hundreds (thousands?) with Ukrainian flags. Reportedly they have chased the Russian troops out of the center of the city, though I think it's too soon to think the Russians are no longer in control of the general territory of the city.

In one of the videos they are chanting, I think:
"Зеленський молодець! Путіну піздець!" (though probably in russian not ukrainian)

Which is just awesome. It's hard to translate "молодець" (molodets') and "піздець" (pizdetz') to really do the words justice. There's no real direct translation, and they can have slightly different meanings in different contexts. "Піздець/пиздец" is a multi-purpose vulgarity. But essentially it's:

"Zelensky is (the best/good boy/rocks)! Putin is (finished/kaput/fucked)!"
posted by Kabanos at 9:13 AM on March 5 [18 favorites]


On a much lighter note, this chart of the largest militaries in the world just made me spit laugh.
posted by vers at 9:14 AM on March 5 [17 favorites]


A bit of (very complex) background https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2022/03/israel-torn-over-ties-russian-oligarchs.

I suspect that Israel is someone Putin pays attention to.
posted by Buntix at 9:19 AM on March 5 [8 favorites]




G7 Foreign Ministers’ Statement on Russia and Ukraine, U.S. Dept. of State, March 4, 2022. The text of the following statement was released by the G7 foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, and the High Representative of the European Union.:
We, the G7 Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, and the High Representative of the European Union reiterate our profound condemnation of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustifiable war of choice against Ukraine, enabled by the Belarussian government.

Russia must immediately stop its ongoing assault against Ukraine, which has dramatically impacted the civilian population and destroyed civilian infrastructure, and immediately withdraw Russia’s military forces. With its further aggression, President Putin has isolated Russia in the world, as evidenced by the overwhelming vote at the United Nations General Assembly condemning Russia’s aggression and calling upon it to withdraw its forces immediately.

We express our heart-felt solidarity with the Ukrainian people and our sympathy with the victims of this war and their families. We underline our unwavering support for Ukraine, its freely-elected government and its brave people at this most difficult time, and express our readiness to assist them further.

We condemn the Russian attacks on Ukrainian civilians and civilian infrastructure, including schools and hospitals. We call on Russia to uphold its obligation to fully respect international humanitarian law and human rights law. Ukrainian and UN humanitarian agencies, medical personnel, and non-governmental assistance providers must be given safe, rapid and unimpeded access to people in need immediately throughout the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders. We acknowledge the announcement of an arrangement on humanitarian access as an important first step. This will need to be implemented reliably and swiftly. We commit to increasing humanitarian support, as the needs of the Ukrainian people grow due to Russia’s aggression. We urge Russia to stop its attacks especially in the direct vicinity of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants. Any armed attack on and threat against nuclear facilities devoted to peaceful purposes constitutes a violation of the principles of international law. We support the initiative of IAEA Director General Grossi announced today for an agreement between Ukraine and Russia to ensure the safety and security of nuclear facilities in Ukraine.

We are deeply concerned with the catastrophic humanitarian toll taken by Russia’s continuing strikes against the civilian population of Ukraine’s cities. We reemphasize that indiscriminate attacks are prohibited by international humanitarian law. We will hold accountable those responsible for war crimes, including indiscriminate use of weapons against civilians, and we welcome the ongoing work to investigate and gather evidence, including by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Russia’s blatant violation of the fundamental principles of international peace and security and the breach of international law have not gone unanswered. We have imposed several rounds of far-reaching economic and financial sanctions. We will continue to impose further severe sanctions in response to Russian aggression, enabled by the Lukashenka regime in Belarus.

We wish to make clear to the Russian and Belarusian people that the severe sanctions imposed on Russia and Belarus are a consequence of and clear reaction to President Putin’s unprovoked and unjustifiable war against Ukraine. President Putin, and his government and supporters, and the Lukashenka regime, bear full responsibility for the economic and social consequences of these sanctions.

We condemn the widespread use of disinformation by the Russian Government and its affiliated media and proxies to support its military aggression against Ukraine. Their steady stream of fabricated claims is putting additional lives at risk. We commit to countering Russia’s disinformation campaign.

We reaffirm our support and commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, extending to its territorial waters. We underline that any purported change of status achieved by Russia’s renewed aggression will not be recognized.
posted by cenoxo at 9:29 AM on March 5 [9 favorites]


A bit of (very complex) background https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2022/03/israel-torn-over-ties-russian-oligarchs.

Thanks Buntix. I found this super helpful in understanding the dynamics here and found this paragraph particularly so.

Israel’s strategy in this crisis stems from what it views as its “special standing” compared to other states. At the Cabinet session devoted to the crisis, participants described Israel’s very unique circumstances. On the one hand, it is undoubtedly a full member of the Western, democratic American camp. On the other hand, Putin threatens its vital security interests in the low-intensity war underway with Iran and its proxies along Israel’s northern border. A senior Israeli security source told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, “Whenever one of our F-16s takes off from any airfield in Israel powerful Russian radars deployed in Syria immediately lock on it. Without the special coordinating mechanism we have with the Russian military to our north, the air force activity in that air space would be curtailed — far more dangerous and particularly challenging.”
posted by bluesky43 at 9:33 AM on March 5 [4 favorites]


Regarding Israel and the Russian oligarchs, I found this comprehensive piece on Abramovich very intersting: Our Oligarch
posted by kmt at 9:36 AM on March 5 [3 favorites]


Anastasiia Lapatina @lapatina_
Ukrainians march towards Russian soldiers while getting shot at. Everyone must watch this video.

/this brought me to tears.
posted by bluesky43 at 9:41 AM on March 5 [12 favorites]


About Elon Musk and Starlink...

Economic Times of India: Ukraine crisis: Elon Musk refuses blocking Russian news sources, says he's a 'free speech absolutist'
On Saturday, the Tesla CEO shared that some world leaders (non-Ukrainian government) have been requesting Starlink - the satellite internet division of Musk-owned SpaceX - to block Russian news sources.

Taking to his official Twitter account, he refused to do so unless he was held at gunpoint. He added that he was a 'free speech absolutist'.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:11 AM on March 5 [5 favorites]


the belief that russians will go hungry if McDonalds stops working.

Funny wording, and little hidden logic leap to be sure, but I read it as, "If McDonalds is still making enough money to think staying is worth it, the people can't be THAT bad off. Starving people don't go spend money at McDonalds."
posted by ctmf at 10:25 AM on March 5 [5 favorites]




What if Ukraine wins? Or looks to be close to winning? Will the governments decide to burn them at the end due to the "dead man switch"? We are all in that town, and as much as I've read some derogatory comments about russia's nukes failing in the silos due to the clearly poor equipment maintenance (tires falling apart), is there any non-terrifying endgame to this 4D chess game of Putins?

We might be about to find out because several hours ago there was a Ukrainian counterattack launched in Kharkiv and subsequently there have been rumors of the Russian 144th MRD being driven back across the border along with an intercept of a Ukrainian missile over the skies of Belgorod just over half an hour ago.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 10:28 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


Not to abuse the edit window, here's a translation of the influencers' speech:

In 2015, a memorial alley of angels was erected in Donetsk in memory of the children who died in the Donbas during the war, hundreds of innocent children were killed, and at the moment the shelling of the residents continues. We do not want to install new memorials and cannot allow the death of innocent children, Russia wants to stop the eight-year genocide in the Donbass and return the Peaceful Sky over their heads to children.
posted by LindsayIrene at 10:29 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


cannot allow the death of innocent children, Russia wants to stop the eight-year genocide in the Donbass

I suppose this logic must work on people if they're using it, but it just makes Putin sound like someone who sat around and allowed a genocide to take place for right years before finally deciding to do something about it.
posted by BungaDunga at 10:39 AM on March 5 [7 favorites]


Volodymyr Zhoha has been killed.

It seems like Putin unleashing his personal Chechen warlord army to commit war crimes and spread terror is coming back to bite him. By the time the Ukrainians are through with them there'll be nobody left to defend Kadyrov from the separatists that remain in Chechnya.

More and more I come to the conclusion that Putin has overplayed his hand.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 10:40 AM on March 5 [9 favorites]


Updated thread from Kamil Galeev (@kamilkazani) on the course of the conflict:

Let's discuss how this war is going. I'll start with a somewhat counterintuitive problem - the one of nuclear deterrence....

an intercept of a Ukrainian missile over the skies of Belgorod just over half an hour ago.

That manifest posted a day or two ago indicated Ukraine captured at least one TOS1A launcher....
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:46 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]




I suppose this logic must work on people if they're using it

Just the other day chess super-GM Sergey Karjakin was angrily telling people that they had better watch some videos about the Alley of Angels before they criticized him for his support of the invasion, so it's working on at least some people.
posted by clawsoon at 11:40 AM on March 5 [1 favorite]


Looks like sanctions are already having an effect.

Radio Free Europe: Russian Agency Urges Suspension Of Flights Abroad, Aeroflot Quickly Complies
Russia's federal air-transport agency, Rosaviatsia, has recommended that domestic airlines with foreign-leased aircraft suspend all flights abroad, except to neighboring Belarus, from March 8.

The March 5 announcement discouraging both passenger and cargo flights is a de facto recognition of the crushing effect of international sanctions since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine 10 days ago.
It's interesting they specified leased aircraft. They implied they're afraid of seizures, but parts & maintenance may also be an issue.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:49 AM on March 5 [3 favorites]


If they're going to refuse to return planes despite their leases being cancelled, who's doing the seizures?

(Airplane repos can make for some wild stories, but with these airliners presumably they'd just be refused refueling once on the ground outside of Russia and that'd be that.)
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:51 AM on March 5 [2 favorites]


From The Guardian:
Dockworkers at the Ellesmere Port refinery in Cheshire have refused to unload Russian oil, echoing steps taken by counterparts at a gas terminal in Kent and in the Netherlands, as dissent spread across European ports in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

Unite said it had informed the owner of the Stanlow refinery, India’s Essar Group, that its members would “under no circumstances unload any Russian oil regardless of the nationality of the vessel which delivers it”.

posted by Bella Donna at 11:55 AM on March 5 [25 favorites]


Anastasiia Lapatina @lapatina_
Ukrainians march towards Russian soldiers while getting shot at. Everyone must watch this video.


To be clear, these are not soldiers, but civilians holding Ukrainian flags. They do not break ranks even as they are fired upon. Slava Ukraini.
posted by corb at 11:58 AM on March 5 [22 favorites]


The news feed at The Kyiv Independent says:
The Security Service arrested people alleged of being Russian proxies tasked with organizing the so-called “Federal Republic of Ukraine.” According to the SBU, the supposed “republic” would have included Ivano-Frankivsk, Zakarpattia, Lviv, Ternopil, and Chernivtsi.
Looking at a map of Ukraine, this looks like a stump in the far west. I'd be happy to learn more about what rationale Russia would've given for that. Comparing it to the pro-Russian propaganda map I posted upthread, it appears to be the part of modern Ukraine that wasn't part of the Soviet Union in 1918, so perhaps that's the rationale?
posted by clawsoon at 12:02 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]


Looks like it approximately overlaps with the West Ukrainian People's Republic, an area that was independent for a couple of years after the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
posted by clawsoon at 12:07 PM on March 5


By various formulations, the part of Ukraine that is the most historically 'european.'

Eastern Galicia
is a geographical region in Western Ukraine (present day oblasts of Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Ternopil)...
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:11 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]


That makes sense in terms of Russia propaganda, thanks.
posted by clawsoon at 12:16 PM on March 5


This might also be of interest:

Russian occupation of Eastern Galicia, 1914-1915

On August 19, Russian troops defeated the Austro-Hungarian Army, advanced 280–300 kilometers into Austrian territory and captured most of eastern Galicia. The principal city, Lemberg (now Lviv) fell into Russian hands on September 3.

In press releases, Russian leaders have maintained their planned timetable for their 'special operation' was always fifteen days.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:22 PM on March 5 [5 favorites]


That's what I meant about the 1921 compromise above - after Poland stopped the Bolshevik advance, we kinda nicked Galicia. Which bit us in the backside during World War II.

(Mind you, before the partitions of Poland in late 18th century that bit was part of the Commonwealth of Both Nations, while eastern Ukraine had allied with Russia since the mid seventeenth. Polish presence in Ukraine has a long history that started with a lot of outright colonisation.)
posted by I claim sanctuary at 12:26 PM on March 5 [7 favorites]


If they're going to refuse to return planes despite their leases being cancelled, who's doing the seizures?

The airplanes themselves, eh, probably a long-term lawsuit problem, not so much a "special forces seize the plane", especially if they keep them in-country. But without maintenance and parts support, they certainly would not be able to maintain them in safe, legal flying condition. Even if they relax or ignore all the rules, those planes would become increasingly unsafe to operate. So it's return them or store them like the beater car up on blocks in the yard.
posted by ctmf at 12:32 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]


Sure. I'm just saying, it's a little rich to claim one is seizing leased planes to protect them from seizure (in actuality, repossession by their owners).

"special forces seize the plane"


No special forces needed, just access to the plane, the legal right to take it and a lot of nerve.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:35 PM on March 5


"The repo man seized my stuff" feels like it's a reasonable way to talk about that sort of situation.
posted by clawsoon at 12:39 PM on March 5 [3 favorites]


FWIW Syria also did the protesting in the streets with flags and placards under occupation (~ 20 mins in).

Jiyan: Story Of A Female Guerilla Fighter (War Documentary)

@chimenesuleyman : "No one is criticising the Wests humanitarian response to Ukrainian people. Quite the opposite. People are merely pointing out that empathy, heroising, and mobilising are things many of you are capable of, but chose not to apply to brown Muslims. We are asking you to sit with why."
posted by Buntix at 12:50 PM on March 5 [31 favorites]


snuffleupagus > In press releases, Russian leaders have maintained their planned timetable for their 'special operation' was always fifteen days.

Would you have a source for this?
posted by cenoxo at 12:54 PM on March 5


They were all remarks quoted in response to other nations' claims that the invasion was behind its planned timetable, but it's hard to find them in the timeline now. At any rate, I'm inclined to think of it more as history's tendency to repeat itself than a point of planning (the timetable, not the political use of defunct states).
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:06 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]


There is this corroboration, from recovered operational documents.

(And, I'd imagine the literal phrasing used in any official denial would necessarily have been more like 'at least fifteen days.')
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:13 PM on March 5 [4 favorites]


Then they should've packed a lunch.
posted by ryanrs at 1:35 PM on March 5 [13 favorites]


I'm not sure if this has been posted, but this 20 minute interview with captured Russian forces was posted to /r/Ukraine about 5 hours ago.

Assuming it's true and the translation is accurate it goes pretty in depth into what was going on on the ground with the Russian forces and how little they knew about what was going on.

https://www.reddit.com/r/ukraine/comments/t7cbkj/another_interview_with_captured_russians_if_this/
posted by loquacious at 1:56 PM on March 5 [12 favorites]


Christo Grozev, exec director of Bellingcat, tweeted this thread about an alleged FSB whistle-blower letter leaked on Facebook. English translation linked further down in the replies. Hard to verify obviously but Christo thinks it is genuine. Worth reading, general theme is they went in completely unprepared, all is now chaos, and a culture of telling managers/senior officers what they expect to hear has hidden lots of systemic problems.
posted by memebake at 2:47 PM on March 5 [16 favorites]


"By the time the Ukrainians are through with them there'll be nobody left to defend Kadyrov from the separatists that remain in Chechnya."

I've been thinking this would be a great moment for Chechnya separatists to start staging some actions. Easy to imagine getting a lot of European arms support which wouldn't necessarily be available normally, for starters.

Anyone know if the stringent sanctions are being extended to Belarus?
posted by kaibutsu at 2:57 PM on March 5 [4 favorites]


Assuming it's true
I going to say yes, as the senior officer gave name and birthdate. wounds are tended ( non really visible on officer) and I'll assume they were treated well and given the choice to speak rather then under duress. I've have heard that clipped, fatigued matter of fact tone from the Lt. Cornel. Interesting.
Classic police interrogation.
Expectancy+persuasion----->belief-----> behavior (confession).
great find and very telling.
posted by clavdivs at 2:58 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]


The Kyiv Independent@KyivIndependent·45m⚡️ (Update) Ukrainian Air Force says 5 Russian aircraft, 4 helicopters were downed on March 5. Ukraine now claims a total kill count of 44 planes and 44 helicopters.
posted by bluesky43 at 3:02 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]


Both Mastercard and Visa are cutting off transaction processing in Russia.

The Russian state is being put through the wringer by Western business.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 3:04 PM on March 5 [3 favorites]


The Russian state is being put through the wringer by Western business.

With one major exception:
Sberbank (SBER.MM), Russia's largest lender, and Gazprombank were not included because they are the main channels for payments for Russian oil and gas, which EU countries are still buying despite the conflict in Ukraine.
posted by clawsoon at 3:09 PM on March 5 [13 favorites]


I'm beginning to think the oil and gas business may be a little unethical.
posted by adept256 at 3:13 PM on March 5 [87 favorites]


I think all businesses which operate on that scale and intensity of capital and are that necessary to sustaining "our" (meant very broadly) way of life are likely to be breeding grounds for unethical behavior. I do not know a simple way to address this problem.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 3:16 PM on March 5 [6 favorites]


The oil and gas situation is so depressing. Is there any popular movement brewing in Europe to reduce driving, heating, etc. as a means of supporting Ukraine, along with pressure on governments to stop imports? Seems like many would probably be willing to make some sacrifices if they thought it would make a difference.

The news about dockworkers refusing to unload Russian oil is very heartening. This is going to hurt ordinary Russians economically, of course, but I can't see any way around that at this point that isn't basically giving money to the Russian war machine as well.
posted by ssg at 3:17 PM on March 5 [10 favorites]


Part of the reason Putin has to do the war now is because as we head into April and May the gas usage of European nations drops precipitously. April is 3/4 of February's usage and May is 3/5 of it. Can't threaten to freeze German grannies by turning off the gas tap if it's not actually cold.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 3:18 PM on March 5 [12 favorites]


The oil and gas situation is so depressing. Is there any popular movement brewing in Europe to reduce driving, heating, etc. as a means of supporting Ukraine, along with pressure on governments to stop imports? Seems like many would probably be willing to make some sacrifices if they thought it would make a difference.

One of the tabloids here did a poll, asking wether people would be OK with gas prices rising if it could help the Ukrainians. A majority answered yes. The next question was wether people who were not dependent on gas would accept a tax hike to help those who were dealing with a gas price rise, and a majority said yes. (I've posted this before).
Tabloids in Denmark are read by the same demographic as everywhere.
posted by mumimor at 3:22 PM on March 5 [12 favorites]


Visa and Mastercard show that they CAN imagine the end of capitalism as easily as the end of the world.
posted by ocschwar at 3:24 PM on March 5 [4 favorites]


Is there any charitable explanation of why Rubio would share those photos of Zelensky?
posted by Selena777 at 3:26 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]


Gakked from twitter - Putin may be inadvertently returning Russia to communism.
posted by bluesky43 at 3:28 PM on March 5


Is there any charitable explanation of why Rubio would share those photos of Zelensky?
posted by Selena777


The most charitable thing I can say about Marco Rubio is that he is an asshat and an idiot.
posted by bluesky43 at 3:29 PM on March 5 [23 favorites]


Alan Rappeport @arappeport (NYT)
2h
At one point during his emotional presentation, Zelensky paused to ask one of the American lawmakers to mute themselves.
“Senator Rick Scott, please mute your mic,” he said.

/For non-USians who don't know of him, Rick Scott is also an asshat and an idiot.
posted by bluesky43 at 3:31 PM on March 5 [48 favorites]


One of the tabloids here did a poll, asking wether people would be OK with gas prices rising if it could help the Ukrainians. A majority answered yes. The next question was wether people who were not dependent on gas would accept a tax hike to help those who were dealing with a gas price rise, and a majority said yes. (I've posted this before).

Even if the price rises were acceptable the biggest problem is that gas could be a million bucks a therm but if there's not enough gas there's not enough gas. Pipelines aren't built in a day. Countries can't build LNG terminals instantly. It takes 2.5 years to build an LNG carrier. Losing 40% of the gas into the EU in one fell swoop would be cata-fucking-strophic for everyone, not just a pricing gouge.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 3:33 PM on March 5 [3 favorites]


As you pointed out above, we are all entering the warmer seasons.
In Denmark, a lot of the natural gas comes from local plants, using organic waste as the source. Those smaller plants aren't as expensive or hard to build. I don't think it can be done in months, but if people know the solution is there, a winter of wearing sweaters isn't as bad.
posted by mumimor at 3:38 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]


Does the recent thing about the EU defining natural gas as "green" play into this at all?
posted by clawsoon at 3:39 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]


As you pointed out above, we are all entering the warmer seasons.

It's not just about the short term though. The warmer season helps with immediate demand but reserves hit their lowest around late April, early May. Most of the flow from the rest of the year goes to recharging those reserves which get bled off over winter. Europe typically burns around 500TWh worth of gas from its reserves over a typical winter and if they can't amass that in the summer months then Europe is going to be running out of natural gas somewhere around the middle of January 2023 no matter how much effort the rest of civilization expends trying to supply them.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 3:55 PM on March 5 [13 favorites]


(Belarusian pro-democratic website) Charter 97: Belarusian Soldiers And Officers Massively Refuse To Fight Against Ukraine
The officers report to the General Staff of the Belarusian Armed Forces that if they cross the border, the officers' lives will be in great danger because the soldiers will raise arms against them. Mass surrender of Belarusian soldiers is also expected.

A number of small units of the Belarusian army already crossed the border with Ukraine a few days ago, but were turned back because the soldiers refused to take part in combat operations.
This would explain reports of Belarusian soldiers crossing the border, but little else being heard from/about them.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:01 PM on March 5 [41 favorites]


then Europe is going to be running out of natural gas somewhere around the middle of January 2023 no matter how much effort the rest of civilization expends trying to supply them.

Yes. I'm seeing a lot of discussion of that. On one side, is this what finally pushes us into a post-carbon economy, and on the other side, should we revisit nuclear energy. What I am not seeing is appeasement.
posted by mumimor at 4:02 PM on March 5 [13 favorites]


Does the recent thing about the EU defining natural gas as "green" play into this at all?

Well, in the sense that that definition has grown old really really fast.
There is no doubt that some European countries are really in a bind now, and not least Germany, our biggest economy.

Now it's just me speculating, but wind power can be built really fast and Germany has some of the big players, like Siemens. Maybe this can be a driver towards electrification?
posted by mumimor at 4:09 PM on March 5 [3 favorites]


Both Mastercard and Visa are cutting off transaction processing in Russia.

mmm, maybe I'm too much of an incorrigible rules lawyer, but that's not *exactly* what they said.
Once complete, all transactions initiated with Visa cards issued in Russia will no longer work outside the country and any Visa cards issued by financial institutions outside of Russia will no longer work within the Russian Federation.
So, cards issued in Russia will continue to work within Russia? Seems like they're only cutting off international transactions.
posted by ctmf at 4:10 PM on March 5 [15 favorites]




Sub Brief a retired Navy officer has a very interesting video up with some analysis of what’s happening.

Lots of thoughtful analysis about the communications breakdowns, unit organization, supply issues and questions about Russias ability to manage a force of the size they’ve sent into Ukraine.
posted by interogative mood at 4:20 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]


Now it's just me speculating, but wind power can be built really fast and Germany has some of the big players, like Siemens. Maybe this can be a driver towards electrification?

I would hope that all this would spur Europe to expand its renewables production as fast as possible, but even in the most optimal circumstances it is a slow process to build out utility-scale wind and solar sites; even more so with the supply chain issues that are going on.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:34 PM on March 5 [3 favorites]


So, cards issued in Russia will continue to work within Russia? Seems like they're only cutting off international transactions.

When VISA and Mastercard work inside a country it's usually a separate payment layer that runs parallel the existing domestic payment layer. Back home in Australia we have the EFTPOS network. In the United States there's the Automated Clearing House. In Russia they have Mir which is a central bank thing.

So in usage terms when you press check or savings on the pinpad it's usually going domestic, bank to bank directly from your account to the merchant. If you hit credit it goes via Visa/MC and gets added to your credit card bill. This is what enables your card to work overseas using the Visa/MC networks. Visa/MC can break the equivalent to a credit button on the pinpads in Russia (which will stop all foreign cards working) but they can't break the check/savings equivalent because they don't control it, even if the banks have cards issued by Visa/MC.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 4:36 PM on March 5 [16 favorites]


The Teen Famous For Tracking Elon Musk's Private Jet Is Now Tracking Russian Oligarchs' Travel
Alan Herrera
Jack Sweeney, the teenager who became famous for tracking billionaire Elon Musk's private jet, has made tracking Russian oligarchs' travel his new pasttime. Sweeney's new Twitter account, called Russian Oligarch Jets, tracks the whereabouts of some of Russia's wealthiest, who've continued to travel in private jets and on yachts despite economic sanctions that have caused the Russian ruble to crater and sent the nation's economy into freefall since Russian President Vladimir Putin moved to invade Ukraine.
posted by bluesky43 at 4:37 PM on March 5 [16 favorites]


Interview with Bulgarian political scientist Ivan Krastev, on Austrian (state) television, from Monday 28 February, on Putin and sanctions.
(In English, despite the German title).
posted by 15L06 at 4:45 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]


It is my hope that this spurs Europe into the same action that South Africa achieved, conserving water during their drought. I expect it will be a massive effort, with widespread sacrifice and discomfort. But I think, I hope, that the political will is there. I think everybody knows that Russia was counting on Europe to be weak-willed addicts, accepting whatever demands imposed as the price for their fix.

I want to believe in the power of collective effort, to tell the pusher to get fucked.
posted by notoriety public at 4:56 PM on March 5 [9 favorites]


Russian trains carrying civilian vehicles, minivans.

Scroll down to see the Russian soldiers trapped in an elevator when Ukrainians cut their power.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:16 PM on March 5 [16 favorites]


It turns out one of my kids is in constant communication with a kid in a basement in Kyiv.
Young people these days...

I'll keep you all updated.
posted by mumimor at 5:26 PM on March 5 [45 favorites]


That elevator photo is a thing of beauty, and also genius.
posted by aramaic at 5:34 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]


On the nuclear energy front, Germany shut three large power reactors down on December 31, 2021, the plan being to permanently decommission and disassemble them:

Brokdorf, PWR, 1,410 MW
Grohnde, PWR, 1,360 MW
Gundremmingen, BWR, 1,288 MW


I know a thing or two about nuclear power but am far from being a nuclear engineer or even power plant operator. Can anyone here offer any educated guesses about what would be involved in putting these three plants back into service in terms of effort, cost, and timeframe?

I know very little about the nuclear decommissioning process, other than that it is a very long process. I have a gut feeling that not much difficult-to-reverse decommissioning work could have been done in the course of three months. But again, that is just a gut feeling; I am hoping someone here can give a more informed opinion.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 5:35 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]



That elevator photo is a thing of beauty, and also genius.

and beyond wishing it to be true, no particular reason to believe it's not just a photo of a bunch of people in military gear in an elevator.
posted by philip-random at 5:41 PM on March 5 [11 favorites]


(Could tell that one of the comments under the twitter photo of the soldiers in the elevator was from a North American even before noticing the flag in the username, because they assumed that floor 1 is the ground floor, rather than what North Americans would call the second floor.)
posted by eviemath at 5:47 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]


This video has an interesting discussion of the dramatic changes in German attitudes within a couple of days of the Russian invasion.

One example from later in the video: Estonia wanted to ship some artillery pieces to Ukraine a few weeks ago. However, the artillery had originally come from Germany, and Germany doesn't let its customers resell weapons into a conflict zone, so the artillery didn't get shipped. A couple of days after the invasion the Netherlands made a similar request to ship German anti-tank weapons to Ukraine, and it was approved by Germany.
posted by clawsoon at 5:47 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]


just a photo of a bunch of people in military gear

Oh piffle, I didn't spend my adult life in pursuit of psychoactives because I love reality!
posted by aramaic at 5:49 PM on March 5 [19 favorites]


i don't know about yall but i don't often see a squad of uniformly-attired military-aged-men with rifles out riding in elevators so it at least seems plausible enough for me to laugh at them
posted by glonous keming at 5:56 PM on March 5 [9 favorites]


I would hope that all this would spur Europe to expand its renewables production as fast as possible, but even in the most optimal circumstances it is a slow process to build out utility-scale wind and solar sites; even more so with the supply chain issues that are going on.

You know, there has been a lot of talk about how we need to treat the transition from fossil fuels to renewables as a mobilization like we did for WWII. Maybe now that there is in fact a major war in Europe, it's time to really do that.

Russia supplies 25% of the total EU energy demand. Serious measures on a war-footing on both the demand and supply sides should be able to cut that down significantly in the short-term and to zero in the medium term.
posted by ssg at 6:07 PM on March 5 [14 favorites]


Can anyone here offer any educated guesses about what would be involved in putting these three plants back into service in terms of effort, cost, and timeframe?

I know not a damn thing about these reactors. But I do know you don't typically decide to decommission perfectly good-to-go, working fine reactors on a whim. Usually that question would come up when there's a big expensive maintenance period or modernization coming up, and the question really is, is it even worth it or should we just pull the plug?

Most likely if the decommissioning hasn't started yet, I'd expect all the equipment to still be there but the plant not to be in hot standby. They'd be in some long-term cold maintenance mode that would take a while to bring back up to ready. They may have already transitioned to a non-operational staffing model, for instance. But even that assumes they haven't already started removing things in anticipation of the official word to decommission.

So for several reasons I don't think it would be as simple as turning the key and shutting the output breakers, and there may be expensive maintenance needed regardless.
posted by ctmf at 6:21 PM on March 5 [2 favorites]


i don't know about yall but i don't often see a squad of uniformly-attired military-aged-men with rifles out riding in elevators so it at least seems plausible enough for me to laugh at them

"Great. Stuck in an elevator with five guys on a high-protein diet."
posted by loquacious at 6:24 PM on March 5 [12 favorites]


Time to put Baby Shark on the building speaker system on infinite repeat.
posted by ocschwar at 6:43 PM on March 5 [14 favorites]


Does anybody know if there is the equivalent of an online phonebook for Western Ukraine? I have addresses for people I'd like to reach but no phone numbers? And if somebody who can read Ukrainian would be willing to look up the people for me, I'd be grateful.
posted by sardonyx at 6:46 PM on March 5


Whether or not any Russian soldiers will make it into Kyiv in the coming days to see them remains questionable. The Polish ambassador, Bartosz Cichocki, the last remaining EU ambassador in Kyiv, described the city as “uninvadable and unconquerable” in a meeting this week inside his embassy, where he has hunkered down with whisky, cigarettes and a flak jacket.
The Observer
posted by Hypatia at 6:47 PM on March 5 [7 favorites]


Time to put Baby Shark on the building speaker system on infinite repeat.

Pretty sure there's something in the Geneva Convention specifically about this tune being used as an instrument of torture.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:59 PM on March 5 [6 favorites]


But I do know you don't typically decide to decommission perfectly good-to-go, working fine reactors on a whim.

You'd think, but (possibly, depending on your perspective) sadly no. The particular ones in question may well have been due for a maintenance outage anyway, but I'm fairly certain they were originally licensed to run for enough years more that the German government is paying several billion Euros to the operators to compensate them for the early closure.
posted by wierdo at 7:29 PM on March 5 [6 favorites]


All the caring and hope that has been expressed in these and other threads, and by real people on the ground, keeps reminding me of this scene in Starman. It meant something to me when I saw it in the theatre. It really resonates now.

Hollywood movie, I know. But I keep being reminded, as these terrible things are happening, that we awaken, and are at our best when things are at their worst, and that seems to really be our defining characteristic. (Along with being stupid warlike avaricious greedy worst apes that bring these problems needlessly on ourselves)

It’s complicated.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 7:34 PM on March 5 [6 favorites]


According to POLITICO:
The U.S. remains in discussions with Poland to potentially backfill their fleet of fighter planes if Warsaw decides to transfer its used MiG-29s to Ukraine, four U.S. officials tell POLITICO.


The idea is for Poland to give Ukraine Polish MIGs (which their pilots can fly) and the US will compensate Poland with F-16s (which their pilots can fly.)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:37 PM on March 5 [18 favorites]


> I know not a damn thing about these reactors. But I do know you don't typically decide to decommission perfectly good-to-go, working fine reactors on a whim.

I mean... you sorta do, if you're Germany. Germany has been decomissioning its entire system of nuclear power plants since 2011, and the reactors are being decomissioned for political reasons (a combination of the immidate response to Fukushima and decades-long anti-nuclear-power sentiment on the German left), not because they weren't working or required anything unusual to keep working or were superannuated. The last operational reactors were actually some of the youngest (late '80s vintage.) In the past week, there's been some interest in re-opening the plants - and some signs of willingness to at least possibly consider it, even on the part of the Greens, the most anti-nuclear component of the ruling coalition - but as you describe, it would certainly be more complicated than flipping a switch, even for the most recently-decommissioned reactors, and I'll be pretty surprised if it happens. The reactors only provided a quarter of the country's energy and the ramp-up would be slow (particularly for the reactors that have been decommissioned for longer), and anti-nuclear sentiment remains widespread. But, then, the decision to massively increase defense spending was pretty surprising, so I wouldn't entirely rule out the possibility.
posted by ASF Tod und Schwerkraft at 7:39 PM on March 5 [22 favorites]


A quarter of the country's energy is an _awful_ lot, though...

Agreed that it wouldn't be fast or easy. But how slow and how difficult? I do not know.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 7:51 PM on March 5 [3 favorites]


From Deutche Welle:
[Economic Affairs and Climate Action Minister Robert] Habeck said he would not fight off an extension of nuclear power "for ideological reasons." However, he said, preparations for shutting down nuclear power plants are already so far advanced that continuing operation is not possible for safety reasons. According to the operating companies Eon, RWE, and EnBW, it would be technically difficult to quickly procure suitable fuel rods. There is also a shortage of specialized personnel.

Even if it were decided that the nuclear power plants should remain operational, it would take a year and a half before the reactors could generate electricity again, [North Rhine-Westphalia Economic Affairs and Energy Minister Andreas] Pinkwart said. For technical reasons, they would still have to be shut down at the end of the year and then restarted to be operational again in the winter of 2023/2024 at the earliest, he says.
So if Russia's invasion of Ukraine shifts the political winds in Germany enough regarding the import of Russian fossil fuels that nuclear power becomes politically viable, it seems that will require effectively recommissioning their plants, even the ones that are still currently operating. The timeline for that is years, unlikely to make any immediate difference to its involvement in the defense of Ukraine.
posted by biogeo at 7:54 PM on March 5 [24 favorites]


Thanks, biogeo. That clarifies things for me.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 7:57 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]


Re: nuclear power "recommissioning" -- I live near a recently decommissioned nuclear power plant. In the US, there are three sorts of decommissioning -- decontamination, where the facility is cleaned up and decommissioned; safe storage, where the nuclear materials are left in place to decay a while longer before being fully decommissioned; and entombment (where basically you dump a bunch of concrete on top of everything and leave it). I believe this is fairly similar worldwide. Obviously entombed facilities are just done with, but the other two sorts could theoretically be started back up. But when they're decommissioned, they don't just remove fuel rods; they start removing the chambers that housed the rods, the computers that managed them, every bit of elaborate technology required to run them. They convert the cooling ponds into protected natural spaces.

It cost about a billion dollars to decommission our local plant, and the process takes 10 years when it's fast; starting it up again would not only require significant rebuilding of the site (because a lot of the materials in any kind of contact with the materials had been shipped to Nevada to be buried), but it'd require significant re-installation of technology, significant upgrades to that technology, and significant hiring expenses to run it. (It was shut down largely because it would have cost far more than $1 billion to upgrade it to modern safety levels, so a billion dollars to shut it down was a bargain, even though it was a really significant hit to local electrical generation capacity. It was just monstrously expensive to keep running.) $500 million to $1 billion is typical for US decommissioning, and US plants have a useful life of 40-60 years before they have to be completely rebuilt or overhauled -- almost always for more than it costs to decommission them.

So if a plant is already in the process of decommissioning, it's probably at the end of its life, because decommissioning them is SO expensive that, nuclear politics aside, if you can push the decision off for 10 years with "studies about how best to decommission it," you can probably shift the cost calculus to the point where decommissioning is cheaper than upgrading.

Looking at German plants specifically, it looks like the ones shut down after Fukushima were basically all in that 40-60 year range, so due to shut down soon anyway. The three remaining plants will reach 40 years service by 2028-2029. (The ones shut down at the end of last year were all slightly past 50 years service.) So, and I'm not being snide, because decisions about nuclear power are incredibly complicated, and extremely expensive, and have to be set against the cost of global warming from fossil fuels. But it does look like Germany has been decommissioning its plants more-or-less on schedule, with perhaps a few closures slightly accelerated, and the bigger issue is that it hasn't opened any plants since 1989. And it's probably possible for Germany to keep those last three plants operating for six or ten more years (without knowing the specifics of the plants and their decommissioning planning), which might be a good option to give them 5-10 years to massively accelerate other green energy options. But nuclear energy is slow to build and slow to shut down, and isn't remotely nimble enough to respond to rapidly-changing political conditions. And it's CRAZY EXPENSIVE at every single stage. (Less expensive than pumping fossil fuels into the atmosphere! But that's a socialized cost across the ENTIRE PLANET over the course of a century, while building/decommission a nuclear plant is a localized cost for one country in a small timeframe.)

Re: the alleged FSB memo (English machine translation), where the author worries: "To be honest, the Pandora's box is open - a real global horror will begin by the summer - global famine is inevitable (Russia and Ukraine were the main suppliers of grain in the world, this year's harvest will be smaller, and logistical problems will bring the catastrophe to a peak point)."

A dramatic spike in food prices is a real worry, but wheat is only around 30% of worldwide grain consumed (corn (maize) is more, rice is less), and Ukraine + Russia together only provide around 30% of wheat. WHICH IS A WHOLE FUCKING LOT, since the vast majority of wheat goes directly to human consumption and cutting off 10% of the global grain market is going to be hella significant. But I don't think it's global-famine significant, especially as 50% of corn goes to animal feed and 30% goes to ethanol, and the ethanol grain in particular is relatively easily redirected (because ethanol is useless and dumb, except as a way to use extra corn). Like, you can't live on JUST corn and not get pellagra, but preventing pellagra is well understood and relatively inexpensive. (Also you can always nixtamalize your corn, and, fascinating fact, there were STRONG religious rules in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica about how corn was prepared to specifically require alkalinity be introduced to nixtamalize the corn.) Previous massive (really big!) corn-crop failures have led to rising prices for beef and chicken worldwide, and for basic grains in central America (which is bad), but generally not famine -- I'm hopeful that corn supplies that normally go to animal feed and to fuel can be redirected into human food-grain if there's a big hit to grain supplies (and there's such a small number of corn buyers -- ADM, Cargill -- and they're SO deeply involved with the US or Canadian governments, that if the governments decide more corn needs to be people food, that's going to happen). I'm also already seeing agricultural news/publications in the US Midwest talk about wheat futures and whether farmers should plant more wheat this year. Most US and Canadian wheat is winter wheat, but April is the planting season for spring wheat, and at least some farmers are seem to be playing those odds. Not enough to make up the difference, but some. (Like, maybe you usually have 5 fields of corn and 5 of soybeans, and you switch one cornfield to wheat this year.)

I don't know, the grain part has been living rent-free in my brain since I read it because I think a LOT about farming, and I'm worrying a lot about it. But I'm hopeful! (Is there any other choice but to be hopeful where we can?)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:36 PM on March 5 [51 favorites]


no particular reason to believe it's not just a photo of a bunch of people in military gear in an elevator
Oh piffle, I didn't spend my adult life in pursuit of psychoactives because I love reality!


TFW you and the boys from paintball are pre-match hotboxing an elevator while listening to Slavic Folk Trap but the aux cord keeps slipping out and suddenly you see the security camera.
posted by bartleby at 8:41 PM on March 5 [10 favorites]


Nuclear isn’t viable as a short term solution because it takes a decade or more to build one correctly. We can build and operate them safely and they are not as terrible as coal; but they may not be cost effective as other solutions; particularly in solving short term needs. Also keep in mind that gas heats a lot of homes directly. Replacing all those furnaces and cooking stoves takes time.
posted by interogative mood at 8:55 PM on March 5 [4 favorites]


This is interesting.

It shows Russian convoy trucks using improvised 'armor,' which suggests that small arms fire (especially to the radiators) is considered a notable threat.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:17 PM on March 5


No, those trucks are carrying pontoons in back for engineering bridges across rivers.

'that wood is for getting trucks unstuck in the mud' as per r/CombatFootage geeks.
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:01 PM on March 5 [3 favorites]


the Pandora's box is open

This is one of the things that made me wonder if it was not produced in Russia, but it seems a cross cultural metaphor, and there was even a Russian TV series produced about a decade ago on that premise.
posted by corb at 10:34 PM on March 5


The situation is Mariupol is horrific. Doctors Without Borders already said it was catastrophic yesterday (March 5th). Here’s an interview with Laurent Ligozat, Doctors Without Borders’ emergency coordinator in Lviv, about Mariupol. Excerpt:
For now, our immediate priority is to provide essential medical supplies to hospitals running low on much-needed stocks including surgical and trauma kits to ensure they can continue providing emergency health care. Many of the people in this part of Ukraine are elderly people with chronic health problems such as diabetes. So, we are also looking at how we can supply some hospitals in eastern Ukraine with insulin. Ensuring continuity of care for people will also be a key focus for us, as for elderly people with chronic symptoms, disruptions in treatment can be life-threatening.
Associated Press published a report yesterday from Mariupol. Excerpt:
The resting toddler, perhaps responding instinctively to the sight of a camera, raises an arm and waves.

But the mother underneath has tears in her eyes.

They’re lying together on the floor in a gym-turned-shelter, waiting out the fighting that rages outside.

Many families have young children. And as children can do anywhere, some giggle and run around the floor covered with blankets.

“God forbid that any rockets hit. That’s why we’ve gathered everyone here,” says local volunteer Ervand Tovmasyan, accompanied by his young son.

He says locals have brought supplies. But as the Russian siege continues, the shelter lacks enough drinking water, food, and gasoline for generators.
posted by Kattullus at 10:53 PM on March 5 [14 favorites]


The picture here has been all over Facebook for the past five days. I would love to know its provenance. Anyone here have a clue?
posted by y2karl at 11:24 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]


The oil and gas situation is so depressing. Is there any popular movement brewing in Europe to reduce driving, heating, etc. as a means of supporting Ukraine, along with pressure on governments to stop imports? Seems like many would probably be willing to make some sacrifices if they thought it would make a difference.

I haven't seen any popular movement but anecdotally I know several people (including myself) who are severely cutting back on energy usage.
posted by roolya_boolya at 11:50 PM on March 5 [1 favorite]


The picture here has been all over Facebook for the past five days. I would love to know its provenance. Anyone here have a clue?

What picture ? I don't use facebook and I get a login page when I click on your link.
posted by Pendragon at 12:27 AM on March 6 [3 favorites]


Inside the Urgent Race to Secure Ukraine's Nuclear Plants, W.J. Hennigan, TIME, March 4, 2022:
Rafael Mariano Grossi was awakened in the predawn hours Friday with an urgent crisis. A massive blaze was engulfing a building at the site of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant as Russian and Ukrainian forces fought nearby. Word had already spread around the globe, fueling fears that the reactor on the site might be damaged and spew radiation across Eastern Europe. It fell to Grossi, as head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) [Wikipedia] to find out what was happening.

…what was happening at Zaporizhzhya was no accident. A Russian government official told Grossi that the military was seizing the power plant to “prevent acts of sabotage” or terrorism. Ukraine, for its part, fears that the attack is an opening salvo in Russia’s goal to control their power grid. The Zaporizhzhya plant can generate enough energy to illuminate 4 million homes and accounts for one-fifth of the average annual electricity production in Ukraine.

When the clash ended and the fire was extinguished, the Russian military emerged in control. The facility had been damaged by a “projectile,” Grossi said, but the plant’s critical equipment remained intact. There was no radioactive leak, nor a risk for meltdown. Yet the situation was anything but reassuring. “This is unprecedented,” Grossi tells TIME. “We’ve never had armed conflict, in this way, with boots on the ground in a country with this configuration of nuclear infrastructure.
More in the article.
posted by cenoxo at 12:47 AM on March 6 [4 favorites]


The interview in English with Bulgarian political scientist Ivan Krastev posted by 15L06 above is really good. Go watch it.

In Sweden, one or more of the centre-right or maybe just right political parties wants to build more nuclear power plants but I saw a news report recently that in Sweden nuclear is, by far, more expensive than other so-called green (how anyone can call nuclear "green" is beyond me) options such as wind-generated electricity.
posted by Bella Donna at 12:47 AM on March 6 [3 favorites]


@y2karl The original source appears to be this tweet from the 27th of February. Someone can probably verify the claim that it was taken on the Moscow Underground from the signage on the window. There's no EXIF data in the image (I don't know if that's true of all images uploaded to Twitter).
posted by confluency at 12:54 AM on March 6


According to the France24 liveblog:
Russia's defence ministry announces a ceasefire to allow civilians in the besieged port city of Mariupol and the town of Volnovakha to evacuate. Mariupol's mayor Vadim Boychenko says evacuations will begin at 0900 GMT.

The strategic city of 450,000 people on the Azov Sea, which has suffered intense shelling, has been without electricity, food, water and heating for days in the depth of winter.
I’m hopeful that the ceasefire will hold this time and civilians can be evacuated.

Icelandic media is reporting they will be evacuated by the Red Cross to Zaporizhzhia.
posted by Kattullus at 1:51 AM on March 6 [2 favorites]


The Russians seem to be running out of modern weaponry. Considering the maintenance issues they're having with newer equipment, this does not bode well for them.

Fingers crossed for the Mariupol ceasefire holding this time.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 1:55 AM on March 6 [4 favorites]


The editor of Freedom, the London-based anarchist journal which dates back to 1886, is from Poland and has a less-than-polite message for her comrades on the left who are relativising the war:
It is terrifying. You, the Westerners, will never get it. Partially because most of yous have a completely different experience of history, and it is that of living your life in a dominating country. Partially because you can’t be arsed to listen, and you never were. It is just simply inconvenient for you to give an idea that won’t fit to your already established view of the World a thought, and let’s face it, deep down most of you think that your ideas and your concepts are better, and more legit. Western exceptionalism is a worm in your brain, a worm you pretend to escape, only to parade your yankee, Queen of England ignorance around. You are better and more legit. You have better insights. You are used to being listened to.
It's a fun read. (unless you're a tankie)
posted by Busy Old Fool at 2:19 AM on March 6 [44 favorites]


Here's a human translation (with some added commentary) of that letter allegedly from someone inside the FSB (previously automatically translated). The gist is pretty much the same, but some awkward parts of the robotranslation are clearer.
posted by confluency at 2:36 AM on March 6 [5 favorites]




Mod note: As a quick note, perhaps if there is interest in more discussion about energy, nuclear power, etc., a separate post focusing on that would be a good idea, since it's becoming a sort of an extended side topic here.
posted by taz (staff) at 2:41 AM on March 6 [22 favorites]


Well, pendragon, before I reread your comment

What picture ? I don't use facebook and I get a login page when I click on your link.

to paste it above my laborious relinking project then in progress....

On Facebook, when I search "A woman on the Moscow subway", I get hundreds of this image shared and reshared by people over the last five days.

But then I abandoned the project when I went to copy your question and read it again. Because evidently you could not have seen any of those links either. But trust me, they are legion and growing. The idea that you have to a member of Facebook to see anything there never occurred to me.

Man, I am such a technopeasant. And on a phone, to boot.

Also, while some of the people relinking that from one FB post or another claim to ridden on the Moscow subway, I have not. So, once again, I have to take the word of a stranger or two on the internet.

But, pfft! You can't see it, anyway. And confluency has posted the tweet from which it apparently came.

But I do wonder about the back story of its creation. It's not a selfie, it took at least two people to create it and it's well posed and shot. I do share the concerns in the comments in that tweet about the safety of those involved. It was a gutsy thing to do.
posted by y2karl at 4:00 AM on March 6 [1 favorite]


Re: the mystery of the woman wearing iconic Ukranian colors on the Moscow metro, I'd be wary of digging any deeper lest we dox people or provide leads. I wish the situation didn't make that feel so unsafe, but here we are.
posted by vers at 4:26 AM on March 6 [7 favorites]


The picture is of an old woman wearing a bright blue headscarf and a bright yellow top (I expect it's a dress). I have no idea if these are things that were already in her closet or she bought one or both recently.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 4:28 AM on March 6 [1 favorite]


This article says that the European Union is sending about a billion Euros every day to Russia for energy imports.
posted by clawsoon at 5:00 AM on March 6 [4 favorites]


The Twitter account sharing the photograph of the old lady dressed in Ukrainian colours belongs to Belarus Free Theatre, a theatre troup engaged in resistance in Belarus since 2005. I am sure it was not posted lightly or to dox anyone. For more background check out their website.
posted by 15L06 at 5:08 AM on March 6 [7 favorites]


Grateful to taz for suggesting a separate post for the energy angle.
European energy politics, especially re nuclear energy, cannot be covered in a few comments or even a thousand. The debate on use of nuclear energy in Europe is ongoing since 50 years and the cause of big rifts in society in German speaking Europe.
posted by 15L06 at 5:23 AM on March 6 [8 favorites]


For today’s “Not the Onion” headline and lede that made me sadly laugh:

Vladimir Putin And Russia Could Trigger ‘Nuclear Apocalypse’ And ‘Armageddon’—But Investors Told To ‘Stay Bullish’ (Forbes)

Russia's president Vladimir Putin has pushed the world closer to nuclear war following the invasion of Ukraine. Putin warned this weekend that international sanctions on Russia are "akin to an act of war," and hinted the conflict could spread beyond Ukraine unless the west changes course.

But despite the risk of "civilization-ending global nuclear war" rising to 10% over the next 12 months according to one strategist, investors should "stay bullish" and "largely ignore existential risk."
posted by rambling wanderlust at 5:28 AM on March 6 [13 favorites]


I mean, fair enough.... how do you discount, leverage, or hedge against Armageddon?
posted by spitbull at 5:29 AM on March 6 [10 favorites]


Sounds like a sort of reverse Pascal's Wager. "You'll either make a lot of money off of war or be destroyed completely by it. But if you're destroyed completely it won't matter anyway, so you might as well take the money-making bet."
posted by clawsoon at 5:32 AM on March 6 [32 favorites]


According to AP, "a Ukrainian official says a second attempt to evacuate civilians from a southern city under siege for a week has failed due to continued Russian shelling.

"Evacuations from the port city of Mariupol were scheduled to begin at noon local time (10 a.m. GMT) during a 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. local ceasefire, Ukrainian military authorities said earlier Sunday.

"Interior Ministry adviser Anton Gerashchenko said the planned evacuations along designated humanitarian corridors were halted because of an ongoing assault."

At least the evacuation of an orphanage in Southern Ukraine was successful, according to Reuters.
posted by Bella Donna at 5:46 AM on March 6 [3 favorites]


But despite the risk of "civilization-ending global nuclear war" rising to 10% over the next 12 months according to one strategist, investors should "stay bullish" and "largely ignore existential risk."

the people leading our world are delusional psychopaths
posted by pyramid termite at 5:57 AM on March 6 [28 favorites]


From the BBC today on Youtube: interviewee states "Ukraine is now a subterranean world". The metro in Kyiv is shut down so that it can be used as a 24-hour shelter.
posted by vers at 6:02 AM on March 6 [1 favorite]


Bella Donna: At least the evacuation of an orphanage in Southern Ukraine was successful, according to Reuters.

Andrew R. C. Marshall, who wrote the piece, shared a photo on Twitter of a little girl from the orphanage catching a snowflake with her tongue and it just absolutely broke me.

What cruel absurdity, this invasion.
posted by Kattullus at 6:13 AM on March 6 [9 favorites]


Russian authorities resorting to plow trucks to block Palace Square in St Petersburg in advance of protests.

Turns out funneling people and working equipment from the riot police to the army isn't great when you're trying to keep order at home.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 6:34 AM on March 6 [12 favorites]


Using salt, dump and trash trucks are standard issue in New York City for protests and other events. They are heavy and difficult to move, and work well as instant immovable walls, for what it is worth…
posted by rambling wanderlust at 6:52 AM on March 6 [13 favorites]


@KevinRothrock
Police officers in Moscow today are stopping people, demanding to see their phones, READING THEIR MESSAGES, and refusing to release them if they refuse. This from Kommersant journalist Ana Vasilyeva https://t.me/Crexcrexcrex/3059 [Telegram]
@paulmasonnews
Significantly the Russian police are targeting conscription age men... with 90% of troops now committed into Ukraine, that's telling
Though it's not true about 90% of forces being committed, Russia has 280K active duty ground forces (1 million AD over all services, and 2 million reserves). That said it doesn't seem entirely improbable they may be conscripting protesters.
posted by Buntix at 7:13 AM on March 6 [2 favorites]


Continued/continual swearing here, hope you can't hear it. The EFF has published a guide for Telegram Harm Reduction for Users in Russia and Ukraine (Telegram has an apparently significantly wider user base there than Signal, I just learned).
posted by vers at 7:27 AM on March 6 [3 favorites]


Natasha Bertrand @NatashaBertrand 6m
Secretary Blinken to
@jaketapper
on banning Russian oil: “I was on the phone yesterday with the president and other members of the cabinet on exactly this subject, and we are now talking to our European allies to look at a coordinated way at...banning the import of Russian oil."

/ this post for those in the US and those interested in the coordination of US and European allies, from the US Secretary of State Blinken to Jake Tapper on a US Sunday morning news show.
posted by bluesky43 at 7:41 AM on March 6 [7 favorites]


Though it's not true about 90% of forces being committed, Russia has 280K active duty ground forces (1 million AD over all services, and 2 million reserves). That said it doesn't seem entirely improbable they may be conscripting protesters.

This. When they talk about 90% of forces being committed it's basically the forces Russia could mobilize as part of this invasion.

However.

The biggest difference between Russia and a military like we here in the Anglosphere expect is that a not-insignificant fraction of the Russian forces are conscripts. Russia on the other hand can't pull a competent soldier from elsewhere in the country and just replace them with a conscript because the conscripts have very little training, no cohesion, and are basically there to do the equivalent of peeling potatoes. So now Russia has this catch-22 where they can't pull contract soldiers for fear of incompetent conscripts fucking it all up and they can't easily put conscripts into front-line battle. N.B. technically Russia can't use conscripts as front-line troops in a war of aggression but they can get around that by forcing conscripts to sign contract papers and by throwing anyone who calls the war a war into jail for a decade. The number of contract soldiers has been suspiciously increasing at the same rate conscript numbers have been declining.

The other thing is that Russia has a lot of reserves on paper because every conscripted is technically a reservist but not a lot in practice. It's not like in the anglosphere where reserves do one weekend a month, two weeks a year. The coalition could pull in reserves and put the power of their career logistics people behind them to make a very competent fighting force. Russia? The commander's been selling the fucking body armor out the back door to the mafia. Not to mention because the bureaucracy sucks (again, corruption) the ability of Russia's armed forces to even get those reserves notified that they're being called up is greatly attenuated. Outdated spreadsheets can't fight. They tried starting what was effectively a one weekend a month, two weeks a year reservist force and it went... nowhere. They got two battalions and that's about as far as it got. They have over 100 BTGs in Ukraine right now.

It's a different situation in a defensive total war like for the people in Ukraine. They have no choice. It's either run, fight for their home, or be obliterated. Everyone willing who's 18-60 is a potential soldier. They can put someone behind a barrier with a gun and some ammo and tell them to fire at anyone else with a gun who gets close. Populaces can't stomach a lot of losses for a war of aggression, even when they're propagandized to be defensive wars, even when those losses are state secrets, which limits one's ability to throw men into a meat grinder. After the "Mission Accomplished" stunt every dead American from Iraq brought fresh outrage of "why the fuck are we there?" among the populace. Putin can only hide tens of thousands of deaths for so long.

If Russia was invaded by NATO there's no doubt they'd have 3 million men on the front line in days. Every able bodied man could be given an AK-74 from what they have lying around in warehouses and they'd probably work. But they can't get 3 million men into Ukraine without admitting it's total war and the populace will call for Putin's head come hell or high water if they dare call it a total war when they're the aggressors and losing to a country one third of Russia's size.

They don't have a lot of economic or military power left before shit starts going from sitting in the corner stinking up the place to being actively thrown into the fan by the populace. Then the popular sentiment starts to turn from "well I heard the Ukranians were shelling Donbass" to "why the fuck do we have to fight for Donbass?" and all hell breaks loose internally.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:13 AM on March 6 [30 favorites]


despite the risk of "civilization-ending global nuclear war" rising to 10% over the next 12 months according to one strategist, investors should "stay bullish" and "largely ignore existential risk."

the people leading our world are delusional psychopaths


Anyone who bets that there will be an imminent apocalypse won't be around to collect their winnings, so there's no point in doing so. The only future in which they're around to notice the outcome is one in which they lost the bet, so it's a guaranteed loser.
posted by BungaDunga at 8:15 AM on March 6 [4 favorites]


Hey YCPR:

You use the expression "contract soldiers". Earlier in the war (aka a few days ago) there were rumours of "contract soldiers" rioting or munitying within Russia, and I didn't know whether "contract soldiers" meant mercenaries, or concripts, or regulars.

Can you tell me what 'contract soldiers' means, in this regard?
posted by pompomtom at 8:26 AM on March 6


It depends on context which makes it difficult. Contract soldiers is what they call regular soldiers in Russia to differentiate from conscripts. It's not like a soldier of fortune in our English lexicon. That being said, some groups of PMCs that Russia is using like the Wagner Group are effectively mercenaries and could be referred to as contract soldiers in Western media.

In this context in the case of mutiny, I'm guessing it'd probably be the regular Russian army forces.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:34 AM on March 6 [4 favorites]


Anyone who bets that there will be an imminent apocalypse won't be around to collect their winnings, so there's no point in doing so.

fallacy of the excluded middle - people can always bet short - markets can always crash without the end of the world happening

but that's as far as we should take it here
posted by pyramid termite at 8:42 AM on March 6 [5 favorites]


please forgive me this moment of levity in these deadly serious times but...

i'm startin' to wonder if the Russian military is actually two kids and a trained bear in a trenchcoat, commiting war crimes.
posted by glonous keming at 8:52 AM on March 6 [8 favorites]


Washington Examiner: Top Belarusian general quits over ally Russia's invasion of Ukraine
Maj. Gen. Viktor Gulevich, the deputy defense minister for the Moscow-aligned nation on Ukraine's northern border, said his soldiers want no part of Russian President Vladimir Putin's war and he is unable to mobilize them for the effort. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is close with Putin, but his country has hosted peace talks, which so far have proven fruitless. Ukraine claimed last week that Belarusian forces had crossed its borders to support Russia, but Belarus denied it.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:11 AM on March 6 [7 favorites]



actually two kids and a trained bear in a trenchcoat

Even the historical trained bear defected to join the Polish army. (And eventually was promoted to corporal!)
posted by kaibutsu at 9:23 AM on March 6 [7 favorites]


@JimmySecUK: Another video showing all manner of civilian vehicles - and one military fuel truck - being pushed up to the front by the Russians (note the invasion markings already added to most of the trucks).👇

Most of the vehicles look to be a good 40 or 50 years old. There are a lot of buses which suggests they may be planning to send forced conscripts in en masse.
posted by Buntix at 9:26 AM on March 6 [5 favorites]


The trend continues: According to Reuters, Albania will rename the street the Russian (and Ukrainian) embassies sit on "Free Ukraine."
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:26 AM on March 6 [5 favorites]


No, those trucks are carrying pontoons in back for engineering bridges across rivers.

'that wood is for getting trucks unstuck in the mud' as per r/CombatFootage geeks.


As is pointed out in that thread in response to the claim that those are just for getting unstuck, the wood in the photos is positioned to protect the driver and radiator. This is almost certainly creative up-armoring -- look at how in the upper layers of wood on the truck on the right side of the photo they have used smaller pieces to fill in gaps. If they get stuck they can pull it off to use it for traction, as well.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:46 AM on March 6 [3 favorites]


(Side note for those who don’t live in snowy/muddy climates: cardboard or small pine/evergreen boughs are better for putting under the tires for traction if you are acutely stuck. People put wood down as a longer-term/seasonal preventative measure on driveways that tend to get muddy in mud season to keep from getting stuck in the first place, but the thickness would make it a little harder for use in getting in-stuck when one is already bogged down.)
posted by eviemath at 9:56 AM on March 6 [10 favorites]


Ukrainian comment on the reporting of a Gulevich resignation: "I am checking this information."

More on Belarusian involvement:
"The Belarusian army is not currently used against Ukraine. We know this for sure. It is deployed along the borders. Maybe there are isolated cases of the use of the Special Operations Forces, separate groups of Belarusians. This is not ruled out. However, the Belarusian army at the level of formations does not take part in the armed aggression against Ukraine. Nevertheless, the territory of Belarus is used, to put it mildly, to the fullest – troops come from there, the entire system of military airfields is used to bombard Ukraine, and anti-tactical missiles are launched. This is true," the adviser to the head of the President's Office said.

He suggested that the resignation of Gulevich and the corresponding sentiments among the Belarusian military "may be related to the fact that the Russian leadership is pressing and framing the Belarusian army and the Belarusian people." "Because we saw Russian tanks in the direction of Kyiv from the north-west, with Belarusian flags at the beginning of the conflict," Arestovych said.
posted by away for regrooving at 10:03 AM on March 6 [6 favorites]


(Not to take an extended detour into US media, but in sourcing news about Ukraine: the Washington Examiner is roughly a US Daily Mail in attitudes and journalistic standards.)
posted by away for regrooving at 10:12 AM on March 6 [11 favorites]


(note the invasion markings already added to most of the trucks)

I assume that is the white Z like thing on the sides of the trucks and buses? What is its signaling purpose when anyone can trivially add that to any vehicle?
posted by mmascolino at 10:18 AM on March 6


I assume that is the white Z like thing on the sides of the trucks and buses? What is its signaling purpose when anyone can trivially add that to any vehicle?

Could they have been used when loading to mark which vehicles to load onto the train versus which to leave behind?
posted by JustAnotherPerson at 10:28 AM on March 6


"Z" is a letter that Russian Military are putting on their vehicles departing to Ukraine. Some interpret "Z" as "Za pobedy" (for victory). Others - as "Zapad" (West). Anyway, this symbol invented just a few days ago became a symbol of new Russian ideology and national identity.
posted by adamvasco at 10:37 AM on March 6 [3 favorites]


What is its signaling purpose when anyone can trivially add that to any vehicle?

That kind of thing is almost always trivially added to any vehicle.
posted by LionIndex at 10:38 AM on March 6 [3 favorites]


It hasn't been officially translated to English yet but the Ukrainian NSDC is warning that Russia might be planning to shell Russian villages in order to start legitimizing itself.

So keep that in mind if you see Russian state reports of Ukrainian shelling of Russian villages.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 10:39 AM on March 6 [11 favorites]


@kamilkazani: "Let's discuss what's happening in Russia. To put it simply, it's going full fascist."
posted by kliuless at 10:40 AM on March 6 [30 favorites]


@kamilkazani: "Let's discuss what's happening in Russia. To put it simply, it's going full fascist."

Warning: this twitter thread includes extremely graphic footage.
posted by Acey at 10:54 AM on March 6 [8 favorites]


"South African science organisations have been told to do nothing that could be construed as a political comment about Russia's invasion of Ukraine."

And "ANC slams MultiChoice and EU after plug is pulled on Russia Today"

I'm so deeply ashamed of my government's position on this. 30 years ago Russia assisted with the freedom struggle to end apartheid. Since then however, the relationship has increasingly become yet another factor in the capture of our state via outside control. BRICS has resulted in us being beholden in an unbalanced relationship with countries so much more powerful than us (click on the link to see our president arm in arm with Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, Jair Bolsonaro and Narendra Modi).

I'm hoping that this latest attempt to control free speech (Russia Today must be heard! whilst SA academics are ordered to be silent), will be challenged. I'm awaiting a statement by my teacher's union on the war, but so far, silence.
posted by BrStekker at 11:23 AM on March 6 [26 favorites]


the twitter thread shared by kliuless is as good an indicator of any I've seen that this conflict will spread beyond Ukraine, and we will feel the impact in N. America and beyond, and this will not be over in months.

I keep thinking of these (translated) poems from Polish authors

Anna Świrszczyńska (took part in Warsaw Uprising, 1944)

BUILDING THE BARRICADE
We were afraid as we built the barricade
under fire.
The tavern-keeper, the jeweler's mistress, the barber, all of us
cowards.
The servant girl fell to the ground
as she lugged a paving stone, we were terribly afraid
all of us cowards--
the janitor, the market woman, the pensioner.

The pharmacist fell to the ground
as he dragged the door of a toilet,
we were even more afraid, the smuggler-woman,
the dress-maker, the streetcar driver,
all of us cowards.

A kid from reform school fell
as he dragged a sandbag,
you see, we were really
afraid.

Though no one forced us
we did build the barricade
under fire.

Miron Białoszewski (also took part in the Warsaw Uprising, captured by the Germans and sent to a labour camp, returned to Warsaw at the end of the war)

A BALLAD OF GOING DOWN TO THE STORE

First I went down to the store
by means of the stairs,
just imagine it,
by means of the stairs.

Then people known to people unknown
passed me by and I passed them by.
Regret
that you did not see
how people walk,
regret!

I entered a complete store:
lamps of glass were glowing.
I saw somebody--he sat down--
and what did I hear? What did I hear?
rustling of bags and human talk.

And indeed,
indeed
I returned.
posted by elkevelvet at 11:25 AM on March 6 [24 favorites]




There was a protest in my city today but it was a little disheartening. cops and barricades were everywhere and there were maybe 200 protesters. saw noone detained, but could have happened later. So much of the population here is ready to follow a madman off a cliff. They don't deserve fucking McDonalds and iPhones.
posted by WeekendJen at 11:45 AM on March 6 [40 favorites]


Thanks for the updates WeekendJen. Stay safe out there.
posted by saturday_morning at 11:58 AM on March 6 [28 favorites]


Putin signed a decree on the confiscation of illegal funds of officials
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law to collect money from the bank accounts of officials in the event that the amount of receipts exceeds income for three years. On Sunday, March 6, reports RIA Novosti.

According to this law, the bank accounts of civil servants, as well as members of their families, including minor children, will be checked by the prosecutor’s office. If it turns out that the proceeds from them exceed the total income of the official and his relatives for three years by more than 10,000 rubles, a lawsuit will be filed with the court for the forced withdrawal of these funds to the budget.
This is going to be interesting because typically in authoritarian circles everyone needs their slice of the grift so that they stay loyal. If Putin says he's going to take the corrupt funds off the civil servants a potential rival can promise to restore the grift and accumulate support from within the state.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 12:13 PM on March 6 [12 favorites]


a potential rival can promise

And even before that happens, he's going to see what the term "Deep State" (that his own propaganda machine created, probably) means and how powerful it can be. The grift must flow, or else.
posted by ctmf at 12:22 PM on March 6 [2 favorites]


That law I think is to have an excuse to purge disloyal civil servants. 10,000 rubes is not much, it's less than $200 before the war, a super easy amount for anyone to explain having (over 3 years a combination of gifts from family, money from selling produce from your garden, money from selling items secondhand, etc). Just like the new false reporting about the servicemen law, it's just more projection and they should be sending themselves to jail.
posted by WeekendJen at 12:28 PM on March 6 [22 favorites]


@YourAnonTV: "JUST IN: The hacking collective #Anonymous today hacked into the Russian streaming services Wink and Ivi (like Netflix) and live TV channels Russia 24, Channel One, Moscow 24 to broadcast war footage from #Ukraine. #TangoDown #OpRussia"

>> "MORE: All Russian-state TV channels have been hacked."

>> "MORE: The Russia Today (RT) France channel was also hacked on the Russian Express satellite. #OpRussia #Anonymous"

A bit of a coup, if true. There's vids on the thread.
posted by Buntix at 12:40 PM on March 6 [32 favorites]


That Z thing is weird. There is no such letter in the Russian alphabet. (It’s З for the same sound as z, which looks like a number here darn it.)
posted by zenzenobia at 1:53 PM on March 6 [2 favorites]


That Z thing is weird.

Interesting discussion about it in this Twitter thread. ""Z" is a letter that Russian Military are putting on their vehicles departing to Ukraine. Some interpret "Z" as "Za pobedy" (for victory). Others - as "Zapad" (West). Anyway, this symbol invented just a few days ago became a symbol of new Russian ideology and national identity."
posted by MonkeyToes at 2:01 PM on March 6 [4 favorites]


In Gulf War I (1992) the USA and Allies painted an inverted “V” on all vehicles, where the point of the V was “up”. You can see it with a quick google image search.

It was said that that was for quick I’d of friendly vehicles. Still had friendly fire incidents. Might be another reason, but it was not divulged to us.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by kabong the wiser at 2:21 PM on March 6 [6 favorites]


A NY Times reporter was present to witness and photograph the Russian army firing on and killing civilian evacuees from Kyiv (content warning: photographs of death, including dead children). This is not fabricated; this is not exaggerated; this is not propaganda. This is heinous evil; these are war crimes.
posted by ourobouros at 2:36 PM on March 6 [43 favorites]


Don't have Instagram, but have read that the Russians ministry of defence has published an explanation of Z on their Instagram
The Link goes to an azerbaidjani online news Site.
posted by 15L06 at 2:53 PM on March 6


Mod note: enough Z jokes
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 3:00 PM on March 6 [12 favorites]


The Kyiv Independent@KyivIndependent·1h⚡️During the fighting on March 6, Ukraine's military destroyed 8 infantry fighting vehicles, an armored personnel off-road truck, multi-passenger sport-utility vehicle, artillery systems, and 40 Russian soldiers were killed, the JFO reported.

The Kyiv Independent@KyivIndependent·1h⚡️Russian invaders failed to break through eastern front in the Luhansk direction, according to Ukraine’s Joint Forces Operation.
posted by bluesky43 at 3:46 PM on March 6 [1 favorite]




excerpt from the above link:

In an apparent effort to ease the audience's concerns, Tsivilyov likened the Kremlin's approach to the Ukraine invasion to the Soviet Union's bloody 1979-1989 war in Afghanistan that helped set the stage for the Soviet collapse.

"It was officially stated that we had declared war, and the first who entered Afghanistan didn't know where they were going," Tsivilyov said. "They found out when they already entered.”

"By the way, there are still guys alive from that group," he added about the war that Soviet officials reckoned killed an estimated 15,000 Soviet troops and millions of Afghans.
posted by tumbling at 4:05 PM on March 6 [3 favorites]


A tweet thread from a professor of Strategic Studies:
A tweet thread on why we are almost certainly overestimating the amount of strength the Russian Army has on hand, and the amount they can actually get to Ukraine when their first force losses get so high that it starts becoming combat ineffective. Yes, its logistics...

all of this will get worse as Russia's weak link of trucks further wastes away. It is impossible to calculate how far below stated levels of strength Russian forces are because of these logistic difficulties. A very conservative guess would be around 25%...

Ukrainian path to victory is clear. Go for every Russian truck they can see, particularly fuel trucks. Russian Army will freeze in its tracks.
Also: Railways Helped Drive Russia Off Track and Into Ukraine’s Cities: "The Russian armed forces, like the Soviets before them, move almost everything by rail. They also build temporary pipelines to deliver oil and water to the front. Yet in Ukraine, all of that is now having to be moved by road and the Russian army is chronically short of the trucks to do it, simply because it doesn’t normally need them... Once Russian forces control the railroads, they’ll be able to move fuel, ammunition, and equipment to the front much more efficiently, according to Roger McDermott, a Russian military specialist at the Jamestown Foundation, a U.S. think tank."
posted by BungaDunga at 4:41 PM on March 6 [10 favorites]


an inverted “V” on all vehicles, where the point of the V was “up”.

Chevron
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 5:14 PM on March 6 [13 favorites]


Why can't Poland give its old warplanes to Ukraine?
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says Washington has given a “green light” to the idea and is currently “very, very actively” looking at a proposal under which Ukraine's neighbor Poland would supply Kyiv with Soviet-era fighters and in turn receive American F-16s to make up for their loss...

However, the proposition is fraught with uncertainty and Poland has been less than enthusiastic about it in public, largely because Russia has warned that supporting Ukraine's air force would be seen in Moscow as participating in the conflict...
posted by clawsoon at 5:32 PM on March 6 [2 favorites]


Chevron

One, encoded.

It's possible that Russia is going full totalitarian and cutting off their own internet:

@nexta_tv: "#Russia began active preparations for disconnection from the global Internet

No later than March 11, all servers and domains must be transferred to the #Russian zone. In addition, detailed data on the network infrastructure of the sites is being collected."

Seems more like they are just switching to their own root servers at the moment, but either way the move from authoritarian to totalitarian is way fast.
posted by Buntix at 5:37 PM on March 6 [13 favorites]


At first he thought he could build a sort of democratic model that he could control. A model like this does not exist, so he started to slide at first towards mild totalitarianism. If the situation develops further, he will reach full totalitarian model.

“In reality, every authoritarian system is a kleptocracy”

— Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Putin’s Way (2015)
He’s certainly not rooting out corruption and grift, so a purge of the disloyal feels likely in the process of Putin going “full totalitarian”.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 6:04 PM on March 6 [5 favorites]


"In reality, every authoritarian system is a kleptocracy”
— Mikhail Khodorkovsky
His Twitter feed is interesting.

"On the ice of the Moyka someone wrote "No to War".
posted by clavdivs at 6:37 PM on March 6 [6 favorites]


WSJ News Exclusive | Russia Recruiting Syrians for Urban Combat in Ukraine, U.S. Officials Say

Paywalled (I think) but the gist is:
An American assessment indicates that Russia, which has been operating inside Syria since 2015, has in recent days been recruiting fighters from there, hoping their expertise in urban combat can help take Kyiv and deal a devastating blow to the Ukraine government, according to four American officials. The move points to a potential escalation of fighting in Ukraine, experts said.

It is unclear how many fighters have been identified, but some are already in Russia preparing to enter the conflict, according to one official.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:43 PM on March 6 [2 favorites]


Poland has said they have not agreed to transfer planes to Ukraine. It is unclear if they are actually not transferring planes or if this is just cover for them.
posted by interogative mood at 8:03 PM on March 6


Relief that Gift of the Givers has stepped in to somewhat mitigate my feelings about South Africa's disappointing response to the war in Ukraine.

Gift of the Givers is an independent humanitarian organization (largest in Africa) that has in recent years arguably replaced the South African government's international and local disaster relief program.

I'm a huge fan. Last year they stepped in during the conflict that, described by some as a failed insurrection, engulfed my home town Durban.
posted by BrStekker at 8:23 PM on March 6 [16 favorites]


There was some discussion earlier about how misleading maps of the conflict can be.

(UKR State News) UKRInform: Invaders temporarily controlling roads and some populated localities – Center for Countering Disinformation
"The occupiers do not control territories – they temporarily control roads and some populated localities. The map presented by Nathan Ruser from ASPI's Cyber Policy Centre displays the most up-to-date and correct information on the territory, without manipulation,"
Accompanied by a map showing Russian zones of control largely limited to roads.

ASPI is an Aussie think tank.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:28 PM on March 6 [4 favorites]


That UKRInform link showed me the article and then, less than a minute later, popped up a window claiming my computer has been infected by a virus, which I presumed to be bogus but indicative that clinking on links in the pop-up window might soon make it a self-fulfilling prophecy. The back button re-routed me to an unexitable McAffee page asking me to subscribe. Am I crazy to think that such things are related to Russian cyberwarfare?
posted by brambleboy at 8:43 PM on March 6


So, cards issued in Russia will continue to work within Russia?

Mastercard and Visa block in Russia does not stop domestic purchases – Impact of US card giants’ move diluted after local Mir payment system clarifies ban only affects foreign transactions, The Guardian; Kalyeena Makortoff, Banking correspondent; Sun 6 Mar 2022:
Consumers will still be able to use Mastercard and Visa-branded cards for domestic transactions in Russia, the country’s state-backed payments network has said, reducing the impact of the US firms’ decision to pull services over the invasion of Ukraine.

Russia’s homegrown payments system Mir said the cardholders would still be able to access their funds, make withdrawals and domestic transfers – at least until their bank cards expire. Mir has processed most domestic payments in Russia since 2015, while foreign operators such as Visa and Mastercard continued to run international transactions. The operator – which is 100% owned by the country’s central bank – was established on government orders to protect the economy against sanctions imposed over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.

“All cards of these payment systems already issued by Russian banks will continue to work within our country as before,” Mir’s operator said in the early hours of Sunday. “Until the expiration of their validity, Visa and Mastercard cardholders have access to all the funds on their accounts, as well as all the usual payment transactions – paying for purchases, transferring funds from card to card, withdrawing cash, etc.”

On Sunday American Express said it was also suspending all operations in Russia and Belarus. “In light of Russia’s ongoing, unjustified attack on the people of Ukraine, American Express is suspending all operations in Russia,” the credit card company said in a statement on its website. “We are also terminating all business operations in Belarus.”
More details in the article.
posted by cenoxo at 8:48 PM on March 6 [2 favorites]


Am I crazy to think that such things are related to Russian cyberwarfare?

It's way more likely to be typical internet ad-fuckery
posted by RustyBrooks at 8:51 PM on March 6 [6 favorites]




Arming Ukraine: 17,000 Anti-tank weapons in 6 days. NYT.

For perspective, Russia has about 12,000 active tanks in total (with about another 10,000 "in storage.")
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:22 PM on March 6 [7 favorites]


More than UAH 10 billion (300 million USD) has been raised to support Ukraine's armed forces. From the same link, the Ukrainian Ministry of Social Policy has raised UAH 57.5 million (1.9 million USD).
posted by NotLost at 11:03 PM on March 6 [2 favorites]


@rommari: "Tldw: Russian soldier arrives in Ukraine, gets captured and gives a press conference in Kyiv saying that Russian soldiers are brainwashed to believe that they're liberating Ukraine. When they come to the country, they realise they're not wanted there."*
posted by kliuless at 12:12 AM on March 7 [13 favorites]


“Putin’s on Our Side!” [cw: state violence]
On March 6, the Russia newspaper Novaya Gazeta published an audio recording and transcript of the violent police interrogation of an anti-war protester, demanding that the case be immediately investigated and commented on by the Minister of Internal Affairs.
Brave, terrifying reading.
posted by Klipspringer at 12:56 AM on March 7 [17 favorites]


Not only state violence but also state violence against one specific woman. It was horrifying to read.
posted by Bella Donna at 1:07 AM on March 7 [4 favorites]


At the moment, the International Court of Justice is holding "public hearings in the case concerning Allegations of Genocide under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (#Ukraine v. #Russia)." They are being held today and tomorrow, 7 and 8 March 2022. Today Ukraine is presenting its case from 10 to 1 CET. Russia is supposed to present its case tomorrow from 10 to 1 CET. But the Russian seats in the court are empty and reportedly Russia has refused to participate in the case. Viewers can access the hearings live at https://media.un.org.
posted by Bella Donna at 1:21 AM on March 7 [3 favorites]


Using salt, dump and trash trucks are standard issue in New York City for protests and other events. They are heavy and difficult to move, and work well as instant immovable walls, for what it is worth…

Yes but those are deployed to protect groups of people from vehicular attacks not to prevent people from gathering. People can just walk around trucks.
posted by srboisvert at 3:51 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]


Russia’s homegrown payments system Mir said the cardholders would still be able to access their funds, make withdrawals and domestic transfers – at least until their bank cards expire.

This sounds more like the cards will still function as debit cards rather than as credit cards to me.
posted by srboisvert at 3:56 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


It's a million comments back, and pointless to correct, but still I'd like to change my comment (Obviously Australia will accept many refugees as long as they are Christian and white)

...to say "the Australian government will accept... etc".

The god-bothering protofascist kleptos that make up our current government don't represent people I know, or the history of where I personally live (which is very proud of accepting whatever refugees from wherever they needed refuge from). Of course: neither of these groups have the power to actually get refugees the here.

posted by pompomtom at 4:47 AM on March 7 [12 favorites]


Irina Borogan, co-founder with Andrei Soldatov of Agentura.ru, a news website covering Russian state surveillance, calls the situation in Russia “unprecedented.” Based in London, Borogan fled Russia last year out of concerns that she would be charged with treason over her journalism, which focuses on Russia’s state security services and online surveillance technology.
CPJ spoke with Borogan about the recent spate of draconian measures in Russia, access to information, and how she sees internet censorship evolving in the country. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Irina on Twitter.

Irina closely works with Andrei Soldatov
Andrei in Twitter
I met both of them IRL, through work. I trust them and their reporting.
posted by 15L06 at 4:57 AM on March 7 [17 favorites]


Here's Nathan Ruser explaining in a thread what his maps do and do not show. I've seen this data misinterpreted in multiple different directions, so I found this helpful.
posted by confluency at 5:02 AM on March 7 [7 favorites]


So obviously UKR is doing brilliantly in the infowar in the West, but I wonder if they've missed a trick with the big supply of ATGMs.

The famous /r/syriancivilwar discussion seemed to be largely ignited by the demands of the US to document the use of an ATGM. The US was handing them out like candy to armed groups that might not really be US-aligned. The CIA supplying Al Qaeda being not a great look, domestically, recipients wouldn't get resupplied unless they'd documented uses against a Syrian Govt/Iranian/Russian targets. This lead to a trove of combat videos circulated around the world.

I wonder if they're missing a propaganda opportunity here. I've seen quite a few vids of the results of UKR ambushes on Russian formations (last one I saw even showed the pits the ambushers had prepared, plus a bunch of smoldering BMP-type APCs (Donestk Republic separatists, not Russian army AFAIK).

Maybe combat video of the actual ambush would upset Western viewers, but also maybe it would encourage more volunteers for the international brigades? IDK I suspect someone (more expert than I) in UKR has made a determination about that.


(....but I'm not a publicist, so maybe farmers absconding with abandoned AFV's is the new motif? I mean, it's good, and it has (if you'll forgive me) traction).
posted by pompomtom at 5:08 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


pompomtom I suspect to the extent that there is any organized calculation behind what is widely shared it's that showing destroyed equipment is better than showing the actual killing of Russian soldiers. Hence the videos of prisoners being treated well.
posted by Wretch729 at 5:47 AM on March 7 [8 favorites]


There has also been very few dead Russian bodies shown, compared to the large number of destroyed and often still smouldering vehicles. I figured that might be either a) calculated on the part of the Ukrainians to play better in Western media or b) because most social media will censor pictures and videos featuring dead bodies.
posted by Harald74 at 5:54 AM on March 7 [3 favorites]


Regarding the continuing import of Russian oil and gas, I found this story from the UK heartening: Ukraine: Workers refuse to unload Russian oil from ship.

Union workers refused to unload the Russian oil from a German-flagged ship.
posted by Harald74 at 5:57 AM on March 7 [6 favorites]


Wretch729
Good point, and makes sense to me, but largely the TOW ATGM vids are from a k or two away, and aren't gory at all. From a vid view you see "invading tank(/SVBIED) lumbers up, gets targeted, explodes".

Javelin strikes seem even more clinical, on vid, with the top-down attack mode, and greater range.
posted by pompomtom at 6:00 AM on March 7


(the last vid I mentioned wouldn't count here. That strike must've been within about 5m (probably RPGs) and I don't think Western audiences would've enjoyed that much)
posted by pompomtom at 6:04 AM on March 7


A couple of days ago at the port in Tromsø in Norway, a Russian fisherman approached a young Norwegian dock worker and handed him an envelope with 5,000 NOK (approx. USD 500) marked "human help for the Ukrain" (sic) and then disappeared.

Google Translate does a serviceable job of translating the article.
posted by Harald74 at 6:08 AM on March 7 [20 favorites]


Union workers refused to unload the Russian oil from a German-flagged ship.

Does the US have unionised docks? (actual question, not having a go)
posted by pompomtom at 6:37 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


So, cards issued in Russia will continue to work within Russia?

I'm not sure if this link will last (since it points to an item in the constantly updated "Latest Russian-Ukraine War News" page at the NYTimes), but they have a short article about how the card blockages have immediately impacted Russians who have fled the country:

When Visa and MasterCard announced on Saturday that they would suspend operations in Russia, the first people to feel the impact were Russians fleeing the country because they opposed the war in Ukraine.

The American payment processors said that bank cards issued in Russia would no longer work abroad, while cards with the companies’ logos on them were expected to continue working inside the country because a local processor handles those transactions.

That meant that the many journalists, activists and others who fled Russia in recent days because they feared conscription or prosecution would lose access to their Russian bank accounts. Wealthy Russians were less affected because they were more likely to have bank accounts abroad.

posted by Dip Flash at 6:40 AM on March 7 [3 favorites]


Does the US have unionised docks? (actual question, not having a go)

Yes. This headline gives an indication of where they stand on the issue: 20,000 Dockworkers Refuse to Unload Russian Cargo at 29 West Coast Ports
posted by Dip Flash at 6:42 AM on March 7 [14 favorites]


Does the US have unionised docks?

Very much so: the longshoreman's union is quite strong.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:43 AM on March 7 [6 favorites]


The War in Ukraine Could Change Everything, Yuval Noah Harari [WP bio, previously on MetaFilter], TED, March 2, 2022.
posted by cenoxo at 6:44 AM on March 7 [3 favorites]


Thanks Dip Flash, that is heartening. And thank fuck Florida isn't a useful destination..
posted by pompomtom at 6:45 AM on March 7


In WWII, the predecessor to the CIA was the OSS. They published a small volume entitled the Simple Sabotage Field Manual, which used easy-to-read language to explain to regular people in occupied countries how to degrade the Nazi war effort. You can read it here.

Now, a piece last week by Charles Pinck (of the OSS Society) talks about the history of this book, and ends by revealing it's been translated to Ukranian. It can be downloaded here -- and I would love to see that link spread far and wide.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:06 AM on March 7 [17 favorites]


warning: disturbing video autoplay in front of the article. and what a cynical set of politicians in Russia.
'Propaganda corridors': Ukraine rejects Russian offer to let civilians flee to Russia
“Our people won’t go to Belarus and to Russia,” Ukraine's vice prime minister said Monday, branding Moscow's unilateral announcement of humanitarian corridors “unacceptable.”
posted by bluesky43 at 7:08 AM on March 7


From the Kyiv Independent: ⚡️Russia claims it will stop the war immediately if Ukraine agrees to:

- cease military action
- change constitution to enshrine neutrality (added: my limited understanding is this is intended to prevent Ukraine fromm joining either NATO or the EU)
- recognize Crimea as Russian territory
- recognize the Russian-controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states

Also reported on Reuters.

I was tempted to put "claims" in air quotes. Can't begin to imagine negotiating with someone as lowlife as Putin.
posted by vers at 7:09 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


Irina closely works with Andrei Soldatov
Andrei in Twitter
I met both of them IRL, through work. I trust them and their reporting.
posted by 15L0

Tnx 15L0. I also recommend Tim Mak who has a twitter thread this morning from Ukraine (US NPR reporter)
Tim Mak
@timkmak

доброго ранку — Good morning — from Ukraine to our U.S. readers.
Kyiv remains under Ukrainian control.
And not only that, a senior US defense official said Russian forces don't appear to have made significant progress, despite committing near 95% of the forces they had staged.
posted by bluesky43 at 7:12 AM on March 7 [5 favorites]


vers: I was tempted to put "claims" in air quotes. Can't begin to imagine negotiating with someone as lowlife as Putin.

There was a headline on The Kyiv Independent yesterday where Putin said that he'd be willing to start negotiations once all Russian demands are met.
posted by clawsoon at 7:16 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]


- recognize Crimea as Russian territory
- recognize the Russian-controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states

I wonder if Putin is playing a long game here. Once the eastern regions are firmly in control, he expands the pro-Russian activity a little further west and invades again in a few years to grab more territory.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:17 AM on March 7 [6 favorites]


Evacuations from the port city of Mariupol

Has there been any reporting on evacuation by ship?
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:21 AM on March 7


I wonder how many nations are represented in the comments. How many posts are contributed by people experiencing the invasion directly.. how many who are immediately adjacent, numbers of Europeans (plenty adjacent) and spreading out from there. I mean, someone who has been reading the Ukraine threads carefully could assemble some rough percentages but it's certain most of us are just sort of helplessly watching.. sending aid in whatever way we can, joining protests in our towns and cities, and just watching our news feeds. I'm ashamed to say it, but in hindsight the world has been at war all my life and I just can't ignore it anymore.
posted by elkevelvet at 7:22 AM on March 7 [8 favorites]


The oil tanker which the dockers refused to unload has left Tranmere. I cycled past it on the Liverpool side of the river the other day. It's currently in the Irish Sea and doesn't seem to have a new destination yet.
posted by amcewen at 7:38 AM on March 7 [9 favorites]


Poland has said they have not agreed to transfer planes to Ukraine. It is unclear if they are actually not transferring planes or if this is just cover for them

Not yet agreed. This is likely as much about what they'll get for releasing the MiGs they spent a fair amount upgrading for NATO interoperability as anything else; NATO nations are already openly supplying fairly sophisticated systems (as well as former Warsaw Pact equipment).

Boneyard F-16As probably aren't particularly attractive to Poland as-is, which would be the obvious thing to offer.

Those would be more meaningful to Bulgaria or Romania, but the MiGs they have to contribute to Ukraine are not going to be as modernized as Poland's (and may be more useful for cannibalizing parts than anything else). One of the Romanian MiG-21s was lost last week to mechanical failure, and then the helicopter rescue mission went down too.


Surplus F-16s can be brought up to current standards, so that may be what's under discussion. Or a sweetheart deal on F-35s, cheaper than usual and/or with more bells and whistles than the US currently permits to be exported.

Depending on just what the MiGs' NATO upgrades involved, there may also be some hesitance about what could be recovered from a crashed plane by Russia.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:49 AM on March 7 [6 favorites]




This NYT article says that some of the available F-16s were previously promised to Taiwan:
. On Saturday, while Mr. Biden was in Wilmington, Del., his National Security Council staff spent much of the day trying to find a way for Poland to transfer to Ukraine a fleet of well-used, Soviet-made MIG-29 fighter jets that Ukrainian pilots know how to fly. But the deal is contingent on giving Poland, in return, far more capable, American-made F-16s, an operation made more complicated by the fact that many of those fighters are promised to Taiwan — where the United States has greater strategic interests.

Polish leaders have said there is no deal, and are clearly concerned about how they would provide the fighters to Ukraine and whether doing so would make them a new target of the Russians. The United States says it is open to the idea of the plane swap.
posted by BungaDunga at 8:37 AM on March 7 [2 favorites]


That's helpful -- those would be current F-16C/Ds from the Block 70 production.

Not boneyard F-16s that would need to be upgraded and delivered at some significant amount of time down the line.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:46 AM on March 7 [1 favorite]


On the refugee front, over a million have now passed into Poland, and while some will journey onwards, it's starting to tax the available housing. Many owners of exhibition halls are starting to make them available for temporary lodging. There's finally a draft refugee law that grants Ukrainian refugees the right to work, a national ID number (necessary for public services) and access to all services with equal rights to Polish citizens, for 18 months to start with. Our healthcare system is overtaxed to start with, so that'll be interesting, though the EU has promised to help.

On a personal level, I'm annoyed by the dumping of Polish currency. The PLN is getting ricochet damage from investors fleeing Eastern Europe in general. I know it'll even out eventually, but it's a bummer for my plans for international purchases. (Just hoping it'll sort itself out before Prime Day, I need a new Kindle.)
posted by I claim sanctuary at 8:47 AM on March 7 [19 favorites]


I wonder if Putin is playing a long game here. Once the eastern regions are firmly in control, he expands the pro-Russian activity a little further west and invades again in a few years to grab more territory.

Doubtful. Even if he was looking to the future he has max a decade left, two if he's lucky. This is him just trying to extricate himself in a face saving measure. The traditional MO that Putin has used is taking a Russian speaking majority or plurality and turning it into a casus belli. Usually this involves arming some separatists, sending some Russian soldiers out of uniform, and marching on the local administrative center. No Russian speaker in the Kharkiv Oblast is going to talk to him little alone Sumy, Chernihiv or Poltava, and even if they do and they're found out they'll be seen as traitors. Putin may have constitutional guarantees of neutrality but that won't restrain the country's internal security services dealing with future Russian subterfuge.

If he was still trying to get the Russian border to the Dnieper (which I expect he was given that it's one of the few natural impediments to troops crossing the European Plain into Russia) he's kind of fucked now. I don't know if he's even going to keep the Mariupol line at this point. Ukrainian counterattacks are getting ever more devastating as their manpower keeps mobilizing and weapons particularly effective against the Russian force composition keep flooding in from its Western borders.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:49 AM on March 7 [5 favorites]


I don’t think the long game is a realistic strategy for Russia. Already the more ethnically Russian areas not under the control of the separatists have become increasingly pro-Ukraine. Ethnic Russians in Ukraine have turned towards the west because Russia is a shit show and has very little to offer other than occasional shelling, broken promises towards places like Crimea and increasing human rights abuses and corruption.
posted by interogative mood at 8:57 AM on March 7 [9 favorites]


I actually found the demand a little interesting, because it seems like a backing down from the maximalist initial position. Still obviously unacceptable to the Ukrainians, but no demilitarization demand and the weird "okay, you can keep the president but we appoint a puppet PM". I wonder it means that things are the ground really aren't going well even from the plan B bomb them slowly aspect, or if it's just to look better for internal Russian media? But then they've gone heavy with the whole denazification thing, so it seems odd.
posted by tavella at 9:10 AM on March 7 [6 favorites]


Also, if I was Boiko, I would not be thrilled with being named as the prospective PM, pro-Russian politician or not. It's still not clear what the hell went on with Kireev, but it's pretty clear that the Ukrainians don't plan to play around with internal treason.
posted by tavella at 9:13 AM on March 7 [3 favorites]


Exactly. Even if he was made PM does Russia intend to remobilize when the Rada rides him out of town on a rail?
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 9:30 AM on March 7


Even if the armed conflict doesn't spread directly, it may spread indirectly: ‘We need bread’: fears in Middle East as Ukraine war hits wheat imports
posted by mumimor at 9:34 AM on March 7 [9 favorites]


Third thought: I wonder if this gives more backing to the supposed FSB dissident letter. You'd expect them to pick Medvedchuk, the biggest pro-Russian politician, not Boiko. One of the lines in that letter was "Medvedchuk ran away, the coward."
posted by tavella at 10:07 AM on March 7 [3 favorites]


Even if the armed conflict doesn't spread directly, it may spread indirectly: ‘We need bread’: fears in Middle East as Ukraine war hits wheat imports

This is a great time to point out that even as energy is globally constrained and difficult to rapidly replace, even with this disruption there is not a global food shortage. There is however a global food equity issue.
So, while it won't be feasible to simply stop using Russian natural gas without major humanitarian issues, it would be feasible for wealthy and food-rich countries to step up supply of caloric replacement to these affected regions.
This is an opportunity for the United States (along with Canada and others) to lead from the front on an issue that if left unresolved would play into Russian hands and the pressure to end the conflict with a new status quo without any requirement for military building. A literal opportunity for plowshares to push back against the swords.
posted by meinvt at 10:24 AM on March 7 [42 favorites]


An appeal to all Russian speakers, published by Eurozine:
You speak Russian. It matters
Russian intellectuals appeal to all Russian speakers. As writers we are appealing to everyone who speaks the Russian language. To people of all nationalities. To those who are native speakers. To those for whom Russian is their second or third language.
Independent sources of information have been almost entirely destroyed in Russia. It is critical to reveal to Russian citizens the full truth about the suffering of the Ukrainian nation. An appeal to Russian speakers worldwide from prominent members of the Russian literary intelligentsia

For details visit Eurozine
posted by 15L06 at 10:34 AM on March 7 [10 favorites]


Adam Something who lives next door in Hungary IIRC has been posting some daily updates on his YouTube Community page (not videos but just blog posts). Things went badly for Russia yesterday.

Russia's usual way of dealing with the setbacks like they've had in the initial invasion of Ukraine is to bring up artillery and flatten cities ( see Grozny and Aleppo for recent examples). Then they occupy the rubble and pretend there were not any civilian casualties (hence the mobile crematoriums). If Ukraine can continue to hit the Russian artillery like they did yesterday, then Russia's plan B isn't going to work.

They also lost a new advanced Project 22160 patrol ship yesterday. These are about $180 million a piece. They have a crew of 60-80 people and are about 300ft (100 meters) long.
posted by interogative mood at 10:55 AM on March 7 [17 favorites]



This is an opportunity for the United States (along with Canada and others) to lead from the front on an issue that if left unresolved would play into Russian hands and the pressure to end the conflict with a new status quo without any requirement for military building. A literal opportunity for plowshares to push back against the swords.


Argentina has a bad drought going. Russia and Ukraine are about to botch the spring planting.

That leaves Romania, the USA, and Canada. (And maybe Western Australia ?)

This won't just be a distribution and equity issue. It takes a whole growing season for farmers to respond to a crisis with added production. Shit's gonna get tight.
posted by ocschwar at 11:44 AM on March 7 [8 favorites]


Here is a wheat production by country. Ukraine and Russia are both in the top ten, so things might be getting tight for a lot of countries. But this makes me think - what will happen in Ukraine once current resources run out? Clearly nothing much will happen in the country this spring? Is there any knowledge about food supplies in a country at war? Are there areas where production will continue? Should the rest of the world somehow make provisions for when current supplies run out? Just continue with donating to relevant NGOs?
posted by doggod at 11:50 AM on March 7 [4 favorites]


A Finnish newspaper is publishing daily updates from Anatolii Shara, a resident of Kyiv who remains in the city (link to Google translation). Warning, yesterday's entry is horrifying.
posted by sively at 11:50 AM on March 7 [8 favorites]


95% of the wheat crop in Ukraine is winter wheat, so it's already been planted. So that's not critical yet.
posted by tavella at 12:00 PM on March 7 [8 favorites]


interogative mood: Things went badly for Russia yesterday.

Mixed feelings seeing that it was the far-right Azov Battalion heading up the list of Ukrainian successes.
posted by clawsoon at 12:08 PM on March 7 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I can see that being an issue in the future, assuming Ukraine survives. They've been the ones holding out in Mariupol, in an undeniably heroic manner. Even if the current unit is destroyed in the process, I'd be real surprised if it wasn't quickly reestablished.
posted by tavella at 12:15 PM on March 7


It's been 6 years since the last crime allegation against the Azov battalion. Could be that the UAF has successfully reined them in.
posted by ocschwar at 12:37 PM on March 7


Michael Kofman, an analyst of the Russian military of Ukrainian descent (his grandparents even still live in Mikolaiv), was a guest of Ryan Evans on the War on the Rocks podcast. Kofman goes over the situation as of yesterday evening. He strikes a note of caution against people being overoptimistic for Ukraine, though he is also highly critical of Russian planning and performance.

While he is cautious in military terms, he does go out on a limb in terms of how he thinks this is playing out for the Russian regime, and predicts that this might be the endgame already, though that could take a long time to play out.

It’s probably the clearest overview I’ve found of where things are now, militarily.
posted by Kattullus at 12:50 PM on March 7 [9 favorites]


ocschwar: It's been 6 years since the last crime allegation against the Azov battalion. Could be that the UAF has successfully reined them in.

I also have mixed feelings about a well-disciplined group of far-right extremists...
posted by clawsoon at 1:02 PM on March 7 [7 favorites]


Part of being well disciplined is taking orders from the chain of command that goes up to a Russian speaking Jewish president with a platform of reconciliation towards Russian speakers.
posted by ocschwar at 1:28 PM on March 7 [14 favorites]


A significant concern regarding agriculture is that Russia and Belarus actually manufacture a lot of the world's supply of nitrogen fertilizer.
posted by interogative mood at 1:53 PM on March 7 [2 favorites]




Ukraine just killed Gen. Maj. Vitaly Gerassimov, chief of staff of the 41 Army. At Kharkiv.
“ Russia, if you're listening: delete your army.”
posted by Silvery Fish at 2:32 PM on March 7 [8 favorites]


So, while it won't be feasible to simply stop using Russian natural gas without major humanitarian issues, it would be feasible for wealthy and food-rich countries to step up supply of caloric replacement to these affected regions.

It would take significant pan-European cooperation, temporary curtailment of some industry until winter ends and some coordinated campaigns to turn down the heat (plus major efforts over the summer to prepare for next winter), but I think Europe absolutely could stop using Russian gas without major humanitarian issues. At worst, if pipeline capacity within Europe is too strong of a limiting factor rather than overall supply, then they could drastically cut imports from Russia. It would be hard, but it is do-able and something that the EU could choose to do together.
posted by ssg at 2:45 PM on March 7 [2 favorites]


but I think Europe absolutely could stop using Russian gas without major humanitarian issues.
One thing that is really different from the US/Canada/Australia is that in most of Europe, cars are nice to have, not need to have, even in most provincial districts. There are exceptions, but on the statistical level, rising petrol prices means people going more on bikes and public transportation. Which gives some space for converting heating from gas to electricity or waste furnaces.
posted by mumimor at 2:52 PM on March 7 [2 favorites]


Putin: there will be no additional call-up of reservists from the reserve

I don't know whether he's lying, whether he just doesn't have any way to call up the reserves, or whether he thinks he's good with his Syrian lapdog providing the cannon fodder.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 2:56 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]


It really is amazing how much quick progress we can make on fossil fuel use when we switch messaging from 'Let's save the world' to 'Fuck that guy, specifically.'
posted by kaibutsu at 3:01 PM on March 7 [142 favorites]


A significant concern regarding agriculture is that Russia and Belarus actually manufacture a lot of the world's supply of nitrogen fertilizer.

Good thing the atmosphere is like 70 percent nitrogen then.
posted by pwnguin at 3:18 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]


Business Insider: The Russian-born billionaire who founded Stolichnaya vodka is changing the brand's name
Stoli Group's announcement comes as businesses and state officials across the country call for a boycott of vodka. Though many vodka products are advertised as Russian, only about 1% of vodka in the US comes from Russia.
It will officially be called "Stoli," darling.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 3:18 PM on March 7 [2 favorites]


Good thing the atmosphere is like 70 percent nitrogen then.

Yeah but you need just as much natural gas as you do nitrogen to fix those pesky hydrogens onto it.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 3:22 PM on March 7 [12 favorites]


A significant concern regarding agriculture is that Russia and Belarus actually manufacture a lot of the world's supply of nitrogen fertilizer.

Maybe this will help mid- and small-scale farmers who have been considering moving to a more sustainable ag model finally make the jump. It might be a good time to write to your (US) representatives asking to make for more $$ available to assist farmers transitioning to sustainable ag practices.
posted by Silvery Fish at 3:23 PM on March 7 [12 favorites]


Syrian lapdog

I've known a few dogs, some of them have spent time in my lap, and I beseech everyone here to be careful with labels. I mean, purely on a level of "we know what happens when we start dehumanizing" (regardless of what "the other side" is doing)

fuck me sideways for the pious tone, just thinking.. it's already awful, no need to make it worse
posted by elkevelvet at 3:26 PM on March 7 [11 favorites]


fuck me sideways for the pious tone, just thinking.. it's already awful, no need to make it worse

Point taken. My apologies to lapdogs for the unwarranted comparison to Bashar al-Assad.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 3:28 PM on March 7 [27 favorites]


Chemistryworld on what the invasion means for some more esoteric raw materials.
Ninety percent of the world's neon production is in the Ukraine (plus about fifteen percent of krypton and xenon).
The Noble gasses are essential for chip production so expect some problems there.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 3:30 PM on March 7 [8 favorites]


Putin: there will be no additional call-up of reservists from the reserve

March 5, 2022

"The early announcement of the 2022 spring draft is unlikely to increase Russian combat power in Ukraine in the near term.
Recent Russian efforts to create a Western-style reserve force are unlikely to materially impact combat operations in Ukraine.
As Russia exhausts its high-readiness units staffed with contract soldiers, the quality of reinforcements is likely to be much lower than the units first committed to the invasion."

The big question. It may be true as saying no then to mobilize will likely show up on everyone's satellites. Plus the meet my demands and I'll stop announcement suggests Putin may be willing to stop.

or it's another Putin panacea.
posted by clavdivs at 5:30 PM on March 7


Ninety percent of the world's neon production is in the Ukraine (plus about fifteen percent of krypton and xenon)

The article seems to say that before the war, Russia and Ukraine combined for 200 million litres of neon out of a global production of about 700 million litres, though they note much of Russia's production happened via a plant in Odesa. They estimate the combined total is down to 100 million litres now. Anyway just seems like a more manageable proportion than 90%.
posted by Rumple at 5:59 PM on March 7 [2 favorites]


The Noble gasses are essential for chip production so expect some problems there.

Well chip production is already backed up.... can it be worse?
posted by WaterAndPixels at 6:01 PM on March 7


>Ukraine just killed Gen. Maj. Vitaly Gerassimov, chief of staff of the 41 Army. At Kharkiv.

Killing the Chief of Staff of an Army group, and him being not the only General killed by Ukraine so far, suggests to me very, very good intel and targeted strikes are at work, perhaps via drones guided by NATO and other organizations.
posted by Rumple at 6:02 PM on March 7 [13 favorites]


Part of being well disciplined is taking orders from the chain of command that goes up to a Russian speaking Jewish president with a platform of reconciliation towards Russian speakers.

The Azov and their ilk are why Zelenskyy couldn't pursue the platform that he ran on, which would have involved upholding the terms of the Minsk accords.
posted by moorooka at 6:05 PM on March 7 [5 favorites]


> Silvery Fish: "Ukraine just killed Gen. Maj. Vitaly Gerassimov, chief of staff of the 41 Army. At Kharkiv."

A few follow-up observations:

1) From the linked Twitter thread, we have claims that this info was confirmed via intercepts of FSB communications. How were these comms intercepted? Well, according to the thread, their secure communication modes are no longer working (possibly because they had destroyed 3G/4G cellular capacity in UKR?) and have to basically use regular civilian phones. The Twitter thread doesn't link their sources but they have transcriptions of the FSB conversation, so possibly this is from some official UKR military/intelligence release.

2) This Vitaly Gerasimov is very likely the nephew of Valery Gerasimov (according to this blogpost linked from this Reddit comment thread). Valery Gerasimov is a serious big shot in the Russian military as the current Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces and also Deputy Defence Minister. Also, he's the Gerasimov of the Gerasimov Doctrine although I'm led to believe that he may not have been the one to actually formulate the doctrine, just credited with the name.

3) Gerasimov was a major general which, in the US military, corresponds to a two-star general (O8). But in the Russian military the rank of major general corresponds more closely to the one-star brigadier general rank (O7) in the US military (i.e.: one rank up from colonel).

4) Gerasimov appears to be at least the third (?) Russian general to have been killed in this invasion, after Major General Andrey Sukhovetsky and General Magomed Tushayev. I'm actually a little unsure if Tushayev was an actual general in the Russian military or not since this article only refers to him as "general" (i.e.: not the specific rank) and he was a part of Kadyrovtsy's Chechen cadre which I'm unsure of how it's integrated into the main Russian military; some sources only refer to him as a "commander". In any case, by contrast, the US has apparently only lost two generals to hostile actions since the end of the Vietnam War, one during the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon and another in an insider attack at a base in Afghanistan in 2014.
posted by mhum at 6:21 PM on March 7 [18 favorites]


perhaps via drones guided by NATO and other organizations. I worry about this kind of speculation being seen as truth, when it might not be. Ukraine is working hard to defend it's self, giving their glory away, for one thing, seems cavalier. Escalation by misspeaking also seems unwise.
posted by Oyéah at 6:44 PM on March 7 [18 favorites]


It doesn’t appear to have been NATO directly. The Russian’s digital radios are not working and they’ve been forced to use unsecured old fashioned radios. My understanding is they picked the general up on a police scanner yelling orders and then triangulated his position. The Ukrainians have also been able to track some Russian Commanders because they’ve been using personal cellphones try to communicate with their headquarters because of the radio problems.
posted by interogative mood at 7:24 PM on March 7 [5 favorites]


That kind of cooperation predates the invasion, and glory is about the least important thing right now (slogans aside).

Even if intelligence sharing were capable of doing anything to dimish Ukrainian bravery, which it isn't.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:43 PM on March 7 [2 favorites]


So, Syrian manpower is pretty depleted too, transportation from Syria to Russia is not a trivial thing to arrange, and putting in soldiers who don't read Cyrillic or know any Slavic tongues, who have no dog in this fight, and have a reputation for being dependent on amphetamines, is really not going to accomplish much. This is pretty much taking the galley's ladles and spoons and loading them up in the cannon at this point.
posted by ocschwar at 7:46 PM on March 7 [7 favorites]


It might be a good time to write to your (US) representatives asking to make for more $$ available to assist farmers transitioning to sustainable ag practices.
posted by Silvery Fish at 5:23 PM on March 7


I made it easy: text SIGN PVRLSV to 50409 (Resistbot).
posted by joannemerriam at 8:01 PM on March 7 [4 favorites]


I made it easy: text SIGN PVRLSV to 50409 (Resistbot).

It's helpful to know what you are signing when contacting ResistBot, so here is the petition.
posted by meinvt at 8:22 PM on March 7 [4 favorites]


Russian military ‘advisers’ train new Syrian battalion
25 September 2019.

Russia Expands Military Facilities in Syria
May 12, 2021.

Russia’s failed efforts to restructure the Syrian army. July 20, 2021

Russia sends warplanes to Syria for huge naval drills in Med. February 15, 2022

War of the Noble Gases
posted by clavdivs at 8:38 PM on March 7 [3 favorites]


CNN: Russian families turn to Ukrainian hotline in desperate search for lost soldiers
These are excerpts from audio recordings made to a Ukrainian government-run hotline. Mothers and fathers, wives, siblings and others are engaged in a desperate search for their loved ones as Russia's war with Ukraine extends seemingly without end.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:50 PM on March 7 [3 favorites]


clavdivs > War of the Noble Gases (direct Ars Technica link bypasses Financial Times paywall that appears on the original link).
posted by cenoxo at 9:15 PM on March 7 [4 favorites]


Refugee update: the flow into Poland has been slowing since the peak yesterday, fall of about 16% day to day so far, but it's now overwhelming the private ability to house new arrivals, and our government reserves of gear like camp beds are also depleted. One of the expo halls near Warsaw in Nadarzyn is now housing 3000 people and waiting for delivery of 10,000 more camp beds from Germany and Austria. Big crowds in main Warsaw railway stations, with volunteers feeding them and trying to direct people to lodging centres. New classes* created for refugees children are filling up fast. Sounds like the most helpful thing right now is to get people to move further onto Western Europe, but a lot of them prefer Poland right now because of the familiar language and organised diaspora.

* The Polish education system divides kids in the same grade into classes of 20-35 kids who have all lessons together. Makes for easier scheduling.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 1:34 AM on March 8 [23 favorites]


I made it easy: text SIGN PVRLSV to 50409 (Resistbot).

It's helpful to know what you are signing when contacting ResistBot, so here is the petition.
posted by meinvt at 10:22 PM on March 7


Thanks - you're right, I should have shared a link! People can also text SIGN PVRLSV and then SAMPLE (instead of YES for confirmation) and Resistbot shows you the text (as an image): I understand that Russia and Belarus manufacture a significant proportion of the world's supply of nitrogen fertilizer. Now would be a good time to make money available to mid- and small-scale farmers moving to more sustainable agricultural practices. Thank you.
posted by joannemerriam at 4:12 AM on March 8 [5 favorites]


@joannemerriam — this is fantastic. Thank you!!
posted by Silvery Fish at 4:47 AM on March 8 [2 favorites]


It really is amazing how much quick progress we can make on fossil fuel use when we switch messaging from 'Let's save the world' to 'Fuck that guy, specifically.'

Flagged as fantastic, kaibutsu. So weird, so human, so true. Alas.
posted by Bella Donna at 5:20 AM on March 8 [13 favorites]


On banning Russian oil and gas, the Rouble has halved in value but the oil market is priced in dollars.
The oil and gas sector account for roughly 40% of Russia's federal budget revenues.
Russia has a positive trade balance with the rest of the world largely due to oil.

Putting those together, Russia's total revenue (in Roubles) will increase by 40% if the west continue buying their oil.
posted by Lanark at 5:57 AM on March 8 [3 favorites]


Putting those together, Russia's total revenue (in Roubles) will increase by 40% if the west continue buying their oil.

Yes but you can't actually buy anything with those rubles. Nobody will accept them. I could have a trillion dollars in Zimbabwe but they're utterly useless. Hell, the only thing that has stopped the ruble from sliding even further to worthless is that 80% of all forex coming into the country is being sent back out to buy those worthless rubles from whoever is getting rid of them.

I'd rather the US/EU impound the hard currency revenue from Russian energy concerns. Keep it in a bank account at the Fed/ECB and let the Russians only buy food and medicine with it. If the Russians are not happy with the arrangement they're welcome to cut themselves off and stop sending the oil and gas. Use it as a bargaining chip for regime change. Only after they get rid of Putin will they get access to the actual USD/Euro again.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 6:07 AM on March 8 [8 favorites]


Isn't that basically an effect of the drop in exchange rate?

It's 40% more roubles but roubles are worth about half as much. It feels right but I haven't had to think about exchange rates in an econ context for a while.
posted by VTX at 6:08 AM on March 8


It really is amazing how much quick progress we can make on fossil fuel use when we switch messaging from 'Let's save the world' to 'Fuck that guy, specifically.'

Flagged as fantastic, kaibutsu. So weird, so human, so true. Alas.


As someone who sat in gas lines in the 70s with my grandfather, experienced turning down the heat, and watched Carter add solar panels to the White House - I'm reserving my conclusions for when the rhetoric translates to action.

This is one more fulcrum to support making the changes we know we need to make, but it still won't happen unless people insist on it. We need to not only move away from these fuels now, but to do so in a way that will make it too expensive to just switch back later.

But this is also debating the shade of a silver lining on a very dark cloud and I think is stumbling into derail territory. The direct line today is that every dollar less spent on Russian natural gas is a dollar less to prop up their war in Ukraine.
posted by meinvt at 6:28 AM on March 8 [10 favorites]


Isn't that basically an effect of the drop in exchange rate?

It's 40% more roubles but roubles are worth about half as much.


You would need revenue to increase by 100% to counteract a 50% fall in the fx rate.

I have ignored other non-oil Russian exports, but as long as they have a trade surplus rather than a deficit then the extra Roubles they are earning can pay for the more expensive imports.
posted by Lanark at 7:00 AM on March 8


A list of companies that have stopped doing business in Russia and those that remain, compiled by Yale University professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and his research team.
posted by peeedro at 7:00 AM on March 8 [12 favorites]


Keep it in a bank account at the Fed/ECB and let the Russians only buy food and medicine with it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil-for-Food_Programme
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 7:07 AM on March 8 [2 favorites]


Russia's total revenue (in Roubles) will increase by 40% if the west continue buying their oil.

Russia is free to print as many rubles as they want, no need to sell oil for them.
posted by Heywood Mogroot III at 7:08 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]


@shashj: "the Soviet war against Finland is universally seen as a fiasco...Stalin's secret goal was to conquer the country...yet Finland remained an independent and sovereign state [and] the losses the Finns inflicted on the Red Army were far out of proportion..." (Lessons of the Winter War: A Study in the Military Effectiveness of the Red Army, 1939–1940)*

@JPaulKirby: "Pres. Zelenskyy's March 7, 2022 evening address."
posted by kliuless at 7:11 AM on March 8 [5 favorites]


The March 7 edition of historian Heather Cox Richardson's Letters from an American notes the changes in global perception of Russia's military strength:
Outside of the horror that is happening within Ukraine, Russia’s apparent weakness and Ukraine’s strength will almost certainly rework geopolitics.

At the very least, the underperformance of the Russian military will enable opponents to exploit the holes it now sees (today, for example, it appeared that Russia’s boasted encrypted battlefield communications system doesn’t actually work).

More, though, the missteps of the Russian army have significantly weakened the country. Estonia’s chief of defense, Lieutenant General Martin Herem, told reporters “Today what I have seen is that even this huge army or military is not so huge.” Brigadier General Rauno Sirk, commander of Estonia’s air force, said of the Russian air force: “If you look at what’s on the other side, you’ll see that there isn’t really an opponent anymore.”

Andrei Kozyrev, Russia’s foreign minister from 1990 to 1996, tweeted: “The Kremlin spent the last 20 years trying to modernize its military. Much of that budget was stolen and spent on mega-yachts in Cyprus. But as a military advisor you cannot report that to the President. So they reported lies to him instead. Potemkin military[.]”

Perhaps the actions of Hungarian president Viktor Orbán, who is facing an election on April 3, reveal how that weakness might change political alliances. Orbán had brought his country close to Russia but now opposes the invasion.

If Putin’s authoritarian government has turned out to be weaker militarily than was expected, democracies have proved stronger

... [goes on to discuss both military aid to Ukraine and logistics of assisting refugees]
As always, the whole thing is worth reading. (Richardson also links to sources, which can be great additional sources of information.)
posted by kristi at 7:17 AM on March 8 [23 favorites]


EU Aims to Cut Russia Gas Dependence by Almost 80% This Year

"The commission considers that the EU already has sufficient gas to get through the rest of this winter even in the event of an abrupt disruption of Russian supplies, according to people familiar with the assessment."

Sounds like stopping the flow of cash to Russia right now would actually be very feasible. Why isn't Europe acting?
posted by ssg at 7:23 AM on March 8 [6 favorites]


A little girl called Amelia sings the Ukrainian version of “Let It Go” to entertain others in a bomb shelter.
posted by Kattullus at 7:32 AM on March 8 [12 favorites]


ssg: Why isn't Europe acting?

It is. It just takes more than a day or two. Europe isn't a monolilth, so decisions take a bit of time.
posted by Too-Ticky at 7:37 AM on March 8 [20 favorites]


Of note, The War in Ukraine Could Change Everything, Yuval Noah Harari TED talk on YT.
posted by vers at 7:40 AM on March 8


Looks like the US is about to ban Russian oil imports.
posted by sepviva at 7:44 AM on March 8 [4 favorites]


@shashj: "the Soviet war against Finland is universally seen as a fiasco...Stalin's secret goal was to conquer the country...yet Finland remained an independent and sovereign state [and] the losses the Finns inflicted on the Red Army were far out of proportion..." (Lessons of the Winter War: A Study in the Military Effectiveness of the Red Army, 1939–1940)*

Yeah but what did it teach the Russian elite? That you could build put a lot of Russians right next to the borders of another country, determine that to be a national security risk, invade them, lose, and still get your buffer zone.

Not a good precedent to give Putin re: the Mariupol line.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 7:52 AM on March 8 [7 favorites]


A list of companies that have stopped doing business in Russia and those that remain, compiled by Yale University professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld and his research team.

It's striking how many of the ones that remain are food and beverage companies like Coke, McDonalds, and Starbucks. I am wondering if there is something distinct about their operations (like local sourcing of materials, reliance on franchises, local sales rather than exports, etc) that make them feel that they are more insulated from sanctions, compared with manufacturing or energy companies? But I am still surprised, because I would have thought those were some of the companies most concerned about their brand images, and being associated with Russia is not a good look currently.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:58 AM on March 8 [6 favorites]


Russia’s apparent weakness and Ukraine’s strength will almost certainly rework geopolitics.

Fairly sure there are some serious underground collective musings going on in certain circles of Chechnya, Crimea, Georgia, Syria, etcea.

Like they're already unable to keep up with one front without bringing in the Lada Nivas....
posted by Buntix at 8:09 AM on March 8 [5 favorites]


some of the companies most concerned about their brand images

For domestic (RU) consumption. You're right, that the local operations aren't relying on exports (out of RU), but if food/ brands pulled out, it might affect future perception/ sales locally (in RU).

Apple/ tech, I suppose they figure that there will be continued future demand (next to no domestic competition), pulling out or not.
posted by porpoise at 8:17 AM on March 8


My household here in Amsterdam is doing it's (exceedingly small) part in getting Europe off of gas. Our water heater tank sprung a leak weekend before last, and instead of doing a quick replacement we're spec'ing out a hybrid system that uses a heat pump and will only need to fall back to gas for maybe a handful days in the winter, if that. Unfortunately it means no hot water for showers for several more weeks until everything is installed, but as we keep telling each other, if you take a hot shower you shower with Putin.

If you're also able to do some heating (and cooling) system renovation but you don't know much about heat pumps, Technology Connections did an excellent 2-part youtube series on them.

Oh, and America, take it from a former USian: vote for car-free infrastructure. You can use less oil while also having a far higher quality of life. I spend 0 hours of my life standing in a smelly petrol station filling up a car. I spend 0 hours of my life sitting in traffic. I have no car note, and if my bike gets a flat repairs are hella cheap, and I can take the tram if I'm really feeling lazy about it. Although with grocery and pharmacy just steps away even that is a choice and not a necessity. I know for the vast majority of the country this is a long-term solution, but trust me, it's one worth getting started on.
posted by antinomia at 8:18 AM on March 8 [66 favorites]


BBC: US announces ban on Russian oil
"We will not be part of subsidising Putin's war," Biden adds.

Despite mounting fears of rising gas prices, the move has widespread bipartisan political support in the US.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:32 AM on March 8 [9 favorites]


Our water heater tank sprung a leak weekend before last, and instead of doing a quick replacement we're spec'ing out a hybrid system that uses a heat pump and will only need to fall back to gas for maybe a handful days in the winter, if that.

The irony as the US is considering using its massive manufacturing power to send heat pumps to Europe in order to blunt any potential gas shortage.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 8:38 AM on March 8 [11 favorites]


clavdivs > Russia sends warplanes to Syria for huge naval drills in Med. February 15, 2022

Russia’s Wars In Syria And Ukraine Begin To Collide, TPM, Josh Kovensky, March 7, 2022:
Over the last decade, Russia’s military actions in Ukraine and Syria have unfolded in parallel. And now they are beginning to overlap.

In 2015, one year after the annexation of Crimea and the country’s instigation of a war in Ukraine’s east, Russia also began to intervene in the Syria conflict. It started off with Russian air power, but then grew to include troops on the ground. Some estimates say that thousands of Russian personnel have cycled through the country.

The Wall Street Journal reported [WSJ paywall, see text below* from a Democratic Underground post] on Sunday that the Assad-Putin relationship may now be paying off in Ukraine: Russia, per the report, is recruiting Syrians specifically for urban warfare, potentially sending them to play some role in taking Ukraine’s cities. These recruits would be mercenaries….
*Russia Recruiting Syrians for Urban Combat in Ukraine, U.S. Officials Say
Moscow is looking for help from foreign fighters to take cities including Kyiv, Gordon Lubold, Nancy A. Youssef and Alan Cullison [WSJ], March 6, 2022 5:37 pm ET

WASHINGTON — Moscow is recruiting Syrians skilled in urban combat to fight in Ukraine as Russia’s invasion is poised to expand deeper into cities, according to U.S. officials.

An American assessment indicates that Russia, which has been operating inside Syria since 2015, has in recent days been recruiting fighters from there, hoping their expertise in urban combat can help take Kyiv and deal a devastating blow to the Ukraine government, according to four American officials. The move points to a potential escalation of fighting in Ukraine, experts said.

According to a publication based in Deir Ezzor, Syria, Russia has offered volunteers from the country between $200 and $300 “to go to Ukraine and operate as guards” for six months at a time.
...
Syrian fighters have spent nearly a decade fighting urban warfare, while Russia’s largely conscripted force lacks this skill set. Ms. Cafarella said Syrian forces deployed to Ukraine could also be asked to work a support role, based on how they worked in Syria with the Wagner Group [**], a mercenary force that some see as a proxy for the Russian government.
Are they colliding or cooperating?

**Notorious Russian Mercenaries Pulled Out of Africa Ready for Ukraine – Unprecedented numbers of the Wagner Group, which some have called Putin’s “private army,” have departed in recent days, sources tell The Daily Beast, Philip Obaji Jr., Jan. 31, 2022.
posted by cenoxo at 8:43 AM on March 8 [4 favorites]


A little girl called Amelia sings the Ukrainian version of “Let It Go” to entertain others in a bomb shelter.

Per the comments, she's actually singing in Russian. Heartbreaking.
posted by mosst at 9:19 AM on March 8 [3 favorites]


Per the comments, she's actually singing in Russian. Heartbreaking.

Anonymous should broadcast that on Russian tv.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:27 AM on March 8 [10 favorites]


Not sure what took so long, but McDonald's is now off the menu. Hope it puts more pressure on other multinational cos. still operating in Russia.
posted by vers at 9:58 AM on March 8 [2 favorites]


Warning: Doomiest of doomscroll. DONT READ IF SENSITIVE TO DOOM.

I’ve studied the possible trajectories of the Russia-Ukraine war. None are good

by Christopher S Chivvis , the director of the American Statecraft Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
posted by lalochezia at 10:20 AM on March 8 [6 favorites]


Samuel Ramani on Twitter
I completed my doctoral thesis at Oxford last year on Russia's military interventions in Ukraine and Syria.

Based on that research, I am sharing some thoughts on why Russia invaded Ukraine and what Putin might do next /1
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:33 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]


Anyone treating this like some sort of media event they can just scroll through is deluded and/or mistaken.. there are no good outcomes to war, there are just possibly less heinous outcomes than others. In this case, some sort of halt to Russia's aggression and some rebuilding towards restoration of a semblance of stability for Ukraine would be a start, but the cost will be paid by all of us in ways we can't even imagine right now. I know some of you have great imaginations, but still.
posted by elkevelvet at 10:34 AM on March 8 [22 favorites]


> ChurchHatesTucker: "BBC: US announces ban on Russian oil"

For the sake of context, according to this, Russia accounted for 7% of US oil imports in 2020. And, if I'm reading their charts correctly, this represents ~3% of total US oil consumption. So, it's not an enormous fraction but might be large enough to notice, especially in a tight market.
posted by mhum at 11:14 AM on March 8 [6 favorites]


Not sure what took so long, but McDonald's is now off the menu. Hope it puts more pressure on other multinational cos. still operating in Russia.

But what about Pizza Hut?
posted by kaibutsu at 11:17 AM on March 8


Looks like the deal for Poland to supply MIGs to Ukraine is going ahead
posted by mrjohnmuller at 11:18 AM on March 8 [12 favorites]



**Notorious Russian Mercenaries Pulled Out of Africa Ready for Ukraine – Unprecedented numbers of the Wagner Group, which some have called Putin’s “private army,” have departed in recent days, sources tell The Daily Beast, Philip Obaji Jr., Jan. 31, 2022.
posted by cenoxo at 8:43 AM on March 8 [2 favorites +] [!]


The CEO of the Wagner group has an SS tattoo and looks straight out of central casting.
posted by ocschwar at 11:21 AM on March 8 [6 favorites]


Looks like the deal for Poland to supply MIGs to Ukraine is going ahead

Strictly speaking they'll be providing them to the US. What happens after that has nothing to do with them...
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:24 AM on March 8 [8 favorites]


Oh, that's a neat chess game. No casus belli for bombing Poland this way, fingers crossed. (Warsaw military airport is a bit close for comfort.)
posted by I claim sanctuary at 11:26 AM on March 8 [6 favorites]


> I’ve studied the possible trajectories of the Russia-Ukraine war. None are good

I'm no military or diplomatic expert but it seems to me that the author of this article is making some huge assumptions. That Ukrainian troops will be willing and able to chase Russian troops over the borders into Russia and Belarus, for one. And that Putin has his literal finger on a literal button that will launch one or more nuclear weapons as if there's not a chain-of-command of multiple (hopefully rational) people between him and them, for another.
posted by Old Kentucky Shark at 11:36 AM on March 8 [16 favorites]


100% agree Old Kentucky Shark. Gaming out scenarios is a powerful tool, but it is also powerfully subject to group-think. A particular mindset about what would constitute a victory when shared across a group can lead to a predetermined conditions just as this article describes.

The real question is whether an off-ramp can be created which allows both Russian power and Ukrainian democracy to remain in power, despite neither wanting that as the outcome. It is presumably, but not a given, that Russian power includes Putin remaining in his current position.

I don't disagree with the assessment that the situation is going to make for hard choices. But, to conclude that the only paths to peace are appeasement or annihilation stands in the face of fifty years of cold war history.
posted by meinvt at 11:43 AM on March 8 [8 favorites]


‘Beyond understanding’: Odesa braced to see if Putin attacks city of such resonance for Russians — Guardian, Mon 7 Mar 2022
Trukhanov [Ed. Odesa's mayor] is a good example. Formerly a member of president Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions, Trukhanov has been dogged by allegations of corruption, links to organised crime and to Russia. He denies all the allegations, and has been forced to deny repeated claims that he had a Russian passport.

Now he has become an unlikely champion of Ukrainian sovereignty. In response to Putin’s claim that the Russian military assault was meant to defend Russian speakers, Trukhanov posed a rhetorical question in a video address: “Who the fuck are you planning to defend here?”

On Sunday, he wore the armband of yellow tape that denotes Ukrainian forces in this war over his jacket, and a grey peaked cap over his permanently furrowed brow. He rubbished Putin’s claim that the war against Ukraine was one of “denazification”, and said it was Putin’s Russia that was behaving like fascists.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:46 AM on March 8 [16 favorites]


I promised to update about the kid in a basement in Kyiv. He is basically 13 meters below ground at all hours. He was up for a breathe yesterday, but it doesn't happen every day.

He is working as a cook in a communal kitchen, that serves soldiers and others alike, as I understand it.

I don't know much more about him, which is probably right and good, so I'm not asking.

He believes this may be the last update, since it seems the Russians can take down the internet in Ukraine (or parts of Ukraine?) as well as in Russia.

He told my kid that a rumour that is going around in Kyiv is that the Russians will detonate a dirty bomb on Russian ground, and then blame the Ukrainians for the "act of terror" and reciprocate with a real nuclear bomb. I'm only telling you this rumour to give you an impression of how his life is, in the basement.
posted by mumimor at 12:22 PM on March 8 [70 favorites]


While the Polish government is wisely being very careful about getting entangled in the war, my understanding is the Polish military and a not insignificant part of the population would very much like to fight Russia due to their relationship with Russia/Soviet Union from 1939-1992.
posted by interogative mood at 1:17 PM on March 8 [3 favorites]


Make that 1772-1989. And unlike Americans this was all on our own soil so thankfully we're rather realistic about our chances without broad international support. Getting your capital city flattened tends to put you off total war.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 1:31 PM on March 8 [20 favorites]


Starbucks seems to have followed McDonalds in suspending business in Russia. 130 stores shuttered and brand products no longer shipping there.
posted by Jubal Kessler at 1:40 PM on March 8 [6 favorites]




The Guardian posted an excerpt from an article about the opening of the first McDonald's in Russia in 1990. It's heartbreaking, in a way that I can't quite articulate at the moment.
It has taken 14 years to get McDonald's to Moscow. The first overtures were made at the Montreal Olympics in 1976. Unlike most other joint ventures in the service field this one only takes roubles.
...
McDonald's has done it differently. Its vice-president, George Cohon, remembers the moment when one Russian looked at the plaque outside the door which says that service is for roubles only.

‘This is perestroika,’ he beamed.
posted by yeahlikethat at 2:38 PM on March 8 [9 favorites]




Michael Weiss: Ukraine’s Insurgency-in-Waiting

Interesting quotes from some of the insurgents whose opinions of Zelensky have changed:
“At the moment ... we have no doubts about Zelenskyy. He seems very strong. We are all shocked in a good way.”
posted by Kabanos at 2:44 PM on March 8 [3 favorites]


It's heartbreaking, in a way that I can't quite articulate at the moment.

It’s dignity; someone seeing who you are, where you are, and welcoming you in a way that understands both.
posted by Silvery Fish at 3:03 PM on March 8 [4 favorites]


Vitaliy Kim, Governor of Mykolaiv oblast, is another leader taking advantage of social media, and with a sense of optimism and a sense of humour.

“We’re getting prepared for yet another Russian assault. In particular, we have booked 50 buses to transport new POWs.”
posted by Kabanos at 3:06 PM on March 8 [13 favorites]


From Opendemocracy.net:
I was arrested at an anti-war protest in Moscow. Here’s what happened next
After eight hours sitting in front of a portrait of Vladimir Putin, it’s clearer than ever to me that the government is determined to crush dissent. This article is published anonymously.

(The article is also available in Russian, there is a toggle button Benrath the headline)
posted by 15L06 at 3:45 PM on March 8 [11 favorites]


Karolina Żebrowska, a youtuber based in Warsaw mostly known for period costume commentary and comic sketches, posted What's Happening in Poland, talking about the Ukrainian refugees and the relationship of Polish people to Ukrainian people.
posted by maggiemaggie at 4:00 PM on March 8 [3 favorites]


The US has rejected the plan to take Poland's MIGs.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 4:13 PM on March 8 [2 favorites]


perhaps via drones guided by NATO and other organizations. I worry about this kind of speculation being seen as truth, when it might not be. Ukraine is working hard to defend it's self, giving their glory away, for one thing, seems cavalier. Escalation by misspeaking also seems unwise.

I don't think that NATO is attacking Russian military targets or guiding the drones but I would be incredibly surprised if some NATO countries, the US in particular, were not feeding Ukraine a nearly constant stream of data.
posted by srboisvert at 4:45 PM on March 8 [1 favorite]


The US has rejected the plan to take Poland's MIGs.

For fuck’s sake. At this point I almost want international volunteers with airbase access to fly these fuckers over.
posted by corb at 4:47 PM on March 8 [7 favorites]


At this point I almost want international volunteers with airbase access to fly these fuckers over.

Based on Twitter photojournalism, I assume all you need is one Ukranian tractor per plane?
posted by prefpara at 4:50 PM on March 8 [15 favorites]


So basically, the consensus is that it's fine for Poland to give Ukraine the MiGs and the US to give Poland F16s in return, but the MiGs can't take off from any airbase in any country except Ukraine with Ukrainian pilots because that would be an act of aggression against Russia and they can't land in Ukraine with Polish pilots either. So they need to magically switch from Polish MiGs with Polish pilots to Ukrainian MiGs with Ukrainian pilots mid-air.
posted by ssg at 4:55 PM on March 8 [5 favorites]


I understand part of the reasoning but is it impossible to send Ukrainian pilots to Ramstein to fly the planes to Ukraine?
posted by tclark at 4:58 PM on March 8 [6 favorites]


Man, some of you are so far beyond the curve. The one person here who's keeping up is confluency: consider his link to

Drinking Your Own Kool-Aid: Former Russian foreign minister lays out 3 key false things Putin believed before invading Ukraine.

That is a Wowser.

PS. This just in: Surprise Move': US stunned by Poland's Fighter Jet Offer

That's a tad fresher than the Guardian link just above. So, let us keep hope alive for the nonce.
posted by y2karl at 4:59 PM on March 8 [1 favorite]


From the Opendemocracy.net article posted above:

Roskomnadzor, Russia’s censorship organ, has focused on blocking Facebook and Twitter.

Oh, the irony.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 4:59 PM on March 8 [7 favorites]



So basically, the consensus is that it's fine for Poland to give Ukraine the MiGs and the US to give Poland F16s in return, but the MiGs can't take off from any airbase in any country except Ukraine with Ukrainian pilots because that would be an act of aggression against Russia and they can't land in Ukraine with Polish pilots either. So they need to magically switch from Polish MiGs with Polish pilots to Ukrainian MiGs with Ukrainian pilots mid-air.


Or they can fly the damn things to Moldova or Georgia, which are non-NATO, then mount Ukrainian pilots and fly to Ukraine. That move would be unambiguous enough to not be interpretable as a NATO attack.
posted by ocschwar at 5:03 PM on March 8 [10 favorites]


I understand part of the reasoning but is it impossible to send Ukrainian pilots to Ramstein to fly the planes to Ukraine?

I think the thinking is that if the planes take off from Germany, no matter who is flying them, that looks too much like NATO involvement in the war. The big question is if any of this matters to Putin.
posted by ssg at 5:03 PM on March 8 [1 favorite]


Yes, but presumably neither Moldova nor Georgia are interested in poking the bear by allowing their airbases to be used against Russia.
posted by ssg at 5:04 PM on March 8 [4 favorites]


Pretty low risk if the move is disclosed after it's a fait accompli/.
posted by ocschwar at 5:06 PM on March 8


Re. where the planes leave from, I guess I'm just confused about why it's a big deal: many Western countries have publicly declared that they have sent various anti-aircraft missiles etc. to Ukraine. It seems to me that fighter jets are basically the same thing as Javelins, essentially, right? Why is everyone so concerned about the optics of sending Ukraine fighter jets, but not all this other offensive weaponry? Is weaponry seen as categorically different from fighter jets? Genuinely asking, as I don't know anything about this kind of thing.

Also, would Putin necessarily know where the jets come from? What if no announcement were made about where they came from? Or if it were simply announced that they came from "a Western country"...? Don't know how extensive his intelligence is in Western countries. Or if we pulled a Putin and simply had a baldfaced lie that a cache of hitherto-forgotten Ukrainian fighter jets were pulled out of reserve. Like, could he really prove otherwise?
posted by ClaireBear at 5:14 PM on March 8 [6 favorites]


Either that Polish MiG announcement is a hell of a screw up by someone who should have known better than to announce the deal before it was finalized, or there's a disagreement on what to do, and someone is trying to force someone else's hand.
posted by Reverend John at 5:16 PM on March 8 [5 favorites]


Or it’s a head fake.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 5:34 PM on March 8 [2 favorites]


ClaireBear: Why is everyone so concerned about the optics of sending Ukraine fighter jets, but not all this other offensive weaponry?

Great question. I don't know the answer, other than that the Russians have specifically called out supplying fighter jets to Ukraine as something they'd consider an act of war. Why they're saying that for fighter jet but not other weapons, though, I don't know.
posted by clawsoon at 5:39 PM on March 8 [3 favorites]


Well, I know I am wrong on the topic of the Mig 29s. But I do maintain my shoutout to confluency, who is doing yeomans work.
posted by y2karl at 5:45 PM on March 8


If Jeremy Clarkson can do it...
posted by Lanark at 5:48 PM on March 8


It seems to me that fighter jets are basically the same thing as Javelins, essentially, right?

It's a major step up (dare I use the word "escalation"?), in the same way a tank is a big step up from a grenade launcher. What isn't clear to me (or probably to any of the parties actually involved) is whether or not this is a real red line for Putin, and if so what the consequences would actually be.

Personally, I hope they either figure out some sort of legalistic work-around (like having tractors pull each plane across the border), or just accept the escalation and give the planes over. There is a narrowing window in which the planes will be workable and helpful.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:00 PM on March 8 [1 favorite]


Why they're saying that for fighter jet but not other weapons, though, I don't know.

Probably because the jets haven't shipped yet.

If it were up to me, I'd just leave the keys in the jets.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:02 PM on March 8


Could be the difference between ground based weapons and aircraft based weapons. Ground based is slow and unlikely to cross borders. Airplanes can cross borders very quickly, penetrate into enemy territory and turn around and leave quickly. But the fact that this trade was blasted all over the media makes me wonder who’s in charge here. Really dumb telegraphing your punches.
posted by njohnson23 at 6:04 PM on March 8 [3 favorites]


Why is everyone so concerned about the optics of sending Ukraine fighter jets, but not all this other offensive weaponry? Is weaponry seen as categorically different from fighter jets?

Without being at all an expert myself, I think the key word is "offensive." A lot of the weapons already being sent to & used by Ukraine could plausibly be considered primarily "defensive". Like, the sort of hand-held/light-truck-mounted missiles the Ukrainians are using will take down jets or tanks, but they don't have anything to really aim at until they're under attack - they can only (mostly) practically shoot at things that are relatively close and heading towards them.

Whereas the Googlez tells me that MiG-29 jets have a range of 888 miles - technically they could actually reach Moscow from Kyiv (although without enough fuel to get home.) Not that they're realistically going to attack Moscow, but the MiGs can go pretty much anywhere in Ukraine and cause havoc all over, hitting behind Russian battle lines and destroying supply depots & so on and so forth. And furthermore having a viable modern Ukraine Air Force prevents the Russians from establishing that same sort of "air superiority."

So jets could be considered an "offense" weapon in a way that lots of other weapons wouldn't.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:13 PM on March 8 [7 favorites]


Re. where the planes leave from, I guess I'm just confused about why it's a big deal: many Western countries have publicly declared that they have sent various anti-aircraft missiles etc. to Ukraine. It seems to me that fighter jets are basically the same thing as Javelins, essentially, right?

It's because Russia has attempted to designate this as a 'red line' for further escalation in response to the reporting.

Think back to the cold war (if you were around for it). All that's required to put the onus back on the opponent is the statement of a rationale for a policy; then the matter becomes a test of resolve.

If the US were so inclined, one potential gambit would be to find a non-aligned nation far enough away from the conflict zone and of no strategic significance to accommodate the transfer, and pay them through the nose for the facility. Russia is not in a position to be mounting any punitive expeditions to half a world away. But the MiG-29 has rather short range so even that would be difficult, without getting into aerial refueling (which is hard).
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:23 PM on March 8 [3 favorites]


The Drive describes the careful process involved in returning a Ukranian fighter from Romania:

... after the Su-27 diverted to Romania, it is fully loaded with air-to-air missiles, but it returned without any armament. This is because NATO countries will not send an armed aircraft into Ukrainian airspace as not to be dragged into the conflict. If the Su-27 had shot down a Russian aircraft while trying to return to its base, it could have resulted in a major international incident and escalation point. As such, the jet returned unarmed and required an escort of Ukrainian fighters once in Ukrainian airspace.
posted by meowzilla at 6:28 PM on March 8 [1 favorite]




But the fact that this trade was blasted all over the media makes me wonder who’s in charge here. Really dumb telegraphing your punches.

Telegraphing all of this is clearly the NATO strategy to avoid any surprises and to telegraph strength. That's been stated fairly explicitly.

It's deliberately part of the game to announce what's happening in public so that no move becomes a sudden escalation. I wouldn't be surprised if the whole Polish offer that supposedly caught the US by surprise wasn't planned as part of that strategy, i.e. they're floating this idea which was never a real plan in order to make whatever the actual plan is more palatable and give the whole charade a little more realism.
posted by ssg at 6:43 PM on March 8 [11 favorites]


you could pull a fresh George Smiley adventure out of these comments
posted by elkevelvet at 6:49 PM on March 8 [16 favorites]




Aside from this MiG situation, my read on Biden's leadership with respect to the Ukraine invasion has been almost entirely opposite to karst. I didn't expect much from him. I figured he'd be about as feckless as the last couple non-criminal Presidents, but I'm of the opinion that most US moves regarding Ukraine have been tougher than I expected, more effective in helping wrangle the hydra of the EU and NATO nations than I expected, and still measured and deliberate. I think it's been a tough needle to thread, and most western nations, with France and the US as exceptional examples, have actually done much more than I would have feared.

Zelensky bought the western powers a few days to get their shit together so we weren't having to scramble after a fait accompli puppetization. And the western powers, mostly, have stepped up. Biden's administration deserves a lot of credit for that.
posted by tclark at 7:18 PM on March 8 [58 favorites]


you could pull a fresh George Smiley adventure out of these comments
Completely unrelated to this war, I finished reading "The Spy and the Traitor" the other day. It just goes to reinforce my view, formed mostly from Le Carre novels, that it's a bad idea to be a spy. Even if you win, you still get destroyed.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 7:18 PM on March 8 [6 favorites]


The Kyiv Independent on Twitter
⚡️ Fitch downgrades Russian credit rating to imminent default.

“The ‘C’ rating reflects Fitch’s view that a sovereign default is imminent,” the credit agency said in a statement.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:24 PM on March 8 [3 favorites]


The second one - and even more trivial - is that I have yet to see any single comment anywhere that cited the Red Dawn movie or the "Wolverines!" battle cry or quote.

I saw something about this on Twitter a few weeks ago. My hazy memory impression is that it's just plain old and basically dusty if not forgotten. It's grandparent's stuff by now, like your parents rallying the troops with a line from "The Guns of Navarone." It's just Gen X who carried it along for 30 years, and we are old now.
posted by rhizome at 7:47 PM on March 8 [8 favorites]


The second one - and even more trivial - is that I have yet to see any single comment anywhere that cited the Red Dawn movie or the "Wolverines!" battle cry or quote. I know the movie is super dated and not a good movie, the quote is dumb and sophomoric but it's been surprising to me that I haven't seen it anywhere at all, even used ironically or as dark humor.

Previous thread ; Previouslier
posted by achrise at 7:47 PM on March 8


As far as Biden goes, since this is Russia I'm 110% fine with him working backchannels and facilitating this MiG stuff and whatever else the US is backstopping for the border countries. It's safer and I feel it's simply smarter and just as effective.
posted by rhizome at 7:49 PM on March 8 [5 favorites]


Previous thread ; Previouslier

I stand corrected. Somehow I missed those comments, and that means I probably missed them elsewhere.

Also I'm old, ugh. My derail is more than satisfied, sorry for the derail.
posted by loquacious at 8:01 PM on March 8 [1 favorite]


Thank God for the cooler heads in the Biden administration. If Rubio were in charge we'd probably be looking at a nuclear winter.
posted by moorooka at 8:07 PM on March 8 [6 favorites]


U.S. Has Issues With Poland's Plan To Turn Over Its MiG-29s For Eventual Use By Ukraine – Over two dozen MiG-29s could help Ukraine keep challenging the Russian Air Force, but it won't be simple getting them there., Joseph Trevithick, The War Zone, March 8, 2022:
After multiple carefully worded denials regarding reports about planned sales or donations of MiG-29 Fulcrum fighter jets to Ukraine, the Polish government has formally announced plans to transfer its entire fleet of these aircraft to the U.S. government. Though not stated, it seems all but certain that American authorities will pass these jets to the Ukrainian Air Force. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said this past weekend that such a transfer would, unequivocally, get a "green light" from the United States.

The Pentagon has now issued its own carefully worded statement in response to the Polish government's announcement, which you can find in an update at the bottom of this story…
Details follow in the article.
posted by cenoxo at 8:10 PM on March 8 [1 favorite]


Does morality end at the NATO border? Interview with Hanna Hopko, Chairwoman of Ukraine’s Democracy in Action about the situation in Ukraine and why the country is asking for a no-fly zone. Warning: Strong emotionality.
posted by storybored at 8:12 PM on March 8


Interesting exchange just occurred between cold-warrior Marco Rubio and Victoria Nuland, the US diplomat who was voice-recorded handpicking Ukraine's new government after the 2014 Maidan coup:
I only have a minute left. Let me ask you, does Ukraine have chemical or biological weapons?

Nuland: Ukraine has biological research facilities, which, in fact, we are now quite concerned Russian forces may be seeking to gain control of. So we are working with the Ukrainians on how they can prevent any of those research materials from falling into the hands of Russian forces, should they approach.

Rubio: I'm sure you're aware that the Russian propaganda groups are already putting out there all kinds of information about how they've uncovered a plot by the Ukrainians to release biological weapons in the country with NATO's coordination.

If there is a biological or chemical weapon incident or attack inside of Ukraine, is there any doubt in your mind that 100 percent, it would be the Russians that would be behind it?

Nuland: There is no doubt in my mind, Senator. And it is classic Russian technique to blame on the other guy what they're planning to do themselves.
posted by moorooka at 8:19 PM on March 8 [15 favorites]


> is asking for a no-fly zone

It's so much easier to frame it as a "no-fly zone" than to go full Dr. Strangelove anf bluntly say "Biden, why don't we shoot down Russian jets?"
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:36 PM on March 8 [14 favorites]


Want to help remotely? VolunteerForUkraine!

Specifically, after a stringent vetting process we connect volunteers with financial sponsors and provide direct financial and logistical assistance to get volunteers to the areas where they are most needed.

I think the volunteers they send overseas are from the USA, at least so far.

BUT -- they also need people to help remotely, such as:
- U.S. Attorneys
- U.S. Veterans
- Travel agents / Booking specialists
- Donor / Developer relations
- Program managers
- Campaign managers / Campaign volunteer organizers
- Social media managers
- Public Affairs

It's very new, and an all-volunteer operation, so it might take a while to get an answer.
posted by NotLost at 9:51 PM on March 8 [3 favorites]


@y2karl sorry for the derail, but I think you're thinking of another person. I didn't link to that article -- your link goes to a comment in which I link to something else, and I've only posted a couple of comments here. (I'm also not a he.)
posted by confluency at 10:13 PM on March 8 [3 favorites]


The Next Few Weeks Of Fighting In Ukraine Will Be "Ugly" CIA Director Warns– U.S. intelligence officials say the Kremlin has loosened the rules of engagement in Ukraine as advances have slowed., Joseph Trevithick, The War Zone, March 8, 2022. Senior officials from the U.S. Intelligence Community gave public assessments about the war in Ukraine at a hearing today on global threats to the United States before the House Intelligence Committee:
"We assess Moscow underestimated the strength of Ukraine's resistance and the degree of internal military challenges we are observing, which include an ill-constructed plan, morale issues, and considerable logistical issues," Avril Haines, Director of National Intelligence, told lawmakers. So, the Kremlin "has begun to loosen its rules of engagement to achieve their military objective.”

However, "we judge it will be especially challenging for the Russians to hold and control Ukrainian territory and install a sustainable pro-Russian regime in Kyiv in the face of what we assess is likely to be a persistent and significant insurgency," she added. This means that what Russian President Vladimir Putin "might be willing to accept as a victory may change over time given the significant costs he is incurring."

Putin has been "stewing in a combustible combination of grievance and ambition for many years," CIA Director Burns said. "That personal conviction matters more than ever in the Russian system. He's created a system in which his own circle of advisers is narrow and COVID made it even narrower."

Haines and Burns both further confirmed that the U.S. government has been providing a steady steady stream of intelligence to their Ukrainian counterparts since before the invasion began and that this has been a major factor in Ukraine's performance in the conflict so far.

U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) says that the U.S. Intelligence Community has an assessment that Russia has lost between 2,000 and 4,000 personnel in the fighting so far, but that its confidence in that is low. Those figures are significantly lower than the casualties the Ukrainian government has claimed to inflicted on invading forces, but significantly higher than what Russia has acknowledged.

Haines also said the U.S. Intelligence Community continues to see no irregular movement on the part of Russia's nuclear forces, despite Putin's announcement that he was putting them on high alert more than a week ago.

DIA's Berrier did warn that Putin still likely sees nuclear weapons as a potential "asymmetric advantage" and that his remarks regarding their possible use should not be discounted.
More details and updates in the article.
posted by cenoxo at 10:52 PM on March 8 [5 favorites]


my understanding is the Polish military and a not insignificant part of the population would very much like to fight Russia
A Polish joke.

Q: The German army is assembling on our western border, the Russians are massing on the eastern front. Whom do you fight first?
A: The Germans. Business before pleasure.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 12:28 AM on March 9 [42 favorites]


Related and chilling to the bone: while shooting the "Putin Interviews", Oliver Stone watched Dr. Strangelove with Putin[SLYT] who hadn't seen that before. I couln't bear myself to watch this video, just verified, that indeed they are sitting together in front of the movie.
posted by kmt at 12:57 AM on March 9 [3 favorites]


@KofmanMichael: "This conflict has some similarities to the 1939-1940 Winter war. So do early impressions about the state of the Russian military. After 2014 I spent years cautioning the Russian military was not 12ft tall. The future will be spent explaining how they're not 4ft tall either."

Lessons of the Winter War: A Study in the Military Effectiveness of the Red Army, 1939-1940 - "Anti-Soviet sentiment became more & more vocal abroad [&] rising international sympathy for the Finns. As the war dragged on, foreign aid for Finland increased steadily, with military weaponry [&] volunteers from Europe and the US arriving weekly in 1940"

@kamilkazani: "Let's discuss Russian economy. Many underestimate its dependency upon technological import. Russia's so deeply integrated into Western technological chains that severing these ties will lead to its collapse. Sanctions are already effective and can be made even more efficient🧵"*
posted by kliuless at 1:19 AM on March 9 [10 favorites]


After 2014 I spent years cautioning the Russian military was not 12ft tall. The future will be spent explaining how they're not 4ft tall either.

"Russia is never as strong as it seems. Russia is never as weak as it seems."
(attributed to Bismarck, Churchill, Talleyrand and others)
posted by Busy Old Fool at 1:46 AM on March 9 [7 favorites]


The thread is starting to struggle on mobile. Anyone feel inclined to start a new one?
posted by escape from the potato planet at 3:26 AM on March 9 [6 favorites]


@escape from the potato planet, I second the request for a new thread. Can we continue using titles of Maria Prymachenko’s art as post titles? Seeing it every time I enter the thread has been a visceral reminder of all that is being lost and all that is loved in Ukraine.

I humbly suggest “ I Give My Little Stars to Children” for the next thread.
posted by Silvery Fish at 3:51 AM on March 9 [14 favorites]


The second one - and even more trivial - is that I have yet to see any single comment anywhere that cited the Red Dawn movie or the "Wolverines!" battle cry or quote.

I saw something about this on Twitter a few weeks ago. My hazy memory impression is that it's just plain old and basically dusty if not forgotten


This is just reflective of algorithmic shaping of your media ecology by your personal affinities. Try googling for Ukraine "Red Dawn" and see what you find.
posted by snuffleupagus at 3:57 AM on March 9 [1 favorite]


Snuffleupagus, you're right. I was inclined to think Red Dawn was old and dusty and forgotten, but I googled "ukraine" + "red dawn" and I got 599,000 hits, with comparisons being made on the latest South Park episode, The Hill, Reddit's Ukraine subreddit, various military websites, and even a screening in Maine with profits going to medical efforts in Ukraine.

I third a new thread! “ I Give My Little Stars to Children” is an excellent suggestion.
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 4:10 AM on March 9 [2 favorites]


I'm putting one together, but I'm inclined to go with 'The Black Beast' given the events of the last week.
posted by snuffleupagus at 4:12 AM on March 9 [4 favorites]


Many underestimate its dependency upon technological import. Russia's so deeply integrated into Western technological chains that severing these ties will lead to its collapse. Sanctions are already effective and can be made even more efficient

I've been wondering about machine tool imports, given their importance to any industrial war effort. (Stalin's ability to transmogrify the suffering of the Holodomor into machine tools was one reason Russia was able to fight WWII, for example.)

So far I haven't found much analysis from after the war started, but this article from last year is interesting (you may get a subscription overlay, but you should be able to close it by clicking the X):

Russia’s sanctions soft underbelly: precision machine tools
The West has been struggling to change the Kremlin’s behaviour and hold it to account for the annexation of the Crimea in 2014 and a host of other misdemeanours with a sanctions regime that has proved to be almost entirely ineffective...

However, there is one place that Russia is truly vulnerable. It imports almost all of its precision machine tools and the majority of them come from Western Europe and the US, as its own once legendary machine tool sector was destroyed in 1991 and never rebuilt...

The trouble is sanctions on tool exports to Russia would also have devastating effects on the European and US industries... Given that a country like Germany has so many SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] in this sector, cutting them off from the huge lucrative Russian market would be politically very difficult indeed...
posted by clawsoon at 4:28 AM on March 9 [4 favorites]


I know this is a war but I hate demonizing an entire nation. Personally, I would use “ I Give My Little Stars to Children” instead of "The Black Beast" but that is not my call. I do appreciate your comments and service in making a new thread, snuffleupagus!
posted by Bella Donna at 4:54 AM on March 9 [13 favorites]


I was thinking of the war itself, but I'll go with the more hopeful sentiment to avoid any misunderstanding.
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:00 AM on March 9 [7 favorites]


At Zelenskyy’s address to the UK yesterday, he talked about the 50 dead from the attack on the evacuation corridor. He called them “50 universes.” 50 laughing, loving, hoping, moving universes. Our -humanities - little stars.

snuffleupagus - I second the thanks for putting together a new thread. I am 100% on mobile, so constructing threads is prohibitive for me. Thank you for taking on the work that benefits us all.

If removing the Chernobyl station from the power grid results in terrible consequences, The Black Beast will be very appropriate for the next thread.
posted by Silvery Fish at 5:29 AM on March 9 [5 favorites]


@KofmanMichael: "This conflict has some similarities to the 1939-1940 Winter war. So do early impressions about the state of the Russian military. After 2014 I spent years cautioning the Russian military was not 12ft tall. The future will be spent explaining how they're not 4ft tall either."

This. Ultimately this comes down to how different it is to prosecute a war of aggression compared to defensive total war. Despite their incompetence as conquerors, Russia would be a next to impossible adversary to attack.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:38 AM on March 9 [4 favorites]


As two would-be empires (France & Nazi Germany) discovered in the last ~200 years. Who’s next to try in this century?
posted by cenoxo at 6:47 AM on March 9


In my mind the Black Beast would refer to Putin and those that keep him in power. I charitably assume everyone here means roughly the same thing whenever they refer to "Russia". To me "Russia" and "the Russian People" are two mostly separate entities. Especially in referring to the invasion of Ukraine.
posted by VTX at 6:49 AM on March 9 [2 favorites]


From Odessa: Don't Worry, Be Happy
posted by fimbulvetr at 7:01 AM on March 9 [2 favorites]


It's been made fairly clear that the average Russian citizen is also a victim of Putin, I thought.
posted by peppermind at 7:02 AM on March 9 [7 favorites]


Bret Deveraux of ACOUP had an interesting Twitter thread where he says we might have to prepare ourselves for a "messy peace".
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:06 AM on March 9 [1 favorite]


Well, one thing Biden seems to be responsible for (assisted by Gen. Miley) is fast-tracking NATO on the idea that a Russian invasion was imminent. [WaPo]
Biden quickly concluded that Russia’s assault planning was for real — and that America needed to lead an effort to stop it. Biden then did something unprecedented. He decided to share much of the top-secret intelligence with NATO allies — and then, increasingly, with the public through leaks to the press.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:20 AM on March 9 [22 favorites]


From Bill Roggio , Editor Long War Journal
A look at the military situation in eastern and central Ukraine, & around the capital of Kiev. This will use several maps, from @nytimes & @BCC.
The strategic situation for Ukrainian force in Kiev & to the east is not good. (Twitter thread)
posted by adamvasco at 7:27 AM on March 9 [1 favorite]


I’m surprised that there isn’t more coverage (and outrage) of the Pentagon’s refusal of Poland’s offer for the MIGs. Whether the US directly traded US F-16’s for Poland’s MIGs and the US gave them to the Ukraine, or Poland gave them to the Ukraine directly seems like a difference without a distinction. It’s pretty clear to everyone that the US would’ve been behind it…and I don’t think Putin would’ve been fooled by that figleaf. The administration (or at least Blinken) was certainly out in public congratulating themselves for their willingness to make a deal for MIGs. Then they caught the car and didn’t have the gumption to follow through.

That’s not to say it was necessarily a good idea IMHO, but if it was a good idea Sunday then why is it a bad idea on Tuesday? Is this what leadership looks like? Does Blinken not speak for the US?
posted by karst at 7:44 AM on March 9 [3 favorites]


Christopher Miller
@ChristopherJM
Zelensky: “Our military managed to replenish its arsenal due to the many pieces of equipment it took on the battlefield. Enemy tanks, armored vehicles, ammo will now work for our defense. What could be more humiliating for the invaders? We’ll beat the enemy with its own weapons.”
/link to Zelenskyy video
posted by bluesky43 at 7:57 AM on March 9 [6 favorites]


"I’m surprised that there isn’t more coverage (and outrage) of the Pentagon’s refusal of Poland’s offer for the MIGs."

It seems pretty clear that we're getting some deliberate public signaling with very careful statements that are VERY carefully setting parameters, while private negotiations are carrying the actual weight. NATO's members have repeatedly been preparing the ground with various public statements and press leaks, and then having a carefully-chosen government step forward to speak on X/announce Y, and then several days later we learn how much more coordination was going on behind the scenes.

So because these are a) carefully-phrased statements that are being very careful not to rule out specific things and b) nobody's mad at each other -- diplomats are still saying "that's an interesting proposal, but ..." and "we'll have to have conversations with our defense minister/government/whatever ..." rather than "no" -- I'm going to assume this is some coordinated or semi-coordinated public messaging floating on top of a much deeper set of private negotiations.

You can also tell by who's NOT saying things -- if the US had clearly kiboshed this idea, you'd be hearing Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee braying loudly about it in public. Instead, you're getting quotes from Democrats on the SFRC saying things like "I understand the concerns but I'd like to find a way to move forward." Which suggests this is very much a live issue that is being negotiated at the highest levels, and even hacks like Marco Rubio aren't trying to score points off it yet, because they know it's not a done deal. (Rubio actually gave a very measured public statement about favoring the idea but wanting to be very, very careful in the cost/benefit analysis.) NATO countries not only have to coordinate among themselves and position militarily against Russia, but they all have to be able to sell their decisions to opposition parties and to voters. A lot of these public statements are about messaging to voters, and floating trial balloons so that reluctant members of your own party can be persuaded, or so that members of the opposition party can see it's in their interest to get on board. Both the US and Poland have been really careful NOT to rule out all avenues, so if NATO decides to move ahead with this, they can agree without directly contradicting their previous statements.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:03 AM on March 9 [41 favorites]


That’s not to say it was necessarily a good idea IMHO, but if it was a good idea Sunday then why is it a bad idea on Tuesday? Is this what leadership looks like? Does Blinken not speak for the US?

On the Lawfare Podcast last Monday they address this: Alex Vindman has some insights which basically run to - "It's not dead, but doing this in a way that Putin can't immediately grasp as a casus belli is hard.
posted by From Bklyn at 8:09 AM on March 9 [6 favorites]


Also, in re: NATO messaging -- pay close attention to which NATO leaders are getting the daily press pops with Zelensky. They're rotating around, different NATO countries leading the news on different days. Macron steps forward to push different messages than Scholz does, even though they're all clearly coordinating. Some of it is about "who is the right messenger for this message?" and some of it is about "who is the best person to say this so Russia hears it?" and some of it is about "who needs to shore up support in their home country?" and so on.

Having Zelensky give that big address to the UK House of Commons was brilliant; not only did it help increase British support for Ukraine, but because it was in English and has therefore received massive, direct coverage in the English-language press, it allowed Zelensky to also speak to the US and Canada quite directly. (And without having to publicly address the US's currently-quite-unruly House or Senate, where Rick Scott can't keep his microphone off during a Zoom and Rubio shares unauthorized pictures, so even the private convo was a bit of a disaster, and that's before any overt Q-Anoners in the House are on a live TV screen.)

Not to be vulgar, but NATO's been doing some really, really smart public messaging, that's accomplishing a whole lot of things at once -- increasing domestic support, negotiating intra-NATO, negotiating with Ukraine, negotiating with Russia, setting parameters, preparing expectations. I honestly think both NATO as a whole and individual member countries have done exceedingly well at this -- which has not always been true. (And Zelensky and his press team are clearly stupid good at messaging.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:28 AM on March 9 [50 favorites]


Kherson, the only major city that Russian troops have captured, has had pro-Ukraine protests every day of the occupation. This video is from yesterday, and here’s a video and photo from today.

This is perhaps the most remarkable video, either from today or yesterday, showing a bunch of protesters going right up to Russian soldiers, who shoot in the air. From reporting these are most likely Rosgvardia, Russian national guard units, who are often used for repressive actions inside Russia.
posted by Kattullus at 8:41 AM on March 9 [15 favorites]


Something I've been wondering about and not seen addressed anywhere- obviously not anytime soon, but is it likely that Putin will be removed from power as a consequence of this invasion? Is it even possible or desirable to do this from an external position? Or is it something that would only happen from within Russia somehow?
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 8:51 AM on March 9


Something I've been wondering about and not seen addressed anywhere- obviously not anytime soon, but is it likely that Putin will be removed from power as a consequence of this invasion? Is it even possible or desirable to do this from an external position? Or is it something that would only happen from within Russia somehow?

It's a difficult situation to predict because there's no real unified Silovik faction that can take Putin down from the deep state side of things. So they would have to both get together in some way shape or form, which would signal to Putin it's time to start arresting them en masse, and they would have to agree on a potential course of action when every single one of them is out for themselves. Difficult.

Military coup? There's a reason Putin put Shoigu as Minister of Defense and it's because he's Tuvan. If a Tuvan does anything to an ethnic Russian leader shit will hit the fan and Shoigu knows it. Gerasimov could maybe but he would need Shoigu on board and Shoigu would definitely be looking at a former subordinate becoming his superior. There's no good options for Shoigu here and probably better the devil you know.

I don't think there's enough popular support at the moment to remove Putin by movement given the polling. Also, his supporters are both numerous and violent. Should any movement get out of control of the domestic security forces the situation would probably descend into partisan violence and the revolutionaries would definitely be on the losing end of it. Traditionally Putin has been seen to abstain over any partisan gestures of popularity because he prefers his legitimacy from rigged elections not the vox pop. Then again, desperate times call for desperate measures and he might just tell his security forces to let his Z fascists do the brownshirt work of beating the populace into submission.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 9:04 AM on March 9 [3 favorites]


New thread here, also my first FPP.

I realized after I posted it that I might have misunderstood the earlier discussion on creating a new thread and cut in ahead of someone else who had one in progress. If that happened, I'm really sorry, I just want to keep these accessible for mobile users.
posted by All Might Be Well at 9:09 AM on March 9 [19 favorites]


... is it likely that Putin will be removed from power as a consequence of this invasion? Is it even possible or desirable to do this from an external position? Or is it something that would only happen from within Russia somehow?

Gerald Bostock wondered about the same thing in this AskMeFi, but it didn't seem to get traction.
posted by achrise at 9:14 AM on March 9


Michael Kofman discussed the possibility of Putin being removed at the end of this podcast interview, which I linked to above. He thinks that the endgame for the current regime is already underway.
posted by Kattullus at 9:20 AM on March 9 [6 favorites]


I figured he'd be about as feckless as the last couple non-criminal Presidents, but I'm of the opinion that most US moves regarding Ukraine have been tougher than I expected, more effective in helping wrangle the hydra of the EU and NATO nations than I expected, and still measured and deliberate.

Biden Answered the 3 a.m. Call
posted by y2karl at 9:46 AM on March 9 [5 favorites]


Whoa, that last video posted by Katullus is incredible. Fearless, white hot rage.
posted by HotToddy at 10:01 AM on March 9 [5 favorites]


I posted this new thread, as promised (it took a few hours to collect and format, apologies...):

I Give My Little Stars to Children
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:05 AM on March 9 [4 favorites]


The contributions in these Ukraine threads by Busy Old Fool and I claim sanctuary -- who compared to us stateside have real as opposed to imaginary skin in the game -- have been exemplary. I for one value their contributions.
posted by y2karl at 10:08 AM on March 9 [18 favorites]


And I must add that while I never saw it fly, I did see the iconic and now destroyed Antonov 225 on the ground many times when it was parked on the tarmac during its stay at Boeing Field here in Seattle. Truly the biggest plane I ever saw.
posted by y2karl at 10:25 AM on March 9 [2 favorites]


I for one value their contributions.

Oh, Jesus, and Katullus, too!
posted by y2karl at 10:33 AM on March 9 [12 favorites]


Oh, Jesus, and Katullus, too!

Jesus does need some positive feedback after all the negative he's been getting lately.
posted by clawsoon at 11:12 AM on March 9 [7 favorites]


After 12 days of stealing Putin's tanks, Ukrainian farmers are now unofficially the fifth-largest military in Europe
@Biz_Ukraine_Mag
posted by adamvasco at 11:41 AM on March 9 [7 favorites]


y2karl: I happened to see a six-engined cargo jet take off from an airport near Münster, Germany, must have been in 2003 or 2004. Though I didn't recognise it immediately I figured it couldn't be that difficult to identify as there wouldn't be that many six-engined jets around.

In fact, that number has now gone down to zero.

Ублюдки.
posted by Stoneshop at 12:48 PM on March 9 [2 favorites]


There are more German pilots training over here in Louisiana lately. or maybe I'm just noticing them?
posted by eustatic at 1:12 PM on March 9


Anyway, we definitely notice the Gas war in Louisiana. as the leakiest and largest Pipeline corridor for US fracked gas overseas, the usual oligarchs down here have been making bank, and donating it to Cassidy.

Louisiana's next governor will likely be the one who bet on the land deals for LNG Export, as Shell just bit the hook, building an LNG Export terminal in a Black and Indigenous area that has no state or federal representation--and has flooded in Ida and every storm since Katrina.

US ramping up of LNG Export has always been politically justified by the Ukraine conflict, and now it looks like there will be unending destruction of Louisiana and Texas to build more, because the US contractually leased most of its methane export to China, after using the Ukraine conflict to speed through the regulatory process.

Just don't blame us when hurricanes hit these things, y'all, because we are going to have to run from the BLEVEs. We did not want these things.

Support the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas in the valley in their effort to stop the desecration of their sacred lands in Texas for LNG Export.
posted by eustatic at 1:26 PM on March 9 [9 favorites]


There's no good options for Shoigu
yup. Russia is at its highest Nuclear alert status.
"The directive by the Russian leader is "unprecedented in the post-Cold War era,""
I believe U.S. is at D-3. 15 minute snap.
What special protections does Putin get under his Nuclear alert?
More isolated...to remove him isto remove those 10000 keys around his neck. A difficult thing. If a military interim government had Putin retire and back off the war in Ukraine that would seem the easiest way to stop the war.

We Need to Talk About Nuclear Weapons Again

posted by clavdivs at 3:12 PM on March 9 [2 favorites]




There are more German pilots training over here in Louisiana lately. or maybe I'm just noticing them?

USAF Sends F-35s, B-52s, F-15s to Europe as NATO Ministers Opt for More Deterrence
Feb. 16, 2022
Barksdake is primarily a bomber base but perhaps they were with 49th Test and Evaluation Squadron.

Bomber Task Force Europe: B-52s train over the North Sea. FEB 19, 2022.
perhaps they are observers.
posted by clavdivs at 8:56 PM on March 9


elkevelvet: and for some reason a woman felt the term 'refugee' was not appropriate and I have not had a chance to find out why she felt this way

I just heard this, which I suspect has a parallel with the word "refugee": "...the other 90% being immigrants and expats. Well, actually, they're all immigrants. It's just that white people came up with this word 'expat' so they don't have to call themselves 'immigrants', because that word is reserved for brown people."
posted by clawsoon at 5:53 PM on March 13 [1 favorite]


"The differences between immigrant and expat the standard dictionary definition are: Immigrant: Someone who moves to another country to live permanently. Expatriate: Someone who resides outside of his/ her native country. Both words apply to individuals who live outside their native country"

I've been an expat, I've never been an immigrant. Expats are people on a work or school visa, usually.
posted by Dynex at 5:03 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


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