Ukraine war month four, settling in for the long haul?
June 20, 2022 6:06 AM   Subscribe

The war continues. As the Russian invasion continues into the fourth month and apparently is bogging down, once again Europe has to face the reality of industrial warfare.

Russian foreign minister Lavrov gave interview with the BBC, denying even the existence of a war. The Duma is apparently considering revoking recognition of the independence of the Baltic states, all of whom are Nato members. In maybe related news, Lithuania has banned transit of sanctioned goods across its territory to Russian exclave Kaliningrad.

The EU is debating granting Ukraine candidate status.

The human toll of the war is ongoing and on a horrifying scale. NPR has a guide on how to support the victims.
posted by Harald74 (202 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
 
This post in memory of the now four months old statement that training the Ukrainian Air Force on Western F-16 would take four months, so there was no point.
posted by Harald74 at 6:08 AM on June 20 [37 favorites]


copypasting adamvasco's T. Snyder thread link (from late in the previous post): Russia has a hunger plan. Vladimir Putin is preparing to starve much of the developing world as the next stage in his war in Europe. 1/16
posted by progosk at 6:12 AM on June 20 [4 favorites]


Nestled on Lithuania’s southeastern border, Druskininkai opens onto a narrow notch of strategic territory known as the Suwałki Gap. Stretching about 100 kilometers along the Lithuanian-Polish frontier, between Belarus in the east and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad to the west, Western military planners warn the area would likely be one of the Russian president’s first targets were he ever to choose to escalate the war in Ukraine into a kinetic confrontation with NATO. THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACE ON EARTH [Politico]
posted by chavenet at 6:18 AM on June 20 [6 favorites]


I wanted to post that link about industrial warfare too. It is deeply unsettling on many levels.
posted by kmt at 6:59 AM on June 20 [2 favorites]


would take four months, so there was no point.

Yeah, remember how the US was training Iraqis and Afghanis for years? They need to be training all Ukrainian 16 to 18-year-olds in Poland, boys and girls.
posted by Bee'sWing at 7:15 AM on June 20 [6 favorites]


The challenge of preparing the kind of industrial capacity for large-scale warfare in peacetime is that you have to sustain the capacity which means either 1) massive continuing production of equipment & weapons or 2) production lines sitting idle, subsidized by the government. Both of those things cost enormous amounts of money.
posted by Galvanic at 7:23 AM on June 20 [1 favorite]


In the Cold War the West squared that circle with consumerism.
posted by ocschwar at 7:24 AM on June 20 [3 favorites]


Nestled on Lithuania’s southeastern border, Druskininkai opens onto a narrow notch of strategic territory known as the Suwałki Gap.

I have a good friend who lives there. That's terrifying.
posted by Gadarene at 8:05 AM on June 20 [5 favorites]


Russia does not have the capacity. It is using up its hardware and its soldiers on a narrow strip of land in Eastern Ukraine. It went straight from the "Mission Accomplished" lie to Germany in the last year of WWII in a few days. What is happening is still catastrophic and cruel, but IMO, NATO shouldn't build a whole new strategy based on this war. (Obviously, they will. Generals are always fighting the last war, and you know, the whole military-industrial-complex thing. I bet some investors who were worried about the climate movement are overjoyed by this war).
My sense is that at least someone in NATO knows this, but we're looking at a likely Republican win at the midterms, a big win for le Pen in France this past weekend, not exactly stable German politics and I don't even know what to say about the UK. And then global warming related issues like droughts, stronger storms and wild-fires are arriving seasonally in the Northern Hemisphere and amplifying the food crisis and the economic crisis.
If Russia is stupid enough to open a second front in the Baltics, they will be more than overstretched, they are already overstretched. But that doesn't mean they won't do it. Things can still go terribly wrong. But Russia will loose this.
posted by mumimor at 10:07 AM on June 20 [8 favorites]


The Twitter thread about industrial warfare was interesting not because I agree with the assertion that a country needs a large military industrial complex. But I do think it points out how vital plain industrial capacity is. A peacetime specialty boat maker, for example, can convert their production relatively easily to design and build a vital vessel for delivering soldiers and equipment to retake the European continent, for example.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 11:01 AM on June 20 [6 favorites]


In the Cold War the West squared that circle with consumerism.

The Russian government only needs to have a longer attention span than the average American or German voter, but they can ignore their own citizens.
posted by meowzilla at 11:03 AM on June 20 [4 favorites]


The first two links give me conservative think tank vibes. Surely there are more authoritative sources discussing the issues e.g. from university professors, or journalists, not wonks from conservative think tank groups? A look at the ISW.org About Us page shows a bunch of American corporate and DC technocrats. Is this the kind of stuff we should be platforming?
posted by polymodus at 11:06 AM on June 20 [2 favorites]


But Russia will loose this.

I don't think so. They won't decisively win but they also won't really lose. They've already successfully destabilized a lot of western politics with their crooked money and support of the far right to the extent that political support for Ukraine is somewhat shaky. All they need is for the Republicans to have success in the November elections and the western support for Ukraine will collapse as the American's switch over to thoughts and prayers support and Europe decides to side with their economies over the Ukrainians.

Russia has achieved or is very close to achieving its key strategic goal of controlling Ukraine's natural gas reserves and prolonging it's energy control over Western Europe's energy situation and it is probably trolling the west with ever larger threats probably as a door in the face strategy to make merely stealing a country's natural resources a minor concession compared to global famine, world war and/or nuclear war
posted by srboisvert at 11:16 AM on June 20 [8 favorites]


ISW/understandingwar.org discussed previously through several comments in a previous Ukraine thread.

...the great value of the ISW reports for me is that they provide a quick and clear daily answer to "How is Russia doing today?"

ISW does seem to provide a very narrow perspective of the war, but that's by design and it removes a lot of speculation about the broader economic and political impact.
posted by meowzilla at 11:21 AM on June 20 [2 favorites]


Opinion:

I grew up on the Suwałki Gap with family split up amongst all four bordering countries due to previous war(s). That is, of course, not unique in Europe. Still, the thought of it happening again or worse is ... not good. It seemed far-fetched not long ago, but no longer.

While far from perfect, it's a relief NATO countries have been expressing support for Ukraine in words and weapons. Despite that, in the context of the last few years (Macron calling NATO a brain-dead organization; Trump generally tearing apart alliances with European countries; a former German chancellor calling Putin his boss), Putin and company are right to think that they have a chance at rolling through the gap to connect with Kaliningrad. There have been years of Russian government aggressions towards Lithuania and other Baltic states; there are too many occurrences to list here. They're 'interested' in the region.

NATOs help and the sanctions are good but they aren't enough. Still too slow, still too little.

The single country protecting the world from WW3, right now, is Ukraine. If they don't manage to knock the Russian army back to where they belong then it's just a matter of time, a few hired guns and some luck for Putin: he'll try to close that Gap. Ideally he'll have a Trump in the US, a Le Pen (or Macron) in France and a Scholz/Schröder in Germany. If not, then not. There's a possibility it'll be the Baltics, Poland and a few others versus Russia with a perpetually worried West in the background.

A weakened army or not, Putin has taken over new territories and looks like he may be able to hold them. He's selling gas and oil to the EU and China. Russia will find a way to get the technologies they need, sanctions or not. They'll have time to regroup, rebuild and reload. Unless: Ukraine stops them. That's a lot of pressure for one small country to bear, but this is where we are.
posted by UN at 12:00 PM on June 20 [21 favorites]


Attacking the Suwałki Gap would be a terrible strategic decision by the Russians. It opens their flanks to simultaneous counterattacks by Lithuania and by NATO forces in Poland, and it's impossible to hold against a determined counterattack. It would pull forces out of Kaliningrad, making that vulnerable, and also pull forces out of Belarus, which would then be open to a NATO counter thrust up the Warsaw-Minsk highway axis.

And it doesn't do that much -- cutting off the Baltic states by land doesn't do anything about the sea route through the Baltic (which has its own issues, of course)

(The article makes it sound more like a marketing ploy -- the former Estonian President said he came up with it minutes before a meeting with Western leaders, and no serious strategist is quoted).
posted by Galvanic at 1:08 PM on June 20 [2 favorites]


New York Times video: Thousands of refugees from Ukraine have been sent to so-called filtration camps, where they have been interrogated and then forced to resettle to Russia. Some Ukrainians escaped to Estonia. They told us their stories.
posted by riruro at 1:16 PM on June 20 [10 favorites]


Thank you Harald74 for the new thread. I was a bit bereft over the last couple of days since the old one closed for age, though too busy to put up a new one because of long weekend plans.

Said plans took me back to Warsaw by train yesterday, and apparently a good three weeks after free movement for refugees ended in Poland, some people still don't have the memo. There was a Ukrainian teenager, going from Berlin to rejoin his mum in Warsaw, without a ticket - which he didn't need to board the train in Berlin, but Polish trains have limited the free-travel aid to westward journeys from the cities nearest to the Ukrainian border. It took about fifteen minutes of the conductor trying to get through the language barrier in Very Clear Polish and bits of confused Russian, but finally the kid phoned his mum and she seemed to sort it out.

Refugees are settling in for the long haul like that. Poles seem to be pretty willing to rent them real estate now that it looks like the pandemic eviction memorandum will be ending, to the point some students are afraid they will have to actually resort to student housing for the next academic year due to a shortage of rentals, but apparently things are not as rosy in the UK, with red tape barring even rich Ukrainians from renting.

In good things: Scholz is saying the right words and apparently even Orban is supporting Ukraine and Moldova's bids for EU candidate status. Hey, it helped us (and Hungary) to rebuild stuff 50+ years after a cities-flattening war, at least this time it'll be quicker?

And Poland is intensifying efforts to export Ukrainian grain, though that too is getting mired in red tape according to some port officials I talked to last week: grain entering the common EU market has all sorts of procedures and controls and limits, but there's literally no procedures for transit of grain, the way Ukraine wants to export theirs to Egypt etc. Transit through Koper in Slovenia is encountering the same problems. But people are definitely working on it.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 2:07 PM on June 20 [18 favorites]


Speaking of Kaliningrad, do they have any gas or oil pipelines back to mainland Russia? How dependent is Kaliningrad on land/pipeline transport for energy?
posted by ryanrs at 2:48 PM on June 20


Looks like they do.
posted by Bee'sWing at 3:09 PM on June 20


Not being familiar with Kaliningrad, I've got multiple questions: how dependent is it on the Lithuanians letting stuff through? Are the Polish considering something similar? Can Russia maintain them via the ocean in the equivalent of a Berlin Airlift?
posted by ockmockbock at 3:28 PM on June 20


I am heartsick.

We'll support Ukraine until they either surrender or run out of fighters. We can't bring ourselves to do the right thing, so we'll do something else. I hope we don't get our metaphorical political arm out of joint, patting ourselves on our metaphorical political back.
posted by mule98J at 3:31 PM on June 20 [3 favorites]


Attacking the Suwałki Gap would be a terrible strategic decision by the Russians…
Doesn't mean it's not a possibility. Relatedly:

@OlgaNYC1211: "The amount of social media insanity I see toward Lithuania is off the charts. I haven't seen this much activity in a while. Russian trolls and propagandists are working overtime for their ruble

And with this, we need to keep an eye on Belarus and Suwalki corridor which Russia has threatened with on many occasions"
posted by mazola at 3:40 PM on June 20 [2 favorites]


Ukrainian journalist Yuriy Butusov published a documentary about the risky and complicated mission of delivering supplies, weapons and troops into besieged Mariupol via helicopters:

Special Operation AZOVSTAL
posted by Kabanos at 4:29 PM on June 20 [5 favorites]


We can't bring ourselves to do the right thing, s

Which would be what?

Doesn't mean it's not a possibility.

Of course. Better than a smart attack on the Baltic States, though.
posted by Galvanic at 5:18 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


But I do think it points out how vital plain industrial capacity is.
Bingo.
in the early days of this war, I decided to focus on the industrial capacity of both Ukraine and Russia. For Ukraine, Sich Motor and Russia, the industrial capacity of Tolyatti. There isn't much news about Ukraine's infrastructure for military and commercial industry which is quite large.
for the last couple of days these two small pieces of information....

'Aircraft Engine Market Trends, Demand Growth Revenue Analysis Report to 2032 | IAE International Aero Engines AG, Motor Sich JSC, MTU Aero Engines AG, Pratt & Whitney.

a projective report to 2032. important question is when was the paper written, before or during the war.

No Airbags or Anti-Lock Brakes on Russian Cars as Sanctions Bite

they're stripping down the Lada and if you ever ridden in a Lada, that says something.

The object of monitoring the industrial capacity of either nation is a gauge to see how the aggressor approaches the industrial capacity of its quote unquote enemy. I have seen reports of destruction of small industrial capacity but whole scale destruction of Ukraine's industry would almost put Russia in one of the categories of industrial warfare and that would be Total War, something I do not think Russia can do.

The single country protecting the world from WW3, right now, is Ukraine.
I could not agree and disagree more strongly. In one of the early threads I posited that Ukraine is at the center of holding up the future of world democracy that I still believe in but as far as preventing World War III, no I do not think so not in a military sense, a geopolitical sense yes.

Of course. Better than a smart attack on the Baltic States, though.
And who the devil gonna do that, unkle Sam. I might disagree with MuleJs words but fully understand the meaning and intent. But to give a quick step to your sentiment, send two fleets at once to the Baltic and see what happens.I wish we could do more but this isn't the United States war. U.S has three brigades in Europe right now, that'el solve the problem real quick but to get to get those three brigades rolling and it's going to be what an average at 250 Mi. or more to the front, all three brigades cost over a million dollars a mile to move.
posted by clavdivs at 7:38 PM on June 20 [2 favorites]


There is one single reason why NATO and "the west" hasn't moved in to decide this war once and for all. But we are not allowed to discuss that in these threads. But that is entirely the single reason, and anyone begrudging the lack of movement is discounting the possible threat.
posted by hippybear at 8:40 PM on June 20 [9 favorites]


if you set aside the arcane russian mythology and the bs russian propaganda about fearing invasions from nato and all the armchair psychology about putin, what remains sort of makes sense in a sick cold way: putin thought ukraine was weak after the 2014 invasion yet highly strategically important due to its gas pipelines, and he knew it was highly unlikely that nato would get directly involved, and he saw how western military assistance (as in afghanistan and iraq) doesn't do much if the underlying nation is weak.

but it was a simple miscalculation: ukraine wasn't weak and wasn't going to roll over. he made a bad gamble (albeit an understandable one, given western intel also made the same assessment) and lost.

none of that requires you to delve into his supposed spiritualistic fantasies about ethnicity and vikings or think that he is insane or that he would use nuclear weapons. it could've turned out this way just because he's a deluded dictator who thought he would win quickly, but didn't.

if that is so, then it strongly suggests he's not going to invade lithuania because he knows nato would delete his military in very short order and neither side wants to escalate to WMD. he knows you can't shoot artillery at nato--which is the only tactic that's worked so far for russia--because the usaf will have air supremacy overhead. and you certainly can't beat nato with maneuver or fast moving tactics by using t-72's. so i don't see the war expanding west, even as it remains an atrocity in the east.
posted by wibari at 10:25 PM on June 20 [15 favorites]


Kaliningrad had all its infrastructure constructed in the USSR era (after being flattened in World War II), with the assumption that current Lithuanian territory would be the same country and stay friendly. It's a manufacturing hub due to being a Special Economic Zone, but that means that it needs to get resources in and products out - and the Lithuanians have just brought out clipboards with the lists of sanctioned items despite this being technically Russia's internal trade, just in transit through the EU. Transit there has always been a fun point for bureaucrats to argue about, I know a guy who ended up in Kaliningrad when a commercial plane from Estonia to Poland had to make an emergency landing and his Latvian sardines got confiscated as dangerous contraband.

They do have a nice cargo seaport, but winter will be the fun part - one of the reasons Russia holds on to Kaliningrad so tightly is that it's their only port that doesn't freeze in the winter. You can load a ship in Kaliningrad in January, but good luck unloading it efficiently in St Petersburg even with icebreakers working overtime. And of course an air bridge is complicated because Russian planes are banned from EU airspace, the Baltics included. People won't starve, food transports generally aren't banned, but Kaliningrad's economy will be crippled.

(I wonder if the Ukrainian grain transit issues I mentioned above don't have a systemic solution exactly because a block rules exemption for transit would free up Kaliningrad...)
posted by I claim sanctuary at 11:19 PM on June 20 [5 favorites]


it's their only port that doesn't freeze in the winter

It's been talked about, but not in these war threads; but global anthropogenic climate change is a big gamble that could benefit Russia relative-to/ at the expense of everyone else (including large swaths of the Russian Federation), being a source of petrochemicals geographically near (relatively) the sources of need (the EU).

It's just like a bad movie.

If you're big stakes gambling, why not go for broke - fuck everyone else.

Current seasonally ice-locked ports are likely to progressively open up year-round just like the Northwest Passage, as the climate gets ever more chaotic and energetic.
posted by porpoise at 11:41 PM on June 20 [4 favorites]


There is one single reason why NATO and "the west" hasn't moved in to decide this war once and for all. But we are not allowed to discuss that in these threads. But that is entirely the single reason, and anyone begrudging the lack of movement is discounting the possible threat.
posted by hippybear at 5:40 AM


This is frustratingly passive aggressive and vague for me and I imagine other folks who are not intimately familiar with every detail of prior threads.

Either say what it is you are talking about (what single reason?) or if it you know it's not appropriate for the thread, then...don't bring whatever it is up?
posted by lazaruslong at 2:37 AM on June 21 [6 favorites]


Mod note: I'd like to go ahead and head this off; earlier threads were being dominated by a few folks who wanted to talk about / predict / muse on nuclear war. A lot. People asked that this not be a running theme in the Ukraine threads, so we said just make a post about that, to separate it. So there was a nuclear war thread for nuclear war talk, and then another one as soon as that one closed up. And we said, okay, but we aren't having rolling, always-on nuclear war threads, so unless there is actual news, let's not. So, in that vein, this should not now become all about nuclear war. Thanks.
posted by taz (staff) at 2:48 AM on June 21 [24 favorites]




The port of Novorossiysk (right across from Ukraine) is ice free year round, but is throttled by the Dardanelles, which are controlled by Turkey. Russia's geography problem.
posted by Bee'sWing at 4:11 AM on June 21


Thank you taz.
posted by 15L06 at 4:14 AM on June 21 [5 favorites]


This long essay by Tatiana Zhurzhenko in Eurozine is worthwhile reading, for its focus on the people of Ukraine:
Making sense of the war
Tatiana Zhurzhenko
16 June 2022

As the shock of war gives way to reflection, Ukrainian public discourse has turned to questions of the past, present and future: When did Russia’s war on Ukraine start? What is it doing to society? And how will it end?

For more than three months, Ukrainians have been living in a new reality. People’s experiences differ strongly, depending on whether they are in Russia-occupied Kherson or in permanently shelled Kharkiv; in devastated Mariupol or in Lviv, with its hundreds of thousands of refugees; or in Poland or another neighbour state as refugees themselves. But all have one thing in common: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022 has changed their lives dramatically.
____

Someone upthread mentioned platforming more academic and journalist sources, and i could not agree more. Military analysis is one side only. But personally i feel that it is more interesting to read genuine Ukrainian points of view. I have known Tatiana since many years, and through my job am familiar with and met many of the people she quotes, all of them worthwhile reading.
posted by 15L06 at 4:30 AM on June 21 [14 favorites]


Thomas C. Theiner tries so summarize why some many nations have beef with the Russians over on Twitter.
posted by Harald74 at 4:50 AM on June 21 [3 favorites]


I could not agree and disagree more strongly. In one of the early threads I posited that Ukraine is at the center of holding up the future of world democracy that I still believe in but as far as preventing World War III, no I do not think so not in a military sense, a geopolitical sense yes.

Ukraine is denying China the second US front it needs to launch a war against Taiwan. The US has long had a two war doctrine. It has aimed to maintain the ability to fight and win in two theaters simultaneously. Without the US being busy on a European front (or any other second front) any attempts by China to take out Taiwan unilaterally would be suicidal for the PRC.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 5:27 AM on June 21 [4 favorites]


Ukrainian journalist Yuriy Butusov published a documentary about the risky and complicated mission of delivering supplies, weapons and troops into besieged Mariupol via helicopters:

That was interesting to watch, thank you.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:59 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


One reliable source of Ukrainian voices that i can recommend without reservation is the Blog Ukraine in Focus, curated by Kate Younger
posted by 15L06 at 6:29 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


There is one single reason why NATO and "the west" hasn't moved in to decide this war once and for all.

If I had to say the 'single reason' it's because the US wants to maintain the diplomatic ability to invade any country (with minor exceptions) it wants without Chinese or Russian reprisal and for equally thin reasons, beyond the same scope the US is doing here [ie: selling weapons, minor training]. Nuclear weapons would be a distant second. That's why it's a minor player.
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:33 AM on June 21


One reliable source of Ukrainian voices that i can recommend without reservation is the Blog Ukraine in Focus, curated by Kate Younger
(link should be https://www.iwm.at/blogs?category_id=79)
posted by mazola at 8:23 AM on June 21 [4 favorites]


My apologies, I believe this link to the Ukraine Information Hub works, from there select Ukraine in focus Blog, i will let them know linking directly is broken.
posted by 15L06 at 9:16 AM on June 21


A peacetime specialty boat maker, for example, can convert their production relatively easily to design and build a vital vessel for delivering soldiers and equipment to retake the European continent, for example.

The Brits went one better: with the Mosquito De Havilland had a nice design for a fast reconnaissance and light bomber aircraft, but the Ministry of Aircraft Production had no capacity to spare. As the Mosquito was almost entirely made of wood, DH contracted furniture makers, piano builders and the like to supply wings, fuselage sections and other components, employing labour that didn't come out of the war production work force, with only the final assembly done by actual aircraft technicians.
posted by Stoneshop at 9:39 AM on June 21 [3 favorites]


I think it's unfair to ascribe sinister motives to US's hope to avoid a major land war in Europe. Doesn't it seem at least plausible that no one wants another war in Europe, hopes that the current conflict can be contained and ended quickly? FWIW my (US) grandfather served in Europe, and was shot while fighting in the Ardennes.
posted by newdaddy at 9:50 AM on June 21 [4 favorites]


And also, I think it's worth underlining: NATO is not the USA.
posted by newdaddy at 9:58 AM on June 21 [6 favorites]


A question from the previous thread about compatibility between Russian and Chinese munitions, artillery and rockets that I had written a reply to just as the thread was closed:

Are Chinese artillery shells/missiles compatible with Russian launchers?

Of the heavy artillery their older stuff tends to be 122mm and 152mm, USSR-made or direct derivatives, most of it retired from active use, the newer gear is 155mm. Ammo compatibility primarily depends on caliber, so a lot of it should fit but the big question is how much the Chinese still have in storage seeing that nearly all of the 152mm artillery is retired; 122mm is still in use. Plus, how old that ammo is now, how much they would be willing to hand over and whether the PLAGF takes better care of it than the Russkies, as well as disposing of it after its Best Before date. Mortars: nearly all models are 120mm, same as Russia.

Rocket launcher compatibility is hard to tell; even when the launchers have the same caliber it's not unlikely the missiles aren't directly interchangeable.
posted by Stoneshop at 10:03 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


So if China were to (for whatever reason) arm the Russians, that would involve spinning up and retooling manufacturing capacity specifically for the purpose?
posted by acb at 10:50 AM on June 21


Timothy Snyder on twitter about nuclear
Link to threadreader

Speaking of the Russo-Ukrainian war, a number of commentators begin from the premise a nuclear power cannot lose a war. This is utter nonsense, and dangerous nonsense. 1/10
posted by 15L06 at 11:03 AM on June 21 [5 favorites]


Eurozine
The names of us
How Russians are destroying national diversity in Ukraine
Olesya Yaremchuk
30 May 2022


Afina, Usein, Maria, Jasim – a Greek Roumean, a Crimean Tatar, a Swede and a Turkish-Meskhetian, all from Ukraine, all living on the edge – when the attack on nationals, labelled minorities, is life-threatening, calling out the names of those who are in danger recognizes their plight and diversity.
posted by 15L06 at 11:12 AM on June 21 [5 favorites]


From an article in Eurozine by Kateryna Botanova. She is a Basel-based cultural critic and curator from Kyiv, Ukraine.

International discussions about the role and function of art in the war are tailored to notions like ‘healing’ and ‘peaceful mutual understanding.’ Neither of these are expressed in the current works of Ukrainian.

It is the testimony, it is the evidence of the tragedy that should have never happened, but indeed it has. It’s a powerful emancipatory work to create a visual language that can grasp these events, the loss, the emotions; to record this particular present in a new, uncomfortable yet distinct voice.

The article is illustrated with art created in direct reaction to the war and the atrocities commited.
Quoted from
Eurozine
Defined by silence
The Ukrainian art that was destroyed – and the art that never happened
Kateryna Botanova
6 May 2022

posted by 15L06 at 11:30 AM on June 21 [4 favorites]


Eurozine has a whole section of articles by and/or about Ukraine, going back to 2014.
posted by 15L06 at 11:34 AM on June 21 [2 favorites]


International discussions about the role and function of art in the war are tailored to notions like ‘healing’ and ‘peaceful mutual understanding.’ Neither of these are expressed in the current works of Ukrainian.

In Ukraine there's considerable historical precedent for this. In a related inquiry I recently found myself conducting, even at the turn of the century Ukrainian artists, from Narbut to Sudomora, were using their art in contextually relevant ways - and there's even a throughline to the contemporary, involving Nikita Kravtsov and author Andrey Kurkov. (My summary post about the retellings of a mycological folktale this emerges through is in the progress of becoming an article - please delete self-link if deemed out of place).
posted by progosk at 12:11 PM on June 21 [2 favorites]


But to give a quick step to your sentiment, send two fleets at once to the Baltic and see what happens.I

Two fleets in the Baltic would do more to start a war than prevent it and would be insanely vulnerable in a shooting war that close to land. The phrase “shooting gallery” comes to mind.

The port of Novorossiysk (right across from Ukraine) is ice free year round, but is throttled by the Dardanelles, which are controlled by Turkey

The entrance to the Baltic can be closed easily by blockade, which means Kaliningrad is throttled as well.

The US has long had a two war doctrine. It has aimed to maintain the ability to fight and win in two theaters simultaneously.

That hasn’t been true since 2012, when Obama changed it.
posted by Galvanic at 12:41 PM on June 21 [2 favorites]


That hasn’t been true since 2012, when Obama changed it.

Even more a reason Ukraine is holding off WW3 if the US doesn't have to be tied up in Europe.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 3:10 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]


1/3 of u.s. armor is in Europe being tied up to bolster NATO.
The old limit was 2 and a half wars at a time.

a shooting gallery in submarines.
Spooling up a Fleet gives off alot of noise. The U.S. would be the aggressor, China most likely changing its policies, an example of exactly what we should not do.
posted by clavdivs at 5:18 PM on June 21


Harald74: Thomas C. Theiner tries so summarize why some many nations have beef with the Russians over on Twitter.

This is a bizarre list, equating stuff like Russian support for Catalan independence with historical horrors like ethnic cleansing. And some things just seem totally made up. In the Finland tweet, he mentions a “liberation war”, which is either the Finnish civil war (which Russia stayed the heck out of) or possibly that time Chairman of the Finnish Senate Svinhufvud had to wait a few hours in Lenin’s waiting room until Lenin came out to shake his hand and recognize Finland’s independence. Either way, there was no “liberation war”.
posted by Kattullus at 5:37 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]


Yesterday's Pravda tries to put a positive spin on Russian aviation difficulties, but the BBC is not convinced.
posted by Harald74 at 10:43 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]


Kattullus/Harald74:

Further to what Kattullus said, I have lived in BG for a number of years and I am in regular communication with friends there re:the "current political climate". The situation 'on the ground' so to speak is *nothing* like what that Twitter thread describes. For me that called the whole thread into question. Here isn't the place to talk about it, but I certainly raised an eyebrow at it.
posted by jpziller at 1:17 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


If you or anyone have any links to reliable reporting from inside Belarus, that would be really interesting. What I've seen so far is the official line (problematic for all the obvious reasons) and the opposition-in-exile's view on things (which of course is heavily influenced by their situation).
posted by Harald74 at 1:26 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


The New York Times have interviewed some Ukrainians that have escaped the Russian forced "filtration camp" system and ended up in Estonia.

I can't get the video to play at work unfortunately, but I take the chance on sharing it here anyway. The forced deportation of adults and children and attempted erasure of Ukrainian identity is a horrifying aspect of the war, and I understand within the UN's definition of genocide. It deserves more attention.
posted by Harald74 at 1:28 AM on June 22 [9 favorites]




They called it Russian sabre rattling, to be fair.
posted by Harald74 at 2:44 AM on June 22 [2 favorites]


acb: spinning up and retooling manufacturing capacity specifically for the purpose?

Depends on whether they've dismantled the equipment, mothballed it or just have a few lines still running supplying friendly nations with 152mm ammo if those are using Russian/Chinese hand-me-downs, but that wouldn't be a large volume anyway. Those nations may be dealing with insurgence, but heavy artillery tends to be remarkably ineffective there and therefore sees very little use.
posted by Stoneshop at 3:26 AM on June 22


The NY Times video about filtration camp survivors is on YouTube if you can't get the other link to work. It's a powerful video.
posted by Bee'sWing at 4:55 AM on June 22 [2 favorites]


Wide ranging interview with Edward Luttwak discussing among other topics the current war:
First, the military intelligence advisers both on the Russian side and the American side all belong to the same church. This church preaches “fourth-generation warfare,” hybrid warfare, postmodern information warfare—all new stuff, praised as nonkinetic. Kinetic is the term for war fought by blockheads, just people shooting people. They were drunk, both the Russians and the Americans, on this idea that you have cyber this, you have cyber that, and that the Ukrainan soldier—

Once he opens his iPhone, the Ukrainian soldier won’t be able to function mentally anymore, his morale will collapse, and he will lay down his weapons and surrender.

They believed this nonsense. I have gone to war games until basically I got kicked out. Why was that? Because I would go to these war games and I would see these people, even three star generals running the war games. And I would say, fellows, I don’t know where you have been, OK: And I don’t know what experience you have of war. I guess you flew by helicopter, over Iraq or Afghanistan. I’ve had a gun in my hand and I’ve shot somebody and I have his helmet in my study. I have used a bazooka. I have actually been in combat. None of you guys have been in combat, because you have only fought people who had no artillery, no armor, no air power. And you don’t know what you’re talking about. All of this stuff you’re telling me in the war games. I said, no, this is not going to happen. What will happen is that the bloke is going to pick up a gun.
posted by kmt at 5:30 AM on June 22 [11 favorites]


Wide ranging interview with Edward Luttwak discussing among other topics the current war:

That guy is a nutcase and full of crap. Nothing he says anyone should take as true. LOL. Obama is secretly running Biden's presidency? He's concerned that BLM is a scam, but doesn't comment on any other obvious scams? What a crank.
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:41 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


It's also really interesting that the US can go from giving Ukraine actionable Russian military intelligence to thinking it was going to rollover immediately in the course of 3 months. That's how history is rewritten so easily.
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:56 AM on June 22 [1 favorite]


The first two links give me conservative think tank vibes. Surely there are more authoritative sources discussing the issues e.g. from university professors, or journalists, not wonks from conservative think tank groups? A look at the ISW.org About Us page shows a bunch of American corporate and DC technocrats. Is this the kind of stuff we should be platforming?

Regrettably if what you want to understand is about the armed conflict and logistics bit of the war, basically a bunch of retired military and other securocrats is what you want, right? I mean it's a little peak metafilter to want more perspectives from university professors and journalists on those topics since the ones that have the most relevant expertise are basically the same kind of guy but in a different institution (e.g. they teach military history at a service college or they're a career defence correspondent completely wired into the whole system).

Luttwak has written some interesting books but they're in the category of "first class mind taking very Unconventional first principles as true and then going in bizarre directions" they are as much entertainment as anything else. Incidentally, he's an academic (for all his "I've actually seen combat stuff") so if people want more from academia, this is the kind of thing you might get.

I don't think so. They won't decisively win but they also won't really lose. They've already successfully destabilized a lot of western politics with their crooked money and support of the far right to the extent that political support for Ukraine is somewhat shaky. All they need is for the Republicans to have success in the November elections and the western support for Ukraine will collapse as the American's switch over to thoughts and prayers support and Europe decides to side with their economies over the Ukrainians.

Russia has achieved or is very close to achieving its key strategic goal of controlling Ukraine's natural gas reserves and prolonging it's energy control over Western Europe's energy situation and it is probably trolling the west with ever larger threats probably as a door in the face strategy to make merely stealing a country's natural resources a minor concession compared to global famine, world war and/or nuclear war


I don't agree. First, I think that their supposed subversion of Western politics was always a bit of a mirage. Think about all that money and effort to get inside the Conservative party in the UK, and for what? It lasted precisely as long as British interests weren't really affected and is now pretty far along being stripped out by the roots. It's not like most of the politicians they were giving money to had any personal loyalty to Russia or to particular oligarchs. Now that they're no longer convenient, their supposed deep influence has completely gone. Unlike an ideological subversion, this kind of subversion has no sleeper cell capabilities. In a sense, the mistake they made was over-estimating how powerful their hold was - the same thing they did in their supposed subversion of Ukrainian politics so at leas they're consistent. In Germany as well, I think we're now seeing past associations with Russia as only being toxic.

I think there was, at least in the US and UK, always way too much reliance on "the Russians did it" because it avoided difficult conversations about actual Politics. (If The FSB got Trump elected then all we have to deal with foreign subversion, uncle Dan isn't a racist fool who voted for a liar, he was tricked by Voldoya's dirty tricksters).

I also don't agree that they've successfully managed to extend their control over energy markets in Western Europe. Every possible "get off gas" and "get off Russian gas" investment is now being made. The Germans even genuinely considered extending the lives of their yet to be closed nuclear plants and only didn't do it because it wouldn't be possible with such short notice. (considering how much money the Russians have put into anti-nuclear campaigning (allegedly?) that would have been a real own goal. Belgium is considering a life extension, France has re-committed to the EPR[2], the UK is going on a nuclear building spree. There are serious discussions about allowing more North Sea gas production in the UK. German's Green minister Habeck announcing coal plants re-opening. And many of these are long term investments. They might make no difference tomorrow or even this winter, but once you make them you set in motion a slow train that only has one outcome - a move away from Russian gas a decade earlier than would otherwise have happened.

Even if the worst happens, and Russia closes the gas taps completely, what then? One of two things:

Either a full "empty the warehouses" flood of heavy equipment into Ukraine.

Or a shameful capitulation.

If it's the latter, I don't see any European leader relishing it. "never will we be dictated to again" will be the watchword everywhere.

Either way I don't see a future where Europe isn't much less dependent on Russian gas.
posted by atrazine at 9:06 AM on June 22 [6 favorites]


"Regrettably if what you want to understand is about the armed conflict and logistics bit of the war, basically a bunch of retired military and other securocrats is what you want, right? I mean it's a little peak metafilter to want more perspectives from university professors and journalists on those topics since the ones that have the most relevant expertise are basically the same kind of guy but in a different institution (e.g. they teach military history at a service college or they're a career defence correspondent completely wired into the whole system)."

I am going to gently and with a friendly voice question that all anyone could want from such a metafilter thread is "to understand is about the armed conflict and logistics bit of the war,".

I believe that at least a balance can and even ought to be achieved between the human angle, by which i mean individual fates, arts in all form, daily life and death if you will, and pure military analysis, focus on bombs, tanks and ammunition.
I strongly believe in giving Ukrainians a voice, sharing personal testimonies, reporting, and yes, historic perspectives by genuine academic historians.

I hope no one feels offended by this comment. I am argueing for expansion not narrowing. Ukraine is more than war.
posted by 15L06 at 10:34 AM on June 22 [5 favorites]


Spooling up a Fleet gives off alot of noise

So does a salvo of land-based surface-to-surface missiles, at least for the minute or so flight time between launch and impacting on an American fleet in the Baltic.

western support for Ukraine will collapse as the American's switch over to thoughts and prayers support

Biden is still going to be running foreign policy, no matter what happens in the fall, and he's not going to give up on Ukraine.

The Russians might still emerge with something like a victory, but all this ninth dimensional chess about how they're really winning is not really plausible.
posted by Galvanic at 10:42 AM on June 22 [4 favorites]


Andrei Kurkov Puts this (my sentiment above) so much better than i ever could:
Jan Wilm of LARB asks Kurkov:
In your novel Grey Bees, the bees are a wonderful symbol for culture, I think. When Sergey transports them across the country and through regions of conflict, he is symbolically also becoming a bee, laboring tirelessly, weathering all sorts of storms, and cross-pollinating and connecting people and places. Maybe this is a childish question, but let the child speak: What is the role of literature to help Ukraine weather the storm of the war, and who among the writers will have enough hope and strength to become cross-pollinators in the healing process?

Kurkov replies
Ukraine now needs not writers, but readers. First of all, foreign readers who will read books about Ukraine in order to understand Ukraine and Ukrainians, in order to understand this war. Everyone is now in solidarity with Ukraine, but only with the name of the country and with the level of resistance against Russia. Few people know Ukrainian history, and this is very important. Without this, dialogue between Ukrainians and the world is impossible. And it is very necessary. Especially now.


Quote is from a recent interview in the LARB , Here
posted by 15L06 at 10:47 AM on June 22 [3 favorites]


15L06, oh I agree in general but I think the original comment was quite specific on questioning whether these were the best sources for these particular issues.

I much prefer to read Ukrainian literature than follow daily war blogging myself (it's not like I'm going to make a meaningful strategic contribution to the war with my military insights so it's a bit pointless!).
posted by atrazine at 1:00 PM on June 22 [4 favorites]


atrazine, point taken. Re-reading i think you are right
posted by 15L06 at 1:14 PM on June 22 [2 favorites]


Vadim Zimin, Russian colonel who carried Putin’s nuclear codes briefcase found shot.
posted by adamvasco at 1:22 PM on June 22 [5 favorites]


So they don't always fall out of windows then?
posted by bcd at 2:00 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]


I wonder if anyone else is tracking Macron's loss of a majority in Parliament, and what this will or may mean for Ukraine?
posted by corb at 4:16 PM on June 22


Either way I don't see a future where Europe isn't much less dependent on Russian gas.

I feel like the danger of Europe's dependency on Russian gas is something I've heard discussed and brushed off for something like a decade if not longer. It's really been the renewable revolution in a lot of the countries that has even begun to stem that, and of course now the war is throwing it all into sharp relief.

The thing is, the urgency to get off of ALL gas from EVERYWHERE is exactly as urgent as Europe not being held hostage by Russia, because we're all hostage to a suddenly very hostile world climate that's getting worse and worse... Not a derail, just a note.

I wish we could do something more directly to decide this entire thing, but any really direct move is just too dangerous. I really don't want months and months more of this, but I'm going to support it all until it is done.
posted by hippybear at 4:33 PM on June 22 [7 favorites]


corb: I wonder if anyone else is tracking Macron's loss of a majority in Parliament, and what this will or may mean for Ukraine?

Little to nothing in terms of French foreign policy, as that is almost entirely the purview of the president. Also, there are relatively few people in French parliament who’re against aid to Ukraine. People outside France largely don’t seem to understand that NUPES, which is currently the second largest block in the French parliament, is not a coherent political party, but a tactical voting alliance, of which a sizable number are pro-European, center-left politicians. Melenchon may have been the figurehead of the alliance, but his party only has around 70 deputies.
posted by Kattullus at 5:45 PM on June 22 [8 favorites]


Spooling up a Fleet gives off alot of noise

So does a salvo of land-based surface-to-surface missiles, at least for the minute or so flight time


Two points to make.
Not the U.S. war, K.
Signal to noise ratio. Spooling a fleet does not mean moving it. Russian policy would shift if the U.S., British, French or the Chinese sent a fleet to the Baltic. Ones submarine warfare changes in fleet movement doing what they do. And that's how bad stuff happens.


"Ukrainian forces conducted a drone strike (likely with a loitering munition, though this cannot be confirmed) on a Russian oil refinery in Novoshakhtinsk, Rostov Oblast, on June 22."

Industrial warfare. What would Luttwak think under 20,000$ of stuff destruction.

He'd probably want a BDA.
posted by clavdivs at 7:52 PM on June 22


I started on that Luttwak interview, and it's enormously entertaining. It seems like having weekly lunches with him would be a hoot.

I did like this hot take from halfway into the interview:
The CIA’s assessments that Kabul would resist the Taliban for a long time and that Kyiv would fall in 24 hours are sufficient grounds for emptying out its buildings, fumigating them thoroughly, and restaffing with people who are actually interested in foreign countries and therefore know a language or two really well, and have traveled the world.
posted by Harald74 at 11:21 PM on June 22 [8 favorites]


KyivPride and the Warsaw Equality March are marching together in Warsaw this year and and there's a kerfuffle over participation of the Russian opposition. Russian political refugees have been marching in the Warsaw parade for years and their organisation includes Russian-speaking Ukrainians. They were willing to change "for a free Russia" to "Russians against war" on their banner and use the Novgorod blue-white flag instead of the Russian Federation tricolor, but the Ukrainians insisted on no flags at all because the presence of their colonisers was too much when LGBT activists are getting killed in occupied territories every day.

I've heard that the parade is generally a bit of an organisational mess this year because of a flood of organisations clamouring to join it. All the major American companies are making a point to show up apparently and all Ukrainian ones have sent people over or were already here as refugees. With all the arguments they ended up determining parade order by lottery. It's going to be pretty hot on Saturday in Warsaw so here's to everyone staying hydrated.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 11:35 PM on June 22 [4 favorites]


Ok, upon reading the second of the interview it's less funny, I admit.
posted by Harald74 at 11:38 PM on June 22


"Ukrainian forces conducted a drone strike (likely with a loitering munition, though this cannot be confirmed) on a Russian oil refinery in Novoshakhtinsk, Rostov Oblast, on June 22."

Youtube video of the strike.
(no blood, fire in the distance)
posted by ryanrs at 12:32 AM on June 23 [3 favorites]


The workers were apparently discussing whether is was an Ukranian drone straight up to the point were it dove into the refinery and exploded.
posted by Harald74 at 3:16 AM on June 23 [1 favorite]


Colonel Reisner from the Theresian Military Academy in Austria gives an overview (in English) on how the Western provided weapons fit into the bigger picture. The colonel is both a soldier and a scholar (easily discerned by his proper use of the plural of "dilemma") and lays out the facts in an even-handed and non-sensational manner. I would recommend his other videos as well if you can follow the German.
posted by Harald74 at 3:20 AM on June 23 [2 favorites]


European Union approves Ukraine as an EU candidate country
The European Union has approved the application of Ukraine to become a candidate country for admission to the 27-strong bloc. EU leaders meeting in Brussels have followed the recommendation of the European Commission, which was made on Friday 17 June.
Source: Guardian
posted by 15L06 at 1:06 PM on June 23 [14 favorites]


Moldova also got the official candidacy nod, while Georgia will get its preconditions reviewed by end of the year, so it's a big EU day for ex Soviet countries subject to Russian invasions. Big asks for both Ukraine and Moldova in building an independent judiciary and implementing money laundering regulations most of all.

But thank heavens none of the western countries blocked it and hello, candidacy status infrastructure funding plus technical aid. All three countries were already taking advantage of TAIEX and twinning technical aid, but I suspect new requests will be pouring in. Virtual missions until the war is over, but once it is, I fully plan to stalk both those schemes to get a nice and mutually beneficial trip to Kyiv.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 2:09 PM on June 23 [12 favorites]


Imagine how much better the world could be if Russia had decided to be a part of Europe instead of its biggest threat.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 2:50 PM on June 23 [11 favorites]


But with friends like that, who needs enemies?
posted by hippybear at 3:01 PM on June 23


Russian policy would shift if the U.S., British, French or the Chinese sent a fleet to the Baltic.

Yes, it would shift to launching a lot of SSMs. How many aircraft carriers would you like to lose, Admiral Yamamoto?
posted by Galvanic at 3:10 PM on June 23


Well, you see my point.

from ISW, 6-23.
"Ukrainian troops have succeeded for weeks in drawing substantial quantities of Russian personnel, weapons, and equipment into the area and have likely degraded Russian forces' overall capabilities while preventing Russian forces from focusing on more advantageous axes of advance. Russian offensive operations will likely stall in the coming weeks, whether or not Russian forces capture the Severodonetsk-Lysychansk area,...'
posted by clavdivs at 11:43 PM on June 23 [2 favorites]


If the best revenge is living well, I hope Ukraine with EU support will really show it to the Russians after the war.
posted by Harald74 at 3:39 AM on June 24 [2 favorites]


Mil.in.ua: The U.S. Congress is initiating the training of Ukrainian pilots on F-15 and F-16 jets

A bipartisan bill has been introduced. Refer to my first comment on this FPP on how overdue it was.
posted by Harald74 at 3:44 AM on June 24 [4 favorites]


Imagine how much better the world could be if Russia had decided to be a part of Europe instead of its biggest threat.
Imagine how much better Russia could be if Russia had decided to be a part of Europe instead of its biggest threat.
posted by Flunkie at 3:45 AM on June 24 [8 favorites]


Imagine how much better Russia could be if Russia had decided to be a part of Europe instead of its biggest threat.

Absolutely, and I imagine the neighbouring ex-SSRs showing regular Russians that is something Putin et al dislike intensely...
posted by Harald74 at 3:49 AM on June 24


hippybear: But with friends like that, who needs enemies?

Quite. This air defense rocket really wanted to be friends with the base it launched from.

(distant, large nighttime explosion, no blood/gore)
posted by Stoneshop at 5:00 AM on June 24 [4 favorites]


Listen to Ukrainian writer Andrey Kurkov giving a personal account of daily life in war-torn Ukraine, on BBC Radio 4. I could not find a transcript.
posted by 15L06 at 8:11 AM on June 24 [1 favorite]


Ukraine diaries: art in the face of the war
Romain Huët, Ethnographer, Université Rennes 2, France
Published: June 5, 2022

(Link goes to The Conversation)

The experience of war encourages people to focus their attention on armed resistance. But war also prompts nonviolent resistance. There is an everyday economy of war, woven from collective stitch-ups and arrangements. Behind the scenes, people replenish the frontline’s provisions, take in refugees, develop international networks and seek funding. This has to do with maintaining a peace economy in war time.

I wanted to meet artists and learn about their thoughts on resistance. Art provides a vital language to transcribe what is happening. War also rages within its boundaries as Ukrainians seek to confront Russian cultural dominance in post-soviet states.
(...)
Turning viewers into witnesses
Remarkably, art is not presented as it would be in peacetime. It does not seek to make war intelligible, or offer a break in which the world, in its cruelty, can find expression. Rather, it seeks to supplement war. It encourages uprising and a refusal to give up among all those who still have strength. Lastly, it records memory. All these works produced as the war rages capture the people’s accomplishments, actions and words, helping them escape transience. Artists hope to make us not just viewers but also witnesses.

posted by 15L06 at 8:34 AM on June 24 [3 favorites]


While Putin is still in power, I'm not sure Ukraine can have an "after war" period.
posted by meowzilla at 2:37 PM on June 24 [2 favorites]


Well, there's precedent for a "cold war". And I'm afraid that might be the best-case scenario. Or at least the best of the likely ones.
posted by Harald74 at 1:17 AM on June 25


I'll settle for "no air raids on Kyiv" really. I've only been once for a few hours on a layover, but it was such a gorgeous city. (And UIA is an awesome airline, the cabin crew are terrifyingly competent at dealing with rowdy passengers.)
posted by I claim sanctuary at 1:40 AM on June 25 [2 favorites]


There's now a Telegram channel where people in Mariupol post videos of the city.

If you don't want to visit Telegram, Maksym Eristavi posted several videos to Twitter. He wrote:
those who survived the blockade of mariupol now uploade video guides to the city’s remains so refugees elsewhere can check what their homes look like now. i spend hours scrolling thought them every day.
I can't even imagine what life is like for the residents. To have gone through the terror of the long battle, the occupation and filtration camps, and now living quietly in a ruined city where Russian propaganda sometimes blares out over the loudspeakers. Just a nightmare that never ends.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 3:40 AM on June 25 [7 favorites]


Ukraine’s EU timeline: Ukraine will be able to join the EU in 2029 at the earliest, according to Natalia Forsyuk, Director General of Ukraine’s Government Office for Coordination of European and Euro-Atlantic Integration. Sealing the deal any sooner won’t be feasible due to the “huge amount of legislation that needs to be adopted and implemented” by Ukraine. Ukraine’s membership negotiations, however, are expected to start early next year, Forsyuk said.
Source Medusa News Feed
posted by 15L06 at 7:56 AM on June 25 [5 favorites]


Well, Russian state TV predicts that the war special operation will never end...
posted by Harald74 at 1:07 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


We can't bring ourselves to do the right thing, so...
Which would be what?
Doesn't mean it's not a possibility.
Of course. Better than a smart attack on the Baltic States, though.


Any war is bad. If we undertake to enter a war with Russia, cyberspace will be the least of it. To commandeer a phrase: "[If] we kill them (Ukraine) with faint aid, we will watch them die."

If we take this course, we'll demonstrate the value we place on a struggling democracy that's been invaded by a naked kleptocracy, that our words are hollow, that our integrity rides on a political wind. We can lower our flag to half-mast and sigh, shed a few tears and turn toward the next news cycle. We can renegotiate the cost of oil with Putin later after the dust settles and the blood dries.

Or else we can turn our war-fighting resources toward helping. This means not just guns and ammo, but the American military in its various forms. Some of our units have already trained and trained with Ukrainian forces (173d Airborne, some Special Forces et alia). They know us, we know them. Other assets include significantly capable ground forces (75th Rangers, & others) that are ready right now to board aircraft and go to war. Plus Air Force assets, Electronic warfare assets, and naval assets that range from warships to SEALs. No tactical or strategic reason exists for the Ukrainian seaports to be blocked by Russian assets, or for that matter, Turkish ones.

Our political tools are several and effective. Our allies are willing on most counts. We have a strong argument for NATO intervention as well.

Nobody wants to invade Russia. Ever. It's not necessary. I am not a fan of wars. I know how it works at the level of the guys doing the killing and dying, and for civilians who get caught up on the battles. We have made cynical mistakes in the past about "helping" a country "defend" itself. I got caught up in one of those myself. Kicking Putin's armies out of Ukraine isn't a mistake.
posted by mule98J at 5:12 PM on June 25 [11 favorites]


Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey spoke for 15 minutes with a man posing as Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko. But then the suspicion arose that her counterpart was a deepfake.
posted by UN at 11:02 PM on June 25 [2 favorites]


Here's a summary of the last 3 weeks worth of military developments in Donbass, courtesy of Phillips P. O'Brien, professor of strategic studies at University of St. Andrews.
posted by Harald74 at 3:01 AM on June 26 [4 favorites]


mule98J, we (meaning Nato) bombed Kosovo i '99 on less of a cause than this. There's precedent. We did it without UN authorization, after Serb forces had killed over 8 thousand civilians and expelled nearly 850 thousand from Kosovo.
posted by Harald74 at 8:00 AM on June 26 [3 favorites]


Yugoslavia did not nuclear weapons, it was low intensity conflict precident. I dont envsuon NATO going into Ukraine, why should the U.S. What would China do, the better part of wisdom suggests that if China starts arming Russia....you don't want that. Give them a tank brigage but I don't want u.s. military personnel involved unless it goes south. I cannot emphasis that an objective of Russia is drawing the U.S. in in a limited capacity to legitimate Putin's war.

Now the Flying Tigers is a historical precedent.
posted by clavdivs at 2:00 PM on June 26 [3 favorites]


so
on
the spy
front.
posted by clavdivs at 7:43 PM on June 26 [4 favorites]


I've been thinking about Harald74's link above about a bill in Congress to start training Ukrainian pilots on the F-15 and F-16. In the previous threads I posted some resistbot messages to support Ukraine which seemed to get some interest, so here's another one for anyone who is interested:
Please support Congressman Kinzinger and Congresswoman Houlahan’s Ukraine Fighter Pilots Act.

Please support the Ukraine Fighter Pilots Act in order to begin training Ukrainian pilots to fly US F-15’s and F-16’s. The war in Ukraine will not be ending soon, and Ukraine needs a modern and well-equipped air force as soon as possible to repel the Russian invasion. The sooner we start training the Ukrainians on these planes the sooner they will be able to receive them and put them to use.

In the meantime I also urge you to revive the deal to transfer Polish MiG-29’s to Ukraine, as well as supporting Slovakia’s offer to supply its MiG-29’s which they can begin flying immediately while they prepare to receive F-15’s and F-16’s.

Also please support the expedited transfer of other weapons that Ukraine has requested with all possible haste. Ukraine needs all of these weapons as fast as possible to stop Russian advances and turn back the Russian invasion.

Helping Ukraine succeed in defending itself is vital to our own security interests.

Thank you for your attention.


If you'd also like to send this message to your Congressional Representatives and the President text SIGN PCZLJT to 50409.
posted by Reverend John at 8:57 PM on June 26 [4 favorites]


The Times: ‘Shaman’ special forces take the fight across the border into Russia (Archive)
Their mission, to destroy infrastructure vital to the Kremlin’s war effort, was one of several covert raids inside Russia.

The Times has been told by two of the operators who took part and an intelligence officer; the first time Ukrainian special forces have acknowledged taking the fight into Russian territory.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 10:21 PM on June 26 [3 favorites]


Bloomberg and other sources are reporting that the grace period has elapsed on Russia's overdue debt payments and they are now in default.
posted by Nerd of the North at 10:39 PM on June 26 [2 favorites]




I assume the address to Belarus is in reaction to the recent meeting of Putin and Lukashenka
posted by 15L06 at 1:06 AM on June 27


The Belarussian opposition is claiming that Belarus is export its ammunition stockpiles to Russia.
posted by Harald74 at 1:09 AM on June 27


Is there some kind of countdown somewhere that tracks how many weapons Russia has left in its arsenal? Can their army 'run out' of conventional weapons to the point that it cannot functionality continue the war in Ukraine? How long would it take? Or is the amount they produce and allocate per month greater than what they are using and losing in Ukraine?
posted by UN at 5:46 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


I would guess there is always very old, outdated stuff in a warehouse somewhere. Corrosive stuff, high dud rate stuff, odd sized stuff. Low tech things, like dumb munitions, they can manufacture (though it might take a while to set up). The question is, what is China supplying?
posted by Bee'sWing at 7:13 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]




Ukrainian sources are reporting the fire is finally under control, but I've seen estimates of upwards of a hundred dead on Twitter. Over 10 thousand square meters was on fire, with a thousand people inside as the missile hit.

The shopping centre looks exactly like the places in smaller Polish cities, like one I was in yesterday. This is hitting hard.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 9:39 AM on June 27 [8 favorites]


Is there some kind of countdown somewhere that tracks how many weapons Russia has left in its arsenal?

The closest you can get to this is to look at the OSINT trackers for confirmed kills. Take that number as the floor. I suppose you could use the Ukrainian government's numbers as the ceiling. The former is almost definitely too low and the latter is probably too high. Use those number pairs as the estimate range, and then compare to pre-war estimates of Russian equipment.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 9:50 AM on June 27 [3 favorites]


The Return of Industrial Warfare: The initial stockpile in February 2022 is unknown, but considering expenditures and the requirement to hold substantial stockpiles back in case of war with NATO, it is unlikely that the Russians are worried. In fact, they seem to have enough to expend operational-level cruise missiles on tactical targets. The assumption that there are 4,000 cruise and ballistic missiles in the Russian inventory is not unreasonable. This production will probably increase despite Western sanctions. In April, ODK Saturn, which makes Kalibr missile motors, announced an additional 500 job openings. This suggests that even in this field, the West only has parity with Russia.
posted by UN at 1:24 PM on June 27 [2 favorites]


There is a constant stream of predictions of when Russia is going to run out of what. Every lull in the bombings brings people to say that we're now at the point where they've run out. A couple of weeks ago the Russians were using submarine-launched cruise missiles against targets in Ukraine, and since that's probably the most expensive variant there were several predictions that they were probably out of all other types.

They will be out at some point I guess, but it's not yet.
posted by Harald74 at 11:07 PM on June 27 [3 favorites]


If we can supply the Ukrainians with the weapons they're begging for then the Russians will run out of things faster, though the first thing they might run out of is people willing to get killed in Ukraine.
posted by Reverend John at 8:38 AM on June 28 [4 favorites]


Video of the Russian Kh-22 missile strike on Kremenchuk yesterday from a nearby park, showing a second missile striking a factory near the shopping mall hit by the first.
posted by rory at 8:48 AM on June 28 [2 favorites]


Appalling.
posted by Reverend John at 11:01 AM on June 28 [1 favorite]


The Wiki article about the Kh-22 says that Ukraine scrapped 423 Kh-22 missiles after they stopped flying long range bombers. If only they knew. (I guess they wouldn't have given up their nukes had they known.)
posted by Bee'sWing at 11:37 AM on June 28 [2 favorites]


Turkey lifts block on Sweden and Finland NATO bids.
posted by UN at 11:56 AM on June 28 [11 favorites]


The President of Finland has released a statement saying that Turkey has agreed to withdraw its objection to Finland and Sweden joining NATO. Reporting by Bloomberg backs this up. Excerpt:
Finland and Sweden’s bids to join NATO overcame a key hurdle after Turkey agreed to move forward with membership talks.

Turkey will support inviting the two Nordic countries into the military alliance, with details to be hashed out at a summit that started in Madrid on Tuesday, Finland said in a statement.

“I am delighted to conclude this stage on Finland’s road to NATO membership,” Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said. “I now look forward to fruitful conversations on Finland’s role in NATO with our future Allies here in Madrid.”

Ankara is satisfied with pledges from Finland and Sweden addressing its security concerns, including restrictions on Kurdish groups that Turkey considers terrorists, according to an official who declined to be named on a confidential issue.
I’m hoping that this doesn’t mean that Finland and Sweden aren’t selling Kurdish dissidents up the river, but to be honest I’d find that very unlikely, because the backlash would be something fierce, especially in Sweden, where there are significant numbers of Kurds.
posted by Kattullus at 11:57 AM on June 28 [9 favorites]


Imagine how much better the world could be if Russia had decided to be a part of Europe instead of its biggest threat.

If Russia had joined the EU it would have had to corrupt it. There is a reason Russia was a major funder of Brexit and it wasn't just to weaken the west and the EU. It was that the oligarchs needed to distribute their wealth outside of Russia and The City in London was wide open for them and the EU was about to crack down massively on international money shenanigans.
posted by srboisvert at 2:36 PM on June 28 [4 favorites]


What is the pathos that seems to continually set Russia at odds in cooperation with Europe as a whole, apparently regardless of breadth of their borders, or the specific ideology at the helm, over the centuries? Is there an understanding of history or peoples by which this modality seems to follow?
posted by etc passwd at 7:47 PM on June 28


I don't think there's a single, consistent answer to that question. But it's also easy to overestimate European unity. You might even say the thing that separates Russia is the same thing that unifies the rest of Europe: a strong distrust of other Europeans.

Is there an understanding of history or peoples by which this modality seems to follow?

On a previous thread, a famous cultural zeitgeist was compared to Bitchin' Camaro. I'm by no means an expert in Russia, history, literature or punk rock but I can't say they're wrong.
posted by pwnguin at 9:39 PM on June 28


There's also a deep historical trauma on the Russian side. They were run over by Mongols and ruled by them for two centuries, which destroyed a lot of previous social structures and left the samoderzhaviye autocracy as a model of rule, without the checks by barons developed by most monarchical systems to prevent damaging kings from exercising their power in full. They were the westernmost fully invaded and occupied country, so there's strike one for Europe, not supporting freeing them.

And then you have Peter the Great going on his Grand Tour of Europe and using that same absolute power to traumatically destroy the Eastern-influenced culture of Russian nobility of the time, up to and including physically cutting off the beards the boyars were so proud of. While it kickstarted Russian military and economic power, I suspect there was no better way to paint the West as a superior enemy permanently. Compounded by centuries of war and invasions, with every time Moscow felt really threatened it was coming from Europe (as opposed to Russians themselves invading and subjugating subsequent territorially adjacent colonies). Napoleon, Crimean War, WWI and WWII... there are reasons Russia falls into that cultural role, or actively chooses it by attacking a lot of the time.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 9:49 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


For 'the Mongols almost wiped them out' trauma, you could say much the same of Ukraine and Poland - two national anthems that start with "We are not yet dead!".

For a vastly oversimplified 'why is Russia so...non-European?', one long story short answer I have heard is that there was never a period of decentralization of power.

The Romans had autocrats and tyrants in Caesars, etc. But they later spread that power out to tribunes and Senates. The UK has its idea of Magna Carta, where yes there's a monarchy, but it's not absolute - power was shared with the min or nobility. France had its great Estates, dividing power between the monarchy, the church, the land owning and merchant classes, etc.

I don't want to confuse it with Democracy as such, but there's a recurring pattern in European history where highly or even singly concentrated power gets democratized, or spread out thinner amongst various classes, interests, etc. Even among religions, you have not just Protestantism, but also catholicism, in the 'embracing variety' sense of the word.
And that pattern eventually continues all the way to individual autonomy and rights.

In this formulation, Russia as it is, never went through a similar European-izing or democratization. There is a through line from Hetman of the Rus, to Czars, to Emperors, to Commissars, etc. All absolute centralization of power in one person or place - Moscow. And there is only Orthodoxy - everything else is suspect or foreign or decadent.
So you end up with centuries of 'Russian strongman', absolute ruler stuff, that persisted there but fell out of fashion and favor in Europe.

One wonders what would have happened / might happen in an alternate history without that 'all of you people are not just ruled from, but owned by, Moscow, and I own Moscow, therefore I own everything' being disrupted by some period of reformation.

If one had put a lid on Muscovy in the past, would there be a country in the northwest, with St. Petersburg as its capital, which was not that much different from European nations like Sweden or Poland?
Could there be a Caucasian Union comprised of Georgians, Circassians, Azeris, Ossettians, etc? Perhaps these would be more 'Central Asian' societies, and we could debate over whether or not they, like Turkey, were (puts on snob English accent) 'proper Europe'.
But I'd be arguing on the side that post-Attaturk 'enough with these khanates and emperors; we're going to have a secular representative civil government, with individual rights' does make them European, in that important 'democratized' sense.

But this is all academic 'see, the problem with the Russians is...' pipe-smoke and tweed jackets, worth as much as free advice.
posted by bartleby at 11:06 PM on June 28 [13 favorites]


I've recommended the Revolutions podcast several times heres, the current revolution being covered is the Russian. Even if you're not interested in listening to the whole 100+ episodes about the Russian revolution, the first few episodes gives an overview of tsarist Russia and how it got to be that way.
posted by Harald74 at 11:25 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


FYI, Poland was not taken over by the Mongols. Attacked and looted, yes. Overrun and administered as a vassal of the Horde, no. Ukrainians on the other hand have that story of decentralised power bartleby mentions in the Cossack sich - built by people who ran away from Mongol and later Turkish rule. I agree that this experience of a wider civic society, even if limited to certain classes, is something Russia never had.

Not Dead Yet in our hymn is explicitly about Russians and Swedes. Germans and Austrians to a lesser extent. (Ukrainians don't call out their enemies directly but it's fair to assume they mean Poles and Russians.)
posted by I claim sanctuary at 11:54 PM on June 28 [4 favorites]


Reverting back to the manufacturing/industrial base aspect, here's another roundup about weapon supplies in western economies: US and NATO lack capability to supply a long war.

Emphasis on long.
posted by kmt at 12:15 AM on June 29 [1 favorite]


Kattulus, it might be bad for the Kurds.

Most detailed news I've seen about Turkey, Finland, and Sweden

"Turkey said it had “got what it wanted” including “full cooperation ... in the fight against” the rebel groups."

I'm hoping that Turkey actually won't get much help.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 4:43 AM on June 29 [5 favorites]


In extremely ASEAN/Southeast Asian style (IMO, IANYFPA*), not days after it was announced that Putin will accept the invitation to attend the G20 summit in Bali, the Indonesian President himself just paid a visit to Ukraine, visiting the city of Irpin.

This fascinates me because I'm like, there's our regional tendency to be all things to all people, but also is this a way to provide Putin excuse to actually not attend the summit?

*I am not your foreign policy advisor
posted by cendawanita at 7:00 AM on June 29 [3 favorites]




I continue to look for signs of long-term stability or problems in Russian military personnel recruitment and retention for 2023+ as a result of their war on Ukraine. Some preliminary thoughts from about the Russian spring draft. Conscript intake numbers are low so far (/1).
Russia is struggling to bring in conscripts because people aren't stupid. The possible conscripts know once they get to the commissariat the brass will put all the pressure they can on them to sign up as contract soldiers and basically get thrown into the meat grinder. Since the Duma has abolished requiring soldiers to go through basic training or be ex-conscripts before becoming contract soldiers, people seem to have put two and two together.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 11:00 AM on June 29 [5 favorites]


If we take this course, we'll demonstrate the value we place on a struggling democracy that's been invaded by a naked kleptocracy, that our words are hollow, that our integrity rides on a political wind.

No, we'll demonstrate that getting involved in WWIII on Russia's doorstep and thousands of miles from ours is not a good idea.

This kind of casual liberal imperialism is what gets the US into trouble all the time and rarely turns out well. What do you think Ukraine will look like after massive doses of American firepower gets turned loose in it? You think there's a way to limit that firepower so it only hits Russians? Ye Gods.
posted by Galvanic at 11:46 AM on June 29


Galvanic, who else do you think it might hit?
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 11:49 AM on June 29 [1 favorite]


They have NATO to the west of them, Russia and Belarus to the east. There's literally nobody within striking range of a HIMARS that a theoretical empowered Ukraine can bully for territory. If you mean internally, Russian aligned partisans won't be relying on capturing US weapons when Russia has almost all the small arms they need right next door.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 12:39 PM on June 29 [2 favorites]


Galvanic, who else do you think it might hit?

Civilians. Just to start, a lot of the Russian forces in Ukraine are in cities and extracting them would require massive firepower, which would inevitably cause civilian casualties, not to mention serious destruction of the infrastructure, with the inevitable knock-on effects.

During the Normandy invasion, for example, about 60,000 French civilians were killed in the course of the fighting, a lot of them by Allied firepower [1] Urban warfare on the Eastern front in WWII was even bloodier. Even precision guided munitions aren't precise enough when people are as closely packed as they are in cities.

This is a war being fought in the middle of a large civilian population and adding American firepower to that would raise the damage exponentially.

[1] Stephen Bourque, Beyond the Beach: The Allied War Against France is a really good investigation of this.
posted by Galvanic at 12:50 PM on June 29 [1 favorite]


Galvanic, thanks.

The problem is that leaving Russians in place is extremely dangerous for Ukrainian civilians. Do you have an alternative in mind?
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 12:54 PM on June 29 [7 favorites]


You're welcome.

I don't think that leaving the Russians in place is nearly as dangerous as having ongoing firefights over their homes -- and no, I don't have a good alternative (I don't think there is a good alternative) But not having a good alternative is not a reason to try something that we know will be awful. "We had to destroy the village in order to save it" wasn't a good idea in Vietnam and it's not now.

(Also, it's good to see you again -- you wouldn't know me [different nick] but I first read your posts with pleasure in (I think) rec.arts.sf.written back in USENET days)
posted by Galvanic at 1:03 PM on June 29


Inside Russia has a video responding to the mall bombing [1h9m, main message is about 18 minutes, the rest is him responding to live chat] and I've watched his videos on and off for a while and this one feels really different. I just want to give him a hug, really.
posted by hippybear at 1:15 PM on June 29 [2 favorites]


This kind of casual liberal imperialism is what gets the US into trouble all the time and rarely turns out well. What do you think Ukraine will look like after massive doses of American firepower gets turned loose in it?

Right now, the massive destruction is taking place because of the casual conservative imperialism of Moscow - we already see what Ukraine looks like afterwards because Russians are only able to take cities after bombing them to smithereens. There is little infrastructure left in Russian-occupied positions because Ukrainians, knowing the camps and deportations and torture that comes with Russian occupation, are resisting to the very last fourteen year old with a bread knife. I feel that it would be liberal chauvinism to deny them what they are asking for - more weapons - because we think we know what's better for their people than they do.
posted by corb at 1:16 PM on June 29 [18 favorites]


Galvanic, thanks for the fond memories.

For what it's worth, Ukrainians are willing to fight rather than be conquered peacefully. They've got some bad memories of the Holodomor, and here the Russians are again, stealing grain and destroying farms.... not to mention everything else.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 1:23 PM on June 29 [5 favorites]


I'm not arguing against supplying the Ukrainians with weapons -- as you say they know better than we do what they can do to defend themselves. I am arguing against a full scale intervention with American forces and starting WWIII because it would be unbelievably costly for us (how many American casualties are we willing to take? 100,000?) and because the scale of destruction would dwarf what's happening now. The first B-52 air raid would be beyond anything we've yet seen.
posted by Galvanic at 1:36 PM on June 29


Mod note: A few deleted. Let's please keep comments focused and refrain from derailing the thread into doomsaying/WW3 speculation.
posted by travelingthyme (staff) at 3:28 PM on June 29 [6 favorites]


Industrial warfare.

"Ukrainian sources warned on June 29 that Russian forces may be planning a false flag provocation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) to accuse Ukrainian authorities of mishandling nuclear facilities"

Zaporizhzhia and it's industrial capacity is key to Russian objectives. At this point, I'm not sure if they care to take it intact. Observing Two aspects since the invasion, one being Zaporizhzhia Nuclear power station. The report is fairly accurate given open source events demonstrative of Putin's underlying fear. To kidnap plant employees and lay out this nutball plan is indictive of the war of fear that could extend beyond Ukraine boarders but why, why come up with a plan to make the Ukrainian nuclear employees looking incompetent. who would this convince, what pretext would the Russians present to the world's nuclear authorities. because the real ultimate goal is to seize the plant and shut it down. if there's no power to the region it's manufacturing base cannot continue at adequate levels if operative at all.
posted by clavdivs at 8:51 PM on June 29


Ukrainians, knowing the camps and deportations and torture that comes with Russian occupation, are resisting to the very last fourteen year old with a bread knife.

We aren't generally seeing that kind of resistance on the part of Ukranian noncombatants and I'm not sure we should want to. I don't think we've seen that kind of resistance in modern theaters since the Japanese on the home islands in WW2. Most children are evacuated, are not fighting to the death or being used as human shields or anything like that. What's with the bread knife thing?
posted by etc passwd at 10:24 PM on June 29 [4 favorites]


From a big article about the Russian draft: wives of Buryat soldiers have gone on camera on social media protesting the lack of contact with their husbands and heavy death toll (over 180 funerals in Buryatia so far and that's the bodies that made it back . In Karelia the army is forming fresh troops out of this year's draftees, to be sent off without training as soon as they sign their contracts - about two weeks after they first show up at the draft commission. A major job site has listed 18 thousand vacancies for contract soldiers recently.

One soldier's wife says that when a shipment of green soldiers like that ran into a group returning from Ukraine in transit, after a few war stories half of her husband's group refused to get on the next plane. Alas not her husband - he bought the "fighting for the motherland" line and died three days after arriving at the frontline.

Independent Russian media estimate Russian losses as upwards of 15K so far.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 10:38 PM on June 29 [5 favorites]


The Japanese are still to this day the toughest opponent we’ve ever known. Morale was such that even civilians largely chose death over surrender, the civilian buy in was remarkable. The cost to take every square mile could not have been made tougher. Parents killed their children (before killing themselves) after exhausting other options. Soldiers hung on after defeat was obvious to try to take an enemy with them in conditions where most other soldiers would give up. These people can be viewed as heroic, and it is pretty amazing really, but it was a sick waste of life, a tragedy.

https://library.tamucc.edu/exhibits/s/hist4350/page/okinawa

I don’t think Ukraine should want to put up that kind of resistance. And they aren’t.
posted by etc passwd at 11:42 PM on June 29 [2 favorites]


Thank you travelingthyme. Much appreciated.
posted by 15L06 at 12:08 AM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Snyder replies to Habermas in the FAZ
Germans have been involved in the war, chiefly on the wrong side
Von Timothy Snyder
27.06.2022, 15:30


Jürgen Habermas defends the German Chancellor’s hesitating attitude towards Ukraine. But his historical errors minimize Germany's responsibility for the current state of affairs. An answer to Habermas.
posted by 15L06 at 1:07 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


KYIV, June 29 (Reuters) - Ukraine on Wednesday carried out its biggest exchange of prisoners of war since Russia invaded, securing the release of 144 of its soldiers, including 95 who defended Mariupol's steelworkers, Ukraine's military intelligence agency said.

The majority of the Ukrainians were badly wounded, suffering from gunshot and shrapnel wounds, blast traumas, burns, fractured bones and amputated limbs, the agency known by the acronym GUR said in a statement on Telegram.
posted by 15L06 at 1:22 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


Watch NBC News’ Richard Engel interview Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, as part of the Aspen Ideas festival. NBCUniversal News group is the media partner of Aspen Ideas.
June 29, 2022

Alternative Link to YouTube
___
At 16:00 minutes, Zelenskyy talks about how hard it is for those not there in Ukraine to grasp the Ukrainians will to fight. Right after that he speaks about visiting Bucha.
posted by 15L06 at 1:58 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]




Russians have abandoned Snake Island. Was occupied from the start of the war. You probably remember it as the source of the "Russian warship, go fuck yourself" defiance. Ukrainians have hit it repeatedly as the Russians tried to turn it into a permanent base. Over the past couple of weeks, there have been major Ukrainian attacks which destroyed AA missile batteries and generally did considerable damage.

It's a good victory for the Ukrainians. Probably on a similar level to the sinking of the Moskva. Here's one twitter thread explaining why it's a significant victory.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 4:01 AM on June 30 [19 favorites]


And the Russians had the gall to call it "a gesture of good will"!
posted by Harald74 at 4:34 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


I've seen estimates of material losses of 150-200 million USD for the Russians over the period they've held the island. Those air defense assets ain't cheap. In addition, several smaller ships and at least one helicopter has been destroyed.

I addition to all the human suffering for the stupidest war in recent memory, of course.
posted by Harald74 at 4:38 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


I have a feeling they'll make a similar remark about "good will" when they eventually come to their senses and withdraw from Ukraine.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 4:39 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


I mean from the Russian point of view not slaughtering prisoners of war is entirely a goodwill gesture that they didn't have to do in the least.
posted by Jacen at 6:17 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


This shows they have given up any hope of taking Odessa.
posted by Bee'sWing at 6:20 AM on June 30 [6 favorites]


Harald74 > …Russian state TV predicts that the war special operation will never end...

Dr. Dave Johnson’s warning on brute force in Ukraine: “This is What the Russians Do”, Charlie Dunlap, Lawfire, 3 May 2022:
…It has been over 70 years since World War II and the West has forgotten what a high-intensity, large-scale war involves. The Russians have not. In wars for survival—as Putin is framing the war in Ukraine—there are few niceties, what we now view as humanitarian constraints.

The Russians are ruthless in their pursuit of their objectives and we should expect that from them. Scolding them about “alleged” war crimes and threatening them with post-war legal jeopardy is pointless. I imagine Putin cannot help but be amused at this naiveté.

Russian armies have always operated this way, but somehow they managed to win ugly against almost all comers. It is not pretty to watch, but they generally prevail in what they set out to do.

Unfortunately, I deeply fear that Russian reliance on brute force and the indiscriminate use of fire power will only get worse in Eastern Ukraine as the war continues. Ukraine’s patrons have to understand these realities to understand what support the Ukrainians will require to enable them to persist in what is shaping up to be a grinding war of attrition….
Historically, how much is Russia willing to spend to win? Perhaps more, much more than anyone else. Although it’s on a far larger scale, Neil Halloran’s animated graph The Fallen of World War II gives us some idea (Russian stats start about 4:20 into the YT video).
posted by cenoxo at 8:01 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


OTOH, WW2 was an existential conflict for survival. Ukraine is not really that; while a successful democratic, pluralist, European-aligned yet distinctly culturally Slavic Ukraine next door does show up Russia's autocratic settlement, calling it an existential threat is affirming the reactionary rhetorical device that any Russia which evolves beyond brutish autocracy is no longer Russia, which is far from the truth. One can imagine a future Russia which looks sort of like Denmark: a fraction of its size at its imperial height, a pluralist democracy with a hemicircular Duma governed by coalitions of parties, with (real) human rights guarantees, a transparent legal system, high material standards of living, and generally boring politics, and yet being distinctly Russia in the way that Denmark is distinctly the same country that pillaged England a millennium ago: the language spoken is Russian, there are statues of Pushkin/Tchaikovsky/Mendelev/&c. in public squares, they follow the orthodox calendar (at least for ceremonial purposes) and maintain Russian traditions, and so on. Perhaps it wouldn't be Aleksandr Dugin's Russia, but the majority of people who lived to see it would accept it as Russia, much as the majority of Germans accepted the post-WW2 settlement(s). Given the reports of collapsing morale, Putin might have a hard time compelling the Russian people to fight to the last man against the threat of European liberalism and Pride parades.
posted by acb at 8:28 AM on June 30 [10 favorites]


Russia is not in the same place demographically as it historically has been. It no longer has a large surplus of young men to sacrifice.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 8:39 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


The Johnson piece has that whiff of "the nine foot Ivan" syndrome that plagued the US army during the Cold War -- the idea that the Russians were super-soldiers and the Russian Army the steam-roller of Europe.

I mean, if we're looking for historical examples, we could go back to the 1905 Russo-Japanese War, where the Russians flailed around incompetently against a country they were supposed to defeat easily. Sounds kind of familiar.
posted by Galvanic at 8:50 AM on June 30 [6 favorites]


Teegeeack AV Club Secretary: Over the past couple of weeks, there have been major Ukrainian attacks which destroyed AA missile batteries and generally did considerable damage.

There's a video showing artillery positioned somewhere in the Danube delta, so at least 35km away, firing at the island with a TB2 observing. The artillery piece has been identified as a Bohdana, a newly developed 155mm howitzer on a truck chassis, built in Ukraine with only one copy currently operating. So an appropriate follow-up to "Russian warship, go fuck yourself." as well as a practical test of its capabilities.

Apart from that, the Russians on Snake Island must have had their radar knocked out already or they were out of whatever they had to use to shoot down Bayraktars, else it would be incredibly stupid to leave an observer and likely weaponised drone hanging around unmolested. But as we've seen they're not above some, and occasionally monumental, stupidity.
posted by Stoneshop at 10:09 AM on June 30 [2 favorites]


Russia is not in the same place demographically as it historically has been. It no longer has a large surplus of young men to sacrifice.

People keep saying this but it just seems ridiculous to me. The populations drops are large but the population of Russia is huge and most of their demographic losses are due to shortening of life-expectancy more than anything else.

The troop numbers involved in modern militaries are quite small. For example the US at peak had just over 100K soldiers in Afghanistan during the Obama surge with the coalition forces contributing just 20K more. The Soviets had about the same number for their Afghan war.

Assume that war on Ukraine is more involved. Say they need four times as many soldiers than they currently have deployed (something like 160K I think). That's 640K. The last CIA world book estimate had Russia with about 21 million men and 27 million women of fighting age in their population who would not be medically disqualified. Even if those numbers have been attrited by demographic shifts and declines of 7% that is still well more than enough and probably well more than Russia could equip. Demographically, Russia absolutely can throw bodies at Ukraine for several years. Politically? Maybe not but who really knows. They have already possibly doubled the Soviet-Afghan war's death toll in just a few months (compared to 10 years in Afghanistan) and this does not seem to have rattled the Russian polity or people in a major way that we know of (yet?).

The demographic arguments make me think someone really enjoyed a hans rosling TED talk and now everything is a demographic problem.
posted by srboisvert at 10:52 AM on June 30 [3 favorites]


According to Russia’s press releases, they’ve destroyed more military hardware than Ukraine ever had Proekt's journalists analyzed the Russian Defense Ministry’s reports
2:47 pm, June 30, 2022
Source: Meduza

"Proekt (...) found that the Russian Defense Ministry has reported destroying 84 Bayraktar drones, which is about 20 more Bayraktars than Ukraine has ever officially had in its arsenal. The number of armored vehicles Russian has allegedly destroyed (3,800) is significantly higher than the number Ukraine had before the war (2,416, according to Russian reports), and the number Ukraine has received from the West (700) isn’t enough to account for the difference."

___
There is no English version of the proect website, however, Google translation of the proect website worked fine for me.
posted by 15L06 at 12:10 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


The troop numbers involved in modern militaries are quite small.

For modern militaries, they are. Whether Russia's army counts as a modern military (beyond having modern weaponry) is an open question, as a lot of its processes still seem to be predicated on manpower being too cheap to quantify. For instance, Russia still uses breakbulk logistics, ignoring the benefits of containerisation.
posted by acb at 12:19 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


Re: comparison to WW2 casualties

I guess this shouldn't surprise anyone, but as a proportion of population both Belarus SSR and Ukraine SSR suffered far greater than Russia SFSR, as they were in between Germany and Russia and took the brunt of the invasion: Estimates of losses by individual Republics

Ukraine claims that their actual losses are significantly higher than the official numbers while Russia claims that it suffered the greatest of any Soviet Republic. Even in death, Ukrainians are not counted the same as Russians.
posted by meowzilla at 3:04 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


ignoring the benefits of containerisation.

My theory is that it is actually a anti-theft iniatitive to reduce loss in greater numbers then can be reported.

The Japanese are still to this day the toughest opponent we’ve ever known.

I would argue the Vietnamese. But agree because of declared war. What is not known is the totality of Ukraines sacrifice. Okinawa is not a great comparison even the stringent conditions in China were resisted and Japan converted Henry Pu Yi into a puppet.

The backdrop to these past events are these that countries were undergoing Revolutions and protest during and after the war which leds me to believe the quickest end would a general strike by the Russian people which is extremely dangerous talk in certain quarters.
posted by clavdivs at 3:23 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


Ukraine claims that their actual losses are significantly higher than the official numbers while Russia claims that it suffered the greatest of any Soviet Republic. Even in death, Ukrainians are not counted the same as Russians.


Are we counting the Ukrainians who fought for the Nazis?

Where should we note the Jews killed by Ukrainian units accompanying the Einsatzgruppen in 1941-42?
posted by Galvanic at 3:23 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


And now for something completely different: I found this interview with two captured American veterans in the Donbass fascinating: POJMA NISMO IMALI ŠTA NAS OVDE ČEКA (WE HAD NO IDEA WHAT WAS WAITING FOR US HERE). (Interview in English with Serbian subtitles.)

I found notable how the first interviewee
  • handled the loaded questions about civilian targets
  • mentioned that he does have complaints about beatings

    and how the interviewers handled the second interviewee when talking about the possible death sentence.

    I find this a fascinating window into a world I hope I never encounter. How is this footage is used for propaganda? How are the detainees answering questions knowing that their life literally depends on their anwers.

    I hope they get out, and I hope we get more information about cases like theirs.

  • posted by kmt at 3:24 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


    It's a tiny bit old, but it's worthwhile analysis from one of the best voices I know on Russia: Fiona Hill: Balancing Act - Russia, U.S. and the World (WorldOregon 2022 International Speaker Series) [1h16m], from June 10, 2022.
    posted by hippybear at 4:24 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


    Are we counting the Ukrainians who fought for the Nazis?

    Slippery slope. Isolating Ukrainian collaborators who were not really part of the einstszgruppe but committed atrocious acts is using historical referents to make blunt comparison and disparities of past to present, far reaching. Why, because some Lithuanians, Yugoslavians and others participated in same atrocities. I don't think it's adding to the thread even though some points are spot on.
    old Russian proverb: do not use the past to judge the presents future.
    I do not view this as thread directing or re-rail as MetaTalk, a thread on the issue or memail is a good re-direct.
    posted by clavdivs at 5:04 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


    Are we counting the Ukrainians who fought for the Nazis?

    Where should we note the Jews killed by Ukrainian units accompanying the Einsatzgruppen in 1941-42?


    As far as I can tell the derail about how many Ukrainians died in World War 2 was motivated by the question of how much suffering they might be able to endure to repel the Russian invasion. So, while those things are certainly awful historical events, bringing them up here smacks of Russian propaganda.
    posted by Reverend John at 5:16 PM on June 30 [8 favorites]


    I wouldn't go that far. one aspect to these threads is a certain omission of past Ukrainian corruption, crimes, etc. it's not that it did not exist but now it seems irrelevant to a certain degree and I don't think it's hiding the truth I think it's setting aside an aspect of Truth perhaps those people that did commit those crimes could rise up to the occasion, defending the nation from an invasion. what would seem a relative example of this would be like Stalin robbing trains for the cause. his actions then might be justified in some way but overall analysis of Stalin himself is generally led historians too only a few divergent conclusions of the impact that Stalin made upon the Soviet Union. one reason it is difficult to use the United States in comparison or World War II for that matter is something mentioned of thread about the decentralization historically. the United States to decree had gone through that decentralization but has centralized. so how much parity is there in a comparison. to dismiss a fact from 1941/1942 is not exactly correct but plugging that information into the current situation is what really matters I believe.
    posted by clavdivs at 6:37 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


    one aspect to these threads is a certain omission of past Ukrainian corruption, crimes, etc

    Because it's functionally irrelevant. It doesn't actually matter what Ukraine as a nation has done in the past or what level of corruption they had: none of it justfies the Russians invading their country and committing genocidal war crimes, and so it is irrelevant in a thread that is functionally about the invasion of Ukraine. If someone wants to make a thread about that sort of thing, they are welcome to; I may not participate in it, but that can certainly exist. It just doesn't belong here.
    posted by corb at 7:34 PM on June 30 [24 favorites]


    none of it justfies the Russians invading

    No one in these last few exchanges has suggested that, re-read it. Quite un-fair there corb as I've just said the same thing but not so adroit. I'm going to Detroit, so I can't do a meta but miscommunication and stress/fatigue are a thing, I just, like you don't want it here but not to stiffle thought or communication and I know you agree with that. ✌️
    posted by clavdivs at 8:27 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


    Sorry clavdivs, didn’t mean to imply you did, I’ve just been dealing with a lot of people hitting that line and meanwhile every communication with the front is just the relentless sound of artillery - I’m not at my best either. We muddle through.
    posted by corb at 9:21 PM on June 30 [8 favorites]


    Bombs are falling on Odessa, and yet Ukraine has just filed some TAIEX requests for assistance in the maritime field - asking for training in sea surface monitoring and training for ship inspectors. Also some requests for help in implementing EU directives. Ukraine had access to this scheme as part of the Eastern Partnership for some years now, but these are the first new requests I've seen since the war started. Hopefully a good sign for unblocking Odessa and dealing with large traffic volumes there.
    posted by I claim sanctuary at 10:48 PM on June 30 [6 favorites]


    …It has been over 70 years since World War II and the West has forgotten what a high-intensity, large-scale war involves. The Russians have not.
    I'm sure the writer has far more expertise as a war analyst than I can claim (i.e. none), but I am really, really skeptical of analysis that seems to take as a given some notion that Russia understands war better than or in a way that the (by implication) effete west never can.

    As counterargument I suggest this: perhaps the Russians have, in important ways, forgotten what a high-intensity, large-scale war involves. That seems to me a much better explanation for why they have chosen to engage in one that, from the outside at least, appears to have been completely avoidable.
    posted by Nerd of the North at 1:38 AM on July 1 [13 favorites]


    Are we counting the Ukrainians who fought for the Nazis?
    Where should we note the Jews killed by Ukrainian units accompanying the Einsatzgruppen in 1941-42?


    Agree with the others, this is not in any way useful in this thread. The generation who did this is either dead or at least mid-ninties or onehundred. The vast majority of the people living and suffering from war now, in 2022, did not kill Jews or fight for the Nazis.
    posted by 15L06 at 5:23 AM on July 1 [9 favorites]


    Agree with the others, this is not in any way useful in this thread. The generation who did this is either dead or at least mid-ninties or onehundred

    My comment came in response to a note about the counting of WW2 casualties and made no assertions about modern-day Ukrainians.
    posted by Galvanic at 6:46 AM on July 1


    This kind of casual liberal imperialism is what gets the US into trouble all the time and rarely turns out well. What do you think Ukraine will look like after massive doses of American firepower gets turned loose in it?

    The problem is that by being a globe-bestriding hyperpower at the head of the Atlantic alliance, the US is already an imperial power.

    Americans are perfectly entitled to ask what they are getting out of this and what kind of situation their money and weapons is contributing to but it is the fact of being an imperial power that even makes the question possible - as an imperial power getting involved or not getting involved are both imperial choices. The global imperial centre (and that is not just the US but the whole Western alliance system) has built a system where it is in charge and therefore acting or not acting are symmetrically imperial. The die had already been cast on the existence of the liberal imperial system.

    …It has been over 70 years since World War II and the West has forgotten what a high-intensity, large-scale war involves. The Russians have not. In wars for survival—as Putin is framing the war in Ukraine—there are few niceties, what we now view as humanitarian constraints.

    I am equally sceptical as Nerd of the North. I can't tell from his CV whether Dave Johnson speaks Russian and has spent much time in contemporary Russia, maybe he has, but I don't think the people I know in Moscow and St Petersburg, soft privileged boys and girls like me here in sunny London, have any meaningful memory of or instinct for a high-intensity large-scale war. What he is right about is a certain Western complacency - "well, these guys aren't fighting effectively the way we would". Do we really know how well NATO forces would really do in a "near - peer" conventional war? We don't because we haven't fought one.

    I'm pretty suspicious of any analysis about how some nations are just naturally tougher than others - historically it seem awfully coincidental that those nations which had no choice but to fight for survival just happened to be really tough. I would suggest that the existential fear of annihilation makes any nation tough and that Ukraine can probably tolerate much higher casualties in % terms than Russian for that reason.
    posted by atrazine at 6:54 AM on July 1 [7 favorites]


    It's veeeeeerrrrrrrrry long but historian Bret Devereaux's set of articles on the Fremen Mirage comprehensively dismantles the idea that tough, crude "barbaric" peoples tend to defeat effete "decadent" peoples. Previously.
    posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:37 AM on July 1 [8 favorites]


    The global imperial centre (and that is not just the US but the whole Western alliance system) has built a system where it is in charge and therefore acting or not acting are symmetrically imperial. The die had already been cast on the existence of the liberal imperial system

    Sure -- but along with that in the United States comes a kind of liberal imperialism that sees injustice around the world and thinks that the US should flex its muscles in the interest of moral goodness. Too often that gets us into serious trouble -- whether in Lebanon in the 1980s, Somalia in the 1990s, or a whole host of places in the 21st century. Usually, it ends up a disaster for us *and* for the people we're intervening to help. Arguing for a full-scale military intervention in Ukraine is exactly the kind of thing that the US loves because it's the right thing to do, damn the inevitable catastrophe.
    posted by Galvanic at 7:45 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


    I think this meme accurately sums up the super macho manly Russians vs. the effete West: JDAMs are such a Gemini thing
    posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 8:45 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]


    Galvanic: Sure -- but along with that in the United States comes a kind of liberal imperialism that sees injustice around the world

    Russia (and before them, the USSR) starts with a somewhat different worldview but ends up fighting to right what they view as injustice just the same, and at least as often. And rarely manages to not mess up the country they're supporting.

    The big difference is to what extent the people in the west, and those in the USSR/Russia can see what's happening, and thus how they react to such wars.
    posted by Stoneshop at 9:20 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]


    "It seems like something essential has been simply withdrawn from the people of Ukraine and that is the very basic idea that the world could be a safe place."
    Olena Myhashko writes in an article in Eurozine

    Earlier in the article she recounts:
    "I remember the 21 March vividly. Three weeks of the invasion was already behind us. Ukraine’s capital was still living under subdued yet constant shelling, but nothing notable was happening those days.

    I was laying on the floor of my old Kyiv apartment, which hadn’t been renovated yet, listening to The Guardian podcast. The USSR-like corridor with chandeliers and lamps from the early 1960s had been temporarily transformed into a bedroom. The episode was dedicated to the midterm elections in America and the impact the war in Ukraine was having on them this year. The former politician was pondering whether Ukrainians’ plea for weapons would repulse America’s Left. They also discussed the reaction to rising gas prices, the perspective on worldwide inflation and a few issues more.

    I had this sudden revelation, a strong sense of my entire self unwillingly being shaped by the geopolitical landscape. I was like a character in an average documentary: here I am, the bilingual child of my Soviet-born, Russian-speaking parents, hiding from these Russian rockets in the corridor, listening to Politics Weekly America, staring at Soviet wallpaper in the dark.

    The host and the guest spoke about terms and things that were mostly concepts, that had no physicality – whilst I still heard the real, recurrent explosions through their speech in the headphones, trying to fall asleep. Their voices were so unflappable, their reporting style so plastic that it made me think, one of our countries is simply not real. ‘Do they live in reality?’, I asked myself. ‘And if so, where am I? What is this place called where gas prices, clothes, goods and amenities don’t matter?’"
    posted by 15L06 at 6:06 AM on July 2 [12 favorites]


    one aspect to these threads is a certain omission of past Ukrainian corruption, crimes, etc

    Because it's functionally irrelevant. It doesn't actually matter what Ukraine as a nation has done in the past or what level of corruption they had:


    You're killing my dream of Canada invading and seizing Chicago.
    posted by srboisvert at 6:10 AM on July 2 [2 favorites]


    Timothy Snyder: Germans have been involved in the war, chiefly on the wrong side.

    Political philosopher Jürgen Habermas defends the German Chancellor’s hesitating attitude towards Ukraine. But his historical errors minimize Germany's responsibility for the current state of affairs. An answer to Habermas.

    posted by Kabanos at 7:18 AM on July 2 [6 favorites]


    Yesterday's episode of the Odd Lots podcast was equal parts interesting and alarming: retired US Admiral James Stavridis presented a plan to use NATO to end the Russian blockade of Ukrainian wheat exports by reflagging merchant ships to carry the food, clearing out Ukrainian mines so ships can leave port, and providing a military escort to counterattack if Russian naval forces attack. Suffice it to say, it's pretty rare for a podcast focused on markets to entertain a military commander for an entire episode. Apparently Stavridis has been pitching the idea for at least a month.

    For background, Why War in Ukraine is Causing Apocalyptic Famine covers the situation holistically. Mostly stuff I've seen on the blue already, but one thing I learned from that video was that the 2020 Beruit warehouse explosion took out Lebanon's only major grain storage.
    posted by pwnguin at 4:55 PM on July 2 [3 favorites]




    Thanks, TheophileEscargot, for that Fremen Mirage series—fascinating and useful.
    posted by Quasirandom at 8:30 AM on July 3


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