Kherson liberated (Ukraine war month nine)
November 13, 2022 7:12 PM   Subscribe

Kherson celebrates liberation after 8 months of Russian occupation (Kyiv Independent photos). Buildings mostly stand, but infrastructure is largely severed. Zelenskyy says Russia has committed war crimes there, as in other occupied regions. 179 settlements on the west bank of the Dnipro River have been liberated. Russians continue defensive operations on the east bank.

Ukraine has also made the case at the Cop27 climate talks that Russia is perpetuating an environmental as well as humanitarian catastrophe.

Note that speculation about nuclear escalation is unwelcome in this thread.
posted by joannemerriam (203 comments total) 52 users marked this as a favorite
 


I noticed the previous thread was now closed to comments, so started this new one, but if folks want a separate nuclear escalation thread, please start a separate post.
posted by joannemerriam at 7:16 PM on November 13 [11 favorites]


Are there, at this point, reliable estimates on the number of wounded, killed, and displaced so far in this war?

It's so horribly easy for the reality of the war to retreat into the background, for the ongoing narrative to be reduced to abstract territorial movements, and for the catastrophic impact on literally millions of people to fade from our awareness.
posted by Nerd of the North at 7:30 PM on November 13 [6 favorites]


ISW has a enhanced report today..."Napoleon famously quipped: Never interrupt your enemy whilst he is in the midst of making a mistake. That aphorism has never been truer—Ukraine and its backers should take advantage of Putin’s error by continuing to press the counter-offensive in circumstances far more favorable to Kyiv than to Moscow."

"Ukrainians and the West must bend every effort to enabling the liberation of those lands as rapidly as possible before worrying about what lies beyond them. Momentum is an important factor in war. Ukraine has it now. Kyiv and its partners must make the most of it."
posted by clavdivs at 7:35 PM on November 13 [6 favorites]


I believe Zelenskyy said a while back that the end of the war was going to come via negotiation. There have been far too many who have wanted Ukraine to just get a peace deal done, just stop the war, whether their motivations lie with economic reasons, fear of escalation, or political motives. It’ll get done eventually. But it’ll get done on Ukraine’s terms.
posted by azpenguin at 8:10 PM on November 13 [11 favorites]


Are there, at this point, reliable estimates on the number of wounded, killed, and displaced so far in this war?

The UN says 8 million civilians have been displaced inside Ukraine by the crisis and there are about 7.8 million refugees that have left Ukraine.
General Mark Miley the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs said recently that the US thinks at least 40,000 civilians have been killed and that the total number of soldiers wounded or killed is likely 100,000 on each side.
posted by interogative mood at 8:39 PM on November 13 [3 favorites]


Like any war, it's been an awful needless waste of life and potential.

I have several colleagues who are longtime Ukrainian emigres to the US. They've usually expressed negative feelings about Ukraine and the corruption, etc. Even for the most negative of them this war has sparked pride in what Ukrainian forces have accomplished and how much momentum they've built up with aid and training backing up their resolve.

Stepping out of the local frame, the other good thing about this - I hope - is that this pantsing (in a way) of Putin's power could, maybe, possibly, weaken/break this aura of "master genius mafia don blackmailer" that has surrounded Russian global disinformation/extortion efforts.
posted by drewbage1847 at 9:14 PM on November 13 [15 favorites]


This is a contrary point in the war, for example "Winter Will Be a Major Factor in the Ukraine War, Officials Say
Both sides are expected to pause operations. But heavy snows and freezing temperatures could make it difficult for the poorly equipped Russian army to regroup."
(NYT, 2 days ago)

Reuters
next 10 day forcast

As for the Napoleon aspect. Jomini writes: "even winter quarters, when compact and then the face of the enemy and not protected by an armistice, our strategic positions, - for instance, Napoleon on the Parssarge in 1807. The daily positions taken up by an army beyond the reach of an enemy, which are sometimes spread out either to deceive him or to facilitate movements, are of this class."
qua
"A cessation or prolonged slowing of combat operations over the next few months is therefore very unlikely. The Russians are emphatically not attempting to establish and strengthen defensive positions all along the line but are rather renewing offensive operations in Donetsk Oblast.[17] The Ukrainians will almost certainly continue their counter-offensive operations already underway. Both sides are already fighting in very muddy conditions. They will not likely stop fighting when winter freezes the ground and makes it even more conducive to large-scale mechanized maneuver warfare. Combat is more likely to intensify than to slacken as temperatures drop."
Obviating, the nature of pivot, during favorable conditions is at a critical juncture for both sides though doubts about Russians counteroffensive seem correct.

There is a forte at place and favorable position lends credence, to what other media reports and comments in other threads on Ukraine, that have hinted that Ukraine might conduct a limited offensive to regain Crimea at an ongoing basis. I believe the isw report, which is quite unusual, is firmly establishing that Ukraine must regain its territory taken in 2022, then the Crimea. thus not allocating resources for harassing and limited forays into Crimea this operational season. suffice it say, both sides are on the move.
posted by clavdivs at 9:16 PM on November 13 [4 favorites]


Stepping out of the local frame, the other good thing about this - I hope - is that this pantsing (in a way) of Putin's power could, maybe, possibly, weaken/break this aura of "master genius mafia don blackmailer" that has surrounded Russian global disinformation/extortion efforts.

And, separately, the "strongman anti-woke authoritarian single-handedly making Russia Strong Again". Ukraine has exposed the lie; Putin has made Russia weak and hollow, while liberal democracy has let Ukraine transform itself over the course of a few decades from a country riddled with waste and corruption to one where its citizens are proud of it, where it can hold off an cultural and military invasion by a country far larger and richer than it.
posted by Merus at 9:36 PM on November 13 [40 favorites]


You know, the Kherson footage is, I think, the first time I've actually seen an invading army being greeted as liberators
posted by Merus at 9:42 PM on November 13 [8 favorites]


Both sides are expected to pause operations.

That doesn't seem to be an expectation universally shared by all analysts. I've read in several places theories that the Ukrainians will continue to press forward through the winter, in order to maintain momentum and also to take advantage of the Russians' terrible equipment shortages and general low morale.

I guess we'll find out how much of their stockpiled winter gear the Russians sold on the black market when nobody was looking. It's going to really suck when they run out of left mittens or only have WWII surplus wool coats left to issue to their conscripts. Meanwhile, I hope the West will be sending all the Gor-Tex and chemical handwarmers we can manufacture to Ukraine.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:15 PM on November 13 [7 favorites]


There is a lack of proper winter clothing available in the international marketplace, my friend who works with these things tell me, but I hope we can manage to equip the Ukrainians anyway.
posted by Harald74 at 10:20 PM on November 13 [1 favorite]


And as always, there are ways to support Ukraine.
posted by Harald74 at 10:22 PM on November 13 [1 favorite]


an invading army

The Ukrainian forces are NOT an invading army. They're on home soil. And they'll be on home soil even in Crimea and Donbas.
posted by Stoneshop at 10:28 PM on November 13 [56 favorites]


The Ukrainian forces are NOT an invading army. They're on home soil.

As far as I can tell from the dictionary, you can invade home soil if it's occupied by a foreign army, but I don't really want to quibble about it because it's the "greeted as liberators" bit that's interesting to me. I would bet quite a lot of money Russia doesn't have the same kind of joyous footage when it rolled into eastern Ukraine, no matter how much they claimed they were "liberating" it from "Nazis".
posted by Merus at 10:49 PM on November 13 [3 favorites]


And they'll be on home soil even in Crimea and Donbas.

Technically true, but 8 years of enemy propaganda and a lot of fifth columnists among the exisiting pre-invasion population.

Ideally there will be a wave of self-deportations to Russia prior to liberation of these areas.

And once peace is established Ukraine will need to make some tough decisions regharding collaborators and Russophiles. Surely their numbers will be much reduced, but they will still exist and be a persistent threat / pretext.
posted by Meatbomb at 11:01 PM on November 13 [3 favorites]


There's a bit of talk online of Ukrainian operations on the Kinburn Spit, now that it's within artillery range.
posted by Harald74 at 11:09 PM on November 13 [3 favorites]


There is a lack of proper winter clothing available in the international marketplace, my friend who works with these things tell me, but I hope we can manage to equip the Ukrainians anyway.

In Finland, Latvia, Iceland and a few other countries people have been knitting wool socks for the Ukrainian army. There's no collection point where I am, so my industrious spouse is sending a box to Riga today. Anyone who knits can join in. The Latvian post will send it to Ukraine for free.
posted by UN at 11:22 PM on November 13 [25 favorites]


What's the next goal for the Ukrainian army?

Conventional prediction: Northeast, Svatove, Kreminna, etc. Cuts a lot of supply lines and is an all around workable, solid strategy. We've already seen it work before.

Unconventional guess made from squinting at a map going, huh, that's.... A really interesting possiblity... Zaporizhia to interdict Melitopol?
posted by Jacen at 11:52 PM on November 13 [1 favorite]


I think the UN figures are total displacement since February, not necessarily currently displaced people - after the Russian retreat from the north in particular, a lot of people from the Kyiv region went back. The Polish border guard says that since February, 7.7 million people went from Ukraine to Poland and 5.9 million went the other way, though of course that includes some of the more or less million of Ukrainians who worked in Poland before the war and often went back to fight, as well as many citizens of other countries who evacuated from Ukraine in the early days of the war. There's now also decent commercial traffic and aid workers etc, plus some one-time actions like when Ukraine dropped their tariffs on private car imports for personal use, which caused giant queues into Ukraine for a few weeks in the summer.

Last I can find, as of last month 1.4 million Ukrainian refugees got a Polish ID number, so are probably staying for longer. They need those numbers to access the social safety net in Poland and apparently lose the rights to various supports if they leave Poland for more than a month, so it only makes sense to get one if you're planning to stay for a while.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 12:08 AM on November 14 [2 favorites]


Wool socks are great, BTW. Wool anything, to be honest. A knit wool hat and neck gaiter ("buff") are also good items, but I expect the aid organizations to ask if they are needed on the ground.

Wool items in my old Norwegian army cold weather gear comprised from the top of my head three pairs of thick socks, two pairs of thin socks, a set of long underwear, a hat, a neck gaiter and a pair of under-mittens with separate trigger finger. There was also technical fabric underwear, Gore-tex this and that, but even in modern times (ok, ten years ago) wool still has the best properties, especially when the garments are worn and dirty, as they tend to become in the field.
posted by Harald74 at 12:11 AM on November 14 [15 favorites]


I'm in awe of the infrastructure workers in Ukraine. Here's a Twitter thread from Alexander Kamyshin, showing how the railways have cleared and repaired the tracks to Kherson, and are preparing to restore regular traffic already.
posted by Harald74 at 12:36 AM on November 14 [10 favorites]


There's a harrowing 90-minute episode of Panorama on Mariupol: The People's Story on BBC iPlayer at the moment. Just devastating to see the human impact, and to have the story of its destruction laid out all at once. Not sure when it will reach other countries, but keep an eye out for it.
posted by rory at 1:05 AM on November 14 [3 favorites]


If anyone's interested in contributing towards winter gear in Ukraine, I've worked with Ukrainian Aid Ops in the past. They accept cash, have an Amazon wish lists (on .com and .de Amazon), and operate warehouses in Germany, the United States, and (I think) in Poland. They also accept direct donations of goods if you have new or almost new socks, boots, thermal underwear, etc. I donated some boots and ear protectors (for artillery men & women) shipped to their American address.

Harri, the founder of Ukraine Aid Ops, has an interesting Twitter account. Shows the supplies they deliver to the soldiers and civilians.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 1:18 AM on November 14 [6 favorites]


Oryx' latest updates shows a captured Russian T-62 of 1967 vintage.
posted by Harald74 at 1:32 AM on November 14 [4 favorites]


An Icelandic analyst of Russia made the interesting point this weekend that Putin has stayed largely silent since Kherson fell to the Ukrainians. The propagandists don’t know what line to take, and that’s putting pressure on Putin’s authority.

Putin experts have for a long time pointed out that he tends to dither over decisions, leaving him at the end with a series of much worse choices than if he’d acted right away. I think we’re seeing that now, he can’t figure out what to say, but the longer he waits, the less convincing he will be to the people of the Russian Federation.
posted by Kattullus at 1:49 AM on November 14 [10 favorites]


The always excellent Perun posted a video yesterday about how the culture of lies and coverups has caused an army that should be formidable to perform so bad.

The russians have even a word for it: vranyo

Vranyo means to lie, so that the others know you are lying, you know that they know, and so on, so that everyone smiles and nods: it is easier to lie and sweep things under tha carpet, than having to actually solve problems. In such a culture, lying is commended, and being honest leads you to being tagged as problematic, and being prevented from being promoted.

This explains also why russian formations apparently bash their heads repeatedly agains well defended ukrainian positions: lies up and down the chain of command mean that the upper echelons don't know the situation on the field, so they send wave after wave of soldiers to exploit breakthroughs that have not happened.

All in all, a very informative video.
posted by LaVidaEsUnCarnaval at 3:04 AM on November 14 [14 favorites]




I believe Zelenskyy said a while back that the end of the war was going to come via negotiation.

And the negotiation should be about the depth of the demilitarized zone extending into Russian territory. Once another 50-100k russian soldiers are made ineffective and pushed across the legitimate boarder UA should have the worlds mandate to keep pushing for another hundred kilometers. Perhaps Belogord would be interested in being annexed bu Ukraine?
posted by sammyo at 5:17 AM on November 14 [5 favorites]


There's a bit of talk online of Ukrainian operations on the Kinburn Spit, now that it's within artillery range.

I've seen those rumors and I'm curious what is really going on there. A full invasion across that stretch of water seems unlikely, but perhaps this is more like the attacks on Snake Island where the goal is to deny a strategically useful location to the enemy.

where it can hold off an cultural and military invasion by a country far larger and richer than it.

Something that the invasion has shown clearly is that while Russia as a county has vast wealth, many Russians (particularly of the group that ends up in the Russian army) are strikingly poor, which is why the meme of the stolen washing machines has become so prevalent. I can't find it right now, but early in the invasion there was a video of a Ukrainian soldier laughing so hard he was almost crying because when Russian soldiers looted his apartment, they stole all of his old used underwear.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:45 AM on November 14 [11 favorites]


The propagandists don’t know what line to take

I'll say. Here's Andrey Norkin, a presenter on NTV:

“If you’re expecting me now to explain what I think about this, I’m not going to tell you anything.

“But I’ll explain why. If I support the decision and say that the Defense Minister is acting correctly by leaving Kherson, then I’m publicly calling for Russia’s territorial integrity to be violated. This is because Putin officially proclaimed the Kherson region to be part of Russia in an internationally condemned annexation move just weeks ago. In our Criminal Code that’s Article 280 Part 1. I specially checked this morning. Several years in prison.

“And if I don’t support the decision and think that the Defense Ministry has done the wrong thing by leaving Kherson, then I’m publicly discrediting the Armed Forces, which is also Article 280, but Part 3, with approximately the same jail term.

“I don’t want to go to prison. So now we’ll watch a report and then I will hand over to our dear experts.”

(I can no longer find a video of this, but here's an article describing it [non-paywalled archive])
posted by ook at 7:44 AM on November 14 [25 favorites]


Dmitri on Twitter has the video.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:03 AM on November 14 [4 favorites]


I am quietly hoping that Time picks Zelenskyy as their person of the year, because he’s been pretty amazing! There was a point earlier in the year where I thought there would be a lot less to celebrate for Ukraine at the end of the year, but now I’m thinking they might have quite a successful holiday season.

The only thing left to figure out is whether I should be wishing that Vlad gets coal in his stocking. 🤔
posted by pulposus at 8:12 AM on November 14 [1 favorite]


> If anyone's interested in contributing towards winter gear in Ukraine, I've worked with Ukrainian Aid Ops in the past.

And they have 501(c)(3) tax exempt status in the U.S., as an FYI for those folks for whom this could influence their donation decisions.
posted by needled at 8:48 AM on November 14 [2 favorites]


pulposus: The only thing left to figure out is whether I should be wishing that Vlad gets coal in his stocking.

Smouldering coal.

That will slowly burn through the stocking, drop onto the carpet, setting it, the furniture and then his entire dacha on fire.

Smoke detectors? Russian-made of course, so would you expect them to do their job or just pretend everything is fine?
posted by Stoneshop at 9:11 AM on November 14 [4 favorites]


the upper echelons don't know the situation on the field

They do too. They just can't be the ones to say it, all the way up to Putin. The shoot-the-messenger culture is so bad letting entire battalions get massacred is preferable.

There's a bit of talk online of Ukrainian operations on the Kinburn Spit, now that it's within artillery range.

I've seen those rumors and I'm curious what is really going on there


Pretty sure it's a combination of: extend strike range over more of Crimea, and pressure Western-bank Russian forces not to get too comfortable with their river barrier.
posted by ctmf at 11:46 AM on November 14 [1 favorite]


Remember that Ukraine is already way across the Dnipro in the north - the smart thing for the Ukrainians to do next would be to push to the Azov Sea splitting the Russian forces in 2 and then completely taking out the Crimean bridge
posted by mbo at 1:31 PM on November 14 [3 favorites]


Control of Kinburn Peninsula is necessary to open the ports of Ochakiv, Mykolaiv, and Halytsynove. The operations there may simply be raids designed to remove Russian artillery and missile systems that were used to attack Mykolaiv and keep the port closed. It is also possible they are going to attempt to hold the edge of the peninsula as a way to flank the Russian's on the left bank of the Dnipro and keep Russia guessing as to how they will go about liberating the remainders of the Kherson and Zaphorizhzha Oblasts. The peninsula narrows becomes quite marshy as it approaches the mainland making it almost an island. So it may be possible for Ukraine to establish a defensive line just east of the village of Herois'ke down to Zmiive Lake and hold the island using barges and fast boats to resupply, while having artillery in place on the far shore at Ochakiv.
posted by interogative mood at 1:47 PM on November 14 [1 favorite]


It's also a particularly humiliating way to call attention to the Black Sea Fleet's exclusion from the seas west of Crimea. A lulzkrieg if you will.
posted by ocschwar at 4:31 PM on November 14 [2 favorites]


I've read in several places theories that the Ukrainians will continue to press forward through the winter, in order to maintain momentum and also to take advantage of the Russians' terrible equipment shortages and general low morale.

Also to keep pressure on Russian forces, making them sustain a draining tempo that prevents them from building strength anywhere. If there was truly a significant pause, then (much like Russia's desired negotiations) the only result would be an opportunity to actually use mobilized men to do proper force regeneration. As things stand, Russia is feeding a constant stream of mobiks into the Ukrainian meat grinder as a way to hold them back. It would be strategically unwise to give Russia any breathing space.

And if the balance of proper winter gear favours Ukraine (and it really seems to), then a couple months of winter may degrade Russian forces so much that more Kharkiv-like breakthroughs become a virtual certainty.
posted by fatbird at 6:13 PM on November 14 [8 favorites]


I've read in several places theories that the Ukrainians will continue to press forward through the winter

Same. AIUI winter removes the mud factor and favours offensive operations.
posted by pompomtom at 8:56 PM on November 14 [2 favorites]


Once another 50-100k russian soldiers are made ineffective and pushed across the legitimate boarder UA should have the worlds mandate to keep pushing for another hundred kilometers. Perhaps Belogord would be interested in being annexed bu Ukraine?
Zelenskyy yesterday: "What next? Not Moscow. We are not interested in territories of another country. We're interested only in the occupation of our country, of our territory."
posted by vasi at 10:27 PM on November 14 [7 favorites]


They're always worried about Moscow, when Volgograd is right there.
posted by ctmf at 10:52 PM on November 14


The war winners seem to be the destination countries for Russian refugees - apparently getting 150K new rich people of working age in a country of 3 million bumped up Armenia's GDP by 10% above expectations. Less people are staying in Georgia (113 thousand), and surprisingly little in Kazakhstan - only about 70 thousand of the 1.25 million Russians who passed through its borders on the way elsewhere. Russia has lost over a million educated people between 20 and 40 years of age, and that's what they admit to (even those three border countries add up to 1.5 million).
posted by I claim sanctuary at 12:46 AM on November 15 [7 favorites]


Speaking during a lunch with leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) major economies on the Indonesian island of Bali, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said the month-long World Cup, which starts in Qatar on Sunday, offered a unique platform for peace.

"My plea to all of you, to think on a temporary ceasefire for one month for the duration of the World Cup, or at least the implementation of some humanitarian corridors or anything that could lead to the resumption of dialogue as a first step to peace," Infantino said.

"You're the world leaders, you have the ability to influence the course of history. Football and the World Cup are offering you and the world a unique platform of unity and peace all over the world."
Take a break everyone and appreciate the World Cup and the slaves who built it. Peace.
posted by UN at 2:29 AM on November 15 [11 favorites]


From BBC News, Ukraine's secret weapon - the medics in the line of fire.
Blood, iron, sweat and dirt are soaked into the walls and floors of the Ukrainian field hospital. No matter how hard the Ukrainian army medical staff scrub, a metallic smell haunts the place. It clings to the doctors' clothes and in the ambulances its presence is overpowering.

"Even when you wash away the blood, and sprinkle with peroxide, there is always this smell. You never forget it," says Valeria, 21, an anaesthetist's assistant.
There is some description of injury and death in the article, but not without warning.
posted by antiwiggle at 7:26 AM on November 15 [1 favorite]


Ongoing Russian missile attacks in multiple cities (BBC). More attacks expected.

I have 3 work teammates in Ukraine - every time this happens, it's a gut punch and I don't recover till I hear they are safe.
posted by caviar2d2 at 7:32 AM on November 15 [8 favorites]


Russian missiles killed two people - in POLAND.

twitter link

Potential for nato article 5? I doubt this will provoke full scale NATO involvement, but might lead to some escalation.
posted by Ansible at 10:43 AM on November 15 [2 favorites]


Early reports about Russian missiles landing in Poland. Seems to be serious. Twitter thread.
posted by hippybear at 10:47 AM on November 15


[That was peculiar because I refreshed the page before typing my comment, the one from Ansible was not there, I wrote mine, then when posted that one WAS there. Peculiar.]
posted by hippybear at 10:48 AM on November 15


Article 5 doesn’t mean WW3 or even war. It means NATO meets and comes up with a joint plan of action to protect the member state. The allies will agree on a proportionate, coordinated response. Probably at first some specific demands on Russia. Do not panic,
posted by interogative mood at 11:38 AM on November 15 [7 favorites]


Hearing rumours that rocket may have been knocked off course by Ukrainian air defense. It hit an open air grain processing installation. Such a mess.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 11:38 AM on November 15


It might be a UKR air defense missile gone astray.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:57 AM on November 15


Who had WWW III starting with an errant missile in Poland? Christ, if that's not a Franz Ferdinand sounding thing, what is?

I doubt this would be enough to kick things off (no matter the hawkish howls), but good lord did it squish my Cold War Kid heart for a moment.
posted by drewbage1847 at 12:04 PM on November 15 [6 favorites]


I doubt this would be enough to kick things off (no matter the hawkish howls), but good lord did it squish my Cold War Kid heart for a moment.

Same.

If Russia's action up to this point didn't lead to intervention a few stray missiles is not going to matter much at all. Russia has already staged biological and radiation attacks on British soil and came away unscathed other than BoJo forcing a life peerage on a KGB scion and Tory/Brexitiers collaborating with Russia on their EU destabilization program.

One thing I could see is Ukraine getting some longer range missiles though since it would now be in NATO's self interest to have Ukraine disable some of Russia's longer range launchers and possibly some of Russia Black Sea fleet to prevent any further such "accidents".
posted by srboisvert at 12:18 PM on November 15 [5 favorites]


I don't want to see deeper NATO involvement in this war but this might be a good enough reason to deploy PATRIOT batteries with NATO crews to Ukraine immediately, while training Ukrainian crews to take them over.
posted by Reverend John at 12:36 PM on November 15 [3 favorites]


I think Russia could present very persuasive evidence that the explosions in Poland were caused by errant Ukrainian air defense rockets and not Russian cruise missiles.

A withdrawal from Ukraine would persuade me completely.
posted by ocschwar at 1:17 PM on November 15 [4 favorites]


Poland is considering article 4 rather than article 5 thankfully - formal notification and consultations, not a call to arms. Fairly calm statement from the national security bureau, they're investigating the explosion, not mentioning an attack. Russia is denying involvement, Ukrainians are saying it was a staged "accident" to prove capability, maybe they will get our F16s now and certainly our remaining Su.

Also a correction to my previous comment, it wasn't an open air facility: turns out Russians can hit the broad side of a barn, though possibly not on purpose.

(Alas no links, live on Polish TV)
posted by I claim sanctuary at 1:35 PM on November 15 [10 favorites]


I hope you're right Reverend John. Patriots + modern jets + some long range missiles for Ukraine would be a great response. I'm almost hoping for a no-fly zone. Especially since Russia would almost certainly just grumble about it and not do anything stronger. That has been Russia's trend so far. But I doubt a no-fly is on the table. Even now.

But if they wanted Article 5, there would be a host of reasons. Not just today's attack. But also Nord Stream. And those suspicious undersea cable cuttings of previous weeks. I doubt we'll see Article 5, though it could be invoked without meaning instant direct involvement in the war.

I've seen the rumors too that this was an errant Ukrainian defense missile. And I've seen some officials say this still counts as an attack by Russia since the Ukr missile wouldn't have fired without Russia's involvement.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 1:38 PM on November 15 [2 favorites]


There will be a meeting on Wednesday of the NATO ministers. It isn’t clear if it will be an official Article 4 meeting. The real meetings are going on in Bali at the G-20 meeting.
From the fire hose of media I’ve just consumed it seems like it comes down to Russia’s willingness to call this an accident and take some responsibility. If they don’t then the consequences NATO will impose will be more significant. If Russia takes responsibility then there will be talks on preventing this from happening in the future. If Russia doesn’t take responsibility then NATO will use military force.
posted by interogative mood at 3:29 PM on November 15


Biden has said that the trajectory of the missile didn't indicate firing from Russian territory (NATO is unsurprisingly flying surveillance planes over Poland and the Baltics constantly), and now an AP reporter is saying intelligence sources hint it may be a Ukrainian air defense missile. According to the Polish president's speech overnight, Ukrainians were insisting it was Russian. Everyone agrees it was Russian-made (apart from the Russians, who insist they haven't heard about this at all), but Ukrainians still have large stocks of USSR weapons.

There are apparently two craters in Przewodów, one in the middle of a field, so it was really bad luck one of the rockets scored a direct hit on two people. This gmina has a population density of less than 40 people per square kilometer, a third of Poland's average, there's plenty of fields and forests it could have hit instead.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 10:51 PM on November 15 [3 favorites]


I hope you're right Reverend John. Patriots + modern jets + some long range missiles for Ukraine would be a great response. I'm almost hoping for a no-fly zone. Especially since Russia would almost certainly just grumble about it and not do anything stronger. That has been Russia's trend so far. But I doubt a no-fly is on the table. Even now.

I suspect that's because creating a no-fly zone is not so much a strongly worded letter or a game mechanic as it is the United States and two other nuclear powers bombing Russia with nuclear-capable weapons? It's felt relatively bloodless in the past because countries like Serbia and Libya couldn't do anything in return; Russia has those capabilities.

Pretend we set up a no-fly zone and Russia obeys. (Which obviously wouldn't happen.) Does that mean it's okay if they fly to the edge of their territory and then launch missiles, good one Vlad? Obviously not. So now we're shooting down planes in Russia. If we want to stop Russians flying across the border, we need to fly patrols near the border. Those planes are going to get shot down very quickly and very frequently by Russian anti-aircraft defenses. Is that okay? Obviously not; so now we're bombing ground targets in Russia.

But that's just whack-a-mole if we're attaching individual sites. If we want to actually reduce anti-aircraft defenses, their command and control network needs to be attacked further in; that's a job for cruise missiles. Sure, Wikipedia says that Tomahawks stopped being nuclear-capable. Imagine there's a Russian missile inbound to where you are; would you trust Wikipedia? Would you just hang around and wait to see how big the boom was before deciding your next course of affairs?
posted by Superilla at 11:01 PM on November 15 [5 favorites]


That sounds exhausting. Let's just give Ukraine ATACMS and let them shoot at whatever they want.
posted by ryanrs at 11:38 PM on November 15 [5 favorites]


More air defence for Ukraine should be pretty non-controversial. It seems to make a difference as well - last night Ukrainian authorities said that recently arrived NASAMS hit 10 out of 10 targets.
posted by Harald74 at 11:48 PM on November 15 [4 favorites]


I tried to find an estimate of remaining Russian cruise missile stocks, and it seems like it's in the ballpark of 500 missiles, with limited replenishing capability, according to official Ukrainian stocks. That's still not nothing - it's at least five more massive attacks on Ukrainian civilian infrastructure through the winter.
posted by Harald74 at 12:12 AM on November 16 [2 favorites]


It's been a while since someone pointed out that Vlad is not a diminutive form of Vladimir.
And please, don't shorten Vladimir to Vlad. The diminutive Vlad is formed from another name in Russian, it’s a short form of Vladislav. While Vladimir's diminutive is either Vova, or Volodya.
posted by achrise at 7:44 AM on November 16 [5 favorites]


At the very least if you're going to call Putin Vlad or Li'l Vladdy or Pooty-poot or That Fuckface, you should be doing it as a conscious insult and not as the result of a neutral error.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:02 AM on November 16 [3 favorites]


Putin khuylo, please!
posted by Emmy Noether at 8:24 AM on November 16 [9 favorites]


Putain.
posted by polytope subirb enby-of-piano-dice at 8:25 AM on November 16 [6 favorites]


I’m seeing reports that NATO has officially stated they think the flying explosive that landed in Poland was indeed a strayed Ukrainian air defense missile.
posted by Quasirandom at 9:47 AM on November 16


I believe that facts matter, and the truth matters, and there should be a careful and unbiased investigation followed by an appropriate and proportional response based on the circumstances. For example, if someone happened to have an AWACS plane flying circuits over the area for a few months, maybe they saw something.

Or everyone could go on twitter and scream about Article 5 and WWIII, I suppose.
posted by allegedly at 10:06 AM on November 16 [6 favorites]


Timothy Snyder published a call for donations today, on his Substack.
He writes:
This is where we can do something. We can help stop the drones. President Zelens'kyi’s United24 Foundation asked me to raise money for a cause of my choice. As a historian, I could have chosen a destroyed library (which I visited in Chernihiv a few weeks ago), and in the future I will do just that. But right now Ukrainians need to get through this winter and win this war.

So rather than indulge my own preferences, I asked where I could be most immediately helpful. The answer from the Ukrainians I asked was a system to defend against the Iranian drones. And so that is what, as an ambassador of the president’s United24 platform, I have pledged to do: to raise $1.25 million for such a system, a Shahed Hunter
.
posted by 15L06 at 10:15 AM on November 16 [2 favorites]


My initial reaction as always is "we're crowdfunding a war???", but then I remember all the War Bonds sold in the US during WWII and realize this has been going on forever.
posted by hippybear at 10:18 AM on November 16 [13 favorites]


It seems to me that everyone except Ukraine has a strong interest in the Przewodów explosion not having been caused by a Russian missile. It also seems improbable -- though certainly not impossible -- that the very first missile to stray across the border would have just accidentally happened to strike a large building miles away.

I guess the truth is a lot less relevant than the narrative at this stage, but I'm inclined to be very skeptical of everyone's motivations here.
posted by Not A Thing at 11:07 AM on November 16


I wouldn't go into conspiracy theories right now. It was literally a barn. Half an hour later, the grain would have been inside and the only damage would be property.

The lucky part is that it fell right between the two parts of the village. The village used to be a farming collective during communism, so instead of single family houses there are blocks of flats on either side of the grain drying facility. 300 metres west and it could have hit a building with fifty people inside it.

The victims were both over 60, close to retirement, and both called Bogdan, "God's gift" in Polish (though apparently one was really named Bogusław, Praise-God - both names are usually shortened to Boguś). They had worked there for 22 years, and I'm betting that before they would have started their careers in that farming collective, lived through its disintegration and the unemployment of the 90s, and finally made good in stable jobs.

Fuck war.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 12:04 PM on November 16 [15 favorites]


There has been a strong community of people crowdfunding for the war, including a group of lovely Fellas
posted by Jacen at 12:05 PM on November 16 [2 favorites]


but then I remember all the War Bonds sold in the US during WWII and realize this has been going on forever

Debt financed war has been practiced in Europe for far longer than 75 years. The Bank of England was literally founded to finance building to Navy to compete against the French navy. The Rothchilds allegedly used their family network to front run trades on debt during the Napoleonic wars.

Crowdfunding is basically how empire worked: Take out a bunch of debt to buy some guns and boats, and then use them to rob the rest of the planet and pay your lenders back.

One of the key features of the bond market since at least World War II was a waiver of sovereign immunity, which basically says you can’t sue a government without its permission. But for some reason, Russia stopped offering waivers after they invaded Crimea in 2014.
posted by pwnguin at 12:20 PM on November 16 [5 favorites]


I mean, NATO and Ukraine are saying diametrically opposite things at the moment, so I guess it comes down to this: Kyiv requests access to Poland blast site. If there is an investigation with Ukrainian involvement, great, the truth will out. If not, then various people will have decided -- probably quite wisely! -- that the truth is not the most important consideration at the moment.
posted by Not A Thing at 12:23 PM on November 16 [1 favorite]


In 2015 the British government finally decided to pay of the last of their debt incurred to fund the Napoleonic War. The payment in July 2015 discharged debts first issued in 1752 and subsequently used to finance the Napoleonic and Crimean Wars, the Slavery Abolition Act (1835) and the Irish Distress Loan (1847).

There was no due date on these bonds, as the Government did not want to have to pay them off at some time when they might turn out to be short on funds due to fighting one of their many wars. The French did less well with their war bonds during the Napoleonic War and ended up having to cover much higher interest and inflexible due dates. The interest the British Government was obliged to keep paying over the centuries was so low that it was always more sensible to reinvest their available funds instead of paying them off.

The reason people had purchased the consols despite the low rate of return is that they were extremely safe. Interest was paid out faithfully for over two and a half centuries before the bond holders got their principle back.

In the US during WWII you could purchase a $25 War Bond for $18.75. In ten years time it paid out the face value. Crowd sourcing funds to pay for wars has a long history.

What I am noticing is that we are not being sold investments to finance the defense of Ukraine, but being asked to donate. I am extremely curious as to what the financial picture will look like when this is over, and very concerned that a lot of the aid given to Ukraine by other nations may have come with strings attached, the way that disaster aid often does.

Haiti, for example has been screwed over this way repeatedly. It sounds grand when we hear of hospital ships and aid rushing to the Islands after a hurricane, but you have to follow those stories very closely and for a long time to find out if the aid was a gift, or if in fact the nation in distress found themselves in the position of an 18th century householder, forced to haggle how much they could pay to the fire fighters while their house was burning. When your people are dying you can easily be induced to sign a blank check.
posted by Jane the Brown at 3:04 PM on November 16 [12 favorites]


Ukrainian long range drone strike:

https://twitter.com/GeopoliticalGu1/status/1593048023889633280

There've been hints and rumors of a large payload Ukrainian-made kamikaze drone for a while now. This is the first strike I've heard of that is allegedly using them.
posted by Ansible at 8:46 PM on November 16 [1 favorite]


I donated some boots and ear protectors (for artillery men & women) shipped to their American address.

Yikes, it’s a bad look if soldiers have family members sourcing or worse are recipients of international charity for basic safety equipment. :( The other side relishes in stories like that, and it sure should worry any Ukrainian. Remember in 2003-2004 the shame after the stories of Americans up-armoring their HMMVWs? I hope they mark that “return to sender” and show they need no help with that. We should be sending them weapons and luxuries, coffee makers, drones, or cigars or something.
posted by Sunflowers Beneath the Snow at 9:57 PM on November 16


Knit some mittens for the Russians; they’ll need ‘em.
posted by Sunflowers Beneath the Snow at 10:05 PM on November 16


I'm not sure I understand you about contributing stuff to Ukraine. If you're joking or not. Ukraine is getting tons of personal gear from the various NATO and allied governments. Canada, for example, is taking care of a huge share of their winter gear needs. At this point, Ukrainian soldiers are largely outfitted like NATO soldiers. But there's always gaps in a huge war. Even the US Army had logistical gaps, and they're the best in the world at logistics. The personal donations help considerably in the gaps, and in getting specific units the specific items they need.

On the Russian side, there's also personal donations sent to troops. I'm sure they're jealous of all the largesse going to Ukraine as their donations are at a substantially smaller level and cover the most basic basics like food. I don't think Russia has ever mocked Ukraine for a crowdfunded war because Russian corruption & unpopularity has left their own forces in a much, much worse place. Even the propagandists recognize the massive disparity.

The crowdfunding I do find interesting. Not just the huge foreign efforts, but also what's going on domestically. I follow quite a few Ukrainians and frequently see fundraising drives for vehicles, drones or body armor. Foreigners contribute, but many of these are largely domestic. Plus the constant stories about kids selling food, toys, or playing songs in Maidan and giving the money directly to the military.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 11:25 PM on November 16 [9 favorites]


There's fantastic crowdfunding going on in Poland as well. Material donations were big in the first two-three months before official international supplies rolled in, but now it's mostly specialist supplies the Ukrainians ask for (night goggles, fancy battlefield first aid supplies etc) and stuff for their internal refugees. 9 months into a heavy war this stuff gets used up fast.

If you feel like dropping in a bit to finance SUVs and pickup trucks to drive in really all terrain, I recommend terenówki na front - the guy buys secondhand vehicles to Ukrainian specifications and delivers them straight to military units. Apparently they're seriously lacking in light maneuverable vehicles to the point unarmoured SUVs are a welcome gift.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 11:55 PM on November 16 [4 favorites]


Knit some mittens for the Russians; they’ll need ‘em.

But ... I want Russia to lose this war.

I do think I get where you're coming from. Early on, for example, Germany sent helmets to Ukraine while everyone else sent weapons. It sent the wrong message and was justifiably ridiculed in my opinion — even if helmets were indeed needed at the time.

But the problem wasn't the helmets. It was the lack of sending other things along with the helmets. Missiles, artillery, etc. If Germany sent both, nobody would have complained about the helmets.

And so I think we're in a similar situation here. If the international community is sending exclusively knitted mittens and socks, we have a problem.

But why not both?
posted by UN at 1:08 AM on November 17 [3 favorites]


https://twitter.com/GeopoliticalGu1/status/1593048023889633280

There've been hints and rumors of a large payload Ukrainian-made kamikaze drone for a while now. This is the first strike I've heard of that is allegedly using them.


That's 7 month old video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWkj4r5CzAo
posted by srboisvert at 2:46 AM on November 17 [1 favorite]


About those "lovely fellas" -- I'm afraid their origins are less cute than their avatars: NAFO founder Kamil Dyszewski (@Kama_Kamilia) is an antisemitic gamer from Poland.

In related news, you may remember this article posted in June. As a worrying follow up, Foreign Policy had this article yesterday: Ukraine’s Appetite for Weapons Is Straining Western Stockpiles
During the Cold War, the United States kept large stockpiles of weapons, rare earths, and other materials to quickly ramp up production if it ever ended up in a shooting war with the Soviet Union. But the United States and European allies began to draw down those stockpiles after the fall of the Soviet Union and as Washington pivoted to the war on terrorism as well as a greater reliance on precision munitions and new technologies.

“NATO doesn’t really plan to fight wars like this, and by that I mean wars with a super intensive use of artillery systems and lots of tank and gun rounds,” said Frederick Kagan, a senior fellow with the American Enterprise Institute. “We were never stocked for this kind of war to begin with.”

That has had a compounding effect on already dwindling weapons reserves. Nadaner said Pentagon stockpiles are low on sea-launched missiles, such as Harpoons and Tomahawks; joint direct attack munitions; and the munitions heavily used by the Ukrainians, such as Javelin anti-tank missiles and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System. Ukraine has received 20 of the rocket launchers and has about 18 more on the way.

“The idea that the United States, in some cases, has just a few weeks of stores for the magazine and they’re going to empty out, it really harms deterrence,” Nadaner said.
The strain on NATO stockpiles may explain this report: US plans to buy 100,000 rounds of artillery ammo from South Korea for Ukraine (CNN)
posted by kmt at 2:52 AM on November 17 [1 favorite]


Yes, but if they've already destroyed all the Russian tanks, they might not need as many in the future
posted by mbo at 11:07 AM on November 17 [1 favorite]


are all the Russian tanks destroyed? Is this why Javelin production has doubled?
posted by clavdivs at 2:33 PM on November 17


Not all - but a goodly chunk of them, all those NATO anti-tank munitions were essentially created to destroy Russian tanks in WW3, if they're used to do it before by someone else then that's actually a win for NATO
posted by mbo at 5:02 PM on November 17 [8 favorites]


Sure, but what about the other 50% of the tanks, Ukraine needs a resupply for upcoming offensives. NATO can maintain a minimal stock in case someone else invades NATO territory.
Running low with feasible resupply means winning.
posted by clavdivs at 9:44 PM on November 17 [1 favorite]


Yup - again, every Russian they take out is an investment by NATO in the future
posted by mbo at 10:11 PM on November 17 [1 favorite]


And so I think we're in a similar situation here. If the international community is sending exclusively knitted mittens and socks, we have a problem.

But why not both?


Yeah, I just don't think it should be the story that the good guys are going to have a hard winter, are needing things to help keep them warm from kind individuals overseas. Ideally the enemy and the world should only hear about the Ukrainian trench-saunas and about occasional complaints that in some areas hot showers were limited to only 20 minutes.
posted by Sunflowers Beneath the Snow at 10:24 PM on November 17


The current Twitter meltdown is not good news for following developments in Ukraine, I fear. I have several credible analysts lined up to read over my morning cuppa, but it seems not for long. Let's see what's left after the dust settles. Should be just a matter of days or weeks.
posted by Harald74 at 12:39 AM on November 18 [2 favorites]


I don’t think there’s many stories about Ukrainian soldiers suffering in the winter. The conventional wisdom is all about how the Ukrainians will be warm while the mobiks fight each other in the trenches for the single blanket shared between 30 men. This is just such a weird take to oppose the crowdfunding that’s filling in the gaps. The only ones getting mocked are the Russians.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 1:58 AM on November 18 [5 favorites]


The Fall of Twitter is going to be tragic in terms of getting news quickly. But here's what I've compiled so far for alternate sources on Reddit, and alternate locations for some of the war-related Twitter people I follow. Just an ad hoc list for now based on people's announcements. Working together, I'm sure we could come up with a comprehensive list of sources that would at least partially replace Twitter's firehose.

--------
Reddit:

/r/Ukraine

/r/UkrainianConflict

/r/CredibleDefense (daily megathread is good for tweet-sized chunks of info)

/r/NonCredibleDefense (mostly for the memes, but surprisingly good discussions sometimes in the comments)

/r/UkrainianWarVideoReport (sometimes NSFW / NSFL)

/r/CombatFootage (often NSFW / NSFL)

/r/Military (not Ukraine specific but you can find vets & current soldiers sometimes offering useful commentary & bad jokes on situations in Ukraine)

--------------------------
People & Organizations:

BellingCat: https://discord.com/invite/bellingcat

Michael Horowitz: t.me/MichaelHorowitz

Sergej Sumlenny: @sumlenny@mastodon.sdf.org

Oleksandra Povoroznyk: @oleksandrapov@mastadon.world
Oleksandra Povoroznyk: https://www.instagram.com/alrynk/

Olga Lautman: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100087456337879

Aurora Intel: https://t.me/Auroraintel

Calibre Obscura: https://www.calibreobscura.com/

Mick Ryan: https://mickryan.substack.com

Benjamin Tallis: bctallis@mastodon.online

Dan Kazeta: @DanKaszeta@mastodonapp.uk

Spaghetti Kozak: https://t.me/spaghettikozak
Spaghetti Kozak: https://mastodon.world/@spaghettikozak

Михайло Подоляк: t.me/M_Podolyak

Zelenskiy Official: https://t.me/V_Zelenskiy_official

Armed Forces Official: https://t.me/zsuwar

Mykhailo Zhernakov: https://www.facebook.com/mzhernakov

Chris O: ChrisO_wiki@mastodon.social

Pwnallthethings: @Pwnallthethings@mastodon.social

If you haven't used Telegram before, you'll be happy to learn Telegram has a right-click / long tap translation option in their official apps. Makes it easy to follow channels that have zero English.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 3:29 AM on November 18 [23 favorites]


The War Zone at thedrive.com -- what grew out of foxtrot alpha -- can be a good aggregator for twitter+reddit. The main stuff appears in the "Ukraine situation report" posts with a looooot more in the comment stream.

The comment streams are mostly pretty conservative like you'd expect for a militaria site but, eh, more tolerable than you might think.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 3:43 AM on November 18 [3 favorites]




CW: executed POWs

Julian Röpcke - who cannot be accused with pro-russian sentiments - watched that video, so you don't have to:
Clean again: Ukrainian soldiers apparently shot numerous Russian prisoners of war after one possibly opened fire on the Ukrainians, while 10 were on the ground.
Of course, the incident must be investigated and clarified in accordance with the rule of law.
(automatic translation from german)
The soldier who attacked was not yet on the ground, he was coming out from cover. The others were already lying on the, ground, without weapons.
posted by kmt at 12:16 PM on November 18


A little bit on the side, but the Norwegian Armed Forces provide cold weather training for other Nato forces, and have translated some publications into English, if you'd like to have a look at what kind of training we get up here in the Arctic.
posted by Harald74 at 12:35 PM on November 18 [3 favorites]


A little bit on the side, but the Norwegian Armed Forces provide cold weather training for other Nato forces, and have translated some publications into English, if you'd like to have a look at what kind of training we get up here in the Arctic.

I'm curious what foraging for enough protein, fat, and carbohydrates for an Army division looks like on a barren popsicle.
posted by Sunflowers Beneath the Snow at 12:46 PM on November 18


Heh, I only have a tiny bit of survival training, but the instructors stressed shelter, warmth and water, and not to even bother with foraging up here.
posted by Harald74 at 12:57 PM on November 18


I'm curious what foraging for enough protein, fat, and carbohydrates for an Army division looks like on a barren popsicle.

posted by Sunflowers Beneath the Snow

1. Sea fish
2. Sea mammals
3. The livers of land animals
4. Aquatic birds

5. Don't get wet obtaining anything
6. Be careful of any kind of injury from sea mammals; their bites result in horrible infections
7. Actually be careful butchering them too for the same reason
8. Don't get wet. Seriously no.
posted by Jane the Brown at 1:38 PM on November 18 [4 favorites]


I was thinking of popsicle Kursk, sniper searching for Steppe Polecats. I was holding links for a Ukrainian poetry thread.

Poems in a Time of Crisis
March 13, 2022

War Poems from a Ukrainian Poet.

The 2022 Foley Contest: Poetry that speaks the unspeakable about the tragedy in Ukraine.

New Work by Ukrainian Poet Halyna Kruk

A Writers War

Peace Prize winner Serhiy Zhadan: Ukraine's rock star poet
23.10.2022
posted by clavdivs at 3:45 PM on November 18 [2 favorites]


The soldier who attacked was not yet on the ground, he was coming out from cover. The others were already lying on the, ground, without weapons.

There's no way to have known if the soldiers on the ground were without weapons, they hadn't been searched and processed yet.

In the video the enemy combatant steps out from behind the corner just 2 feet away from the surrendering Russians and fires his rifle in full automatic mode towards the Ukrainians, who are covering the surrendering Russians with multiple automatic weapons themselves. At least one Ukrainian was hit, possibly killed.

I have heard US / NATO training doctrine when encountering an ambush is to instantly return overwhelming fire and push back aggressively into the ambush with everything they have before evaluating the situation, even moving forward and maneuvering / flanking the attackers. If they outnumber the enemy, good. Even if the enemy outnumbers them, that's still the ideal thing to do, because the worst thing that can happen to your team is to lose cohesion and flee while being shot in the back by the ambusher - that can result in 100 soldiers being routed by 10 enemy soldiers. You want the instant, instinctual reaction of every single soldier to be "return fire and push aggressively" rather than hesitate, wait and see, or fall back. The fog of war is real, if 10 soldiers caught in an ambush fight aggressively into an ambush of 50 soldiers, the 50 soldiers might have second thoughts and assume the 10 soldiers have a much larger force backing them up and fall back themselves. And you have no idea in that split second if the first burst of automatic fire in your direction is coming from one soldier or is just the start of a massive ambush your team has walked into.
posted by xdvesper at 4:50 PM on November 18 [10 favorites]


The US military had basically forgotten how to "forage" even in places with local farmers who can sell you some goats and cows, and it is is now beginning to reteach the art. I think the answer if you are living on a dry popsicle is probably going to remain MREs.

“The Russian method of ‘foraging’ is what foraging usually looks like,” he said. “For a lot of armies, that’s not a big deal, but for the U.S. Marines, you don’t want them stealing washing machines.”

Marines teach ethical foraging, in part, because it is the right thing to do and, in part, because a cooperative local populace can be a help on the battlefield.

“If you mistreat the locals, then God help you,” said Dr. Devereaux. “They’re going to tell the enemy where you are.”

posted by Sunflowers Beneath the Snow at 5:17 PM on November 18 [2 favorites]


The attacks on the Ukrainian power grid I think are being misrepresented as "genocide", probably by people like me that support Ukrainians. They are actually attacks on infrastructure, specifically large power transformers which have a large lead time. I think historians have already been taught how you war crime from the air: mass aerial bombing and inducing fire storms.
posted by Sunflowers Beneath the Snow at 11:41 PM on November 18


I think historians have already been taught how you war crime from the air: mass aerial bombing and inducing fire storms.

I may be misunderstanding you point, but specifically, mass bombing and induced fire storms are not the only way to commit war crimes from the air. I'll defer to actual scholars of war crimes, but my amateur understanding is that attacks on civilian infrastructure can sometimes be legitimate (as in, everyone does it) and sometimes violate the rules of war (as in, everyone does it, but that doesn't make every instance ok).

I haven't been seeing the claims that the power system attacks are specifically genocide, but I think a clear argument could be made that these attacks are one small part of a broader Russian genocidal campaign, whether or not that was actually the intention.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:36 AM on November 19 [4 favorites]


If the bombing is intended to farther an agenda of genocide it is working very well. One of the lead stories in the BBC is of a Ukrainian Power Firm telling Ukrainians to leave the country to reduce the demand for power and make it easier to repair the damage.

Genocidal acts include deliberate efforts to displace people, either by forced assimilation or forced expulsion, not just extermination.

But of course so many things in a war of invasion will impact civilians in a deadly way let alone in ways that change their culture. So very many things during a war of invasion will merit a marking on a scale of genocide, many of them minor, some of them even potentially good such as exposing the population to foreign thoughts and culture, or improved medicine and agricultural practices. Some of them will be indisputably genocide, such as mass murder and fire bombing and death camps and death marches.

As someone who who lives in a country where you do not survive in winter if you do not have a heated place to sleep overnight, it strikes me that taking out the power infrastructure could be a much more efficient way of murdering civilians in some circumstances, than actually carpet bombing residential districts. I view the destruction of the power network as genocidal, but can see why it is debatable to other people. It is much easier to recoil in horror when we hear about a shelter full of people being hit than if we hear about a power station destroyed by a bomb because the first murders instantly, the second leaves the population potential options to adapt without loss of life.
posted by Jane the Brown at 7:06 AM on November 19 [16 favorites]


'It is prohibited in all circumstances to make … civilian objects the object of attack by incendiary weapons"

“It is prohibited in all circumstances to direct [mines, booby-traps and other devices], either in offence, defence or by way of reprisals, against … civilian objects.

"intentionally directing attacks against civilian objects, that is, objects which are not military objectives” constitutes a war crime in international armed conflicts."

oh and
Russian Federation
The Russian Federation’s Combat Manual (2005) states:
[P]ersons and objects entitled to protection under international humanitarian law may not be attacked, if these persons are not engaged in hostile actions, and the objects are not used (not prepared to be used) for military purposes.
>
posted by clavdivs at 4:36 PM on November 19 [3 favorites]


The US military had basically forgotten how to "forage" even in places with local farmers who can sell you some goats and cows, and it is is now beginning to reteach the art.

I'm not sure what forgotten means. This re training started nearly a year ago. A latent WSJ story is nice, filled with practical things.
Then there's foraging and looting. Forage if one must but looting... That's why Big Sam gets most of his stuff shipped in as to not strain local supply, make a bad situation worse in a price dispute, etc. Who has time for that.

The Russian method of ‘foraging’ is what foraging usually looks like,” he said. “For a lot of armies, that’s not a big deal, but for the U.S. Marines, you don’t want them stealing washing machines.”

incredible. my uncle was a p o w in Germany and was liberated by the Russians. Russians managed to forage a thousand cows and herd them into the camp that's about 10 men per cow. 4 days after that, my uncle is fishing, and a Russian soldier came upon them and they could communicate and the Russian said stand back, he threw a grenade in the lake and said: this is how you fish.
The Marines. A marine, if need be, would arrange the local authorities for this sort of thing.

I wish this thread could not jump into russian----usaish back and forth as it takes some time to refute this shit.
posted by clavdivs at 5:08 PM on November 19 [3 favorites]


Re: executed POWs. Apparently the bodies were mutilated afterwards (eyes gouged out, hands cut off - CW: exactly that). Is this also standard operating procedure?
posted by kmt at 6:56 AM on November 20


If that happened, then that's probably a sign of a unit that needs to be rotated out of the front lines. But I wouldn't be surprised if mutilating corpses happens from time to time. Not only is it common in many wars, but I would imagine it would happen when you have a strong desire for revenge towards your enemy. After all the atrocities Russia has done, I'd imagine the hatred among Ukrainians runs very, very deep.

But I'm not going to take her word for it. IIRC, Ania Konieczna is a big supporter of "War is scary. Let Russia win!"-style leftism. Seen a fair amount of crap from her before I blocked her posts. Going to wait for independent confirmation.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 7:15 AM on November 20 [6 favorites]


Cutting off hands feels like a way to keep easy identification from happening. But eyes gouged out? That feels more personal, a desecration or defacement.
posted by hippybear at 7:15 AM on November 20


Apparently the bodies were mutilated afterwards

That's her interpretation of a video frame. I would be very surprised if that were a consensus interpretation of the same frame from people familiar with rifle wounds.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 11:05 AM on November 20 [3 favorites]


Those two in the picture were evidently inside the shed when Rambo, who might be one of those two, decided to get his final glory for Russia moment (and sealed the fate of his comrades); the others were face-down on the ground outside already, more or less side by side and were later seen still laying that way.

If you decide to do the Rambo and in doing so invite a hail of bullets, several from a HMG, it's somewhat unlikely that you and the one next to you in the shed as well end up not missing a few extremities and a bit of facial damage.
posted by Stoneshop at 11:49 AM on November 20 [2 favorites]


is a big supporter of "War is scary. Let Russia win!"-style leftism.

Agree. Don't know if this instance is true or false, but watch out for that framing.

I'm not an expert on the legal definition of 'war crime', but mine is quite a bit less all-encompassing than some people's. Infrastructure attacks, eh... well is that so different from sieging a city? Blockading a port? Parking your army on some farmland? Civilians are going to be harmed, and it has a plausible strategic purpose. War sucks, it's not a game.

Also, war messes people up. Soldiers are going to do crazy and heinous things individually. The US is no exception; there are many examples. Those soldiers should be held accountable and steps taken to take care of their mental health, preferably before something like that happens. It's when it rises to the level of encouraged or in fact ordered by the leadership that you can't explain that away with "war sucks". I don't think Ukraine is in that territory, even if you can find individual bad things that have been done (and we're not even sure of that). Russia on the other hand seems to be counting on being as vile and shocking as humanly possible to push "let them win". This is not a "both sides" situation. And I don't think there's anyone here saying that, but there are people wanting everyone to believe that out there.
posted by ctmf at 11:51 AM on November 20 [5 favorites]


Some more people added to my ad-hoc list of war-related Twitter follows in their non-Twitter locations. I'm getting closer to being able to ditch my Twitter Ukraine list. Or at least not left in the dark if Twitter suddenly explodes and flings its turret halfway across Crimea.

Please note: there's a Mastodon instance with largely Ukrainian users. If you're looking for local perspectives, that might be worth browsing. twiukrain.com

Phillips O Brien: https://phillipspobrien.substack.com

H.I. Sutton: www.hisutton.com -- @mstdn.social/@CovertShores

Bruce Wilson: @BruceWilson@mastodon.au

Sergey Mohov: @krides@twiukraine.com


Facts Central -- @stilldelvingh@newsie.social

Oryx: https://www.oryxspioenkop.com/

Serhil Sternenko: t.me/ssternenko

Def Mon: https://t.me/defmon3war

ISW: https://understandingwar.org

Martin Pfeiffer: @NuclearAnthro@home.social


Kyiv Independent: https://kyivindependent.com/
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 9:56 PM on November 20 [16 favorites]


Two more things before leaving this specific incident for later revisit. Hopefully, the war will end soon, and we'll see detailed, impartial statistics and investigations into all war crimes.

The NYT is reporting (archive.ph) on this incident:
“It looks like most of them were shot in the head,” Dr. Rohini Haar, medical adviser at Physicians for Human Rights, said in an interview. “There are pools of blood. That indicates that they were just left there dead. There appears to have been no effort to pick them up or help them.”

Dr. Haar noted that when they surrendered, the Russian soldiers had been lying down, apparently unarmed, with their arms outstretched or behind their heads. “They’re considered hors de combat, or noncombatants — effectively prisoners of war,” Dr. Haar said.
But also:
Iva Vukusic, a war crimes prosecution expert at Utrecht University, said that it was difficult to determine whether a war crime had or had not been committed based on the video evidence alone, and that the critical factor was time — when the Russians were shot.

“Was it in one or two bursts of fire at the moment of, or immediately after, the last Russian comes out and shoots at the Ukrainians?” Dr. Vukusic said. “Or was it after the immediate threat had been neutralized, as an act of revenge — then this is more clearly a war crime.”
Dr. Iva Vukusic is a historian and genocide expert on the Yugoslav wars. Rohini J. Haar, MD, MPH is a human right expert and has first hand experience in documenting war crimes (2017, Bangladesh, Rohingya genocide).

I highlighted the credentials of the intervieews to avoid dismissal based on political grounds. But this leads to a second problem: for understandable reasons Russian crimes won't be reported in Russian channels. But the same goes for Ukrainian war crimes if they happen: they'll be posted mostly in the opposition channels. This is why I advise anyone following the conflict to follow the channels of both sides and their interpretation by experts.

I mean, have you seen this video about '"Orc in original package" said the AFU soldier' posted by an opposition Ukrainian politician? No? Wonder why not? Can you do a consensus read on the event it depicts? (CW: tied up, alive POW(?) in a coffin in a back of a truck -- I wonder what happened with him.) I also saw the sledgehammer video (RU), the castration video (RU), the kneecapping video (UA), the Zs cut into POWs (UA). My point is -- and the NYT makes this same point -- that both sides are committing war crimes: the question is their magnitude.

You cannot and should not justify the Russian (or any illegal) invasion.

You cannot and should not justify war crimes.
posted by kmt at 11:09 PM on November 20 [5 favorites]


Super helpful thanks I never saw the sledgehammer video yet!!
posted by some loser at 2:07 AM on November 21


"Opposition Ukrainian politician" is one way to describe Anatoly Shariy. A homophobe who often takes pro-Russian positions. At least he seems against the invasion, but at this point that's doing the barest of minimums. Calling him simply "opposition" is letting opposition do a lot of heavy lifting.

No, I haven't seen the orc packaging video before. And after everything I've seen the Russians do, I can't get too upset about it. I don't know what happened to the Russian. I would imagine he's probably still alive. POWs are a very valuable currency to Ukraine. In fact, many soldiers refer to them as "currency". Each POW can be exchanged for at least one Ukrainian. For everyone, from the President to the grunts, it is absolutely vital to get their people out of Russian hands. That gives the Russian POWs some inherent value that seems to be largely respected.

Plus, at least the leadership understands that good treatment of POWs will encourage further surrenders. The soldiers in the field also seem to understand this and largely act accordingly. Russia is desperate to counteract the successful portrayal of themselves as depraved barbarians. If there was widespread abuse, they would be plastering such evidence everywhere. Russians are not very good at war but they are very good at propaganda.

There's zero doubt in my mind that Ukraine has committed war crimes at times. But the key difference is there are no orders, that we know of, that implement crimes in a systematic way. The reverse is true of Russia. From the rapes to the mass graves to the starvation & beating of Ukrainian POWs, this is a tactic of the Russian military and encouraged by the government. They don't even have the grace to be ashamed of it.

I understand the desire to go after war crimes on both sides. But let's not "both sides" the issue. There's a very clear difference between the two nations.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 4:01 AM on November 21 [18 favorites]




You cannot and should not justify war crimes.

Then it is quite excellent that nobody has done that here!

But what does happen every now and then is tankies trying to both-sides the issue. I have seen much less of tankies recently, I guess most of them realized after the mass graves and rapes that they don't look like the anti-imperialist good guys they imagined themselves to be anymore (or maybe I'm not looking at the correct places to see them). But surfacing from time to time to point at any shitty thing the Ukrainian side does, while going hint hint surely that is as bad as everything Russia has done and perhaps even worse!, is of course a time honored propaganda tactic.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 5:33 AM on November 21 [11 favorites]


Previously reported that Lithuania may not transfer air defence assets to Ukraine. The Lithuanian State Defence council reportedly decided today that they indeed won't transfer their NASAMS systems to Ukraine. (most of the article is unfortunately behind paywall)
posted by kmt at 8:35 AM on November 21


IAMD is a really hot topic in defense circles rn and there's basically not enough leading edge SAM tech in the west to meet current needs. The fact Ukraine got any NASAMS tier systems at all is kind of a big deal in that context.
posted by some loser at 9:40 AM on November 21 [1 favorite]


I continue to be astonished that we aren't training the Ukrainians on PATRIOTs right now (or beginning 6+ months ago). I may make a new ResistBot message today.
posted by Reverend John at 10:05 AM on November 21 [1 favorite]


There may not be much in the way of spare Patriot units to send. Poland is asking for more, and not sending any it has received from its order. France is sending some of its Croatale ('Rattlesnake') SAMs.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:02 PM on November 21 [3 favorites]


We have to look at how the leaders of Ukraine and Russia and their military culture is managed to limit the number of atrocities/war crimes committed by their soldiers. Are there individual commanders or higher leaders that are enabling and even encouraging the conduct. Are there training programs to discourage this conduct effective? How are those who are accused of war crimes treated and how are they punished.

Russia is clearly worse by these measures; but Ukraine still has problems in terms of the consequences side of the equation. This is on par with the US military (so still not great). I don’t know how much better they can get while Russia is invading their country.
posted by interogative mood at 1:37 PM on November 21 [1 favorite]


The wonderful Jose Andres got a plaque in the Alley of Heroes for World Central Kitchen's tireless work in feeding people.
posted by tavella at 2:41 PM on November 21 [6 favorites]


Zelenskyy's continuing serving as the head of the country, not just the military leader but so much more, continues to inspire me and I hope others. He seems to be everywhere all the time doing things from visiting the frontline to honoring people who have helped the war effort far behind the lines. It's remarkable, and will likely be studied for generations to come.
posted by hippybear at 3:19 PM on November 21 [5 favorites]


I certainly don't have the expertise to say where spare Patriot batteries for Ukraine would come from, but according to the Wikipedia page we have over 1,100 in service, and we have been able to find batteries to bring to our wars in Iraq, so I'd assume we have at least a few to send.

So, here's my latest ResistBot message. If you'd like to send it to your federal officials as well you can text SIGN PMBHUF to 50409.
Please send PATRIOT anti-missile defense systems to Ukraine

Please send PATRIOT anti-missile defense systems to Ukraine immediately. Russian missile attacks are crippling Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure. We have over 1000 of these systems in our stockpile, currently gathering dust. 100 to 200 of these systems could cover most of Ukraine’s airspace and critical infrastructure. We should start training Ukrainian crews on these systems immediately and transfer the equipment as the Ukrainian crews complete their training. This war is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, and the sooner we start training the Ukrainians on these systems the better.

Please also extend economic assistance to Ukraine to help them maintain their economy and rebuild their infrastructure which has been destroyed by Russia.

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.

posted by Reverend John at 5:55 PM on November 21


I haven't heard anything which says PATRIOT actually functions as intended. Despite Bush claiming a 97% intercept rate during the Gulf War, there was a subsequent investigation and testimony before the House Committee which presented evidence that the real intercept rate was between 0% to 10%. (from Wikipedia)

"Both testimonies state that part of the problems stem from its original design as an anti-aircraft system. Patriot was designed with proximity fused warheads, which are designed to explode immediately prior to hitting a target spraying shrapnel out in a fan in front of the missile, either destroying or disabling the target. These missiles were fired at the target's center of mass. With aircraft this was fine, but considering the much higher speeds of TBMs, as well as the location of the warhead (usually in the nose), Patriot would most often hit closer to the tail of the Scud due to the delay present in the proximity fused warhead, thus not destroying the TBM's warhead and allowing it to fall to earth.

The Patriot missile system was not the spectacular success in the Persian Gulf War that the American public was led to believe. There is little evidence to prove that the Patriot hit more than a few Scud missiles launched by Iraq during the Gulf War, and there are some doubts about even these engagements. The public and the United States Congress were misled by definitive statements of success issued by administration and Raytheon representatives during and after the war."
posted by xdvesper at 7:45 PM on November 21 [2 favorites]


The current version of Patriot Missile System is very different from the 1991 model. There are 30 years of software and hardware changes.
posted by interogative mood at 8:13 PM on November 21 [5 favorites]


The current version of Patriot Missile System is very different from the 1991 model. There are 30 years of software and hardware changes.

If they were crappy, there wouldn't be along waiting list of countries asking for them.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:42 PM on November 21 [2 favorites]


The Patriot system is a total Ship of Theseus. There's not much of the original program's hardware in a modern battery. Maybe the diesel generators, I guess. But the radar has been upgraded at least twice, the computers two or three times, the software probably a dozen, the missiles four.

The modern system perhaps shouldn't even share the same name, but largely for bureaucratic reasons related to US military procurement, it's much easier to upgrade an existing system than it is to develop, test, certify, and deploy a new one. And it's probably legitimately lower-risk to continually swap out bits and pieces of a known quantity like Patriot than give a stack of requirements to Raytheon or LM and hope they deliver something that doesn't suck. (The failure rate of green-fields defense programs is... alarmingly not-low.)

The Patriot batteries under consideration by Poland reportedly won't even use the US-built Lockheed Martin MIM-104F/PAC-3 missile, which itself is cheap-and-cheerful by US defense standards (a mere two megabucks each... only if you buy in bulk, mind), but instead were slated to use the Rafael SkyCeptor/Stunner kinetic interceptor from the Israeli "David’s Sling" program. But then at the last minute, they apparently decided to acquire and integrate the UK-made MBDA CAMM instead (with the option, I think, of domestic production in Poland), which is basically a ground-launched ASRAAM with updated electronics. I'm not sure if there was some cost or capability difference, or if they were just pretending to be interested in SkyCeptor in order to chisel MBDA out of a few million bucks in the CAMM deal. But at any rate, they plan to plug the CAMM launchers into the newest-generation Raytheon radars and Kongsberg battle management systems... it's really only "Patriot" if you squint at it pretty hard.

So over 40 years, a system that originally tossed a 2,000-pound missile with a fragmentation warhead designed to mess up Soviet aircraft (and pilots) 50 miles away, has become a system designed to throw a ~200-pound, contact-detonating missile at very small missile/drone targets out to about 15 miles. That's an almost laughably different problem set... yet it's still carrying the same brand name.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:20 PM on November 21 [12 favorites]


Reverend John: I certainly don't have the expertise to say where spare Patriot batteries for Ukraine would come from, but according to the Wikipedia page we have over 1,100 in service

Sorry but when you say 'we', are you talking about the US?
That can't be taken for granted on MeFi, and in this thread even less. So I figured I'd ask.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:41 AM on November 22 [4 favorites]


The picture is also a bit unclear with NASAMS, a significantly newer product, as it has been designed as a "network-centric" system. This means that it can interface with different radars, other sensors and launchers, and even the standard launcher can have a mix of AIM-9X, AMRAAM and AMRAAM-ER. You can even hook it up to a Patriot system, and they will talk. So evaluating the capabilities of a NASAMS deployment can be a bit complex, as all kinds of stuff can be hooked up to and managed by the Kongsberg fire direction center.

Ukrainian authorities said that on the first attack NASAMS was deployed to counter, they engaged 10 missiles and hit all 10, BTW.
posted by Harald74 at 2:15 AM on November 22 [1 favorite]


The current version of Patriot Missile System is very different from the 1991 model. There are 30 years of software and hardware changes.

The point I was making was that the Patriot system was hyped up and even reported as being 97% effective. It was only investigations after the fact that determined the effectiveness was in reality near 0%.

Since the Gulf War there has been virtually zero evidence that the billions of dollars worth of upgrades have been effective, since, of course, there hasn't been a chance of test them in combat. In the absence of any evidence, what are the chances Raytheon is lying again? Of course we should sent Patriots and be cautiously optimistic but I'm personally not going to believe it until we see some results.
posted by xdvesper at 4:20 AM on November 22 [2 favorites]


Perhaps you just aren't paying attention to wars off the center stage. The recent versions have been in use Yemen since 2015 and have been reported to be effective (whatever you think of the war, the Saudis or Raytheon), the issue is with their supply (and the lopsided math vs threats).

CSIS on the Patriot.

posted by snuffleupagus at 5:05 AM on November 22 [3 favorites]


Thanks, the Missile war in Yemen was a great read.

I am aware that the Patriot BMD is actively used in the Yemen war, as well as noted the SM-2 and Nulka performance, but was under the impression that the volume of intercepts was small. Going by the Wikipedia page for the Patriot system, it notes 42 attempted intercepts during the Gulf War, but only cites 5 attempted intercept incidents in its Saudi service - 2 successful, 2 uncertain, and 1 failure. It seems like that is only a fraction of claimed intercepts, The Missile War in Yemen claims 162 intercepts and also notes some shockingly high casualty incidents from ballistic missiles strikes.

The summary from the report -

"Incomplete access to information makes it difficult to have a clear picture of Patriot performance during the Yemen missile war. There is a significant amount of false information surrounding missile and missile defense activity. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have, at times, prematurely or falsely claimed successful intercepts. The Houthis have furthermore falsely claimed successful missile attacks and frequently mischaracterize artillery rocket fire as ballistic missile launches.

Various groups have provided different data and assessments. In July 2016, an official from Raytheon, the U.S. defense firm that manufactures Patriot, claimed Saudi Patriots had a “100 percent success rate” in intercepting “well over a couple dozen” Houthi missile attacks. Just over a year later, in November 2017, Raytheon said that Patriot had had “over 100 successful engagements” during the conflict. The 2018 UN Panel of Experts report cites 55 “confirmed or reported” intercepts of Houthi missiles between 2015-2017.

The CSIS database tracked reports of 57 reported intercepts during the 2015-2017 period and over 162 reported intercepts as of April 2020.

Despite the large discrepancy in sources and methodology, these figures are not necessarily contradictory. There is likely a significant amount of Patriot activity that goes unreported or is otherwise unconfirmable by independent observers. A successful Houthi missile strike, moreover, does not necessarily equate to a failed intercept attempt. The nature of Patriot as a point defense system limits its defended area. Missiles attacking outside these areas would not be engageable. Even within a defended area, Patriot operators may deem a target to be on a non-threatening trajectory and choose to let it go rather than expending valuable interceptors. Even in the event of a genuinely failed intercept, the root cause could be either operator error or mechanical failure. Absent a complete data set that can account for these variables, any effort to quantify Patriot’s reliability using its performance in the Yemen conflict will remain questionable.

posted by xdvesper at 5:37 AM on November 22 [1 favorite]


"Questionable" is a far cry from assuming it's closer to zero effectiveness. If it had been ineffective for six years, the Saudis would stop buying it. Other governments wouldn't be clamoring for it. Etc.

I did note that some of the current reporting says that Ukraine's desire for the Patriot over other systems has to do with ballistic and cruise missile intercepts rather than drones; in which case the deployed numbers of the older models might be relevant. (I guess they could also be more sensitive under ABM protocols than systems limited to short-range defense.)
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:50 AM on November 22 [1 favorite]


Due to the recent Twitter turmoil, Phillips O'Brian has started a newsletter on Substack. Here is a weekend update with some analysis on directions the war could turn now.
posted by Harald74 at 6:07 AM on November 22 [1 favorite]


These guys probably didn't get the memo.

We've already established some Ukrainians are committing war crimes. No one's arguing with you on that point. But one video doesn't disprove what I said. What would disprove it would be proof that this is a systematic approach to POWs approved by the military and/or civilian leadership.

I honestly don't know what you're trying to prove beyond "both sides are just as bad". Which is ridiculous.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 6:11 AM on November 22 [10 favorites]


but persistent mind you
posted by some loser at 6:13 AM on November 22


Russia can 100% solve the problem of its soldiers being murdered by turning around and going the fuck home.
posted by Sauce Trough at 8:03 AM on November 22 [25 favorites]


I honestly don't know what you're trying to prove beyond "both sides are just as bad". Which is ridiculous.

A tankie is tanking. That's all there is to it.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 10:01 AM on November 22 [8 favorites]


I'm even kind of amazed that after I literally pointed out how tankie thinking works, that there's a pitch perfect example of it with kmt's post, a day later, to the nearest minute.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 10:29 AM on November 22 [7 favorites]


I'm even kind of amazed

Yeah, same. 12 hours after I said "I don't think anyone here is saying that", someone came here to literally say that.
posted by ctmf at 10:46 AM on November 22 [2 favorites]


Too-Ticky: Sorry but when you say 'we', are you talking about the US?
That can't be taken for granted on MeFi, and in this thread even less. So I figured I'd ask.


Sorry, yes, bad habit of mine, which I try to be mindful of but sometimes slip up. By 'we' I meant the US.
posted by Reverend John at 4:06 PM on November 22 [1 favorite]


Many, if not most, of the counter-missile and counter-UAV systems on the market right now are basically untested in combat. (Even existing systems like Stinger, which has a heck of a resume, haven't really been used in the kind of combat Ukraine is likely to use them in.) If you were the Ukrainian MoD, I'm not sure there's an obvious choice besides Patriot, at least not that you could (theoretically, if the US wanted to) get your hands on in reasonable quantity in reasonable time.

US defense technology tends to be eye-wateringly expensive (duh) but has enough international buyers with real wartime problems clamoring for it, that it seems safe to assume it usually does what it says on the tin. Or close enough to do the job. Raytheon salespeople may be good, but I doubt they're bamboozling dozens of countries' defense departments, all the time.

Anyway; Ukraine's only option at this point seems to be: ask for whatever seems to be the best, take whatever is given, hope these systems work as well as the West claims they do, and flex their tactics based on the limits imposed by those systems. If the systems work (e.g. HIMARS), they get an advantage. If they don't, they're probably not much worse off; at least they know what doesn't work.
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:06 PM on November 22 [4 favorites]


And knowing the Ukrainians, they'll be able to figure out how to make it work in some way to their benefit regardless. Resourceful, I say!
posted by hippybear at 7:22 PM on November 22 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure there's an obvious choice besides Patriot

Is Iron Dome not similar? Shorter range?


3. The livers of land animals

Not the dogs though. Ask Mawson.
posted by pompomtom at 3:37 AM on November 23


pompomtom: Is Iron Dome not similar? Shorter range?

You could say that their range is indeed limited. To Israel.
posted by Stoneshop at 3:42 AM on November 23


AFAIK Ukraine has asked US for Patriot and Israel for Iron Dome. Neither seem forthcoming.

You could say that their range is indeed limited. To Israel.

...like how Patriot is limited to $PLACES_NEAR_USA_OIL_UNDER_WEIRDLY_FOREIGN_SAND?
posted by pompomtom at 5:51 AM on November 23


Except it's not.

Could people stop using these threads to air their generic, low-effort ritual complaints about "the West," the US and Israel?
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:58 AM on November 23 [9 favorites]


Iron Dome is reportedly pretty good at what it does, which is interception of relatively slow-moving, short range, ballistic-trajectory rockets. Shit people build in garages out of spare parts, basically. At least that was its original purpose. It was never designed to deal with fast-moving theater ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, aerodynamic glide vehicles, maneuverable warheads, decoys, or any of the stuff modern military systems tend to have.

I see it as a complementary capability. IIRC, the Israelis have Patriot batteries to deal with the threat of 'real' ballistic missiles from Syria / Lebanon (and probably also expect their air force will zap them as they're being prepared for launch, a capability that Ukraine currently doesn't have).

Iron Dome uses missiles ("effectors", if you're Raytheon) that are far cheaper than Patriot currently does, even in its most-recent configuration (hence the Polish interest in using Patriot radar systems + Rafael's SkyCeptor missiles), and the battle management systems seem to be under active development. So it may be more performant than I'm giving it credit for.

The system everyone in the West wants, but nobody really has yet, is a flexible-response, networked system where you have a variety of short/medium/long range radars, paired with various types of "effectors" that you can match to the incoming threat, maybe starting out with something cheap (EW, directed energy—if they can ever get it to work under battlefield conditions), and then escalating to more expensive hard-kill systems if that doesn't work. But as it turns out, that sort of systems integration work is really hard, particularly when you're trying to get a bunch of defense companies who don't really like to play nice with each other work as a team. I'd give the Ukrainians or the Israelis the best odds of making something like that work, just because they have the domestic technical capability, and they're, uh, highly motivated.

Or, although nobody likes to talk about this, maybe not escalate to those expensive systems if the area under threat doesn't warrant it. It's not viable to launch $100,000 missiles at every $3,000 drone or rocket that some jackass flies into your airspace; you can literally hit every target but lose a war that way. At some point you protect your population with bunkers and warning systems and fix Joe Farmer's barn afterwards.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:45 AM on November 23 [9 favorites]


This is a bit of aside, but I just saw this. Is this true or maybe there is a problem with this poll? It says that nearly half of Americans think Russia is communist right now. On the one hand it would explain tankies in a manner I didn't even consider... but, I can't really believe it. Someone tell me this poll is wrong.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 11:18 AM on November 23


If it's accurate then it's probably in the way it's used as a misnomer for "repressive, totalitarian police state" rather than actually being Marxist-Leninst or whatever. Plus, all of Russia's nationalistic rhetoric that blends Imperial and Soviet themes to produce scenes like this.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:23 AM on November 23 [4 favorites]


There are two challenges in getting the Patriot missile system into Ukraine. First we have an order backlog and it takes time to produce them. There is some talk of shifting deliveries currently scheduled for Saudi Arabia or elsewhere to Ukraine; but nothing firm there. Second it is a complicated system and you have to train a large number of people to specialized roles to setup, operate and do the required maintenance. My understanding is it would be 18-24 months to get Ukraine trained up to be able to field Patriots. There is some talk of using PMCs or volunteers with experience to support the systems while Ukraine trains up but that is risky.
posted by interogative mood at 11:26 AM on November 23 [1 favorite]


The Third challenge is that they're so expensive: the interceptors (missiles) alone are 3 million dollars a pop. A system with all the various trucks and radars and comms relays and generators and missile batteries is like a billion dollars or something IIRC.
posted by some loser at 11:42 AM on November 23


And even then they're mainly for ballistic missile defense so it may not be that useful against cruise missiles and slow moving "loitering munitions" (suicide drones) anyhow sadly.

Some friendly nation finding a forgotten cache of S-300 batteries lying around would be ideal for Ukraine right now because they have experience with them and could put them to immediate use.
posted by some loser at 11:50 AM on November 23


At some point you protect your population with bunkers and warning systems and fix Joe Farmer's barn afterwards.

The tricky thing is that the Russian weapons aren't falling on Josyf's barn; they're accurate enough to target electrical infrastructure, which is going to be widely spread throughout the country. So it seems like you need kinetic defense in breadth -- very expensive! -- unless you're prepared to write off electrification for undefended regions.

I'm not sure how the economics spreadsheet out -- how long Russia can afford to keep tossing iranian munitions at Ukraine's electric grid, and how long Ukraine + suppliers can afford to maintain the very expensive systems that defend that power grid. Maybe the long-term play for Russia is a slow grind of occasional drone and missile attacks that force Ukraine to pay the spendy upkeep for their air defenses.
posted by Sauce Trough at 1:58 PM on November 23


Ukraine's Air Force explains how to shoot down Iranian drones deployed by Russia

Shaheed-136 drones are stealthy and low-flying, but once you've spotted them you can engage them with plain ol' antiaircraft guns, which I imagine are a little cheaper than the state-of-the-art systems you need to defend against ballistic missiles. Ukraine claims that it is killing Shaheeds in bulk but announced kill counts in wartime have strong bullshit incentives, so who knows. And antiaircraft guns cover way less airspace than missile batteries, so you gotta deploy them liberally.

I don't know how one kills Kalibur cruise missiles. All of the anecdotes I've read are that they are like fast drones that don't loiter -- difficult to detect but not bad to shoot down once you've spotted them. Saw lots of anecdotes about manpads cruise missile kills.

Ballistic missiles like the S300 and the Iskander, I think those are the expensive ones to counter, requiring spendy ultra-tech effectors. But ballistic missiles are are also very expensive to produce...
posted by Sauce Trough at 2:18 PM on November 23


The system everyone in the West wants, but nobody really has yet, is a flexible-response, networked system where you have a variety of short/medium/long range radars, paired with various types of "effectors" that you can match to the incoming threat,

May I present to you the 1960's era technology of the Naval Tactical Data System!
The Naval Tactical Data System was not to be an end in itself. Its main purpose was to process radar data into information for use by other weapon systems, and coordinating the use of those weapon systems in fleet anti-air defense. The three principal users of processed information from NTDS would be airborne fighter interceptors, shipboard AA gun systems, and shipboard guided missile systems.
posted by mikelieman at 3:30 PM on November 23


Or SAGE.
posted by snuffleupagus at 3:38 PM on November 23


I'm not sure that a backlog on producing new Patriot systems should be a hurdle for providing Patriots to Ukraine. Were the HIMARS, M777s, and other equipment provided by the US to Ukraine new items? I was under the impression they were provided out of existing stocks. If so, I assume Patriots could also be provided from the existing US stocks.

Clearly the long time required to train the Ukrainians on the Patriot system is an issue. However, its not clear how long this war is going to drag on or how Russia will use their existing stockpiles of long range missiles or if they'll be able to produce or acquire more (from Iran, China, or North Korea). So I think we (the US, the collective West) should start training the Ukrainians on it immediately.

As for the cost, if these systems could shorten the war by protecting Ukraine and reducing Russia's ability to terrorize Ukrainian civilians, they'd be a bargain versus sitting is storage in Iowa or wherever.
posted by Reverend John at 4:41 PM on November 23 [1 favorite]


It's entirely possible training on Patriot systems for Ukrainians started months ago and we haven't heard about it.

We don't know what all is going on. We see reports of things that are fuzzy, and a few reports that are concrete. This fog of war is something we think we get clear glimpses through, but really it'll be years after it's all done that any sort of clear picture can be assembled.

Would it surprise me if there were Ukrainians who had begun training on Patriot missile systems months ago? No. Would it surprise me if that had not yet begun? No.

This wintertime is going to be interesting and perhaps decisive. I think the Ukrainians have the upper hand for all sort of reasons, but Putin is a bastard. Maybe Eastern Europe needs to adopt a "take in a Ukrainian family for the winter" program to help ease the electricity and heating situation. That's my only suggestion at the moment.
posted by hippybear at 4:47 PM on November 23 [3 favorites]


The Kyiv Independent on Twitter
⚡️Poland asks Germany to send Patriot missile launchers to Ukraine.

Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said on Nov. 23 he had asked Germany to send Patriot missile launchers offered to Poland to western Ukraine.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:12 PM on November 23


> Naval Tactical Data System

> Or SAGE.

Yep. Each of the services has taken its own whacks at the problem over the years. The Air Force will tell you they've gotten the closest to the "All Domain Command and Control" dream, with ABMS (kinda-sorta a descendent of SAGE). The Navy and Army obviously tend to disagree with that assessment and have their own preferred efforts.

So now, obviously, we have to pick one and fucking stick to it spend a few hundred million dollars making Powerpoints about the problem. As one does.

This is why I have more faith in some Ukrainian or Israeli skunkworks team creating a working "JADC2" system than any of the US primes: being on the receiving end of incoming fire creates a certain motivation to create systems that actually work, as opposed to making slide decks about how hard it is. The US defense sector—particularly the part of it that has been bought up by Wall Street and private equity in the last decade—is… somewhat more focused on financials than battlefield results.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:33 PM on November 23 [1 favorite]


Poland asks Germany to send Patriot missile launchers to Ukraine.

Ugh, I want to kick my own government again (so what else is new). As Wyborcza points out this is a senseless snub because while Germany has offered to station Patriots with trained German crews in Poland, these crews can't drive into Ukraine because they're freaking NATO soldiers. And the US controls Patriot distribution and has until now explicitly withheld them from Ukraine. The stupidest thing is that the defense minister, who's a useful idiot but a good administrator, was properly grateful until Kaczynski ordered him to refuse for PR reasons.

Cheap anti-German propaganda alas, as is the recent exploit where the same Polish government applied for World War II reparations over half a century after explicitly disavowing them. Like, can someone please look on a map and see how much good German land and industry we got extra after the war?

Personally I would very much prefer to have those Patriots guarding Warsaw, where I live. As does Kaczynski, for all that he thinks the pro-Russian agents in his government *cough*Macierewicz and his NATO sabotage*cough* will protect him.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 2:35 AM on November 24 [6 favorites]


Ivan Antypenko posts a photo essay on life in Kherson after liberation. He writes:
Херсон після ейфорії.
Що відбувається в місті через два тижні після втечі росіян.
Тред + фото.

Kherson after the euphoria.
What happens in the city two weeks after the escape of the Russians.
Thread + photo.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 4:06 AM on November 24 [2 favorites]


That story of Poland rejecting German Patriots and asking them to be sent to Ukraine is weird. Also reminds me of the weirdness around sending the Polish MiG-29s to Ukraine.

Also the point about the possibility that we're quietly training the Ukrainians on the Patriots already is well taken. I certainly hope that's the case (and when this story first appeared I wondered if it was confirmation of that). I just wish I knew that we were doing all we could for Ukraine, and that any apparent shortcomings were for good reasons that are secret or at least complicated and obscure. That's why I keep firing off letters of support to my congresspeople.
posted by Reverend John at 8:17 AM on November 24 [1 favorite]


Cyber Operations During Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine in 2022
Nurlan Aliyev looks into why Russia has so far proved unable to overwhelm Ukraine’s cyber defences
posted by Kabanos at 9:20 AM on November 24 [1 favorite]


IIRC, Germany sent at least parts of Skynex to Ukraine, so asking for Patriots would be a bit odd if they've already got pieces of a better system in-place. Just send them an enormous pile of SkyKnight nodes and a few Revolver Mk3 gun units.
posted by aramaic at 11:05 AM on November 24


Ward Caroll (a retired USN F-14 and F-18 driver) has uploaded an informative interview with Justin Bronk of RUSI; a review of the air war to date encompassing the situation with ground-based defenses and the options for replacing Ukraine's fighters.
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:49 PM on November 24 [2 favorites]


BERLIN, Nov 24 (Reuters) : Germany's Merkel says didn't have political strength for pre-invasion Ukraine talks

Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she had aimed to convene European talks with Vladimir Putin the year before his invasion of Ukraine but in the end did not see any possibility of influencing the Russian president at the end of her term.
...
posted by Too-Ticky at 3:59 AM on November 25


That Ward Caroll interview with Justin Bronk makes me even more uneasy about the air war situation in Ukraine. I really hope we've been quietly training enough Ukrainians for a few hundred Patriot batteries for the last 6 months or more, and can start rolling them in as soon as the troop are ready.

Scrounging up a bunch of Saab Gripens would be good, too.
posted by Reverend John at 5:42 PM on November 27


The Saab Gripen seems to be the right mix of upgraded capabilities, pilot compatibility and able to operate in Ukraine’s current infrastructure. It is probably less escalatory than F-16s or other western fighter options. The main problem is how quickly can Saab actually deliver aircraft to Ukraine. I’m not sure anyone other than the US can Ukraine ready to fly aircraft in under 18 months.
posted by interogative mood at 9:03 PM on November 27 [1 favorite]


Time for a new Flying Tigers formation? (Probably not, but the story of the original Flying Tigers, American volunteer fighter squadrons fighting the Japanese in China in 1941-42, is really interesting)
posted by Harald74 at 10:40 PM on November 27 [3 favorites]


Tymofiy Mylovanov left the US for Kyiv days before the war, to manage the Kyiv School of Economics, and here are some glimpses from his week in Kyiv.
posted by Harald74 at 10:41 PM on November 27 [3 favorites]


The simple availability of surplus F-16 aircraft doesn't necessarily translate into faster deployment in Ukraine given the F-16's support needs (so long as US contractors in Ukraine is a no-go), plus which F-16s are going to be supplied.

Are euro nations looking to replace the F-16 going to be willing to give them up before they can get F-35s? From US stocks, go deep enough into the boneyard and you're talking about remanufacturing much of the plane. Unless the proposal is for Vipers from the US ANG fleet in service, or new production, which I don't think it is.

Plus as Bronk pointed out, the F-16's fixed basing needs would make it vulnerable to runway denial attacks until the point that Ukraine has mostly pushed Russia back to its 2014 borders. It's very vulnerable to FOD. It's a good choice for a bulked-up Ukrainian air force down the line, but under present conditions the only thing in its favor is that there's surplus.

Saab is presently delivering Gripen to Brazil. Diverting any of those was a no-go under Bolsonaro, Lula might be more accommodating in exchange for concessions on the ultimate cost of their order. Sweden might also be persuaded to lend at least a handful of them if Ukraine commits to a larger order, and it either gets into NATO or is given some kind of temporary air-defense security assurance.

As an alternative to the F-16 if the Gripen can't be done, I also think Carroll dismissed the idea of giving Ukraine what old Hornets (i.e., F/A-18A, not Super Hornets) are remaining too hastily as "high time." Surely the MiGs and the SUs the Ukrainians are currently flying are high-time too. And the oft-rumored never-seen A-10s are high-time as well and would presumably need to be re-engined and have some fuselage/wing work done before delivery.

Or they could be G-limited if they're just going to be used as NATO-compatible standoff bomb-trucks (which would also require less transition training).

The Hornets are going to be the closest thing to the MiG-29s and SU-27s too, being a twin-engined, twin-tailed air superiority fighter of that generation. The navalized gear makes them capable of ruggedized operations, even if they don't have the same simplified support needs as the Gripen. The USN could establish a technical advisory presence in Romania as a shore detachment from the Bush carrier group. Perhaps damaged aircraft could even land there.

Then a deal could be made for the transfer of the USN's Super Hornets to Ukraine when it has received enough F-35Cs, which could be good for both countries.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:01 AM on November 28 [1 favorite]


On a quick search, some of those original F/A-18s being retired by the Navy's VMFA-323 "Death Rattlers" after their final carrier cruise were redeployed to Poland in April to...escort tankers.

Like other units, it would not be surprising if VMFA-323 performs Agile Combat Employment (ACE) operations to various dispersed locations throughout Europe during this deployment. The ACE concept sees multiple aircraft – often two examples – forward deploy to various airfields at short notice with a limited footprint of assets and personnel. The concept is currently popular with frontline US fighter units and is being adopted by various NATO member states.

this could possibly be the unit’s final operational deployment with the legacy Hornet, as the USMC continues its transition to a fifth-generation fighting force with the introduction of the F-35B/C Lightning II multi-role stealth fighter. It is believed that VMFA-323 will take over training responsibilities from Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101 (VMFAT-101) ‘Sharpshooters’ – the current Fleet Replacement Squadron – in 2024. The unit is expected to serve as a Fleet Replacement Detachment until 2027, where it will continue to train the USMC’s remaining legacy Hornet pilots until the type is ultimately phased out of service.


Hmm.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:11 AM on November 28 [1 favorite]


The Pope, in an interview with America magazine, speculates on who might be responsible for the worst of the war crimes in Ukraine. He seems to conclude that it's probably the minorities who's at fault:

When I speak about Ukraine, I speak about the cruelty because I have much information about the cruelty of the troops that come in. Generally, the cruelest are perhaps those who are of Russia but are not of the Russian tradition, such as the Chechens, the Buryati and so on.

posted by Harald74 at 10:27 PM on November 28


Vladimir Makei, the Belarussian Foreign Minister, died suddenly on Saturday and conspiracy theories abound since he was part of the mechanism that's kept Belarus from actively taking part in the war so far. I've seen speculation both that Lukashenko did him in because he was too friendly to Russians, and that Russians did him in to put the fear of Putin into Lukashenko.

Most updated numbers I've seen yesterday are that a million Ukrainian refugees are currently staying in Poland, but up to half a million more may arrive as winter bites down. Already some are homeless or living in very cramped accommodations rather than the main suburban refugee center on the outskirts of Warsaw, because rents have risen to the point where minimal wage + child subsidies aren't enough to even pay rent alone for a studio, never mind buy food and clothing and medication. Habitat for Humanity Poland is running the official Warsaw housing aid for Ukrainians and looking for donations.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 11:04 PM on November 28 [10 favorites]


ChrisO_wiki on Twitter
1/ Russian women have set up a "private knitting company" called the Night Witches to address a severe shortage of underpants on the front line. A shortage of fabric has led to the use of material with pink roses, cute elephants and leftovers from the 1980 Moscow Olympics. ⬇️
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:21 PM on November 29 [2 favorites]


Are we entering into a phase of this war where nothing is really going on and people only have speculation about weapons systems to share? Or have the ways we've been pulling in information about the war become crippled as part of the whole Social Media nonsense we've had going on? I'm finding this thread much less informational and much more speculative than previous threads. I'm bad at doing the research on the actual war, so I've been sort of relying on these threads for information I'm not seeing in my casual net surfing.
posted by hippybear at 2:09 PM on November 29 [3 favorites]


Are we entering into a phase of this war where nothing is really going on and people only have speculation about weapons systems to share?

Russia is mainly attacking UKR infrastructure with drones right now. It's mud season, so vehicles are limited use in many areas. Once the ground freezes expect to see more activity.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 2:48 PM on November 29 [1 favorite]


Are we entering into a phase of this war where nothing is really going on

There is unbelievably brutal fighting over Bakhmut right now, which stands in stark contrast to the rest of the front lines which are hunkering down for the winter.

Bakhmut has been contested since 2014 and both sides have had years to build up defensive fortifications, an assault by either side would be extremely bloody. Ukraine has never tried to attack here. Russia was trying a few months ago, and it made more sense then, because this would be one half of a pincer, the other pincer coming through Lyman and Izium, which would encircle the Ukrainian forces in the East. Since the defeat of the other pincer, Bakhmut has lost most of its strategic significance.

There is speculation this senseless attack is driven by the Wagner commander (Yevgeny Prigozhin) trying to scrape together a single victory, after the shocking defeats in Kyiv (early in the war), Kharkiv and Kherson. The Russian strategy has been to divide up the battlefield - and this portion is given to the private military organization / mercenary group called Wagner, which has at times been publicly critical over the actual Russian troops which suffered defeats in Kherson and Kharkiv. A victory here would greatly boost Yevgeny Prigozhin's influence in Putin's regime, but, even more importantly, if Putin's regime were to collapse due to the failure of this special military operation, being able to claim a singular military victory here would position Prigozhin well to take Putin's place. Hence this is why Wagner is throwing every conscript and artillery shell they can get into Bakhmut, no matter how high the casualties are. To some degree, even though they take disproportionately more casualties, doing this sucks resources away from other parts of the battlefield, preventing Ukraine from preparing for and mounting an attack on Crimea.

Both sides are suffering hundreds of casualties per day, with Russian forces advancing no more than hundred meters a day towards Bakhmut.

NYT report from 27th November (archive copy) giving context to the assault on Bakhmut.

Drone attacks (NSFW, YouTube) on a Russian forward staging point at the petrol station 1-2km to the north-east of Bakhmut (Google Maps geolocation).
posted by xdvesper at 3:47 PM on November 29 [9 favorites]


Finland might train Ukrainian troops in winter warfare, president says.

Finland has had good results battling Russians in winter before, you might recall....
posted by Harald74 at 6:10 AM on November 30 [3 favorites]


Seems like that training is something that should have happened a few months ago, really.
posted by hippybear at 6:22 AM on November 30


That tends to be how it goes.

October 14: EU to start training Ukrainian troops in Poland in November (Radio Poland)

Yesterday: Ukrainian soldiers started their training in Poland (Ukrainian Armed Forces)

There is a wider NATO initiative that's been going on a while longer. Here's some reporting from April.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:42 AM on November 30 [1 favorite]




They also have a report out on the air war: The Russian Air War and Ukrainian Requirements for Air Defence
posted by Harald74 at 6:58 AM on November 30 [1 favorite]


On this day 83 years ago the abovementioned Winter War broke out, actually.
posted by Harald74 at 7:02 AM on November 30 [1 favorite]


This is a bit special interest, but a long time ago YouTuber lindybeige posted this audio interview with British volunteer heading out to Ukraine to join the International Legion. There's now an hour-long video followup interview where he discusses his experience. I was mainly relieved to see that he made it out, but it does have an interesting grounds eye view of the war in Ukraine. Don't forget your long johns, people.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 7:06 AM on November 30


Are we entering into a phase of this war where nothing is really going on

It is mud season and until the ground freezes there won’t be any major offensives or counter offensives. Russia keeps sending waves of attacks at Bakhmut but otherwise the Ukrainians are busy consolidating control over recently regained territory. The Russians are busy setting up fortifications to attempt to be able to hold onto their current lines until spring. Ukraine may have opportunities for some offensive operations in late December and January after the ground freezes but the weather can make that difficult.
posted by interogative mood at 7:53 AM on November 30


Seems like that training is something that should have happened a few months ago, really.

posted by hippybear

Winter warfare training is much more effective when you can get out of the classroom and have actual frozen ground and slush to train in. That has barely started being available.

But it is worth noting that NATO is being quite cagey about the training they are providing - a few announcements which I am guessing are the result of it already being an open secret. I think they both don't want to let the Russians know exactly what aid the Ukrainians are getting both for tactical reasons, and for propaganda purposes. They want as much plausible deniability as possible to avoid panicky hot heads demanding escalation and getting traction.

I suspect one reason why the Ukrainians have managed to train up so fast is that some of them started a lot sooner than we heard. They may be getting crash courses in things and being combat ready in four weeks, but they may also have started training sixteen weeks earlier and there was no official announcement.

If you have your eyes and ears out you see and hear things around the military bases, which of course could just be speculation and hope, or could just be extra training in case NATO ends up getting involved, but still for some reason there are more noises/vehicles/personnel/supplies being moved around.
posted by Jane the Brown at 12:27 PM on November 30 [6 favorites]


A (rather sanitized) view of trench warfare in Ukraine from Channel 4 News UK.
posted by Reverend John at 8:36 PM on November 30 [3 favorites]


I did not know "powerships" even existed, but there seem to be some consideration of deploying them to Odesa. Hard to tell if that would even be possible, as the Russians' main target at the moment is the Ukrainian power grid.
posted by Harald74 at 10:27 PM on November 30


A (rather sanitized) view of trench warfare in Ukraine from Channel 4 News UK.

Real courage on display from the news team as well as the soldiers they meet.
posted by Harald74 at 10:52 PM on November 30 [3 favorites]


It's a relatively slow period of the war, yes. In large part, this is due to terrible weather. I predict that Ukraine is going to launch at least one, possibly two big attacks over the next month or so. Russia is of course still grinding away at Bakhmut in a mostly futile waste of life. On the western front, it's a lot of adjustment to the Russian retreat from Kherson. The river there makes large assaults difficult but not impossible.

In the northeast, Ukraine is still advancing, if a bit slowly. This is to be expected with the weather and ground conditions, plus the Russians are fighting to hold the territory. The Russian chattering class is worried about theoretical/potential major Ukrainian attacks... The supply lines in the northeast are vulnerable of course. That's the most predictable area to see another major Russian retreat from occupied territory. But Zaporizhia, Melitopol and Mariupol are potential surprise targets for Ukraine to liberate.

And also Ukraine is still using the strategy of attrition and wearing down Russian military capabilities. It's not dramatic, but hitting supplies and transport, a combat vehicle here and there and some soldiers over there can really knock the legs out from under an army. It's what liberated Kherson. So yeah, no dramatic news since Kherson. But things are still happening and Ukraine is definitely on the offense.
posted by Jacen at 12:04 AM on December 1 [10 favorites]


A (rather sanitized) view of trench warfare in Ukraine from Channel 4 News UK.

And even the kitten is doing its part.
posted by Stoneshop at 1:11 PM on December 1


If I were Russia I'd be extremely worried about Sevastopol coming within range of Ukrainian weaponry either due to Ukrainian advances or Ukraine getting upgraded hardware. Also if Ukraine advances much past the city of Kherson then Crimea's land access effectively is cut.

Any significant progress around Kherson significantly changes Russia's geopolitical position in huge ways. They essentially lose their black sea fleet's primary base and any claim to recently discovered gas reserves beneath the black sea.

I suspect one reason why the Ukrainians have managed to train up so fast is that some of them started a lot sooner than we heard. They may be getting crash courses in things and being combat ready in four weeks, but they may also have started training sixteen weeks earlier and there was no official announcement.

Quite a lot of them have been training and fighting for a decade. Ukraine's core military is extremely experienced and that experience is fighting against an overwhelming force with more weaponry. Putin literally evolved his own army's nemesis by two-staging his assault on Ukraine over a decade.
posted by srboisvert at 3:35 PM on December 1 [5 favorites]


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