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Ukraine airspace. Why is it not dominates by Russia?

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 The Lemming 02 Mar 2022

Why isn't Russia dominating the Ukraine airspace right now?

I thought that would be a priority for an invading force?

 Xharlie 02 Mar 2022
In reply to The Lemming:

This has been something I've been wondering about, too. Why does it feel like this war is "old fashioned" in that it's all about convoys of tanks, artillery, and speculation regarding "siege tactics" and civilians digging trenches around Kyiv, concrete blocades and wotnot. Wasn't the next war supposed to be 110% about air superiority and drones?

This is just one of the long list of things that really don't make sense to me about this war. Why hasn't the US closed their airspace to Russian and Belarusian aircraft? Why is Swizerland taking sides while Erdogan is trying so hard to sit the fence? Why is the Internet still working, instead of being crippled by Russian DDOS & Malware tactics? It's all arse-about-face!

In case there's anything ambiguous in this post: I strongly condemn Russia's agression and Putin's role in instigating it and wish democratic, progressive Ukraine all the support, good-will, and strength necessary to repell the entirely unprovoked, unjust and inhuman invasion of their sovereign country.

 65 02 Mar 2022
In reply to Xharlie:

I don't have any answers to your questions except I'd always taken 'the next war' to be couched in terms of greater powers at play than on big country invading a smaller neighbouring country.

Switzerland will be awash with Russia's money but is also awash with greater wealth from elsewhere in the world, and likely has much greater dependency on American and European goodwill than dodgy Russian money. Switz is also completely surrounded by EU states. 

Erdogan, another fascist bastard whom we've not seen the worst of, will be watching to see  which side suits him best. He isn't exactly sitting on the fence closing the Bosporus to military traffic, which hits Putin a lot more than anyone else. Turkey has a complex relationship with Putin, founded on expedience and absolutely no trust. 
 

 Andy Hardy 02 Mar 2022
In reply to 65:

Turkey, as a NATO member state does have *some* limitations with regard to supporting Russia!

In reply to Xharlie:

It is very, very strange.  Is it perhaps because Ukraine's side is being mostly fought by a civilian "army"?

 Stichtplate 02 Mar 2022
In reply to Xharlie:

Can only agree. I thought we’d be seeing the Russians steamrollering across Ukraine at this point. Is the Russian army actually a paper tiger crippled by corruption, poor morale and top level leadership predicated on political acceptability rather than suitably for the role?

 kipper12 02 Mar 2022
In reply to The Lemming:

A question; given we’ve seen pictures of that large column of Russian military hardware trundling it’s way in a 40 odd mile snake, they have to be very confident it’s not going to get totalled from the air.  It’s either got extremely good local air defence or the prospect of air attack is limited.  If the latter is the case doesn’t this suggest the Russians are approaching air supremacy.

In reply to kipper12:

That or it's a trap.

 Sir Chasm 02 Mar 2022
In reply to kipper12:

I've seen quite a lot of suggestions (unverified) that it's not a 40 mile long convoy, but when it was reported it was a 4km convoy 40 miles (or km, YMMV) from Kyiv and Sky mistranslated.

In reply to wercat:

Now that would be almost comedic if it was true, and might explain why Ukraine don't seem overly bothered about its presence.

 mondite 02 Mar 2022
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> I've seen quite a lot of suggestions (unverified) that it's not a 40 mile long convoy

The main images are from a US company though and I know their approach to English is somewhat special I wouldnt expect that sort of translation issues.

Unsurprisingly what with it being a war zone it all seems rather confused.

 mark s 02 Mar 2022
In reply to Sir Chasm:

Regarding the column of Russian vehicles, i don't know why this isn't being heavily targeted. They could be boxed in and ripe for attack. We probably don't hear about everything NATO are doing but I wouldn't be surprised if Ukrainian uniform clad soldiers with UK and US marine tattoos are working hard.

14
 Yanis Nayu 02 Mar 2022
In reply to Stichtplate:

I read somewhere that the Russian army is large and modern, but the modern bit is small and the large bit isn’t modern. 
Some strange stuff on Twitter about the type of comms they’re using and how antiquated it is too. 

 dread-i 02 Mar 2022
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> I've seen quite a lot of suggestions (unverified) that it's not a 40 mile long convoy, but when it was reported it was a 4km convoy 40 miles (or km, YMMV) from Kyiv and Sky mistranslated.

I also expect it depends on the traffic density. 40 km of nose to tail traffic is a lot of vehicles. A bunch of vehicles spread in clumps over 40km of road, might just be vehicles using the main road from A to B or points in between.

In reply to The Lemming:

Is it possible that the soviet airforce is not cooperating fully with Putin? Probably just wishful thinking on my part.

1
 Stichtplate 02 Mar 2022
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

> I read somewhere that the Russian army is large and modern, but the modern bit is small and the large bit isn’t modern. 

> Some strange stuff on Twitter about the type of comms they’re using and how antiquated it is too. 

Yep, maybe the Russian army's more Potemkin village than Battleship Potemkin? Also very odd that we're apparently seeing Russian armoured columns running out of fuel relatively a few miles beyond their own backdoor.

Still, if you live in a kleptocracy run for the benefit of a handful of the super rich, it's not all that surprising if half your army's fuel supplies end up diverted by REMFs and flogged on the black market.

 Andy Johnson 02 Mar 2022
In reply to dread-i:

> 40 km of nose to tail traffic is a lot of vehicles.

The pictures I've seen show quite dense queues. Assuming they're representative of the entire convoy, that makes all vehicles vulnerable stoppage due to any breakdown in vehicles ahead of them. Some (many?) of these vehicles are likely to be old and/or badly maintained, and they're operating in cold, harsh conditions. Even if individual vehicle failures are infrequent, across the convoy they may be happening quite frequently.

Theres also the issue of how effectively the Russian military is able transport food, water, and fuel. If they're mostly moving it by road, and the roads are clogged, their their soldiers may not be able or willing to move. Outside of the cities themselves the Ukraine road network isn't very dense - which I suspect reduces options for routes and avoiding obstacles, etc.

Its March now and the Winter is drawing to an end. Soon it'll be one of the two periods of "Rasputitsa" [1] when surface vehicles struggle on anything other than good paved roads.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rasputitsa

In reply to The Lemming:

NB: not a military analyst, but used to work with quite a few. My PhD was on security policy as opposed to defence policy and that is an important distinction, but nevertheless I read a lot of military analysis when doing my own research. Having said that: 

1) It's not clear that there is much Ukrainian air force left - hence the desperate need for planes to be donated to them from other MIG/Sukhoi operating states in Eastern Europe. In Finland you'll be miles from anywhere on a pretty smallish road, when suddenly with no warning at all, it will become dead straight and open up to the width of a 4 or 6 motorway but with no central reservation or barriers. Those of the dispersal air strips from the Cold War, that planes would be dispersed to, in times of conflict in order to them not be destroyed on the ground at the main airfields. I don't know if Ukraine had anything like this and there are reports that many of their military airfields were hit immediately at the start of the war. 

2) the convoy doesn't seem to be moving much probably because of logistical issues. I've heard some suggestions that Ukrainian forces haven't attacked it because it may be seen as a ratcheting up of activity and lead to reprisals from artillery onto town and cities by the Russians. So far it's seems Russians haven't been gunning down passing civilians or attacking towns they move through, but if people try to attack and chop up the convoy, again, as the Finns did in 1939 - then you would expect any restraint to stop. Remember what US forces were like for shooting up any car moving towards their checkpoints during the heights of the fighting during the occupation - and how many turned out to families with kids and not VBIEDs at all. 

3) It also not clear how much maneuverability the Ukrainian army has left. With the territorial forces (volunteers) they might be able to defend static positions ok, but have they any capacity left to move around to attack the back or flanks of the column?

1
 wercat 02 Mar 2022
In reply to John Stainforth:

I suspect that is wishful thinking.  However, it seems fairly extraordinary that the FSB would supply information to Ukraine about the Chechen units coming to assassinate the Ukraine leadership, so that those forces could be destroyed or neutralised at the weekend.

Post edited at 15:37
 tlouth7 02 Mar 2022
In reply to Andy Johnson:

> Its March now and the Winter is drawing to an end. Soon it'll be one of the two periods of "Rasputitsa" [1] when surface vehicles struggle on anything other than good paved roads.

It is interesting that the board game Diplomacy has turns in Spring and Autumn, precisely the reverse of this. In that case the idea was that your army would need to hunker down in Winter quarters, and that your soldiers would need to be released in the Summer to go and harvest their crops.

1
 elsewhere 02 Mar 2022
In reply to The Lemming:

I think the airspace is being dominated by Russia* or at least to the extent that what's left of the Ukrainian air force can't attack that convoy and NATO is not prepared to go to war against Russia for a non-member.

*more by air defence missiles/systems than by the air force

Post edited at 16:36
 JLS 02 Mar 2022
In reply to Sir Chasm:

> I've seen quite a lot of suggestions (unverified) that it's not a 40 mile long convoy, but when it was reported it was a 4km convoy 40 miles (or km, YMMV) from Kyiv and Sky mistranslated.

That would make sense given that it is only about 60 miles from Belarus to Kyiv!

At a spacing of 10m per vehicle 4km is 400 vehicles and 40 miles is 6400 vehicles. I'm not sure which of those figures is the most plausible!

 elsewhere 02 Mar 2022
In reply to TobyA:

> 2) the convoy doesn't seem to be moving much probably because of logistical issues.

I wonder if the initial supply problems of vehicles running out of fuel has prompted them to move their supplies forward. What looks like a convoy or traffic jam is actually a supply depot made up of parked trucks for short term usage. 

That may be crackpot idea as storing stuff in trucks means the trucks aren't delivering stuff but the trucks just look more like stationary storage than mobile deliveries.

Post edited at 16:47
 wercat 02 Mar 2022
In reply to elsewhere:

or it came up too early and can't come towards the forward area as progress there has been held up more than expected

so many potential reasons.

Post edited at 16:45
 nniff 02 Mar 2022
In reply to The Lemming:

There's an old Cold War joke of two Soviet Generals, sipping coffee on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees - "By the way, any idea who won the air war?"

OP The Lemming 02 Mar 2022
In reply to The Lemming:

There is also the possibility that many of the Russian troops are being asked to attack many of their relatives and extended family in those Ukraine cities.

 S Ramsay 02 Mar 2022
In reply to mark s:

I would be every surprised if there were any regular or even special forces from NATO countries in Ukraine. The chance of them dying and their deaths being publicised, or them being captured, either resulting in Russia knowing that they are and this resulting in escalation is too high. 

5
In reply to John Stainforth:

> Is it possible that the soviet airforce is not cooperating fully with Putin? Probably just wishful thinking on my part.

More likely they don't have the experience in operating in coordination with ground forces and SAM batteries, and don't want to be blown out of the skies by their own side. They're staying out of it to allow the SAM batteries a clear shot at Ukrainian aircraft.

In reply to Ridge:

> More likely they don't have the experience in operating in coordination with ground forces and SAM batteries, and don't want to be blown out of the skies by their own side. They're staying out of it to allow the SAM batteries a clear shot at Ukrainian aircraft.

Yes, that sounds plausible, but it is strange they don't have this coordination.

 Myr 02 Mar 2022
In reply to mark s:

> Regarding the column of Russian vehicles, i don't know why this isn't being heavily targeted. They could be boxed in and ripe for attack. 

Perhaps the Ukrainians consider it a potential enormous source of Ukrainian military supplies as they gradually deplete their own. 

 wbo2 02 Mar 2022
In reply to mark s:  It's not getting thrashed as the Ukrainians have run out of drones and don¨t  have specific ground attack planes.  Most Russian (and sold ) fighters aren't much good at multirole ground strikes , plus Russian pilots don't train for it.  The Russians don't have air superiority as it appears their kit may not be as good as youtube analysis has previously suggested and there are lots of SAMS locally.  They couldn't hold air superiority in Syria either

The ukrainians have got hold of a new batch of drones from Turkey so expect some attacking

Post edited at 19:16
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 kipper12 02 Mar 2022
In reply to Sir Chasm:

Not the same people who confused measurement systems for the beagle lander?

 mark s 02 Mar 2022
In reply to wbo2:

I saw that turkey had surplied more drones. Also the Ukrainians have had more javelins which will really level the playing field. It's just going to be a challenge getting them in position.

In reply to Ridge:

Yeah, that was a point in the RUSI article someone linked above - it said something like they are poor at "deconflicting the air space". One of those things that someone outside of the military probably doesn't even think about - it definitely didn't occur to me, but I guess just how much do your trust your own SAMs to only hit the enemy planes if there are lots of your planes and their planes in the range of the SAM batteries?

BTW, did anyone else see the below? There's precious little to laugh about in all this, but I thought it was pretty droll. I'm not a huge fan of the current govt to say the least, but sending the NLAWs might turn out to be one of their better moves. In related anti-tank/hasn't-Europe-utterly-changed-in-the-last-6-days news, the Finnish government announced they are sending the Ukrainians 1500 anti-tank weapons, along with assault rifles, helmets and so on. Considering Finland has long had a policy about not supply weapons to conflict zones, and its legacy of neutrality, this is a huge thing.


In reply to TobyA:

That's a good RUSI article. I wonder just how knackered Russian kit is, how few drills and exercises are carried out due to cost, and how depleted their airforce is munitions-wise after malleting Syrian civilians for a couple of years.

Looks like Putin is emulating Stalin by chucking Russian bodies into the meat grinder, knowing the supply of Ukrainian bodies will run out before Russian bodies. That and indiscriminate artillery attacks on civilian areas. 

 abr1966 02 Mar 2022
In reply to Ridge:

Agreed!

Standard Russian approach....fodder followed by well trained units....ruthless and cruel....there is a long history of this...

 mark s 02 Mar 2022
In reply to The Lemming:

I wonder for how long NATO will not  put soldiers in Ukraine . There must come a point when they will get involved. 

Didn't the Belarusian bloke post a photo and inadvertently show a map showing Moldova as a target? 

4
 bouldery bits 02 Mar 2022
In reply to mark s:

This is very scary.

In reply to mark s:

> Didn't the Belarusian bloke post a photo and inadvertently show a map showing Moldova as a target? 

The bit of Moldova concerned was Transnistria, which is a breakaway sort-of-republic that might as well be Russia.  I've been there, it's a weird place, it basically feels like the Soviet Union and is incredibly poor (so poor that finding a restaurant in the capital was really difficult - nobody has the money to eat out, so there are barely any at all).  I doubt it would be bothered about Russia wanting to take it over more formally.  It might actually genuinely be in the interests of the population if they did.

Post edited at 22:58
In reply to mark s:

> I wonder for how long NATO will not  put soldiers in Ukraine . There must come a point when they will get involved. 

They will if a NATO country is attacked.  I think not otherwise.

 Snyggapa 02 Mar 2022
In reply to kipper12:

I would think it more a case of it is sitting there, in the cold (zero or therabouts) and wet , can't move off the road otherwise they get stuck in the mud as the ground has thawed, using fuel and food, troops getting more and more demoralised and causing no harm. 

In the meantime their supply conveys get picked off one at a time so they get shorter of food, fuel and colder. Why take on a massive force when you don't have to - use any spare firepower you have elsewhere where lives are in imminent danger. The last thing you want to do is force it to move an all-out assault on your capital

 gld73 02 Mar 2022
In reply to Neil Williams:

I agree, it's a very odd place. It's several years since I went there (prompted by one of Simon Reeve's very early travel documentaries "Holidays in the Danger Zone - Places That Don't Exist"; I'd never even heard of it before that). Its own borders with guards, its own Rouble currency worthless outside those borders ... I got the distinct impression the leaders, whoever they were/are, never wanted the Soviet Union to break up and so tried to preserve everything the same despite the world all around changing. It was an interesting, uncomfortable place to visit. Putin wants to go back to the Soviet Empire, at least some in Transnistria do too; if, god forbid, Ukraine was to fall, it would be the likely next target. How that would fit with NATO with it arguably being part of Moldova is anyone's guess ...

Post edited at 23:16
 Moacs 02 Mar 2022
In reply to The Lemming:

My guess (and it's not worth much):

The Ukrainians lost most/all their planes and runways in early cruise strikes.  However, they do have some SAMs...and have had some success with them.

So nobody is in the air much.  Russia aiming to use missiles and artillery to demoralise and cut off power, water and food.  In no hurry to put the ground forces close to the defence's anti-tank weapons.  Pound and choke rather than engage close and risk planes or even tanks (I think a plane is more than 10 times the cost of a tank)

This would change if ukraine could replenish longer-range weapons and drones.  I think if they were able to take chunks out of that column, they would, but looks like defenderrs are dug in and have limited movement.  Isn't most of the official army still east and south?

1
Andy Gamisou 03 Mar 2022
In reply to The Lemming:

I've absolutely no idea with regards your initial question.

 I am a little surprised at how much people seem to be taking the "information" they're getting at face value without considering that they may be being fed propaganda and internet led disinformation.

 kevin stephens 03 Mar 2022
In reply to Myr: Thanks for the link. It echos my own thoughts having had the opportunity to work across a number of industries in Russia, albeit 20 years ago: That Russia’s industrial base is too antiquated and inefficient to support a very large military campaign, basics like manufacturing and supplying sufficient ration packs for a large conscript army. Poor engineering/reliability of internal combustion engines ( and jet engines?) and supply of spare parts.

Part of this is due to lack of a large commercially funded high tech industrial base, why Russian airlines buy Airbus planes with RR engines. Part is due to Russian industrial culture of never challenging the boss, everything is in specification even when it’s not, complete opposite of the western quality circle approach 

I found the level of technical education in Russia to be excellent, better in many cases than back home. The Russians can design very sophisticated technology, but maybe can’t maintain it so well?

These weaknesses have not been exposed previously because it’s the first proper war Russia has fought since WW2

Post edited at 07:11
In reply to abr1966:

> Agreed!

> Standard Russian approach....fodder followed by well trained units....ruthless and cruel....there is a long history of this...

I fear you may be right. One of the main aims of the Russians at the moment may be to get as many of the non-fighters out of the country, so that everyone else has to deal with the women and children and other refugees. Then the fighters who are left will be their big target. All hell might then be let loose, including their air force. In which case the invasion is going more to plan than we realize.

I really hope I am wrong.

 auld al 03 Mar 2022
In reply to Andy Gamisou:

Some info from Donbass perspective.

https://southfront.org/category/all-articles/products/maps/

In reply to kevin stephens:

The amount of Industrial equipment the Russians have to buy in is truly staggering. There is( or maybe closed down now) an R S component network in Russia.

it was a big market for Germany and Italy .Russians shunned Chinese equipment as rubbish 

In reply to gld73:

Moldova isn't a NATO member (though it does co-operate on some things) so I suspect we would not intervene.

 Offwidth 03 Mar 2022
In reply to kevin stephens:

That reminds me of another cold war joke (at work a regular at morning coffee was a Bulgarian who had an endless supply). 

Cutting it short ......the politicians have organised the first demonstration of a new astounding steam train but the engineers are sweating and look exceedingly worried. The project leader reassures the celebrities who have come to witness the magnificent beast that everything will be fine. A trumpet announces the start and clouds of steam appear and the ground shakes and the beast starts to move. It then shakes and stops. An engineer being dragged away by soldiers to goodness knows where is overheard saying we couldn't achieve enough power because so much steam was needed for the whistle.

 gld73 03 Mar 2022
In reply to Neil Williams:

Thanks, yes, you're right, realised that afterwards. Makes it even more likely Putin will try and take it then.

In reply to gld73:

As mentioned I think Transnistria would actually welcome them in.

The rest of Moldova rather less so.

 wbo2 03 Mar 2022
In reply to Moacs:  I've no idea how many planes are left , but I don't think the Russians got near to all of them.   The Russians have lost quite a few.

I do not think the Ukrainians are short of SAM's.  They will probably in the next couple of days have more than the russians, as they're getting a 1000 here, a 1000 there., and they have more than when they started.  Ditto antitank missiles.  But this is all short range so the chances of either side getting hit by friendly fire is very high.  The Russians are a bit stuffed as their resupply lines aren't much cop.

Russian pilots typically get 80-100 hours a year, so a bit less than Nato, but fighter pilots will spend 75 of that 80 on air superiority, not ground attack.

 cb294 03 Mar 2022
In reply to Neil Williams:

Transnistria is the Russian speaking part, Moldova is esssentially Romanian. Two different countries really that ended up in the same administrative pigeonhole when the USSR broke up.

CB

1
In reply to cb294:

Yes, agreed.  I've been there (both bits) and they are very, very different.  It's not at all like, say, Northern Ireland.

1
 owlart 03 Mar 2022
In reply to Neil Williams:

I was talking to a friend in Chisinau yesterday, she was saying that they are already seeing food shortages as a lot of goods come from/through Ukraine. She certainly didn't relish the idea of Russian troops not stopping at Ukraine's western border.

In reply to owlart:

If I was in the "main bit" of Moldova I wouldn't either, I'm talking specifically of Russian-speaking Transnistria, which is very different from the main bit.

 owlart 03 Mar 2022
In reply to Neil Williams:

I meant that whilst those in Transnistria might welcome Russia, I'm not sure that the rest of Moldova would, and so might be prepared to fight to keep it (at least nominally) part of Moldova. Mind you, her father fought on the Government's side in the civil war when the region broke away, so she may be a little biased!

 Myr 03 Mar 2022
In reply to Moacs:

> The Ukrainians lost most/all their planes and runways in early cruise strikes. 

I'm not sure this is true for the planes. There are rumours that because of the comprehensiveness of Western intelligence, the Ukrainian air force was able to have basically all of its aircraft up in the air when the first missile strikes came in. Surely most of the runways are indeed damaged though, and the Ukrainian aircraft that haven't been shot down in the last week (some definitely remain, and have been causing havoc with Russian convoys today) must be concentrated at a very few air bases, or using air bases outside Ukraine.

On another point, another explanation for why Russia has been holding back its best military equipment (on the ground and in the air) is in case of NATO engagement.

In reply to owlart:

Yes, agreed.  The rest of Moldova would prefer Transnistria to be part of Moldova.

It's in many ways a bit like Kosovo but not.  Sort of.

 owlart 03 Mar 2022
In reply to Neil Williams:

It's a country of many parts, certainly. I've been to Chisinau and a few other villages/towns, but not to Transnistria. I'd like to go back there again some day.

In reply to owlart:

Transnistria was definitely worth a visit - genuinely had a feel of what you'd imagine 1970s Soviet Russia to be like.

 owlart 03 Mar 2022
In reply to Neil Williams:

Ah, the friend I went to visit was very clear that we were not going there!

In reply to owlart:

It didn't feel unsafe at all (crossing the bridge to North Mitrovica was edgier by a long way) but was an odd place.  Wouldn't go there at the moment though!

(I have a friend who before he got married used to love travelling to "odd" places - done a few with him! )

Post edited at 15:20
 owlart 03 Mar 2022
In reply to Neil Williams:

I think it was more that, as her Dad had fought against them, even visiting there in some way legitimised them!

As a side effect of the war, she can no longer get paid for her freelance work, as she was paid by an American company but via a Russian bank, so she's currently trying to work out how to get the money she's owed in order to buy food for her family

In reply to Myr:

There does seem to be a bit of a "thing" in modern wars about hiding your planes rather than using them. In Kosovo the Serbs had (maybe?) MiG 25s, and I think it was those that they hid in some cases and flew out of the country in others. I remember the Russian rushing to Pristina airport ahead of NATO in order to secure some Russian made kit that Serbs had there - but that might have been radar rather than actual planes.

And at the start of either the Gulf War or the Iraq War - can't remember again! - I think the Iraqi air force flew most of its fighters to Iran (which is bizarre considering their history) rather than lose them engaging the USAF. 

I guess this is an acknowledgement of the advanced nature of some air forces over others, and the ubiquity of SAMs that work.

In reply to Ridge:

> Looks like Putin is emulating Stalin by chucking Russian bodies into the meat grinder, knowing the supply of Ukrainian bodies will run out before Russian bodies. 

The Russians have maybe 100k - 150k troops inside Ukraine most of whom don't want to be there and Ukraine has maybe 5 to 10 million people from a population of 44 million who want to fight them.  As long as the Ukrainians are supplied with effective arms they have the upper hand.  

The assessment of General Petraeus when he was interviewed yesterday was that based on experience in Iraq and Afghanistan the Russians have nothing like enough soldiers to control Ukraine.  When the sanctions bite they aren't going to be able to afford to keep a large enough army in Ukraine indefinitely.

In reply to TobyA:

I thought the Russians seizing the airport at Pristina was to establish an air corridor to get troops in, rather than seize kit?

In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> When the sanctions bite they aren't going to be able to afford to keep a large enough army in Ukraine indefinitely.

Let's hope so.

In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

I heard similar from a retired British General (or similar):  you need about 20 soldiers for each 1,000 population to 'control' them.  They will not be able to do this, so they might have to just 'control' the big cities, meaning when Russian forces travel between cities they will be extremely vulnerable.  And the more Ukrainians they kill in the take over, the more determined the Ukrainian fighters would be in the long term aftermath, which may limit the total death toll.  But Putin is such a nutter no-one can second guess.

 wercat 03 Mar 2022
In reply to TobyA:

The Harrier was perhaps the ultimate hideable plane (Hence the Living Daylights sequence!).

If only we'd sold those to the Ukraine

 ag17 03 Mar 2022
In reply to Ridge:

And apparently sending mobile crematoria in after their troops so they can hide their true casualty numbers and/or the civilian deaths they inflict:

https://rusi.org/explore-our-research/publications/commentary/how-putins-stoking-ashes-war-could-char-russian-resolve

 JenTheFredo 03 Mar 2022
In reply to Bottom Clinger:

> I heard similar from a retired British General (or similar):  you need about 20 soldiers for each 1,000 population to 'control' them.  They will not be able to do this, so they might have to just 'control' the big cities, meaning when Russian forces travel between cities they will be extremely vulnerable. 

 

These assessments might be based on Western armies, which, (generally speaking) don’t have the option to torture or persecute the population, won’t starve it to death, won’t commit genocide, won’t flatten entire cities.

Unfortunately Putin is clearly ok with using all those options.

Russia and the USSR have a pretty long and “successful” record of keeping hostile populations under total oppression for decades.

 JenTheFredo 03 Mar 2022
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> The Russians have maybe 100k - 150k troops inside Ukraine most of whom don't want to be there and Ukraine has maybe 5 to 10 million people from a population of 44 million who want to fight them.  As long as the Ukrainians are supplied with effective arms they have the upper hand.  

Most of the Ukrainian army will soon be encircled, they’ll run out of ammunition pretty quickly, and there won’t be any way to get more weapons to where they are needed.

Yes you could give small arms and other manpads to a civilian resistance but if they want to retake the big cities and control of key infrastructure they’ll need planes, artillery, tanks, the whole lot.

1
 elsewhere 03 Mar 2022
In reply to ag17:

> And apparently sending mobile crematoria in after their troops so they can hide their true casualty numbers and/or the civilian deaths they inflict:

Avoids the impact of a whole neighbourhood turning out for a soldier's funeral is the ashes arrive in the post months later.

 65 03 Mar 2022
In reply to JenTheFredo:

I suspect it will not be too difficult for Ukrainians to conduct devastating terror attacks against military targets in Ukraine and governmental, industrial and infrastructure targets in Russia itself, especially if they're being given a bit of back-door intelligence and tech know-how from powerful friends to the west. There's nothing like genocide for inspiring suicidal resistance or retribution.

There will always be a lot of them who will die before submitting to Putin, indeed this is already apparent.

You are right about Putin though, he won't even blink before giving the order to obliterate Kyiv and everyone in it.

 wercat 03 Mar 2022
In reply to JenTheFredo:

it will be Russian troops in cities who will be encircled by a population eager to pick them off one by one.  They'll never know when the bullet is coming for each one, or the cut throat, or the molotov.

Or the hit on their vehicle that incinerates them, not to mention bombs, mines and booby traps

good luck to the resistance

soon 10000, 11000, 12000 - the sky is the limit for Russian bodies

Post edited at 17:19
 ExiledScot 03 Mar 2022
In reply to wercat:

Indeed, they'll never feel safe or welcome, moral will be extremely low.

 elsewhere 03 Mar 2022
In reply to ExiledScot:

Russian casualties in Chechnya - 7,500 (official Russian casualty figures) or about 14,000 (Committee of Soldiers' Mothers)

Chechnya population 1.4 million

Ukraine population 44 million

The photos of Chechen capital Grozny now https://www.google.com/search?q=grozny+2022&tbm=isch are quite incredible compared to the photos from 2009 https://www.google.com/search?q=grozny+2009&tbm=isch when it was pretty much razed to the ground by Putin's forces.

 mutt 03 Mar 2022
In reply to The Lemming:

I wonder if Russia is wary of revealing how vulnerable their fighter jets are to American stinger missiles. 

 Rampart 03 Mar 2022
In reply to Myr:

>  another explanation for why Russia has been holding back its best military equipment ...is in case of NATO engagement.

I operate a similar policy with my ice-screws.

In reply to mutt:

> I wonder if Russia is wary of revealing how vulnerable their fighter jets are to American stinger missiles. 


I think Russia is simply playing it slowly and hoping for a capitulation.  It can pretty much rain missiles and heavy artillery onto the cities for as long as it likes - it only has to send one in every so often to completely disrupt life there. Siege tactics and attrition would be a good strategy when you have a bigger army and long distance weapons. Ukraine doesn't seem to be able to stop their cities becoming encircled or bombarded.

Post edited at 17:52
1
In reply to S Ramsay:

But l think it is highly likely that some Ukrainians outside the country are working hard with western special forces to devise cunning operations to undermine Putin,

 mark s 03 Mar 2022
In reply to The Lemming:

I'd like to see Nato use force now. The longer it goes on the worse it will get.

7
OP The Lemming 03 Mar 2022
In reply to Ridge:

>  When the sanctions bite they aren't going to be able to afford to keep a large enough army in Ukraine indefinitely.

>  Let's hope so.

When the West keeps buying oil and gas and sending the money direct to the Kremlin, then what's the point of sanctions when we are sending a sh1t load of money legitimately to Russia to finance a war?

2
 NathanP 03 Mar 2022
In reply to mark s:

> I'd like to see Nato use force now. The longer it goes on the worse it will get.

I don't think it would be a good idea to push a declining country with 6,000 nuclear weapons and run by a paranoid old man of doubtful sanity into a corner where they face utter defeat and humiliation. We need to be a bit more subtle and either create circumstances for a palace coup or leave an exit for Putin.

2
In reply to JenTheFredo:

> Yes you could give small arms and other manpads to a civilian resistance but if they want to retake the big cities and control of key infrastructure they’ll need planes, artillery, tanks, the whole lot.

Seems like the Taliban got control of Afghanistan without planes and with only captured artillery and tanks.

The amount of arms and ammunition promised to Ukraine by the US, EU and individual countries is in the billions of dollars.  We don't see that on our TV which either means it isn't flowing into Ukraine (yet) or they've figured out how to get it in without the TV watching them do it.  There's some pretty smart people in NATO armies who've had plenty of time to plan for this scenario.  NATO are good at logistics, they got a ton of kit into Iraq and Afghanistan, maybe they've got it worked out.  

 mik82 03 Mar 2022
In reply to mark s:

> I'd like to see Nato use force now. The longer it goes on the worse it will get.

Have you watched "Threads"?

1
 cb294 03 Mar 2022
In reply to mark s:

I don't want to die for the mistakes and lies of the Bush administration.

Support for Ukraine including arms deliveries, but let's not risk a direct confrontation between NATO and Russian troops.

CB

2
 mark s 03 Mar 2022
In reply to mik82:

> Have you watched "Threads"?

What makes you think it would come to that?  Because Putin said so isn't a credible answer as he has told a few porkies recently. 

10
 mik82 03 Mar 2022
In reply to mark s:

Things could escalate extremely quickly. The conventional Russian forces are clearly no match for NATO but their nuclear forces are. The playing field would be levelled by escalation to the use of tactical nuclear weapons against NATO forces and local bases in Eastern Europe. The Russian policy is one of first strike if they are threatened.  

It's then only one step from that to attacking NATO bases further away with strategic weapons.

1
 Stichtplate 03 Mar 2022
In reply to mark s:

> What makes you think it would come to that?  

Because Putin would clearly like to return to the good old days and papers recovered from post unification GDR (amongst other sources) made clear that Soviet military doctrine specified early use of battlefield tactical nukes if it ever came to fisticuffs with NATO. 

In other words, it's literally the playbook.

 JenTheFredo 03 Mar 2022
In reply to mik82:

> Things could escalate extremely quickly. The conventional Russian forces are clearly no match for NATO but their nuclear forces are. The playing field would be levelled by escalation to the use of tactical nuclear weapons against NATO forces and local bases in Eastern Europe. The Russian policy is one of first strike if they are threatened.  

In that case you accept that Putin can do literally whatever he wants since defending ourselves against him means risking nuclear escalation.

However nuclear deterrence works both way. It would be useful to remind Putin of that.

Post edited at 21:20
7
 wintertree 03 Mar 2022
In reply to mik82:

> Things could escalate extremely quickly

Yes.  I'm surprised we're still seeing denial of that, after a year of denial over the possibility of a Ukraine invasion is put aside.

>  The conventional Russian forces are clearly no match for NATO but their nuclear forces are. 

I think there are open questions over the true readiness and capability of the Russian nuclear forces.  Questions I hasten to add that I have no interested in answering experimentally.  There are also differences in anti-ballistic missile capability.  Again I don't want to see them tested, but it's entirely possible that western powers could determine they'll have more people left standing after the dust settles if things come to that stage.

> It's then only one step from that to attacking NATO bases further away with strategic weapons.

Indeed.  It's clear beyond any reasonable doubt that we have ongoing escalation, and these things only escalate towards one possible end point.  At some point there has to be de-escalation by hook or by crook, or else.   

One worry for me at the moment is the growing isolation of Kaliningrad.  If things kick off there and external troops are needed to restore the semblance of order that Putin wants the people to experience, the easiest way in is through one of two NATO members.

It's an awful, awful situation.  Rock and a hard place doesn't even begin to describe it.  This situation is the red tripple-underscoring of the need for universal disarmament of WMDs.   

> The Russian policy is one of first strike if they are threatened.  

It can only be a matter of time before Ukrainian or Ukrainian aligned forces take the fight to Russia in a limited guerilla capacity, and they're awash with NATO supplied weapons.   I don't like the possibilities that opens up, but I also don't see how NATO could possibly have stood by and not done what they could to help Ukraine.  

In reply to mark s:

> What makes you think it would come to that?  Because Putin said so isn't a credible answer as he has told a few porkies recently. 

Putin's lies tend to consist of saying "I will not do X" whilst he clearly advances readiness to do X.  

That tendency to lie is not symmetric.

 I would not apply it to dismissing as a lie when he says "I will do X if..." whilst advancing readiness for X. Far from it; the consistent pattern of his lies is to try and low-ball the expectations of others about what he will do, vs what he is actually planning on doing. 

In reply to Ridge:

>> When the sanctions bite they aren't going to be able to afford to keep a large enough army in Ukraine indefinitel

> Let's hope so.

You might not have thought this through...

In reply to mark s:

> I'd like to see Nato use force now. The longer it goes on the worse it will get.

You might not have thought this through...

 wercat 03 Mar 2022
In reply to mik82:

tactical nukes are conventional in the Russian army.  No step change needed, nor for chemical, the stepup is to strategic nuclear weapons.  Nato seems to have forgotten the Flexible response in favour of submission to bullying

what used to be called NBC were seen not just as ways of killing but also of changing  the tempo/location of operations if things are not going to plan

Post edited at 22:55
 ExiledScot 04 Mar 2022
In reply to JenTheFredo:

> In that case you accept that Putin can do literally whatever he wants since defending ourselves against him means risking nuclear escalation.

> However nuclear deterrence works both way. It would be useful to remind Putin of that.

No, you target the regime in Russia and they'll remove him. 

1
 JenTheFredo 04 Mar 2022
In reply to ExiledScot:

> No, you target the regime in Russia and they'll remove him. 

Cute idea but we’ve already done that and so far all it’s done is to fragilise Putin just enough so that he now needs victory at all costs, but nowhere nearly enough for him to be threatened.

4
 ExiledScot 04 Mar 2022
In reply to JenTheFredo:

> Cute idea but we’ve already done that and so far all it’s done is to fragilise Putin just enough so that he now needs victory at all costs, but nowhere nearly enough for him to be threatened.

It'll likely take months, would you want to be the first politician or General suggesting they remove their own leader? 

However, recovering for even a modest nuclear war only destroying europe and north America would take how many millenia? 

In reply to JenTheFredo:

“Fragilise”? Is that you Rom?

Sanctions haven't worked in a week, lets escalate to war between Russia and NATO?

1
 mark s 04 Mar 2022
In reply to Longsufferingropeholder:

> You might not have thought this through...

I didn't realise you were an experienced strategist in armed forces. Are you going to let us into your top secret info? 

Amaze me then. Or is it a dunning Kruger job as per usual on ukc 

6
 Stichtplate 04 Mar 2022
In reply to mark s:

> I didn't realise you were an experienced strategist in armed forces. Are you going to let us into your top secret info? 

> Amaze me then. Or is it a dunning Kruger job as per usual on ukc 

Hmm...Since LSRH and experienced NATO strategists seem to be on the same page, while you're an advocate of immediate action, who exactly do you think is suffering Dunning Kruger on here?

 ExiledScot 04 Mar 2022
In reply to mark s:

I think there might be a few other stages that could be at least tried, somewhere between seizing a yacht and all out nuclear war? 

 mark s 04 Mar 2022
In reply to ExiledScot:

I've never mentioned having a nuclear war. Russia are upping their action and NATO don't seem to be doing any more. 

8
 ExiledScot 04 Mar 2022
In reply to mark s:

> I've never mentioned having a nuclear war. Russia are upping their action and NATO don't seem to be doing any more. 

If nato puts one foot, tank or flies over Ukraine then putin won't just be reacting with a nasty letter, to use the technical terminology he'll go "full tonto".

In reply to Bottom Clinger:

> I heard similar from a retired British General (or similar):  you need about 20 soldiers for each 1,000 population to 'control' them.  They will not be able to do this, so they might have to just 'control' the big cities, meaning when Russian forces travel between cities they will be extremely vulnerable.  And the more Ukrainians they kill in the take over, the more determined the Ukrainian fighters would be in the long term aftermath, which may limit the total death toll.  But Putin is such a nutter no-one can second guess.

They may go down the NAZI route of killing/taking reprisals on the civillian population every time one of their troops is killed. It seemed to work in Chechnia. Of course it then becomes even harder to sell the liberation angle of this conflict (if anyone was buying that)

 Stichtplate 04 Mar 2022
In reply to mark s:

> I've never mentioned having a nuclear war. Russia are upping their action and NATO don't seem to be doing any more. 

What exactly do you expect of NATO? From their own website:

NATO is a defensive alliance, whose purpose is to protect our members. NATO’s official policy is that "the Alliance does not seek confrontation and poses no threat to Russia."

https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/115204.htm

Chuck in the fact that NATO is primarily a mutual defence organisation for its 30 member states, decisions are made by consensus and abandoning it's official policy to aggressively confront a country with an unstable leader and the planet's largest nuclear arsenal might not be the best way to pursue NATO's actual remit.

Post edited at 08:55
 mark s 04 Mar 2022
In reply to Stichtplate:

So using force now isn't defensive? Targeting nuclear power plants and the west just sit and watch?

This is like the 100s of COVID posts on ukc again. Have a view different than the clique and you get shot down.

Why don't NATO stop giving them weapons then? If I gave a gun to a bloke and he killed someone,I'd be involved. 

The president of Ukraine is asking for more,I'm sure if he knew ukc disagreed with him then he would change direction.

13
 kevin stephens 04 Mar 2022
In reply to The Lemming:

I think Putin will be gone soon and the Russian military will ceasefire, maybe as soon as the next two weeks. This is how and why:

The Russian Oligarchs are very powerful individually but even more so collectively, they control vast swathes of Russian industry and access to raw resources.  I understand many are in or heading to the Maldives with what assets they still have access to.

Their symbiotic relationship with Putin is now broken; Putin has lost the ability for them to maintain their wealth and power and his actions have greatly diminished this.

The oligarchs are the only ones with sufficient power influence and contacts to organise a coup. This would be by recruiting high ranking military officers maybe outside Putin inner circle and disaffected over how the army has been humiliated and weakened in Ukraine, the rewards to the instigators would be very attractive. The benefits of having a grateful puppet leader are obvious.

To protect their interests the oligarchs need to operate sooner rather than later to reverse the impact of sanctions and before they become irreversible. Emissaries from western powers providing reassurance wouldn’t do any harm.

 cb294 04 Mar 2022
In reply to Stichtplate:

... and simply declassification of politbureau orders under Yeltsin.

As I posted recently on one of these treads, 168 artillery nukes in the first 24 h, and then push through to the uncontaminated side was the basic plan for westerly winds.

CB

 Ben Callard 04 Mar 2022
In reply to mark s:

> Why don't NATO stop giving them weapons then? 

NATO are not giving them weapons, individual states are. Some are in NATO, some are not. 

1
 wintertree 04 Mar 2022
In reply to cb294:

> As I posted recently on one of these treads, 168 artillery nukes in the first 24 h, and then push through to the uncontaminated side was the basic plan for westerly winds.

Seems like the prevailing wind across Europe is now swinging round to come from the east, and will stay like that for at least 10 days.  It’s bringing a chill to Britain.

In reply to kevin stephens:

Abramovich is cracking me up as he wants £2 to £ 3 billion cash payment for Chelsea.Nothing else.No share or staged payments etc etc.I bet in a years time its not sold.

In the Maldives its only a few superyachts that have made it there.

The cutting of SWIFT payments is the critical issue, its even stopping China being able to pay the Russians.Thats like a slow throttle around the Russian economy.But at the same time it causes Putin to up the pressure on Ukraine.

Post edited at 10:21
 TomD89 04 Mar 2022
In reply to Ben Callard:

> NATO are not giving them weapons, individual states are. Some are in NATO, some are not. 

Correct, but a technicality. If I were Putin and I saw all/most individual members of NATO supplying weapons to my opposition in reality I'd be considering NATO to be supplying the weapons.

4
 cb294 04 Mar 2022
In reply to wintertree:

But very nice weather in the Alps!

CB

 jkarran 04 Mar 2022
In reply to mark s:

> What makes you think it would come to that?  Because Putin said so isn't a credible answer as he has told a few porkies recently. 

As soon as we start shooting at Russians it's not about who keeps or partners Ukraine, it's existential. For Europe, the US, for Russia, and of course for Putin who cannot personally afford to lose a fight he can not win conventionally against NATO forces, he cannot fail to escalate. Why would NATO just pick off scattered bristling targets in Ukraine when it could hit their softer, longer supply lines back into Russia? Likewise, why suffer frequent anti-armour strikes on Russian deployments if you can deny them airbases to operate from using long range missiles against Poland and Germany? What does Russia do on the western flank, wait and see as a hostile NATO masses forces in the baltic? Once the gloves are off why take crippling economic warfare lying down when you can take that fight to your opponents' economies, cyber of course and sabotage but perhaps also submarine launched strikes on energy and comms infrastructure, London's financial centre, and the economically dominant seaboards of the US? This doesn't ramp up slowly over Ukraine with time for diplomacy while we neatly pick off deployed Russian air defences.

Now it's now not just Putin's sanity and the gain or loss of Ukraine in question. It's the countless judgement calls of those watching over Russia, UK, Europe and the US. What's aboard those blips on their screens fast heading for family and home, a high explosive warning shot, a chemical payload to deny the use of economic and technological centres or a thermonuclear cluster to end it all? Minutes at best to to decide a response, likely to waves of attacks across the globe. Why tolerate being watched by a mortal enemy which outguns and surrounds you? If it kicks off in space and debris spreads in orbit that quickly spirals out of control destroying the underpinning for the rest of the world's economy potentially destabilising the rest of the world, sucking China and others into conflict with one or both parties responsible. All major players are fully signed up to MAD, even if we, or they, blink once or twice pausing to take the hit, to see what stage we're at before retaliating (which was never the plan) it's then only a matter of time before someone doesn't.

But let's say that doesn't happen, that cool heads somehow prevail long enough to get leaders to talks. Better. How do you end that conflict? What does each party get that is the others' to give, which justifies all the blood spilled? We're not dealing here with Russia the country, it's people's needs and ambitions, we're dealing with an absolute monarch in all but name of huge ambition and nowhere left to go if he cannot achieve it by force.

We should be under no illusion, this can all go to shit for billions of people in the blink of an eye if Putin misjudges his actions, if we misjudge our response, not because Putin is mad but because we're still all committed to it.

jk

1
 JenTheFredo 04 Mar 2022
In reply to ExiledScot:

> It'll likely take months, would you want to be the first politician or General suggesting they remove their own leader? 

The likelihood of Putin being ousted in a matter of months is very low.
But anyway risk management isn't about likelihoods, it's about the downsides.

And when there are bombs falling on your head the downsides of fighting back are low. The Ukrainians, at last, have understood that very clearly.

1
 JenTheFredo 04 Mar 2022
In reply to ExiledScot:

> If nato puts one foot, tank or flies over Ukraine then putin won't just be reacting with a nasty letter, to use the technical terminology he'll go "full tonto".

Maybe we should have said to Putin that if he put one foot in Ukraine then NATO would go "full tonto".
Unfortunately some genius thought it was a good idea to make it abundantly clear well before the invasion that NATO would not lift a finger. 

8
In reply to kevin stephens:

Couldn’t disagree more. The oligarchs have almost zero influence. The last one to challenge him got sent to prison. This is Putins lockdown project and he will stop at nothing to achieve either his full goal or enough of a goal to save face.  At some point, discussions need to be had about what parts of Ukraine is fully given to Russia, combined with some puppet government in new Ukraine. Over the next few decades, some restrictions will be lifted with a view to ‘westernising’ Russia and hopefully a Gorbachev style leader (after Putins death/serious illness) followed by gradual liberation of Ukraine. (aside - Sparrowhawk just through my garden - home working today).  Back on track: in the meanwhile, years of constant skirmishing which Putin will label as terrorism, but it will help push for the liberation post Putins death. 

 cb294 04 Mar 2022
In reply to jkarran:

> We should be under no illusion, this can all go to shit for billions of people in the blink of an eye if Putin misjudges his actions, if we misjudge our response, not because Putin is mad but because we're still all committed to it.

...and still, MAD until now guaranteed the longest area of peace in stability in Europe, ever.

The idea of involving NATO in Ukraine is insanity, and it worries me that we are led by politicians too young to have experienced the hottish phases of the cold war. Reforger/ Able Archer, anyone?

CB

 JenTheFredo 04 Mar 2022
In reply to Bottom Clinger:

> Couldn’t disagree more. The oligarchs have almost zero influence. The last one to challenge him got sent to prison. 

Exactly. 15 years ago the oligarchs were the source of power for the kremlin, now it's the other way around, the Oligarch that have influence now depend on Putin for their wealth.

Putin has, on the face of it, successfully eliminated every counter power in Russia as far as I can tell.

The only ones who could challenge him are the ones in the security apparatus of the Kremlin, which really are now the basis of power in Russia, but so far they are very loyal to him and/or scared.
This could change though if he was close to start using nukes, as they would all need to effectively be willing to commit suicide.

In reply to cb294:

> ...and still, MAD until now guaranteed the longest area of peace in stability in Europe, ever.

> The idea of involving NATO in Ukraine is insanity, and it worries me that we are led by politicians too young to have experienced the hottish phases of the cold war. Reforger/ Able Archer, anyone?

> CB

Yes.  RomtheBear (current tedious guise), Mark S etc, just don't think it could happen, which is totally naive.  There was a TV serious about Abel Archer recently.  Very good, and clarifying that decisions about nuclear war depend on a very few individuals dealing with vague information and insane pressure from all angles.

 JenTheFredo 04 Mar 2022
In reply to cb294:

> The idea of involving NATO in Ukraine is insanity, and it worries me that we are led by politicians too young to have experienced the hottish phases of the cold war. Reforger/ Able Archer, anyone?

At what point do you decide the West has to defend itself against an aggressor ? If we can't ever involve NATO in a conflict against Russia, NATO is pretty much useless.

5
 jkarran 04 Mar 2022
In reply to TomD89:

> Correct, but a technicality. If I were Putin and I saw all/most individual members of NATO supplying weapons to my opposition in reality I'd be considering NATO to be supplying the weapons.

So what? His options re. NATO and its members' actions are severely limited.

jk

1
 JenTheFredo 04 Mar 2022
In reply to MG:

> Yes.  RomtheBear (current tedious guise), Mark S etc, just don't think it could happen

I definitely think it could happen so not sure where you have read that.

3
 Stichtplate 04 Mar 2022
In reply to mark s:

> So using force now isn't defensive? Targeting nuclear power plants and the west just sit and watch?

If you look out your front window and see a bloke punching a smaller bloke and decide to go and intervene, you reckon you can rely on a plea of self defence? Add in that you know the bloke is wearing a massive suicide vest (World's largest nuclear arsenal) capable of taking out your entire neighbourhood, do you reckon this would be a wise course of action?

> This is like the 100s of COVID posts on ukc again. Have a view different than the clique and you get shot down.

You're right, it is like the covid threads: actual experts persist in a strategy some random on a forum disagrees with. The majority of people on the forum agree with the actual experts and explain why. Random on the forum whinges about being shot down.

> Why don't NATO stop giving them weapons then? If I gave a gun to a bloke and he killed someone,I'd be involved. 

NATO hasn't given Ukraine so much at a BB gun.

> The president of Ukraine is asking for more,I'm sure if he knew ukc disagreed with him then he would change direction.

Back to my earlier analogy: if some big muscly psycho wearing a suicide vest was beating the crap out of me I'm sure I'd be shouting for help too. Still doesn't mean it'd be worth risking the whole neighbourhood going up in smoke by intervening.

Leaving the crap analogy aside. Increasing isolation of Russia on the international stage combined with ratcheting up the sanctions would seem to be the sensible course. People well to the left on the Dunning Kruger graph may well have other opinions.

Post edited at 10:50
2
In reply to mark s:

> Why don't NATO stop giving them weapons then? If I gave a gun to a bloke and he killed someone,I'd be involved. 

"NATO" basically has no weapons of its own to give or not give. There is some AWACS capability that is shared - so NATO "own" those planes (at least that was the case about 15 years ago when I was studying all this stuff). But all the weapons going to Ukraine comes from individual countries - some of which are NATO members and some of which aren't. 

In reply to Stichtplate:

I think all sane people agree.  What isn't at all clear yet is what the exit is.  On current trajectory in a say a month, Ukraine will be Russia controlled, destroyed and Kelenski dead.  At the same time Russia will be bankrupt and increasingly desperate.  What then?  I haven't heard a vaguely credible answer yet.

 Stichtplate 04 Mar 2022
In reply to MG:

> I think all sane people agree.  What isn't at all clear yet is what the exit is.  On current trajectory in a say a month, Ukraine will be Russia controlled, destroyed and Kelenski dead.  At the same time Russia will be bankrupt and increasingly desperate.  What then?  I haven't heard a vaguely credible answer yet.

 Don't ask me. I was of the opinion Ukraine would have folded by now, which shows how effective my Crystal ball gazing is

 ExiledScot 04 Mar 2022
In reply to JenTheFredo:

> Maybe we should have said to Putin that if he put one foot in Ukraine then NATO would go "full tonto".

> Unfortunately some genius thought it was a good idea to make it abundantly clear well before the invasion that NATO would not lift a finger. 

Because Ukraine isn't in nato. That's pretty straightforward?

 cb294 04 Mar 2022
In reply to JenTheFredo:

As soon as a NATO country is attacked. Art5 is the red line communicated clearly to the Russians, so no breakaway movements were ever instigated in the Baltic states despite their sizeable Russian and/or pro-USSR minorities. At best, some minor cyber disruption.

CB

In reply to Stichtplate:

> If you look out your front window and see a bloke punching a smaller bloke and decide to go and intervene, you reckon you can rely on a plea of self defence?

Yes (Criminal Law Act 1967, Section 3), becomes a bit what-if-ery after that. Doesn't mean it would be wise, but it would be legal in the UK.

 cb294 04 Mar 2022
In reply to MG:

Negotiation. Ukraine pledging neutrality militarily in exchange for the status of EU candidate. It will of course take ages for them to be actually admittable. Russia will get a land corridor to the Crimea and parts or all of the Donbass, but not Kharkiv or Kherson to the North and SW, respectively.

A result like that could have been achieved more cheaply, though. In particular, the Russians will have pissed off their biggest markets for gas and raw materials for nothing at all.

CB

In reply to MG:

Agree with that.Although I suspect Zelensky will be holed up in Lyviv in Western Ukraine.

 Stichtplate 04 Mar 2022
In reply to JoshOvki:

> Yes (Criminal Law Act 1967, Section 3), becomes a bit what-if-ery after that. Doesn't mean it would be wise, but it would be legal in the UK.

I did say it was a crap analogy.

In reply to MG:

> I think all sane people agree.  What isn't at all clear yet is what the exit is.  On current trajectory in a say a month, Ukraine will be Russia controlled, destroyed and Kelenski dead.  At the same time Russia will be bankrupt and increasingly desperate.  What then?  I haven't heard a vaguely credible answer yet.

I see four possibilities:

a. The Ukranians hold on long enough for the billions in weapons donated by the west and the sanctions to change the balance of power, the Russians start losing their logistics while the Ukranians get a flood of fresh equipment.  Result is the Russian invasion crumples, things change fast, Ukraine may grab a bunch of territory back and Putin is in real trouble at home.

b. The Russians get initial control but they face a well armed insurgency that goes on for decades until finally they decide it isn't worth it.

c. There is a new stasis with more of Ukraine under Russian control than before but neither side happy and a grumbling low intensity war across a new 'line of control'.

d. It all turns to shit and Putin uses battlefield nukes.

1
 mark s 04 Mar 2022
In reply to Stichtplate:

>  Don't ask me. I was of the opinion Ukraine would have folded by now, which shows how effective my Crystal ball gazing is

What??? I'm sure you have an opinion and that opinion is correct 

4
 mark s 04 Mar 2022
In reply to Ben Callard:

> NATO are not giving them weapons, individual states are. Some are in NATO, some are not. 

I'm sure you are not being pedantic and know rather than listing an exact inventory and which country donated arms ,know what I mean when I said NATO. 

7
 JenTheFredo 04 Mar 2022
In reply to ExiledScot:

> Because Ukraine isn't in nato. That's pretty straightforward?

Ha I see, so that they can invade any country they want as long as it's not in NATO.

9
 jcw 04 Mar 2022
In reply to The Lemming:

It strikes me there is one reason that I don't  think has been mentioned If so I apologize. We've seen the lengths the US went to recover that plane so it should not fall into Chinese hands. It is possible the Russians are not too keen to have one of their fighters brought down sufficiently intact to reveal their technology or lack of it.

 JenTheFredo 04 Mar 2022
In reply to cb294:

> As soon as a NATO country is attacked. Art5 is the red line communicated clearly to the Russians, so no breakaway movements were ever instigated in the Baltic states despite their sizeable Russian and/or pro-USSR minorities. At best, some minor cyber disruption.

So I guess they can just go ahead and invade Ireland ?

Art 5 is just words on a page, but actions, or lack of, speak far louder than words.

If western democracies aren't committing militarily to defending a large and strategic European democracy next to them against invasion, they are unlikely to do so for a smaller country, regardless of what "club" they belong to.

It might be reassuring to think we are protected by Art 5, but it's probably quite naïve.

Several on here have pointed out that engaging militarily against Russia would be insane because of the risk of nuclear war. This is a convincing argument that doesn't suddenly disappear once Russia attacks a NATO member.

Post edited at 12:14
8
 GAE 04 Mar 2022
In reply to MG:

The only long term fix in my view (other than a disastrous all out war to determine a 'winner' with NATO getting directly involved) is to agree to address some of Russia's concerns which led them to believe that invasion, at great cost to themselves, was their only option. Not all of them, but there needs to be a new compromise/agreement, backed by a formal treaty, between The West and Russia.

I'm no expert but pretty well read on relations between the Russia and the West. Between 2000 and 2002 (ish) Russia-West relations were at a historic high, so what changed between then and now? The expansion of NATO to Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia in 2004 is what. Russia has always feared (rational or not) NATO expanding up to it's borders, and from what I've read they were given assurances from NATO after the cold war (although not formalised into a treaty) that NATO would not expand Eastwards and the former Soviet block countries would act as buffer states. There's also very good reason why prominent US and NATO politicians and commanders in the nineties were always against NATO expanding Eastwards to these countries, reason being that they thought it was impossible to do safely without making Russia feel threatened. So the West unfortunately is not blame free in sowing the seeds of all this, and therefore both sides need to come to a compromise agreement. Unfortunately, Ukraine is stuck in the middle of it all.

1
 Stichtplate 04 Mar 2022
In reply to mark s:

> I'm sure you are not being pedantic and know rather than listing an exact inventory and which country donated arms ,know what I mean when I said NATO. 

You're right, I'm not being pedantic. As myself and others have pointed out, some NATO members have sent weapons, not NATO. 

It's like this, if two members of the local golf club piss on your drive, it's not then reasonable to accuse the local golf club of pissing on your drive.

 Stichtplate 04 Mar 2022
In reply to mark s:

> What??? I'm sure you have an opinion and that opinion is correct 

Nope, I'm perfectly happy to acknowledge when I'm wrong and I'm perfectly comfortable recognising the limitations of my own insight.

This is how sane and rational people generally go about things. You should give it a try sometime.

 cb294 04 Mar 2022
In reply to JenTheFredo:

> Several on here have pointed out that engaging militarily against Russia would be insane because of the risk of nuclear war. This is a convincing argument that doesn't suddenly disappear once Russia attacks a NATO member.

Absolutely, but Putin would not consider opening a land corridor to Kaliningrad militarily as there is the clear threat of nuclear escalation if he attacked a NATO member. The same did not apply for Ukraine, so his correct calculation was that he could risk a conventional invasion, as NATO would be reluctant to be the first to take a step towards direct confrontation between NATO and Russian troops.

I THINK (to be taken with a large grain of salt) that the level of economic retaliation (compared with the response following Crimea and Georgia) and the willingness to supply arms to Ukraine has somewhat surprised the Russian leadership. This makes predictions about a possible endgame or exit strategy even more random guesswork.

CB

 TomD89 04 Mar 2022
In reply to JenTheFredo:

> So I guess they can just go ahead and invade Ireland ?

No. The logic applied to Ukraine, being ex-USSR and bordering Russia, makes it an entirely different case to Ireland. Can people stop ignoring the obvious geopolitical, geographical, strategic reality unique to Ukraine?

In all the myriad multiverses there is no world where Russia, having not been counter attacked by NATO over Ukraine, decides it is now setting it's sights on Ireland and is free to wage war on it without at least UK/France getting involved to prevent this (more likely all the allied countries in that Atlantic area would get involved including USA).

Even a more likely country for invasion eg. Finland, also bordering Russia, is not likely to be invaded as it doesn't have the same historical/ethnic shared history as Ukraine, economic and existential threat to the Russian ruling elite etc.

1
In reply to cb294:

> Ukraine pledging neutrality militarily in exchange for the status of EU candidate.

That's actually really complicated in the modern EU because of CSDP. In 1995 Finland renounced it's neutrality in order to join - there official position has been "military non-alignment" since because they argued it was impossible to be neutral if another EU member state was attacked. Much Finnish security debate in the 90s and 00s revolved around whether EU membership provided enough of a security guarantee to not seek NATO membership as well, and generally the conclusion was yes it does. 

 cb294 04 Mar 2022
In reply to TobyA:

Good point, then renouncing NATO membership instead!

CB

In reply to JenTheFredo:

> Several on here have pointed out that engaging militarily against Russia would be insane because of the risk of nuclear war. This is a convincing argument that doesn't suddenly disappear once Russia attacks a NATO member.

Believe me, there are multiple decades worth of books and academic journal articles from IR and Security Studies professors trying to work out what would happen in such a situation. I remember hearing it called the "lose New York to save Berlin?" dilemma. 

In reply to GAE:

They survived the entire Cold War sharing a border with both NATO Norway and NATO Turkey, so the "we can't have a border with NATO" always seemed a pretty lame argument.

In reply to cb294:

Although it has to be said, Sweden and Austria both fudged the issue in 1995 and I think neutrality is still in the Irish constitution, although as an 'old' member they joined in different times.

 cb294 04 Mar 2022
In reply to TobyA:

But neither Arctic Scandinavia nor a corridor from the Anatolian highlands to a dead end part of the USSR South of the Caucasus ever were plausible routes for a surprise NATO attack.That honmour goes to the East and East Central Euro plains where every invader from Attila the Hun to Napoleon and Hitler tried their luck in varying directions.

Missiles is something else, Jupiters in Turkey were the reason why SS-5 were deployed to Cuba!

CB

 mark s 04 Mar 2022
In reply to Stichtplate:

> You're right, I'm not being pedantic. As myself and others have pointed out, some NATO members have sent weapons, not NATO. 

> It's like this, if two members of the local golf club piss on your drive, it's not then reasonable to accuse the local golf club of pissing on your drive.

No,it's not but I'm sure you are right as in everything else. Really going balls deep on the analogies today,well done. The golf one needs a 'fore" as it's totally at a tangent

Oh and calling me insane and irrational has won this one for you, I'm wrong and change my opinion. 

8
 ExiledScot 04 Mar 2022
In reply to JenTheFredo:

> Ha I see, so that they can invade any country they want as long as it's not in NATO.

Clearly not judging by the sanctions  

 VictorM 04 Mar 2022
In reply to TomD89:

Aside from this, Cold War history is rife with examples of invasions and/or military engagements in countries in one or the other superpower's sphere of influence without them being immediately escalated into full-blown nuclear war exactly because both superpowers recognised that as soon as they would intervene themselves, things would go pear-shaped in minutes. 

NATO didn't directly intervene in Georgia, Chechnya or Afghanistan (round one) either, exactly because these countries were not members and they were too far outside of any other alliance as well. MAD is too great a risk. China and the USSR let France and the US do their thing in Vietnam.

Ireland is a bad example, it's an EU member state and therefore a Russian attack would immediately escalate into at least EU members becoming involved which would almost without fail lead to NATO involvement. The same goes for the Baltics, Finland and Sweden. Putin's threats against the Scandinavian countries are more or less empty because all of them are members of one or the other and therefore de facto (although not de jure) member of the other (at least in a military/security policy sense).

Ukraine is one of the few non-aligned states on the western side of Russia but has now clearly picked a direction it wants to go in. Putin disagrees and makes the correct assumption that NATO and EU states are not willing to directly risk nuclear war over a non-member state.  

Say what you want about what he said but Biden stated the obvious when he said Russia would get away with a small-to-medium incursion. One doesn't have to be a foreign policy expert to know this. But all cards are off the table as soon as even one Russian soldier steps across the border of any NATO/EU member state to the West. 

Post edited at 13:09
 jkarran 04 Mar 2022
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> d. It all turns to shit and Putin uses battlefield nukes.

If he's willing to commit genocide to win Putin doesn't need nuclear weapons (other than in their silos and subs keeping Ukraine isolated from potential European allies). He needs to keep his supply lines open long enough to shell or starve the Ukranians into submission.

Sabotaging Russian re-supply could drag things out but there's always potential for ever more severe reprisals against civilian populations to deter that. Putin can't lose this, the question is what constitutes enough of a win and will a blood soaked Ukraine ever be willing to give him it. Beyond a certain level of loss quitting just gets harder.

jk

 Stichtplate 04 Mar 2022
In reply to mark s:

> No,it's not but I'm sure you are right as in everything else.

Nope. Odd reply since you've already responded to a post up thread where I've pointed out how wrong I've been. Oh well, not really turning out to be your day for simple comprehension and rational discourse.

>Really going balls deep on the analogies today,well done. The golf one needs a 'fore" as it's totally at a tangent

Yeah, sorry about all the analogies but it's sort of my go to when a poster has things carefully explained to them a number of times, by a number of other posters but still seems unable to grasp the basics.

> Oh and calling me insane and irrational has won this one for you, I'm wrong and change my opinion. 

Cool. Now that wasn't so hard, was it?

1
 jimtitt 04 Mar 2022
In reply to jcw:

> It strikes me there is one reason that I don't  think has been mentioned If so I apologize. We've seen the lengths the US went to recover that plane so it should not fall into Chinese hands. It is possible the Russians are not too keen to have one of their fighters brought down sufficiently intact to reveal their technology or lack of it.

Russia is reported to have gathered 48 AN 2's near the Ukraine border, possibly equipped as drones to confuse the Ukranian air defense into thinking they are attack helicopters. Ingeneous if nothing else!

In reply to jimtitt:

What might be inside them?

 GAE 04 Mar 2022
In reply to TobyA:

Well that’s part of my point, both those countries were members during the cold war. NATO gave the assurance to Russia after the Cold War that there would be no further expansion eastwards. 
 

It may be a lame argument from our biased western perspective, but obviously it’s not a lame argument to the Russians given they’re resorting to a bloody war, at great cost to themselves, not to mention Ukraine, to avoid it.
 

2
 jimtitt 04 Mar 2022
In reply to John Stainforth:

Err nothing? The idea could be lure the Uranians to waste a horribly expensive and rare missile to shoot down worthless junk, the Russians have got plenty of them.

 VictorM 04 Mar 2022
In reply to GAE:

Given that Ukraine actually gave up their nuclear weapons in return for a written treaty stating Russia would respect their borders and sovereignty I think we can conclude that any and all mention of broken promises from the West is worth f-all when actually analysing what's going on here. Putin is all too happy to use ideas like that in propaganda and building his casus belli and of course it's at least partly true but it's also one of the biggest what-abouts in this crisis. 

Post edited at 14:42
 cb294 04 Mar 2022
In reply to VictorM:

Indeed. Even worse, the USA and UK were co-signatories to the Budapest memorandum "guaranteeing" territorial integrity in exchange for the nuclear weapons left on Ukrainian territory (third largest arsenal in the world at the time), while France and China acceded with certain modifications.

Just as a reminder:

>The United States of America, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,

>Welcoming the accession of Ukraine to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons as non-nuclear-weapon State,

>Taking into account the commitment of Ukraine to eliminate all nuclear weapons from its territory within a specified period of time,

>Noting the changes in the world-wide security situation, including the end of the Cold War, which have brought about conditions for deep reductions in nuclear forces.

>Confirm the following:

>1. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine.

>2. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine except in self-defence or otherwise in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.

>3. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine, in accordance with the principles of the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, to refrain from economic coercion designed to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by Ukraine of the rights inherent in its sovereignty and thus to secure advantages of any kind.

>4. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm their commitment to seek immediate United Nations Security Council action to provide assistance to Ukraine, as a non-nuclear-weapon State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, if Ukraine should become a victim of an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear weapons are used.

>5. The Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America reaffirm, in the case of Ukraine, their commitment not to use nuclear weapons against any non-nuclear-weapon State party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, except in the case of an attack on themselves, their territories or dependent territories, their armed forces, or their allies, by such a State in association or alliance with a nuclear-weapon State.

>6. Ukraine, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America will consult in the event a situation arises that raises a question concerning these commitments.

>— Memorandum on Security Assurances in Connection with Ukraine’s Accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons

In reply to cb294:

Russia have clearly breached that.  I can't see anything in there that any other party has breached.  It doesn't include NATO style protection.

 S Ramsay 04 Mar 2022
In reply to jimtitt:

The type of missile that the Ukrainians would probably shoot these down with, cold war era Stingers and Strela 2s, are being donated to Ukraine in their thousands. I doubt that they would be overly bothered about using a couple of hundred of these knocking An 2s out of the sky. If I had to guess why Russia was deploying ancient biplanes I would hazard that they want to see where Ukraine has got MANPADs in place before sending newer aircraft to these areas but this is a pure guess

 jkarran 04 Mar 2022
In reply to jimtitt:

> Russia is reported to have gathered 48 AN 2's near the Ukraine border, possibly equipped as drones to confuse the Ukranian air defense into thinking they are attack helicopters. Ingeneous if nothing else!

Interesting.

They look pretty good for operating into and out of in short unprepared fields, quiet compared to a heavy helicopter and probably not much of a heat signature from that little radial either. Flown very low in the clutter below look-up Russian SAM cover they could deliver what, about 4-500 armed men.

jk

 Stichtplate 04 Mar 2022
In reply to GAE:

> Well that’s part of my point, both those countries were members during the cold war. NATO gave the assurance to Russia after the Cold War that there would be no further expansion eastwards. 

This is Putin's justification but it's bollocks. NATO made no such promises. No such treaties were signed. Nothing was put in writing. Unlike the Budapest memorandum which guaranteed Ukrainian borders and which Russia signed. 
 

Happy to retract if you can show otherwise. Also happy to provide links supporting the above.

 jimtitt 04 Mar 2022
In reply to S Ramsay

Or they fly out of range of Manpads to use up the Ukranian SAM missiles, the AN2 can get over 4500m altitude.

In reply to JenTheFredo:

> Ha I see, so that they can invade any country they want as long as it's not in NATO.

NATO is a defensive alliance, whose purpose is to protect NATO member states.

It isn't the World, or even Continental Europe Police, dedicated to waging war on bad people everywhere.

Post edited at 15:22
 jkarran 04 Mar 2022
In reply to GAE:  

> It may be a lame argument from our biased western perspective, but obviously it’s not a lame argument to the Russians given they’re resorting to a bloody war, at great cost to themselves, not to mention Ukraine, to avoid it.

Are they though, or is it for a Russian land bridge and supply line to their only ice free naval base? Is it part of some grander plan to further destabilise the EU by weaponizing refugees, driving a wedge between old and new members (remember Belarus under Putin's thumb has recent form here)? Or is it just old fashioned empire building? Is it a resource grab as the world moves away from hydrocarbons, if so what, grain, uranium, lithium? Maybe it really is all about Ruso-NATO borders (except annexing Ukraine exacerbates that) or Nazis or Russian speaking enclaves or whatever.

Likely it's a complicated mess of those reasons and more, some of which maybe made more sense in Putin's head before the Ukranians dug in to fight and 'the west' acted with surprising force and unity against his action.

jk

 Myr 04 Mar 2022
In reply to GAE:

> NATO gave the assurance to Russia after the Cold War that there would be no further expansion eastwards. 

This doesn't seem to be true. And it ignores the Helsinki Final Act that Russia signed stating that each sovereign state should be free to choose its own alliances.

Even if it is true - do you really think that is the real reason why Putin wants to annex Ukraine? In my view this is to do with empire. He considers the withdrawal of Ukraine from the USSR to have been deeply humiliating and illegitimate, and is trying to expand Russia's borders again accordingly.

https://jamestown.org/program/putins-crimea-speech-a-manifesto-of-greater-russia-irredentism/

In reply to GAE:

>  from what I've read they were given assurances from NATO after the cold war (although not formalised into a treaty) that NATO would not expand Eastwards and the former Soviet block countries would act as buffer states.

If Putin wants Ukraine as a buffer state why is he trying to make it part of Russia? As per Myrs post above, by subsuming Ukraine he is legitimising the other 'buffer states' joining NATO.

In reply to GAE:

Simple, Putin.

I use to sell and travel in Russia, the change between 2005 and 2014 was dramatic. it became another country after Putin in effect overthrew the laws stopping him from only serving as a two term President.

What you are saying is in effect the pro Putin line since he consolidated his power.

There were never any assurances. In diplomacy everything is agreed in writing and by treaties etc, and it has grown to be an urban myth that the West agreed not to move East.Any senior diplomat will tell you this, that is the way the world works.


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