Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
When you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. Russia is the World's second nuclear power, and fancies itself as a power military player in every sector. So it leverages its military capabilities and oil and gas resources as much as it can. Now its non-nuclear capabilities are being found out.

It's economy has long been hollowed out by the Oligarchs. It's GDP is less than 2% of the World economy, and its no longer in the top 10 nations - behind Italy and Canada, and less than 5 times Ireland's. This war isn't going to help those figures at all and its conventional military prestige is shot. The danger is that it falls back on the one thing it is still a world leader in - nuclear weapons.

The shape of a potential deal with Ukraine has been obvious from day one: Russia gets to (officially) keep Crimea and Ukraine keeps Donbass as an autonomous province but with close links to Russia, doesn't join NATO but can join the EU. It's just a matter of how much time and destruction it takes before military realities force Russia to accept such a "solution".

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue May 10th, 2022 at 05:58:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That was literally what was completely unacceptable before because Ukraine is a sovereign country and the open door policy of NATO is non-negotiable. It's basically Minsk2. Before the war there was a pretty strong "anti-capitulation" movement that forced Zelensky to abandon his deescalation policy, despite being elected on that platform. And I don't think the war has made the Ukrainian far-right more chill. It's not that long ago that they shot one of their negotiators.
And then there is of course the question of why the US would accept that settlement. As things stand NATO got another shot at life, the Europeans are buying the MIC's (barely) flying golden turkeys like their lives depend on it and will find it nearly impossible to not get sucked into the US-China conflict. Even the fracking mafia is save for now. A negotiated settlement risks that so I really don't see the balance of forces in the US going for that. Can they stop the Ukrainians from accepting a settlement? I'd argue that they can. IMF loans are what's keeping the lights on currently, for as long as there is an active conflict the military support of the US is critical and they have been training the armed forces for years.
Then there is of course the question of whether the Russians would accept such a settlement now and honestly I don't think so. The US is almost certainly overstating Russian losses, but they are still going to be have been substantial so the internal logic is going to be: get something that can be sold as a win or escalate. As far as I can tell Russia is still fighting largely with its peace-time army so there should be quite a lot of room for further escalation if the military results aren't satisfactory, even if it would be politically risky. So a settlement the Russians would accept is probably going to be worse than Minsk2 or very far off.
by generic on Tue May 10th, 2022 at 10:20:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're saying Ukraine is a sovereign country and then, in the next breath, that any settlement has to be acceptable to the US? Isn't that Russia's problem with Ukraine - it sees the Ukraine as basically a proxy for the USA and Nato on it's doorstep. It seems to me that the war is governed by increasing costs and diminishing returns. Some scorched earth in eastern Donbass isn't worth what it is costing Russia now, even if it takes some time for them to admit it to themselves.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue May 10th, 2022 at 10:37:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is the RF planning to exhaust it's entire defense budget on invading Ukraine? idunno. EUCOM sure hopes so! US + EU (- US Lend-Lease LOC) = far deeper burn rate for "scorched earth" missile defense delivered to Poland to resell to Ukraine at a "discount" (UAH:PLN?) until the EU Ukraine Solidarity Trust Fund starts reverse disbursements.
TASS | Russia's national defense budget to total $154B through 2022, 1 Oct 2019
"Budgetary provisions for 'National defense' will total 3.1 trillion rubles ($47.7 bln) in 2020, 3.24 trillion rubles ($50 bln) in 2021, and 3.3 trillion rubles ($51.3 bln) in 2022. The share of expenditures on 'National defense' will stand at 2.4% of GDP in 2020, 2.7% of GDP in 2021, and 2.6% of GDP in 2022," the document said.
oil and gas revenue piling up ... MEANWHILE
Seven European nations have increased defense budgets in one month., 22 Mar
to the point that six NATO members have now pledged defense increases of $133 [!] so far; militarily neutral Sweden has also pledged an increase. And more nations seem poised to follow suit in the days and weeks to come.
by Cat on Wed May 11th, 2022 at 12:36:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What I meant was that the suggestion we could offer the Russians "Finlandization" for Ukraine was treated as deeply unserious in the western media and angrily shouted down by politicians. Sovereignty and all that. I am, of course, convinced that the material realities are very different. And yes, the war is certainly costly for Russia, but they also seem to have switched to a more careful, artillery focused approach and the sanctions are unlikely to go away in the short term, no matter what actions they take. The USSR planned for WW3, it's unlikely they are going to run out of artillery shells after a few months. My point isn't that the Russians should continue the offensive, but that they can and it's probably easier to do so than to stop at this point.
Also a big question is still the Ukrainian armed forces. We really have no idea in what state of the regulars fighting in the south and east are. The information is highly controlled. I don't think we'd have a lot of early warning if they started to collapse.
by generic on Wed May 11th, 2022 at 06:49:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem with the "Finlandisation" thesis is that the EU (and, arguably, the US) were unable to transgress that frontier : to explicitly bargain with Russia over the heads of the Ukrainian government.

Putin has that singular advantage, that he is not bound by any notions of international legality, and decided to create facts on the ground (he has made appallingly poor use of that advantage)

Currently, the Ukrainian army is pushing the Russians back to the border in the Kharkiv region, but losing ground, with occasional counter-attacks, in the Donbass
A Georgian think-tank updates every few days, using open sources

I've no idea how long they can hold out, or whether better hardware can give them the advantage.
The closest analogy I can think of to the current situation is the Iran-Iraq war, which lasted for eight years.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu May 12th, 2022 at 08:14:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course the US can bargain with Russia over the Ukrainians head. Whatever would prevent them? The Europeans probably can't, for the simple reason that they seem unable to keep agreements against US opposition. Just look at the Iran deal, the US blew it up and despite all the grumbling from the EU the sanctions returned.
by generic on Fri May 13th, 2022 at 11:20:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't get too excited about the US. We have a significant crowd that wants to expand the "states' rights" argument into a "federation of independent states" system. The EU might find itself negotiating with Texas or Indiana at some point.
by asdf on Fri May 13th, 2022 at 02:16:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From the Russian viewpoint, what country isn't a proxy for the US? The Baltic states? Australia? Japan? Turkey? Israel?

The US sticks its nose into everybody else's business, that is true. But in most cases there is a degree of provocation that initiates it. The vast majority of Americans couldn't care less about the world outside; even Mexico and Canada and Hawaii are exotic remote foreign places. Puerto Rico might as well be in the Mediterranean.

by asdf on Wed May 11th, 2022 at 04:31:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ukraine's debt to the IMF was about $56Bn at the end of 2020. That's just $3Bn less than the current total (at least what's above-board) of "aid" approved from the US alone. Give it a few more months and I'm sure that these underwriters will happily restructure that debt in the form of a piece of the action in future "aid" packages.

I'm sure that the banksters who pull the levers of the World Bank and IMF have personal portfolios with plenty of 'exposure' to the MIC/arms industry.

https://educationcenter2000.com/Articles_Folder/Who_Owns_and_Controls_Military_Industrial_Complex.ht m

I add: But they can't erase the debt of some of the poorest countries in the world that are/were not at war in the recent past?

by Tom2 on Wed May 11th, 2022 at 08:32:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The shape of a potential deal with Ukraine has been obvious from day one: Russia gets to (officially) keep Crimea and Ukraine keeps Donbass as an autonomous province but with close links to Russia, doesn't join NATO but can join the EU. It's just a matter of how much time and destruction it takes before military realities force Russia to accept such a "solution"

Since Bucha, Ukranians have a very different idea of what constitutes an acceptable deal. Leaving any of their people to be raped and murdered by Russia is no longer acceptable. Instead, the minimum now (according to Zelenskiy this morning) is all their land back.

by IdiotSavant on Thu May 12th, 2022 at 02:40:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
https:/www.theinsightnewsonline.com/the-bucha-provocation?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&ut m_campaign=the-bucha-provocation

And when your basic freedoms as a Western European are taken away and your salary aligned to an Eastern European salary, you will applaud?

by Tom2 on Thu May 12th, 2022 at 07:06:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is for you, Tomtom, because I know you'll enjoy it. Quoting extensively because Mediapart is subscription only.
Jamais au long de sa carrière, la cofondatrice de l'association des femmes avocates d'Ukraine ne pensait être confrontée à « ça », « des viols de masse », « des viols de guerre » : « C'est plus que le viol, c'est la destruction par l'intime d'une nation sur des générations. »

Plus d'une dizaine de dossiers occupent ses journées, ses nuits aussi, « et ce n'est que le début » : Tanya* violée avec sa fille Iliana*, Ludmila* sous les yeux de son fils de 12 ans, Katia* des jours durant, « pour la punir d'enseigner la langue ukrainienne», Olena* extraite de Marioupol « l'appareil génital détruit »...

À l'exception d'un dossier qui met en cause un militaire seul - un officier -, tous documentent des viols en réunion, impliquant plusieurs soldats russes dans des régions occupées désormais libérées au nord de l'Ukraine, ou toujours sous occupation au sud et à l'est. Tous déploient une même mécanique.

« Ils violent en meute, longtemps, sans se cacher, en public, devant des témoins, les proches, les enfants, constate Larysa Denysenko. Ils sont souvent ivres, toujours armés, très cruels, sadiques. Des insultes reviennent, par exemple "pute de nazis", "salope nazie", "on va t'ouvrir le ventre, t'apprendre à ne plus mettre au monde de nazis". »

La semaine dernière, trois nouvelles victimes, des femmes encore, lui ont été envoyées, les premières à vouloir porter plainte, « mais la procédure les a effrayées » : « Je n'arrive plus à les joindre. » On lui a aussi transmis le cas d'un enfant violé. Larysa Denysenko a « craqué », refusé : « Ce qu'il a subi est d'une telle barbarie... Je ne me suis pas sentie capable de le porter. »

Des habitantes attendent une distribution d'aide alimentaire dans un village de la région de Kyiv ravagé par la guerre (Ukraine, mai 2022). © Photo Rachida El Azzouzi /Mediapart
Viols collectifs sur des femmes, des enfants, des hommes, en public ou sous le regard des familles, qui peuvent être suivis d'assassinat, de viols post-mortem, prostitution forcée... : l'Ukraine découvre avec horreur l'étendue des violences sexuelles commises par l'armée russe depuis l'invasion du pays le 24 février, en même temps que les massacres, les tortures, les disparitions forcées, les pillages, les destructions.

Mediapart a sillonné les régions de Kyiv et de Chernihiv au nord du pays, reprises par les forces ukrainiennes, à la rencontre des victimes de viols, cette arme à déflagrations multiples, devenue banale dans les conflits armés. Des rencontres majoritairement indirectes, tant le silence fait déjà son oeuvre, par le biais des proches, des témoins, des avocat·es, des psychologues, des médecins, des élu·es, des ONG en première ligne dans la révélation de ces crimes dont l'ampleur est difficile à évaluer.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu May 12th, 2022 at 07:18:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Si le 12 avril dernier, le président ukrainien Volodymyr Zelensky a évoqué « des centaines de cas de viol », le parquet ukrainien ne communique qu'un chiffre actualisé au fil des jours : celui des crimes de guerre présumés, tous confondus, exécutions sommaires, torture, viols, etc.
À ce stade, plus de 8 000 ont été identifiés et font l'objet d'enquêtes ouvertes par la procureure générale d'Ukraine et la Cour pénale internationale de la Haye (CPI). Une course contre la montre, pavée d'obstacles, pour collecter, recouper les témoignages, les preuves. Un site gouvernemental a été spécifiquement créé, Warcrimes.gov.ua, où citoyen·nes, victimes, témoins, ONG, journalistes peuvent envoyer tout document attestant de crimes de guerre.

Des renforts sont venus du monde entier, de la CPI : des enquêtrices et enquêteurs, des magistrat·es, des expert·es qui ont parfois ratissé des terrains de guerre où les violences sexuelles les plus extrêmes ont été systématisées, comme en Bosnie (région de l'ex-Yougoslavie), en Sierra Leone ou au Rwanda... Des ONG reconnues, telles Amnesty International ou Human Rights Watch (HRW), qui documentait dès le 3 avril le viol d'une jeune femme dans un village près de Kharkiv à l'est, conduisent leurs propres enquêtes, indépendamment du processus judiciaire.

Un des enjeux sera de déterminer si les viols relèvent d'une stratégie militaire délibérée, planifiée au sommet par la Russie, d'un potentiel génocide qui vise à l'épuration ethnique, comme le dénonce le président ukrainien, ou s'ils sont un des dommages aléatoires de la guerre, perpétré par quelques mercenaires hors de contrôle, sans responsabilité du commandement.

Pour Larysa Denysenko, « c'est un système de terreur organisé au plus haut ». Wlada*, 20 ans, qu'elle accompagne, a été violée à Irpin, près de Kyiv, dans le sous-sol d'un immeuble, au milieu d'autres réfugié·es, par trois hommes de la 64e brigade de fusiliers motorisés. Cette brigade, impliquée dans le massacre de centaines de civils dans la commune voisine de Boutcha, a été décorée à son retour à Moscou par le président russe, le 18 avril dernier, au titre de « l'héroïsme, la ténacité, la détermination et le courage ».

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu May 12th, 2022 at 07:39:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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