Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

A new phase in the Ukraine war?

by eurogreen Tue Mar 29th, 2022 at 04:26:30 PM EST

Over the past few days, the positions of the belligerants seem to have become largely fixed : the Russians are no longer advancing; the many simultaneous sieges of Ukrainian cities seem to make little progress; the Ukrainian army even seems to be advancing in certain regions. Movement of Russian troops indicate consolidation or even retreat.

Serious negotiations are in progress in Turkey, and this afternoon :

Russia's deputy defence minister, Alexander Fomin, said Moscow had decided to "radically reduce military activity in the direction of Kyiv and Chernihiv" in order to "increase mutual trust" and create the right conditions to sign a peace deal with Ukraine.

Add your news, interpretations, predictions, opinions. Is there finally an end in sight? And what will the post_war world look like?

Frontpaged - Bernard

That's not in the job description

12 National guards who were dismissed for refusing to go to war in Ukraine are appealing the decision in an attempt to get reinstated, reported Telegram channel SOTA.
Captain Farid Chitav, and 11 of his subordinates in Rosgvardiya (National Guard), were ordered over the border of Ukraine on Feb. 25 but refused on the grounds that they were "illegal," according to human rights lawyer Pavel Chikhov.
The guardsmen, who were fired for failing to carry out orders to cross the Ukrainian border at the start of the war, are appealing their dismissal, said the lawyer representing the guards, Mikhail Benyash.

The division of Russia's National Guard from Krasnodar had been stationed in annexed Crimea since Feb. 6. conducting annual exercises when the orders came. But the division, led by Chitav, said that their duties were strictly limited to Russian territory, and given that none of the members had their passports, crossing into Ukraine would constitute a violation of the law.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Mar 29th, 2022 at 05:29:34 PM EST
Macron phone call with Putin, about possible evacuation of civilians from Mariupol: "not possible"

Conditions set by Putin:

by Bernard (bernard) on Tue Mar 29th, 2022 at 06:19:03 PM EST
I have avoided commenting on the war because I have no specialist knowledge of the conflict, but it seems that the likely outcome is becoming increasingly clear.

If Putin sought "regime change" in Ukraine to facilitate a more compliant government, he has clearly failed. The extent of the failure is a humiliation for Russia that will probably, ultimately, cost Putin his job.

Instead he will have to settle for some territorial gains around Donbass and Mariupol and an agreement that Ukraine will not join NATO. It shouldn't have taken a major war to achieve that.

Ukraine will now probably be fast-tracked into the EU and into the EU sphere of influence in a further set-back for Putin. Europe will also reduce its dependency on Russian oil and exports and take a much more hardline approach to all Russian initiatives - including the activities of Russian cybercrime gangs.

Western sanctions on Russia will continue for the foreseeable future as the costs for the EU and its members have also been considerable. Ireland has just expelled 4 Russian diplomats, but that is only the beginning of the re-calibration of relations with Russia.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Mar 29th, 2022 at 07:26:24 PM EST
Well, for someone who claims to have "no specialist knowledge of the conflict", you sure are making a number of predictions, that may or may be not come to pass :)

will probably, ultimately, cost Putin his job.
Possibly. Then again, one can think a lot of scenarios where Putin does remain in place. Russia will be in a much worse state though...

he will have to settle for some territorial gains around Donbass and Mariupol
Depends on how far Ukrainian counter-attacks go; many things could still happen and I'm expecting the unexpected. Who would have thought, just a month ago when the Russian invasion had just started, that we would be in the present situation? (The most likely scenario was Russia quickly squashing Ukrainian forces)

Europe will also reduce its dependency on Russian oil and exports and take a much more hardline approach to all Russian initiatives
Hopefully, the mere realization of "it could happen to us" will jolt the Europeans (not only the EU) to keep building a more resilient society, especially vis a vis the imported fossil fuels. But there is also a strong temptation to resume "business as usual", as soon as possible, with maybe, most Russian gas replaced with US liquefied shale gas... Complacency is strong among our elites.

as the costs for the EU and its members have also been considerable.
Not yet: the true costs of cutting Russian energy imports off and having to deal with our economy's dependence on imported fossil fuels has just barely started to bite. Expelling Russian spies/diplomats is painless. Re-calibration will be a long and difficult process.

That's probably the pessimistic me reacting to the optimistic you, with a pinch of Gallic skepticism :)

In any case, this is a stronger case than ever to re-enforce the ties between EU countries, and even outside of the EU.

by Bernard (bernard) on Tue Mar 29th, 2022 at 08:36:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I like to make predictions, based on what data I have, if only to learn that I have to change my expectations if circumstances change. I have no problem with being proved wrong, but it is useful to draw logical conclusions on what information you have. I have no time for the kind of "maybe this, or maybe that" kind of analysis which can never be proved to have been based on faulty assumptions. It doesn't add to anyone's understanding or learning process.

Irish based aircraft leasing firms are having to write off billions on planes now re-registered as Russian and the refugee influx is budgeted to cost billions this year. That is real money for a small country! In addition Russian based ransomware cyberattacks on the Irish health service cost millions and possibly a few lives. The government has already legislated to nullify planning permission for a major expansion of intelligence gathering facilities at the 4 acre (nearly 2 hectare) Russian embassy compound near the middle of Dublin, and you can expect a much more robust response to Russian Ambassador Filatov's many provocative comments in the Irish media in the future.

I have argued elsewhere that the Ukraine crisis has already done much to improve the EU sense of cohesion and common purpose. Even unionists in N. Ireland may be beginning to learn that the Protocol is not the no. 1 EU priority just now.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Mar 30th, 2022 at 10:24:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's how you and I are different (and there's nothing wrong with that). It doesn't mean I cannot make predictions too, maybe not in the same areas.

Some of the trends I see emerging:

Just like you mentioned: European unity, like like after Brexit, but ten times bigger. Nothing like being scared by the bombardments and shellings just across your border to focus the minds.

Europe excessive dependence on imported fossil energy: a hundred years ago, most of the energy use was coal extracted in Europe. Our vulnerability is now obvious. Energy independence and a faster move to renewables is not only a "green" plan but now a matter of national security.

Defense spending: this will increase, to the detriment of other budgets and priorities. Love it or loathe it, NATO is no longer perceived as "brain dead" and countries like Finland are seriously considering joining it. Others may follow.

Wandel durch Handel is dead; at least for now. Anyone else has noticed how Merkel's name is conspicuously absent from political debates?

"Russian" populations in Ukraine: just like French speaking Walloons in Belgium or Valaisans in Switzerland are not French, Russian-speaking Ukrainians are not Russians, whatever Putin says. Ukrainians, from the East as well as from the West are not ready to forgive Russians for having their army invading and destroying their country. The enmity will last a long time.

Russian demography was not boding well for Russia's future already, and this war is killing out a large number of prime age young people: mainly from small towns and peripheral "ethnic" republics. And urban professionals are also leaving Russia in large numbers. This won't have an immediate effect, but it is leading to an inevitable decline.

Taiwan: Beijing will think long and hard about "military options" for absorbing Taiwan, as the Ukrainian war has reminded everybody this is never a cakewalk.

by Bernard (bernard) on Wed Mar 30th, 2022 at 08:22:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The prospect of Ukraine as enthusiastic new entrants the EU seems like an excellent thing; the question is cohesion. What will be the effect on the national-populists all over Europe?

First test : elections in Hungary. It looks pretty close, and the war doesn't seem to have had an obvious impact, which is interesting.

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

by eurogreen on Thu Mar 31st, 2022 at 02:07:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Another list of polls

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Mar 31st, 2022 at 02:18:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a limit on how much gas the US can export to Europe : gas is dirt cheap in the USA, but LNG terminals are expensive :

"Europe's need for gas far exceeds what the system can supply," said Nikos Tsafos, an energy analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "Diplomacy can only do so much."

In the longer term, however, energy experts say the United States could do a lot to help Europe. Along with the European Union, Washington could provide loan guarantees for U.S. export and European import terminals to reduce costs and accelerate construction. Governments could require international lending institutions like the World Bank and the European Investment Bank to make natural gas terminals, pipelines and processing facilities a priority. And they could ease regulations that gas producers, pipeline builders and terminal developers argue have made it more difficult or expensive to build gas infrastructure.

Charif Souki, executive chairman of Tellurian, a U.S. gas producer that is planning to build an export terminal in Louisiana, said he hoped the Biden administration would streamline permitting and environmental reviews "to make sure things happen quickly without micromanaging everything." He added that the government could encourage banks and investors, some of whom have recently avoided oil and gas projects in an effort to burnish their climate credentials, to lend to projects like his.

"If all the major banks in the U.S. and major institutions like BlackRock and Blackstone feel comfortable investing in hydrocarbons, and they are not going to be criticized, we will develop $100 billion worth of infrastructure we need," Mr. Souki said.

Which would be a really dumb thing to do, from the point of view of the planet.

Current very high gas prices in Eurasia :

seem suspicious to me, and very possibly part of Putin's preparations for the current war. Sure, demand has recovered because of Covid, but the rise in price started a year ago. Bear in mind Putin's very close relationship with MBS, clown prince of KSA...

Strategically, if Europe really wants to wean itself off Russian gas, Iran is a much better candidate than the USA. Just need to build that pipeline through Turkey. Easy.

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

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 30th, 2022 at 10:39:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Also not an expert. But it seems like an invasion that is stalled, with extended supply lines, and an active local resistance, is in pretty big trouble.

It will be interesting to see what happens in those eastern regions. Maybe the enthusiasm for Russia will decline and Putin will end up losing them? Not to mention other areas. Belarus another question now.

by asdf on Tue Mar 29th, 2022 at 10:59:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed, it would be interesting to conduct an opinion poll over the whole territory of the Donbass...

* Do you feel more or less Russian/Ukrainian now than you did last Christmas?

In practice, the people of the Donbass will continue to be pawns, and they are unlikely to have any real say in the outcome. We can reasonably expect that Ukraine will have to concede, at a minimum, the occupied post-2014 territories to Russia, and at a maximum, all of the two oblasts that constitute the Donbass.

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

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 30th, 2022 at 08:35:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
People like Putin don't lose their offices.  They get taken out feet-first.
by rifek on Mon Apr 4th, 2022 at 04:51:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jude Collins | Belfast Solicitors challenge OFCOM on its banning of RT in the United Kingdom - by Fra Hughes, 28 Mar 2022
In this capacity the Applicant has in recent years travelled to former and current conflict effected regions of Europe, where he conducted dialogue with former political prisoners, combatants, and other political figures of influence, sharing his own insight and experiences in order to help promote conflict resolution as an alternative to violent politics.

 In 2015, he met with representatives of Russian speaking `separatist' activists in the already war-torn Donbass region of Ukraine and shared his ideas, experiences and perspectives of conflict resolution with a view to assisting with a peaceful resolution there.
 The Applicant strongly feels that this absence of relevant knowledge may now have real, stark and grave consequences; given that popular and widespread discourse is occurring around the potential for NATO countries (including the UK) to get involved in the ongoing conflict, leading to potentially devastating consequences for multitudes of people, not least with the looming prospect of the utilisation of nuclear weapons.

 The applicant had previously challenged (via pre-action correspondence) UK culture secretary Nadine Dorries in her decision to direct her department to lobby all private media providers here to block the provision of news into the UK which reflected the political position and perspectives of Russian speaking citizens in the breakaway Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, collectively known as `Donbass'.

 On learning that OFCOM has now acted on the minister's advice, he has challenged them also.
 He believes that it is impossible to make an informed opinion on the current conflict without consideration of all such opinions and that the directives of the Culture Secretary are preventing such opinions from occurring, resulting in an eschewed public position on NATO intervention.

Please note also, that our client is totally opposed to any similar such censorship in Russia, and that together he believes such practices can only exacerbate and prolong the conflict.

Who is Fra Hughes? about.me, YouTube channel
by Cat on Tue Mar 29th, 2022 at 08:00:51 PM EST
by Cat on Wed Mar 30th, 2022 at 01:35:51 AM EST
The short version: the first phase was intended to keep Ukrainian troops from re-inforcing the Ukrainian forces in Donbass. Having destroyed the means (military infrastructure) of re-inforcing the the Ukrainian forces in Donbass, the Russian troops can back of Kiev and send more troops to Donbass.

To which I answer: Maybe? Ritter is knowledgable, but he has been wrong on this war several times.

There is first off the question if this was plan A, or plan B. But that is a hard one because military plans tends to have back-up plans and there is no way to be sure until archives are opened what was the plan, what was a feint and what was improvision. And it is perhaps not even an important question right now.

Looking instead at the statements on the situation on the ground today. Has the Ukrainian army been unable to re-inforce the eastern front? The unability to lift the siege of Mariupol points in that direction, yeah. Will they continue to be? Maybe. If they continue to be unable to re-inforce the eastern front what will happen? Most likely Russia will win there, with the break out republics claiming their entire oblasts as territory. With their strongest force defeated Ukraine will be in a military bad position. But they already are, so it doesn't change the political logic of the situation.

In light of this, I hope that the partial retreat signals a diplomatic breakthrough, so that peace can be given another chance.

by fjallstrom on Wed Mar 30th, 2022 at 09:07:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ritter :
Russia also engaged in a campaign of strategic deep attack designed to disrupt and destroy Ukrainian logistics, command & control, and air power and long-range fire support. Ukraine is running out of fuel and ammo, cannot coordinate maneuver, and has no meaningful Air Force.

I may be wrong, but it seems to me that the attacks on munitions and fuel depots are a fairly recent development : the last couple of weeks at most. This could be a clue as to the Plan A/Plan B thinking.

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

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 30th, 2022 at 10:45:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah and I just cross-checked this one :

Understand Russia started its "special military operation" with a severe manpower deficit--200,000 attackers to some 600,000 defenders (or more). Classic attritional conflict was never an option. Russian victory required maneuver.

As the Ukrainian standing forces are about 200 000, Ritter seems to be counting enormous numbers of reservists, recent conscripts and probably civilians who have recently received handouts of guns.

And unverifiable numbers of foreign fighters. This conversation between two ex US Marines is illuminating:

As Jed sat across from me in the empty restaurant, with his shoulders hunched forward over the table and his palms cupped around the tea, he explained that since arriving in Ukraine at the end of February, he had been fighting as a volunteer along with a dozen other foreigners outside Kyiv. The past three weeks had marked him. When I asked how he was holding up, he said the combat had been more intense than anything he'd witnessed in Afghanistan. He seemed conflicted, as if he wanted to talk about this experience, but not in terms that could turn emotional. Perhaps to guard against this, he began to discuss the technical aspects of what he'd seen, explaining in granular detail how the outmanned, outgunned Ukrainian military had fought the Russians to a standstill.

First, Jed wanted to discuss anti-armor weapons, particularly the American-made Javelin and the British-made NLAW. The past month of fighting had demonstrated that the balance of lethality had shifted away from armor, and toward anti-armor weapons. Even the most advanced armor systems, such as the Russian T-90 series main battle tank, had proved vulnerable, their charred husks littering Ukrainian roadways.

When I mentioned to Jed that I'd fought in Fallujah in 2004, he said that the tactics the Marine Corps used to take that city would never work today in Ukraine. In Fallujah, our infantry worked in close coordination with our premier tank, the M1A2 Abrams. On several occasions, I watched our tanks take direct hits from rocket-propelled grenades (typically older-generation RPG-7s) without so much as a stutter in their forward progress. Today, a Ukrainian defending Kyiv or any other city, armed with a Javelin or an NLAW, would destroy a similarly capable tank.

I had reached a similar conclusion: the era of the tank, having lasted about 100 years as a dominant force in land warfare, would seem to be over. Clearly the Russians did not expect that.

Perhaps tanks are now like aircraft carriers : only useful in peacetime.

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

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 30th, 2022 at 11:19:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Quite illuminating, and more coherent than that Pepe Escobar video (he claimed that the exemplary encirclement of Kiev would be studied in military schools for the ages)

Globally it presupposes that all of the sieges of major cities are feints except for Mariupol (never intended to take Kyiv, Chernihiv etc... the capture of Kherson was presumably an accident...)

It raises the question of whether this was the original plan, in which case all the talk of denazification, decapitation of the regime, rollback of NATO was just so much masterful fug-of-war misdirection on Putin's part.

Which is possible I suppose, but one wonders if he thinks the cost in troops, material, treasure, destruction of the Russian economy etc. was worth the rather small-change extension of Russian control of eastern Ukraine?

It seems that the Ukrainian government has understood the big-arrow manoeuvre, in any case :

Russia is moving forces from northern to eastern Ukraine to try to encircle Ukrainian troops, but is keeping some behind near the capital Kyiv to tie down part of the Ukrainian military there, a presidential adviser said on national television.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Mar 30th, 2022 at 09:31:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]

which led to hilarious replies, such as:

by Bernard (bernard) on Wed Mar 30th, 2022 at 08:35:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What did poor Straw Man ever do to Ritter?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Mar 31st, 2022 at 03:40:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fomin wanted to increase mutual trust, yesterday.
How's that going?
Russian shells have bombarded the besieged Ukrainian city of Chernihiv overnight, its mayor has said, hours after the Kremlin claimed it would halt attacks there and in Kyiv out of respect for ongoing peace talks.

Vladyslav Atroshenko said the Russians had lied and were continuing to indiscriminately attack the encircled city, which is less than 100 miles north of the country's capital.

Authorities in Chernihiv estimate that about 400 people have died since Russia's invasion of Ukraine began on 24 February, with civilians living without electricity, gas or water.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed Mar 30th, 2022 at 10:16:32 AM EST
On the post war world, I think most of the split we are seeing now - in trade, finance, movement of people and internet communication - will remain.

2022 will be the start year of the New Cold War in history books.

I would rather see peace and detente, but once sanctions are in place, they tend to stay in place.

Ironically this could give a neutral Ukraine open to trade with both blocs a chance to rebuild.

by fjallstrom on Wed Mar 30th, 2022 at 11:50:04 AM EST
in particular, dead soldiers; for those who, like me, have been puzzled by the discrepancies in the death toll of Russian soldiers advanced by the two sides :

The unwanted dead

Russia's defence ministry last week announced an official death toll of 1,351 for the first month of what Moscow has insisted on calling a "special military operation" in Ukraine, but Kyiv says the real total is more than 16,000. Nato last week estimated the Russian death toll to be between 7,000 and 15,000. Ukraine has not released figures about its own casualties.


Vereshchuk said Ukraine had the bodies of at least 2,000 Russian soldiers in refrigerated storage in different regions across the country, as well as other cases where there were some charred remains or simply a identification token with a name, but that the Russians were not interested.

"We are counting them all. We have the remains in fridges. We say to them, take them, they are in body bags, we can give them to the Red Cross, send them to the Belarusian border, to wherever you want, we'll give you these bodies," said Vereshchuk.

She added this would require Russia to send lists of the missing via the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which Ukraine would then compare with the bodies it had and could return those that matched. The Russian authorities, she said, did not want to send lists because that would involve admitting how many soldiers have been killed.

I suppose "MIA" or "AWOL" is convenient in the short term... but Russia will need a plan B for this too.

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

by eurogreen on Wed Mar 30th, 2022 at 01:58:50 PM EST
AP | Putin misled by advisers on Ukraine, US intel determines, 30 Mar
U.S. intelligence officials have determined that Russian President Vladimir Putin is being misinformed by his advisers about his nation's forces' poor performance in Ukraine.

A U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss recently declassified intelligence, said Wednesday the intel finding indicates that Putin is aware of the situation on information coming to him and there is now persistent tension between him and senior Russian military officials. Biden, in an exchange with reporters, said he could not comment.
Asked about the latest intelligence, Secretary of State Antony Blinken did not confirm the findings, but suggested that a dynamic within the Kremlin exists where advisers are unwilling to speak to Putin with candor.

"One of the Achilles' heels of autocracies is that you don't have people in those systems that speak truth to power or have the ability to speak truth to power, and I think that's what we're seeing in Russia," Blinken told reporters during a stop in Algeria on Wednesday.

The unidentified official did not detail underlying evidence for how U.S. intelligence made its determination. The intelligence community has concluded that Putin was unaware that his military had been using and losing conscripts in Ukraine. They also have determined he is not fully aware of the extent to which the Russian economy is being damaged by economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. and allies.

Bloomberg Al Jazeera | Borscht inflation, 30 Mar, illustrated
"Consumer prices overall rose 1.16% in the seven days ending March 25, down slightly from 1.93% a week earlier, the Federal Statistics Service said Wednesday."
France24 | Russian pensioner explains support for Putin amid inflation, dubious reporting on Ukraine war, 28 Mar
"A good wife may think her husband is right, or not, but in any case, she has to stand by him and reload his ammunition."
REUTERS | Inflation in Russia climbs above 15.6%, highest since September 2015, 30 Mar

archived Tue Mar 8th, 2022, Fri Feb 25th, 2022

by Cat on Wed Mar 30th, 2022 at 07:32:53 PM EST
"misled" by his advisers. Right. Like Putin was ready to hear any "advice" that didn't fit his per-determined opinion...

Just like Bush-Cheney only selected the intelligence that was supporting their case for Iraq invasion, Putin only wanted to hear "Da, president". Exhibit A: the "I find your lack of faith disturbing" humiliation ritual of his spy chief.

by Bernard (bernard) on Wed Mar 30th, 2022 at 07:53:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
C'mon, the Moscow Times dramatization of Putin's madness leaves more to readers' imagination of tyranny. And that's democratization in action!
by Cat on Thu Mar 31st, 2022 at 02:31:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dramas are exciting, full of evil geniuses, cunning conspiracies and 9-dimensional chess.

Reality, on the other hand, tends to be boring, full of yes-men, sycophants and plenty of cockups.

by Bernard (bernard) on Thu Mar 31st, 2022 at 06:17:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Reality is an intersection of chaotic systems.  War brings that truth home with a vengeance.
by rifek on Mon Apr 4th, 2022 at 05:08:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Massacres in Bucha
Fifty-seven people were buried in a mass grave in Bucha, a town outside Kyiv recently retaken by Ukrainian forces from Russian troops, a local official said Sunday, showing AFP a slit trench where the bodies lay.

"Here in this long grave, 57 people are buried," said Serhii Kaplychnyi, who identified himself as head of the rescue services in Bucha, organizing the recovery of the bodies.

The mass grave is behind a church in the town center.

Roughly 10 bodies were visible, either unburied or partially covered by the earth.

Some of the bodies were concealed in black zip-up body bags while others were in civilian clothing.

Ukraine has accused Russian forces of a "deliberate massacre" in Bucha.

Evidence of possible civilian killings around Kyiv has emerged as the Russian army has pulled back from the capital in the face of ferocious resistance from Ukrainian forces.

AFP reporters saw at least 20 bodies, all in civilian clothing, strewn across a single street in Bucha on Friday. One had his hands tied behind his back with a white cloth, and his Ukrainian passport left open beside his body.

It's hard to imagine Putin, or any high-ranking officer, giving orders for this sort of thing. So the troops, having suffered high losses on their mission to take Kyiv, are now ordered to retreat, and are affectively leaderless, out of control : they have suffered so much, and it was all for nothing. Morale must be pretty bad.
And now they're to be redeployed to the east. Not promising.

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

by eurogreen on Sun Apr 3rd, 2022 at 03:35:13 PM EST
are bewildered by the retreat :

Russia's announcement that it would "drastically" scale down its military presence near the Ukrainian capital has triggered fears among pro-war factions at home that Russia is giving up on its goals.

Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin made the announcement Tuesday following Russian-Ukrainian peace talks in Istanbul, saying the decision was made in an effort to "increase mutual trust" and create conditions for a peace deal.
Vladimir Medinsky, the head of the Russian delegation, said Moscow would scale down its operations to the north of Kyiv and in the northern city of Chernihiv, 100 kilometers from the Russian border.  

The statements - the first signs of a possible de-escalation by Russia after more than a month of fighting - were met with frustration by pro-war Russians, who say the Kremlin's stated goals of "denazifying" and "demilitarizing" Ukraine are far from achieved.

"I myself was in a state of panic yesterday," Alexander Prokhanov, a nationalist writer who has supported Russia's war in Ukraine, told The Moscow Times of the news.  

"Today I feel better. The night was accompanied by heavy bombardment of Ukrainian targets throughout the country, from Lviv to Donetsk," said Prokhanov, who said he sees the war as an effort to address the wounds left open by the Soviet collapse.

But some are more sceptical of the danger of impending peace :

Even some of the Kremlin's most loyal propagandists, including state television anchor Vladimir Solovyov, were less than enthusiastic following the announcement.

"No one is going to give up. It is worth remembering that every time Putin announced the withdrawal of troops from Syria, our grouping there only increased," Solovyov said.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sun Apr 3rd, 2022 at 03:46:46 PM EST
"How's that 'Not a Real Country' taking holding up, Alex?  Got your asses kicked, eh?"

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Apr 4th, 2022 at 01:48:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and as for their effort to "increase mutual trust" ...

Russian state media have dismissed the horrifying images and testimonies that emerged from Bucha as western-orchestrated "fakes" and "planned provocations", claiming "Ukrainian Nazis" are responsible for the deaths of the civilians.

"A flagrantly brutal provocation by Ukrainian Nazis," said Olga Skabeeva, host of the widely watched state media talk show 60 Minutes on Monday.

"Zelenskiy and the so-called civilized west is attempting to create a hybrid, fake version of Srebrenica."

I do hope the Russians will give us the names of the Ukrainian actors that so brilliantly played the roles of the corpses with the exploded heads.

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

by eurogreen on Mon Apr 4th, 2022 at 02:39:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm about done with the Russians, and about done with the hot takes that blame us for this bullshit.

From my perspective, we've been very restrained here.  (We'd be well within our rights to turn their prissy battalions into oatmeal here -- and, despite the "weakness" of our "cancel culture" and "wokeism" we could do it pretty handily.)  

"We will give the Ukrainians weapons to defend themselves, but we won't get into a direct confrontation unless the Russians cross into the NATO footprint.  We will fight you if you cross that line, but we don't want to."

It's a completely reasonable position, as far as I'm concerned.

Ukraine had no prospect of joining NATO.  Ukraine is not a regime of Nazis, as a cursory glance at the size of the Great and Powerful Azov and the electoral outcomes will demonstrate.  Ukraine posed no threat to Russia.  Russia's supposed "security concerns" were horseshit -- nobody is invading a nuclear power.

Fuck Russia.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Apr 4th, 2022 at 03:29:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
tl;dr. Thank god Uncle Joe's president and not me, because me take is increasingly: "You want to fight us for your weirdo delusions about the Cold War and humiliation and Orthodoxy and all that shit -- and you're too much of a pasty little bitch to say so and step up, so you took it out on these poor folks in Ukraine, because you know you'd get your stupid Russian ass kicked if you actually had the stones to try what you'd like to."

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Apr 4th, 2022 at 03:41:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In fact, it's the poor suckers in the Russian Federation army that actually have to do the fighting, who got their asses severely kicked. Bearing in mind that they were expecting flowers.

Indirect account, by survivors from Bucha

"There was 70 of the armoured vehicles, like tanks, and Russian soldiers walked alongside," he said. "It took about 40 minutes for them to pass our house. I watched and counted. And then the Ukrainians launched their shells at the Russians."

The first took out Savenko's shed in his large garden at the back. It was the first of many. The horribly exposed armoured vehicles tried to turn around, in panic, as the next more accurate wave of shells rained down upon them.

Thirty minutes of devastation ensued. Russian bodies were strewn across the road, hot metal flew through the air, smashing every window, enveloping the trees in fire, and turning the burning vehicles white hot.

Across Savenko's 30-metre hedge alone, nine devastated armoured vehicles were left burnt out, filling the air with the acrid smell of burning oil and metal.
Those Russians that could escape did. But an hour after the Ukrainian assault, the Russians came back to retrieve their dead - and to entrench themselves in Vokzal'na's gardens and what was left of its buildings, establishing points from which to send their artillery fire at the Ukrainian defenders. It would be a long and cruel occupation.

Personally, my first memory of contemporary war was the My Lai massacre (I was seven years old, and conceived a passionate hatred of war). This is Russia's My Lai moment.

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

by eurogreen on Tue Apr 5th, 2022 at 06:42:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In that the guy in charge of covering it up will be paraded around as a moral authority until he dies of cancer fifty years later?
by generic on Tue Apr 5th, 2022 at 11:24:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The crime of aggression, which came into effect for the ICC in 2018, has been ratified by only 43 states so far.

Even though Russia is not a signatory, Philippe Sands makes the case for charging Putin with it;

The ICC is investigating crimes against humanity and war crimes, but you've argued that there needs to be a special tribunal set up to investigate for a third crime, the crime of aggression. Why is that so important and is there that much difference between the three crimes?

As of 1939, there was basically one relevant international crime, and that was war crimes.

Then in 1945, in London, the drafters of what became the Nuremberg statute, sat down and looked at what they were going to prosecute and indict the Nazis for. There weren't any crimes so they basically had to invent them. They called them crimes against humanity, genocide, and what they then called crimes against peace which today is the crime of aggression: waging a manifestly illegal war.
Since 1945, those have been the four crimes that we've had. (I've spent much of the last year working on a fifth crime, which is ecocide, but we can put that on one side for now.)

In theory, the ICC has jurisdiction over all four of them. However, when the ICC statute was adopted in 1998 a decision was taken not to give the ICC jurisdiction over the crime of aggression because certain large powers were worried: is it going to turn on us?

Five years later, we had the Iraq war. And so they decided not to give the ICC jurisdiction of the crime of aggression until they'd defined the crime of aggression and that took almost 20 years.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sun Apr 3rd, 2022 at 07:00:43 PM EST
The crimes against peace wasn't constructed in 1945, but in 1928.

The Kellogg-Briand Pact or Pact of Paris - officially the General Treaty for Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National Policy[1] - is a 1928 international agreement on peace in which signatory states promised not to use war to resolve "disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them".[2] The pact was signed by Germany, France, and the United States on 27 August 1928, and by most other states soon after. Sponsored by France and the U.S., the Pact is named after its authors, United States Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg and French foreign minister Aristide Briand. The pact was concluded outside the League of Nations and remains in effect.[3]
by fjallstrom on Mon Apr 4th, 2022 at 08:18:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think he is over optimistic at the end.

Who could have imagined one month ago that the US Senate would be presented with a resolution by Senator Lindsey Graham calling for total support for the investigation by the international criminal court? And that it would be passing unanimously. That is a sea change, and it's a really significant sea change.

You can't adopt a resolution saying the ICC has jurisdiction over Russian nationals, while saying it has no jurisdiction over Americans.

Of course you can.

The trial of admiral Dönitz at Nuremburg is instructive:

His sentence on unrestricted submarine warfare was not assessed because of similar actions by the Allies. In particular, the British Admiralty, on 8 May 1940, had ordered all vessels in the Skagerrak sunk on sight, and Admiral Chester Nimitz, wartime commander-in-chief of the US Pacific Fleet, stated the US Navy had waged unrestricted submarine warfare in the Pacific from the day the US officially entered the war. Thus, Dönitz was not charged of waging unrestricted submarine warfare against unarmed neutral shipping by ordering all ships in designated areas in international waters to be sunk without warning.
by fjallstrom on Mon Apr 4th, 2022 at 09:25:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well yes, It's OK If You're the USA.

I think we all already new that.

The question is : is Russia the USA too?

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

by eurogreen on Mon Apr 4th, 2022 at 10:31:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If we move to two blocs again, Russia and China will claim the same rights as the USA, but it will only be respected within their sphere. I don't think it is an accident that Russias stated reasons for the war reads like a mix of reasons for various recent US wars.
by fjallstrom on Mon Apr 4th, 2022 at 05:46:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Personally I was virulently opposed to GWB's invasion of Iraq, and in a very small minority in the forum I was on at the time (predominately Americans, broad political spectrum).

I was also opposed to the preceding invasion of Afghanistan, and in that instance I believe I was absolutely alone. Being anti-war in Russia must be really tough; in wartime, all right-(un)thinking citizens align themselves automatically behind their leaders, then find the necessary justifications, mostly delusional but in good faith.

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

by eurogreen on Tue Apr 5th, 2022 at 07:07:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, I imagine politics in Russia will get pretty radicalized the more this continues with being publicly opposed to the war becoming increasingly risky. That's really one of the main reasons that I don't support the moralistic and as far as I can see aimless sanction policy. We're freezing the paypal of, and suspending academic collaboration with the people who were most likely to oppose the war. Not that public opposition against the war was likely to have immediate impact, but it's hard to see how the sanction regime does not solidify the Kremlin's story line of a Russia eternally besieged by western forces. It's certainly not going to lead to regime change, though the long term damage is going to be substantial.
by generic on Tue Apr 5th, 2022 at 11:59:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Being anti-war in Russia must be really tough;

They are subjected to that kind of treatment:

by Bernard (bernard) on Tue Apr 5th, 2022 at 03:57:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Czechs give (Soviet) T-72 tanks to Ukraine

The Czech Republic is the first country to send Ukraine tens of T-72 tanks to help its army defend against Russian attacks, news site Echo24 reported on Tuesday.

Armoured personnel carriers were also sent and both are considered a gift following an agreement among NATO allies.

The news was later confirmed by Defence Minister Jana Černochová (ODS), who is among the strongest Ukraine supporters in the government.

Sadly, the "new phase" (negotiations) seems to be dead, killed by the Russians (perhaps through sheer carelessness)

It possibly helps that the Czechs don't have a border with Russia, but one hopes that the floodgates will be open for serious weaponry. The Ukrainian army is better-led, and has vastly greater tactical skill, than the Russians, and has sufficient manpower; now they need the hardware to roll them back.

Because (until they surprise us) they only understand force.

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

by eurogreen on Wed Apr 6th, 2022 at 12:29:27 PM EST
"Putin failed to achieve his goal of quickly crushing Ukraine's outgunned and outnumbered army."

wikiwtf: "Ukraine 246,445 (195,626 military personnel)"; kmu.gov.ua:420,000 (active and reserve military personnel?) home field advantage to ...
BBC: "169,000 and 190,000" RFA in country
Al Jazeera, WaPoo, Al Arabiya , tabloid USA: "estimated 150,000" RFA in country
dread conventional long-range and hypersonic missiles

by Cat on Wed Apr 6th, 2022 at 05:32:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
awww, poor little Army of the Russian Federation!

There is no doubt whatever that when you compare the military potential of Russia to that of Ukraine, the latter is heavily outnumbered and outgunned.

If Ukraine had invaded Russia (as Putin claimed to be pissing his pants over, just a few weeks ago), that would have exacerbated the ratio.

Because invasion changes the odds. Especially if you're a Great Power, you can't just throw everything at the subjugation of a shitty little neighbour. You can't take the chance of leaving the Mongolians a free shot at Siberia, or whatever.

Invasion will get you this. The invadee has no problems with mobilising reservists and conscripts; apparently Russia is now pulling troops out of Abkhazia and South Ossetia (what!! they have troop in...??) and even mobilising the troops of those colonies for their new colonial war; but that's small change.

Plus, suddenly you've got millions of potential partisans sneaking up on you from all sides.

Duh, shoulda thoughta that.

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

by eurogreen on Thu Apr 7th, 2022 at 08:37:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
150 thousand troops was not enough to invade the largest country in Europe (after Russia itself) with a population of 44 millions. In 1968, the Soviets brought in 250 K troops to subjugate Czechoslovakia, a much smaller country.

Everybody knew it, Sergei Naryshkin, chief of the foreign intelligence service, who was wetting his pants in front of Putin during that infamous meeting a few days before the invasion, knew it. But the Czar decided regardless.

by Bernard (bernard) on Thu Apr 7th, 2022 at 05:38:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Zelesk* raises a professional army

Ukrainian males aged 18-60 are banned from leaving the country, 24, Feb
"conscription of conscripts, reservists for military service, their delivery to military units and institutions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine"

Ukraine president says he will provide weapons to any citizen, 24 Feb
Zelenzky also said that Ukraine severed diplomatic relations with Russia

Ukraine urges Kyiv residents to 'make Molotov cocktails' as Russia advances and even shows people how to make them, 25 Feb
training session at an abandoned factory in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv

Ukrainian President Says Prisoners with 'Combat Experience' Will Be Released to Join Fight against Russia, 28 Feb
"Under martial law, Ukrainians with real combat experience will be released from custody and will be able to compensate for their guilt"

Ukrainians hurl Molotov cocktails at Russian tank from window of passing car in drive-by attack, 1 Mar
a poster guide was released by the ministry, illustrating which parts of different military vehicles should be targeted

Zelensky: 16,000 foreign mercenaries are going to fight for Ukraine, 3 Mar
setting up a "foreign legion unit"

Ukraine's president signs law on civilian use of weapons during wartime, 10 Mar
Ensuring the Participation of Civilians in the Defense of Ukraine

encrypted UPDATE, 5 Apr
#Donbass #UAF #Dnepr Detention footage

Unlawful combatants do not qualify for prisoner of war status. Their situation upon capture by the enemy is covered by the Fourth (Civilian) Geneva Convention if they fulfill the nationality criteria and by the relevant provisions of the Additional Protocol I, if ratified by the detaining power.
wikiwtf: unprotected and undefined
by Cat on Thu Apr 7th, 2022 at 08:40:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]