Author Topic: Russia launches invasion of Ukraine (*) & use spoiler tags for anything graphic!  (Read 562552 times)

Offline dutchkop

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Yeah. Apparently Gdansk (ex-Danzig) is a brilliant place to visit. I was told this yesterday.

I can second that.
Great city with a great tradition, history, hospitality, sporting (volleyball and handball) and some great street art   -and the solidarisoc museum is one of the best museums around


https://www.klm.com/destinations/tz/en/article/the-solidarity-museum
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zehTiUsaoRI

https://www.amatteroftaste.me/street-art-gdansk-zaspa/  - some photos of the street mural art in Gdansk

What the Russians  and =Germans did to the Polish was unbelievable and I the west also let them down big time at times

thoroughly enjoyed our visit there. It was our hightlight of  our Polish holiday.

Offline Bend It Like Aurelio

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Just a thought about Ukrainian politics, and successor to Zelensky when he goes, just watched a video of Vitali Klitschko speaking in German, was impressed. The Klitschko brothers are going to be in the next presidential elections for sure, sometime down the line.

Online Mister Flip Flop

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Frightening how far this has moved down the news cycle. Russians seem to be moving and holding ground now consistently and are back firing missiles into Kiev after holding fire for weeks. The Ukrainians seem to be losing a lot of their best fighting units and increasingly i'm reading horrible reports about their moral and frustration with lack of air support from the west. Hard to believe we are letting this happen in Europe in 2022 in the face of a fascist power hungry leader.
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Offline Bend It Like Aurelio

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Frightening how far this has moved down the news cycle. Russians seem to be moving and holding ground now consistently and are back firing missiles into Kiev after holding fire for weeks. The Ukrainians seem to be losing a lot of their best fighting units and increasingly i'm reading horrible reports about their moral and frustration with lack of air support from the west. Hard to believe we are letting this happen in Europe in 2022 in the face of a fascist power hungry leader.

They're outnumbered in artillery, and the Russians have consolidated their air defence to the point where their drones are having trouble penetrating Russian lines. Unfortunately, until the Russians run out of ammunition, nothing is going to change. And that isn't happening anytime soon.

The news right now is not great if you're a Ukraine supporter. But war is a very fluid thing, I really can't see it ending anytime soon one way or another.

Offline Yorkykopite

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Detailed background from a BBC investigation into how Russian forces are stealing thousands of tonnes of Ukraine's grain and where they are transportiung it to (via that bloody bridge)

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/61790625

Isn't this just a modern day version of the Bolsheviks stripping Ukraine of its food in the 1930s and sending it to their slave workers in the industrial centres of Russia?

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Detailed background from a BBC investigation into how Russian forces are stealing thousands of tonnes of Ukraine's grain and where they are transportiung it to (via that bloody bridge)

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/61790625

Isn't this just a modern day version of the Bolsheviks stripping Ukraine of its food in the 1930s and sending it to their slave workers in the industrial centres of Russia?

In a word Yorky, yes. Incredibly depressing
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Offline thaddeus

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They're outnumbered in artillery, and the Russians have consolidated their air defence to the point where their drones are having trouble penetrating Russian lines. Unfortunately, until the Russians run out of ammunition, nothing is going to change. And that isn't happening anytime soon.

The news right now is not great if you're a Ukraine supporter. But war is a very fluid thing, I really can't see it ending anytime soon one way or another.
"The West" was too weak in its response to Crimea and various other infractions by Putin.  It feels like despite the rhetoric the same is happening now - the response is better but still not sufficient in the face of what is happening.

If Russia does succeed in taking Ukraine then it will have additional land borders with Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova.  It will also have control over huge resources that are in demand globally (fossil fuels and grain).  Why wait until Russia strengthens again and invades one of those bordering nations before escalating the response? (I know the answer and it begins the "n" and ends with "uclear weapons" but it feels like sitting on hands will only embolden Putin to keep pushing the boundaries of the horrors to see what he can get away with).

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They're outnumbered in artillery, and the Russians have consolidated their air defence to the point where their drones are having trouble penetrating Russian lines. Unfortunately, until the Russians run out of ammunition, nothing is going to change. And that isn't happening anytime soon.

The news right now is not great if you're a Ukraine supporter. But war is a very fluid thing, I really can't see it ending anytime soon one way or another.

This is a lot more optimistic from the Ukrainian perspective though:

https://twitter.com/PhillipsPOBrien/status/1540961275928350721

We seem to be constantly saying this, but the next few weeks should be telling.

Online Mister Flip Flop

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Detailed background from a BBC investigation into how Russian forces are stealing thousands of tonnes of Ukraine's grain and where they are transportiung it to (via that bloody bridge)

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/61790625

Isn't this just a modern day version of the Bolsheviks stripping Ukraine of its food in the 1930s and sending it to their slave workers in the industrial centres of Russia?

Whole situation is awful. Putin has burned his bridges with the western world but i don't think he cares. I think it's inevitable he'll grab the whole eastern region now and move onto the task of taking Odesa and the entire southern coast hence putting vast parts of the world in the terrible spot in regards food production. If he succeeds then food prices will go bonkers here in Europe but at least we won't starve. Many will in poorer nations and this must not be allowed happen. Would be now 100% in favour of western boots on the ground to protect the rest of Ukraine now as it's obvious sanctions are just not working to the extent we had all hoped.

Boris is a complete prick but it say's a lot about the other gobshites in charge in Europe that they are making him look good in regards support for Ukraine.
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Whole situation is awful. Putin has burned his bridges with the western world but i don't think he cares. I think it's inevitable he'll grab the whole eastern region now and move onto the task of taking Odesa and the entire southern coast hence putting vast parts of the world in the terrible spot in regards food production. If he succeeds then food prices will go bonkers here in Europe but at least we won't starve. Many will in poorer nations and this must not be allowed happen. Would be now 100% in favour of western boots on the ground to protect the rest of Ukraine now as it's obvious sanctions are just not working to the extent we had all hoped.

Boris is a complete prick but it say's a lot about the other gobshites in charge in Europe that they are making him look good in regards support for Ukraine.

Iím sure even todays example of de-nazification with the missile attack on a shopping centre was a deliberate fuck you to the G7 who were meeting today.
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Offline Yorkykopite

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Iím sure even todays example of de-nazification with the missile attack on a shopping centre was a deliberate fuck you to the G7 who were meeting today.

I think so too.

What should be the response?
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Online Mister Flip Flop

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Iím sure even todays example of de-nazification with the missile attack on a shopping centre was a deliberate fuck you to the G7 who were meeting today.

Despicable cnuts  :no

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Offline WhereAngelsPlay

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Iím sure even todays example of de-nazification with the missile attack on a shopping centre was a deliberate fuck you to the G7 who were meeting today.


We need to supply the very best missile defences & we need to do it months ago.
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Offline didi shamone

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Iím sure even todays example of de-nazification with the missile attack on a shopping centre was a deliberate fuck you to the G7 who were meeting today.

It appears that way, both the attack on Kiev and now a shopping mall are pointless in any other context.

It should strengthen resolve against Putin however imo. It's the opposite of Putin's claims of Nato expansion and agression. Russias aggression and expansionary vision has no limits. They don't respect agreements, borders, national identies or human life. Putin is in the mould of Stalin and Hitler. He may not have claimed the numbers of murders they have but I'm pretty sure he'd have no problem doing it if it suited his agenda.
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Offline Lastrador

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I think so too.

What should be the response?

I really donít know, just keep sending Ukraine the very best of what we can send them. Iíd love something more concrete because we do need to be sending our own fuck you back because it really is the only language they understand.
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Offline farawayred

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I think so too.

What should be the response?
There have been several instances of conflicts, not necessarily on this scale, in which the West was too slow to react. I think the current war falls in the same category. Russia is still supplying the West with gas and oil; cut that tap and suppress trade relations with countries that buy from them. there is talk about Africa and China buying Russian energy, but first, they won't feed the Russian economy enough, and secondly, African countries would want to have trade relations with Europe and North America. But boycotting Russion oil won't happen because it will be uncomfortable for the West, and uneasy on the current political parties to keep a hold on power.
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Offline Lastrador

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I really donít know, just keep sending Ukraine the very best of what we can send them. Iíd love something more concrete because we do need to be sending our own fuck you back because it really is the only language they understand.
I think what the West could and probably should step up, is in the speed at which the equipment is being delivered to Ukraine, which at the moment is so slow and scattered that's not having the impact it probably should. Take Germany for example. It had pledged to deliver heavy weaponry for months but it's been only in recent weeks that we're starting to see German artillery in Ukrainian hands. Another example are the HIMARS systems, which in sufficient numbers could be game-changers for Ukraine. They've been promised for over a month but only 4 have been delivered, with 8 more coming in shortly. The Ukrainian government says it needs 300 of these systems to push the Russians back, although probably an exaggeration, they certainly need more of what's been currently pledged. One has to remember that these systems will be destroyed or break down at some point, so having them in sufficient numbers is what will allow the Ukrainians to keep fighting in the long term.

Offline Bend It Like Aurelio

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I think what the West could and probably should step up, is in the speed at which the equipment is being delivered to Ukraine, which at the moment is so slow and scattered that's not having the impact it probably should. Take Germany for example. It had pledged to deliver heavy weaponry for months but it's been only in recent weeks that we're starting to see German artillery in Ukrainian hands. Another example are the HIMARS systems, which in sufficient numbers could be game-changers for Ukraine. They've been promised for over a month but only 4 have been delivered, with 8 more coming in shortly. The Ukrainian government says it needs 300 of these systems to push the Russians back, although probably an exaggeration, they certainly need more of what's been currently pledged. One has to remember that these systems will be destroyed or break down at some point, so having them in sufficient numbers is what will allow the Ukrainians to keep fighting in the long term.

Before we talk about stuff like HIMARS, we have to realize what a finite resource it is. The Americans themselves only have 400 total launcher systems in service, and no one is sure how many are actually serviceable at the moment. The reload times for the HIMARS is also considerably shorter than the Russian/Ukrainian equivalents, so they fire off a lot more rockets per day even in a shoot and scoot scenario. But to get the ammo boxes into Ukraine is a logistical challenge at the moment. For every HIMARS firing unit, you would probably need multiple truckloads of ammo just for one day of consistent firing.  And they have to be special vehicles too, as most likely the Americans will also send their supply trucks equipped with cranes, something the supply trucks of Russian origin do not have. Then you have to consider the type of ammo the Ukrainians are going to be using, which will probably be the GMLRS equivalent rockets. While they are the most plentiful variant, the Americans have only ever made 50,000 of them, shared between all the countries who use this system, meaning just over 8000 ammo pods worth of ammunition. If a HIMARS can fire off 10 ammo pods per day (6 rockets per pod) on a conservative basis (they can fire a lot more), that means there are only 200+ days of ammo in existence for just 4 HIMARS units, and less if you add more launcher units in the mix. Not available ammo, but we are talking about total manufactured, ever. So you can imagine the actual number of ammo available that can be sent to Ukraine will be a lot less.

It's a superb system for what it is, but in the end, ammo logistics is the biggest limiting factor. So the issue now becomes what do the West do in terms of weapon shipments? Are we pushing for a quick Ukrainian victory here, or are we preparing for a long conflict, and therefore need to slowly feed weapons into the country? The important thing in my mind is that the Ukrainians are able to hold out the Russians and prevent them from rapidly sending the country into oblivion. That's the first priority. Systems like the Panzerhaubitze 2000 are very very limited in number, and they consume 155mm ammo very quickly, more so than the M777's that are in theatre now in numbers. And artillery has a barrel lifespan limitation, as we are seeing now with the M777. They are being used so much that they are already in the barrel replacement phase. I imagine the CAESAR units will run into those issues soon too.

The Russians, on the other hand, are also running out of ammo at a much more rapid pace than before, thanks to Ukrainian efforts to destroy their ammunition warehouses recently. The farther the Ukrainians can push back their supply base locations, the harder they will find it to resupply their artillery. Think the emptying out of the Belarusian warehouses is indicative of that. But as with anything, the fog of war and misinformation mean that we may not have the full picture of the Russian supply issues. However, with Russia seemingly firing missiles at civilian targets again, they may be changing their tactics in order to cover deficiencies in other areas of their military campaign, and maybe trying to push the Ukrainians to sue for peace.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2022, 05:47:42 am by Bend It Like Aurelio »

Online Mister Flip Flop

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Canít see peace any time soon.

It will likely escalate more and more.

Yesterday NATO putting 300,000 troops into battle ready mode.

Then Russia bombs a shopping centre.

Headed down the tit for tat line now.
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Offline Red Berry

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Canít see peace any time soon.

It will likely escalate more and more.

Yesterday NATO putting 300,000 troops into battle ready mode.

Then Russia bombs a shopping centre.

Headed down the tit for tat line now.

It's like Russia is trying to force a confrontation with NATO to justify their invasion, and potentially escalate the war. That might work for domestic politics or the stop the war groups in the West, but the last thing Russia needs on a strategic level is a war on several fronts. Unless Putin really does just want to nuke the planet, in which case he hardly needs a pretext, except perhaps to convince his battlefield commanders to go through with it.

I can't believe I'm even considering that. It's just too crazy.
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Thereís been a lot of talk about Ukrainian grain. Is there a reason why it canít be sent by train to Poland and then shipped out to where it needs to go. Sure itís probably more longer and expensive but itís better then just waiting for the Russians to bomb the storage locations or it just to rot somewhere?
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Offline stoa

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Thereís been a lot of talk about Ukrainian grain. Is there a reason why it canít be sent by train to Poland and then shipped out to where it needs to go. Sure itís probably more longer and expensive but itís better then just waiting for the Russians to bomb the storage locations or it just to rot somewhere?

They are doing that. The problem is, that there's not enough capacity due to various issues. I was in Brussels last week with other journos from Austria and we had a talk with the director-general for agriculture in the EU-commission. He told us that they're setting up "solidarity lanes" to get grain out of Ukraine. The issue is that before the war the transport capacity for grain was five million tons per month (if they were able to use their established means like via their ports). With the solidarity lanes their estimate is that they'll get out two million tons per month in the best case scenario. There are various logistical issues like different train systems used in Ukraine and other countries. You also need places to store or transfer grain and that kind of infrastructure is not there or can't be just created overnight. I think the biggest problem is that the exports were mainly done by ship before the war.

Another thing that is an issue is that there's uncertainty about the next harvest and a lot of countries depend on grain from Ukraine. Europe already exports 30 million tons of grain every year and production can be increased, but surely there's a limit to how much it can be. Not every kind of soil or region is suited for grain. So, it will be a massive issue in the next months or even years.

Offline Bend It Like Aurelio

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They are doing that. The problem is, that there's not enough capacity due to various issues. I was in Brussels last week with other journos from Austria and we had a talk with the director-general for agriculture in the EU-commission. He told us that they're setting up "solidarity lanes" to get grain out of Ukraine. The issue is that before the war the transport capacity for grain was five million tons per month (if they were able to use their established means like via their ports). With the solidarity lanes their estimate is that they'll get out two million tons per month in the best case scenario. There are various logistical issues like different train systems used in Ukraine and other countries. You also need places to store or transfer grain and that kind of infrastructure is not there or can't be just created overnight. I think the biggest problem is that the exports were mainly done by ship before the war.

Another thing that is an issue is that there's uncertainty about the next harvest and a lot of countries depend on grain from Ukraine. Europe already exports 30 million tons of grain every year and production can be increased, but surely there's a limit to how much it can be. Not every kind of soil or region is suited for grain. So, it will be a massive issue in the next months or even years.

The biggest issue with what you alluded to there is that Russian gauge (and by extension Ukrainian gauge) railways are narrower than the standard gauge used in the rest of Europe. What that means is that the same cars carrying the grain out of Ukraine cannot be used once it crosses the border into the EU. So that means you need theoretically almost double the rail capacity, and some sort of efficient transfer system in between, which currently doesn't exist. The additional capacity required will strain the current rail system for importing supplies too into Ukraine, which is a big issue.

There was talk of using the river system to transfer grain along the Danube into Europe, but that is a prospect which is very much a long way down the line. Once that plan was brought up, the Russians immediately struck the only rail link from Ukraine, via Odesa, into Romanian territory. At the moment, even restarting grain shipments from the Black Sea is an issue, as the grain terminals at Mykolaiv was attacked a couple of weeks ago.

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I get a terrible feeling the Russians are beginning to turn the tide of this war in their favour.  I'll admit i know fcuk all about military tactics etc.. but the expert pundits on TV seem to be worried about the scale of the Russian advance in the last few weeks and days. That eastern front seems like a meat grinder for both sides now.
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Offline Sangria

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I get a terrible feeling the Russians are beginning to turn the tide of this war in their favour.  I'll admit i know fcuk all about military tactics etc.. but the expert pundits on TV seem to be worried about the scale of the Russian advance in the last few weeks and days. That eastern front seems like a meat grinder for both sides now.

Don't look at the military front. Look at the political front. That's the most relevant bit. As long as Ukraine don't collapse, one bit of Ukraine or another makes little difference. It's what the politicians do that makes the greatest difference.
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Thereís been a lot of talk about Ukrainian grain. Is there a reason why it canít be sent by train to Poland and then shipped out to where it needs to go. Sure itís probably more longer and expensive but itís better then just waiting for the Russians to bomb the storage locations or it just to rot somewhere?
 

I heard on the radio a week or so ago that there are also issues with the railway sizes/gauge in addition to what stoa said above
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Offline Lastrador

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I get a terrible feeling the Russians are beginning to turn the tide of this war in their favour.  I'll admit i know fcuk all about military tactics etc.. but the expert pundits on TV seem to be worried about the scale of the Russian advance in the last few weeks and days. That eastern front seems like a meat grinder for both sides now.
I don't know if this is sincere, or just concern trolling, but unless the expert pundits you're listening to are those from RT, the scale of the Russian in the last few weeks and days, or months really, it's really not that impressive. They have made incremental gains in the Luhansk region, and have finally managed to take Sievierodonetsk under their control after months of intense fighting (at a great cost), and now are closing on Lysychansk, which they will probably take eventually and have control over the whole of Luhansk, which is probably their main objective. But really that's about it, a few dozens of kilometres in that direction is all that they have taken since they changed their objectives in April. Ukraine is a gigantic country, and there's no threat from Russia making a big breakthrough and taking over any time soon.

You're right that the East is a meat grinder for both sides. The thing is, this is a war of attrition, so the side who can sustain more of those losses (material and personnel) will have the upper hand, and in that regard, the Ukrainians -having mobilized and with western support- have the upper hand on the long term. Russia has a personnel problem, not a hardware one, although bringing in ancient T62 and BMP1 to the fold indicates that modern weaponry is probably in short supply. Still, they are not running out of material anytime soon. Unless Russia eventually mobilizes, which haves lots of political implications that Putin probably is not willing to take at the moment, the prospect of Russian reinforcement is rather limited, and that will be key in the months to come. In the short term though, the Russians have the upper hand on the artillery front and probably on personnel in the East, which is why they have been able to make those gains, slowly and to a great cost, but gains nonetheless. The question is how long can they sustain them though?

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I don't know if this is sincere, or just concern trolling, but unless the expert pundits you're listening to are those from RT, the scale of the Russian in the last few weeks and days, or months really, it's really not that impressive. They have made incremental gains in the Luhansk region, and have finally managed to take Sievierodonetsk under their control after months of intense fighting (at a great cost), and now are closing on Lysychansk, which they will probably take eventually and have control over the whole of Luhansk, which is probably their main objective. But really that's about it, a few dozens of kilometres in that direction is all that they have taken since they changed their objectives in April. Ukraine is a gigantic country, and there's no threat from Russia making a big breakthrough and taking over any time soon.

You're right that the East is a meat grinder for both sides. The thing is, this is a war of attrition, so the side who can sustain more of those losses (material and personnel) will have the upper hand, and in that regard, the Ukrainians -having mobilized and with western support- have the upper hand on the long term. Russia has a personnel problem, not a hardware one, although bringing in ancient T62 and BMP1 to the fold indicates that modern weaponry is probably in short supply. Still, they are not running out of material anytime soon. Unless Russia eventually mobilizes, which haves lots of political implications that Putin probably is not willing to take at the moment, the prospect of Russian reinforcement is rather limited, and that will be key in the months to come. In the short term though, the Russians have the upper hand on the artillery front and probably on personnel in the East, which is why they have been able to make those gains, slowly and to a great cost, but gains nonetheless. The question is how long can they sustain them though?
In your opinion do you think it's realistic that Ukraine could retake Luhansk with sufficient artillery and air support?

From the little I've read - and always wary of propaganda - the Ukrainians have dug in resolutely and impressively.  It feels unlikely that Russian soldiers (/conscripts?) would be willing to make such sacrifices to retain control of what are effectively now cities of rubble.

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I don't know if this is sincere, or just concern trolling....

Poor old Flip Flop has been wrong about practically everything since Day One of the invasion.

In fact here is D-Day Minus One. Flip Flop learns that President Biden has announced that the Russians are planning to invade Ukraine.

Senile old fart doesn't know whst dsy it is ffs.

It's been downhill from there.  ;D
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I heard on the radio a week or so ago that there are also issues with the railway sizes/gauge in addition to what stoa said above

Yeah, that bit I had kind of thought of but even that shouldnít be insurmountable, lay some track that takes the Ukrainian trains just over the boarder and into safety in Poland, dump the grain there and it can be transferred over to Polish trains for onward travel to ports etc for shipping. Iím sure itís more complicated then that but it will at least get the grain out of danger, piss off Putin and bring in some much needed revenue for the Ukrainian government.
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Offline redbyrdz

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Thereís been a lot of talk about Ukrainian grain. Is there a reason why it canít be sent by train to Poland and then shipped out to where it needs to go. Sure itís probably more longer and expensive but itís better then just waiting for the Russians to bomb the storage locations or it just to rot somewhere?

As stoa said, there isn't really capacity. Before the war, Ukraine exported most grain via ship, and not to Europe, so there isn't a good transport chain that can be used. Europe is self-sufficient in grain, and historically didn't import much Ukrainian grain. (Along with practical problems like the different railway systems).
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Offline Red Berry

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I don't know if this is sincere, or just concern trolling, but unless the expert pundits you're listening to are those from RT, the scale of the Russian in the last few weeks and days, or months really, it's really not that impressive. They have made incremental gains in the Luhansk region, and have finally managed to take Sievierodonetsk under their control after months of intense fighting (at a great cost), and now are closing on Lysychansk, which they will probably take eventually and have control over the whole of Luhansk, which is probably their main objective. But really that's about it, a few dozens of kilometres in that direction is all that they have taken since they changed their objectives in April. Ukraine is a gigantic country, and there's no threat from Russia making a big breakthrough and taking over any time soon.

You're right that the East is a meat grinder for both sides. The thing is, this is a war of attrition, so the side who can sustain more of those losses (material and personnel) will have the upper hand, and in that regard, the Ukrainians -having mobilized and with western support- have the upper hand on the long term. Russia has a personnel problem, not a hardware one, although bringing in ancient T62 and BMP1 to the fold indicates that modern weaponry is probably in short supply. Still, they are not running out of material anytime soon. Unless Russia eventually mobilizes, which haves lots of political implications that Putin probably is not willing to take at the moment, the prospect of Russian reinforcement is rather limited, and that will be key in the months to come. In the short term though, the Russians have the upper hand on the artillery front and probably on personnel in the East, which is why they have been able to make those gains, slowly and to a great cost, but gains nonetheless. The question is how long can they sustain them though?

I'm no war expert at all, but if I were to speculate, I'd say it's a combination of factors - a shortage of personnel and an increasing unwillingness to risk their best equipment on such a messy battlefront. Better to throw obsolete equipment into the grinder - perhaps they're engaged in intense training on their modern equipment which they could use a month or two down the line. It's anybody's guess really though.
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Offline Lastrador

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Before we talk about stuff like HIMARS, we have to realize what a finite resource it is. The Americans themselves only have 400 total launcher systems in service, and no one is sure how many are actually serviceable at the moment. The reload times for the HIMARS is also considerably shorter than the Russian/Ukrainian equivalents, so they fire off a lot more rockets per day even in a shoot and scoot scenario. But to get the ammo boxes into Ukraine is a logistical challenge at the moment. For every HIMARS firing unit, you would probably need multiple truckloads of ammo just for one day of consistent firing.  And they have to be special vehicles too, as most likely the Americans will also send their supply trucks equipped with cranes, something the supply trucks of Russian origin do not have. Then you have to consider the type of ammo the Ukrainians are going to be using, which will probably be the GMLRS equivalent rockets. While they are the most plentiful variant, the Americans have only ever made 50,000 of them, shared between all the countries who use this system, meaning just over 8000 ammo pods worth of ammunition. If a HIMARS can fire off 10 ammo pods per day (6 rockets per pod) on a conservative basis (they can fire a lot more), that means there are only 200+ days of ammo in existence for just 4 HIMARS units, and less if you add more launcher units in the mix. Not available ammo, but we are talking about total manufactured, ever. So you can imagine the actual number of ammo available that can be sent to Ukraine will be a lot less.

It's a superb system for what it is, but in the end, ammo logistics is the biggest limiting factor. So the issue now becomes what do the West do in terms of weapon shipments? Are we pushing for a quick Ukrainian victory here, or are we preparing for a long conflict, and therefore need to slowly feed weapons into the country? The important thing in my mind is that the Ukrainians are able to hold out the Russians and prevent them from rapidly sending the country into oblivion. That's the first priority. Systems like the Panzerhaubitze 2000 are very very limited in number, and they consume 155mm ammo very quickly, more so than the M777's that are in theatre now in numbers. And artillery has a barrel lifespan limitation, as we are seeing now with the M777. They are being used so much that they are already in the barrel replacement phase. I imagine the CAESAR units will run into those issues soon too.

The Russians, on the other hand, are also running out of ammo at a much more rapid pace than before, thanks to Ukrainian efforts to destroy their ammunition warehouses recently. The farther the Ukrainians can push back their supply base locations, the harder they will find it to resupply their artillery. Think the emptying out of the Belarusian warehouses is indicative of that. But as with anything, the fog of war and misinformation means that we may not have the full picture of the Russian supply issues. However, with Russia seemingly firing missiles at civilian targets again, they may be changing their tactics in order to cover deficiencies in other areas of their military campaign, and maybe trying to push the Ukrainians to sue for peace.
Regarding the HIMARS and overall MRL systems. I already said that the numbers the Ukrainians claim they need are probably an exaggeration. They would need them to eventually push the Russians out completely -at minimal human cost for them- but it's not realistic for the west to give them that amount of systems as of now. Like the no-fly zone wasn't realistic either, but it wasn't wrong for Ukraine to ask. It is their country that's been destroyed, and their people killed, after all.

Still finite or not, the numbers of those systems that have been pledged to Ukraine are clearly insufficient. You say the U.S. have 400 of them on active service, HIMARS that is, but they have way more M270 on stock. Which, while not as modern as the HIMARS (and probably need some work to be operational), still outranges Russian artillery. The U.K. and Germany also operate these systems, and they have promised to give some of those systems to Ukraine, but also countries like France, Italy and Finland have them in stock. It's true that there are not a lot of them to go around, and that they are expensive and hard systems to learn and maintain, but what the West needs to understand, is that investing in a Russian defeat now, will be a lot less expensive than having to re-invest in the military because of Russia's continuous threat. Let alone the thousands of Ukrainian lives that they will save, which should be the primary concern.

Clearly, war is a logistical nightmare, and stocks of those types of weapons and ammo are/were in short supply, as there was no need for them in "peacetime". But we're not in peacetime anymore, whether the West wants to acknowledge it or not, and there's nothing to stop the manufacturers from ramping up production, significantly. HIMARS are high precision systems though, which means you use them for specific targets, not for barrages, and they are so precise you don't need to shoot too many rockets to hit your target, in comparison with other types of artillery. So while your concern about the lack of stock in ammo for those types of weapons is valid, it's may not as dramatic as you think. You touch on a great point about the current usage of ammo by Ukrainian forces in general though. There were big concerns about Ukraine forces running out of their soviet era artillery ammunition some weeks ago. So it's imperative for Ukraine's long-term military capabilities to switch to western systems gradually. This also implies a long-term commitment from the West not only to supply Ukraine with the weapons (and materials to maintain them) but also to a consistent flow of ammo. This is concerning for Ukraine, given how flippant western leadership is, but better than relying on their own stock and military industry.

The main problem to give Ukraine the weapons they need has not been logistics though. Although obviously not a minor concern, it has been bureaucracy and political tinkering which has consistently delayed the flow of weapons. Think of how long it took the U.S. to pledge those MLR systems because they didn't want Putin to get mad at them. Or Scholz consistently dragging his feet when it comes to delivering heavier weapons. Compare the speed in which Poland pledged and delivered the Krab 155 mm howitzers to Ukraine, and in how many numbers, or France with the Caesars, to how slow Germany delivered the Panzerhaubitze, and in so few numbers. There are hundreds of excuses you can make, but the reality is that until very recently, Germany's political leadership's commitment to fully support Ukraine's efforts has been the main obstacle. Hopefully, we have reached a turning point in that regard but I can't stop thinking about how many Ukrainian lives could have been saved if western leaders were a bit braver, and didn't try to appease Russia from the start.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2022, 06:52:39 pm by Lastrador »

Offline Lastrador

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In your opinion do you think it's realistic that Ukraine could retake Luhansk with sufficient artillery and air support?

From the little I've read - and always wary of propaganda - the Ukrainians have dug in resolutely and impressively.  It feels unlikely that Russian soldiers (/conscripts?) would be willing to make such sacrifices to retain control of what are effectively now cities of rubble.
It's really hard to tell. It will depend on a consistent flow of western weapons to Ukraine, which would eventually even up the playing field enough for Ukrainian forces to mount a major counter-offensive on that region. As of right now, they are too outmatched in terms of artillery and air support to do that, although they have mounted more localized operations on the Kherson region, which have been limited in scope but somewhat successful.

You're right that Ukrainian's bravery and will to fight as they did in Mariupol, compared to the relatively low morale of Russian troops could be a decisive factor. The problem that I see though, is that large parts of Ukraine's best troops, the ones with better training and morale, have probably already been lost, so the difference in that regard may not be as big as it was at the start of the war. Still, I can't see Russian forces fighting to the very end like the Ukrainians have, to keep hold of territory and cities that mean nothing to them. So given that Ukrainians have sufficient resources, I wouldn't bet on them not reclaiming part of their territory in the Donbas and other areas. 

Offline Lastrador

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I'm no war expert at all, but if I were to speculate, I'd say it's a combination of factors - a shortage of personnel and an increasing unwillingness to risk their best equipment on such a messy battlefront. Better to throw obsolete equipment into the grinder - perhaps they're engaged in intense training on their modern equipment which they could use a month or two down the line. It's anybody's guess really though.
You're probably right in regards to the T62, as there's not such a big operational difference to the T72, which they still use extensively. The use of BMP1 is way more concerning though, as it puts their infantry units, which they don't have too much to spare, at a big disadvantage, and there's no logical explanation as to why they use those instead of the most modern BMP2, other than they don't have enough.

Offline Lastrador

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Poor old Flip Flop has been wrong about practically everything since Day One of the invasion.

In fact here is D-Day Minus One. Flip Flop learns that President Biden has announced that the Russians are planning to invade Ukraine.

It's been downhill from there.  ;D
I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, but the suspicious doomer tone has been apparent from the start. He probably was the type counting the hours until Kyiv fell, which as we eventually learned, was never close to.

Offline So... Howard Phillips

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I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, but the suspicious doomer tone has been apparent from the start. He probably was the type counting the hours until Kyiv fell, which as we eventually learned, was never close to.

He flipped from fearing a nuclear holocaust to flopping because the West werenít prepared to initiate a no fly zone.

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I'll ignore the rather pathetic trolling above...

Anywho, the shopping mall looks like it took a direct hit from a missile. The first two amateur videos from the scene showed the entire mall ablaze from left to right and it looked for all the world like a missile had ploughed right into the middle of it.

Also, the amount of destruction inside looks like it was caused by a massive explosion, not damage from fire.


https://twitter.com/i/status/1541520797713432576



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Sweden and Finland now officially part of NATO. Just did the signing ceremony just now, waiting for Stoltenberg press conference.