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Ukraine Invasion: Part 31

995 replies

MagicFox · 22/09/2022 06:51

31st thread, welcome all and thanks as usual.

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miceonabranch · 02/10/2022 22:40

The Ukranian forces are legends. I follow quite a few youtube channels to follow updates and they are such professionals.

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mids2019 · 02/10/2022 23:25

I am now starting to think the West is taking the threat of nuclear weapons use more seriously now and certainly the tone of western leaders is getting harder. I was reading a peace in the Guardian where there was open speculation to the nature of response that NATO should use in the event of a nuclear warhead being used in Ukraine.

The issue would be if a tactical warhead was used against a Ukranian force positio n relatively far from civilian population what should NATOs reply be without precipitating WW111? Use of NATO forces to destroy Russian positions would potentially bring catastrophic escalation so I can't see an immediate decisive.response.

Anything less than a decisive response would possibly allow Russia to use further warheads , possibly at more populous regions, with the aim of terrorising Ukraine to submission (or at least a truce).

I am sure there are many many wargames looking at these possibilities and I hope fervently we don't reach this stage but I don't think the chance of nuclear use is quite negligible.

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Greenshake · 02/10/2022 23:42

There are several article links in his thread that discuss these exact issues.

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Liebig · 02/10/2022 23:57

mids2019 · 02/10/2022 23:25

I am now starting to think the West is taking the threat of nuclear weapons use more seriously now and certainly the tone of western leaders is getting harder. I was reading a peace in the Guardian where there was open speculation to the nature of response that NATO should use in the event of a nuclear warhead being used in Ukraine.

The issue would be if a tactical warhead was used against a Ukranian force positio n relatively far from civilian population what should NATOs reply be without precipitating WW111? Use of NATO forces to destroy Russian positions would potentially bring catastrophic escalation so I can't see an immediate decisive.response.

Anything less than a decisive response would possibly allow Russia to use further warheads , possibly at more populous regions, with the aim of terrorising Ukraine to submission (or at least a truce).

I am sure there are many many wargames looking at these possibilities and I hope fervently we don't reach this stage but I don't think the chance of nuclear use is quite negligible.

Russia is not going to use nukes. And if they did, the response from NATO would be the immediate destruction of every Russian military asset in Ukraine, Crimea and the Black Sea with extreme prejudice. And conventionally.

That doesn't factor into any calculus where Putin wins or even breaks even. It would be the wholesale destruction of the Russian war machine and the finale and complete pariah status of Russia on the world stage.

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RedToothBrush · 03/10/2022 00:02

minsmum · 02/10/2022 21:25

Rob Lee AT RALee85
Russian pages are sounding the alarm about Kherson. One says Russian forces have fallen back to Dudchany, another says the situation could soon become critical, another says Ru forces need to prepare for urban warfare and that Ukraine is hitting their lines where they are weak.

I recommend AT DefMon3 's thread about what is and isn't known. He's right to point out Ru defenses are more fortified in Kherson and they have more elite units, but when this many Russian channels are sounding the alarm, it usually means they're in trouble.

Def Mon AT DefMon3
In the northern part of Watermelon county, the AFU are making progress attacking from the north around Zolota Balka. Most of this progress is still unconfirmed, but reports are coming from both sides. According to Russian channels, RuAF retreated to Dudchany.

According to these rumors, RuAF retreated 25km. Usually when something sounds too good to be true, it's because it's too good to be true. I'm not saying this is the case, but keep it in mind.

The Kherson region is possibly the most fortified section of the front line that is not the old 2015 front. The Russians have a lot of backup lines with trenches and good cover above their vehicles.

Benjamin Pittet AT COUPSURE
If Dudchany is retaken, Chaplynka begins to be in range of a long-range rocket strike. Chaplynka is a very, very, important target.

Seems like there must be something going on in Kherson and that the Russians have had to at least fall back to another defensive line. It seems unlikely we'd be getting this much noise if everything was calm and going swimmingly for the Russians in Kherson.

Ukraine Invasion: Part 31
Ukraine Invasion: Part 31
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RedToothBrush · 03/10/2022 00:11

Liebig · 02/10/2022 23:57

Russia is not going to use nukes. And if they did, the response from NATO would be the immediate destruction of every Russian military asset in Ukraine, Crimea and the Black Sea with extreme prejudice. And conventionally.

That doesn't factor into any calculus where Putin wins or even breaks even. It would be the wholesale destruction of the Russian war machine and the finale and complete pariah status of Russia on the world stage.

With this in mind I think that Kamil Galeev's thread from the other day is worth a read and I think this is probably where the worry really is for the West:

Kamil Galeev AT kamilkazani
I think Kremlin may view nuclear strike on Ukraine (with an American retaliatory strike) as a rational move. It may not make much sense in the context of foreign policy, but it does in the context of domestic policy. Meanwhile foreign policy is just domestic policy by other means

My argument is based on three premises:

1. Foreign policy serves domestic policy goals
2. Keeping power is the top priority of domestic policy
3. Kremlin is looking for a way out of the conflict

Launching a nuclear strike and getting a retaliatory one may be seen as a way out

If Putin is looking for a way out, that probably means he is looking for a way out that would allow him to keep the supreme political power. Which may be incompatible with suffering a humiliating military defeat from a supposedly inferior force. Like Japan in 1905 and Ukraine now

Many argued that Putin should be allowed to "save face". The thing is: it is nearly impossible for him to save
face at this point. Inability to crush Ukraine is already a loss of face, no matter how you frame it. For a simple reason that Ukraine had been considered an inferior

The very idea that Ukraine can stand its ground against Russia would have been considered totally insane at the start of this year, both in Russia and outside of it. The fact that it does means that Putin has already suffered a major loss of face, and will continue suffering it

To keep power, you need to save face. And how can you save face? One obvious solution is: try to engage with the U.S. Make a nuclear strike that would inflict an American retaliatory strike. If you and your power survives that, that gonna be total win. Absolute victory

Russian public opinion considers Ukraine as absolutely inferior. That is why standards for not losing face in this conflict are pretty high. Since Ukraine is so ridiculous, inability to crush it is humiliating, no matter how you frame it. You can't defeat it, you lose your face

But Russian public opinion does not view the US as inferior, it's the other way around. That is why standards for not losing face in a conflict with the US are so much lower. I would say that inability of the US to crush Russia would be seen as American loss and Putin's win

Compare two scenarios:

1. Russia engages Ukraine. Then Russia not crushing Ukraine is Ukrainian victory. High bar
2. US engages Russia. Then the US not crushing Russia is Russian victory. (Seemingly) low bar

He absolutely may choose 2 as the bar for not losing face is lower

I would even say that provoking an American retaliatory strike may boost the regime. The US tried to defeat us, used the deadly force, but we still exist - that's the story of honour, heroism and stoicism. For the Putin's target audience I mean. That's a great and powerful myth

Meanwhile, mobilisation may stabilise the regime by simply getting rid of young males that could otherwise create problems. For example, if they were recruited by anti-regime forces, should the supreme power weaken. The less young males in the country, the stronger is Kremlin

Engaging with the US directly may sound suicidal foreign policy wise. At the same time it may sound totally rational domestic policy wise. Simply because the bar for saving your face (=keeping power) in this conflict would be much lower. They didn't destroy you = you win. The end

PS For example, the US destroying the Black Sea Navy as a response for a Russian nuclear strike absolutely may count as Putin's victory. It is very, very much easier to frame this scenario as honourable, than let's say an obvious military defeat from Ukraine

PPS Withdrawing before the US is very much preferable than withdrawing before Ukraine. In the first case, you can frame it correctly, save your face and prepare for a round 2. If you withdraw before Ukraine though, there may be no round 2

It seems insane to rational people who haven't invested their pride. But then, doubling down and carrying on at this point is also insane.

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mids2019 · 03/10/2022 00:27

Is it worth even the tiniest risk of MAD if the US conventionally destroys the Russian fleet? Remember to the US this is a foreign war, an important war but non the less.a foreign war where the US homeland is not threatened. You therefore have to ask are there cast iron guarantees of a US response to a Russian nuke in Ukraine?

The use of nuclear weapons would be heinous but heinous enough to potentially unleash a nuclear exchange between super powers? The Russians may be bluffing about nuclear use but what about the west?

There are many systems capable of carrying nuclear warheads in and around Ukraine so a strike may come unannounced. The question is then is there enough US/NATO weaponry to execute a devastating attack against Russia in the region? Won't at least.air craft carriers be visible? If there is a slow.build up of NATO conventional force then how will Russia respond in the interim?

We did not implement a no fly some in Ukraine because of the danger of escalation and we watched the destruction of Mariupol so how will the calculus change of a nuclear weapon is used?

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Liebig · 03/10/2022 00:29

That’s pretty much the only play that would be a viable off ramp now. There simply are no other routes where Putin can even attempt to save face, and having pissed off China too, and shown the escalate path is his only MO… maybe escalate to poking the US in the eye is the only way to deescalate.

Of course, this still gives the same outcome in reality for Russia on the world stage. Yet, if all you care is theatre for the peanut gallery back home, then maybe going full DPRK isn’t a bad outcome for this colossal miscalculation of a war. I ignore Kadyrov calling for nukes, since he says it every month. When it comes to the pro-Kremlin voices elsewhere and en masse suggesting it be done to stop this imagined invasion of Russia coming, it may, unlikely as I see it, force Putin’s hand.

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Liebig · 03/10/2022 00:33

mids2019 · 03/10/2022 00:27

Is it worth even the tiniest risk of MAD if the US conventionally destroys the Russian fleet? Remember to the US this is a foreign war, an important war but non the less.a foreign war where the US homeland is not threatened. You therefore have to ask are there cast iron guarantees of a US response to a Russian nuke in Ukraine?

The use of nuclear weapons would be heinous but heinous enough to potentially unleash a nuclear exchange between super powers? The Russians may be bluffing about nuclear use but what about the west?

There are many systems capable of carrying nuclear warheads in and around Ukraine so a strike may come unannounced. The question is then is there enough US/NATO weaponry to execute a devastating attack against Russia in the region? Won't at least.air craft carriers be visible? If there is a slow.build up of NATO conventional force then how will Russia respond in the interim?

We did not implement a no fly some in Ukraine because of the danger of escalation and we watched the destruction of Mariupol so how will the calculus change of a nuclear weapon is used?

The response would come later in force. There is really nothing to stop the USAF using B-2s to clobber any major assets in the Ukraine theatre and take out what is left of the Black Sea Fleet. The Americans have air dominance as core doctrine, and they have perfected this over the decades. The VKS is not going to come off well if the USAF goes in and Desert Storms the RuAF in the area. It only goes downhill if a CVBG turns up to mop up anything the stealths left behind.

They don’t even need to put a single NATO soldier on the ground.

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Greenshake · 03/10/2022 00:44

I still believe there could be 2 potential off ramps here, however unlikely or far -fetched. Firstly, he could spin this saying that he has tried to de-Nazify Ukraine or whatever other shit he is spouting as today’s reason, but the “ungrateful” Ukrainians are not interested and he will be withdrawing to let them get on with it etc. In short, he packages it as a lost opportunity for Ukraine and washes his hands of them. Secondly, and linking with this, I was reading today that the full process of absorbing the 4 annexed regions will take at least a couple of years. Plenty of scope here to come up with a ‘legal/administrative’ reason to let him off the hook and open a back door out.

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MissConductUS · 03/10/2022 01:24

Liebig · 03/10/2022 00:33

The response would come later in force. There is really nothing to stop the USAF using B-2s to clobber any major assets in the Ukraine theatre and take out what is left of the Black Sea Fleet. The Americans have air dominance as core doctrine, and they have perfected this over the decades. The VKS is not going to come off well if the USAF goes in and Desert Storms the RuAF in the area. It only goes downhill if a CVBG turns up to mop up anything the stealths left behind.

They don’t even need to put a single NATO soldier on the ground.

The F-35 pilots would be deeply annoyed if they were left out of this mission. 😁

I agree that this is certainly high on the list of response options. I would add that a lot of it would be done with the JSOW from outside the conflict area, so non-stealth bombers can also be used. There's an antiship variant as well. At some point, JDAMs would be employed and Putin can say goodbye to the Kerch Bridge in Crimea.

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MagicFox · 03/10/2022 06:30

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MagicFox · 03/10/2022 07:02

Thread on holding firm in the face of the nuclear threat: twitter.com/jmkorhonen/status/1576812917231857665?s=46&t=JVJ7JyhXLU04YIeCK5kI5w

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notimagain · 03/10/2022 07:46

The question is then is there enough US/NATO weaponry to execute a devastating attack against Russia in the region? Won't at least.air craft carriers be visible?

Yes IMHO they have more than enough and on that specific point I wouldn't be thinking Aircraft carriers.

Firstly there are quite a few western combat aircraft already deployed to airfields in that part of the world that can reach potential targets, though possibly in some instances they will need air to air refuelling to do so.

I haven't heard what NATO maritime assets are in that part of the world (e.g. in the Eastern med). but some of them carry large numbers of long range cruise missiles.

Occasionally on the ADS tracker sites you'll see the likes of B-52's over eastern Europe, often in holding patterns over Scandinavia and eastern Europe...small numbers but I suspect we're probably not seeing all of them...what we see is for show. Depending on the variant each B-52 could be carrying 20 cruise missiles, all of which could be fired at very short notice.

In short NATO has the capability to deliver a massive amount of conventional ordnance to targets in the occupied parts of Ukraine with short notice without the use of aircraft carriers....

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Ijsbear · 03/10/2022 08:40

Is it worth even the tiniest risk of MAD if the US conventionally destroys the Russian fleet? Remember to the US this is a foreign war, an important war but non the less.a foreign war where the US homeland is not threatened. You therefore have to ask are there cast iron guarantees of a US response to a Russian nuke in Ukraine?

If we don't hold firm on the threat then Russia, and all other bad-faith actors, know that all they need to do is to threaten nukes seriously to get what they want from the West.

It's a recipe for more trouble later, and more nukes later, because one day two madmen like Putin and his cousin-in-spirit will face each other even if the West crumbles. Imagine Kim Jung-Il and Putin at war.

The best way to handle this is wisely and firmly not only for the crisis now, but for the next time and the next time.

I'm afraid that if we don't want to face the prospect of nuclear war at all, they should never have been invented. We have to work with the situation as it is, though.

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Ijsbear · 03/10/2022 08:40

sigh. where did that underlining come from.

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Ijsbear · 03/10/2022 08:47

ISW www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-october-2

Good to read in its entirity. Lot of focus on the milbloggers and drawing comparisons with Glasnost.



Key inflections in ongoing military operations on October 2:


Ukrainian forces continued to liberate settlements east and northeast of Lyman and have liberated Torske in Donetsk Oblast. Russian sources claimed that Russian forces withdrew from their positions northeast of Lyman, likely to positions around Kreminna and along the R66 Svatove-Kreminna highway.[24]

Ukrainian forces continued to advance on settlements east of Kupyansk and liberated Kisharivka in Kharkiv Oblast.[25]

Russian forces continued to launch unsuccessful assaults around Bakhmut, Vyimka, and Avdiivka.[26]

Ukrainian forces resumed counteroffensives in northern Kherson Oblast and have secured positions in Zolota Balka and Khreshchenivka. Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces also liberated Shevchekivka and Lyubymivka, pushing Russian forces to new defensive positions around Mykailivka.[27]

Russian forces continued to target Kryvyi Rih and Mykolaiv Oblast with Iranian-made Shahed-136 drones.[28]

Russian State Duma MPs withdrew a law that would have given mobilized men a one-time payment of 300,000 rubles (about $4,980) and other benefits, without providing a reason for their decision.[29] Ukrainian military officials stated that Russian forces are forming a motorized rifle division with mobilized men from Crimea, Krasnodar Krai, and the Republic of Adygea.[30]

Russian President Vladimir Putin submitted a draft law to the State Duma on admitting the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, and Zaporizhia and Kherson Oblasts, to the Russian Federation.[31]

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Hillsmakeyoustrong · 03/10/2022 09:27

Ok I'm sorry this might be a silly question but are we saying that Putin is now looking to save face and wants to exit Ukraine regardless? If all that matters is that Putin stays in power and he keeps the good opinion of the Russian people, why can't they say they successfully fulfilled their aims to 'de nazify' Ukraine? The 'nazis' are dead, they have razed many cities to the ground and they have saved millions of people they have won! Isn't the iron curtain coming back? If it is, the Russian people wont know it's all a pack of lies and they can continue to feast together on their delusions of grandeur.

I guess I'm saying that given Putin continually lies and the people are given their daily dose of vitamin Propaganda, why can't he just back out? Surely he can dress up failure as victory? I think its because he isn't looking for an out yet.

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Igotjelly · 03/10/2022 09:31

Hillsmakeyoustrong · 03/10/2022 09:27

Ok I'm sorry this might be a silly question but are we saying that Putin is now looking to save face and wants to exit Ukraine regardless? If all that matters is that Putin stays in power and he keeps the good opinion of the Russian people, why can't they say they successfully fulfilled their aims to 'de nazify' Ukraine? The 'nazis' are dead, they have razed many cities to the ground and they have saved millions of people they have won! Isn't the iron curtain coming back? If it is, the Russian people wont know it's all a pack of lies and they can continue to feast together on their delusions of grandeur.

I guess I'm saying that given Putin continually lies and the people are given their daily dose of vitamin Propaganda, why can't he just back out? Surely he can dress up failure as victory? I think its because he isn't looking for an out yet.

I think there are 2 points here. Firstly it seems to be fairly universally agreed that Putin recognises that this whole invasion was a massive fuck up. Lots of analysts read his speech on Friday as basically saying "we've reunited these areas with the Russian motherland now Ukraine stop fighting and accept that these bits aren't yours any more and this whole thing can be done".

The second point is around Putin's ability to control the narrative. The link above from the ISW actually sets it out quite well. Putin has lost that control largely, there is open dissent within his inner circle and on Russian state media etc. A few months ago I think he probably could have dressed failure up as a success but I think that time has come and gone.

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Hillsmakeyoustrong · 03/10/2022 09:39

@Igotjelly yes I can see that open dissent from his inner circle is the issue. He would need a big teapot to solve that issue.

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TheCountessofFitzdotterel · 03/10/2022 10:25

I find it very interesting how there is a constant stream of photos and film of Ukrainians rescuing animals - cute puppies, abandoned cats, tending to an injured crane. Has this just happened organically or has the sharing of these been encouraged from the top - Ukrainians have shown themselves to be masters of comms after all and ‘save the cat!’ is a cliche of screenwriting in building sympathy for your character.

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TheCountessofFitzdotterel · 03/10/2022 10:31

Ukrainian soldiers I mean.

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Ijsbear · 03/10/2022 10:33

I suspect there's a couple of elements to it. Certainly decision making - im quite sure the whole Patron-the-rescue-dog thing was a deliberate bit of propaganda. But it seems as if Ukraine as a whole really care about their animals (ok im sure there are exceptions but as a rule). Thirdly seeing small, hopeful bits is just downright encouraging and that's important. Fourthly, partly pushing "we are good people and have the moral high ground!". Fifthly some of it was just organic, I'm sure.

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Igotjelly · 03/10/2022 10:39

I think @Ijsbear has nailed it, but frankly I just like it, its a tiny bit of light in a very dark time. I do think its largely "look we're human beings and we love and care about other living things, unlike the orcs".

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