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5/26/24 9:34 a.m.

In reply to Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) :

A thing to consider in the background is that Russia is also loosing like one million people a year to demographic decline. This would be people not being born  because humans seem to be tired of that game, and/or emigrating. That is one million people per year that does not require a single bullet from the Ukrainians. 


Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/26/24 12:53 p.m.

In reply to NOHOME :

So the same as in Japan, people aren't having kids because they don't feel socioeconomically secure enough to be able to raise them.  Different circumstances but same result.

GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/26/24 1:29 p.m.

In reply to aircooled :

I doubt Ukraine at large feels differently than Zelensky on this, it's very clear to them that Putin is willing to make this a game of "one piece at a time" now that they're in the second round within a decade.

jmabarone HalfDork
5/28/24 6:37 a.m.
GameboyRMH said:

In reply to aircooled :

I doubt Ukraine at large feels differently than Zelensky on this, it's very clear to them that Putin is willing to make this a game of "one piece at a time" now that they're in the second round within a decade.

My wife and I were discussing that the other day.  Her point was why would Ukraine not want to negotiate since they are losing soldiers (not at the rate of Russia, but they have a lower populace).  They are now calling up men who were previously exempt due to medical issues, BTW.  I mentioned the ATACMS that can reach the Kerch bridge and the precarious position that Russia is in with regards to Crimea.  "Then why aren't they using them now?"...

My counterpoint was Russia did this 10 years ago and kept some land, why would they not do it again in another 10 years?  

stroker PowerDork
5/28/24 10:42 a.m.

In reply to jmabarone :

It seems to me that Ukraine needs to figure out a strategic Russian asset they can threaten, like yesterday.  We've seen some of that with their drone strikes on oil refineries.  I'm thinking that they need to really HIT a strategic economic target.  Dunno if ATACMS (or any of the other NATO-supplied missiles) can do that, but I don't think the Ukrainians have as much time or bodies available to spend.

VolvoHeretic GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
5/28/24 11:03 a.m.

In reply to jmabarone :

We all know that the only way to stop Putin is to either put NATO troops in Ukraine and push him out or give Ukraine back a few of the nukes we talked them into giving up after the joke Budapest Memorandum. Funny how that was back in 1994, Russia attacked Ukraine in 2014 and here we are again in 2024. There's something about years ending in 4.

We sure know that nobody can rely on the USA not getting bored and just walking away.

So they had this faith that the West would stand by them, or certainly the United States, the signatories, and Great Britain, would stand up for Ukraine should it come under threat. Although, the precise way was not really proscribed in the memorandum.

NPR.org: Why Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons — and what that means in an invasion by Russia

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
5/28/24 11:27 a.m.
02Pilot said:
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) said:
02Pilot said:

In reply to Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) :

The Soviets lost 25 million (that's the low estimate) in WW2, and they see this as a similarly important - if not nearly as dangerous, at least now - as the earlier conflict. A Western-oriented Ukraine, let alone one in NATO, is seen as every bit as existential a threat as was the Third Reich. Arguably, Putin feels he's handling this better than Stalin did; having made deals with Germany, Stalin waited too long, and the Germans were able to strike before the Soviets were ready. Putin, in spite of a position of weakness similar to the Soviet Union in late-1930s/1940's, has taken the offensive, in his view preemptively countering what his government sees as a growing threat (or at least needs to promote as a growing threat to manage their domestic position). They are not going to be put off by sustainable losses, no matter how horrific they appear by Western standards.

I hate how 1984 this is becoming (has become?  will be?  all of the above?)...

Yeah, he may be projecting this as WW2 levels of danger but major cities were literally under siege in WW2 to back that claim up.  There's not a whole lot going on in western russia, unless you're a refinery...  With only the "projection" as the driving force behind this, I keep hoping that either another branch of the government, or some major player(s) in the population, will stop playing along with this whole dang thing (I know.  Hope against hope.).

Note the dates I mentioned. Yes, after 22 June 1941, cities were under siege, hundreds of thousands of Russians were being captured, and the Germans were an undeniable danger. But before that, there was a complex relationship between the two states, wherein they were ideologically bitter enemies who maintained extensive propaganda campaigns against each other, while at the same time enabling each other's rise to power with secret deals on raw materials and military technology. Both Hitler and Stalin knew that war was inevitable between their nations; both were juggling a lot of complex factors in deciding whether and when to act. Arguably they both lost that gamble, but Stalin only realized the full dangers of waiting too long after the fact.

Ah, my bad.  I always get caught up in thinking WW2 magically started somewhere post Maginot line and completely forget about the millions of things that were being moved around the board up to then.

aircooled MegaDork
5/28/24 12:17 p.m.
jmabarone said:

....  I mentioned the ATACMS that can reach the Kerch bridge and the precarious position that Russia is in with regards to Crimea.  "Then why aren't they using them now?"...

It's an interesting question.  They certain appear to be able to do an attack on the bridge, but seem to be concentrating on the airbases in Crimea.  One factor may be that the ATACMS they have are only the cluster munitions style (not sure there is another type at this point) which would be rather ineffective against a bridge.  The other factor is that (as noted previously) the Russian do not appear to be using the bridge for military supplies at this point, maybe because it is effectively vulnerable now.  Taking down the bridge, even if it isn't being used, would certainly be a pretty big propaganda win though.


aircooled MegaDork
5/28/24 12:21 p.m.
VolvoHeretic said:

In reply to jmabarone :

We all know that the only way to stop Putin is to either put NATO troops in Ukraine and push him out ...

Of note is that it seems rather likely that NATO troops, to be used for training Ukrainian troops, will be happening.  There has been a fair amount of talk about it.

Obviously you are talking about NATO troops actually shooting at Russians, which is certainly rather unlikely at this point.  But it does bring up the question as to what the procedure is if a NATO trainer is killed.

aircooled MegaDork
5/28/24 12:25 p.m.
stroker said:

In reply to jmabarone :

It seems to me that Ukraine needs to figure out a strategic Russian asset they can threaten, like yesterday.  We've seen some of that with their drone strikes on oil refineries.  I'm thinking that they need to really HIT a strategic economic target.  Dunno if ATACMS (or any of the other NATO-supplied missiles) can do that, but I don't think the Ukrainians have as much time or bodies available to spend.

One of the issues they are having is the west, at this point, is still very much against any western weapons being used inside Russia.  They apparently even got rather mad when the Ukrainians used Patriots to take down planes over Russia.  Here is a just produced map that gives you an idea of what kind of havoc they could produce if that restriction was taken off.  Of note is yes, that is Moscow (Moskau, the map is in German) that is within Stormshadow range (!) 

jmabarone HalfDork
5/28/24 12:56 p.m.

I appreciate everyone's insights in this thread.  

In other news (which you all may have seen), Russia hit a DIY store in Kharkiv on Saturday(?).  Not sure if it was a case of jammed missile or intentionally targeted, but it is definitely seen as the latter among the populace.  Our missionaries were going to head to that store that morning but got providentially hindered. 

02Pilot PowerDork
5/28/24 1:33 p.m.

It's worth noting that the North Atlantic Charter uses very specific, yet also intentionally vague, language:

Article 5

The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.

Is killing trainers in a third country "an armed attack" allowing their government the "exercise of the right of...self-defence"? I doubt it would be interpreted that way. NATO member forces engaged in out-of-area operations have been killed in the past, and there's never been a hint of invoking Article 5. Note also that invocation of the article calls for "such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force"; it does not require the use of armed force.

Article 6 provides some clarity, but none that makes war more likely in the current circumstances:

Article 6

For the purpose of Article 5, an armed attack on one or more of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack:

  • on the territory of any of the Parties in Europe or North America, on the Algerian Departments of France, on the territory of Turkey or on the Islands under the jurisdiction of any of the Parties in the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer;
  • on the forces, vessels, or aircraft of any of the Parties, when in or over these territories or any other area in Europe in which occupation forces of any of the Parties were stationed on the date when the Treaty entered into force or the Mediterranean Sea or the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer.

Like most international treaties, this one looks a lot more definitive than it is. It has much greater value as a deterrent if it's possible certain actions could result in war, rather than irrevocably guaranteeing it.

aircooled MegaDork
5/28/24 1:42 p.m.

Some other, slightly sobering news (not sure where exactly the first quote is from).  Some of this is almost certainly related to the slow rolling of Western aid:

All thermal power plants in Ukraine have been damaged or destroyed, now their share in electricity production has decreased to 5%, - member of the Supervisory Board of "Ukrenergo" Yuriy Boyko.

Ukraine plunged into darkness as Russia attacks power grid

...With no end in sight to the attacks on the power grid and without a way to adequately defend against them, there are no quick fixes to the electricity shortages, Ukrainian energy minister Herman Halushchenko explained. ...


DarkMonohue GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
5/28/24 4:00 p.m.
aircooled said:

A bit more.  So maybe the rumors are true.  Of course with a bit of a Putin twist...

The Russian President, Putin, announced during his visit to Belarus last night that he supports negotiations for a ceasefire with Ukraine.

The position presented by Putin is: negotiations for a ceasefire based on the situation on the ground (that is, the territories that Russia has captured from Ukraine so far will be territories under Russia's control).

Putin pointed out that Zelinsky's legal term as president of Ukraine has ended and therefore he is not a legitimate leader with whom negotiations can be conducted. Who will sign the agreements from the Ukrainian side Putin asked?

The guess here is that Putin wants someone else to negotiate with since Zelenskyy has repeatedly said they will give up none of the land that was taken.  An interesting tactic.  If the guy won't sell you the car for cheap, demand someone else negotiate for him.

Of note of course is that Putin's seemingly never ending presidency has a bit of a smell of illegitimacy.  Pot meet kettle?

As to why now?  Perhaps the Russian bodies piling up are becoming a problem (as in Afghanistan).  Zelenskyy recently claimed 8 to 1 casualty rates against the Russians in their recent and ongoing Kharkiv offensive. 

Some thoughts on their willingness to negotiate from Anders Puck Nielsen. In a nutshell, it's nothing new at all. It's an insincere effort to confuse the discussion and attempt to reduce Western support of Ukraine.


Noddaz GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
5/29/24 1:33 p.m.



Canada allows strikes on military targets on the territory of the Russian Federation


Oh boy.



aircooled MegaDork
5/29/24 2:45 p.m.

Definitely going that way.  

Macron just announced that France supports hitting military sites on the Russian territory.

In the latest German government press conference, the government made clear that there were never statements that Ukraine cannot use German weapons on Russian territory. Instead, it was stated that they have not been used for that purpose and that there are secret agreements about the usage of the German weapons, which were never made public.

Finland allows Ukraine to strike Russia with Finnish weapons

Finland has not imposed any restrictions regarding Ukraine's strikes on Russia’s territory with weapons that it handed over to Ukrainian troops. 


aircooled MegaDork
5/30/24 12:26 p.m.

It's interesting to see how things are turning.  As noted a few posts above, the US apparently was rather upset Ukraine shot down planes over Russia.  Now?  Not so much. 

Also of note is that I think most of (a lot of?) the Storm Shadow missiles come from Germany.  The SCALP, which is essentially identical is French (France... just has to be different) and they really seem like they want to open them up also.

When cruise missiles start screaming into Russian air bases, what will Russia do?  Nuke London?  Not likely.  It seems like they are already promoting small attacks in various Western countries.  Also by Putler's logic, Ukraine should be open to attacking Iran and North Korea.

Scholz allowed German weapons to be used on Russian territory, Politico

Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that Ukraine can use the weapons provided by Germany "within the framework of international law", which will allow them to be used against such an aggressor as Russia, including on the territory of Russia.


The United States does not restrict Ukraine from using American air defense systems to shoot down Russian aircraft over Russian territory, — The Washington Post, citing US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

"There is no restriction on Ukraine using US-supplied air defenses to shoot down Russian missiles or fighter jets over Russian territory “if they pose a threat to Ukraine,”" the publication quotes the official as saying at a press conference in Moldova. 

Regarding strikes with US ground weapons, Blinken said that the US “has not encouraged or authorized strikes outside of Ukraine, but Ukraine shall make its own decisions on the best way to effectively defend itself.”

aircooled MegaDork
5/30/24 12:35 p.m.

On a complete side note.  The way Putin uses intimidation reminded me of the movie Stripes when they are introducing themselves... and they get to...


Perhaps the West is now just saying "lighten up, Francis"

And realistically: "If you didn't want to get attacked, perhaps you should not have started a war..."

(I was going to warn about the now non-PC reference to "alternative forms of affection" but it's actually rather appropriate considering Russia's stance on that)

02Pilot PowerDork
5/30/24 10:21 p.m.

The fact that every Western government has felt the need to issue a press release about this only reinforces the idea that this is basically a signaling exercise. Clearly, the West does not want to see Russia making significant gains beyond what they've already taken (and, by extension, has probably accepted that they're not likely to lose much of that no matter what Ukraine does), so they're applying pressure in a measured, easily controlled way; if Ukraine gets too frisky for any supporting country's government, they simply pull back on supplies of those particular weapon systems, while never having to publicly walk back their policy statements.

Russia's reaction should be interesting. As long as Ukraine sticks to military and economic targets (as they should, purely for reasons of efficiency), I don't think there will be much beyond angry words. If they do something really silly, like try for a decapitation strike with a Storm Shadow or something, well, then all bets are off, but that seems quite unlikely.

VolvoHeretic GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
6/2/24 1:51 p.m.

I tried looking it up but without any success, but I wonder what the fighting age male local population in Russian occupied Ukraine is nowadays after almost 2.5 years of fighting and how the population now feels about being part of Russia?

02Pilot PowerDork
6/2/24 2:43 p.m.

Further emphasizing the fact that this is now essentially a bargaining session between the West and Russia, Putin apparently stated prior to the policy shift allowing some Western weapons to be used inside Russia that such a decision could result in Russia seeking to expand the "sanitary zones" (code for the areas of Ukraine to be permanently occupied) if it were to take place. Each side is trying to move the goalposts of the cease-fire settlement before time has expired on the game being played.

Noddaz GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
6/3/24 7:43 a.m.

And Russia continues to innovate.

And it looks like China has become competition for Russia in the African arms market.

China sells weapons in Africa

The enemy of my friend is my enemy unless it is an enemy and a friend.  Or something like that.



TurnerX19 UberDork
6/3/24 8:49 a.m.

In reply to Noddaz :

That rig sure looks like a way for a farmer to get his chickens to market when the Ural is the only running vehicle in the fleet.

GameboyRMH GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/3/24 11:43 p.m.

In reply to TurnerX19 :

"The chickens symbolize the confusion, you have to ride WITH the confusion"

The only military use I can imagine for that vehicle is as something that can move a few people around but also park and look like an ordinary chicken coop from the air.

aircooled MegaDork
6/4/24 1:38 a.m.

The point of those cages is to set off the drone before it contact with the armor of the vehicle.  In this case, the "armor" is someone's flesh.  Which is not quite as resistant to explosions and shrapnel.

It will likely do a decent job of keeping the major body parts in from flying away though.

(I need to try and do an update tomorrow, some interesting things going on...)

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