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Kiev Is Burning


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10 hours ago, ink said:

I don't understand your comment. How is Ireland relevant? Do you think that by pointing out the complexity of the situation in Ukraine I was trying to justify the Russian invasion? Sorry, I just don't get it.

I think he's saying that the Russian claim on Ukriane is as absurd as a Britsh claim on Ireland would be.

 

Edit: And I see a few people have said as much well before me.

Edited by R011
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1 hour ago, crazyinsane105 said:

To be fair, I read an article from Business Insider that states Russia still has a pretty significant advantage in both shells fired and shell production capacity to this day. So Glenn isn’t completely off by this

https://www.businessinsider.com/ukraine-fires-7k-rounds-a-day-russia-fired-60k-early-in-2023-report-2023-9?amp
 

Just three months ago, Zulazhny said Russia fires ten shells for every one Ukrainian shell. 
 

If these official sources aren’t enough proof that Russia has the advantage in numbers, I’m unsure what can change anyone’s mind if they believe otherwise 

I don’t think Forbes has any special knowledge and Zelensky has plenty of reason to lie or exaggerate. I don’t know which side fires more shells, or perhaps more importantly, which side has more effective fires. But I also don’t make absolute statements to the effect that one side fires more and that the disparity is growing. If Glenn has a trusted source, let us see it. I don’t particularly trust either side’s numbers in these matters and I don’t think anyone else is in a position to know, at least no one who will say.

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6 hours ago, Josh said:

Do you have links describing the volume of shells on both sides? Or is your analysis also based on anecdotal evidence?

Reports I've seen online recently suggest something about 1,000-3,000 Ukrainian shells being fired daily these days, with ammunition supplies being tight.  Russian usage I've seen estimated as 12 million rounds in the first year, expected to drop to about 7 million in the second - something like 20,000 a day.  A recent NYT article pinned both sides at 40,000 a day, but this cannot be more than a few days.   

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2 hours ago, Josh said:

I don’t think Forbes has any special knowledge and Zelensky has plenty of reason to lie or exaggerate. I don’t know which side fires more shells, or perhaps more importantly, which side has more effective fires. But I also don’t make absolute statements to the effect that one side fires more and that the disparity is growing. 

60 Minutes had a fluffer piece on Sunday with Zelensky where he seemed almost emotionally distraught at times.  Didn't look like a guy where things were going well.   

Anyways, the Russians started with a much larger artillery park and a far larger shell reserve and has considerable industrial resources, whereas Ukraine does not.  Western supplies have made up some of the difference, (2 million shells from the US according the article below) but reports in the West discussing Ukraine's shell shortages have been common place this summer, this one for example,

https://www.cnn.com/2023/07/18/politics/ukraine-critical-ammo-shortage-us-nato-grapple/index.html

Ukrainian troops now typically fire between 2,000 and 3,000 artillery shells per day at Russian forces, a US defense official told CNN. The rate was higher before the counteroffensive began, as Ukraine conducted shaping operations to prepare to advance on Russian positions.

This article here is typical of where the impression of a Russian volume advantage comes from,

https://www.newsweek.com/why-ukraine-burning-through-ammo-war-russia-1812294

By most accounts, Russia is firing at least four times as many artillery shells as Ukraine," McCardle told Newsweek via email. "That's significant. 20,000 rounds per day for Russia is a low estimate, as is 5,000 rounds per day for Ukraine."

This is where the casualty disparity comes from.  HIMARS and Lancet drone videos are spectacular and cause losses, but in the overall picture, not many.  Artillery is what kills people.  Same article as above,

Artillery is the biggest killer on both sides of the war, he added, projecting it causes about 80 percent of all casualties overall in this ongoing war. The high rates of artillery rounds being used seemingly without effort is because "they are effective."

The reason why the Ukrainians are being killed at far higher rates than Russians is first and foremost because they're being hit by more shells.  The missiles, drones, the airpower, these are all secondary.  (Though the Russian increasing usage of heavy glide bombs will no doubt become another significant source of Ukrainian casualties, I saw a report today that the 1500kg bomb is now in use).

Edited by glenn239
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2 hours ago, glenn239 said:

Reports I've seen online recently suggest something about 1,000-3,000 Ukrainian shells being fired daily these days, with ammunition supplies being tight.  Russian usage I've seen estimated as 12 million rounds in the first year, expected to drop to about 7 million in the second - something like 20,000 a day.  A recent NYT article pinned both sides at 40,000 a day, but this cannot be more than a few days.   

Ok, so no. I don't necessarily disagree with all of those numbers; my point is that all of those are estimates from various sources with little access to hard info. We have zero primary sources. Invariably those estimates stem from what the Russians and the Ukrainians say they spent or their opponent spent, or else from NATO estimates, or perhaps from people even further removed from the conflict. I don't think any of those is sufficiently reliable for us to make absolute declarations about how much is being fired per day at any given moment, and sheer volume of fire is necessarily the best gauge of effectiveness in any case.

EDIT: It is obvious that the Russians started the war with a huge advantage and that this carried through most of last year. No one can deny that. But we have little to no information concerning surviving pieces, barrel changes, ammunition losses due to strikes, ammunition total consumption, or even ammunition production.

Edited by Josh
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We have various accounts that the Ukrainians consider themselves outnumbering the Russians with artillery at the point of decision, and clearly, they must be, or they wouldnt be able to advance at all.

There is always a large difference between how large a force is, and how much it can actually project at the point of decision. This has clearly been a problem for Russia since the early 1900's, and probably a lot earlier, certainly far earlier than the PGM age. All the PGM's and drones have is exacerbate exisiting logistical problems that were evident as long ago as Afghanistan.

Im not convinced the artillery stockpile is as large as Glenn keeps lclaiming it is either. If it was, little rocket man and poison pants boy wouldnt be enjoying such a bromance.

Edited by Stuart Galbraith
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"Kyiv was preparing to retaliate against Polish fruit and vegetable exports"

https://www.politico.eu/article/ukraine-will-sue-poland-hungary-and-slovakia-over-agricultural-bans/

Politico: Ukraine will sue Poland, Hungary and Slovakia over agricultural bans
Kyiv plans WTO action against three EU countries over ‘ridiculous’ restrictions, trade chief says.

 

Edited by Roman Alymov
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13 hours ago, Roman Alymov said:

It is clear miss in terms of body-to-body hit, but detonation so close is enough to make the plane into wreck, at least for some (probably, prolonged) time.

   There was at least two drones (second one providing observation), and i wonder as if it was part of large strike reported couple of days ago by Rus MoD (claiming 2 Mig-29 and three Su-25 on this airfield)

 

It might have been one already! Two Migs were sitting there in broad daylight, nicely contrasting against the ground, not even a camo net in place. And all this just 60-70 km from the front. Oh, that's well within heavy MRLS rage too, isn't it?

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8 minutes ago, Markus Becker said:

 

It might have been one already! Two Migs were sitting there in broad daylight, nicely contrasting against the ground, not even a camo net in place. And all this just 60-70 km from the front. Oh, that's well within heavy MRLS rage too, isn't it?

Note service vehicle ( known as APA in Russian) near the plane and connected by cable, service ladder, no covers on engines - they were preparing for mission. Probably some kind of combined strike by HARM missiles and decoys. Probably planes were there only for brief period of time, hours if not minutes, and were to fly back to Western Ukraine airfields after it.

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Edited by Roman Alymov
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19 hours ago, Roman Alymov said:

No, people of Kharkov, Odessa, Donetsk, Lugansk, Dnepropetrovsk etc. rose up spontaneously  -and where igmored by Russian Gov. In Kharkov. Odessa and Dnepropetrovsk uprising was crushed (remember all this rethoric about "bussed from Russia" and "Russians fron transnistria" here by usual suspects?) but while pro-Ukrainians were busy with this major centres (as we now know, by "diapearing" local pro-Russian activists and jailing others - secondary centres in Donetsk and Lugansk gained some strength and managed to prolong defence to the point when it became impossible for Russian Gov to pretend nothing happens if they are after all crashed, so some (very limited) help was provided, in expectation that some agreement will be reached between Russian elite and Ukrainian oligarchs (as it was repeatedly done before). But oligarchs of Ukraine lost their power to US Embassy, and agreement became impossible.

I don't know, Roman, that sounds like quite a selective view of what happened. Don't you remember all those (very obviously not Ukrainian) tanks and artillery pieces and artillery radars and Buk launchers that showed all of a sudden? I do.

Also, if you can't see the hand of the Russian government behind key personalities (Strelkov, for example, but others too), then nothing I can say is going to help you.

Anyway, here's the way I see things. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about anything. Back in 2008, the Russians achieved quite the geopolitical masterstroke by knocking out Georgia. With two breakaway provinces, a destroyed military, and Russian troops on their (internationally recognised) territory, there was suddenly no way Georgia could feasibly be a prospective NATO member state.

Then, after the ousting of Yanukovich, Russia pulled off perhaps the most flawless military operation in its history and took Crimea with barely a shot fired.

However, there was a problem. What if NATO accepted the annexation of Crimea and still kept Ukraine on track towards full membership? So it became necessary to use/expand the trouble that was stirring (and I don't deny that the Ukrainian far right, by then already infiltrated into certain institutions, did not instigate a lot of trouble) to cause/help Donetsk and Lugansk to break away. The added benefit was that it would keep Ukraine on a war footing and, essentially in a state of chaos or flux, thus further hampering its chances of becoming a functioning country and/or joining NATO.

Now, this is not to deny the often genuine feelings of people on the ground who want/wanted to be ruled from Moscow (or at least, avoid being ruled from Kiev). But that they feel/felt like that does not mean the Russian government has not been involved at every stage of the process.

Finally, once it became clear that, in spite of Donetsk and Lugansk, NATO was bent on further integrating and arming Ukraine - or that it would do so in future - the Russians (probably thinking they'd done enough to infiltrate the government) felt that a full invasion was worth a shot. Something, it seems from certain reports, that they had essentially cleared with the Americans, who obviously felt a certain amount of glee at the prospect of being able to finally put Sun Tzu's famous philosophy* into practice.

So, that's how I see it anyway. Nobody's blameless or innocent in this whole story except the ordinary people of Ukraine (on both sides) but the Russian political and intelligence elite is most certainly outright criminal for the decisions they took, irrespective of the geopolitical context in which they were taken.

 

 

* "Never interrupt your opponent while he is in the middle of making a mistake."

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There was absolutely no prospect of Ukraine joining NATO, anymore than there was Finland and Sweden. Putin has made all of these actions either happen or more likely, purely through his own cluelessness. Lets not dignify his actions by there being legitimate concerns. Any intent we had of incorporating Ukraine in NATO died with the Georgia campaign.

I know you dont like NATO, for entirely legitimate and understandable reasons. But lets stop pretending the NATO ogre was waiting under the bed waiting for Russia to pounce. Only 10 years ago I remember arguments on this site arguing for NATO disbandment (some of our American friends still advocate that). Putin effectively saved it from disbandment.

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14 minutes ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

 Lets not dignify his actions by there being legitimate concerns. 

Oh, I'm not sure that I would characterise them as "legitimate concerns". Maybe "perceived concerns" is more fitting. My post wasn't meant to be legitimising anything, just telling it how I see it.

I also wouldn't want to paint a picture of NATO (specifically its leading member) as entirely passive*. I remember back in 2008, after Bucharest, that US spokespersons said that there would be a push to integrate Ukraine and Georgia, much to the protest of European member states - especially Germany. And, unsurprisingly, to even more protest from Russia. Back in 2008, let me add, there was no popular support for Ukraine joining NATO. Nothing even approaching a majority. Indeed, there wasn't a majority even after 2014.

 

 

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Just a small correction to an error I made above:

Polls did actually show slight majorities of support for NATO membership after 2014. Probably nothing you'd want to bank on if you were a pro-NATO Ukrainian politician, but majorities nonetheless.

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I would also not say NATO was bent on intergrating the Ukraine. In 2014/15 it was not about joining NATO, it was about joining the EU. And this obviously had different impacts on the economy of different parts of the Ukraine. While the Western parts and most of central Ukraine saw a chance in becoming a meber of the EU, the Eastern parts had close economic ties with Russia. Ties that would be cut if the whole country joins the EU.

NATO only become a hot topic with the increasing active military participation by the Russians. And the whole thing turned from a question of economic options, to one of national security to one of national survival for the Ukrainians. Now the Russians have no choice but to conquer the whole territory and cleanse society from hostile anti-Russian elements.

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2 minutes ago, seahawk said:

I would also not say NATO was bent on intergrating the Ukraine. 

See my comments re: the row that errupted in the wake of the Bucharest conference in 2008.

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2 hours ago, Markus Becker said:

It might have been one already! Two Migs were sitting there in broad daylight, nicely contrasting against the ground, not even a camo net in place. And all this just 60-70 km from the front. Oh, that's well within heavy MRLS rage too, isn't it?

Forward deployment: MiG is short ranged so they land there to refuel. Note weapons in the wings.

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53 minutes ago, ink said:

Just a small correction to an error I made above:

Polls did actually show slight majorities of support for NATO membership after 2014. Probably nothing you'd want to bank on if you were a pro-NATO Ukrainian politician, but majorities nonetheless.

Yes, post 2014. After the annexation of Crimea. There was very little of anything like that before Putin started throwing his weight about.

It actually started in 2007, at the munich security conference. Putin seemed to conflate the Chechen assault on a school with Western support, which does make you question what kind of shit the FSB has been pouring into his ear.

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24 minutes ago, ink said:

See my comments re: the row that errupted in the wake of the Bucharest conference in 2008.

If NATO would have been bent on accepting the Ukraine, they could have been in NATO quickly. Obviously any west leaning country in the Russian sphere of influence is a possible candidate and such countries also seek NATO protection, but imho NATO was not actively seeeking to expand east. And by 2014/15 NATO was not the topic but the EU.

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16 minutes ago, Yama said:

Forward deployment: MiG is short ranged so they land there to refuel. Note weapons in the wings.

Ok, but sooo close? Even vanilla BM-30 rockets can go 70km. Otoh, BM-30 might be less common having entered service when the USSR collapsed. Yes, looks like their default MRLS are BM-27 and -21

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40 minutes ago, seahawk said:

If NATO would have been bent on accepting the Ukraine, they could have been in NATO quickly. Obviously any west leaning country in the Russian sphere of influence is a possible candidate and such countries also seek NATO protection, but imho NATO was not actively seeeking to expand east. And by 2014/15 NATO was not the topic but the EU.

In 2008, they almost offered membership action plans to Ukraine (which didn't want to join) and Georgia (which did). Germany and friends were concerned enough by the message this would send to try to block or delay it. There was a row in NATO over it. The decision was supposed to be revised at the end of the year but by that time Russia had already had its August War with Georgia.

In 2014, NATO may not have been a topic on the streets of Kiev but it most certainly was in the US and elsewhere in NATO. I don't have time to dig about and look for articles but feel free to do so yourself.

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34 minutes ago, ink said:

In 2008, they almost offered membership action plans to Ukraine (which didn't want to join) and Georgia (which did). Germany and friends were concerned enough by the message this would send to try to block or delay it. There was a row in NATO over it. The decision was supposed to be revised at the end of the year but by that time Russia had already had its August War with Georgia.

In 2014, NATO may not have been a topic on the streets of Kiev but it most certainly was in the US and elsewhere in NATO. I don't have time to dig about and look for articles but feel free to do so yourself.

Actual NATO membership can be vetoed by any one nation. Ukraine or Georgia were always non starters, and IMO always will be, regardless of how seriously some of the members discuss it.

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45 minutes ago, ink said:

In 2008, they almost offered membership action plans to Ukraine (which didn't want to join) and Georgia (which did). Germany and friends were concerned enough by the message this would send to try to block or delay it. There was a row in NATO over it. The decision was supposed to be revised at the end of the year but by that time Russia had already had its August War with Georgia.

In 2014, NATO may not have been a topic on the streets of Kiev but it most certainly was in the US and elsewhere in NATO. I don't have time to dig about and look for articles but feel free to do so yourself.

But that offer did not materialize nor did the Ukraine show a strong desire to join NATO. Yes, they wanted NATO help in training and equipment but did see themselves asa non-aligned. What they did want was a road to the EU membership.

And this is what made Russia act, NATO aggression is simply a lie to hide the true fear, that the Ukraine (or any former Soviet Republic) would join the EU and then experience an economic and democratic development like the Eastern Europeans. This would be a threat to the person in power in Moscow.

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8 minutes ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

 

The engine room is an oddly specific place for a mine to hit...typically fuse is magnetic and initiates mid ship when the magnetic field strength begins to drop off. On this class of ship the engine room would be at the stern.

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11 hours ago, Josh said:

Ok, so no. I don't necessarily disagree with all of those numbers; my point is that all of those are estimates from various sources with little access to hard info. 

The hard info we have is that the Russian artillery park was much larger than Ukraine's to start and that its shell reserve was truly massive, much larger than Ukraine's.  We know that the West has sent a few million shells, we know the Ukrainians themselves had some millions.  We know that the Russians have exhibited caution in the use of resources and their strategy is a long war, meaning that they are unlikely to 'blow' their whole shell reserve in a year.  None of this leads to the conclusion that Ukraine has artillery parity, so when report after report after report comes in that Russian has a big advantage in terms of daily shell fire, this tracks to what we know. 

In contrast, the question of Russian reserves is an unknown.  I see claims they have none remaining.  I see claims their reserves are huge.  I yet see nothing which to establish which is actually the case.  I think what we know leads towards the latter, but we'll see.

 

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