17 votes

Daily megathread for news/updates/discussion of Russian invasion of Ukraine - February 28

This thread is posted daily - please try to post relevant content in here, such as news, updates, opinion articles, etc. Especially significant updates may warrant a separate topic, but most should be posted here.

27 comments

  1. [13]
    streblo
    Link
    I know its early but I just want to reflect on how much initial momentum Putin has ceded to the West in this war. Before this war broke out, I would have described the West (EU/USA/UK/CAN/AUS/NZ)...
    • Exemplary

    I know its early but I just want to reflect on how much initial momentum Putin has ceded to the West in this war.

    Before this war broke out, I would have described the West (EU/USA/UK/CAN/AUS/NZ) as divided. Trust in institutions is falling, the pandemic fatigue, general political fatigue and divisive rhetoric led many to believe the support and resistance the West could offer Ukraine would be small. I think in addition to whatever immediate goals Putin has for Ukraine, whether they’re related to economic, imperial, or security that this war seems to also be designed to put another nail in the coffin of a weary Western alliance. And I think many, myself included, thought he would succeed in this.

    You can look at the far right media in the opening days of the war, the claims by Trump and others and how it was designed to accelerate that schism by calling Putin a genius or that NATO caused this war etc. (I’m not claiming there was any co-ordination here although I wouldn’t be surprised. Just that they share a goal in the destruction of Western institutions and attack them along the same axis.)

    And then Ukraine refused to hand over the keys to a bully. And here we are several days later with an antithesis of Putin's goals:

    • NATO and support for NATO stronger than ever. Expansion of NATO countries seems certain.
    • More NATO countries pledging to meet the 2% security budget, including Germany.
    • Western countries operating in lockstep, getting consensus for unprecedented sanctions against Russia.
    • The expulsion of Russian state propaganda from Western countries (perhaps even followed by social media.)
    • Broad support for Ukraine among the highly divided West. An American poll I saw put negative feelings towards Russian foreign policy at ~84%. Seemingly only the extreme left and right are left supporting Putin's war. In Canada I saw several messages from conservative partisans beaming in support of our Ukrainian-Canadian deputy PM's address in Ukranian/Russian just weeks after one of the more divisive and toxic periods in our domestic politics.
    • Russian-aligned western commentators having to walk back statements on their support of Putin. Remember that the FSB probably spent the entirety of the last decade building this influence, for a moment like this, and this is the result.
    • Galvanized dissent inside of Russia, with Russia forced to limit/reduce access to Twitter/Facebook in response and arrest thousands of protestors.
    • The Russian armed forces getting thoroughly embarrassed by a country with a fraction of their GDP.

    I don't think this is at all how they drew it up. However, I do worry where this war is going, and I worry about the lack of off-ramps for Russia. The only 'good' options at this state are a withdrawal and Russian defeat (unlikely) or some sort of coup attempt (also unlikely). The ‘bad’ options include massive civilian destruction and/or direct NATO involvement.

    28 votes
    1. Adys
      Link Parent
      After devoting his life to sowing chaos in the west and reunifying the USSR, Putin might finally be the one reunifying the west and giving Ukraine its well deserved independence and acceptance as...

      After devoting his life to sowing chaos in the west and reunifying the USSR, Putin might finally be the one reunifying the west and giving Ukraine its well deserved independence and acceptance as part of the EU.

      What a pro. To think I called him a mastermind just 10 days ago.

      10 votes
    2. [2]
      teaearlgraycold
      Link Parent
      I honestly think the coup option is increasingly likely. The rich and powerful in Russia keep speaking out against the war. It’s not going to be long until they speak out against Putin directly....

      I honestly think the coup option is increasingly likely. The rich and powerful in Russia keep speaking out against the war. It’s not going to be long until they speak out against Putin directly. Why would anyone (FSB, oligarchs) maintain loyalty to Putin when the west’s narrative plays out exactly as the west says it would (attack Ukraine and you’ll be financially ruined). Everyone supporting Putin has every reason to reject him. They’re getting poorer every day, the military is disgracing itself, and Putin can be blamed for everything as he is the one that made tactical blunders.

      It’s not Putin that needs a way out. If everyone else has a narrative that covers their assess then the military advancement can stop. And the narrative they’ll have might just require a reduction in presidential power going forward.

      9 votes
      1. streblo
        Link Parent
        I think that depends on exactly how much control they have over the narrative. I agree, if they can't control the narrative domestically then unrest at the very least is likely. The state TV...

        I think that depends on exactly how much control they have over the narrative. I agree, if they can't control the narrative domestically then unrest at the very least is likely. The state TV narrative is that these sanctions target everyday Russians not the government and are 'russphobic'. To what extent that is believed I'm not sure.

        In a sister comment there's some links to the social media side of things which where all the dissent is. It appears widely viewed, but is also able to be turned off at a moment's notice. However perhaps even exercising that option points to a lost cause?

        2 votes
    3. [2]
      streblo
      Link Parent
      Sorry for the spam, one other interesting tidbit that people following closely have probably seen but others may have not: Running tally of video verified equipment losses for Ukraine/Russia.

      Sorry for the spam, one other interesting tidbit that people following closely have probably seen but others may have not:

      Running tally of video verified equipment losses for Ukraine/Russia.

      9 votes
      1. Autoxidation
        Link Parent
        Excellent resource, thanks for sharing.

        Excellent resource, thanks for sharing.

        1 vote
    4. streblo
      Link Parent
      Adding some perspectives on what Russians are seeing: Twitter account that has all of the state media broadcasts summarized in English. Exactly what you'd expect, just complete nonsense about how...

      Adding some perspectives on what Russians are seeing:

      Twitter account that has all of the state media broadcasts summarized in English. Exactly what you'd expect, just complete nonsense about how Ukraine is the aggressor, their armed forces are Nazi's hiding behind the Ukranian civilians etc.

      Great thread on how large/popular Russian social media stars are coming out against the war and their effect.

      Alexey Navalny's (imprisoned opposition leader) group released a video calling on domestic action/civil disobedience from Russians. Video has English subtitles. No idea on how widely distributed or consumed this is in Russia.

      7 votes
    5. [6]
      Seven
      Link Parent
      Just wanted to comment on this that it's only really authoritarian communists who are supporting Putin's war. Mostly Marxist-Leninists, or "tankies" as they're sometimes derogatorily called, are...

      Seemingly only the extreme left and right are left supporting Putin's war.

      Just wanted to comment on this that it's only really authoritarian communists who are supporting Putin's war. Mostly Marxist-Leninists, or "tankies" as they're sometimes derogatorily called, are the ones defending Russia here. The other areas of the extreme left such as anarchists and anarcho-communists are either in support of Ukraine or anti-war altogether.

      7 votes
      1. [2]
        vektor
        Link Parent
        At the risk of a "no true scotsman", I'd argue that tankies who support putin shouldn't be considered far left. There's very little socialist ideals realized in russia as it exists today, as far...

        At the risk of a "no true scotsman", I'd argue that tankies who support putin shouldn't be considered far left. There's very little socialist ideals realized in russia as it exists today, as far as I can tell. I mean, beyond the aesthetic, I wouldn't know how to differentiate such a tankie from a fascist.

        9 votes
        1. Seven
          Link Parent
          Yeah, you're definitely right that tankies are not really left-wing at all—as long as your definition of left-wing includes opposition to unjust hierarchies, which is in my opinion the most...

          Yeah, you're definitely right that tankies are not really left-wing at all—as long as your definition of left-wing includes opposition to unjust hierarchies, which is in my opinion the most crucial aspect of leftist ideology.

          I mean, beyond the aesthetic, I wouldn't know how to differentiate such a tankie from a fascist.

          There are some ideological differences between the two, but I agree that it is hard to differentiate the two sometimes. I do often like to make the distinction between tankies—communists who think an authoritarian state is needed to gain economic equality—and nazbols, who are fascists who use Soviet Russia as their mythological past they wish to reclaim. There is a lot of overlap between these two groups, but they are at least theoretically ideologically distinct.

          5 votes
      2. teaearlgraycold
        Link Parent
        Also in the US merely being a social democrat makes you "extreme left". And I see no reason for social democrats to support this war.

        Also in the US merely being a social democrat makes you "extreme left". And I see no reason for social democrats to support this war.

        5 votes
      3. [2]
        streblo
        Link Parent
        Yea, I should clarify "elements of the extreme..." I'm sure there are also ultra-nationalists on the far right who support Ukrainian nationalism.

        Yea, I should clarify "elements of the extreme..." I'm sure there are also ultra-nationalists on the far right who support Ukrainian nationalism.

        3 votes
  2. [3]
    Adys
    (edited )
    Link
    Here's some inspiration, from a Belarusian former lieutenant colonel speaking out against the war. Three-part subtitled video starts here: "This is not our war." (2, 3) In financial news, the...
    • Here's some inspiration, from a Belarusian former lieutenant colonel speaking out against the war. Three-part subtitled video starts here: "This is not our war." (2, 3)

    • In financial news, the Moscow Stock Exchange is not opening today. Here is an exclusive photo of the scene.

    • Zelenskyy is drafting prisoners with combat experience. This has historically happened before in other countries.

    • Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia issued a joint letter to Big Tech company CEOs asking them to strigently intervene in stopping the spread of propaganda and misinformation.

    • More governments closing airspace. More Russian oligarchs starting to speak out against the war. More hot takes on why this idiotic war will be Putin's downfall. I can't keep track of all the links anymore, but the fallout is real.

    • Speaking of fallout, Putin is trying to passive-aggressively hint that he's ready to go nuclear by "ordering nuclear deterrent forces on high alert". The thing is, it's too late now, and the world is calling his bluff. The cat is out of the bag, as they say. We can only pray it is indeed a bluff.

    • On a personal note, my SO's sister is back in Kyiv… I will no longer give update about this, I've been losing sleep and hair over it and it's severely affected the mental health of both my SO and my own. I'll write something once she's safe and sound.

    I do want to say this: Every day I am growing more positive about the outcomes of this war. I pray I'm not in a bubble, because the images are getting extremely graphic.

    19 votes
      1. skybrian
        Link Parent
        It seems it's an electric vehicle charger.

        Gas station pumps in the Moscow area are unusable and displaying pro-Ukraine text

        It seems it's an electric vehicle charger.

        4 votes
  3. cfabbro
    Link
    Neutral Swiss adopt EU sanctions against Russia in break with past

    Neutral Swiss adopt EU sanctions against Russia in break with past

    "In view of Russia’s continuing military intervention in Ukraine, the Federal Council took the decision on February 28 to adopt the packages of sanctions imposed by the EU on February 23 and 25," the government said in a statement.

    Switzerland also adopted financial sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, effective immediately, it said.

    7 votes
  4. [2]
    psi
    Link
    "Ukraine invasion: should Russia lose its seat on the UN Security Council?" The Conversation. The United Nations charter confers permanent security council status to five members: the Republic of...

    "Ukraine invasion: should Russia lose its seat on the UN Security Council?" The Conversation.

    The United Nations charter confers permanent security council status to five members: the Republic of China, the Provisional Government of the French Republic, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom, and the United States. This begets an obvious question: given that the USSR collapsed decades ago, why does Russia hold the USSR's seat?

    6 votes
    1. nukeman
      Link Parent
      Nominally? Because Russia is the legal successor of the USSR. Practically? Because nobody wants to open the can of worms that is UN Security Council reform.

      Nominally? Because Russia is the legal successor of the USSR.

      Practically? Because nobody wants to open the can of worms that is UN Security Council reform.

      5 votes
  5. skybrian
    Link
    Finnish lawmakers to discuss potential NATO membership

    Finnish lawmakers to discuss potential NATO membership

    A survey by the Finnish broadcasting company Yle found that 53 percent of Finns support their country joining NATO. This figure goes up to 66 percent if neighboring Sweden were also to join NATO. This marks a drastic shift in public attitudes — in the previous poll in 2017, only 19 percent of Finns supported NATO membership.

    A citizens’ initiative to hold a referendum on whether Finland should join NATO gathered the required 50,000 signatures in less than a week, which forces parliament to debate it.

    In a move premier Marin called “historic,” Finland announced it is offering Ukraine weapons. “Finland staunchly supports Ukrainian independence and sovereignty. Finland will offer weapons to Ukraine and the aid will be delivered quickly. This decision will not endanger national defense,” Marin said.

    6 votes
  6. [3]
    Fal
    Link
    Ukraine applies for European Union membership
    5 votes
    1. [2]
      EgoEimi
      Link Parent
      As much as I admire Zelensky for his bravery and leadership and would like to see Ukraine prevail in this war and eventually join the EU, I find it uncomfortable to see him wielding his newfound...

      As much as I admire Zelensky for his bravery and leadership and would like to see Ukraine prevail in this war and eventually join the EU, I find it uncomfortable to see him wielding his newfound international hyper-popularity to pressure the EU for immediate accession.

      Surely he knows that Ukraine is far from meeting the Copenhagen criteria, so this must be pure posturing. But I can understand that he is probably very distressed in such wartime conditions.

      3 votes
      1. Adys
        Link Parent
        He’s definitely in a position of power and making the best of it. It’s extremely unlikely Ukraine would be fast tracked but it gets the discussion going.

        He’s definitely in a position of power and making the best of it. It’s extremely unlikely Ukraine would be fast tracked but it gets the discussion going.

        3 votes
  7. [2]
    Don_Camillo
    Link
    I'm really afraid of people having lived in a very western media bubble in the information about this war. It took the US about 21 days to take over Irak militarily, it took them years if not...

    I'm really afraid of people having lived in a very western media bubble in the information about this war. It took the US about 21 days to take over Irak militarily, it took them years if not decades to stabilise it. we're on day 7 and people/media seem to call it quits? i see that russia seems to have problems atm, at least that is what all western media says at the moment, but please please, dampen your expectations. remember chechnya? or go back further, russia is historicaly able to take incredible hard hits and still go on. Thinking that the war will just end without further heavy casualties and/or putin will be loose his power by a coup seems illusionary to me, and coming from a deep cultural misunderstanding.

    i put myself in a lot of russian state media today to see whats the narrative there and it's just crazy how there is a completley different story.
    Remember all the times we were lied to by western "propaganda", war in irak, greece, brexit, afganistan, (somebody remembers the war between india and china the last year?) there is obviously more, but i stoped giving a shit because its hurting my mental healt. Maybe we should not take everything as true we read on any media, i thought we learned that since the advent of the internet.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm a pacifist by heart and soul. this war started (or at least lifted to horribly new magnitudes) by russia is wrong, it goes against everything still good in this world.

    but to think that putin will just go away, or that ukraine will win this war without a horrible bloodbad and most of the country destroyed might be giving in to a lot of wishfull thinking and i think that might be very dangerous. that's just not how these things happend in the past.

    5 votes
    1. vektor
      Link Parent
      I don't think anyone here actually believes that. Putin basically has no way out; he can't admit defeat and go back to the borders of pre-2013, which is what Ukraine is demanding. I don't think...

      but to think that putin will just go away, or that ukraine will win this war without a horrible bloodbad and most of the country destroyed might be giving in to a lot of wishfull thinking and i think that might be very dangerous. that's just not how these things happend in the past.

      I don't think anyone here actually believes that. Putin basically has no way out; he can't admit defeat and go back to the borders of pre-2013, which is what Ukraine is demanding. I don't think we'll see a diplomatic solution for quite a while. However, I also think this will not be anywhere near as easy for russia as the points of comparison you use: Ukrainians have already demonstrated enormous fighting spirit and are getting substantial military aid from the west. They are resisting the invasion quite well, but I'm not under the illusion they can actually fight off the invasion. Yes, unless Putin tucks tail due to high casualties and low progress, this is going to be bloody.

      The Ukrainian "victory condition" is to make this unsustainably bloody for the Russians. How much the Russians can sustain is anyone's guess, but I also think looking at Russian media isn't going to give you an accurate picture of the situation on the home front.

      And I think it's also worth taking note that this is the most level playing field we have seen in a while. It's not level by any means, but it's a hell of a lot more level than Iraq or Chechnya.

      People presume this might be Putin's end, because honestly what else is there? If he backs down, 200.000 men return from the front and they will go back to their families and people will notice that they went there to conquer, not liberate, and they failed. The government lied, and this time it wasn't vindicated by the greater good or victory. No, if Putin backs down without being able to claim victory, it might cause massive unrest. He has to follow through to some sort of victory. How are his chances of doing that by invasion-and-occupation? I mean, occupying a country that is brimming with foreign military aid is going to be tough. Imagine patrolling a city as an occupier, knowing that every window might have a rifle barrel or an ATGM pointed at you; No air support either, because the enemy has anti-air missiles. Meanwhile, you were sent there to "liberate" or to "exercise". The alternative for Putin is to make a big impression now and then sue for marginally advantageous peace conditions.

      In the case of other similar conflicts, the major power that invaded was always going to achieve military control decisively; the hard part was the occupation. In this case, the invasion is already tough; the occupation might be impossible. Might be...

      I'm not saying this is looking good for Ukrainian citizens. But it also looks quite bad for Putin. Only time will tell. But you can be damn sure who I'm rooting for.

      13 votes