Megathread for news/updates/discussion of Russian invasion of Ukraine - March 18-20
This thread is posted Monday/Wednesday/Friday - 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.
Arnold Schwarzenegger made a very respectful, compassionate and powerfully worded message to the Russian people. Hopefully everyone in position to communicate with Russians will help them see it. This video is also very important for those outside of Russia to watch because it is a strong reminder that nobody wins when we let politics and ideologies separate us by fear.
Interestingly enough, Fiona Hill tried to have Schwarzenegger appointed as ambassador to Russia during the Obama presidency:
Related: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s video about Ukraine has been trending on social media in Russia
Russian cosmonauts board ISS wearing colours of Ukraine flag
Maybe I’m overlooking something, but this seems incredibly brave in light of recent jingoistic statements from Putin. Aren’t these guys risking being thrown in the gulag when they return to earth?
Kinda sounds like that to me too. Absolutely a daring move. I think their best bet is a regime change in absentia. Or maybe a Dragon capsule to take them to the US.
That said, nothing much ground control can do to get them to dress "decently", short of remotely sabotaging station systems, thus attacking German and US citizens as well. Can hardly send Russian police up there either.
I was looking for a place where to ask this question. The return of Mark Vande Hei seems guaranteed, but could the tensions in US/Russia relations prevent or make future deployments of American astronauts through the Soyuz more difficult?
Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, March 19 (Institute for the Study of War)
They are calling a culminating point, which is a bit of military jargon meaning that they don't think the Russians will succeed in advancing significantly further. (Other than they do think they will take Mariupol eventually.)
Very cool interactive map of some of the open source intelligence so far.
Following some of the twitter video citations in that article yields interesting results, too. E.g. @UAWeapons is a gold mine for footage of materiel losses.
This is a masterful display of events and geography. Very impressive.
Russian government accounts are using a Twitter loophole to spread disinformation
Article also includes detailed analysis, and recommendations for twitter and other social media companies, as well as their users.
Another interesting analysis of #IStandWithPutin, pro-invasion memes propagating over twitter:
Elon Musk’s Starlink is keeping Ukrainians online when traditional Internet fails (Washington Post)
On Twitter, a military truck guy explains why he thinks all the Russian trucks will have broken down in 6-8 weeks.
Unrolled for easier reading:
Pentagon briefing for Day 23 seems to be "stalemate continues." Here's the retweet. I don't know if the original is posted anywhere.
Twitter thread w/ assessment of the current status of the war from Rob Lee of the Foreign Policy Research Institute.
I'm wondering what "Joint Forces Operation" (JFO) means in this assessment. Which forces does it refer to?
The JFO is what Ukraine refers to as it’s ongoing operation in the Donbas region since 2014.
Why McDonald's, Burger King, and Papa John's can't just close all their stores in Russia
What are Switchblade drones, the kamikaze ‘killer’ drones Biden is sending to Ukraine? (Washington Post)
I'm wondering about this part:
Does this mean they sometimes choose and attack targets without human confirmation? I suppose with everything else going on in this war, few people will worry about this. Hopefully Ukrainian soldiers will use them responsibly. But it seems like an ominous step.
Some background from last August:
Loitering munitions preview the autonomous future of war
Getting back to the Switchblade, here's the Wikipedia article:
Conflict wounds Russian and Ukrainian currencies
Germany agrees gas deal with Qatar to help end dependency on Russia
Bodies Litter The Floors Of Mariupol Hospital As Ukrainian Medics Fight To Save Lives
Bonus: hexbear losing its shit, going all-out for genocidal oligarchy
What is hexbear? Is it a Reddit clone for tankies?
Hexbear originally started out as chapo.chat (created using a fork of Lemmy), and is where the more dedicated portion of the /r/ChapoTrapHouse community migrated to after reddit banned them. Whether there are actually any legit tankies there, or just users trolling and occasionally RPing as ones, it's genuinely hard to say. Chapo was and still is a weird and hard to read bunch, IMO.
Although that may have been a rhetorical question, here’s how hexbear identifies itself (I didn’t know either so I had to look it up): https://www.hexbear.net/about
Why not link to the original source instead of a hitchtube rip?
Warning: Video is incredibly disturbing and very graphic, featuring footage of many dead bodies, including a close-up of a dead baby
Thank you for content warnings.
NP. I have unfortunately been rather desensitized to that sort of horror thanks to my early internet days frequenting shock sites and forums, but I realize others here likely have no desire or capacity to see such things. Although, IMO, there is a certain duty/responsibility for those of us who are able to tolerate viewing that sort of content to do so, in order to bear witness to the atrocities, and be vocal about what we see so that others can't bury their heads too deeply in the sand, or misrepresent what's happening.
'Russian soldiers took over my farm’: the battle for food supplies in Ukraine (The Guardian)
Russia mines sea routes from Bosphorus to Odesa, blames Ukraine – media (Kyiv Post)
Note that Ukrainian mines apparently do exist, though these are land mines:
Ukraine’s venerable Odessa readies for Russia’s brutal push up the Black Sea coast (Washington Post, March 4)
I haven't found anything about Ukrainian naval mines, but perhaps they are secret.
What is meant by glass fortification? I couldn't find further information about this.
It's a strange way to word it, but I assume they mean using the sandbags to shield glass windows so a nearby explosion doesn't send fragments flying everywhere. It's a pretty common use for them in warzones. E.g. Pics from outside and inside a hospital in Zaporizhzhia.
That makes sense. Thanks. I was stuck on the wording.
From AP Live Updates:
Also, a longer story from a Turkish publication has interviews with protesters:
Protesters block Poland-Belarus highway to choke Russia's economy (TRT World)