19 votes

Megathread for news/updates/discussion of Russian invasion of Ukraine - April 1-3

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.

If you'd like to help support Ukraine, please visit the official site at https://help.gov.ua/ - an official portal for those who want to provide humanitarian or financial assistance to people of Ukraine, businesses or the government at the times of resistance against the Russian aggression.

43 comments

  1. FishFingus
    Link
    The footage, photographs and stories coming out of places like Mariupol and Bucha are increasingly making me feel like suggesting things about the Russian army, government and state that might...

    The footage, photographs and stories coming out of places like Mariupol and Bucha are increasingly making me feel like suggesting things about the Russian army, government and state that might breach posting rules. The most inoffensive of them is probably that if a country can't exist without a cabal of gutless neo-hitlerites ruling it, then for the sheer common good it shouldn't exist at all.

    Go and look it up on the Ukraine subreddit, if you can bring yourself to.

    11 votes
  2. [7]
    cfabbro
    (edited )
    Link
    Russian retreat leaves trail of dead civilians in Bucha, a town near Kyiv No graphic images in the above Reuters article, but there are others starting to circulate around now about Bucha and the...

    Russian retreat leaves trail of dead civilians in Bucha, a town near Kyiv

    Dead civilians still lay scattered over the streets of the Ukrainian country town of Bucha on Saturday, three days after the invading Russian army pulled back from its abortive advance on Kyiv to the southeast.

    Sixty-six-year-old Vasily, who gave no surname, looked at the sprawled remains of more than a dozen civilians dotted along the road outside his house, his face disfigured with grief.

    Residents said they had been killed by the Russian troops during their month-long occupation.

    Mayor Anatoliy Fedoruk said more than 300 residents of the town had been killed, and a mass grave at one church ground was still open, with hands and feet poking through the red clay heaped on top.

    No graphic images in the above Reuters article, but there are others starting to circulate around now about Bucha and the towns around Kyiv, that aren't afraid of showing Russian atrocities. I wish Western media would stop trying so hard to shelter us all from that stuff. Russia has a lot of answer for, and people need to see that.

    Other sources with more photos and video (Warning: Graphic):
    Al Jazeera video
    WaPo video
    NY Post article with video
    Times of Israel article

    7 votes
    1. [6]
      ThatFanficGuy
      Link Parent
      For what it's worth, I'm Russian, and even I can't look at these images. The thumbnails alone left me in a constant state of unfulfillable rage. My heart has been racing the entire day. It's...

      For what it's worth, I'm Russian, and even I can't look at these images. The thumbnails alone left me in a constant state of unfulfillable rage. My heart has been racing the entire day.

      It's horrific what the Russian soldiers did. The looting, the killing, the raping, the murder of children... I have no words to describe the mental hellscape that is Ukraine under Russian occupation. Cannot imagine the fucking horror of living under those conditions every single fucking day for a whole fucking month.

      And in case you want to know what this horror looks like in Russia... It doesn't exist. It's all been faked, you see, by the whole world ganging up on Russia all of a sudden. They have been bombing Donbass, our land, and now they have the audacity to portray heroes in anything other the best light possible. (By "they", naturally, people mean the West. The Evil West whose only goal is to cancel Mother Russia. They would have attacked Russia, along with the US and Europe, if Russia hadn't attacked first.)

      Now both of my parents are starkly under this impression. I don't have the mental capacity and the skill to verbally guide them out of that shithole of a mentality.

      For what it's worth, I don't think this is shielding. The impotent rage you feel when you look at the terrible around the world before the war would ordinarily send you beyond the borders of sanity if you consume it every day. This... can be traumatic if you've never lived through hell before.

      9 votes
      1. [5]
        cfabbro
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I disagree that isn't shielding. It still is, even if it's for the sake of people's sanity. But I think we in the West need to be exposed to more of this sort of content more often. We've been...

        I disagree that isn't shielding. It still is, even if it's for the sake of people's sanity. But I think we in the West need to be exposed to more of this sort of content more often. We've been overly sheltered for far too long now when it comes to facing the horrific realities of war, which has allowed far too many people here to bury their heads in the sand, and pro-war politicians and narratives to go unchallenged. And our media constantly sanitizing footage from events like this greatly contributes to that.

        Thanks for sharing your perspective in these threads though. And welcome back to Tildes too.

        3 votes
        1. [3]
          ThatFanficGuy
          Link Parent
          This is hardly a Western-media thing alone. Plenty of people bury their heads on this side of the war, too. "I'm outside of politics". Or, the more-horseshit one: "I'm for peace". (Spelled "Zа...

          which has allowed far too many people here to bury their heads in the sand

          This is hardly a Western-media thing alone. Plenty of people bury their heads on this side of the war, too. "I'm outside of politics". Or, the more-horseshit one: "I'm for peace". (Spelled "Zа мир", of all things.)

          I agree that a more open and concrete discussion of the events, combined with some visuals, would help the situation. I don't think wishing for everyone to see the horrors of war would accomplish this. Though, I admit, I don't know what exactly will.

          4 votes
          1. [2]
            cfabbro
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Yeah, it's definitely not a Western exclusive phenomena, but I can only speak to my own experiences. And when it comes to that, seeing uncensored images and videos of the horrors of war when I was...

            Yeah, it's definitely not a Western exclusive phenomena, but I can only speak to my own experiences. And when it comes to that, seeing uncensored images and videos of the horrors of war when I was younger was instrumental in solidifying my own opinions on the subject. That's why I think exposing people to such thing, and not sanitizing or downplaying them too much, is vitally important.

            2 votes
            1. ThatFanficGuy
              Link Parent
              You make a fair point. I guess I'm wary of spreading anything offensive because I'm sensitive to these kinds of things, and I guess I project the same sensitivity onto others by default. The...

              You make a fair point.

              I guess I'm wary of spreading anything offensive because I'm sensitive to these kinds of things, and I guess I project the same sensitivity onto others by default. The images are horrific.

              But if there's consensus that they might do more good than harm by being published... fuck it, why not. Anything to make this war closer to ending with the right side of history on top.

              2 votes
        2. skybrian
          Link Parent
          I would like to put in a good word for content warnings. Also, gore doesn't tell us who did it. I think that evidence about who did what and when (the sort of thing that the prosecutors would need...

          I would like to put in a good word for content warnings.

          Also, gore doesn't tell us who did it. I think that evidence about who did what and when (the sort of thing that the prosecutors would need in a trial in addition to what happened) is perhaps even more important.

          As a somewhat off-topic example, the other day I said I thought it was plausible that an oil depot was blew up by accident and then someone said no, there is video of the helicopters. This footage is important evidence so it's good that it exists and anyone can watch it. I don't feel the need to watch it myself, though. Knowing it exists is good enough.

          If I were more skeptical and felt the need to investigate, it's good to have the option to watch the videos.

          3 votes
  3. skybrian
    Link
    There are new migrants on the U.S.-Mexico border: Ukrainian refugees (Washington Post) [...] [...] [...] [...]

    There are new migrants on the U.S.-Mexico border: Ukrainian refugees (Washington Post)

    By Saturday morning, the list had more than 1,200 names on it. Dozens more Ukrainians were arriving every hour. A van was shuttling them between the Tijuana airport and the tent where the yellow legal pad was kept.

    [...]

    The United States last month committed to accepting as many as 100,000 Ukrainian refugees, but it has yet to establish a way for them to arrive directly. There are no resettlement programs or visa pipelines. That has left Ukrainians in growing numbers to book flights to Mexico. They arrive at the U.S. border on foot, many pushing kids in strollers and dragging suitcases behind them.

    On social media platforms and messaging apps, groups with thousands of members now explain the process in the Ukrainian language: From major European cities, fly to either Cancún or Mexico City. Ukrainians don’t need visas to enter the country. From there, take another flight to Tijuana.

    A small encampment has sprouted about 1,000 feet from the U.S. border, where families are sleeping in tents and under tarps. It is the same tiny patch that has hosted refugees from around the world in recent years: Central Americans who were part of the caravans in 2018; Haitians and Cubans who arrived during the pandemic; Mexicans who fled a surge in violence this year.

    [...]

    Tijuana was often indifferent to the iterations of migrants and refugees who arrived here. But the support for Ukrainians was immediate.

    “We will work together so you can achieve your dream,” said the city’s mayor, Montserrat Caballero, when she visited the encampment on Thursday. “Welcome to Tijuana.”

    [...]

    At the Tijuana border crossing, U.S. officials have given orders that only Ukrainians can be put on the list. A policy known as Title 42, due to be lifted in May, has prevented asylum seekers from crossing the border to make their claims since the beginning of the pandemic. It has been used in about 1.7 million migrant expulsions over the past two years

    [...]

    Every Ukrainian in Tijuana had a different idea of how long they would stay in the United States. Some said they were planning to migrate permanently. Others said they would leave after their one-year humanitarian parole expired.

    4 votes
  4. [8]
    cmccabe
    Link
    “Now we're going to f*ck them all.” What's happening in Russia's elites after a month of war https://faridaily.substack.com/p/now-were-going-to-fck-them-all-whats This is a report on the effects...

    “Now we're going to f*ck them all.” What's happening in Russia's elites after a month of war
    https://faridaily.substack.com/p/now-were-going-to-fck-them-all-whats

    This is a report on the effects of sanctions inside of Russia, from Menduza reporter Farida Rustamova. If this is accurate, it is another angle on the difficulty of ending this war.

    3 votes
    1. [7]
      ThatFanficGuy
      Link Parent
      I've been thinking about this one. Once you've invested much of your life or career into a particular brand of bullshit, there's likely no way out for you. If you've been either publically and...

      [The Russian elites] understand that their lives are now tied only to Russia, and that that’s where they’ll need to build them

      I've been thinking about this one.

      Once you've invested much of your life or career into a particular brand of bullshit, there's likely no way out for you. If you've been either publically and vocally promoting some type of bullshit, or have been deep into making the bullshit happen, and your type of bullshit comes under scrutiny, you're stuck. Nobody else will want you. Unless you have a strong circle of supporters outside your own bullshit factory, you're drowning in your own product.

      Think about Tucker Carlson. He's been one of the most vocal public faces of Fox News bullshit-peddling engine for years. He's been under fire for many a statement, no doubt by design: there no such thing as bad publicity, plus you get to attract more of the fridge type of a crowd that would love you.

      Carlson is invested into Fox News. If Fox News is to cease tomorrow, he's gonna be out of a job for a long time. Now, granted, he's gonna find refuge somewhere – the nutside of America is vast and deep – but if he couldn't head to his apologists, he'd be done for live. CNN would now want him. MSNBC wouldn't want him. Radio wouldn't want him. No self-respecting public-broadcast station would want him.

      It seems to me that much of the same argument applies to Russian elites. Their brand of bullshit is Putinist imperialism. If that's gone tomorrow, they'd have nowhere else to go. The propaganda machine ceasing to exist would leave dozens of first-class bullshit peddlers out of a job, perhaps permanently. Would you want to see Vasily Solovyov on national television of a democratic post-Putin Russia? Would you hire him?

      So, much like Putin himself, the lesser animals feel cornered, in a way that makes them more likely to double-down on the source of their wage and engage in an offensive. It's why the propaganda machine is Russia is working overtime: Channel One, the prime outlet, replaced all entertainment broadcast with war-related content. They would have to: chances are, if they don't, the entire bullshittery industry is out of a job before their next mortgage payment is due.

      The same goes for the behind-the-scenes bullshitters: the rich assholes whose priority in life is getting richer, and if it ends up fucking someone else over, so is the very much better. (Notice how there's a certain degree of narcissism that comes out when you get very rich. It's almost like they're trying to emotionally justify having more than others by mentally putting everybody else down.)

      These are the people who've staked their living on the fact that the state-sponsored bullshit production operates smoothly. They've not only invested financially: at this stage, they personally associate themselves with this particular production. It's become a part of their identity: "I get rich off of Putin-brand cruelty and lies". And now, the entire world tells them "We don't want you here". Their riches are being seized en masse.

      If humans were that much more logical, there would be a massive bunch of former oligarchs publicly repenting and relinquishing their wealth – preferably in the form of charity – in order to gain a ticket to live outside of the regime. Alas, logical we are not, so they double down instead. In their minds, they stand to lose a lot more than just money: it's their entire view of the self at stake. Without Putin and the corrupt Russian government, what becomes of the oligarchs? What can they be if not wealthy by way of others' misery?

      * * *

      Two months ago, the West™ was a boogeyman. Pro-Russian citizens spoke of the evil forces of Europe and the US as a distant foe: not a threat exactly, but someone to blame for their own misfortune. (This is the Russian way: "It's someone else's fault".)

      Now, the West™ has shown its teeth. Now, instead of a boogeyman, it's a target. It's the sole reason Russia has it bad these days: the West™ has made sure it does. It's all fault of the West™ and the corrupt Western media and politicians.

      The reason to fight has crystallized itself in the form of a real threat. Now it's time to stand together against a common foe. Russians may fight among each other in times of peace, but much like any nation, they stand together in the time where – as they see it – the entire world is against them.

      Because given everything else, what choice do they have?

      6 votes
      1. [6]
        skybrian
        Link Parent
        I don't know enough about Russian politics to say if this would do any good, but I wonder would happen if the West encouraged the oligarchs to defect? Nobody has to like them. Maybe they could be...

        I don't know enough about Russian politics to say if this would do any good, but I wonder would happen if the West encouraged the oligarchs to defect? Nobody has to like them. Maybe they could be exiled to their yachts?

        2 votes
        1. [5]
          ThatFanficGuy
          Link Parent
          Do bear in mind that the oligarchs in question did not make their wealth in legitimate ways. Say what you want of Jeff Bezos, his amassed his money (mostly) legally. His company's business model...

          Do bear in mind that the oligarchs in question did not make their wealth in legitimate ways.

          Say what you want of Jeff Bezos, his amassed his money (mostly) legally. His company's business model is atrocious, but it is also perfectly within the boundries of the law.

          This specific wave of Russian oligarchs made their money in one form of connection or another with Putin himself. They're rich because Putin's allowed that to happen. (I'm not particularly well-versed on what exactly he got in exchange for that agreement.) I imagine they're privy to things Putin would rather not let the world (or even foreign intelligence) to know. Their insight could prove useful in hurting Putin personally, as well as his administration.

          My understanding is: if they do in fact defect, Putin has demonstarted plenty of times that he's able and willing to reach any one of them anywhere in the world and get rid. Stepping out of the window, polonium poisoning, or one of the chemical agents. Pick your poison. Literally.

          The other part of it is that their only safe assets are in Russia. The rest was either seized already, or is in the process of being seized as per the imposed sanctions. They could maybe pull a "Hitler in Argentina" and start anew, but then again, Putin's reach and all that.

          3 votes
          1. [4]
            skybrian
            Link Parent
            Yes, nowhere is safe for them currently, but I was thinking more along the lines of what the West could do to change that, and whether it would be worth it. (Would high-profile defections do any...

            Yes, nowhere is safe for them currently, but I was thinking more along the lines of what the West could do to change that, and whether it would be worth it. (Would high-profile defections do any damage?)

            Maybe they are easily replaced so it doesn't do anything.

            1. [3]
              ThatFanficGuy
              Link Parent
              Interesting thought. Let's run a scenario here. I suppose it's not impossible to take them into political asylum and put them into some sort of a witness protection-type program. They could...

              Interesting thought. Let's run a scenario here.

              I suppose it's not impossible to take them into political asylum and put them into some sort of a witness protection-type program. They could theoretically be kept safe somewhere.

              That assumes, of course, that such protection would be worth it. This depends entirely on what they know or what they can provide access to. (Like hidden bank accounts or admin privileges for some high-security information exchange channels.) I don't know much about how much access do these oligarchs have to anything, so I can't speculate on that.

              That assumes that an oligarch could be extracted from Russia without raising alarms. From what I understand, Putin keeps his inner circle under tight surveillance, so communications leading up to the extraction would have to be quite secure. Given how close any of the given oligarchs are to Putin, I imagine it would be a challenge to provide and maintain comms safely between whatever body that seeks to extract the oligarch and the oligarch proper.

              Provided the comms work undetected or the oligarch is extracted safely in a very expedite manner... The way I see it, the only option from there is to immediately announce the defection. This would hurt Putin personally, if not his image (you can spin it as a "snake in our midst"-type scenario for public consumption), because it would play into his paranoia and unhinge him further. (He's already pissed off at this intelligence because of the clusterfuck of the invasion. Also something something Shoigu has not been seen for two weeks at some point recently.)

              So, with the defection out in the open, the oligarch clearly becomes a target, and Russian foreign intelligence has been proven to be ruthless, if brutish, in their attempts to murder someone.

              Because this person would now require intense, nearly presidential-grade security for a long while, they better be able to provide some juicy detail. I'm not confident keeping up the appearances ("Hey look, this inner-circle person got away and is still alive, therefore Putin is weak" etc.) post-defection would be worth it if no valuable intel can be extracted, so worst case scenario, they leave the oligarch to his fate, at which point it's a death warrant signed.

              You're also going to be burning at least one spy identity on the extraction: the extracting agents would be unable to operate in the target country (Russia) afterwards because they'd be found out. These are difficult to establish and costly to keep up, so the target better know something very valuable.

              So, from what I understand, it's possibly (if very difficult) to extract/defect an oligarch. It's also possible (if very difficult) to protect the oligarch afterwards. As such, the intel the oligarch provides better be worth all the hassle. It better be something you can hurt Putin or the rest of his inner circle or his resources bad.

              Public defection alone does not appear to be worth it. In droves? Maybe: amplifying a power struggle in Russia's highest eschelons of power seems like a good idea right now. (Something something if the dictator seems weak, someone will try to take the power from them.)

              2 votes
              1. [2]
                skybrian
                Link Parent
                It may be easier than that. They go on a trip and don't come back. From the article:

                It may be easier than that. They go on a trip and don't come back. From the article:

                So far, only one member of Putin's elite appears to have resigned precisely because he disagreed with the decision to invade Ukraine. Anatoly Chubais, presidential adviser on sustainable development and one of the architects of market reforms in Russia, has gone to Turkey and decided not to return for the time being. The decision of the head of the Presidential Administration under Boris Yeltsin and the former First Deputy Prime Minister’s became known on March 23, while the decree on his dismissal is dated March 25.

                Chubais’ acquaintances say his move was unexpected and he did not warn anyone about his plans. They say he and his wife were supposed to have gone to Turkey on vacation at least a week and a half before the news of his dismissal became known

                1 vote
                1. ThatFanficGuy
                  Link Parent
                  Counterpoint: he was allowed to leave because he was no danger. I'm not sure how true that counterpoint is. Putin confirmed it was Chubais' decision to leave and his alone, so my guess is: Putin...

                  Counterpoint: he was allowed to leave because he was no danger.

                  I'm not sure how true that counterpoint is. Putin confirmed it was Chubais' decision to leave and his alone, so my guess is: Putin didn't feel threatened by the move.

                  2 votes
  5. skybrian
    Link
    Exiled oligarch calls on other Russian tycoons to break with Putin (Washington Post)

    Exiled oligarch calls on other Russian tycoons to break with Putin (Washington Post)

    “Public figures cannot leave quietly and then sit quietly. If you have left, then you should publicly dissociate yourself or we should be forced to suspect that you are acting on [the Kremlin’s] behalf,” Khodorkovsky said in an interview last week in his London office. “You should step up to the microphone and say that Putin is a war criminal and that what he is doing is a crime, that the war against Ukraine is a crime. Say this, and then we’ll understand that Putin doesn’t have a hold over you.”

    Khodorkovsky — who was Russia’s richest man before he was arrested in 2003 and imprisoned for 10 years while his Yukos oil company was taken over by the Russian state — was referring in particular to the high-profile Russian oligarchs Mikhail Fridman and Pyotr Aven of Alfa Group. They were once his comrades among Russia’s seven original oligarchs of the 1990s, who then controlled much of the country’s economy. Fridman and Aven left Russia in the immediate aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine only to be put under sanctions by Britain and the European Union over alleged close ties to the Putin regime.

    Khodorkovsky was also referring to Anatoly Chubais, the Kremlin special envoy whose departure from Russia late last month made him the highest-ranking official to step down from his post and leave the country since the invasion. Chubais had overseen the 1990s-era privatizations of state-owned enterprises, which were the source of Khodorkovsky’s, Fridman’s and Aven’s fabulous wealth.

    3 votes
  6. [11]
    skybrian
    Link
    Russia accuses Ukraine of helicopter attack on oil depot in Russian city

    Russia accuses Ukraine of helicopter attack on oil depot in Russian city

    A Russian governor in the border region of Belgorod said that early on Friday two Ukrainian Mi-24 helicopters crossed the border at low altitude before firing rockets at an oil facility 25 miles from the border.

    Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said he could not confirm or deny reports of Ukrainian involvement in the strike as he did not have military information, Reuters reported. The Ukrainian defence ministry has not responded for a request for comment.

    2 votes
    1. [10]
      cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Worth noting is that Belgorod is 80km NNE of Kharkiv, which is itself on the NE side of Ukraine, which is an area largely under control of Russian forces. So this potentially being a false flag...

      Worth noting is that Belgorod is 80km NNE of Kharkiv, which is itself on the NE side of Ukraine, which is an area largely under control of Russian forces. So this potentially being a false flag attack is not entirely implausible, especially since such an attack by Ukrainian forces would have been incredibly risky. But at the same time, with Russia now withdrawing troops from the West, and signaling their intent to refocus their efforts on securing the Donbas region (SE Ukraine), successfully destroying a major fuel depot in between those two locations in order to hamper redeployment would be a major strategic victory for Ukraine. So ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      8 votes
      1. [6]
        vektor
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        A fuel depot seems like a terrible target for a false flag too. It actually hurts their military effort, while civilians (which they want to spur on) care very little. I will concede it's a very...

        A fuel depot seems like a terrible target for a false flag too. It actually hurts their military effort, while civilians (which they want to spur on) care very little. I will concede it's a very visual situation, so civilians might care a bit more in that regard, and it could be that the logistical damage inflicted is acceptable to Russia. If it's a Ukrainian strike, it's absolutely fair game. Stop crying that the war you started on your border spilled over the border, Putin. Fucked around, found out, as they say.

        If it's Russian, I suspect it will do relatively little that a bit of good old disinfo couldn't have achieved.

        However, I'm not sure this will necessarily hinder the redeployment through Belgorod much. Military equipment is largely moved by rail, so the fuel guzzling nightmare parade that drove on Kyiv is actually way less fuel guzzling while it's being moved through Russian territory. A T-72 guzzles a tank of 1000l of fuel for about 450km of ideal-condition range. Picking a random example of a locomotive in service in Germany, it's 3200l, range of that is unknown to me, but should at the very least be similar, if not several multiples of the 450km. And it can move a train of dozens, if not hundreds, of vehicles. If they redeploy by train, fuel is a non-issue, at least along the way.

        That said, I have no clue how logistically intensive a train redeployment would be. Is that something you can ad-hoc, or does it take a lot of time?

        9 votes
        1. [5]
          cfabbro
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          100% agreed. It's pathetic watching Russian brass, politicians, oligarchs, and diplomats continue to moan over everything as if they're the victims while their military is still busy blowing up...

          Stop crying that the war you started on your border spilled over the border, Putin

          100% agreed. It's pathetic watching Russian brass, politicians, oligarchs, and diplomats continue to moan over everything as if they're the victims while their military is still busy blowing up apartments, schools, and hospitals in Ukraine.

          I suspect it will do relatively little that a bit of good old disinfo couldn't have achieved.

          That depends on the target audience. Disinfo with no actual substance to it is clearly still effective inside Russia, but if Russia is attempting to build a narrative overseas that peace negotiations failing is the fault of the Ukrainians, that could have been judged as worth the loss of a fuel depot.

          6 votes
          1. ThatFanficGuy
            Link Parent
            I've seen Russian foreign politics being described as a unique mixture of macho posturing and self-victimization. It truly is a Russian way to blame everyone else for one's misfortune. One comment...

            It's pathetic watching Russian brass, politicians, oligarchs, and diplomats continue to moan over everything as if they're the victims

            I've seen Russian foreign politics being described as a unique mixture of macho posturing and self-victimization.

            It truly is a Russian way to blame everyone else for one's misfortune. One comment I've seen mentioned it as "80 years of brainwashing" (i.e. from the Soviet Union), but my vague grasp on the Russian history tells me it's at least some years older than that.

            Russian rebellions used to be a thing to behold, for what it's worth.

            4 votes
          2. [3]
            FishFingus
            Link Parent
            I think what most fuels my contempt for them, along with a lot of right-wing TV talking heads and all the other people who lie like they breathe, is that innocent words get dirty in their mouths....

            I think what most fuels my contempt for them, along with a lot of right-wing TV talking heads and all the other people who lie like they breathe, is that innocent words get dirty in their mouths. I'm stealing from the late, great Terry Pratchett here, but they strip words of dignity and make them walk the gutter. They're just that sort of person, the kind that should offend anyone who thinks words have meaning. Pardon me, but I genuinely wouldn't want to sit on a chair after these fucker. They make my balls crawl. They're oxygen thieves. I worry that this what it feels like to think of someone else as essentially subhuman, because I've never felt such disgust for another group of people. To think that generations of corpulent, smirking robber barons like this have taken such a beautiful country and systematically plundered it into a state of perpetual corruption, ignorance, misery and learned hopeless makes me coldly furious.

            The Russian soldiers (or boys) in Chernobyl - the ones who dug trenches in the Red Forest because they apparently had no idea, thanks to their government's censorship efforts, about what happened there in the 1980s, and who subsequently were withdrawn to Belarusian hospitals to die of acute radiation sickness - were reportedly stealing computers, electric kettles, even cutlery from the local buildings; just anything that wasn't nailed down, seemingly. These were people who seemed to be taken aback by concepts like not just modern electronics, but paved roads and indoor plumbing. These were people who meant nothing to the craven incompetents who sent them there, and who will now probably suffer an agonizing death over the few remaining weeks of their lives, lives probably filled with abject poverty, ignorance and general shittiness because the money meant to improve those lives through investing in things like education, social programs and general infrastructure was systematically stolen by a collection of spoiled thugs who have plundered the health, happiness and future of millions to pay for their tacky superyachts and homes far from the country they pillaged.

            And then there are the ones that I don't feel sorry for - the ones who engaged in the mass murders, the rape and torture and mutilation, the bragging to their families about how much they'd looted from the people they'd just killed or made homeless. The ones who put me in mind of the young Wehrmacht soldier who took that infamous photograph of one of his victims clutching their child to their breast before they were both shot and dumped into a hole in the ground...and then posted that photograph home to his family as a holiday snap, because he thought they'd be proud of him, and if the clips I've seen of Russians responding to the war are any indicator, they probably were. Even though these people make me sick, they have forced me to confront two uncomfortable questions: how can a country, a society, be so absolutely fucked up in this day and age; and why, to my shame, didn't I feel this same way about Syria, where these same people were behaving in the same manner?

            2 votes
            1. [2]
              skybrian
              Link Parent
              Could you say where you about the looting in Chernobyl? I did find this story: Chernobyl scientists accused looters of stealing radioactive material from labs there (Business Insider)

              Could you say where you about the looting in Chernobyl?

              I did find this story:

              Chernobyl scientists accused looters of stealing radioactive material from labs there (Business Insider)

              2 votes
              1. FishFingus
                Link Parent
                It was originally via Twitter the other day, might've been that article. Twitter stuff is usually taken with a grain of salt unless there's video, but as more reports start emerging from different...

                It was originally via Twitter the other day, might've been that article. Twitter stuff is usually taken with a grain of salt unless there's video, but as more reports start emerging from different ppl of the same thing and it gets reported by bigger and more trusted outlets, I generally take it more seriously.

                2 votes
      2. [3]
        skybrian
        Link Parent
        Yeah, I think the people thinking this might be done by the Russians for "optics" are overthinking it. There's no war crime here. If they did it, it's a win for Ukraine, and not one they need to...

        Yeah, I think the people thinking this might be done by the Russians for "optics" are overthinking it. There's no war crime here. If they did it, it's a win for Ukraine, and not one they need to be at all embarrassed about.

        It's plausible that it's an accident, though.

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          ThatFanficGuy
          Link Parent
          There are videos where you can see propelled missiles being fired from a high position onto the ground. Either they're missiles or very aggressive fireworks. Unlikely to be an accident.

          There are videos where you can see propelled missiles being fired from a high position onto the ground.

          Either they're missiles or very aggressive fireworks.

          Unlikely to be an accident.

          4 votes
          1. vektor
            Link Parent
            With all the video I've seen, I'm convinced it was a pair of Mi-24 helicopters. Those are of course operated by both sides here, so it doesn't say anything about whodunnit, but I agree an accident...

            With all the video I've seen, I'm convinced it was a pair of Mi-24 helicopters. Those are of course operated by both sides here, so it doesn't say anything about whodunnit, but I agree an accident is (except for a monumental navigational/target-id failure) unlikely.

            2 votes
  7. [4]
    skybrian
    Link
    I haven't seen a news article yet, but here's a military assessment about Ukrainian advances near Kyiv (Jomini of the West)

    I haven't seen a news article yet, but here's a military assessment about Ukrainian advances near Kyiv (Jomini of the West)

    Russian forces along the Kyiv-Chernihiv Strategic Front have been defeated. The past 48 hrs. have seen an orderly Russian withdrawal from NW & west Kyiv toward Belarus. The siege of Chernihiv has ended. East Kyiv is also free of Russian troops.

    2 votes
    1. [3]
      vegai
      Link Parent
      So Russians actually did start to withdraw? Or do people assume that they just say that because they recognized that they're forced to flee?

      So Russians actually did start to withdraw? Or do people assume that they just say that because they recognized that they're forced to flee?

      1 vote
      1. vektor
        Link Parent
        There's a few options on the table (in principle anyway): From a planned redeployment ("Kyiv was a ruse, we wanted Donbas all along"), to "well we're not going to get Kyiv, so might as well move...

        There's a few options on the table (in principle anyway): From a planned redeployment ("Kyiv was a ruse, we wanted Donbas all along"), to "well we're not going to get Kyiv, so might as well move troops elsewhere", to "we're getting our asses kicked, so we have to retreat in an orderly fashion before it gets too bad", to "Holy shit, how did the Ukrainians get here? GTFO, save yourself if you can". I'm calling bullshit on (1), as Ukraine has the inner line and can redeploy faster than Russia, and has territorial defense forces, which discourage the use of such feints. No one keeps unsuccessful attacks up for a month just to keep up a ruse. 4 seems unlikely considering the timeline of the last week, unless Putin gave "no step back" orders it was clear they were starting to get outflanked and would start to act.

        4 votes
      2. skybrian
        Link Parent
        I don't know, but Jomini seems to think it's an orderly withdrawal, not a rout.

        I don't know, but Jomini seems to think it's an orderly withdrawal, not a rout.

        2 votes
  8. [2]
    skybrian
    Link
    As Russia drafts young men, some fear ending up on Ukraine’s front line [...] [...]

    As Russia drafts young men, some fear ending up on Ukraine’s front line

    Under Russian law, men can refuse to join the military and seek alternative service — such as shifts at post offices, nursing homes and hospitals — for religious, ethical or political reasons.

    “Many people are scared that in actual wartime conditions, the law will not work, that the military will spit on the constitution and, instead of granting them alternative service, will just immediately grab them at enlistment offices and send them right into the war zone,” the lawyer said. So far, he said, enlistment offices have continued to accept requests for alternative service.

    Many Russians also try to avoid the draft for health reasons and through deferments granted to university students. But enlistment offices do not always accept these reasons.

    [...]

    The draft is also riddled with corruption. Enlistment offices have networks of doctors, clerks and military officials who are willing to sell military service record cards, which allow men to avoid conscription, at a cost of up to several thousand dollars each. The ever-increasing cost of such cards has prompted many parents to have two savings funds: one to pay for college and another to bribe the enlistment office.

    [...]

    At the same time, volunteering to serve as a contract soldier is one of the few options for young Russian men in need of a job with stable pay. Human rights groups have also reported that some conscripts were forced into contract service ahead of the invasion of Ukraine.

    2 votes
    1. ThatFanficGuy
      Link Parent
      Some perspective on the "no draftees on the frontline" in this conflict: I'm going to be hard-pressed to find the source so long after the war'd started, but I recall there being sheets of names...

      Some perspective on the "no draftees on the frontline" in this conflict:

      I'm going to be hard-pressed to find the source so long after the war'd started, but I recall there being sheets of names the conscript had to put their signature on in order to be prematurely recalled from the draft.

      According to the Committee of Mothers of the Soldiers (Комитет солдатских матерей), their drafted sons told them in private about being beaten and otherwise pressured to sign these sheets, which would allow the military to legally send them to the front lines since the conscripts were no longer technically conscripts.

      This is also the reason there's a massive propaganda push to not call it a war, since only for a war you'd be allowed to use conscripts as active military personnel. No, it's a special military operation where only contract soldiers and mercenaries fight. No conscripts are technically employed on the field, therefore it can't be a war. (The legal ruling is the other way around, but the propaganda shall spin it worse than a stick of yarn on the factory.)

      8 votes
  9. cmccabe
    Link
    Why the cartoon Masyanya was banned in Russia https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-europe-60956241 Oleg Kuvaev, a Russian who now lives in Israel, created Masyanya an adult-oriented animation that...

    Why the cartoon Masyanya was banned in Russia
    https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-europe-60956241

    Oleg Kuvaev, a Russian who now lives in Israel, created Masyanya an adult-oriented animation that has been very popular in Russia. Oleg created the latest episode as a protest against the war and, not surprisingly, it was quickly banned in Russia.

    Here’s the full animation with English subtitles:
    https://youtu.be/cd8kJLT0Shc

    2 votes
  10. skybrian
    Link
    Odessa rocked by explosions as Russia claims strikes on oil refinery, fuel depots [...]

    Odessa rocked by explosions as Russia claims strikes on oil refinery, fuel depots

    Russia’s Defense Ministry reported that high-precision sea and air missiles had destroyed an oil refinery and three fuel storage facilities near Odessa. The claim could not be immediately verified independently by The Washington Post.

    Ukrainian officials said the fire had been extinguished but the depot had been destroyed and could “no longer function” following Sunday’s attack.

    [...]

    Fuel depots across the country have been widely targeted by Russia since President Vladimir Putin invaded in late February.

    Last week, in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, Russian missiles “completely destroyed” a fuel depot, according to Ukrainian officials. Russia also targeted an oil depot in Dnipro, the Kyiv Independent reported on March 30.

    Russia accused Ukraine of targeting a fuel depot in the Russian city of Belgorod — an allegation Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has neither confirmed or denied.

    2 votes
  11. [2]
    NoblePath
    Link
    Random barely related fact because I ate knockwurst for lunch: changing the recipe for russian “doctor’s sausage” to include fillers marks the beginning of the end for the soviet union. via wikipedia

    Random barely related fact because I ate knockwurst for lunch: changing the recipe for russian “doctor’s sausage” to include fillers marks the beginning of the end for the soviet union.

    via wikipedia

    1 vote
  12. [3]
    cfabbro
    Link
    Twitter thread, from retired US Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, explaining the training and logistical problems with giving US military equipment to Ukraine. Unrolled:...

    Twitter thread, from retired US Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, explaining the training and logistical problems with giving US military equipment to Ukraine.

    Unrolled: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1510341553520361472.html

    1 vote
    1. [2]
      vektor
      Link Parent
      Ukrainian nuclear armed B-2s comfirmed? In all seriousness, I think this is talking more about intelligence from NATO. In related news, there's still a very visible cloud of tanker aircraft in...

      I'll only finish by saying the US Government has given $2.5 B worth of equipment to UKR, and NATO has given much, too. And there's even more than most know about.

      Ukrainian nuclear armed B-2s comfirmed?

      In all seriousness, I think this is talking more about intelligence from NATO. In related news, there's still a very visible cloud of tanker aircraft in Ukraine-bordering NATO airspace. Occasionally you can see the kind of recon aircraft, but I highly suspect they aren't advertising their position via ADS-B all the time. Further, the swedish Gulfstream 4 SigInt aircraft are operating within poland, along the Ukr border. I'm not sure what exactly that implies, but a military SigInt aircraft gathering intelligence from within one's country surely needs the government's consent.

      3 votes