Megathread for news/updates/discussion of Russian invasion of Ukraine - April 4-5
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.
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I hope people haven't lost interest and are following the atrocities in Bucha. Several hundred people appear to have been butchered as Russia lost the territory and retreated.
This is not normal in war. These are heinous crimes Russia has the audacity to claim are faked (!) by the West and the US in particular.
A lot of time has passed since I was worried sleepless at the beginning of the war. My depression-ridden brain started to quietly wipe the bother away.
Then Bucha happened.
I've made the terrible mistake of scrolling down my feeds in order to find a particular piece of information. Along the entire tweet there were photos, videos, and quotes about what'd happened under the Russian occupation, in Bucha and elsewhere.
I was hoping to sleep tonight without reaching into seeing the sunrise. I'm afraid that might not be in the cards.
The words to describe the sheer atrocity that is continuing to happen on the Ukrainian soil escape me. It's no longer a bullshit war for territorial gains and/or moral posturing: this is genocide.
Russia as I knew it is dead. I am now living in a Nazi state.
As soon as I'm able to, I'm leaving and not coming back until there's a stark and massive change in the administration of this country.
It's beyond evil. I just feel kind of helpless about it though. Not sure what can be done since we won't enter a direct war with Russia, and sanctions can only do so much. I would hope for Europe to stop buying fuel and gas but I know it would have dire consequences for them. I hate that so many people were not loved when they were young and grown up to be absolute giga supermassive assholes with no regard for human life.
And while news is light on the subject at the moment, Russia has pretty much said "It's not our fault, they provoked us..."
I found a translated article from a Russian media outlet being discussed in some of the Ukranian war subreddits. It's not pretty, and directly advocates for the ethnic cleansing of the Ukrainian people.
It's important to highlight what the state-run media on the other side is saying, especially when the Russian population supports the war.
Satellite images show bodies lay in Bucha for weeks, despite Russian claims.
More evidence, from @Bellingcat:
Which should be a very very clear warning that they're maybe not as friendly as they want us to believe. Much like Russia. Our close economic ties with Russia didn't prevent this, and they won't prevent China from doing as they please. Realizing now that our policies from 10-20 years ago were wrong about Russia should inform us exactly how to deal with China.
I think it's possible that Chinese leadership will do something so self-destructive, but by no means certain. In recent history they've been more competent.
I'm always up for more disaster preparation, though.
I mean, we thought the same about Russia. I certainly thought Putin was a stone cold calculating leader, and here we are. Whether you think he's gone completely mad or whether you think he's surrounded himself with yes-men who didn't give him the proper input into his calculations, both failure modes are plausible in China. They appear more competent now, but I'd rather be safe than sorry. Nevermind that I don't think an authoritarian state would do good things with the economic hegemony they're headed for, so we shouldn't grant them that luxury either.
China certainly is procuring arms at an alarming rate. As far as I can tell, they're not just interested in defense, but also in force projection. And while I don't like the way the US is using their force projection capabilities sometimes, there's a substantial difference in character there between the US and China.
I got Putin wrong, says chastened German President
Macron wants complete stop of coal and oil exports from Russia to EU after Bucha "war crimes"
I think impossible is the wrong word.
Europe is certainly capable of meeting some level of energy needs without Russian oil and gas, but that would likely require a fair amount of sacrifice and hardship on behalf of Europeans relative to today. Whether that’s realistic is really a question for them to answer, but I wouldn’t write it off so easily — I think we have yet to see the worst of this.
Highly unlikely I would say, at this point. We've been dithering about around this for 20 years or so now.
We started schedules for decommissioning in 2000 under a socdem/green govt. The plan was to start seriously building up renewables and finally decommission any nuclear plants in the 2015-2020 period. I presume there was also a plan in place to cut fossil-fuel based production in the same time frame.
In 2005, Merkel came into power in a socdem/conervative govt. Starting with this govt, we see the above plan being cut up, iirc. Mostly by way of slashing funding for renewables. Germany was very much leading the world market for PV arrays in 2005. - this changed drastically in this period and we basically lost that market to China. Again, this was, afaict, down to lack of funding: The 2000 govt invested heavily into renewables, and in 2005 onwards we basically decided to axe that industry by not giving them any government money. If you recall that era, renewables were still an economically unviable niche that needed that funding.
Then in late 2010, Merkel's now liberal/conservative govt. decided to extend the time left for the nuclear plants we had, dubbed the "exit from the exit". A few months later, Fukushima happened and we immediately reversed course on the above ("exit from the exit from the exit"). Except, there's a catch and the govt/tax payer is being sued by the plant operators for severance because we now cut the run time of their plants. To the tune of a few billions. A very expensive step that could have been prevented by sticking to the original plan. Nevermind that the original 2000 plan would have put us into a way more favorable position in terms of renewables. Ohh, and we're not even talking about the fact that the energy companies' funds earmarked for decommissioning and disposal are in all likelihood quite insufficient for the task, so the tax payer gets to foot that bill too..
Now the green party is finally in charge of the relevant areas again. The last time they were in charge, Germany was on the right course for a renewable energy future. 16 years later they check back and they inherit this mess. I wouldn't blame them if they considered that move too politically risky.
All of which to say, this has been an extremely hard fought battle, politically, and lots of money and time was wasted as a result of dithering and changing course. Expect none but extremely limited course corrections.
As far as technical possibilities go, maybe we have to ask /u/nukeman for his take here, but there's a few plants that were still operational recently: 1 2 3 4 5 - the three that just closed 3 months ago I expect could probably be made operational quite quickly.
Yeah, Macron's "wish" of accomplishing that "this week" is certainly not realistic, however according to the latest report from Germany:
Germany seeks to wean itself off Russian energy imports
Important step in the right direction imo. But of course this is going to be a medium to long-term plan. I wouldn't expect this to actively hurt Russia during the war; that's what arms shipments are for. What this is for is to make sure Russia feels the pain in the medium-term. If this coincides with the shift in public opinion against the war, this could be big.
Just to have an opportunity to snark at French energy policy as a German, here's a comparison of German and French bulk electricity prices yesterday. 100€ is last year's average for Germany, roughly, and yesterday's peak. France meanwhile is struggling, as their nuclear plants are currently anomalously unavailable. This coinciding with Macron's demand is... well, ironic. AFAICT, Germany is currently exporting large amounts, presumably as much as the grid allows, of electricity to France, presumably partially based on Russian natural gas.
Germany and France expel Russian diplomats after Bucha
Italy expels 30 Russian diplomats over security fears
India condemns killings in Ukraine's Bucha in apparent hardening of stance
Lapid explicitly accuses Russia of war crimes, a first for a top Israeli official
Inside Cyber Front Z, the ‘People’s Movement’ Spreading Russian Propaganda
Twitter will no longer amplify or recommend Russian government accounts
Related article, submitted a few weeks ago:
Russian government accounts are using a Twitter loophole to spread disinformation
US to move to suspend Russia from UN Human Rights Council
Sample of the rhetoric coming out of Russia right now.
Also, here is a few short Twitter threads from a Russian studies prof at Warwick. I think they're just scratching the surface of what someone could very well write a book about but interesting thoughts on the GPW origin story for Russian propaganda and it's transcendence into an alternate state of reality. 1 2 3.
Ukraine’s intelligence publishes list of Russian military stationed in Bucha
Link to the gur.gov.ua list of allegedly involved Russian personnel
I've heard elsewhere that 2 airborne units and kadyrovites might also have been in Bucha in the relevant timeframe. Which is not to say that Ukraine intel is wrong or incomplete, but I'll let it be my reminder that this situation calls for "slow news", at least as far as the question of who's to blame is concerned. Except for Putin. He's already the butcher of bucha to me. And not that it matters much in the bigger picture which unit committed this.
Czech Republic sends tanks, infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine
T-72's are apparently quite vulnerable and the Ukrainians destroyed quite a few. But hopefully they will find creative uses for them?
It really depends on the model, and what upgrade packages they have had installed. Modernized T-72s only superficially resemble their earlier counterparts. And since these are coming from Czechia, we can probably assume they're fully modernized T-72M4s. See:
Besides that, IMO it's not any inherent vulnerability in the T-72s design that has led to so many of their losses in Ukraine. It's Russia's outdated doctrine, overconfidence, failure to achieve air superiority, and tactical blunders (e.g. attacking during mud season so their armored columns have had to stick to roads), which has left them incredibly vulnerable to ambushes + artillery fire. Well... that and the Bayraktar TB2 drones, as well as abundance of modern, remote (Stugna-P) + handheld (NLAW, Javelin) anti-tank missiles and RPGs (LAW, Panzerfaust 3) currently in the hands of Ukrainian soldiers. ;)
Also infantry support. Tanks supported by infantry are much more viable than just tanks or just infantry. I am confident Ukraine knows that, and on their own turf they will have much less trouble implementing it compared to Russia.
Also, absolutely the mud and supply issues. Half of Russia's tank losses are simply abandoned, not destroyed. Ukraine has the chance to do way better there.
Agreed. I even said similar things a few days ago in another thread:
Yes, I had forgotten that there can be lots of changes to the same basic model. It sounds like Czechia has models with different amounts of upgrading?
Possibly of interest:
Battle Tanks Are Always Outmoded But Never Obsolete
Yeah, sounds like it. But they're currently being pretty cagey about discussing this, so it's hard to find any specifics about what they have actually sent to Ukraine. However, there were some leaked photos of some tanks and BMPs on a train car though: https://twitter.com/sentdefender/status/1511131033902755844
So someone more knowledgeable than myself may be able to identify the exact variants and included upgrade packages on those particular tanks.
p.s. This may also help: http://www.military-today.com/tanks/t72m4.htm
Moscow Outraged That Kazakhstan Becoming ‘a Second Ukraine’
Be careful about generalizing the military situation in Ukraine to Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan has way different geography, and a much smaller and less experienced military. The west also doesn't have nearly as viable (if at all) corridors for military aid into Kazakhstan. It's possible China would like to have a word with the Russians if they try any funny business in central Asia. The geography allows Russia to rely much more on their tank assets and simplifies logistics. Ukraine's ambush tactics are much less viable in large parts of the country. Nevermind that I wouldn't expect Russia to make the same mistake twice.
I'm not saying Kazakhstan would be lost, I'm cautioning against direct comparisons.
I'm not saying that because anyone here said it; I'm saying that because I have already seen such claims elsewhere. I do not think such a conflict is at all likely in the short term. But it's what people's minds go to.
I was interpreting it as (hopefully) a sign that Russia’s deteriorating clout due to the botched invasion of Ukraine was emboldening allies or near-allies to distance themselves.
Oh, absolutely. I think this part is relatively certain; Russia is certainly losing a lot of credibility with the generally neutral-ish crowd like Finland. I imagine their allies are generally not pleased either. I can only imagine Belarus for example. Seems Lukashenko was feeling frisky about Ukraine, but then the way things went he, well, didn't quite want to get in on this mess. And Belarus is, afaict, Russia's closest ally.
I think their government is probably stupid and belligerent enough to attempt an invasion, which might well go better than Ukraine, at least for a bit; but it'd only push Georgia, Moldova and others further away from them. The Russian govt. really is like some neighbourhood neo-Nazi who threatens and attacks anyone attempting to move out.
Almost nobody seemingly thought Putin would attack Ukraine, but then again they also mistook him for a sane (or at least informed) human being.
Biden calls for Putin to face war crimes trial over civilian killings in Ukraine
U.S. stops Russian bond payments in bid to raise pressure on Moscow
In shattered Chernihiv, Russian siege leaves a city asking, ‘Why?’ (Washington Post)
U.S. Switchblades And Pumas Join The War
Related: U.S. Drones for Ukraine Will Include Latest Tank Killers
More info: https://www.avinc.com/tms/switchblade-600
'Fortnite' players raised $144 million for Ukraine relief efforts