The Ukraine War

Posturing by Putin.

This is purely a negotiation in DC and Brussels.

Of course, the issue of people getting into the US claiming refugee status, which will take years to assess, can be easily disposed of: declare Mexico “safe enough”. Then it is on Mexico to accommodate the people who are now allowed to pass through Mexico, to the US… Is Mexico “safe”? It’s “safe enough” for US, and other, business interests to invest Billions.

Steve

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They have no strategic value to the US…unless we wish to police the world.
Vietnam had no strategy value either but we drew the containment there to prove to the communists that we would spill US blood to prevent expansion.
And we lost that one with 50,000 dead. We found out Ho Chi Minh was willing to expend every young male life to push the invader out. We were not. So He triumphed over the Ugly American[1]. Of course it did not help that we were supporting a corrupt regime just as we did in Iraq & Afghanistan.

[1]https://www.amazon.com/Ugly-American-William-J-Lederer/dp/B0C47YGHZG/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2VFEBGPY81FRY&keywords=the+ugly+american&qid=1703872109&sprefix=the+ugly+american%2Caps%2C249&sr=8-1

He likely still has family in Russia which very well may moderate public utterances.

Refresh my memory. Which countries did the US bomb during the Vietnam war?

Oh right, Laos and Cambodia. Imagine their ingratitude for choosing another path than the one suggested by those flying Stratofortresses overhead with thousands of tons of bombs and napalm, burning them alive in their homes.

I believe Shadenfreude is the term, if anyone can spell it.

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And the CIA enlisted the Hmong minority into their private army to fight in Laos.

The fear of a Russian invasion of NATO seems to me overblown.

This did not age well.

I was wrong.

Turns out Biden is volunteering the Russians pay for our half of the war. We have $300 Billion in Russian money to supply Ukraine in arms for close to three more years.

Might be no border deal after all.

Is it illegal? Who cares? Putin will say it is illegal but so is the war.

I don’t see a problem. Go before any court in the US, or the ICC, if the US was a member, which it isn’t. File suit claiming damages against Russia for it’s invasion of Ukraine. Pretty open and shut.

Steve

And where were the NVA troops? Laos and Cambodia.

DB2

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Ukraine running out of manpower?
Has the NYTimes been infiltrated/influenced with Russian propaganda? Or are they truth tellers? Truth to power so to speak.

With Ukraine’s military facing mounting deaths and a stalemate on the battlefield, army recruiters have become increasingly aggressive in their efforts to replenish the ranks, in some cases pulling men off the streets and whisking them to recruiting centers using intimidation and even physical force.

Recruiters have confiscated passports, taken people from their jobs and, in at least one case, tried to send a mentally disabled person to military training, according to lawyers, activists and Ukrainian men who have been subject to coercive tactics. Videos of soldiers shoving people into cars and holding men against their will in recruiting centers are surfacing with increasing frequency on social media and in local news reports.

The harsh tactics are being aimed not just at draft dodgers but at men who would ordinarily be exempt from service — a sign of the steep challenges Ukraine’s military faces maintaining troop levels in a war with high casualties, and against a much larger enemy.

Lawyers and activists say the aggressive methods go well beyond the scope of recruiters’ authority and in some cases are illegal. They point out that recruiters, unlike law enforcement officers, are not empowered to detain civilians, let alone force them into conscription. Men who receive draft notices are supposed to report to recruitment offices.

The population math has always been against Ukraine. The country is fighting for it’s life. I would not be surprised if some recruiters are going outside the rails, to fill their quota. I wonder how Ukrainian “recruiting” now, compares with the Soviets during WWII? Of course, the gold standard of “compulsory enlistment” were the British Navy press gangs.

Steve

A different perspective.

My take on the article.
1)The USA is key driving force of the West actions.
An election of a republican could derail the West’s Ukraine aid policy.

2)Current resupply of Ukraine even prior to resupply of Israel is inadequate. This is because the West’s defense industrial base is inadequate. They cannot manufacture adequate amounts of artillery shells. The West must get their act together or Ukraine is doomed. And the war will go on for several years.

3)The 2023 Ukraine counter-offensive was doomed for failure as training of Ukrainian troops was inadequate. It will take until 2025 for Ukrainian troops to be fully trained to mount an effective offensive.

The above raises several questions in my mind. Is the West prepared to spend the necessary dollars over several years? And the aid is not just munitions and weaponry but likely food, medical aid, etc for Ukraine to survive. Does Ukraine have adequate manpower to last in a several year war?

In a conflict of this scale, that process will take time. While the first half of 2024 may bring few changes in control of Ukrainian territory, the materiel, personnel training, and casualties that each side accrues in the next few months will determine the long-term trajectory of the conflict. The West in fact faces a crucial choice right now: support Ukraine so that its leaders can defend their territory and prepare for a 2025 offensive or cede an irrecoverable advantage to Russia.

What the United States and Europe do over the next six months will determine one of two futures. In one, Ukraine can build up its forces to renew offensive operations and degrade Russian military strength to the degree that Kyiv can enter negotiations with the leverage to impose a lasting peace. In the other, a shortage of supplies and trained personnel will mire Ukraine in an attritional struggle that will leave it exhausted and facing eventual subjugation.

During World War II, the British military considered 22 weeks the minimum time necessary to prepare a soldier for infantry combat. After this initial period, soldiers would be assigned to units and take part in collective training in battalions. Even before May 2023, it was evident that Ukraine’s troops were undertrained for offensive operations and had barely had time to learn how to operate newly donated equipment.

Ukrainian personnel also had too little opportunity to train collectively.

at the height of its 2023 offensive, Ukraine was firing up to 7,000 artillery rounds per day, accounting for up to 80 percent of Russia’s combat losses. By the end of 2023, however, Ukrainian forces were firing closer to 2,000 rounds per day. Russia’s artillery capacity, meanwhile, has turned a corner, with Russian forces now firing up around 10,000 rounds per day.

It is essential that Kyiv and its partners establish a realistic shared understanding of what materiel and training can be provided, and when. Over the past two years, Kyiv’s Western allies wasted the time advantages they did have, squandering much of 2022 and 2023 basking in the euphoria of Russia’s early setbacks and imagining that they could avoid a protracted conflict. Rather than seeking to expand industrial capacity in NATO member states, Kyiv’s friends mainly sourced munitions from national stockpiles and the international market and channeled them to Ukraine.

Now these stockpiles of munitions are running low. To continue to achieve localized artillery superiority, Ukraine will need about 2.4 million rounds of ammunition per year. But Ukraine’s international partners, including the United States, will struggle to provide half that in 2024.

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Russia ups the ante. The West still hesitates.
https://thehill.com/policy/defense/4387883-russia-winter-attacks-ukraine-firepower/
*Russia is resuming its winter strategy of pounding Ukraine into submission with missiles and drones — but Kyiv finds itself in a far more tenuous position this year as resources run low and more Western assistance is up in the air. *

Russia fired some 500 missiles and drones from Dec. 29 to Jan. 2, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. While Ukraine is still managing to thwart the majority of the missiles and drones, Russia is slowly breaking through more of the strained air defense systems.

And Ukraine may only have another two months of air defense firepower without additional Western assistance, Ukrainian officials warn.

Russia’s efforts to exhaust a dwindling Ukrainian inventory with mass strikes are also bolstered by a major boost of missile production at home.

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Situation remains grim for Ukraine.
Musk opinion:

the billionaire entrepreneur’s forecast isn’t actually all that different from the dire warnings Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made in the last few days. According to Zelenskyy, unless the stalled multibillion-dollar package is approved soon, his forces will have to “go back, retreat, step by step, in small steps.” He also warned that some major cities could be at risk of falling.

Obviously, Zelenskyy’s warnings are part of a broad diplomatic effort to free up the military aid his forces so desperately need and have been short of for months — everything from 155-millimeter artillery shells to Patriot air-defense systems and drones. But the sad truth is that even if the package is approved by the U.S. Congress, a massive resupply may not be enough to prevent a major battlefield upset.

according to high-ranking Ukrainian military officers who served under General Valery Zaluzhny — the commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces until he was replaced in February — the military picture is grim.

The officers said there’s a great risk of the front lines collapsing wherever Russian generals decide to focus their offensive. Moreover, thanks to a much greater weight in numbers and the guided aerial bombs that have been smashing Ukrainian positions for weeks now, Russia will likely be able to “penetrate the front line and to crash it in some parts,” they said.

They spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak freely.

“There’s nothing that can help Ukraine now because there are no serious technologies able to compensate Ukraine for the large mass of troops Russia is likely to hurl at us. We don’t have those technologies, and the West doesn’t have them as well in sufficient numbers,” one of the top-ranking military sources told POLITICO.

Russia continues to out-produce the West in artillery rounds.
https://www.cnn.com/2024/03/10/politics/russia-artillery-shell-production-us-europe-ukraine/index.html

Ukraine’s current soldiers are exhausted and more soldiers are needed.

Even if Ukraine’s allies were to deliver all the weapons they have promised, “we don’t have the men to use them,” admitted a member of Volodymyr Zelensky’s delegation in late September, as reported by Time magazine, during the Ukrainian president’s visit to Washington. The situation has been clear since the autumn. Exhausted and severely depleted, the Ukrainian army needs fresh troops as much as ammunition, if only to hold its positions since, following the failure of its summer counteroffensive, reconquest is no longer an option. Further mobilization has become an imperative that has been recognized by the military high command, civil society and the political sphere alike.

Two years after Russia’s invasion, the patriotic impetus of the early days, which boosted the Ukrainian army from 260,000 to 700,000 men, has waned. The scale of military losses – Zelensky estimated 31,000 at the end of February, while the New York Times put the figure at 70,000 killed and 120,000 wounded in August – has considerably dampened enthusiasm, as has the deadlock on the front line. Few are prepared to spend months holed up in trenches with no other aim than to resist at all costs the onslaught of a better-armed Russian army whose numbers seem, if not inexhaustible, at least vastly superior.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday signed a law that lowers the country’s conscription age from 27 to 25 as Kyiv struggles to replenish its troops in its war against Russia.

Zelenskyy said last year that his government was exploring ways to mobilize more than 450,000 new troops to support soldiers facing exhaustion on the frontlines. But the proposal to lower the mobilization age is highly unpopular, and Zelenskyy was reportedly hesitant about signing the bill into law.

Frontline Ukrainian troops have repeatedly warned that their units are severely understaffed and exhausted, and soldiers on combat duty are rarely allowed to rotate away from the front. One commander told The Washington Post that his battalion currently had fewer than 40 troops, even though a filled battalion would consist of more than 200 soldiers. Soldiers also have no clear way of leaving the military force once they are conscripted, which has impacted morale among current recruits and caused civilians to question whether they want to join the armed forces.

Thousands of Ukrainian men have kept their heads down, seeking to avoid conscription and avoiding public places where police look for draft-dodgers, Politico reported.

But what about the massive number of Russian tank losses?
Russia has thousands of tanks in storage. They have modified how tanks are utilized.

a May report(https://static.rusi.org/403-SR-Russian-Tactics-web-final.pdf) by the UK’s Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) think tank clarifies that Russian tankers are now mostly using more cautious tactics supporting infantry, and employing technologies and techniques that implicitly reduce the effectiveness of even highly capable Javelin missiles supplied by the U.S.

Russia is thought to have had an active fleet of roughly 3,000 tanks when it invaded Ukraine, meaning that it has lost the equivalent of 2/3 of what it started with. However, Russia’s fleet is receiving a trickle of newly produced T-90M tanks. The fleet is also receiving old Soviet tanks reactivated from storage, though Russia has only proven able to reactivate a small subset of that stockpile.

https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/canada/for-russia-the-loss-of-thousands-of-tanks-is-an-accepted-cost-of-putins-war-in-ukraine/ar-BB1kqLxc
Russia is looking to its Cold War inventory to source the replacement tanks it needs in Ukraine.

“Russia has a lot of tanks left over from overspending on defence during the Soviet era,” said Nick Reynolds, a research fellow at the U.K.-based Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), via email.

Analysts say Russia’s reliance on these older machines means the quality of the tanks being sent to Ukraine is decreasing with time.

Kharuk points to known examples of T-54 tanks — which began development in the 1940s — and also post-war T-55 tanks being pressed into service into Ukraine. T-62 models, which first entered production in the 1960s, are also present on the front lines of this war.

Peter Samsonov, an author and independent tank expert, said Russia had sent T-62 tanks into Chechnya, in both wars there.

But the retooling of the older tank models, like the T-55, surprised him.

“I did not even expect Russia to have any of these [tank] chassis still available,” said Samsonov, whose Tank Archives blog provides detailed historical information on many Second World War-era tanks.

But he says Cold War-era thinking saw the Soviet Union hang onto large amounts of older weaponry such as tanks or guns, knowing that they could have have some use in the future.

No large tank battles are occurring in Ukraine. Russian tanks are being utilized as artillery in support of infantry. They are located a kilometer behind their infantry.

Russian capability.

While Russian force quality is unlikely to increase so long as the Ukrainians can maintain a significant level of attrition across the force, the Russians will be able to maintain a steady tempo of attacks throughout 2024.

Russian forces have reverted above battalion level to the traditional Soviet order of battle of regiments, divisions and combined arms armies, but have been significantly altered below the level of the regiment. Battalions are organised as line and storm battalions, and tend to operate in company groups which fight in small, dispersed detachments. This reflects not only adaptation to battlefield conditions, but also the shortage of trained officers able to coordinate larger formations, with a significant proportion of Russian junior officers currently being promoted from the ranks and receiving condensed officer training, sometimes as short as two months long.

The Russian Group of Forces continues to take significant casualties, but is nevertheless growing in size. Operating at greater scale allows the Russian military to take measures that guarantee the integrity of the front line. Units can generally be rotated out of the line once they have taken up to 30% casualties – the point at which they are judged to be ineffective – and are then regenerated. While no large-scale offensive is currently taking place, Russian units are tasked with conducting smaller tactical attacks that at minimum inflict steady losses on Ukraine and allow Russian forces to seize and hold positions. In this way, the Russians are maintaining a consistent pressure on a number of points. Although the Russian military’s aspiration to increase in size to 1.5 million personnel has not been realised, recruiters are currently achieving almost 85% of their assigned targets for contracting troops to fight in Ukraine. The Kremlin therefore believes that it can sustain the current rate of attrition through 2025.

RUSI believes Russia industrial is also up to the task of producing equipment through 2025. Of course these are just opinions of experts but they could be wrong.

US support for Gaza offensive means shortages of 3 weapons that the Ukraine could use:155mm artillery rounds and stingers.

Manufacturers in the United States and Europe are pushing their ammunition production into high gear, but it will likely be years before they can refill the Atlantic alliance’s stockpiles and meet Ukraine’s demands — not to mention Israel’s.

Last year Ukraine began its counter offensive June 1, 2023. What happens in Ukraine if the Gaza offensive is still ongoing and Russia begins its 2024 offensive? Not good methinks. Israel has extensive lobbying tentacles in the USA. I think it is unlikely the munition supply to Israel would be cut.

The only fly in that ointment is if Russia makes significant ground gains in Ukraine.
Does NATO become involved militarily with boots on the ground?
How does the above affect the US presidential election in 2024.
Could China use the distraction to take back Taiwan?
Boy Howdy do we live in interesting times.

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Zeihan passes on more grim news.
Russia can maintain its continued assaults for 5 to 8 years!

Can we say the same for Ukraine even if weapon & munition supply begins again?

In addition to the thousands killed and injured, 10 million people across the country have now lost their homes and have been forced to flee since the escalation of this war.

More than 14.6 million people, which equal 40 per cent of Ukraine’s population — require some form of humanitarian assistance, she emphasized, calling on the humanitarian community’s continued commitment to support the people of Ukraine.

Even if Ukraine survives it will never be the same. Quite a bit of it infrastructure will have to be rebuilt. And a Ukraine Marshall Plan may be needed to help its people.

From the US perspective the Ukraine is a massive Win-Win.
The massive reconstruction will mean some of the contracts flowing into US coffers. A Win.

Even if Ukraine falls it will be a Pyrrhic victory for Russia. The military casualties accelerate Russia’ s demographic decline. Much of Russia GDP will be needed to rebuild the modern equipment lost in the war. It is ludicrous to believe that Russia has the ability to take on NATO for further expansion. Converting the Russia economy from war footing back to a consumer economy will be incredibly expensive. Russia remains a world ONLY due to its nuclear weaponry. The declining population means a declining industrial base & less prosperity due lack of labor. The large number of elderly will also draw from Russia’s GDP.
Russia is a dead man walking. But this result was accomplished on the back’s of the Ukrainian people.
A Win for US strategic vision of being the sole world power of any significance.
Zeihan predicts China will economically implode in 10 years.

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That’s fine! Because the primary goal of this war is to degrade Russia, its military, and its economy. The secondary goal is to provide an illustration to China what could happen to them if they become antisocial in the global sense.

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China is already set to fall according to Zeihan.
And as I stated:"Even if Ukraine survives it will never be the same. Quite a bit of it infrastructure will have to be rebuilt.

Even if Ukraine falls it will be a Pyrrhic victory for Russia. The military casualties accelerate Russia’ s demographic decline. Much of Russia GDP will be needed to rebuild the modern equipment lost in the war. It is ludicrous to believe that Russia has the ability to take on NATO for further expansion. Converting the Russia economy from war footing back to a consumer economy will be incredibly expensive. Russia remains a world ONLY due to its nuclear weaponry. The declining population means a declining industrial base & less prosperity due lack of labor. The large number of elderly will also draw from Russia’s GDP.
Russia is a dead man walking. But this result was accomplished on the back’s of the Ukrainian people."

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They may be slow learners.

Beijing is also working with Russia to improve its satellite and other space-based capabilities for use in Ukraine, a development the officials say could in the longer term increase the threat Russia poses across Europe. The officials, citing downgraded intelligence findings, said the U.S. has also determined that China is providing imagery to Russia for its war on Ukraine.

DB2

DB2 my faith in US intelligence is low. The CIA head will tell a president whatever he wants to hear such as it is a “slam dunk” WMDs are in Iraq & that Saddam was working with al Qaeda. And that the Iraqis would welcome the US invasion. That Iraq War would be a cake walk.

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