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The Russia Politics and War in Ukraine Thread

#1981 User is offline   Werthead 

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Posted 04 May 2024 - 12:22 AM

To offset Russia's economic boom (and it's interesting seeing the arguing over how temporary this might be), the US and the G7 are working on a plan to use profits and interest from frozen Russian assets to generate additional cash for Ukraine. The idea is that this would generate around $50 billion this year and around $150 billion by in total by the end of 2025. This might mitigate the problems of generating a new US aid bill in 2025, regardless of who's in the White House, and would leave the assets themselves intact, for possible return to Russia after the end of hostilities (a possible incentive for ending the conflict).
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#1982 User is offline   Werthead 

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Posted 07 May 2024 - 09:38 PM

It looks like a Ukrainian sea drone armed with anti-aircraft missiles was responsible for a Russian helicopter that disappeared over the Black Sea a couple of weeks back. The Russians claimed it was an accident.

A Russian Su-34 has been destroyed, the first in a few weeks. Unclear if it was shot down, involved in friendly fire or an accident.

France has come up with an interesting approach of going around partner countries it has sold SCALP (Storm Shadow) missiles to but are now out-of-life, and bringing them back to France for reconditioning before going to Ukraine. In this manner, multiple dozens of SCALPs have been sent to Ukraine without touching French strategic stocks. Britain is producing new Storm Shadows, unclear if France is building new SCALPs (though you'd assume so).

Kadyrov - for some reason - has set the Russian military the target of capturing Kharkiv and Odesa within one month. This seems a tad ambitious.

Some responses that Kadyrov should set himself the target of not making any more videos to prove his health which instead seem to suggest he's teetering at death's door.

Romania in serious talks on sending Ukraine a Patriot missile battery.

Ukraine has hit a major fuel storage depot in Luhansk Oblast, apparently using ATACMS. A large chunk of the facility seems to be ablaze.

Rumours on Putin's new cabinet are swirling, with Sergey Sobyanin apparently favourite for Prime Minister. Lavrov is rumoured to be out after twenty years, with deputy PM Aleksandr Novak favourite to replace him.

The EU has apparently agreed to channel proceeds of the profits and interest from frozen Russian assets to Ukraine, amounting to $3 billion almost immediately.

This post has been edited by Werthead: 07 May 2024 - 09:44 PM

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#1983 User is offline   Mentalist 

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Posted 09 May 2024 - 03:23 PM

huh, sounds like a drone strike in Bahkortostan on a refinery. New record re: distance.

The troops on the Avdiyivka-Pokrovsk axis seem to have gotten a new shipment of stingers, as we're seeing reports of Su-25s being shot down from time to time.
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View PostJump Around, on 23 October 2011 - 11:04 AM, said:

And I want to state that Ment has out-weaseled me by far in this game.
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#1984 User is offline   Werthead 

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Posted 10 May 2024 - 05:00 PM

Looks like Russian forces made an armoured push from the border of Kharkiv Oblast towards the border settlement of Pyl'na. The offensive started well with multiple Russian vehicles apparently hitting their own mines, Russian mine-clearers being as efficient as the rest of the army. Once that was sorted, the advance was then interrupted on the Russian side of the border by concentrated Ukrainian artillery fire, drones and what might even be Ukrainian glide bombs (a new development in the conflict the Russians have been bitching about a lot). At least 3 BMPs were knocked out.

Despite this, some Russians were able to move through Pyl'na, which has been no man's land since the Ukrainian counteroffensive, moving south-west towards Oliinykove and Morokhovets (a distance of about 2.5 kilometres). About halfway between Pyl'na and Ollinykove, they encountered a "serious" counter-attack. Exactly what happened is unclear but NASA FIRMS picked up a massive fire on the road there. A Ukrainian source is claiming that the leading Russian mechanised group was obliterated and the survivors were forced back to the border.

An angry Russian milblogger (one of the government-sceptic ones) seems to have refuted that and said the Russian units were stopped on their side of the border and only a small number of recon units penetrated towards Oliinykove.

The Russians are saying that they have mounted a reconnaissance-in-force over the border but not actually attacked in force with their main army yet. So a front to keep an eye on, closely.

Meanwhile, Ukraine has set fire to the Pervyy Zavod refinery in Kaluga Oblast, just SW of Moscow. There has also been an ATACMS strike on Mariupol, aimed at Russian barracks.

Some discontent in Russian media (unusually), as a TV show travelled to the town of Popasnaya, Luhansk, captured in May 2022. The town remains almost completely levelled with no rebuilding at all.

The Czech Republic has handed over an F-16 simulator to Ukraine so Ukraine can ramp up training of its pilots in Ukraine itself.

US intelligence claims that it has stopped Russia's use of Starlink. Amusingly, this was just after Russia crowdfunded a ton of second-hand Starlink terminals at around 500% markup.

The situation in Georgia is deteriorating, with serious similarities to the Belarusian protests and fears that Ivanishvili may call for Russian troops to help calm the situation.

Russian artwork for its Victory Day parade. Man, the Russians really hate the hotdog stand in the Pentagon courtyard.

This post has been edited by Werthead: 10 May 2024 - 06:17 PM

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#1985 User is offline   Werthead 

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Posted 12 May 2024 - 12:49 PM

15% of the population of Georgia was on the streets of Tbilisi last night to protest the government's shift towards Russia. One of the largest protests in human history, relative to the size of the country's population. Insane. Very strong Kyiv 2014 vibes.

Several villages on the border of Kharkiv Oblast now seem to be in Russian hands. These were in the contested "grey zone" anyway but they could provide springboards for further thrusts into Ukrainian territory. The assessment from Ukrainian, UK and US sources is that Russia has either launched the attack two months too early, with only around 10% of the required troops, or the operational plan is not to even think about taking Sumy or Kharkiv, but instead distract Ukraine from the offensive in Donbas.
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#1986 User is offline   Mentalist 

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Posted 12 May 2024 - 10:40 PM

Sounds like Shoigu's being sacked. Replaced by Andrey Belousov, the deputy PM in charge of the MIC.

Belousov was the one behind the 2023 windfall profits tax for Russia's top exporters, so he will be absolutely lobbying for more command-style economic policies. This is terribad in the long-term, but is likely to yield some benefits in the short-term.

Shoigu is being promoted to secretary of SecCouncil, allegedly, which raises the question, where is Patrushev Sr. being displaced to?
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View PostJump Around, on 23 October 2011 - 11:04 AM, said:

And I want to state that Ment has out-weaseled me by far in this game.
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#1987 User is offline   Werthead 

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Posted 14 May 2024 - 06:13 PM

​This is new. A Russian freight train crashed at Kotluban in Volgograd Oblast. Some sources are saying a drone hit the train and caused it to derail, which must have been some drone.

Ukraine has released some footage of OTR-21 Tochka ballistic missiles being fired. Ukraine had a few left over from Soviet stocks but we haven't seen any used since the very early days of the war (when they hit airfields in Russia, shocking the hell out of everyone and causing Russia to pull back its aircraft from near the front). This suggests Ukraine has decided to use up its remaining stock or has started producing its own.

Interesting strategy document here on how to deal with the conflict moving forwards. Boris Johnson has supported it, though from its relative lack of waffle he does not appear to have contributed to it. There are some interesting ideas present. One is the creation of an anti-air missile defence perimeter along Poland's border with Ukraine; any missile entering this zone, even in Ukrainian or Belarusian airspace, will be automatically shot down, regardless of if it is heading towards NATO/EU territory or not. Another part of the plan is to use Russian assets and 0.25% of the GDP of Ukraine's allies to fund Ukraine for the long term: this would allow approximately $300 billion to be allocated to Ukraine in the short term with $100 billion per year thereafter.

Blinken's visit to Ukraine accompanies further confirmations of military equipment and deliveries. Some interesting economic information released alongside that, including that Ukraine's economic output and exports are now well above pre-war levels. That's bonkers.

The Russian attack on Kharkiv Oblast may be drawing momentum from the Chasiv Yar assault. The 255th Strike Group has reported repulsing Russian attacks on the town and removing the small groups that had managed to get a toehold. Small infiltration teams keep trying to sneak back in but are being hit by drones. However, they are picking up an increase in electronic warfare units operating nearby, trying to interdict drone usage. The 24th King Danylo Mechanized Brigade (nice name) also reclaimed some Russian trenchlines surrounding the town in close assaults.

Similarly, Russian forces launched a sneak attack on Terny, west of Kreminna, with insufficient personnel. The 3rd Assault Brigade repulsed the attack, killing around 10 Russian soldiers a day, every day, for eleven days. Russian forces have also been trying to retake Klishchiivka, south of Bakhmut, which seems like a stretch too far for them. They lost 50 troops apparently yesterday by itself.

Russian forces in the village of Buhruvatka on the Kharkiv border were supposed to try to advance on in the face of Ukrainian fire, but troops apparently broke to instead loot nearby houses, and it took some hours to restore discipline. C'mon guys, it's not 2022 any more, and I'm sure they evacuated all the washing machines from there some time ago.​
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#1988 User is offline   Werthead 

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Posted 14 May 2024 - 09:43 PM

Some crazy stuff going on in the Russian Defence Ministry.
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"Try standing out in a winter storm all night and see how tough you are. Start with that. Then go into a bar and pick a fight and see how tough you are. And then go home and break crockery over your head. Start with those three and you'll be good to go."
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Posted 15 May 2024 - 02:45 PM

View PostWerthead, on 14 May 2024 - 09:43 PM, said:



'The lies, bribery, corruption, arrests, seizures, ratting-out, betrayals and bitcoin exchanges will continue until morale is improved'
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#1990 User is offline   Werthead 

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Posted 15 May 2024 - 05:19 PM

Belbek Airbase in Crimea took an absolute pounding overnight. At least one complete S-400 complex was destroyed, and it looks like multiple hangers were breached. Some fuel storage may have also been hit. So far, unclear if any aircraft were destroyed.

It sounds like the US has now taken the gloves off and allowed Ukraine to target military installations and troops in Russia that are directly attacking Ukrainian positions.
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"Try standing out in a winter storm all night and see how tough you are. Start with that. Then go into a bar and pick a fight and see how tough you are. And then go home and break crockery over your head. Start with those three and you'll be good to go."
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#1991 User is offline   Mentalist 

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Posted 16 May 2024 - 05:12 PM

View PostWerthead, on 15 May 2024 - 05:19 PM, said:

Belbek Airbase in Crimea took an absolute pounding overnight. At least one complete S-400 complex was destroyed, and it looks like multiple hangers were breached. Some fuel storage may have also been hit. So far, unclear if any aircraft were destroyed.

It sounds like the US has now taken the gloves off and allowed Ukraine to target military installations and troops in Russia that are directly attacking Ukrainian positions.


Blinken's quote (paraphrase): "we don't encourage it, but we won't forbid it"

When fighting is going on in the zone 5-10 km away from the border, you need to hit supply lines across the border. Once there's sufficient artillery ammo to allow this, it would happen regardless.

Once we start seeing high-precision stuff like HIMARS munitions hitting storage depots and airfields N of the border, that's when we'll know the kid gloves are off.
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View PostJump Around, on 23 October 2011 - 11:04 AM, said:

And I want to state that Ment has out-weaseled me by far in this game.
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#1992 User is offline   Werthead 

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Posted 16 May 2024 - 06:32 PM

The situation on the Kharkiv front appears confused. The Ukrainians have actually regained some of the lost territory, not a vast amount, but a couple of villages seem to have been retaken and in some areas the Ukrainians report they are conducting limited counter-offensive tactical operations. The Russians have already deployed second-echelon units which is completely bizarre unless they already either suffered catastrophic troop losses in the first wave (Russian losses have been heavy as normal, but not that heavy) or the entire offensive was undermanned, which jives with earlier reports that Ukraine wasn't expecting the attack for another few weeks as Russia have only accumulated 10-15%, maybe less, of the troops they really needed to make the attack convincing. Russia sent several tank groupings forward without drone or artillery support, with the natural loss of those tanks.

It looks like some Russian forces held in the second echelon or on the flanks have instead been redirected to Vovchansk, where Ukrainian resistance has stiffened considerably. Some suggestions that Vovchansk might became the next Avdiivka or Bakhmut, which seems rather premature.

A further possibility is that this entire attack is a prelude to a larger attack but Ukraine and western sources simply aren't seeing vaster formations holding back ready to attack. Russia is congregating a further grouping of troops in central European Russia for later deployment, but so far that formation does not appear very significant in size.

Although there are signs of cautious optimism, there are also increasing and more effective glide bomb attacks going on along the front, and although Ukrainian reinforcements have arrived, they have not yet accumulated mass to try to retake the entire border region. Ukraine's tactic now is to try to knock the Russians back before they can fortify, until they have perfected tactics capable of deep penetration of Russian heavy defences. If they fail to do that here, they could lose that strip of border territory (limited as it is for now).

Denmark has announced $816 million of support for Ukraine, including sourcing new F-16s and funding NATO CAPs over the Baltic. This is a massive amount of money given Denmark's size.

Unmanned surface vehicles reportedly engaged Russian coastal patrols off Crimea. Some Russian military sources seem to be disturbed by the deployment of Ukrainian drones with AA capabilities (and the possibility of surface or submersible drones moving close to the coast and launching effective artillery attacks at shore targets).

One Russian milblogger reporting that the combined impact of attacks on Russian oil and gas infrastructure, plus the AA and air positions in Crimea, has already cost billions of dollars, which Russia cannot really afford. He also noted that Russian aircraft hangers are still not properly hardened, leading to some aircraft being knocked out of commission just by shrapnel or debris.
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#1993 User is offline   Mentalist 

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Posted 17 May 2024 - 01:05 AM

Satellite pics from Belbek seem to confirm the destruction of 2 MiG-31s.

It's nice to see military assets in Crimea getting demolished, but unfortunately it's unlikely to have any meaningful impact on the rest of the frontline.

Orcs are in the northern outskirts of Vovchans'k, and trying to dig in, in order to set up positions from which they can advance further.

Situation is far from clear.
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View PostJump Around, on 23 October 2011 - 11:04 AM, said:

And I want to state that Ment has out-weaseled me by far in this game.
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#1994 User is offline   Werthead 

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Posted 17 May 2024 - 03:56 PM

103 Ukrainian drone strikes overnight. The port at Novorossiysk took multiple hits, with NASA's FIRMS satellites picking up a massive blaze in the warehouse part of the port, apparently from a fuel storage area that took a direct hit. Crimea took a pounding for the second night in a row, with Sevastopol losing all power and going into rolling blackouts today. Russian internet connectivity in Crimea was also targeted and largely knocked out.

The Tuapse refinery on the Black Sea took multiple hits and was left ablaze.

Allegedly, the air defence commanders of some Russian areas hit by previous drone strikes have been sent to the front to serve in storm units, but I'd take that with a pinch of salt for now.

Analysis of the two attacks on Belbek Airfield confirms destruction of the main fuel storage area and one S-400 complex. Competing claims of either one or two MiG M-31s and maybe one Su-27 destroyed.

According to Zelensky, recent initiatives have resulted in a large amount of artillery ammunition finally reaching Ukraine in recent days. With the incoming shells from the Czech initiative, he believes Ukraine will have, for the first time since the war started, enough shells to get things done. We'll see if that's just positive talk soon enough.
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Posted 17 May 2024 - 07:33 PM

View PostWerthead, on 17 May 2024 - 03:56 PM, said:

103 Ukrainian drone strikes overnight. The port at Novorossiysk took multiple hits, with NASA's FIRMS satellites picking up a massive blaze in the warehouse part of the port, apparently from a fuel storage area that took a direct hit. Crimea took a pounding for the second night in a row, with Sevastopol losing all power and going into rolling blackouts today. Russian internet connectivity in Crimea was also targeted and largely knocked out.

The Tuapse refinery on the Black Sea took multiple hits and was left ablaze.

Allegedly, the air defence commanders of some Russian areas hit by previous drone strikes have been sent to the front to serve in storm units, but I'd take that with a pinch of salt for now.

Analysis of the two attacks on Belbek Airfield confirms destruction of the main fuel storage area and one S-400 complex. Competing claims of either one or two MiG M-31s and maybe one Su-27 destroyed.

According to Zelensky, recent initiatives have resulted in a large amount of artillery ammunition finally reaching Ukraine in recent days. With the incoming shells from the Czech initiative, he believes Ukraine will have, for the first time since the war started, enough shells to get things done. We'll see if that's just positive talk soon enough.



hits on Novorossiysk and Tuapse are important, b/c it's possible they hit the Black sea oil terminal infrastructure. This could basically disrupt oil shipments out of the the Black Sea, including the oil coming from Kazakhstan.
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View PostJump Around, on 23 October 2011 - 11:04 AM, said:

And I want to state that Ment has out-weaseled me by far in this game.
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#1996 User is offline   Werthead 

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Posted 18 May 2024 - 08:09 PM

Russia assembled a fairly large mechanised column in Bakhmut and drove it straight at the eastern part of Chasiv Yar. Ukrainian forces obliterated the column with drones and artillery as it crossed three miles of open ground with no cover and apparently no artillery cover.

Ukraine is expanding aerial assaults from Robotyne to Kherson, engaging Russian positions south of the Dnipro with what appear to be French-supplied glide bombs, traditional ground strike missiles and short-range missiles and artillery.

Another mechanised attack on Soloviove in Donetsk Oblast ran into heavy drone and artillery fire, losing a T-72 and two IFVs. Some Russian claims on Telegram that Russian forces on the front have been told that Ukraine has run out of artillery ammo, but most area aware through unofficial channels of new arrivals of material and equipment from the west.

For unclear reasons, Russian forces that had just made it into Vovchansk converted a hospital in a makeshift command centre despite it being right on the front line. Unsurprisingly, after Russian forces piled into the hospital it underwent a sudden demolition event, with presumably uncomfortable results for everyone inside. Of course, this means that Vovchansk won't have a functional hospital for some considerable time, no matter who ends up controlling it long-term.

Michael Kofman, one of the most traditionally pessimistic of western commentators on the war, has assessed that Russia has until the end of this year to make good progress, otherwise its prospects in 2025 onwards become more doubtful.

The Georgian President has vetoed the "foreign agents" law and will send back a new version with amendments. This punts off the crisis, but only for a couple of weeks.

This post has been edited by Werthead: 18 May 2024 - 08:10 PM

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#1997 User is offline   Azath Vitr (D'ivers 

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Posted 18 May 2024 - 08:32 PM

View PostWerthead, on 18 May 2024 - 08:09 PM, said:

Michael Kofman, one of the most traditionally pessimistic of western commentators on the war, has assessed that Russia has until the end of this year to make good progress, otherwise its prospects in 2025 onwards become more doubtful.



I'd guess that's even if Trump and other pro-Putin politicians come to power in 2025? Wonder how far that's assuming Trump &co would be willing to go....
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Posted 19 May 2024 - 11:14 AM

View PostAzath Vitr (D, on 18 May 2024 - 08:32 PM, said:

I'd guess that's even if Trump and other pro-Putin politicians come to power in 2025? Wonder how far that's assuming Trump &co would be willing to go....


I believe it's on the basis of what European countries are doing. France has found a way of reconditioning old SCALPs (Storm Shadows) for service in Ukraine and that's provided a steady stream of new missiles without touching France's own strategic reserve whilst it scales up new production, the UK has been churning out new missiles for a year already, and European NATO artillery ammunition production is scaling up to match Russia by mid-2025. The US production is gravy on top. There's also the fact that a lot of stuff that's being ordered for long-term use will be delivered anyway even if Trump comes to power (he'd have to do some whacky stuff to block it, which could be challenged in the courts; the US military-industrial complex is hard to stop once it ramps up). The EU and non-US NATO powers are also looking at this plan to divert 0.25% of GDP spending to Ukraine and use the interest from frozen Russian assets, which would combined deliver $50 billion to Ukraine per year, potentially a lot more. With the US, that's more like $100 billion.

Without the US it's all a lot harder, but not impossible, and could extend the war for years. With the US, it all becomes a lot more straightforward.

We also have to figure on Trump coming up with his plan to stop the war, Zelensky says "Okay," however reluctantly and Putin says "No," and Trump flips the hell out and invades Syria to topple Putin's buddy Assad or something. Putin himself has indicated that Trump is too wildly unpredictable to comfortably deal with (I think he had high hopes in term 1 for Trump to align the US more closely with Russia, but then that never happened as Trump is too much of a weathervane).
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Posted 19 May 2024 - 05:25 PM

View PostWerthead, on 18 May 2024 - 08:09 PM, said:

Russia assembled a fairly large mechanised column in Bakhmut and drove it straight at the eastern part of Chasiv Yar. Ukrainian forces obliterated the column with drones and artillery as it crossed three miles of open ground with no cover and apparently no artillery cover.

Ukraine is expanding aerial assaults from Robotyne to Kherson, engaging Russian positions south of the Dnipro with what appear to be French-supplied glide bombs, traditional ground strike missiles and short-range missiles and artillery.

Another mechanised attack on Soloviove in Donetsk Oblast ran into heavy drone and artillery fire, losing a T-72 and two IFVs. Some Russian claims on Telegram that Russian forces on the front have been told that Ukraine has run out of artillery ammo, but most area aware through unofficial channels of new arrivals of material and equipment from the west.

For unclear reasons, Russian forces that had just made it into Vovchansk converted a hospital in a makeshift command centre despite it being right on the front line. Unsurprisingly, after Russian forces piled into the hospital it underwent a sudden demolition event, with presumably uncomfortable results for everyone inside. Of course, this means that Vovchansk won't have a functional hospital for some considerable time, no matter who ends up controlling it long-term.

Michael Kofman, one of the most traditionally pessimistic of western commentators on the war, has assessed that Russia has until the end of this year to make good progress, otherwise its prospects in 2025 onwards become more doubtful.

The Georgian President has vetoed the "foreign agents" law and will send back a new version with amendments. This punts off the crisis, but only for a couple of weeks.


Tom Cooper's also been pretty nonchalant about this offensive, as the orcs spent their Wave 1 in Kharkiv and didn't even reach the 1st fortification line (it wasn't built on the very border, b/c then it'd get pounded by short-range arty nonstop from Belgorod Oblast, with UAF being scrutinized to hell and back for any return fire onto "canonical Russian territory" )

Their push from Ocheretyne likewise seems contained, and the bridgehead across the Donbas canal towards Chasiv YAR has been eliminated. At this point they are diverting additional forces from the East to try to make more gains on the Vovchans'k axis- which is the direct opposite of the initial plan (force UAF to redirect forces to defend and weaken the East, making it possible to make better gains in Donetsk Oblast' )

Though glide bombs continue being an issue across the frontline, and it's still unclear just how much of a difference the F16s will make in this aspect.
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View PostJump Around, on 23 October 2011 - 11:04 AM, said:

And I want to state that Ment has out-weaseled me by far in this game.
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#2000 User is offline   Werthead 

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Posted 21 May 2024 - 10:24 PM

Ukrainian attacks in Russian-occupied areas have continued, with strikes on an ammunition and fuel dump in Dovzhansk and a military target near Mariupol.

The Russian military is using Telegram to contact soldiers on the front and give them dispersion orders when enemy attacks are incoming. They have warned that Ukraine can now strike up to 300km behind the front lines (!) and Russian soldiers should practice dispersing without giving up territory. Responses along the lines of "how?" seem to be commonplace.

Russian milbloggers reporting that Ukraine has achieved artillery superiority on the Kharkiv front, and warning of the potential for a Ukrainian counter-offensive. That would be quite an achievement.

Some claims - I would caution that these numbers are unconfirmed, and it's unclear what precise metric is being used - that Ukraine assembled 58 battalions to defend the area, expecting a massed attack from ~75-100 equivalent Russian formations, but Russia only attacked with 51, and several of these have been mauled so badly they effectively do not exist. Some of the Ukrainian battalions have been damaged as well, but nowhere near as bad. Ukraine may have manpower and artillery superiority on the front, creating the conditions for a counter-offensive. Russian reinforcements do not seem to exist, either they're not on that front or they never existed in the first place. The Chasiv Yar offensive seems to be collapsing at the same time.

The irony is that there's not very much territory to counter-offensive into. They can kick Russia back across the border but an invasion of Russian territory would be...bizarre, and also not militarily useful in holding the Donbas. Reversing course and sending some of those troops back to the Kreminna, Robotyne and Avdiivka fronts might be preferable.

This post has been edited by Werthead: 21 May 2024 - 10:24 PM

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