It’s WAR in Europe


I’ve been reading various articles on events in Ukraine, and I thought, wrongly, that it was going to be one of those prolonged smoldering affair, with Russia taking bites out of a country with regions that leaned towards Russian unity, but oh no, it’s just flat out total war, with the Russian army moving to take over the whole country of Ukraine.

Russia launched a broad attack on Ukraine from multiple directions early Thursday, bombarding cities, towns and villages and advancing toward the capital, Kyiv, as Ukrainian forces tried to stem the onslaught of Russian ground forces and air power.

Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said Russian troops were fighting to break into the wider Kyiv region and crossed the regional border, where Ukrainian forces were battling to repel them.

Putin’s excuse is that they’re carrying out a program of “demilitarization and denazification”. Riiight. This is nothing but imperial conquest. People are dying. Cities are being bombed.

Meanwhile, here in the US, fifth-columnists are buckling down to the dirty work of painting Putin’s gangsters as the ‘good guys’. Why? Because the Russians are “anti-woke” and label their bathrooms the way god intended them to.

It’s insanity everywhere. Don’t listen to Erik Prince & Steve Bannon — they’re just evil.

Comments

  1. davidc1 says

    At least this war will be in colour,I am fed up with watching B&W footage from WW2.
    And if them rukkies bomb Kiev I hope Tin Tits will be ok.
    And to show support with brave Ukraine I am not going to buy any Zvezda Model kits,as they are
    made in Russia.

  2. davidc1 says

    Well off topic,but over on that Namibia live streaming site,a pair of Lappet Faced Vultures are having a little drinky poos.

  3. mordred says

    Yeah, I also thought Putin would take bites out of the Ukraine and make a big show of military might to increase his influence in the area. The west would protest but in the long run he probably would have gotten away with it.

    But this? The war will cost Russia in lives and money and I don’t see a good end for him in the long run here. What frightens me is that Putin, who I thought was a murderous bastard but relatively rational seems to now have completely lost it.

  4. says

    Yes, David, this is really appropriate. Desperate people are fleeing, they are dying, but hey, look, there’s vultures.

    +++
    Just to make it clear: the fact that Putin is 1:1 copying the NATO / US playbook for invading other countries does not make him not the bad guy. Invading countries is bad when the US do it, it’s equally bad when Russia does it. It just makes the west complete hypocrites since they’re the one who basically made international law something only weak countries had to abide. If you were against the Iraq war, you must be against this war as well, or you’Re just the same kind of hypocrite, just on the other side.

  5. mordred says

    If you were against the Iraq war, you must be against this war as well, or you’Re just the same kind of hypocrite, just on the other side.

    Thanks Giliell, that’s a very good way of putting it.

    So many people, including to many among the German leftists, seem to think that the NATO being imperialist warmongers automatically makes the other side the good guys.

  6. ajbjasus says

    Fuck me, why has this become normalised as part of the human condition.

    Working out how to build sustainable, aesthetic,fulfilling rewarding societies should take all our creative and productive abilities and energies.

  7. birgerjohansson says

    Over here the city halls in Stockholm and Gothenburg have raised the Ukrainan flag.
    And Macron made a TV appearence with the French, EU and Ukrainan flags next to him (unlike the p*ssy-grabber, he did not molest any of the flags).
    .
    It seems like El Presidente Putin has made the same mistake Saddam Hussein did in 1990. If he had nibbled a bit at the border he would have gotten away with it but he got greedy.
    The European Union nations can do without Russian oil and gas. It will be expensive but doable.
    Ultimately the economic factors will hit home in Russia even though the cleptocracy are shielded from the worst.

  8. ajbjasus says

    Birger.

    Hope you’re right but Saddam (ironically) didn’t have hypersonic missiles and nukes.

  9. billseymour says

    I think Giliell@4 has it right:  we must oppose Russia in this war.

    But I’m old enough to remember the Cuban missle crisis:

    1. The US stations Jupiter missiles in Italy and Pakistan capable of reaching Russian soil.

    2. Russia responds by stationing missiles in Cuba.

    3.  There’s a naval blockade of Cuba that generates lots of press but doesn’t really accomplish much.

    4.  The US removes its missiles from Pakistan.  (I don’t know about Italy.)

    5.  Russia removes its missles from Cuba.

    Of course, the press coverage in the US at the time made no mention of 1 and 4; it was all Russian aggression/Russia backs down/Kennedy is a tough guy.

    I had originally hoped that the Ukraine crisis would go much the same way:  the US drops its insistance that Ukraine join NATO, Russia backs off, and Biden looks like a tough guy; but that doesn’t seem possible anymore.  People are now actually dying; and that’s a difference in kind, not just a difference in degree.  I’m quickly losing all hope.

  10. birgerjohansson says

    ajbjasus @ 9
    Putin has a lot of high-tech gear, but he does not have the economy for a war of attrition. He can take Kiev and other big cities but then what?
    .
    This is not Chechenya far off in Caucasus. This is right up next to NATO and EU nations. The Russians cannot interdict all support coming in across the border.
    And the cynical arms companies will not mind having their portable anti-tank and anti-aircraft hardware tested against the Russians as long as Pentagon is paying the bill. Biden will fight to the last Ukrainan, and the corporate Democrats will support it (for once in a blue moon being on the moral side).
    The collusion of Lukasjenko’s regime in Belarus will likely discredit that leader too. These kind of regimes can hang in for 50 years or more and then topple in a week.

  11. says

    The news come up with awkward constructions like “the first war in Europe since WWII” – to exclude all those wars in the rest of the world that don’t matter or were started by the US and/or NATO. As if “since WWII” is a long time. And as if the Balkan genocides don’t count. It’s as if they want to say “first war between white people for, like, a few years.” This kind of thing is what politicians do, it’s what they exist for.

    Operationally, it sounds like the Russians blew the Ukrainian air force away while its planes were on the ground. That was expected but the Ukrainians should have played that better. I assume that if NATO is sending expensive targets to the region, they will be massing them in Poland. I hope Putin can keep his hand from grabbing the offered pawn.

  12. says

    Gilliell@#4:
    Invading countries is bad when the US do it, it’s equally bad when Russia does it. It just makes the west complete hypocrites since they’re the one who basically made international law something only weak countries had to abide.

    As I commented elsewhere, the US/NATO could take the high ground by arresting Bush, Cheney, Obama, for illegal wars of aggression, and then suddenly the playbook Putin is following – the US playbook – is no longer acceptable.

  13. OverlappingMagisteria says

    LGBT rights aren’t that much different between Ukraine and Russia. They could just as easily argue that we should support Ukraine since their Constitution prevents gay marriage.

    If it was Russia vs USA, would they support the less woke and less LGBT friendly country?

  14. says

    I’ve seen multiple sources saying that Russian oligarchs – especially Putin himself – have large financial holdings in European and other banks and real estate. So why aren’t those assets being seized and frozen, just as Saddam and Iraq’s were? Turning Kremlin kleptocrat billionaires into paupers would get their attention.

    Reported, a lot of those assets are in the UK, and Johnson is the biggest asset of them all.

  15. AussieMike says

    I don’t see the US as hypocritical for opposing this attack by Russia. The Iraq and Afghanistan invasions were three Presidents and what, 80 percent of the upper and lower house ago. Agendas change and you have a new guy in there now with a arguably better and forward looking plan. At least compared to the orange guy.

    Countries and policies are not static or we could just argue the Democrats are hypocrites because it was Republicans who won the civil war under Lincoln. At some point we look back and change has happened.

    It can be argued that Sadam was a monster dictator to his own people and had himself already invaded one country. He also undeniably played years of games with weapons inspectors. Afghanistan was a festering pit of despair if you were a woman who dared to dream of an education or a job or to walk down the street without a protector. Then that other thing where they supported and fed some of the worlds worst terrorists. In comparison to those situations, weather one thinks they were deserving of invasion or not, what the fuck has Ukraine done to disserve this. And lets not ask Tucker Carlson for fuck sake

    I may be lacking in the full picture but as far as I know, they ditched all their nuclear weapons, played nice with the neighbours, had some issues getting friendly with Russia which their citizens sorted out and now quite expectedly, seeing Putin being a complete shit on their doorstep thought asking NATO for admission might me a half sound idea.

    Then Putin goes and makes Ukraine justified in seeking out stronger relationships. All that had to happen here was the new Russia had to play nice and be a good supportive European neighbour, but they fell in love so much with money they handed Putin a permanent seat at the head f the table. For all its faults, you can still vote out your elected leaders in the USA, That’s still a good thing you have going. The USA is still a better country than the current version of Russia and or China. Ukraine didn’t deserve this and it is no more than a manufactured exercise by a sad old fading dictator looking for the disillusioned glory of a Russia that never existed in the first place.

    Please don’t get distracted by the, “Americans are hypocrites” story. Yes it would be nicer if the US openly recognised it’s past faults and lessons learned. But even the best humans are shit at that sometimes so I’m not in a hurry for an entire country to do it. The Ukraine needs the US and the world to be the better half right now, You can’t NOT do anything because you look like hypocrites. You have to do something to show you can at least get it right sometimes and maybe learn a few things along the way. By doing something right, you set the agenda for generations to follow that it can and should be done.

    Just don’t elect Trump EVER again for fuck sake.

  16. Doc Bill says

    Col. Vindman was on Nichole Wallace’s show last night and she gave him quite a segment to explain what Russia was doing along the border. It was refreshing to hear a thorough assessment by a military expert. Vindman had no doubt that Russia was going for the entire enchilada based on troop positions, locations, supply chains, and Vindman was aware of pre-launch activities going on: cyber attacks, securing communication and utilities. Meanwhile, Ukraine was poorly prepared to thwart an invasion not having time (or missing the opportunity) to set up demolition and obstacles. As lopsided is the military balance, Vindman suggested that a ground war would be a meatgrinder for civilians and soldiers alike with high casualties. Estimating upwards of 5 million refugees fleeing the country.

    Of course, the US will accept as many refugees as possible like we always do. Riiiiiiiiight. Start the timer, but the first outcry from our soft and pampered citizenry will be about rising gasoline prices.

  17. Akira MacKenzie says

    I don’t think nukes are on the table here. Putin wants territory and it doesn’t make sense to conquer territory that you’ve turned into a radioactive hell. Even Putin isn’t mad enough to destroy the entire world just for Ukraine.

  18. whheydt says

    If Putin’s goal (as he has indicated) is to have NATO return to just the countries that were part of it in 1997, he’s going about it the wrong way.

  19. AussieMike says

    Akira@#20:

    Depends on how far up the madness curve he is. Some gamblers get so far in they just decide to commit all the chips because fuck it, they’ve lost most of it already, may as well go the whole way.

  20. raven says

    It is dismaying and appalling that in 2022, the best idea Putin and the Russians have is to invade a neighboring country, simply because they can.

    If they want, Russia can defeat and occupy Ukraine, just like we did with Iraq. They have a much larger economy and military than Ukraine.
    Then what?
    We occupied Iraq for 8 years and Afghanistan for 20 years. In the end the occupations didn’t get us anywhere. After we left Iraq, ISIS almost took over and the Taliban now own Afghanistan. Vietnam didn’t work any better for us.

    So, how long can Russia occupy Ukraine, how much will it cost them, and what will happen when they leave, assuming they ever leave?
    Got me, I’m not in the mood to pretend to know the future.

    The Russians did the same thing to a small part of their own country, Checknya. They eventually won but it cost them a lot.
    They did the same thing to all the other SSRs and Eastern Europe as well. It cost them a lot and they eventually gave up their empire and captured nations.

  21. raven says

    If Putin’s goal (as he has indicated) is to have NATO return to just the countries that were part of it in 1997, he’s going about it the wrong way.

    Yeah, that was my thought as well.

    AFAICT, the best thing that happened to NATO lately is Vladimir Putin and Russia. They really are out to get us, or at least parts of us.
    I haven’t heard much about how NATO is outdated and obsolete lately.
    What I have heard is that Sweden and Finland are thinking of joining…NATO. Russia took 11% of Finland and ethnically cleansed 400,000 Fins during WW II. The Fins haven’t forgotten it.

    Putin is just making sure the whole world hates and fears Russia and unites against them.

  22. wzrd1 says

    Putin only needs breathing room, perhaps to Poland…

    Then, “Putin has hypersonic missiles”, nope, he has prototypes, which average 50% RUD (Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly). We both already have hypersonic missiles in our ICBM’s and SLBM’s, rendering the entire thing moot. Putin did threaten to salt his hypersonic missile, as if we didn’t know how to cobalt salt a warhead that we invented!
    MAD still stands, Russian oligarchs aren’t about to watch Putin get their wealth and investments vaporized, so nuclear is off of the table.

    Still, when Russia first squealed over former Soviet bloc nations joining NATO, we should’ve given them a non-veto membership as well. NATO nations are expressly forbidden making war upon other NATO nations, lest the rest of NATO step in.
    Now, we’re stuck with what we have. Putin’s already fuming over losing German blessings on his expensive pipeline. I can imagine how upset he’d be if something happened to other parts of it, or even some pumping stations with stolen US technology suddenly misbehaved (Russia stole US pumping technology decades ago from a Canadian partner, we managed to insert buggy plans and a Soviet pumping station went up in flames).
    There’s an old saying from the Cold War, “Russians don’t take a shit without a plan”, neither do many of us. Our biggest weakness is short term fixes, rather than long range planning like we did with the Marshall Plan. We need to go back to long range, long term planning and stop aggression before, not after Poland also gets invaded and we all meet up on a beach in Normandy again.

  23. R. L. Foster says

    As the author Frank Herbert famously said: Politics attracts pathological personalities. I give you Exhibits A & B: Trump and Putin. But, if I did the necessary work, I’m certain I would quickly run out of enough letters to include all of the suspects.

  24. F.O. says

    I was reading that Ukraine gave back the USSR nukes to Russia in exchange of recognition.
    At this point, no country is safe unless it has nukes.
    This is… not good?

  25. davidc1 says

    @4&5 Oh go piss up a rope,another pair who know sod all about me,for you information I didn’t support bush &blairs war of terror.

    You need to understand that Russia was attacked from the West twice in the 20th century,once in 1914 and again in 1941.
    Plus from 1919 to the early 20s it was involved in a civil war,the Soviets against the White Russians,with help from the UK and America,I think.
    With a history like that to take into account,it is hardly surprising that Ukraine and former members of the Warsaw pact joining NATO would tend to make them more than a tad anxious,which is no excuse to attack Ukraine.

    So got that?
    DAVIDC1 DOES NOT IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM AGREE WITH OR CONDONE VLAD THE 1ST’S ATTACK ON UKRAINE.
    Sorry for typing it in Capitals,just wanted to make it clear.

  26. R. L. Foster says

    All this talk about NATO stationing missiles on Russia’s doorstep as a justification for the invasion is naive and ill-informed. The truth is, Russia has ballistic missile submarines prowling just miles off our coasts. Not to mention those in eastern Siberia bordering Alaska. If Putin gave the word, LA & NYC would be burnt cinders in less than 15 minutes. Putin’s real problem is western style democracy, not NATO’s weaponry. He saw how Yanukovych was run out of Kyiv in 2014 in the dead of night on a helicopter by the pro-democracy uprising. He knows that could be his fate as well if Russians finally rose up against him.

  27. davidc1 says

    @29 ” If Putin gave the word, LA & NYC would be burnt cinders in less than 15 minutes”.
    Followed by Moscow five minutes late.
    Do you think one of the nuclear powers would nuke Vancouver BC?
    The bastards towed my hire car back in August2005,and I haven’t forgotten.

  28. raven says

    At this point, no country is safe unless it has nukes.

    At this point, I imagine that Taiwan is thinking about whether they should build a few nukes or not.
    They aren’t hard to make, using 1940s technology. In fact, South Africa at one time had made 4 of them.

    I’m wondering if the Ukrainians right now are looking up “IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices)” on Amazon.com. They are the go to weapon for asymmetric warfare and caused us huge problems in Iraq.

  29. PaulBC says

    It’s bizarre to see this kind of massive frontal attack in 2021. My gut reaction is that Russia could overextend itself. That’s probably wishful thinking. Also, Putin has nukes and is threatening with them. This is probably the scariest thing that’s happened in my life (which includes a long stretch of the Cold War) but it hasn’t sunk in so far.

  30. vereverum says

    This is the Russia’s fortitude south.
    Their plan is long term and looks to Fulda and Suwalki.

  31. Reginald Selkirk says

    On Thursday afternoon, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted that Russian forces were attempting to seize control of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

    source
    That seems an odd place to start.

  32. says

    @Reginald Selkirk: there is still one reactor there that is operating. Now I’m wondering if it’s an rbmk. Maybe the Russians are afraid that it could be used as a radiological dispersion weapon.

  33. raven says

    It’s bizarre to see this kind of massive frontal attack in 2021 .

    Your world’s 2021 must be a lot different from ours. What color is the sky where you live?
    (This is a joke because today is so horrible. I know it is a typo.)

    Also, Putin has nukes and is threatening with them. This is probably the scariest thing that’s happened in my life…

    You didn’t live through the worst of the Cold War.

    I still remember the Duck and Cover drills in grade school in case of a nuclear attack. I was 8 years old when they started.

    We lived in an area that we knew was going to be hit hard by any Soviet strikes. There was a Trident submarine base nearby and a plutonium producing reactor complex not too far away. After the nuclear strikes, we were supposed to go home and round up food, supplies, and camping gear while waiting for our parents to get home from work. We even had lists of what to get. Then we were all supposed to evacuate to the mountains along marked routes. And wait for civilization to be restarted or something.
    They never mentioned what we were supposed to do if our parents were vaporized and never made it home.

    The lesson we kids got was that we might not grow up to be adults because we were vaporized by a nuclear bomb.

  34. PaulBC says

    Yeah, it makes sense to secure anything that could be used as a defensive weapon. But it “makes me throw up a little in my mouth” to be second-guessing Russian strategy. This whole thing sucks.

  35. says

    Correction, I see it has been shut down. I’m not sure what that means because there was something there operating at low power when I was there in 2013.

  36. PaulBC says

    raven@38 Yes. Well it is only February and I don’t get the practice I used to, writing out paper checks.

    The Cold War global nuclear war scenario is the scariest thing that didn’t actually happen. I think this has the potential be real, not to deny the impact of duck and cover drills.

  37. says

    raven@#38:
    I still remember the Duck and Cover drills in grade school in case of a nuclear attack. I was 8 years old when they started.

    Yeah. And the “lie in a ditch with your feet toward the blast” … I guess getting impaled by debris is a way to die.

    Our parents and leaders on both sides of the cold war built this monstrous thing, a plan to murder on a scale and scope that transcends the comparatively lovely evil of the Third Reich. Our leaders said it was necessary to protect us and we know those motherfuckers never would lie about a thing like that.

  38. birgerjohansson says

    At least Sweden had a well-funded civil defence program during the cold war. Every school or hospital had a fallout shelter doing double duty as a storage basement.
    In the northeast, Russia was just beyond Finland, in the southeast across the Baltic sea were the Soviet-occupied Baltic states. In the South were the vassal states Poland and the German Democratic Republic.
    Now and then refugees would escape the border patrols and make It to Sweden. It was impossible to forget the looming threat just above the horizon, and my generation has not forgotten it in the decades after the Soviet Union collapsed.
    So in a way this is no surprise. The Swedish-Russian wars since 1240 are of academic interest but the tense peace with recurring manouvers involving most Swedish males conditioned us to expect the worst.

  39. birgerjohansson says

    Paul BC @ 41
    At least twice we came close to nuclear war by mistake.
    A Russian sub with nuclear-tipped torpedoes was about to attack US ships during the Cuban missile chrisis- they had no contact with their naval command and thought war had started.
    And we have all read about Petrov who refused to push the button because he realised the satellite that claimed USA had launched missiles was malfunctioning.
    A Reagan-era manouver had Breshnev and the other old men worry about NATO planning a first strike, but KGB talked them out of it.
    Stdrr at Freethoughtblogs had a story a month ago about how a naval vessel by mistake got an order to launch a missile against China during the Cuban chrisis, fortunately the captain “did a Petrov”.

  40. says

    Y’know… I remember when the pundits said a unified Europe would mean no more WWII style wars. Those are the same pundits who said nuclear weapons mean no more WWIi style wars.

    We cannot trust those who have set themselves over us and all we’ve got is hope. Hope that our long-term habit of putting the worst examples of our species in power over our lives is going to continue to work out well for us. These are also the people who have the most influence ober humanity’s response to global warming. My optimism tank is on “E” but “don’t rock the boat” is all we’ve got.

  41. PaulBC says

    birgerjohansson@44

    Breshnev and the other old men

    Tangential, but Brezhnev was a mere lad of 75 when he died. I don’t know about other countries, but the US presidency and senate is giving the old Politburo a run for its money in the gerontocracy department.

  42. raven says

    Look up the nuclear bombing of North Carolina.

    Wikipedia

    1961 Goldsboro B-52 crash
    The 1961 Goldsboro B-52 crash was an accident that occurred near Goldsboro, North Carolina, on 23 January 1961. A Boeing B-52 Stratofortress carrying two 3–4-megaton Mark 39 nuclear bombs broke up in mid-air, dropping its nuclear payload in the process.[2] The pilot in command, Walter Scott Tulloch, ordered the crew to eject at 9,000 ft (2,700 m). Five crewmen successfully ejected or bailed out of the aircraft and landed safely; another ejected, but did not survive the landing, and two died in the crash.[3] Information declassified in 2013 showed that one of the bombs came close to detonating, with three of the four required triggering mechanisms having activated.[4]

    It was an accident but a close call. One of the nukes almost went off.

  43. says

    Reuters: “fighting rages in the Chernobyl area”

    More tanks going to feed the Pripet marshes. Christfuck. The Brits were making noises about giving Ukraine a lot of anti-tank missiles. Of those are in Chernobyl killing Russians Putin is going to look for payback.

  44. Rob Grigjanis says

    Marcus @46:

    Look up a bit of madness called Able Archer 83

    I did.

    Thanks to the opening of political, military, and intelligence archives in the former member states of the Warsaw Pact, we actually have a great deal of insight into what happened during Able Archer as the Soviets watched events unfold in November 1983. These sources include intelligence products and interviews with senior Soviet national security leaders, and they show that characterizations of the exercise as having almost escalated out of control are not supported.

  45. Pierce R. Butler says

    billseymour @ # 11: The US stations Jupiter missiles in Italy and Pakistan capable of reaching Russian soil.

    Turkey, not Pakistan, but hey, whatsadiff, only Iran in between.

    So far this looks like it will align nearly all the world against Russia – except China. Secondary repercussions may reshape the politics of all Asia – and the economics of all nations.

  46. robro says

    Just saw a report that the Russians have captured Chernobyl. It’s not at all surprising. It’s almost due north of Kyiv in the Dnieper basin, the short route from the Belorussia border to the capital. What is a little surprising is that it’s taken them most of a day to get there, but I haven’t had the time or inclination to get into that sort of detail.

  47. blf says

    Marcus Ranum@37: “[T]here is still one reactor [at Chernobyl] that is operating. Now I’m wondering if it’s an rbmk. Maybe the Russians are afraid that it could be used as a radiological dispersion weapon.”

    Eh? Citation needed!

    Multiple sources indicate (this is from Ye Pffft! of All Knowledge), “the last of three remaining RBMK blocks at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant was shut down in 2000”. That doesn’t preclude there being a non-RBMK reactor there, operating or not, or a reactor being restarted or one being (deliberately?) damaged or sabotaged, but I’m currently unawares of any operating there, RBMK or not.

  48. says

    Citation needed

    The guy at the door of the building asked if we also wanted to tour the control room of the running reactor. We went to the #4 control room and it was disappointing – all the switches and indicators had been cannibalized.

    I do not know what decomissioning a reactor entails but I think these things stay warm for a long time. Maybe they generate some power from it somehow?

  49. blf says

    @56, No link or other reference provided, nor a date.

    I concur they stay “warm” for a long time, so must be maintained and thus can (very possibly) be restarted and / or the warmth used, but all that is still very different to a sofar unsupported claim one or more reactors there is still operating, now, in 2021 / 2022, especially when every reputable source I’ve found all says the last were shutdown in 2000 (albeit with unclarity about any possible non-RBMK units).

    Apologies for pushing on this, but a rather strong sofar unevidenced — and possibly alarming — assertion was made…

  50. Pierce R. Butler says

    Marcus Ranum, blf, et alia – So why would the Russians immediately grab the reactor site?

    Do they perhaps anticipate Ukrainian resistance using radwaste to poison/scare occupying troops?

  51. says

  52. blf says

    @60, Ah, your source is what seems to be your own blog, and a comment apparently made to you or one of your colleagues. Nothing wrong with that, so why the anger about being asked for details — especially as the details are counter to other, also creditable, sources?

  53. lumipuna says

    More tanks going to feed the Pripet marshes.

    Fields or marshes, it looks like prime mud season in Ukraine right now. The winter has been mild, and now it’s basically early spring already.

  54. blf says

    @59, “So why would the Russians immediately grab the reactor site?”

    No idea! Having said that, I strongly doubt (without evidence!) there’s any serious (outside, perhaps of Putin’s head) concern about Ukraine trying to use whatever is there (e.g., “radwaste”) “to poison/scare occupying troops” — that’s difficult, dangerous, could trivially contaminate more of Ukraine and its people, and would not be looked-on at all with any welcome or approval by the closely-watching world.

  55. lumipuna says

    Looking at teh Googlemap, the (now barely inhabited) town of Chernobyl is along one of the shortest major road routes from Belarus to Kyiv. That is, unless the bridge across river Pripet has been blown. A small road from Belarus runs past the actual nuclear site and the ghost town of Pripyat, some 15 km off the main road.

  56. davidc1 says

    @48 Well can you think of a better place than NC to get nuked?
    @62
    “More tanks going to feed the Pripet marshes”.
    During the Great Patriotic War as the Russians like to call their bit of WW2,them Pripet marshes were full to the gills with partisans.
    The Germans called the Pripjet-Sümpfe .

  57. springa73 says

    It sounds like Putin wants to impose a “regime change” on the Ukraine and install a Russia-friendly government. Didn’t he notice how “regime change” worked out for the US in Afghanistan and Iraq?

  58. Susan Montgomery says

    This is part of a larger game. If he’d kept quiet, no one would have ever noticed Ukraine being wiped off the map.

  59. lotharloo says

    If he’s smart, he should just implement the US political system, with a house and a senate and a filibuster rule and a gerrymandered electorate map with asymmetric requirements for voting depending on the region to make sure that the pro-Russian minority is always in charge, all in a semi-functioning democracy.

  60. lumipuna says

    Re: raven at 24

    What I have heard is that Sweden and Finland are thinking of joining…NATO.

    We’ve been thinking of that since the 1990s. Are we getting more seriously interested now? Hard to say, but at least our leaders are posturing to send Russia the message that we might do it.

    <

    blockquote>Russia took 11% of Finland and ethnically cleansed 400,000 Fins during WW II. The Fins haven’t forgotten it.

    <

    blockquote>

    In fact, a fresh memory of the 1939-40 war was a large part of what motivated Finland to seek alliance with a mighty if morally questionable Western superpower – the Nazi Germany. That turned out to not be a winning ticket after all, and so we were forced to jump off and carefully accommodate the USSR, while seeking some moral support from the new Western powers. In these Cold War circumstances, while we avoided occupation, communism and the Warsaw Pact, joining the NATO would have been unthinkable prior to the 1990s.

    Incidentally, regarding the displacement of 400,000 Karelian Finns, while the USSR did practice active ethnic cleansing in the border areas during the 1930s (targeting Ingrian Finns among others), the complete depopulation of ceded Karelian territory was technically mostly an effect of people fleeing invasion. Finnish government strongly encouraged and facilitated the evacuation in order to protect lives and to practice wasted land defensive warfare. People probably hoped they could return home later, but in the end the USSR didn’t want them and they mostly didn’t want to live under the USSR either. A few people stayed in the occupied area either voluntarily or accidentally; they were rounded up and sent to Finland after the war. In Finland the whole affair is mostly perceived as a land theft rather than an ethnic cleansing. The new settlement in the area was made of coercively recruited ethnic Russians and Ukrainians and others whose descendants now generally speak Russian.

  61. robro says

    springa73 @ #66 — Didn’t he notice that Russia’s attempt at “regime change” in Afghanistan was also a bust? He doesn’t need to go as far as the US’s failed attempt.

    Susan Montgomery @ #67 — “This is part of a larger game.” Dare we call it a continuation of “The Great Game” which pitted Great Britain against Russia over Afghanistan. Sound familiar? Only it’s about a region closer to home. But then there’s that other part of The Great Game called The Crimean War, which didn’t work out too well for Russia although the consequences didn’t hurt too much.

    lotharloo @ #68 — If he were truly smart he would have done a lot more to secure Ukraine when he had a friendly government in place there. But he wasn’t that smart and he got out maneuvered. In many ways, he’s like Trump. He thinks he’s smarter than he is because he has had some success. (And like Trump, he’s reputedly mysophobic, which probably doesn’t mean a whole lot other than he may have OCD issues but who doesn’t.)

    I can’t put my finger on it, but this whole business seems like a desperation move. He may perceive Biden as weak, but he really missed his chance two or three years ago when there was a truly weak leader in the US. Clearly Donald wasn’t going to get in his way. He has enemies galore in Russia, and word is he’s not very popular according to some. The economy is only so-so, and the pandemic hasn’t been kind to Russia…officially 350k dead but I’m guessing those numbers are about as accurate as the casualty rate in Texas. Perhaps this is just a way to distract Russians from their problems. I appreciate it’s wishful thinking on my part but one possible out come to this is that Russia turns on him.

    And to that point, I haven’t read this yet myself so I’m not too sure what it really means, but there’s some disapproval going on in Russia now: Thousands join anti-war protests in Russia after Ukraine invasion. So it’s not a happy day in Russia either when people demonstrate against “tough” leader like Putin.

  62. Timo Kaaarp says

    Fuck Putin.

    If I can shoot rabbits, then I can shoot Putinists.

    Where do I sign up? Either we stop Putin now or we’re all fucked.

  63. Walter Solomon says

    I’m wondering if the Ukrainians right now are looking up “IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices)” on Amazon.com. They are the go to weapon for asymmetric warfare and caused us huge problems in Iraq.

    The mangled bodies and traumatic brain injuries of thousands of US servicemembers are a testament to the effectiveness of IEDs. I don’t think Putin has really thought this through.

  64. PaulBC says

    Walter Solomon@74

    I don’t think Putin has really thought this through.

    Superficially, since it’s not something I know anything about, it does seem like somebody unearthed a copy of “Blitzkrieg for Dummies” copyright 1939 and is using it as their playbook. Considering every 20th century quagmire after WWII (Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan) it’s either a much smarter strategy or a much stupider one than I think it is.

    But what do I know? I can predict a lot of people will die if it goes on long enough. That’s a safe bet.

  65. Walter Solomon says

    For what I gather from Nina Khruscheva’s explanation, Biden’s idea that Putin wants to resurrect the USSR is incorrect. He also doesn’t want to resurrect the the Russian Empire. Putin doesn’t like revolutions apparently.

    What he wants, it seems, is similar to the united Arab state Baathists like Hussein and Assad want in the Middle East. In Putin’s case, he wants a pan-Slavic state that he rules with an iron fist.

  66. JimB says

    Well this is interesting:

    “Ambassador Oksana Markarova said: “We’ve had confirmation from our Chief Commander one of the platoons of the 74th Motorised Brigade from Kemerovo has surrendered.”

    The soldiers didn’t know they were sent to Ukraine to kill Ukrainians.

    Not real sure what this means…

  67. unclefrogy says

    From what I have been seeing Puitin’s choice looked like now or never. Every day Dumpster looks less likely to win any elections the true warming and the mud was coming as well. Biden was helping to re-energize NATO. He is not overwhelmingly popular and has a growing democratic movement which he has to use all the force of the state to keep some what in control it would not be easier any time later
    I think it may turn out to be a huge mistake maybe even a fatal one for him. he has done what he wanted least he assured the united Europe and made it very clear where Ukraine’s interests are. Blood is flowing now as it has been for some time and will for some time to come, all for one mans vanity let us hope a way can be found that will allow him to suffer as well as everyone else. before the end.

  68. microraptor says

    lumipuna @69: To be fair to the Finnish government, they didn’t want to ally with Germany, they wanted to ally with the US and the UK, but Churchill and Roosevelt were both worried about offending Stalin so they rejected the alliance.

  69. John Morales says

    Harking to the post title, it’s war, but it’s not WARRE (war to the knife, as Pournelle put it).

    IOW, semi-serious, but not all-out.

  70. unclefrogy says

    @82
    true but it is only first steps. war like any forest fire also starts from a small thing and engulfs 3M acres before it is under control. war is the hardest thing there is to control.

  71. KG says

    Rob Grigjanis@50,

    That’s a very interesting link, but I wouldn’t necessarily take it as the last word. Notice that strapline:

    National security. For insiders. By insiders

    Simon Miles appears to be an academically respected historian of the Cold War (the article seems to be a reprint or excerpt from a refereed paper), but historians like to overturn previous views, and “national security insiders” may well have motives for downplaying the risk of nuclear war games. I would be completely unsurprised to see future articles challenging Miles’ conclusions.

    Most of us think the issues we should focus on here are the sufferings of the Ukranians (and indeed of those courageous Russians opposing the war, and even of the Russian troops), what our own governments have done, are doing and should do, and the dangers of the war spreading further. But davidc1 (#1, #2, #28, #32) shows us we’re wrong: it’s actually all about him.

  72. KG says

    microraptor@81,

    True – but the Finnish government still had the choice of whether or not to ally with the Nazis; they wanted to get the seized territory back, but were not under immediate threat of further invasion from Stalin, who had agreed a peace treaty with them and was now in a desperate situation after Barbarossa was launched. They chose the Nazi alliance freely, and Finland was extremely lucky to get off as lightly as it did when the Axis lost.

  73. John Morales says

    birgerjohansson:

    I need something to break the depression.

    Fine. Have at it. I get that you are needy.

    But why pollute the thread with it?

    (No, I didn’t bother to watch that which breaks your depression)

    Hey, you know how the USA kept saying Russia would invade Ukraine? It did!

    (Sometimes, it tells the truth)

  74. says

    I don’t see the US as hypocritical for opposing this attack by Russia. The Iraq and Afghanistan invasions were three Presidents and what, 80 percent of the upper and lower house ago. Agendas change and you have a new guy in there now with a arguably better and forward looking plan. At least compared to the orange guy.

    Yes, of course you’re right, this is a brand new administration, especially that fresh faced Biden guy. And since they’re now staunch defenders of human rights and international law they have closed down Guantanamo, rehabilitated its victims and given the land back to Cuba as they should have a couple of decades ago as per international law. They have also stopped the extrajudicial killing of people via drones and in no way did they just seize money belonging to the Afghan people and gave it to Americans. Not to mention all the sanctions they imposed on Turkey and Israel.

  75. John Morales says

    Giliell, um, “they’re” not worse. (Administration is a singular, so that should be “it’s”)

    I mean, it is the USA, so what can one expect?

    In passing, I note Germany is one of the main opponents to sanctioning Russia from SWIFT. Huh, hey?

  76. Louis says

    Whatever else, you have to admire the effort 2022 is putting in to top 2021, 2020, and 2016. I predict 2024 is going to be a bumper year of epic shithousery.

    Unfortunately, unlike everyone else on the internet, I don’t know enough about the politics and history of Russia and that region to have an informed opinion. As I read around the subject elsewhere, however, I have to note and admire the Instantaneous Internet Simultaneous Subject Matter Experts who have managed to pivot from knowing all there is to know about virology, medicine, epidemiology, public health, immunology, and chemical manufacture and regulation, to the politics of Russia, international relations, and the history and geopolitics of everything from the Baltics to the Balkans and probably the Balearics.

    In fact, there’s definitely a load of Balearics going on as per usual.

    Louis

  77. birgerjohansson says

    Swedish major-general Karlis Neretnieks drew attention to a weakness of the Russian plan. If they want to take over Kiev, they need lots of infantry and not just tanks. And infantry in those numbers is what the Russians lack.
    The effort to take the airfield outside Kiev has apparently failed and if they cannot take Kiev as a coup (the way the Germans once took Oslo btw) it will be a long slog, poorly motivated Russian conscripts against highly motivated Ukrainans.

  78. Nomad says

    Well at least we didn’t retaliate. The good people of the world did nothing. Luckily there’s no memorable saying about that kind of thing… or perhaps a historical precedent…

    I know, I know. It’s popular here to argue that we did bad stuff in the past, and that somehow that apparently means Putin gets to get away with the same bad stuff now. I admit I’m baffled by that moral calculus.

    Apparently we owe Putin a free invasion. Does he use it up on Ukraine, or does he get to realize that once he’s got Ukraine he’s got a bunch of NATO members on his new doorstep (since some of us are still pretending this had anything to do with NATO) and therefore he gets to invade a few of them too? Just how many illegal invasions do we owe him before we’re allowed to say something about it?

  79. says

    Apparently, the Russians are now calling what they’re doing a “counter offensive” (according to CNN).

    “Groupings of troops of the DPR and LPR [the self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics] continue counter-offensive operations against units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine with fire support from the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation,” Igor Konashenkov said. “Troops of the DPR … advanced one more kilometer deep into the defense of the nationalist [Ukrainian] battalions in the Volnovakha direction.”

  80. raven says

    I know, I know. It’s popular here to argue that we did bad stuff in the past, and that somehow that apparently means Putin gets to get away with the same bad stuff now. I admit I’m baffled by that moral calculus.

    Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    Just because we started the Vietnam war and invaded Iraq for no good reason, doesn’t have anything to do with Putin’s Russia and their invasion of Ukraine.
    This is the moral calculus.
    Vietnam wrong
    Iraq wrong
    Russia Ukraine wrong.

    FWIW, a huge number of people including Americans, opposed both Vietnam and Iraq, one of them being myself. I’m quite proud of my FBI file.

    Apparently we owe Putin a free invasion.

    Looks like a dead strawperson here, although it is hard to tell since it is so poorly made. Read the thread. Almost all of us are appalled and opposed to this Russian aggression for no discernable reason other than that they outnumber the Ukrainians and they can.

  81. StevoR says

    @70 . robro :

    He thinks he’s smarter than he is because he has had some success. (And like Trump, he’s reputedly mysophobic, which probably doesn’t mean a whole lot other than he may have OCD issues but who doesn’t.)

    FWIW from Wiki but still :

    Some well-known people who suffer (or suffered) from mysophobia include Howard Stern, Nikola Tesla, Howard Hughes, Howie Mandel, Saddam Hussein,[7][8] Vladimir Putin.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mysophobia

    Aussie ABC live news blog here :

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-02-25/live-ukraine-russia-conflict-chernobyl-seized-fighting-continues/100859604

    @ 90. John Morales :

    In passing, I note Germany is one of the main opponents to sanctioning Russia from SWIFT. Huh, hey?

    Seems to me every action that can be applied should be applied. Hold back for what? If ever there was a time to hold nothing (short of actual war & military counter-measures) back against Putin well, if it isn’t now then when

    See also :

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-02-25/swift-us-and-europe-waiting-on-one-key-sanction-against-russia/100863286

  82. StevoR says

    My not overly original thoughts on the invasion of Ukraine by Putin’s Russian forces fro whatever little they might be worth. I’m not an expert on the politics and history here. I’m watching on in shock and sadness same as – I guess – most people. So. What can I say? This?

    Nobody deserves to be be invaded.

    Nobody deserves to be occupied.

    Putin may “triumph” temporarily at the cost of likely thousands of dead, Ukrainians and Russians, soliders and civilians alike but he’s already just lost because this will make him and his nation a pariah.

    It is not acceptable.

    The world needs to make that clear right now.

    Russia should be hit not just with financial and economic sanctions but sporting ones and diplomatic ones as well.

    Putin should be listed as a war criminal and if he ever leaves Russia, he should be immediately arrested and jailed as such. Russia – and its complict puppet state of Belarus – should find itself isolated and alone in the starkest, clearest way on the international stage. They should stripped of all UN powers and offices – and the UN itself badly needs some major reforms and shaking up. Russia needs to get the treatment that Apartheid South Africa found it couldn’t outlast and then some. (Yes, some other nations arguably need that sort of pressure applied against them too. But that’s for another day..)

    There need to be real consequences and it is my hope that if they are made strongly enough and soon enough, the Russian people and Russian generals who can see the damage this is doing might hopefully remove Putin themselves, end the war and apologise and finally accept the end of Russian imperialist fantasy. That would be an optimal scenario.

    Ukraine may be captured but its people will not surrender their national identity, their culture, their desire to be free of imposed foreign rule. There will be a terrible price – it is already being paid as I type – but Ukraine isn’t going away and Putin’s fantasy that this could work is likely to be counter-productive and generate a huge swell of hatred of Russia and for things Russian inside Ukraine that will drive the two far further apart than he could have imagined.

    There will be lots of implications; lots of fall out. (Yes, an unfortunate word given the capture of Chernobyl earlier today/ yesterday.) But “wars of choice – wars launched needlessly under transparently false pretexts – rarely end well for those who launched them. Putin could have learnt that from American mistakes in Afghanistan and Iraq. He could have learnt it from the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan as well.

    I really thought Putin knew better, was smarter and wouldn’t go as far as he has. Wouldn’t cross that line of launching an actual full scale invasion of Ukraine.

    I was wrong about that. Maybe I’m wrong about this too.

    But I hope not.

    War is not the answer to political problems in the end. It does tend to backfire and cause much more harm and grief and not end as planned.

  83. raven says

    Well at least we didn’t retaliate. The good people of the world did nothing.

    Not correct.

    We are putting sanctions against Russia and their ruling class. Sternly worded complaints and speeches have been made. Comment threads worldwide are full of outrage against the Russian invasion. I’m sure the Russian Red army high command are worried about what we are saying on…Freethoughtblogs right now.

    Yeah, we and the world haven’t done much.

    But, what can we do anyway?
    Got me. No idea. I’ve never commanded armed forces anywhere or ran a nation.

    I’d consider sending the Ukrainians weapons for asymmetric warfare that were used against us in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan with great effectiveness. This would include Stinger type anti-aircraft missiles, portable anti-tank missiles, IEDs, and whatever else works.

  84. StevoR says

    Watching Colbert now – well ad break this second but anyhow. – can’t sleep. Epic Colbert monologue with Julia Ioffe interview coming up in minutes , South Oz time.. Yesterday for y’all in the States.

  85. KG says

    I know, I know. It’s popular here to argue that we did bad stuff in the past, and that somehow that apparently means Putin gets to get away with the same bad stuff now. – Nomad@93

    Can you produce some examples for us? Even one?

  86. davidc1 says

    All you ratbags,leave John M alone.
    I don’t think Finland wanted to be on anyone’s side during WW2,I think they just wanted to be left alone.
    I feel sorry for King Boris of Bulgaria,under pressure from adolf he declared war on the UK and America,
    but he wouldn’t declare war on Russia.

  87. says

    So, why is Germany blocking measures like kicking them out of Swift?
    Short answer : money, long answer gas. Because for the last 15 years, we completely fucked up changing our energy dependcy, killing 100k jobs in solar, we still rely heavily on gas import.

  88. birgerjohansson says

    StevoR @ 99
    Colbert and other late night hosts use humor to present news that otherwise would be hard to endure.

  89. NitricAcid says

    @59 “Marcus Ranum, blf, et alia – So why would the Russians immediately grab the reactor site?
    Do they perhaps anticipate Ukrainian resistance using radwaste to poison/scare occupying troops?”

    Kyiv is right downstream from Chernobyl. There is virtually no chance that Ukrainians would mess with radwaste in that area. Now, a certain Russian dictator with a penchant for poisoning his enemies, on the other hand….

  90. NitricAcid says

    “Demilitarization and denazification…” means “You’re not allowed to have an army, just in case we want to take more of your territory” and “Anyone who opposes Russian reuinification is a Nazi, and must be shot.”

  91. StevoR says

    @ 105. birgerjohansson : “Colbert and other late night hosts use humor to present news that otherwise would be hard to endure.”

    Yes and Colbert , in my view along with Samantha Bee and Corden do that very well.

    Also Colbert often has some very interesting and good interviews with people that are worth listening to like

    Julia Ioffe here

    and

    here .

    As well as his comical but often thought-provoking and good point making

    monologues as seen last night my time.

  92. davidc1 says

    @102 You silver tongued devil,you.
    My first post was satire,as for the second one,I have already been spoken to sharply
    about it,and I have promised not to do it again.

  93. lumipuna says

    Re my 69: Now I’m seeing signs of growing NATO interest in Finland. Also, I’m leaning personally more toward joining NATO than before.

    There’s talk of a possible NATO referendum. I’m just here thinking, we could also do it quickly and quietly without risking a Brexit-style shitshow with endless debate and Russian interference and uncertainty of what exactly the people wanted in the end.

  94. Pierce R. Butler says

    lumipuna @ # 64 & NitricAcid @ # 106 – Mother Jones has an interview with Kate Brown, author of a leading book on the Chernobyl disaster and its effects, which supports your conclusion:

    … they have all these troops in Belarus and the shortest way to get to Kyiv is through the Chernobyl zone. Belarus, the border, is located 6 kilometers from the Chernobyl plant.

  95. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Giliell
    Have you considered the possibility that the climate scientists are right when they say that solar and wind won’t work on their own and that nuclear power is going to be a necessary component? Germany has become more dependent on Russian natural gas, but that’s not because of insufficient support for solar. It’s because of too much support for solar. You have reality backwards.

  96. wzrd1 says

    ‘“Top officials in leading NATO countries have allowed themselves to make aggressive comments about our country, therefore I hereby order the minister of Defense and the chief of the General Staff [of the RF Armed Forces] to place the Russian Army Deterrence Force on combat alert,” Putin said in televised meeting with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov.’

    So, sanctions deserve military saber rattling, wonder what cutting them off from SWIFT rates?

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