Russian troops are retreating from the area around Kiev, and leaving behind the wreckage of war. The recently liberated town of Bucha is an example: dead civilians left in the streets, some bound up and shot. The survivors have horror stories about the brutal occupation. There are mass graves. The Russians have abandoned any pretense of civilized behavior.

At least there are also signs that the Russian invasion cost the invaders heavily, too.


  1. F.O. says

    It didn’t cost enough to the invaders.

    It costed a lot to poor conscript sods that were thrown in a meat grinder without any clue of what was happening or why they were there.

    The Kremlin even said that the attack that costed them 10 000 of their own soldiers was a distraction maneuver.

    They don’t give a fuck, not even about the people who are nominally their own.

    No wonder that Ukrainians are fighting with everything they’ve got. If they lose they will end up under these sociopaths.

  2. says

    They’re also leaving landmines behind. Landmines don’t care if you are a soldier or a child. It’s going to take decades to clear out this mess. Vicious assholes.

  3. Susan Montgomery says

    @3. Now, now. Our esteemed host would never allow that. Instead, let’s organize a benefit concert. Crunchy vibes are much more powerful than bombs.

    I’m sure if we hugged Putin over some herbal tea and biscuits, his heart will grow three sizes and everything will be lovely again.

  4. raven says

    I saw this last night and can’t think of anything to say really.
    Calling them uncivilized murderers is an understatement but there aren’t enough words in English to express my shock, anger, and contempt.

    I can see why the Ukrainians are fighting and fighting so hard.
    What choice do they have?
    They are looking at Russian genocide in their near future otherwise.
    Already, 4 million Ukrainians are refugees, 10% of their population. And the war might well just be getting started.

    A few million more refugees, a few million dead, a brutal Russian occupation forever, millions more deported to the Russian Gulag slave labor camps, and Ukrainians as a people would end up being history.

  5. raven says

    There are reports that the Russians have been rounding up civilians in Ukraine and deporting them to Russia. This is a common ethnic cleansing tactic of theirs. They have done it a lot.

    Lynna posted this last night on the Infinite thread.
    The original source is the Washington Post.

    Thus spoke two survivors of Operation Priboi, the code name for the forced deportation by the Soviet authorities of more than 40,000 Latvian men, women and children on March 25, 1949.

    Those nightmarish memories might also have issued from the tens of thousands of Estonians and Lithuanians who were likewise swept up that day by flying squadrons of Soviet troops and dispatched to Siberia. A total of half-a-million residents of the three Baltic states were deported between 1941 and 1952.

    One of the tactics the Soviet Russians use is to ethnically cleanse the ethnic groups around them that they conquer.

    They send them to Siberia to slave labor camps and most of the time they are never heard from again. In this case, they captured and deported 1/2 million Baltics, that would be Lithuanians, Latvians, and Estonians.
    They deported them for being the Intelligensia. Educated people, artists, scientists, leaders, professionals like doctors and lawyers. The goal is to wreck their society.

  6. microraptor says

    Ray Ceeya @2: Landmines are the glitter of war. Once you use them, you never get them cleaned up.

  7. says

    It may be true, or not. The fog of war. The first casualty of war as it were. All of this may be happening or it may not. It is frustrating. I was looking up stuff for other things and I was easily able to go to reports from December 8 and 9, 1941 about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and there I found out that a destroyer and a couple of merchant ships were destroyed. That was all. This may all be true and then again?

  8. raven says

    Wikpedia: Polish population transfers:

    According to official data, during the state-controlled expulsion between 1945 and 1946, roughly 1,167,000 Poles left the westernmost republics of the Soviet Union, less than 50% of those who registered for population transfer. Another major ethnic Polish transfer took place after Stalin’s death, in 1955–1959.[3]

    The process is variously known as expulsion,[1] deportation,[4][5] depatriation,[6][7][8] or repatriation,[9] depending on the context and the source.

    The Russians did something similar to the Polish. After World War II, they stole around 20% of Poland. There was one minor problem. It was occupied by…the Polish. So they deported them to Poland. End of problem.

  9. raven says

    Russian tactics to keep their captive ethnic groups in line always involve brutality.
    We’ve seen it with the Polish, the Latvians, Lithuanians, Estonians, and others.
    By the time Russia managed to reclaim Chechnya, about 20% of the Chechen population were simply dead.

    There are 44 million Ukrainians.
    Using the Chechen example, we are ultimately looking at 8.8 million dead.
    Will it happen? Who knows.

    Could the Russians do it? Sure. As Stalin famously said, one person dead is a tragedy. A million people dead is a statistic. Stalin killed about 8 million people in purges, terrorism, and famines. Two or three million of those were…Ukrainians.

  10. says

    @8 Too True. They’re still digging up landmines from the Vietnam War from 50 years ago. Evil disgusting things. I don’t know if their deployment is considered a war crime, but they should be. Indiscriminate murder of civilians should always be a war crime. The USA’s hands are no cleaner than anyone else’s. In fact the USA invented saturation bombing. Dresden, Tokyo, Hanoi. But I can say we could stop this before it gets more out of control. It’s the right thing to do.

  11. says

    Looks like Fallujah, Mosul, Raqqa. Funny how destroyed cities are ultimately similar regardless of who did the destroying and how high their moral ground was.

    To those who expect Putin to suffer, I predict he’ll suffer as much as Kissinger or Cheney.

  12. raven says

    Ronald Couch:

    …the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and there I found out that a destroyer and a couple of merchant ships were destroyed. That was all.

    It was different on our timeline.


    The attack killed 2,403 U.S. personnel, including 68 civilians, and destroyed or damaged 19 U.S. Navy ships, including 8 battleships. The three aircraft carriers of the U.S. Pacific Fleet were out to sea on maneuvers. The Japanese were unable to locate them and were forced to return home with the U.S. carrier fleet intact.

    What color is the sky in your world?

  13. StevoR says

    @ Marcus Ranum : Nah, I predict that Putin will suffer a lot more than that and likely already is.

  14. says

    I hope so!

    I hate all the power hungry bastards. I don’t understand why people everywhere don’t rise up and guillotine the lot.

  15. StevoR says

    @ raven : Er, I think that was the point, Ronald Couch was trying tomake in that the truth is hidden & a casuality of war which also .. yeah, dunno. Not saying I agree with him but think that was what he was getting at..maybe?

    Think at the time Pearl Harbour was bombed itwa smade a casus eblli and thus the destrcution and cost was made pubkic for teh outrage and grief and desire for revenge to get whipped up. Liek theydid with the Alamo and the sinking of the Lusitania and the battleship ( the Maine?) that started the Spanish-Amercan war..

    The bombing of Darwin (in Oz) OTOH, was a whole other story..


    in this regard with the truth kept very secret at the time..

    Do Ithink we’re not being told tehfullstroy here? Quite possibly. Just what is being kept forom us? Dunno. natch.

  16. StevoR says

    @ Marcus Ranum : Me too.

    I guess because it just isn’t that easy especially with so many brain-washed by media and culture.

  17. says

    Marcus Ranum@16

    I don’t understand why people everywhere don’t rise up and guillotine the lot.

    Because shitty regimes like Putin’s generally have masses of “internal security” troops (Росгвардия) to break the heads of or disappear troublemakers.

  18. climateteacherjohnj says

    Notice that “our” own oligarchs skip past the sanctions as too “onerous”, “non-productive”, and have excuses such as, “but, we’re taking care of our poor employees” (that last one was Nestles’). The sanctions did stop cold any kind of exchange between average people, small-scale farmers, craftspeople, and artists in Russia. People trying to have agency in their own lives and who could have served as a bridge for peace. The cooperation we had in space was a beacon of reason prevailing over the Cold War… too much I suppose, for the oligarchs who now want their own private space yachts. “Let’s make things hot again!” they reason.
    I put “our” as in American oligarchs (some call them billionaires) because these monsters have no country. They are an entire country’s worth of concentrated wealth and capital for their exclusive use and control and beholden ONLY to their narcissistic supply of, “more, more, more.”
    These are not countries at war. These are oligarchs at play with planetary life itself, turning it ALL into money as fast as they can:
    Koch, Nestles, Cargill, Exxon, Shell Oil, Deripaska, Bolsonaro, Putin (& briefly, Putin’s Trump), bin Salman, Yiming, Bezos, Musk…
    Look at how they benefitted from the ongoing pandemic. LOOK at how they benefit from war.
    Look. At. It.
    Let’s be DONE with them, FFS!

  19. whheydt says

    Re: Ray Ceeya @ #3…
    Better would be to ship him to The Hague to tried for war crimes.

  20. whheydt says

    As regards the attack on Pearl Harbor… My father served on board the USS Utah. Fortunately–for him–it was in the early 1930s. (The Utah is still there, upside down. Just not was well known as the Arizona.)

  21. whheydt says

    Re: Raven @ #10…
    Functionally, the USSR picked up Poland and moved it about 150 miles west. The took the eastern part of Poland and gave a roughly equal slice of eastern Germany to Poland. The USSR seized East Prussia for itself. The city of Kaliningrad used to be Koernigsberg, the traditional site for Prussian coronations.

    Perhaps Putin needs to be reminded that Russia stole by conquest the Kirelian Peninsula (Winter War, 1939-40, Finland), East Prussia (end of WW2), and a chunk of eastern Poland (end of WW2). If he wants former Imperial Russian territory back, those countries have as least equal claims to chunks of what is now Russia.

  22. Rob Grigjanis says

    Ray Ceeya @12:

    In fact the USA invented saturation bombing.

    Nah, the Italians and Germans invented it (Spanish Civil War, Barcelona), the Germans continued in WWII, the Brits responded in kind, and the Americans (late to the party again) and Brits perfected it.

  23. René says

    Rob, @24:

    (Spanish Civil War, Barcelona)

    Shouldn’t that be “(Spanish Civil War, Guernica)? Gernika in the local Vascuence.

  24. René says

    WRT the war crimes of the U. S. of A., I have read half of Rogue State, from a rather unliterary author who desktop edited it himself. If only a third of that half is true — and I believe it is — Murrica is the greatest genocidal power of the last century. España its predecessor.

  25. blf says

    Ronald Couch@9, Confusingly and without supplying any citations (references), claims “I was looking up stuff for other things and I was easily able to go to reports from December 8 and 9, 1941 about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and there I found out that a destroyer and a couple of merchant ships were destroyed.”

    It’s certainly true the early reports were not detailed on the damage and causalities. As one example, from the BBC, Japanese planes bomb Pearl Harbor (7th December):

    Details of the attack in Hawaii are scarce but initial reports say Japanese bombers and torpedo-carrying planes targeted warships, aircraft and military installations in Pearl Harbor, on Oahu, the third largest and chief island of Hawaii.


    At 0755 local time the first wave of between 50 and 150 planes struck the naval base for 35 minutes [actually, 1 hour 15 minutes in total –blf] causing several fires and “untold damage” to the Pacific Fleet.


    There are reports the Hawaiian capital Honolulu was also bombed [it wasn’t, albeit some antiaircraft shells did fall in the area –blf]

    Since those early reports, of course, what happened, and how it happened, is rather well understood.

    It those days there was not the almost-instant sharing of images, etc., by (e.g.) internet. Indeed, a famous incident from the very time of the attack was the live report via radio station KGU in Honolulu was interrupted mid-call by the operator to clear the lines for the emergency services, ‘It is no joke’: How Americans first heard of the Pearl Harbor attack on Dec 7, 1941:

    At this link is the haunting broadcast from radio station KGU in Honolulu made during the attack. Explosions can be heard through the crackling audio. The signal was sent via telephone lines to NBC New York. “It is no joke; it is a real war,” said the unknown reporter at one point. Near the end of the clip, an operator cuts in and interrupts the broadcast to clear the lines for emergency calls and the report abruptly ends.

    The transcript at the embedded link (before the operator interrupts):

    Hello, NBC. Hello, NBC. This is KTU in Honolulu, Hawaii. I am speaking from the roof of the Advertiser Publishing Company Building. We have witnessed this morning the distant view a brief full battle of Pearl Harbor and the severe bombing of Pearl Harbor by enemy planes, undoubtedly Japanese. The city of Honolulu has also been attacked and considerable damage done. This battle has been going on for nearly three hours. One of the bombs dropped within fifty feet of KTU tower. It is no joke. It is a real war. The public of Honolulu has been advised to keep in their homes and away from the Army and Navy. There has been serious fighting going on in the air and in the sea. The heavy shooting seems to be . . . a little interruption. We cannot estimate just how much damage has been done, but it has been a very severe attack. The Navy and Army appear now to have the air and the sea under control.

    Note that a live broadcast apparently during the attack gets details wrong, such as the elapsed time and where some of the attacker’s bombs fell.

  26. Reginald Selkirk says

    Here’s a story I didn’t understand:
    Russia accuses Ukraine of attacking oil depot
    Russia claims that Ukraine used helicopters to attack an oil depot just across the border in Russia, and this has them upset. I can’t figure out why. Is blowing up infrastructure in someone else’s country a bad thing or something?

  27. unclefrogy says

    I was listening to a podcast on “background briefing” the other day and was reminded of the more crass reason for Putin’s Russian incursion into Ukraine. The detail i have not heard much about is the vast amounts of untapped oil and gas reserves in eastern Ukraine and the Black Sea. Politics and Russian history be damned it is money from oil he wants. He is just a mobster a boss of bosses. just a small greedy minded man
    If his history to date did not prepare you for the carnage he is leaving behind I am sorry for your shock. The people of Ukraine are do not share any delusions I think

  28. Susan Montgomery says

    @26. And? Are you saying that we should stand by and let another genocide happen?

    “Man is conceived in sin and born in corruption and he passeth from the stink of the didie to the stench of the shroud. There is always something.”

    Robert Penn Warren

  29. fergl says

    Alec Salmond, former leader of the SNP., Scottish National Party, who are corrently in power of the Scottish parliament, hosts a radio programme on the Russian propaganda station RT. IMO he has brought shame on Scotland.

  30. wonderpants says

    It’s grimly amusing that Putin claimed Russia was invading Ukraine to stop fascists/neo-Nazis there, and now it turns out his army has been borrowing from the worst pages of the Nazi playbook

  31. wzrd1 says

    What’s interesting is not a soul here realizes the predicament that the Russian troops are now in. Mass graves, mass kidnapping (you don’t deport local citizens, you disappear or kidnap them), absolutely no concern for the welfare and safety of noncombatant civilians are all war crimes.
    Specifically, under the Geneva and Hague Conventions, crimes that reprisals, to include summary execution of EPW’s is authorized.
    The Russian leadership knows that, their line officers know that, still they insisted upon legally sticking their collective dicks into a meatgrinder.
    At any point, Zelensky can lawfully order captured Russian prisoners executed or pretty much anything shy of torturing them to death under the “laws of war”, to which Russia is a signatory and ratifier.

    As for mines, there are many times, but two primary types of concern, antipersonnel and antitank. I really don’t care about any moderniah antitank mines, they typically need 350+ PSI to trigger, so no pedestrians or children are going to turn into mist from them. Modern mines would have weak points that weather would disable after a set period, but I have no faith that Russia didn’t simply empty out their old stock and the things will remain for generations, slowly corroding the firing pin springs until they’re just unstable high explosives in the ground. One upside is that anything buried above the frost line would eventually displace to the surface.
    Antipersonnel mines aren’t so well behaved and I honestly have no faith that Russia didn’t also leave them all about. Worse, Russia isn’t a signatory to the Ottowa Convention. Of course, neither is the US. because good guys leave antipersonnel mine about to vaporize children or at least a child’s entire limb or something.
    Oh, shortly before leaving the Offal Office, Trump rescinded prohibitions for US forces use of antipersonnel land mines. The dude is like herpes, the gift that keeps on giving!

    As a retired soldier, minefields are of great military utility to deny access to an area for enemy forces, especially armored forces and logistical support vehicles. They’re also of use where limited personnel have to secure a large area, but clearing foliage is equally of use and far less harmful. Minefields should be meticulously documented, with the highest degree of accuracy possible and marked in ways to ensure nobody can unintentionally enter them.
    And before leaving, cleared and a type that degrades after a set time into harmlessness should always be used – just in case you miss some.
    Personally, I prefer command detonated types, as they’re trivial to locate from the command point – just follow the wire, insert the safety clip/pin, remove it and place it with its peers in a deep hole and blow the lot of them once done.
    If you can’t tell, I recognize a military utility for them, don’t mean I like them at all.

    As for Putin, I don’t advocate for a bullet, that’s wasteful. Russia brought back defenestration though, one whistleblower physician allegedly jumped from his ICU window while on a ventilator, so turnabout is fair play and traditional in Russia. It’s also much more ecologically sound.
    In Russia, the window jumps around you.

    @Susan Montgomery, it seems that you are seeking one thing, a rather ancient thing at that, casus belli, literally “occasion for war” to justify it. So, who are you volunteering to fight in this war that would escalate much more widely? Are reprisal atrocities also authorized, as we did with the SS in France, the firebombings of Hamburg and Dresden or even wider? Or do we stop just short of the Tokyo firebombing campaign, which incinerated a quarter million people?
    Or do we genocide the genocidal?
    Maybe cobalt-60 salted nukes, since Putin already threatened those? “On the beach” in real life, sounds entertaining, but I prefer my cobalt-60 in a mug so that I can admire the element in the open air in visible quantity. Well, that and as a seat warmer…
    Leave everyone with that healthy glow about them – well, assuming that you can see in gamma.

    BTW, I suspect that the petroleum storage facility was a warning to Russia, part “we can visit you too”, part “we can financially fuck you too”. Escalation would follow with eventually blowing the LNG pipelines going through, likely reciprocating in civilian involvement, unless my forecast suddenly has gone amiss.

  32. says

    Murrica is the greatest genocidal power of the last century.

    I don’t think it makes sense to compare, because different genocides have signatures that burn in the memory more than just casualty counts. US genocide has its high altitude bombing, the 3rd reich had its death camps, Rwanda its machete murders, British India its quiet starvation of over 1mn whose rice was taken and stored in case Britons needed it. All these things suck horribly and the perpetrators should be hounded and their strategy defeated as punishment. The decision-makers ought to be hanged or spend their lives atoning. But that won’t happen because virtually all of humanity’s rulers are examples of humanity’s worst – and ultimately they stick together. Remember the pearl-clutching when Biden said Putin should be pulled out of power? Well, that can’t be said because if Putin’s crimes merit that (they do) Obama and Biden’s do, too. Again we can’t compare head to head but who cares? A guy who murders 10,000 people is maybe worse arguably than a guy who personally kills 20 but they’re both murderous pieces of shit. Let them fight about whose worse in their community of murderous pieces of shit.

  33. tinkerer says

    Susan Montgomery @4 wrote:

    Now, now. Our esteemed host would never allow that. Instead, let’s organize a benefit concert. Crunchy vibes are much more powerful than bombs.

    I’m sure if we hugged Putin over some herbal tea and biscuits, his heart will grow three sizes and everything will be lovely again.

    Oh do fuck off, Susan, you’re full of shit as always. For one thing PZ hasn’t expressed his opinion on that particular course of action, and for another you’re always calling for violence from others but your own contribution seems to be restricted to posting on a blog.

  34. tacitus says

    Russia already has vast reserves of oil and gas. Conquering Ukraine for its natural resources doesn’t move the needle significantly enough to justify the invasion.

    Putin has been in power for 20 years and has already consolidated his grip on Russia to the point where he will be its sole ruler until he dies. He’s made it clear for many years that breaking up the Soviet Union was a terrible idea, and that Ukraine belongs with Russia. The Baltic States are extremely concerned that they would be next if Ukraine falls. The bottom line is that invasion is part of Putin’s fever dream of restoring the Russian Empire to it’s rightful glory.

  35. Susan Montgomery says

    @34 & 36 well, what do suggest we do? Groove waves have thus far proven rather unreliable. Why don’t we just sit back while Ukrainians are raped, tortured and murdered and wait until a free and easy solution which keeps our hands clean presents itself?

  36. ajbjasus says

    Check this out. For real stomach churning anger, you can even watch the video of the interview.

    “A politician from President Putin’s United Russia Party has said the military campaign in Ukraine is going “absolutely” according to plan, before adding the plan hadn’t been shared with their parliament.

    Maria Butina, a member of Russia’s State Duma, told HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur that the operation could go more quickly if Moscow wanted it to but forces are taking care to avoid harm to civilians.”

    The United Nations Human Rights Office said on Tuesday that 1,179 civilians had been killed and 1,860 injured since Russia began its attack on Ukraine.”

  37. says

    At any point, Zelensky can lawfully order captured Russian prisoners executed or pretty much anything shy of torturing them to death under the “laws of war”, to which Russia is a signatory and ratifier.

    You are referring to “retorsion” – a specific form of war crime for which the defense is “yeah but they did war crimes first.” That’s an affirmative defense and it does not mean that attempts at retorsion are not war crimes. Interestingly, troops could be ordered to shoot prisoners in such a situation – normally an illegal order, but if they do they are still war criminals.

    I see Susan chimed in with some of that augustinian justification for types of war. I recommend ignoring augustinian justifications, since they were mostly just a way for christians to justify killing other christians – which they are not supposed to do, yet somehow manage to do like it’s going out of style. More sophisticated frameworks for justifying war [see: Cécile Fabré on the moral justification for defensive war] argue for rejecting all causes of offensive or preemptive warfare, and further argue that even defensive warfare is problematic but most people will do it anyway. My point is that Augustine is hardly a moral authority and his arguments are simple authoritarianism – hardly worth the words expended on them.

  38. ondrbak says

    @unclefroggy & @tacitus
    Russia does indeed have enough gas of its own that it doesn’t need the gas from Donbass or the Black sea. But Ukraine does. There’s a history of Russia’s using its gas supply to coerce Ukraine into submission. Developing its own deposits would give Ukraine energy independence from Russia which would translate into economic and ultimately political independence. Ukraine could even eventually become a net exporter of gas, reducing Russia’s ability to use gas as an ‘economic weapon’ against the EU. This all could have been at least in part behind the annexation of Crimea and instigating separatism in Donbass in 2014. But the latest full-scale invasion started mainly because all Putin’s attempts to establish some kind of control over Ukraine by non-military means, such as economic blackmail or pouring money into political parties, largely failed.

  39. says

    By the way, one really delightful thing Biden could do, to further pigeonhole Putin and deflect some of the well-earned tu quoque aimed arlt the US would be to ratify the US’ acceptance of the International Criminal Court – a thing the US his resisted mightily. Imagine how butthurt US ultranationalists would be! They’d gnash their teeth till they wore down to powder.

    But of course Biden won’t do that because it’d tarnish his and Obama’s legacy of murderous drone-warfare.

    By the way, a fun bit of mental kung fu is regarding those drones: “it’s not a war crime because we’re not signatories!” Washington yells, “but don’t you dare even think of doing that to us or we’ll treat you like we did that war criminal Solemani.”

  40. says

    By the way, one really delightful thing Biden could do, to further pigeonhole Putin and deflect some of the well-earned tu quoque aimed arlt the US would be to ratify the US’ acceptance of the International Criminal Court – a thing the US his resisted mightily. Imagine how butthurt US ultranationalists would be! They’d gnash their teeth till they wore down to powder.

    But of course Biden won’t do that because it’d tarnish his and Obama’s legacy of murderous drone-warfare.

    By the way, a fun bit of mental kung fu is regarding those drones: “it’s not a war crime because we’re not signatories!” Washington yells, “but don’t you dare even think of doing that to us or we’ll treat you like we did that war criminal Solemani.”

  41. ardipithecus says

    Getting rid of Putin won’t change much. His replacement would be another of the scummiest of scumfucks, because that is what it takes to get to the top in that kind of regime.

  42. unclefrogy says

    one of the reasons I like the program “Lucifer” on Netflix besides for all the minority actors and sexy kick ass demons is Lucifer getting to take the murderous assholes to hell with such disdainful delight.
    would be kind of nice if it were true.

  43. unclefrogy says

    there is no justification for anyone robbing a bank either or breaking into your house to steel your valuables.The oil and gas are not a justification they are a motivation. the greedy mobster always wants more specifically everyone else’s. more money more power and he does not care who gets in his way

  44. whheydt says

    Re; Reginald Selkirk @ #28…
    That’s been an interesting story. The Russians are asserting that Ukraine forces did the deed. Ukraine government first said that they would not “deny nor confirm” that they had anything to do with it. Later, Ukraine said they didn’t do it. (And that implies a Russian “false flag” operation.) The US assessment is that it was a Ukrainian attack. The BBC cited previous experience with Ukrainian chopper pilots with extreme low level, night, fast flight operations (needing fighting in Donbas because of Russian-supplied AA gear), lending credence to the capability for Ukraine to have made the attack.

    I can see why Ukraine would do it. Draw a parallel to the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo to show Russia that Ukraine still has teeth and can do damage, not just defend themselves. The Russians have denied that the fuels there have anything to do with military supplies…a story that looks fishy on the face of it, as the facility is owned by the state oil “company”…i.e. the Russian government. If it does supply the Russian military, then it is clearly a military target.

    So wheels, within wheels, within wheels.

  45. Susan Montgomery says

    @42 So, what’s the fancy name for standing around with your thimb up your ass?

  46. Susan Montgomery says

    @42 in any case, I’m actually channeling your pal Chairman Mao:

    “We are advocates of the abolition of war, we do not want war; but war can only be abolished through war, and in order to get rid of the gun it is necessary to take up the gun.”

  47. StevoR says

    @ ^ Susan Montgomery : Where do you get the ide athat Marcus Ranum is friedns with or a supporter of long dead Chinese totalitarian dictator Mao?

  48. John Morales says

    I must admit, when I first saw the images from the first few days of the war, where civilians were sassing the Russian troops, I feared this would soon enough occur.

    This is what actual wars do.

    (quite aside from the waste of lives and treasure — horror and suffering)

  49. vucodlak says

    @ Susan Montgomery

    There’s a massive difference between refusing to engage in asinine ‘tough’ posturing in an internet comments section and being unwilling to condone or commit violence.

  50. says

    @42 So, what’s the fancy name for standing around with your thimb up your ass?

    Someone good with Latin could come up with “warrior of the comfortable chair” and that would be about right.

    My army service was 1983-1989 and I have an honorable discharge in spite of refusing to attend reserve drills for 2 of those years. Another term I always liked was one my dad popped out once: “warrior in principle” as opposed to “principled warrior.” I didn’t quit out of principle, it was more boredom than pacifism.

    How about you? Are you a member in good standing of the elite chairborne keyboarders regiment? Have you ever carried a weapon that could kill or pointed it at someone? I find advocating violence is an important political process since positive politics are easy to ignore. It’s the old “if you want peace you gotta make troublemakers go do it elsewhere.” The old M-60 I carried is more effective at that than a browser and snarky comments.

    I’m actually channeling your pal Chairman Mao:
    “We are advocates of the abolition of war, we do not want war; but war can only be abolished through war, and in order to get rid of the gun it is necessary to take up the gun.”

    Unlike you, Mao had some deep thoughts about, and understanding of, political violence. It’s easy to cherry-pick quotes from him that serve any of many agendas, because he pursued power in many ways during his life. He was a thoughtful person, who would probably have ordered most of us here murdered for being useless and comfortable in our uselessness. It’s difficult for people with experience in the rough-and-tumble of blogging comment sections to understand how ruthless a person like Mao (or Putin) (or Biden) (or Eisenhower) can be.

    Someone who loves power so much that they come to wield it dispassionately is never a “friend” of mine or any human – you’re not even a bug to them. I have no idea why you thought to imply that I am a Maoist; I’m more of a Jacobin really. You’re probably better off not making assumptions about me.

  51. numerobis says

    whheydt: The Ukrainian line is “I didn’t do it and anyway they deserved it”.

    They did it. They just see no positive reason to acknowledge it. They get to play the same gaslighting games that Russia always plays.

    Russia complained that this bombing of an oil depot was not conducive to peace talks. Whereas of course massacring civilians is, I guess.

  52. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Russia expected to win the war in 3 days. You don’t expect that many losses in three days. There were reports of Russians bringing mobile crematoriums. Given the top-down planning of everything, this makes no sense. You don’t bring mobile crematoriums when you expect so little losses. The idea that the Russians brought them to burn Russian soldier’s bodies to hide the evidence from Russians makes no sense.

    Some other facts. They brought tens of thousands of police with them in the initial invasion. Also, look at what they did to Bucha. There’s only one conclusion: The Russians were planning to take over the country and then kill tens of thousands of Ukrainians (or more), and then to burn their bodies to hide the evidence from the world. That’s why they brought the mobile crematoriums.

    Fuck them all. Fuck every person in the Russian chain of command who knew about this and went along with it silently.

  53. Rob Grigjanis says

    Gerrard @56: The stories about mobile crematoria have been around since 2015 or earlier, and I don’t think they are confirmed. And Russia has been sending their National Guard (aka ‘police’, but more like Putin’s personal army) to Ukraine since 2016 (according to Ukrainian sources) to prevent their own forces from deserting.

    As brutally as the Russians are behaving, I think your “only one conclusion” is way over the top.

  54. birgerjohansson says

    Rob Grigjanis @ 24
    The first terror bombing of civilian targets was of Damascus, done by France 1918 when the arabs- who had liberated themselves- refused to be “liberated” by the French (who had been promised this slice of the Ottoman empire for their colonial empire).
    -I think the second terror bombing -shortly after WWI- was done to the population of North Marocco after they refused to accept the colonial regime of Spain.
    -There were also plenty of bombings of the kurds in Iraq by the RAF in the 1920s after the British forgot the kurds had been promises independence.
    And -to take an American example- during the Tulsa massacre, whites dropped improvised bombs on black neighborhoods from aircraft. Not as effective as Guernica, but I assume it is the thought that counts.

  55. R. L. Foster says

    I was a navy hospital corpsman (medic) and my job was to save lives, not take them. Seeing what those Russian ‘soldiers’ have done in Bucha makes my blood boil. As bad as our men can be at times, none of the marines I served with would have ever done anything like that. If any one of them had shot a civilian on a bicycle in the face just out of spite he would have answered to the rest of us. It wouldn’t have been pretty. A court martial wouldn’t have been necessary.

    A couple of weeks back I watched that horrible video of the mortar round killing a fleeing mother, her child and the family dogs in a pet carrier. I was at my computer at the time and I let out a string of loud “fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!” At the cry of “medic!” and I popped out of my chair. My wife came running. My eyes were welling with tears. I felt helpless. I knew if I’d been there I might have saved a life. I told her that if I was 25 years younger I’d be on my way to Europe. I swear, I haven’t been so angry in a very long time. I never gave much thought about Russians before this war, but, now? Damn, do I ever hate them.

  56. M'thew says

    Hardly mentioned here are the rapes perpetrated by the invaders. It’s a war, and all the ugliness of that uniquely human activity come to pass.
    I think the average Russian would be equally horrified to know what is perpetrated in the name of their country, but Putin has succeeded in shielding most of them from reality, drowning them in a torrent of propaganda about “special military operation”, “nazis” and “Ukrainian provocations” (the latest spin from the Kremlin in order to deny any responsibility for the torture, mass murder and other crimes against humanity in Bucha and other places).
    I feel like I want to divorce homo sapiens, but which species should I then join? Which species would have me?

  57. wzrd1 says

    @40, I used the term that I wanted to use. You used “right to war”, suggesting a just war and there’s no fucking thing as a just war. There is justification for war, that does not make it just, only what one rationalizes that justifies mass murder on an industrial scale.
    But, since we’re being ever so just, let’s spread the punishment around and launch our 2500 warheads, Russia can launch their 2700, unless of course they put more back in business after Trump fucked up the New START treaty.
    I really won’t give a shit, as I’m a mile from a major military depot, so I’m right on ground zero and won’t have to go very far to go to the light – it’ll be coming to me. But, we’ll be ever so just in our warfare and simply cut the middleman out of the pain and anguish.
    Or maybe do a few at a time until it escalates and see how many of his warheads Putin actually did salt with cobalt, like he threatened to do with his hypersonic missile.

    As for Putin’s reason for Ukraine, let’s see, loss of Russian prestige after the Soviet Union fell, loss of a warm water port (seriously, do you see Turkey trying to bottle up a Russian fleet any time before the heat death of the universe?), throughway ownership of more land that their pipelines run through, containing NATO (don’t get me started on Hungary joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, it’s landlocked, but more to irritate Putin with, although there’s noise about bouncing their ‘provisional’ membership). Oh, can’t forget one official “justification”, courtesy of the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Pride Parades…
    Nah, it’s the ports, hence the pivot from Kyiv to the south and holding the east.
    Pity that they didn’t listen to the suggestion of letting Russia join NATO, which would’ve robbed him of any “justification” to play a game of Go in Europe. Complete with his nuclear blackmail of the US, obviating the entire notion of MAD.
    No matter how you slice it, nobody’s coming out of this mess not smelling of shit.

  58. whheydt says

    Re; numerobis @ #56…
    Yeah…. And they’ll not do it again if they spot another likely target.

  59. arrow1 says

    Saw this on twitter which some might appreciate:

    “Historians puzzle at how Mosul Iraq, a city of 3 million, was flattened twice with American airstrikes in 2003 and 2017, without a single photograph of dead bodies being published.”

  60. numerobis says

    Rob@59: the crematoria may be fake but the torturing and murders started immediately. Not entirely surprising given the genocidal language Putin used in the lead-up to war.

  61. numerobis says

    Word now is that the next town over has even worse massacres.

    Funny how jrkrideau hasn’t been around in this thread to explain to us how this is all Ukraine’s fault.

  62. raven says

    These atrocities of the Russian and their army aren’t entirely pointless.
    Part of it is just terrorism. Killing people and leaving the bodies strewn about is going to quiet down the occupied population.
    Part of it is cultural genocide. Some of the people being targeted are the Ukrainian elites and leaders. The Russians have done this before, in Poland and the Baltics during and after World War 2.

    Retropolis Long before Ukrainian deportations, Soviets abducted Baltic citizens
    By Gordon Sander April 2, 2022 at 7:00 a.m. EDT

    Most of the estimated 60,000 Latvian, Estonian and Lithuanian “enemies of the people” who were swept up in that lightning operation and herded aboard Siberia-bound railway wagons were the men of the Baltic elite, including educators, writers, lawyers and other professionals, along with their families. More than 10 percent were Jewish;
    “I don’t know if currently in Ukraine they are selecting deported people by ethnicity, language, education or social status,” said Jagodin,
    “but in both 1941 and 1949, one of the Soviets’ main goals was to execute the elite and people who would keep Estonian culture, language and identity alive.”

    It is an old tactic.
    When the Babylonians conquered Israel, the Israelis they deported to Babylon were the elite of Jerusalem and Israel.

  63. numerobis says

    Cultural genocide is barring the teaching of a culture in order to destroy the culture.

    Shooting people is just genocide.

  64. Steve Morrison says


    The Vietnam war? In some parts of France, there is still unexploded ordnance left over from World War I! (Not WWII, WWI.) Evidently it will take centuries before the land is safe again.

  65. says

    @ 11 raven
    Do not compare resettling polish citizens after the war with ethnic purges. Eastern part of pre-war Poland were a mixed ethnically territory were basically each side attempted or wished to attempt ethnic cleansing.
    So while technically it was war crime, transporting polish nationals into post war polish territory solved issues without causing excessive suffering.
    Some people from my family were born there and were resettled (not among us anymore).
    It’s completely different from what is happening now, with people of Mariupol being kidnapped, stripped of their passport and disappeared somewhere inside russia without a right to travel, especially when we talk about teenagers and kids separated from parents.
    Most of them will die before leaving the place they are transported to….

    @37 tacitus
    It’s not about having more oil and gas, but about keeping russsian oil and gas from becoming worthless.
    Europe was undergoing slow transfer towards greener economy, recently discovered deposits of oil and gas in Ukraine, if used, doesn’t have to be comparable to russian, it’s enough if they can replace russian oil and gas in europe at least for some time, because in that case Russia loses a blackmail weapon.

    @59 Rob Grigjanis
    It’s not over the top conclusion, it is completely in line with previous russian behavior and what’s @71 mentions (see below)

    @71 NitricAcid
    your link willwork only in some countries, it seems like russians don”t want some people to read it. Here is the translation:

    I don’t care about “poor russian conscripts who thought they are on the exercises” or innocent russians who suffer from sanctions. Not anymore.
    Send Ukraine every weapon except WMDs
    Send them supplies, oil, money, food, water, medicines, ammo
    Sanction russian economy to the ground.

    Either that or democracy is willing to sell out another democracy to autocratic genocidal thug.

  66. erik333 says

    An Ukranian interviewed on swedish radio had russian friends and family asking why Ukraine was bombing its own cities… propaganda works, people are stupid.

  67. lotharloo says

    Russia is a stupid country with stupid people. There’s no hope for that country in the short-term or even for a few generations. Sanctions need to cripple the Russian economy so that the stupid country cannot be a major player in the international scale.

  68. numerobis says

    GerrardOfTitanServer: nazi to that author means not Russian and generally recognized as bad. It has no other meaning, as the author points out by saying that Ukraine is nazi despite not having any attributes of the nazi regime.

  69. NitricAcid says

    Nazis invaded Soviet Union and tried to take land away from Russia.

    Ukrainians are not giving all their land to Russia.

    Is same thing.

  70. StevoR says

    @77. lotharloo :

    Russia is a stupid country with stupid people.

    A lot of Russians have shown a lot of courage and determination in standng up and protesting against Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. At much higher cost and risk to themselves than protesters face in the USA or Oz. So I don’t think that’s entirely fair.

    A lot of Russians are also fleeing Putin’s tyranny :


    Causing a “brain drain” not unlike that faced by Nazi germany expelling and persecuting away many of its best and brightest minds for their “crime”of being Jewish pre-WWII

    Hmm.. It may not be populated entirely by stupid people but its remaining population is getting relatively stupider as well as more cowed and poorer in many senses of that word as dissent gets crushed and many that are able to leave. Putin’s war is changing and hurting Russia too. Predictably and awfully so – though, of course, much less than it is hurting Ukraine and its people.

    There’s no hope for that country in the short-term or even for a few generations. Sanctions need to cripple the Russian economy so that the stupid country cannot be a major player in the international scale.

    Until Putin has gone and its govt become much better and more rational and ethical. yeah.

  71. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    Has anyone seen jrkrideau post since Bucha massacre came to light? Just morbidly curious.

    Also, one minor correction above. US has not formally adopted the anti landmine treaty, but they have for a long time promised that they won’t use landmines anywhere except for the Korean demilitarized zone, and looked to sign the treaty with an exception for that one spot. Not ideal, but far better than Russia who is actively using them all over Ukraine apparently as part of a scorched earth policy.