(The Symbol of Ukrainian Military Intelligence: An Owl Hunting a Bat; Image & Explanation Found Here)
Earlier today there was reporting that the Russians were trying to break the Ukrainian defenses in the center of Ukrainian and move east towards Kyiv.
⚡️ Armed Forces: Russia attempts to break through defenses near Kyiv.
According to Ukraine’s Armed Forces, Russian troops are attempting to advance on Kyiv from the northwest and east, capturing nearby roads and villages. Russian forces are currently being held back by Ukraine.
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) March 28, 2022
⚡️ Armed Forces: heavy fighting near Izyum continues.
According to Ukraine’s Armed Forces, Russia continues to attack villages of Topolske, Kamyanka, and Sukha Kamyanka near the city of Izyum, southeast of Kharkiv.
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) March 28, 2022
Here’s the British Ministry of Defense’s assessment as of today:
What’s important to keep in mind here is the reporting that Russia was pulling in Syrians and Hezbullah who were fighting in Syria to fight in Ukraine. The way Wagner operates is that everywhere Yevgeny Prigozhin sets up business through one of his subsidiary companies in the Middle East or in Africa, he brings his own private security with him. These private security then go about recruiting and training the host country nationals. Basically they create a local cadre. In the case of Syria, they brought in fighters from Mali and Chad, so I’d expect some of those guys will wind up being part of the Syrian fighters sent to Ukraine because they travel on Syrian passports. Wagner trained both governmental and private security forces in Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR) starting in 2018, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing some of those guys too.
Much more after the jump.
The Financial Times has another one of their scoops, sourced to an anonymous source of course, that Ukraine and Russia are near a breakthrough in their ceasefire negotiations. And then when you read past the first three or four paragraphs it turns into the normal not so much.
Russia is no longer requesting Ukraine be “denazified” and is prepared to let Kyiv join the EU if it remains militarily non-aligned as part of ongoing ceasefire negotiations, according to four people briefed on the discussions. Moscow and Kyiv are discussing a pause in hostilities as part of a possible deal that would involve Ukraine abandoning its drive for Nato membership in exchange for security guarantees and the prospect to join the EU, the people said under the condition of anonymity because the matter is not yet finalised. The draft ceasefire document does not contain any discussion of three of Russia’s initial core demands — “denazification”, “demilitarisation”, and legal protection for the Russian language in Ukraine — the people added.
David Arakhamia, head of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky’s party in parliament and a member of Kyiv’s negotiating team, told the FT the parties were close to agreement on the security guarantees and Ukraine’s EU bid but urged caution about prospects for a breakthrough. “
All the issues” have been “on the table since the beginning” of negotiations but “lots of points — like in every single item there are unresolved points”, Arakhamia said.
Another person briefed on the talks said Ukraine was concerned that Russia was shifting its position almost day by day, both in terms of military pressure and on demands like Kyiv’s “demilitarisation.”
Russia “can’t and won’t talk about progress” because “it could only harm the negotiating process”, Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, was quoted by Interfax on Monday. “For now, unfortunately, we cannot speak of any significant achievements and breakthroughs”, he added.
As part of the agreement under consideration, Ukraine would also refrain from developing nuclear weapons, or hosting foreign military bases in addition to abandoning its pursuit of Nato membership.
In exchange, Ukraine would get what Arakhamia called “wording close to Nato’s Article 5” — whereby the alliances’ members must come to each others’ aid if one is attacked — for security guarantees from countries including Russia, the US, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, China, Italy, Poland, Israel, and Turkey.
Yeah, Russia is going to guarantee Ukraine’s safety via a mutual defense agreement similar to NATO Article 5. Sure it is…
Of course shortly after this we found out that Putin told Roman Abramovich that he would “thrash” Zelenskyy and the Ukrainians when Abramovich tried to deliver a letter from Zelenskyy to Putin. Putin also poisoned Abramovich and two other envoys!
Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich and Ukrainian peace negotiators suffered symptoms of suspected poisoning after a meeting in Kyiv earlier this month, people familiar with the matter said.
Mr. Abramovich, Ukrainian lawmaker Rustem Umerov and another negotiator developed symptoms following the March 3 meeting in Kyiv that included red eyes, constant and painful tearing, and peeling skin on their faces and hands, the people said. Mr. Abramovich has shuttled between Moscow, Belarus and other negotiating venues since Russia invaded Ukraine.
Mr. Abramovich was blinded for a few hours and later had trouble eating, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Some of the people familiar with the matter blamed the suspected attack on hard-liners in Moscow who they said wanted to sabotage talks to end the war. A person close to Mr. Abramovich said it wasn’t clear who had targeted the group.
Western experts who looked into the incident said it was hard to determine whether the symptoms were caused by a chemical or biological agent or by some sort of electromagnetic-radiation attack, the people familiar with the matter said.
Mr. Abramovich, who has longstanding links to President Vladimir Putin, became involved in attempts to end the war in Ukraine shortly after Moscow launched the invasion on Feb. 24, people familiar with the matter said.
Mr. Zelensky has asked President Biden not to impose sanctions on Mr. Abramovich, who owns a minority stake in the steel company Evraz PLC and has Portuguese citizenship, because he is involved in the negotiations, according to people familiar with the call. Mr. Abramovich, who also owns the Chelsea soccer club, has been sanctioned by the U.K. and the European Union.
Asked about Mr. Abramovich in an interview with independent Russian media organizations on Sunday, Mr. Zelensky said he wouldn’t comment on his discussions with Mr. Biden. He said Mr. Abramovich was initially a member of a subcommittee of the Russian negotiating team, and then tried to help with humanitarian matters, particularly the evacuation of Ukrainian civilians from the besieged city of Mariupol.
Much, much more at the link!
I’m thinking those negotiations are nowhere near close to a break through. And I am in full agreement with this assessment of them:
Russia is not backing down on its demands against Ukraine. This is just a bluff to provide all the Western countries, which have been reluctant to supply weapons to Ukraine, with a convenient excuse to do nothing other than wait and watch. Time to arm Ukraine is running up
— Daniel Szeligowski (@dszeligowski) March 28, 2022
Here is one more piece of evidence that Putin and the Russians aren’t serious about negotiations, especially backing of their demands regarding the Russian language and the rights of Russian speakers in Ukraine:
Russian parliament introduces a bill naming "every person who speaks Russian – a compatriot" (a Russian wording for "a Russian citizen living abroad"). This creates a legal basis for a military intervention into almost any country. (thank you @juliaioffe) https://t.co/U0Mun5Dw32
— Sergej Sumlenny (@sumlenny) March 28, 2022
Bellingcat’s Christo Grozev headed up the investigation and his recounting of events is below.
Bellingcat can confirm that three members of the delegation attending the peace talks between Ukraine and Russia on the night of 3 to 4 March 2022 experienced symptoms consistent with poisoning with chemical weapons. One of victims was Russian entrepreneur Roman Abramovich. https://t.co/DJaZ4CoL8J
— Bellingcat (@bellingcat) March 28, 2022
- Abramovich, along with another Russian entrepreneur, had taken part in the negotiations alongside Ukraine’s MP Rustem Umerov. The negotiation round on the afternoon of 3 March took place on Ukrainian territory, and lasted until about 10 pm.
- Three members of the negotiating team retreated to an apartment in Kyiv later that night and felt initial symptoms – including eye and skin inflammation and piercing pain in the eyes – later that night. The symptoms did not abate until the morning.
- The next day the group of negotiators drove from Kyiv to Lviv on the way to Poland and then Istanbul, to continue informal negotiations with the Russian side. A Bellingcat investigator was asked to help provide an examination by chemical weapons specialists.
- Based on remote and on-site examinations, the experts concluded that the symptoms are most likely the result of international poisoning with an undefined chemical weapon.
- An alternative less likely hypothesis was use of microwave irradiation. The symptoms gradually subsided in the course of the following week.
- The three men experiencing the symptoms consumed only chocolate and water in the hours before the symptoms appeared. A fourth member of the team who also consumed these did not experience symptoms.
- According to two consulted CW experts and a doctor, the symptoms were most consistent with variants of porphyrin, organophosphates, or bicyclic substances. A definitive determination was not possible due to the absence of specialized laboratory equipment near the victims.
- The experts said the dosage and type of toxin used was likely insufficient to cause life-threatening damage, and most likely was intended to scare the victims as opposed to cause permanent damage. The victims said they were not aware of who might have had an interest in an attack
Bellingcat chose not to report this story earlier due to concern about the safety of the victims. Given the choice of the targeted individuals to speak up, Bellingcat and its investigative partner@the_ins_ru intend to publish an investigation into the presumed poisonings.
Another day another “gaffe” or “ad lib” for the press to obsess over!
President Joe Biden appeared to reveal that the U.S. is training Ukrainian forces in Poland — stating for the first time since the war began that American troops are actively teaching Ukrainians to fight and kill Russians.
That’s not what Biden said Monday. After delivering remarks about the White House’s new budget request, Biden answered a reporter’s question about comments he made when meeting the 82nd Airborne in Poland, in which he implied American forces would be going to Ukraine. Biden denied that’s what he meant, adding: “We’re talking about helping train the Ukrainian troops that are in Poland.”
Pressed again, Biden said, “I was referring to being with, and talking with, the Ukrainian troops that are in Poland.”
It’s possible Biden meant to say “American” when he said “Ukrainian” on the second instance, or he exaggerated the extent to which American soldiers advise the Ukrainian forces on how to use the security assistance the administration has provided.
My take on this is: 1) President Biden may have meant American when he said Ukrainian. 2) If he didn’t and actually meant American, which is what he said, I’m not surprised in the least. And 3) I don’t think the ad lib over the weekend as a gaffe and I don’t think this one is. I think President Biden is playing mind games with Putin, which is good. Which is why this answer at his press conference earlier was excellent!
Reporter: Are you confident that Vladimir Putin sees it that way…
Biden: I don’t care what he thinks… pic.twitter.com/oWDkLivqjG
— Acyn (@Acyn) March 28, 2022
The Ukrainians have liberated Irpin!
Mayor of #Irpin Oleksandr Markushin:
"Today Irpin is liberated. Now the sweep is underway. I want to thank the servicemen of the @ArmedForcesUkr, thank the territorial defense, thank the national police and special police units, the main intelligence department."#StopRussia pic.twitter.com/k1fOyvCJQI
— ArmyInform (@armyinformcomua) March 28, 2022
And now we have confirmation that the attempted Russian advance west of Kyiv was thwarted and pushed back:
Following the liberation of Irpin, it looks like Ukrainian forces have made new advancements west of Kyiv pushing Russians off the E40/M-06 Zhytomyr Highway.
Tows of Motyzhyn, Kapytanivka, Lisne, Dmytrivka have been taken back and cleaned up. pic.twitter.com/mpgQhavY73
— Illia Ponomarenko ?? (@IAPonomarenko) March 28, 2022
Last night someone in the comments asked about the total number of Ukrainian civilian casualties. I replied that the last reporting I’d seen indicated about 2,000, but I figured that was low. It was, indeed, low! We have reporting today based on statements from Mariupol’s civilian authorities that 5,000 civilians have been killed in Mariupol alone! This includes an estimated 210 children. I would expect that to be an under count. Additionally, only 160,000 residents out of a pre reinvasion 400,000 are left in Mariupol.
Today, for the first time, I went to Saltivka, the most devastated district of Kharkiv. The entire residential area is completely empty, the only sounds are the sounds of hail and the grinding of metal. pic.twitter.com/fFoDku1Bn1
— Maria Avdeeva (@maria_avdv) March 28, 2022
Here’s an excellent thread by Anders Aslund:
The question is often raised:
Why doesn't the Kremlin know anything about Ukraine?
The short answer is massive imperial Russian contempt, but let me elaborate.
During decades of meetings in Moscow, whenever talking about Ukraine, you receive the reaction "yes, small Russians."
— Anders Åslund (@anders_aslund) March 28, 2022
- Malorossiya! The contempt goes further. When discussing literature, the “cultured” Muscovites state about the bad writer: He is a real “pismenik,” the Ukrainian word for author. Next, you are informed that the Ukrainian Nikolai Gogol wrote is great works in Russian, etc.
- When I worked in Moscow & Kyiv in the early 2000s, I learned that the Russian Embassy in Kyiv had nobody who followed the Ukrainian media, print or TV, because MID did not consider the Ukrainian domestic debate of sufficient interest for reporting.
- Conversely, you have perhaps noticed that no single Russian expert on Ukraine appears in the media, because there is none. Why would anybody bother to study Ukraine?! The Ukrainians are just like us Russians! We are so similar so we don’t need to study them.
- The Russian attitude to Ukrainian history & the nation is full of contempt. Ivan Mazepa is a major villain, while the only good Ukrainian is Bohdan Khmelnitsky. You dare not mention Stepan Bandera. The conclusion is that Ukraine can only exist as a fiefdom of great Russia.
- Putin’s July 12, 2021, article is a good summary of all these old Russian prejudices about Ukraine, and if you prefer obsolete prejudices and new lies over truth you are likely to get everything wrong, as Putin has shown us so well.
- But who has told Putin about Ukraine? His only close Ukrainian agent is Viktor Medvedchuk, who is probably the least popular person in Ukraine, an early oligarch who has never earned an honest hryvnia in his life, that is, an obvious Putin favorite.
- As the eminent Russian journalist Mikhail Zygar recently argued in the NYTimes, Putin’s closest adviser is Yuri Kovalchuk. I would ad his brother Mikhail Kovalchuk & Gennady Timchenko. They are ethnic Ukrainians from St. Petersburg. They must no the country!
- They must know the country. I doubt that Putin has listened to the FSB about information on Ukraine, and the SVR hardly works there. Putin probably disinforms himself listening to Medvedchuk, the Kovalchuks and perhaps Timchenko.
I couldn’t find a new bayraktar video, so here’s a daily Ukrainian tractor video:
Ministry of Defence of Ukraine Oscars 2022
Best Supporting Actor: Ukrainian Tractor in The Taming of the Shrew#Oscars2022 #UAarmy pic.twitter.com/f3LEZ9VATO
— Defence of Ukraine (@DefenceU) March 28, 2022
Given that bats are basically rodents with wings, I suppose it makes sense that they could be preyed upon by birds of prey, among other critters. It never occurred to me before that bats may have to watch their backs.
Electromagnetic-radiation attack? Sweet Jesus, just one more thing to worry about.
Many thanks again Adam!
I love LoVe LOVE that Biden told that Faux News idiot “why would I tell you?”
Better than the “I’m not walking anything back” statement.
FT via Adam @ Top:
Seriously? Why would Ukraine agree to that?
Doesn’t the current conflict show just how worthless security guarantees from Russia really are? I mean, Ukraine got security guarantees after the breakup of the Soviet Union, when they gave up the nukes in their possession – didn’t stop Russia from invading anyway.
Sending a message to any other rats who might be eyeing the ship’s waterline?
Before the Pentagon Papers we released Kissinger called Ellsberg into his office and asked “Does anyone know anything about these Vietnamese”?
West of the Rockies
Perhaps it’s time for sanctions against to hit countries allowing scumbag mercenaries to fight against Ukraine (Syria, Chad, etc.).
Not even remotely. They’re much more closely related to humans and other primates. I’m kind of sad the bat in the image represents GRU Spetsnaz, because I admire bats very much and don’t like to think of them as victims or prey (but I also love owls, and owls gotta eat, so there you go).
I love the glee in those tractor videos.
Adam L Silverman @ Top:
This is exactly what I thought too, to the extent that I was puzzled there weren’t more people suggesting or speculating about it on the news. It just seemed so obvious that President Biden was fucking with Putin’s head.
Adam would these Wagner personnel be considered lawful combatants and subject to the Geneva Convention? My understanding is that volunteers from outside Ukraine become members of their armed forces. Would these mercenaries have to be made officially part of the Russian army for it to apply?
The Russians believing the lies told to them by the likes of Medvedchuk remind me of the nonsense being fed to Americans by Ahmed Chalabi about Iraq.
@lashonharangue: Russia cares about the Geneva Convention?
UK sending 6,000 more missiles to Ukraine, including Starstreak and more Javelins. Starstreak is effective against helicopters and low flying fighters. Think of it as a handheld No Fly Zone. https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/44950/starstreek-missile-now-in-ukraine-what-you-need-to-know
@Aziz, light!: No but Ukraine does. I am asking if troops from Ukraine have the right to execute these guys if they capture them.
@Aziz, light!: Ukraine might.
Those battered Russian forces that have been withdrawn to rebuild and restore their combat-readiness – how will their officers prevent them from spreading word to their friends and family of the problems that they faced (and how many of the raw recruits will desert at the first opportunity)? I can’t believe many of them want to go back to the front.
Gin & Tonic
@lashonharangue: Wagnerites will most likely resist capture, and thus will be killed as combatants.
@lashonharangue: Trial first, verdict afterward. This isn’t Alice in Wonderland. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights applies even to the worst of us. That said, unlawful combatants are not accorded prisoner-of-war status, and nothing prevents an immediate military trial (how many officers are required for a court martial in the Ukraine?). And yes, court martials can execute non-military: spies, saboteurs, etc.
@SiubhanDuinne: No bats, no tequila. Also, they eat their weight in mosquitoes during the height of summer. Useful critters.
With you on owls, too (Temple U grad). They’re kind of dumb but such amazing, perfectly evolved predators. I saw a barred fly out from between the trees just after dusk once and it was magnificent.
@lashonharangue: FWIW, I would argue that Wagner Group and other mercenaries be treated as lawful combatants and as subject to the protections of the Geneva Convention. There will be time enough for war crimes trials after the war. In the meantime, I would say to err on the side of caution. It is the better moral position and would continue to make clear the difference between the sides.
I remember reading that right before we went into Iraq senior members of the GW Bush administration learned there was a difference between Sunni and Shia Islam. Seriously.
West of the Rockies
@Gin & Tonic:
I have said before that I have been in awe of the restraint displayed by the Ukrainians so far.
@Gin & Tonic: I don’t think that anyone would lose many tears if that happened.
@Lacuna Synecdoche: If they got the equivalent to an Article V agreement from the US, why put up with the other requirements of being a NATO member? They get the best part of the deal immediately. As it is, NATO requires 10 years of an uncontested border. That could take forever to achieve.
@matt: As long as they don’t send Starscream.
Name this weapon.
@Omnes Omnibus: catapult
@Omnes Omnibus: catzooka?
@Omnes Omnibus: Puss in MANPAD
I assume in those places, those forces are meant to basically be a goon squad to put the boot in on whomever the government doesn’t like. Terrorizing some poor people in an African village =/= going up against a seasoned fighting force like the Ukrainian military on their ground and in their environment. Maybe this Mr. Wagner has some secret sauce to turn these guys from gladiators into Swansons, but my bet is that most of them meet a really, really bad end and quickly.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
Wiki talks about Wagner as basically Putin’s private army inside the Russian army.
I’ve got to say they whole poison the peace negotiation team sounds about dumb as everything Putin as done so far it in this. Up there with kill Zelenskyy then make him sign a treaty.
This story in the Guardian says the 40 mile convoy was stuffed up by a small team riding ATVs. Well equipped with night vision and amongst other things dropping bombs from customized civilian drones.
This gives me a sense of foreboding. In 1994, it was the justification that Serbia used to create mayhem throughout the former Yugoslavia. Suddenly, Europe found itself with death camps in its midst.
@Omnes Omnibus: It’s not a stinger, it’s a scratcher.
@Ishiyama: Catapult, that’s good. I vote you win.
@LivinginExile: sometimes obvious is best. Thanks.
What on earth does this even mean? No other country would recognize it, so what’s the point? They need yet another way to delude themselves into thinking they’ve got a valid justification for their atrocities?
What also shows is that the tractors in these video’s are a lot newer and higher tech than any of the military vehicles they are towing as expected from Ukraine’s status as the breadbasket of Europe.
An item titled “Tensions continue between Ukraine, Russia ahead of peace talks in Turkey” has been in my “What’s Happening” box on twitter. I’m pretty sure there’s more than “tension” between Ukraine and Russia.
With regards to the Wagner group, if it really is a force of about a thousand people, some of whom aren’t front line fighters, is that really all that important on the scale of a war that has a couple hundred thousand on each side? Unless we’re to take it that Russia is scraping the bottom of every barrel they can find for reinforcements.
Will they be selling those tanks on eBay?
Adam L Silverman
@SiubhanDuinne: I love both, but it’s still a cool painting.
If the Ukrainians are smart (and they are) they can structure such an agreement on verifiable Russian assurances such as demilitarizing the border region, Crimea, or whatever. And then if/when Russia violates its side of the agreement then Ukrainian promises become null and void.
In other words, if the Russian’s break their word then all bets are off.
Adam L Silverman
@lashonharangue: My understanding is they would not be lawful combatants.
@JanieM: “Legal” has nothing to do with legality here. In the Yugoslavian clusterfuck of the mid-1990s, Serbia used the justification of “any Serbian-language population enclave anywhere is part of greater Serbia” as a “legal” justification to launch assaults on civilian populations that gave common currency to the term “ethnic cleansing”. The thing that I find very disturbing now is that Russia was Serbia’s only patron and sympathiser in that war.
Also what are their skill sets? I suspect it is more in the way of security and small operations, not battalion-level armored combat. Not that they aren’t experienced soldiers. But they probably aren’t set up or equipped to actually be the type of battering ram force that Russia needs to break through Ukrainian lines, conduct encirclements, and so forth.
US mercenaries like Blackwater might be competent, but they aren’t really set up to operate a tank battalion or artillery company.
I know! I know!
I’m going to try to post this jpg file. Click on it to inbiggen.
@Carlo Graziani: If Adam speaks Russian (not sure, but wouldn’t bet a penny against it) does that mean Cole needs to sanction him?
I learned to read a bit of Russian in grad school, but never learned to speak it, so I’m safe.
@Carlo Graziani: Thanks, and I didn’t in any way mean to challenge what you had said, but the fig leaf of “legal” would be ridiculous if it didn’t imply or presage worse atrocities to come.
@JanieM: Plus, they lie about everything.
Bloomberg (February 17):
The Putinists will say anything, and do anything, that they think will further their aims.
@Another Scott: Don’t forget, ‘these are peacekeeping forces, and we’ll nuke you if you interfere’.
The shipping costs get you every time.
True? No idea.
@JanieM: No challenge taken :-)
The Ukrainians reported a number of planes, helicopters, and drones shot down today. Way more than usual. New hardware?
Adam, thanks especially for the tractor video!
Sorry to see that our thoughts that the civilian casualty numbers were too low were already shown to be correct. “Monstrosity” is not a powerful enough word.
@Gin & Tonic: Thanks for your guest post earlier!
@Omnes Omnibus: Cataclawsem
@Winston: Nice graphic, but just FTR, decision trees without well-considered (and wherever possible, vetted) probabilities assigned to the branches are at best worthless – at worst they are, as Wolfgang Pauli famously sneered, “Not even wrong.”
(Also FTR, in a Swedish train station in 2000 I bought a UK-published book called something like World War 2006, that at one point involved a Russian invasion of Estonia. Amusing enough for a long rail trip. I ought to still have it – I rarely throw books away, especially if bought on an overseas vacation – but am unsure if I can find it in the chaos of my home…)
@Carlo Graziani: It’s not really a new thing for Russia, though (even if making it a formal law is new.) A lot of the threats and conflicts with the Baltic countries are about “protecting” Russian-speaking populations there. I believe they are descendents of people the Soviet Union moved there as part of their colonization efforts (like Ukraine), but they’re not Russian citizens.
@Carlo Graziani: Not an original idea. From The New Map of Europe (1911-1914) by Herbert Adams Gibbons
“In recent years there has come to the front more than ever the theory that German nationality cannot be lost by foreign residence or by transference of allegiance to another State: once a German, always a German.
Convincing proof of this is found in the new citizenship law, sanctioned with practical unanimity by the Reichstag and Bundesrath, which went into effect on January 1, 1914. According to Article XIII of this law, “a former German who has not taken up his residence in Germany may on application be naturalized.” This applies also to one who is descended from a former German, or who has been adopted as the child of such! According to Article XIV, any former German who holds a position in the German Empire in any part of the world, in the service of a German religious society or of a German school, is looked upon as a German citizen “by assumption.” Any foreigner holding such a position may be naturalized without having a legal residence in Germany. The most interesting provision of all is in Article XXV, section 2 of which says: “Citizenship is not lost by one who before acquiring foreign citizenship has secured on application the written consent of the competent authorities of his home state to retain his citizenship.”
Germany allows anyone of German blood to become a German citizen, even if he has never seen Germany and has no intention of taking up his residence there; and Germans, who have emigrated to other countries, secure the amazing opportunity to acquire foreign citizenship without losing their German citizenship.”
From other writings of Mr. Gibbons’, one might wonder if he was an agent or ‘fellow-traveler’ of the British Empire. I would want to see a second source for this.
Adam L Silverman
@Martin: Just a few curse words and some food items.
About this, I only know what I remember from these threads. IIRC, their skill sets include cruelty, they are less likely to be wondering if they are killing their own second cousins, and they are much less likely to surrender than R conscripts who were deceived into going into this war in the first place.
I’m not sure whether Ukraine joining the EU instead of NATO will make a lot of difference militarily. There has been a lot of talk about an EU army in recent years, triggered by the shitgibbon, and German tanks, Swedish jets, Polish infantry backed by French nukes would make mincemeat of the Russians.
wombat probability cloud
@Omnes Omnibus: Catastropher
@Gin & Tonic:
The Wagner “guys” in Syria and Libya, mostly fill MOS positions behind the front lines, with some Specialized groups backing up front line troops, specializing in setting teddy bear IEDs for area denial as the frontline retreats, along with terror operations in the rear lines, to keep the population cowed and local “centres of resistance” buried in mass graves.
They tend to r-u-n-n-o-f-t when their side is losing.
There oughta be an Adopt-A-Tank program for supporters of Ukraine: Provide $X for refurbishing and you get your (or your organization’s) name painted on it. Could you just picture a renov’d T-72 with BALLOON JUICE! stenciled on its turret roaring out to massively fuck up some Rooskie formations?!?!?
@LivinginExile: We know there was a Russian push on Kyiv that failed. Could just be they served up some hardware to Ukraines troops.
Speaking (downstairs) of cheat sheets, …
He’s no fun.
@JAFD: Two things:
But from what I understood, Germany had one of the strongest “jus sanguinis” citizenship laws around, for a good long while there.
I’m writing all this from memory, so I could be mistaken. But just saying, I think Mr. Gibbons might be correct.
vlad is likely looking for people who really, really want to kill people, not a lot of his forces who seem to give up rather easily. Not all of them mind you but a fair amount don’t seem to be all in. He wants all in. Because the Ukraine fighters sure seem to be. And his massively larger force sure doesn’t seem to be.
Poison in his water would be an environmental factor…..
I am American by birth and Australian by naturalization. I happen to speak Russian (learned long ago, v useful in physics research). I was even a charter subscriber to SNOB, which Russia put out for ex pats. (Got too boring after a year). So now Russia has a policy of considering Russian speakers to be under their protection. Does that mean that the Russian army will come to liberate me in East Tennessee? Do I get some land or maybe a T-72 to defend myself from “gey parades”. FFO!
@Kelly: Slava has a very finely honed sense of sarcasm.
@Kent: Artillery battery, please.
@Ruckus: Hired killers and professional soldiers are very different things.
Adam L Silverman
@Uncle Cosmo: Bayraktar or we riot!
They certainly got their asses handed to them when they tried to take on a small handful of US special forces and marines in Syria: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/24/world/middleeast/american-commandos-russian-mercenaries-syria.html
I fully understand.
And vlad has some professional soldiers, a lot of conscripts and now hired killers. Along with some seemingly crappy machinery, and a supply chain with a seemingly large number of very weak links.
I will say that Ukraine has professional soldiers and very enthusiastic volunteers and a quite a few supply chains that seem to be delivering some rather effective useful links.
Putin can bring in 1,000 mercenaries here, 10,000 Chechens there, but Ukraine?
I’d say, treat them as criminal terror suspects, which is what they are.
@Ishiyama: I’d be interested to know where that number comes from. (I did find the quote, from ukrinform, but wonder where they got the information.) Most of the reports I’ve seen put the number of returnees at 60,000-80,000 – which is a lot of people, but not half a million.
@CaseyL: from here: https://en.defence-ua.com/news/day_34th_of_ukraines_defense_against_russian_invasion_live_updates-2397.html
I have zero combat/warfare/military knowledge, so could someone explain how the Wagner mercenaries are possibly useful here? Are they supposed to be a single combat group? Are they an assassin group? Are they supposed to terrorize the already terrorized-by-Russian-bombs-&-killing/disappearing-Ukraine-mayors populace? I don’t see how they usefully integrate into the current Russian force.
Thanks in advance.
Many thanks to Adam for continuing to keep us informed. I know you’re not paid, so your writing here is much appreciated.
Adam L Silverman
@BeautifulPlumage: The core of them are former career Russian military. Usually spetznaz. There are also former members of Russia’s security services. They are led by a retired Russian Army lieutenant colonel who is covered in SS and other NAZI tattoos and named them for the composer Wagner. Their employer is Yevgeny Prighozin who owns Concord Management LTD. Wagner is one of his subsidiaries. M-Invest, M-Finance, Meroe Gold, and the Internet Research Agency are some, but not all, of the others.
@Chetan Murthy: i think you are essentially right about “jus sanguinis” citizenship in Germany at the time, and a lot of “Russland Deutscher” took advantage of it and moved to Germany after the collapse of Soviet Union. The joke in Germany was:
Russland Deutscher sneers at 3rd generation Turk “At least I’m German” to which the Turk replies “At least I can speak German”.
Adam L Silverman
@BeautifulPlumage: Please make checks payable to…
@Adam L Silverman: So we should expect Mad Vlad to try and liberate you from John’s clutches within a week or so?
@Adam L Silverman: So we should expect Mad Vlad to try and liberate you from John’s clutches within a week or so?
@Adam L Silverman: I do support the electrons that bring your words to us! Very happily. I really appreciate all the front pagers for their uncompensated labor. Supporting the structure is the least we can do now that the annoying ads are gone.
@Omnes Omnibus: Purr-shing missile?
Nah… catapult still wins.
We haven’t heard anything about Spetznatz or Russian paratroopers since the very early days of the invasion. Could it be that their much vaunted reputation was somewhat exaggerated and they’ve been decimated? If that’s the case, Wagner Group mercenaries might have the required skill sets to fill their roles
Also, assassination squads. Given the number killed and captured, Russia must be running short in that area also.
Someone earlier had noted a large number of Russia vehicle losses. Looks like Ukrainian forces retook Rudnyts’ke (village east of Kyiv) and heavy fighting in Trostyanets (village further east, about halfway to Sumy). It looks like Russia is retreating in these areas and abandoning vehicles in decent numbers.
When you’re attacking and your vehicle breaks down, your support can sometimes repair/recover a stuck/broken vehicle, or at least recover the ammunition, strip it for useful parts. But during a retreat you can’t do that, you just lose the vehicle and everything in it. Some of the vehicles recovered are actually Ukrainian vehicles that were captured earlier in the war and are now recaptured. Also if Ukraine is pushing in against a retreat, there will be more photos taken of destroyed equipment. Not that they just destroyed it, but that it’s their first chance to get visual confirmation.
@Chetan Murthy: Probably a dead thread but, if I remember correctly, the rationale for this was that after WWI lots of ethnic Germans suddenly found themselves living in Poland, Czechoslovakia and other places in the east due to Germany’s borders shrinking. They fled to Germany at the end of WWII to escape the advances of the Red Army or were expelled in their hundreds of thousands at the end of the war and suddenly found themselves stateless.
Germany’s solution was to introduce bloodright citizenship.
@Sloane Ranger: Also, there were a lot of “Volga Germans” still in Russia, descendents of Germans Catherine the Great encouraged to emigrate and help populate the lower Volga region. Many of these emigrated again to the northern Great Plains of the U.S. and Canada. Most of those who remained in Russia were deported east by the Soviets after Hitler invaded. A number of Volga Germans made it to West Germany after the war.
Famous Americans of Volga German descent include Senator Tom Daschle, Lawrence Welk, and John Denver.
@Geminid: Fishing for dollars in troubled waters: Politico has a story about a lobbyist and a former U.S. Congressman active in Belarus. The lobbyist was working with Belarus’ potash industry. Tbe Congressman is Scott Taylor, who lost the coastal Virginia 2nd CD to Elaine Luria in 2018, then lost a rematch in 2020. The article notes that the Belarus government let the two operate in the country even as it denied a visa to U.S. Special Envoy to Belarus Julie Fisher.
“The thing that I find very disturbing now is that Russia was Serbia’s only patron and sympathiser in that war.”
And the Republican Party.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
So in other words it’s the military arm of the Russian Thieves in Law and more bullshit. The Russian Mafia upset that actual combat was inferring with their male sex slave and protection rackets in the Russian army?
KyivIndependent.com news feed:
Reminder that it’s all connected…
Incompetent monsters can’t bring about competent results.
Dead thread but looks like lots of new breaking during our overnight: Russians saying they are pulling their forces back from Kyiv & Chernihiv (guess we will see, no reason to believe this at face value except they seem to be getting taken apart by UA forces); the peace talks producing some interesting possibilities; and routing of Russian forces outside of Sumy & Kharkiv.
This piece from DKos (mostly written by Markos) is a good overview of the Sumy/Kharkiv action:
Ukraine update: The story of Russia’s 4th Armored division, and Ukraine’s biggest victory to date
Of course, Russian forces continue to murder UA civilians in the cities (like this missle strike on the gov’t building in Mykolaiv this am that was caught on camera–this is where the local Korean/Ukrainian mayor has done such a fantastic job; luckily he was not in his office) and trying to take as much territory in Eastern Ukraine as possible. Still a long long long way to go here. Slava Ukraine.
@WaterGirl: My bad. Reports of Russian planes, helicopters, etc. shot down.
@LivinginExile: Thanks. I will go back and read that again now that I know what you were saying. :-)