We begin again tonight with Mariupol:
Serhiy Volyna, 36th Separate Marine Brigade commander, tells me what could save his troops trapped in Mariupol's Azovstal is a "special military operation right now" with air support and heavy artillery that "in one sharp and deep blow" could allow for Ukrainian reinforcements. https://t.co/EDJkQnSwpp
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) April 19, 2022
New: Sergiy Volyna shared a new video from the besieged Mariupol Azovstal plant. He asks the world for help extracting Ukrainian soldiers and 500 wounded people, as well as 100s of civilians, to a third party state. “This could be the last appeal of our lives.” pic.twitter.com/1s8jJKgjVZ
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) April 20, 2022
The Kyiv Independent reported the following regarding the Azovstal plant this afternoon:
Azov says Azovstal plant bombed, almost completely destroyed. Mariupol City Council said more than 1,000 civilians are hiding in underground shelters of the city’s main metallurgical plant, where the last defenders are holding out against Russian forces.
Invictus Mariupol. Here, even the stones do not surrender to the enemy.
— Defence of Ukraine (@DefenceU) April 19, 2022
This is, according to The Kyiv Independent‘s military correspondent, the position they’re currently holding:
The final frontier.
The Mariupol garrison is now confined to the city’s main fortress, the Azovstal industrial complex.
It’s a giant and very complicated maze of steel and concrete, with lots of fortified underground shelters.
It will be very hard to get. pic.twitter.com/MiPpT3eWvZ
— Illia Ponomarenko ?? (@IAPonomarenko) April 19, 2022
It may be a hard target, but the Russians have the ability to just drop 500 kg bombs on it over and over and over in the attempt to collapse the fortified bunker and tunnel system.
As I wrote last night, the longer that the Azov Regiment and the 36th Separate Marine Brigade can hold on and continue to fight, the better it will be overall. But to do that they are in dire need of relief. Right now the Azov Regiment, the 36th Separate Marine Brigade, and Mariupol itself are the key center of gravity in the south and east of Ukraine, not Ukraine’s Joint Force Operation. The longer that the Azov Regiment and the 36th Separate Marine Brigade can keep Russia’s attention and remain the key center of gravity, the better. In order to do that they need to be resupplied and reinforced!
Here’s President Zelenskyy’s address from this evenings with English subtitles:
The transcript (emphasis mine except for the first two and the final three sentences) and much more after the jump!
All our defenders!
The 55th day of our defense against Russia’s full-scale aggression is coming to an end. At present, virtually the entire combat-ready part of the invaders’ army is concentrated on the territory of our state and in the border areas of Russia. They drove against Ukraine almost everyone and almost everything that can fight us.
Therefore, in this confrontation, in this defense, before the eyes of the whole world, we are really opposing the army, which was considered the second or third in power. And the way our Armed Forces are holding on, the way our entire nation is boldly defending itself shows that the Ukrainian army has long deserved to be higher than the Russian one in global rankings.
If we had access to all the weapons we need, which our partners have and which are comparable to the weapons used by the Russian Federation, we would have already ended this war. We would have already restored peace and liberated our territory from the occupiers. Because the superiority of the Ukrainian military in tactics and wisdom is quite obvious.
That is why I emphasize the simple truth in literally every contact with the leaders of the democratic world, in all negotiations, in all interviews – it is unfair that Ukraine is still forced to ask for what its partners have been storing somewhere for years. If they have the weapons that Ukraine needs here, needs now, if they have the ammunition that we need here and now, it is their moral duty first of all to help protect freedom. Help save the lives of thousands of Ukrainians.
If we had received what we are getting now in the first week of the war, the benefit for Ukraine and for freedom in Europe would be greater, I am sure. And if we get what some partners plan to hand over to Ukraine in the coming weeks right now, it will save the lives of thousands of people.
I hope that the partners will hear this thesis and understand that every day matters. Any delay in helping Ukraine gives the occupiers an opportunity to kill more Ukrainians.
The intensity of fire by Russian troops in the Kharkiv direction, in Donbas and in the Dnipropetrovsk region has increased significantly. They still consider ordinary housing infrastructure normal targets for them. In this war, the Russian army will forever inscribe itself in world history as perhaps the most barbaric and inhuman army in the world.
Purposefully killing civilians, destroying residential neighborhoods, civilian infrastructure, using all kinds of weapons for this, including those prohibited by international conventions, is the signature of the Russian army. And this is vileness, which will mark the Russian state as a source of absolute evil for generations.
And when a special tribunal is set up to convict all those guilty of war crimes, a Russian passport will mean only one thing in any country: unequivocal condemnation from all decent people, unequivocal unwillingness to cooperate.
The situation in Mariupol remains unchanged – as severe as possible. The Russian army is blocking any efforts to organize humanitarian corridors and save our people. The occupiers are trying to carry out deportation or even mobilization of the local residents who have fallen into their hands. The fate of at least tens of thousands of Mariupol residents who were previously relocated to Russian-controlled territory is unknown.
Unfortunately, we do not hear a response from Russia to the exchange offer, which could save the civilians and defenders of Mariupol. And this silence should be noted by all who have been or may be associated with Russia. When your fate is decided, Moscow will be silent. This is illustrative. And this is the best argument not to have contacts with the Russian Federation.
In the south of our country, the occupiers are trying to demonstrate at least something that can be presented in Russia as the alleged readiness of Ukrainians to cooperate with Russian structures. It looks pathetic. After 55 days of war, the occupiers didn’t manage to attract anyone to their side except for some outcasts.
The situation is quite clear – Ukrainians in all regions of our state support Ukrainian national unity. They support our national statehood.
And I am grateful to all the residents of the temporarily occupied cities, temporarily occupied communities – Kherson, Kakhovka, Melitopol and all our other communities – for this clear position. No cooperation with the occupiers. No support for the collaborators. The more principled we are, the more principled you will be, the sooner normal life will return.
I held a meeting with representatives of the Verkhovna Rada today. We discussed the plan of parliamentary work, agreed on important draft decisions for the state, which need to be adopted in the near future.
In particular, the deputies were offered to support the technical decision to extend the martial law. This is necessary for the legal support of the defense of our state and the stable operation of all structures.
We also discussed a bill on the procedure for deploying the capacities of the enterprises that were evacuated from the combat zone. A bill with amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code of Ukraine, which are necessary for cooperation with the International Criminal Court. A bill on the legal regime in the temporarily occupied territories.
The conversation was substantive, and I hope that the deputies will work out these bills soon enough.
I spoke today with Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte. Informed him about the current situation in the areas of hostilities and especially in Donbas. Expressed gratitude for the strong support for Ukraine. We coordinated the next steps needed to protect our state and freedom in Europe. Agreed to increase the supply of heavy weapons, including armored vehicles.
I also spoke with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. In particular, on the defensive, financial and humanitarian needs of Ukraine. We are accelerating procedures so that Ukraine can move forward in European integration as fast as possible. Now, during the war, this movement and its speed are also elements of protection of our state, preservation of freedom for our people.
More and more global companies are announcing the shutdown in Russia. Today, the German company Henkel has joined hundreds of other such large companies.
I want to emphasize that this is inevitable: any normal business will have to make such a decision and leave Russia. Now the Russian state is at a level where any association with it and any support for it means complicity in mass killings. Complicity in what will be called crimes against humanity and genocide.
Before delivering this address, I signed the traditional decree on awarding our defenders. 286 servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were awarded state awards. 229 of them are servicemen of the 36th separate brigade of marines, which together with other units heroically defends Mariupol. Maximum gratitude from all the Ukrainian people to the 36th brigade, Azov, the 12th brigade of the National Guard of Ukraine, border guards, Right Sector volunteers, the 555th military hospital, police officers and territorial defense.
Eternal glory to everyone who stood up for Mariupol, our entire state and the people of Ukraine!
Eternal memory to everyone who died for Ukraine!
Glory to Ukraine!
Here’s the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense’s operational update for today (emphasis mine):
The operational update regarding the russian invasion on 18.00 on April 19, 2022
The fifty-fifth day of the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people to a russian military invasion continues. A russian federation continues its full-scale armed aggression against Ukraine.
The russian occupiers continue to launch missile and bomb strikes on civilian and military infrastructure throughout Ukraine.
In the Volyn, Polissya and Siversky directions, the russian enemy did not take active action. The movement of damaged equipment of the military units of the Eastern Military District continues by rail from the territory of the Republic of Belarus to the russian federation. The Armed Forces of the russian federation continue to use the airfield network on the territory of the republic of belarus in order to launch air strikes on civilian infrastructure in Ukraine.
In the Slobozhansky direction the partial blockade by the russian enemy of the city of Kharkiv proceeds. The russian occupiers are trying to fire on Ukrainian troops and critical infrastructure. Enemy from units from russia attempted an offensive and stormed south of Izyum. They were unsuccessful, suffered losses and were forced to retreat to their former positions.
In the Donetsk direction, near the town of Marinka, as a result of a counteroffensive by Ukrainian troops, the russian enemy suffered losses and retreated. Units of the Defence Forces of Ukraine regained control of the settlement.
Fighting continues in the area of Oleksandrivka in the South Buh area, where russian enemy is unsuccessful. russian enemy tries to reach the administrative border of the Kherson oblast and it does not stop shelling settlements.
The russian enemy continues to suffer significant personnel losses. In order to solve the problem of recruiting units under contract, the leadership of the Armed Forces of the russian federation decided to sign short-term contracts for three months and simplify the form of psychophysical selection of future candidates. These measures did not lead to the desired effect.
According to available information, since the beginning of the 2022 year, only 130 contract servicemen have been selected to serve in 42 units of the Southern Military District. 22 of them have already refused to participate in the so-called “special operation” in Ukraine.
Units of russian armed forces directly involved in armed aggression on the territory of Ukraine have a special need for staffing.
According to the available information, the personnel of two battalion tactical groups were destroyed in the 200th separate motorized infantry brigade of the 14th Army Corps of the Coastal Forces of the Northern Fleet.
In addition, three companies of the 51st Parachute Regiment and the Company of the 137th Parachute Regiment, which are part of the 106th Parachute Division, were destroyed on the territory of Ukraine.
We believe in the Armed Forces of Ukraine! Let’s win together!
Glory to Ukraine!
As you can see in the second paragraph I highlighted, Ukrainian forces have liberated Marinka.
Here’s today’s assessment from the British MOD:
And here’s their updated map for today:
Not much change since yesterday.
Here’s today’s background briefing from the DOD. I’m copying and pasting the first half, which involved an official from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency who was briefing on the process of supplying Ukraine.
SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL #1: Okay, good morning, everybody. (inaudible) here. We’ll — we’ll — we’ll start today’s backgrounder.
And the — the way I want to start it today is with a — a special guest. I’ve got (inaudible) with me, (inaudible), and I’ve asked (inaudible) to talk to you on background as Senior Defense Official #2. I’ve asked him to just walk you through a little bit of process on how the security assistance is being provided and the — the — the way we do that.
(inaudible) not going to be able to talk about individual platforms or weapon systems or — as you well know, we do not and have — have tried to stay away from providing a specific inventory list on — on everything that’s being provided and — and on — and on what shipments. You guys know we’re being very careful about that. But I did think that because we’ve done so much that a — a — a broader sort of deeper dive into the actual process would be useful for you, since some of your questions get at that process, and I’m not an expert on it.
So I’m going to ask our — our — our second senior defense official here to have a — a — a couple of comments at the top, and then — and then we’ll go through and — and — and take questions.
Now, I know you didn’t know (inaudible) was going to join me, so when you said you wanted to ask a question on our little sign-up sheet, I recognize not all of you may have a question for (inaudible). I’ll just go through one by one. We’ll see if you do. If you don’t, that’s perfectly fine. Once we’ve exhausted the — the — the Q&A with — with our second senior defense official, we’ll excuse him and then — and then I’ll — I’ll get — I’ll — I’ll come back on and we’ll go through the normal operational update that we’ve been doing every day.
So with that, our Senior Defense Official #2, I’m going to turn it over to you, sir.
SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL #2: All right. Good morning. Thanks for inviting me to participate in this on-background session with the media.
You know, the current crisis in Ukraine really has demonstrated the important role that the Defense Security Cooperation Agency plays in executing U.S. foreign policy. DSCA’s mission is wide-ranging. We do defense trade and arms transfers, institutional capacity building, international military training and education, humanitarian assistance and development of our security cooperation workforce. And since 1971, when DSCA was founded, it’s relied upon its partnership with the State Department to lead U.S. security cooperation in order to help solve complex U.S. defense and foreign policy challenges.
The crisis we’re in right now is one of those challenges, and security cooperation has enabled a strong U.S.-European defense and security relationship, and suitably prepared Ukraine to face Russia in this premeditated, unprovoked and brutal invasion. And since the beginning of the invasion, DSCA has executed $2.3 billion in presidential drawdowns so far, and $300 million under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative as of April 1st, 2022.
This is a time of higher OPSTEMPO and faster movement than we’ve really ever done in our history, and it really brings a couple of important takeaways about our mission. One is the important role that security cooperation plays in military crises and in crises in general. Together with our colleagues in the interagency, the Joint Staff, U.S. European Command and State Department, we’ve been working around the clock. Our teams are working essentially 24/7, and security cooperation really is the focal point of where we are in our work on this crisis at the moment. And then I would say that it also has really shown the importance of the broad network of experts that we have from across the interagency and within the Defense Industrial Base. And finally, that we’ve worked strongly and closely with allies, and that the NATO alliance really has — has stood up strongly on this, and we have been working to coordinate assistance with those allies.
So I was asked to talk a little bit about the process, and so what I thought I’d do is just walk you quickly through how a presidential drawdown would work. First, working together with the Ukrainians and with the U.S. European Command, a list of requirements is developed. That is done through military judgment by European Command, and then run by our folks who do policy here in the Pentagon. We then at DSCA turn that around to the military departments for them to tell us if they have the availability within stocks — because these presidential drawdowns are from current DOD stock — whether they have the availability of that equipment, what the pricing of it is in order to fit within the resources or the — the limitations on the drawdown, and they will also tell us what the readiness impacts are of drawing down that equipment from U.S. stocks.
We’ll build a package which meets the target that is met, or that has been stated by the leadership, and we forward that around for coordination. The readiness impacts are assessed. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff provides a recommendation as well and makes his military judgment and assessment of the readiness aspects. And then a memo goes through the Secretary of Defense to approve the drawdown plan. At that point, the President will actually direct the drawdown. The Secretary of State signs a memo directing DOD to execute, and then the Defense Security Cooperation Agency actually puts out the execute order. That whole process has been known in the last several months to be possible to do in as few as 24 — or 48 to 72 hours, which is unprecedented.
The moment that the execute order starts is when we start pulling equipment out of stocks, preparing it for transport and movement to Europe and transfer to the Ukrainians. All of that happens as quickly as possible, often in a matter of days, depending upon the individual equipment. And then EUCOM will work on coordinating the in-theater logistics to make sure that the — the transfers are completed as efficiently as possible, and also to coordinate with other donors who may also be providing equipment.
I was also asked to say a little bit about the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, USAI. This year, there was about $300 million for that authorized for DOD. We have notified Congress of how we intend to use that money, and that is generally done through contracting for new procurement, so the timelines can be a little longer on providing that. And then the other source of funding for Ukraine security assistance is foreign military financing, which is under the authority of the State Department, and is also used for — generally, for new procurement, although it could also buy things out of DOD stocks.
Again, often will be for longer-term requirements. And we need to remember that as we work at this, it’s not just the tomorrow situation that we’re looking at as we do security assistance for Ukraine, but we need to have a longer-term process. And so that’s why we’re using some of these contracting authorities.
But I’ll leave it there as a description of the process and happy to take any questions.
SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL #1: Thank you, sir.
The regular day 55 update and the Q&A are at the link!
German Chancellor Scholtz is still dragging his feet:
Apparently, France was trying to persuade several EU countries (read Germany) to include an embargo on Russian oil into the sixth round of sanctions.
French Economy Minister says they didn’t agree.
— Oleksiy Sorokin (@mrsorokaa) April 19, 2022
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says the country's military has nothing more to offer Ukraine but is working with the arms industry to deliver weapons to Kyiv. https://t.co/shxGz6SS3j pic.twitter.com/rBbaNkRnoH
— DW News (@dwnews) April 19, 2022
Scholz’s bizarre announcement has not played well except with the extreme right and extreme left parties in Germany.
Comparatively the Germans are doing very little:
— toomas hendrik ilves (@IlvesToomas) April 19, 2022
The Netherlands, however, have stepped up:
⚡️Netherlands to send heavy weapons, including armored vehicles, to Ukraine.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on April 19 that he had called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and announced the arms supplies “as Russia begins a renewed offensive.”
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) April 19, 2022
As have the Czechs:
NEW: Ukrainian military vehicles (like tanks, APCs) will be serviced and repaired in the Czech Republic, Czech Defense Minister @jana_cernochova just announced.
Unlike Germany, we provide Ukraine with heavy weapons and we help Ukraine repair here whatever they need. pic.twitter.com/3ceDe38eL4
— Jakub Janda 楊雅嚳 (@_JakubJanda) April 19, 2022
Let’s leave it there for tonight.
We’ll finish with your semi-daily Chef Jose Andres:
Hello from the town of Shybene where the @WCKitchen team is delivering bags of food at this central distribution for residents! Irina found us in Borodyanka and made sure we would come back here…This is what we do every day in 2,000 places across Ukraine! #ChefsForUkraine ?? pic.twitter.com/Lmd6tZ2G19
— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) April 19, 2022
They are back up and running in Kharkiv!
Good news from Kharkiv! @natemook is with Vera and the Yaposhka team at a new kitchen location following the missile strike. All of the restaurant staff came back to help prepare meals—and the 3 injured team members have been released from the hospital! #ChefsForUkraine ?? pic.twitter.com/FsrzoKzSQb
— World Central Kitchen (@WCKitchen) April 19, 2022
Jose Andres, man. As people have been saying, if he and the team of WCK don’t get a Nobel Prize out of this, I don’t believe in nuthin’ no more!
@jonas: Excellent point!
Before anything else: I come here every evening for these posts Adam. They are essential to me.
And while we’re talking about Dems Who Hit Back™, damm, check out this righteous rant from a state rep in Michigan who had had enough of some shitheel GOP asshole trying to smear her with the “grooming” bullshit for opposing whatever anti-LGTBQ nonsense they were spreading. You’ll need a cigarette afterwards.
Re Mariupol, this has had a horrible inevitable logic for weeks. The only … what to call it … karmic counterbalance, as weak as it is, is that it is happening in the full light of day. Pretty much everyone whose government is not allied with Russia and censoring the internet heavily knows what the Russians are doing, as they are doing it. That won’t stop the horror, nor deter further horror in Ukraine, nor will whatever sanctions we might impose, as strong as they might be, but it is writing the historical record in indelible ink and nearly in real time, and the implications for Russia will be worldwide and will persist for generations.
Having known and worked with Russians in Russia, and having seen their spirit and promise, I think it’s tragic beyond even the ongoing horrific tragedy of Ukraine. One isolated old man’s obsession has led to this. American voters — and French voters, and and and — take note!
Apparently the US said that Ukraine now has more planes and parts for planes, but they wouldn’t say where they came from, except not from the US. Makes you wonder if Blinken went to Algeria not just to talk about LNG, but also to make an offer to trade in some Soviet planes for some Mirages or such.
I just listened to an interview on BBC with a cousin of one of the Mariupol fighters. She doesn’t know if she’ll ever see him again and she’s beside herself with worry and with grief. Screw Russian “spirit” and “promise.”
Re: Germany — The German Left from the days of Willy Brandt at least has been pretty overtly pro-Russia, so this slow-walking of Ukrainian support is not surprising. Scholz, unfortunately, happens to find himself PM at the very moment when most of Europe and many Germans are realizing that, yeah, Russia “are the baddies” and the West needs to step up in a major way.
Lots of scales fell from the eyes of European leftists when the Soviets invaded Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Will the same happen with Ukraine? We’ll see.
Thanks Adam. I don’t have anything to add, just wanted you to know I’m reading every post.
Clenching up for the inevitable fall of Mariupol. What more can be asked of those defenders?
@debbie: Yesterday on the midnight BBC World News show on the local NPR station, the news guy was interviewing a woman who was working on providing services in Ukraine and she was talking in quite graphic terms about what she was seeing and hearing the Russian army was doing and the genocide going on. He mentioned that Putin was giving medals to the regiment that was accused of war crimes in Bucha, and then said to her (roughly), “I was wondering if you feel any sympathy for the average Russian soldier…”.
I was dumbstruck. Like, WTF??!
She said that, no, she does not feel sympathy for people committing genocide.
It’s flabbergasting how absolutely horrible the BBC has become.
I never miss your posts about Ukraine Adam and appreciate your work on them. Tonight I also learned I could understand the Czech language here. Goodnight!
Everyone’s resistance to engaging in a larger conflict is steadily declining. Every step forward that doesn’t cross a Russian red line begs us to take another step.
Adam L Silverman
@Carlo Graziani: Thank you for the kind words. You’re welcome.
Adam L Silverman
@Ohio Mom: I will update your dossier to indicate you are in full compliance.
You are quite welcome.
Major Major Major Major
Adam L Silverman
@Medicine Man: Lincoln explained it to us.
@jonas: That was good, let’s get her a House seat.
Adam L Silverman
@HRA: We are a full service blog!
You are most welcome.
@Adam L Silverman: The Lincoln Memorial is the best thing in DC. That speech, and the Second Inaugural, always make me weepy.
Adam L Silverman
@Major Major Major Major: The issue is not the German citizenry. From the reporting I’ve seen they’re on board with doing more to help Ukraine. The problem is Scholz, as well as Germany’s president and a couple of others. The German Foreign Minister is from the Green Party and she has been publicly calling for Germany to do more. I’ve seen speculation by knowledgeable observers that it is possible for the other parties in the current coalition, like the Greens, to actually just remove Scholz’s party from the coalition and Scholz from the chancellorship without bringing down the government. But I don’t know if it is something actually being considered by those who could make it happen.
Adam L Silverman
@Carlo Graziani: Jefferson’s remarks about the need to completely revise the Constitution every generation or so on the wall of his memorial is also nice. Now if we could just get the Supreme Court majority to read and understand that…
Major Major Major Major
@Adam L Silverman: sure, I meant the government. And the one that preceded it.
Adam L Silverman
@Major Major Major Major: ok
Hopefully with lots of these,
During the Gulf War the Canadian Armed Forces, ( now back to being the Royal Canadian Navy, now that “unification” is over), stripped it’s entire inventory of Harpoon ASW’s to bolster US and Allied stocks.
@Carlo Graziani: I’ll take his Letter to Erastus Corning & Others:
I’m not a huge Tom Nichols fan, but his newsletter today at the Atlantic in part about the Russian Orthodox Church I found worthwhile. If folks have access (most of the column is paywalled) maybe check it out. I hadn’t known before today that Nichols is Orthodox.
Nor that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church broke off from the Moscow patriarchate in 2019 (and if I understand it, is now at least in some relationship with the more global Orthodox Church based in Istanbul).
But really this is the nugget. I think it’s worth paying a bit more attention to: “The Western media, in my view, have not paid enough attention to the religious aspect of this war, and in particular Putin’s insistence that he is acting to unite something like an Orthodox Christian empire. ” And WaPo is one place to read more on this Christian nationalist push w/ Putin.
@Adam L Silverman: you’d need a constructive vote of no confidence, so you’d need a new government ready to go in place. The only way to do that would be to replace the SPD with the CDU right now, because the Left and theAlternative for Democracy (extreme right) aren’t viable or particularly sympathetic to UKraine.
A constructive vote of no confidence has happened once successfully in 1982.
So unless you know something I don’t, entirely possible I concede, the German governing coalition has to find a way to make it work. (I think they will get there, but it’s going to continue to be bumpy)
@Carlo Graziani: The first I read Lincoln’s Second Inaugural was when I visited the Lincoln Memorial for the first time and saw it. To read it for the first time from the wall next to the statute was jaw-dropping.
Also, thanks, Adam.
Adam L Silverman
@RaflW: I’m actually planning to cover this in tomorrow’s update. I was going to do it last night, but the focus was on the start of the Donbas campaign.
Adam L Silverman
@Fake Irishman: I don’t know something you don’t. Just recounting what someone who knows more than me was publicly spitballing could happen.
Adam L Silverman
@Philbert: You are most welcome.
@RaflW: the western media would much prefer to ignore or tippy-toe around any suggestion of, or discussion about, Religion’s activities as being anything but pure and holy. By religion they of course mean Christianity in any form plus Judaism. Other religions are either latently evil (we “know” which one this would be), or essentially pagan. //
But yeah, the notion that Putin is high on his own religious holy war supply is worrying. Trump standing around with bowed head while they all laid hands upon him was one thing. I’m sure he quite enjoyed it in a cynical, shallow way. Vladdy might be deeper into it.
@Adam L Silverman: Thanks for that, Adam.
I suspect these generations of Ukrainians will understand their liberty better than most who live now in Canada & the USA.
Oh, wonderful. Slava Malamud has a thread up posting garbage from average every day Russians about wiping out Ukraine in various ways. Which is making me even more stabby than usual.
Adam L Silverman
@Kattails: That’s why I chose not to post that here tonight.
They seem to think they owe the Russians something from WW2. But hell, they actually killed more people and destroyed more cities in Ukraine (and Belarus) than they did in Russia proper during WW2. Who they actually owe more than the Russians is the Ukrainians.
What they are actually doing with this stunt is destroying all of their moral authority within the EU and next time the Germans want to take the lead on anything EU related such as debt (like when they punished Greece) I expect the rest of the EU will tell them to fucking pound sand.
@Adam L Silverman: oops, sorry. Would it be better to remove the comment?
@RaflW: A good friend’s father was a Russian Orthodox priest. We haven’t heard anything from him about his opinion of Kirill 1. He gets upset about suffering in the world and though informed about politics he doesn’t waste much energy on it like my partner and I do.
His two siblings and he are all gay* so they have zero interaction with the church.
Adam L Silverman
@Kattails: No, not at all. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to balance the info in each of these updates. Not just what is or is not verifiable or accurate, but what is too incendiary or disturbing. Believe it or not, there are far worse – as in disturbing – images and videos coming out of Ukraine than what I’ve posted in these updates.
And another thanks, Adam, for your posts. I read comments on other blogs about the war and it’s apparent that Juicers are very well informed by comparison. It’s invaluable to have your guidance, as much as you can, through the fog of this war.
I’m begging for someone to help me see the endgame. The security of the world (or at least Europe) requires a Putin/Russian defeat. Do we really expect Ukraine to endure this much longer. The complete destruction of every soldier in Mariupol is bad enough, but add the tens of thousands of civilian casualties and the billions of dollars of damage plus the horrors that await when Russia actually achieves its objective in the city. Ukraine is still strong and does not plan to surrender or negotiate. Russia appears to still be able to wage a savage war even if they are unable to achieve all of their objectives. A Ukrainian outright victory seems unlikely. A Russian outright victory seems unlikely. A stalemate seems intolerable. I really appreciate these updates, but since I can’t really [neither predict or conceive work] the possible outcomes, I don’t know what to think of these updates.
@egorelick: Best outcome: Ukraine gets all the assistance they need including enough to break through to Mariopol in time. They drive the Ruussians back to their original borders. The FSB oust Putin and replace him with a realist after Germany shuts off payments for gas and oil.
Possible outcome: Non Nato nations build a coalition and use their firepower to clear a corridor to Mariopol. Guerilla resistance movements in Belarus and other “republics” plus ineffective Rusisian army and supply issues force Russia to declare victory while keeping the territory they had before the invasion.
Likely outcome: Putin bombs Ukraine into rubble. Ukrainians fight to the death but millions of women and children flood Eastern Europe. Zelensky is sent to firm a government in exile.
Worst outcome: Putin uses “tactical” nukes. Germany covers but the rest of NATO responds in kind and within minutes skies worldwide darken and the great extinction begins.
Adam is not disposed to speculation so you’ll have to manage with my feeble attempt. A crystal ball would be more precise than my speculation.
This is every major war in history. The end game for the attackers is to end up the conquers, and steal everything in sight. The endgame for the attacked is to repel the attackers. You know which is the good side when all they want is to end the fighting and the attackers to stop and go home. It’s rare when the roles are switched. This time the description stands.
Adam’s updates are very good. Everyone should understand how bad war is, not just the people in it although it is extremely tough to fully understand without being there, which I don’t recommend, and while I’ve never been directly in one, I know lots of people who have and none of them seem to suggest it as an event you want to experience. I don’t know if we will ever have a world without war. I suspect for sure it won’t be in my lifetime.
Gin & Tonic
@RaflW: The tomos granted to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchate) is absolutely a contributing, and maybe even precipitating factor in this war, as it is yet more evidence that Ukrainians want nothing to do with Russia.
Plus, Patriarch Epifaniy is pretty much the polar opposite of Kirill
As always, Adam, I thank you for your coverage.
If any of you junkies want hits in between Adam’s postings, I highly recommend the twitter collection curated by Josh Marshall, composed of several dozen knowledgeable sources. You don’t have to have a twitter account to read it (I don’t):
Germany — their complete moral collapse makes me very sad. Here’s a guess about the dynamic.
Sometimes, a moderately good person falls in love with a very bad person. Perhaps the good person is partly seduced by the wealth or beauty of the bad person. But a large part of the attraction is the good person’s belief that the bad person can be redeemed by their love. It combines a belief that the bad person can change, plus a belief that their own nobility and righteousness is powerful enough to effect that change.
Usually, both beliefs are wrong. The powerful abuser has no desire to change, and the nobility of the less-wicked partner has no power to change their mind. Why should it? Having an apparently noble and virtuous partner is a win-win for the abuser — it gives them the veneer of respectability, plus entree into respectable circles.
Third parties who try to explain this dynamic to the victim will be met with excuses and reproaches. “He’s not as bad as you say!” (The abuser is not always a “he,” but more often than not.) “He just needs more love, and more understanding! I can change him!”
So, the third party goes off feeling sorrow and frustration, the abuser goes off laughing at the folly of their victim, and the pathetic victim, convinced of their own nobility and its salvific power, enables more atrocities.
Add to this that even moderately noble victims of abuse may have also come to like the lifestyle that the abuser can afford them, and may not look too carefully at where the jewels and limos come from. No one is as noble as they think they are.
And no one is as resistant to change as weak people convinced of their righteousness, being used by their abuser and refusing to give up the dream that they can change them.
I say this not to excuse Germany. It has lost an immense amount of goodwill and moral authority, and it will need to earn it back. But I say it to describe what I believe to be going on. For every Schroeder who is simply in the pay of Putin, there are many Scholzes, weak, idealistic, and deluded, who are enabling horrors for what they believe to be noble ends.
It’s always been pretty bad in a “We are the Establishment and we report accordingly” way, but it’s got catastrophically worse since the Tories threw away the last modesty curtain and began openly stuffing its top posts with loyal Party apparatchiks. In one recent incident they actually edited an interview with the head of Scotland’s National Farmer’s Union to remove any references to Brexit from his list of issues they face. Not the first time they’ve done it, won’t be the last. They’ve become the full-on State Approved Information Channel.
That’s not to say all of the problems are of recent vintage. If you want to lose your breakfast and all faith in humanity just google ‘Jimmy Saville’ and ‘BBC cover-up’ for the delightful story of how generations of BBC management conspired to shield Britain’s worst celebrity rapist/paedophile/necrophiliac (Ed – there’s a league table?) from scrutiny, seemingly because he was close to Thatcher and the Royals, but quite possibly because the cunning little fuck kept dirt on all of the other likeminded monsters and could have brought the whole tawdry edifice down if he’d felt threatened.
But don’t call them biased. That’s just extremism.
To my (overly-long) account at #48, add three more factors:
This last one is of course in tension — an irreconcilable tension — with the official line that the abuser has a heart of gold somewhere inside. But it plays a strong role, even if subconsciously. And it’s playing a role in Shcolz’s unwillingness to provide the really heavy weapons that Ukraine needs. He’s afraid of Russia on some level, even if he also thinks that “engagement” and “change through economic integration” can redeem the beast.
Self-righteousness conceals many motives — vanity, lust, fear, sloth — pretty much all of the seven big ones can masquerade as the noble desire to help others.
Deputinize Eurasia from the Kuriles to St Petersburg
I gotta say – the French Air Force was running a fuckton of low altitude training sorties last week all the way from just outside Paris to Normandy.
Seemed like a lot – we heard (and saw) them zipping every day, from late morning to mid-afternoon.
Also, a friend of mine from high school days is a retired submariner who works for a NATO contractor and builds SCIFs. Noticed he’s now rattling around in Slovakia.
Deputinize Eurasia from the Kuriles to St Petersburg
Holy fuck, that was bad.
I understand Germany’s hesitation to a certain degree. Yes, a lot of it is fuelled by gas/oil dependency on Russia, but there’s also the fact that their current political class are the sons and daughters of those who were educated in the immediate post war years, where they were taught to hate and distrust anything that smacked of militarism.
As a result, Germany has consistently underspent on its armed services and, until the last 10-15 years, the rest of us have been content to let them do so (because we also remember). They are slowly moving to a more balanced position, but they are fighting against instincts and beliefs that were installed in them as children. That’s hard.
On the other hand, the Federal Republic must have inherited a lit of Soviet era weaponry from the East Germany army after reunification. Did they melt it down, sell it, or did they put it in a warehouse somewhere in case of a rainy day?
@oldster: Women in bad marriages is not actually comparable to nations judging their interests. Leaders aren’t wives. I can’t even begin to compare and contrast because the basic comparison is so stupid.
Nations are not wives. And I am speaking as an ex-battered wife. Genocide is at an exponetially different level of abuse.
@Adam L Silverman:
Oh, they’re revising it, alright…
@Adam L Silverman: Given that Jefferson was big on Robespierre and the Jacobins until almost the very end*, I would proceed cautiously with that sentiment.
*Of course he opposed similar sentiments when they broke out in Haiti.
The Pale Scot
Germany, there’s a twitter on my other PC I can’t network over to find.
It said that the Marder APCs that Germany doesn’t have enough to send UAK, they’re offering to sell 200 of them to Egypt for one million whatevers
Can we offer to trade GE to RU for UAK? It’ll Remove major economic competitor and the EU gets lots of educated people to solve their demographic crisis.
Germany is no longer a useful member of NATO
Glad I missed that one, or I’d have slept much worse than I did. Peter Doocy to the max!
This Twitter thread by Slava Malamud is a series of WhatsApp screenshots of everyday Russians and their thoughts on the situation:
@Calouste: Algeria would be an interesting provider of those warplanes. It is more likely that they came from sources closer to Ukraine. Like most Middle Eastern and North African countries Algeria has been neutral in this war.
Algeria also is adamant in opposing the formula of “Moroccan sovereignity, local autonomy” for Western Sahara that the U.S. has endorsed. I imagine that Secretary Blinken got an earful on this on his recent visit to Algeria. His positive goal was probably to get Algeria to increase natural gas production. This country already provides nearly 10% of Europe’s supplies.
A second topic is reported to be efforts the U.S. is making to maintain grain supplies; many nations in the MENA region need to import grain for some of their citizen’s bread.
If the UA are members by then it might just be phrased ‘German moral authority, go fuck yourself’
Hi Adam. Thank you so much for keeping this work up day to day. I was never much of a commenter in online forums. I tried the NY Times. I used to comment when John Cole was MediaWhoresOnline or maybe that was Bartcop. I never feel like anybody gets my jokes at Eschaton. I used to comment at Billmon. I was just a reader for decades. A skimming lurker. A hang-about. Balloon-Juice was in my daily half dozen, off and on, with LGM, Eschaton, TPM etc back to when Kevin Drum was CalPundit. I used to comment at Kos. I’ve got a two digit Kos ID. I was proud of that when they took off.
I hate Karma systems. I’m sensitive to the emotional pain of social isolation. Now I’m a typing fool which is good for a writer. Nobody can downvote me. You all put up with me.
I have a suggestion. I am thinking that you are going to run yourself down, same thing with Anne Laurie, day to day, every day on the COVID news. Don’t tie yourself to a daily grind at Balloon Juice. Get some helpers. No website is worth a happy family. It’s got to be taking a toll. I really appreciate it. The balanced presentation of the daily news and the discussion you make possible here for commenters like me, Carlo, Geminid and everyone else is really very incredible. But you still have to live! You are going to blow a gasket!
Dead thread, I know, but this is very true, and could probably be said about the Poles, Balts, and Belarusians as well. (I had this thread still up from last night when I got home just now.)