(Image by NEIVANMADE)
Another briefer update tonight.
Here is President Zelenskyy’s address from earlier this evening. Video below, English transcript after the jump:
Good health to you, fellow Ukrainians!
Today we had a day that can be called preparatory.
Preparatory for international events that will take place tomorrow and the day after. These days. As always, Ukraine’s position must be heard. Hence, we are preparing our position so that it is guaranteed to be heard.
This day was also preparatory for a longer-term perspective. Defense issues, economic issues – both with an eye to the spring of this year.
We have to ensure that this spring it is truly felt that Ukraine is moving towards victory. This applies to the training of our defense forces, the supply of weapons for our country and our strategic initiative in the war.
Any attempts by Russia to retake the initiative must be thwarted. And I am confident that we will do so.
The enemy is already losing so many of its people, so many of its forces, that it will soon be difficult to find, for example, a “marine” throughout Russia.
And our task is to make sure that there is less and less desire there to keep Ukrainian territories under occupation.
The liberation of our land is the goal we are working on every day.
Today I held an economic meeting, also to prepare for spring. We discussed many issues. All of them relate to the economic recovery of Ukraine, creating economic opportunities for our people and industries.
The agricultural sector – there is a very acute issue of humanitarian land demining. An interagency working group has been set up at the Cabinet of Ministers level to ensure that this activity is intensified – the clearing of soil from mines and unexploded ordnance.
The government is preparing new significant steps to deregulate the Ukrainian economy. Business will benefit from simplification in dozens of areas, including the abolition of various bureaucratic permits and licenses.
Steps are also being prepared to create jobs. Every job in our country now is a contribution to our resilience. And it is a way to bring our people back to Ukraine. The relevant details will be presented at the government level.
Of course, we also had a very meaningful conversation today about European integration. We are doing everything to prepare the start of negotiations on EU membership.
In particular, this was discussed during the visit of the Prime Minister of Sweden.
It is Sweden that currently holds the EU Presidency, and we have both the necessary leadership and the necessary will to start membership negotiations this year. Ukraine feels the support of its partners in this, and I am grateful for it.
Today we also spoke in great detail with Mr. Prime Minister of Sweden about further defense assistance, about weapons for us, for Ukraine. Our defenders are very much looking forward to the Swedish Archers, one of the most powerful artillery systems. And Archers will definitely help our warriors.
Today I spoke with the President of Azerbaijan. I thanked him for the sincere desire for peace for Ukraine, for the humanitarian support for our country and for his wise view on the protection of international law. We agreed to cooperate in global institutions.
And, as it has become a tradition every evening… I want to thank our warriors. To each and every one of them, who with their resilience and bravery on the frontline enable us to prepare our next defense steps.
The 54th separate mechanized brigade named after Hetman Ivan Mazepa, the 10th separate assault brigade “Edelweiss” – thank you guys for the effective defense of the Donetsk region!
The 25th separate airborne Sicheslav brigade, the 81st separate airmobile brigade and the 95th air assault brigade – thank you guys for defending the Luhansk region!
Every day of your defense now allows us to prepare the future liberation of our cities and communities.
We cannot leave a single chance to all the occupiers. And we will not.
I thank everyone who helps our country!
Glory to each and every one who is in combat!
Glory to Ukraine!
Here’s former NAVDEVGRU Squadron Leader Chuck Pfarrer’s most recent assessments of the situations in Kreminna and Bakhmut:
KREMINNA /0030 UTC 16 FEB/ A 14 FEB Russian surge west of Kreminna has been halted and reversed by UKR counter-attacks. RU probes were broken up by Ukrainian forces at Novosadove and Zarichne, with RU units withdrawing back across the P-66 highway. pic.twitter.com/ex8yX8dEZO
— Chuck Pfarrer | Indications & Warnings | (@ChuckPfarrer) February 16, 2023
BAKHMUT /1430 UTC 15 FEB/ On 14 FEB, UKR conducted offensive actions against at Krasna Hora & Chasiv Yar. At present, the Forward Edge of the Battle Area (FEBA) is unclear; these two operations may be described as raids. pic.twitter.com/GfC7D1SVeC
— Chuck Pfarrer | Indications & Warnings | (@ChuckPfarrer) February 15, 2023
🤡Prigozhyn declares Russians shouldn't downplay the enemy by saying Bakhmut is "surrounded", his best guess is encircelemnt will happen in March-April now, although new weapon deliveries will have a significant impact in this estimation. pic.twitter.com/G52ePria5o
— Dmitri (@wartranslated) February 15, 2023
Just a quick warning on this one as I haven’t had a chance to watch it. Madyar has a tendency to use what in the US would be a no longer acceptable slur for homosexual men to refer to the Russians he and his people are fighting. I try to screen the videos with him and if he uses it I don’t include it. I don’t have the time to do so, so I’m winging it and hoping this is one where he doesn’t. If he does, someone let me know in the comments and I’ll pull it.
Update from Bakhmut, 15 February – while routes to Bakhmut are not safe, in areas such as Konstantinivka highway, the enemy is being pushed back. Wagner is not getting reinforcements and is being replaced with Russian army. The city is holding as before – Magyar. pic.twitter.com/lwSZzLj1DQ
— Dmitri (@wartranslated) February 15, 2023
Air Forces detected balloons with reflectors, used for radar reconnaissance in Kyiv region. Three days ago Russia launched reconnaissance drone and same balloons over Dnipro. Russia is trying to find where Ukrainian air defense is located and is preparing for attack.
— Maria Avdeeva (@maria_avdv) February 15, 2023
Balloon with reflectors downed today around Kyiv. Six of them were detected earlier. pic.twitter.com/V8qyeQObGS
— Maria Avdeeva (@maria_avdv) February 15, 2023
I’m sure some of you have seen the Institute for the Study of War’s (ISW) latest assessment. As you all know, I’m not really a fan of that place. Regardless, I think this is the right take on that assessment:
Strongly disagree with this assessment. The Ukrainians are staying on the defensive because they can, better gear is still arriving, and it's the smart move while Russian forces are desperate to achieve anything. https://t.co/0Cv419CgAw
— B. A. Friedman (@BA_Friedman) February 14, 2023
Ukraine knows this, and can choose where and when to defend, where and when to counter-attack. They have the choice, they have the initiative.
— B. A. Friedman (@BA_Friedman) February 14, 2023
And this reporting from The Guardian is part of the reason I’m in agreement:
Ukraine’s military have given little ground in fight that underscores Moscow’s tactical limitation.
Crunching through the snow, a few miles from the Russian frontline, there are few visible signs of the activity going on below. At ground level, where the temperature is -6C, the background noise of artillery fire is constant: the pops of outgoing shells and the crumps of incoming ones, as the Russians attack the nearby town of Vuhledar, a fight that has already been going on for three weeks.
The military escort turns off into an ordinary dacha, and heads not for the house, but towards a nearby cellar, pushing past a dirty hanging drape. It reveals a flight of steps leading to a heavy metal door and beyond that a hi-tech command post. Inside a stove-warmed room, half a dozen soldiers from Ukraine’s 68th Jaeger infantry brigade monitor the frontline.
Here, the soldiers are armed with laptops. One constantly eyes camera footage, which can come from drones, another the Russians’ radio communications – both gathering intelligence. The frozen fields on the central screen appear quiet at that moment, but the fighting has been intense nearby, around a small coal mining town that the Ukrainians are desperate to hold.
Viacheslav (Ukraine’s military only allows first names to be used), a major, is the local commander. He explained that Vuhledar matters because it is on an elevated position, and that if the Russians capture it they will have “fire control” on villages to the north. Losing it could force a retreat closer to Kurakhove, 15 miles (24km) behind the current frontline. “No matter how good our defence line, it is going to become pointless” if the village is lost, he said.
Russian assaults on Vuhledar typically “start at 4am to 5am” and have been taking place daily, according to another commander, a senior lieutenant aged only 23, who goes by the call sign of Tykhyi. The young officer is from Ukraine’s 72nd mechanised brigade, an armoured unit that has been leading the defence of the town, with the 68th assisting, since the battle began on 24 January.
Despite day after day of attacks, Ukraine’s military have only given a little ground in a fight that has – so far at least – underscored familiar Russian tactical limitations and a low regard for the value of its soldiers’ lives. If it is the start of the Russian spring offensive, it has been a disaster.
“We can see very clearly that they’re poorly trained,” Tykhyi said. The Russian troops are from the 155th naval infantry brigade, comprised of newly mobilised soldiers. The novices, he said, often “gather in one pile of people” making them easier targets. “They don’t have any tactics. It’s as if they were told, you have this task, go and do it, but they were not told how to do it. So they just improvise.”
Videos of the fighting, taken from overhead drones, back up the Ukrainian’s point. One shows an exposed Russian tank being struck in the area, an easy target for the defenders. Britain’s Ministry of Defence said on Friday it believed that Russian troops abandoned “at least 30 mostly intact armoured vehicles” after a single “failed assault” as confirmed in a string of pictures.
According to Tykhyi the Russians initially made heavy use of tanks and fighting vehicles but as the days have worn on, have thrown forward an increasing proportion of infantry. It suggests that the attackers were running short on armour in the Vuhledar sector, at least for now.
Critical to Ukraine’s defence is to spot and attack the Russians from a distance, before they get to what is left of Vuhledar, where it is estimated that only 300 people still live. A video released at the beginning of February depicts a shattered town.
Much, much, much more at the link!
Vive le France!
The first tranche of French 14 AMX-10RC light tanks/armoured reconnaissance vehicles are on route to Ukraine and will arrive by the end of February. 🇫🇷🤝🇺🇦 https://t.co/26E763qPHP
— Jimmy Rushton (@JimmySecUK) February 15, 2023
No matter what Putin does or thinks he can do, the Eurointegration
peanization of Ukraine is not going to be stopped:
Ukraine's de facto full integration into the Single Market takes shape. Whether Ukraine becomes a full member of the EU or not, none of this Switzerland or Norway-level access to the EU system is getting rolled back after the war. https://t.co/YmzSlUXgtW
— Alexander Clarkson (@APHClarkson) February 15, 2023
The Humanitarian Research Lab at Yale’s School of Public Health has released their new report on how Russia has stolen over 6,000 Ukrainian children.
Russia has held more than 6,000 children from Ukraine in at least 43 camps and other facilities, according to a new report by researchers at @HRL_YaleSPH, a partner of the @StateDept funded @ObserveConflict. (1/3) pic.twitter.com/QcASut3Jlu
— Yale School of Public Health (@YaleSPH) February 15, 2023
Read the full @HRL_YaleSPH report ⬇️ (3/3) https://t.co/6jinT22xxk
— Yale School of Public Health (@YaleSPH) February 15, 2023
!NEW REPORT!: Russia has held more than 6,000 children from Ukraine in 43+ camps and other facilities for systematic re-education, and in some cases foster/adoption from Black Sea to Russia’s Far East finds @HRL_YaleSPH in @ObserveConflict @StateCSO https://t.co/x7WoSnH5Ia pic.twitter.com/yT5urd5Bcb
— Humanitarian Research Lab (HRL) at YSPH (@HRL_YaleSPH) February 14, 2023
Here’s the network chart from the tweet above:
Here’s the summary of the report and the key findings:
14 February 2023
Russia’s Systematic Program for the Re-education and Adoption of Ukraine’s Children
Russia’s federal government has systematically relocated at least 6,000 children from Ukraine to a network of re-education and adoption facilities in Russia-occupied Crimea and mainland Russia. The Yale School of Public Health’s Humanitarian Research Lab (HRL) identified 43 facilities involved in holding children from Ukraine since Russia’s 24 February 2022 invasion of Ukraine. The majority are recreational camps where children are taken for ostensible vacations, while others are facilities used to house children put up for foster care or adoption in Russia. These findings indicate the majority of camps have engaged in pro-Russia re-education efforts and some camps have provided military training to children or suspended the children’s return to their parents in Ukraine.
Produced as part of the Conflict Observatory, this report documents the widespread nature of these facilities and their intended purposes. The report also explores the vast network of people responsible for facilitating the transfer of Ukrainian children to Russia.
- More than 6,000 children in Russia’s custody: Yale HRL has collected information about at least 6,000 children from Ukraine ages four months to 17 years who have been held at camps and other facilities since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022. Arrivals to these facilities began in February 2022; the most recent transfers occurred in January 2023. The total number of children is not known and is likely significantly higher than 6,000.
- At least 43 facilities in network: The network spans at least 43 facilities identified by Yale HRL, 41 of which are pre-existing summer camps in Russia-occupied Crimea and Russia. Among the camps, 12 are clustered around the Black Sea, 7 are in occupied Crimea, and 10 are clustered around the cities of Moscow, Kazan, and Yekaterinburg. Eleven of the camps are located over 500 miles from Ukraine’s border with Russia, including two camps in Siberia and one in Russia’s Far East. The exact number of facilities is likely significantly higher than the 43 identified in this report. Yale HRL identified two facilities associated with the deportation of orphans: a psychiatric hospital, and a family center.
- Network of children’s facilities stretches from Russia-occupied Crimea to Russia’s eastern coast: The furthest camp this investigation identifies is in Magadan oblast in Russia’s Far East near the Pacific Ocean, approximately 3,900 miles from Ukraine’s border with the Russian Federation. The camp in Magadan is roughly three times closer to the United States than it is to the border of Ukraine.
Primary purpose of the camps appears to be political re-education: At least 32 (78%) of the camps identified by Yale HRL appear engaged in systematic re-education efforts that expose children from Ukraine to Russia-centric academic, cultural, patriotic, and/or military education. Multiple camps endorsed by the Russian Federation are advertised as “integration programs”, with the apparent goal of integrating children from Ukraine into the Russian government’s vision of national culture, history, and society.
- Children from two of the camps have been placed with foster families in Russia: Yale HRL identified at least two camps that hosted children alleged to be orphans who were later placed with foster families in Russia. Twenty children from these camps were reported to have been placed with families in Moscow oblast and enrolled in local schools there.
- Consent is collected under duress and routinely violated: Consent gathered from parents for their child to attend a camp included signing over power of attorney in some cases, including to an unnamed agent. Other parents allege that the specific elements of the consent they gave were violated, such as the term of stay and procedures for reuniting with their children. Still other parents allegedly refused to allow their children to go to camps, but were ignored by camp organizers who enrolled the children in camps regardless. In many cases, the ability of parents to provide meaningful consent may be considered doubtful, as the conditions of war and implicit threat from occupying forces represent conditions of duress.
- Children’s returns from at least four camps have been suspended: In approximately 10% of camps identified by Yale HRL, children’s return to Ukraine was allegedly suspended. At two camps, Artek and Medvezhonok, children’s returns were suspended indefinitely, according to parents. Medvezhonok is one of the largest camps identified, at one point hosting at least 300 children from Ukraine. Officials there originally told the children’s parents they would return at the end of summer, but later rescinded the date of return. Hundreds of children from Ukraine from at least two other camps, Luchistyi and Orlyonok, have been or are being held past their scheduled date of return; Yale HRL has been unable to identify how many of these children have been reunited with their parents. Parents also described being unable to get information about their child’s status or whereabouts after their return has been suspended. It is unknown how many of Ukraine’s children Russia currently holds and how many have been released to their families.
- All levels of Russia’s government are involved: This operation is centrally coordinated by Russia’s federal government and involves every level of government. Yale HRL has identified several dozen federal, regional, and local figures directly engaged in operating and politically justifying the program. Activities of officials allegedly implicated in the operation include logistical coordination (i.e., transporting children), raising funds, collecting supplies, direct camp management, and promoting the program within Russia and occupied areas of Ukraine. At least 12 of these individuals are not on U.S. and/or international sanction lists at the time of this report.
There is much, much more at the link. And the full pdf of the report can be found at this link.
Here’s even more Russian war crimes:
Ukrainian authorities find 30 bodies in Snigurivka, a village in southern Mykolaiv oblast that was previously under Russian occupation. “All of them have signs of violent death.” https://t.co/F0u6XzGf2S
— Mark MacKinnon (@markmackinnon) February 15, 2023
Here’s the reporting from Ukrinform:
At Mykolayivshchyna in the deoccupied Snowman, police found the bodies of 27 civilian casualties.
This was stated during the briefing on February 15 by the head of the Nikolaev Regional Prosecutor’s Office Dmitry Kazak, the correspondent Ukrinform said.
« 27 bodies of dead civilians were found in the deocupied Snowman. They all have signs of violence death, in particular, bullet wounds, explosive injuries, etc. Criminal proceedings have been launched, a number of people involved in these crimes have been established », Kazak said.
At the same time, he stressed that the places of mass burial of people here, as in Bucha in Kyiv region, were not found. All bodies were in separate graves.
The city of Snigurivka in Mykolayivshchyna was reportedly occupied by Russian troops for more than eight months.
There is a longer discussion to be had here about the Russian way of war. A way of war that may embrace technological improvements in weaponry, armaments, munitions, ordnance, material, and equipment, but that is also tethered to a through line of brutality as both strategy and tactic stretching back several hundred years. I don’t have the bandwidth to write it tonight. Let alone the comments if/when I do. I may try to get to it this weekend.
That’s enough for tonight.
Your daily Patron!
An update regarding last night’s tweet:
The oldest PayPal account works for now 🤞🏻[email protected]
— Patron (@PatronDsns) February 14, 2023
Pets always look like their people? 😄Show if you are similar to yours (pets or people). pic.twitter.com/CptICtudG9
— Patron (@PatronDsns) February 15, 2023
And more evidence that the only Nazis in Ukraine are Russian. Am considering finding an ex who’s joined the dirtbag left claiming there are Ukrainian Nazis in order to kick his balls in for good.
Good update, Adam. Thanks again.
Adam L Silverman
@Carlo Graziani: De nada.
Gin & Tonic
I don’t want to be an asshole about this (well, not more than usual) but “Europeanization of Ukraine” really sets my teeth on edge. Ukraine is and always has been a European country, by definition. The term used and preferred by people with a professional interest in what is going on politically and economically is “Eurointegration” or “євроінтеграція.”
Adam L Silverman
@Gin & Tonic: It is a good point and I’ll make an adjustment. I certainly meant it to mean the latter term.
Adam L Silverman
@Gin & Tonic: Let me know how it looks now.
God, the use of the term “re-education” in this context is so chilling. My heart breaks for every one of those children, and I hope each and every person responsible for this horror pays a high price.
Don’t wanna watch the Prigozhyn video but the caption in the freeze frame is making me want to punch my laptop screen. They truly live in their own sick little fantasy world.
That photo of Patron with his human (Mykhailo I believe?) is so adorable. I needed that smile.
Thank you as always, Adam.
Gin & Tonic
In other news, I attended an on-line lecture today about Józef Piłsudski, leader of (variously) the government and the military of Poland from 1918 to 1935, and firm supporter of Ukrainian independence in the early 1920’s. While his treatment of Lviv and Galicia (Halychyna) in general was abysmal, he clearly recognized and publicly stated that Europe could not be secure and at peace without a free Ukraine (by which he meant a republic centered in Kyiv.) He garnered little support in Western Europe because France (and others) believed that supporting an independent Ukraine would antagonize russia.
So here we are, a century later, and Europe cannot be secure and at peace without an independent Ukraine, and too many are fearful of antagonizing russia. Shame the job couldn’t have been done the first time.
Footage of the new batch of Bradleys rolling off ships in Bremerhaven (Germany) and headed east to Ukraine. Also some specialized HMMVs as well — are those rocket-launchers on the top?
Hell yeah! I want those Bradleys to get into the fight and make some noise.
Gin & Tonic
@Adam L Silverman: Thank you for understanding the point and making the adjustment.
@Gin & Tonic: I don’t want to claim to fully understand, and it’s not really the time for jokes like this, but I bet some funny memes could be made comparing what Kyiv was like in the K. Rus days versus what France and Germany were like at the time.
Now isn’t THAT interesting? IF accurate the assault on Bakhmut has culminated. The only reason Wagner was able to advance was – literally – over the dead bodies of mobliks.
Pfarrer just posted this.
Vlad, probably. “To our latest glorious victory!”
The irony of eastern Europe’s breadbasket being used as a meat-grinder.
@trollhattan: he remains a master strategist
Anonymous at Work
Pfarrer had the article I was waiting for, albeit in Ukrainian. https://war.obozrevatel.com/ukr/skoro-ne-bude-komu-komanduvati-v-armii-rf-pidlegli-vse-chastishe-vbivayut-komandiriv-schob-ne-jti-na-smert.htm?, Apparently mobiks are starting to refuse orders on front line unless a senior officer enters murder-range.
(Sorry, at college basketball game)
Gin & Tonic
@Lyrebird: Well, not France or Germany, but there’s this:
@Gin & Tonic:
The post-World War One Foreign Policy of France passeth all understanding.
Gin & Tonic
@Anonymous at Work: Probably doesn’t help much, but that Ukrainian article is pretty much a word-for-word translation of a russian Telegram post. The trouble with Telegram posts is, shall we say, variable reliability.
The majority of fighting in the Soviet Union in World War II took place in eastern Ukraine. A Ukrainian friend told me a long time ago the reason Ukraine was so fertile was the bones and blood of the people who died fighting for it.
I think brainwashing traumatized children is about the worst thing the russian government does- even worse than the rapes and murders (horrific though they are). I keep fantasizing about all the things I would do to vvp if I were in charge of Hell…
As always, Adam, thanks for doing this. And, this is the most trivial of trivial nits, but I think it should be “vive la France”. Don’t even bother to fix it!
Anonymous at Work
@Gin & Tonic: isn’t Russian Telegram a pro-Russian outlet, though?
Gin & Tonic
@Anonymous at Work: Telegram is what you can probably refer to as micro-blogging, or something like it. Anybody can set up a Telegram channel and post anything they want.
Ukraine was certainly an important front during WW2 but it is most definitely not accurate to say that the majority of fighting happened there. None of the largest eastern front battles happened in Ukraine. Stalingrad and Kurk were to the east and north of Ukraine. Operation Bagration, which was the largest Soviet offensive of the war occurred largely in Belarus. And of course the battles of Leningrad and Moscow were momentous.
France went through a meat grinder from 14-18 and was essential broken for years.
@Anoniminous: This is one of the things that persuades me that Prigozhin is really a cretin, and totally out of his depth. Wagner was always dependent on MOD for logistical supply (and communications. And transport. And intelligence. And…) MOD could have starved them out at any point. It just so happens that he has alienated all his siloviki friends now, and suddenly, guess what happens! He’s fucked! Hoocoodanode?
OK, sorry about this. I need to relate a dream that I had.
The war was over, and Russia had surrendered and been conquered (not sure by who). Justice for Russian war crimes was served by renaming all Russian cities and geographical features after cartoon characters, e.g. SpongeBob River, Mount Beavis, Goofy City (neè Moscow), to piss off all Russians. A contest was in progress to submit the best name to rechristen Petersburg, and a major controversy broke out because the hands-down voting public favorite—“Penisburg”—did not correspond to an actual chartoon character, and was being disqualified for violating contest rules. I think the UN made that ruling. I woke up around then.
I may be spending too much time in this thread.
Petreus put the Russian strategy of throwing away the lives of their soldiers in an interesting way — he said the Russians are trying to “out suffer” the West. Then I read your list of Russian battles and remember the horrible losses and I think that a willingness to suffer more than their technologically superior enemy has been embedded in their mind as heroic and successful. But, I think it may be different now. They were defending mother Russia in WWII and in most of the places you mention. That is certainly part of why Putin “annexed” parts of Ukraine last fall. But it is not really Russia, and while Russians have been taught to disregard Ukrainian nationality, I am not sure how much they are willing to suffer (although I am sure it is more than I like) to keep up that fiction.
Gin & Tonic
@Carlo Graziani: You shouldn’t eat the chili right before bedtime.
@Kent: Surely you mean Kursk?
@Carlo Graziani: Buttheadberg. Follows the cartoon requirement.
France lost a generation and some in the War and then several more generations after due to a loss of procreation. It was known until the 1950’s as a “nation of old women”.
Post WWI, France was very “conservative” regarding the status quo, for a long time.
NAFO, of course!
@RaflW: If the dream should recur, I’ll be sure to submit that.
@Gin & Tonic: It was polpettone (Italian meatloaf), but the principle may be the same.
Exactly. Plus all the physical damage.
Is there any word on whether the UA is able to salvage that equipment?
yurp, but we will always have dissing the French, that and balloons,….
some number, (30 is claimed by some accounts), were simply abandoned,……..
@Jay: The same was true of the UK. The demographic hole induced by WWI was not confined to France.
And while it is straightforward to condemn Chamberlainian appeasement nowadays with the benefit of hindsight, the hindsight of most citizens of the 1939 UK included the most horrifying European general war that could be imagined, a hell to be avoided at any cost, a hole into which the “flower of our manhood” had marched in, only to be incinerated. They were blind to the future consequences of their choices, but those choices were not unmotivated.
@Carlo Graziani: Next time you have a dream, can I tag along?
My guess is that Putin did the annexation so that he could send regular army troops into those areas without declaring a formal war.
@Jay: Well sure, abandoned. But were the Ukrainian soldiers able to tow them to their own lines? I cannot picture farmers using tractors, trying to dodge the shells to drag them home.
I think it was more to lock them into a long-term war where the minimum end point is permanent annexation of those four areas. If Kherson, Crimea, and the Donbass are actually Russian soil then they cannot negotiate them away. Facts on the ground, so to speak.
The only way Ukraine ever gets those lands back is to take them back. Russia will not negotiate them away once they are part of Russia.
we will find out,
Yes, Kursk of course. Typo there. The four largest battles of the eastern front were probably the battle for Moscow in 1941, Stalingrad in 1942, Kursk in 1943, and Bagration in 1944. And maybe add in the Siege of Leningrad as well.
Plenty of battles happened in Ukraine too, Kyiv, Sebastopol, Kharkov, Odessa, etc. But by no means the majority of fighting.
@Carlo Graziani: I won’t say that the British had a light go of it, but France had over 4% of its population killed and 10% wounded while the UK’s numbers were 2% and 3.5%. Germany was around 4% and 6.5. Source.
“Appeasement” was more about buying time to rearm and mobilize, than appeasement,
@Carlo Graziani: As a child, I regularly heard the WW1 recollections of the neighborhood grocer (served in the Tsarist Russian army in WW1) and my beloved maternal grandfather (served in the British army in WW1). They both described the hell that you described, but also another factor: the utter futility of it. They both said the young men of Europe had been fed into a meat grinder for no reason. An entire generation of European men destroyed because both Tsar Nicholas II and Emperor Franz Josef wanted to dominate the Balkans? And Wilhelm II wanted to grab some African colonies? It made no sense whatever.
Unfortunately, a generation later, when Hitler genuinely had to be stopped, the memories of the earlier betrayal persisted.
@Kent: At a minimum, Putin wants to create territorial conflicts to complicate any Ukrainian entry into NATO. He did the same in Georgia.
One thing I have thought about watching this war is how little Russia seems to have changed since 1945 or even 1914. The absolutely brutal war of conquest and annihilation does not just rhyme with the eastern front in WW2. It is exactly the same thing with all the same tactics and casual brutality.
I think an aggressor nation truly has to suffer catastrophic defeat to ever mend its ways. Maybe I am naïve. But I can’t imagine Germany or Japan waging the same sort of war that Russia is waging now. Those cultures has moved well past that sort of thing, unlike Russia.
Here in the US we haven’t really learned as much as we think we have. Korea, Vietnam, First Gulf War, Afghanistan, Iraq War, etc. Vietnam sobered us up for two decades, but then we were right back at it.
Yes, but he didn’t have to formally annex those territories to do that. He could have just kept up the fiction of an independent Donbass. And Crimea he had already taken 9 years ago.
@Kent: Check and see which years the British or the French haven’t been involved some conflict somewhere.
Well yes, my point exactly. They never had the crushing unconditional defeat and subsequent cultural rebuilding of Germany and Japan
Not that long ago, history wise, many people in charge of some countries were more than willing to attack other countries because they had something wanted. Better soil to grow food, mineral wealth, status as a conquering big wheel, greed. Now there seem to be fewer leaders that see the possibilities like many former leaders did. Also life was seemingly less valuable to many – one had to work hard to live and power was actually more expensive from a body count stand point. I believe that vlad is old school in this concept, in that he has seemingly zero qualms about losing 20 or more percent of his male citizens to get whatever he wants, and what he seems to want now is part of Ukraine, or land he thinks belongs to him. Belongs to HIM, not Russia. He’s acting like this is all personal theft from him that he has to win at all costs.
@Ruckus: I think yours is an incredibly perceptive comment.
@Omnes Omnibus: All true. There was a crucial difference in the German experience of The Great War, however: the Eastern Front.
Unlike the trench-choked morass in the West, the Germans fought a number of succesful mobile offensives in the East, capturing and destroying large Russian formations, and forcing Russia into the desperate straits that eventually brought on the Kerensky government, and the succesful Bolshevik coup.
This was the theatre where Hindenburg and Ludendorff ascended to supreme command. The result was that the German general staff officers were not nearly as impressed with the inevitability of stalemate in great power conflict as were Western military authorities. When Hitler secretly reconstituted that staff, they had already been toying with the concepts that eventually became Blitzkrieg, and which were entirely outside the ken of British and French military thinking, because of their very different experience and lessons learned in the Great War.
@Mallard Filmore: I’ll have to find that Zoom option.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen arrived in Ukraine this morning, by train from Poland. Cohen will meet with Foreign Minister Kuleba and reportedly, with President Zelenskyy. He will also reopen Israel’s embassy, which was closed a few days before Russia invaded last February 24.
Relations between the two countries have been strained, and an Axios report ten days ago listed several areas where Ukraine strongly requested Israeli action. Reports when FM Cohen leaves this evening may indicate whether he has been forthcoming on Ukraine’s several demands.
The appalling crime of the Russians basically kidnapping thousands (and probably tens of thousands) of Ukrainian children always reminds me of TFG’s child separation policy. There are upwards of 800 children that we still haven’t been able to reunite with their parents.
I really need an explainer of why everyone from TFG on down who was involved in this policy hasn’t been charged with thousands of counts of child abuse.
True, child abuse isn’t a Federal crime, and Gov. Abbott isn’t going to let these cases go anywhere. But just like when civil rights workers were killed in the 1960s and when local juries wouldn’t convict, the Feds charged the murderers with denial of civil rights, I can’t see why that doesn’t work here as well.
Thanks. Been tracking today.
Looks like Israel is not on Team Never Again:
Israeli FM meets with Ukraine’s Zelensky, pledges to back peace plan (TOVAH LAZAROFF, FEBRUARY 16, 2023)
I can’t shake a queasy worry that the twisted Russian mind seeks to train some of the kidnapped children so as to turn them into child soldiers to join in attacking Ukraine. Hope I’m over thinking stuff…
@Bill Arnold: I do not think Ukraine had any expectation that Israel would provide anti-drone weapons. Their demands, as detailed in an Axios story 10 days ago, centered on continued assistance in developing a rocket warning system similar to Israel’s; a $500 million loan for rebuilding; and an increase in Israel’s treatment of civilian and miltary wounded from dozens to hundreds.
Ukraine also wanted an official from the new government to restate the previous government’s condemnation of Russian aggression and affirmation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity. Evidently FM Cohen made the second but not the first and Ukrainian officials were not happy about this.
Now that Cohen’s visit is over I will be checking Ukrainian and Israeli news sites for coverage of this visit, in particular whether or not President Zelenskyy met with the FM.