(Image by NEIVANMADE)
Here is President Zelenskyy’s address from earlier today. Video below, English transcript after the jump:
It is important that, as long as the aggression continues, Russia does not have any access to sports, Olympic venues – address by the President of Ukraine
20 April 2023 – 23:09
Good health to you, fellow Ukrainians!
I’ve just addressed the Mexican parliament, and this is already the second such address to the Latin American region. I am grateful to Mexico for the attention to Ukraine and for supporting our view on international security, on the need for the broadest possible unity of the world to protect international law.
Because if the law does not work, the threat to life will only grow… Bandits and aggressors will become even more insolent. We have to prevent this.
In fact, the talks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg were devoted to the same thing today in Kyiv. Defense of Ukraine. Protection of the entire rules-based international order. Protection of life.
We are preparing for the Ramstein meeting, and Mr. Stoltenberg’s position is important. We are preparing for our active actions at the front – they are inevitable.
We are also preparing for the NATO Summit in Vilnius, which is scheduled for the summer of this year, but its content is already being worked out. Exactly at such meetings, in contacts of various levels that we conduct with partners.
Neither the majority of Ukrainians, nor the majority of Europeans, nor the majority of the inhabitants of the entire NATO space will understand the leaders of the Alliance, if a well-deserved political invitation to the Alliance is not sounded for Ukraine at this Summit in Vilnius.
Ukraine did everything to ensure that our application was approved.
It is difficult to even say whose contribution to European and Euro-Atlantic security is greater than that of our warriors… Ukrainian men and women who defend freedom with their lives. I am grateful to all partners who support us in this.
The International Summit of Cities and Regions was held today in Kyiv. A new format of cooperation between our state and partners.
The Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Ukraine, which unites the central government and local leaders, is now gaining an international level. To more actively involve foreign partners in the reconstruction of our state, in the development of the economy and infrastructure in our communities.
I am grateful to everyone who took part in the Summit… Representatives of different countries, cities, municipalities. European institutions, the Council of Europe, the President of the European Committee of the Regions… More than a hundred participants from almost forty countries. I am grateful to everyone for supporting Ukraine!
Today I met with the Mayor of Paris, Mrs. Anne Hidalgo. I had the honor to present her with a special award of Ukraine for the capital of France, the award of the rescuer city.
Paris has become one of the biggest centers of power for Ukraine in Europe – in every sense.
I would like to especially note the help in protecting our energy sector. It was in the capital of France that a conference of the so-called “Energy Ramstein” format was held. Paris has accumulated significant support for Ukraine with energy equipment, provides social and humanitarian support.
I thank all French people, all Parisians, French President Macron for constant attention to Ukraine, for leadership. And I especially want to note the absolutely principled position – and so congruent with Ukrainian – of the Mayor of Paris regarding the protection of the Olympic Movement from Russian ideologization and propaganda.
It is obvious that a terrorist state will do everything to justify itself through sports or to use the international Olympic Movement to support its aggression.
That is why it is important that, as long as the aggression continues, the Russian state does not have any access to sports, Olympic venues. In particular, to the Paris venue – it is this city that will host the 2024 Olympics.
Today, the Mayor of Paris once again confirmed that she sees no place for representatives of the aggressor state in Paris as long as the aggression continues. This is a clear and important signal, thank you for it.
It would be great if exactly such signals were heard in the International Olympic Committee, where, unfortunately, the personal benefit of individual bureaucrats dominates the Olympic principles.
And one more thing. Today, the holy month of Ramadan for Muslims ends… And it ends for the second time during the full-scale aggression of the evil state against Ukraine, against all our people, all communities. The bright holiday of Ramazan-Bayramı deserves completely different conditions. Deserves peace we so long for, deserves victory to which we are all heading. I believe that the Lord will bless Ukraine with freedom for all our territories and all our people.
I wish our entire Muslim community and all Muslims of the world a peaceful holiday!
Ramazan bayramıñız hayırlı ve mubarek olsun!
Glory to all our warriors who are now fighting for Ukraine! Thanks to everyone who helps!
Glory to Ukraine!
There is not only no operational update from the Ukrainian MOD today, there’s nothing new at all posted on their Telegram channel since yesterday.
Here is a message from the Ukrainian Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov:
In situations like this, I am reminded of FDR's words: "We must be the great arsenal of democracy." That was 80 years ago, and it is still the case today.
Ukraine adheres to the principle that democracy should defend itself.
Thank you to @SecDef and the American people for… pic.twitter.com/SMY5CRT0Ok
— Oleksii Reznikov (@oleksiireznikov) April 19, 2023
Here’s the full text of his tweet:
In situations like this, I am reminded of FDR’s words: “We must be the great arsenal of democracy.” That was 80 years ago, and it is still the case today. Ukraine adheres to the principle that democracy should defend itself. Thank you to @SecDef and the American people for another package of security assistance!
A message from the British MOD:
Russia's campaign to degrade Ukraine's energy grid has likely failed.
Ukraine is rebuilding its network with help from international allies. Sourcing replacement transformers, generators and other critical components. Ukraine remains resilient.
🇺🇦#StandWithUkraine 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/LLWqUhP7BZ
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) April 20, 2023
And one from the Ukrainian Air Force:
The flight of our pilot on the MiG-29 pic.twitter.com/2GRo01MkeO
— Ukrainian Air Force (@KpsZSU) April 19, 2023
Everywhere in Ukraine:
Air alarms in all of Ukraine. Most likely due to Mig-31K fighter jets that went airborne in Belarus. Be cautious. pic.twitter.com/sfsrPlXG26
— NOËL 🇪🇺 🇺🇦 (@NOELreports) April 20, 2023
All alarms repulsed, except for Chernihiv.
— NOËL 🇪🇺 🇺🇦 (@NOELreports) April 20, 2023
This was Bakhmut before the terrorists decided to "liberate" it.
This beautiful city is now in ruins.
russia must be defeated so that the cancer of the "russian world" does not spread further. pic.twitter.com/iV3OCA8CoG
— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) April 20, 2023
The 1st Mechanized Battalion of the 3rd Separate Assault Brigade operating in Bakhmut area. These men and women have been fighting in the front line for many months. A class brigade. pic.twitter.com/Maenug7Dc2
— NOËL 🇪🇺 🇺🇦 (@NOELreports) April 20, 2023
Fighting in Bakhmut continues. pic.twitter.com/sknUHtv1Sa
— NOËL 🇪🇺 🇺🇦 (@NOELreports) April 20, 2023
Commenter Humboldt Blue sent this video of DaVinci’s Wolves operating in Bakhmut:
This is in the caption below the video:
The battle of Honor Company, Da Vinci’s Wolves battalion, for the last road to Bakhmut.
Support the unit:
Privatbank: 5457 0822 2054 1184
All funds will go to support our unit, which is currently performing combat missions to defend Ukraine from the Russian invaders.
You’ll recall that the leader of the Wolves, Dmytro Kotsiubailo whose call sign was DaVinci, was killed in action about a month back.
Сьогодні 40 днів з дня загибелі командира Вовків, Героя України — Дмитра Коцюбайла, друга «Да Вінчі».
Ми, «Вовки Да Вінчі» з честю продовжуємо справу життя нашого командира — виборюємо незалежність України! pic.twitter.com/qzJSXWxcAo
— Вовки Да Вінчі (@VovkyDaVinchi) April 15, 2023
The text machine translates as:
Today is 40 days since the death of the commander of the Wolves, the Hero of Ukraine – Dmytro Kotsyubail, friend of “Da Vinci”. We, “Da Vinci Wolves” proudly continue the life’s work of our commander – we fight for the independence of Ukraine!
His fiance, a medic in the Wolves, as well as a Kyivan city official:
В цю суботу, 15 квітня, буде 40 днів у Да Вінчі
Приходьте о 12:00 на Аскольдову могилу
— Alina Mykhailova (@Mykhailova_A) April 12, 2023
And the translation:
This Saturday, April 15, will be 40 days in Da Vinci Come at 12:00 to Askold’s grave
дітки які сьогодні мене обіймали на Аскольдовій могилі та їх слова – в саме сердечко 💔
Варвара 5 років з Маріуполя передала лист і подарунок для Х‘ю pic.twitter.com/kM10ZihefV
— Alina Mykhailova (@Mykhailova_A) April 15, 2023
Here’s the translation of her tweet:
the children who hugged me today at the Askold grave and their words – in my heart Varvara, 5 years old, from Mariupol, handed over a letter and a gift for Hugh
/2. Unconfirmed version of what could have happened – In Kyrylivka, Russian helicopter crashed today. As said, 2 helicopters were circling over the sea. The weather was foggy, the pilot lost control. One helicopter crashed about 500m away from the shore. https://t.co/OfyTmpIRUO pic.twitter.com/qeNDwCZ9lh
— Special Kherson Cat 🐈🇺🇦 (@bayraktar_1love) April 20, 2023
/2. Russian Ministry of Defense confirms that it was a failed Russian bomb 🤷♂️. – “On April 20, during the flight of the Su-34 aircraft over the city of Belgorod, an abnormal descent of aviation ammunition occurred” pic.twitter.com/OEDixKj5Ad
— Special Kherson Cat 🐈🇺🇦 (@bayraktar_1love) April 20, 2023
Apparently the Starlink Snowflake is the Chief of Russian Air Forces.
The machine-building and metallurgical 'Kirovsky Plant' in St. Petersburg is on fire. It is one of the biggest ones in Russia. pic.twitter.com/tFXOP76JUc
— NOËL 🇪🇺 🇺🇦 (@NOELreports) April 20, 2023
Here’s a thread on Russian oligarch-siloviki sanction evasion. First tweet in the thread followed by the rest from the Thread Reader App:
1/22 This is Svetlana Maniovich. She is your guide to the world of extreme Russian glamour. She radiates richness. Diamonds, furs, Rolls Royces – she has it all and more. In summer you can find her in St Tropez where she rents a villa for €150k/month, or on a yacht in Naples🧵 pic.twitter.com/ABQRMx1bGB
— Maria Pevchikh (@pevchikh) April 19, 2023
2/22 She loves shopping. Sadly, Moscow doesn’t satisfy her fashion needs, so she has to travel to Paris. She gets personal appointments at one of the most expensive and discrete fine jewellery stores. This is where she gets €150K earrings and €104K rings made for her.3/22 Isn’t it lovely? Well, not quite. Svetlana Maniovich is the wife of the Russian Deputy Minister of Defence. The person responsible for invading Ukraine and killing thousands of innocent people. His name is Timur Ivanov. And yes, that’s actually them together. Quite a lad.4/22 Ivanov is the head of construction for the MoD. His job is to build everything from army barracks to this seriously weird military church dearly beloved by Putin. Now he’s responsible for ‘rebuilding’ Mariupol, the city Putin has wiped off the face of the earth and occupied.5/22 And now have a look at this video please. It’s our Svetlana Maniovich (aka Ivanova) partying in Courchevel 3 weeks ago.13 months into the war. She is in the heart of Europe, wearing her diamonds and furs. How did the wife of a war criminal sneak into France? Let me tell you.6/22 There wasn’t much sneaking involved. As insane as it sounds, she is totally allowed to come to the EU and walk up and down the Champs-Élysées spending the money her husband made by bombing apartment blocks, killing children and beheading soldiers in Ukraine.7/22 She doesn’t have any other money. She is a woman of leisure and requires sponsorship. Her ex-husband who she left for Ivanov warned him that he won’t be able to afford her. ‘Svetlana demands at least $50k a month’. How do I know this? The divorce was covered by Tatler. Fun!8/22 But despite being a government official Ivanov managed to scrape together a few pennies to make his wife happy. Svetlana can have all the budget she wants for the things she loves. Like this Dolce&Gabbana dress for €59,500, or this set of XIX century furniture for €85,000.9/22 They have enough cash to even buy a ‘holiday Rolls-Royce’. They have one in Moscow, but since they spend so much time at the French Riviera, they bought another one there too. It’s a retro Rolls-Royce Corniche. It just sits in a garage and waits for them all year round.10/22 Where does the money come from? Corruption. Ivanov receives kickbacks from whoever he assigns MoD construction contracts to. Some of you may have seen these pictures from Mariupol. These are the few ‘display’ houses built for propaganda purposes. Putin visited them too.11/22 In our recent investigation we found out that the construction company that built this compound in Mariupol pays bribes to Timur Ivanov. They are actually also building his own dacha. Does your Deputy Minister of Defence have a house like this? Why not?12/22 Anyways. You would think that the war has prevented this family of crooks and war criminals from spending their time in Europe. But it hasn’t.13/22 On March 17, 2022, the day Putin’s army ravaged Mariupol, Svetlana went, by invitation, to Joel Arthur Rosenthal’s jewellery store in Paris to pick up some diamonds. On March 23, the day Kyiv got shelled at night, Svetlana took a Eurostar trip to visit her son in London.14/22 Her life in Europe wasn’t hindered by the war her husband started. This was made possible by two simple tricks. 1) Svetlana illegally obtained an Israeli passport (there is a court ruling) 2) She has preemptively divorced Ivanov in August 2022, 5 months into the war.15/22 So the sanctions don’t affect her. She can keep her bank accounts, her assets and her shopping holidays. Despite the fact that every euro she spends at Hermes and Cartier in Paris is a blood soaked euro. She can even keep the Parisian apartment she rents for her family.16/22 See? No false identities. No sneaking through the border. The family of a war criminal is living in Paris as if nothing happened. Have I broken some major news with this thread? No. Our investigation has been out for 2 months. We have filed numerous complaints and reports.17/22 And we have never heard back from the French authorities. Nothing from the EU either. Are they all ok with it? Cause I’m really not. So why don’t we all work together to fix this? If you live in France, please write to your MPs, to your local media, and share this thread.18/22 We at the Anti-Corruption Foundation are willing to resubmit piles of documents and proofs. I am willing to speak, meet or testify in court – whatever is needed to get the legal process going.19/22 We also ask all of our supporters in Paris to come and protest near Maniovich’s property, demanding to sanction their family, freeze their assets and kick them out of Europe.
This Sunday, April 23
14:00, 51 Rue de Babylone Paris20/22 We already did it once in London with Lavrov’s stepdaughter, who was sanctioned by the UK after a similar thread of mine and thanks to your vast support. We can do it again. This is about justice that we all need right now.21/22 You can find a much more detailed version of this story in our video. It has got English, French and German subtitles.22/22 Over the past 12 years, we’ve published hundreds of stories like this one. And we’re going to publish more. If you like our work, please donate to our cause. Your money will be spent towards putting an end to Putin’s crimes. It’s a good investment.
Finally for tonight, Franz-Stefan Gady of the International Institute for Strategic Studies has written a really interesting essay at Foreign Policy. Here’s a bit of it:
The first 24 hours of Ukraine’s much anticipated counteroffensive may be the longest day for the Ukrainian Armed Forces. As German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel said to an aide before the expected Allied invasion of Normandy in 1944: “The first 24 hours of the invasion will be decisive. … For the Allies, as well as Germany, it will be the longest day”—a statement immortalized by the blockbuster Hollywood film about the Normandy landings, The Longest Day. Rommel knew that the initial phase of an attack often shapes the character of the subsequent fight, decides victory or defeat, and determines the strategic impact of an offensive.
Most of the speculation and debate is about when and where Ukrainian forces will strike, how big an attacking force Ukraine has assembled, and how much of an impact newly supplied Western weapons will have. It’s unlikely that anyone outside Ukraine’s high command knows whether Ukraine now has a decisive advantage in firepower, munitions, troop numbers, and battlefield logistics. What we do know is that in recent months, the war has increasingly been defined by attrition—neither side appears to have a decisive advantage, and each is trying to wear the other down. Whatever happens on Ukraine’s D-Day, it will not be easy for Ukrainian forces to avoid the war’s character as one of attrition, even if they are large, well-prepared, and well-equipped.
There is perhaps only one way for Ukraine to escape the scourge of attrition in the opening hours of the upcoming offensive: set off paralysis in the Russian military leadership and panic across the Russian rank and file. Ukraine’s greatest chance of success will come if Russian soldiers skedaddle from advancing Ukrainian forces without putting up much of a fight. Even if the correlation of forces were advantageous for Ukraine, that alone would not be sufficient to attain these effects. Rather, intangible factors such as tactical surprise, battlefield leadership, and fighting morale will likely be decisive in the first 24 hours of an attack. These intangible factors—not weapons alone—will help define whether the Ukrainians succeed in panicking the Russians, paralyzing the Russian military leadership, and causing a temporary breakdown of command and control. In this scenario, Ukrainian armored columns punch through layered Russian defenses, quickly advance into the Russian rear, and threaten command and control nodes like military headquarters and supply centers, compounding the panic and paralysis.
This kind of breakdown on the Russian side is exactly what took place during Ukraine’s lightning counteroffensive in September 2022 in Kharkiv oblast. The Ukrainians had set the conditions for the attack with a campaign of artillery attacks. Then, even though the Russians had observed the Ukrainian buildup, the attackers achieved tactical surprise, committed superior numbers, caused temporary panic, and set off a breakdown in Russian command and control. All of this delayed the speedy dispatch of Russian reserves that might have steadied the front line. As a result, Ukraine liberated more than 6,000 square kilometers of Russian-occupied territory in 10 days. The first 24 hours of that offensive were decisive, as the initial Ukrainian advance and exploitation of the breach in the front line triggered chaos and panic on the Russian side. In the upcoming spring offensive, Ukraine will likely attempt to replicate the Kharkiv offensive’s lightning character.
Achieving tactical surprise in the opening hours of the offensive will be crucial, since it increases the chance of local fire superiority and an advantageous correlation of forces, at least for a short period of time. This does not require Ukraine’s assembling of forces to remain secret—an unlikely proposition in any case, given satellite imagery as well as cheap and pervasive drones on the battlefield. Rather, to stretch out Russian forces and prevent a concentration of defenders, Ukraine will need to leave Russia in the dark about where and when those assembled forces will strike. At the same time, Ukraine will need to make sure that the location chosen for the breakthrough attempt can be quickly expanded to enable deep penetration—for example, by swiftly seizing important roads, intersections, or railroad junctions.
The first 24 hours of the upcoming spring offensive may indeed be the longest day for Ukraine. In the long run, Ukraine’s armed forces will have a tough time escaping the crucible of attrition of this artillery-focused land war. The Ukrainians could achieve tactical success if they are able to cause paralysis in the Russian military leadership and panic among troops, triggering a rout in the opening phase of the counteroffensive. Whether this will be sufficient for Ukraine to achieve long-term strategic gains—let alone win the war—is another question entirely.
Much more at the link!
That’s enough for tonight.
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I will not be terribly upset if Ukrainian SOF and allies start targeting Siloviki like Mossad targeted escaped Nazis (or Russia targets dissidents). But prolly better to win the war and secure funds for rebuilding first.
May that day come quickly
Edit: also it strikes me that one big advantage Ukraine has right now is that NATO’s industrial production for weapons, in addition to being better than Russia’s and not subject to needing to work around sanctions, is also beyond the reach of Russia to affect. The same does not seem to be true for Russia’s industrial base with regard to Ukraine and internal forces sympathetic to Ukraine. Awful lot of smoking incidents.
Gin & Tonic
For those who aren’t aware, “Askold’s Grave” (Аскольдова могила) is a park in more or less central Kyiv, on the right bank of the Dnipro. It may or may not be the actual burial site of the 9th C Prince Askold. There’s been a church on the site for centuries.
@Eolirin: Best to wait until after Putler and his hordes are soundly thrashed: wouldn’t want to give any wavering Europeans the palpitations.
A lot to review and digest in this “brief” update, Adam. Reading about the coming UKR offensive makes my gut tighten, but it’s gotta happen. I hope the longest day proves effective.
Re last night’s video to the effect that Ukraine needs to be ready to do this again in 4-5 years when the orcs muster up another go-’round: Kinda sounds to me like the Man-Kzin Wars to me. One can hope that like their vaguely feline brothers-in-carnage, the Ruscist ratcats in their screeching fury will always leap too soon & get their furry arses handed to them again and again and again…
so it’s probably looted by now,…………
If I read it right, Maniovich lives above a Paris office of the Red Cross. Make of that what you will. Nice neighborhood though.
For which reason Ukraine needs to be admitted to NATO as soon as possible.
Statement by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at meeting in Kyiv. I recall that when the invasion began the feeling seemed to be that joining NATO was out of the question, but that some kind of security guarantees needed to be worked out for Ukraine. Presumably because that had worked so well in the past. I’m glad to see the needle has moved in the right direction.
@Torrey: Well-put, Mr. Secy-Gen! “Ukraine’s rightful place is in NATO. “
@Omnes Omnibus: And the sales receipts show that no matter how much money you have, you can’t buy taste. No surprise there.
@NutmegAgain: An apartment in the 7th arrondissement though? I take that. I would probably have to have it degilded.
@Jay: It is striking how many of the natsec flunkies in the Trump administration or offices of GOP senators/reps are out there making the case that the US should leave Ukraine to the Europeans ASAP & concentrate everything on what they believe to be an inevitable war w/ China over Taiwan. It is further striking how their policy recommendations tend to benefit Putin & their own domestic political interests, & how congruent those interests are.
US retrenchment from European affairs benefits Putin’s ambitions in Russia’s “near abroad” & the Continent more broadly. The US & China at each other’s throats gives Putin greater leverage when dealing w/ China, while keeping the door open that the US might in the end opt for detente w/ Russia in order to confront the “existential” threat from China, a “Kissingerian” move long advocated by some GOP natsec flunkies. US disengagement from Europe makes the latter more vulnerable to Russian interference, which might strengthen the GOP’s ideological simpaticos on the Continent (the nativist reactionaries). A Sino-US Cold War (w/ high risk of turning hot at any moment) is fertile domestic political ground for the GOP’s reactionary ethnonationalism to metastasize, & will play to the authoritarian instincts in both countries.
@Jay: Looks like “adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” to me…
Gin & Tonic
@YY_Sima Qian: I find it striking how few signatures are on that letter.
@Torrey: Probably because people have assessed that Russia will emerge from this war much weakened, & not in a position to impose costs or exact punishment on NATO countries for inducting Ukraine. Ironically, if Putin had not invaded Ukraine in Feb. 2022, & instead threatened invasion if NATO & Ukraine ever started the process of induction, that probably would have been more than enough to dissuade NATO from inducting Ukraine.
OTOH, what Jens Stoltenberg says is not authoritative. There are more than a few NATO countries that will come likely out against inducting Ukraine (Hungary, Greece & Türkiye?), or will work to stall the process (France, Spain, Portugal & Germany?). I am not even sure where the Biden Administration stands of this matter.
@Gin & Tonic: The rest are probably waiting to see if publicly advocating such position is a primary election winner to loser. The committed Insurrectionists are those most vocal right now. Josh Hawley’s signature is not on the letter, but his foreign policy advisor has been on Twitter advocating for this precise position for nearly a year.
@Omnes Omnibus: Degilded, and sage smudged after the heinous crooks left. But yeah, I’d take the apartment too!
It has been this way for several days now. What’s up with that, I wonder?
@Jay: Hah, maybe if our diplomatic strategy is just going to be an adjusted version of “Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” (ie: “Putin, pull your troops back!”)
Seriously, though, I’m glad to see the Biden Admin continue to move military and economic aid. I think the GOP will try to make it seem like we’re sending too much aid when people at home need help … But Biden can so easily point to jagoffs like McCarthy calling to cut US assistance programs totally unlinked to Ukraine and say “Malarkey, you don;’t want to help ordinary people, you just want to keep taxes low on the rich!”
I want the “safe house” apartment that Matt Damon went to in the first Bourne movie.
Safe house, or his Paris apartment under his cover name?
The farmhouse belonging to his companions ex?
The German’s cover house, (love the tile floor)
I don’t remember a safe house.
[posted this to the wrong thread]
oh, this is depressing: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/geopolitics-decanted-by-silverado/id1614010500?i=1000609231727
Yet another reason why we need to supply weapons to UA to allow them to *finish* Putler and his hordes, is that the longer this goes on, the more UA has to draw down their stocks of air defense SAMs. And those are finite: ain’t no more available, and Patriot etc aren’t a substitute (it turns out, b/c they’re not available in *quantity*). Ugh. Just really depressing listening to this discussion.
@Chetan Murthy: Replying to @Jay: Bronk & Massicot talk aboout those (Western deliveries of Western SAMs):
Both Bronk and Massicot went thru the details of these weapon systems, and they both came down to the position that sure, we can offer some Western systems, but basically, we just don’t have a good answer, b/c NATO has for 30 years assumed “air superiority” so they didn’t bother building the sort of *massive* ground-based air defense (GBAD) that the Soviets did. We just don’t have the stuff to give Ukraine, to replace their dwindling stocks.
until certain Governments get over their “we can’t let Ukraine defeat Moscovia”, (what will we do when Ruzzia collapses!!!!!!!) or the variation on it of “we can’t let Ukraine strike into Moscovia”, (be it air, sea, or land),
well, sadly, that’s just where “we” and Ukraine are.
On the bright side, Ruzzia is bombing Ruzzia, (they have switched to their crude copy of Western glide bombs, because they are running out of missiles).
Let the Falcons fly.
@Jay: Bronk talked about F16s, too.
He’s a big fan of the Gripen, b/c it addresses all three of these problems. It’s a big mess. A big, big mess.
@Gin & Tonic: Hard to choose which of the three is most odious / dangerous to US interests.
@Gin & Tonic:
@YY_Sima Qian: This letter contrasts to one sent a month ago by Senators Risch and Wicker and Reps. McCaul and Rogers, calling for the administration to send Ukraine cluster munitions that it has requested. These four men chair the Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees of the House and Senate. In February, several Republicans also signed on to a letter urging the Biden administration to provide F-16s to Ukraine.
Many if not most other Republicans are sitting on the fence regarding this war. They will have to take a position later this year, when the $44 in military aid passed in the December Omnibus Bill starts to run out.
McCaul, the Texan heading the House Foreign Relations Committee, visited Kyiv iright after President Biden in early February. The 4 Republicans accompanying McCaul joined him in assuring President Zelensky of their continued support.
One of them, Max Miller, is a freshman from Ohio like J.D. Vance is. Miller’s pro-Ukraine stance could be influenced by the many people of Eastern European descent living in his Cleveland area district. Vance’s intended audience is likely national.
McCaul also advocates for arming Taiwan on an accelerated basis.
@Geminid: All of these GOPers, like virtually every other GOPer, are pretty much all in on a new Cold War w/ China, raise the Red Scare & cry of the Yellow Peril train. McCaul has just been sanctioned by the Chinese government.
Some of these national level GOPers may be calculating that they need the support of the natsec establishment if GOP is to be able to hold on to power. Not sure how deeply held their pro-Ukraine beliefs really are. Then again, the ultra-right wing governments in Italy (quasi-Fascist, really) & Sweden have been pretty strongly anti-Putin & pro-Ukraine, & it certainly has been case w/ the illiberal government in Poland (though anti-Russian sentiment is deeply held across the entire political spectrum there).
Major geopolitical conflagrations make for strange bedfellows.
@Gin & Tonic:
Ah, but what signatures they are! A regular rogues’ gallery of wackos and shitheels: Mike Lee, Rand Paul, JD Vance, Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz, AP Luna, Paul Gosar, Andy Biggs, Empty Greene, and 10 others.
What they’re missing in quantity they make up for in quality!
A good pass with a steam hose wouldn’t hurt, too.
A possible stop-gap would be to have perpetual training with US or other NATO personnel in eastern Ukraine after the invaders are killed or toss out. If Putler or his replacement fucks around and harms any of those personnel, the NATO response could be equivalent to a NATO nation being attacked.
@YY_Sima Qian: I am struck by parallels between the Republican emphasis on the Chinese “threat” today and the their pre-WWII animosity towards Japan, not Germany. The answer in both cases was a beefed up Navy. And the “Big Navy” idea has a life of its own among defense companies, politicians and pundits.
I happened to read a Richmond Times-Dispatch article from January, about Governor Youngkin’s State of the Commonwealth address. Legislators and reporters were wondering beforehand what issues he would emphasize. A 15 week abortion ban? Purging “wokeness” from public education? Expanding gun rights?
In the event, Youngkin talked most about resisting the influence of China and its Communist Party.
Good analysis by Gady.
I would add one observation, though. Gady precludes the possibility of strategic surprise, presumably because, as he correctly observes, it’s hard to hide large force groupings from satellite surveillance. This leaves out the possibility for strategic surprise enabled by the Ukrainian interior line advantage, which is reinforced (you knew I was going to say this, right?) by the comparative superiority of the Ukrainian rail network over the Russian one.
The UA has alredy used this advantage to its strategic gain twice in this war, once in the April 2022 race to the Donbas, then again in feeding the Kharkiv offensive while engaging the Russians in the Kherson-Mykolaiv-Zaporizhzhia triangle. It would be strange, in my opinion, if they did not attemp to leverage it again. They could (for example) induce the Russians to commit major forces around Kupyansk, or even better, Bakhmut (pointless, but high symbolic value to the Russians) then strike South around Zaporizhzhia. Or some (much better-thought out) such scenario.
The weather forecast near Kupyansk looks still a bit damp until early May. Not sure what the current state of the mud is, though.
@Geminid: I mean, beefing up the USN (& the USAF) are rational responses to the challenge posed by rising Chinese military prowess, which are strongly manifested in the PLAN & PLAAF, just as it was a rational response to the rising prowess of the IJN. Any fight over Taiwan will primarily be in the air & on/under the water, ground combat will only be undertaken by the PLA forces that manage to land on Taiwan & the ROCA defenders. There is not much scope for the US Army & USMC to play meaningful roles, thought they are certainly trying to stay relevant by developing novel operational concepts around the numerous islands in the 1st Island Chain & the Western Pacific.
The danger w/ the GOP’s (& to a lesser extent Congressional Dems’ & the Biden Administration’s) professed China policy is that it ignores the need to have credible reassurance as well as credible threat of punishment, in order to achieve credible deterrence against a rival (Deterrence 101 by Thomas Schilling). The bipartisan consensus on China in DC is almost entirely focused on the latter, & that is a recipe for a dangerously spiraling security dilemma dynamic between China & the US. This is presuming that the GOPers are actually acting in good faith.
The challenge the USN faces is the strong hangover from decades of exorbitantly expensive failures in the Littoral Combatant Ships, the Zumwalt cruiser/destroyers, the Ford class CVNs (not yet succeeded), the ramifications of which are now being felt & will intensify for the rest of the decade & into the next. This has translated into an aging & declining (in numbers) surface fleet that is being overstretched by increasing deployments, crews overstretched by recruitment shortfalls. Over the past few years we have seem 2 USN destroyers collide w/ cargo ships, an amphibious assault ship lost at pier due to fire while under repairs, a Sea Wolf class SSN (1 of only 3) colliding w/ an undersea mountain in the South China Sea, & a brand new LCS hitting a tug upon launch. The destroyers & the SSN were/are out of action for years. Just last week a USN destroyer & a replenishment ship narrowly missed colliding w/ each other at the entrance to a naval based, only saved by alert action of a junior officer on watch. Meanwhile, USN ships are plying the world’s seas w/ rust all over, a sight reminiscent of the late Cold War Soviet Navy.
The US is also suffering from deterioration in its industrial capacity in shipbuilding, especially skilled labor. That is why the AUKUS deal has this convoluted scheme of Australia paying for the recapitalization of the US’ & nuclear sub construction capacity, just so that the RAN can have 3 – 5 2nd hand Virginia class SSNs in the early to mid-30s. Otherwise the USN would not have any subs to spare to hand off to the RAN.
The USN surface fleet is in the worst shape, but the naval air arm also faces challenges. The F/A-18 Super Hornet was a great success, but the F-35 Lightening II has had a difficult gestation (not a boondoggle). Both suffer from relatively short legs. W/ the USN CVBGs like pushed well to the 2nd Island Chain due to China’s increasing Anti-Access/Area Denial capabilities, the F/A-18s & F-35s may not be able to generate significant enough sortie rates even w/ unimpeded tanker support & flight deck operations. The Chinese anti-ship ballistic missiles w/ maneuvering reentry or hypersonic glide vehicles, as well as the PLAAF’s stealth fighters & ultra long range air to air missiles do potentially place both the CVNs & the tankers at risk. Both US naval aviation & the USAF are suffering from low readiness rates (as low as 50%) due to overstretched maintenance.
The USN are still commonly assessed to retain a huge edge in undersea warfare. The PLAN is probably just at the start of a large build up of nuclear subs, while its surface fleet is well into its massive build up. The PLAN also has a large roster of modern diesel electric subs, but they are not competitive against SSNs in the deep open ocean. Any PLAN fleet that ventures beyond the 1st Island Chain is target practice for USN carrier aviation & SSNs. However, in a Taiwan scenario, the PLAN will not likely venture outside the range of land based air & anti-submarine warfare (ASW) cover, at least the surface fleet won’t. In addition, the very shallow waters of the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea, the Taiwan Strait, & the northern half of the South China Sea, are unfriendly environments for the large USN SSNs. These waters are already filled w/ Chinese sensors on the sea bottoms, & in war time will be filled w/ Chinese SSKs, & surface warships & aircraft doing ASW.
There remains a huge number of unknowns on both sides in an actually conflict. The PLAN/PLAAF’s obsolescence as late as the aughts, coupled w/ the 2 services’ massive modernization/expansion since, means Chinese sailors & pilots are jumping straight from early/mid-Cold War gear to the cutting edge, as well as assuming brand new (to them) missions (such as aerial refueling, airborne early warning & control, aerial ASW, deep sea ASW, & air-sea joint operations, etc.). Training, tactics & doctrine probably have yet to catch up to the equipment induction. The USN has not fought a peer opponent since the end of the WW II, while a Chinese Navy has not fought a peer opponent since the Sino-Japanese War of 1895 (which ended in disaster for the Qing navy). ASW especially was allowed to atrophy in the USN after the end of the Cold War & the disappearance of the Soviet sub threat. At least the USN had planned & trained against a peer opponent until late in the Cold War, so there is still a body of knowledge to mine, although the threat environment has changed significantly. The PLA’s AA/AD capabilities are mostly assumed, not battle proven in any sense; it face its own challenges all along the “kill chain”: detection, targeting, munitions launch, targeting updates while munitions in flight, & target lock until impact.
Anyway, all of the above are probably moot. What’s the likelihood of a peer to peer war between nuclear powers staying conventional, as losses & passions mount? Something studiously avoided in all of the loose war talk.
I guess Youngkin has national ambitions. He made a huge deal about turning away a proposed venture between Ford & CATL to build a huge battery plant in Virginia, a plant that Michigan happily took (though w/ a barrage of Red Scare/Yellow Peril agitation by the GOP in the state). The plant is to be 100% owned by Ford (originally conceived as a JV) & licensing technology from CATL, an arrangement that bows the the worsen cross-Pacific geopolitics & domestic US politics. In the meantime, the Chinese government is warning CATL not to lose control if its crown jewel tech to the US through the venture, in an ironic role reversal.
For those interested in infosec/Ukraine/Russia (via thegrugq’s daily newsletter)
The Cyber Dimensions of the Russia-Ukraine War (April 20, 2023, European Cyber Conflict Research Initiative (ECCRI))
(ECCRI was launched Sept 2020; young org.)
PDF (39 pages – worth reading, or at least sampling from the table of contents IMO):
The Cyber Dimensions of the Russia-Ukraine War ((ECCRI) Taylor Grossman, Monica Kaminska, James Shires, and Max Smeets, April 2023)
Of note (emphasis mine):
That will get some serious attention in Russia. (At least it was non-nuclear, unlike say the Goldsboro incident. )
Loki was saying hello, perhaps. (New moon!)
 “Hello, boys” is quite a cluttered memetic subspace. e,g. the Max Bialystok (Zero Mostel) version with banknotes in The Producers.
@YY_Sima Qian: Youngkin may have also been using the China threat as a shiny object that diverted attention from his party’s unpopular positions on women’s rights and gun control. Youngkin used his fight against CRT similarly in his election campaign. He’s a slick guy.
The battery plant story highlights a drawback of VIrginia’s single term limit for Governors. Youngkin will never have to defend that position to Southside Virginia voters. They needed those jobs.