In Battle Damage Assessment, the conflict continues with fewer precision weapons used and consequently more indiscriminate destruction. The Ukrainian major cities are holding, and there are few safe corridors for civilians. The Russians made their first launch of thermobaric weapons and implied by projection that chemical weapons could be deployed. Cluster munitions have already been used by the Russians.
There seems to be a definitive ‘no’ on Poland’s using the US to avoid having the Russians decide that more MiG 29s is a NATO escalation.
ISTANBUL — When President Vladimir V. Putin launched his invasion two weeks ago, he said a primary goal was the “denazification” of Ukraine. He referred to the Ukrainian government as a “gang of drug addicts and neo-Nazis,” making it clear that his aim was to topple it.
But in recent days, the language has shifted, with the Kremlin signaling that Mr. Putin is no longer bent on regime change in Kyiv. It is a subtle shift, and it may be a head-fake; but it is prompting officials who have scrambled to mediate to believe that Mr. Putin may be seeking a negotiated way out of a war that has become a much bloodier slog than he expected.
On Thursday, Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov of Russia is expected to meet his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, in Turkey, in the highest-level talks between the two countries since the war began on Feb. 24. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, whose top diplomat has held a total of 10 calls with Mr. Lavrov and Mr. Kuleba since the start of the war, said on Wednesday that the meeting could “crack the door open to a permanent cease-fire.”
Leading up to the meeting, both sides have softened their public positions, though they remain far apart. Russia has narrowed its demands to focus on Ukrainian “neutrality” and the status of its Russian-occupied regions, and declared on Wednesday that Russia was not seeking to “overthrow” Ukraine’s government. President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine on Tuesday suggested he was open to revising Ukraine’s constitutionally enshrined aspiration to join NATO, and even to a compromise over the status of Ukrainian territory now controlled by Russia.
“The changes are noticeable,” Ivan Timofeev, the director of programs at the government-funded Russian International Affairs Council, said of the evolution in Russia’s negotiating position. “This position has become more realistic.”
The Kremlin’s position now, according to comments this week by its spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, is that Ukraine must recognize Russian sovereignty over Crimea and the independence of the Russian-backed, separatist “people’s republics” in the country’s east and enshrine a status of neutrality in its constitution. That is still far from what Mr. Zelensky has said he would be willing to accept — and it could also puncture Mr. Putin’s strongman image at home, opening him up to criticism that he waged an enormous war for limited gain.
"The situation today is disconcertingly similar to that at the outset of World War II. Russian President Vladimir Putin now speaks of Ukraine as an artificial state and nation. In 1938 and 1939, Adolf Hitler spoke in just the same way about Germany’s neighbors. Putin prepared the way for his invasion with a litany of imaginary atrocities supposedly suffered by compatriots across the border. Hitler was the pioneer of atrocity talk as a pretext to aggression. He used such lies to absorb Austria, destroy Czechoslovakia, and invade Poland," Tim Snyder wrote.
"EU heads of state and government will meet Thursday in Versailles, France. There, they have a chance to do something historic: to honor Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s request and offer Ukraine EU membership negotiations. This would renew the essential tradition of integration as the answer to war in a way that speaks to present circumstances. Such a promise would offer Ukrainians a brighter future, a sense of meaning to their sacrifice and suffering now. When the circumstances allow for peace negotiations, it will make it easier for them to stop fighting, because they will have already won something important," he wrote. "Such a chance only comes once in a political lifetime. Here’s hoping that they take it."
In a morning background briefing, a senior U.S. defense official said the Pentagon now assesses that Russia is using "dumb bombs." It marks another example of how they're indiscriminately attacking people in Ukraine.
Right on cue, the images of today's hospital bombing in Mariupol flashed. The senior defense official said they did not yet have an assessment.
The Russians have made some progress toward Kharkiv, the senior U.S. defense official said. "They gained about 20 kilometers over the last 24 hours in terms of proximity."
The situation around Kyiv was the same today. Russians are still stalled near the airport north of the city. Other Russians are attempting to advance from other directions. The city still holds.
Russians are making some progress near the southern city of Mykolaiv, too, the senior U.S. defense official said.
"We estimate that they're about 15 kilometers away, but to the north of Mykolaiv, and they have increased their shelling of the city," he added.
As of Wednesday, the Russians had launched 710 missiles at Ukraine since the start of the invasion two weeks ago. That number continues to climb by a few dozen per day.
Patriot missile batteries have been repositioned in Poland, the senior defense official said. That move was announced Tuesday night, so done deal there. The units are designed to shoot down incoming ballistic missiles.
• • •
Rather, the Pentagon maintains that supplying Ukraine with ground-based air defense systems, such as surface-to-air missiles, has proved effective at weakening Russian forces, including its air capabilities. The United States is evaluating how to provide Ukraine with more of those types of weapons rather than the aircraft its leaders have asked for.
The United States already has shipped Ukraine a number of Stinger antiaircraft missiles and Javelin antitank missiles, alongside shotguns and other materials useful for fighting in urban areas, as The Washington Post first reported last week.
Russian forces continue to close in on key population centers. A senior U.S. defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity under ground rules established by the Pentagon, said earlier Wednesday that Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, and Mykolaiv, a possible staging ground to attack the large port city of Odessa, appeared particularly vulnerable.
We are going to start with Ukraine & explain.
Most people have no clue as to how truely large Ukraine is. So, to cure that, I have gone to the thetruesize.com appin order to educate people.
between Ukraine's Russian & Polish borders.
The distance of Kyiv from the Belarus border to be about that of the Oklahoma border to Dallas, Texas.
The tip of Crimea to the Ukraine-Belarus border is roughly from Brownsville Tx to the Red River border w/Oklahoma.
Driving from Texarkana on the N.E. tip of Texas to El Paso at the western tip is 814 miles & 12 hours 13 min. non-stop on US interstates with a 75 mph speed limit.
There was no way the Russian trucks like this were going to make it from Belarus to Kyiv
...let alone cross Ukraine North-to-South or East -to-West. What was the Russian General Staff thinking?
Well, we know because the Ukrainians captured the plans from a Russian Naval Infantry Colonel.
Putin's generals thought it would take 3 days to overthrow the Ukraine government and 12 more days for the 190,000 troops to occupy the entire country of 43 million people, twice that of Texas.
That is one Russian conscript per 266 Ukrainians & 3.1 sq. km
This plan assumed the Ukrainian military would put up a token resistance and the newly installed Puppet government would arrange the surrender of Ukraine's army of 250,000 men and 45,000 man territorial defense force without any weapons or soldiers going insurgent.
Nor do those armed Ukrainian numbers include the six annual conscript classes that filled up that 250,000 man army in the eight years of fighting in the Donbas.
Assuming 1/2 of 250,000 x six, that is 730,000 combat veterans who would take great exception to Russia's puppet
Assuming only a perfect plan for the Ukrainian Army, territorials plus Russians faced only 150,000 of those conscript classes. Russian & puppet forces would only outnumber them 3.2 to one in a popular insurgency.
That isn't enough to win.
See these #'s
"However, when facing broadly popular insurgencies, counterinsurgents lost every time they possessed a force ratio advantage of 5-1 or less, failed half the time with odds between 6-1 and 10-1,
...but succeeded three-quarters of the time when outnumbering the insurgents by 10-1 or more."
Putin lost the moment he decided to invade Ukraine.
Russia has no political or military options to achieve successful war termination.
The only agents in this war with the power to achieve war termination in Ukraine is the Ukrainian people.
Not the Ukrainian government
Ukraine is engaged in a national people's war against a Kleptocratic potentate.
The Ukrainian people's terms are "We want the Russians gone, all our lands back and even then we will still keep fighting Russia while Putin is in power."
No Ukrainian government can force them to settle for anything less.
Since Putin's 15-day plan has failed & Ukraine's military is fighting. Lets turn to another map that represents the reality on the Ground in Ukraine.
Ukraine is big.
So big that we have a lot of space between conventional armed formations like the WW2 N. African campaign.
There are more armed Ukrainians than Russians in Ukraine.
While the Russians are fighting conventional Ukrainian Army unit for cities and choke points.
The Ukrainian territorials are fulfilling a role much like the colonial militia of the American revolution.
...filling the the space between armed units and destroying Russian Army truck convoys in the 21st century like the Colonial militia destroyed British army foraging parties around Philadelphia in the 18th century & impelled then to retreat or starve.
Now we are going to address the mechanized battle of attrition between Ukraine & Russia.
Long road marches of 300 AFV's see as many as 100 fall out for mechanical defects.
When these are Russian, the fallen out AFV are destroyed, or worse, stolen.
Over and over again.
All Russian operational losses and the repairable half of combat AFV losses are either permanent losses or they become Ukrainian Army GAINS.
President Zelensky claimed on Mar 9, 2022 that more Russian equipment has been captured than Ukrainian equipment lost in the campaign to date, and thus all Ukrainian losses have been covered in operational units by Russian AFV trophies, especially MBTs.
Contrafactual Short form:
Ukraine is winning the vehicular firepower war of attrition with Russia because it has trained & combat experienced reserves from its previous conscript classes to fill those tractor captured Russian AFV's.
Long conventional war favors Ukraine.
Yes, the thread turned out to be long, not short.
• • •
Clarity depends on recognizing that warfighting and coercion are two different kinds of activities, each with its own logic and grammar.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine can be seen as a failure to coerce on the parts of both NATO and Russia. While NATO clearly failed to deter the invasion, Russia failed to compel either NATO countries or Ukraine to limit their ties with one another. Given Russia’s interest in Ukraine is arguably much higher than NATO’s, deterrence likely had little chance. However, Russia arguably made a mistake in its December 17, 2021 ultimatum, in which it essentially demanded NATO accept a Russian sphere of influence in Eastern Europe, including over NATO members. By doing so, Russia not only raised the stakes, giving NATO more reason to resist, but also foreshadowed future iterations, making it more rational for NATO to bear higher costs and take greater risks than the alliance was previously willing. Resolving this impasse requires both sides to do more than simply impose costs. Either must calibrate its demands given the potential for cooperation, resistance, or defection present in the adversarial relationship. Otherwise, both sides only have escalation or concession as ways forward.
These, then, are important rules of thumb that guide adversarial interactions. Even if one side is significantly stronger, it should not make excessive demands unless it seeks to better understand an adversary’s preferences and is prepared to accept failure, at least at first. In interactions that iterate, minimizing adversaries’ fears that more demands may be forthcoming diminishes the likelihood that those adversaries will perceive their costs of concession to be increasing. To prevent challenges in the first place, it is important for an actor to convince adversaries that acting on an issued threat is its most rational response. If that is not possible, then it becomes important to find ways to decrease the value of the adversary’s challenge in the first place. Of course, there are likely times when none of those options are possible. However, knowing that enables better preparation for the inevitable conflict to come.
Money doesn’t just move and hide itself. The flight of Russia’s wealth has been supported by big banks and a global industry of professionals who specialize in providing rich clients with shell companies, trusts and other secretive vehicles.
For nearly a decade, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has worked to unveil both the true owners of secretive entities and also the professionals who underpin the offshore economy. This reporting has triggered billions in recoveries, led to the collapse of business empires and prompted new transparency laws. But true systemic change has been slow in coming. Western authorities have largely turned a blind eye to the people and companies that keep the dark money system running.
Even now, the ENABLERS Act — which would require a broad range of professionals such as attorneys and art dealers to perform basic due diligence on their elite clients’ sources of wealth — remains stalled in the U.S. Congress.
Experts say oligarchs can benefit from major disclosure loopholes in private equity and luxury goods.
“There’s this misunderstanding that you can just go out and seize these mansions, seize these yachts. For so many of them, it’s a complete black box,” said Casey Michel, the author of “American Kleptocracy: How the U.S. Created the World’s Greatest Money Laundering Scheme in History.”
“The U.S. provided all the tools of anonymity the oligarchs needed,” he said, and there’s no immediate executive action Biden can take to fix it.
Decades of investing
Russian money has been pouring into the U.S. since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In 1999, Richard Palmer, who was the CIA’s Moscow embassy station chief, warned in congressional testimony that Russian kleptocrats and KGB officials had poured billions of dollars into private accounts across Europe and the U.S. in the dying days of the Soviet Union.
Michel said that after the passage in 2001 of the Patriot Act, which required disclosure of major banking transactions, much of the money was shifted into real estate property and luxury goods hidden through shell companies.