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Ukraine Conflict - "Only the dead have seen the end of war."


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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, pmp10 said:

That's great but Russian offensive there was stopped over a month ago.
I really don't think much value is put in Kharkiv at this point, except maybe as a opportunity for cheap terror strikes*. 

Whereas Russians were just recently making gains around Kherson, politically far more important target.

* - Still ongoing strikes, Ukrainian gains have not been enough to push Russian artillery far enough from even the city center. 

AFAIK, the Kherson region is currently at stalemate as well, the biggest gains for Russia are currently around Izyum area, but these are limited as well. And the Kharkiv counter-offensive is there to weaken the Russian advancements at this specific front. Also, the gains around Kharkiv should not be dismissed so lightly, because especially in the village of  Ruska Lozova, the Russians put hell of a fight, and Ukrainians had significant loses.

Also, Ukraine is as of today in possession of 80 out of 90 US provided howitzers, and 90000 out of 144000 rounds for them, which if placed at some strategically significant points, could turn the table even more to the Ukrainian side, because AFAIK, these howitzers have longer range, than Russian artillery. All of this will of course help only if they will be able to save them from Russian air bombardment.

Also you are right about the Russian artillery, because Russian are still tightly defending the area NorthEast of the Kharkiv. Which could be possibly taken care of in the short/mid-term if Ukraine will be successful at encircling them from the newly acquired Stariy Saltiv area.

 

1 hour ago, Malcador said:

Sounds like proof of some Russian hoping, more than anything.

Yup, that's why I have written, why you should take it with a grain of salt, although the whole accusation is plausible for me. Also this "wishful thinking" is kind of in line, with the leaked article from the start of the invasion, which one Russian news site (sorry but don't remember the name anymore) released by mistake, and very swiftly took down.

Edited by Mamoulian War
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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Chilloutman said:

now you are just playing with words. It was multiple times stated that NATO is coordinating their military equipment support to Ukraine - that they are not obligated to it changes very little. And yes US training might not be (I am not even sure) NATO supported but again it changes little as US ARE part of NATO

Is making a distinction between NATO and its members "playing with words"?

NATO is not coordinating delivery of military supplies. This is per, er... NATO.

4. What are NATO and Allies doing to help Ukraine?
NATO is helping to coordinate Ukraine’s requests for assistance and is supporting Allies in the delivery of humanitarian and non-lethal aid. Individual NATO member countries are sending weapons, ammunition, medical supplies and other vital military equipment to Ukraine, including in such areas as cybersecurity and protection against threats of a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear nature.

Arms and training have been a huge help to Ukraine, but they have not been delivered under the auspices of NATO, and so it makes no sense to assume that they wouldn't have happened if NATO didn't exist or, especially, if an European alternative to it was in place. You may be thinking of the CAP, but that falls squarely under military advice, something that isn't exactly a NATO invention.

The US would continue supplying weapons and training much like they have done in other parts of the world for the past, uh, 80 years. The largest efforts of military equipment delivery to a foreign power happened before NATO was even proposed -- Lend-Lease and destroyers-for-bases.

So no, nothing NATO is doing in Ukraine couldn't happen without NATO, and NATO is not the reason why the Russian offensive has failed to break Ukraine.

 

 

4 hours ago, Mamoulian War said:

To play a massive cynic, well, a civil war in a country with 6000 nukes would solve a lot, if no one decided to intervene...

I don't know man, sounds like a massive wager to assume that Europe wouldn't catch a nuke or two if they started flying in a civil war inside Russia.

 

 

4 hours ago, bugarup said:

Ah yes, now I see - evil meanie Ukraine did not want to hand its territory with totally absolutely honest to god natural insurgencies that were totally absolutely honest to god not orchestrated by Russia up to sending their military officers to stir up **** there (also see: Girkin, Igor) over to Russia after it already occupied Ukrainian Crimea and therefore this war is entirely Ukraine's own fault, because how could the most peaceful and innocent goodest neighbour Russia not to interfere on behalf of those poor annexed oppressed regions, it being the shining beacon of selflessness and noble intentions, truly the caring oldest brother of us ungrateful faux-nations!  See, I can do passive-aggressive comical exaggeration too!

That's not really comical. More like a plain old rant, honestly.

And Minsk did not involve handing any territory to anyone. It involved a degree of autonomy lesser than that of German federal states, local elections and a special protected status for the Russian language not unlike what we have for instance in Spain. Madness, no doubt.

 

4 hours ago, bugarup said:

Lets not, because it'll require Russia attacking an EU member.

So, it's just your opinion, and based on nothing in particular then. OK, but if you don't believe that France or Germany would honor a commitment to defend the EU if such a mutual defense framework existed, why exactly do you think they would honor an Article 5 invocation under the same circumstances?

 

4 hours ago, bugarup said:

Yes! It makes no sense, I agree! But he did it! 

Or... maybe that's just you jumping to your "Russians are mad and/or stupid" premise and reasoning back from there.

 

4 hours ago, bugarup said:

Nice article. Too bad it did not age that well, because since then Bucha has been discovered among other things. Civilian executions, raping and looting doesn't quite fit the "we'll just denazify here a little and be out real quick" plan, don't you think? 

Bucha doesn't seem to be policy, and not even Ukraine have stated that it is. But even if it were, that's not incompatible with bombing Kiev proper to rubble, and there's very little Ukraine could do about it if Russia started to fire Kh-101s or Iskanders at Kiev from inside their territory.

Edited by 213374U

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Russian soldiers have apparently entered that Steel factory in Mariupol. 

I imagine the Ukrainian soldiers  left will make a final stand, I admire their bravery  and sacrifice in the face of tyranny for the freedom of their country 

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"Abashed the devil stood and felt how awful goodness is and saw Virtue in her shape how lovely: and pined his loss”

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7 minutes ago, 213374U said:

I don't know man, sounds like a massive wager to assume that Europe wouldn't catch a nuke or two if they started flying in a civil war inside Russia.

Never mind that a lot of consequences of nukes don't care about things like borders!

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7 minutes ago, BruceVC said:

Russian soldiers have apparently entered that Steel factory in Mariupol. 

I imagine the Ukrainian soldiers  left will make a final stand, I admire their bravery  and sacrifice in the face of tyranny for the freedom of their country 

This will be a bloodbath... TBH I think some mad Russian officer decided that they have to get the steelworks before May 9th at all costs... Azovstal was build in USSR time as an Anti-Nuclear cover... I am unable to imagine how this could end well for the Russian soldiers...

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Posted (edited)

Apparently, not that dire, they are back in touch with them.

 

 

Edited by Malcador

Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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2 minutes ago, Mamoulian War said:

This will be a bloodbath... TBH I think some mad Russian officer decided that they have to get the steelworks before May 9th at all costs... Azovstal was build in USSR time as an Anti-Nuclear cover... I am unable to imagine how this could end well for the Russian soldiers...

The Ukrainians have apparently turned the underground bunkers into a militarized area

Its going to be very costly for the Russian army  especially because the Ukrainians know its likely if they captured alive they will  get killed anyway 

I would think like that if I was one of those Ukrainian soldiers...rather die in battle than be executed or abused as a prisoner. And we know their are several cases of captured Ukraine soldiers being executed so its very likely 

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Considering the torture stories I've read today, they sure as hell don't want to be taken as POWs.

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6 minutes ago, Lexx said:

Considering the torture stories I've read today, they sure as hell don't want to be taken as POWs.

This is my point, its another indictment on the Russian army where you dont want to be taken alive 

"Abashed the devil stood and felt how awful goodness is and saw Virtue in her shape how lovely: and pined his loss”

John Milton 

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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48 minutes ago, 213374U said:

Is making a distinction between NATO and its members "playing with words"?

NATO is not coordinating delivery of military supplies. This is per, er... NATO.

omg man, NATO is not state nor manufacturer of weapons so they even can't supply any weapons, its members are doing it in coordination of NATO

image.thumb.png.c0a3a8da7532a3054cbf7919adf13ef7.png

 

again you are just nitpicking

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9 hours ago, Chilloutman said:

The fact that Russia's offensive run out of steam is because Ukraine army was well trained in past 8 years - if it was in state as in 2014 Russians would be in Kiev by now.

Doubtful even the 2014 Ukraine army would have outright lost by now, assuming everything else stays the same, as the initial Russian plan was too unrealistic. What the Russians were banking on was lack of will to fight, which they shouldn't have been since the Ukrainians actually had plenty of that in 2014- you can compare the Donetsk Airport Cyborgs with Mariupol, for instance, and most of their military disasters there came from not wanting to retreat when they ought to- and that they'd be as badly led as then. There's a decent amount of evidence that the Ukrainians were badly led now too in places, such as the Russians strolling out of Crimea like it was a picnic, but that was more than balanced by the Russian strategy being hugely... over ambitious in other areas.

Kiev urban area is 3.2 mn people. You couldn't take that (quickly) with the entire Russian invasion force unless close to literally no one decided to fight back. As it was they dissipated all their momentum in the south too trying to achieve the unrealistic in the north.

8 hours ago, 213374U said:

You said that the reason Russia can't cross the Dniepr is NATO.

Russia actually is across the Dniepr anyway, it's a bit of a silly milestone. Being across the Dniepr north of Kiev was disastrous, and they've been across the lower Dniepr for 2 months at Kherson (and Nova Kharkovka for that matter).

7 hours ago, Malcador said:

I really recall Turkey backing down more than Russia after that downing of one plane.

Yep. Erdogan went from 'personally ordering it' to it 'all being a US/ Gulenist plot to bring him down and sour relations with Russia' in a year. Russia even outright blew up 33 Turkish soldiers with nary a peep of criticism of them from Turkey.

4 hours ago, Mamoulian War said:

And the Kharkiv counter-offensive is there to weaken the Russian advancements at this specific front. Also, the gains around Kharkiv should not be dismissed so lightly, because especially in the village of  Ruska Lozova, the Russians put hell of a fight, and Ukrainians had significant loses.

That's diversionary- on both sides- as it strategically unimportant. If nothing else the Russian border is right there, even if Russia withdrew without a fight Ukraine would still need to keep most of its troops there or risk having the Russians walk back in later.

Ukraine has made no progress around the areas that might actually threaten Izium though because there the western Russian defensive line is along highly defensible river and swamp.

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Time to start over with a shorter thread title... Continued from old thread

 

“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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9 hours ago, Mamoulian War said:

Also, Ukraine is as of today in possession of 80 out of 90 US provided howitzers, and 90000 out of 144000 rounds for them, which if placed at some strategically significant points, could turn the table even more to the Ukrainian side, because AFAIK, these howitzers have longer range, than Russian artillery. All of this will of course help only if they will be able to save them from Russian air bombardment.

Yeah the artillery being delivered is a big deal, per a wide range of military experts. And since their range and targeting accuracy is far superior to Russian systems they can be used quite effectively for counter-battery fire against Russian artillery. But as you correctly point out, protecting them from Russian air strikes is critical. And for the US at least, we don't have any systems we can give them for air defence other than old Stingers because apparently providing systems such as Patriot makes the squishies inside the Administration nervous. What would truly be a game-changer is if someone is able and willing to provide the Ukrainians with an AD system that can take out Russian aircraft and cruise missiles while they are still inside Russian airspace so Russia can't sit back within their own space and bombard Ukraine at will.

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Interestingly, the quote in the title is attributed to Plato erroneously sometimes, most famously in Black Hawk Down.

Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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1 hour ago, Malcador said:

Interestingly, the quote in the title is attributed to Plato erroneously sometimes, most famously in Black Hawk Down.

I've yet to see a source not attributing it to Plato, but regardless of who said it first, it's sort of on point for the subject.

 

Better than the alternative I had in mind anyway (Ron Perlman Voice: Special Military Operations, Special Military Operations Never Changes! :nuke:)

 

“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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6 hours ago, Zoraptor said:

Doubtful even the 2014 Ukraine army would have outright lost by now, assuming everything else stays the same, as the initial Russian plan was too unrealistic.

What's your take on the reasons for this? In my view, the most logical explanation is that Putin, surrounded by yes-men, was told what he wanted to hear, and this skewed his thinking way out of proportion. Combine this with the effects of widespread corruption on equipment and morale, and you get what we've got this far.

I mean, the original plan indeed was too unrealistic, by several orders of magnitude, so to speak.

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2 hours ago, kanisatha said:

What would truly be a game-changer is if someone is able and willing to provide the Ukrainians with an AD system that can take out Russian aircraft and cruise missiles while they are still inside Russian airspace so Russia can't sit back within their own space and bombard Ukraine at will.

Who do you reckon would have the potential to do this? I mean, Andorra can't do it but the US can -- who else can?

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https://www.thedailybeast.com/they-deceived-us-at-every-step-south-ossetian-troops-blast-russias-war-in-ukraine?via=twitter_page

A good read highlighting some of the failures from a " on the ground " perspective of Putins War from Russian soldiers

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"Abashed the devil stood and felt how awful goodness is and saw Virtue in her shape how lovely: and pined his loss”

John Milton 

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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Out of twenty Russian generals who initially took part in the war, ten have now died.

Not entirely certain given that one side has an interest in skewing the numbers one way and the other the other, but that appears to be approximately the size of it. Humiliating, in any case, like that fallen match that produced that fire on Moskva.

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26 minutes ago, xzar_monty said:

Here's an interesting take on the rather horrifying religious side of this. I've read a better article but it's behind a paywall and not in a language folks here will be able to read.

https://catholicherald.co.uk/russian-nuclear-orthodoxy/?fbclid=IwAR1RRTRZUG44qTXKSQ6R1vV8MdQerk1s484ARNH29pWbOzYsPcWZCKsd5Js

Monty I originally thought you were from Sweden and you were a little embarrassed to mention that but you said you werent from Sweden

So I am going to guess, you from Denmark? Am I right?

"Abashed the devil stood and felt how awful goodness is and saw Virtue in her shape how lovely: and pined his loss”

John Milton 

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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12 hours ago, 213374U said:

And Minsk did not involve handing any territory to anyone. It involved a degree of autonomy lesser than that of German federal states, local elections and a special protected status for the Russian language not unlike what we have for instance in Spain. Madness, no doubt.

German federal states do not have a belligerent, aggressive, militarily stronger neighbour trying to use them as a foothold to further mess with Germany. And I have a suspicion that special protected status for Basque, I suppose, language comes from either Spain or some sort of agreement between Catalonia and Spain and not from, say, France with an implication of "Or else!"

12 hours ago, 213374U said:

So, it's just your opinion, and based on nothing in particular then. OK, but if you don't believe that France or Germany would honor a commitment to defend the EU if such a mutual defense framework existed, why exactly do you think they would honor an Article 5 invocation under the same circumstances?

Because there are certain other members of NATO that might sway the alliance towards standing up to the bully? 

12 hours ago, 213374U said:

Or... maybe that's just you jumping to your "Russians are mad and/or stupid" premise and reasoning back from there.

No, it's just me stating that war, in fact, was started. And now I do not understand where were you going with this:

Quote

Sigh. Again, if Putler had wanted to conquer Ukrainian lands, he could have done it in 2014 when the Ukrainian military was in tatters, and whole units were defecting to separatists. Trying to do it now after 8 years of preparations and fortifications makes no sense.

Because sense or no sense, war is happening. Tanks are rolling, people are dying. It's there.

12 hours ago, 213374U said:

Bucha doesn't seem to be policy, and not even Ukraine have stated that it is. But even if it were, that's not incompatible with bombing Kiev proper to rubble, and there's very little Ukraine could do about it if Russia started to fire Kh-101s or Iskanders at Kiev from inside their territory.

And again, I do not get your point here. "See, Poutine isn't as comic book villain levels evil as he could be?" ...okay?  

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, bugarup said:

And again, I do not get your point here. "See, Poutine isn't as comic book villain levels evil as he could be?" ...okay?  

I admire your persistence but I don't think it'll pay off.

That Newsweek article about Russia not doing all it can to destroy Ukraine is true: Russia is not in the process of nuking Ukraine, for example, nor has it committed to wholesale Dresden-style bombing. However, given what happened in Bucha and the fact that Putin gave awards / medals to precisely those troops responsible for the Bucha atrocities makes this point moot. Russia's policy is rape, pillage and destruction, these things will be awarded and there is no regard or respect for anything. Russian soldiers, with their faces covered, are gang-raping Ukrainian girls and women and forcing their families and relatives to witness it. This is what is happening right now, and this same country is committing airspace violation crimes against sovereign countries pursuing their own defensive interests, insisting that other countries' business is also its own business. This same country has established phone numbers and email addresses(*) in some of its embassies and encouraged its citizens to report commentary and behaviour that can be regarded as antagonistic to Russia's interests, which, to anyone who has looked at very recent history, looks like building ground for future military operations in ostensibly hostile countries. This same country is currently reporting on my country in a manner which would look amusing in a comedy show but which looks unbelievably stupid and childish in reality. This same country started a war, and once this action received condemnation, it went on and labelled dozens of countries as hostile to Russia, which has to be some kind of record in being both stupid and puerile. Calling all this pure and absolute madness is, in my view, completely justified, not in a mental health sense but in the sense where actions cruel enough or out of proportion enough are generally described as madness. Russia's comments on Jews, Swedish nazis etc. also qualify as madness in this sense. And many of these comments don't come from any old Russian, they come from on high, from people like Lavrov.

The claim that Russia is not going all in is true. But when you go to Bucha and see someone who has been both raped and murdered, you don't say "Well at least the perpetrator didn't jump up and down on her ribcage, as it's perfectly intact", even if it is true.

 

(*) This was not an intelligent move. According to the reports I have read, these email addresses received more input than they could handle. Well, I suppose anyone should have seen that, and I find it hard to believe that anyone could disagree.

Edited by xzar_monty
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49 minutes ago, xzar_monty said:

I admire your persistence but I don't think it'll pay off.

That Newsweek article about Russia not doing all it can to destroy Ukraine is true: Russia is not in the process of nuking Ukraine, for example, nor has it committed to wholesale Dresden-style bombing. However, given what happened in Bucha and the fact that Putin gave awards / medals to precisely those troops responsible for the Bucha atrocities makes this point moot. Russia's policy is rape, pillage and destruction, these things will be awarded and there is no regard or respect for anything. Russian soldiers, with their faces covered, are gang-raping Ukrainian girls and women and forcing their families and relatives to witness it. This is what is happening right now, and this same country is committing airspace violation crimes against sovereign countries pursuing their own defensive interests, insisting that other countries' business is also its own business. This same country has established phone numbers and email addresses(*) in some of its embassies and encouraged its citizens to report commentary and behaviour that can be regarded as antagonistic to Russia's interests, which, to anyone who has looked at very recent history, looks like building ground for future military operations in ostensibly hostile countries. This same country is currently reporting on my country in a manner which would look amusing in a comedy show but which looks unbelievably stupid and childish in reality. Calling this pure and absolute madness is, in my view, completely justified, not in a mental health sense but in the sense where actions cruel enough or out of proportion enough are generally described as madness. Russia's comments on Jews, Swedish nazis etc. also qualify as madness in this sense. And many of these comments don't come from any old Russian, they come from on high, from people like Lavrov.

The claim that Russia is not going all in is true. But when you go to Bucha and see someone who has been both raped and murdered, you don't say "Well at least the perpetrator didn't jump up and down on her ribcage, as it's perfectly intact", even if it is true.

 

(*) This was not an intelligent move. According to the reports I have read, these email addresses received more input than they could handle. Well, I suppose anyone should have seen that, and I find it hard to believe that anyone could disagree.

This is a very  good and articulate  post, well said Monty 8)

I hope  2133 responds, I would like to see what he has to say 

"Abashed the devil stood and felt how awful goodness is and saw Virtue in her shape how lovely: and pined his loss”

John Milton 

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, Chilloutman said:

omg man, NATO is not state nor manufacturer of weapons so they even can't supply any weapons, its members are doing it in coordination of NATO

I'm not nitpicking, you are conflating NATO with its members when they are separate entities. Member countries are not directed, coordinated or required by NATO to provide military material aid to Ukraine. That makes sense because that's not what NATO's mission is. So again, NATO is not the reason the Russian offensive has petered out.

I posted a NATO link where it says NATO is not doing what you say it is doing. Apparently a google search of headlines supersedes NATO's own official statements. Today's political discussions in a nutshell.

 

1 hour ago, bugarup said:

German federal states do not have a belligerent, aggressive, militarily stronger neighbour trying to use them as a foothold to further mess with Germany. And I have a suspicion that special protected status for Basque, I suppose, language comes from either Spain or some sort of agreement between Catalonia and Spain and not from, say, France with an implication of "Or else!"

That's irrelevant. Implementation of the Minsk accords would have ended the war and returned overall control of the state border and disputed territories to the government of Ukraine, putting it in a much stronger position to actually defend against Russia than letting the conflict fester.

Minsk also wasn't an imposition from Moscow, it was a negotiated agreement under the auspices of the so-called Normandy group. Hell, Russia refused to get involved in enforcing implementation because it was an "internal matter" of Ukraine. So yeah, there's plenty of blame to go around for the failure of Minsk, and it isn't all Russia's.

Further, I went through the EU's documentation on linguistic diversity and nowhere it's stated that all of that ceases to apply if Russia is your neighbor.

 

 

1 hour ago, bugarup said:

Because there are certain other members of NATO that might sway the alliance towards standing up to the bully?

You mean the members that have no skin in the game and for which it's entirely a question of geopolitical interests? So France and Germany would not react to a direct threat to their territorial integrity but the US would in the same circumstances because... reasons. Heh, OK. I mean, you already can see how reluctant the US is to spark an actual war with Russia because being on the other side of the pond doesn't protect you from ICBMs -- those are the stakes. Maybe it would be good to start abandoning any delusions that NATO nowadays is little more than a cudgel used to bludgeon non-nuclear states that don't wanna toe the line as laid out by Washington.

 

1 hour ago, bugarup said:

No, it's just me stating that war, in fact, was started. And now I do not understand where were you going with this:

Because sense or no sense, war is happening. Tanks are rolling, people are dying. It's there.

And again, I do not get your point here. "See, Poutine isn't as comic book villain levels evil as he could be?" ...okay?  

Where did I say that there is no war? That Russia isn't responsible? Stop tilting at windmills.

What I am disputing is the reductionist and caricaturesque view that Russia never stopped being the Soviet Union, that they always aimed to take over all countries that gained independence after 1991, and that the ultimate reason for this is that "orcs" with "Putler" at the head are stupid and/or insane. Because observed facts over the past two decades simply don't fit that interpretation and looking at international conflicts in terms of "the enemy isn't rational and barely human anyway" makes any sort of negotiated solution much harder. And in this context, the stakes are super high.

It has been explained before that, for Russia, war is simply another item on the diplomatic toolbox. As is propaganda. Despite the prevalent narrative as told by British tabloids, a land grab wasn't the point, but rather to massively increase the costs imposed on Ukraine to force them to change their stance on rearmament and the status of DPR and LPR. This is why we saw Ukraine and Russia in talks a few weeks ago, even before it was clear to what extent Russian performance wasn't so great: because for them war is on the same spectrum as diplomacy and one doesn't preclude the other. So, again, if they simply wanted to take more territory, talks would be pointless, and the timing is poor. There were no talks in 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea. That is also why Russia isn't yet doing all they can to flatten any city within striking distance -- because going full out actually reduces their leverage.

But no reasons or facts are going to matter if your preferred fall-back to argument is that Russians are simply cartoon villains twirling their mustaches at every opportunity. That's not only eyeroll-inducing boring, it's also fairly dangerous if it becomes the accepted view at the decision-making level because the only path it leaves open is escalation.

Edited by 213374U

- When he is best, he is a little worse than a man, and when he is worst, he is little better than a beast.

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