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  • Multiple embassies in Kyiv have called for evacuations, including US and Russia.
    "Draft beer, not people."

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    • A.R. has correctly stated this conflict is not worth our blood. True but obvious, IMV, and was never in serious question for either NATO or, independently, America. Ukraine has never to my recollection asked for armed intervention by the U.S. or NATO and seem to understand this is their moment. The butcher's bill must be borne by Ukraine. Still, this conflict deserves our treasure-both the E.U. and U.S. can do much to shore Ukraine's back financially. NATO must be involved now, and that'll mean America's lead to secure, in particular, the Suwalki Gap. Equally NATO and the E.U. best be ready to render assistance to Ukraine's border states-notably Poland, Hungary and Romania (all NATO members) who'll likely be facing a severe refugee crisis. Meanwhile, the Baltic states are very exposed to both cyber and asymmetric operations while only minimally capable via NATO battle groups to assist maintenance of the Suwalki Gap from the Baltic side.

      Finally what should and can NATO do to actively assist the Ukrainians? I see no reason NATO's intelligence community shouldn't have all eyes focused while actively sharing/linking into Ukraine's defense apparatus. I see no reason that NATO AWAC and J-STAR assets shouldn't be up and actively looking into both Belarus and southern Ukraine-maybe further if technically possible. Their patrol paths would need to remain in NATO (Poland and Romanian) airspace. Further, they'd need escort lest the Russian Air Force make a run at them. Finally, there should be no question of weapons.while active consideration must address preparedness to assist possible occupational resistance.

      Provocative? Perhaps. I, however, am prepared to suggest we've already entered a new cold war with our old adversaries and wish to God we'd openly acknowledge it. Our enemies seem comfortable generating provocation. Time, IMV, to take the gloves off and employ all our means to protect our way of life.
      Last edited by S2; 12 Feb 22,, 20:57.
      "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
      "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

      Comment


      • Originally posted by CSIS
        11 February 2022
        High Resolution - Russia's Gamble in Ukraine

        Russia is pursuing a dual approach in Ukraine, combining a major buildup of conventional forces with clandestine irregular activities. In this episode of High Resolution, CSIS’ Seth G. Jones and Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. discuss Russia’s military buildup, including evidence from satellite imagery of Russian bases and Crimean ports.

        Read more - https://www.csis.org/analysis/russias-gamble-ukraine

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        • U.S. Battles Putin by Disclosing His Next Possible Moves

          WASHINGTON — After decades of getting schooled in information warfare by President Vladimir Putin of Russia, the United States is trying to beat the master at his own game.

          In recent weeks, the Biden administration has detailed the movement of Russian special operation forces to Ukraine’s borders, exposed a Russian plan to create a video of a faked atrocity as a pretext for an invasion, outlined Moscow’s war plans, warned that an invasion would result in possibly thousands of deaths and hinted that Russian officers had doubts about Putin.

          Then, on Friday, Jake Sullivan, President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, told reporters at the White House that the United States was seeing signs of Russian escalation and that there was a “credible prospect” of immediate military action. Other officials said the announcement was prompted by new intelligence that signaled an invasion could begin as soon as Wednesday.

          All told, the extraordinary series of disclosures — unfolding almost as quickly as information is collected and assessed — has amounted to one of the most aggressive releases of intelligence by the United States since the Cuban missile crisis, current and former officials say.

          It is an unusual gambit, in part because Biden has repeatedly made clear that he has no intention of sending U.S. troops to defend Ukraine. In effect, the administration is warning the world of an urgent threat — not to make the case for a war, but to try to prevent one.

          The hope is that disclosing Putin’s plans will disrupt them, perhaps delaying an invasion and buying more time for diplomacy or even giving Putin a chance to reconsider the political, economic and human costs of an invasion.

          At the same time, Biden administration officials said they had a narrower and more realistic goal: They want to make it more difficult for Putin to justify an invasion with lies, undercutting his standing on the global stage and building support for a tougher response.

          Intelligence agencies, prodded by the White House, have declassified information, which in turn has been briefed to Congress, shared with reporters and discussed by Pentagon and State Department spokespeople.

          But the disclosures are complicated by history. Before the U.S.’ invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Bush administration released intelligence that officials said justified preemptive action, including purported intercepts of Iraqi military conversations, photos of mobile biological weapons labs and statements accusing Baghdad of building a fleet of drones to launch a chemical attack on the United States. The material was all wrong, reliant on sources who lied, incorrect interpretations of Iraq’s actions and senior officials who looked at raw intelligence and saw what they wanted to see.

          But this situation, U.S. officials say, is different. Washington’s claims about Russia’s troop buildup have been confirmed by commercial satellite imagery of a quality previously unavailable. The details of Moscow’s secret disinformation plots are in line with the Kremlin’s propaganda campaigns that play out on social media platforms and have been tracked by independent researchers.

          Most importantly, the officials said, there is a fundamental distinction between Iraq in 2003 and Ukraine in 2022. “In Iraq, intelligence was used and deployed from this very podium to start a war,” Sullivan said Friday. “We are trying to stop a war.”

          The last time Russia moved against Ukraine, in 2014, intelligence officials blocked the Obama administration from sharing what they knew. But the Biden administration has studied those mistakes. The new disclosures reflect the influence of Avril Haines, director of national intelligence, and William Burns, the CIA director, who have shown a willingness to declassify information in an effort to disrupt Russian planning, administration officials said.

          “We have learned a lot, especially since 2014, about how Russia uses the information space as part of its overall security and military apparatus,” said Emily Horne, spokesperson for the National Security Council. “And we have learned a lot about how to deny them some impact in that space.”

          One U.S. intelligence official said that when the country’s spy agencies have information that could help the world make better judgments about Russian activity, it should be released, as long as the government can avoid exposing how the information was collected or who passed it along.

          It is, according to some strategists, a full-fledged information battle.

          “I think it is great,” said Beth Sanner, a former top intelligence official who regularly briefed former President Donald Trump. “My guess is that these disclosures are freaking the Kremlin and the security services out. And, more important, it can narrow Putin’s options and make him think twice.”

          The Ukrainian government has expressed unease with the U.S. disclosures. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Saturday that “too much information” about a possible Russian offensive was sowing unnecessary fear.

          For all the disclosures, the Biden administration has provided no evidence of the disinformation plots they say they have uncovered. Intelligence officials have argued that sharing details would give Russia clues to how they work. That, in turn, would allow Moscow to “plug the leaks” and would amount to disarming in the middle of an information war, officials said.

          Those concerns show how difficult it is for any democracy to go toe-to-toe with an autocratic state, like Russia. Unconstrained by truth, the Kremlin is simply better at such unconventional warfare.

          “Remember, Vladimir Putin is a KGB guy. He doesn’t think like Biden does,” said Daniel Hoffman, a former Moscow station chief for the CIA. “Putin comes from Mars, and Biden’s from Venus. Vladimir Putin is playing his own game, and his chess games may be a little different than ours.”

          During many of his recent military forays, Putin has used disinformation to create doubt about what he is doing. Such tactics have slowed international responses and allowed Putin to more easily achieve his aims. When masked men began taking over government buildings in Crimea in February 2014, Moscow said they were part of a locally led pro-Russian uprising. Only after Crimea was taken over was it clear the “little green men” were Russian military forces.

          Showing its ease with information warfare, Moscow responded quickly after Biden administration officials warned lawmakers this month about the enormous possible human costs if Putin launched a full invasion. “Madness and scaremongering continues,” Russia’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyansky, wrote last Saturday on Twitter. “What if we would say that US could seize London in a week and cause 300K civilian deaths? All this based on our intelligence sources that we won’t disclose.”

          After Sullivan’s remarks Friday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry accused the United States of conducting a “coordinated information attack” that it said was “aimed at undermining and discrediting Russia’s fair demands for security guarantees, as well as at justifying Western geopolitical aspirations and military absorption of Ukraine’s territory.”

          The Kremlin has been on a full propaganda push since last year, not just in Russia but also in the separatist regions of eastern Ukraine and even in Kyiv, the capital. Moscow has accused Ukraine of plotting a genocide against ethnic Russians and denounced Ukrainians as Nazi sympathizers. Russian officials have also accused Ukraine and the United States of hatching secret plots to justify an intervention or invasion of separatist-controlled territory.

          The United States began disclosing Russian maneuvering in early December when it declassified intelligence assessments that predicted Russia could eventually mass 175,000 troops for an invasion of Ukraine.

          Russia struck back that month with its own allegations. In a claim repeated on social media and Moscow-aligned conspiracy sites, the Russian defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, said Dec. 21 that some 120 military contractors from the United States had moved “an unidentified chemical component” into Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine “to carry out provocations.”

          While the U.S. allegations of the Russian troop buildup have been verified by commercial satellite imagery, there is no evidence for the Russian claims, which U.S. officials have called completely false.

          Even before the United States began disclosing Russian military plans and plots, Haines decided to share more intelligence with allies, leading to her visit to Brussels on Nov. 17. The Biden administration was determined not to see a repeat of 2014, when NATO was confused and caught by surprise when Russian forces took over Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula largely unopposed.

          Senior Obama administration officials recalled their frustration when the intelligence agencies would not allow the White House to tell NATO, let alone the public, what Washington knew about Russia’s moves.

          “I can remember a dozen times when I thought our interests would be advanced if we just told the world what we knew,” said Michael McFaul, who was the U.S. ambassador to Russia when it annexed Crimea.

          Philip Breedlove, a retired four-star Air Force general who was NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe when Russia invaded Crimea and the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, took matters into his own hands. “In the first two invasions of Ukraine — Crimea and Donbas — I used commercial available imagery to make the facts on the ground clear,” he said this past week.

          An even more important lesson, according to former officials, was Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election. Critics, including officials from the Obama administration, have said the United States was too passive in drawing attention to Russian influence operations.

          The recent disclosures, said Jeh Johnson, a former homeland security secretary, are a way for the Biden administration to avoid old errors and make clear to Putin that America knows “what you are doing, and we are putting your business out in the street and compromising your operations.”

          “This is payback for 2016,” Johnson said.

          The current information battle is playing out in a new era, when technology has allowed conspiracy theories to spread faster and wider than anytime before. At the same time, trust in government has further eroded. And that has meant many efforts to get ahead of Russian information operations are met with deep skepticism.

          “If the U.S. government just comes out and says, 'No, that’s wrong,' some people will say, ‘Prove it. Show me the videotape. Show me the audio recording,’” said Glenn Gerstell, a former general counsel for the National Security Agency. “It’s an irreversible path once you start down that. And of course, the whole danger is that it risks disclosing sources and methods.”

          The danger of exposing those intelligence collection techniques is real. The Kremlin could lock down its communications right before a potential invasion.

          “This strategy is not risk-free,” Sanner said. “If Russians are able to figure out the sources or they change how they communicate or just start locking down, it has the potential to partially blind us right at the very moment when we may need it.”

          Other strategists believe that the United States could be more aggressive. The United States or its allies could release information about Putin’s top lieutenants, for example, or the oligarchs who support him. That could sow doubt about people’s loyalty or expose their wealth.

          “The new rules of war favor autocracies because they can do all these things well: They can fight sneaky and dirty,” said Sean McFate, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council who has written about the changing nature of war. “The question is, what do we risk as a democracy by fighting this way? How does a democracy fight a secret war, if you will, without losing its democratic soul?”
          _______
          “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

          Comment


          • A key question? Exactly how far to Putin and his senior advisers take the Wests threats of 'severe economic sanctions' in the event of an invasion? In the past such threats over previous Russian actions in Europe (think various assassinations, the shoot down of flight MH17 etc) have never really gone anywhere. The British Government in particular has had a history of threatening 'big' then going 'small' when it comes to retaliating for violations of international law or territorial sovereignty by Russia. In part that is understandable because economic sanctions by their very nature impose significant costs on the sanctioning country as well as the nation being sanctioned.

            So what do people think? Can Putin bank this time around on being able to split the Western European nations in the event of an invasion say Germany because of its reliance on Russian gas, or not? Because as far as I can see there would have to be some plan in place to delivery natural gas to Western Europe at subsidized prices for an extended period of time before sanctions would really start to hit the Russian economy hard. And do the 28 or so large scale gas import terminals in Europe have the capacity to take up most (obviously not all) of the slack if embargoes are put in place.
            Last edited by Monash; 14 Feb 22,, 05:48.
            If you are emotionally invested in 'believing' something is true you have lost the ability to tell if it is true.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Monash View Post
              So what do people think?
              Personally I think Putin has finally reached his Fall Weiss point.

              This is not to say that NATO will declare war on Russia or otherwise put boots on the ground in Ukraine, but an invasion of Ukraine, under whatever pretexts, will make Russia an international pariah amongst those not firmly in her orbit or otherwise strongly linked, like China.
              “He was the most prodigious personification of all human inferiorities. He was an utterly incapable, unadapted, irresponsible, psychopathic personality, full of empty, infantile fantasies, but cursed with the keen intuition of a rat or a guttersnipe. He represented the shadow, the inferior part of everybody’s personality, in an overwhelming degree, and this was another reason why they fell for him.”

              Comment


              • Originally posted by TopHatter View Post

                Personally I think Putin has finally reached his Fall Weiss point.

                This is not to say that NATO will declare war on Russia or otherwise put boots on the ground in Ukraine, but an invasion of Ukraine, under whatever pretexts, will make Russia an international pariah amongst those not firmly in her orbit or otherwise strongly linked, like China.
                They can keep supplying arms and intelligence which will obviously escalate Russian casualties but agreed, unless Putin completely loses it and orders attacks on NATO reconnaissance assets etc NATO won't activity be involved in a shooting war with Russia. (Well it certainly has zero interest in doing so.) Thing is, trade embargoes on Russian exports (particularly natural gas) would have to be rigidly enforced for months or years in order to have an impact. And I'm not sure NATO/the EU has it in them to be that consistent long enough for sanctions to actually work.
                If you are emotionally invested in 'believing' something is true you have lost the ability to tell if it is true.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by astralis View Post
                  Putin's Plan

                  Let's hear the comments!
                  Basically seems right to me? I'm only an accountant and originally thought the operation would be much more limited until BTGs started rolling into Belarus, especially 1st Guards. Now, nope, I think Putin's going for the whole shebang.
                  My twitter feed (Which I've maybe come to rely on too much) suggests that leaves have only been cancelled starting today, which leaves Ukraine a grand total of 48 hours to bring back the army and put it in the field in concealed positions.

                  I'm not an expert, but my gut-check says you need at least 4 days for that, and Ukraine stuck its head in the sand too long. Now it's basically gonna get rolled.

                  On the other hand, who is going to run Ukraine? My impression is that even the Russian elements of Ukraine hate Russia now. Putin has no allies to run the country. If he's going to do it, he's going to need more than 100,000 men to do it.

                  Also, I don't know, I think we (human race "we") are crossing a lot of hubris lines in the last few years, and eventually someone is going to cross a red line and get burned bad.
                  "The great questions of the day will not be settled by means of speeches and majority decisions but by iron and blood"-Otto Von Bismarck

                  Comment


                  • I feel bad for the Ukrainians, but if its conquest puts a little steel in the spines of the Baltics and the former Warsaw Pact states, so much the better. Poland's military is a joke relative to its Warsaw Pact formations and it's much wealthier than it was then. Ditto with every one of these other countries.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by GVChamp View Post
                      My twitter feed (Which I've maybe come to rely on too much) suggests that leaves have only been cancelled starting today, which leaves Ukraine a grand total of 48 hours to bring back the army and put it in the field in concealed positions.
                      What concealed positions?

                      Originally posted by GVChamp View Post
                      I'm not an expert, but my gut-check says you need at least 4 days for that, and Ukraine stuck its head in the sand too long.
                      They need far more than 4 days. They need 4 years.

                      https://jamestown.org/program/why-th...-we-do-better/

                      If the US could have bought up all the spare Soviet artillery munitions and sent them to Kiev, something could have been done as far back as a month ago. But now, Gen Milley assessed the Russians could take Kiev in 72 hours. Would our munitions and intel help the Ukrainians? Not anymore. They needed to put that to use last year. Or stick with what they know. Nothing wrong with the Soviet system IF YOU STAY WITH IT! Doing things half ass will get you half ass results. The Ukrainians did NATO training half ass and they employ Soviet tactics half ass.
                      Last edited by Officer of Engineers; 14 Feb 22,, 08:36.
                      Chimo

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
                        What concealed positions?

                        They need far more than 4 days. They need 4 years.

                        https://jamestown.org/program/why-th...-we-do-better/

                        If the US could have bought up all the spare Soviet artillery munitions and sent them to Kiev, something could have been done as far back as a month ago. But now, Gen Milley assessed the Russians could take Kiev in 72 hours. Would our munitions and intel help the Ukrainians? Not anymore. They needed to put that to use last year. Or stick with what they know. Nothing wrong with the Soviet system IF YOU STAY WITH IT! Doing things half ass will get you half ass results. The Ukrainians did NATO training half ass and they employ Soviet tactics half ass.

                        It's still a big chunk of land to try and to hold on to long term with just 130,000 soldiers (minus casualties). Even if defeating the Ukrainian army and overthrowing the current government can be achieved as quickly and easily as you claim Putin would still have to invest a massive amount of precious military, political and economic capital just in keeping a pro-Moscow regime in place in defiance of the will of most of the population. There's simply no way he can win a 'hearts and mind' campaign amongst the bulk of the the Ukrainian population. At best he'd win over the ethic Russian minority (and probably not all of them). And they're mostly scattered along the eastern border of the country anyway.

                        So at best outcome he could possibly hope for would be to gouge out a few more Russian 'enclaves' from eastern Ukraine in order to return them to the 'Rodina' ,just like he has done with Odessa. But even that comes at the cost of turning the rest of the country vehemently anti-Russian for generations to come, and completely blowing relations with NATO, the EU and the US.
                        If you are emotionally invested in 'believing' something is true you have lost the ability to tell if it is true.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
                          What concealed positions?

                          They need far more than 4 days. They need 4 years.

                          https://jamestown.org/program/why-th...-we-do-better/

                          If the US could have bought up all the spare Soviet artillery munitions and sent them to Kiev, something could have been done as far back as a month ago. But now, Gen Milley assessed the Russians could take Kiev in 72 hours. Would our munitions and intel help the Ukrainians? Not anymore. They needed to put that to use last year. Or stick with what they know. Nothing wrong with the Soviet system IF YOU STAY WITH IT! Doing things half ass will get you half ass results. The Ukrainians did NATO training half ass and they employ Soviet tactics half ass.
                          It's still a huge chunk of land to try and to hold on to long term with just 130,000 soldiers (minus casualties). Even if defeating the Ukrainian army and overthrowing the current government can be achieved as quickly and easily as you claim Putin would still have to invest a massive amount of precious military, political and economic capital just in keeping a pro-Moscow regime in place in defiance of the will of most of the population. There's simply no way he can win a 'hearts and mind' campaign amongst the bulk of the the Ukrainian population at this point in time. At best he'd win over the ethic Russian minority (and probably not all of them). And they're mostly scattered along the eastern border of the country anyway.

                          So, given the above he might possibly hope to gouge a few more Russian 'enclaves' out from eastern Ukraine in order to return them to the 'Rodina', just like he has done with Odessa. But even that comes at the cost of turning the rest of the rest of country vehemently anti-Russian for generations to come, and completely blowing relations with NATO, the EU and the US, thereby crippling the economy. So what's the point?
                          Last edited by Monash; 14 Feb 22,, 11:35.
                          If you are emotionally invested in 'believing' something is true you have lost the ability to tell if it is true.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by S2 View Post
                            A.R. has correctly stated this conflict is not worth our blood. True but obvious, IMV, and was never in serious question for either NATO or, independently, America. Ukraine has never to my recollection asked for armed intervention by the U.S. or NATO and seem to understand this is their moment. The butcher's bill must be borne by Ukraine. Still, this conflict deserves our treasure-both the E.U. and U.S. can do much to shore Ukraine's back financially. NATO must be involved now, and that'll mean America's lead to secure, in particular, the Suwalki Gap. Equally NATO and the E.U. best be ready to render assistance to Ukraine's border states-notably Poland, Hungary and Romania (all NATO members) who'll likely be facing a severe refugee crisis. Meanwhile, the Baltic states are very exposed to both cyber and asymmetric operations while only minimally capable via NATO battle groups to assist maintenance of the Suwalki Gap from the Baltic side.

                            Finally what should and can NATO do to actively assist the Ukrainians? I see no reason NATO's intelligence community shouldn't have all eyes focused while actively sharing/linking into Ukraine's defense apparatus. I see no reason that NATO AWAC and J-STAR assets shouldn't be up and actively looking into both Belarus and southern Ukraine-maybe further if technically possible. Their patrol paths would need to remain in NATO (Poland and Romanian) airspace. Further, they'd need escort lest the Russian Air Force make a run at them. Finally, there should be no question of weapons.while active consideration must address preparedness to assist possible occupational resistance.

                            Provocative? Perhaps. I, however, am prepared to suggest we've already entered a new cold war with our old adversaries and wish to God we'd openly acknowledge it. Our enemies seem comfortable generating provocation. Time, IMV, to take the gloves off and employ all our means to protect our way of life.
                            Dude,

                            I agree with the Sulwaki Gap. I think move 2 CR into the area from where they are in Vilseck?
                            “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                            Mark Twain

                            Comment


                            • If the US could have bought up all the spare Soviet artillery munitions and sent them to Kiev

                              Colonel.

                              From where? Most is already in use by our Allies...and that which is not is in museums or in horrible shape.

                              Kiev has plenty of their own which they can use. What happens to help them have been the JAVELINs & SLAWs being shipped into the country. Those 160 US troops who were recalled over the weekend are Florida National Guardsmen who were doing new equipment training for the Ukrainians. The Brits the same. And we should be giving them all the intel, cyber & EW support we can.
                              “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                              Mark Twain

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post
                                From where? Most is already in use by our Allies...and that which is not is in museums or in horrible shape.
                                The only place outside of Russia in abundance, China.

                                Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post
                                Kiev has plenty of their own which they can use.
                                They lost 4 warehouses of them in 2015 which was never replaced and should have been.

                                Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post
                                What happens to help them have been the JAVELINs & SLAWs being shipped into the country. Those 160 US troops who were recalled over the weekend are Florida National Guardsmen who were doing new equipment training for the Ukrainians. The Brits the same. And we should be giving them all the intel, cyber & EW support we can.
                                Unfortunately, we have not trained them on how to evade reccee-by-fire.
                                Chimo

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