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2022-2023 Russo-Ukrainian War

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  • So oh for three...


    • Ukraine using Sukhoi Su-24 ‘Fencer' to carry the Storm Shadow


      • Just a reminder that some who are aiding Ukraine are problematic. But it reminds me of what Churchill, a staunch anti-communist, said when asked how he could support Stalin and the Soviet Union.

        "If Mr Hitler were to invade Hell I would have something good to say about the Devil in House of Commons."

        Leader of cross-border raid warns Russia to expect more incursions | Reuters

        Leader of cross-border raid warns Russia to expect more incursions

        By Vitalii Hnidyi

        NEAR THE RUSSIAN BORDER, Ukraine, May 24 (Reuters) - The Russian commander of a militia that conducted a raid on a Russian border region this week said on Wednesday his group would soon launch more incursions into Russian territory.

        Denis Kapustin, who described himself as the commander of the Russian Volunteer Corps (RVC), spoke to reporters on the Ukrainian side of the border with Russia a day after Moscow said it had repelled the raid on the Belgorod region.

        Kyiv has said the attack was carried out by Russian citizens, casting it as homegrown, internal Russian strife. Two groups operating in Ukraine - the Russian Volunteer Corps (RVC) and Freedom of Russia Legion - have claimed responsibility.

        The Russian military said it had routed the militants, who carried out their attack using armoured vehicles, and pushed those who survived back into Ukraine.

        Kapustin said two of his fighters had been "lightly wounded", and that total losses on his side for the operation were two killed and 10 wounded. Moscow claimed it killed over 70 'Ukrainian nationalists'.

        Kapustin also said the fighters had taken a Russian armoured vehicle and anti-drone gun as trophies.

        "I think you will see us again on that side," said Kapustin, who introduced himself by his call-sign White Rex. "I cannot reveal those upcoming things, I cannot even reveal the direction. The ... border is pretty long. Yet again there will be a spot where things will get hot."

        He was asked repeatedly about Western media reports that his militia had used U.S. military equipment that was meant to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia's invasion, but declined to answer directly.

        "I know exactly where I got my weapons from. Unfortunately not from the Western partners", he said.

        He also suggested that Western military equipment had been captured by Russia in the battle for Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine and that such equipment could be bought on the black market.

        "I think I explained that the Western military aid unfortunately goes back and forth, being raided. In Bakhmut for instance I know that a lot of armoured vehicles, American armoured vehicles, got raided by the Russian forces," he said.

        Kapustin said Ukraine only supported the RVC with information, petrol, food and medicine.

        "And, of course, the Ukrainian military took our wounded. But anything more than this would make things difficult."

        "Every decision we make ... beyond the state border is our own decision. Obviously we can ask our (Ukrainian) comrades, friends for their assistance in planning," he said.

        The RVC says it is made up of Russians fighting for Ukraine, and against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

        "Our future plans are new territories of the Russian Federation, which we will definitely enter... You should be a just a little bit patient, and wait just a couple of days," Kapustin said.

        The U.S.-based Anti-Defamation League has described Kapustin as "a Russian neo-Nazi who lived in Germany for many years".

        Kapustin said his group was right-wing, and when asked if he was minded being labelled a Nazi, he said he didn't "think it's an insult."

        But he added: "I have my set of views, it's a patriotic set of views, it's a traditionalist set of views, it's a right-wing set of views. You know, you'll never find me waving a flag with a swastika, you'll never find me raising my hand in a Hitler sign. So why would you call me that?"
        “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
        Mark Twain


        • Analysis-Ukraine war: Belgorod incursion may stretch Russia's defences

          LONDON/KYIV (Reuters) -A two-day incursion from Ukraine into Russia's western borderlands could force the Kremlin to divert troops from front lines as Kyiv prepares a major counteroffensive, and deal Moscow a psychological blow, according to military analysts.

          Though Kyiv has denied any role, the biggest cross-border raid from Ukraine since Russia invaded 15 months ago was almost certainly coordinated with Ukraine's armed forces as it prepares to attempt to recapture territory, the experts added.

          "The Ukrainians are trying to pull the Russians in different directions to open up gaps. The Russians are forced to send reinforcements," said Neil Melvin, an analyst at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).

          Ukraine says it plans to conduct a major counteroffensive to seize back occupied territory, but Russia has built sprawling fortifications in its neighbour's east and south in readiness.

          The incursion took place far from the epicentre of fighting in Ukraine's eastern Donbas region and around 100 miles (160 km) from the front lines in the northern Kharkiv region.

          "They'll have to respond to this and put troops there and then have lots of troops all along the border area, even though that may not be the way the Ukrainians are coming," Melvin said.

          Russia's military said on Tuesday it had routed militants who attacked its western Belgorod region with armoured vehicles the previous day, killing more than 70 "Ukrainian nationalists" and pushing the remainder back into Ukraine.

          Kyiv has said the attack was carried out by Russian citizens, casting it as homegrown, internal Russian strife. Two groups operating in Ukraine - the Russian Volunteer Corps (RVC) and Freedom of Russia Legion - have claimed responsibility.

          The groups were set up during Russia's full-scale invasion and attracted Russian volunteer fighters wanting to fight against their own country alongside Ukraine and topple President Vladimir Putin.

          Mark Galeotti, head of the London-based Mayak Intelligence consultancy and author of several books on the Russian military, said the two groups comprised anti-Kremlin Russians ranging from liberals and anarchists to neo-Nazis.

          "They're hoping that in some small way they can contribute to the downfall of the Putin regime. But at the same time, we have to realise that these are not independent forces ... They are controlled by Ukrainian military intelligence," he said.

          Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak repeated Kyiv's position that it had nothing to do with the operation.

          The United States says it does not "enable or encourage" Ukrainian attacks on Russian territory, but that it is up to Kyiv to decide how it conducts military operations.

          Several similar incursions into Russia have occurred in recent months, and although this week's was the largest known so far, it is still tiny when compared to frontline battles.

          ECHOES OF 2014?

          Alexei Baranovsky, a spokesperson for the political wing of the Freedom of Russia Legion, told Reuters in Kyiv that he could not disclose the number of troops involved in the operation, but that the legion had four battalions in total.

          Baranovsky denied there had been heavy losses, and he dismissed Russian reports of large casualties as disinformation.

          He said the unit was part of Ukraine's International Legion and therefore part of its armed forces, but denied the incursion was coordinated with Ukrainian authorities.

          "These are the first steps in the main objective of overthrowing Putin's regime through armed force. There are no other alternatives," he said.

          Galeotti said the incursion looked like a Ukrainian battlefield "shaping" operation ahead of Kyiv's planned counteroffensive.

          "... This is really a chance to do two things. One is to rattle the Russians, make them worried about the possibility of risings amongst their own people. But secondly, force the Russians to disperse their troops," he said.

          Melvin noted that the operation also served to boost morale in Ukraine.

          Kyiv officials have mimicked the Kremlin's rhetoric surrounding Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 when it initially denied the troops involved were Russian.

          Podolyak blamed the Belgorod incursion on "underground guerrilla groups" comprising Russian citizens and said: "As you know, tanks are sold at any Russian military store."

          The remark appeared to echo Putin's response in 2014 when asked about the presence of men wearing Russian military uniforms without insignia in Crimea: "You can go to a store and buy any kind of uniform."

          On social media, Ukrainians made reference to what they called the "Belgorod People's Republic" - a nod to events in eastern Ukraine in 2014, when Russia-backed militias declared "people's republics" in Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

          Ukrainians also circulated a video of President Volodymyr Zelenskiy delivering his famous "I am here" video address from Kyiv at the beginning of the invasion in February 2022. But instead of the presidential office in Kyiv, the background showed the welcome sign to the city of Belgorod.

          If nothing else, this is a splendid diversionary tactic.
          “You scare people badly enough, you can get 'em to do anything They'll turn to whoever promises a solution”


          • Russia's brash invasion plan for Ukraine wasted special-operations units on missions they weren't meant to do

            Members of the Russian military's 16th Separate Special Purpose Brigade during an exercise in 2018.
            • The Russian dash toward Kyiv in February 2022 was thwarted by stiff Ukrainian resistance.
            • Russia's invasion also struggled because of flaws in its planning for the operation.
            • One misstep was how Spetsnaz was used, and it may have lasting consequences for Russia's military.
            Special forces are highly-trained troops reserved for high-value missions. But using them as assault infantry? That's a wasteful way to use a scarce and precious resource.

            Yet that is precisely the mistake Moscow made during its invasion of Ukraine, according to a recent report on Russia's planning for the war.

            The problem wasn't just that Spetsnaz commandos and other special-operations forces were assigned missions that should have gone to conventional units. The Russian military's focus on creating those elite formations, which pre-dated the war, also stripped the regular infantry of its best soldiers.

            "The lack of effective line infantry units caused Spetsnaz units to be deployed mostly as light infantry, which also led to a high level of casualties among these units. Far fewer Spetsnaz were therefore available for special forces missions," according to a study of Russian unconventional-warfare operations in Ukraine by Britain's Royal United Services Institute.

            Police train at a Russian Interior Ministry Spetsnaz camp in Tver in October 2011.

            Spetsnaz date back to the early 1960s, when they were tasked with sabotage, assassination, and other missions meant to disrupt NATO defenses in advance of a Soviet invasion of Western Europe.

            Spetsnaz is distinct from Western special operators in that the Russian focus is on special tasks rather than the "special-ness" of the operators themselves, according to Mark Galeotti, an expert on the Russian military.

            Unusually for commandos, Spetsnaz units include conscripts — or at least the more capable ones — as well as volunteers, and there are some 17,000 Spetsnaz in total. Most Spetsnaz are assigned to the GRU, Russia's military-intelligence agency, rather than the military itself. (Russian federal agencies also field Spetsnaz units that generally act as rapid-response forces.)

            It wasn't until 2012 that Russia formed a unit closer to the Western concept of special-operations forces. The Special Operations Forces Command (KSSO) is a strategic-level force assigned to the Ministry of Defense and comprises about 2,500 volunteers. Its troops have already seen combat, including in Syria.

            A police officer during anti-terrorism training at the Russian Interior Ministry's Spetsnaz camp in Tver on October, 22, 2011.

            The RUSI report focuses on the operations Russia carried out, in some cases for years, to undermine Ukrainian institutions. It details not only structural flaws but also the tactical misuse of Russian special forces during the invasion itself.

            The February 2022 invasion assigned key roles to Spetsnaz commando units. Under current Russian doctrine, special forces should have gone in first to disrupt Ukrainian defenses, alongside covert operations carried out by agents of Russia's main intelligence agency, the FSB, who were already in Ukraine, including in the Ukrainian government and military.

            Instead, the invasion began with airborne units attempting to seize key locations from which the paratroopers were to fan out and secure Kyiv before being relieved by mechanized columns.

            But where were the special forces? "Most Spetsnaz deployed in conventional reconnaissance roles ahead of" those columns, according to the report.

            Russian paratroopers in the Kyiv region in March 2022.

            Rather than operating behind enemy lines, KSSO forces were tasked with pacifying captured Ukrainian territory, in conjunction with Russian and Chechen Rosgvardia, or national guard. (Rosgvardia units aren't part of Russia's armed forces and function like internal security forces.) This would have included capturing Ukrainian leaders and securing critical infrastructure.

            Russian leaders were so confident of a quick victory that their support elements had already rented apartments near key sites in Kyiv were their special forces were supposed to operate, the report said.

            When the airborne assault on Kyiv failed and the tank columns stalled, the special forces were left adrift. "When the occupation of much of the target territory failed, these troops were neither in position to fulfill their traditional role nor able to fulfill the role specified in the invasion plan," the RUSI researchers wrote.

            Special forces by their nature are supposed to be adaptable, so perhaps they could have used their unique capabilities for other missions in Ukraine. But within the first days of the war, the tactical clumsiness and rigidity of Russian line infantry became evident. The Kremlin's solution was to use elite units — paratroopers, naval infantry, and special forces — as assault troops.

            "Once the Russian military found itself in heavy fighting, however, the shortage of infantry became a serious problem," the report said. Russian commanders then sent Spetsnaz units in to operate like light infantry, which increased their casualties and left fewer Spetsnaz units available for their designated missions.

            Members of Russian 14th Separate Special Purpose Brigade during an exercise, in February 2017.

            Ironically, the Russian military's approach to special forces in recent years compounded the problem in Ukraine. Efforts to increase size of those Spetsnaz units drew in the cream of the volunteer contract soldiers who have begun to replace the often-reluctant conscripts who made up most of the Soviet army.

            "The expansion of Spetsnaz units had contributed to a shortage of competent contract infantry for the wider Russian military — as most competent infantry had been pushed toward Spetsnaz and airborne units," the RUSI report said.

            Tensions between elite forces and conventional units are not uncommon. During World War II, critics complained that diverting the best recruits to US and British airborne divisions led to less proficient line infantry. Those airborne units earned legendary reputations for bravery and prowess in battles their expensively trained and equipped troops weren't intended to fight.

            The diversion of talented soldiers into elite units is also an issue for the US military, but Russia's problem is bigger and more urgent. With its losses mounting in Ukraine, the Russian army may eventually have to choose between maintaining a special-operations capability or rebuilding its demoralized regular infantry.

            RUSI report attached
            Attached Files
            “You scare people badly enough, you can get 'em to do anything They'll turn to whoever promises a solution”


            • Rare admission from the Ukrainians that they lost 5 aircraft after a Russian strike on a base in Khmelnistskiy in the west.

              Also, a lot of Ukrainian strikes the last few days in and around Mariupol and Berdyansk…



                Lukashenko offers nuclear weapons to nations willing ‘to join the Union State of Russia and Belarus’

                Bit late for an April fools gag!
                So either Lukashenko has totally flipped his wig, or else it just may be Putin is setting the stage for a repeat of July 2014; this time writ LARGE!
                He gave his puppets in Donetsk an advanced anti-air missile battery; manned by Russian “volunteers”, that they used to bring down civilian airliner Malaysian Airline MH17!
                This time with Lukashenko as intermediary, middle-man and…patsy!

                When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow. - Anais Nin


                • Surprise mass drone strike on Moscow spells trouble in the air for Vladimir Putin

                  Emergency services inspect the wreckage of a drone that struck in a residential area of Moscow

                  It is not only Muscovites who would have been shocked by the large-scale drone strike on the Russian capital on Tuesday.

                  Western observers have doubted whether Kyiv could threaten the city 500km from its border.

                  But Ukraine has long been developing its own equivalent of Russia’s Iranian-supplied “Shahid 136” suicide drones, which have been flung at Kyiv time and again in recent months.

                  A source in Ukrainian military intelligence, speaking on condition of anonymity, claimed that there were multiple independent teams of Ukrainian engineers developing their own versions of the munition.

                  Kyiv has used a number of similar drones to strike targets inside Russia for nearly a year.

                  Previous strikes had been smaller in scale, with small numbers or sometimes even single aircraft hitting strategic or economic targets. They have included the Novoshakhtinsk oil refinery, in Rostov, in June 2022, or the headquarters of the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, Crimea, in July 2022.

                  More recently, the same type of drone apparently deployed in the attack on Moscow - a Ukrjet UJ-22 - was reportedly used in an attempt to target a Gazprom gas compression station in the outskirts of the city, just over 50 miles from the Kremlin.

                  What is different about Tuesday’s attack is its sheer scale. More than a dozen drones were reportedly used, revealing a more mature capability than many believed Kyiv possessed.

                  It was also possibly hinted at in a statement by Major General Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukrainian military intelligence, promising revenge for Russian attacks on Kyiv.

                  “Our response will not be delayed. Soon, everyone will see everything”, said Mr Budanov on Monday.

                  The drones that were filmed flying over Moscow in multiple videos uploaded to social media bear a striking resemblance to the Ukrainian Ukrjet UJ-22 “Airborne’’ unmanned aerial vehicle.

                  This model of drone - originally developed as a reconnaissance and light attack drone for the Ukrainian military - has a range of 800km, according to Ukrjet - putting Moscow well within its reach from inside Ukrainian borders.

                  Like the Shahid, it is powered by a small petrol engine and it can carry a similar sized explosive payload.

                  While Ukraine has been developing numerous versions of the Iranian “Shahid 136” suicide drone, its foreign partners have also been rushing the procurement of a number of unmanned systems. These include the American “Phoenix Ghost”, which has been extensively used by the Ukrainian military over the past year, as well as a number of “complex” suicide drones sent by the British Government.

                  While simple, slow-flying and relatively easy to shoot down, the unsophisticated nature of the drones such as the UJ-22 and the Shahid 136 are one of their main advantages.

                  Easy to produce and costing relatively little in military terms, such aircraft can be cheaply and easily manufactured at scale, before being launched en masse in large waves - as seen on Tuesday in Moscow and over the past year in Ukraine.

                  The success of the Ukrainians’ own drone program should not come as much of a surprise, given the country’s proud aeronautical heritage and still relatively advanced industrial base, even after more than a year of full-scale war.

                  After all, this is the same country that gave the world the largest aircraft to have ever flown, the Antonov An-225 Mriya.

                  The Russian government was also clearly aware of the possibility of such a system being used to attack targets in Moscow and elsewhere inside Russia.

                  Over the past few months, Russian air defence systems have been redeployed to protect strategically and symbolically important targets within the country.

                  In one highly publicised example, in January a Pantsir S1 short-range air defence system was placed on the roof of the Russian defence system in the heart of Moscow.

                  The specific employment of the Pantsir, a system designed to engage threats at short range, was a good indication of the threat the Russian military expected to face - incoming drones.

                  For the Russians, the advent of the Ukrainian Shahid will present a number of immediate problems.

                  Firstly, the penetration of Moscow’s air defences is acutely embarrassing for the Russian government, demonstrating its inability to protect the capital from the suspected Ukrainian incursion.

                  Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, sought to dispel the fears of citizens - but his reference to similar problems with air defences at a Russian-controlled Hmeimim airbase in Syria would hardly have calmed nerves. The Russian capital is not some little-known military installation in a far-off country.

                  Aside from the obvious symbolic effect, the drone raid may also have strategic impact - forcing the Russian military to redeploy further air defence assets to protect key locations within Russia from any further Ukrainian drone strikes.

                  Here, Russia’s sheer size works against the country. There are a large number of strategic sites spread over a huge amount of territory.

                  Moreover, Putin’s billionaire friends, many of whom live in the wealthy neighbourhoods hit in Tuesday’s strikes on Moscow, could now pressure him to do more to protect the city.

                  For the Ukrainians, any redeployment of Russian air defence systems away from the front line brings obvious benefits for the Ukrainian air force at a potentially crucial time in the war, just before the launch of their long-awaited counteroffensive.

                  “You scare people badly enough, you can get 'em to do anything They'll turn to whoever promises a solution”


                  • You can call me Meyer.
                    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                    Mark Twain


                    • Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post
                      You can call me Meyer.
                      Couldn’t decide between this meme and the Downfall Hitler meme…so why not both?

                      Attached Files
                      There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov


                      • Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post
                        You can call me Meyer.
                        Ok Herman, will do.
                        “You scare people badly enough, you can get 'em to do anything They'll turn to whoever promises a solution”


                        • Originally posted by TopHatter View Post

                          Ok Herman, will do.
                          I love when people get my obscure references!
                          “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                          Mark Twain


                          • This seems apropos in several ways.

                            There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov


                            • Excellent write up on the issues plaguing the Ukrainian military.

                              Thankfully, a man with one eye is still advantaged over the blind.
                              There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov


                              • Astralis,

                                Looking for a link, please? Thanks and please delete this post once accomplished. I'm gonna guess-

                                What The Ukraine Army Must Do To Win-War On The Rocks June 2, 2023
                                Last edited by S2; 03 Jun 23,, 23:12.
                                "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