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May 28, 2023

Ukraine Open Thread 2023-129

Only for news & views directly related to the Ukraine conflict.

The current open thread for other issues is here.

Please stick to the topic. Contribute facts. Do not attack other commentators.

Posted by b at 13:43 UTC | Comments (237)

The MoA Week In Review - (Not Ukraine) OT 2023-128

Last week's post on Moon of Alabama:

> Over the 36 hours he spent in brutal house-to-house combat in the eastern Ukrainian city, 11 of the 16 men from Malkovskiy’s group of draftees were either killed or captured, according to surviving soldiers and relatives of the missing. <

Other issues:

Cont. reading: The MoA Week In Review - (Not Ukraine) OT 2023-128

Posted by b at 13:42 UTC | Comments (83)

May 27, 2023

Ukraine Open Thread 2023-127

Only for news & views directly related to the Ukraine conflict.

The current open thread for other issues is here.

Please stick to the topic. Contribute facts. Do not attack other commentators.

Posted by b at 16:28 UTC | Comments (298)

May 26, 2023

Ukraine Open Thread 2023-126

Only for news & views directly related to the Ukraine conflict.

The current open thread for other issues is here.

Please stick to the topic. Contribute facts. Do not attack other commentators.

Posted by b at 16:40 UTC | Comments (286)

Closing The Case Of Regime Changer Roman Protasevich And His Ryanair Flight To Minsk

Two years ago a Ryanair flight from Athens to Lithuania was diverted after the Belorussian flight control informed the pilot that it had received an email which said that the plane carried a bomb and would explode during landing in Lithuania.

The plane diverted to Minsk. All passengers stepped off board and where bused to the terminal. When they passed through passport control the immigration officers found that two of the passengers had outstanding arrest warrants against them. These were one Roman Protasevich and his Russian girlfriend and co-worker Sofia Sapega.

The 'western' media and politicians were up in arms over the 'unprecedented' incident. But the event was far from unprecedented.

Western media also failed to report that Roman Protasevich had been a western government financed neo-nazi who had fought with the fascist Ukrainian Azov battalion before working for U.S. sponsored regime change media in Poland. He was one of the persons who had directed the failed 2020 color-revolution in Belarus.

Cont. reading: Closing The Case Of Regime Changer Roman Protasevich And His Ryanair Flight To Minsk

Posted by b at 16:36 UTC | Comments (47)

May 25, 2023

Why Are These Biden Officials Leaving Their Top Posts?

Recently several administration official who were working on China and Ukraine policies announced to step back or retire. The people in question were not neo-conservative China hawks like Secretary of State Anthony Blinken or National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. The unexpected loss of top sane hands has me concerned that there is some big move in planning that will damage U.S. relations with China and Russia even more than they already are:

The head of a new US State Department unit tasked to coordinate efforts aimed at countering Beijing plans to step down next month, the department’s second high-ranking official with a China portfolio to announce a departure in less than two weeks.

Rick Waters, head of the State Department’s recently created Office of China Coordination, and known informally as its “China House”, will leave the position just six months after it was established to manage what Secretary of State Antony Blinken called “the scale and the scope of the challenge” posed by the country.

The career State Department official will “rotate out” of the unit and the Office of Taiwan Coordination on June 23 “as part of the Department’s normal summer transition process,” according to a State Department spokesman.

There was no reason given why Waters was moved aside. This comes shortly after an even more important figure suddenly decided to retire:

Cont. reading: Why Are These Biden Officials Leaving Their Top Posts?

Posted by b at 14:07 UTC | Comments (219)

Ukraine Open Thread 2023-125

Only for news & views directly related to the Ukraine conflict.

The current open thread for other issues is here.

Please stick to the topic. Contribute facts. Do not attack other commentators.

Posted by b at 14:06 UTC | Comments (229)

Open (Not Ukraine) Thread 2023-124

News & views (not related to the conflict in Ukraine) ...

Posted by b at 14:05 UTC | Comments (99)

May 24, 2023

Mearsheimers Latest Talk On The War In Ukraine

Yesterday the well known international relations scholar John Mearsheimer gave a talk (video, 1:33h) about the war in Ukraine to the Committee for the Republic.

Mearsheimer made two major points:

Ukraine can not win this war because the kill ratio in this war is in its disfavor. Mearheimer estimates that two Ukrainians die for one Russian soldier but says that many of his friends think that the ratio is more like 3:1 or 4:1. The reason for this is the WWI-style static war in which artillery is the most deadly weapon. Russia has an immense artillery advantage. During an offensive the attacker will often have more casualties than the defender. But in this war the Ukraine side has been (counter-)attacked most of the time while the Russians defended.

The Ukraine also has a much smaller population than Russia. The current ratio is about 5 Russians for 1 Ukrainian. With a much smaller population and much higher casualties the Ukraine will run out of able bodies way before Russia does.

Mearsheimer expects that Russia, which already has incorporated four Ukrainian oblast plus Crimea, will take another four oblast from Ukraine. (I predicted this on February 24 2022, the day the war began. Those eight oblast plus Crimea are historically Russian land inhabited by Russian people. During the last thirty years they have consistently voted for pro-Russian candidates while the people in west Ukraine consistently opted for anti-Russian candidates.) Ukraine will end up as a dysfunctional (and poor) rump state.

Mearsheimer says that there will be no peace agreement in Ukraine. The war is seen by both sides as existential. Ukraine insists of regaining territory it sees as part of the country. Ukraine wants security guarantees from the 'west' which Russia opposes. The problem of hyper-nationalism (fascism) on the Ukrainian side also makes peace impossible. Then there is the problem that Russia, after having been lied to over the Minsk agreements, has zero trust in any 'western' word.

Posted by b at 9:41 UTC | Comments (405)

May 23, 2023

F-16s To Ukraine

A few days ago U.S. President Joe Biden announced the training of Ukrainian pilots for the F-16 multirole fighter aircraft:

President Joe Biden told G7 leaders on Friday that the US would join in efforts to train Ukraine’s pilots on fourth generation fighter jets including the F-16s, a senior administration official told CNN on Friday.

This has obviously been in the planning for some time. The timing of the announcement at the G7 summit was simply chosen to maximize the propaganda value for Biden.

The process we have seen has repeated itself again and again. As pro-Ukrainian blogger (with no military knowledge) describes it:

This has clearly become a proxy war between Russia and NATO, supercharging the political considerations inherent to any war. Ukraine’s goal is to wheedle as much military aid as humanly possibly out of NATO, especially the United States. The United States’ goal is more complex: give enough aid to push Russia back, but not so much that its proxy war with Russia escalates into an actual one.

This dynamic has created a Hunger Games scenario where Ukraine is constantly playing to the cameras to cajole extra gifts from the wealthy sponsors who watch its every move over the internet in real time. I had decided against using this analogy until I saw Ukrainians themselves using it. There is something grotesque and sobering about finding yourself in this position, and writing about it. But it is what it is.

I had assumed that F-16 training had in fact already started several weeks back. The EU blabber mouth Josep Borrell now all but confirmed it:

Cont. reading: F-16s To Ukraine

Posted by b at 14:53 UTC | Comments (525)