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May 26, 2022

Ukraine Open Thread 2022-74

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

The open thread for other issues is here.

Posted by b on May 26, 2022 at 12:49 UTC | Permalink

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Per Terram @ 242-After looking at the video, I noticed that the howitzer had radioactive warning stickers. Does this mean that it is firing depleted uranium shells? If so, shouldn't this be given publicity?

Posted by: Vragtes | May 27 2022 18:15 utc | 301

This from Pepe Escobar today:


Germany simply cannot survive without Russian oil and gas. Their cost of energy is more than doubling on LNG. Oil is going sky high. Their industry cannot endure. Empire of Lies wins as it has all the oil and gas it needs - and so does Russia. Others - like Germany - collapse.

German collapse started with joining the ruthless attack on Russia - who had moved only to protect Russophones in Donbass from the shelling that had killed 14,000+ civilians. Russia is now converting to Stalin-style self-sufficiency - first achieved in 1938.

It’s extremely short-sighted to be guided by temporary advantages in costs - the logic of globalization. Nothing should be imported that you cannot make yourself. If Stalin had not moved to self-sufficiency - as Hitler himself pointed out - Germany would have destroyed Russia in 1941. Russia stopped Germany at the gates of Moscow with a massive counter-attack before any significant aid came from the West. The Wehrmacht was largely burned out.

Russia's short-term problem today was that until the first batch of sanctions post-Maidan it was relying on imports for products that it could make itself. From now on, oil and natural gas should be exported essentially to Asian clients and specially strategic partner China - which can supply Russia with the technologies it still does not master (but will, soon, as Putin stressed this week at the Eurasia Economic Forum).

Russia is now on the way to total self-reliance. This will be an essential part of the agenda of Eurasia economic integration. For its part, Euroland will die on the vine, as even dear-caught-in-the-headlights chancellor Scholz seems to - sort of - understand.

Posted by: Barofsky | May 27 2022 18:49 utc | 302

@c1ue | May 27 2022 16:36 utc | 295

@the pessimist #280
In a word: absolutely.

I know 4 different men in Russia, personally, who have attempted to volunteer to go fight in Ukraine.

Russia is turning away people - and all 4 have past military experience including combat experience - from joining the SMO. 2 of literal new babies.

Politically: Putin is far more moderate than the overall population. From what I can see, most people are turning more and more from "it is sad that we are fighting our Ukrainian brothers" to "smash them flat and let God sort it out".

And this is entirely a function of Ukrainian "information warfare" success because the Russian government and military are barely saying anything.

So, if you are still reading the thread...

You are missing the point - sure, people's blood is up because the Ukrainians have acted as brutal, amoral scum. That's fine and could be useful in the short term if a full mobilization is called for. Longer term, if there is only slow progress with continued casualties and Odessa is used by the West to harm the Black Sea fleet, or Transnistria is attacked, or some other sh*t goes down at a NPP, and Zelensky remains in power and continues to spout insane BS in European media and Russian unemployment is up and domestic replacements cannot be found for important previously imported goods and those folks you mentioned were not allowed to volunteer Russia will look weak and ineffective. Those people you mentioned will not be pleased.

So, there is a window of opportunity to change the dynamics. Perhaps the UAF defeat in Donbass will be enough to spark the rumored coup in Kiev, perhaps... and there will be an agreement capable government installed, but perhaps not. In that case the Russian people must see that their leadership has a plan to achieve an acceptable victory and is going to execute it. A situation where the current contact line becomes a temporary border with continued fighting all along it for ... many months? a year? is not going to cut it. The only way I see to change the dynamic is to put a lot more troops and equipment to the task, aggressively destroy the transport network in the western portion, and take the Black sea coast and the interior east of the Dnipr R. This will leave an economically neutered state that will either agree to Russian terms or will slowly dissolve into something else. A bitter fate, but perhaps it must be. That, at least, is my reasoning.

I know people on both sides of this and it affects me both personally and professionally. I had hoped for a capitulation when it started - for everyone's sake but here we are. The Ukraine is not Georgia - it is much more important, both to Russia and to the Ukrainians (excluding the nazi scum).

Posted by: the pessimist | May 27 2022 19:49 utc | 303

@ Vragtes

The radioactive warning labels on the FH-70 were, I believe on part of the sighting unit. They most likely indicate that it contains some kind of low level radioactive element (Tritium?) that enables the sighting unit to be illuminated in darkness. I was not a gunner so I cannot give any further details. But no, definitely NOT the presence of DU ammunition.

To whoever it was accusing me of missing the point about continuous open long trenches…that was not the point I was making. Blogs & the like are full of utter rubbish that is just simply made up to fit the narrative & make good sound bytes … like “one man fox -holes”.

In a former life I have probably lived in more battle trenches that I have dug myself than almost everyone here would have done combined…which is at least one.

As for experiencing an artillery attack I have been on the receiving end of one of those too without the added luxury of field defences …can’t say I liked the experience very much & was very glad swift counter battery fire & CAS was on hand to put a stop to it within the hour.

Posted by: Per Terram | May 27 2022 20:10 utc | 304

Nuland-Pyatt video restored to YouTube per Consortium News.

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | May 27 2022 20:57 utc | 305

I think you misunderstood what I was saying because I don't disagree with you. But since you seem cocooned in a bubble of smug self-belief in your own superior understanding I won't press it.

Posted by: Patroklos | May 27 2022 21:19 utc | 306

Politically: Putin is far more moderate than the overall population. From what I can see, most people are turning more and more from "it is sad that we are fighting our Ukrainian brothers" to "smash them flat and let God sort it out".

Posted by: c1ue | May 27 2022 16:36 utc | 295

As long as the Russian economy continues to grow and the Eurasian civilization in which they are a lead partner continues to develop and begin to change the entire destiny of this vast continent and as long as their military remains essentially victorious and as long as the West is clearly fading then I suspect the Russian people will be giving their leadership 90% approval ratings. People like being on the winning side and the Russians had a VERY difficult twentieth century and are overdue for some rollicking boom times...

Posted by: Scorpion | May 27 2022 21:44 utc | 307

Posted by: Barofsky | May 27 2022 18:49 utc | 303
This from Pepe Escobar today:


Germany simply cannot survive without Russian oil and gas....

I can't find this anywhere. Link please?

Posted by: Scorpion | May 27 2022 21:49 utc | 308

Scorpion | May 27 2022 21:49 utc | 309

the comment is on Pepe's VK page

Posted by: cirsium | May 27 2022 22:01 utc | 309

Posted by: Barofsky | May 27 2022 18:49 utc | 303

re "... Russia is now converting to Stalin-style self-sufficiency - first achieved in 1938. "...

And here is Stalin's 1931 announcement of how self-sufficiency and catch-up from USSR's condition of backwardness is to be accomplished. It's a long speech with the remarkable plan that prepped for WW2.

One excerpt:

One feature of the history of old Russia was the continual beatings she suffered because of her backwardness. She was beaten by the Mongol khans. She was beaten by the Turkish beys. She was beaten by the Swedish feudal lords. She was beaten by the Polish and Lithuanian gentry. She was beaten by the British and French capitalists. She was beaten by the Japanese barons. All beat her — because of her backwardness, because of her military backwardness, cultural backwardness, political backwardness, industrial backwardness, agricultural backwardness. They beat her because it was profitable and could be done with impunity. You remember the words of the pre-revolutionary poet: "You are poor and abundant, mighty and impotent, Mother Russia." Those gentlemen were quite familiar with the verses of the old poet. They beat her, saying: "You are abundant," so one can enrich oneself at your expense. They beat her, saying: "You are poor and impotent," so you can be beaten and plundered with impunity. Such is the law of the exploiters — to beat the backward and the weak. It is the jungle law of capitalism. You are backward, you are weak — therefore you are wrong; hence you can be beaten and enslaved. You are mighty — therefore you are right; hence we must be wary of you.

Posted by: chu teh | May 27 2022 22:39 utc | 310

the comment is on Pepe's VK page

Posted by: cirsium | May 27 2022 22:01 utc | 310

Muchas Gracias!

Posted by: Scorpion | May 27 2022 23:09 utc | 311

In response to the pessimist@304,

I have to second c1ue's observation, in that the general public in Russia is prone to taking a more radical position in foreign policy. If dissatisfaction in the progress of the smo reaches a point where a change of government is demanded, I would consider it plausible that the subsequent government will be brought to power on the promise of escalating the conflict outside of Ukraine's territorial borders in an attempt to neutralize Ukraine's foreign sponsors in a direct engagement. So far, however, there's no serious contender advocating for such a position that I can see -- rip Vladimir Volfovich.

At the same time, I expect that the growth of dissatisfaction with the pace of the operation can continue to be dissuaded for a very long time, as long as the humanitarian situation in the territories that are coming under the control of the allied forces continues to improve. The very same public that, paradoxically, calls for nuclear strikes against Kiev, Washington and London, is for some reason pacified by the resumption of mass transit services, re-opening of schools, restoration of memorials and other aspects of reintegration and normalization on what's called the de-occupied territories.

Basically, if we indulge in the notion that public opinion in Russia is what will ultimately shape the strategy, there will either be a slow dismantling of all Ukrainian / Western forces capable of causing damage on the ground and a simultaneous process of restoration. Or, someone will be able to sabotage that process, push just the right buttons to get Putin to resign from his position and his replacement will usher the world into direct nuclear confrontation.

Posted by: Skiffer | May 27 2022 23:52 utc | 312

Eurasia & Multipolarity, [28/05/2022 02:05]

[In reply to Eurasia & Multipolarity]

Details became known why Poroshenko was not allowed to cross the border to Poland

Former head of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko is supposed to take part in international events as a people's deputy and for this he tried to leave the country, but the border guards did not let him through. This was stated by the deputy of the party of the ex-president Irina Gerashchenko.

According to RIA Novosti, Poroshenko is included in the official delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, and is also due to speak at the summit of the European People's Party.

The deputy noted that all business trips were agreed, the head of the Verkhovna Rada has invitations. She stressed that today Poroshenko was not allowed to cross the border to Poland without explanation. The border guards at the checkpoint were talking nonsense about a “fake or canceled order,” Gerashchenko said.

@svpressaru (

Posted by: Barofsky | May 28 2022 8:13 utc | 313

Update: Apparently Poroshenko has been admitted to Poland.

Posted by: Barofsky | May 28 2022 8:30 utc | 314

@the pessimist #304
All I can say is that - to me - you have a poor understanding of the Russian psyche.
Yes, the Russian people are more radical than Putin - as you agreed.

But they also trust Putin.

Despite all manner of shocks including literally years of sanctions from the West, Russia is doing just fine. And all of this is after Putin pulled Russia out of its downward 90s spiral. He's been nothing but successful in most Russian eyes for 20+ years.

Secondly, Russians view combat deaths differently than Americans. A death fighting for Russia's interests (which Ukraine absolutely is) is honorable; those who die in that effort are going to be in the same general league as the WW2 Immortals. American deaths in apparently pointless wars abroad, from Vietnam onwards? not so much.

Then the economic side: I think you still don't understand how much different Russia and China is vs. Iran and North Korea.

Iran is/was largely a petro-state that is physically isolated: by a gauntlet of outright foes and frenemies along the Persian Gulf, by a Russia which had been the target for Iranian cooperation with the US prior to the Islamic revolution, by Afghanistan and its fractious peoples, and by Turkey/Azerbaijan in the northwest - ethnic, religious and economic rivals historically.

North Korea in turn has literally nothing to sell.

Russia is far larger than either Iran or North Korea: physically, economically, militarily. Iran did not have any public allies nor the ability to source massive amounts of literally anything via a shared 2,600 mile border with China - as Russia can. Iran isn't a top 5 producer of oil, natural gas, wheat, metals and many other commodities. North Korea has a shared border and uses it, but without a source of income they are making do with what they can.

I've said before that Russia would be fine with 20K Russian army deaths if it successfully resolved the Ukraine situation; I see zero evidence of anything approaching this number. A significant number of deaths on the Russian side are LDPR, volunteers and/or Russian National Guard volunteers like the Chechens.

Then there's the magical Ukrainian resurgence.

Anything is possible, but such a resurgence cannot occur invisibly.

Retraining and rearming the Ukrainian army to a significant extent means replacing hundreds of tanks and artillery, dozens of aircraft, thousands of AFVs to go along with 50,000 or more troops.

Is this physically possible by the US and EU?

Of course. Under a full or even significant mobilization scenario, it absolutely could happen.

But is it happening? Is there evidence?

I have yet to see it.

What I am seeing, still, is the wholesale dumping of unused garbage from military warehouses all over the US and EU into Ukraine starting with 3 decade or older ex-Soviet gear, thence to 80s era US and UK tech, now to various failed experiments such as the M777.

On the flip side: I see Russia that has been on a significantly closer to war footing for years. It is now clear that Russia has been preparing for this day: the formation and equipping of the 1st Tank Guard Army and 20th Combined Arms armies wasn't a rearranging of deck chairs.

So while the final judgement will continue to be rendered on the battlefield, the outcome - given what I can see right now - is inevitable.

Posted by: c1ue | May 28 2022 10:40 utc | 315

North Korea in turn has literally nothing to sell.

Not sure I would employ you as an economist or investment manager !

Posted by: Paul Greenwood | May 28 2022 11:03 utc | 316

China's first salt cavern compressed air energy storage starts operation

The power station uses electric energy to compress air into an underground salt cavern, then releases air to drive an air turbine, which can generate electricity when needed.

The salt cavern was formed following the exploitation of the underground salt layer in the area. At about 1,000 meters below ground, the salt cavern has a storage room equal in size to 105 swimming pools. The energy storage capacity in each cycle reaches 300,000 kWh of electricity, equal to the daily electricity consumption of about 60,000 residents.

Posted by: sln2002 | May 28 2022 14:43 utc | 317

@c1ue | May 28 2022 10:40 utc | 316

"Russia is doing just fine"

On some fronts this is true, but the current sanctions have cut off supplies of spare parts and materials that were coming from Europe specifically and the West more generally (oil and gas sector). There was a very long essay (in Russian) linked to several days ago here that gave a very detailed rundown of the issues and how they impact a very broad segment of the economy. Additionally, despite the remarkable progress made over the past 20 years, there are structural problems with the economy that have not been solved that disproportionately affect the bottom 60 or 70% of the population - low wages, underemployment, having to travel to other cities or regions to find work, lack of social benefits for workers employed in the grey market as contract labor, etc. The sanctions are exacerbating these preexisting problems. Should it appear that Russia has only achieved a stalemate in Ukraine - as was the case in 2014 - this will not go down well.

As I said earlier, I think there is a chance that, given the military defeat in Donbass and combined with the loss of Mariupol, there may be a capitulation/change of government in Kiev. Not laying money on it though.

Absent that the SMO will continue. I think that the current estimate is that Russia controls ~20% of Ukrainian territory. This territory must now be secured, gains consolidated, infrastructure repaired and protected, and I do not see how this can be accomplished with current manpower levels. So far the DPR/LPR soldiers have contributed mightily to the effort, however, once their territories are liberated many of them will be needed to secure these areas. Will they be fighting to liberate Odessa? Some maybe, but not the majority.

I don't believe Odessa can be left in Ukrainian hands. We can recall the damage wrought when the DPR forces were fighting for Mariupol in 2014 and with Minsk II this effort was halted and it remained under the control of Kiev. Odessa is a key strategic asset and if Russia does not control it it will be used against her. In order to take it Ukraine must not be allowed to concentrate its remaining forces there. This requires that the SMO must continue its progress toward the west at many points. Odessa and the intervening territory is well defended and the Ukrainians have been expecting a Russian move towards it. Where will the troops come from to mount this effort? The longer this move is delayed the more its defenses will be hardened.

This is why I believe that some new shock is required, like full mobilization which could also allow some additional government intervention on the economic front at home. In other words I think "slow and steady" for another 6 months is a losing strategy.

Posted by: the pessimist | May 28 2022 15:33 utc | 318

LOL Germany and France call for the release of the nazis caught after Azovstal siege!

Posted by: Zanon | May 28 2022 15:57 utc | 319

@the pessimist #319
The long list definitely exists, but you are not addressing the actual question: what is the actual effect going to be on Russia in the short, medium and long term.

Short term - Russia is forecasting a fall in GDP for 2 quarters. Disruption caused by sanctions is real - but it is highly debatable who is hurt more: Russia or the US/EU.

Medium and long term: there are no parts that are sold widely in the entire world that cannot be bought and transferred in through China. China is such an enormous focal point of manufacturing worldwide that the amount needed by Russia is a rounding error. Nor does the Chinese government even need to allow or encourage this process: there will be plenty of people perfectly willing to "nod and wink" materials from China to Russia, for a price, regardless of China's official policy.

As such, the concept of Western sanctions: parts, tech etc forcing Russia into a Venezuela-like situation are poorly grounded.

Russia has a far higher base technical capability than Venezuela to start with, plus has a overt defensive alliance with China and that 2,600 mile border which is literally already crawling with "import tax sidesteppers". Again, if this were 2010 or even 2014 - the situation would be significantly worse for Russia - but it isn't.

I am still looking for evidence - you are still not providing anything of value in this regard.

I guess ultimately you still believe the hype that the US and EU are the sole fonts of world technology and industry when that is simply no longer true.

Posted by: c1ue | May 28 2022 16:42 utc | 320

In response to
LOL Germany and France call for the release of the nazis caught after Azovstal siege!

Posted by: Zanon | May 28 2022 15:57 utc | 320

Thanks for that....fascinating to me that they are so bald faced about it and on the other hand, why isn't Russia parading the captured perps and releasing the biolab findings in a big media effort to shame empire into submission, if that is possible.

This also makes me wonder what is going on behind the scenes

Posted by: psychohistorian | May 28 2022 16:45 utc | 321

Ya I saw Twitter was loaded with pictures of theNazi girls crying and ‘demanding’ the world speaks up and gets them released. Lol
Cancel culture has raised a bunch of fools

Posted by: FromCanada | May 28 2022 16:52 utc | 322

@Paul Greenwood #317
North Korea's mines are so valuable that absolutely no one has attempted to break the international blockade, or has instituted mass smuggling, for them.

In contrast, many countries have bought literally tens of millions of barrels of Iranian oil...

The record speaks for itself.

And yes, I am aware that North Korea used to be the industrial heartland of Korea the country - and the South Korea was the farmlands/hinterlands. But that was a long, long time ago. Literally 2 generations.

Posted by: c1ue | May 28 2022 16:54 utc | 323

@c1ue | May 28 2022 16:42 utc | 321

"I guess ultimately you still believe the hype that the US and EU are the sole fonts of world technology and industry when that is simply no longer true."

My sources are Russian.

We will see what happens. I remain hopeful that Russia will succeed in meeting its objectives, and a reconstituted Ukraine will be able to recover some dignity and prosper the way it should have for the past 30 years.

Posted by: the pessimist | May 28 2022 17:12 utc | 324

c1ue writes: "Short term - Russia is forecasting a fall in GDP for 2 quarters. Disruption caused by sanctions is real - but it is highly debatable who is hurt more: Russia or the US/EU."

I hold with Dmitry Orlov: The West (and the USA in particular) is too soft; Russia more able, due to experience, to weather privation. And it has yet to be demonstrated that Russia will suffer all that much this time around.

Posted by: malenkov | May 28 2022 17:23 utc | 325

@the pessimist #325
Russians in Russia or Russians in the West?

There can be a major dichotomy between these 2 categories.

The technocrats/Atlanticist Russians who have seen their dreams destroyed in Russia, as well as the ones getting paid big bucks in the West for tech jobs, have different drives than the majority of actual Russians in Russia.

I'd also check to see if any have actually ever served: in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Georgia. The ones with money, don't.

But yes, we will see.

Posted by: c1ue | May 28 2022 21:15 utc | 326

In Russia.

Posted by: the pessimist | May 28 2022 23:00 utc | 327

Give it a rest. I have visited villages in Yakutia that I am sure would survive a nuclear war, boated on the Yenesei R, eaten forest mushrooms in Karelia, enjoyed the beauty of Lake Baikal, visited Chersonesus at Sevastopol and Petchersk Lavra in Kiev.

Posted by: the pessimist | May 28 2022 23:08 utc | 328

a bubble of smug self-belief in your own superior understanding...
Posted by: Patroklos | May 27 2022 21:19 utc | 307

Gallantly, you omitted any reference to the bubble in question (something about the wording "smug self-belief" gives me a strong hunch, though).

I wanted to apologize to you for ignorantly misunderstanding and -- worse -- misusing that affectionate nickname y'all have for Australia: Oz. Somehow I failed to understand the L. Frank Baum reference seems to be entirely phonetic (Aus to Oz) -- whereas I mistakenly took the US American author reference, plus the similarity of US to OZ, to indicate my own benighted country. Not to mention: I have a feeling Baum's heartfelt philosophy of white supremacy might have held on more tenaciously in his beloved homeland. Not trying to excuse my mistake, only we're also somewhere over the rainbow, way up high.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 28 2022 23:31 utc | 329

@ Posted by: oldhippie | May 26 2022 21:03 utc | 106

Plutonium testing, that was conducted at "Maralinga" and called a minor test

"In addition to major trials, Britain conducted about 200 minor trials over the 10 years to 1963. These were aimed at testing the performance of weapons components and investigating safety issues.

The plutonium contamination at Maralinga was caused by these minor trials, two of which involved burning plutonium and detonating fissile material using conventional high explosives."

As a result just over 22 kilograms of plutonium-239 was dispersed around the site.

Plutonium-239 has a radioactive half-life of more than 24,000 years. This dangerous carcinogen is hazardous to humans if inhaled, ingested or absorbed through breaks in the skin.

Posted by: Bad Deal Motors On | May 29 2022 7:03 utc | 330

@the pessimist #328, 329
I ask because my own direct experiences are, by definition, anecdote.
Therefore people with different understanding - I like to see where this comes from.
You have spent some time in Russia, as I have - great!
But yet again, if you're dealing with Russians who serve foreign tourists - those are also Atlanticists in the rice bowl sense.

Posted by: c1ue | May 29 2022 11:53 utc | 331

I have never traveled to Russia or Ukraine as a tourist.

Posted by: the pessimist | May 29 2022 14:42 utc | 332

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