Russia and the West

Boatteacher

Active Member
Remember many in Western Political establishment talking on hurting Russian economy for Russian to move to get rid Putin. So their aim is not just simply detered Russia to finance war in Ukraine, but also regime changes.

That's too much order to be hope for an economic sanctions. Historically economic sanctions very rarely ever happen to push regime changes especially in authocratic regime. Most of the times it is only solidifies their hold in power. We can see in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, or Venezualla.
Regime change is a very broadly used phrase that can carry a range of meanings [more actually than I would grant it]
There is certainly no plan or expectation that Putin would be replaced by a liberal democratic government.

But we do have a situation here where a single man had led his country into a personal vandetta that is having severe adverse effects on his country.

He is surrounded, so we are told or is inferred to us (even I think by Feanor) by ruthless, greedy people who are not likely to tolerate failure or an erosion of their personal wealth or position. There is no 'party' to back him up, nor any religious institutions. So it is very different from most of the other countries you cite.

While Putin retains power, there is no way out of the quagmire they've got themselves into.

The practical question, given Feanor's statement that many of his likely replacements are equally as nationalistic and as ruthless as Putin, is whether they think the cost benefit of the present engagement is worth it. If they think it is, then nothing will change.

If they don't think it's worth it, then the only way out of the quagmire and for Russia to get itself back to where it was is for Putin to be replaced and, for want of a better phrase, for an apologetic withdrawal to occur; blaming Putin's [insert derogatory phrases here] for the whole mess.

I can see lots of issues even here. How much do they give up? The Eastern Oblasts they were previously destabilising? Perish the thought, even Crimera? Do they pay reparations? [I personally think the west would be foolish to insist on this and the world would be better off - and it would actually be in the west's interests - if an international fund was established to rebuild the country]

Again, taking Feanor's words at their face value, 'regime change' won't change anything longer term. Russia might well remain a paranoid, dangerous country. But the present crisis might pass and the world will be more aware of, and viglient about, the danger it poses.
 

Ananda

The Bunker Group
Again, taking Feanor's words at their face value, 'regime change' won't change anything longer term. Russia might well remain a paranoid, dangerous country.
I agree with @Feanor comment on that matter. That's why it is also unlikely if some new administration come out in Kremlin (which's very big "if"), that they will pull back from the Eastern Oblasts that they are already in control.

Russia already committed to the point of no return for East-South Ukraine especially those four Oblasts. Crimea is Paramount for them, so does Donbas independent. We can see that to achieve those, Kherson and Big Part of Zaporizhye Oblast has also to be secured.

That's why it will be long protected war, cause Russia will dig in at minimum with those four Oblasts. Expecting something else is a moot thinking, unless somehow Ukraine can provide enough counter offensive to reclaim those four Oblasts (let alone Crimea). Something that I don't see can happen with only their boots in the ground.
 

Rock the kasbah

Active Member
I agree with @Feanor comment on that matter. That's why it is also unlikely if some new administration come out in Kremlin (which's very big "if"), that they will pull back from the Eastern Oblasts that they are already in control.

Russia already committed to the point of no return for East-South Ukraine especially those four Oblasts. Crimea is Paramount for them, so does Donbas independent. We can see that to achieve those, Kherson and Big Part of Zaporizhye Oblast has also to be secured.

That's why it will be long protected war, cause Russia will dig in at minimum with those four Oblasts. Expecting something else is a moot thinking, unless somehow Ukraine can provide enough counter offensive to reclaim those four Oblasts (let alone Crimea). Something that I don't see can happen with only their boots in the ground.
Ananda
Is it possible that Ukraine grain supplies can be redirected through the Baltic
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Ananda
Is it possible that Ukraine grain supplies can be redirected through the Baltic
It's having the rail stock and the port handling facilities in say Poland, which would be the obvious choice. You would need to move the grain by rail through Poland to the Polish port(s). Moving bulk grain by rail is far easier and cheaper than by road. Depending upon the track gauge and lines you can get 120 tonne or more per wagon. The problem will be at the port(s) where possibly new infra structure will have to be built to handle the grain. It will have to be stored in siloes until its ready for loading aboard ship, but you can't afford to store a whole seasons crop there. Getting the grain from the rail wagon to the silo is standard and different rail companies have different ways of doing it. Some decant the grain by emptying through hoppers underneath the wagons, with doors opening and the grain pouring out into larger hoppers where it's transported by augers and conveyor belts to the siloes.

At BHP in Port Hedland in Western Australia they actually empty their iron ore wagons by driving them over a large hopper, stop the train inside a large drum with room for 4 wagons, rotate 4 wagons at the same time on the wagon connection axis 180° emptying the wagons, rotate back, pull the train through another 4 wagons, repeat process until whole train of 224 wagons is decanted. Each wagon takes about 120 tonnes of iron ore all part of a train off 224 ore wagons, 4 locomotives crewed by one driver and travels about 400 - 450 km through the outback. Not one wagon disconnected. Amazing to watch.

So yes it's quite possible.
 

Ananda

The Bunker Group
Just add what Ngati put, I believe what they are doing right now is channel through Romania.


However it is also as DW channel shown more Investment need to be done to accommodate more grain from Ukraine. This as Romanian infrastructure it self need more Investment, and already hard pressed to accommodate their own grain export.

Channeling through Romania will be more preferable for the Ukranian grains I believe. As their customers already more custom to ship Ukranian grains from Black Sea ports. Thus costs wise should not be much differed.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Just add what Ngati put, I believe what they are doing right now is channel through Romania.


However it is also as DW channel shown more Investment need to be done to accommodate more grain from Ukraine. This as Romanian infrastructure it self need more Investment, and already hard pressed to accommodate their own grain export.

Channeling through Romania will be more preferable for the Ukranian grains I believe. As their customers already more custom to get Ukranian grains from Black Sea ports.
I hadn't seen that and I did think about Romania but I was trying to stay away from Black Sea ports because of less opportunity for Russian mischief making. They basically own the Black Sea but they don't own the Baltic.
 

Ananda

The Bunker Group
They basically own the Black Sea but they don't own the Baltic.
Doing something with Ukranian Waters will be different then doing the same thing with Romanian waters. It's after all NATO waters. Just don't think with current situation Russia goes that far (yet).

Even if they manage to clear Ukranian forces from Donbas, I don't think they will have enough 'apetite' to clear out Nikolayev, let alone Odessa. Perhaps they will stay with blockades both ports, in sense it is almost achieve similar thing anyway (negate Ukranian on any workable ports).
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Doing something with Ukranian Waters will be different then doing the same thing with Romanian waters. It's after all NATO waters. Just don't think with current situation they will goes that far (yet).
I understand that, but they will try something and accidents do happen. They can't do the same in the Baltic because there are no hostilities in the Baltic.
 

Ananda

The Bunker Group
understand that, but they will try something and accidents do happen.
You got have good point there. Potential spill over in the border waters can happen. Well I'm honestly more thinking on shipping costs that Ukranian customers already accustom with. Getting shipping costs to customers in Middle East, Africa and Asia will be more beneficial from Black Sea Ports then Baltic Ports.

Still I haven't check latest insurance costs differences between Shipping in Black Sea and Baltics origination.
 

Ananda

The Bunker Group

Put it in here, as this is going to be used by Russian to enhance their arguments for Special Military Operations aim for de-militarisation of Ukraine as preemptive security actions. However also going to be used by Russian and supporters as US hyprocratic approach on global security.

"But when I’m confronted with a situation … where we have more than 30,000 kilograms of enriched uranium and a similar amount of plutonium and I cannot go and inspect … the situation with this nuclear material, it is a very real danger and something that should be considered in all its seriousness,” he said.

Mr Grossi added that the IAEA is seeking to visit Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station, under occupation by Russian forces, to verify that the 30,000 kg of plutonium and 40,000 kg of enriched uranium stored there have not been deviated for other uses.
The talk from IAEA chief of 30 tons of Enrinched Uranium and 40 tons of Plutoniums seems begin being used by Russian (and based on Pro Russian online media and media begin to circulate), to shown US and West complicences and hyprocracies. Chinese forums for once begin to add asside claim on biological program US done in Ukraine, also how US look away on Ukranian uranium enrichment and plutonium program.

Off course it is need further assesment, we still don't know if the enrinched uranium already in weapon grade or only in fuel grade. However this is just giving more ammo (at least domestically) for Putin on justification why Russia will never let go Eastern Ukraine (especially the most four Oblasts area they already hold). Especially after revelation on Plutonium (again need further assesment from IAEA).

This's going to give domestic justification for prolong war if neccesary. Russia already say that Zaphorozhizye nuclear facilities will never ever go back to Ukraine control. Shown this as justification that they are right on Zelensky covert nuclear program.

Some Russian online media claim (and repeated multiple times in Chinese, Middle East, South American and Asian onlines forums) on US will do much worse to Iran if they find out Iran already have plutonium. How come US expect Russia doing less?

Russia already for months accused Ukraine of covert nuclear weapons program. For what's worth, IAEA officially claim need access to verifies conditions of that much of enriched uranium and plutonium on zaparozhizye plant, seems will going to to give more Russian justification ammo.
 
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tonnyc

Well-Known Member
Most nuclear fuel contains enriched uranium. When they are used, some percentages of the U-235 is used, but not all. It's impossible to achieve 100% efficiency. After a while, fission products and transuranics build up in the fuel. This interferes with the fission process and after a while it becomes a net negative, at which point the now "used" fuel is removed from the reactor. This used fuel still has enriched uranium, since it's impossible to use up all the U-235. It will also contain a low percentage of Pu-239 from the transmutation of U-238. Sometimes when a neutron hits U-238, it transmutes the U-238 into Pu-239 (I'm simplifying a lot here, but that's the gist). Some of this Pu-239 is then burned up, but since more Pu-239 is being created from U-238, it eventually reaches equilibrium. So when the process is stopped and the used fuel taken out, there's approximately 1% Pu-239 in that used fuel. Again, this can vary, especially if one uses special reactors designed to do so, but for a commercial nuclear energy reactor, 1% is a good estimate.

While this used fuel contains U-235 and Pu-239, it is impossible to use them as nuclear bombs. The percentage is too low, and the same fission products that interfere with the fission process in the reactor will also interfere with the fission process in a bomb.

Russian propagandists are banking on people's general unfamiliarity with nuclear technology to fan fear of nuclear weapons. People often equate nuclear anything with nuclear bombs. This is a legacy of the Cold War, but a deep dive into that is off-topic. Let's just say that many many people think that a nuclear power plant can make atomic bombs. But doing so is a very long convoluted process that if a country wants nuclear weapons, it's faster and cheaper to just make one from scratch rather than go with used nuclear fuel.

But to keep things short, basically Ukraine doesn't have the technology to process used nuclear fuel into nuclear weapons. To do so the used nuclear fuel needs to be ground up, mixed up with strong acids in high heat, and then the plutonium and uranium precipitated. You then take this mixed oxides and separate the isotopes you want (e.g., you don't want the U-238 and the Pu-240, so you have to get rid of them somehow). There are other methods, but other methods are more complicated and whatever the method is, it will require a major facility. And you still need to separate the isotopes you want from the isotopes you don't want, which is another major facility.

Ukraine doesn't have this facility. Russia does. When Ukraine wanted to reprocess nuclear fuel for reuse, they sent them to Russia. Obviously this was before 2014.

Ukraine can't have a secret processing facility. Such a facility will be a major chemical plant and it will be visible from satellite view. If they tried making one the international community will know. Not just the US. Russia, China, Germany, France, heck, the Open Source Intelligence community will find out. What is this new chemical plant and what is it making? Why is it taking it a lot of chemicals and raw materials but doesn't seem to be making anything? Why is there a lot of gas diffusers and centrifuges?

It's also impossible for the IAEA to be somehow favouring Ukraine and somehow not check on Ukraine. Russia is in the IAEA. China and India are members of the IAEA too. Brazil and South Africa too. IAEA can't favour Ukraine unless Russia and China and India and Brazil and everyone else agree to it.

So when IAEA people wants to visit Zaporizhzhia it's not hypocrisy. It's not like oh suddenly they're worried that Ukraine's making nuclear bombs. Nope. They know Ukraine doesn't have the capability to do so. It is precisely because Zaporizhzhia is in Russian hands that they're worried. Because they do know Russia does have the technology to separate the plutonium from the used fuel. They do know that Russia is capable of taking that plutonium to use for nuclear weapons. So they want to check that Russia hasn't actually done that. Russia should just allow them to visit and show them that nothing in particular is happening.

The idea of a secret Ukrainian nuclear weapons program using used nuclear fuel is bunk. If they can actually manage to do so, it is only possible with tacit complicity of Russian and Chinese and Indian authorities.
 
Regime change is a very broadly used phrase that can carry a range of meanings [more actually than I would grant it]
There is certainly no plan or expectation that Putin would be replaced by a liberal democratic government.

But we do have a situation here where a single man had led his country into a personal vandetta that is having severe adverse effects on his country.

He is surrounded, so we are told or is inferred to us (even I think by Feanor) by ruthless, greedy people who are not likely to tolerate failure or an erosion of their personal wealth or position. There is no 'party' to back him up, nor any religious institutions. So it is very different from most of the other countries you cite.

While Putin retains power, there is no way out of the quagmire they've got themselves into.

The practical question, given Feanor's statement that many of his likely replacements are equally as nationalistic and as ruthless as Putin, is whether they think the cost benefit of the present engagement is worth it. If they think it is, then nothing will change.

If they don't think it's worth it, then the only way out of the quagmire and for Russia to get itself back to where it was is for Putin to be replaced and, for want of a better phrase, for an apologetic withdrawal to occur; blaming Putin's [insert derogatory phrases here] for the whole mess.

I can see lots of issues even here. How much do they give up? The Eastern Oblasts they were previously destabilising? Perish the thought, even Crimera? Do they pay reparations? [I personally think the west would be foolish to insist on this and the world would be better off - and it would actually be in the west's interests - if an international fund was established to rebuild the country]

Again, taking Feanor's words at their face value, 'regime change' won't change anything longer term. Russia might well remain a paranoid, dangerous country. But the present crisis might pass and the world will be more aware of, and viglient about, the danger it poses.
I think we need to step back from the personalised rhetoric and see this in context of realpolitik. This isn't a personal vendetta, Russia as a nation state is a rational actor. It has some genuine security concerns and is also leveraging it's power to advance it's neo-imperialist aims. It's not a "personal vendetta".
Kissinger spoke recently urging for a diplomatic settlement, insinuating that Ukraine should make concessions. As the war goes on, and the economic outlook in the west becomes more and more worrisome, after the initial euphoria of war there are more sombre voices coming to the fore.
 

STURM

Well-Known Member
Kissinger spoke recently urging for a diplomatic settlement, insinuating that Ukraine should make concessions.
Yes and he got quite a bit of flak from Zelensky. I fully understand where both are coming from though the problem is even if he wants to he might not be actually able to let Russia keep any territory given that after all they've been through the Ukrainian public won't stand for it. At one one point they might have but unless the Ukraine suffers major reverses on the battlefield they are unlikely to agree to any concessions. Another question is whether the Ukraine is still willing to adopt a neutral status as part of any peace deal; prior to the invasion it was willing to but this stance may have changed.

From Kissinger's perspective as I understand it; letting Russia keep some territory is a way placating it to avoid another round of hostilities at some later date. Russia can't leave empty handed; politically it has to be able to show something it has gained something. In an ideal world Russia as the aggressor should not be allowed to gain anything but alas we don't live in an ideal world and ultimately concessions will have to be made by both sides.
 

Todjaeger

Potstirrer
From Kissinger's perspective as I understand it; letting Russia keep some territory is a way placating it to avoid another round of hostilities at some later date. Russia can't leave empty handed; politically it has to be able to show something it has gained something. In an ideal world Russia as the aggressor should not be allowed to gain anything but alas we don't live in an ideal world and ultimately concessions will have to be made by both sides.
There is also the very real, and IMO at least, understandable concern that attempting to placate Russia/Putin & his inner circle would be like Neville Chamberlain and his efforts to maintain, "peace in our time,". One has to also keep in mind that if an aggressor nation with territorial and/or imperial ambitions, particularly towards neighbouring states is effectively rewarded for using force to support their ambitions, they are quite likely to repeat such efforts.
 

STURM

Well-Known Member
Very true but no peace deal is likely unless both sides can get something which they can declare as a victory of some sorts. The alternative is the war continuing indefinitely. Short of Putin being overthrown there is zero likelihood that Russia will just call it quits and leave empty handed; irrespective of how bad things are getting.
 

Ananda

The Bunker Group
The alternative is the war continuing indefinitely. Short of Putin being overthrown there is zero likelihood that Russia will just call it quits and leave empty handed; irrespective of how bad things are getting
Too many western media and pundits talk about how bad this war cost already affecting Russia. However very small percentage of them want to talk openly how bad it is already affecting Ukraine.

Ukraine Industry are mostly in East and South, especially their MIC. (Sorry just realise the typo mistake, West Ukraine mostly Agrarian area). Those Industrial area are the ones under Russian control, invasion routes, or Artilery and missiles attacks.

Western Politicians and Media somehow give impression that present US lead military support as somehow have similarities with WW2 Lend Lease to USSR. However USSR still have more or less intact MIC and Support Logistics Industry to augmented what US can give on Lend Lease.

Ukraine has practically destroyed MIC and support Industries condition. Everything they are fighting with more and more has to be supported by West. Thus in this war of attrition, despite all the West support, Russia still has upper hand advantage on attrition level sustainment.
 
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swerve

Super Moderator
Ananda
Is it possible that Ukraine grain supplies can be redirected through the Baltic
It lengthens the sea voyage considerably for the main customers, e.g. Egypt. And there's a problem with the transport links. AFAIK the rail & road links combined can't handle anywhere near as much grain as Ukraine would normally be shipping at this time of year. I don't know about the ports.

I'd be trying to use every practical route. I don't know if transport through Transnistria is feasible, but it'd be a route to Romania if it is. Going round it is inconvenient.

I think heavy goods transport links across the Carpathians are limited, which is inconvenient for transport to Adriatic or Aegean ports.
 

Dead Money

New Member
Too many western media and pundits talk about how bad this war cost already affecting Russia. However very small percentage of them want to talk openly how bad it is already affecting Ukraine.

Ukraine Industry are mostly in East and South, especially their MIC. (Sorry just realise the typo mistake, West Ukraine mostly Agrarian area). Those Industrial area are the ones under Russian control, invasion routes, or Artilery and missiles attacks.

Western Politicians and Media somehow give impression that present US lead military support as somehow have similarities with WW2 Lend Lease to USSR. However USSR still have more or less intact MIC and Support Logistics Industry to augmented what US can give on Lend Lease.

Ukraine has practically destroyed MIC and support Industries condition. Everything they are fighting with more and more has to be supported by West. Thus in this war of attrition, despite all the West support, Russia still has upper hand advantage on attrition level sustainment.
Yes, but how relevant really is MIC during a 21st century war? During WW2 the Soviets were building tens of thousands of combat aircraft per annum! With sanctions and production shortages I'd guess the Russian fixed wing production this year will be measured in the tens.

Aircraft, PGM's, Tanks - modern weapons seem to get destroyed just as fast as in 20th century wars, but the replacement rates look one to two orders of magnitude lower to me.
 

STURM

Well-Known Member
Yes, but how relevant really is MIC during a 21st century war?
If it's a protracted war; very relevant.

With sanctions and production shortages I'd guess the Russian fixed wing production this year will be measured in the tens.
Indeed but the Russians are still able to construct them. The Ukrainians on the other hand will have to rely more and more on outside help.
 

Ananda

The Bunker Group
With sanctions and production shortages I'd guess the Russian fixed wing production this year will be measured in the tens.
To add what Sturm posted:

How much the annual rate that US productions of F-35, F-16V, F-15EX from their current capacity ? At most US can only churn new fighters around more than hundred at present capacity (but doubtful even a couple hundred range).

How much French can churn Rafale with current Dasault capacity ? They are working hard to double from two before 2020 capacity due to recent export success. This's based on Dasault own official information.

So if Rostec can still manage Tens of Flankers (as this is their main Fighters product) under current Western sanctions, it is already good enough. In short nobody have hundreds capacity of Fighters production anually, let alone thousands (on current global production capacities). Perhaps China if being push can churn that couple hundreds number.

Present Fighters are complex machines, that need much more time and Investment capacity to finish. This with annual global market of less then couple hundreds annually.

One thing for sure, nobody have clear pictures yet on how far the sanctions from West going to push down Russian industrial productions. Just like nobody have clear projection yet on how far Russian economy will be hurt with sanctions. All still in projection based mostly on guessing this time around. It will be hurt and down, but also so does EU production and economy.

but how relevant really is MIC during a 21st century war?
Ukranian now despite all the talks of Western supplies, still fight mostly with their MIC products and ex USSR inventories (which being maintain by their MIC). Ukraine government source them selves aknowledge their MIC mostly being destroyed by Russian. Russian clearly aim from the first time entering the invasion to crippled as much as possible of Ukranian MIC.

With most of their MIC gone, will Ukranian able to fight only with what Western supplies ? In theory probable, however so far they still fight mostly with what they have in their inventories. That's ex USSR inventory and their MIC products.

This's protracted attrition warfare situation, this war already developing. Off course your own functional MIC matter very much.
 
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