The Russian-Ukrainian War Thread


Well-Known Member
Not accepting the simple truth that NATO was and is a present threat to Russia baffles me.. NATO was designed to counter Russia.. and when u look at statements coming out of NATO, it’s not hidden that all they have been doing in the last few years is to expand and contain Russia.. it’s hard to call an expanding organisation defensive
Arguing that NATO is designed to contain Russia military does beg the question why Russia must be contained. Is Russia unsatisfied with their current borders and are looking to use military means to expand? A few months ago this is debatable, but today we know the answer is yes.

If Russia is willing to stick with their legal borders, they have nothing to worry about from NATO. It is precisely because Eastern European states don't believe Russia is going to stick with the legal borders that they join NATO.

NATO is not a threat to Russia the state as it is. It is a threat to Russia's expansionist ambition. The two are different.
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Not accepting the simple truth that NATO was and is a present threat to Russia baffles me.. NATO was designed to counter Russia.. and when u look at statements coming out of NATO, it’s not hidden that all they have been doing in the last few years is to expand and contain Russia.. it’s hard to call an expanding organisation defensive
I would suggest starting with definitions for the words "expanding" as well as "offensive" and "defensive".

At present, it does seem that some have been using their own definitions for various terms and words.

Sandhi Yudha

Well-Known Member
Multiple sources are telling that The Russian Ministry of Defence have said that more than 50 military targets are destroyed on the ground and that "a Ukrainian military transport aircraft was shot down in the air" in the Odessa region while "delivering a large batch of weapons supplied to Ukraine by Western countries."

What's true about this claim?

Scott Elaurant

Well-Known Member
I see a lot of rationalistaion and justification of actions here. I think some are based on a misunderstanding of what “self-defence“ and “threat” means to a country, in this case Russia.

Since 1991 the country of Russia does not include Belorussia, Ukraine, Georgia, or many other former Republics of the Soviet Union. Saying that Russia saw these areas as a buffer that it was entitled to prevent Nato expanding into is true, but does not make that position reasonable. It highlights that many in the current Russian leadership have never let go of the concept of the Soviet Union as an empire of colonies ruled by a central Russian state, now stripped of communist ideology.

I think it is ridiculous to blame the USA or Nato for the Russian position now.The irony is that as the cold war ended, USA was trying to keep the Soviet Union together to prevent these kind of wars. They failed. In my view the mistake USA/Nato made was not to confront Russia now, but to leave confronting them over a string of wars for so long. The desire for cheap Russian gas and oil clouded political judgement.

Russia from the days of Peter the Great was an empire built around a central Russian kingdom, expanded by military conquest into the area of neighboring states. This was never democratic or popular. Anyone who thinks Ukraine was a traditional part of Russia needs a history lesson. Ukraine pre-dated Russia as a State by hundreds of years. At different times Ukraine was part of Poland, Russia and before them a free independent state.

I highly recommend the book “The Last Empire” by Serhii Plokhy, to better understand the causes of the current Ukrainian war. which looks at the internal politics of the former Soviet Union. Living in western countries during the cold war we only saw the external Soviet politics. But the internal Soviet politics was just as vicious. Ukraine never wanted to stay part of Russia. Russian hardliners never wanted to let go of Ukraine. That is the root cause of the conflict.

PS Plokhy’s book was written years before the current war, but is grimly prophetic on the causes and risks of conflict.
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Well-Known Member
The desire for cheap Russian gas and oil clouded political judgement.
The fact that Russia had enough nukes to make North America and Western Europe inhabitable for a very very long time also played a part.

The irony is that as the cold war ended, USA was trying to keep the Soviet Union together to prevent these kind of wars. They failed.
Life is full of ironies isn't it? Following the collapse of the Soviet Union the Russian leadership welcomed the prospect of integration with the West and Yeltsin even looked at NATO membership. Gradually things soured and the Russians started believing that the West wanted to keep Russia weak and isolated. The end of the Cold War was supposed to usher in a new era of peace and cooperation; unfortunately it didn't.

What happens next is anyone's guess .

''If we are to attempt to understand why Russia is behaving in this potentially very dangerous manner, we need to begin by recalling what happened to the Soviet superpower as it collapsed in 1991 and how that calamity continues to affect current strategic thinking in Moscow. Putin recalls the Soviet collapse as a time when gross injustice was done to the Russian people: ‘It was only when Crimea ended up as part of a different country that Russia realised that it had not been simply robbed, but plundered.’ The UK ambassador to Moscow from 1988 to 1992, Rodric Braithwaite, observes that the disintegration of the USSR at the end of 1991 was a moment of triumph for the West, but for the Russians it brought national humiliation, domestic chaos, great poverty, and even famine.''

''Regarding the prospect of the incorporation of a democratising Russia into a larger Europe and NATO, the view was that the post-Soviet geopolitical space was too huge and unpredictable for integration within the Western orbit. The enlargement of NATO took place quickly, because the newly independent Baltic countries and Poland wanted to be free of the Russian military menace. Boris Yeltsin wanted Russia to join NATO, but the new US administration under Bill Clinton chose to offer Russia only ‘a partnership’ with the alliance because the general view in Washington was that Russia was simply too big to fully belong to NATO.''


Active Member
Not accepting the simple truth that NATO was and is a present threat to Russia baffles me.. NATO was designed to counter Russia.. and when u look at statements coming out of NATO, it’s not hidden that all they have been doing in the last few years is to expand and contain Russia.. it’s hard to call an expanding organisation defensive
What baffles me is that people won't accept that Ukraine wasn't getting into NATO and that Ukraine and NATO have nothing to do with this war.

This is a war of conquest and expansion by Russia. Russia won't be anything more than a regional power with nukes unless they restore the russian empire. Their shrinking population is already too small, their demographics are causing serious problems, their economy is too small, their whole system is corrupt. Without controlling Ukraine and much ,if not all the rest, of the Russian-soviet empire, russia wouldn't matter. Take away their nukes and they become Saudi Arabia, a corrupt regional power that has resources other countries purchase.
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Well-Known Member
What baffles me is that people won't accept that Ukraine wasn't getting into NATO and that Ukraine and NATO have nothing to do with this war.
Irrespective of how the Russians perceived things and whether they actually believed it or used it as an excuse; unfortunately we now have a war which like other wars has caused huge destruction and suffering but unlike other wars which have taken place over the past few decades has the potential to get much much worse; Russia being a nuclear armed belligerent and the country it invaded being bordered and supported by NATO which is also nuclear armed.

The prospect of things rapidly spiraling out of control with catastrophic consequences is frightening.

Take away their nukes and they become Saudi Arabia, a corrupt regional power that has resources other countries purchase.
It's also a country which is a strategic partner of the world's sole super power [which guarantees its security] and one which has huge influence worldwide not merely because of oil money but because the Saudi King is the ''Custodian Of The Two Holy Mosques''.
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Super Moderator
Staff member
Apologies for the heavier than usual approach — this is driven by the unwillingness of some participants in this thread to stick to facts — there is no need to have a dog chasing it’s own tail in this thread.

Not accepting the simple truth that NATO was and is a present threat to Russia baffles me.. NATO was designed to counter Russia.. and when u look at statements coming out of NATO, it’s not hidden that all they have been doing in the last few years is to expand and contain Russia.. it’s hard to call an expanding organisation defensive
Atunga banned for 2 weeks & his above post deleted.

Note to all, please read the text in green if you intend to post:

Let’s attempt to define ‘sovereignty’, and share some relevant quotes from a lawyer, professor, diplomat, and author (who also holds the title of ambassador), that has argued and won a disputed claim between states before the International Court of Justice. IMO, Prof. *Tommy Koh*, is well qualified to write on matters of international law, with regard to Russia’s claims:-

1. Let me start with quotes from Prof Koh, the former UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to Russia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, on his 3 basic points on the UN charter:

“First, the charter confers on all states, big and small, sovereign equality under international law. What this means is that, legally, all states are equal and are entitled to the same rights. An example of this norm is that, in the UN General Assembly, every member state has one vote.
Second, the charter imposes a duty on all member states to settle their international disputes by peaceful means. In fact, force can only be used in self-defence to repel an armed attack on that state.
Third, the charter imposes a duty on all member states to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.”

2. In law, sovereignty is the power of a state to make its own laws, regulations and/or enforce its rights and/or create limited obligations of its citizens within territory that is recognised by other states. This concept of sovereignty infers that the sovereign (i.e. state enacting the law or regulation) has legitimate authority and its laws or regulations are subject to judicial review.

3. The term sovereignty also carries implications of the right of a state to delegate state powers and to grant institutions a certain level of autonomy, including the conduct of war declared by a state and acted upon by its armed forces. This is always subject to judicial review by judicial process (provided that such judiciary has a track record of independence). Subject to the obligations under the UN Charter, when we say a state has sovereign power, it means a state has power beyond the power of others to interfere.
*Backgrounder on Prof. Tommy Koh
(a) Education
1961: University of Malaya (LLB, Hons)
1964: Harvard University (LLM)
1965: Cambridge University (postgraduate diploma in criminology)
(b) Select list of national & international awards
  • 1993: Commander, Order of the Golden Ark, The Netherlands
  • 1997: Grand Cross of the Order of Bernardo O'Higgins, Chile
  • 2000: Commander, First Class, of the Order of the Lion, Finland
  • 2000: Grand Officer in the Order of Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
  • 2001: Officer in the Order of the Legion of Honour, President of the French Republic
  • 2008: Order of Nila Utama (First Class)
  • 2018: Padma Shri Award, India
I really have to disagree…

Now, whether it justified the military intervention, that's up to debatable…

And lastly, yes, Ukraine is a sovereign country and can choose to do whatever the majority of their people wish for. But what happens when some of these choices directly threaten the sovereignty of another country? That's quite a grey area, wouldn't you agree? If not, we'd still have Soviet ballistic missiles on Cuba. And judging by the list of military operations the US (and to an extent NATO) has launched in the last 30 years, I can't really call it a peaceful, purely defensive military alliance.
4. @MaxSP89, there is no ‘grey area’ and no amount of Western flexibility could have appeased Putin. If NATO did not expand to Poland and the Baltics, Russia has the freedom to invade those countries like Ukraine — talk of an alternative security architecture for Europe is shorthand for ‘Russia has the right to intervene in its neighbours and NATO shouldn't interfere with that.’ Let me advise anyone against continuing with a pro-Russian claim of ‘sovereignty’ over Ukraine. These are pro-Russian fabrications that are well debunked at multiple levels — being objective means not allowing ‘nonsense on stilts’ claims to stand in DefenceTalk. Prof Koh explicitly expanded on some points on law to debunk nonsensical arguments from people like you:

(a) On Ukraine’s legitimacy and territorial integrity:

Q1: Does Russia have the right, under international law, to question the legitimacy of Ukraine?

“The answer must be no…When the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991, Ukraine became an independent state and was recognized by the Russian Federation.
The UN allowed the new state of Ukraine to occupy the seat which used to be occupied by the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. The Russian Federation did not object to the move.
Ukraine’s legitimacy as a sovereign and independent state has therefore been recognised by the UN and by the world, including Russia, since 26 Aug 1991.”

(b) On Ukraine and NATO, Prof Koh also said:

Q2: Does Russia have a right to oppose the wishes of Russia’s neighbours to join either the EU or NATO?

“…Russia has no such right. I would also point out that, in 1999, Russia had signed the Istanbul Document of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Under article 8 of that document, Russia acknowledged the right of Ukraine to choose or change its security arrangements.
It is the sovereign right of Russia’s neighbours to join any organisation they wish to do.”

5. In the run-up to present crisis in Ukraine, Russia issued its neighbour an ultimatum : If Ukraine refused to give Russia a guarantee that it would never join Nato, Russia would launch a “special military operation” against it. Ukraine refused to yield to Russia’s demand. On 24 Feb 2022, Russia launched an armed attack against Ukraine, deploying its army, navy and air force. In relation to the above, Prof Koh, said:

Q3: Is there any justification, under international law, for Russia’s action?

“The answer is again no. Russia has no legal justification for its armed attack against Ukraine. Russia has violated several principles of the UN Charter and of international law, including the principle of the non-use of force to settle international disputes and the principle of respect for the territorial integrity and political independence of states.
Russia has tried to justify its action on the ground of self-defence. This is an absurd argument since Ukraine has not attacked Russia or threatened to do so. Ukraine is not even a candidate to Nato.
Russia’s action is particularly reprehensible because it is a signatory of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurance. Under that memorandum, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan agreed to give up their nuclear weapons. In return, Russia, the US and UK assured the three countries that they would protect them from any threats to their territorial integrity. It is totally unacceptable that a guarantor of Ukraine’s territorial integrity should itself be the violator.”

6. Based on the above — the term ‘sovereignty’ is not what a few, like MaxSP89, in this thread imagine it to mean. Do not write a ton of nonsense, using the term, if you have not read this post.

7. The Moderators can’t be bothered to debunk every bad and irrelevant example brought up by ahistorical nationalistic fanboys who have a poor grasp of actual history. Anyone attempting to argue that the Cuban Missile Crisis is a valid example in this thread will be banned for going off-topic
Due to the refusal of members, like Atunga, to heed gentle guidance to stick to facts, an editorial policy has been implemented. Failure to adhere to the above guidance will lead to an automatic ban and deletion of said post.
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Scott Elaurant

Well-Known Member

Further to that ASPI article you quoted, Robert Gates says this:
”Since becoming president in 1999, Putin has been focused on returning Russia to its historical role as a major power and its historical policy of creating a buffer of subservient states on its periphery—the so-called near abroad.”

This is the basic problem I referred to from Plokhy’s book. Putin wants Russia to be a major power but it isn’t one. The longer this delusion goes on, the more wars get started. Russia has a GDP not much larger than Australia, and less than half of the UK’s. They are a regional power at best, with massive economic problems. They can’t even afford to maintain the military they inherited, let alone build a new one of Soviet scale.

The narrative that Russia was a victim of bad policy under Gorbachev and then ransacked by the west in the 1990s plays to Russian populism but is a lie. Many historians have traced the corruption and inefficiency that doomed the USSR back to at least Brezhnev’s era. Gorbachev exposed the problem and failed to fix it, but he didn’t cause it. It was already headed for collapse. Meanwhile the main ransackers of Russian people in the 1990s were Russian oligarchs, not the west.

In fact the former Soviet Union defaulted on most of its debts in 1991, and Russia denied any responsibility for them. Further, Germany paid Russia tens of billions of marks to help “restructure“ East Germany back into Germany. Russia was given a lot of money, which was squandered internally.

The Russian economy has never adequately restructured to have a military of an affordable size after 1991. It is still far too large for a country with an economy the size of Canada’s. Without a collection of satellite states sending money back to Moscow the size of Russian state institutions is unsustainable. None of those satellites are willing to voluntarily return to their former roles.

That ASPI article by Paul Dibb also leaves out the guarantees given to Ukrainian territorial integrity and its pre-2014 borders by USA and Russia back in the 1990s when Ukraine agreed to give up all the nuclear weapons it inherited from the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Diplomats like Dibb always want to find a peaceful solution, which is their job. But once the fighting has started the solution has to be acceptable to both sides or fighting continues. Putin wants Ukraine to be subservient to Moscow in a way they won’t accept. So this fight will continue until Ukraine is defeated or Russian troops expelled. The fastest way to end it will be for the west to assist Ukraine to win.

There are risks if Russia loses. There are also risks of further wars if Russia wins. But nuclear war is hardly the only major risk. The current conventional war has already killed at least 30,000 people, perhaps many more. The sooner Ukraine wins, the fewer people die.


Well-Known Member
The narrative that Russia was a victim of bad policy under Gorbachev and then ransacked by the west in the 1990s plays to Russian populism but is a lie.
Depends on who you ask I suppose.

''Zubok concludes that the speed and ease with which the Soviet central structures collapsed baffled even the most experienced Western observers. He believes Mikhail Gorbachev’s leadership, character and beliefs constituted a major factor in the Soviet Union’s self-destruction. His fumbling policies of reform generated total chaos that legitimised runaway separatism in the Baltics and, ultimately, in the core Slavic territories of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.'' [from the ASPI article]

The fastest way to end it will be for the west to assist Ukraine to win.
I agree but for how long? What if the conflict drags on indefinitely with Russia being able to sustain things; albeit without the ability to actually achieve decisive results? Or what if things reach a point where Russia feels that peace talks are the only option and where the Ukraine is still willing [who can blame it] to make certain concessions; which might not be agreeable or might cause some concern to its Western backers; in return for security guarantees?

But nuclear war is hardly the only major risk.
It is the most dire risk and if it occurs we can forget about all the other risks and concerns.
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Active Member
What if the conflict drags on indefinitely with Russia being able to sustain things
How can Russia sustain this? They're now fighting predominantly in territory that is already full of destruction. Personnel losses will be large for both sides. One seemingly has - although not guaranteed - relative unlimited supply of equipment and finance, while the other will greatly struggle to produce replacement equipment and will without a doubt struggle financially. The Ukrainians also likely have more will to fight given what's at stake.

Obviously both sides here are losing - there are no winners. However for Russia, this is such a comprehensive own goal in the long term.


Well-Known Member
So, seems we're back to the attrition warfare of 2014-2021. This means it's time the west starts providing short range NLOS weaponry, anti-drone systems, drones, loitering munitions, long range rockets and SRBMs.
A strategic advantage Ukraine has in this war that it didn't have in the attrition war before it, is the logistical disparity between Russia and Ukraine in the Donbass region. That is, Ukraine's logistics need short and less visible trips. Russia's needs longer more visible ones.

Since Ukraine has a legitimacy to attack inside Russia, ballistic missiles become as relevant as they can get. Any strike at Russia's logistics would be felt strongly, more so than the same happening to Ukraine, due to the long distances, and the planning required for that.


Well-Known Member
The Russians are now using strategic bomber to bomb the factor after the surrender time has passed
The title says Tu-160, but I believe thats a Tu-22
Ukrainain escape attempt- This is Russian Drone footage so this attempt did not go unnoticed. Its in broad daylight too, some people are suggesting that they are escaping to surrender, as the deadline for surrender is about to expire. I have no way to confirm either way.
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Super Moderator
Staff member
Certain inconvenient facts have been established earlier in this thread & details of the ICC

1. At best, one can argue that NATO expansion put Russia into an uncomfortable position — NATO didn't force Putin to invade Ukraine in 2014 or 2022. It was Putin who made the choice to pancake the Russian economy with an war of aggression and re-establish Soviet-style political controls over Russia. We are now way beyond just a political science theory by George Kennan. Without NATO expansion, the potential arenas for escalation would be Poland and the Baltics in addition to Ukraine. Further, citing George Kennan does not change the fact that member states of the United Nations have said that Russia’s actions violate the UN Charter; on 2 Mar 2022, 141 countries at the UN General Assembly voted to reprimand Russia for invading Ukraine — demanded that Moscow stop fighting & withdraw its military forces.
  • 35 states abstained — including China, India, Pakistan, UAE & Vietnam
  • 5 voted against the resolution.
It is fair to critique and say Western media has certain bias but it is a huge, unsubstantiated leap by questioning everything there and the same applies to Russian media.

The Russians were supposed to be masters of information warfare and deception. But this "war" has plenty of self inflicted own goals on their end that does not require any Western "painting".

A good lie is a believable lie that sows an element of doubt. It is a bad lie when that doubt is sowed in reverse. Bucha is a classic example. It might have been better to say I don't know who kill those people than claim that Ukrainians set them up, then do damage control by saying we need an independent investigation.
2. True. The lessons of history have been distorted, turned inside out, debased and turned into agitprop by pro-Russian supporters; instead I choose to give voice to the opinion of 141 member states over that of 5.

3. As I said earlier, Russian disinformation is not about telling a plausible lie, but about making Western media and human rights run in circles to disprove the huge volume of lies.

4. Russian misinformation by its embassy in Central Europe is often deliberate.

Are the deceased in these mass graves the victims of executions? Are there any civilian combatants among the dead?

…What would be the trusted source for information on these death’s? I’m not a Russian apologist, I just want to get as close to the truth as possible under these circumstances.
5. @Big Slick, you asked. Let me answer — compared to local police (who deals with raw data), the deliberations and rulings of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is considered a trusted source. Back in 2015 when Russia invaded and annexed Crimea, Ukraine referred the conflict to the the ICC for investigation. And there’s a provision in the Rome Statute — article 12.3 — which allows states that are not members of the ICC to refer a conflict and allegations of crimes to the court. But an investigation has to be triggered, and one way for that to happen is if one of the 123 member states asks the court to investigate. Alex Whiting, a visiting professor of practice at Harvard Law and the current deputy specialist prosecutor at the Kosovo Specialist Prosecutor’s Office in The Hague, said:
(a) It was just announced that 39 states referred the Ukraine situation to the ICC for investigation. So, the prosecutor of that court, Karim Ahmad Khan, QC, announced that he is immediately opening up an investigation and will start collecting evidence. That investigation is also open into past crimes that could have occurred in the Crimea and eastern Ukraine.​
(b) The ICC has jurisdiction over 4 types of crime: (i) war crimes, (ii) crimes against humanity, (iii) genocide, and (iv) the crime of aggression. And there is no doubt that this is an act of aggression by Russia against Ukraine. However, the crime of aggression has a particular requirement, which is different from all the other crimes. It can only be prosecuted by the court if one member state commits an act of aggression against another. Since neither Russia nor Ukraine is a member, the crime of aggression here does not apply. So, the ICC is focusing on war crimes, and it will also consider crimes against humanity if they arise.
(c) Ukraine has brought an emergency case before that court, which will be heard next week. The focus of Ukraine’s complaint is that Russia has used as one of its justifications — Alex Whiting has said in an interview with Harvard Law Today, that this is phony justification — for invading Ukraine the allegation that there is a threat of genocide against Russian nationals living in Ukraine. Ukraine says this is nonsense. The ICC should rule that there is no such threat and that assertion cannot be used as a justification for the invasion.​
(d) The number one challenge faced by international courts, and by the ICC today in Ukraine, is getting access to the places where the alleged crimes are being committed, where the bombs are falling, and where people are being killed. It’s very difficult for investigators from The Hague to travel to those places to gather evidence while the conflict is still ongoing. Prosecutor Karim Ahmad Khan, QC, on visit to Bucha said:​
“Ukraine is a crime scene. We’re here because we have reasonable grounds to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC are being committed. We have to pierce the fog of war to get to the truth.”​
(e) There is no statute of limitations, which is the good news. But the investigation can sometimes be lengthy, just because of the challenges of collecting the evidence while the conflict is ongoing in real time.​

6. Putin’s lies about the invasion of Ukraine being only a ‘special military operation.’ This is day 53 of the war, and Russia is waging a full fledged war of aggression (that Putin can put a stop to); even Antonio Guterres at the UN Security Council had said:

"We are dealing with the full-fledged invasion of one Member State of the UN, Ukraine, by another, the Russian Federation, a Permanent Member of the Security Council, in violation of the UN Charter, with several aims, including redrawing the internationally-recognized borders.​
The war in Ukraine must stop — now.​
We need serious negotiations for peace, based on the principles of the United Nations Charter."​
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Well-Known Member
Ok so this video is going around claiming that these are Russian spec ops hunting down a Ukrainain colonel who attempted to escape. Their editor did a goodjob zooming in on the patch and the rifle. This seems very staged to me, but idk, I will let the experts decide.
Regarding the labels on the guns, if you were two high ranked officer trying to make an escape, why in the world would you carry the assault rifles with your names attached to it, would it not be your intention to hide your identity as much as possible?