The Ukrainian Donbass War Thread

tonnyc

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@Ananda Ukraine's current claimed borders are as per the Soviet Ukraina border from the USSR days. This is usually the practice when a nation breaks up since it's provides a quick and well-established border delineation.

The legal argument that Donbass is part of Russia in 1918 instead of Ukraine is usually deemed irrelevant under international law. The whole world likes continuity and really don't like arguments that said, "this area was part of us this many years ago, ergo it is ours too now." Those irredentist arguments are the cause for many border disputes today. They can cast it as a matter of sovereignty or national integrity or cultural similarity or outright self-determination, but arguing that the border used to be that way a hundred years ago and thus should be like that too now usually a losing argument from a legal standpoint.
 
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Feanor

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There's something that intrigued me for sometime now. If we look older maps (like the ones attached), it's shown that what being called Eastern Ukraine from the time of Russian Civil war is owned either by Communist Sovyet or Monarchist White. If not mistaken it's also owned by Russia during the time of Empire.

That territory become Ukraine mostly on USSR administrative division (@Feanor sorry if I make mistake on this, just based on what I found in open source). Thus for me raise question, when the "Empire" that govern all those Republics broken up and cease to exist, which territory that should be back to each Republics ? The territory that as it is, or the territory that belong to each 'States/Republics' before the USSR administrative division ?

This's will be different compared to Poland that gain practically most of Prussia due to division after War. Eventough some in German still thinking that those area should be return to United Germany, however most of Germans already accepted that due to consequences of Germany Wars.

While the results of territory of each ex USSR Republics (to differentiate with Warsaw Pact USSR satellites), many create due to administrative divisions. If Scotland leave UK, the territories of what's Scotland or England mostly based on what is traditionally belong to Scottish and English old Kingdoms. This's also similar if Catalonia leave Spain. However it's not that clear cut if we talk on ex USSR Republics territories.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not pro Russia or pro Ukraine in this matter. I'm just talk with their situation, perhaps the Russian in Donbass has legal base to argue that they are not Ukrainian and their territory is not Ukrainian. Can territory that divide based on administrative consideration of one ruling empire that govern them all, be challenged by people on that territory that want to revert back ?

View attachment 48146
Ok there are two problems with this.

Problem the first.

History simply doesn't support this. The White movement itself was far from homogenous and was perfectly happy to ally with local nationalist movements and governments if it got them support against the Soviets. Second the RSFSR was hardly a neatly drawn nation-state along ethnic lines of distinction. Kiev for example, during the Civil War, changed hands from Soviet, to Ukrainian Rada, to German occupation, to Petlyura's dictatorship, and then to Soviet again. So depending on which point in the war you want to take the map, you can get almost any outcome. It's deeply wrong to think that the White Movement + Soviet Russia = Russian Nation State, especially since the White movement was badly fractured, did not agree on many things internally, and never really had any sort of "agreement" on territorial division with the RSFSR. They had agreements with many other parties in that war, but given that they weren't unified enough to even be theoretically consistent on those agreements, trying to take their sum as some sort of political arrangement is silly.

And in the Russian Empire there was no "Ukraine" as a single entity. There were multiple governorates (guberniyas) whose territory somewhat overlapped with most of modern Ukraine but not quite. Ukraine, the one that we know today, was established by Lenin's decree. In fact in the Russian Empire it was even questionable what it meant to be Russian vs Ukrainian. The two were often not treated as mutually exclusive. Imperial ethnographers routinely marked White Russians (Belorossy), Little Russians (Malorossy) and Great Russian (Velikorossy) all as Russian. And in literature, including Ukrainian literature from clearly Ukrainian authors like Gogol', you will find characters that are Ukrainian referring to themselves as Russian not as a denial of their Ukrainian identity but as an umbrella under which they fall.

Which takes us to the deepest level of the history problem. For Ukraine as a nation-state, there is no "before" the Empire. There were feudal entities on the territory of modern day Ukraine but none of them correlate neatly with modern day Ukraine, and the territory of "Novorossiya" in particular is called "New Russia" because it was conquered from the Crimean Khaganate (or Cirim-Yurt) by the Russian Empire. In other words areas like modern day Sevastopol' or Mariupol' weren't really Russia or Ukrainian pre-Empire. And much of the local population was displaced or driven out by masses of Russian and Ukrainian settlers brought in by Imperial nobility. There's Kievan Rus but geographically and ethnically it includes the predecessors to both modern day Russia and Ukraine, and the word Rus itself probably comes from the Ruotzi of Scandinavia, and refers to the Swedish/Danish military "corporations" (for lack of a better term) that either rules various duchy's of Kievan Rus or served at the behest of its cities. There's the Grand Duchy of Kiev, of course, but it was quite small and is hardly a fitting territory for modern day Ukraine as a nation-state. To top it off it's a fool's errand to attempt to claim feudal states as analogous to nation-states. They simply weren't. This is what makes it so hard to untangle Russia from Ukraine, the two formed as nations intertwined historically. Russia didn't conquer a separate nation of Ukraine while building its empire.

Problem the second.

The position you have taken here is not anyone's position in this conflict. It's certainly not Ukraine's position, but more importantly it's not Russia's position either. Russia isn't claiming half or a third of eastern or southern Ukraine as Russian territory because of historic precedent from pre-Soviet or pre-Imperial times. Russia is claiming that Crimea, of its own volition, decided to secede from Ukraine and join Russia. Russia is citing the right of peoples and nations to self-determination from the UN Charter as the legal basis, and pointing to Kosovo, and others, as precedent. Russia, in its own version of events, simply did the neighbourly good turn of protecting the locals from rowdy right-wing elements and heavy-handed interference from an un-elected Kiev government, while they conducted their complete fair and totally not rigged referendum, to decide what the people of Crimea wanted to do. Leaving aside the hilarious naivete of this narrative, in principle Russian annexation of Crimea is rooted in the right to self-determination of the locals, who happen to have a super-majority of ethnic Russians, and who have attempted to secede from Ukraine before, in the 90's. It didn't work out at the time, but 20+ years of Kiev rule didn't make people much happier about the lot they were dealt at the fall of the Union.

TL;DR - Ok, sorry this turned into such a gigantic off-topic mess. Feel free to skip it. The long and short of it is modern day Ukraine comes from the Ukrainian SSR, not any pre-Imperial Ukraine which mostly didn't exist as any sort of nation-state. And Russia doesn't take your view of the situation either, which makes the entire thing moot.
 

Feanor

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Updates.

Russia's 382 Independent Marine Btln in Crimea took delivery of 40 BTR-82As. This unit is actually a former Ukrainian Independent Marin Btln where much of the personnel switched sides in 2014. It also accounts for at least a few of the recent equipment movements, but again only a few. It's also probably not an accident that an entire VDV regiment is arriving in Crimea, and with the marines receiving new equipment.


Russian troop trains keep moving, including modern air defense.


Brand new (well upgraded not newly manufactured) T-72AMTs are being moved to the front from the Ukrainian side.


There is information of deliveries of military cargo by the US by both ship and air.


Russian Tu-214ON was seen flying around near the Ukrainian border. It may simply have been landing at Taganrog, but it also may have been taken photos.

 
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Ananda

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@tonnyc and @Feanor thanks for the repply. Just to make it clear, I'm not saying that Russia have the rights to claim part of Ukraine base on historical rights. Claiming anything on historical rights is what making mess right now in South China Sea. I also understand that Russia don't want to claim other part of Ukraine (except Crimea, which's we know is part of different arguments). My post actually not talking about position of Russian claim, but more to ethic Russian claim in eastern Ukraine to separate themselves from Ukraine, due to historical position. I'm sorry if my point is not clear on my previous post.

My pondering is more to the rights of people in a specific territory. This's back to the rights of self determination. Western power accept Kosovo right to move away from Serbia base. If the ethic Russian in Eastern Ukraine especially Donbass fell that they're not going to be Ukrainian, due to historically they fell their part used to be not Ukrainian, can this be acceptable ?

Sorry also to other Moderators, I don't want to prolong off topic discussion. Just I'm pondering if West can accept Kosovo arguments, then theoriticaly they should accept Donbass arguments.
Back to my own country Indonesia, there's already for some time support from Western NGO's and some Pacific countries that demand Western Papuan being given right to self determination. Off course Indonesia claim it can't be done as it's already done in late 60's under UN. So does Papuan still have the rights ?

So whose people in one territory can demand self determination ? Can West accept Catalonian demand for self determination even facing Spain opposition ?

Again I'm very sorry for this off topic post. I'm alright if this being move from this thread, or the topic being considered too Political, thus not suited in DT. Still I do see that the rights for Donbass people to seceded from Ukraine is significant part of this mess. This's back to arguments of Territorial Integrity of a Nation and People Rights on certain territory.
 
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Feanor

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@tonnyc and @Feanor thanks for the repply. Just to make it clear, I'm not saying that Russia have the rights to claim part of Ukraine base on historical rights. Claiming anything on historical rights is what making mess right now in South China Sea. I also understand that Russia don't want to claim other part of Ukraine (except Crimea, which's we know is part of different arguments). My post actually not talking about position of Russian claim, but more to ethic Russian claim in eastern Ukraine to separate themselves from Ukraine, due to historical position. I'm sorry if my point is not clear on my previous post.

My pondering is more to the rights of people in a specific territory. This's back to the rights of self determination. Western power accept Kosovo right to move away from Serbia base. If the ethic Russian in Eastern Ukraine especially Donbass fell that they're not going to be Ukrainian, due to historically they fell their part used to be not Ukrainian, can this be acceptable ?
Can it be acceptable as some sort of post-war settlement? Sure. But as things stand it's not acceptable to Ukraine or to the US. It would, I suppose, be acceptable to Russia. But even Russia isn't suggesting this course. I think it's extremely unlikely.

Sorry also to other Moderators, I don't want to prolong off topic discussion. Just I'm pondering if West can accept Kosovo arguments, then theoriticaly they should accept Donbass arguments.
Back to my own country Indonesia, there's already for some time support from Western NGO's and some Pacific countries that demand Western Papuan being given right to self determination. Off course Indonesia claim it can't be done as it's already done in late 60's under UN. So does Papuan still have the rights ?

So whose people in one territory can demand self determination ? Can West accept Catalonian demand for self determination even facing Spain opposition ?

Again I'm very sorry for this off topic post. I'm alright if this being move from this thread, or the topic being considered too Political, thus not suited in DT. Still I do see that the rights for Donbass people to seceded from Ukraine is significant part of this mess. This's back to arguments of Territorial Integrity of a Nation and People Rights on certain territory.
Let's leave this out of this discussion. Again, military and geo-strategic issues related to the conflict in Ukraine. What you're looking to discuss is a fundamental question of politics and international relations.
 

kato

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it's shown that what being called Eastern Ukraine from the time of Russian Civil war is owned either by Communist Sovyet or Monarchist White
That's a Civil War wartime map, meaning not any sort of administrative division. There were about five or six iterations of different administrative divisions - or claims - following the Brest-Litovsk treaty until the end of the civil war.

If not mistaken it's also owned by Russia during the time of Empire.
The territory of modern Ukraine is virtually congruent with that of a set of 9 Imperial provinces (guberniyas) - Kiev, Volnia, Podolia, Khreson, Tavria, Ekaterinoslav, Kharkov, Poltava and Chernisov - along with a part of Galicia that had gone to Austria-Hungary in the Polish Division (the West Ukrainian Republic).

The guberniyas as formal subdivisions were finally abolished in Ukraine in 1925, in Russia in 1929, with modern oblasts formed around 1932 for Ukraine.

There are only two significant differences in the modern border - gaining the Budjak with Odessa and losing the northern half of Chernisov (accounting for about the same amount of land). These adjustments were mostly made during WW2 on ethnicity basis after regaining the territories from Axis occupation.
 

kato

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P.S.:

It is the comparably minor differences of border adjustments compared to the old guberniyas that partially contribute to modern wars. And, if you look at the history of the USSR, it's often a somewhat complicated story.

Specifically the Donets governate in the Southeast was formed in 1920 out of some territory of the (Ukrainian) Yekaterinoslav guberniya and the (traditionally Russian) Don Republic, with the governate assigned to the Ukrainian Soviet Republic in 1922 after the White "South Russia" Republic had been defeated. This area was divided between Russia and Ukraine again in 1924-1925, in the process of which the Ukrainian border was pushed slightly eastwards compared to the Imperial guberniya. This border between the two Soviet Republics was defined in 1928, after Stalin had rid himself of the Troika in 1927 in which pro-Leninist Ukrainians like Zinoviev still had some say.

It is this exact area that is today fought over as the Donbass.

It should be noted that past maps do not really help in this as they are heavily politicized in the current climate for propaganda. Among Ukrainian nationalists like the EuroMaidan crowd for example you'll find provisional maps from around 1919-1920, i.e. from the civil war, which assign the whole of "South Russia" to Ukraine (including notably Kuban up to the border of Georgia, i.e. the entire Russian Black Sea coast). These are often directly based off the Brest-Litovsk treaty that basically assigned all former Russian Empire territory occupied by Germany at the time to Ukraine.
 

ngatimozart

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@kato If you really want to go back the Ukraine can actually claim Russia as far as Moscow, because Moscow was founded by Varalingian princes from Kyiv. The Varalingians were Vikings so maybe the Scandinavians actually have the rightfull claim. So both Kiev and Moscow should probably be paying tribute to Scandinavia.
 

SolarWind

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Caspian Flotilla warships will be moved to the Black Sea. Over ten marine assault and artillery warships of the Russian Navy will be transferred from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea in order to take part in join exercises with the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

Reportedly, Ukrainian Navy began their own exercises earlier today.

Earlier, Kremlin sent a stern warning to Ukraine about the war in Donbass.

CNN reports that the US is also considering sending warships to the Black Sea in the next few weeks, given the 14 day advance notice they are supposed to submit to Turkey under the Montreux convention.
 
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SolarWind

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Russia denies any contact with the U.S. regarding Ukraine at the levels of heads of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defense. This is in response to comments made by the White House press secretary at a recent press conference.

China sabre-rattling with Taiwan and now, Russia doing so with Ukraine.
Perhaps Russia and China are coordinating.
 
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Feanor

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Update.

A Ukrainian service member has died, after hitting a land-mine. It appears he was trying to clear an opening through a minefield separating the two sides. According to DNR sources anyway.


Ukraine's Bayraktar TB2 flew over the Donbass front line.


DNR sources report Ukraine bringing mortar shells to the front line in vehicles marked with the log of STsKK, the structure responsible for observing the ceasefire situation. They also report the arrival of Ukrainian right-wing radical groups near the positions of the 58th Motorized Bde.


The DNR has also spotted a Nazi Germany flag over Ukrainian positions. This would look like misinformation if it weren't for the fact that Ukrainian service members have done this sort of thing before (last time it was together with a NATO flag).


Russian troop movements have been spotted in Transnestria.


More footage of Russian troop movements.


A large new Russian army camp has been spotted near Ukraine.


Ukraine-NATO exercises Cossack Mace 2021 are set to start. This could explain the recent activity of US transport aircraft.


Dmitriy Peskov has issued another statement stating that if a full scale war breaks out in Ukraine this would pose a threat to Russian security, and measures would have to be taken. Deputy chief of the presidential administration of Russia also stated that large scale combat action in Ukraine would be the beginning of the end of Ukraine. Chairman of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev has accused the Ukrainian government of attempting to distract the public from internal problems by escalating the conflict. He also suggested that concrete measures may be taken if the situation develops. Finally Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs has issued a statement stating that Berlin and Paris need to get Ukraine to see reason with regards to the events in the Donbass. The expression he used "привести в чувство" is quite strong.

This is quite a flurry of statements from multiple sources. It looks like an attempt to send a message as clearly as possible.


Ukraine's delegation refused to travel to Minsk for negotiations because Belarus is pro-Russian. They apparently intend to find another country to host the negotiations.

 

SolarWind

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The DNR has also spotted a Nazi Germany flag over Ukrainian positions. This would look like misinformation if it weren't for the fact that Ukrainian service members have done this sort of thing before (last time it was together with a NATO flag).
This is the sort of thing that gives Kremlin its high moral ground over Ukraine, despite the fact that many fail to understand it.
 

Big_Zucchini

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This is the sort of thing that gives Kremlin its high moral ground over Ukraine, despite the fact that many fail to understand it.
There are aguably more Nazis in the US than China, despite having only less than a quarter of the population. Does it give China the moral high ground? Nope.
 

ngatimozart

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There are aguably more Nazis in the US than China, despite having only less than a quarter of the population. Does it give China the moral high ground? Nope.
Hmm what's the PRC got to do with this particular conversation? I am struggling to find the connection.
 

Big_Zucchini

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Hmm what's the PRC got to do with this particular conversation? I am struggling to find the connection.
It is a tool for an example. In the same way I could have used any other country, but China is a very comfortable case.
I could have also made a wall of text to prove my point, but a short example to show an exclusion is easier on the eye.
 

ngatimozart

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It is a tool for an example. In the same way I could have used any other country, but China is a very comfortable case.
I could have also made a wall of text to prove my point, but a short example to show an exclusion is easier on the eye.
But the inclusion of the PRC is still not relevant. It would've been far easier to use Russia as an example. It has its fair share of right wing nutters running around. Just to be clear about the PRC, the only Nazis running around there would be high up in the CCP and their operatives who would be protected by them. Anyone else would be on the inside looking out from a re-education camp. You as well as I know how the CCP reacts to internal political opposition of any kind.
 

Feanor

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This is the sort of thing that gives Kremlin its high moral ground over Ukraine, despite the fact that many fail to understand it.
It's one of those things that sends me into a spiral. On the one hand it meshes well with recent reports of right wing extremists near the front line. On the other hand both reports come from DNR sources. And isn't it just so convenient that just as Russia is warning about Ukrainian aggression in Donbass, the DNR spots a 3rd Reich flag. On the third hand (yes there's more then two hands) this has been done before, and it fits well with the overall pattern of Nazi symbols cropping up here and there in both the Ukrainian Armed Forces and para-military formations (especially the latter). It's really hard to say. For me what settles it is not the veracity of this individual sighting, which is still somewhat suspect, it's more that this is the sort of thing one would expect given overall trends.
 

Feanor

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There are aguably more Nazis in the US than China, despite having only less than a quarter of the population. Does it give China the moral high ground? Nope.
It's not about Nazi's as a portion of the population, it's about their infiltration into the military and their involvement in this conflict. A couple of years back president Zelenskiy was trying to implement a portion of the Minsk accords, namely the separation of sides, and armed right wingers on the front line refused his orders. He had to fly out there personally to meet with them, and it still wasn't resolved. It's also about the disproportionate political influence that right wing groups have in Ukraine despite being a tiny portion of the electorate. It doesn't necessarily give Russia the moral high ground, but it does cast the Ukrainian government in a rather unsavory light.

Let me give you an example. A Neo-Nazi event was held in Kiev including an MMA night and a concert.


It was attended by Ukraine's Prime Minister. When this came to light in the media he stated "share any hateful ideologies – neither Nazism, Fascism, or Communism" and "the politicization of the situation was totally inappropriate and that it is not up to the government to dictate what our defenders to sing". This response might sound reasonable but only if you didn't click on the first link and see what kind of event this was.


And it's not like Ukraine is all that big on freedom of speech either. They literally have lists of banned books.


Bellingcat is a source nobody can reasonably accuse of being pro-Russian, and here's what they have to say on the subject of right wing extremism in Ukraine. This isn't an exhaustive collection of articles, there's far more. These are just few I found noteworthy.

 

OPSSG

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It is a tool for an example. In the same way I could have used any other country, but China is a very comfortable case.
Kindly have some sympathy for the Moderators; especially those like me who have been subject to racist attacks in other discussion threads, for my ethnic origin, by certain former members (from 2 countries in particular) who have been banned. Thankfully, we have had members who have spoken up for me and have encouraged me to keep posting.

I could have also made a wall of text to prove my point, but a short example to show an exclusion is easier on the eye.
Please don’t do that and find a way to co-exist with instead of driving people, like me, away, who take the trouble to provide a balanced perspective.
 
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