The Ukrainian Donbass War Thread

Big_Zucchini

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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.


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.
My case is not related to the moral compass of the Chinese people, their government, or any segment of China, and frankly I think my argument is being taken way out of context, even though I explained the reason for using China - population size.
If I used Russia as an example, I probably would make an example based on wrong statistics.

The final point is the number of Nazis in a country relative to its population, does not necessarily reflect the extent of extremist opinions in said country, in an accurate manner. There are many other forms of extremist ideologies. And I'm sure even in the most progressive countries, you can find people who would be willing to wave the Nazi flag.

Ukraine is plagued by Nazi movements, but their share of the total population has been greatly exaggerated by Russian media (and was entirely ignored prior to the conflict).
Their impact is visually amplified by the more militant nature of neo-Nazis, and therefore their participation in the conflict.
 
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ngatimozart

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My case is not related to the moral compass of the Chinese people, their government, or any segment of China, and frankly I think my argument is being taken way out of context, even though I explained the reason for using China - population size.
If I used Russia as an example, I probably would make an example based on wrong statistics.

The final point is the number of Nazis in a country relative to its population, does not necessarily reflect the extent of extremist opinions in said country, in an accurate manner. There are many other forms of extremist ideologies. And I'm sure even in the most progressive countries, you can find people who would be willing to wave the Nazi flag.

Ukraine is plagued by Nazi movements, but their share of the total population has been greatly exaggerated by Russian media (and was entirely ignored prior to the conflict).
Their impact is visually amplified by the more militant nature of neo-Nazis, and therefore their participation in the conflict.
I just want to reinforce a comment that @OPSSG has made in his reply to you.

The Jewish people are not the only ones who are subject to prejudices because of their race and / or religion. OPSSG has been subjected to it because of his race and by people who are intolerant and ignorant. I am Māori and Irish which is an interesting combination, yet my people still suffer from prejudice and racism here in NZ from certain sections of society who don't like brown skin people.

There seems to be an increase, worldwide, in the numbers of these far right nutters and TBH the Internet has to be a big component of that because it allows the nutters on both the far right and far left to spread their poison and hate. We get some of those prejudices on here too and sometimes it's directed at individuals. Both OPSSG and I don't accept that and deal with it swiftly, as I believe other Moderators do. It isn't the easiest job in the world and that's why OPSSG wrote what he did.

He contributes an awful lot of knowledge and wisdom to the forum and he has a pretty good mind. He's also a very busy person and he still finds time to devote time here. He's a man deserving of respect and he certainly has mine. Maybe you and other posters should consider giving him your respect as well.
 
I just want to reinforce a comment that @OPSSG has made in his reply to you.

The Jewish people are not the only ones who are subject to prejudices because of their race and / or religion. OPSSG has been subjected to it because of his race and by people who are intolerant and ignorant. I am Māori and Irish which is an interesting combination, yet my people still suffer from prejudice and racism here in NZ from certain sections of society who don't like brown skin people.

There seems to be an increase, worldwide, in the numbers of these far right nutters and TBH the Internet has to be a big component of that because it allows the nutters on both the far right and far left to spread their poison and hate. We get some of those prejudices on here too and sometimes it's directed at individuals. Both OPSSG and I don't accept that and deal with it swiftly, as I believe other Moderators do. It isn't the easiest job in the world and that's why OPSSG wrote what he did.

He contributes an awful lot of knowledge and wisdom to the forum and he has a pretty good mind. He's also a very busy person and he still finds time to devote time here. He's a man deserving of respect and he certainly has mine. Maybe you and other posters should consider giving him your respect as well.
There hasn't been an increase in nutters. They’ve always been there, but were quiet. Recent events seem to have given them license to become vocal.

Art
 

Big_Zucchini

Well-Known Member
I just want to reinforce a comment that @OPSSG has made in his reply to you.

The Jewish people are not the only ones who are subject to prejudices because of their race and / or religion. OPSSG has been subjected to it because of his race and by people who are intolerant and ignorant. I am Māori and Irish which is an interesting combination, yet my people still suffer from prejudice and racism here in NZ from certain sections of society who don't like brown skin people.

There seems to be an increase, worldwide, in the numbers of these far right nutters and TBH the Internet has to be a big component of that because it allows the nutters on both the far right and far left to spread their poison and hate. We get some of those prejudices on here too and sometimes it's directed at individuals. Both OPSSG and I don't accept that and deal with it swiftly, as I believe other Moderators do. It isn't the easiest job in the world and that's why OPSSG wrote what he did.

He contributes an awful lot of knowledge and wisdom to the forum and he has a pretty good mind. He's also a very busy person and he still finds time to devote time here. He's a man deserving of respect and he certainly has mine. Maybe you and other posters should consider giving him your respect as well.
I really don't understand why I'm being attacked over something that was both taken out of context, and for explaining why exactly it was perceived incorrectly.
You were okay with using Russia as an example, so it seems to me, on first impression as a double standard.
The example, I will reiterate, was meant to prove the absurdity of claiming a moral ground based on how many nutters exist in a very specific group, when other groups are not taken into account.
Are Chechens Nazis? Nope. But they have dominantly extremist ideologies, so if you apply my logic, they SHOULD be a factor in how progressive a country is. They are not, however, a significant part of Russia's population.

@Feanor fringe groups having disproportionate power is nothing unique to Ukraine - it is an inherent flaw of democracy, and the principles of Defensive Democracy are not uniformly applied everywhere.
I can consider my people to be fairly progressive, yet our democracy is not well defended, so we have fringe parties often entering coalitions, with a legal panel only ruling some are unfit to enter politics if they condone serious crimes or treason, not for more "conventional" extremism like homophobia or racism.
This usually happens when there is a strong divide preventing a stable government, fringe parties become sort of kingmakers.
Or alternatively when a crisis calls for additional help, even if it's from bad sources.
Ukraine has only just begun its path as a democracy - so many people are still not used to it so of course it's a lot more formal than essential, and therefore not fulfilling its potential, especially in deeper nuanced like self protection against non democratic elements.
And honestly even after 74 years of formal existence as a state, Israel's getting into political crises because self protection measures weren't enacted.
 

ngatimozart

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There hasn't been an increase in nutters. They’ve always been there, but were quiet. Recent events seem to have given them license to become vocal.

Art
Possibly Art, but they seem to be coming out of the woodwork everywhere lately. Not just that lot either. You know it's all Copernicus's fault for telling people that the world is round. Ever since then the place has gone to the dogs. :D
 

SolarWind

Active Member
The Russian minister of defense is seeing American Armies being relocated to Europe, near Russian borders. A total of 40 thousand servicemen and 15 thousand units of armaments.
He also reports that Russia has moved two armies and three VDV units to its Western borders within boundaries of formal exercises, in response to NATO activity.
 

SolarWind

Active Member
Another Russian Army relocated to the area. This time an Army with Chechnya war experience was relocated from Russia's South (Northern Caucasus) to Crimea, for exercises.

Russia appears to be closing the Kerch Strait to foreign military ships and ships owned by foreign governments until October 2021, due to military exercises.
 
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Toptob

Active Member
Yes! Some questions:

@SolarWind reports "He also reports that Russia has moved two armies and three VDV units to its Western borders within boundaries of formal exercises, in response to NATO activity. "

1: Is the composition of these "armies" known? I've heard numbers in the ballpark of 80 000 troops, which would suggest six to eight division sized formations in two army groups if we're talking about 80k frontline troops. But I've also seen armies composed of several independent brigades and or regiments.

2: Are these three VDV "units" brigades, regiments or divisions? I've seen @Feanor mention something about an independent VDV Brigade being reorganized into a division together with two other VDV brigades. Are these the three VDV units mentioned here or are they bringing forward more units?
 

Feanor

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Yes! Some questions:

@SolarWind reports "He also reports that Russia has moved two armies and three VDV units to its Western borders within boundaries of formal exercises, in response to NATO activity. "

1: Is the composition of these "armies" known? I've heard numbers in the ballpark of 80 000 troops, which would suggest six to eight division sized formations in two army groups if we're talking about 80k frontline troops. But I've also seen armies composed of several independent brigades and or regiments.

2: Are these three VDV "units" brigades, regiments or divisions? I've seen @Feanor mention something about an independent VDV Brigade being reorganized into a division together with two other VDV brigades. Are these the three VDV units mentioned here or are they bringing forward more units?
Ukrainian sources claim currently 89 thousand troops set to increase to 110 by the end of this month but it's unclear how accurate those are.


I also have a hard time believing they moved 2 armies in their entirety. The Russian Land Forces still fight using Battalion Tactical Groups (BTG). This means that most brigades are set up to field 1-2 BTGs. Regiments are clearly set up to field 1 BTG each. Look at the regimental artillery groups. They're a 1 for 1 match for what a typical BTG would have for arty support (2 batteries of howitzers 1 of MLRS). The reason they field units this way is because the Russian military tries to use predominantly if not entirely volunteer soldiers for combat missions. And while conscripts make up a minority of enlisted at this point, the professionals often have to take roles like squad leader, platoon sergeant, radio operator, and driver/mechanic (мехвод) in units with conscripts filling the more basic roles. This means that only some professional soldiers are available to fill junior roles in combat units.

The VDV on the other hand is almost entirely composed of contract soldiers. Last I checked, only one of the 4 VDV divisions was even accepting conscripts in any capacity. They could conceivably me moving Regimetal Tactical Groups (RTG) or even entire divisions thought that's less likely.

As for the makeup of Russian Armies, the 1st Tank Army for example includes 1 tank division, 1 motor-rifles division, 1 tank brigade, and 1 motor-rifles bde. An army composed of 1 division (1st Tanks is rare in having two divisions) and several brigades, or just several brigades and independent regiments is typical. Some armies are also not fully formed yet, like the 20th which nominally has two motor-rifle divisions (the 3rd and 144th) but to the best of my knowledge neither are fully formed (i.e. missing units). The 6th Army as far as I can tell only has two motor-rifle brigades for front-line combat, though enough support assets for another couple of brigades easily.

Another Russian Army relocated to the area. This time an Army with Chechnya war experience was relocated from Russia's South (Northern Caucasus) to Crimea, for exercises.
The 58th historically is one of the more active armies of the Land Forces. They fought in Chechnya but also in Georgia. I'm not surprised its involved, but I doubt we're looking at the entire thing. Again likely some BTGs from it are being moved, likely in large enough numbers to be a concern. The 42nd Motor-Rifles are still 100% volunteer soldiers as they were pre-Serdyukov, then it's possible they even sent out a RTG. As is I suspect we're looking at 3-5 BTGs from the 58th Army with possibly some army-level support assets (like air defense, engineers, or even missile units).

Without more evidence that the Land Forces have given up their, by now, traditional use of BTGs and possibly RTGs, I have a hard time believing that entire armies are on the move. Of course another scenario is possible. It's possible entire armies are moving for exercises and readiness checks, with BTGs within those armies ready to spring into action, while the rest of the forces provide rear-end support and casualty replacements as needed. It would leave open the option of throwing even units with conscripts into the fight should it become necessary, while not necessarily committing to that course of action.
 
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ngatimozart

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Has the Russian Army undertake movements this large before purely for exercise purposes? If so how often?
 

Feanor

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Has the Russian Army undertake movements this large before purely for exercise purposes? If so how often?
Typically twice a year. They hold 4 strategic exercises, each of them every two years; East, West, South, and Center. They're focused on each military district, but typically involve units from other MDs too. They can involve as many as 200 000+ troops.

EDIT: I want to be clear. I'm not implying it's coincidence that a major set of exercises happens just as tensions with Ukraine rise. I'm saying they could be conducting the exercises near Ukraine because they want to be ready. Kavkaz-2008 ended right before the Georgian war.
 
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Feanor

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Updates.

Footage of Russian aircraft in Crimea, published initially by the WSJ. Reportedly over 50 aircraft have been rebased by Russia closer to the potential conflict zone.


Aerial imagery of Russian camps in Crimea. Note these are new units not the regular Russian presence in the peninsula.


Additional S-400s have apparently been deployed to Crimea.


Aerial footage of Russian troops, and a look at recent US/NATO air activity near Russian borders in the south-west.


Russian troop movements continue.


Footage of Ukrainian troop movements. In at least one incident, a Ukrainian BM-27 met with an accident.


A fire took place at a Russian army camp near Voronezh. It's likely the tent-city is part of Russia's recent troop movements.


A Russian Il-20 flying ELINT/SIGINT missions near Ukraine. Additional Russain AEW has been rebased to both Rostov-na-Donu and Kaliningrad. The latter suggests preparation for a wider conflict with more then just Ukrainian involvement.


British RC-135 flying around near Crimea.


US RQ-4 also flying around near Crimea.


Caspian Flotilla vessels rebased to the Azov Sea.


The official telegram channel for the Zaporozhskaya NPP stated that they would overload their reactors in a potential response to a Russian invasion if Russia prevents Ukraine from enforcing "constitutional order" in Donbass and Ukraine.


Ukrainian president Zelenskiy suggested to Putin that they meet in Donbass, in any location of it. This comes as his parliamentary faction demands severing diplomatic relations with Russia, and starting a full-scale mobilization.


Ukraine's SBU escalated its readiness level for units in all parts of the country.


The FAA has issued a series of NOTAMs regarding Ukrainian and Russian airspace in the potential conflict zone. This comes as Russia has closed parts of the waterways around the Kerch straight to foreign vessels for a limited. This includes closing the Kerch straight to foreign military vessels.


It appears some Ukrainian vessels, involving 3 of the Gyurza-M armored gun boats, had a run in with 5 Russian coastguard vessels near the Kerchs strait, but the incident did not result in use of force. It allegedly took place the night from Apr 14th to the 15th.


A Russian source is suggesting that Spike missiles have been transported to Ukraine from Latvia.


Turkey has stated that they do not take sides in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.


British special forces have arrived in Ukraine. While the current timing is certainly conspicuous, they have been to Ukraine before for training missions.

 

ngatimozart

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A Breaking Defense Article that attempts to explain why Comrade Putin has a fetish about the Ukraine. I don't know whether it's right or wrong, but it appears to make some sense of the situation.

 

SolarWind

Active Member
Kiev seems to have softened its rhetoric and posture. Perhaps Putin had his point made and didn't feel like invading Ukraine this time. Hopefully this instance of confrontation is over, but who knows?
 
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Big_Zucchini

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Perhaps a de-escalation? Or maybe they just underestimated the logistics of keeping so many troops concentrated in a small area for an extended period of time under war-like conditions? :D
Russia orders troops out after buildup near Ukraine (msn.com)
Russia frequently stages large scale exercises involving large reinforcements from other regional commands. It's very unlikely they underestimated the complexity and costs of such a maneuver.
 

Feanor

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Russia frequently stages large scale exercises involving large reinforcements from other regional commands. It's very unlikely they underestimated the complexity and costs of such a maneuver.
It seems likelier that they feel they have sent the appropriate message. There have been reports from Ukraine stating that Ukrainian forces are digging in and preparing for the defense. Earlier they were moving additional units to the front, and lost sappers trying to, presumably, clear paths through minefields. It remains to be seen. I have another bucket of materials sitting on my desktop at home, just haven't had time to make an update. I'll probably do one tomorrow with all the material I have.
 

Feanor

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Update.

Russia has officially ended the large scale exercises, and units are returning to their permanent bases. I really can't help but wonder how they're so sure that the threat of Ukrainian armed escalation has ended. I haven't seen any similar de-escalation from the Ukrainian side. On the other hand they concentrated a lot of troops very quickly. Perhaps the demonstration of capability is considered enough. The Minister of Defense Shoygu says "all goals have been reached" in reference to the exercises.


Ukraine's 17th Tank Bde is upgrading their T-64BVs and BMP-2s with cage armor. This could be a sign of preparation for combat (similar things were done by various Ukrainian units prior to the '14 campaign).


A US EP-3E Orion, a pair of RQ-4s, and a British RC-135W have been flying around Crimea, maintaining the pattern of surveillance flights.


Heads of the DNR and LNR, Pushilin and Pasechnik stated that Ukraine is showing that they intend to exit the Minsk accords, which would be followed by a resumption of hostilities, and recent tensions are evidence of this.


Construction of fortifications has begun in Kherson region, across from Crimea.


Footage of the Ukrainian 57th Motorized Infantry Bde in Kherson region.


Some footage from the recently ended exercises in Crimea including the new Orion UCAV (3rd link).


A large fire took place in a Ukrainian army camp in Lugansk region. 1 truck and 4 fuel trucks were destroyed.

 
German Media is reporting about "unusual" concentraions and movements of russian military close to the ukrainien border.

There is some of the usual fearmongering about an russian Invasion by the Media but actual insights and informations are hard to find as it is not the biggest topic in the News (Covid and the election outcome Take the limelight spots).

Could you provide some background in the current deployment @Feanor ? Thank you in advance.
 
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