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ukraine military vs russia

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There's a quite a bit of truth to this, but it's designed as a work of propaganda and therefore it has to be called into question. I few spots caused me to laugh out loud :D Some of it is just out of date.

It certainly must be viewed as a snapshot of the situation when he was there, which may have been months ago, along with all the other caveats that accompany first person accounts. But I do question the propaganda charge given that he openly admits to large scale participation of Russian Army forces, a fact still denied by the Kremlin.

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It certainly must be viewed as a snapshot of the situation when he was there, which may have been months ago, along with all the other caveats that accompany first person accounts. But I do question the propaganda charge given that he openly admits to large scale participation of Russian Army forces, a fact still denied by the Kremlin.

The only part of the Russian side that denies involvement is the Kremlin. Between Russian soldier's social media posts, hospital cases, the court case in Russia that has attempted to force disclosure on where Russian troops are being injured/killed, the DPR/LPR statements, reports from the OSCE, AP reporters etc it is the biggest open secret going. That hasn't stopped the pro russian forces from making up a whole lot of other stuff.

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So what defines something as propaganda, other than it not meshing with your own point of view?

not meshing with other verifiable sources. So for example the Kremlin can say all it wants that there are no Russian forces or aid in Ukraine - there is a mountain of evidence to the contrary. Regarding the specific statement that you and Steve are discussing, that is another matter. However the guy admitting Russia is in Ukraine is not that big a deal, everyone but the Kremlin says that.

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Ok, so if it's propaganda then it's propaganda directed by some entity other than the Kremlin. I just get tired of seeing nearly everything get labeled as propaganda in every geopolitical discussion by one side or the other. The term has been overused to the point that it has lost it's meaning.

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And who the hell on the Russian side would ever have authorized propoganda that talks about the rebel forces including "tens of small criminal bands (or real rebels becoming quasi-criminal) plague the locals. Raping, killing, stealing." The dude would be shot.

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id like to know your sources for all these tactical successes and major failures that the russians have gone through in Ukraine. I didnt see much credible info in the open source section of the internet. Unless you are using classified info leaked by some military professionnal gamers.

There is not much to go on so far. You have official statements from the ATO and Defense Ministry, but those (at best) describe only the basics and leave out uncomfortable details. It is also subject to being flawed since the enemy force tends to police its dead (when possible), making verification of enemy killed dodgy at best.

The other two primary sources are information coming directly out of the ATO on the Ukrainian side and information published by separatists. Both sources have their their own caveats.

The last one is incidental sources, such as relatives of dead Russian soldiers, journalists, and even some eye witnesses (via journalists). Again, none are perfect sources.

What one has to do is take all this stuff, assess each piece individually, then look at how they fit as a whole. It takes a degree of experience and skill, but even then it's still imperfect. Usually the best you can do is be reasonably sure that on X date in Y location there was an engagement that had Z result. You might get some hard data about casualties and vehicles, sometimes with photographic evidence sometimes without.

It's wildly imperfect, but over time you can develop a decent picture of what is going on. Jumping in to look at one specific case, without the context and experience dealing with the info, is unlikely to produce good results.

It certainly must be viewed as a snapshot of the situation when he was there, which may have been months ago, along with all the other caveats that accompany first person accounts. But I do question the propaganda charge given that he openly admits to large scale participation of Russian Army forces, a fact still denied by the Kremlin.

I think sburke covered this pretty well. Those who call themselves separatists have been *VERY* open about Russia's direct involvement in the war almost from the start. From low level operatives all the way up to the top levels of LPR/DPR leadership. Who were, almost to a man, Russian citizens.

What you have to understand about this mess is that there isn't just one force at work within the DPR/LPR. You have, at a minimum:

1. Locals who really do want to break away from Ukraine and join Russia.

2. Criminal organizations who want the same as #1 because they fear what will happen with Ukrainian reforms.

3. Ultra nationalist Russian citizens who view Ukraine as an abomination.

4. Extremist Russian Orthodox followers who, basically, think they are on "a mission from God". They are very much a part of #3, but #3 is not always #4.

5. Mercenaries who are in it for some sort of personal benefit (money, power, etc.). The majority are Russian, but there are plenty of other nationalities involved. Some are traditional mercenaries fighting for pay, others are there to loot and plunder.

6. Panslavists. It's an old movement that still has some believers, such as Serb nationals.

7. Russian government forces ordered there by the Kremlin.

These groups are not all on the same page. They do not all want exactly the same things. They certainly aren't inclined to work well with each other. It's why Russia has engaged in a couple of purges of DPR/LPR leadership, usually without killing. Though today there is a report that FSB did kill a leader in Horlivka, who was trying to fill Brezler's shoes. Since Russia just ousted Brezler (he was rumored murdered, but is alive) they obviously aren't keen on a replacement. Though this particular murder is still very much unconfirmed and could have been done by a rival faction. There's been quite a lot of infighting.

Ok, so if it's propaganda then it's propaganda directed by some entity other than the Kremlin. I just get tired of seeing nearly everything get labeled as propaganda in every geopolitical discussion by one side or the other. The term has been overused to the point that it has lost it's meaning.

I also get tired of seeing "propaganda" slammed on anything and everything. However, the fact remains that there are competing interests in this conflict and they often deliberately distort their messages to present a false (even if partially false) image to whomever is reading it. Which means a LOT of the labeling of things as "propaganda" is correct.

The link you posted to is overall believable to me and does not run contrary to what I believe to be the facts except here and there. On second thought I'd like to remove my "propaganda" label on this and instead chalk up the points I disagree with as coming from his own perspective and/or bias. Propaganda is designed to illicit a very specific response from the audience. I find the article too critical of both sides to cleanly fit the category of propaganda.

Steve

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And who the hell on the Russian side would ever have authorized propoganda that talks about the rebel forces including "tens of small criminal bands (or real rebels becoming quasi-criminal) plague the locals. Raping, killing, stealing." The dude would be shot.

This is part of the problem with the internet... the old notions of "controlled message" do not apply. When various leaders of DPR and LPR openly said they were getting material support from Russia, they were doing so for their own reasons, not because the Kremlin authorized them to say such things. There are many competing agendas.

Steve

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The link you posted to is overall believable to me and does not run contrary to what I believe to be the facts except here and there. On second thought I'd like to remove my "propaganda" label on this and instead chalk up the points I disagree with as coming from his own perspective and/or bias. Propaganda is designed to illicit a very specific response from the audience. I find the article too critical of both sides to cleanly fit the category of propaganda.

That's how I see it.

What I found most interesting was his take on the coordination of tanks with infantry. You know, stuff that's actually relevant to the game. ;)

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Ok, so if it's propaganda then it's propaganda directed by some entity other than the Kremlin. I just get tired of seeing nearly everything get labeled as propaganda in every geopolitical discussion by one side or the other. The term has been overused to the point that it has lost it's meaning.

That's just propaganda...

:D

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That's how I see it.

What I found most interesting was his take on the coordination of tanks with infantry. You know, stuff that's actually relevant to the game. ;)

:D I wish we had better low level information to go off of than what we have. There's very little to go on. Even little details like this are extremely vague and difficult to verify. It reminds me of veterans from WW2 talking about their impressions of the enemy. WILDLY different accounts depending on timeframe, theater, specific portion of front, etc. Then you find out that one account is by a vet who served the whole war everywhere, the other by a 19 year old that spent 2 most of his time at a Corps command post. Just a reminder that the most widely documented war in Human history still has a lot of misinformation out there.

Lots of context and comparison points are needed to conclude much of anything, none of which we have yet.

From what I've seen, both sides have used their armor in penny packets with varying degrees of success. I think it has a lot to do with the force density. There's too much frontage to conducted concentrated operations on a regular basis. Because if Side A masses it's armor in one spot, then Side B directs its artillery and scores a big success. Girkin's retreat from Slavyansk and the Ukrainian breakout from Ilovaisk are prime examples.

Steve

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just to give a microcosm of the problems in trying to figure out what is really going on, you had reports coming out in august from the Ukrainians that they had ambushed and destroyed a company of Russian paratroopers. Of course, there was no confirmation from the Russian side.

But then over the next few weeks, you had reports of military funerals in Pskov, of attempts by family members to find out what had happened to their relatives and attempts by the Russians to hush up the entire matter. Pskov is the home base to the 76th Air Assault Division, i.e. paratroopers.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-28949582

Now the two might be completely unrelated, but it can also be viewed as partial confirmation that Russian paratroopers from the 76th were involved in combat in Ukraine in august and suffered casualties.

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Very informative posts.

Another intersting topic - PMCs, are they there and what they actually do. Rebels say about Polish snipers at airport, English-speaking arty spotters.

just to give a microcosm of the problems in trying to figure out what is really going on, you had reports coming out in august from the Ukrainians that they had ambushed and destroyed a company of Russian paratroopers. Of course, there was no confirmation from the Russian side.

But then over the next few weeks, you had reports of military funerals in Pskov, of attempts by family members to find out what had happened to their relatives and attempts by the Russians to hush up the entire matter. Pskov is the home base to the 76th Air Assault Division, i.e. paratroopers.

Actually, 95% of Ukrainians are Russian-speaking. They communicate in same social networks with Russians, troll, argue e.t.c.. "Report" about funerals may be done by the same people, who gives report about ambush, or by local symphisers of Ukraine. (yes, they exist) There are so much such "reports", that you can't say, what is true, what is fake. About "funerals" - there were several proven fakes.

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The Pskov graves are well documented. Russian family members confirmed the details. A BBC crew was beaten up and their equipment stolen when they tried to cover the story. More importantly, a local legislator asked questions, was himself beaten up, and then filed a formal request of the Russian government. The result was a formal response, from the Russian defense ministry, confirming that the soldiers died in a foreign country by hostile fire. The report refused to say where citing state secrets laws. Then a few days later the highest Russian court ruled that the Russian government can not hide that information. This happened a couple of weeks ago, so there is no doubt more to come from this.

I personally do not find arguing about Russian government's direct involvement in Ukraine productive. The only two groups that denny this are those who are willfully ignorant (i.e. in denial) and those who are deliberately deceitful. There was a period of time when Russia had a degree of plausible deniability, but that has long since disappeared. All the information is out there and is easily found if people want to examine it.

Here's a detailed report showing what Russian Federation equipment has been seen in Ukraine that could not possibly come from Ukrainian sources.

http://armamentresearch.com/Uploads/Research%20Report%20No.%203%20-%20Raising%20Red%20Flags.pdf

The report is fair and gives the Russian government a large degree of benefit of the doubt when the evidence could go either way. However, it is inescapable that Russia is supplying weapons into Ukraine and some of those weapons could only come from Russian government warehouses.

Steve

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Rebels say about Polish snipers at airport, English-speaking arty spotters.

They also claim a lot of things, including that they get their weapons from Russia :D

I have seen endless claims from the pro-Russian forces that the West is involved directly in fighting. I know of only a few cases that were proven:

1. An American/Ukrainian who was openly serving with Donbass. He was killed in the fighting at Ilovaisk.

2. Two foreign nationals... I think Swedish? I don't remember. They were interviewed and stated who they were and where they were from.

3. I saw a video of one of the volunteer battalions fighting where one guy was speaking English with an extreme accent (i.e. English was not his native language).

I'm sure there's more than that, but compared to the literally hundreds of non-Ukrainians (on the pro-Russian side) I've seen in videos and news reports, it's not even comparable. Most of the pro-Russian leadership are Russian citizens, the same can not be said of the Ukrainian side of things. There are also organized groups coming from countries like Serbia. The pro-Russians brag about these foreign fighters, so they aren't trying to hide them. Here's a recent propaganda piece about a Serbian sniper:

http://slavyangrad.org/2014/11/17/may-god-forgive-the-disgrace-of-the-serbian-government/#more-4489

In other words, it is a struggle to find non-Ukrainian nationals fighting on the Ukrainian side, it is almost impossible to not find non-Ukrainian nationals fighting on the pro-Russian side. It's like looking for a needle in a haystack for one side and the other side it's like looking for hay in a haystack.

Bottom line... in any messy conflict there are going to be a certain number of "volunteers" looking for adventure who join to fight. There isn't a case in history where that isn't true. So yes, there are some non-Ukrainians fighting on the Ukrainian side. No doubt about it. But are they individuals or organized by foreign governments? The evidence so far does not suggest the Ukrainian foreigners are anything but true volunteers, whereas the overwhelming mountain of evidence on the Russian side is that they are highly organized by foreign entities (Russian government, Chechen government, ultra right wing Russian political organizations, and probably others). There is a fundamental difference between the two.

Steve

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war is a mess

Anyway, 30 000 russians fighting in Ukraine using second rate equipement (they left the good stuff behind), without air or modern artillery support (I guess they dont use precision munitions to maintain plausible deniability) , without preparatory softing up of the enemy using Iskander missiles (nasty, precise and in their submunition variant, grid clearing), helicopter, air assests or the electronic fog to disrupt weapons and radio communication and coordination and suffering 300-400 dead and actually succeeding in their mission to save the breakaway republics is not what I would call a bad performance. Total overt no holds barred engagement of the Russian amred forces would have been nasty to the Ukrainians and losses would have been reduced to 50-100 dead which is about the same we suffered in operation Iraqi freedom on a less difficult terrain and against a less competent enemy.

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Don't fool yourself guys, a conventional war against Russia near its borders would be a carnage of american and western forces not seen since Korea or WOrld war II and would be shocking. Not to mention strategic escalation even with conventional weapons. A strike on electric installations using cruise missiles in Canada, Europe and the US would bring the war home and would prevent anyone from watching the war on TV with a bowl of popcorn ;) Battlefront is headquartered in Burlington, Vermont. A Russian hit on the Baie James Dams in Québec would affect you. The cost would be simply too great. Not to mention the risk of nuclear escalation if one side starts losing badly. :( Victory would be phyrric at best.

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Don't fool yourself guys, a conventional war against Russia near its borders would be a carnage of american and western forces not seen since Korea or WOrld war II and would be shocking.

Which is why the West has (largely) left Ukraine to fend for itself. While I think a war with the West would result in the end of Russia as even a regional power for decades to come (never again a world power), the price would not be worth paying in the minds of Western leaders.

Plus, Ukraine seems to be doing pretty well on its own, so why make things more complicated? While it's true that a straight out conventional war against Ukraine would initially go well for Russia, it wouldn't last. There would be an insurgency that would be on a Chechen scale. The Russian population is unlikely to support such a war for very long, which means Russia would be defeating itself by invading Ukraine. I have no doubts that's the primary reason there has been no open, full scale military action by Russia.

Remember... we've been researching and thinking about this scenario long before it started. So far very little of what's happened has diverged from what we thought would happen. Except, perhaps, that Ukraine was initially weaker than we thought and now is stronger than we figured it would ever be.

Battlefront is headquartered in Burlington, Vermont.

We have 0 employees in Vermont :D We are also not headquartered anywhere specific, so if Russia tries to nuke Battlefront.com I am sure some of us will survive to carry on ;)

Steve

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Don't fool yourself guys, a conventional war against Russia near its borders would be a carnage of american and western forces not seen since Korea or WOrld war II and would be shocking. Not to mention strategic escalation even with conventional weapons. A strike on electric installations using cruise missiles in Canada, Europe and the US would bring the war home and would prevent anyone from watching the war on TV with a bowl of popcorn ;) Battlefront is headquartered in Burlington, Vermont. A Russian hit on the Baie James Dams in Québec would affect you. The cost would be simply too great. Not to mention the risk of nuclear escalation if one side starts losing badly. :( Victory would be phyrric at best.

It remains to be seen how many of the Russian toys work, and how much of the budget disappeared in to dachas, good vodka, London apartments, and activities that can't be discussed on a putatively family website. Their recent efforts at SLBMs are not encouraging. Also the fact that Putin is not already in Kiev.

On a less speculative note Putin's cut off of western food imports has to the dumbest move by an authoritarian leader in decades. Didn't he learn ANYTHING from the demise of the USSR? And now the Russian middle class knows what its missing. Black bread and potatoes are going to wear thin. Even if they can come up with enough of it.

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It remains to be seen how many of the Russian toys work, and how much of the budget disappeared in to dachas, good vodka, London apartments, and activities that can't be discussed on a putatively family website.

Our research shows that the top quality, top equipped Russian forces are fairly close approximations of Western 1st line units. The equipment is very good, overall, and likely performs as it should. There are still some rough spots, but since 2008 the quality gap has largely been closed in terms of capability. Russia's weakness is capacity.

Russia's problem is that there's not much of this equipment available. Corruption certainly part of the reason, but the other part is that Russia's military was so far below Western standards that it had to spend a lot of money on R&D and manufacturing capacity. Even with that they, like the West, depend heavily on imported technology and parts.

In the event of a conventional conflict the forces pretty much have to fight with what is already in inventory. It is very difficult to get significant quantities of new equipment built and deployed within the timeframe of an average modern clash. By the time the stuff is built it is probable that the overall outcome is either decided for good or at least tipped heavily in one direction.

The other problem Russia has is conscription. The bulk of its force are short term people that might not want to be there at all. The contract (professional) soldiers are mostly concentrated into a few units which, not surprisingly, have the best equipment. Estimates are they number between 30k and 50k. Compare this with forces of individual EU countries, NATO as a whole, and even the US alone and you can see there's a problem in the event of a conflict. Russia could win every single tactical battle and still lose the war simply because of numbers.

I say this because if there is a direct conflict the cream of Russia's forces would not win every tactical battle and the ones it did win would not involve major losses. Any prolonged conflict would mean Russia have to rely upon poorly equipped, poorly motivated, and moderately trained forces. These would be facing materially superior NATO forces that could even have numerical superiority. And that's just not a winning strategy these days.

Steve

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ouahahha I was talking about losing electricity ;) I remember receiving packages from Burlington Vermont back in the old days, waiting for the latest Combat Mission in the mail LOL

It would be the end of Russia as a regional power but also the west. Anyway, the temptation to use nukes would be too strong and we would all end up very sorry.

As for the SLBMs, the Bulava had problems at the beginning but it is now working and is combat deployed. We are not in the old Soviet days also, Russia imports way more than potatoes and black bread from China and other non-western aligned countries now that the europeans have been cut off. They simply replaced them and there has been no shortages in Russia. They have a free press you know ? they call it the "5th column" :D

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I did not say Russia would prevail. Western forces are spread thin also. RUssia can mobilize a lot of people in a short period of time and equip them with the many thousands of pieces of equipment in storage (just like the Ukrainians did btw). EVen second rate but numerous forces would force unnaceptable casualties and attrition on advancing NATO forces. We would have to call up reserves with second rate equipment too (is there as many in storage ? ). Also Russia is BIG.

But that's all irrelevant. Facing defeat, they would use the nuclear option and bring everyone down with them. I dont want to bet civilization on the fact that they won't.

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also, a lot of westerners would not agree to die for Ukraine and risk an all-out nuclear war. Poland has called up reserves and I can say that Polish men in the UK were very mad at seeing their lives being disrupted. I know a lot of military people that find this insane and if forced, would actively oppose such a conflict. You could create lines of facture that could precipitate unforeseen events in the West.

It's way more complicated and dangerous. We are not as strong as we think we are. Europeans would not go for a war in Ukraine except for the Eastern part like Poland. Even then, faced with the consequences, the ordinary people would back off. It would be different if Russia invaded a NATO country (which they won't even if they could) but not for Ukraine. But we do need a scenario in which we have to make the two sides fight so we can have a game ! ;)

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ouahahha I was talking about losing electricity ;) I remember receiving packages from Burlington Vermont back in the old days, waiting for the latest Combat Mission in the mail LOL

It would be the end of Russia as a regional power but also the west. Anyway, the temptation to use nukes would be too strong and we would all end up very sorry.

As for the SLBMs, the Bulava had problems at the beginning but it is now working and is combat deployed. We are not in the old Soviet days also, Russia imports way more than potatoes and black bread from China and other non-western aligned countries now that the europeans have been cut off. They simply replaced them and there has been no shortages in Russia. They have a free press you know ? they call it the "5th column" :D

That isn't what I am hearing and it doesn't even make sense. Much of what is being blocked isn't replaceable from other sources.

http://www.businessinsider.com/russian-inflation-hits-8-and-there-are-food-shortages-2014-10

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/17/us-russia-inflation-forecast-idUSKCN0J123G20141117

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I did not say Russia would prevail. Western forces are spread thin also. RUssia can mobilize a lot of people in a short period of time and equip them with the many thousands of pieces of equipment in storage (just like the Ukrainians did btw). EVen second rate but numerous forces would force unnaceptable casualties and attrition on advancing NATO forces. We would have to call up reserves with second rate equipment too (is there as many in storage ? ). Also Russia is BIG.

But that's all irrelevant. Facing defeat, they would use the nuclear option and bring everyone down with them. I dont want to bet civilization on the fact that they won't.

Your assumptions are based on the west invading Russia. The west does not need to do that, but rather only defend Ukraine. The sanctions shortages and internal unrest will be Russia's issue to resolve. Attacking with masses of poorly organized, trained and equipped units is simply a recipe for more death and destruction for the attacking units, not particularly a problem for the defense. There is no equation that has this being resolved in any remotely satisfactory way for Russia by military action.

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