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US/ NATO v. Russia - Misperceptions.

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@panzersaurkrautwerfer  First let me apologize for my tone.  Totally inappropriate.  Iraq is an old long standing running argument with me, I am obviously too tightly wound up about it to discuss it on a nice forum like this.  I will try to refrain from mentioning it.

re: Motorola's death

With more reading, there seems to be a distinct lack of effort on the Russian's part to do any sort of forensic investigation on this (perhaps I'm just missing it).  To Steve's point, it does seem like if Ukraine was behind things, I personally thought Russia would want to find some hard evidence to point the finger with no doubts -- like showing MH17 was shot down by ... err ... what is the right term here, pro-Russian insurgents? was I thought a pretty big publicity coup for the West's position. 

Or maybe it is an issue of authority, and Russia just can't ... 'legally' ... send their own investigation team (ignoring that it is always hard to believe someone who has a clear bias) into the DPR?  It is definitely hard for me to find the line of what Russia can and can't / won't do in those territories.

 

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Russia doesn't care about the perception of "authority" because they have all of it and everybody knows it.  If they wanted to put a professional investigation team in their it would be as simple as pulling the strings of their DPR puppets to say "we have invited our Russian brothers in to investigate".  So you are correct that it is probable that if Ukraine really was behind the assassination there would be a lot more activity on the Russian side to try and prove it.  Including letting an independent body, such as the OSCE in, to investigate or at least monitor the investigation.  But like the faked Ukrainian "terrorist" actions in Crimea, that isn't happening.  Which is further indication that Russia already knows who really did it because, ultimately, it was them (i.e. both DPR and LPR answer to Moscow).

Again, the reality is that no matter who did it the only one Russia and the DRP will blame is Ukraine.  Sure, one of the times the little boy cried "wolf" there really was a wolf.  However, all the other times there was no wolf.  Russia's credibility in matters such is this is beyond zero.  Meaning, it's more likely that whatever really happened is the opposite of what Russia says.  Therefore, a reasonable minded person should presume that whomever did this, the chances are it was not Ukraine simply because Russia says it was.  That would be the smart bet to make based on the evidence, the logic, and the credibility of those making the charges.

Steve

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This aspect alone is quite definitive that it wasn't Ukraine -  if it was,  and Russia suspected as much,  the domestic and international propaganda benefit of a thorough Russian investigation of the assassination of a Russian citizen by Kiev would be huge -  possibly grounds enough to walk away from Minsk 2.

But they haven't investigated. 

This implies that it is a local affair -  ie locals v locals, or Russia further stamping down on unruly proxies. Either way, limited to the Donbass and not committed by Ukraine. 

This follows a simple logic,  cubical if ALL. parties on both sides. 

Steve,  on the flip  side of your 4 arguments, Ukraine would deny all responsibility whether it did/did not kill him. 

 

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1 minute ago, kinophile said:

Steve,  on the flip  side of your 4 arguments, Ukraine would deny all responsibility whether it did/did not kill him.

Absolutely.  Which is why I've not said "I don't think Ukraine did it because they said they didn't do it" :D  Likewise, even though the DPR and Russia have accused Ukraine of conducting the assassination, I don't rule out the possibility that Ukraine did it.  Instead I look at the evidence (that is available) and weigh it in context.  That is why I don't think Ukraine did it.

Another thing.  There are plenty of historical cases where Party A commits a crime that it knows will upset it's people, then blames Party B (an enemy), then claims outrage over the incident.  This allows Party A to benefit both from the criminal act itself as well as the fallout from it.  Classic example of a win-win provided nobody figures it out.  Having control over the variables, as Russia has in this case, is pretty reassuring.  Which is why Russia rarely murders its citizens in Western countries.  Control over variables is low, therefore they get caught (as happened with the assassination of Litvinenko).

Steve

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BTW, it is perfectly legal for Ukraine to kill a Russian citizen who is conducting acts of war on its soil.  Russia also has an obligation to prevent its citizens from conducting such activities (both Russian constitution and international law), which clearly it doesn't any heed to.  Pavlov is an adult and he willingly conducted himself in a manner that exposed him to the risk of death, therefore nobody will be even a tiny bit sympathetic to a Russian claim of affront.

As for Minsk 2, Russian forces are killing Ukrainians every day so I don't think they have much of a case to make that Ukraine should somehow be held accountable while they should not.

Which means there is no legal reason for Ukraine to hold back from claiming responsibility if they did it.

Steve

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My personal thoughts on Assassinations: Once is an incident, twice is a coincidence, thrice is an enemy action.  If Givi or whichever guy that makes all the youtube videos goes next I'd be willing to begin entertaining the idea that Ukraine is moving to set the enemy landscape ablaze and mercin' commanders.  Otherwise Russia does seem to have a history of pulling 'commanders' and I use the term loosely from the field.  Motorola seems like the type to not come in from the cold as easily as a guy like Strelkov, and not towing the line at that level is more than a good enough reason to pull him from the battlefield in a way that re-establishes authority over other potential mavericks.  That being said the conflict in Ukraine has more than a passing resemblance to gang warfare and the idea that he got his comeuppance from someone closer to him is more than plausible.

There is the down went alice option to for the gunslingers to consider in the back of your mind as well; there was one US Global Hawk mission above the area that day and Americans do love mischief.  Though the presence of a Global Hawk can mean a thousand things amirite?

Re Iraq;  I've spent 5 years abroad since 2003, 3 in the middle east, and 2 in Europe, and a couple people on this forum were literally right there with me, but you'll never hear me argue a point about either region as being the unassailable positions of an expert--(I do have nearly three times that many years with Fire Support, so on that, stand down yeomen, yes, I am an expert).  My opinions on the Iraq War diverge greatly from Panzersaur and I think both of us have opinions that diverge (probably immensely) from those of General Flynn's.  Who is right?  Most people will pick the "expert" whose analyses confirms their own bias.  In order to properly motivate unbiased analyses there needs to be an incentive to not get it wrong, and as far as I've seen, Steve is the only one here that properly takes people to task later for being wrong.  There is a big difference between absorbing an analyses you believe to be incorrect and questioning it in real time, and reflexively countering every point because of cognitive dissonance. Truth be told the most valuable insights I glean from the abundance of time that I spend on this forum is from people whose opinions haven't been shaped by service or military group-think, but rather several decades of commitment to daily study of an issue on their own, for their own unique reasons, and putting those people in a position that others may perceive as weakness because they didn't serve in Iraq is a direction we should steer clear of, much like the rolling out of Generals and soldiers at political rallies to give the illusion that anyone with that experience must feel a certain way.

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I don't see a lot of talk on here about cyber warfare, but here is an interesting attack on Ukraine from last year.  (if you find this interesting, I fully recommend reading up on Stuxnet, that was a ridiculously brilliant piece of hacking by the Israelis and Americans -- not criticizing, I think they were justified).  I guess it's also a wake up call for our own systems.

https://www.wired.com/2016/03/inside-cunning-unprecedented-hack-ukraines-power-grid/

While I will say there are some very likely ... parties who were behind this, finding the source of a hack is tricky.  I am constantly worried about getting fooled about the source of an attack.  Sometimes it even seems comes down to, "well this file is named Ester, and that's a historical Jewish hero" or, "this comment line has the grammar of an American".  It is rather unfortunate all the information in a hack is protected so I can't verify it myself.

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17 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

1.  If the DPR killed Motorola for some internal power struggle reason, would the DPR admit it?  No.  Therefore the DPR would blame someone else.  Who would that be?  Russia?  No.  LPR?  Without a clear reason to start a political fight with them, that could possibly escalate into military conflict, no. Ukraine?  Yup.  So if the DPR killed Motorola they would blame Ukraine.  Agree?

2.  If Russia killed Motorola for any reason, and DPR knew this to be a fact, would the DPR admit it?  No.  Therefore, the DPR would blame someone else.  Would it be itself?  No.  LPR? Without a clear reason to start a political fight with them, that could possibly escalate into military conflict, no..  Ukraine?  Yup.  So if Russia killed Motorola the DPR would blame Ukraine.  Agree?

3.  If LPR killed Motorola for any reason, and the DPR knew this to be a fact, would the DPR admit it?  No.  Therefore, the DPR would blame someone else.  Would it be itself?  No.  Russia?  No.  LPR?  Without a clear reason to start a political fight with them, that could possibly escalate into military conflict, no.  So if LPR killed Motorola the DPR would blame Ukraine.  Agree?

4.  If Ukraine killed Motorola for any reason, and the DPR knew this to be a fact, would the DPR admit it?  Absolutely.  So if if Ukraine killed Motorola the DPR would blame Ukraine.  Agree?

Agree'd however it's not just as simple as that. You don't just find commanders like Motorola which is "celebrity" level among not only Donbas but abroad. Killing Motorola just for a mission they assigned his unit on in LPR territory is not justifiable by any means. Let's look at it this way my belief of what happened which could be totally wrong since there is not a shred of evidence other than speculation.

Ukrainian special forces over the last few months have attempted assassinations on Motorola, one being a car bomb, another being around his apartment complex. These tasks failed, and it doesn't even have to be Uber spec ops from the SBU. What is gained out of this you say? 

Well firstly, Ukraine has denied any hand in this. In doing so, if the DPR/LPR retaliate they will be demonized and will destroy Minsk 2. You just got rid of a competent commander with experience from the 90s to the Donbas war. A man which was respected among all ranks. Ukrainian services in killing him hits 3 birds with one stone. The first bird they hit is the commander which is responsible for losses in quite a few places in the fronts, the second bird being hit is dropping morale of the armies (or thugs in your case) because they aren't able to respond back, and they've lost one of their idols so to speak. The third bird obviously is in denying the operation and blaming it on internal feuds, you've now caused paranoia amongst the military. 

Not as if Ukraine is going to play by rational rules, the task to kill him was probably assigned a while ago since there were two other attempts on his life. Someone in the Ukraine's command probably held a grudge against him, it doesn't even have to be as complex as I made it out to be, but avenging Ukrainian troops by killing him.

17 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

What I'd like to know more about is what Sparta actually did in LPR during the "coup".  I know what we've been told, but what we've been told came from the mouths of confirmed liars.  I am more interested in what actually happened because it is possible that what Motorola did in LPR was what caused this latest, and last, assassination attempt.

22nd of September they were deployed to stop the coup since they are a specialized battalion (Special forces so to speak) then I believe for two days remained in LPR borders with orders from the top. 

Edited by VladimirTarasov

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2 hours ago, TheForwardObserver said:

My personal thoughts on Assassinations: Once is an incident, twice is a coincidence, thrice is an enemy action.

Obviously :)  It took a few times to kill Aleksei Mozgovo.  After the one before he was killed he did some Youtube videos that strongly indicated that he knew the people behind the attacks personally AND they were supposedly on the same side.   Check out this article written after he was killed:

http://www.rferl.org/a/balkans-russias-friends-form-new-cossack-army/28061110.html#

Check out this.

Quote

Depending on who you listen to, the correct answer could be that Aleksei Mozgovoi was assassinated by

rival separatists, Russia, the United States, or a pro-Ukrainian commando unit.

Mozgovoi, leader of the separatist Ghost battalion, was killed when the multi-vehicle convoy he was riding in was bombed and then sprayed with gunfire by attackers, according to the press service for the separatist-controlled portion of Luhansk region.

...

The separatists quickly accused Kyiv of being behind the assassination. But Kyiv later denied any involvement, and pointed the finger at Mozgovoi's foes within the separatist movement.

...

Mozgovoi had long been suspected of running afoul of Luhansk's self-proclaimed separatist leader, Igor Plotnitsky, and some key officials in the Kremlin.

 

Sound familiar? ;)

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If Givi or whichever guy that makes all the youtube videos goes next I'd be willing to begin entertaining the idea that Ukraine is moving to set the enemy landscape ablaze and mercin' commanders.

By that logic Ukraine was behind the pretty thorough leadership purge of late 2014 and early 2015, yet all the evidence indicates it was Russia that was behind that.  So again, what we're seeing now is entirely consistent with things Russia has already done, not at all consistent with what Ukraine has (so far) done.

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Otherwise Russia does seem to have a history of pulling 'commanders' and I use the term loosely from the field.  Motorola seems like the type to not come in from the cold as easily as a guy like Strelkov, and not towing the line at that level is more than a good enough reason to pull him from the battlefield in a way that re-establishes authority over other potential mavericks.  That being said the conflict in Ukraine has more than a passing resemblance to gang warfare and the idea that he got his comeuppance from someone closer to him is more than plausible.

Sometimes what you see is what you get ;) Like the other puppet regimes that Russia has formed from carveouts of other countries, they are inherently criminal enterprises first and foremost.  The criminal regime of Transnistria is well documented and the activities in Crimea are being recorded carefully.  Even Russian Duma officials accuse Crimean officials of stealing vast sums of money.  When there was all that oil money flowing around, being in the puppet regime business was really lucrative.  In Donbas the big money has been from coal, which has been illegally shipped to Russia in vast quantities.

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In order to properly motivate unbiased analyses there needs to be an incentive to not get it wrong, and as far as I've seen, Steve is the only one here that properly takes people to task later for being wrong.

Thanks for the plug :)  I do believe that track records are important.  Doesn't mean someone who is wrong frequently will always be wrong, but patterns of flawed logic and analysis do tend to continue to produce disappointing results in the future.

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There is a big difference between absorbing an analyses you believe to be incorrect and questioning it in real time, and reflexively countering every point because of cognitive dissonance. Truth be told the most valuable insights I glean from the abundance of time that I spend on this forum is from people whose opinions haven't been shaped by service or military group-think, but rather several decades of commitment to daily study of an issue on their own, for their own unique reasons, and putting those people in a position that others may perceive as weakness because they didn't serve in Iraq is a direction we should steer clear of, much like the rolling out of Generals and soldiers at political rallies to give the illusion that anyone with that experience must feel a certain way.

Well put.  There is a Human tendency to put faith in ones own personal experiences and to reject things which do not fit in with it.  And that's where being "on the ground" can sometimes prove misleading due to a lack of broader perspective, bias towards certain sources (good or bad), etc.

My favorite example of this is first hand stories from US, British, and German veterans recorded in a book which I can't recall the name of this second.  You'd read one account and think one thing, then read another account that would be polar opposite.  For example, when asked about the quality of US equipment some soldiers said the 60mm mortar was beyond useless while others said it was the best piece of equipment their platoon had.  One German soldier said that the Americans were horrible fighters, another said they were better than Germans in many ways. 

If someone was trying to find a single, definitive answer for a specific question among these accounts they would not find it.  Instead, a person would have to take all of them into account and determine context to evaluate merit and overall weight in a larger conclusion.

The German that said the Americans sucked at fighting was captured in Tunisia.  He fought against the Americans before they had their act together.  The other German that said Americans were extremely good fighters was in Normandy where the Germans were soundly defeated at all levels.  Both had valid observations and opinions based on their experiences, but neither really had the perspective necessary to draw wider conclusions.  We must keep these things in mind when talking about events as they unfold and after.

Steve

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47 minutes ago, VladimirTarasov said:

Agree'd however it's not just as simple as that. You don't just find commanders like Motorola which is "celebrity" level among not only Donbas but abroad.

As I said, that sometimes is a reason for killing.  In English the saying is "too big for his britches" (too large for his trousers).  There are some big, but very petty, egos with too much power and too little brains within the DPR/LPR and various Russian based organizations (including the government).  These types of people put their own interests ahead of everything else.  Motorola's military value is not important since the real protector of these criminal operations is the Russian armed forces.  You seem to be unaware of this, so I will keep repeating myself.

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Ukrainian special forces over the last few months have attempted assassinations on Motorola, one being a car bomb, another being around his apartment complex.

Again, how do you know it was SBU?  The same logic that says the successful assassination was not SBU is the same logic that says the previous attempts were also not SBU.

Mozgovoi survived a very sophisticated assassination attempt, yet even he pointed the finger at his own people and not Ukraine.  GRU or whomever tried to kill Mozgovoi the first time simply weren't successful.  They were the second time.

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Well firstly, Ukraine has denied any hand in this. In doing so, if the DPR/LPR retaliate they will be demonized and will destroy Minsk 2. You just got rid of a competent commander with experience from the 90s to the Donbas war.

Irrelevant.  Russia had no problem getting rid of other commanders who had even more experience than Pavlov.  Why?  Because politics is more important than military effectiveness.

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A man which was respected among all ranks.

Irrelevant.  Why should his enemies care about such things?  Arkan was "respected among all ranks" and yet was assassinated.  Hitler removed many very popular and competent military leaders because he didn't like their attitude towards him.  Stalin murdered so many military leaders that he left the Red Army incapable of fighting Finland.

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Ukrainian services in killing him hits 3 birds with one stone. The first bird they hit is the commander which is responsible for losses in quite a few places in the fronts, the second bird being hit is dropping morale of the armies (or thugs in your case) because they aren't able to respond back, and they've lost one of their idols so to speak. The third bird obviously is in denying the operation and blaming it on internal feuds, you've now caused paranoia amongst the military. 

Irrelevant.  Ukraine does benefit from this, true.  But Ukraine also benefited from all of the previous assassinations and purges which definitely were done by the Russian government.  So by your logic every single one of them were done by SBU.  That's nonsense.

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Not as if Ukraine is going to play by rational rules, the task to kill him was probably assigned a while ago since there were two other attempts on his life. Someone in the Ukraine's command probably held a grudge against him, it doesn't even have to be as complex as I made it out to be, but avenging Ukrainian troops by killing him.

You are making this complex when it need not be.  The DPR and LPR are criminal organizations backed by criminal activities of the Russian government.  Criminal organizations, oddly enough, behave like criminals.  So it's pretty simple... Pavlov pissed someone off and he got killed for it.

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22nd of September they were deployed to stop the coup since they are a specialized battalion (Special forces so to speak) then I believe for two days remained in LPR borders with orders from the top. 

Yes, but what did they do exactly?  Did they occupy buildings?  Did they arrest people?  Did they kill people?  Did they take anything back to the DPR with them that they shouldn't have?  These are details which might shed light on the situation, it might not.  But the information I've seen has been about as useless to this discussion as what you just wrote.

Vlad, the bottom line here is you are making a critical logic error.  You have the naive assumption that nobody on the DPR/LPR or Russian side of things would dare to kill him because he was such a wonderful guy and an asset to the cause.  That flies in the face of recent history in the area as well as a study of any criminal enterprise (which the DPR, LPR, and Russian interests absolutely are).  Their primary motivation is to hold power for themselves at the expense of others.  Someone like Pavlov could easily be seen as a threat.  Eliminating threats are what criminal enterprise types do.  And as I've said many times now, Pavlov's military value to both the DPR and the LPR is not important.  In a hot war with Ukraine it will be the Russian armed forces that save them, as they have several times already, not a single militia leader.

Steve

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43 minutes ago, Battlefront.com said:

Yes, but what did they do exactly?  Did they occupy buildings?  Did they arrest people?  Did they kill people?  Did they take anything back to the DPR with them that they shouldn't have?  These are details which might shed light on the situation, it might not.  But the information I've seen has been about as useless to this discussion as what you just wrote.

Going by strictly some articles, no killings recorded. Not sure about anything else however, possible arrests? Not enough info to draw something out from there. Anyways, I'm replying here in a short summarized way so we don't go back and forth. Your argument has just as much credibility as mine, since we both have no real evidence to piece together, I'll agree to disagree and as long as the front doesn't heat up over this matter these speculations should be harmless.

Yes commanders have been killed by internal feuds but it's nothing on say Syria's level (rebel allies wise) irrelevant to the point though. Usually traitors within DPR/LPR kill with a reason, and my point was that I don't see any recent reasons for DPR/LPR units to kill him, or for Moscow to kill him. He's obeyed top brass orders and has done well. That's where my suspicion comes in from, and that's why I assume Ukraine (which is more likely IMO but still no evidence other than speculations) did it. 

I'm only saying this because there has been multiple assassination attempts from the SBU (some which have been successful) against DPR/LPR commanders. And I'd draw this individual case to not be a internal feud issue. Not saying there weren't any in fighting between corrupt commanders.

55 minutes ago, Battlefront.com said:

In a hot war with Ukraine it will be the Russian armed forces that save them, as they have several times already, not a single militia leader.

Well this is more than partially true, 2014 was a major savior to DPR/LPR, but looking at the force structure today, the local force should be well prepared for defensive operations well atleast prepared to follow organized battle against an offensive. Militia units on their own have fought most of the battles, at critical times Russian troops have been confirmed by various evidence to have come into action, however the numbers are still over exaggerated in most cases. I don't think IF Ukraine assassinated Pavlov it would be to hurt the DPR/LPR forces structure majority wise, it could be for grudge purposes, or because he's in charge of the only special forces battalion of DPR/LPR forces. Anyways, we'll have to wait and see if any leaks, or evidence comes out.  

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1 minute ago, kinophile said:

There is also a long term Ukrainian benefit to picking off experiencd Donbass commanders. Newer ones will only have experience of the current,  relatively static warfare. 

They are largely irrelevant. If Russia's satellites are in trouble then Russian motor-rifle troops will be there to save the day. The Russian commanders (the ones that are doing the commanding) still have their experience while Motorola and the likes sit there and look pretty.

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25 minutes ago, JUAN DEAG said:

They are largely irrelevant. If Russia's satellites are in trouble then Russian motor-rifle troops will be there to save the day. The Russian commanders (the ones that are doing the commanding) still have their experience while Motorola and the likes sit there and look pretty.

Motorola headed the most experienced and special battalion among the militias, you're acting as if the local force don't have a defensive capability currently bro. Russian motor troops arrived in 2014 and 2015 when counter-offensives were needed, and even then it wasn't full Russian fledged Russkii Motor troops, obviously a mix of local troops ect, ect, in most cases Russian advisory and supporting groups. 

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4 hours ago, JUAN DEAG said:

They are largely irrelevant. If Russia's satellites are in trouble then Russian motor-rifle troops will be there to save the day. The Russian commanders (the ones that are doing the commanding) still have their experience while Motorola and the likes sit there and look pretty.

Yup, and I keep pointing that out. Obviously it keeps getting lost, so thanks for also pointing it out.

For those of you who aren't sure what we're saying... from Ukraine's standpoint, Motorola is militarily irrelevant.  In the event of a full military conflict, Russian units would either come in and save the DPR/LPR from collapse or the DPR/LPR would be crushed.  Motorola would not make a hill of beans difference.

3 hours ago, VladimirTarasov said:

Motorola headed the most experienced and special battalion among the militias, you're acting as if the local force don't have a defensive capability currently bro.

Putting aside the consistently bad track record of DPR/LPR fighting capabilities, one commander or one unit doesn't mean anything in the grand scheme of things.  For the same reason that the first four Russian BMGs weren't able to stop the barely competent Ukrainian 2014 offensive, and had to be massively reinforced, a handful of competent DPR/LPR fighters won't add up to anything. 

Plus, I question how competent Sparta would be in a full on military conflict.  This is not because it's incompetent (though it might very well be), rather it's a simple numbers game.  In a pitched battle between a well motivated Russian BMG and a US Special Forces company, my money would be on the Russian BMG all else being equal.  After a certain point, firepower matters far more than fighting prowess.

3 hours ago, VladimirTarasov said:

Russian motor troops arrived in 2014 and 2015 when counter-offensives were needed, and even then it wasn't full Russian fledged Russkii Motor troops, obviously a mix of local troops ect, ect, in most cases Russian advisory and supporting groups. 

The fighting value of the "separatists" in 2014, many of whom were Russian service members "on vacation", was very poor.  Poorer than even the Ukraine's barely functional, barely trained, and poorly equipped forces led by incredibly compromised leadership and logistics.  In the airport and Debaltseve battles the "separatists" suffered massive casualties while achieving almost nothing.  Trust me, Ukraine does not view the "separatist" forces as a significant threat.  If there was zero chance of Russia intervening, this war would have been over in 2014.  Which is exactly why Russia is responsible for this war being more than 2 years old.  Only Russia keeps this war going.

Steve

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I would agree. Donbass militia seem to be essentially up gunned light infantry,  but an experienced, capable commander who holds respect among his troops is always a dangerous question mark for the enemy. Many Armies have assumed that less equipped, experienced and professional opponents will be a walkover,  only to have a capable,  charismatic leader draw serious blood. George Washington would be a US example.

Killing experienced, popular enemy leadership is always worth a shot. 

Edited by kinophile

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10 minutes ago, kinophile said:

I would agree. Donbass militia seem to be essentially up gunned light infantry,  but an experienced, capable commander who holds respect among his troops is always a dangerous question mark for the enemy. Many Armies have assumed that less equipped, experienced and professional opponents will be a walkover,  only to have a capable,  charismatic leader draw serious blood. George Washington would be a US example.

No, because George Washington was in a position of supreme authority while Motorola was a lowly frontline commander and rearline criminal. 

Think about what you said and then think about how Germany had tons of capable leaders in WW2 and arguably some of the best military units the world has ever seen.  How'd that work out for them? According to the history books I've read, not so good ;) 

The problem is that one unit with one leader does not a credible defense force make.  Sure the 101st Airborne held out at Bastogne and caused the Germans major problems, but the Germans lost because they screwed up pretty much everything.  So the stand of the 101st, as great as it was, did not influence the outcome.  The Germans had some incredible tactical victories in Normandy, frustrating much larger forces and causing disproportional losses among the Allied forces.  In the end the Germans suffered one of the biggest defeats of WW2 in Normandy.  The US South would not have won the Civil War if Stonewall Jackson had not been killed by his own jumpy pickets.

Leadership and unit quality has to be kept in context with the other aspects of a given conflict.  Motorola is not some sort of super hero that could have changed all of that had he not been killed.

The actual fighting record of the DPR/LPR forces, even recently, is not very good (at best).  Even though Russia has heavily equipped them over the past 2.5 years (you know, because Russia cares about resolving things without more civilians getting killed) I do not view them as being significantly more capable than they were before.  Push comes to shove, I think they'll crumble.  One good unit with one good leader would not make a damned bit of difference.

10 minutes ago, kinophile said:

Killing experienced, popular enemy leadership is always worth a shot. 

Sure, no argument there.  But the evidence is that Motorola was killed by his own, just like the long list of others who Russia has decided need to be removed or some petty criminal leader decided someone needed to be taken down.

I'll say this as many times as I have to... the track record of the past 2.5 years is that Russia and it's puppets are just about exclusively responsible for the removal of political and military figures within the DPR/LPR.  Ukraine has no track record of this.  Vladimir's arguments that directly related recent history and massive quantities of historically relevant situations don't apply here because competence/popularity trumps everything else is naive nonsense.

As with everything in this war, the one who is more likely to be proven right after more evidence is produced is the one who was paying the most attention.  Not just to this particular conflict, but Russian behavior in similar situations and thousands of years of relevant historical record.

Ukraine MIGHT have assassinated Motorola and I might also win the lottery.  Odds are against both.

Steve

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I had the impression the DPR militias's didnt perform that bad, if you take into account that from what I've seen so far, they consisted from unfit guys too old (some 40+) to be on the frontline and pitched against a regular army with airforce, artillery and 20yr old conscripts. The losses of the ukrainian army were pretty big considering what they were facing. To what point those losses were due to regular russian troops intervention nobody can accurately tell.(And its a total political flop that Ukraine coulnt effectively prove a full scale invasion by a phantom russian army on their soil). There are  accounts of shocking losses for the UKR army, losing almost half of their total APCs, tanks and artillery pieces not to mention the numerous aircraft/helli losses due to manpads. Most reports showed a demoralized army as well, with commanders in frustration complaining that Kiev abandoned them. So maybe separatists are indeed not that much effective but the record of the ukrainian military in the conflict isnt very reassuring on the other side. 

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2 hours ago, panzermartin said:

I had the impression the DPR militias's didnt perform that bad, if you take into account that from what I've seen so far, they consisted from unfit guys too old (some 40+) to be on the frontline and pitched against a regular army with airforce, artillery and 20yr old conscripts. The losses of the ukrainian army were pretty big considering what they were facing. To what point those losses were due to regular russian troops intervention nobody can accurately tell.(And its a total political flop that Ukraine coulnt effectively prove a full scale invasion by a phantom russian army on their soil). There are  accounts of shocking losses for the UKR army, losing almost half of their total APCs, tanks and artillery pieces not to mention the numerous aircraft/helli losses due to manpads. Most reports showed a demoralized army as well, with commanders in frustration complaining that Kiev abandoned them. So maybe separatists are indeed not that much effective but the record of the ukrainian military in the conflict isnt very reassuring on the other side. 

First, in 2014 most fighters on both sides were "40 year old guys" - they were the ones who had either benefited from better quality training available in late Soviet/early-Ukrainian army or accumulated enough experience over the years to be reasonably competent.  20 year old conscripts were considered to be pretty useless.  Take a look at some pictures from that time - you'll find that soldiers in their 20s are by far a minority.

Secondly, the cases when Ukrainian army suffered significant losses (Ilovaysk, Savur-Mohyla, sector D) were precisely inflicted by Russian regular forces.  Separatists by themselves (even with "vacationers") have been consistently unable to stop Ukrainian advances.

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@Battlefront.compointing out the inherent advantages of killing the off enemy leadership does not equal a blanket assumption that leaders are the only, or primary reason for success/defeat. 

Do we always need to jump to WW2 for comparisons? Germany's defeat is way too large a sample set, with so many factors. I'm not saying killing Motorola's death is critical to winning the war. What would be a better and more appropriate comparison would be the US campaign against Iraqi insurgent leadership, or Israeli targeted strikes against Hamas. Constant attrition of capable enemy leaders is a very effective strategy. 

Degrading overall enemy leadership over time would serve Ukraine well both militarily and politically - it would reduce the cumulative command experience pool, cause a constant churn of instability within the leadership, stress out new commanders (Igor died six months, how long will I last...?) and strain command relationships between HQ and front line units. It could draw in more and more overt Russian command, who (while certainly up to the job)  would not be locals. This would be a subtler effect,  attempting to disconnect the Donbass command (forcing replacement of Donbass leaders with Russians)  from the rank and file. Currently Donbass militia are OK with Russian control,  but several defeats,  heavy casualties would cause strain on the relationship,  with Russian officers being blamed by Donbass soldiers. 

This possibly on of th emore complex strategies available,  but it's a long term one that could bear real gains. 

My angle is not that Ukraine killed  Motorola  (weight of evidence says no, ro me,)  but that they SHOULD start killing Donbass military leaders, say over a years time frame - if they intended/suspected an escalation in the war. Ukraine has a far larger pool to draw on for replacing leaders counter-assassinated by Russia, which themselves could save a propaganda value towards Western countries.  

 

Edited by kinophile

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@panzermartin

You may want to read this interview with a Russian (ethnic Buryat) tanker who was wounded while fighting in Ukraine with his regular unit:

https://www.novayagazeta.ru/articles/2015/03/02/63264-171-my-vse-znali-na-chto-idem-i-chto-mozhet-byt-187

Relevant highlights from the interview:

"— Вы вместе с ополченцами воевали? Общие задачи были у вас?

— Нет. Они просто... Займут один рубеж, и когда надо ехать дальше врага дожимать, ополченцы отказываются ехать. Говорят: мы туда не поедем, там опасно. А у нас приказ наступать дальше. И захочется — не прикажешь им. Ну и дальше едешь."

[- Did you fight together with the militia? Did you have common objectives? - No. They just... occupy a boundary, and when it's necessary to advance and press upon the enemy, the militia refuse to do so. They say: "We won't go further; it's dangerous." And we have been ordered to advance. Even if we'd like to - we can't order them. So we press on.]

"— Так вы вообще не координировались?

— Нет. Ополченцы — они странные. Стреляют, стреляют. Потом останавливаются. Как на работу ходят. Никакой организации нет. Нету главы, боекомандования, все вразнобой."

[- Did you not coordinate at all? - No. The militia are weird. They shoot, shoot, and then stop. As if their shift is over. They have no organization whatsoever. No leadership, command; total chaos.]

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13 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

Plus, I question how competent Sparta would be in a full on military conflict.  This is not because it's incompetent (though it might very well be), rather it's a simple numbers game.  In a pitched battle between a well motivated Russian BMG and a US Special Forces company, my money would be on the Russian BMG all else being equal.  After a certain point, firepower matters far more than fighting prowess.

Sparta just like many other DPR/LPR battle groups have been quite competent and on there own even if for example they lost a city a major breakthrough towards population centers or the capitals of the regions were not reached and stalled the Ukrainians, and let's not forget most of this fighting force are locals, some volunteers. And most of them have no actual military experience beyond conscription. Anyways, this of course played a role in how effective a rebel formation was, but results were achieved not to say Ukrainians weren't able to take locations like Slaviansk, Kramatorsk, Mariupol albeit at a high price. 

Anyways, yes there were polite men deployed to Donbas to assist Militia forces at certain times, however what most of the Militias were fighting with were captured from Ukrainian formations. My evidence being: http://lostarmour.info/analytics/ 

Yes, Russian weapons did trickle into some Militia hands however those weren't game changers, usually the rare equipment like T-72B3s operated by Russian servicemen were game changers of course. But we can't deny most of the fighting was bared solely on the rebels since the start. So yes there were incompetent and competent Rebel units same as the Ukrainian forces.

14 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

The fighting value of the "separatists" in 2014, many of whom were Russian service members "on vacation", was very poor.

That's contradicting your own arguments from before that the Russian troops reversed the Ukrainian's gains... Make up your mind Russian servicemen are poor, or the show runners? Obviously they had a huge impact because they were so capable. Don't play the Ukrainian cyborgs vs Russian inferior card :D 

14 hours ago, Battlefront.com said:

In the airport and Debaltseve battles the "separatists" suffered massive casualties while achieving almost nothing

Ukrainian politicians also claimed in Slaviansk 470 rebels died which was total bull crap, and proven to be wrong. In the Airport and Debaltseve the Ukrainians suffered heavy casualties and lost important strategic land, and also the strategic image of the Donetsk airport. The Ukrainian government is suppose to be taken with the grain of salt the same way the Rebel government is in terms of claims... Independent research proves out to be way better than taking the claims of any side.  And you appear to be going by Ukrainian claims. The Separatist terrorists with no support from the local population actually achieved alot by taking those objectives. 

1 hour ago, Machor said:

@panzermartin

You may want to read this interview with a Russian (ethnic Buryat) tanker who was wounded while fighting in Ukraine with his regular unit:

https://www.novayagazeta.ru/articles/2015/03/02/63264-171-my-vse-znali-na-chto-idem-i-chto-mozhet-byt-187

Relevant highlights from the interview:

"— Вы вместе с ополченцами воевали? Общие задачи были у вас?

— Нет. Они просто... Займут один рубеж, и когда надо ехать дальше врага дожимать, ополченцы отказываются ехать. Говорят: мы туда не поедем, там опасно. А у нас приказ наступать дальше. И захочется — не прикажешь им. Ну и дальше едешь."

[- Did you fight together with the militia? Did you have common objectives? - No. They just... occupy a boundary, and when it's necessary to advance and press upon the enemy, the militia refuse to do so. They say: "We won't go further; it's dangerous." And we have been ordered to advance. Even if we'd like to - we can't order them. So we press on.]

"— Так вы вообще не координировались?

— Нет. Ополченцы — они странные. Стреляют, стреляют. Потом останавливаются. Как на работу ходят. Никакой организации нет. Нету главы, боекомандования, все вразнобой."

[- Did you not coordinate at all? - No. The militia are weird. They shoot, shoot, and then stop. As if their shift is over. They have no organization whatsoever. No leadership, command; total chaos.]

Opinion of one soldier shouldn't be taken as a collective answer to a force with 30K plus men. I'm sure there were incompetent rebel units, but I also know of competent ones. 

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1 hour ago, VladimirTarasov said:

Anyways, yes there were polite men deployed to Donbas to assist Militia forces at certain times, however what most of the Militias were fighting with were captured from Ukrainian formations. My evidence being: http://lostarmour.info/analytics/ 

Yes, Russian weapons did trickle into some Militia hands however those weren't game changers, usually the rare equipment like T-72B3s operated by Russian servicemen were game changers of course. But we can't deny most of the fighting was bared solely on the rebels since the start. So yes there were incompetent and competent Rebel units same as the Ukrainian forces.

 

Vladimir, maybe you know - what methodology is LostArmour using to determine whether a given tank became a trophy or not?  I read that they base it strictly on photos, however it's not clear to me how they tie Ukrainian Tank A in photo1 to Separatist Tank B in photo 2.

 

Also - let's examine some statistics.  According to LostArmour, there are documented losses of 178 Ukrainian tanks.  Add some tanks whose losses are not documented, subtract some tanks which are beyond repair and I'm guessing it's still around 175 tanks maximum that separatists could've captured.  From that we subtract 94 documented tank losses by separatists, and we arrive at 75 tanks that could've been captured by separatists and are still in service.  Given that in 2015 tank strength of DNR/LNR was estimated to be around 500-700 tanks, it's pretty clear that most of the tanks that they received didn't come from Ukraine.

Edited by Krater

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1 hour ago, VladimirTarasov said:

Anyways, this of course played a role in how effective a rebel formation was, but results were achieved not to say Ukrainians weren't able to take locations like Slaviansk, Kramatorsk, Mariupol albeit at a high price. 

Separatists practically routed from these positions so the Ukrainians did not pay much of a price at all. If you watch watch videos of those battles you will see separatists exhausted and panicked. Where they did pay a price was when Russian line units were involved.

1 hour ago, VladimirTarasov said:

Yes, Russian weapons did trickle into some Militia hands however those weren't game changers, usually the rare equipment like T-72B3s operated by Russian servicemen were game changers of course. But we can't deny most of the fighting was bared solely on the rebels since the start. So yes there were incompetent and competent Rebel units same as the Ukrainian forces.

This argument itself isn't very convincing. During 2014 there was not a single military base or military stockpile or military factory in Donbass. There is no way that the separatists could have possibly acquired an upwards estimate of 700 tanks and many more APCs, the majority of which were never in the Ukrainain arsenal without extensive Russian support.

1 hour ago, VladimirTarasov said:

That's contradicting your own arguments from before that the Russian troops reversed the Ukrainian's gains... Make up your mind Russian servicemen are poor, or the show runners? Obviously they had a huge impact because they were so capable. Don't play the Ukrainian cyborgs vs Russian inferior card :D 

I think he means the vacationers (Russian far-right groups with military background that were mixed in with separatists), not the official Russian troops.

1 hour ago, VladimirTarasov said:

Ukrainian politicians also claimed in Slaviansk 470 rebels died which was total bull crap, and proven to be wrong. In the Airport and Debaltseve the Ukrainians suffered heavy casualties and lost important strategic land, and also the strategic image of the Donetsk airport. The Ukrainian government is suppose to be taken with the grain of salt the same way the Rebel government is in terms of claims... Independent research proves out to be way better than taking the claims of any side.  And you appear to be going by Ukrainian claims. The Separatist terrorists with no support from the local population actually achieved alot by taking those objectives. 

For both airport battles the claims made by both sides are similar: Ukraine lost 200 with about 300 wounded (contentious figure and should be taken with a grain of salt) and the Russians lost 800+ with about 2000 wounded. The land itself is not strategic as the Ukrainian army has line of sight over almost the entirety of the airport and the buildings themselves are practically rubble and the runway is no longer a runway. This is reflected by the fact that both sides are not willing to fight over it in its current state.

Edited by JUAN DEAG

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