The Russia-Ukraine War has begun

Soen Eber

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So much needless death and destruction just to fuel the childish egos of a country that sees hope in cruelty, mercy in colonialism, and never looks at themselves in the mirror.
FIFY
I'm particularly pissed at the third one, seeing yourself drunk is one of life's greatest lessons in humility.
 
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Chin Rey

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So much needless death and destruction just to fuel one man's fragile ego.
It may actually be much worse than we think. According to Forbes.ua (За півтора року Росія витратила на війну з Україною приблизно $167,3 млрд. З них лише техніки, знищеної ЗСУ, більш як на $34 млрд. Розрахунки Forbes — Forbes.ua) Russia has paid the equivalent of 25.6 billion US dollars in compensation to families of soldiers killed in action. According to Vladimir Putin each family receives the equivalent of 68 800 USD as compensation for their loss. If these numbers are correct (I can't find 100% verification so I can't guarantee they are) Russia has paid compensation for 372 000 soldiers killed in the war so far.

Now, I'm sure much of the money is lost in corruption and I would be surprised if higher officers doesn't come with a much higher price tag than regular troops. But on the other hand, a family will only be compensated if the body of their lost one can be found and Russia hasn't exactly been too eager to retrieve their dead from the battlefields. Also, members of the Wagner group and other mercenary forces is almost certainly not included in the count. Nor are the young men from Cuba and other poor countries who were lured to Russia with a promise of a nice well paid job only to be sent to the frontline as cannon fodder or the many who are killed in accidents behind the front line. I also seriously doubt the LNR, DPR and Chechen losses are included.

Forbes' report is based on data from the General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces so maybe we should take it with a grain of salt. But the rest of the data from the dataset seems quite plausible, if anything the numbers seem a bit on the low side, and I can't see any reason why they wanted to inflate that specific number.

It's a staggering number though, much higher than other estimates I've seen. I'm not sure what to make of it. What do you think?

(Edit: Fixing typos)
 
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Bartholomew Gallacher

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It's a staggering number though, much higher than other estimates I've seen. I'm not sure what to make of it. What do you think?
Well, it sounds plausible. You should also keep on mind that money is not an issue for Russia, since its rubles they are paying their army in. And if Putin wants more rubles, the central bank just will print him some...
 

Chin Rey

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Well, it sounds plausible.
Another piece of info surfaced only an hour or two after I posted here. According to Vyorstka, a news site run by Russian journalists in exile, Russia’s Ministry of Labour has requested 230,000 certificates for family members of deceased combat veterans. If I understand right (I'm not sure I do) these are for compensation claims that are still being processed and apparently it's for the last four months.
(Source: https://news.yahoo.com/230-000-certificates-requested-russia-125603472.html)

So now we're talking about more than 600,000 Russian KIA!!! Something doesn't add up here, a loss as big as that can't be possible, can it? It's certainly way higher than even the most optimistic (from Ukraine's POW) official estimates.

And if Putin wants more rubles, the central bank just will print him some...
National economies aren't quite that simple; if it was, everybody would be doing it. You see, when you give people money, they have this depressing tendency to use it to buy stuff. The law of supply and demand applies to valuta too so too much money in circulation leads to inflation. There are plenty of examples of governments trying to print their way out of financial problems and it always leads to disaster.
That being said, Putin doesn't seem to understand economics very well so he's probably not fully aware of this.
 
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Maybe Russia wants the Ruble to become the new Zibabwe dollar that people will buy on ebay for the memes.

To save their economy in the long term, or something.
 

Cindy Claveau

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Russia’s Main Defensive Line Breached

In what the Institute for the The Institute for the Study of War calls a “significant inflection,” Ukrainian mechanized forces have for the first time breached Russia’s main line of anti-tank ditches and dragon’s teeth obstacles near the village of Verbove in Zaporizhzhia Oblast.
That breach, geolocated by ISW as well as The Wall Street Journal, has allowed U.S.-donated Stryker and German-donated Marder armored vehicles to pass beyond those lines, according to ISW.

Though small and heavily contested, the breach is significant. It gives Ukraine a better chance to push more armor through, expand the growing Robobytne-Verbove salient and move closer to the goal of cutting off the so-called land bridge to Crimea. With this goal in mind, Ukraine is attempting to push south, through or around Tokmak on the way to Melitopol. There is also an effort to drive down to the Azov Sea port city of Berdiansk.
The advance is exacting a major toll, however.
“We are pushing through,” a Ukrainian officer told The Wall Street Journal. “We are destroying them. But the price…”
 

Chin Rey

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All defense can do is buy time, but with Russia the question is buy time for what? I don't think even Putin knows.
We don't know how aware Putin is of the situation in Ukraine or how much power he still has. There are plenty of delusional hawks around him.

But assuming that somebody with a certain level of rationality is in charge in Kremlin, there are six possible (at least from a Russian point of view) scenarios where Russia can win the war, or at least not completely loose it:
  1. Russia manages to perform a large mobilization without triggering a revolt at home. The sheer number of new, poorly trained and poorly equipped troops manages to overwhelm the Ukrainian forces before they are all mowed down.
  2. Trump or some other pro-Russian guy becomes president of the USA, blocks the US support to Ukraine and also forces the other free nations to do the same. That's not going to happen. That is, there's a real risk some lunatic becomes president of USA in 2025 but USA actually only accounts for less than 30% of the aid to Russia and he won't be able to completely stop it. Such a president will have no respect or influence internationally either so nobody else will follow him. If anything the other donor countries will step up their support.
  3. The free world grows tired of supporting Ukraine. That's going to happen eventually of course but Putin will have died of old age before it does.
  4. The Ukrainians see the light and decides to submit to their true masters.
  5. Russia comes up with some new superweapon.
  6. God descends from Heaven and wipes out the Ukrainian army.
 

Bartholomew Gallacher

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  1. Trump or some other pro-Russian guy becomes president of the USA, blocks the US support to Ukraine and also forces the other free nations to do the same. That's not going to happen. That is, there's a real risk some lunatic becomes president of USA in 2025 but USA actually only accounts for less than 30% of the aid to Russia and he won't be able to completely stop it. Such a president will have no respect or influence internationally either so nobody else will follow him. If anything the other donor countries will step up their support
America doesn't have to be respected to ensure other countries will follow its lead. In case of doubt it can always fall back to behaving like a school yard bully, and due to its military and economic power many countries will do abide.
 
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