Russia Really Invades Ukraine
Putin's forces are in Kyiv.
NYT (“Russia Attacks Ukraine From Land and Sea“):
Early Thursday, just as President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia announced on television that he had decided “to carry out a special military operation” in Ukraine, explosions were reported across the country.
Blasts were heard in Kyiv, the capital; in Kharkiv, the second largest city; and in Kramatorsk in the region of Donetsk, one of two eastern Ukrainian territories claimed by Russia-backed separatists since 2014.
Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said that Russian troops had landed in the southern port city of Odessa and were crossing from Russia into Kharkiv. Footage captured by security cameras showed Russian military vehicles crossing into Ukraine from Crimea, the peninsula that Russia seized in 2014.
Rocket attacks targeted Ukrainian fighter jets parked at an airport outside Kyiv, and Ukraine closed its airspace to commercial flights, citing the “potential hazard to military aviation.”
As air raid sirens blared in Kyiv, the western city of Lviv and other urban areas, residents rushed to take shelter in bus and subway stations. In Kyiv, people packed up their cars and waited in long lines to fill up with gas on their way out of the city. In eastern Ukraine, early signs of panic appeared on the streets as lines formed at A.T.M.s and gas stations.
With attacks across the country, it quickly became clear that Russia’s campaign, whatever Mr. Putin meant by a “special military operation,” was aimed at far more than the rebel territories in the east. Within an hour, Ukraine’s state emergency service said that attacks had been launched in 10 regions of Ukraine, primarily in the east and south, and that reports of new shelling were “coming in constantly.”
Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, called it “a full-scale invasion of Ukraine” and said his country would defend itself, while calling on the world to “stop Putin.”
WSJ (“Russia Attacks Ukraine, Drawing Broad Condemnation“):
Russian troops and tanks pushed into Ukraine and airstrikes hit the country’s capital and more than a dozen other cities early Thursday after President Vladimir Putin said he ordered a military operation to “demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine” and bring its leaders to trial.
Ukrainian officials said an initial wave of strikes targeted military installations, airfields and government facilities across the country, as well as border-force installations. Ukraine’s border service said its troops came under attack all along the country’s frontiers with Russia and Belarus.
Video posted online by the border service showed columns of Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers moving into southern Ukraine, while in Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine’s largest city, residents said a large fire was visible after what appeared to be a hit at a weapons depot.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the country’s armed forces were putting up a strong resistance. “The enemy has sustained serious losses,” he told reporters, saying his government was handing out weapons to citizens who were ready to defend Ukrainian territory.
“Russia carried out a villainous attack on our state in the early morning. The same as fascist Germany did in the time of World War II,” he said. “From today our states are on different sides of world history. The Russian state is on the path of evil.”
WaPo (“Russia launches attacks across Ukraine; Biden vows ‘consequences’“):
Russia launched a broad attack on Ukraine from multiple directions early Thursday, bombarding cities, towns and villages and advancing toward the capital, Kyiv, as Ukrainian forces tried to stem the onslaught of Russian ground forces and air power.
Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said Russian troops were fighting to break into the wider Kyiv region and crossed the regional border, where Ukrainian forces were battling to repel them.
As reports of mounting casualties emerged, large crowds of Ukrainians and foreigners fled the capital, Kyiv, and other cities by trains and buses.
President Biden called it an “unjustified attack” that signals “a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering,” and he promised that the United States and allies would respond decisively. “The world will hold Russia accountable,” Biden said.
The Guardian (“Russia-backed hackers behind powerful new malware, UK and US say“):
A cyber report published by intelligence agencies in the UK and US on Wednesday has attributed insidious new malware to a notorious Russia-backed hacking group.
The findings come amid concerns of potential Russian cyber-attacks against Ukraine as the threat of war in the region grows.
The joint research was published by the National Cyber Security Centre in the UK and US agencies including the National Security Agency. It warned that a Russian state-backed hacker group known as Sandworm had developed a new type of malware called Cyclops Blink, which targets firewall devices made by the manufacturer Watchguard to protect computers against hacks.
CNN (“Russian stocks crash and ruble plunges to record low“):
Russian stocks crashed by more than 40% and the ruble hit a record low against the dollar on Thursday.
The Moscow market rout was triggered by news that Russian troops had launched an attack on Ukraine, a move that is likely to trigger a new wave of “full scale” sanctions aimed at President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and Russia’s oil-dependent economy.
A broad offensive by Russian forces targeted military infrastructure across Ukraine as well as several airports. The assault began hours before dawn and quickly spread across central and eastern Ukraine as Russian forces attacked from three sides. Putin warned of bloodshed unless Ukrainian forces lay down their arms.
The Moscow stock exchange had suspended trading earlier on Thursday but when dealing resumed, stocks went into free-fall.
The MOEX index plunged as much as 45%, while the RTS index — which is denominated in dollars — was down more than 40% at 4.15 a.m. ET. The crash wiped about $75 billion off the value of Russia’s biggest companies.
Russian banks and oil companies were among the hardest hit in volatile trading, with shares in Sberbank (SBRCY) — Russia’s largest lender — at one stage losing 57% of their value. Rosneft, in which BP (BP) owns a 19.75% stake, plunged as much as 58%. BP shares dropped 5% in London.
The ruble was trading at 85 to the dollar, down 4%, after earlier hitting a new record low of 89.60. The Russian central bank said it would intervene in the currency market and provide extra liquidity to the banking sector.
CNN (“Global oil prices soar above $100 and could go much higher“):
Oil prices surged above $100 per barrel after Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine, piling pressure on a global economy already reeling from rampant inflation.
Russia is the world’s No. 2 oil producer and a major exporter of natural gas. Supply disruptions could drive retail prices higher, making it more expensive for people around the world to fuel their cars and for Europeans to heat their homes. Gasoline prices are already at record levels in parts of Europe.
Elliot Cohen, The Atlantic (“Arm the Ukrainians Now“):
In the short term Russia can, if it wishes, occupy all of Ukraine. The steady buildup around Ukraine’s borders and the preparation for the invasion by subversion, cyberattacks, and political warfare have, for the moment, put the Russians in the stronger position. But Putin’s position is not what he or Western pessimists believe it to be.
The Russian military is very different from the massive Red Army of the Cold War. It is a fraction of the size (900,000 active-duty personnel, of whom perhaps 375,000 are in the army and airborne forces, together with several hundred thousand paramilitary troops and a large special-operations force). It relies on volunteers (kontraktniki), although it retains conscription. It makes extensive use of mercenaries, and in particular the Wagner Group, which operates in close partnership with Russian special forces. It is technologically advanced in many areas, if more narrowly and less formidably than its American counterparts. And it possesses robust capabilities for cyberattacks and information warfare. But it also has its weaknesses.
The Russian army is built around battalion tactical groups, which have a great deal of long-range firepower and rather little infantry. As became apparent during the last intense round of fighting, in 2014, they are vulnerable to enemy units that can get close in and maneuver quickly—what the Vietnamese used to call, in their war against the United States, “hanging on to the enemy’s belt.” These units will not do well in cities, unless they are prepared to administer to Kyiv the same treatment Russia doled out to Grozny in 1999 and 2000, killing thousands of civilians and leaving the city in ruins. But this is Europe, and unlike in the Chechen war, the videos of such slaughter and ruin will be ubiquitous, alienating Europeans and making even many Russians queasy. Meanwhile, as the United States discovered in Iraq and Afghanistan, no matter how large, technologically advanced, and proficient an army is, motivated insurgents can still inflict casualties in the tens of thousands.
The Ukrainian army is far better trained and equipped than it was a decade ago. Most important, it, and the volunteers who will join it, are motivated. The Soviet Union took years to quell an insurgency in Ukraine after World War II, and Russia would take longer to do the same now. This is, moreover, an operation an order of magnitude greater than the Chechen or earlier Ukrainian campaign, one in which the mundane issues of casualty replacements, unit rotations, logistical support, and maintenance would become burdensome over time. After a year or two of occupation and guerrilla warfare, the magnitude of the strategic debacle would become clear.
The key vulnerability of Russia does not lie in susceptibility to economic sanctions. Having made extensive use of these tools for decades now, the U.S. is in the position of a doctor who promiscuously prescribes antibiotics, thereby accelerating the appearance of medicine-resistant bugs. Sanctions will hurt, no doubt, but make little difference to the daily lives of those who run the country, who will exploit them for propaganda purposes at home and abroad. Only one thing, in fact, can cause Russia to rethink and even abandon its program of conquest: coffins.
And if Ukraine’s friends continue to support the Ukrainians who want to fight for their freedom, an abundant supply of those will be coming back to Russia.
That is why the United States and its Western partners must help nourish an insurgency that will cause the occupiers to bitterly regret, and then reverse, their attempt to crush Ukrainian independence. This strategy does not require sending troops, except to protect NATO allies; it does require providing weapons, training, and intelligence without stinting.
Richard Haass, NYT (“The West Must Show Putin How Wrong He Is to Choose War“):
The West should aim to penalize Russia and to discourage it from further aggression. Germany’s suspension of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is a strong start, as are the financial sanctions targeting two Russian banks and Russia’s sovereign debt announced by President Biden on Tuesday. Additional targeted measures ought to follow, and the military capacities of both Ukraine and NATO, particularly in countries close to Russia, should continue to be enhanced. Mr. Putin must be made to understand that the moves he’s already made will have meaningful consequences.
But if the Russian intervention is a prelude to an attempt to assert control over the entirety of Ukraine and oust its government, as it’s likely to be, the United States and its NATO allies must go much further. The aim then should be to expand support to Ukraine — military, intelligence, economic and diplomatic — to such an extent as to significantly raise the costs of any Russian occupation.
That should be possible, not least because Russia’s approximately 190,000 troops and Russian-backed separatist forces that are in or near Ukraine are unlikely to be able to readily pacify a country of Ukraine’s size and population. For Russia, the costs will already be high. Though far from a panacea, sanctions against a wider set of people and financial institutions close to Mr. Putin and critical for Russia’s economy can raise them higher still — as would increasing oil and gas production in the United States and the Middle East. Removing the Kremlin’s cushion of high energy prices, which have long been a windfall for the government, would be the best sanction.
The United States should also continue to make public its intelligence that sheds light on Russian intentions to spoil surprises. Traditional and social media with the potential to reach Russian journalists and civil society should counter the Kremlin’s narrative. And images of what is taking place inside Ukraine should reach the world, leaving no doubt about the toll in innocent lives caused by Mr. Putin’s adventurism.
On a more strategic level, the United States should try to build some distance between China and Russia. That won’t happen overnight, but the Biden administration should step up its private diplomacy with China, highlighting the economic and strategic risks — including financial punishment and increasing anti-China sentiment in the West — of it being closely associated with an aggressive Russia. Now would also be a good time to restart a high-level strategic dialogue with China and search for issues, on Afghanistan, say, and climate change, where the two governments might cooperate.
My Two Cents:
Our options are decidedly limited. As Cohen rightly notes, we have been applying rather powerful and targeted sanctions against Putin and his cronies since 2014; there’s only so much we can escalate. And, with oil at its highest price in a decade, Russia has the means to replenish the coffers, albeit through the back door.
Arming the Ukrainian resistance, as he suggests, is an obvious move but not one without risk. As Cohen himself notes,
Ukraine is bordered by four NATO members—Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania—through which such aid must flow, and Russia is sure to menace and perhaps even lash out at these weaker Western allies. Russia lacks the resources and capacity to invade them successfully and would hesitate before action that would invoke NATO’s Article V obligations for mutual defense. But it will go right up to the edge.
While Haass’ suggestion to leverage China in this situation is the standard playbook, it strikes me as exceedingly unlikely. After all, we announced a “Pivot to Asia” under the Obama administration in 2011 and have been quite open about China being the “pacing threat” for military planning and acquisition strategy ever since. If anything, Beijing is likely to leverage this distraction to further consolidate its gains in the South China Sea and to expand on its Belt and Road strategy.
It’s a mess, that’s for certain, but Putin absolutely must be stopped. This is wrong on so many levels.
The subtitle says Russian forces are in Kyiv, but I haven’t seen this confirmed yet?
Probably not a lot of immediate options. The most painful to the Russian leaders would be to seize the assets of the oligarchs. For the UK that might be a hard pill to swallow because of how deeply intertwined London investment and properties are with Russian money.
On a different note ..
How are the other Murdoch-owned news media outlets presenting this invasion in other countries? Is the insanity confined to the US or is the company really leaning toward Putin?
CBS News says cruise and ballistic missile strikes on military centers are ongoing in Kyiv.
Sanctions can’t do very much except hurt the Russian people and Putin’s doing that already.
There’s a lot more we can do. Shut down the oligarch’s bank accounts, investments and property holdings in the West. Take the battle to someplace it will really hurt them. Give the oligarchs incentive to turn on Putin.
Putin is 70 years old; all the Botox in the world will not give him immortality. There are already people in his circle who are thinking of the future. The threat of immediate poverty might speed up their calculations. Not many Mafia bosses died peacefully in their beds at the height of their powers.
No expertise here just armchair pontificating but it seems to me that conventional confrontation won’t help the Ukrainians. We are certainly not going to directly confront the Russians. So it is up to us to identify, pinpoint, and attack the Russian pain points. Economic pain is just one thing. Other vulnerabilities: other ethnic groups in Russian (Chechens, the many in the Caucasus, etc). We have our own offensive cyber warfare capabilities. I hope they are being used. Confiscate Russian assets abroad. Expel Russian diplomats, seize overseas properties. And on. I’m sure many more will weigh in.
@Not the IT Dept.: @Not the IT Dept.:
We’ve been doing this since 2014, slowly ratcheting up the pressure. We’ve largely abandoned untargeted sanctions that just hurt the general population in the last twenty years or so.
There is a saying to the effect that the best plans go asunder when the battle is engaged and so it will be here. The options for repelling Putin are limited, but what is effective will also become apparent in the coming weeks.
Oil is a fungible asset and while Putin, in theory, will benefit from the jump in price, part of the reason the price is jumping is that Russia has, for the moment, disappeared from the producer market. As Russian oil returns to the market, the price will moderate. As much as Europe is a captive of Russian energy production, Russia effectively only has one significant customer for its oil and that is Europe. Given the lack of infrastructure for oil/gas transport between Russia and China, for the short to mid term China meeting their energy needs from the Gulf is a less costly and more stable supplier.
Given that no, one effort will force Putin to reverse, a plan that inflicts multiple points of pain makes sense and to that arming an Ukrainian insurgency, if it develops, is a point of pain.
We need to remember that Ukraine was a hostage to force the west to dismantle the post Soviet defense status and now Putin has shot the hostage. NATO and Europe should make Putin’s nightmare a reality.
Edit: consider stoking insurgencies in Chechnya and other captured regions in the Russian Federation.
The purpose of sanctions is not to force Putin out of Ukraine, that is unrealistic, it’s to weaken Russia over the long term. Sanctions already applied have weakened Russia. The new sanctions will weaken it further, leave it even more isolated. As cold-blooded as it may sound, this is an opportunity for the United States and its allies and we should gleefully exploit it.
Push US troops into the Baltics, Poland and Romania.
Move forces into threatening positions around Kaliningrad.
Be open to Sweden and/or Finland joining NATO and if they are interested, expedite it.
Enthusiastically support Ukrainian resistance with money, weapons, training and intel.
Aid Ukrainian refugees and countries that take them in.
Push the weak-kneed Tories in UK to appropriate Russian-owned property.
Move heaven and Earth to help with Europe’s energy needs.
If we play this right we’ll have a dramatically weaker Russia a decade from now. If the West stands united we will send a powerful warning to Xi on Taiwan. This is an opportunity and thankfully we have competent leadership.
Indeed. China is watching very closely to see what we do because “go loud” might be viable after all. If they see a weaker state blatantly invade with little consequences (death of troops and civilians are built-in collateral damage to them), the calculus gets a whole lot more dangerous for the entire world. It’s not always about winning the current war but preventing the next one.
Speaking of leadership:
Treat Russia like Iran? Or Cuba?
There is, in fact, a LOT of room for escalation.
Whether this would be wise is another discussion. (Right now, however, I’m feeling quite hawkish.)
@Michael Reynolds: @KM:
China is not Russia and what might work against Putin can’t be done against Xi. Russia has oil and gas. Turn those spigots off and things get difficult for some people, at least in the short term. Turn off the Chinese pipeline of manufactured goods? Economic suicide.
Earlier this month China announced they would increase grain imports from Russia. This week their customs agency announced they were ready to start accepting Russian grain shipments.
@drj: My husband works in tech, and made an offhand comment this morning about how many US and other Western companies have engineers based in Russia. This is not something that had occurred to me, and I really do wonder if we’re too entwined globally to enact policies that would be similar to the isolation of Iran and Cuba. It’d be a hot mess quickly.
I wonder what they’ll pay with.
Just to get this out of the way now: But what about when America invaded Iraq? No one imposed sanctions then.
Okay, let’s resume.
Europe and UK are going to have to massively increase military spending, and take a hatchet to the dozy procurement systems and lack of realistic scale training that has developed over the past thirty years.
The heavy formations have been eaten up to free resources for Afghanistan without budget increases, and to gratify the obsessions of the Treasury with cheese-paring, and the Conservatives with tax cuts.
And Labour “new global paradigm” guff, to be fair.
And the “insurgencies only” mindset of the Special Forces types who have become increasingly dominant in the Army.
“No war in Europe” mindset, just as in the 1920-38
So you get todays news HMS Diamond’s departure for NATO deployment delayed (again).
Because the Type 25 was signed off with Rolls Royce /Northrop Grumman gas turbines with sodding useless intercooler design, and inadequate diesel back-up, due to desire to avoid extra spend.
RAF frontline strength is down to ten squadrons of some 120 aircraft nominal; less than that operational.
As for the readiness of the British Army, see these posts by Francis Tusa on twitter; summary, not good
And Bundeswehr has problems as well, it seems.
This is going to take a lot of money to fix,
My taxes are headed upward, I suspect.
Which is going to be hard for a lot of people, given the massive jump in home heating costs, plus petrol, and Brexit and covid related inflation.
We could really do with a leader fit to develop such plans, and put them to the nation in a sober fashion.
And to co-ordinate sensibly with other nations in Europe and with the EU.
But we are stuck with a lazy, chaotic, self-seeking buffoon.
That’s a double edged sword; trade cut is devastating for China also.
And if it does not arise in the short term, both Europe and he US are already putting serious money into “onshoring” key productive capabilities.
The really massive Chinese vulnerability, though, is its need for imported hydrocarbons by sea, more than half from the Middle East.
Upon which it’s absolutely crucial fertilizer supply also depends; no fertilizer = mass famine.
Pipelines from Russia are inadequate to substitute; would a decade at least to build them to that scale.
China unlikely to be happy about the rising oil/gas prices now.
Russia needs to be cut off from SWIFT – today. If they’re going to talk sanctions, impose sanctions that impose serious damage.
Quite likely those foreign nationals working in Russia will be coming home as the sanctions that cut off Russian trade. It will also include services and out sourcing of IT development. A canary in that coalmine is when Russian developed apps for Android and IOS begin disappearing from the online stores.
There would be very significant costs. However, I am fairly certain that if Putin gets away with this, it won’t be long until he starts messing with the Baltic countries. Which means that there will be very signifcant costs regardless, as a proper (and necessary) response would require a significant rebuilding of conventional forces in Europe.
Better to weaken Russia now (and pay a hefty price) than wait a bit and having to deal with an even worse situation and commensurately larger costs.
@CSK: Political Wire quotes the book I Alone Can Fix It on Trump saying privately he’d pull out of NATO, and our defense treaty with South Korea, in his second term.
We should have dealt more harshly with Putin decades ago.
Every single President, since Putin came onto the stage, has fuq’ed this up.
We cannot go easy now. Putin must be hit with devastating sanctions – that affect him and his immediate circle directly. Including cutting Russia off SWIFT.
I’ll save comments about Republicans choosing to align themselves with a fascist dictator over their own country for another time.
For anyone who follows Formula 1 – former world champion Sebastian Vettel has said he will not race in the event scheduled for Russia in September.
Getting the F1 races there was a big deal for Putin, who attended them personally.
So, how are folks here following the Ukrainian news? I just stream so I don’t get CNN and other cable like newscasts. Right now, I watching Aljazeera. They just broadcast a small demonstration on Pushkin Square which was quickly dispersed by police. Probably not significant. Want less talking heads and more news. Any suggestions?
These are Russians, who work in Russia for US and other Western companies as a result of outsourcing. Part of me thinks that Russia won’t touch those folks, as long as they are working and have steady paychecks flowing in. On the other hand, it could become very uncomfortable for them, and I’m not sure how sanctions that prohibit work with Russia would impact Russian nationals who are at home, in Russia, working for US companies. Does American Big Tech Co. XYZ fire all of its Russian engineers? Or is it okay for them to keep these folks on as employees, sending them payment for work?
@drj: I’m all for slapping Putin however hard we can. I’m just really curious if we’re in a position with them that is somewhat similar to China–there’s only so much we can do that hurts them without hurting ourselves too.
Really good thread from Garry Kasparov, who was a pretty good chess player…
Trump said several times in 2018 that he wanted to pull the U.S. out of NATO. This has been his intent for a while.
In Europe, notable that President Zeman of Czechia, who has been known for being friendly to Russia in the past, has done a 180:
Orban of Hungary:
A bit carefully non-committal re sanctions though. Prob. related to Hungary 50% energy dependence on Russia.
Social Democratic Party of Germany leader in the in the Bundestag, Rolf Mützenich, a leading figure on the left wing of the party:
I think it’s safe to say Putin has burnt his bridges to mainstream politics in Europe.
All he has left on his side now are the real crazies of the left and right, the reflexive contrarians and the conspiracist nutters.
While the 2003 invasion was quite likely a violation of international law, Iraq was in violation of umpteen UNSCRs going back almost two decades. There was at least a very good pretext for the invasion, which was joined in by dozens of other countries and ultimately backed by multiple UNSCRs, notably UNSCR 1546. That’s far different from the invasion of a peaceful neighbor for the purpose of annexation.
Worth noting that your guy Boris is pushing for Russia to be cut off from SWIFT as well. Germany, predictably, is reticent about such a move.
Of course, it’s going to hurt us as well. The idea is that it hurts them harder.
Still better than having to send out one’s kids to fight over the Suwalki Gap.
Yes, but those western companies that are employing the Russians will be forced to abrogate those agreements. Besides, the money to pay them won’t be able to be transferred.
I suspect Chancellor Scholz is having a (justifiable) panic attack over the likely corollary of Swift shutoff: suspension of all Russian gas supply.
Perhaps item #2 on the agenda at State and in European capitals should be urgent arrangement of LNG tanker shuttle service from US, Middle East and anywhere else there is any on sale, to terminals in Europe.
And if I were Admiral Blount, CINC-MARCOM, I’d also be looking at naval escort tasking, just to be on the safe side.
Probably. Germany has dawdled and stupid-moved itself into a ridiculous position, but I’m taking the optimistic view that this might be just what it needs to get its head out of its behind and rectify that vulnerability it has created for itself.
I think it has more (or as much anyway) to do with European banks holding a nasty chunk of Russian foreign debt (last I looked it was around $30 billion). No SWIFT, no European banks getting paid. If I were Joe, I’d be coming up with a package for the US or some consortium of central banks including Fed to backstop those potential losses and get the EU onboard.
According to the book, “I Alone Can Fix It”, Trump said he would pull out of NATO as well as end the defense agreement with South Korea if he won a second term.
Speaking of things maritime, appears Russians have hit a Turkish bulk carrier sailing south to Constanta in Romania, off Odessa.
Also reported Russian naval bombardment of Zmeiniy Island off the mouth of the Danube.
That will have Bucharest and NATO really twitchy.
That is extremely reckless by Russia.
Also, Ukraine has appealed to Turkey to close the Straits to Russian ships.
I suspect Ankara won’t move on that.
Just get the ECB to replace the debt with Eurobonds.
(It would be ironic if this crisis was what it took to get Berlin to swallow its objection to “funny money” accounting, but the Muse Clio tends to a wry sense of humour)
Download PlutoTV. They have some good news stations, including some international ones. All free.
The negotiated deal says China will pay Russia in euros (as an FU to the United States and the dollar). So, out of their trade surplus with the EU.
I think it would be better from a symbolic “giving them the finger” if Fed participated, but agreed. That hurdle isn’t difficult to overcome, but it needs to be overcome. Sooner the better IMO. For this to have any chance of being mediated, the damage to what economy Russia does have needs to be severe and immediate.
@Daryl and his brother Darryl:
I assume Trump wanted to destroy the alliance with South Korea in order to make his lover Kim Jong-un happy.
@Sleeping Dog: US companies are going to struggle with that, in an already-tight labor market. It’s effectively laying off a fair number of highly skilled tech workers. Yikes.
Interesting development if true…
Happy wife, happy life!
@Daryl and his brother Darryl: If that’s accurate, those aren’t the brightest bulbs on the tree, are they? What did they think they were there for–and I’m being serious.
@Daryl and his brother Darryl:
@Daryl and his brother Darryl:
Well, I doubt he’s getting much, if any, from Melania, so…
Possibility: they were told by command that they were being sent to liberate Ukraine from Nazi militias and NATO mercenaries.
There have been “reports” in Russian media along those lines, and accusations by Russian officials.
There is a fair probability many Russian troops have been cut off from external information since they deployed in early December.
@Scott: Alexander Vindman is providing some timely insight at his Twitter feed. Insight including footage of Russian citizens, in significant numbers, marching in protest of Putin’s war.
Wikipedia shows 3 LNG terminals in Europe, one in Norway and 2 in Finland and in all likelihood those are sized to meet the demands of those markets. Plus the infrastructure doesn’t exist to move the gas to other places in Europe. With ~15 regasification facilities, with none in Germany.
Merkel and Schroder really planned well and left Germany well prepared (eyes roll.
And Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan arrives in Moscow:
There’s one for the history books, PM. 🙁
Especially since, technically at least, the shutoff would be because Western European countries stopped paying.
I’m expecting the Ukraine transit pipeline network will be offline fairly soon. If it’s down long enough that Western Europe really has to dig into its stored gas, some of the other countries are going to start pressuring Germany to let the Nord Stream 2 start operation.
True, but those are the risks of globalism, particularly when you partner with countries that aren’t based on the rules of law. I expect that any currency trader that was shorting the ruble is smiling this morning. Oh and the Russian stock exchange is off 45%.
Google, and presumably Facebook and Amazon at the least maintain data centers in Russia. I have heard vague stories of “interesting” preparations for these sites, for the purpose of resisting data leaks to unspecified unfriendly governments. Now presumably there are people there on site, and it’s a very good question as to just who those people are and what they are doing now.
Also, I’m very curious as to what they might have been up to during the last week, viz. data protection.
At the least, I figure it has become impossible to pay someone living in Russia, so they are furloughed, or something.
According to Gas Infrastructure Europe, there are 29 operating LNG terminals in Europe with a combined capacity to release 227 bcm (billion cubic meters) per year. The bigger problem is probably finding sources for significantly more LNG on a short time scale, and shipping.
Finland’s Prime Minister now saying, because of Russian aggression, he thinks membership in NATO is possible.
This is the exact opposite of what Putin wants to happen.
I don’t think that is right.
There is a huge terminal at the Isle of Grain in the Thames Estuary.
Maxed out it can handle 25% UK gas demand IIRC.
Milford Haven is around the same scale, assuming they finished construction there.
Montoir at the mouth of the Loire is about the same size I think.
There’s Zeebrugge in Belgium, but that’s smaller any probably maxed out already.
Spain also has terminals of similar capacity; but I don’t know if they have pipe connections to the north.
So, not good, not utterly catastrophic either.
I suspect the Chancellery in Berlin is really lamenting the cancellation of Willhelmshavn terminal right now.
Saw something earlier that the Russian army has brought mobile crematoriums into Ukraine. Eliminate the body bag problem. Gee Mrs Soldier’s Mom, we don’t know what happened to your son/daughter.
I had seen that reference as well, but my reading is that the Wikipedia entry is specifying only those facilities that can handle large LNG tankers. That would be consistent with something that I read last week that discussed the lack of diversity in Europe’s sources of gas. I believe the number of 29 includes the regasification plants and other distribution points.
We should be impounding the Russian oligarchs yachts. And any nice mansions in the US — use Kelso to buy them up to make low income housing, and sanctions to freeze the payments.
There is bound to be a bunch of people working at the State Department just coming up with absurdly spiteful sanction ideas. I kind of envy them.
They’ll almost certainly begin with freezing Russian assets in the US and Europe, among other things.
Former Sec. of State John Kerry is busy making a fool of himself and fellow Democrats: “Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on BBC Arabic: The Ukraine Crisis Could Distract the World from the Climate Crisis While Having Massive Emissions Consequences. #RussiaUkraineConflict #UkraineRussie #UkraineRussiaCrisis #ClimateCrisis
Biden has been out ahead of this.. a bit.
I also recall and article where the Biden admin has reached out to our mideast allies in a effort to get assurances they will step up their efforts to aid Europe if necessary.
Feb 3, 2022 NYT –
Natural Gas Shipments, Mostly From U.S., Ease Europe’s Energy Crunch
As Russia squeezes supplies, a parade of tankers carrying liquefied natural gas is coming to Europe’s rescue.
The article ultimately concludes that these terminals lack the necessary capacity:
Meanwhile, former president Trump (he doesn’t get a capital P) is busy calling Putin a genius for invading. All things considered, you’ve brought weak sauce.
Grain, Milford Haven and Montoir are all “big ship” terminals; there’s a reason they in deep water estuaries.
I’d assume the Spanish ports are as well.
Dunno about Zeebrugge.
Or the (fairly small) ones in Italy.
There may be a big terminal in southern France too, near Marseilles, come to think of it.
There are two near Marseilles – Fos Cavaou and Fos Tonkin
[Original comment deleted by matt]
@John430, I had initially replied with snark. But I realized that all I have for you is pity.
The fact that you are so hard-wired partisan that all you want to do is score points at this moment is just sad.
I feel bad for you man.
Well actually, he’s sort of right.
Medium term, high priced gas will encourage greater use of more carbon-intensive sources.
The lignite mines in Germany not likely to be shutting down as soon as hoped, regrettably
Long term, not so much: it will probably stimulate plans for more nuke plants, and for using wind surplus for hydrogen or syn-methane storage.
Sort term, it will also likely reduce emissions: I am currently digging out an extra duvet (metaphorically), ’cause natural gas is about to get really pricey in these parts.
So, what did Kerry say that was so foolish?
Not the headlines please, that won’t be what he actually said.
@Daryl and his brother Darryl:
Finland really should.
For one thing, the current Ukraine crisis shows the western powers won’t commit troops to fight against Russia in defense of a non-NATO country.
For another, the last time Russia (USSR) invaded Finland, they wound up having to ally with the nazis in self defense. NATO is a far better option.
Thing is, both Finland and Sweden have some alliance cover from the Mutual Defence clause of the Treaty of Lisbon (Article 42.7)
(As do the other non-NATO EU states: Austria, Cyprus, Ireland, Malta)
Of course, that does not bind the US, or (any longer) the UK.
But the US has repeatedly said it would regard an attack on Sweden, at any rate, as a hostile act.
But NATO membership would get them integrated into the combined forces staff, theatre air defence net, logistics, real-time intelligence etc.
Makes planning a lot easier.
@John430: whoever upvoted you is also shallow and short-sighted.
IMO Eliot Cohen is dead wrong one one point. Insurgencies are nasty business and the Russians have been as brutal as they feel like in putting them down. The cost in blood to the Ukrainian people? Incalculable and likely to create and/or exacerbate the internal schisms which last for generations.
Nope. They are overmatched and the way to go is matador. Putin is internationally isolated, even his own people are protesting. Whatever government he sets up will be rooted in sand.
If it isn’t and time shows there is no other way, then perhaps violent insurgency will be called for, but not now, when the Russians are there and at their strongest. The troops will go home if there is no fighting, and thereby can’t find anything to fight.
Hey, I read it on the internet, Wikipedia no less. I has to be true and youse guys are wrong. 🙂
Biden just announced that every asset Russia has in the U.S. will be frozen.
Perhaps that will include Trump.
No… we voted Trump out. And a good thing it was.
Wikimisledia, as us information mongering types often call it.
(To be fair, Wiki is usually pretty good; better than Google searching as Google is increasingly heading down an ad/topic/AI-driven rathole)
The RU-DOA Mk1 tactical sauna.
Anti-war protests breaking out all over Russia, videos on Twitter. Those are some brave people.
Although to be fair to the Johnson, he has stepped up his game.
He actually managed to behave with the gravity required in Parliament today, and has improved his stance on sanctions (still not enough, but better; acceptable for now).
I worry more about Finland than Sweden. Vlad seems to want a great Russian restoration, and Finland, or parts of it, were part of the Russian empire for some time. I’m less clear what happened with territories Stalin took prior to WWII.
That’s probably true, as there are many ways in which a user can upvote their own post.
Well, here’s some news.
Clio really does have a nasty sense of humour.
I posted in the other thread that this is what Putin did not count on.
You know Clio only looks backward.
BTW, Russia should be expelled from the IOC and barred from participating in any and all Olympic competition until all Russian forces leave every last inch of Ukraine (this would include the Putin Puppet States and Crimea). That might hurt Vlad some.
The FAA has announced a no-fly zone over Ukraine, Belarus, and western Russia.
This does not apply to military aircraft.
The kept what they took of Finland, apart from the naval base at Hanko.
Ever hear Sibelius Karelia Suite?
The Russian hold almost all of Karelia now.
Wouldn’t say the Finns hold a grudge;
but they definitely hold a grudge.
Though most of the expansion of Russia under Stalin was during the Second World War. or shortly after ; I can’t think of any Russian conquest under Stalin before 1939.
The largest gain of all being the eastern parts of Poland in 1939, in co-operation with Nazi Germany.
A point Russian really hate being reminded of.
@EddieInCA: Honestly, I’m shocked. The fact that Putin actually went through with this invasion means that he’s feeling some sort of pressure/not really stable. That people are out protesting is nothing short of astonishing. It’s really, really brave.
As of now, over 1346 people have been arrested, mostly in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
@John430: If you’re not a Russian troll, you should consider applying. It might be an upward career move.
@Jen: 10-15 years ago Russia was considered a high growth country and a lot of manufacturers were investing heavily. Many companies had BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) strategies. But starting about 10 years ago Russian corruption, uncertainty, downright danger and lack of economic growth made it increasingly difficult to justify spending resources or stationing personnel there. So while specific companies have offices and personnel there, as they would in any country they do business in, I don’t think there are massive amounts of non-Russians employed.
@MarkedMan: Oh, I know. I’m specifically talking about tech companies who have offshored development work and coding to Russia/Russian workers. This isn’t uncommon. It’s less visible than the manufacturing stuff because there’s no factories or anything like that, it’s just remote employees. And I’m familiar with this because I have a number of friends who work at tech companies who have team members in Russia. I have no idea how pervasive this is, but just off the top of my head I know at least five people who work at four different companies who have coworkers in Russia.
I’m not that good with dates, and I didn’t look it up. Joe’s war with Finland might have taken place after he split Poland with hitler and before the latter launched Barbarossa.
Ooops, forgot to add:
It’s not the non-Russians I’m talking about. It’s the Russians who are employed by US/western companies, in Russia.
@Jen: Not sure I see the risk here, especially if the only transfer or work product or resources are via the internet? Are you thinking that Russia will tell them to stop working for the foreign companies? Or that the lines of communications will be cut? In any case, I once had a Ukranian team but have never had a Russian one, nor even heard of anyone using one. I recognize what you are saying but just based on my anecdotal experience Russian offshoring headcount must be a tiny fraction of Indian or Chinese.
John…shhh…the adults are talking.
@Daryl and his brother Darryl:
Lots of stuff going on with Formula 1.
Haas, the only American team, is sponsored by Uralkali which is a Russian fertilizer producer owned by Dimtry Mazepin, who has close links to Vladimir Putin.
Haas has removed all advertising from their car and will practice tomorrow with a plain white livery, or paint scheme.
Interestingly, Mazepin’s kid Nikita is one of the two drivers for the team as part of the Uralkali deal and he will still drive on Friday.
I noticed our corporate news outlets started getting fed information about Russian buildup of troops near Ukraine , even though war games were scheduled, a week before Nordstream 2s final approval process.
So if Putins $15billion pipeline access to German markets are cutoff he’s going with counter move to physically take access of the current pipelines, raise prices on their current stock and let Europe feel the crunch of stopped gas exports which the US fracked LNG shipments will have troubles ramping up to meet demand (I wonder if piracy of tankers is planned?)
We can guess that Russia will retain control over the N-S 30b m3 pipeline in Dunbas, whether the 105b m3 E-W route through Kyev is retained matters on Nordstream 2 being opened.
The US played hardball on behalf of its NG companies, thinking Russia wouldn’t actually invade. Now, the hard path is taken with EU finally accepting Nordstream flow by consumer outrage as the E-W Ukraine route is severed.
Putins other goal of keeping Ukraine out of NATO because no country can join which does not have control of its sovereign borders, will be met.
Also his tribal/imperial goal of keeping White Russia (Belarus), Little Russia (Ukraine) and greater Russia unified will also be met with this invasion.
The US economic interests got greedy, (IMO). They wanted control of gas sales to Europe and to add another potential 1/4 trillion dollar market for arms sales, guaranteed with Ukrainian NATO membership.
They should have just let Nordstream open; but then again, how do you make money on future NATO equipment unless some of those munitions and equipment isn’t burned up in an action that justifies your existence?
Napoli v Barcelona – Pregame of their Europa League Match today
@MarkedMan: Good point and I really wasn’t clear. Mostly, I’m wondering what the US companies even *do* with those employees. Assuming that sanctions prohibit interacting with/sending money to/etc., are they defacto terminated?
It probably wouldn’t have even occurred to me, had I not known people who work with colleagues in Russia. Made me wonder.
Has the flow of Russian gas to the EU been cut? I wonder if the sanctions include effectively doing any business with Russia..or has an exception been made for the gas?
All depends when you date the start of the Second World War, of course.
From Russian p.o.v. it could be dated June 1941.
Being British I tend to default to September 1939.
But others came in at various dates, of course.
Some Chinese argue for it really beginning July 1937.
Ahh, so that’s why she keeps going round in circles then falling over!
Nordstream 1 is already open.
NS-1 first pipeline in 2011; second pipeline in 2012.
NS-2 was to be an additional pair of pipes.
If you are going to try jamming a bit of oh-so-bloody-clever “it’s all about
oilgas” analysis into the situation, you might at least make the effort to know the basics of the situation.
And the primary source of alternative LNG is more likely to be North Africa and Middle East than America; though right now any we can get will do.
And the chances of Ukraine joining NATO were bugger all.
NATO was never going to take in a country with unresolved border disputes involving ongoing fighting.
Same goes for Moldova and Georgia.
And the underlying Russian government objection to Ukrainian independent policy has always been about it’s orientation towards the EU economically, far more than NATO.
NATO was not on the cards when Russia invaded in 2014; the EU link was.
That may be because her chariot has no driver.
It’s an interesting question and one I hadn’t considered. Assuming revenues from Russia are sufficient to cover their salary, perhaps they can keep all transactions internal to Russia and that’s an avenue to payment, although they might have to set the workers up as contractors or some other work around. But if the company does not have significant Russian revenues, I’m not sure how they would continue to get paid once cash on hand runs out.
@JohnSF: I may be wrong, but I assumed “stevi smith” was a professional and paid to post that claptrap.
@drj: Who’s advocating sending their own kids? Contemporary war hawks never go themselves or send their own kids. But we are getting ready to back ourselves into this mess: 1) Send troops into the nations bordering the Ukraine. 2) Set up the same kind of incursion/non-incursion incident that we did in the Gulf of Tonkin with the Maddox. 3) “We’ve been attacked! It is with heavy heart yada, yada, yada.” 4)
ChickenHawks: “Let’s go [well, actually send somebody else] on a good ol fashion BEAR HUNT.”
@becca: If you click on the upvote for your post just after it has come active, you can upvote your own post. I would guess that if he got an upvote it might have come from there or his second computer/web search engine/phone*.
*Sometimes when I have nothing better to do, I open Chrome or go on my phone to upvote a post a second time. (I normally smurf on MS Edge. Count me as one of the mouth-breathing uncools.)
@CSK: FG will be hard to freeze barring locking him in a commercial freezer or burying him in ice (both thoroughly plausible suggestions btw 😛 ). His best feature is that he pulls all the air out of a room bloviating–and there’s always gonna be some idiot out there that will be interested in what the GOP 2024 top contender has to say.
@Kingdaddy: I think most of the Russian trolling is automated now. But yeah, it might be a move for 430 to consider.
“If you’re not a Russian troll, you should consider applying. It might be an upward career move.”
True. No one respects those who give it away for free.
@Daryl and his brother Darryl: I was glancing at the F1 news this evening. Good on Vettel for saying he won’t go to Sochi. He’s president of the drivers association, but he’s carefully saying he’s speaking only for himself. Verstappen has made a somewhat hedged statement. I hope we’ll be hearing from Hamilton. FIA is supposed to be holding a meeting to discuss the Russian GP. I wonder if it’s under their control. A lot of money changes hands to run a GP, and that may not be happening.
I saw that Nikita Mazepin said all is well. A few minutes later I saw a tweeted picture of the Haas crew peeling Nikita’s daddy’s logo off the trucks. Don’t know what’s happened: they can’t get the sponsorship money out of Russia, daddy was bankrupted as the Russian stock market collapsed, daddy has other priorities for the money, whatever. But if you saw Drive to Survive you know what the team principal, Guenther Steiner, said about it. (His English vocabulary seems to center on the F word.)