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Will Putin Invade Ukraine?

Started by Cassia, January 20, 2022, 01:29:34 PM

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Very strange and interesting data about drone strikes against infantry.  Ukraine had an initial advantage and it looks like Russia redoubled its efforts and started gaining on Ukraine (Russia has much more resources than Ukraine, so it makes sense that they'd be able to close the gap quickly) but for some unknown reason Russian advancement hasn't been as rapid in the case of drone drops (RU is at ~200% of January value while UA is at ~400% January value) or a decrease in the case of FPV drones (RU is at ~70% of January value, while UA is at ~200% of January value).  Strange because Ukraine's prolific use of FPV drones makes them the current primary threat to Russian vehicles/infantry, beyond even artillery, IFVs, and other infantry, iirc.

I'm not entirely sure what accounts for this divergence in drone statistics.  Perhaps Russia simply focuses its drones on targets other than infantry.  Maybe Russia relies more heavily on aerial bombs or artillery or something else.  Given Ukraine's success with drones and the obvious utility of FPV drones in particular, it's very surprising that Russia wouldn't strive to match/surpass Ukraine in terms of drones.  This lack of foresight might prove to be a very costly mistake in the future.


Meanwhile, the Russian Ministry of Defense claims that Ukraine lost 13,000 tanks, which vastly overestimates Ukraine's tank fleet.

Ukraine has only ever had somewhere between 1000 and 1500 tanks or thereabouts.  Sure, the Allies have sent some tanks - but less than 1,000 tanks, and certainly less than 10,000.  Quite a discrepancy!


Similar to Czechia, Estonia also finds shells from parts unknown but requires funding to make it happen.  Afaik, these are different stockpiles - but not necessarily different sellers - from the Czech initiative, so efforts are not being duplicated.

Estonia says that the sellers are mostly outside Europe but some sellers are European.  And combined with the Czech and UK initiatives, Ukraine could get up to 2 million or perhaps 2.5 million shells this year, so this find is substantial but less than the Czech initiative.

In related news, Germany just allocated €576 million ($620 million usd) to the Czech initiative.

Bottom line is that Ukraine is looking increasingly likely to get the shells it needs this time around, which is important after last year's embarrasing shortfall and a critical stop-gap as Europe ramps up its own production.


There's a lot of really strange war footage lately.  I won't go into details, but suffice it to say that lots of Russian infantry are "quitting" or "getting fired" from their jobs.  I'd wager that some of it is due to the recent failed assaults.

There was also really sad footage in Russia of a babushka pushing a stroller through the mud alongside a road, the whole area reeks of urban decay and poverty, and the only remotely new thing in the whole shot is a big ol' propaganda billboard trying to convince Russian men to join up for that lovely experience.

^ this was intended as a parody of old Soviet and imperialist propaganda, bright smiles and hopeful themes juxtaposed with the miserable reality of the situation - yet it's an almost spot-on image of what's currently going on in Russia




Russia undoubtedly has more shells, but Russian artillery systems are getting hunted down much more successfully than Ukrainian artillery.  If Ukraine can wear them down enough, it'll even the playing field.



Ukraine announced that it needs 7 more Patriots to help protect its cities and citizens from Russian bombardment - Kharkiv is particular got hit hard.

Not waiting for the US to get its act together (Johnson delayed again, shocker), Germany has begun searching the world for countries that are willing to part with some.  Current Patriot operators (excluding the US): Ukraine (duh), Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Netherlands, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates.  Two future operators: Morocco and Switzerland (purchased but not yet delivered)


Information is ammunition:  Anti-Putin Russian forces release new intel on Kalibr and Iskander missiles

Quotethe cyber unit currently has detailed documentation on the missile production process, from the beginning of the contract formation to the supply of components and final assembly
We also now know the exact companies producing components for the missiles, which will come in handy for targeted sanctions.


Ukraine has beefed up its drones significantly over the past two years.

Ukrainian launched a massive drone assault on three Russian airbases (Morozovsk, Yeysk, and Engels)  It involved over 40 drones, so it was quite a large engagement, possibly the biggest by Ukraine on Russian territory so far.  Ukraine claims 6 Russian aircraft destroyed, 8 damaged, which would be quite a big win if true.  But of course, everyone is waiting for confirmation.  Russian telegram also claims some damage, so it's certain that there's damage, the only uncertainty is the extent of the damage.

Ukraine reportedly has drones that can fly >2000km.  So basically everything west of the Ural mountains - almost the entirety of Russian forces as well as the Kremlin - could theoretically be hit.  I can't understate just how important long-range weapons like this are for Ukraine.  Russian forces get torn apart in massed assaults, so they've had to rely heavily on standoff weapons, like firing missiles from Crimean airbases or the Black Sea navy.  Then those get targeted, so they pull back to airbases in Russia and a Russian port respectively.  This attack and retaliation cycle has put Russian bombers in a precarious position (you don't put drape tires on your aircraft because things are going great) and savaged the Russian Black Sea Fleet so badly that their role in this war is greatly diminished.  Now that Ukraine is hitting Russian airbases as well - some quite deep in Russian territory, around 700km from the frontline - where will they go now?  Launch sorties from Siberia?

A Russian drone spotted a Ukrainian drone opening fire on Russian infantry with a machine gun, apparently helpless to do anything about it, so it must've been a recon drone.

There was also a video of a Russian soldier bringing down a Ukrainian drone with an electronic warfare anti-drone gun only for the drone to crash and injure the Russian soldier.  I'm not sure if that was an especially unfortunate accident - an "intensify forward firepower" moment - or if the anti-drone gun had less of an effect than the Russian soldier thought.  Either way, it's definitely a good idea to not celebrate until you're 100% sure it's a success.

A big driver of all this is that Ukraine is now using AI to help its drones reach their target, even if completely jammed.  This was something Russia was working on and afaik, has not yet succeeded.  This means that Ukraine quite literally gets more bang for its buck when it comes to drones and Russia must play catch-up or continue to suffer the consequences.



About the same proportion of destroyed/damaged, but Russian figures are significantly higher overall.

Armored vehicles - 535 vs 77 (~7:1 ratio)
Civilian vehicles - 489 vs 125 (~4:1 ratio)
Tanks - 205 vs 68 (~3:1 ratio)
Artillery - 129 vs 70 (~1.8:1 ratio)
Surveillance/radars - 86 vs 30 (~3:1 ratio)
Air defense - 14 vs 8 (1.75:1 ratio)
Aviation - 5 vs 6 (0.83:1 ratio)

This is roughly in keeping with the expected 3:1 vehicle losses that has been fairly consistent throughout the war.

Russia has the lead in the Unknown/Other department, but that's by definition unclear, so its significance is also unclear.


It's been a rough few days for Russia.



I checked up on the brutal twitter accounts and it looks like Russia is still doing those armored "meat attacks". It is such an odd strategy. Maybe it was a probe. One sole Russia IFV cruising along a road in an open field with a dozen soldiers on top is being tracked by a drone. A 2nd suicide drone comes along and hits the vehicle behind the turret, and it starts smoking from the hatches. It runs another hundred yards and stops and the soldiers jump off and it immediately looks like they are being machine gunned so they must have been pretty close to a Ukranian position. The next video shows most of them all dead, lying next to the IFV. Dressing someone in a uniform does not make a real soldier.

 I don't think Ukraine is doing these kinds of death-wish attacks. I certainly hope not.