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aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
2/5/24 4:44 p.m.

In reply to GIRTHQUAKE :

There is also evidence of Russians using T-62 and T-54 in actual armor attack roles!  (They had previously used them as remote controlled bomb tanks.)  I guess they figure if they are going to get picked off, why use an expensive (newish...) tank.    

These sort of "collections" of Russian vehicles is a pretty common sight in the areas where they are attacking:

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
2/6/24 5:13 a.m.
GIRTHQUAKE said:

Hungary failed to ratify Sweden's entry into NATO. My bet is he will NOT like the response he receives, since the EU is about to strip Hungary of voting rights.

 

Whelp...  my company IS hiring in Kyiv.  Maybe it's time to polish up the resume...

GIRTHQUAKE
GIRTHQUAKE UltraDork
2/7/24 9:26 a.m.

The Prana Network hacker group breached the email servers of the Iranian company IRGC Sahara Thunder, that facilitates arms sales from Iran to Russia. The servers contained data on the production of Shahed-136 attack drones for Russia. The documents do not directly mention the type of product being manufactured. Instead, drones are listed in documents under a special code as "Dolphin 632 type motor boat." The Iranian side announced a starting price of $375,000 per unit. However, during the negotiations, an agreement was reached for $193,000 per piece when ordering 6,000 units or $290,000 when ordering 2,000 units. The total price of the production contract, including the transfer of technologies, equipment, 6,000 pieces of UAVs and software, is roughly $1.75 billion. According to other published documents, at least partially, Russia conducts its financial transactions and payments with Iran in gold.

From this Ukrainian link,  and reposted from this twitter from NOELreports.

Paying in gold is the most interesting detail to me. Is it just that the Rubel is THAT worthless now? Is it because gold can be laundered easier? Is it because Russia has already been paying for Chinese military surplus with gold and it simply makes sense?

More reveals from Anton Gerashchenko, which i'll copy here:

"In 2022, a $1.75 billion contract was signed for 6,000 Shaheds + hardware + software. Russia paid in literal gold; it shipped a little over 2 tonnes in bullion!"

The purchase cost of the Shaheds from Iran is: - about $193,000 per unit when ordering 6,000 units; - about $290,000 per unit when ordering 2,000 units.

If production is localized in Russia, its cost for the Russian defense ministry should drop to $165,500. The production cost of the Shahed would be $48,800.

The starting price announced by the Iranian leadership was $375,000 per unit.

 Finally, production of the Shaheds appears to be by hand with little automation. Considering that we now know their size and relative shape, I wonder if anti-drone tools can now be more tuned against them?

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltimaDork
2/7/24 10:20 a.m.
GIRTHQUAKE said:

Paying in gold is the most interesting detail to me. Is it just that the Rubel is THAT worthless now? Is it because gold can be laundered easier? Is it because Russia has already been paying for Chinese military surplus with gold and it simply makes sense?

It is probably not that the Ruble is worthless in general, but that the main place to spend Rubles is Russia.  Iran doesn't really need to buy much from Russia.   EDIT:  It is so strange to think of Russia becoming a client state to Iran, and to North Korea, to a lesser degree.

Reading that the situation around Avdiivka is getting more dire.  With more than a month to go until Russian elections, it'll keep getting pounded.  If it falls, I hope as many Ukrainians can get out as possible, and that Russia pays the highest price possible to take it. 

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
2/7/24 11:16 a.m.

Avdiivka is clearly in a bad situation and is likely to fall eventually.  It's become a huge graveyard for Russian vehicles of course.  The amount of artillery shot into the town has to be absurd (and will certainly result in casualties).

I do hope there is a plan to pull out of there in some order.  I suspect it's hard to give up the shooting gallery that it's become as the Russian throw cumbersome attack after cumbersome attack at it.

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
2/8/24 12:55 p.m.

From the cover of The Economist.  Gives you an idea of what some of these look like.  (Maybe an RPG warhead?)

red_stapler
red_stapler SuperDork
2/8/24 1:01 p.m.

There's probably a whole struggle session about how we've had TV guided missiles for a long time, and this is just the same thing but with an electric quad rotor instead of a rocket engine.

AAZCD-Jon (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD-Jon (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
2/8/24 1:04 p.m.
red_stapler said:

There's probably a whole struggle session about how we've had TV guided missiles for a long time, and this is just the same thing but with an electric quad rotor instead of a rocket engine.

...and the US defense industry sells em to us for $ 1000x what the poors can make effective drones for.

TurnerX19
TurnerX19 UberDork
2/8/24 1:23 p.m.

Looking at the Economist and counting the Chinese components in the photo. The Chinese are equipping both sides of the conflict. They're not in favor of any resolution! 

JFW75
JFW75 New Reader
2/9/24 9:09 a.m.
eastsideTim said:
GIRTHQUAKE said:

Paying in gold is the most interesting detail to me. Is it just that the Rubel is THAT worthless now? Is it because gold can be laundered easier? Is it because Russia has already been paying for Chinese military surplus with gold and it simply makes sense?

It is probably not that the Ruble is worthless in general, but that the main place to spend Rubles is Russia.  Iran doesn't really need to buy much from Russia.   EDIT:  It is so strange to think of Russia becoming a client state to Iran, and to North Korea, to a lesser degree.

You've got two heavily sanctioned countries trading with each other, and neither one can do much with the other's currency. Gold is easier to smuggle out of Iran than rubles. 

02Pilot
02Pilot PowerDork
2/9/24 10:41 a.m.

In reply to JFW75 :

I wonder how much of that gold can be traced back to the ~400 tons (about 80% of state reserves, which were the fourth largest in the world at the time) shipped to Moscow by the Spanish Republicans during the civil war.

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
2/9/24 12:52 p.m.

Could be a real picture (F16 in Ukrainian livery)?

The reason I say it looks reasonable is because it's clearly not just a duplicate of their Mig29 livery:

Ukrainian Air Force Mig-29 Photograph by Giovanni Colla - Fine Art America

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
2/9/24 1:02 p.m.

Looking forward to watching the Tucker Carlson interview with Putin, as I am sure, are you all.

stroker
stroker PowerDork
2/9/24 1:03 p.m.

In reply to aircooled :

that thingy over the canopy doesn't look very Stealth inspired...

JFW75
JFW75 New Reader
2/9/24 1:52 p.m.

In reply to 02Pilot :

They were smuggling a LOT of gold out of Madagascar when we were posted there. Only one big shipment got caught in South Africa.

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
2/9/24 2:31 p.m.

Because this seems to be a topic of interest, ISW has a perspective on US aid.  Is it a perfect analysis?  I don't know, but they tend to be pretty objective.  

Detail on 1st point:

-------------

Fact: US oversight is extensive, and Ukrainian government oversight and accountability is extensive and growing.

  • Critics point to a recent corruption case in which a small Ukrainian defense enterprise embezzled $40 million from public ammunition procurement funds, without noting that the Ukrainian government caught the thieves and recovered the money.[1]
  • Ukraine has undertaken significant anti-corruption efforts within its government and defense industrial base enterprises as part of efforts to increase domestic defense production.[2]
  • President Zelensky fired the previous defense minister after domestic corruption scandals unrelated to Western assistance emerged, and his replacement, the current minister, is aggressively rooting out corruption.[3] The Ukrainian government is also leveraging the robust and expansive Ukrainian NGO community to assist with its anti-corruption efforts.
  • Ukrainian and DoD personnel have been working aggressively to continue to improve monitoring and tracking of US aid, and US DoD officials have stated that there is no evidence that US-provided military assistance to Ukraine has been misappropriated.[4]
  • 84% of the funds for Ukraine in the current proposed package would go to US companies, the US military, and other allied militaries, not Ukraine, which would get hardware and training from those funds.[5]
  • Western-provided weapons are being used as intended.  Mountains of evidence show advanced Western systems being used against Russian forces in Ukraine.[6]

-----------------

For expanded notes on other points:

https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/fact-sheet-us-assistance-ukraine

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
2/9/24 2:33 p.m.

In reply to stroker :

I think that allows the instructor in the back seat to see what the student is doing.  Just there because it's a trainer.  Clearly rather clunky.

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
2/9/24 2:35 p.m.
1988RedT2 said:

Looking forward to watching the Tucker Carlson interview with Putin, as I am sure, are you all.

I can not imagine the day when I would ever "look forward" to anything involving  "I think I just E36 M3 my pants" Carlson. In no universe will the interview not be scripted by Putin and amplified by Carlson. 

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
2/9/24 2:46 p.m.

In regards to the interview that Putin just gave:

The assumption going in is that it would be a highly controlled interview that essential was a PR campaign for Putin to spew out pretty much what he has been saying all along.  The question really was, if the interviewer would push or seriously question any of these assertations.  Which is clearly a risk, considering you are in Russia, and Russian in known to imprison journalists, even having a US journalist imprisoned now (this was actaully brought up in the interview).

That seems to be pretty much what it was.  When questioned on some things, Putin just dodged, as most any skilled politician will do (or had some pretty bizarre claims, see below).  Most of the interview seemed to cover all of the assertions / motivations already covered here (mostly explained by 02), so nothing really new there.

Some points of interest, that may not have been heard much before, that were a bit... inconsistent:

 - Putin claims Russia pulled back from taking Kyiv to allow for negotiations, but the West / Ukraine refused..... yeah..... RIGHHHHHTTTTT.... they pulled back "to negotiate".   Couldn't of had anything to do with getting your ass handed to you eh (much of which resulting from your armies incompetence)?

- Putin also claims he is very much ready to negotiate...... when the west stops supporting Ukraine... and Russian can "finish things off"... THEN we can negotiate.   Riiiigggghhhhtt...   As O2 has noted many times, they want a position of strength to negotiate from, and there current position clearly is not it.

Anyway, this is what I am basing this off of and this guys seems to have a reasonably objective review of it.  I would generally say, not much new info resulted, just reinforced what was pretty much known:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ngf2sY7n5k&ab_channel=MeetKevin

O2, I suspect this is right down your alley, so certainly take a look (if you haven't already seen the actual interview).

Here is the actual interview if you want to see it:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOCWBhuDdDo&ab_channel=TuckerCarlson

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltimaDork
2/9/24 2:56 p.m.

He also blamed Poland for WW2...

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
2/9/24 3:08 p.m.

In reply to eastsideTim :

Essentially blames Poland for cooperating with Nazi Germany in regards to Czechoslovakia (much like Britain BTW) but not giving them territory (forcing them to invade)... then brushes by Russia invading Poland in cooperation with Nazi Germany (but it was Russian territory...).

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
2/9/24 5:26 p.m.

An interesting observation of Putin's argument technique that someone had:

The Gish gallop (/ˈɡɪʃ ˈɡæləp/) is a rhetorical technique in which a person in a debate attempts to overwhelm their opponent by providing an excessive number of arguments with no regard for the accuracy or strength of those arguments. Gish galloping prioritizes the quantity of the galloper's arguments at the expense of their quality. The term was coined in 1994 by anthropologist Eugenie Scott, who named it after American creationist Duane Gish and argued that Gish used the technique frequently when challenging the scientific fact of evolution.[1]

I would be super interested (not to pressure or demand) on O2's perspective on Putin's version of history as dictated in this interview, vs the "western" standard interpretation.  It seems like it might make an interesting and instructive part of a course on Eastern European history.... (nudge, nudge, wink, wink)

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/10/24 1:01 p.m.
aircooled said:

Because this seems to be a topic of interest, ISW has a perspective on US aid.  Is it a perfect analysis?  I don't know, but they tend to be pretty objective.  

Detail on fourth point:

https://breakingdefense.com/2024/02/army-cancels-fara-helicopter-program-makes-other-cuts-in-major-aviation-shakeup/

We're learning a lot about the changing face of defense and making adjustments accordingly.

 

red_stapler
red_stapler SuperDork
2/10/24 1:29 p.m.
aircooled said:

Essentially blames Poland for cooperating with Nazi Germany in regards to Czechoslovakia (much like Britain BTW) but not giving them territory (forcing them to invade)... then brushes by Russia invading Poland in cooperation with Nazi Germany (but it was Russian territory...).

Historically speaking, there were no conflicts over territory between Poland and Russia prior to WW2, right?

02Pilot
02Pilot PowerDork
2/10/24 2:51 p.m.

I've seen a few minutes of the interview, and read the transcript. It's too much to break down point by point, but overall Putin was effective in delivering a selective version of history, with some points stretching the bounds of credulity quite a lot. He doesn't present outright falsehoods, but rather commits sins of careful omission, while at the same time emphasizing those points that are left out of the Western narrative because they are inconvenient. This is quite effective, as anyone who looks into things not often discussed in the West will usually find Putin's version reasonably accurate, at least in part, which lends him credibility. Here's one simple example:

Putin: ... We negotiated with Ukraine in Istanbul. We agreed. He (Zelensky) was aware of this. Moreover, the negotiation group leader, Mr. Arakhamia, his last name I believe, still heads the faction of the ruling party, the party of the president in the Rada. He still heads the presidential faction in the Rada, the country's parliament. He still sits there. He even put his preliminary signature on the document. I am telling you. But then he publicly stated to the whole world, we were ready to sign this document but Mr. Johnson, then the Prime Minister, came and dissuaded us from doing this, saying it was better to fight Russia. They would give everything needed for us to return what was lost during the clashes with Russia. And we agreed with this proposal. Look, his statement has been published. He said it publicly. Can they return to this or not? The question is, do they want it or not? Further on, president of Ukraine issued a decree prohibiting negotiations with us. Let him cancel that decree. And that's it. We have never refused negotiations indeed. We hear all the time, is Russia ready? Yes. We have not refused. It was them who publicly refused. Well, let him cancel his decree and enter into negotiations. We have never refused. And the fact that they obey the demand or persuasion of Mr. Johnson, the former Prime Minister of Great Britain, seems ridiculous. And it's very sad to me because, as Mr. Arakhamia put it, we could have stopped those hostilities with war a year and a half ago already. But the British persuaded us and we refused this. Where is Mr. Johnson now? And the war continues.

While now largely forgotten in the West, this is easily confirmed, as there are numerous optimistic articles (here's just one from VOA, hardly a pro-Russian source) around that time that suggest a preliminary agreement was being developed, and that both sides were largely amenable to it. It fell apart, ostensibly because with Russia's withdrawal from Bucha, the extent of atrocities there became evident, souring Ukraine on any deal a few days later. The contents of Boris Johnson's talks in Kiev were of course not made public at the time, and ex post facto both he and Arakhamia claimed that Putin's version was a complete fabrication. Are they telling the whole truth? Maybe, maybe not; they both certainly have reasons to be as loose with the whole truth as Putin is when it serves his purposes.

Winston Churchill famously said "In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies." He was not wrong. The trick, of course, is making your lies believable and your enemy's truths unbelievable. Putin is an effective practitioner of this skill.

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