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Ukraine - Superthread

More from the RUS MoD's info-machine from its end-of-day 20 Mar briefing (full translated text attached - Russian version also, in case you want to see the original)
... today we will publish an urgent statement by the Interdepartmental Co-ordination Headquarters of the Russian Federation on the humanitarian response in Ukraine in Russian and English and disseminate it through all available information resources. In order to fulfil this task rigorously, we are also sending an official appeal to the United Nations, the OSCE, the International Committee of the Red Cross and other international organizations, whose representatives are invited to accompany the practical measures of this humanitarian operation, as they are called, directly on the "ground", that is, in the city of Mariupol, and as part of humanitarian columns of both the Russian and Ukrainian sides. We urge the Ukrainian armed forces units, territorial defence battalions and foreign mercenaries to cease hostilities, lay down their weapons and withdraw to Kyiv-controlled territory through humanitarian corridors agreed with the Ukrainian side. All those who have laid down their arms are guaranteed safe exit from Mariupol and the preservation of their lives. In the event that you are once again abandoned by Kyiv officials and ordered to die as martyrs, we urge all those who value and value their own lives to do so independently and in separate groups. The commanders of the units of the Donetsk People's Republic and the Russian Armed Forces will be prepared for such a scenario and will ensure your safe exit, but only without weapons and ammunition, to any area you name. The official authorities in Kiev call for prudence and cancellation of the earlier instructions that obliged the fighters to sacrifice themselves and become, in inverted commas, "martyrs of Mariupol". In addition, we insist on an official written response from the Ukrainian side by 5am tomorrow, i.e. 21 March, to all the listed, purely humane proposals from the Russian Federation, in the name of saving Mariupol residents and the city's infrastructure.

Separately, we appeal to the odious bandits who have hundreds of innocent lives on their conscience and now call themselves representatives of the official local authorities of this unique city of Mariupol. We are aware of the fact that in the current situation, little depends on you, since you are under the full control of the nationalist battalions, but we very much hope that you, including the city mayor, have at least something basic, human, at least a sense of compassion for the civilians entrusted to you. You are the ones who now have the right to make a historic choice - either you are with your people or you are with the bandits, otherwise the court martial that awaits you is just a little something you have already earned because of the despicable attitude towards your own citizens, as well as the terrible crimes and provocations you have already arranged ...


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I've been one of those that has been generally against a NATO No-Fly zone or other direct military intervention due to the risk of escalation by Russia in response, however if the purpose of non-intervention is to avoid WMD escalation then what should the response be if Russia escalates despite no direct NATO intervention?

In my opinion, NATO should declare that any Russian use of WMDs in Ukraine would trigger an automatic NATO military intervention. State this in advance so it is clear to the Russian military leadership what the consequences would be.

It could be a clearly defined, limited intervention in order to allay fears that NATO would take advantage of Russian weakness to invade Russia proper. For example:

  • Land forces would only be involved in Ukrainian territory and would not push beyond the pre-war borders.
  • A No-Fly zone would be put in place over Ukraine. NATO aircraft and long range strike missiles would only attack targets outside Ukraine if they are illuminated by Russian air defense radars or engaged by Russian AD systems. Any such systems engaging NATO aircraft would be subject to attack.
  • Airbases in Russia/Belarus would not be attacked unless they are used to launch aircraft which then attack NATO air/land/sea forces.
  • Russian/Belorussian ground troops which move back into Russian/Belorussian territory upon set evacuation routes will not be fired upon.
If Russia should launch any attacks on troops/facilities within NATO territory it would trigger an Article 5 response and would permit unrestricted attacks by NATO forces wherever NATO deems appropriate.

Currently we're letting Ukraine take a beating in order to prevent the WMD genie being let out of the bottle, but once Russia takes that step then what is the use of restraint? Otherwise they know that they can do anything so long as they believe that NATO (the US) isn't willing to risk war coming to their own people in the face of Russian WMD threats.

Well reasoned and appropriate. Unfortunately we need a metric shit ton of brass on our hats/shoulders before they will listen to us.
Or what, they nuke it? Gas it?
Let's see how RUS state media is laying the narrative landscape for at least some hints ...
Russian media talking points:
"Anyone who doesn't take advantage of this generous offer from Russia to go anywhere they want from Mariupol is either
1) one of the "Ukrainian army, territorial defense battalions, foreign mercenaries" who shoulda left, and fair game, or
2) a human shield to the Nazi/Azov/Banderist forces, so it's the fault of said Nazi/Azov/Banderist forces if any harm comes to them."

Stand by for Grozny Plus ... :cry:
According to this, it appears that Russia is preparing for the long haul on this one now that any hopes of a quick and easy conquest have gone right out the window. This will mean that NATO must be prepared to continue to support Ukraine over the coming months and even years....provided Russia does not internally collapse in the meantime due to economic sanctions.

More armoured Infantry porn...

They seem to be able to brew up the Russkies with the APC's gun by deliberately firing at the back right section of their tanks.

Footage shows Ukrainian forces blasting Russian Z-tank as troops ambushed in Mariupol​

Pretty smart, they target the road wheels and the external fuel tank to get a mobility kill, and any infantry hiding behind the tank.
Sweden’s PM says push to join Nato would destabilise northern Europe

Absolute buffoons.

Reds will be Reds, I guess. They have the slimmest majority (175-174), though, going into an election in September. Here's to hoping the right side wins.

Both Sweden and Finland now have majorities in favour of accession. Having them both in the alliance would do wonders for the Northern flank. Not to mention, membership is critical for Finland, who has often suffered from Russian imperialism. Thankfully for them, their government is seriously exploring membership, as opposed to the Swedish govt.