May 5, 2023 at 12:52 pm #243114Young Master SmeetModerator
Prigozhin pulling Wagner out of Bahkmut oh, the Putin fanboys must be doing their nut. So, basically, he claims they are being starved of amunition (presumably as Russia holds back reserve materiel to plug gaps in any Ukrainian offensive. Unstated is that the contracts of many Wagnerians are coming to a close, especially the prisoners. That this comes before the complete capture of Bakhmut is clearly meant to be an embarrassment to Putin and his ministers (and bolters Prigozhin’s political ambitions). Of course, if Bakhmut was only ever a meat grinder, then it’s capture is irrelevent, and even keeping the situation open pins down a lot of Ukrainian forces. A good guess is tens of thousands on both sides have died in Bakhmut alone, it is a monstrous graveyard they are fighting over now, and Prigozhin is playing silly buggers.May 5, 2023 at 1:04 pm #243115AnonymousInactive
There are some news which indicate that Wagner Groups is extending their military tentacles toward Africa and they are obtaining more profits, more influences, more business and diversity in that area and they are not losing so many mercenaries like in Ukraine. This is a private army and its main objective is to obtain profits like any other corporationMay 6, 2023 at 2:23 am #243129L.B. NeillParticipant
The article you posted from WSWS hints at a widening of the ‘killing fields’ and the US legitimising any Ukraine tactics.
YMS said in a post further on, a metaphor: meat grinder. There are going to be more losses of life in this needless tiff amongst toffs. A graveyard as YMS puts it: is being fought over.
I am not being dismissive of the dreadful loss of working class lives: but I would proffer that a drone game of chess be used to settle the toff/oligarchy dispute over their spoils of toffee.
The real solution to this and any other conflict is to be aware and use the electoral system to change the mode of production… I am not aware of the current socialist movement in Russia and Ukraine, and would like to know where their voice is in this moment of time.
Do you have any info?
LB NeillMay 6, 2023 at 5:31 am #243130May 6, 2023 at 12:04 pm #243138davecogganParticipant
A very disturbing piece even allowing for the bias in this particular agency.
Is this being discussed elsewhere? Whatever the outcome of this particular conflict the lasting consequences for very many civilians and workers is literally deadly.
Since February of last year, when Russia launched its military offensive in the country, mine explosions have killed about 200 civilians in Ukraine, while hundreds more have been injured.
The UN has already called Ukraine the most heavily mined state in the world. Yet the contamination continues to grow because of how positional warfare is carried out. With the conflict far from over, the further laying of explosive could have disastrous consequences.
Official reports claim that 250,000 square kilometers (almost 62 million acres) of Ukrainian territory have been mined. This is equal to the entirety of the UK (244,000 square kilometers). According to Prime Minister Denis Shmigal, his country has become the world’s largest minefield, which has even spurred the government to create a special center to deal with the fallout.
Experts believe that the situation in Ukraine is worse than in Afghanistan and Syria. The number of unexploded ordnance, anti-personnel, anti-tank, and other mines and explosive shells is estimate to be in the millions of units.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s minefields are growing exponentially. In the past year, the entire length of the front line on both sides has been mined. They are often laid in a scattered manner and without mapping. Given Ukraine’s large size, this greatly complicates the process of finding and neutralizing them.
“Indeed, there is a chance that the mined territories may expand further, both due to the prolongation of the conflict and the likely offensive from either side, which may move hostilities to previously unaffected territories,” Maxim Semenov, a political analyst and specialist in conflicts in the post-Soviet space, told RT.
Official sources also report that the contaminated area is expanding. Last summer, the Ukrainian Deminers Association stated that minefields covered about 133,000 square kilometers of Ukraine, but the number recently announced by Shmigal is already double that.
The sign ‘Caution – mines!’ in the village of Zaitsevo, Donetsk region. © Sputnik / Valery Melnikov
Meanwhile, there are no solutions that can be totally effective, and most importantly, quick and simple. Demining is the exclusive job of sappers. For example, back in the 2000s, an average of 50 people a day were blown up on anti-personnel objects in Angola, one of the most heavily mined countries in the world. To this day, about 500,000 explosive devices remain, despite the fact that dozens of sapper units from all around the world have helped out in the country. It’s also worth noting that both the fighting and the scope of contamination in Angola were a lot less severe than in Ukraine.
“We should note the experience of African and Asian countries, and even of the Soviet Union, where, decades after the end of war, mine explosions occasionally happened. It is impossible to provide guarantees that an area is completely clear of mines. The army may not make maps of minefields, as has been the case with the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Donbass since 2014. Or the maps may be inaccurate, they may get lost, etc. All this complicates the work of the sappers,” notes Semenov, adding that even decades after an area is cleared, mines can still pop up in the most unexpected places. Even sappers cannot guarantee that all mines and shells are found and cleared.
For war-affected regions, this creates enormous problems in the transition to peacetime life, not to mention the possible deaths of civilians and challenges in normalizing the economy. “[This concerns] both agriculture, the industrial sector, and infrastructure. The Armed Forces of Ukraine have been known to mine civilian objects, as for example, in Mariupol, where Russian sappers are still clearing plants, residential buildings, and courts,” the expert added.
In other words, it may take decades. Back in June of last year, Ukraine’s then-Interior Minister Denis Monastyrsky said that partial demining would take from five to ten years.
So far, this problem remains in the background because of Ukraine’s total media censorship, the focus on news reports from the front, and people’s understandable desire to stay away from the fighting. But when the heated phase of the armed conflict comes to an end or if the conflict becomes frozen, the problem will emerge as a key issue.
Servicemen of the Russian railway troops conduct technical reconnaissance of the railway tracks in the course of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, at the unknown location in Kherson region, that has accessed Russia. © Sputnik / Evgeny Biyatov
A year ago, the Kiev, Kharkov, Chernigov, and Sumy regions (Ukraine’s north and east parts) were the most heavily mined areas. But now, it’s the eastern and southern regions. “We are currently most active in the Kherson region. Eight thousand square kilometers need to be cleared of mines, of which seven thousand are in the Kherson region, and about 1.5 thousand in the Nikolaev region,” said Sergey Kruk, head of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, in November of last year.
The war-affected areas can be divided into several categories according to the danger levels posed by the mines.
The highest danger level remains in the Donbass region. Its territory has been strewn with mines since the beginning of the armed conflict in 2014. Fishermen and children regularly fall victim to mines in Lugansk, and mushroom pickers suffer the same fate near Slaviansk. Some of these were laid almost ten years ago. Moreover, the bloodiest battles are now taking place in Donbass, which makes it one of the most heavily mined regions on the planet. Sappers from the Russian Armed Forces who neutralize explosive devices in Mariupol believe that the area will remain dangerous for several generations of residents.
A high level of danger also remains along the current front line from the Kharkov to the Zaporozhye regions, as well as along the line of contact in the Kherson region. In these areas, military expediency accounts for most of the mines. The longer the front remains static at some point, the deeper inland the mined areas spread.
The situation is particularly severe in the Kharkov region, where the frequently shifting front lines lead to intensive mining on both sides. The director of Human Rights Watch’s Arms Division, Stephen Goose, has noted that the Armed Forces of Ukraine scattered so-called ‘petal mines’ “across a vast area near the city of Izyum, which led to civilian casualties and still poses a serious threat.”
A heightened threat also remains at the locations of the first battles – namely, in the Kiev, Zhitomir, Chernigov, and Sumy regions. These areas stand apart from the other regions for two reasons. Firstly, at the initial stage of the conflict, the fighting did not yet take on the form of positional warfare. Since the battles were fast-paced, there was no need for heavy mining. Secondly, the mining was mostly carried out by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and therefore it will be much easier for the Ukrainian side to clear their own mines. However, residents of these regions are maimed on mines almost every day.
A Russian military police sapper prepares to destroy improvised explosive device found on patrol, as Russia’s military operation in Ukraine continues, in Zaporizhzhia region territory, that has accessed Russia. © Sputnik / RIA News
A low level of danger remains along the entire perimeter of the Russia-Ukraine and Belarus-Ukraine borders. Late last year, the chairman of the State Border Committee of Belarus, Lieutenant General Anatoly Lappo, said that Ukraine had blown up almost all of the border bridges and mined roads on the Ukraine-Belarus border. “Up to the point that they laid anti-tank mines in three rows on the roads,” the official said. This is backed by the State Border Service of Ukraine, which confirmed the border territories as “mined”.
The rest of Ukraine’s territory is relatively clear. In those places, people can still go fishing and enjoy picnics, pick mushrooms, plant potatoes in their garden, and just walk around freely. However, ‘the rest of Ukraine’ has shrunk to a mere half of the country. Even people who used to go to the sea – to Odessa, for example, are in no hurry to do so, since the entire coast is densely mined.
Every single day is a test of fate for civilians. Danger is hidden everywhere. Agricultural workers are at an even greater risk and are particularly concerned about the endless minefields. During seasonal farm work, every step could be their last.
Farmers cannot cultivate fields, as mines create serious problems for agriculture, which is one of the main sectors of the Ukrainian economy. Before the outbreak of active hostilities, Ukraine accounted for nearly 10% of the world grain market. The country was also among the biggest producers of sunflower seeds, corn, and other crops. Now, many of the fields have been mined and may be left unused, at least in the short term.
Based on the analysis of satellite images, last year the US space technology company Maxar concluded that Ukraine may achieve only half of its usual grain harvest. In 2022, farmers sowed 30% fewer fields than in 2021. In 2023, the harvest of grain and leguminous crops will decrease by another 17% compared to last year.
Currently, the hardest hit region is Kherson, where minefields will affect the planting of gourds. “In the Kherson region, unfortunately most of the territories are mined, the fields are damaged by shells, and it will take time to demine the area. However, onions, watermelons, and cantaloupes will be planted in the Odessa region and in parts of the Kirovograd region,”said Dmitry Solomchuk, a member of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Agrarian and Land Policy, in March of this year.
Russian serviceman works on demining the territory of Azovstal steel plant in the course of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, in the port city of Mariupol, Donetsk People’s Republic. © Sputnik / Konstantin Mihalchevskiy
Beets, carrots, and potatoes will be planted in Ukraine’s western and central regions. Agricultural farms are focusing on planting vegetables in order to avoid shortages and low export indicators.
About a million hectares of Ukraine’s agricultural land are contaminated with mines and unexploded ordnance. “The minefields will definitely have a negative impact on land turnover and the production of agricultural goods. A lot of the fighting is taking place on so-called ‘chernozem’ lands – that is, areas with the most fertile soil. This will greatly restrict the region’s agricultural potential and reduce Ukraine’s share in the world grain market not only this year, but also in the coming years.’ Maxim Semenov added.
For obvious reasons, no one can predict how long it will take to completely demine Ukraine. But it is clear that even after the conflict is over, its horrific legacy will remain in the form of landmines and explosive ordnance scattered all around the country. For decades to come, this will doubtlessly remain one of the biggest concerns for the country.
By Petr Lavrenin, Odessa-born political journalist and expert on Ukraine and the former Soviet Union
https://www.rt.com/russia/575354-kingdom-of-mines-ukraine/May 6, 2023 at 9:24 pm #243162L.B. NeillParticipant
Sober reading Dave.
The human cost of this war.
I hope it ends and wish it never started.May 12, 2023 at 7:53 am #243341
Revealing article in yesterday’s Le Monde showing that the much-touted Ukrainian offensive would be a war of conquest of Russian-speaking areas which is bound to involve, if successful, ethnic cleansing on a massive scale.
“The remaining inhabitants’ cohabitation with the military is anything but simple. “In and around Bakhmut, I sometimes have the impression that we are the invaders!” said Andryi, 55, a soldier of the territorial brigade from Kharkiv, fighting in the Donbas since December 2022. “Everywhere in Ukraine, the population supports us, they offer us food. In the Donbas, a tiny chicken is sold to us for 500 hryvnas [$13] and we rent half-demolished houses for 15,000 hryvnas [$405]. This is not Ukraine.”May 16, 2023 at 9:43 pm #243404
Another example of how corrupt the Ukraine regime is. Even the chief justice has been taking bribes.May 21, 2023 at 8:28 am #243435
Revealing article a few days ago, in of all places the pro-Ukraine regime Guardian newspaper, that shows that they realise that ethnic cleaning on a massive scale will be one of the consequences of the reconquest, with NATO arms, by the Ukraine regime of the territories in the Donbass and Crimea that it claims:
“About 120,000 of Mariupol’s original inhabitants survived and still live in the city. Of those, about 20% supported Ukraine’s armed forces and were waiting for liberation, a resident said. “I think it’s necessary to hang on,” the person explained. The other 80% were divided equally between people who were indifferent to politics, and those who supported Russia and the city’s new administration.
This last group are now the majority,” a resident said. “They are very afraid of the counteroffensive.” They continued: “The mood in Mariupol has changed dramatically. A year ago everybody thought that Russia would win. There was no other scenario. Now even those who back Putin realise something is going on, and that Russia might actually lose.
“They are afraid there will be a battle. They understood that when the territory becomes Ukrainian again they are finished. They will have to leave their homes and go to Russia forever.”May 23, 2023 at 1:51 pm #243463
1984 is here. Hungary is blocking money from the “European Peace Facility” to supply Ukraine with arms.May 24, 2023 at 8:04 am #243479
The leaders of the G7 (US, Germany, Japan, France, Britain, Italy, and Canada) when they met at Hiroshima last week pledged to support Ukraine until complete victory, including by supplying arms.
They must know that this will result in ethnic cleansing on a massive scale. The population of Crimea, for instance, is over 2 million of whom 68% identify as Russian. In the event of a Ukrainian victory and conquest of the peninsula they are unlikely to stay and be “de-Russified” as elsewhere in Ukraine. Over a million will be driven out.
According to Wikipedia, ethnic cleansing
“constitutes a crime against humanity and may also fall under the Genocide Convention, even as ethnic cleansing has no legal definition under international criminal law.”
But there are no reports of the International Court of Cronies at The Hague preparing to indict these “world leaders” with aiding and abetting a “crime against humanity”. Of course not, as they are funded by 6 of the G7 (the 7th being the US which refuses to have its actions judged by such an outside body).
Of course it is not just the ICC that is a joke. So is “international criminal law”, it’s just “victors’ justice”.May 28, 2023 at 4:21 pm #243591
Drones are a useful invention that could be used for in agriculture, monitoring rivers, the environment and forest fires, inspecting bridges and other structures, aerial photographs, deliveries including medicines and food and equipment in remote areas or in a natural disaster. In other words usefully, also in socialism.
But capitalism being capitalism, their main use today is as a weapon of destruction, as we are seeing in current NATO-Russian War in Ukraine.May 30, 2023 at 12:55 pm #243648Thomas_MoreParticipantJune 9, 2023 at 1:06 pm #243894
Looks as if Greta may have blotted her copybook in taking sides in the war, blaming Russia for the collapse of that dam before the full facts have been established;
Of course Reuters is not neutral in this conflict and it maybe she was only saying that wouldn’t have happened if Russia hadn’t invaded Ukraine, and Reuters gave this a partisan spin.
But the blame must be sought more widely than that. Capitalism is ultimately responsible for modern wars in that built into it is a competitive struggle between capitalist states over sources of raw materials, trade routes, investment outlets. markets, and strategic points and areas to protect these.
The problem is not Russia, it’s Capitalism.June 9, 2023 at 3:06 pm #243895chelmsfordParticipant
If capitalism is the cause of war, why is it most south american capitalist nations manage to get along without resorting to arms every now and then? Most african armies are either clobbering the locals, fighting rebels or overthrowing the current regime. Wars between african states are rare. It is a minority of capitalist states who go to war, and it is usually the same ones.
Propertarians would argue that the truly capitalist way to capture a market is to provide a cheaper, better commodity. Gunboats are used by gangsters and racketeers.
You can scrutinise Marx’s economic writings until your eyes ache and you wont find the cause of war in them.
There is no difficulty in imaging capitalism without wars. War is not needed for capitalism to continue and progress.
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