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Invasion of Ukraine Continues As Russia Begins Nuclear Weapons Sabre Rattling 789

Posted by Soulskill
from the in-case-you-were-feeling-optimistic-today dept.
cold fjord writes Russian President has issued a stark indication of Russia's military capabilities: "I want to remind you that Russia is one of the most powerful nuclear nations. This is a reality, not just words." According to News.com.au, "It's the first time in more than 25 years that Moscow has raised the spectre of nuclear war. The difference this time is that its tanks are already pouring over its western borders." To put numbers behind that, "Russia has moved 4,000 to 5,000 military personnel — a figure far higher than one U.S. official's earlier claim of 1,000 troops. The soldiers are aligned in 'formed units' and fighting around Luhansk and Donetsk.... And they may soon have company: Some 20,000 troops are on border and 'more may be on the way.'" On top of that, the Ukraine Defence Minister claims Russia has made threats that they're prepared to use tactical nuclear weapons to stop further resistance.
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Invasion of Ukraine Continues As Russia Begins Nuclear Weapons Sabre Rattling

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  • Sigh... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mythosaz (572040) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @04:36PM (#47811107)

    I guess I lose my bet that the end of humanity would come from war in the Middle East.

  • Put it this way (Score:4, Interesting)

    by alphatel (1450715) * on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @04:37PM (#47811121)
    Forget about MAD [wikipedia.org] or Deterrence. The only MADness here is Putin. If he does what he says what he will do (and he seems to rarely back down from anything due to his massive ego), most of the First World countries are going to immediately join forces to invade and permanently occupy Russia. This is obviously much harder than it sounds, and with lots of radioactive fallout there will be far more civilian causalities than in any other war ever imagined. The only question is - can Putin visualize the worst case scenario at all or has he completely lost his mind?
  • Re:Put it this way (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dins (2538550) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @04:40PM (#47811141)

    The only question is - can Putin visualize the worst case scenario at all or has he completely lost his mind?

    He's just confident that the west will let him have Ukraine. Unfortunately, I don't think he's wrong. Will be interesting to see if we ever draw a line somewhere and then what we do when he crosses it...

  • Unreal... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by xfizik (3491039) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @04:49PM (#47811249)
    Regardless of political preferences... I simply can't imagine in what form those threats could have been made. Phone call? Letter? Email? How can anyone be so [IMHO, unrealistically] stupid to mention using nuclear weapons knowing that every word in today's communications is being recorded and would be published by the opposite side?

    P.S. Thank you Slashdot for posting at least 2-3 stories about Ukraine every day. I guess this is really the stuff that matters to nerds that much.
  • Seriously? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gerddie (173963) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @05:01PM (#47811407)
    From TFA:

    Kiev has received threats of nuclear retaliation from Russia through unofficial channels if it continues to fight pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian Minister of Defence, Valeriy Heletey, announced on his Facebook page on Monday.

    This is news for nerds, for people who are supposed to love science. Science is, when you can prove things, reproduce them. An announcement from someone on the losing side who has an interest in dragging NATO into this is not a statement that can be relied on. It is not even mentioned what the unofficial channel, is, nor was any kind of prove provided, like with all the rest of the anti-Russian propaganda, btw.

    I expect tomorrow news on ./ to be: The pope said that God is real.

  • Re:Put it this way (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @05:04PM (#47811445)

    If he does back down he risks losing a lot more than the next election.

  • Re:Sigh... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki&gmail,com> on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @05:07PM (#47811473) Homepage

    Considering Russia's poor control of nuclear weapons, I'm going to guess that this is going to follow the playbook right out of CoD: Modern Warfare.

  • Re:Put it this way (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rasmusbr (2186518) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @05:10PM (#47811505)

    He's decidedly not mad in the sense of being irrational. Everything he does adds up towards his goal of strengthening the Russian state and the Russian military industrial complex. (Someone ought to investigate on Putin's and his family and friends stock ownership).

    Russia has a strong hand the next 20-30 years, as the western world runs out of petroleum and has yet to create a replacement. Russia has huge untapped petroleum resources, which it can use as a bargaining chip. A country of merely 140 million, this may well be Russia's last chance to expand its borders until the end of history, so if that is Putin's goal then now is the time to play his hand as hard as he possibly dares to.

    I would say that Putin might be a megalomaniac psychopath, but those are not irrational if they actually have great power. The time from now until he dies will be interesting.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @05:23PM (#47811625)

    There are no formed Russian military units pouring over the border. There are some Russian soldiers who are on leave and using their personal time to help the separatist movement in Ukraine, but there is absolutely NO ORGANIZED RUSSIAN EFFORT here.

    I have a lot of family in Donetsk and Luhansk and it is BUSINESS AS USUAL there. The territory is now and has been operating as if it were part of Russia for MANY MANY YEARS. Nothing has changed except the installation of a westernist puppet as President who is now trying to re-integrate separatist regions under threat of force.

    Nobody in eastern Ukraine considers themselves Ukrainian, including my Family who has lived there for generations. Eastern Ukraine has always been and will continue to be Russian.

  • Re:Sigh... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ahodgson (74077) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @05:28PM (#47811685)

    Imagine this scenario ...

    China, and a bunch of their allies in South America who have formed a political/economic union, get together and oust the democratically elected president and parliament of Mexico and get appointed a group who immediately pull Mexico out of NAFTA and force them to consider joining a Chinese-controlled defence bloc.

    Further imagine that the northernmost Mexican states are primarily populated by ethnic white Americans, and that the new Mexican state is openly hostile to Americans and is threatening to exterminate them.

    Oh, and imagine that your only warm-water naval port was located in a part of Mexico that used to be part of the US, and also that a large part of your foreign trade depends on pipelines that go through Mexico to reach your customers.

    Then imagine that those northern states rebel and demand to join the United States.

    What would you do?

  • Re:Sigh... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @05:38PM (#47811787) Journal
    Only one needed: that the Soviet Union (in whatever name you want to give it) deserves to be reinstated against the will of the majority of the people in the countries involved. But for kicks, that he deserves to be able to be president for life, that he looks cool riding around on a horse with no shirt, that he thinks being called short is unfair (he's practically a midget), that he thinks people believe he actually shot a {insert type of wild animal here}. Add whatever other Kim Jong Un/Il super dictator fake achievement cult of personality bullshit you want. Fuck, even his wife had enough of him and left.
  • by Required Snark (1702878) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @05:43PM (#47811835)
    of a major world power since George Bush.

    Anyone remember that itty-bitty little mistake of invading the wrong country after 9/11 based on falsified intellegence?

    On a scale of 0 to Iraq, how does Putin invading Ukraine rate?

  • Re:Sigh... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bloodhawk (813939) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @05:46PM (#47811877)

    Ukraine, "previously" held control of Russia's only viable winter port for the Russian fleet. The US's intervention in forcing a government change to a pro west/anti Russian government meant Russia was at risk of losing access to a vital military facility as well as have a close friendly neighbour suddenly become a NATO stronghold, wrongly or rightly Russia still view NATO with a great deal of suspicion if not as an outright enemy. If that isn't backing him into a corner and prodding the bear with a massive cattle prod then I don't know what is. It would be the equivalent of mexico and Canada suddenly becoming communist north Korean and expecting the US would not react.

  • Re:Sigh... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @05:56PM (#47811969) Homepage Journal

    No, Putin isn't ruler of the Ukraine, any more than the US President is the ruler of Iraq, or Lebanon, or Israel, or Afghanistan. Yet, when "US interests" are threatened anywhere in the world, our troops are ready to go. Note that it doesn't require that any US troops or citizens be threatened, merely "US interests".

    Should Russia be any less timid in world affairs, than the US is? Russia had a sort of "agreement" regarding the naval bases in Crimea. Not so different from our own "agreement" regarding a certain naval base in Guantanamo. If a palace coup threatened our possession of Gitmo - what would be our reaction, do you think? Would it have been any different than Moscow's reaction to the threat of the loss of Crimea?

    Russia had MORE justification in Crimea than we would have in Gitmo, because the population of the surrounding area is more than half ethnic Russian. In Gitmo, all of the population is ethnic Cuban - few if any of whom are US citizens or former citizens.

    The issues in Donetsk and Luhansk are a bit more complicated than they were in Crimea. The population is less ethnic Russian than it is in Crimea. But, still - there IS an ethnic population - one which Porko-chenko is prepared to run roughshod over. We put a puppet in charge of Kiev, and he is behaving badly. Porko, the misbehaving puppet, sparked this revolution, after all. You can expect that sort of thing when you stage a coup. There are a lot of divided loyalties in the Ukraine, after all. Stage a coup, install a neo-fascist as your puppet, and some of those loyalties to Mother Russia are going to be reawakened.

    You're right, Putin isn't the ruler of Ukraine. But, Putin does have obligations that our own government is pretending not to understand. Our government has simply dismissed any Russian claims, and Russian loyalties of the people. In our pursuit of "US interests" we act as if nothing else matters.

    I am embarrassed at the arrogant, pompous jackasses running our government, here in the US.

    Yes, of course we have backed Putin into a corner, in more ways than one. And, personally, it would please me if Soros and the Koch brothers were to lose their entire fortunes in their little adventurism scheme. All of Wall Street should take a hit on this one.

    How are those petty little sanctions working, anyway? Has Wall Street come to understand yet, that Russia can and will feed her people, despite our impotent leadership's saber rattling?

  • Re:Sigh... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Kelbear (870538) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @05:59PM (#47812015)

    I think Putin is crafty and Machiavellian is a great way to describe his choices.

    But with that said, we don't have to assume Putin to be insane or foolish to concern ourselves with nuclear escalation. His gradual conquest of the Ukraine is a calculated risk that essentially says to NATO, "I bet you haven't got the balls to stop me, I can take what I want."

    He's moving slowly and boiling the frog in the water slowly so that he can get what he wants with slower and safer escalation...but it's still escalation. He's planning to push until he himself is convinced that NATO is actually willing to go to war to stop him.

    Basically, he's started a nuclear game of chicken, and the worst part about nuclear war is that the best outcome goes to the one who issues the first strike since it's hoped to at least partially blunt a portion of the counter-strike. In a nuclear missile crisis, you can't know when the point of no return is crossed because at that point, there's no response to the opponent's latest gesture of escalation, at that point the missiles are simply fired without notice to reduce the enemy's response time as much as possible.

    I don't expect nuclear war to be imminent right now, but with the trajectory Putin is taking, I expect that he won't stop until he's pushed us all to the very brink of nuclear war, and the risk is that Putin may accidentally push us just a hair too far and find us in a situation that even he cannot de-escalate from since he won't know when he's overshot his limits.

  • Re:But hey... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @06:14PM (#47812165)

    I'm even more sad that so many Americans would STILL vote for this guy today simply because they're Democrats and that's that.

    Low as my opinion of Obama is, I'd certainly vote for him again if he was running against the same two clowns as last time, or the two psychopaths from the time before.

  • Re:Sigh... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zocalo (252965) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @06:39PM (#47812379) Homepage
    Well, the like-for-like retaliation from Ukraine won't happen. One of the terms of Ukraine's independance was that they give up the nukes they had left over from the break up of the USSR, but their supposed pay back from that would be protection from NATO if Russia were to invade. Now that a full scale invasion of Eastern Ukraine is clearly underway that comment was almost certainly aimed at NATO in an attempt to give them pause while the Russians consolidate their position and get dug-in.

    At this point in time, with almost no response by NATO/the West other than some obviously ineffectual sanctions, my money is on Russia successfully annexing enough of Eastern Ukraine and the Crimea (albeit as an "independant" state with its capital in Donetsk or Sevastopol) that it can resupply the Crimea via land from mainland Russia.
  • Re:Sigh... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by amiga3D (567632) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @07:42PM (#47812947)

    No chance of Nuclear war. Who's going to call his bluff? President Obama? Not likely. Germany? They like sucking his dick too much. France? Don't make me laugh. Poland has the balls but not the muscle. Nope, Putin can goble Ukraine a little at a time until it's all gone. Of course, when it's done what does he have? A lot of pissed off Ukranians to try to keep his boot on. Just what Russia needs, more indigestion.

  • Re:Sigh... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Tuesday September 02, 2014 @08:28PM (#47813195) Homepage Journal

    Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Utah - need I go on?

    Granted, Louisiana was bought and paid for, but it WAS part of another country. Ditto with Alaska.

    We haven't even considered all the land taken from the Indian nations here - only land acquired from Spain, Mexico, France and Russia, countries that we officially recognize. Nor have I mentioned that we fought a war with England to get those first 13 colonies.

    UN charter? I don't give a flip about the UN.

    Granted, Russia has it's propaganda and lies. I can see that, and accept it.

    Now, what do you say about United State's propaganda and lies?

    Fact is, we pushed through a coup, and installed a friendly puppet to replace an unfriendly puppet. Porko doesn't belong in charge of Kiev any more than I do, or you do. The Ukrainians should have dragged his ass out behind the barn and put a bullet in his ear. They would have too, if not for all those paid thugs camped out in the capital.

  • by sumdumass (711423) on Wednesday September 03, 2014 @03:05AM (#47814731) Journal

    First, i think Russia does have troops in the Ukriane.

    But there are commercial entities in both Europe and the US who have satalites capable of taking photos with astounding resolutions. Google is one that comes to mind. Back in the 90s, ms had a site called terraserve or something like that which had sat photos of such resolution that you could read markings on stopped semi trailers. Of course that didn't last long before the US government limited the resolutions allowed to be released- which they just recently relaxed.

    So i think it is a legitimate question. Where are all the sat photos of this incursion? We had tons of them when that plane disapeared. They were commercial photos and we were asked to look for potential wreckage from the plane.

  • Re:Sigh... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rei (128717) on Wednesday September 03, 2014 @06:58AM (#47815493) Homepage

    They don't. If they did, they'd have already threatened Russia with them to make them stop. That's the point of having nuclear weapons, after all.

    Ukraine foolishly believed that the US and Europe would protect them when they agreed to give up their nuclear weapons after the end of the Cold War. They're paying for that mistake now. If Ukraine survives but doesn't get to become a member of NATO, expect a full force nuclear weapons program on their part (which shouldn't be too hard, they have lots of nuclear power plants, lots of spent waste full of plutonium, and are the world's #9 uranium producer).

  • Invasion (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DarthVain (724186) on Wednesday September 03, 2014 @09:16AM (#47816269)

    Except, this is how World Wars get started. There is a Treaty in play. One that says, we Ukraine will disarm all our nuclear weapons if you the USA will come to our aid should we ever be invaded. Which is why I suspect there is all this word play as to if Russia has indeed "Invaded" Ukraine or not. If indeed Russia has invaded Ukraine, then the USA would be obligated to come to their aid significantly, as would any others that signed the treaty. Not only that, you would get allies that have signed pacts with the involved countries for mutual military actions, then so on and repeat until everyone is involved and you get a World War. Combine that with the fact that the two major combatants would be the largest nuclear weapons owners, is cause for concern, particularly if one is currently rattling that saber.

    However even if it came to conventional war, using nuclear weapons would be insane. The one and only time it was considered and used, was because the potential casualty rate was expected to be well over 1 million troops for a conventional invasion of Japan to force capitulation. The largest war in recent history lasted nearly 10 years, yet less than 5,000 US troops were killed. Think about how far those two numbers are apart. Even then the two devices were in the kiloton range not the megaton. The US isn't going to invade Russia, and Russia isn't going to invade the US.

    Anyway if the US doesn't honor the Treaty it brings into question all their previous treaties, pacts, alliances, etc... as being worthless and subject to political whim.

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