back to article Europe's largest nuclear plant on fire after Russian attack

Fire broke out at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant – Europe's largest such facility and one of the biggest of its kind in the world – on Thursday after being shelled by Russian military, according to Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba. He also warned the consequences of attacking the station could be dire: …

  1. Schultz
    Mushroom

    Evil mastermind or incompetence at work?

    It is natural to speculate about an evil masterplan, especially when looking at an immoral person like Putin. But it might be more plausible that the Russian army just wants control of the powerplant to turn off electrical power at will. Leave it to incompetent military commanders to obtain this control and you might have a major nuclear catastrophe at hand. I'd say we have ample evidence for the incompetence and stupidity of the Russian military...

    1. ShadowSystems Silver badge

      Re: Evil mastermind or incompetence at work?

      Given Russia's control over natural gas reserves, getting to control that NPP would give them a stranglehold on (most/all of) Europe's ability to keep the lights on, the servers running, & the coffee machines percolating.

      If someone has physical control over your infrastructure, they pretty much get to make you dance like a marionette. Don't want to dance? Don't let them take control.

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Evil mastermind or incompetence at work?

        And I'm sure Putin is hoping that a release of radioactivity at the plant will remind Western Europe of Chernobyl, easing the pressure in Germany (and elsewhere) to prolong the life of their own nuclear plants. Even the Greens in the Berlin government have been saying, let's keep the nuclear plants going, it's the lesser of two evils.

        And Putin will always be eager to fill the gap once people start to shiver. "Why, you need more gas? Well, I'd love to help, but you need to pressure your governments to ease off on their sanctions and be nice to me..."

        He's an evil little paranoid shit, that's for sure.

        1. Paul Herber Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Evil mastermind or incompetence at work?

          I really must object most strongly to your adjectives describing President Putin. Diplomatic incidents, nay, even wars have been started over less! Whether you hate him or love him, there is no need to use the word "little". He is no shorter than many other dictators! And if I were in his shoes then I'm sure I'd be taller!

    2. UCAP Silver badge

      Re: Evil mastermind or incompetence at work?

      Taking control of the plant is one thing. Being able to shut down or start up the reactors is something completely different. Unless you know exactly what you are doing then a significant part of the Russian armed forces are going to get a glow-in-the-dark overlay.

      1. ShadowSystems Silver badge

        Re: Evil mastermind or incompetence at work?

        At UCAP, you don't have to turn off the NPP itself, merely tell it to stop feeding the power being generated to the external power lines. Like letting a car engine idle while the gear shift is in neutral. The goal is not to destroy the NPP, merely to dictate when, where, & if it sends power to those that pay proper DaneGeld.

    3. Fonant

      Re: Evil mastermind or incompetence at work?

      Nuclear power plants take months to "switch off" and "switch on". There isn't a simple switch you can flick.

      1. Jaybus

        Re: Evil mastermind or incompetence at work?

        It can be taken off of the grid without shutting down the reactors.

        1. ShadowSystems Silver badge

          Re: Evil mastermind or incompetence at work?

          At Jaybus, thank you for pointing that out. My apologies for not having read your post before making my reply to UCAP above.

          *Hands you a pint to make up for it*

          Cheers!

    4. hoola Silver badge

      Re: Evil mastermind or incompetence at work?

      Excellent analysis, also noting that if there was a radiation leak the commanders could not give a stuff.

      The army they have doing the actual stuff on the ground are completely expendable in their eyes.-

    5. VoiceOfTruth

      Re: Evil mastermind or incompetence at work?

      So said the Germany army before Stalingrad.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Evil mastermind or incompetence at work?

      Worth observing that the two choices are not really mutually exclusive..

    7. Robert Helpmann??
      Childcatcher

      Re: Evil mastermind or incompetence at work?

      Don't attribute to malice what incompetence adequately explains, except perhaps when both are in play.

  2. steviebuk Silver badge

    I know it can't be done

    As NATO can't be involved militarily but seeing that 40mile line of Russia military vehicles at 3 trucks wide all close together, they are asking to be bombed.

    1. Jonathon Green

      Re: I know it can't be done

      You wouldn’t even have to bomb them.

      Crater the crap out of the roads in front and behind, bring down a few bridges, and they’re going nowhere…

      1. DomDF

        Re: I know it can't be done

        Highway of Death Mk. 2

    2. DJO Silver badge

      Re: I know it can't be done

      40 mile convoy of military equipment and no anti-aircraft weaponry?

      No a chance in hell, any aircraft attacking that convoy would be lucky to get 1 or 2 vehicles before being blown out of the sky.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: I know it can't be done

        Using an aircraft to bomb? How quaint.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
          Devil

          Re: I know it can't be done

          Using an aircraft to bomb? How quaint.

          I dare you to say that in a bar full of A10 pilots.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I know it can't be done

            Why, what would they do? Run out, get in their planes and bomb you?

            1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
              Happy

              Re: I know it can't be done

              Being A10 pilots, their weapon of choice isn't a bomb.

              But, as the saying goes, when all you've got is a massive 30mm cannon with armour piercing shells, everything looks like a tank.

            2. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

              Re: I know it can't be done

              > Why, what would they do? Run out, get in their planes and bomb you?

              No. Just get bombed.

      2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: I know it can't be done

        Russia's anti-aircraft defences haven't even successfully managed to neutralise Ukraine's airforce. Which is a tenth the size of the Russian one, and a lot less modern. And their handful of Turkish drones have also been doing pretty well.

        Admittedly this is partly because the Russian army has seemingly been ignoring its own doctrine and not fighting a combined arms operation using its battalion tactical groups, which integrate air defence with front line troops.

        But I'd say that some F35s or B2s could make that a very sad convoy indeed. And given that the Russians chose to invade in the mud season - and so are basically stuck with road travel only in the North of Ukraine - they can't even disperse the forces - as anybody who goes offroad, soon ends up stopping. So they make fat, juicy targets. If only we could lend Ukraine a couple of squadrons of A10s - as this is literally what they were built for.

        I remember reading from some military anaylsts before the war about how this wasn't a problem any more, because modern armies are different and better and can magically ignore the mud.

        1. hoola Silver badge

          Re: I know it can't be done

          I suspect that is because those analysts see things from a western point of view. Everything is sanitized from the air, or in a desert!!!!!

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: I know it can't be done

            I suspect that is because those analysts see things from a western point of view. Everything is sanitized from the air, or in a desert!!!!!

            No. It was misplaced faith in the Russian army. Which has been on a major modernisation binge for the last fifteen years.

            Anyone who looks at a potential invasion of Ukraine was going to instantly compare to WWII. Which is obviously where a lot of the fighting was. And one of the big things you learn, when you study that history is the mud. For example, it wasn't the snow that stopped the Germans from capturing Moscow in 1941. It was the mud. They had to halt the attack in October until the snow really kicked in, the ground froze and they were able to move again. Although by that point they were at the end of their logistical tether and the Soviets had brought in yet more reserves. Otherwise you were just limited to road and rail transport. And in the case of the Germans their rail logistics didn't get them much past Smolensk.

            That's why one of the Russian words that anyone who's read about WWII on the Eastern Front knows is Rasputitsa. Which is the two "mud seasons" they get due to Autumn rains, and then in Spring when all the snow melts (plus rain). Which is probably why the advances from Crimea are going very well, but the advances in the North are so slow and their logistics so screwed up. There's only so many trucks you can get down the roads - and that's without the enemy shooting at you. Or what looks like large numbers of mechanical breakdowns caused by bad maintenance practises from the Russian army over the last few years.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I know it can't be done

          says who? Are you believing the media now?

          Sure there have been some footage of drone stikes on the occasional small convoy (likely in territory, not behind the lines). I think it would be a different story with a battle group.

          Academic now, as it appears to be in range. the 152 mm howitzers have a range of 18 KM (in indiscriminate fire) - 30 with rocket assist (though that appears not to have been used).

        3. DoctorPaul

          Re: I know it can't be done

          Looks like Poland may be giving Ukraine some of their (relatively) elderly MIGs - Ukrainian pilots can't fly western jets without a lot of retraining - and in return the USA will let Poland have some nice shiny F35s or similar.

      3. Jaybus

        Re: I know it can't be done

        Not to worry. Submarine-launched Tomahawks should do nicely.

    3. hoola Silver badge

      Re: I know it can't be done

      I suspect the Ukrainian Air Force does not want to take the risk with their remaining limited resources. They don't have enough to do much but slow it (even more) and create a little inconvenience.

      The old A10s were designed for this exact situation.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: I know it can't be done

        Could a few armed A10s find their way in Ukrainian coluors?

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: I know it can't be done

          Unlikely. Ukraine's asked for aircraft, but they'd also need pilots and all the support to keep them flying. Which is one of Ukraine's challenges given Ukraine had been flying Russian aircraft, and can't support those any more.

    4. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: I know it can't be done

      As NATO can't be involved militarily but seeing that 40mile line of Russia military vehicles at 3 trucks wide all close together, they are asking to be bombed.

      They are being attacked by the Ukrainians. Between the mud, the fuel shortages, and a general WTF attitude by the troops using them, they're prime ground targets and getting hit pretty hard. Not as hard as might be done with air power but it is creating some serious problems for the Russians.

      All things considered, I sure as hell wouldn't want to be in that convoy.

    5. DS999 Silver badge

      They don't have to bomb them

      Sounds like they are breaking down and running out of fuel which is why the column hasn't moved for days.

      There was some talk about some EU NATO countries giving Ukraine MIG-29s, which their pilots are already trained up on, to bomb those tanks. Or the US could give them A-10s, which can use depleted uranium rounds to shoot right through a tank's armor. One A-10 flight could probably kill 100 tanks given how nicely they are lined up.

      Not sure how hard it would be to train Ukranian pilots on a jet they've never seen, but the A-10 isn't exactly high tech so it would be a lot easier to learn than an F16 or F35.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: They don't have to bomb them

        I once had a go flying in an A-10 sim at a USAF friendship event. Pretty sure that was the first time I heard 'CFIT'. Having just demonstrating what it meant. At least I managed to walk away.

        I think it'd be easier if we could obtain Su-25s instead given those are currently operated by Ukraine, and a lot of other operators. But they'd be flying into a very high threat from Russian fighters and air defences.

        And I hope this also demonstrates a real need to keep the A-10, or a proper CAS replacement.

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: They don't have to bomb them

          We just need to build a UAV version of the A-10 that can deliver the same ammo. Not caring about pilot survivability means it can be a lot cheaper, and no CFIT casualties to worry about.

          Instead I'm sure some idiot is right now has a new generation manned warplane on a drawing board that's supposed to be an air superiority fighter, medium range bomber, VTOL checkbox for the Royal Navy, as well as fulfill the A-10's close combat support role via a kitchen sink module. Because the F35 counts as a success when measured in corporate profits, so well funded lobbyists will force the generals into demanding its successor and legislators into buying it.

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: They don't have to bomb them

            Yup, or a UAV version of the Mosquito. Quad 20mm cannon and triple .303s. But that was arguably a successful multi-role aircraft.

            One thing that struck me (apart from the ground) was the workload. UAVs would seem to have a huge advantage in splitting that. A-10 is single seat, so all the work is on the pilot. A UAV-10 could have a pilot, gunner, observer/navigator without needing all the space and mass for life support in the aircraft.

            1. DS999 Silver badge

              Re: They don't have to bomb them

              Didn't think about that angle, but yeah that seems like a lot on your plate when you're diving at tank columns to have to fly, shoot and pay attention to things trying to kill you.

              One advantage of modern technology is that automation is better at "paying attention to things trying to kill you" than a human so you probably don't need a third person for that.

    6. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: I know it can't be done

      40mile line of Russia military vehicles at 3 trucks wide all close together, they are asking to be bombed.

      No need. It appears they're screwed already. Waiting for the Winter Olympics to finish has moved them into the mud season, and with the low standard of maintenance of the Russian army the consequences were predictable.

      In short, as soon as anything on the road itself got stuck they had a 40 mile long problem. Given that they're already having major supply line issues this will not have helped, and I fully expect the Ukrainians to exploit that to the fullest.

      1. the small snake
        Alien

        Re: I know it can't be done

        Russian military is clearly useless, yes. However this probably only means it takes them longer to reduce Ukraine to rubble. After that they will not be able to hold it for long due to getting blown up by Ukrainians all the time, but after that is too late.

        This is not the country I was born in but it is close to it: fuck Putin. Fuck him with sandpaper until he bleeds to death.

      2. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: I know it can't be done

        Thanks for the link to that Twitter thread - finally a good explanation for the mystery of that immobile armored column. That also explains why the Russians are having more success in the more arid coastal areas of Ukraine. Good luck getting replacement tires now that his economy is in ruin!

        Putin did not plan for an extended campaign, he thought they'd be able to roll into Kyiv and install a puppet government within days, and rely on Ukraine to resupply his military. That explains the reported food and fuel shortages since he didn't plan for supply lines from Russia, and why they only took out military targets at first. They wanted all the civilian infrastructure in place so they could leverage it themselves to spread their propaganda to try to get the people to accept Putin puppet government while they took all the food and fuel they needed from Ukraine.

        Based on his new strategy of telling people to leave a city then bombing the crap out of it, I can only guess he wants to scare as many people as possible across the border into the EU. Give the EU the logistical problems of handling all those refugees, while reducing the number of people his occupying force will have to deal with. He saw all the disruption those Syrian refugees caused, but that won't work the way he hopes since the racial/religious bias many EU countries had against those Syrian refugees isn't there for Ukrainian refugees.

        So much for his dream of being remembered as the next coming of Peter the Great. Instead history will remember him as the next coming of Ivan the Terrible.

  3. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Putin provoking NATO

    The ultimate false flag operation.

    He's found a way to do so using a Ukraine target.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Putin provoking NATO

      And once again I find myself asking: "why?"

      I'm perfectly willing to believe Putin has a secret agenda, but it should make at least some kind of sense.

      1. Insert sadsack pun here Silver badge

        Re: Putin provoking NATO

        I heard that Putin said Russia bombed the power plant because it had bought uranium in Niger, and had a biological weapon that could deploy in 45 minutes, and was wearing a bulky coat and had jumped the turnstile...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Putin provoking NATO

      NATO "provoked" Putin when they unilaterally decided to bomb the serbs when genocide was happening in the balkans, Russia has been salty since. (and ofc nato expanded after that). If I'm to weigh that reason to literally invading an entire country.. Putin needs a better reason. He just sees dictators fading away around the globe and needs a solid policy win to hold his so far gentle dictatorship / managed democracy, but so far that gamble has been backfiring thankfully.

    3. David 132 Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Putin provoking NATO

      According to latest reports, Russian media is already claiming that the nuclear plant was "under the control of Russia since Feb 28", and was "attacked by Ukrainian separatists as a provocation".

      I'm sure there's a few people out there - mostly in Russia, sadly - who will believe that tripe.

      Rule #1 of international relations: The Russian government lies. And they know that you know they're lying. And they don't care.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Putin provoking NATO

        We all only have the word of the military on the ground filtered through the media to understand what is happening. Lies are not a monopoly of the Russian government.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Putin provoking NATO

        Even RT admitted the Russians attacked the site (though they said it was in self defence, and they only attacked the separate and detached training building)

        https://www.rt.com/russia/551210-russian-military-nuclear-station-incident/

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Like primitive man putting his hand in fire

    Sergei, what happens if I shell that big building over there?

    Hmmmm….

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Like primitive man putting his hand in fire

      Surely their artillery commanders have maps? Can't they read them? When the order comes in for fire support on this grid square - surely you'd notice the symbol on your map and at least pause to think?

      Although I've since seen a report on the BBC that what they hit was a training building. So it could be a decent distance from the reactors - and the Russians were totally confident in their accuracy? But I suspect they were just feeling lucky.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Like primitive man putting his hand in fire

        Don't forget this is war, and the first casualty are innocents. OK, truth.

        So the slow motion video looked like the site CCTV showing a parachute flare, which seems to have been interpreted as 'shelling'. There also seems to be tracer fire left-right, but not which side is firing.

        Regardless, not really something you'd want to see happening at a large nuclear facility. But something we'll likely see again, if Iran gets attacked to halt it's nuclear ambitions.

        1. Hero Protagonist
          Flame

          Re: Like primitive man putting his hand in fire

          “Don't forget this is war, and the first casualty are innocents. OK, truth.”

          It’s also said that the first casualty of war is the plan, and that certainly seems to have held true for Russia.

          1. DoctorPaul

            Re: Like primitive man putting his hand in fire

            "Everyone has a plan until they get hit in the face" - Mike Tyson I believe.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Like primitive man putting his hand in fire

          Ukraine has 5 active nuclear sites (excluding chernobyl). This was the largest, supplying 25-30% (reports vary) of the electricity to the country. I expect it to go off the grid. Cant have the defenders using mobile phones for comms, which we have all seen. That is a war tactic.

          At least they didnt bomb it as Israel did on Iran a few years ago.....

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: Like primitive man putting his hand in fire

            Israel didn't bomb Iran's nuclear reactor. As far as I know that is still being built by the Russians. However, Israel did bomb both Iraq and Syria's. But they were both under construction at the time, and not fuelled, so there was no radiation risk.

      2. Jedit Silver badge
        Headmaster

        "Surely their artillery commanders have maps? Can't they read them?"

        Not the Russians, but my grandfather was an artillery driver at Monte Cassino in World War II and according to him, the US artillery commanders had their deployment maps upside down.

        1. Admiral Grace Hopper

          Re: "Surely their artillery commanders have maps? Can't they read them?"

          My grandfather used to say, "When the Germans flew over we ducked. When the RAF flew over, the Germans ducked. When the Americans flew over, everybody ducked".

          1. hoola Silver badge

            Re: "Surely their artillery commanders have maps? Can't they read them?"

            Yes, quantity not quality......

            Though in WW2 much of the bombing was quite inaccurate from what I understand it is only really when the Mosquito was used to mark targets things improved and then the work done by Barnes Wallace and 617 with the Tallboy and Grand Slam bombs.

      3. teknopaul Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Like primitive man putting his hand in fire

        I just read something that said Rússia has been to war with out maps in the past and soldiers got lost.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Like primitive man putting his hand in fire

      From the videos I have seen so far, the shelling was flares - even the twitter feed in the post of the main article. The fire appeared to be from a (lot) of tracer rounds from small cannonfire. It appeared directed at a training buiding (according to the ukrainian media, there were some soldiers defending the plant from there).

      If someone defends a position in a war, you can expect it to get attacked.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Like primitive man putting his hand in fire

        And if no one defends it, expect it to be lost.

        What should the Ukrainians have done? Left the place completely undefended and just hoped the Russians wouldn't kill all the plant workers?

  5. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "illegal, illogical, and inexplicable"

    Illegal, yes, undoubtedly.

    Illogical ? Not so much. Putin has already made clear his distaste with NATO, and Ukraine is a nice buffer zone to keep NATO troops further from his borders. It is no secret that Putin has always refused a NATO-subscribed Ukraine.

    Inexplicable ? Even less. If I'm not mistaken, Ukraine has been making moves towards becoming a member of the European Community, as stated in the wiki : "The EU and Ukraine are seeking an increasingly close relationship with each other, going beyond co-operation, to gradual economic integration and deepening of political co-operation ".

    Ukraine part of the EU means Ukraine part of NATO, and that is a big no-no in Putin's book.

    So not inexplicable at all.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: "illegal, illogical, and inexplicable"

      Ukraine part of the EU means Ukraine part of NATO, and that is a big no-no in Putin's book.

      Being part of the EU does not necessarily mean being part of NATO, just take a look at Sweden and Finland, both part of the EU but not of NATO. And for the other way around, there are Norway and Turkey as prime examples.

      1. MiguelC Silver badge

        Re: "illegal, illogical, and inexplicable"

        Following this invasion Finland's public opinion has for the first time swung in favour of being part of NATO and, as Sweden, was present as observer in the most recent NATO meetings.

        So the one thing Putin obtained with his 'special military operation' is strengthening western unity around NATO.

    2. Filippo Silver badge

      Re: "illegal, illogical, and inexplicable"

      The invasion of Ukraine is basically telling everyone "if you border Russia, and you're not in NATO already, Russia may invade you".

      Invading a non-NATO nation is basically the strongest possible incentive you can give towards joining NATO.

      If the point of the invasion was to discourage countries from joining NATO, I honestly cannot think of any way to fail harder at that.

      1. DevOpsTimothyC Bronze badge

        Re: "illegal, illogical, and inexplicable"

        The invasion of Ukraine is basically telling everyone "if you border Russia, and you're not in NATO already, Russia may invade you".

        It's probably a don't even consider joining NATO and if there is any press about joining deny it strongly.

        In terms of A.P. Vennings comment Ukraine was looking to join NATO

        Ukraine actively contributing to NATO-led operations and missions

        In September 2020, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy approved Ukraine’s new National Security Strategy, which provides for the development of the distinctive partnership with NATO with the aim of membership in NATO

        1. the small snake
          Alien

          Re: "illegal, illogical, and inexplicable"

          Ukraine has not been eligible to join NATO for long time. Because of (obviously Russian-sponsored) separatist nonsense in east Ukraine has in fact been at war for a long time. Thus if they joined NATO they could immediately invoke article 5, and probably start a war between NATO and Russia. Which war would be called WWIII. So existing members would reject application as starting WWIII generally seen as undesirable.

      2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: "illegal, illogical, and inexplicable"

        The really funny part of it is that Russia could become a NATO member, might come in handy (for Russia) if it ever happens to have a serious disagreement with the PRC, see also The Bear And The Dragon.

        1. John Jennings

          Re: "illegal, illogical, and inexplicable"

          Unfortunately, NATO (wheter it is or isnt as such by us is moot) is seen as an existential threat by Russia.

          1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

            Re: "illegal, illogical, and inexplicable"

            Unfortunately, NATO (wheter it is or isnt as such by us is moot) is seen as an existential threat by Russia.

            True, but that is Russia's problem (agreed, Russia is making it ours as well now, unfortunately).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: that is a big no-no in Putin's book.

      Other countries and their leaders have "books" too. Perhaps some of them have written down in their books that they could do with some support to counterbalance Russian (re)expansionism? Maybe if Russia didn't seem to be becoming increasingly hostile, Ukraine might have just kicked the whole NATO thing into the long grass as a sort of "nice to have, but doesn't really seem to be all that necessary right now".

      Instead, Putin's decisions have only served to demonstrate exactly why a neighbouring country might want to join NATO. Thus Putin's own actions are making his own fears come true ever faster. He is trying to win the wrong game with the wrong tactics, and as a consequence is damaging the very thing he says that he is trying to save: Russian national security.

    4. veti Silver badge

      Re: "illegal, illogical, and inexplicable"

      Well, only if you ignore geography.

      First, as others have pointed out, EU != NATO.

      Second, as a direct result of Putin's actions, there are today more NATO troops on Russia's borders than ever before. Thousands of troops, ships and aircraft from Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Britain and America, among other countries, have been deployed to Poland, the (formerly Soviet) Baltic states, and the Baltic Sea.

      Third, if Putin succeeds in his declared aim of conquering and annexing Ukraine, that will give him new borders with Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Hungary. That simple geographical fact will at a stroke add around 200,000 more NATO troops sitting directly on his border. That's close to the total number of troops he's deployed in and around Ukraine.

      Fourth, after decades of undermining western unity by his successful fostering of neo-fascism in places such as Hungary, Poland, the United States and Britain, he has suddenly and vastly reinforced it. The liberal/democratic order of Western Europe looks happier and more secure now than it has done at any time since the EU enlargement of 2004.

      If "keeping NATO troops away from his borders" is the aim, it's harder to imagine - short of actually invading a NATO member - how he could have scored a bigger own-goal than this.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "keeping NATO troops away from his borders"

        Perhaps he doesn't necessarily mind extra NATO troops on his borders, as long as those borders have been moved sufficiently far away. But, even at best, that still seems a rather narrowly defined "win" amongst quite a lot of downsides, as you point out.

      2. hoola Silver badge

        Re: "illegal, illogical, and inexplicable"

        I wonder if Putin's goal is to attempt to establish something along the lines of the old USSR/GDR with a very hard border.

        1. Jedit Silver badge
          Headmaster

          "something along the lines of the old USSR/GDR with a very hard border"

          Putin has literally demanded a roll back of NATO membership to where it was when the Soviet Union collapsed. There's no way he doesn't want to re-establish the Warsaw Pact.

      3. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: "illegal, illogical, and inexplicable"

        as a direct result of Putin's actions, there are today more NATO troops on Russia's borders than ever before

        And before long it sounds like Finland will be a NATO country, which is a lot closer to major Russian cities. Putin's war of choice will go down in history as the biggest military blunder in Europe since Hitler decided to open an eastern front.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "illegal, illogical, and inexplicable"

        No, not more than ever, we had more on the borders in the '60's and 70's. We had a peace dividend when we felt that russia was weak and the warsaw pact fell apart.

        When it was weak, we grabbed a lot more countries into NATO.

        George Bush Senior gave Gorbachov a deal when he was down. Then we shat on it. Russia has no real reason to trust NATO since.

        We further shat on it when Trump pulled out of the intermediate range nuclear missile treaty which permits missiles to be placed in basically any nato country - ie on their borders. There is no defense against these.

        Russia feels it isnt weak anymore.

    5. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: "illegal, illogical, and inexplicable"

      Firstly we have the problem that Germany and France weren't going to let Ukraine into NATO. They didn't have the appetite for the risk of annoying Russia. That may have changed now. Putin has just told Macron that he plans to conquer Ukraine - but if that fails and he's forced to make peace - I don't think it's now guaranteed that it won't be offered NATO membership immediately.

      Also Russia used to have a tiny border with NATO. But now, it's moved a bunch of troops into Belarus and invaded Ukraine. If it can conquer Ukraine it's now going to have an absolutely massive border with NATO. They used to just border the Baltic States - that were barely armed and had small NATO battalions to defend them. Now they're going to have troops directly bordering Poland. Poland are rapidly modernising their forces, and are (shall we say) highly motivated.

      1. the small snake
        Alien

        Re: "illegal, illogical, and inexplicable"

        As I have said in other comment: Ukraine has been at war in east for years. So if it joined NATO could have immediately invoked article 5, with Russia as probable aggressor. No-one wanted that.

        What happens now who knows?

    6. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: "illegal, illogical, and inexplicable"

      Ukraine is a nice buffer zone to keep NATO troops further from his borders

      Russia already has borders with countries that are NATO members, and if if they successfully took over Ukraine, then he'd be adding an additional four NATO members as neighbours.

      Not to mention that both Finland and Sweden are now considering joining.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not fake news but…….

    It’s clearly not fake news but it is exaggerating a scenario and painting a more frightening picture than the reality (I know it’s hard to imagine but it’s true).

    None of us like fake news, I also detest suggestive news where there is no substance.

    If Russia turn the lights off and turn the heat off they may shorten this conflict, obviously to their benefit.

    I’m sure us as allies would do exactly the same if we where invading some other state.

    In fact we did in the gulf war, special ordinance that contained copper wire that shorted transmission lines in Iraq sent while regions dark.

    Here is the US DoD document on history of and when to attack electrical systems, it has some detail about past doing this in past us conflicts. It’s a doc from 1994.

    https://media.defense.gov/2017/Dec/29/2001861964/-1/-1/0/T_GRIFFITH_STRATEGIC_ATTACK.PDF

    1. localzuk Silver badge

      Re: Not fake news but…….

      Exaggerating? Shelling a nuclear power plant is a very frightening thing. It isn't exaggeration to call it out, or to highlight how dangerous it is.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not fake news but…….

        I'm dead against the invasion of Ukraine, and my interpretation of the video might be wrong, but please look carefully at the footage.

        It looks like a battlefield flare landing to me. Look at the rate of sideways drift of the smoke vs the vertical velocity. And would a shell really glow like that on the way down?

        1. Psmo
          Mushroom

          Re: Not fake news but…….

          Plenty of different types of shell- phosphorus, for example, both gives light and burns structures. (Also burns people, but that's a war crime if proven).

          Also, why would you light up a target that you're not going to bombard?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Not fake news but…….

            OK, I'll agree that it could be phosphorus shells, assuming the rate of descent matches. (I'd forgotten that *some* nations still use those... Not nice.)

            1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

              Re: Not fake news but…….

              Also the caption says that's a slowed down video, not in real time. Which might explain why you see it fall so slowly.

              It's risky to try and interpret all this stuff that ends up online, unless you've the experience and expertise to do so.

              Find one of the open source intelligence types online to follow, if you want to see this type of stuff interpreted properly. Like Rob Lee on Twitter or Bellingcat.

              1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                Re: Not fake news but…….

                It's also the way it's falling, and appears to drift. A regular artillery shell would follow a balistic trajectory, and probably look like it was descending faster, and near vertically.

                A lot of the analysis is simple physics. So figure on the video where a reporter gets startled by a big bang in the background. If you time the delay between flash and bang, you can estimate the distance. Speed of sound in air is roughly 3s per km, so you could use a video editor to measure the time delay, and thus range estimate. Then if you know where the camera was, and direction was looking, you can figure out more to guess the target given you've got a range & direction.

                There's other simple stuff, like if you know the nuclear site video's frame rate, you can guesstimate things like descent, or drift rate, ie how far an object has moved between frames. Then if you have more data, you can deduce more things, like distance estimates using known references. So for example, you know roughly how large a car is, thus how short it looks gives a range estimate. Or you could measure distances between fixed reference points.

                It'd be nice to see a daylight image from the same CCTV though as that would provide more context, like what the tracer bullets were bouncing off.

            2. werdsmith Silver badge

              Re: Not fake news but…….

              "Exaggerating? Shelling a nuclear power plant is a very frightening thing. It isn't exaggeration to call it out, or to highlight how dangerous it is."

              This power plant is massive, enormous sprawling campus. It would be possible to shell within its limits and be nowhere near the critical areas. I'm sure that the Russians had a hand in building it and would know a thing or two about it. All of its fuel is supplied by Russian companies too.

              1. ClockworkOwl
                WTF?

                Re: Not fake news but…….

                They also store spent fuel there, any kind of explosive ordinance anywhere near this kind of facility is just batshit insane. You have so many obvious examples of how wayward even the most upto date munitions can be.

                Please stop trying to make this OK, it's just not, on any level.

          2. ragnar

            Re: Not fake news but…….

            So your soldiers can see as they move in to take control?

          3. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Not fake news but…….

            Friendly nations have been using WP shells for years, with barely a complaint. But they're justified as providing smoke cover, not illumination. They also behave differently, ie fuzed to airburst and spread WP pellets, or impact so they spread. There's video on YT of both methods being used against Gaza, and I think also Yemen. This looked a lot more like a parachute flare.

            But if Russia's intent were to damage or destroy the plant, it was doing it wrong. Especially given Russia designed & built those reactors, and has 'bunker busting' weapons that could breach containment.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: But if Russia's intent were to damage or destroy the plant, it was doing it wrong.

              I am perfectly prepared to believe the Russians had no intent to damage or destroy the plant. But that doesn't mean that their other actions didn't endanger it. It's not like every piece of ordinance hits exactly where it was planned to; and this is not even a feature of the Russian armed forces in particular - in a shooting war, things go astray. And "astray" in the near vicinity of a nuclear power station can have quite significant negative consequences.

              1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                Re: But if Russia's intent were to damage or destroy the plant, it was doing it wrong.

                True, but we live in an age of spin. So the good guys always use precision munitions, the bad shell indiscriminately. Which I guess could be problematic, because when the good guys hit civilian targets, the aiming was precise.

                But such is politics. It's obviously in Ukraine's interests to play up this story, in Russia, play it down. Then there's the media. So the Bbc prides itself on being the world's most accurate*, reliable news sources. Yet their story doesn't really show what it's saying, ie the illum vs shell discussion here. And then you might wonder about the source.

                So the clip was released to media already slowed down. Presumably there's more footage available, which would show the heavy fire or shelling, maybe even from multiple angles. So maybe this clip was picked for dramatic effect out of hours of footage of a car park. But that's probably why it was released slowed down, because in real-time, the flare would be far more obvious.

                But such is psyops. If people stop trusting the media, it makes them less useful. And yup, one generally shouldn't shoot at nuclear facilities. The building was probably set on fire by the 12.7mm heavy machine gun or autocannon rounds also seen impacting the building. But we don't know by who, or why. Who was probably Russians, why gets more challenging. So maybe they were taking fire from that building. Maybe an officer, or NCO checked their map, saw it was marked 'Admin' and ordered it a mild twatting. Which is pretty much the human shield dilemma.

          4. phuzz Silver badge

            Re: Not fake news but…….

            Also, why would you light up a target that you're not going to bombard?

            Most artillery is firing at targets that are over the horizon and out of direct sight, that is, there's no need to light up where you're going to bombard.

            A parachute flare like this is for ground troops and vehicles etc.

          5. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Not fake news but…….

            You might do it to return fire

        2. TheFifth

          Re: Not fake news but…….

          The pictures I've seen this morning of the administration building of the plant with big black holes in it would certainly suggest something more powerful than a flare has been fired in the vicinity. Granted, it's not the reactor buildings that were on fire, but I'd suggest caution may have been a better approach than firing missiles into any building on a nuclear facility. Too easy for your aim to go accidentally awry.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Not fake news but…….

            Want to ask the Israelis attacking Iran a few years ago - was that OK?

        3. the small snake
          Alien

          Re: Not fake news but…….

          Yes were clearly, clearly flares. If that is the only footage then either it was not shelled or they have no footage of it. You may be anonymous and cowardly but you are right: this smells very like either confusion or someone making up a thing.

          However is still just fucking stupid and evil to fight anywhere near nuclear power station.

          [Also to note I am not Russian shill. Though I am small, not male, mathematician, I would kill Putin with my bare hands, as slowly as I could, if I could.]

        4. localzuk Silver badge

          Re: Not fake news but…….

          Considering the bombarment set a building on the site on fire, I suspect it was not a flare...

    2. Filippo Silver badge

      Re: Not fake news but…….

      Dude, there's a big difference between attacking the power grid by shorting transmission lines, and attacking a nuclear power plant.

      The first is just the regular ugliness of war. In this context, it would hardly be newsworthy.

      The second means risking massive and long-lasting damage, to a widespread area, and you don't even get to pick what area. It's just criminally stupid. It looks like the Ukrainians built sturdily enough, but what if they hadn't?

      You want to take control of power supply, just hit the bloody cabling outside the plant.

      1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge

        Re: Not fake news but…….

        I think the goal isn't to stop the plant from distributing power while it's held, it's to stop it distributing power for years after Russia has achieved regime change and withdrawn.

        That will make Ukraine very dependant on Russian gas. Meaning no future Ukrainian government can turn against Russia.

        1. Filippo Silver badge

          Re: Not fake news but…….

          Okay, but that's still not a rational reason to shell the power station.

          They can't disable it without taking it because bombing it that much would definitely cause a catastrophe (incl. poisoning their own guys), and Ukrainians can't really stop them from taking it.

          So, if they want it disabled, just take it, and then do it in a sane fashion.

          1. Disgusted Of Tunbridge Wells Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Re: Not fake news but…….

            My knowledge of nuclear power stems to basically what I can remember from watching Chernobyl, but perhaps that isn't possible.

            If you're Putin you want to prevent this plant from producing power for years, perhaps ever again. You don't have time to safely shut it down and dismantle it. So you shoot the crap out of it and hope for the best.

          2. John Jennings

            Re: Not fake news but…….

            How, would you go about that, for the sake of nora if there is ANYONE defending it?

            You cant just snip the wires going into it - remember Fucoshima?

            you have to take it and shut it down properly. Thats what they did. They had to break a training room, apparently.

            It appears they did it at night - so used some flares.

            Time to get over the righteous indignation - there are 14 other reactors in Ukraine.....

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not fake news but…….

        The US DoD has produced numerous documents on how, when and why.

        If the Russians wanted to destroy that plant they would have already.

        They want to reduce or stop it’s output without destroying it.

        Reducing electric output is an established “art” of war and, as mentioned, has been done by the us in all its conflicts over the last 70 plus years.

        The Russians are doing what the us has done in previous conflicts.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The Russians are doing ...

          I'm not sure that anyone here is claiming that capturing or disabling a power station doesn't have a rational military logic, or that it was a tactic unique to Russians. I think they are complaining that the capturing of a *nuclear* power station was done in a reckless manner.

    3. MarineTech

      Re: Not fake news but…….

      I was over there with 7th Marines for Desert Shield/Storm. As we got into northern Kuwait, we started seeing the stuff hanging from the lines. It's been more than a few years ago, but as I recall, it wasn't copper. It looked more like mylar strips. I remember we thought it was chaff from jets evading missile fire.

      Knocking out the enemy power grid has a long history though. Even back to WW2 the Brits were sending up barrage ballons trailing cables to short out power lines. Of course, there were also the Dam Busters of 617 Squadron tasked with knocking out power generation dams under Operation Chastise.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not fake news but…….

        https://media.defense.gov/2017/Dec/29/2001861964/-1/-1/0/T_GRIFFITH_STRATEGIC_ATTACK.PDF

        1. karlkarl Silver badge

          Re: Not fake news but…….

          Interesting document. Now I think the US has... problems but at least their strategies don't reveal them to be a bunch of criminal fsckwits!

          From your linked document.

          "Theoretically, attacking the turbines and generators would be no different than any other power plant;

          however, as mentioned above, given the close proximity of the generator hall and the nuclear reactor, this type of attack could create a nuclear incident that in a conventional, limited war would exceed the possible benefits of attacking this plant."

  7. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Putin Khuylo wants to strangle Ukraine and damage its infrastructure for a long time.

    The worse is, because of the short views of our politicians who just think about the next election and the despicable effect of the so-called 'Greens', the electric grid of Western Europe is fragile and close to be undersized, so it will be hard to supply electricity to Ukraine. Putin Khuylo knows how to use our weaknesses, we shouldn't underestimate the evilness of that guy.

  8. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Mushroom

    The Great Filter

    It's pretty clear which side of it we're on. As a species we have a tendency to blindly follow complete idiots or psychopathic maniacs and it's a miracle we've managed to last this long.

  9. lvm

    looks like starshell to me

    While I am not in any way approving this, it looks like illumination rounds, not some kind of attack ammunition, so they are probably trying to be extra careful and avoid hitting it by accident. Cheap sensationalism.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shell_%28projectile%29#/media/File:Flares_fired_by_M777_howitzers_to_illuminate_during_Operation_Tora_Arwa_V_in_the_Kandahar_province_Aug._2_2009.jpg

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      Re: looks like starshell to me

      It does look very like a star shell, probably because it is one. And yes, it is a bit of sensationalism; probably because their country is being more or less indiscriminately bombed by the Russians and they trust Russia not to shell that about as much as they will now trust the Russian security guarantees that Russia would never Ukraine if they gave up the nukes that the Soviet Union left them.

      Also; a star shell burns like a frigging star, and it does this by burning things. That means that it's burning at christknows how many degrees, and it's generally something which you don't want landing in the cooling pool with spent(ish) nuclear rods, for instance. On on the coolant lines, or on anything vaguely flammable such as the diesel generators and their fuel supply.

      1. MarineTech

        Re: looks like starshell to me

        Look at the video again. They're landing in the parking lot. They're not landing anywhere near containment or generating facilities.

        As a matter of fact, you can SEE the "fire" that was started in the lower right of the image. Looks like one of the shells ignited a hedge.

        I have friends in the Ukraine, and I fully support the Ukrainian people, but I'm sorry, this is nothing but rank sensationalism.

        1. TheFifth

          Re: looks like starshell to me

          There are images of the administration building with blown out windows and a blackened front. So it looks like something a bit more than just flares / star shells have been fired at the plant. Definitely more than a hedge on fire.

          Granted it's an administrative building and I agree that it's unlikely to cause a meltdown or damage to the reactors. Maybe I'm being over cautious, but personally I prefer it when no munitions are fired anywhere near a nuclear plant.

          https://www.voanews.com/a/russian-forces-reported-to-control-zaporizhzhia-nuclear-plant-/6469026.html

          1. TheFifth

            Re: looks like starshell to me

            Also, watch the second half of this video from around 18 seconds onwards:

            https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-60613863

            Not just flares unfortunately.

            Also, looking at the map, the waste storage is directly behind the building that was targeted. Not hard to think that it could have been damaged by a rouge shot. Not a melt down, but still not great.

            1. the small snake
              Alien

              Re: looks like starshell to me

              Yes this second half video is compelling. People should stop showing the flares part which I think is being shown because looks dramatic ('look very bright light must be strange modern weapon' ... is flare) and show the second part, which actually is terrifying.

              1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                Re: looks like starshell to me

                Sadly fear & terror are part of war, especially if you're a reluctant participant. So civilians having to shelter, not really knowing what's happening and potentially getting shot if you're hungry, and risk going out for food. Happened in Sarajevo, Syria and just about every modern conflict.

                Media also plays a part, and might sensationalise events for clicks, out of ignorance, or to increase pressure on participants & hopefully get them to stop, and hopefully save a lot of innocents. Russia will be trying to achieve it's objectives and force Ukraine to capitulate, Ukraine is doing everything it can to survive. But sadly, Ukraine has been a proxy since before the 2014 coup, and it's pivot towards the EU & NATO, all of which has caused Ukraine a lot of economic and other harm.

                My position is we need accurate* and reliable reporting. We live in an age of 'fake news' and 'fact checking'. Trust in traditional media has been falling, and if it gets thing wrong, or lies, then trust falls further and might lead people to outright conspiracy land. Plus a highly fragmented audience gives governments challenges. So how do you communicate important stuff to an audience who increasingly don't watch TV, listen to, or even own a radio, read newspapers, or think FaceMelta is a reliable source.

                But such is politics.

                This story has become a good example of those challenges. The narrative isn't supported by the evidence, yet has been spun up to the UN as 'fact'. And it mostly relies on IF. If Russia wanted to destroy those reactors, it could have. Setting fire to an admin building doesn't do that. Russia designed and built that site, so would know thickness and specs for concrete & steel used, where critical components were etc. Plans for capture probably include maps showing what to avoid, and probably included specialists who could operate the plant. And there's no real incentive to allow a '10xChernobyl' event because that would contaminate Russia and territory it intends to control.

                And then there's hypocrisy. Nuclear sites have been attacked before, eg Iran & Iraq bombed each other, Israel bombed Iraq's Osirak reactor, then one under construction in Syria, US bombed Iraq again during GW1. We could justify that because we could do it 'safely'. Plus in the media, there's fear, ignorance and bias against nuclear, thanks to years of anti-nuclear campaigning. That's politically awkward at the moment. The EU's energy policy has been utterly shambolic with the fixation on unreliable 'renewables'. That's created the current energy & inflation crisis, along with energy security. Depending on Russian oil & gas has become... Problematic. Obvious solution is we stop tilting at windmills, and build a lot more reactors.

                * Why would people trust the Bbc, when it can't even get NATO or NASA's names right?

  10. msobkow Silver badge

    Every day I wake up and I read the news and I shake my head.

    I see only one solution to this Putin problem, and you aren't allowed to say such things in public.

    1. iron Silver badge

      Why can't you say it in public? Do you live in Russia?

      Sending in someone to shoot Putin in the face would be a good start don't you think.

      1. msobkow Silver badge

        And we'll see how long the admins leave that comment up. I'm thinking not very long...

        1. veti Silver badge

          Why not? I see no threat. You could maybe make a case for "incitement", but it's pretty mild by the standards of what's batting around the Internet right now.

          Over on Reddit, someone dredged up an old (open) letter from Tito to Stalin: "Stop sending people to kill me. [...] If you don't stop sending killers, I'll send one to Moscow, and I won't have to send a second."

        2. Kibble 2
          Go

          Actually

          There is a price on Vlad's head: a cool million dollars offered by an oligarch.

      2. AndrueC Silver badge
        Meh

        Sending in someone to shoot Putin in the face would be a good start don't you think.

        Depends who takes over and how they choose to react to the assassination. It's unlikely that Putin is the only megalomaniac in the government and he might be trying to placate someone worse who is chomping at his heels.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I hear that MOSSAD offer a very competent service.

  11. Alfie Noakes

    Well done El Reg

    Can i just thank El Reg for reporting this incident in a calm and researched manner - unlike most of the hysterical MSM!

    Even the comments seems to be well balanced ;)

  12. Alistair

    Like others here, Kudo's to the Reg staff.

    Yes, the Russians went after the largest nuclear power plant in the neighbourhood, it is a given that they want to control the electricity. Yes, everyone else does that sort of thing in war as well. I'm betting fairly long odds that the Ukrainians knew damn well that was coming and had appropriate forces in place. Its still bloody unnerving to think that there were armaments in play that could well have caused substantial damage to critical subsystems for the reactors. The simple fact that there was active fire from (and most of us here are techies that deal with end users, so) terribly inaccurate, and likely terrified humans who are highly prone to errors in both action and judgement, that makes the assault of a nuclear power plant a terrifying thing.

    Well reported by ElReg in a timely and effective manner.

    As for Putin's motivations in this whole disgusting exercise, I'm betting long odds that there are a mess of oligarchs from pre-Maidan waving *very* large chunks of cash at the non Ukrainian oligarchy who are leveraging their influence on Putin's crew asking for their playground back. In my perspective that is the only damn thing that makes an iota of sense.

  13. TheGriz
    Mushroom

    Video in the post, shows FLARES being utilized, not MUNITIONS.

    I'd like to point out, that the "bright lights" you are seeing in the accompanying video, are FLARES and not a slowed down video of explosive munitions being lobbed into the reactor complex. And I'm not sympathizing with the Russians, I'm totally against this aggressive INVASION being carried out by the Russian military at the behest of Putin. But this video is not showing the Russians "SHELLING" the complex with munitions.

  14. ShortLegs

    LOAC

    To all those poster apparently seeking to minimise the Russian attack on the power station.

    Regardless of how large an area it covers, what damage was or was not caused, whether rounds would land in the vicinity of the reactors or the perimeter fence:

    This was a clear breach of the Law Of Armed Conflict, which outlaws attacks on such facilities. A breach further compounded by continuing the attack when firefighters were attempting to subdue the fires.

    The fact this was a /nuclear/ power station isnt a breach of LOAC - its just an act of pure idiocy.

    Not surprisingly, not one mainstream media outlet has mentioned the LOAC breach.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: LOAC

      And the US aren't meant to bomb hospitals, mosques, TV stations, civilian areas, but they do - Usually because it is claimed they are being used by the enemy for military operations and therefore lose their protected status.

      And we never know the truth either way.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: LOAC

      Sadly, the laws of war have frequently been ignored so far this century. A war crime should be a war crime, regardless of acuser or acused. Justice should be blind. So there's been plenty of press about war crimes already, and stories about the use of cluster munitions. Problem is they're kind of ok, and if you're not a signatory to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, they're lawful. The US, Russia and Ukraine aren't signatories, and are frequent users. When Ukraine's troubles kicked off, there were some images of bomblet dispensers that had crashed in Donbass for example.

      And it's not so much about minimising the attack, but pointing out inconsistencies in the reporting, and exagerating the risks. So flare vs shell, or admin vs containment building. So to avoid war crimes, all the defence would need to show is the action was reasonable and proportionate.

      So video shows illum used for target verification and some direct fire weapons. It doesn't show heavy or indiscriminate shelling, or what happens if and Iskander had fired 700kg of FAED-away at the reactor halls.

      Then again, the Daily Mail had a longer, colour and real-time version of the slow motion flares. That made the flares more obvious. But at one point, the video freezes, then resumes. Instead of 1 car having it's hazards on, more do. One possible explanation is something created a blast wave that affected the camera, and the shock set off more car alarms.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: LOAC

        "Laws of war" is a weird one to me. You can't kill people or blow shit up *this* way, but a different way is mostly OK? I sure hope the invading forces are repelled/defeated/eliminated by any means necessary that isn't grossly disproportionate. (Peace being a far better idea, and that removes the "necessary".)

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

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