” … a military disaster that not even the Kremlin and its propagandists can spin.”

Napoleon Bonaparte’s retreat from Moscow after the French invasion of Russia, 1812. By Meissonier.

“To paraphrase Ernest Hemingway, the Russian military lost the city of Kherson in two ways: gradually, then suddenly.

Kherson was the first major city the Russians captured in the early days in the war and, in the eight months since, the only provincial capital. It was also one of the places Russian President Vladimir Putin formally — and illegally — annexed in late September. In a Kremlin celebration of the annexations, Putin declared that Kherson and the three other Ukrainian regions would be Russian “forever.” Billboards went up in Kherson itself, messages that boasted the same: “Russia is here forever.”

Forever — in the case of Kherson — lasted about six weeks.

Ukrainian forces began limited counteroffensives aimed at the Kherson region as early as last May, and in the summer, they began using newly acquired rocket systems to try to cut off Russian forces in the region from resupply routes. The large-scale Ukrainian offensive to liberate Kherson officially began at the beginning of September, though for weeks, progress was slow, and each inch of ground came with heavy casualties for the Ukrainian side.

So in one sense, this weeks’ victory has been a long time coming.

But the pace of developments in recent days has been stunning. When Russia began evacuating civilians from Kherson in mid-October, it looked like preparation for a long, hard-fought battle. “This was not a good sign,” Viktoriia Novytska, a Ukrainian journalist from Kherson who evacuated to western Ukraine in the early days of the war, told Grid in an interview early this week. She said the civilians who had remained in the city were “waiting for a miracle.”

Even after Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and the new commander of Russian forces in Ukraine, Sergey Surovikin, ordered the withdrawal of Russian forces from the city, Ukrainian officials reacted with skepticism. On Wednesday, Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior Ukrainian presidential adviser, dismissed what he called “staged TV statements” and said, “We see no sign that Russia is leaving Kherson without a fight.” He added: “Until the Ukrainian flag is flying over Kherson, it makes no sense to talk about a Russian withdrawal.”

But within hours, Ukrainian troops were moving quickly through the outskirts of Kherson, encountering little resistance. On Friday morning, Ukrainian forces entered the city, and the Ukrainian flag was, indeed, flying in Kherson’s main city square.”

Comment: At the head of the list of “apologists.” I would put the cast and crew of Tucker Carlson Tonight. pl

War in Ukraine: Russia’s retreat from Kherson is a military disaster (grid.news)

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38 Responses to ” … a military disaster that not even the Kremlin and its propagandists can spin.”

  1. Al says:

    The 4 central Asian nations in Russia’s “Collective Security” group abstained to the UN resolution calling for Russian reparations to Ukraine. Only Belarus of the group vote “no” with Russia.

  2. jim ticehurst.. says:

    Russia has more problems..A GRU Defector….

    Yahoo News Posted an Exclusive Interview Today..With Former GRU Spy
    Artmen Zinchenko..Who Has Defected back to Estonia Where He had once Been Arrested…Its the Main Header Now on Yahoo News Site..story on Michael Weiss.

    • TTG says:

      jim ticehurst,

      Once arrested and traded back to the GRU for an Estonian citizen, Zinchenko would never have been given access to any worthwhile information. It’s a black eye for Russia, but not an intelligence coup for Estonia. Still, one has to wonder how many defections and recruitments have happened this year that we have not yet heard about.

      I was an Army C/O in Germany as the USSR crumbled. It was no different than any other military operation… the beaten enemy was pursued relentlessly. I guarantee DIA and CIA C/Os are pressing hard throughout the world.

      • jim ticehurst.. says:

        TTG Thanks for the response…I Hope the defection Will Inspire Many More..Good Ones..With Conditions the way there re..Thats vwey Possilbe IMO

        • jim ticehurst.. says:

          TTG…Germany late 80s early 90s..??

          Interesting The Reunification…and What grew
          out of that in Germany…Through Angela Merkels
          Rist to Power..as Chancellor 2005….2021.The
          BASE for the CDU…SPD Green Partys Coalition government .Setting Things Up..
          I found that all
          Strange…She was from East Germany….Was That a
          Deal Made..Before the Wall Came Down..??

          Anyhow..They seemed to the First Government of Real Power To Start The Green Ball Rolling..Until The
          Dems Formed thier Own similar REP…DEM Green Party Coalition..Flavored with Marx..Juice..
          Just Thinking..

  3. mcohen says:

    Best news to come out of this war and maybe a sign of things to come.

  4. blue peacock says:

    Russia appears to be switching to large scale missile & drone attacks on Ukranian energy assets & attempting to establish new defensive positions and regroup their army.

    Ukraine appears to be consolidating their battlefield successes in Kharkiv and Kherson while probing for weaknesses all along the current frontline.

    What are the prognostications on the next phase of this war? What does a winter war imply?

    • Pat Lang says:

      IMO the UA are re-grouping prior to a new phase of the offensive campaign on the southern front. And at the same time Russia’s strategic bombardment effort will be increasingly thwarted by a shortage of munitions and ever-increasing AAA means in the hands of the UA.

      • SRW says:

        Hope you’re right and I have to admit that your and TTG’s batting average on this war has been good.

      • Bill Roche says:

        I too believe the next Ukrainian offensive will be a South to North hooking motion. But I cant see how they can safely cross the Dneiper River in the Kherson area. Re AAA systems. Will they be donated from Montenego or Lichtenstein? Ok, I’m being a smart aleck. Seriously, who is left to help out with AD?

      • John Minehan says:

        Obviously, a sound assessment.

        The Russian Phase I Defensive fires (based on open source information) seem defuse and poorly planned.

        I would also note the RF did not manage to turn Kherso into a latter-day Staligrad, although the Ukrainians took considerable casualties.

        Given both their success and the considerabkle losses they took to achieve them, do you think the Ukerainians will be prone to over-reach”

    • Jimmy_w says:

      Russia is going after energy to slow and stop Ukrainian trains. So the key to watch, is the Ukrainian logistic flow, if Russia is successful.

      • TTG says:


        Ukraine has a plan B to keep their rail system running in the face of these Russian attacks. They have a diesel loco fleet and even a steam engine or two. I’m pretty well convinced that those whiz-kid targeteers back in Moscow don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground.


      • Jimmy_W says:

        The fact is, electric+diesel > diesel_alone. So degrading electric trains will reduce overall capacity. Will diesel_alone be enough to sustain military logistic efforts, only Ukrainians know for sure right now. (But the Russian campaign is finally successful at degrading Ukrainian rail system after 9 months.)

        Plus, diesel locomotives are competing with trucks and tanks for fuel. We know Ukraine is already rationing civilian fuel. Has America/NATO laid a pipeline into Ukraine or backfed the Ukraine-EU pipelines to supply fuel to Ukraine?

        For a variety of suspected reasons, the MSM is not reporting on the logistic details. So we cannot verify any of the campaign projections from the government and think tanks.

        • Fred says:


          A deisel locamotive can haul a lot more freight per gallon than a tractor trailer rig.


          Is this targeting of the rail transformer network/ distribution system discussed months ago? I thought the Russians had switched targetting to other electrical systems.

          • TTG says:


            The Ukrainian MOD and Ukrainian Railways seem to be prioritizing keeping electrical power flowing to the rail systems with generator support as well as repairs. The diesel locomotives include many taken out of reserve storage. The Russian targeting campaign just doesn’t seem that well focused. It flits from apartment complexes to rail transformers, back to apartments and now to public power and heating systems. Even Russian war bloggers are noting this incompetence.

      • borko says:

        As many have said here, Ukraine has diesel locomotives as well, so cutting electricity won’t stop that traffic.

        Instead of destroying hundreds of transformer stations leaving millions of civilians without electricity in November, why aren’t they going after railway bridges over the Dnieper ?

  5. Bill Roche says:

    PL great depiction of Napoleon leading his Army out of Russia. My Russian sis-in-law explained how his troops p/u the term “Bistro Bistro”. She said it was Russian slang for fast food. Strangely enough Napoleon’s troops d/n want to wait around to be fed. I’ve read his troops loved him. He fought along side them when necessary and even pitched in to haul guns over the Alps. Share my danger, care if I’m killed while under your command, lead well, and know WTF your doing. Few men, officers or senior enlisted have those four things. Apparently he did.

    • Peter Williams says:

      Бистро is the Russian word for quick and has nothing to do with fast food in Russian. It is alleged by many for the origin of the French word bistro. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bistro

      • Bill Roche says:

        PW tnx, I’ll explain the Russian to my Russian sister in law who came here from St. Petersburgh 25 years ago. Her parents and family in St. Petbrgh will also appreciate your explaination.
        Make the adjustment Pete, fast fast, hurry hurry. Now apply it to food.

    • Leith says:

      Bill R –

      Napoleon abandoned his troops and left at least 400,000 behind to starve, to freeze to death, to die of gangrene from their wounds, to be KIA, or to die in captivity. His excuse was he had to get back to Paris to put down a coup by one of his own generals. He didn’t deserve his troops love.

      His opponent, Field Marshall Kutuzov, did get the love of his troops. Per Parkinson’s biography of him, ‘The Fox of the North’, he first served as a 17-year-old junior officer in an infantry regiment. Kutuzov learned there and from his father earlier that a good commander should care deeply about the health, welfare, and training of his soldiers. He later developed collegial relationships with junior officers under his command. Kutuzov also knew that a commander should “lead his troops from the front (instead of from the rear) to provide an example of bravery for the troops to follow”. He was severely wounded twice in the Turkish Wars. Not only his troops loved him, but all the Russian people did also. Of course his Fabian strategy was advised by Carl von Clausewitz and others like him. But he did some fancy strategizing himself by pulling the trick move at Tarutino to turn west and deny Napoleon a retreat on a southern route so as to keep him on northern roads and land that were already scorched earth.

      A statue of him was destroyed in Ukraine in 2014. A shame I think. He won many of his victories with Ukrainian troops. And he kept much of Ukraine from becoming Ottoman provinces.

      • Mark Logan says:


        Napoleon actually lost more men going in than he did going out, mostly to disease and exhaustion. There were down to about the last quarter when he bugged out to Paris, and there was nothing more he could do for them at that point. The men he left in charge were more than capable men. The French fought hard for him. Unlikely the same will be said of Putin or any of his generals.

      • Leith says:

        Mark Logan –

        Napoleon himself could not save his troops from bitter cold and typhus. He could not save them from Cossack raids. And he could not install discipline into the mobs of unarmed, disorganized stragglers, reportedly 35 to 40,000 of them.

        So how could he expect Murat and Ney to do better?

        PS – The Imperial Guard fought hard for him: “…after midday, we sighted the Old Guard, with Napoleon riding in their midst… the enemy troops, sighting our unruly force, got their muskets at the ready and proudly continued on their way without hurrying their step… Like blocks of granite, they remained invulnerable… I shall never forget the unhurried step and awesome resolution of these soldiers, for whom the threat of death was a daily and familiar experience. With their tall bearskin caps, blue uniforms, white belts, red plumes, and epaulettes, they looked like poppies on the snow-covered battlefield… Column followed upon column, dispersing us with musket fire and ridiculing our useless display of chivalry… the Imperial Guard with Napoleon ploughed through our Cossacks like a 100-gun ship through fishing skiffs.” quoted from Denis Davydov https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denis_Davydov

        Not so much many of the other troops.

        • Mark Logan says:


          I wouldn’t expect the same kind of service from regulars as from the Guard. Stragglers are typical of large armies on forced marches. Lee left a trail of them when he moved too, it wasn’t a matter of discipline or moral for either so much as it was matter of there are always men who simply can’t keep up with the rest for various reasons and it was unwise to pace the entire force on the pace of the most exhausted and sick men in the group.

          The French? Yet they came. Even after the disaster of Russia they came and fought. Even after the disaster of Waterloo they came and fought.

          It wasn’t that he thought Ney and company could do better so much as he knew they could do everything he could in the situation, and he was, as usual, thinking a couple steps ahead. Napoleon knew the destruction of his army was blood in the water and the nations of Europe would move against him as soon as they could, as indeed they did. He knew he had to get to Paris and raise another army, a job he could not delegate.

        • Leith says:

          Mark Logan –

          I have no beef with the French, neither those who fought under Napoleon nor any others. My great-granmother was a Cyr. I’m just not assured that Napoleon’s reputation is deserved. He was defeated not only in Russia, but also in Egypt, and at later at Waterloo. Although he was not personally present in Spain and Portugal, it was still his defeat.

          Yes – he was a genius in many things: maneuver & speed of movement – his ‘Manoeuvre De Derrière’ – his innovation in artillery – and his invention of the independent corps. But his downfall was his dependence on living off the land rather than carrying supplies. That plus his overreach was idiocy IMHO.

          I take exception to your point on the stragglers. Yes, they can be typical during a march. But Napoleon’s 40,000 stragglers during the retreat numbered 50% or more of his troops. They were roving gangs with no discipline. Their morale had been zeroed out months earlier when their diet sank to eating uncooked frozen turnips and leather.

          • Mark Logan says:


            A correction, I said they came after Waterloo but was thinking about the war which followed the Russian invasion disaster, the war with the Sixth Coalition. They French turning out to fight for him after that is remarkable.

            That war with the Sixth Coalition was the subject of a quote by Wellington which I read somewhere from a good source but can’t find it right now. From memory, Wellington: “It was in the study of that campaign that I truly began to appreciate Napoleon’s genius.”

            The one area where I agree he was stupid was that he never accepted that fleets could not be moved around like armies and were indispensable in a war with England. He wasted a fleet very much on a par with that of England’s at the time with impossible orders, replacing competent men with political hacks when he disagreed. Yet there he was in Egypt not giving a damn about what his admirals were telling him. Arrogant and dumb.

          • Leith says:

            @Mark – “They French turning out to fight for him after that is remarkable.”

            Did they have any other choice? Every country in Europe except tiny Naples was against France.

  6. Razumov says:

    Ukraine occupied territory during the counter-offensive but failed to inflict heavy losses on the enemy while taking heavy losses itself. A bad combination when fighting Russia.

    You can ask Hitler and Napoleon where their great advances ended.

    “A strategy of destruction requires yet another premise, namely the extraordinary victory. A geographic objective may be the goal of a destruction offensive only when the enemy’s men become phantoms. Until then a destruction offensive must aim at the complete disorganization of the enemy’s manpower and its complete destruction, splitting every link between his intact fragments and capturing the communications that are most important for the armed forces
    rather than the country as a whole.”

    Strategy by Svechin p.291

    • Bill Roche says:

      Who was advancing? Who was defending? Who was the attacker, who was attacked?

    • borko says:

      “Or you can just keep blasting from every artillery piece you have in the enemy’s general direction and send your troops into frontal attacks against fortified positions”

      Strategy by Russian army, 2022

  7. YT says:

    War is not an RTS.


    (Lies, cover-ups and Russian failures in the Ukraine)

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