Bakhmut Holds

Guess, you’ve ‘heard‘ it in the social media, meanwhile: essentially, Prigorzhin is complaining about ‘some 72nd Brigade’ and this running away; losing kilometres of frontline; he’s fiercely complaining about the Keystone Cops in Moscow, and that Wagner had to save the day….and you might have heard about the 3rd Assault Brigade defeating the 72nd and making ‘significant advances’…

So, what has happened, when and where…?

Essentially, after months of critical shortages on artillery ammo and heavy infantry weapons, Ukrainians have finally received both. Plenty of both. So much so, the last 4 to 5 days they’re shooting ‘at will’: as much as necessary and whenever necessary, without any kind of limits in expenditure.

Moreover, they were in the process of rotating some of their units in and out of Bakhmut. As explained earlier, ZSU is trying to keep its units inside Bakhmut for only limited periods of time. Nevertheless, such assets like the 93rd Mech and the 3rd Assault are fighting there for four- and three months already: they were only able to rotate single their battalions (or elements of these) in and out of the town.

On the contrary, the last five months, the Russians were not really ‘rotating’ their units in and out of Bakhmut: depleted units were left inside the town, convicts were spent by dozens of thousands, and ever additional units were brought in. As a consequence, many of their ‘regiments’ and ‘brigades’ are down to company-size (200-300 troops), and completely exhausted. Nevertheless, their generals kept pushing until realizing available troops can’t go on any more. Thus, something like about a week ago, and in the light of a growing number of panicky withdrawals of different of exhausted units, they did replace a few of exhausted VDV and VSRF units.

Now, in and immediately around Bakhmut, there are three primary combat zones, meanwhile:

– Road 0506 north of Hromove; ZSU has a battalion each of the 92nd Mech there; the Russians are assaulting with three regiments of the VDV;

– The complex in western outskirts of what’s left of Bakhmut, including the Children Hospital, Postal Office No.1, and the quarter with private homes north of them (plus what the Russians call ‘Citadel’, the hill further west), and the area north-east of it; ZSU has a battalion each of the 125th and 241st TD Brigades, plus one from the Presidential Guards Brigade there (the 93rd Mech was meanwhile withdrawn); the Russians are primarily attacking with Wagner;

– South-western outskirts of Bakhmut, including the Road 0504, that hill over Klishchivka, and the Siverskyi-Donets – Donbass Canal; ZSU has elements of the 3rd and 5th Assault, plus the 80th Airborne there; the Russians have something like a full division of VDV in total, plus what’s left of two motor rifle brigades.  

Both sides were aiming to hit the other as this was rotating exhausted units out and bringing in new ones. Problem (for the Russians) was that the ‘sudden re-activation’ of Ukrainian artillery came as a very nasty surprise (was that a new Russian Army record in turret tossing?): after all the months of Ukrainians holding back with their artillery fire, they are simply not used to find themselves on the receiving end of so many shells deployed as precisely.

Just how nasty became obvious when the 3rd Assault was sent to clear the Russian-controlled bridgehead west of the Siversky Donets – Donbas Canal. This was held by the 72nd Motor Rifle Brigade (VSRF). Ukrainians attacked from two sides (approx. west to east and south to north). As first, they blew up one or two of its BMPs carrying elements of a newly-arrived Russian battalion and panicked its infantry to flee. The commander of the Russian brigade rushed his second battalion to the frontline, but it panicked when hit by artillery and infantry attacks and ran away over the Canal. A 2,000-metres-wide and 500-metres-deep sector of the Russian frontline collapsed.

When hearing about this, Wagner commanders in Bakhmut – already nervous because of Prigozhin’s constant complaints about the ‘Ministry of Intrigue’ (Keystone Cops in Moscow), lack of ammunition, and warning about ‘Ukrainian counteroffensive on the flanks of their advance into Bakhmut’ – assessed that Ukrainians were about to advance all the way to Klishchivka. Obviously, there was no option but to stop assaults into western Bakhmut and rush at least one of Wagner’s assault groups, reinforced by at least one of the VDV, to the Canal with the aim of stopping Ukrainian advance and re-establishing the frontline.

Obviously, when troops are on the move, they are exposed in the open. Moreover, after securing positions of the 72nd Motor Rifle, the 3rd Assault stopped and entrenched itself. Thus, this Wagner and VDV assault groups ran straight into an ambush. Result? To quote one of involved Ukrainian troops: ‘Wagner has shown a masterclass in running’.

While some Ukrainian sources are claiming as many as 500 Russians killed, the 3rd Assault collected at least 64, possibly 87 Russian killed and 5 prisoners, knocked out or captured one or two BMPs, several mortars, the main forward ammunition depot of the 72nd Motor Rifle, and reached the Canal.

Comment: Ukraine holds in Bakhmut, but only a sliver on the western edge of town. Apparently that’s enough to prevent Prigozhin from declaring victory and to keep him alternating from fits of rage to bouts of depression. A number of Russian warbloggers are calling this local counterattack by the 3rd Assault Brigade the beginning of the much anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive. I doubt it. The 3rd Assault has been on the front lines for months. It is not part of the assembled reserve forces. They breached the Russian lines and then dug in. This is what’s called consolidation on the objective, a critical and not always easy task. It requires discipline and leadership to pull off successfully. In this case it put the 3rd Assault in an ideal position to receive the Wagner and VDV counterattack and inflict heavy casualties. The results of this local counterattack will undoubtedly feed into the counteroffensive and it may even feed into where the counteroffensive will eventually strike. But the best is yet to come.


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51 Responses to Bakhmut Holds

  1. English Outsider says:

    It doesn’t look as if it’ll have any bearing on what happens in the near future, but the provision of Storm Shadow might be a portent for the longer term. On its immediate usefulness an English article, from Dr North, reads sceptical to me.

    TTG – is this another pump priming exercise, as we saw with the tanks? HMG comes up with an offer that may or may not be much use. That breaks the ice and the US or one of the Europeans follows up with something that might be more useful?

    • TTG says:


      It appears Dr North’s article has been OBE. Both English and Ukrainian spokesmen are saying the Storm shadow missiles are already in Ukrainian hands. This has probably been in the works long before it was announced. Yes, I do think this is an icebreaker in that it breaks the self-imposed taboo of not supplying longer ranged munitions to Ukraine. Odd that it’s a purely one-sided taboo. No one, other than the Ukrainians, raise much hell about Russia’s employment of long range missiles.

      The Storm Shadow seems to a good choice. They greatly extend the range of the HIMARS and are probably more survivable than the ATACMS. Their use will force the Russians to withdraw their logistical and command and control hubs further away from the front lines just as the introduction of the HIMARS did. And there’s a lot of them already paid for. Will they take out the Kerch bridge? Maybe not right away, but we’ll see how close they come after the counteroffensive.

      • Fourth and Long says:

        You will confuse your interlocutor, the English Outsider. I’m confused because I don’t know whether or not Outsider to an authentic Brit might mean Outdoorsman as we Yankees use the term. OBE is going to send him into confusion trying to choose between Order of the British Empire or Officer of the British Empire. Dirac, the great theoretical physicist, refused his knighthood because he didn’t want to be addressed as Sir Paul. But according to reports he treasured his OBE and even carried it everywhere.

        • TTG says:

          F&L and EO,

          OBE = overtaken by events. I forgot about that Order of the British Empire thing.

          • Fourth and Long says:

            Thanks. For your enjoyment, a brief post from a Telegram-posting critic of the situation over yonder, translated. I wonder if it’s really as bad as he says. He has a sense of the absurd.

            In St. Petersburg, the police have created a new unit to control drones.
            This is a necessary thing, but the question arises: how to combine the merciless fight against drones and the program for the development of drones, which was just recently reported with pathos at the highest level.
            The answer is quite obvious: no way. Yes, and there is no need. The program is what the money will be allocated for. As usual, they will be plundered, and the Chinese analogue bought on Ali Express will be presented to the president. If they are not greedy, then they will re-glue the nameplate and paint it in some strong colors. Therefore, there will be no development, but it will be announced.
            And the fight against drones is a separate program. By the way, it is also monetary, since they are not free of charge for any anti-drone guns. And also, of course, Chinese.
            So everything is very much combined, however, in a very peculiar way.

      • Billy Roche says:

        Sometimes TTG, E.O., and I all agree. The Storm Shadow
        Missiles are probably another “pump priming” exercise. So what. Russia sends long range missiles into Ukrainian cities. How long were Ukrainians supposed to accept these gifts w/o rtng the compliment? How rude to be so unappreciative. The Russians shop in Iran for missiles/drones but the Ukrainians can’t? Ukraine has been fighting (fighting) for independence since 1917. W/O Ukraine Russia is not an empire. 1917 was well before ’45, NATO, ’91, Neocons, the Maiden, 2014, Minsk, Odessa. Since the past helps understand the present I am, reluctantly, come to believe that neither Putin, nor the western (white) Russian people (I don’t know what “yellow” Russian citizens think about empire) are willing to give up on empire. It is the “emotional need” for empire, not NATO, HMG, Russian Scty, NEOCONS, Latent Nazis, Herr Schultz, or the E.U. that is the heart of the problem. Vadly goes home, the killing stops, trade is restored, energy flows, markets jump, people make money. Russians get to enjoy just being Russians and Ukrainians are forever independent. The world wins.

  2. Fourth and Long says:

    Sorry, old boy, this is a bit long and purely a cut & paste from a woman named Anastasia Kashevarova as cited by an individual calling himself Rolo who runs a substack commenting on the warring between these ruffians, he speaks Russian fluently if he is being honest in that regard, which I think very likely, but I could easily be wrong. In fact the same Rolo on the substack where I lifted this from cited her as having the family name Kashereva, which is incorrect. You can discover that error yourself here:
    Which I didn’t use initially because it’s partially behind a paywall. He also gratuitously insults his source, not only by not using her name properly but by introducing her to his readers, some of whom may be women, and all of them children of a woman, in this extremely condescending and impolite way:
    –“Another symptom of being on the losing side and losing decisively, is the in-fighting coming to a head among the various fiefdoms that constitute the Russian armed forces. Anastasia Kashareva, the doll-faced and duck-lipped Moscow socialite-divorcee turned war reporter, shared an inside scoop on the state of the infighting on the Russian side along the Bakhmut front gathered from listening to gossip during her time over there.”–

    Curious – insult your source, possibly mortally if you value the Psychoanalytic formulation of “deep narcissistic injury” which is said to be one of the most severe sorts of traumas, psychic traumas, that exist. And get the Russian name wrong while presenting yourself as a fluent and native speaker. I remember that idea from the book by Dr Herbert H Stein: “Double Feature – Discovering Our Hidden Fantasies in Film,” which I see Amazon has kindly offered in a free Kindle edition. The pertinent section is in the discussion of Clint Eastwood’s film Unforgiven (1992), specifically the origin story in which the Doctor discusses the atrocities committed by the cowboys at the beginning of the film as being not as inexplicable as you might think because they were the result of deep narcissistic injury inflicted on one of them by prostitutes who were either very stupid or more likely inexperienced.

    In fact, Miss Anastasia Kashevarova is a distinguished person, having been an editor of Izvestia at one time, according to information at this link:

    So here are her observations as cited by Rolo and translated into English. I am sorry to go on at length above but the question of the authenticity, given the mistake in writing this woman’s name, seemed worthy of mention. It obviously speaks to the issue of morale and the very puzzling and contradictory statements concerning Mr Prigozhin and his “musicians.”
    1/3 “There is a war of one trench going on,” one of the Wagner PMC commanders told me. Everyone sees only what is around him and from this he draws the conclusion about the whole situation at the front. And at the same time, everyone believes that he is the only one fighting and only he is a hero, and everyone else is guarding corn. For two days I analysed the situation that happened in Khromove, the village of Zaitseve, where the Wagner and the 72nd brigade were stationed. I know both of them. I know that their fighters will fight to the death, but what happened? After all, I know a story where they helped each other. Everything is simple. Action inconsistency. The Wagners withdrew from that flank because they had a breakthrough elsewhere, and the 72nd Brigade did not know this. The 72nd had artillery there, but there were no assault forces. And that’s where the hohols [Ukrainians] came in. The brigade commander of the 72nd, callsign “North”, a good man, I know him personally. That night he himself got into an APC and rushed to the breakthrough line. It was hot. Losses for both “Wagner” and the 72nd. As a result, hohols [Ukrainians] advanced 3 km.

    2/3 While I was figuring out all the circumstances, I uncovered a huge ball of squabbles. Worse than women, honestly. And everyone is offended by each other. Wagner, they say, they tried to contact the 72nd, who did not want to interact. 72nd says that no one came out to them. The 72nd has a ban on working with the “orchestra” from the Ministry of Defence, and “Wagner” is too proud. Guys, what are we fighting for? Why this assholery from all sides? You can negotiate with each other at the front, because you are sitting there ass to ass! Although often the brigades do not even know who is on their left and who is on the right, and whether the rear is covered. Some say: “Oh, but we haven’t seen the battalions of the LPR and DPR for a long time – do they even fight? Haha.” Battalions of the LPR and DPR: “Where are all the RF Armed Forces?”. One brigade: “Wagner’s tank was stolen from us.” Wagner: “They crushed our pickup.” Armed Forces of the Russian Federation: “Akhmat was not there at all, only us.” Then Kadyrov and Prigozhin sting each other. Strelkov [Girkin] throws shit on everyone. The military police steal humanitarian aid, customs are not letting drones through. By the way, the DPR and LPR battalions are also at odds with each other. All against all.

    There is no single command that would be respected by all without exception. It is very necessary, a huge number of people at the front, and the forces cannot agree with each other. Complete disunity of the front. The enemy is using it. After all, fighters suffer because of disunity, they are all ours: the DPR, the LPR, the mobilised, the volunteers, military commanders, VDV, Akhmatovtsi or “musicians”. Are we going to fight properly? Or should I send a line to the front, so that once and for all you find out who has bigger? The main thing is that you have more than the enemy, of the strength, and spirit, and brains. Everyone wants to be the face of war. Everyone wants to be heroes. Saviors. But without unity this will not happen. You are all fighting and all heroes. But if you don’t bring your pride down, we won’t win.

  3. Fourth and Long says:

    Apologies again, TTG, I don’t mean to be an alarmist, and I furthermore don’t want to insult the experience, bravery and skills of US Army Intelligence Officers by recommending a posting by George Friedman, who has graciously provided it free of charge on his website of Geopolitical Futures, as though thinking there is anything he might say that they haven’t taken into account. Colonel Lang, whose memory I venerate, I think spoke, wrote actually, with a small amount of irritation once in response to an instance of a reference to organitions of that sort, but my recollection may be faulty.
    Here’s a snippet, the full version is at:
    On the surface, it seems there is a political battle going on between the regular army and Wagner. Regardless of the cause, the fundamental question is why the civilian government, namely President Vladimir Putin, has not intervened and imposed the necessary steps, such as producing more shells or shifting some of the inventory, to solve the problem. Put differently, a tense struggle is taking place within the Russian army, and the president of the republic has not imposed his power on the forces and commanded solutions.

    The question is whether Putin has the will or, more important, the power to do something about this problem. I obviously have no direct knowledge of the inner workings of the Kremlin, but I discern that this is a major obstacle for the government based on the public utterances, the military’s performance and the fact that the high command and the political leaders have not acted.

    This raises the possibility that Ukraine and its allies could be winning the war against a crippled Russia. That should be all for the good if true, but it also raises a more frightening scenario.

    In 1991, when the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Union collapsed, the major issue was the status of nuclear weapons. The fear was that elements in the Soviet government who resisted collapse or thought they might reverse events would obtain parts of the Soviet arsenal and threaten the West with it. Others worried that if the Soviet control system had broken down, individuals would gain access and perhaps fire a missile. How to gain control of the Soviet Union’s arsenal very rapidly became an overarching concern. Anxieties were eased when an arms control agreement was reached with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

    The Soviet Union was unstable but had controls. The degree of control in Moscow today is unclear. That means that the 1991 nightmare could rear its head again. If the military and political leadership are as fragmented and unpredictable as they appear to be to me, the end game might not be paradise but a deep crisis. (Continues at link above).

    Thank you. I will now return to listening to an artist who sings in the Russian language, who has over the years become one of my favorites. I am referring of course to …

    I apologize, I cannot complete that. Just as I was about to I received a call from an “Unknown Caller” and if I am not mistaken someone watches everything I do as I type and alerts me in this way that .. . But I could be mistaken.

    • Whitewall says:

      George Friedman…I used to read his former site, the name escapes me, until it was hacked big time. He must have po’d somebody. I had to do a clean up because of the hack and have since left George alone. Guessing I haven’t missed anything. Reading here is better.

      • Fourth and Long says:

        Yes, I sort of know what you mean. But this was a remarkable post in a very interesting situation. I get emails since I subscribed years ago and my subscription hasn’t run out yet. The old man was hospitalized with Covid recently but seems to be getting back into gear. It could be intentionally sensationalized a bit to attract customers, I don’t know. There have been some raving lunatics lately from Ru, who are not usually raving lunatics, posting stuff about how his nibs over there will go to TNWs soon, so since George has very good sources generally I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt and decided to post it. Since this relates to the issues raised in GF’s essay and it’s from a Russian antiwar channel that I am impressed with, I will post this translation of a post made earlier today. If TTG determines that people are already familiar with translating themselves through the Telegram App, I will think about abbreviating them and proving a link, but things have a habit of disappearing when they’re mentioned publicly. For example, the comments to Ru language comments on YouTube no longer have the “Tranlslate to English” button option active as of this morning on the East Coast. That was fast. Obviously it could be a method by which signaling takes place. Maybe they have deactivated it only for brand new videos, I don’t know yet, seems not to be the case. Maybe they deactivated it only on my phone, I don’t know and I’m not going to bother my relatives to check because, haha, that would easily be intervened on too because there’s a thing called listening in to phone calls. The correlation though, between Friedman posting his alarming letter and comment translation being deactivated is an interesting one though. A lot of people laugh at these hard working people who painstakingly do sociological surveys. I am not one of them, though they are easily manipulated by shysters. Since this appraisal here jibes with my own, I don’t think these people are of that variety.


        The attitude of Russians to the war does not consist of many individual moral reactions, but is the result of the action of powerful social forces, – researchers from the Public Sociology Laboratory (PSLab) write.
        The scientists analyzed several hundred interviews with what they call “non-opponents of the NWO.” Moreover, sociologists spoke to the majority of respondents twice – in the spring and autumn-winter of 2022. This allowed them to see how the view of the war is changing among those whom the propaganda lists as supporters of the government and its policies.
        Perhaps the main discovery of sociologists from PSLab is that the vast majority of “non-opponents” of the war are not at all conscious supporters of it. They simultaneously act both “for” and “against” what is happening. And this contradictory state, apparently, is typical for the majority of Russians to one degree or another.
        Some respondents have “positive” reasons for supporting Putin’s war. A small part consciously and consistently shares imperial and militaristic views, and therefore supports the war. But these “turbopatriots” are now most dissatisfied with the authorities and their inability to achieve victory. Others, for some reason, see SVO as a chance to change the unjust social order, and hope that a more just, effective and even democratic Russia will grow out of military trials. Finally, after the failures began at the front, many were seriously afraid of a national defeat. “War is very bad,” said one respondent. “But a lost war is even worse. After all, it is I who will have to pay reparations.”
        But the vast majority of participants in the study perceive the war as a great tragedy and the greatest evil. Even expressing support for the decision of the Russian leadership to launch a full-scale invasion, they do not experience any positive emotions. This is support through tears. This is not even support in the classical sense – this is the “justification” of the war. At the level of rhetoric, people often say this: “we were forced”, “we were left with no choice”.
        In a sense, this is indeed true. Only not NATO or Zelensky put Russia before an inevitable choice. It was Putin and his entourage who left no choice to the Russians. They put them before the fact of a bloody war, in which almost no one sees any sense, and which is contrary to the interests of the absolute majority. In this situation, not everyone was able to make a conscious choice in favor of a consistent anti-war position. After all, such a position would mean a conflict not only with the state and propaganda, but also with one’s own environment. The atomized and apolitical Russians, for the most part, did not know how to deal with their aversion to war. They had no experience of uniting and organizing to defend their position. And they began to adjust their ideas about the world to the new situation. They were looking for any excuse to preserve their own moral core, “to remain a good person”, and at the same time come to terms with the “inevitable” – the war unleashed by their government.
        PSLab research shows that Russian society is not at all the kind of monolith that propaganda wants to see. Moreover, the loyalty of the majority of Russians to the war is very conditional. It rests on a passionate desire to believe that this war is justified and can be put up with like a natural disaster. But if this self-deception weakens, then there will be no trace of the former passive loyalty. And then millions of singles will have no choice but to become a people and call to account the rulers who commit their crimes on behalf of each of us.

  4. Babeltuap says:

    The complex of high rises around Jubilee street is a quagmire for Russia. Very hard fighting. This sitrep is from the Russian side but I do like the format. It’s a carbon copy of the Risk game on Playstation. I even think it’s the same background music in the game. I’m not saying any of this info is correct but even they agree, Ukraine is holding their own:

  5. Leith says:

    EO – That Storm Shadow might well be a game changer. With a 1000 pond warhead, an accuracy to within six feet or less, 155 mile range (if it is the export model), a Lo-Lo flight profile of 100 feet, and a radar cross section the size of an English Robin it is terrifying the Kremlin. Putin’s mouthpieces are now threatening to turn London and other parts of Fair Albion into a pile of burning rubble because of Ben’ gift of Storm Shadow to Zelinsky.

    F&L – Miss Anastasia looks pretty good. No duck lips that I see. And her use of language is good: e.g. assholery!. But it’s not just the troops on the line displaying that lack of unity. She would also see that withint the arseling apparatchiks in the Kremlin if she looked and dared to print it.

    • Fourth and Long says:

      It’s even more psychologically scary than that since maybe 90% of the Ru security apparatus thinks the US is the ventriloquist behind the UK marionette and even though Adm Kirby, Biden’s spokesperson denied strenuously that the US is sending Miss Sills in the foreseeable future(these guys all watched Combat! as kids. Was Kirby in Saunders’ Platoon or was he an officer?). They think the Amerikanskiis use the Limeys for plausible deniability. More realistically though they already have seen every promise not to send armament either reversed or walked back. Psychological warfare. Unfortunately I once knew some of the people who were MD psychiatrists who now make big bucks advising corporations and governments. Brainy as —- but real creeps imo. It will only get worse. I hope I’m wrong.

      • TTG says:


        Kirby was an enlisted soldier in Sgt Saunders platoon. Lt Hanley was the officer, probably the platoon leader. I watched that show religiously. I even had a toy Thompson SMG, just like Sgt Saunders.

        I think the reason the US is reluctant to provide tanks, missile and aircraft to Ukraine is a fear that Ukraine could win on their terms and that runs the real risk of destabilizing Moscow. The last time Moscow was that destabilized was when the USSR disintegrated and the hard liners stages a coup. I was in Germany at the time and the apprehension was real. One of the questions I was working on at that time was whether Ukraine would crack the codes for the nuclear weapons in their possession. Now one of the risks we run, among many, is whether any oligarch factions or PMCs make a grab for some nukes.

        • Fourth and Long says:

          Small world? I had one too only because my sister begged my dad to buy one for me because I was sick with grief because I wanted one so badly and $7.95 was a lot of money in those days for a physics professor I guess. I just spent $50 for a car service to take me back and forth to pick up prescriptions. (Don’t ask). I thought Saunders was the greatest man who ever lived. Ever watch an old episode on YT? I did a few yrs ago and still think it was the greatest show ever on American TV. Do you think the name Vic Morrow was authentic? It’s possible, Victory Tomorrow. Parents can be like that. Seems rather a too good fit for a man who portrayed Sgt Chip Saunders at the peak of the Cold War. But it might be his real given name.

        • Fourth and Long says:

          PFC William G Kirby was my second favorite on the show by far, though Caje (Frenchie) was very close. Played by Jack Hogan. The character Kirby was an absolute classic.
          Of course they were all very good. Pierre Jalbert was a Canadian skier.


        • LeaNder says:

          I watched that show religiously.
          Interesting for three reasons, the series itself, the fact that for Americans everything seems to be a show, and that Robert Altman produced/directed ten of the ‘shows’. Have to try to get a copy. This shared popular culture stuff is interesting.

          One of the questions I was working on at that time was whether Ukraine would crack the codes for the nuclear weapons in their possession.

          Would? And then? Hit the button?

          Now one of the risks we run, among many, is whether any oligarch factions or PMCs make a grab for some nukes.

          If you don’t mind, it feels it was not really a fear the oligarchs could grab nukes. Quite the opposite, as I remember the scenarios painted then, among the millions of people without pay or the means to live one could hit upon the idea to sell the stuff.

          Much about the fear hype felt artificial. But we have been here before. I did not expect the Russians to approach via the Fulda Gap ever, either.

          Last but not least: Which oligarchs, exactly? Then as now, or then versus now? The Russian or the Ukrainians.

          Or are the Ukrainian ones only tycoons/robber barons?

          • TTG says:


            The risks of a rising oligarch and/or PMC faction doing something rash is in the current Russia if they lose badly in Ukraine. However, I think it’s likely that the nuclear weapons remain firmly in the hands of the state security apparatus and they will destroy any faction conventionally who challenges them.

            Back when the USSR broke up, it was the Ukrainian government that made the effort to break the nuclear codes. That Ukrainian government was the same group of Commies that was in charge before the break up. They had dreams of becoming a nuclear power. To this day, it’s not clear whether they just couldn’t reliably break the codes or they were convinced that being a nuclear power wasn’t in their best interest.

          • Billy Roche says:

            Years ago I read a correspondent’s post on SST. He had been stationed at the “Gap”. I shorten his comments. He said his unit (don’t remember if a Battalion or Brigade) was armed “to the teeth” and was trained, and able to unleash hell on all Russian tanks entering through Fulda. I commented that my tiny detachment was part of the intel flow to his and I always hoped soviet tanks would never reach me in Fkt. I am reaching for a 50 year old memory here but think the soviets had a parking lot of 500 tanks behind the Hartz Mtns. Maybe West Germans s/n have feared. If the Russians had 500 tanks you can be sure the U.S. Army was equipped to kill 1000 of them. We really were not f’n around.

          • wiz says:

            Bill R

            wasn’t the plan to mine the gap with nukes and reduce the invading armies to radioactive ashes ?

            Or maybe that was Plan B ?

    • English Outsider says:

      Leith – on Dr North’s site I linked to above, or rather at the end of the comment section, there’s this:-

      I don’t know if that’s old new for you or not. First I’d heard of it, though I’ve read of extensive use of decoys the other way.

      Also an attack, I think using those decoys, on a factory in Lugansk.

      On Storm Shadow, if it’s launched from an aircraft that’s based on NATO territory, things might get complicated.

      • Leith says:

        EO – I first saw evidence of the ADM-160 decoy this AM on twitter. No previous reporting that I’m aware of. About time though. It’s air launched, so those cunning Ukro Air Force ordnancemen have figured out how to make it work from a MIG-29 or perhaps one of their Sukhois.

        Ukraine’s Air Force has been flying combat missions from inside Ukrainian territory for over a year now. No reason for them to start flying from NATO territory for the Storm Shadow. Although Putin’s propaganda organs are lying to the Russian people and claiming that the opposite is true.

  6. Poppa Rollo says:

    Far from the glorious turret throwing Russian tanks we have the far more tense but prosaic infantry actions. With all the drone video intel I started feeling sorry for Russkie grunts. But there was only one result possible given the total lack of support they received.
    Translated from the video notes “The assault group of the K-2 battalion (54 OMBr) attacked the Cyclops position, which was occupied by the enemy. When the grenades ran out, the group had to withdraw to replenish the BC.
    In less than an hour, the assault on the position continued. But the Russian occupiers are sitting in a deep DZOT, from where they are conducting heavy fire. Ukrainian soldiers must knock the enemy out of this shelter to take the position under their control. An uneven battle begins, at the end of which a surprise awaits you – the number of enemy servicemen trapped in the bunker.”

  7. English Outsider says:


    Not as “Outsider” in that sense as I’d like. But I have some startling and revolutionary notions – and safe! – about taking down big trees that might have heart rot. As soon as TTG veers towards that sort of subject I meditate revealing those notions to the astounded assembly.

    At least I hope it’s safe. If this pilgrim goes off the air, then you’ll know that my ground breaking research in this field proved a dead end. Sort of literally.

  8. Fourth and Long says:

    I didn’t want to spoil the fresh new post’s thread with this minute detail which may be insignificant in the wider scheme of things, but this was my first encounter with a comment made in the French language that was fitted with the brand new Muffler by Leenah Myells (who is nonbinary, so please, watch what you say).

    Please I’m in a Leayannah mood, sweetness. Can we call me queen Leayannah this morning?
    Sure. I’d like to ask you the name of your new Muffler, your majestyness.
    My new Muffler is the Trans-Lay-Shun Butt-On Dysfunctional For Now” Muffler.
    Even in French?

    It seems an Su-34 jet fighter plane and an Mi-8 helicopter were shot down in Bryansk Oblast which is in Russia. But who knows? It could be a ricochet from that object which crashed through a woman’s roof in New Jersey yesterday, which is suspected by scientists to be a meteorite.

    But Monsieur had this to say:
    But the handy translate button had Queen Leeyannah’s Muffler iPhone App Version X.Vbn fitted onto it I’m guessing so even though I once sort of learned French sort of I copied the text into Johnnycakes the Talking Chatter Box set to “Detect Language” and Johnnycakes said to me:

    💥 #Russia NEWS ALERT 🇷🇺🚨 According to local witnesses, two aircraft were shot down, a Su-34 fighter and a Mi-8 helicopter, over the #Bryansk region in #Klintsy
    In view of the ammunition impacts, it could be that it was two Patriot missiles 🇺🇸 that shot them down.
    I thanked him and leave this morning’s notes above here for retired US Army Intelligence Officer TTG to make sense of or not as he sees fit.
    To simplify: It is being proposed that an advanced American Anti-Missile installation is in use shooting down Russian military aircraft flying over Russian territory.

    • TTG says:


      I’ve seen two sources this morning claiming that the Russian shot their own aircraft down thinking they were Ukrainian. Maybe the warblogger panic is becoming pandemic or the Ukrainians managed to hack the Russian IFF system. If the latter is the case, it’s going to be a big problem for the Rooskies.

      • Fourth and Long says:

        Yep. I saw those after posting my gibberish, and various versions changing from hour to hour since. Here’s a comment (trans from Ru) on the lead story on right now:
        According to updated data, two Mi-8s, one Su-35 and one Su-34 were shot down. Helicopter pilots and the Su-34 bomber were killed. They write in the cart.
        May 13, 16:49
        Iron Caput
        But Iron Caput probably got his info from Twitter feeds like the ones I cited, which in terms of the cheering sections in the bleachers .. make the pro-westerner contingent happy (“Yay! We bagged 2 Russkie aircraft and killed ..”) much moreso than any pro Ru fan. The Russians greatly prefer the embarrassment of either crashes or even friendly fire to the severe humiliation of Nato Patriot systems knocking out aircraft in Ru.

        The good news is not only that the Russians aren’t doing anything about or that they can’t do anything about it and know it, but that most likely Putin is smart enough to know that he would be really stupid to try. Maybe that’s premature on my part but it’s a valid option for a multiple choice quiz question at the moment.

      • Billy Roche says:

        Kinda my take also. Not enough good info on what happened to make any judgment. Revisit this development tomorrow.

        • Fourth and Long says:

          There’s several versions of the helicopter shoot down ranging from Manpads to enemy infiltration of the Ru AA system targeting system to cause it to fire indiscriminate at anything that moves to the Patriots being over the border.

          There’s talk of mobile cell coverage having been turned off or interfered with. You will draw your own conclusions. One going around is that they don’t want reporting on ongoing pounding of Luhansk oblast, but the reality of that is also a mere surmise because the Yukies might understand it looks that way if they turn off the mobile cell coverage for the Russkies. Trending toward – yes pounding Luhansk for real, regardless. Implication – the pics might be ghastly because the rumour is Yukies hit a Ru ministry of internal affairs baracks or something similar and casualty figures not reported at all. It’s vaguely like hitting fbi or a homeland security compound.

          • LeaNder says:

            Hmm, took a while. Yukies??? Ok, why not: The Yukies fight the Rooskies. Balance.

          • Fourth and Long says:

            Thanks for your permission.
            Yankees. Limeys. Jerries. Rooskies. Yukies.
            What has been left out? I advise using this as one of the 5 questions you omit without penalty.

  9. KjHeart says:

    ….meanwhile… back in Moscow

    (this is a bit off topic)

    I saw this News article about a scaled down Russian Victory Day Parade for 2023
    It has a very nice photo of a (mint) T-34

    GB News


    All the news sites I found seem to agree it was a scaled down event.

    Not important to the discussion about Bakhmut – interesting, none-the-less.


    • Fourth and Long says:

      Our advanced cloud system of supercooled quantum multiply parallel computers on every continent have asked Johnnycakes the Multilingual Talking Chat Bot if he agrees with our solution to the mysterious occurrence you point to. He says yes, without a doubt T-34 is a secret code for Two, Three, Four.

      But Johnnycakes, if you don’t mind our asking ..
      No, not at all, not at all go on ..
      What about the “dash” connecting the T to the 34?
      Oh ho ho ho, that’s not a dash ..and you are advised to safely ignore it.
      It’s not – But why? No harm will come to us? It looks like a dash.
      No, not at, it’s a hyphen, and as we say in Chatting Multilingual Chatterbox Training School – “Don’t believe the hyphen!”

      • KjHeart says:

        F & L

        I was trying to identify a little more carefully and think it might have been a T-34-SU-85
        I have no idea if I should put in dashes or not.

        I tried looking up this specific T-34 and (to see if it came from someone’s private collection) and found a site talking about how it was the ‘prowess of the Russian Army.. an so on”

        Seems at the end of WWII this (T-34) was cutting edge tech of the day (in Russia) and the Rooskies deserve to celebrate the ‘official’ end of Hitler’s madness.

        I just found it odd that there was only ONE lonely ‘Symbol’ of Russian dominance… ONE is a lonely parade – If the report IS true then it shows a lackluster event – It could well have been leading in front and not LONE… that is why put in two links with different camera angles.

        Though I can hardly stand CNN – even a broken clock is correct twice per day. CNN might, indeed, be correct it was a parade of ONE.


        • Fourth and Long says:

          Reports I read said that it was quite scaled back and therefore comparitively lackluster if parades of recent years are used as a standard. There had been a double drone strike on the Kremlin only days before the parade. I read that Russia’s Uber – the Yandex Drive service – is having delays now in St Petersburg and Moscow because GPS navigation has been modified or stopped so as to confound drones.

          I was joking around, the dash is fine. The idea is spooks, decoding and such silliness, a lunatic Chat AI — artificial intelligence is the new rage – a new hype, the hyped chatbox himself says don’t believe the hyphen trying to be clever but is an idiot machine and has no clue how stupid he sounds. It is so stupid that it finds absurd meanings in the name of a Russian tank in a military parade. That was the silly idea. I meant no disrespect and certainly didn’t think you made an error or anything. It was relevant to point it out if that’s the only tank you can muster for your huge shindig.

          The actual soviets never commemorated May Day with these parades till the 20th anniversary of their VE day in 1945. They didn’t do another till 1970. Now it’s an annual event under Putin. It became annual, I think, in 1995 under Yeltsin.

          “When you can’t do anything other than steal..” That’s how a very insulting post by a severe critic of Putin started the other day on Telegram. A bit harsh. They were really down and out in ’95 losing lots of people to the social breakdown after the collapse in ’91, so I won’t complete it.

          I play no favorites here but if I was the Clive Barnes of military parades working for Tass instead of the NYTimes Arts & Leisure section, I would say the lone tank of Great Patriotic War vintage, showed restraint and honour to ancestors as the descendants fight heroically in the Special Military Operation as the leaders under President Putin heroically appeared in public despite the mortal risk of terrorism and drone warfare. But I’m not. That was the message I guess they were trying to send, while in reality there was a deep sense of humiliation in the air in the opinion of many people.

          • KjHeart says:

            F & L

            Knew you were joking –
            I am learning enough about ‘things military and ‘things spook-ey’ that I am starting to get your jokes.

            I had (for a moment) hoped, I had not inadvertently ‘signaled’ some ‘random spooky-cyber event’ just by noticing ONE tank. Just for a moment (smiles)


          • Leith says:

            Putin’s next stop after the Valley of Humiliation will be the Swamp of Despair. Serves the shitarse right for murdering women, children and babushkas. He ain’t never going to get to Beulah Land.

        • TTG says:


          The T-34 was first built with a 76mm gun in a smaller turret. From a purely esthetic point of view, I think it was the most beautiful tank ever made. I know. It’s probably a character flaw to see a tank as a thing of beauty. It was also a very effective tank, ahead of its time. Germany contemplated just copying it bolt for bolt. The upgrade to an 85mm main gun was an improvement to deal with heavier German armor.

          • KjHeart says:


            It IS a pretty tank – I think so too – that thing was ‘mint’ and I am thinking not property of the kleptocracy but on loan from an oligarch’s collection? Otherwise it would not be so well cared for. I think.


          • TTG says:


            The T-34/76 was prettier than the T-34/85 that was in the parade. The bigger turret for the 85 gun makes it look like a kid with a big head. Russia brought back a trainload of them last year from Laos. I guess they couldn’t get them refurbished in time for the parade. Other priorities, obviously.

          • Fourth and Long says:

            BOOK I
            A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
            Its loveliness increases; it will never
            Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
            A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
            Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
            Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
            A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
            Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
            Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
            Of all the unhealthy and o’er-darkened ways
            Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
            Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
            From our dark spirits. (Continues at link..):

      • KjHeart says:

        here is that Asia Times article on the T-34

        April 3, 2020
        “Russia’s Iconic Tank to retake the streets of Moscow”


  10. Sam says:

    This is the most remarkable interview that General Zaluzhny has given so far in the war. He delves into his emotions, the history of the war so far, Ukrainian strategy

    Battles reveal more than they decide. Battles in which the outcome is truly up for grabs are rare, and battles that prove decisive in achieving a political goal are rarer still. Instead, battles demonstrate how effectively combatants planned, prepared, and executed before the fighting began. The result of a battle exposes not only how well matched the sides are but also how the war might unfold in the future. In that sense, the outcome of the Battle of Kyiv was never in doubt. Russia’s and Ukraine’s preparations for the fight essentially preordained the result. But the Battle of Kyiv has revealed a great deal about why Ukraine has done so much better in the war than many analysts predicted.

    Putin’s military goal of forcing regime change in Kyiv through a decapitation strike of Kyiv failed when Russian airborne assault forces were prevented from capturing Hostomel airport. Since then it has been a war of attrition where the Ukrainian army frontline have held the Russian military in check while their operational reserves where built up. Putin has also mobilized Russians to fight his war. In the fullness of time we’ll see how “super power “ the Russian army is in fighting a conventional war.

  11. Sam says:

    “The truth is that Ukraine is a victim of aggression, and by defending its integrity and sovereignty, it is pushing the war away from the rest of Europe. This is extremely important to us.” – Giorgia Meloni

    This is interesting since Italian prime minister Meloni heads the “right wing” coalition government. Support for the Ukrainian defense of Putin’s invasion is not just a “left wing” project in Western Europe. This goes to show the complexity of the political positioning in Europe. The Eastern Europeans and the Scandinavians were right from the start of the invasion in on a robust response. With Orban in Hungary backing Putin it was assumed that the “right” who don’t support the EU current construct of a Brussels “super government” would not back the Ukrainian government’s push back of Russian military forces. Meloni is showing that there’s unanimity among the “right”.

    • Billy Roche says:

      Sam; colonial naked aggression and brutality are not confined to the right or the left. Colonial pricks swing both ways. Language is appropriate I think.

    • Fred says:


      Millions of colonists have been crossing our Southern border for years. Meloni. before becoming Italy’s Prime Minister, complained mightily about NATO destroying the Libyan government, and not just for the influx of tens of thousands of Libyans who wouldn’t fight for their own country, but also the potential Italian independence from pipelines of NG from Russia, whose price they couldn’t control. She also dressed down Macron and the French government over the Colonial Franc and the EU setting currency/interest rate policy for more than a dozen African nations. “Colonialism”. I don’t recall anyone in Hungary saying the same.

      “With Orban in Hungary backing Putin…”
      How many weapons and how much money are you claiming Hungary are sending to Russia? I make the count zero, which rather negates your statement.

  12. Sam says:

    Igor Girkin (Strelkov) talking openly how about how the Crimean regional authorities didn’t want to separate from Ukraine so Girkin and other Russian soldiers forced them to vote for it under gunpoint.

    Did this happen in Putin’s “free & fair” Crimea referendum? If the Ukrainians manage to recapture Crimea would their referendum also be equally “free & fair”?

    • wiz says:


      It wouldn’t surprise me if Igor claimed he was there in 1812, heroically fighting off Napoleon’s imperial guard. The man suffers from a difficult case of narcissism.

      As for the free & fair, there was precious little of that in 2014.
      There was plenty of forcing and gun pointing on both sides.

      If you’re an opposition politician and only caught a beating followed by being thrown into a trashcan, you would be lucky.

      • leith says:

        Wiz – My ancestor got worse back in 1775. Stripped, beaten with cudgels, plus tarred and feathered (hot tar – it took some hair and skin off). His house vandalized. He left shortly after, limping all the way to Canada’s Maritimes.

        Yanukovych’s Tories got off easy.

        • Billy Roche says:

          Leith; did your ancestor get his raproche from the patriots directly after Breed’s/Bunker Hill? I’ve read the hot tar could be a death sentence.

          • leith says:

            Billy –

            It was before I believe. Might even have been 73 or 74. I’ll have to check with cuzzin Annie – the family historian.

            One of his descendants crossed back over in 1861 for a bonus enlistment in a Maine regiment. Another, my maternal great grandma, eloped and headed south sometime after the war.

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