Bakhmut – TTG

BAKMUT AXIS /0010 UTC 5 MAR/ Street-fighting continues within Bakhmut: the situation remains fluid and serious. UKR forces repelled RU attacks N and S of the city and counter-attacks SW of Ivanivske have driven RU units back to Klischiivka.

Russian forces appear to have secured a sufficient positional advantage to conduct a turning movement against certain parts of Bakhmut but have not yet forced Ukrainian forces to withdraw and will likely not be able to encircle the city soon. Russian forces made one limited confirmed advance near Bakhmut on March 4. As ISW reported on March 3, Ukrainian forces are likely setting conditions for a controlled fighting withdrawal out of particularly difficult sectors of eastern Bakhmut, although it is not clear that Ukrainian commanders have decided to withdraw at this time. Russian sources claim that Wagner Group elements have made gains in northeastern and eastern Bakhmut over the past few days, creating a tactically challenging turning movement in urban areas in northern Bakhmut. Ukrainian officials have recently reiterated that Ukrainian forces still control the situation in Bakhmut but have noted that circumstances are increasingly complicated and that the Wagner Group has committed its most advanced and prepared elements to assault operations in the area.

Russian advances in Bakhmut have been slow and gradual and do not suggest that Russian forces will be able to encircle Bakhmut soon, much less that they will be able to take the city by frontal assaults. The Russians have, rather, managed to push close enough to critical ground lines of communication from the northeast to threaten Ukrainian withdrawal routes in a classical turning movement. The purpose of a turning movement is to force the enemy to abandon prepared defensive positions and is different from the aim of an encirclement, which is to trap and destroy enemy forces. The Russians may have intended to encircle Ukrainian forces in Bakhmut, but the Ukrainian command has signaled that it will likely withdraw rather than risk an encirclement. ISW assesses that Ukrainian forces are far more likely to withdraw than to become encircled and that the Ukrainians might still be able to hold their positions in Bakhmut if they choose to try. Russian forces have been suffering high casualties in these advances, and Ukrainian commanders’ assessments of the likelihood that they can force Russian attacks to culminate near or behind their current positions balanced against the risk of losing access to essential withdrawal routes will likely guide the Ukrainian decision to stay or pull back.

Comment: Turning movements seems to be the norm in this war. Except for the encirclement and reduction of Mariupol, neither the Ukrainians nor the Russians have managed any significant encirclements. No pockets. No cauldrons. No need for a breakout from an encirclement. I consider that an indication of some operational skill on both sides.

If the Ukrainians are forced to withdraw due to a Russian turning movement, Russians will no longer have to fight through the rubble and ruins of Bakhmut. However, if the Ukrainian defenders manage to conduct a deliberate withdrawal under pressure, Russians (and Ukrainians) will continue to die in the rubble. That can only be accomplished if the Ukrainian units brought in as reinforcements are positioned to keep the resupply and eventual escape routes intact. That, I believe, was the purpose of the reinforcements recently sent in, not to add to the defenders of Bakhmut city.

Why would the Ukrainians prefer conducting a withdrawal under pressure rather than stealing away in the night without further casualties? One reason may be that the Russians have been applying relentless pressure for months and continue to do so. It would be difficult if not impossible to steal away quietly. Another reason may be that the Ukrainians prefer to delay and bleed the Russians with urban fighting for as long as they can. 

Estimates from Ukrainian commanders and troops fighting in Bakhmut of the ratio of Russian casualties to their own run as hight as 10:1. Of course you can hardly expect estimates from the grazing fire level to be accurate. However, Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine, said during a recent national news telethon that the NSDC estimate is 7:1. That’s a pretty good return for continuing the fight for Bakhmut.

Much of that exorbitantly high Russian casualty rate is due the Wagner Group tactics of using their thousands of prisoners as expendable meat “by sending out “zerg” attacks in which infantry units played the role of sensors; advancing until they were taken down, then replaced by another that advanced until it was eliminated, rinse, repeat, many times daily.” In a way it worked, but at one hell of a cost. 

But those unsophisticated zerg rushes eventually evolved into a much more effective tactical doctrine. The BTG has been abandoned and the assault group is taking its place. Artillery is still the king of battle, but the Russians have finally remembered that infantry is the the queen of battle. That queen can be a deadly banshee if employed right. The assault group is a heavily armed infantry battalion that fights dismounted using available cover and concealment to close with the enemy. This is quite a departure from the old Soviet and Russian doctrine of everybody riding buttoned up in their tanks and APCs over open fields. In recent days and weeks, these tactics have been used effectively just north of Bakhmut with somewhat lighter casualties than the zerg rushes of the last few months. Its weakness, at least for the moment, is that it remains a slow, grinding tactic that has not yet been combined with a follow on mobile armored breakthrough thrust. This is not a new operational concept. I’d be surprised if it did not occur to the Russian generals, but equipment, personnel and materiel losses are preventing any implementation of an effective breakthrough and pursuit strategy on the battlefield.


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91 Responses to Bakhmut – TTG

  1. Yeah, Right says:

    “Estimates from Ukrainian commanders and troops fighting in Bakhmut of the ratio of Russian casualties to their own run as hight as 10:1. Of course you can hardly expect estimates from the grazing fire level to be accurate.”

    Well, yeah, they neither have the knowledge nor the inclination to say otherwise.

    “However, Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine, said during a recent national news telethon that the NSDC estimate is 7:1.”

    Well, yeah, he would, wouldn’t he.

    How did he gather that “estimate”, since this is (a) an artillery war and (b) the Ukrainians are not advancing into areas that are littered with Russian dead?

    “That’s a pretty good return for continuing the fight for Bakhmut.”

    It would be indeed, if it were true.
    How do you know it is true?

    I just find it…. odd… that you go to one Ukrainian source and find it unconvincing, and so you go to…. another Ukrainian source, and accept that unconditionally.

    Here’s a condition: nowhere have you attempted to find out what the RUSSIA estimate for the loss-ratio is.

    Surely their “estimate” should be weighed against the “estimate” of the NSDC.

    But, apparently, no.

    • TTG says:

      Yeah, Right,

      How does one count casualties? Overhead drone videos.

      • LeaNder says:


        how is ‘encirclement’ vs a ‘turning movement’ connected to casualties rates more generally. ‘Encirclement’, bad; ‘turning movement’, aka something of a failed encirclement, good?

        The purpose of a turning movement is to force the enemy to abandon prepared defensive positions and is different from the aim of an encirclement, which is to trap and destroy enemy forces.

        Put another way: if the Russians had succeeded in their ‘maybe’ intention:
        The Russians may have intended to encircle Ukrainian forces in Bakhmut,

        The rates could/would be the opposite: 1:7 instead of 7:1?

        • TTG says:


          The advantage of an encirclement is that it takes a greater number of enemy troops and equipment, entire units, off the battlefield through capture. Other than Mariupol, neither side has been able to accomplish a major encirclement. Encirclement of Bakhmut would have taken the 93rd and 24th Mechanized Brigades off the table.

  2. wiz says:

    What happens with the Russian offensive capabilities after Bakhmut & Chasiv Yar ?
    Wagner will need an extensive rest and refit period and the LDNR forces have been mauled as well. BTGs have largely failed and whatever takes their place might not be available soon. The return of the Chechens ?

  3. English Outsider says:

    TTG – with great respect, I believe the account we’re given of the fighting in Bakhmut is incorrect.

    This bloodbath is an extreme example of the “Falkenhayn scenario”. The brunt of it has been taken by the inferior troops, the “Ukrainian PBI” who are being sacrificed mercilessly. The Aidar was sent in to stiffen those troops but generally speaking the ultra-nationalist elements, and the better trained elements, have been pulled out.

    Along the entire front we are seeing that Falkenhayn scenario in full play. This is a lost war and all we have seen for some time now are the Western politicians floundering around trying to find some way out of the military disaster that does not lead to electoral disaster for them.

    Electoral imperatives, both in the States and in Europe, are leading to this merciless sacrifice of our courageous proxies. We should not be using those proxies so.

    • TTG says:


      Where do you read that stuff? The 93 Mechanized Battalion, one of Ukraine’s best is still fighting in the ruins of Bakhmut along with the M-113 equipped 24th Separate Assault Battalion (former Aidar Battalion), which is part of the 10th Mountain Assault Brigade, also one of Ukraine’s best.

      • English Outsider says:

        TTG – I heard the better trained units had mainly been pulled out. But I don’t follow it with either the attention or the background knowledge you are able to give it.

        On the “sacrifice”, I heard one Ukrainian fighter in what I believe was a genuine interview stating that the raw troops were used more or less as cannon fodder to draw the artillery fire. Many similar interviews from the Ukrainian side stating it’s murderous in there.

        If it’s true that all hard surface roads in have now been cut or interdicted then it’ll be a scramble out through the fields and lanes. I don’t believe this is regular or professional warfare, though the Ukrainians are good at that. I believe Zelensky or someone in Kiev is throwing men away on last ditch stands or hopeless counter-attacks, and not only here, in order to show his NATO backers that there’s still a chance of gaining their objectives.

        There’s a chorus of articles in the UK press right now urging the West to double down. Since the writers of those articles must know we’ve got very little to double down with, I’m at a loss to understand what NATO’s hoping for.

        Blame game, I reckon. Afterwards, we’ll see the Western politicians accusing each other of not doing enough, and saying that if this or that country had done more we wouldn’t have lost.

        But losing was backed in from February 24th last. Had we won the sanctions war then that possibly would not have been the case. The financial and economic sanctions were what was to defeat Russia, not tanks or other military equipment of which neither we nor the Ukrainians have anything like enough. But the losing of the sanctions war lost all.

        • English Outsider says:

          “Baked”! That’s not dud typing, though I’m good at that. Just spelled it wrong and didn’t notice. Apologies.

        • TTG says:


          You heard wrong about the units in Bakhmut. The 93rd Mech has been there for five months with only short periods of rotation out for rest and refit. The 28th Mech and 10th Mountain Assault are also there, but may be holding the flanks open. Territorial Defense and National Guard units also spent time there. At one point, there were too many disparate units in the city making effective command and control difficult. That’s been fixed. Numerous interviews with Ukrainian soldiers and officers have attested to the fact that fighting there is difficult and deadly.

          I don’t know whether you’re resigned to a Russian victory or actively cheering for one. I know what a Russian victory will mean for the future of Ukraine, and I cannot support/cheer/hope for anything less than a Russian defeat and Ukrainian victory.

          • A Ukrainian victory means the Ukes are forever completely owned by Western financial interests.

            The best they can hope for is negotiation with Russia.

            Thanks to the Maidan Coup and what followed, Ukraine is screwed.


          • TTG says:

            Richard Morchoe,

            The self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk Peoples Republics gave a glimpse of what Ukraine would be like if Yanukovych managed to succeed in aligning Kyiv with Moscow rather than the EU.

          • cobo says:

            Richard Morchoe

            After the Ukrainian victory, the Ukrainians will not be “owned” by anybody, neither will the Poles, nor the rest of Eastern Europe. I believe that the Eastern European will gain leadership among all of Western Civilization. This is just starting.

    • Leith says:

      English Outsider –

      Regarding your Falkenhayn scenario: Bakhmut is nothing like the Verdun meatgrinder, only a miniscule percentage perhaps. It would take about an additional 335,000 Russian casualties and about 395,000 Ukrainian casualties in Bakhmut to get anywhere near that Falkenhayn calmity. Perhaps that will happen, as the Battle for Bakhmut has only been going on for seven months so far. If it takes another 90 days, will they match those WWI casualty numbers?

      You are exactly right in mentioning the Poor Bloody Infantry. But it is on both sides. And even more so on Putin’s troops. You may not believe the casualty figures. I don’t blame you considering the fog of war plus Kyiv & Moscow hiding their own losses. But the defender typically has an advantage somewhere in the three to one ratio. So how long can Putin continue this ‘merciless sacrifice’ of Russia’s sons?

      • Eliot says:

        “ You may not believe the casualty figures. I don’t blame you considering the fog of war plus Kyiv & Moscow hiding their own losses. But the defender typically has an advantage somewhere in the three to one ratio. So how long can Putin continue this ‘merciless sacrifice’ of Russia’s sons?”


        I think our casualty estimates are mixture of wishful thinking, our numbers are bad, so theirs must be too, and propaganda designed to bolster support for the war. The Russians went in with around 80k men, so you can pick your estimate, but that means, according to the Ukrainians, they’ve killed Russias entire regular army over the last twelve months.

        I don’t believe Ukraine is inflicting heavy casualties, because you’re not seeing the obituaries in Russia, and because the Russians have such a lopsided firepower advantage. Kiev estimated that Wagner had a 7:1 advantage in artillery in Bahkmut.

        – Eliot

  4. Whitewall says:

    “Another reason may be that the Ukrainians prefer to delay and bleed the Russians with urban fighting for as long as they can.”

    Then this is part of the strategy to buy Ukraine time until Nato tanks and armor arrive?

    • TTG says:

      I think so. Ukraine doesn’t just need the new tanks and armor. They need to keep whittling away at Russia’s ability to defend against those newly raised and refitted Ukrainian units.

      • Bill Roche says:

        My guess is the new and improved equipment will not reach the Ukrainians b/f August. Thus they have too keep a force in the field another 5 months. So it seems Ukraine is trading lives for time. This would not have happened if the Europeans and Americans had moved sooner … they d/n. I believe these coming months are the answer to Ukraine’s survival as a free and independent state. I d/n foresee “Boris and Ludmilla” protesting on behalf of their sons lives. So it seems the Russian public is exchanging lives for empire. Despite all the horror Ukrainians have already endured the next five months w/b their “Valley Forge”. Every day their “St Crispin’s Day”. No doubt there are participants herein who hope for Russian victory and its rtn to empire. August c/n come soon enough.

        • LeaNder says:

          Every day their “St Crispin’s Day”. No doubt there are participants herein who hope for Russian victory and its rtn to empire. August c/n come soon enough.

          We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
          For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
          Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
          This day shall gentle his condition:
          And gentlemen in England now a-bed
          Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
          And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
          That fought with us upon … [that upcoming August] day.

          Hmm, on drama and drama queens.

          • English Outsider says:

            It’s a difficult question, LeaNder. Should one hope one’s own country will lose a war? Should you not be gunning for victory, cheering Baerbock on? Should I not be doing the equivalent in my own country?

            My attitude to the forever wars has changed over the last couple of decades. Has yours?

            On Afghanistan, I was all for British involvement at the start. On the grounds that the Americans had helped us out in the Falklands and it was our turn to help them.

            Innocent days. Iraq, I was torn between exasperation that we’d sent troops into Basra with poor ROE and even poorer equipment, and a certain knowledge that they were doing no good there.

            And none of the Western countries should have “opened the Gates of Hell” in Iraq anyway. That was neocons up to no good and that I still believe.

            Libya – a disgrace in my eyes. The US even had to nursemaid us and the French with the logistics. Syria, even worse. I shall never forget the contempt Colonel Lang had for the part the UK played in Syria and the more that comes out about that the more justified I think that contempt was.

            So it’s downhill all the way from Afghanistan on and down on to this Ukrainian venture where I reckon we’ve reached the bottom.

            And here I’m now confident that Scholz was not the new boy rushed into it all by Biden. He was fully on board with what was planned: provoking a Russian military response in order to get the public behind a sanctions war. A sanctions war that was confidently expected to break Russia.

            A straight scam in my eyes. A scam that’ll take its place with WMD and Cameron’s’ “moderate rebels” as an example of how politicians and a cooperative media can pull the wool over the eyes of their trusting electorates.

            That is what Scholz, the most powerful politician in Europe, set himself to do. That is what he did. He fooled you. He certainly fooled me. In truth neither he nor his predecessor ever had any intention of getting Minsk 2 implemented. Scholz was preparing those sanctions while merely pretending to be trying for Minsk 2.

            Am I to cheer such deception on? Does “my country right or wrong” take me that far? Should it take you that far?

            For there’s a dimension here only we Europeans are aware of. This war has uncovered in Northern Europe an ugly strain of gut Russophobia that I just don’t see in the States. Some in particular are getting back to the old “untermenschen” days. And taking to it like ducks to water.

            Also going back to their old ways in other respects. Your General Vad, no angel himself: “Military experts [and those] who know what is going on among the secret services, what it looks like on the ground and what war really means – are largely excluded from the [German public] debate. They do not fit in with the formation of media opinion. We are largely experiencing a coordination of the media, the likes of which I have never experienced before in the Federal Republic.”

            He hasn’t experienced that before. He’s too young. I used to speak to people in Germany older that Vad who had. It’s not something I like seeing coming back.

            So it’s different for us, LeaNder. Apart from the fact that I think we’re in the wrong on this one, I don’t like what I’m seeing gaining ground in Europe again.

            And since I think we in the West are on a loser on this one anyway, I’d like to see it wrapped up fast, the fighting stopping, and us in Europe starting to pick up the pieces.

            If that’s possible to any extent, which I doubt.


            On the military stuff, I found after the SMO started that we’d been training up the Kiev forces and equipping them far more than I’d realised. That was a powerful fighting force we’d made of our proxies.

            I still hold to the belief I formed in February 2022. The Kiev forces were very much more powerful than I’d realised. But they were neither trained nor equipped for combined arms warfare. Too late to do it now. So they could never have been expected to win.

            Their job was to provide the provocation. Scholz’s sanctions war – for it was his sanctions war as much as Biden’s – was to do the rest.

          • Bill Roche says:

            Sometimes the situation calls for drama. You d/n expect Wagner did you?

      • wiz says:


        If they get enough of GMLRS and GLSDBs, they just might manage to interfere with the Russian logistics enough to make a difference.

        Also, more drones. Armenian and Azeri war gave us a preview, but this war really hammers down the importance of various types of drones and loitering munitions in modern warfare.

        • TTG says:


          I tend to agree. Long range fires, drones and loitering munitions will make a difference. One thing to keep in mind is that all the videos of drone and loitering munition successes are probably not typical of all drone operations. Surely drones often are destroyed, lost or miss their targets, but those videos never see the light of day.

  5. Fred says:

    I wonder what the Covid casualties have been? That’s still mandatory vax&boost (what number are they on now, 5,6, I’ve lost count) in a number of countries, and a number of our own states and cities. Did we ship any of our unused vax over there last year? Did the Ukrainians make it mandatory for their armed forces like Biden did for ours?

    • TTG says:


      The Russian Army was vaccinated against Covid on Putin’s orders. I assume the Ukrainian Army was also vaccinated.

      • Peter Williams says:

        Sputnik V, which the Russian Army used is not an mRNA vaccine. The Ukraine undoubtedly used a Western mRNA vaccine.

      • Fred says:


        What’s the difference between mRNA and whatever the Russian’s used? I don’t assume any Ukrainian use at all as it isn’t in the press nor did we send anything to them.

        • TTG says:


          It’s not hard to find. Sputnik V, used in Russia is an adenovirus vector which introduces viral DNA to cause an mRNA response.

          “Ukraine has used vaccines from four different manufacturers. As for November 3, 2021, 17.2% were vaccinated with AstraZeneca, 29.6% – Coronovac, 41.7% – with Pfizer-BioNTech, 11.5% – with Moderna. By late May 2022 Ukrainians were vaccinated with (only) Coronovac and Pfizer-BioNTech.”

        • Fred says:


          It was a rhetorical question. However, since an answer is easy to find, here are the other easy things to find: efficacy, natural immunity, and the growing problem for the West, “side effects”.

          • TTG says:


            Natural immunity requires enduring a Covid infection, risking all its effects and side effects including Long Covid. A million Americans died trying to acquire natural immunity.

          • Fred says:


            “A million Americans died trying to acquire natural immunity.”

            Wrong on many levels. You might try reviewing all the stories now coming out about the incorrect classifications of death for the majority of people in the US 2020- present. But nice try. Pump up the fear, don’t forget to mask up and ‘stay home, stay safe’ and socially isolate; and my favorite “mostly peaceful” – when none of that mattered. Good luck with the fear campaign in 2024.

  6. Eliot says:


    Russian commentators have said that Wagner has stopped closing the jaws, leaving a gap of about 5km, and they’re applying pressure on Ukrainian positions in the city.

    – Eliot

  7. Looking at the history of how these things go, what’s the estimate for when we are helicoptering off the embassy roof, with Ukrainians clutching to the skids?
    Word is, the Russians are giving it thirty months, but considering next year is presidential elections, I’d say late fall of this year.
    Wait until Trump’s poll numbers come in, in a few weeks, after saying he’ll end it in 24 hours. That will shake things up seriously.
    Remember shaking our fists at China, for letting the bankers ship all our industry over there, is the next song and dance. Ukraine? Ukraine who?

    • Bill Roche says:

      So those bankers did it. Oh those bankers; gotta hate ’em.

      • Government, as executive and regulatory function, is the nervous system, while money and banking are blood and the circulation system of society. When you have public government and private banking, the banks rule, as they don’t have as much oversight, don’t have to plan around election cycles and effectively control the finances of those running for office.
        While people see money as signal to extract and store, markets need it to circulate, but a medium is not a store. Blood is a medium, fat is a store. To store the asset side of the ledger, you need a debt to back it. So the main function the flunkies in office have, is creating the debt the banks need to store excess money. The secret sauce of capitalism is public debt backing private wealth.
        The Federal debt has been growing since the New Deal, so not only was Roosevelt putting unemployed labor back to work, but unemployed capital, as well. Then WW2 came along, as the greatest public works project in US history and the die was cast.
        Essentially the MIC is the trophy wife of the banks. It burns through all that excess credit without empowering anyone who might question the system and can’t be questioned itself, as that would be unpatriotic. That’s why all the military misadventures are such unmitigated messes, but no one is held to account. Safe to say, in any country where the military served a genuine self defense function, the records of many of our generals would not be tolerated. Yet they just get cushy jobs in the defense industry, or in the media.
        The problem is that since government is the actual decision making function, neutering it and leaving the banks to go on a feeding frenzy has all the strategic aptitude of bacteria racing across a petri dish and we are start to get to the other side.
        By this time next year we will be in primary season and at the rate the Ukraine debacle is going, either it goes nuclear, or the Russians will own half the country. So what candidates and party wants that around their neck? My prediction, short of nuclear war, is they will find a way to memory hole it, like all the other wars.

      • Actually one of my ancestors, Louis McLane Jr., founded Wells Fargo and my maternal great grandfather founded Baltimore’s The Daily Record. Basically the local version of the Wall Street Journal. Various other bankers and politicians in the mix.
        So it’s not personal, just observing the dynamics.

  8. Chrisitan Chuba says:

    Russia has fire control over Ukraine’s line of retreat. They do not have to encircle Bakhmut, just sit there and blast anything that moves and or out of that city.

  9. Sam says:

    The Russian army invaded Ukraine in the expectation of a quick decapitation strike against Kyiv and regime change. Putin’s demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine as a Russian puppet. That didn’t happen. Instead a year later after being unable to subdue the Ukrainian army, he’s got Bakhmut as the prize?

    The offensives are around the corner. We’ll see which army performs better. There’s endless speculation on who’s got more arms and who has lost more soldiers. IMO, the only thing that matters is battlefield performance this coming Spring. Let’s say I’m skeptical of the ability of the Russian army to defeat the Ukrainian army. They haven’t demonstrated those skills yet in the past year.

    • Whitewall says:

      The spring counter by Ukr with newly trained men with new armor and weapons may well turn the tide. It would please me no end to see the Russian mercs and mobiks take such a beating that they finally mutiny, reorganize and march to their real enemy….Moscow.

  10. Al says:

    Wagner Group now complaining Kremlin has not provided enough ammo as promised in February to take Bakhmut.

  11. richard barber says:

    I think it’s “zergling rush”. Term of art from Starcraft.

  12. Al says:

    Per commentary in Defense One, it appears US supplying Ukraine with materials for future counter attacks into Russian held territory:

    “Demolition munitions and equipment for obstacle clearing, and a range of vehicle repair parts. Those bridges and munitions will undoubtedly come in handy as Ukraine looks to advance deeper into occupied and heavily-obstructed territory leading to the Crimean peninsula, should Kyiv choose to send its troops that direction in the months ahead. ”

    • LeaNder says:

      Anatol Lieven via time magazin. Is this bit too dramatic? Differences in the Biden admin: “On the outcome of these discussions could depend not only the outcome of the war in Ukraine, but even conceivably the future of humanity.”

      Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has described a Ukrainian attempt to retake not just the Ukrainian territories seized by Russia over the past year, but Crimea (annexed by Russia in 2014) as a “red line” for Russia, that could lead Moscow to widen the war. The Washington Post has reported that U.S. officials have warned Kyiv that present levels of U.S. aid to Ukraine cannot be guaranteed, and that Ukrainian ambitions may have to be modified.

      On the other hand, U.S. Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland has recently identified herself with the Ukrainian government position that Ukraine must regain all its territory and will not compromise on this. Nuland declared that, “[W]e will support Ukraine for as long as it takes. Ukraine is fighting for the return of all of its land within its international borders. We are supporting them, including in preparing a next hard push to regain their territory…Crimea must be—at a minimum, at a minimum—demilitarized.”

      To judge by his latest speeches in Kyiv and Warsaw, President Biden himself appears not yet to have decided what the territorial goal of U.S. support to Ukraine should be. He has said that this must be a matter for the Ukrainians to decide, but has stopped short of endorsing their aim to recover Crimea.

      So Biden really has decided?

      • Bill Roche says:

        I d/n know that Nuland spoke for the entire state dept. and/or the entire US. As usual, no one asked me but I 100% support Ukraine BUT would accede to a Russian Crimea and a Russian Donbas. Regrettably the Russian gov’t will not, I believe, be satisfied w/that. Again and again I tell you all, this is a fight for the rtn of the Empire … Russia wants it all.

        • LeaNder says:

          Lieven does not claim she speaks for the whole State, does he?

          But I see you lean more towards Nuland (Under Secretary) as far as the Russian/Putins mind is concerned. While vaguely accepting her master’s (Secretary of State) postion/opinon. 😉

          Thanks for the feedback.

          • Bill Roche says:

            My German is over 50 years old so maybe that’s why I don’t understand your post. I’m sorry.

  13. Peter Williams says:

    An Ukrainian account of the situation in Bakhmut.
    Most definitely not a pro-Russian source.

    • Leith says:

      Peter W –

      That is a distinction of a free press able to expose warts and tell both sides of any story. It is the complete opposite of Putin’s state sponsored media manipulation. And apparently Kyiv has no Roskomandzor-related organization that the Muscovites use to monitor, control and censor press/TV/socialmedia/etc throughout the Russian Federation.

      The author of that article, Igor Kossov, from his many previous articles seems to play devil’s advocate. That’s a good thing IMO. No country’s press should be full of yes-men. But despite his latest article, Kossov in the past has written this about Putin’s invasion and the Ukrainians resistance: “…around the broad red strokes of violence and sadism, one can see the little brushstrokes filling the negative space. Strokes of kindness and self-sacrifice, of heroism and defiance, of quiet grace and nobility in the face of annihilation. The best that humanity has to offer.”

      • James says:


        Since you are so dedicated to a freedom of the press could you please talk to our government here in Canada and ask them to unban RT so we can once again have access to a dissenting news media?

        • Leith says:

          James –

          RT is NOT a dissenting news media. RT is funded and controlled by state propagandists in the Kremlin. RT is a wholesaler of dezinformatsiya, misleading content & conspiracy theories. Even RT’s editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan, compared the channel to the Russian Ministry of Defence.

          But not to worry. The internet, that blessed font of endless information, is porous. There are tens of thousands of Putin’s bots sending out all the bogus info you care to ingest. You can mainline it if you wish to get your head shaped by proselytizers of falsehood and deception.

          • Peter Williams says:

            Leith, ever heard of VOA/RL, “they are funded and controlled by state propagandists in Langley”, does that make you feel better? VOA/RL are not dissenting news media. They’re propaganda channels.

          • Leith says:

            Peter W –

            You’re partly right. But you forgot to mention that they are banned and blocked by the Kremlin.

          • Peter Williams says:

            Leith, you live in cloud cuckoo land. You have six news outfits, all controlled and permitted by the state. You have a few propaganda outfits paid for by your Government, You censor any media not approved by your Government, and you talk about free media? The BBC is an example of a state controlled media. All European countries have similar.

            Langley and GCHQ pollute the internet with their bots, and you talk about the Kremlin. Pot, kettle black much?

          • Leith says:

            Peter W –

            They are not only banned and blocked by the Kremlin. But Russians who dare to go against the ban face beatings and/or imprisonment. How dare they listen to the Jazz Hour, or hear MLK’s speeches, or English lessons.

            I’ve openly watched Russian music and dance from RT. Or Russian film classics. And loved it. Yet somehow here I stand, not arrested, not under suspicion by my government.

            Bit of a difference. But kool-aid drinkers don’t seem to get it.

    • Leith says:

      Peter W. –

      PS – on Kossov’s twitter account he says of that article you posted; “In fairness, Ukraine is doing better than Russia in aggregate and individual men have a limited picture of the battlefield, so I’m not making any assumptions about what command’s doing. But it’d be remiss of me not to write what those guys told me about their personal experiences.”

  14. cobo says:

    “We will support Ukraine for as long as it takes…” This is weak. If we are going to do this then we need to say, “We will support Ukraine in recovering all of the territory unlawfully stolen by Russia.” Then we need to send arms and provide assistance to see this gets done, not next year – this year, now. We need to fight to win, not fight to keep fighting. And please, address your fears. This is a nuclear armed world, and it’s getting more so. That is our fault as an empire, dying before its time.

    • TTG says:


      I know we’ve said it is up to Kyiv to define what victory would entail and Kyiv has been insistent that meant liberating all Ukrainian territory. I don’t know whether that means fighting tooth and nail for every inch of territory or not. Unless Ukraine and the West can engineer conditions in Crimea where the Russian Army disintegrates, taking Crimea is going to be a long, drawn out affair.

    • Bill Roche says:

      Cobo I am not following why it is America’s fault that there has been nuclear proliferation. Did I read you right? That is what you said?

      • English Outsider says:

        Bill – I believe it’s absolutely essential to distinguish between “America” and a smallish group of neocons who’ve landed up in control of US foreign policy.

        Used to have discussions with “Babak” on this on the Colonel’s SST site. He reckoned there was a “civilisational” clash between the West and the non-Western world. I don’t see it. I see it more as systems failure.

        I’m sure of this when it comes to the United States. Not so sure when it comes to Europe but that’s another matter.

        • cobo says:

          Bill, I will follow on what EO said about systems failure. My condemnation of the United States as an empire is because it is allowing itself to disintegrate far too early for the potential it held (holds?). Instead of engineer a strong future, those in leadership only pillaged and burned, no honor, no honoring commitments.

          The way that works is:
          1. The US has allowed other countries to arm themselves with nuclear weapons.
          2. Even our erstwhile allies see the need to stand alone with nuclear weapons, not counting on the umbrella anymore.

          The US will die from within. Our own elites are complicit in this.

          • Bill Roche says:

            The US is dying from w/i. Representational democracy is too much responsibility for most people who are not fit for a constitutional republic. Regrettably the great experiment has been a failure. I do take issue w/y on the idea that America “allowed” other countries to arm themselves w/nuclear weapons. Should the US have made war on the world?

          • cobo says:


            “Should the US have made war on the world”
            Of course, thus my dismay with the worthlessness of the UN and the hypnosis that has been promoted by those with Globalist ambitions.

            Pax Americana was too short. Pax is only ever the state of empire, in my pathetic and humble opinion.

        • Bill Roche says:

          E.O “systems failure” has nothing to do w/what Cobo said. He said it was America’s fault for nuclear proliferation. He goes on to talk about the uselessness of the UN (a given) but there is no way America could have forbidden the science of nuclear weapons to the rest of the world. Cobo feels the American era has come and gone too quickly. Maybe he is right about that. But the US has always had a reluctance to be the world wide peace keeper and has argued, internally, about that since Korea. Personally, I would prefer to see world peace kept and paid for by Britain.

  15. Eliot says:

    “ Used to have discussions with “Babak” on this on the Colonel’s SST site. He reckoned there was a “civilisational” clash between the West and the non-Western world. I don’t see it. I see it more as systems failure.”


    I think this partly religious and civilizational. There’s an east west split here, that’s rooted in the split between the Catholics and the Orthodox Church, and correspondingly the western and eastern Roman Empire. as much as we have in common with the Russians they are a distinct and separate civilization. You can see this process playing out with Serbia, we will accept them, but only after we have broken them, dismantled their culture, and made them like us.

    – Eliot

    • TTG says:


      “There’s an east west split here, that’s rooted in the split between the Catholics and the Orthodox Church”

      That’s a terribly narrow world view. Catholics and the Orthodox Church are but two sects of the Christian faith. How does Protestantism, in all its variations, fit into this split? Even non-Western is a term steeped in Western parochialism. There is great cultural and civilizational variation in what we refer to as the non-Western world.

      • Bill Roche says:

        IMHO to say that the east-west split (and there is one!) is rooted in Eastern Orthodox vs Roman Catholic is simplistic. It does not acknowledge the impact of Protestantism which hit the west like wildfire in the mid 1400’s. Roman Catholics tend to do this. They are still fighting against the Protestant Reformation.
        I’ll say this though, the split is manifest in religion b/c men hold that most close. Consider western religion was derived from Zoroastrianism and moved west. Eastern religion also began in Persia but moved east. Hindus, Buddhist, Taoist, and Shinto have a sense of “aloneness” in the universe w/o an interactive “knowing” god. Jews, Christians (of all flavors), and Muslims insist that god is right next to you – he be there. Thinking about my comment. I wonder if this difference is a chicken and the egg thing. What caused what? Never mind. Huntington(?) wrote 20 years ago about a rtn to an older dynamic in the world. His “Clash of Civilizations” opined we are leaving the Westphalian nation state vs nation state system and returning to an older civilization vs civilization. Don’t count the nation state out yet though. Some will still give their lives to defend it. Ukraine is an example of that today. Ukrainians refuse to be forced to be Russians.

        • TTG says:

          Bill Roche,

          I think a more fitting dichotomy in religion/world view is monotheism vs. animism. Animism, most often also linked with polytheism, sees the spiritual in everything. One cannot get away from this spiritism even if one desperately wants to. There are estimates that 40% of all peoples in the world are animistic. As an anthropologist, I’m keenly aware of this. But I was also brought up with a lot of the beliefs of our Lithuanian pagan forebearers and still retain some of those animistic views. Lithuania didn’t become Christian until very late in the 14th century and that was just a political move by her leaders. Lithuanians remained largely pagan/animistic for generations. My father reverted more and more to the old ways as he aged.

          • cobo says:

            As a resident heretic, please let me explain my simple belief. There is only the oneness of the “mind of god.” Everything, including my car, has its own being within that oneness. On this hill, I’ll take on all comers.

          • TTG says:


            I would think any thinking person is a heretic about something. Your simple belief sounds remarkably similar to the Jesuit call to discern God’s presence, to find God in all things. Pope Francis called for this in “Laudato Si.” You may not be as heretical as you think.

          • Bill Roche says:

            Raised a very strict (are there any other?) Missouri Synod Lutheran I too, as I reach my golden years, think differently about the whole question of the divine. You, and Cobo, can try this on. My emphasis is intentional, as is my sparseness. I KNOW god MAY be but not WHAT. Eight words are enough for me. Now I don’t know about Cobo’s car. But the atoms in the metal are the same atoms throughout the universe. When they go to rust they will rejoin the universe, as will we. So maybe those old old animist understood more than we credit them.
            I challenge Cobo’s claim as resident heretic!

          • cobo says:

            Thank you for this TTG

          • cobo says:


            I honor your divine nature and your defiant quest for what “IS.” I cannot truly speak to this, for me for all the years I’ve sought; I have to go with, “Res ipsa loquitur.” The FB phenomenon is an extension of my work. It’s always linked here. No one post stands alone. Characters (images) are introduced and then progress as the story unfolds. I have the great privilege of participating in this creative flow. In my pathetic corner, the Word is not the origin of Mind. The imagination, silent and dynamic, is.

        • LeaNder says:

          It does not acknowledge the impact of Protestantism which hit the west like wildfire in the mid 1400’s.

          Who exactly do you have in mind? Doubtful it was Jan Hus. Equally doubtful you have Calvin in mind (via GB to the US of A?). Anyway it’s before Luther was born.

          It’s an interesting topic stricly and there is a long list of potential candidates.

        • Two names are worth remembering:
          Arnold J. Toynbee and Samuel Huntington.

          Huntington’s key (1995) book, The Clash of Civilizations is outlined here:

          Toynbee’s many volume magna opus (from the 1930s and 40s) A Study of History is outlined here:

          I note that Toynbee divided the world of his time into five major civilizations, each identified with its dominant religion:
          Christianity (Catholic and Protestant), Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism.
          I don’t recall Toynbee saying much about animism.
          He spoke of “higher religions”.
          Animism might not have fit into his criteria for such.

          • Whitewall says:

            Our world is clashing alright. The last 3 years have almost seemed planned and timed.

            The article is long and makes one wonder.

          • cobo says:

            Toynbee’s “A Study of History, Abridged” is currently propping up my monitor. I’ve read the Brownstone article, most of it… Yes, them evil old gods, except not ha-Satan of Christian misinterpretation.

            The Brownstone author just can’t mention the UN Agenda 21/2030 or the systematic placement of WEF politicians and businessmen throughout international organizations as having anything to do with the international coordination of the recent ‘ahistoric’ authoritarian usurpation of civil society.

            Get ready for Project Blue Beam when divine holograms are cast into the skies and the Space Brothers climb out of our deep fakes. As Hunter Thompson famously said, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro!”

  16. Al says:

    Russian soldiers expected to use their trenching tools to compensate for low or no ammo.
    The “weapons” are likely MPL-50 entrenching tools that have been in service with the Russian military for more than 150 years.

  17. jim ticehurst.. says:

    Regarding Shovel Warfare..While hypersonic missles fly.???. No Ammo..?? Thats so hard to Imagine…This is a Bizarre War…I Read that Putin may be doing that
    on Purpose…So the Wagner Group will Rust away…Like Cohos Car..Until the Wagner
    Motor Seizes..and Dies..Instead of Vladimer…

    Armageddon Scenarios…Speaking of God..His Word is True..You Can see It In All things now…Visible and Invisible..Catastrophic..Thats Why..The Lord said”..I Go..To Prepare
    a Place for You…and Then I Will Return For You..So that where I Am..There You may Be Also.”..Catastrophic..Massive..Global..The Only Way Out of the Mushroom..Event Pending…is UP and OUT..I Believe thats True..As is The WORD..From a Living God..

    • TTG says:

      jim ticehurst,

      Shovels or e-tools (especially when sharpened) have been appropriate trench warfare auxiliary weapons for well over a century. We still trained with bayonets in the 1970s, more for instilling fighting spirit and discipline than anything else. I doubt those poor mobiks receive any training with their shovels other than to dig trenches, but it’s nice to have something when you run out of ammo.

      The generals may be consciously starving the Wagner Group of ammo, but the Russian Army units around Vuhedar are also complaining about a lack of ammo. They say it’s all being sent to the Wagner Group. They’re importing small arms ammo from Iran, so there might be a problem. At a minimum they have a lack of fire discipline.

      • Leith says:

        A 17th Infantry pfc from Maui, a native Hawiian, just a few years ago got a long delayed posthumous Medal of Honor. He used an entrenching tool to beat off a North Korean attack when he ran out of ammo.

        • Leith says:

          Pfc Anthony T. Kaho’ohanohano, The North Koreans were determined to overrun his position, but he wasn’t about to give it up easily. Kaho’ohanohano blasted the onrushing enemy with machine gun fire and grenades. When he ran out of both, he grabbed the only weapon he had left — a shovel — and fought his aggressors one on one until there were too many for him to handle. The position was overrun, and Kaho’ohanohano was killed.”

          Full story at Medal of Honor Monday link below:

          • TTG says:


            One hell of a story about one hell of a soldier. I never heard of him during my time in Hawaii. From the article, I remember that HARNG Armory in Kahului, Maui. It was the home of Company C, 1/299th Infantry at the time, our sister company. For a year and a half, I spent a weekend every month there along with their two week summer training.

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