Biden tells Zelenskyy that U.S. will send Ukraine ATACMS long-range missiles

Some in Washington had resisted supplying the weapons system, known as “attack-ems,” out of fear that it would widen the war with Russia.

President Joe Biden has told his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, that the United States will provide a small number of long-range missiles to aid the war with Russia, three U.S. officials and a congressional official familiar with the discussions told NBC News on Friday. The officials, who were not authorized to speak publicly, did not say when the missiles would be delivered or when a public announcement would be made. For months, Ukraine has asked for the Army Tactical Missile System, known as ATACMS, which would give Kyiv the ability to strike targets from as far away as about 180 miles, hitting supply lines, railways, and command and control locations behind the Russian front lines.

Defense officials have said the U.S. does not have a large stockpile of excess ATACMS, which have a bigger payload than traditional artillery, to provide to Ukraine. Also, some in Washington have resisted supplying the weapon, known colloquially as “attack-ems,” out of fear that it would widen the war with Russia. The congressional official said there was still a debate about the type of missile that would be sent and how many would be delivered to Ukraine. They added that countries in Eastern Europe had already given Ukraine large portions of their weapons stockpiles.


“But the news of the day arrived in the channel in the evening. Germany will transfer the first batch of 45 Taurus missiles to Ukraine in the near future. The second batch of Taurus will be 50 missiles and will be transferred to the Ukrainian Armed Forces by November 10. The Pentagon will supply the Ukrainian Armed Forces with 30 ATACMS missiles and three missile transport-loaders by October. M1A1 Abrams tanks are already in Rzeszow. The transfer to the territory of Ukraine will take place at night, starting at night Saturday.”

Comment: Up until today’s announcement, the official word was that no ATACMS would be going to Ukraine anytime soon if at all. Much of the resistance came from the “escalation managers” within the Biden White House. Just like McNamara’s whiz kids, these people think themselves clever enough to manipulate the timing and conduct of both Ukraine’s and Russia’s actions. Malarkey! Only Zelenskiy and Putin, their militaries and their peoples will determine how this war will be fought and for how long.

We don’t know what kind of ATACMS will be supplied, but that second quote above came from a Russian Telegram channel. It could be idle speculation, but it contains enough detail to sound like it came from Russian intel. Obviously the newest unitary warhead ATACMS will pose the greater risk to the Kerch Bridge. The older cluster warhead ATACMS are far from ideal for knocking out bridges. They are ideal for hitting ammo dumps, headquarters, troop concentrations and rail yards. If that Russian Telegram report is accurate, Germany will now be releasing her Taurus long range cruise missiles. Those are ideal for hardened targets like bridges. These weapons will not be the unicorn-like game changer in this war, but using all available weapons and capabilities together wisely, as Ukraine has been doing in Crimea over the last month, they will make life a lot more difficult for the Russian military in Ukraine.


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71 Responses to Biden tells Zelenskyy that U.S. will send Ukraine ATACMS long-range missiles

  1. KjHeart says:

    The Kyiv Independent appears to have a (healthy) amount of skepticism.

    “After over a year of pleading to get long-range Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) from the U.S., Ukraine might finally receive this much desired weapon.

    Though to Ukraine’s disappointment it was not included in the latest military aid package worth $325 million announced by Washington on Sept. 21, NBC News reported that the decision might be underway.

    According to the publication, citing unnamed U.S. officials familiar with the matter, U.S. President Joe Biden told his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky that Washington would provide Ukraine with a small number of ATACMS.

    The report came shortly after Zelensky’s four-day visit to the United States, during which he met with Biden and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

    If actually provided to Ukraine, ATACMS would allow Kyiv to consistently strike targets deep behind enemy lines, at a range of up to 300 kilometers.

    But will they radically change the course of the war?”


  2. Fred says:

    Ukraine is winning so hard they are unable to close the range and take Crimea under fire with their current artillery/rockets. Obviously they need longer range missles and artillery. What they don’t need is to open a recruiting office in Eagle Pass, Tx or Lampedusa Italy. Those men, and they are mostly men, can circumvent the security provided by NATO members’ navies and even cross the ‘secure’ (or as border czar Kamala says, hah hah hah hah) border we have with Mexico. Just the kind of men Ukraine needs on the front lines. I wonder why Zelensky and Biden haven’t asked them to sign up, for Ukraine! Of course they are willing to fight for, let me check, gimme-dats; but not for whereever they came from; or for Ukraine.

    • TTG says:


      Ukraine has done a decent job of hitting critical targets in Crimea with what they have: amphibious raids, drones (both air and sea), SOF/resistance forces, their own Neptune missiles and the British/French Storm Shadow/SCALP cruise missiles. They just used those Storm Shadows to hit the Black Sea Fleet headquarters while a lot of the brass were meeting there, may even have taken out the fleet commander. They did the same to the 58th CAA headquarters taken out a few general officers. With more, they can do more.

      • Fred says:


        Neither missles nor artillery shells capture ground.

        They still need to open a recruiting office in TX or NYC. Russia should probably expand the effort and open one at the Darien Gap.

  3. walrus says:

    TTG, you conclude: ” These weapons will not be the unicorn-like game changer in this war, but using all available weapons and capabilities together wisely, as Ukraine has been doing in Crimea over the last month, they will make life a lot more difficult for the Russian military in Ukraine.”

    Would you like to comment on Russias weapons and capabilities (used wisely) to make life into a living hell for civilians in Ukraine? My take on events is that russia has the conventional capability to turn UkrAine into something approaching Berlin circa 1945 and precipitate an avalanche of refugees flowing West.

    For good reason so far, they have refRained from doing this.

    By the way, the provision of medium range missiles to Ukraine demonstrates perfectly why that country should not be a member of NATO.

    • TTG says:


      The Russians have a wide range of missiles for deep strikes. The Kinzhal was supposed to be the unstoppable scourge of Europe. It’s good, but the sale brochure clearly oversold the product. Last winter, the Russians tried to shut down the Ukrainian power grid. It should have been eminently doable given their advertised capabilities. But they couldn’t keep up a sustained missile strike campaign. If they launched 100 to 200 missiles a night for several weeks, there probably wouldn’t have been a Ukrainian power grid. Their ability to target, do BDA and retarget is lacking. They also may not have sufficient working missiles and aircraft to carry out such a campaign on a sustained basis.

      They’re now trying to do the same with Ukrainian grain storage and port facilities. Obviously, they’re done great damage, but they haven’t stopped the grain shipments.

      I doubt the failure to take down the power grid or stop the grain shipments is a matter of restraint. Their capabilities are not as good as advertised and they lack the skills to effectively use those capabilities. The lack of skills can be remedied. The Russians can learn. The missile capabilities probably won’t improve. They are still dependent on Western technology which now must be smuggled in. They’ll undoubtedly develop those home grown capabilities, but not in the short term.

      • Fred says:


        Perhaps they are not actually trying to shut down the electric grid (it’s not like power plants and substations move around) or even close the port, but ‘send a message’. Kind of like we’ve been doing all along.

  4. leith says:

    Some Western analysts believe the Taurus cruise missile if provided is much better suited to more permanently taking out the Kerch road and rail bridges. With a 481 kg (1,060 lb) warhead, it is double the size of the ATACMS unitary warhead. And it has four different systems for guidance improving its accuracy. GPS and INS of course, but also Terrain Contour Matching and more important Image Based target recognition.

    I agree that ATACMS is NOT a wunderwaffe and won’t by itself win the war for Ukraine. But it does give them a way to take out more targets anywhere in Crimea and Luhansk province if they get the Block-1A with 300km range. And it will force Gerasimov and his subordinate commanders to adjust the positions of their logistic centers and reserve units. Plus they’ll need to change their plans, tactics, and possibly their strategy as well.

    I also agree with the comment that the Russian military can learn. Which is why I’m dubious about Ukraine taking out senior commanders with deep strikes. If you kill the incompetent General or Admiral then you risk a younger, smarter officer taking his place. Why wouldn’t it be better to leave the devil you know in place so you can take advantage of his known MO instead of putting in a new commander whose tactics and methods are unknown?

  5. F&L says:

    For anyone interested. Latest Rand report on Russia v Ukraine is all about risks of escalation. Downloadable PDF.

    • Mark Logan says:


      In one of Art Green’s aerifier videos he delves into the topic of escalation. Jist was the idea from the get-go was that the Big Red Button under Putin’s paw could not be utterly ignored. Had we gone with a Desert Storm style mobilization the fear, backed by some expert shrinks, was Putin might react like a cornered rat and this was a frog best boiled slow. A constant slow drip? He will get used to it. Seems to be playing out the way Arty predicted over a year ago, anyway.

      His latest.

      He’s mighty confident they are doing serious damage to Russian artillery.

      • Whitewall says:

        At about 14:30, Arty indicates there is one near us now…I assumed loitering drone. That would have unnerved me if I was the interviewer. Hell, it unnerves me sitting here at my desk.

      • Mark Logan says:

        “aerifier” s/b “earlier”. Never trust the auto-correct.

      • leith says:

        Mark L –

        Thanks for the link. Amazing to me is his comment about former talented IT guys now privates and NCO in the UA Army constantly updating and improving the artillery’s fire management, direction & control software and system. Here with corporations doing the job it would take tens or hundreds of millions of $ and a long lag time.

        And I like his preference for the M777 howitzer over those huge tracked vehicle self propelled monstrosities. Towed artillery forever!!!

        • leith says:

          Green also mentioned the OODA Loop. Good to see the cannon cockers using a decision cycle approach developed by the USAF fighter mafia 40 odd year ago.

        • TTG says:


          That preference for the towed M777 is based on the ability to camouflage a smaller system. It goes back to what we learned in IOBC in the mid-70s. If you can be seen, you can be killed. Camouflage was huge in the light infantry. We camouflaged our fighting positions as well as a sniper would camouflage his sniper hide. We did the same for our mortars. Even if we were only in a position temporarily, we would camouflage. We were also paranoid about designating air guards. I’m sure that’s something we totally lost in our SWA wars.

          • leith says:

            TTG –

            Yes, I’m on board with that. But towed guns are also better in other ways. Not being part of the vehicle moving it is a bonus. If its prime mover has mobility issues it can be towed by any other medium tonnage vehicle. Plus it can be moved by helo with a sling, or by C130, something those M109s can’t do. And could that German made behemoth the PZH2000 be air transportable by anything? Except maybe that big Antonov destroyed at Hostomel a year ago February.

            I understand towed have some drawbacks: time to setup and teardown, mobility in deep mud. But well trained crews can overcome the time problem. And modern high mobility wheeled vehicles might be the solution to the rasputitza. Or maybe not. But I still think the advantages outweigh the drawbacks.

      • F&L says:

        Thanks, that was unknown to me.

        This below deserves a very careful look. Bear with the guy till he gets to the issues and diagrams surrounding the Volgograd Gap. Very brutal situation. Trickling in all the ATACAMS and Cruise missiles as is ongoing doesn’t bode well for the Russians especially given the long term scenario outlined in this video. If you’re looking at motives for escalation then here’s one for sure.

        Why Ukraine joining NATO would crush Russian power.

    • English Outsider says:

      They don’t really believe all that, F&L. Just confected twaddle to put a good face on things.

      At least, I hope they don’t believe it. If so, they’re in for a shock.

      This man’s got a better grip on what’s hoped for. He reckons we’re degrading the Russian military at little cost to ourselves. A “wise investment”. (Around 4.25 to 5.10.)

      A better grip on what’s hoped for but again no grip on reality. And as usual with our politicians – American, German, British, makes no odds – to hell with the pawns.

      We are witnessing a war crime of now horrendous proportions. A nation destroyed and a million dead or crippled cannot be regarded by any except the psychos as a wise investment.

      • Keith Harbaugh says:

        Good points!
        Also, take a look at how Canada’s Justin Trudeau is supporting Ukraine:

        What a shame for Canada.

        • Billy Roche says:

          Ukrainians who were able to escape the Holodomore found a friendly home in Canada. Treudeau is playing to that constituency. However, why is it a shame for Canada to support self determination for the Ukrainian people rather then subordination to the Russians?

          • Keith Harbaugh says:

            Two reasons:

            1. It is not as clearcut as some would have it
            that Russia’s concerns do not have considerable merit.
            Given the capabilities of today’s missiles, Russia has valid concerns there.

            2. Whatever the issues of right-versus-wrong are in this conflict,
            what should be clear to everyone is that
            all the Western aid to Ukraine is bringing the world closer and closer to World War III.

            I cannot judge who is right and wrong in this conflict.
            But however that may be judged,
            we shouldn’t put the West at risk over what happens in Ukraine.

          • TTG says:

            Keith Harbaugh,

            Given missile capabilities, Europe and especially Eastern Europe has equally valid security concerns. Given the ongoing invasion, Ukraine’s concerns for her very survival are far more pressing than Russia’s valid concerns.

            I would also point out that Russia’s continued invasion is the prime reason for the world moving closer to WWIII. A Western policy of complete pacifism would lower the risk of greater war, but it would make further Russian conquest and tyranny a near sure thing.

          • Billy Roche says:

            Keith Harbaugh: should the US have been put to risk over the independence of western Europe. Or should the US have said .. f’k’em?

          • Fred says:


            Yes Wilson was wrong to get the US involved in Europe’s war in 1917.

          • James says:


            Just the other day Putin said “A Russian policy of complete pacifism would lower the risk of greater war, but it would make further US conquest and tyranny a near sure thing.”

            And then he showed this video:

          • TTG says:


            That video shows a piece of US history that we cannot run away from. The Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld crew set out a plan for world conquest and set about trying to implement it. They were stymied. That’s a lesson and a warning that I believe we should constantly be reminded of, but it’s hardly were we are now. We’re not even saying Assad must go anymore. And even though we are saying Putin is a despicable war criminal, we’re not pushing for his overthrow. On the contrary, we are being cautious in fear of what a collapsed Putin regime might usher in.

          • Billy Roche says:

            Fred: ur right re Wilson in 1917. There was no “war to end…”, no “fight for democracy (tell that to the people living under the Brits/French/ and Russians)”, no “freedom of the seas (unless you were for Britain)”, and no reason for American blood to fight for European “aristocrats”. Wilson was a Anglophile, period. I referenced WW II which resulted from Wilson’s stupidity in WW I. Keith Harborough says helping Ukraine fight for independence from the Russians, is not our business. Then why did we help Germany (which would/could not fight) for their independence. F Ukraine? Ok, then F West Germany. But we did put America at risk for western Europe. Oh, but that was for the Germans… and we all know how Germans love liberty. No, it was b/c we believed if West Germany fell then the rest of western Europe would. Harborough says don’t risk America over Ukraine but I am convinced when/if Putin wins in Ukraine he will go to Moldova next and that will bring in Romania (and NATO). Or maybe a division or two on the border of Estonia to scare out latent NAZIS. Perhaps Russian military over flights will get Finland’s attn? What then? As an isolationist/Libertarian it pains me to admit that we no longer live in 1800 but I hope we are not still living in ’36. The same two countries involved in ’36 are involved in 2023. Germany learned its lesson. Russia hasn’t.

          • James says:

            Billy Roche,

            I am Canadian and please allow me to defend our Prime Minister for a moment. Justin did not invite that guy to speak – it was the speaker of the house who invited him to speak and according to the speaker of the house he did it on the spur of the moment and without Justin having any idea he was going to do it.

            But let me float this conspiracy theory: Justin has been in trouble for some time. He has two main rivals, Chrystia Freeland (his deputy Prime Minister) and Pierre Poilievre (the leader of the main opposition party).

            Chrystia Freeland is Ukrainian and her granddaddy was basically a Nazi. If I thought Justin was smart enough I would think that Justin engineered this whole affair to cause difficulties for his main political rival. I don’t think Justin is that smart – but I do think that it is interesting.

          • Billy Roche says:

            James; I don’t know if Freeland’s grandfather was fighting for the Nazis, or if he was wearing a Nazi uniform in order to fight the commies. I’ll bet you don’t either. We are responding to press reports that say he was a Nazi; but those reporters don’t know either. There is significant difference. Now which is it??

          • James says:


            Here is an article from the Ottawa Citizen (the daily newspaper for our nation’s capital) and the headline reads: Chrystia Freeland’s granddad was indeed a Nazi collaborator


          • Fred says:


            Since you’re back on the bandwagon you might want to ask which bank to use to send Zelensky some of your personal wealth to win the war. When he gets done with teaching Russia a lesson you can fill us all in on who’s next on the list.

        • English Outsider says:

          That word again. “unprovoked”.

          “We stand here absolutely united in our defense of democracy and our condemnation of (Russian President) Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked, unjustified and unconscionable invasion of Ukraine,” Trudeau said.

          As if the peoples of the Donbass haven’t been fighting for their lives for the past eight years. The Kiev forces massed along the LoC in early 2022 were numerically greatly superior to the LDNR forces. Had they broken in to the Donbass there would have been mayhem. The pro-Russians living in the Donbass would have been killed or driven out.

          That was not a risk Putin was prepared to take, Nor should he have been. It would have been grossly irresponsible to risk allowing the Kiev forces into the Donbass.

          Putin knew that rendering assistance to the LDNR forces would trigger the “Sanctions from Hell”. He said as much. We now know those sanctions failed but even so they gave a nasty jolt to the Russian economy and financial system. So there were two risks to balance. The risk of the Kiev forces getting onto the Donbass. The risk of heavy and deliberately destabilising sanctions.

          Solution from our side, the Western side? Make a start on implementing Minsk 2. That was an option open to us. The Scholz/Macron failure to take any steps to do so, for all that they were the guarantors of Minsk 2, ruled that solution out.

          The Minsk 2 solution blocked Putin was “cornered.” It’s alleged that Strobe Talbot used precisely that word.

          ” Strobe Talbot tweeted early this year when Russia’s special military operations began congratulating President Joe Biden’s foreign policy team — Victoria Nuland, Antony Blinken and Jake Sullivan — for having successfully cornered Russia.”

          Whether that word was used or not that was the fact. We had Putin cornered. He must either run the risk of sanctions or run the risk of the Kiev forces getting into the Donbass.

          You don’t “corner” the Bear and then claim that the Bear’s reaction was “unprovoked”. The use of the term “unprovoked”, a term used by all Western politicians from President Biden down, is the central falsity in the case those politicians have presented to the Western electorates.


          So much for the rights and wrongs of the case. We must, to avoid confusion, reject entirely the case put forward by scholars such as Mearsheimer: that Russian military action in February 2022 was a Russian response to increasing NATO pressure generally. There is no substance to that “Mearsheimer thesis”

          No substance because the Russian security fears set out in the Russian Security demands of late 2021 were centred on Europe: the siting of missile bases in Europe close to Russia: The use of European territory as a base for threatening Western military manoeuvres: the inclusion of more European countries in NATO – almost all the demands of substance were to do with security in Europe:-

          What does all that boil down to? The Russians were saying, “Back off, NATO. Stop using Europe to threaten us.”

          So how could invading a neighbouring country – because that’s what the SMO was both in our eyes and, given that the SMO went further than the Donbass, in Russian eyes – go any way to satisfying those Russian European security demands?

          It obviously didn’t and it was clear to both sides that it would not. It was predictable in February 2022 that a Russian invasion of Ukraine would not lead to NATO “backing off.” It would, and in the event did, lead to the expansion of NATO. It would, and did, lead to an increase in NATO military activity in Europe and the promise of more. The Scholz/Stoltenberg proposals for a 300,000 Rapid Response Force in Europe, impracticable though that is, nevertheless show that. And the missile bases in Poland and Romania, specifically mentioned by Putin several times, have not been moved but will probably be added to in other NATO countries.

          And the “Mearsheimer thesis”, that the Russian invasion was an inevitable Russian response to increasing NATO pressure, fails on other grounds. Europe is dependent on Russian supplies of fossil fuels and raw materials. As we in Europe may find out – that’s as yet uncertain – cutting off those supplies entirely was a more logical and effective means of exerting pressure on NATO to “back off” than any military activity could be.

          We may forgive Mearsheimer his error. A great scholar, he deals in the mechanics of great power relationships. He leaves local “area studies” to the specialists. But it was the military position along the LoC in early 2022, very much a subject for the “area studies” specialists, that provoked the Russian military action in February 2022, not some illogical and impracticable decision by Putin to relieve NATO pressure by invading a neighbouring county.

          Important to get the ” Mearsheimer thesis” out the way. It’s one advanced by very many Russian apologists and often enough by Russians themselves. But if we fail to understand that the SMO was a response to our “cornering” Putin, not some vague attempt by Putin to get NATO to back off, we fail entirely to dispose of the Western claim that the invasion of Ukraine was “unprovoked.” Russia moved in on February 24th 2022 because had it not done so there was a serious risk Kiev forces would have got into the Donbass. The Russian European Security demands, if they are forced through by Russia, will be forced through by other means entirely.


          After that brief foray into the rights and wrongs of the case we do, however, have to acknowledge that those rights and wrongs are entirely irrelevant now. Right or wrong, we’re pushing the Ukrainians on to destruction. They are caught between Western pressure and the demands of their own extremist controlled government. And such NATO assistance as they’ve been given is pure amateur night. Time this murderous farce came to an end.

          • TTG says:


            The Ukrainian Army was far smaller at the beginning of 2022 than what it has become. The bulk of the armed forces were in the still developing Territorial Defense Forces (TDF), a lightly armed reserve force totally unsuitable for offensive actions. Now there are TDF brigades nearly as capable as regular mechanized brigades. The Ukrainian Army was in no condition to attempt to breach the defensive lines along the LOC in February 2022, especially with 100,000 Russians sitting along her borders.

            Minsk II was never going to be implemented. The LNR/DNR would never allow Kyiv to control the entire Ukrainian border. Given that frozen conflict, Moscow could have moved into those areas in force after declaring them independent countries. Ukraine could not have stopped them and she would have been even less capable of crossing the LOC with all those Russian forces now manning the fortifications on the other side of the LOC. It’s debatable if the sanctions regime would have been implemented if Russia stopped at the LOC. I doubt Berlin would have gone along with them. Even Biden hedged on what would trigger the sanctions. Recognizing LNR/DNR independence sure didn’t trigger them. But assisting the LNR/DNR was not Putin’s concern. He wanted a government in Kyiv compliant with Kremlin wishes and he thought he could pull it off. He chose poorly.

            We are not pushing Ukraine to continue fighting. Ukraine is pushing the West to continue providing support. With or without that support, Zelenskiy and the Ukrainian people will continue to resist the Russian invaders.

          • Billy Roche says:

            EO: those words again, SMO, remnant Ukraine, Donbass independence, Russian security; reveal your affection for the Russian. Russia invaded Ukraine which was fighting a civil war w/i its own borders. Ukrainian soldiers d/n enter Russia. Anyone with eyes and a brain can see that the so called SMO is an INVASION. Remnant Ukraine is your hope for the elimination of the Ukrainian people and state, which, as Putin says, don’t exist anyway. You remind of Russia’s security concerns never mentioning those of her western neighbors (who you have consigned as unfortunate to live next to Russia). Some reminders are, again, in order. Russia invaded Ukraine and is killing and destroying. Ukrainians are not and d/n want to be a Russian colony. Your continual reference to Minsk always/simply ignores 100 years of Ukrainian fighting for independence from, yes, the Russians. You can “sell Putin” everyday but Ukrainians won’t buy it so I’m afraid the world will see a second anniversary of Russia’s invasion and five more months of Russian efforts to rtn to 1914. I believe you have accepted the idea that eastern Europeans are Russian toys but I don’t think they agree.

      • leith says:

        English O –

        You are right about a war crime. If only Putin had not invaded could it have been avoided.

        There have been several thousands of horrendous war crimes in Ukraine. Here is the latest chapter:

        • English Outsider says:

          Leith – the precise number of Ukrainian forces along the LoC in early 2022 is disputed. A conservative estimate is 80,000. Behind them they had much larger forces.

          The numbers for the LDNR forces are also difficult to arrive at. 20,000 to 40,000 are the figures one usually sees.

          The Kiev forces were not suitable for full scale combined arms war. Nor are they yet, for that matter. But they were NATO trained in small unit and urban fighting, and given arms suitable for that purpose. They were only a short distance from Donetsk. Had they overcome the LDNR forces and occupied that city we would have been watching another Mariupol.

          That would have meant the most difficult type of urban fighting. The use of civilians as human shields occurred many times in Mariupol and is perhaps the most difficult of all military problems to solve. The use of civilian dwellings and apartments as sniper nests, again routine in Mariupol, would have augmented those difficulties.

          The Aidar, along with other Right Sector units, formed part of the Kiev forces. I don’t have to tell you what that meant.

          In short, had the Kiev forces got into the towns and settlements of the Donbass we would have seen prolonged and difficult fighting together with large scale atrocities. The Western press would have downplayed or concealed those atrocities – as they did last time – but that doesn’t mean they would not have occurred.

          That was the risk Putin was running when he was faced with the risk of the Kiev forces getting into the Donbass. As said, he would have been grossly irresponsible had he not acted to pre-empt that risk.

          FAFO is all one can say. The neocons of the US and Europe thought they’d cornered the Bear. They found out different. We’ll hear plenty of indignant cries from the neocons but really, they’re just amateurish losers who’ve lost what was in any case a pretty squalid gamble. They’re not going to break Russia as they’d hoped and lost all chance of doing that when the sanctions war failed. Now that is evident even to the most rabid neocon it’s time to pick up the pieces.

          Also time to stop pushing our unfortunate proxies into the killing fields. Might have said that before over the last year and more. We’re going to sell those proxies out anyway. You know that. Why get more of them killed as we do so?

          • Billy Roche says:

            EO; Killing Ukrainians, could end tonight. Putin orders his troops home. Why not? Ukraine’s civil war in the Donbas is just that, a problem for the sovereign state of Ukraine. The bone in your throat, and Putin’s, is Ukrainian sovereignty which was always the issue. Following your logic any country would have an acceptable causus belli for invading any neighbor w/same speaking citizens. Shall we take a trip around the world and consider how many countries would fall under your/Putin’s umbrella? Russia’s “right”of intervention ended with Ukraine’s August ’90 declaration of independence and her acceptance as a sovereign state by the world. You’re a very effective apologist for Russian empire. But however nuanced and intellectual your comments favor Russian hegemony. It’s nice to know you.
            Your servant sir.

          • TTG says:


            Prior to the invasion, the Ukrainian Army mustered 18 maneuver brigades for the entire country. That half the number you claim and that’s for the entire country, not just along the LOC. The Reserve and Territorial Defense Brigades weren’t activated until the invasion began.

            The Aidar Battalion and a few others were deactivated after 2016. Those personnel went into the Reserves. The Azov Battalion became the Azov Regiment and remained based at Mariupol, not on the LOC.

            That’s what was available to face the 100,000 Russians massed on the border along with whatever the LNR/DNR fielded. The idea of an imminent Ukrainian offensive along the LOC is a Kremlin fairytale.

          • leith says:

            English O –

            Whatever the number of Ukrainian Forces at the LOC in early 2022 is – they were there to defend northern Luhansk oblast and western & northwestern Donetz oblast and the civilians living there. Those regions were not part of the LDNR at that time. But the LDNR with the support of so-called ‘Russian volunteers’ were actively trying to take those areas by force. They were also constantly shelling those areas across the LOC.

            Your numbers are also disputed. A conservative estimate for Ukrainian troops there is about 20% less than the 80,000 you quote. However the majority were nowhere near the LOC. They were in northern Luhansk to deter a Russian invasion axes down from Belgorod and Voronezh oblasts.

            The LDNR militias were 40 or 45,000. And they were supplemented with tens of thousands of Russian Army troops as observed by OSCE. Alex Borodai, former DPR prime minister, openly bragged that they were helped out by 50,000 of those ‘Russian volunteers’.

            Putin knew that. The LDNR was not in danger from Ukraine when Putin started his SMO and invaded. All the lies the Kremlin put out about saving poor dear LDNR was rubbish, or bollocks or whatever word you Limeys are using for BS nowadays.

  6. Whitewall says:

    Correction, make that 7:30 mark.

  7. F&L says:

    If 51 to 42 is “Edging out,” then I’d like to see “winning by a clear margin.” Filed this with the reporters who brought you “mostly peaceful protests.” So … assuming this is accurate … do you figure that the Republicans would accept a reported Biden election victory? Would the Dems accept a republican victory? How about trying to repeat the Supreme Court tie-breaker scenario of 2000 now that Thomas & Alito are known to be bought and paid for?

    Trump edges out Biden 51-42 in head to.head poll.

    • Fred says:

      9 points must mean more ballots need to be printed in “key” states.

      • Billy Roche says:

        Be very careful what you write. The DOIJ/FIB may visit you at 4AM w/dogs and news cameras to be sure you’re thinking correctly. That’s democracy y’know. Careful!

        • Fred says:

          I am already on the watch list, aren’t you?

          • English Outsider says:

            But Fred, tens of millions of people voted for Trump! They can’t put them all on a watch list.

            Can they?

            Over here there’s no Trump to vote for. So it’s sealed down tight, the neoliberal neocon consensus. The bastards have us all ways. Some considering not voting at all.

            That may not look too good on the profile but the men sitting in front of the screens have plenty else to occupy them. So should be safe enough.

  8. English Outsider says:

    Leith – those figures don’t match the figures given at the time.

    Important also to recognise that the forces at Putin’s disposal at that time were small compared to the Kiev forces overall. Most of the Russian army was kept back to deal with a possible NATO attack, as I believe is still the case. The massive mobilisation we saw afterwards, and the corresponding massive increase in arms production to equip mobilised troops, had not taken place. When it came to deploying forces in the Ukrainian theatre this was, like the US army in Europe, an army in posse and not in esse.

    Most importantly, the Russian and Allied forces deployed along the LoC on February 21st 2022 were insufficient for the task of holding back a possible Ukrainian attack along that LoC. In those circumstances the dramatic increase in the shelling from the Ukrainian side, that in spite of Putin’s request to the Kiev forces to hold back, was direct provocation.

    FAFO. You don’t fool around like that on the border of a major military power without consequences.

    The sequel was entirely unexpected. Fighting under the most restrictive ROE ever imposed a small number of Russian regular forces so incapacitated that massive Ukrainian army that it was thereafter incapable of mounting any serious threat. Unexpected also was that the West’s main weapon for breaking Russia, the sanctions, turned in their hand. So project Ukraine has morphed into an ignominious failure, with the respective sets of politicians now well into the blame game and not doing very well at that either.

    I’m a little conflicted on this disaster, Leith. On the one hand what the neocons of the US and Europe were after was pure evil. What you and most Americans don’t pay sufficient attention to, even the hotshots like Macgregor or Mearsheimer, was that it was the Europeans, not the US, who paved the way for project Ukraine. That’s why I’m always going on about Merkel and then Scholz rather than the US neocons. But whoever did it, it’s been apparent that the misery inflicted on the Ukrainians from 2014 on, using a bunch of neo-Nazis for the purpose to boot, was a most evil use to make of this particular set of pawns on the Grand Chessboard. Other pawns have suffered worse – the death and destruction in MENA dwarfs even what we’ve done to the Ukrainians – but this was pretty bad.

    So too the sanctions war. “Breaking Russia”, that is, wrecking its economy and financial system with all the consequent destabilisation and misery, was also pure evil. And don’t be taken in by the nonsense about how we’re fighting for “Freedom and Democracy”, or “Defending the Rules Based International Order”. That’s just happy talk for the voters. As the statements made in early 2022 show, we were after nothing less than plunging a sixth of the world’s surface into misery. Psycho stuff and we should be ashamed we tolerate politicians who think it’s acceptable to work that way.
    Serve us right that in this instance we failed.

    So an evil project, project Ukraine. On the other hand …

    One does like to see a modicum of competence from those we elect to run our affairs for us. And start to finish, this was nothing less than a series of utterly incompetent improvisations. No plan B for the neocons, ever. That goes without saying. But even their plan A was amateur night on a disastrous scale. I remember writing in to Dr North’s site early on lamenting that this bunch of losers couldn’t even do wrong right. What the hell are we doing in the West, allowing such patent incompetents anywhere near power!

  9. Billy Roche says:

    James: If the Ottawa Citizen says the grandfather was a NAZI then it must be so. Their writer must have been aware of the complications of Russian/Communists vs German/Nazis and decided grandpa’s leanings 75 years later. He was a NAZI who hated Jews and tried to kill Communists so away w/him! My point Jim is that the Ottawa Citizen writer c/n have known these things. Ukrainians fought the communist in a bloody war for independence from 1917 to 1922. Just 10 years later the Communist unleashed the Holodomore on Ukrainians and killed 6MM of them. So there may be more to this story then an old man wore a Nazi uniform in 1943 so string him up. I don’t know, and neither James, do you. If I were a young man in ’43 I’d like to think I’d have the balls to don a Nazi uniform and kill some communists too. BTW, perhaps the Ottawa Citizen can do an in depth article on the political leanings of all Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Hungarian, Armenian, and Finnish men who put on German uniforms during WW II. The more I learn about history the more I know I don’t know.

    • James says:


      From my point of view, the key thing about Chrystia’s grandpa was he lived in an apartment in Krakow that was confiscated from Jews and printed his newspaper on printing presses that had been confiscated from Jews.

      I saw Wehrmacht officer’s uniforms in the superb museum in Kiev … and I have to admit they were beautiful. Hugo was talented at his craft. I saw an SS uniform in the window of a pawn shop in Buenos Aires and it had much the same cut as the Wehrmacht officer’s uniform except that it screamed pure evil. Even to this day when I think of it I get a pit of fear in my stomach. I’ve never seen anything like it.

      • Billy Roche says:

        James: no doubt the National Socialist Party was pure evil. I spent a day at Dachau in ’70 and the evil of National Socialism overwhelmed me. I think, had the Nazis had a chance they w/h done great damage to Ukraine. Whenever a gov’t has complete control over the people it often commits unspeakable evil. The communists were also 100% evil but in 1970 I c/n fly to Russia to view any Gulags. Grandpa c/n make that comparison in ’42, he may have simply wanted pay back against the Russians. Did the Ottawa Citizen comment on Russian Bolsheviks/Communists who fought against Ukrainian independence ’17-22?. Many of the Bolsheviks who fought against Ukrainian independence in ’17-22 were Jews and many Communists who oversaw the Holodomore were Jews. Maybe grandpa held a grudge . Look into a group of communist zealots called “the thousanders”. I’ve read they were Jews sent into Ukraine to see that Stalin’s farm collectivization was brutally carried out. Maybe grandpa wanted pay back against the commies and a German uniform did the trick. The Ottawa Citizen offered a superficial story w/o much research. But that’s what we get today from the media. What do the kids call that today … click bait? Like I said, the more I learn the more I learn what I don’t know.

    • Leith says:

      Billy –

      You forgot to add the Russians that fought for Hitler. They volunteered with the SS and fought alongside German SS units against the Red Army and later in the West against the Brits and Americans. Many others joined Vlasov’ Army and fought alongside the alongside the Wehrmacht.

  10. Billy Roche says:

    Fred: tx for your suggestion re my personal wealth. I’ll make that decision through the ballot box hoping my vote gets counted; but, you never know. As to your question on “whose next” do you mean Zelinskyy has another country in mind to threaten? Or, do you mean the U.S. has another country to threaten? Look, Ukraine is hoping for survival and the US has been chastened. My hopes for this nightmare, caused by Russian imperial ambitions, is that Ukraine will survive and b/c a member of the “Three Seas Initiative”, Russia will look east, not west, for friends (Iran, Turkey, China – all of whom have been treated miserably by the Russian), NATO will die an overdue death, and the US defense budget will be reduced. Which American Presidential candidate should receive my vote (counted or not)?

    • English Outsider says:

      Bill – that’s a rhetorical question isn’t it?

      Got to be Trump. Not because there’s no one else useful on offer, though that’s surely a consideration. Because he has the guts and drive to loosen the grip of the Beltway perpetual motion machine that’s inexorably running America into the ground.

      And the West with it. It’s no accident that almost all European politicians and press outlets went to colossal lengths to pull him down. No accident that three British Prime Ministers condoned if they didn’t give the go-ahead to the Russiagate character assassination that Steele and Dearlove cooked up with their fellows in the States. That man is poison to the loser politicians who have the Western countries by the throat. Grab him while he’s on offer!

      As for giving him your vote, that’s scarcely adequate is it? Give him several. That seems to be the way things are done these days.

      partners. nexus.

      anyone else on offer

  11. Leith says:

    James –

    Whether we like them now or not, the Soviets were allied with you Canadians and the US and the UK during WWII. Seems to me the most inappropriate thing regarding that debacle in the Canadian Parliament was cheering for someone who fought against our Allies. Didn’t matter what Hunka’s motives were.

    As much as I despise Putin and Stalin, the Red Army including millions of Ukrainians helped to defeat Hitler.

    Chomiak, Freeland’s grampa, was born as a citizen of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. I’m not surprised that he wrote for a German supported newspaper.

    • LeaNder says:

      I’m not surprised that he wrote for a German supported newspaper.

      He did not write for a German-supported newspaper; he wrote for a Nazi-controlled newspaper. And it is easy to see what he published. The archives are available in Canada. See John Paul Himka’s studies; he studied them. Or take a look at a more recent study by Polish-American Paweł Markiewicz on the larger historical context of collaboration with the Nazis. The Ukrainians were the better treated of the Slavic Untermenschen.

      I am aware that in the US and Canada, the cultlike celebration of at least somewhat questionable characters was quite OK. Never mind the exhibition of the emblems of the SS Galician, free to celebrate the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Galician).

      The diverse collaborative parties up to the Ukrainian Canadian Congress may in fact have been just as helpful during the Cold War as the Nazis the US hired or worked with. They had the necessary anti-Soviet expertise.

  12. babelthuap says:


    You are comparing your training exercise injury to my combat wound. Not the same thing. Not even close.

    Nobody was trying to kill you. I went out the wire that day knowing somebody was trying to kill me like 100 times before. Not training. It was the real thing. The sickening feeling in my stomach was there every single day.

    It only stopped when I was ordered to get on the gurney due to one of my arm hanging by meat in my rolled down BDU sleeve.

    You should be ashamed of yourself even making the comparison. But you won’t. Thank you for your service but you and I are at an impasse. Training is not warfare. Did you get a Purple Heart? No. You did not. Not the same thing.

    • TTG says:


      The only real combat I experienced was a couple of months in the Shouf Mountains in Lebanon. No injuries whatsoever except for raging tinnitus from Syrian and Druze artillery bombardments. No sickening feeling at all. Maybe some occasional terror and some occasional anger, but that’s it.

      • babelthuap says:


        I respect you for your service. Full Salute. Not many take the oath. An injury though is non combat related. A wound is from somebody trying to kill you.

        An injury, there is no fear of somebody trying to kill you. Two different things. We are talking about two different experiences. I wish I was injured. Unfortunately I was not. Somebody did try to kill me.

        All I can say is when I was put on the bird a big sigh of relief. It was over. No more fear of someone trying to kill me every single day. I felt bad for my platoon, they still had to face it but I did all I could. I could give no more.

        • TTG says:


          I understand your trauma from being combat wounded. And I also respect you for your service and sacrifice. But somebody trying to kill you is the nature of war, whether the enemy succeeds in wounding you, killing you or not. I was lucky not to get wounded. I never had any desire to win a Purple Heart and have absolutely no regrets about not winning one.

  13. Keith Harbaugh says:

    What is the big picture?
    How much does it matter who controls the Donbass in the big picture?
    I recommend taking a look at this:

    P.S. Hypotheticals about Putin wanting more than very modest objectives in Ukraine
    have no substantial validity, IMO.
    The biggest problem, IMO, is Zelenskyy rejecting a compromise which would entail Ukraine giving up Crimea and the Donbass.

    • Billy Roche says:

      Yes, who controls the Donbas is irrelevant; after all, “Today the Donbas; tomorrow eastern Europe” … some one in Moscow said. And why not, as the E.O. (and officer Krumke) suggests the Russians are “good good good, they’re just misunderstood”. They only want to protect Russian speakers in the Donbass and Crimea, not absorb them into Russia. Huh?
      E.O. and I AGREED (can you imagine) in March of ’22 that the sensible thing for Ukraine was to give up the Donbas, accept Crimea’s loss, and come away as a still sovereign country. You can check the archives but I remember Pat Lang thought so also.
      Zelinskyys point is that this was always a ruse. Putin is attempting a rebirth of the Russian Empire and ultimately the subjucation of eastern Europe – Ukraine first. This will subsequently bring Russia into armed conflict w/Moldova (c’mon, Romania), military intimidation of the Baltics, and provocations over Finnish airspace. Is this good? There are always those who rationalize and say, “does such and such matter in the big picture?” And just how big is the “big picture”? I’m not one of them.

      BTW interesting article you pasted. I don’t agree Germany started WW I. I give the Russians credit for that by crossing into Halichnia in 1914 to attack the Austrian army. cheers

      • TTG says:

        Billy Roche and Keith Harbaugh,

        This is a good place to link to a short video of Estonia’s Kaja Kallas explaining the difference between Western peace and Russkiy Mir. I could not have said it better myself. My younger son pointed this out to me last night and knew I’d enjoy it. I think you will too, Billy.

        • Whitewall says:

          A “mature adult content” warning comes up. Must be 18 or over to access this reddit page?

          • TTG says:


            That’s only because it’s war related. It’s a Reddit robot. there’s noting unsuitable about that video. It should be broadcast in every grammar school and high school in the country.

        • Billy Roche says:

          Thanks to you and your son for the link. I c/n get the sound up but I was moved to find out more about her and her positions. I think she’s been reading my (and yours) comments on Pat’s blog!! She is as plain and clear spoken as I remember “Maj. Lang ” to have been. There are always those Ostridges in the world who avoid the unpleasant; and the naive who refuse to see the naked truth about the emperor – (shee he’s a bully). Then there is Kaja Kallas (alas she is too young for me) who sees the frightening truth across her border. The west needs to hear more from her.

  14. English Outsider says:

    It’s that brief period around February 2022 that one sees so seldom discussed, TTG. This bit. “Fighting under the most restrictive ROE ever imposed a small number of Russian regular forces so incapacitated that massive Ukrainian army that it was thereafter incapable of mounting any serious threat.”

    This was not the cautious and legalistic Putin we’ve become accustomed to. But there have always been two Putins. One Putin finessing his way past problems. He and Lavrov were into that in a big way for years. They were moving their country quietly into an entirely new set of trading and security arrangements, away from the West and in Bill’s terms, “Riding East”. The explosion of diplomatic activity among the non-Western powers during the preparations for the US withdrawal from Afghanistan made that process of discarding the West visible, but I believe that process was well under way before that. Participating in that, and of course continuing to pull Russia out of the state of near dereliction of the 90’s, was team Putin’s job.

    The other Putin? He was preparing for the showdown in case the finessing didn’t come off. That was fairly visible too. Martyanov, who knows that scene well, had been examining the great strides Russia had made in weapons technology that now put it ahead of the West. The precision missile strike on a Jihadi HQ from as far away as the Caspian was for many of us the first proof of that. We have seen others since. That, incidentally, was why I was convinced at the beginning that this war was a non-starter. Whatever occurs on the battlefield, a country that can strike at will anywhere in its opponent’s rear areas, and that from any distance it pleases, must prevail against a country that can’t. Yavoriv underlined that conclusion in red.

    The two Putins ran in tandem right up until February 21st 2022. That was the day of the fork in the road. The last day on which this conflict could have gone either way.

    Looking at contemporaneous analyses from such as Lee and Kofman it’s clear that before that the conflict was resolvable by peaceful means. Ritter considers that it was resolvable right up until the 23rd but that’s pushing it. On 21st February Putin finally gave up on the finessing, recognised that Minsk 2 or not the risk of a Kiev incursion was too great to continue running, rushed through all the legalistic stuff he’s so fond of, the Article 51 cover and the rest of it; and let his Generals loose.

    That was when we found out all about FAFO. We’d “cornered” the Bear. Now to examine what happened when he came out fighting. Three main areas to look at.

    1. Kiev. I think all the Western analysts and journalists screwed up on the action around Kiev. An attempted coup. A threat to storm the city. Preparations for policing the city in case of a peace settlement. A diversionary manoeuvre. Or, in the view of many, just a major military blunder. Take your pick but all missed the point.

    Whatever happened in Kiev the rest of Ukraine would have been swarming with NATO armed fighters, NATO trained in the sort of small unit actions that would be just right for localised guerilla actions. We never trained up the Ukrainians for combined arms warfare, nor equipped them. But we’d given them all they needed to turn the Ukraine into what was confidently expected to be Russia’s “Afghanistan”. That was the word on Western lips at the time. And the casualty rate among Russian soldiers, policing a country so furnished, would have been high. Add to that the sanctions war, which was confidently expected to destabilise the RF itself, and the Russians would have been mired in indecisive and bloody fighting for a good long time. We hoped. So the action around Kiev, now written down as at best a diversion and at worst a blunder, was not deserving of the attention all focused on it.

    2. Mariupol. An Azov fiefdom, profitable and brutally run by all accounts, for the preceding eight years. There we saw the direct assault that most had expected for Kiev. Nasty fighting, with the use of civilians and civilian buildings as cover that Azov had learned from the Jihadis. Also a liberal dose of atrocity theatre, also learned from the Jihadis and played up to the limit by the Western press. Seal the whole mess off from reinforcements and supplies and clear the Azov out. Job done.

    3. The formidable Kiev forces along the LoC. There we saw, for those few who looked, one of the most remarkable feats in modern military history. The map and the few accounts that emerged shows a multitude of incursions right along the LoC. Small units of Russian regulars going in deep, taking heavy casualties, and cutting the Ukrainian army to shreds. After that the Ukrainian army was indeed incapable of mounting any serious threat. Chirkin’s breathless and slightly indignant account sums it up best so far. Maybe later, exactly how it was done will emerge.

    Some other bits and pieces. Important bits and pieces but not altering the general picture. After that brief flurry of military action what we saw was what’s been happening since. The Russians, shunning casualties and allowing the Kiev forces, still numerous and propped up with such equipment as the West is prepared to spare, to come to them to be destroyed.

    Still happening, that. We saw recently Milley, Cavoli and Radakin instructing an allegedly reluctant Zaluzhnyi to send more of the unfortunate Ukrainian PBI into the Rabotyne killing grounds. The unprofessional professionals, we must call those three. They know it’s hopeless but are forcing it on anyway, to give their masters time to flounder around looking for a way to save face with their electorates. Military con artists the three of them, who would be cashiered, one would hope, if they ever used their own men so.

    There’s so much disagreement about this war, TTG, but whatever we think of the Russians, or of the Western politicians, we must agree that this cold blooded sacrifice of our proxies should cease. And the key to it all that brief period before and after February 21st 2022. It’s perhaps a little like poking around in a charnel house now, but I do wish the attention of the military analysts such as yourself could be focused on that time.

    • TTG says:


      You still believe those fairytales about the ten foot tall Russian soldier, that the only reason they’re losing huge numbers of men and vast amounts of equipment is that they choose to do so. Balderdash and poppycock! (I enjoyed writing that.) We’re now finding that Putin’s economic and military miracles of the last few decades was built on a solid foundation of institutionalized corruption. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine exposed all that.

      Having said that, Russia has still managed to come a long way since the fall of the USSR. She’s produced some remarkable weapons which would have been so much better if they weren’t corroded by corruption. And, in my opinion, their past and continuing actions in Syria remain a model for executing a successful invited intervention. If the can ever solve their deeply ingrained corruption problem, they’ll do fine without Ukraine or the rest of Europe.

    • Billy Roche says:

      The killing, rapes, kidnapping, and destruction can stop tomorrow if Putin removes his invading army from Ukrainian soil. He won’t b/c such affirmation of a sovereign Ukraine ends Putin’s (and Russia’s?) hopes for renewed empire. That, the forbearance of empire, is the existential loss for Russia; a loss of what c/b “Mother Russia” once again. Ukrainian sovereignty (real sovereignty) has always been the issue. In the real world, no country (certainly not Ukraine) threatens the existence of Russia. That’s Russian propaganda to excuse her vicious aggression. Why do you deny history? Ukrainians have been fighting these same Russians for over a century for freedom. This is not new and they will not give up now. With or without America/NATO, Ukrainians will fight to their last babushka. They understand there will be no second chance for a sovereign Ukrainian. You seem ok w/a . I wonder what the avg eastern European would say.

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