Changed war aims for Russia?

To paraphrase Sherman, “War is nothing but cruelty, and to pretend otherwise is foolish.”

“Moscow signaled on Friday it was scaling back its ambitions in Ukraine to focus on territory claimed by Russian-backed separatists as Ukrainian forces went on the offensive to recapture towns on the outskirts of the capital Kyiv.

In the first big sign that Western sanctions on Moscow were impacting investment from China, sources said state-run Sinopec Group, Asia’s biggest oil refiner, halted talks on a petrochemical investment and a venture to market Russian gas.

In the month since Moscow launched its invasion of Ukraine, Russian troops have failed to capture any major city. Their assault has met stiff resistance from Ukrainian forces and has been halted outside Kyiv.

The Russians have instead been bombarding and encircling cities, laying waste to residential areas and driving around a quarter of Ukraine’s 44 million people from their homes.”

Comment: The Ukrainian program has to be to kill as many Russian soldiers as possible. Killing general officers is undoubtedly very gratifying but killing and wounding conscripts is likely to have the greatest effect on the Russian home front. pl

Ukraine Says 300 Died in Theater Attack, Hunger Grips Cities |

Russia-Ukraine latest news: Kremlin to focus on ‘complete liberation’ of Donbas region (

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15 Responses to Changed war aims for Russia?

  1. 505thPIR says:

    Amen. 1:48 of this clip mirrors the sentiment. To be clear however, no killing prisoners period.

  2. fakebot says:

    Putin has been careful to describe the invasion as a special military operation rather than a war. I don’t think he ever made any pronouncements that the aim was take Ukraine, despite the fact we know that Russia actions showed that was in fact their intention.

    • Philip Owen says:

      From memory Putin’s stated aims were:

      Demilitarization (he can claim success at least in Russia)
      Forced neutrality (Ukraine was not a realistic NATO candidate anyway)
      Denazification (Mariupol will be enough)
      Decommunization (this means capturing NovoRossiya – fail)
      Liberation of DNR and LNR in their full territories (this could prove ambitious)

      If he only captures Mariupol he can claim progess on all fronts if not total victory. If he fails at Mariupol, he fails everything.

    • Stefan says:

      The facts do not support any contention that Putin intended to take all of Ukraine. The numbers dont support this and the complete lack of Russian troops in Western Urkraine also makes it clear. A Russian invasion to take the entire country would look very different than what we see today. Anything else is just hubris

      • Pat Lang says:

        The effort to capture Kiyiv speaks for his hubris and overconfidence. He intended to depose the present government while seizing the country east of the Dnieper. Very poor planning.

        • Unlikely. Nothing the Russians ever said, or did, pointed towards an intention to sack Kiev. Nor do they have any interest in doing regime-change. What they said they wanted to do, is force the adoption of the Minsk-accords, providing the Donbas-region with a level of autonomy. Originally within Ukraine, but since Ukraine wanted to take the Donbas by force, consistently building up troops on the border where snipers and far-right terrorists already killed 14.000 people in eight years, it is now going to reside outside (what will be left of) Ukraine.

          Moreover, they now may want to extend the Donbas region to include the entire stretch of land bordering in the Black Sea, leaving Ukraine landlocked. And with a possibility of building a railroad which will connect China to the poorer, and neglected European states in the south, providing an in-road for the Belt-and-Road initiative.

          Russia going slow has been widely interpreted (outside NATO-circles) as a deliberate attempt to win over the population, and to be seen as liberators. In 2014, when Victoria Nuland and Joe Biden organized a coup, using ‘agents-provocateurs’ on the Maidan, that part of the country now being targeted was in favor of linking to Russia, instead of the EU. And since the guy elected to be president decided that was indeed the best option, the US needed that coup, and got it. But those pro-Russian people weren’t going anywhere. Zelensky was chosen over the horribly corrupt Porochenko to bring peace through implementing ‘Minsk’, but he failed. The extreme right wing militia groups and the US State Department/CIA vehemently opposed it.

          In 2007, at the Munich ’Security Conference’ Putin kind of begged the NATO to stop expanding in an easterly direction, because it would end in bloodshed. George Kennan, Henry Kissinger and John Mearsheimer (to name just a few) agreed. Putin wanted the NATO countries to come to the negotiating table and agree on a robust design for European safety and stability. NATO punched him in the face, and announced (prematurely) that they would add Georgia and Ukraine. And now what?

          Russia developed some formidable weapons, and landed a couple right on Joe Bidens doorstep while he was visiting Poland for a ‘Song and Dance’, in Lviv. Like in Syria, Putin appreciates the need to befriend the locals and make the ‘others’ look bad. From what I’m seeing, the Ukrainians are using the civilian population as human shield, very much like terrorist groups in Syria and elsewhere. The Russians won’t overextend by occupying nationals territory.

          The focus in the western media is on the body-count on the Russian side, but if Zelensky and his NATO-partners insists on catching Kinzals with their bare hands, there won’t be too many men left by the time the fighting stops. If the Russians close the cauldron behind the battle lines in the east, cutting them off from resupplies, how long do you think they will last? The Russians own the sky, and sunk the Ukrainian navy. Many pictures and videos claiming to depict Russian losses actually show Ukrainian stuff. No Russian markings, or stuff the Russians don’t use anymore.

          Time to call it a day. Go home. Sign a peace-deal. And spend those billions on creating wealth for the people, instead of Hunter Biden et al, or the US military financial complex. Haven’t those people suffered enough?

          • Pat Lang says:

            Which Russian agency do you work for? Do you know what “sack” means?

          • blue peacock says:


            The earlier perceptions of Russian military strength has been shattered. Pretty much like estimates of the strength of the Soviet Union proved to be not accurate as it collapsed. Russia went all in on multiple axes into Ukraine with equipment and strategy that didn’t pan out as one would expect of a great military power. They still don’t have air superiority and have taken significant losses in both equipment and personnel. That’s not how a powerful conventional military force performs.

            The neocons will now press what they perceive to be their advantage and keep squeezing. Putin is done. Put a fork in him. His legacy is shot. The next strongman will arrive in Russia sooner than later.

  3. Mark Gaughan says:

    All the US would have to do is recognize Russia’s security issues and given a little. Instead we ignored them. And the US should have gotten the Ukraine to abide by the Minsk agreement that they signed. The Ukraine has been shelling and sniping for the past 7 years. They agreed to grant some autonomy to the LDNR. They reneged on an agreement they signed in 2015. I don’t know what the big deal is with LDNR autonomy. There are 121 autonomous regions in 40 countries, 17 in Europe. Make no mistake, the US caused this. It’s playing out pretty much the way the US hoped it would. Remember, we were behind the overthrow of the Ukraine government in 2014.

    • Pat Lang says:

      “Make no mistake, the US caused this.” I agree with that. The whole process of maintaining NATO and driving it boundaries to the east caused this plus the bloody mindedness of the neocons like the Kagans and Nuland. But it is what is, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine cannot be accepted.

      • Pat, if you agree with what Mark says, and you add your own observation that this thing was driven by neocons and expanding NATO, then why do you ask which Russian agency employs me? I’m not an aloof American, but a European in the thick of it. This is no stupid mistake on account of policy makers, but malice. By the looks of it, Europe (the part I’m living in) will be left smouldering reminder of what used to be an attempt to live a civilized life, when we are cut of from the energy we need, and our most important trading partner. Because some geostrategic toddlers were given razors to play with. This is my entire life, that of my children en grandchildren we’re talking about!

        I do respect you, and often linked to articles you posted on my own Dutch language blog. But I do not fancy seeing Europe end up like Libya, Syria, or Iraq, smashed up, with people fighting each other. This Ukraine fiasco kicked off long ago, with ultra-nationalists pitted against people who felt more at home in Russian culture. You can trace this whole thing back to the second World War, with the nationalists siding with Hitler, and the Russian speaking people opting for Stalin. I’m no fan of either one myself. It would have been great if they would have overcome their differences, and used the billions spent on oligarchs and weapons on increasing the wealth of the people. But they didn’t.

        And yes, though English is not my native tongue, and only one of four languages I (kind of) master, I understand what ‘sack’ means. Given the fact that Ukraine concentrated massive defenses inside, and around Kiev, any attack to capture it would have meant it would have been sacked. Erased. Worse than Mariupol, where the far right Azov battalion dug in, using kindergartens as military barracks, and putting armor right next to apartment buildings, firing RPG’s from the roofs of public buildings. Worse than Fallujah.

        My observation, supported by Americans with a military background much like yourself, is that Russia never intended to ‘capture’ Kiev, nor to replace Zelensky, who is doing a fine job sending the Russians more Azov-fighters to be mauled from where I’m standing. While it is all utterly pointless. NATO will not step up to the plate, and the Russian offensive is not ‘stalled’. They destroy fuel depots and weapon repairshops, as well as training camps for foreign volunteers at will. Using stand-off missiles. This is ‘target practice’. They had military vehicles parked in line for days, along a stretch of road over forty miles long, with the Ukrainian forces unable to do anything about it. Volunteers from my country came running back in horror. They were seen as Russian spies, coming to within inches of being executed, or they discovered that they were going to be used as cannon fodder.

        What do you propose? Let Europe commit economic suicide, so they will be low-hanging fruit for the Russian/Chinese powerhouse in the not too distant future? Start a nucleair Holocaust?

  4. Deap says:

    Please, feedback on John Mearshimer??? His analysis of how, why and who got us into and perhaps will get us out of the Ukraine crisis:

    I am still putting my money on Biden (1) needing to be a “wartime president” along with (2) making Russia-Russia-Russia so evil it justified the Obama administration spying on Trump, based upon even the flimsiest possible grounds Trump was a “Russian agent”.

    In other words, like the deep state covid debacle, nothing was too low for the Democrats to exploit in order to retain power. At least this is how I am looking at this from the peanut gallery. And am well out of my league among this group when it comes to critical international matters, and way in over my head when it comes to military ones.

  5. What worries me most of all, at this moment, is ‘cheerleading’. I understand the importance of morale in a war, but no war can be won if the strategic and tactical developments are misjudged because we ‘cheer’ too much. Or for the wrong combatants. Which is a sneer to those military planners who made ‘good use’ of muslim extremists in the past, only to discover a little later that they were not exactly friends. And that is a euphemism, as nobody will deny after ‘9/11’. Yet the west managed to return to these extremists in order to turn Libya and Syria into ‘failed states’, right after they delivered suspects to be tortured by these regimes, through the ‘extraordinary-rendition’-program the CIA ran, with close cooperation by NATO-allies, save for France.

    Less than a year ago, every major news-outlet ran stories about ‘Azov’ and ‘volent white-supremacist’ groups in the US, as well as Europe. But now we are sending them sophisticated weapons, no questions asked. As a European citizen that is an uneasy reminder of how our support for Al Qaeda worked out in the end.

    Recently I came across an interview with an American who fought in Vietnam. He told how he fully expected to be welcomed by a thrilled Vietnamese crowd upon his arrival in Saigon. But nothing could have been further from the truth. A family member of mine who served in Vietnam as a ‘grunt’ from age seventeen, after emigrating to the US with his American mother, after his father died, wasn’t talking about that episode in his life all that much, but he kept his military decoration hanging on a ‘wall of shame’. Certainly not out of disgust for his fellow soldiers. I read the booklet written about his company, active right on the frontlines, and I understood even more about ‘bravery’. It was through no fault of their own that they ended up in a losing fight. Right before he died last year, of cancer, likely related to chemicals he encountered in Vietnam, we concluded the conversation with a solemn: ‘Peace!’

    Peace is not easy. It requires sacrifices. And most of all, a firm moral and ethical position precluding alliances with ‘shady’ groups or people who use others to make them powerful and rich in highly unethical ways. To refuse to ‘close ranks’ based on nothing but ethnicity, duty, or who is paying the bills. I cannot support ‘Azov’, or anyone feeding them weapons to ‘kill Russians’. I read ‘Mein Kampf’, in which the author envisioned an expansion of his ‘Third Reich’ in easterly direction. To him, there was no difference between Jews and Slavs. They were all ‘Untermenschen’. And I’m not going this route of claiming that my Jewish forbears have anything to do with my thinking on this point. I do not think peace is served by people who make promises they have no intention to keep, who shove aside contracts and accords as they see fit, do ‘regime change’ in countries not within their jurisdiction, and grab gold and money while starving the people of a country when they do not ‘adhere to the program’. I’m all fore faire and square, free market trade, and the right to speak my mind, and form my own opinions. Censorship, cheerleading, and ‘canceling’ people may be necessary when you go to war. But most certainly not when you are only supporting war from the grandstand. And less so if this support is for the wrong reasons: Power over others, and the riches of a country.

    The above may, or may not strike a chord with those who focus on the military angle, but I claim that wars are most often lost because they lacked support, and not because of tactical mistakes, or logistical problems. As a rule both parties will claim that the other party has trouble finding support, and has to resort to atrocities, hence the tsunami of abuse claims, both fake and real. But only the people ‘on the ground’ will know who is speaking the truth, and who is lying. No support-group, supporting a team they like for reasons of their own, will master the objectivity needed to tell truth to power. Yet peace will only be restored when those holding a losing hand throw in the towel, to save what is left. Or they will be destroyed. Militarily, or because the people had enough. Referring to Ukraine, I have this feeling that the people in the east and the south of the country had enough of this experiment Obama, Nuland and Biden kicked off in 2014. Their coup didn’t bring unity. Zelensky had a fair chance after he was elected by a landslide majority, but those in the extreme nationalist camp, and those who only saw Ukraine as a ‘business proposition’, undercut his position at every turn. There will be no winners. All we can hope for, is peace.

  6. jim ticehurst says:

    Jake Jammerjon..
    I found Your Cooments interesting and Thoughtful..Well Constructed..
    best Regards..

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