DIA and the “realistic possibility”

The intangible factor

US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Director of Analysis Trent Maul stated that there is a “realistic possibility” that Ukrainian forces will break through the entire Russian defense in southern Ukraine by the end of 2023, while a Ukrainian source suggested that upcoming Russian defensive positions are weaker than those Ukrainian forces have previously breached. Maul stated on September 6 in an interview with the Economist that the recent Ukrainian breach of the “first” of three Russian defensive layers in southern Ukraine gives Ukrainian forces a “realistic possibility” to break through the remaining series of Russian defensive positions by the end of 2023. Maul stated that Ukrainian forces have also advanced into the “second” Russian defensive layer, likely referring to recent advances by light Ukrainian infantry past the series of Russian defensive positions that run northwest of Verbove to north of Solodka Balka (20km south of Orikhiv) in western Zaporizhia Oblast. 

Former Ukrainian Aidar Battalion Commander Yevhen Dykyi stated on September 4 that battles are already ongoing at these Russian defensive positions but that Ukrainian forces have not yet broken through them. Dykyi stated that the minefields ahead of the upcoming Russian defensive layer are not continuous, consistent with previous Ukrainian statements suggesting that Ukrainian forces have already advanced through the densest minefields. Dykyi stated that Russia’s “third” defensive layer in southern Ukraine is primarily comprised of command posts, communication points, and warehouses and mainly acts as a support line for the Russian defensive positions further north. Dykyi argued that Russian forces will not be able to hold back Ukrainian advances at this “third“ series of Russian defensive positions, implying that a definitive Ukrainian breach of the current Russian defensive layer would be operationally decisive.

However, Maul notably stated that the bulk of Russian reinforcements are deployed to the “third” Russian defensive layer, contradicting Dykyi’s suggestion that these positions are merely supportive in nature. The subsequent series of Russian defensive positions may be weaker, less mined, and less manned than the defensive layer that Ukrainian forces have breached. Russian defenses are not uniform across the front in southern Ukraine, however, and assessments of the strength of subsequent Russian defensive positions may be extrapolations based on limited information from small sectors of the front. Ukrainian forces are making tactical gains and successfully attriting defending Russian forces and ISW continues to assess Ukraine’s counteroffensive may achieve operational successes in 2023, but subsequent series of Russian defensive positions still pose significant challenges for Ukrainian forces and may in sections be strongly held.


Comment: So the DIA doesn’t share the oft cited view that the Ukrainian counteroffensive is already an abject failure. I’m not signing up for “The Economist” so I don’t know the full extent of this interview, but at least this interview is with a named, high ranking IC source rather than the NYT’s unnamed Pentagon sources.

I doubt the present counteroffensive will breakthrough to the coast this year. It may not even take Tokmak, but the damage the Ukrainians are doing to the Russian war machine is considerable. Coupled with the progress Ukraine does make to the south, Russia’s hold on southern Ukraine and even Crimea will be weakened. The war will continue, but Ukraine will very likely retain the momentum through the winter and into next spring. Apparently the article also talks about Trent Maul brandishing a new “forty page “tradecraft note”, published this January, which re-examines how the agency measures a country’s will to fight.” This addresses an aspect of defense analysis that was sorely lacking in the past.



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93 Responses to DIA and the “realistic possibility”

  1. Yeah, Right says:

    I thought offensives were expected to “culminate”, after which the position of the attacker deteriorates the longer it persists in carrying out offensive action.

    Much talk of “culmination” whenever the Russians launch an offensive but, apparently, this isn’t a thing where Ukrainian offensives are concerned.

    Odd, because the Ukrainian supply of warm bodies doesn’t appear to be limitless, and the equipment being supplied by the west likewise appears to be strained.

    I’m generally curious why so many learned-worthies take it for granted that this Ukrainian offensive can simply be maintained endlessly since, axiomatically, the Ukrainian supplies of men and material are not likewise limitless.

    • TTG says:

      Yeah, Right,

      Once Ukraine commits her last reserve brigade and/or the ammo resupply slows to a trickle, culmination of this counteroffensive will soon follow.

      • Yeah, Right says:

        My mistake, I thought that the Ukrainians committed the 82nd Air Assault Brigade and the 46th Air Assault Brigade to the fight back in mid-August, and those were the “last reserve brigades”.

        Apparently I was misinformed by David Axe.

        • TTG says:

          Yeah, Right,

          Ukraine is still able to rotate in and out of the fight. The advance towards and through Robotyne began with the 10th corps and has been largely relieved by the 9th corps while the 10th corps rests and refits.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            I would certainly agree with your point if the rotation of units was done to provide the tired troops with some much-needed R&R.

            Rotate them out, give them a hot bath and a warm bed. Some broads. A hot meal.

            Get ’em refreshed and then rotate them back to the front lines.

            But that’s not the case here.

            The talk of a “total mobilization” that includes women, boys, returned-refugees and assorted diseased-ridden suggests to me that the 10th Corp was dismembered and now has to be rebuilt.

            The Ukrainians can only do that so many times before it runs out of warm bodies.

            Absent that total mobilizaton it seems to me that this moment has already been reached.

            Sooner or later – probably sooner – the 9th Corp is going to be sufficiently dismembered that the 10th Corp will have to rotate back to the front.

            And when it does it will consist of women, boys, returned-refugees and assorted diseased-ridden raw recruits.

            This can’t go on. It is a doomed exercise.

          • TTG says:

            Yeah, Right,

            You’re right. “This can’t go on. It is a doomed exercise.” The sooner the Kremlin realizes this, the sooner the fighting will stop. Many talk about the resiliency of the Russians and the suffering they can endure. They forget that Ukraine endured even more suffering and kept fighting in WWII. Both the Russians and the Ukrainians lost millions and kept fighting for their very existence. For the Ukrainians, this war is just as, if not more so, existential. For Russia, it is not. This war can go on for a long time.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            “This war can go on for a long time.”

            It could. But it won’t.

            It will go the same way as Hemingway’s bankruptcy: slowly at first, then all at once.

          • TTG says:

            Yeah, Right,

            That’s what they’re saying in Kyiv.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            Milley has just said that the Ukrainians have only another 30-45 days to complete this offensive because the rain will start.

            I’m going to suggest that he is saying this for another reason: in 30 days the 9th Corp will be so exhausted that it will need to be rotated out, but the 10th Corp is in no fit condition to be rotated back to the front.

            Or, in short, the Ukrainian army will be “culminated”.

            As for “what they’re saying in Kyiv”, well, gosh, they do say a lot, don’t they.

          • TTG says:

            Yeah, Right,

            Now you’re sounding a lot like MacGregor and others who have predicted Ukraine has collapsed and Russia has triumphed at least a dozen times already. The Kremlin said the same a few days after they started the invasion in a mistakenly released victory statement on RIA Novosti and other outlets. This is from the beginning of the article.

            Released at 11:36 on 26.02.2022 by Sputnik Uzbekistan

            “Russia is restoring its historical completeness, gathering the Russian world, the Russian people together – in its entirety of Great Russians, Belarusians and Little Russians.”

            “A new world is being born before our eyes. Russia’s military operation in Ukraine has opened a new era – and in three dimensions at once. And of course, in the fourth, domestic Russian. Here begins a new period both in ideology and in the very model of our socio-economic system – but this is worth talking about separately a little later.”

            “Russia is restoring its unity – the tragedy of 1991, this terrible catastrophe of our history, its unnatural dislocation, has been overcome. Yes, at a great cost, yes, through the tragic events of what is essentially a civil war, because now brothers separated by belonging to the Russian and Ukrainian armies are still shooting at each other – but Ukraine will no longer exist as anti-Russia. Russia is restoring its historical completeness, gathering the Russian world, the Russian people together – in its entirety of Great Russians, Belarusians and Little Russians. If we had refused this and allowed the temporary division to take hold for centuries, we would not only have betrayed the memory of our ancestors, but would also have been cursed by our descendants for allowing the collapse of the Russian land.”



          • Yeah, Right says:

            Nah, not McGregor nor the Kremlin: I get my information from Mike Milley and Your Good Self.

            TTG told me that Ukraine is rotating 9th Corp and 10th Corp like tag-team wrestlers. 10th Corp is currently in the ring, 9th Corp is currently being fanned by their corner.


            Mike Milley told me that Ukraine only has a month or so of this offensive before it must stop.


            I simply put two and two together and conclude that Milley is smearing lipstick on a pig: it’s not the weather that will end the offensive but, instead the 10th Corp being in no fit state to replace 9th Corp when their turn comes.

            I don’t need McGregor nor the Kremlin to inform that opinion, and I see no reason for you to bring either into this conversation.

          • TTG says:

            Yeah, Right,

            The rotation of units is a standard and smart military concept. We’ve done the same since at least the Civil War. The units need rest and time to maintain and replace equipment. The whole point of doing so is to maintain combat effectiveness. The alternative is to keep units at the front until they become combat ineffective or even destroyed. This is what’s happening on the Russian side. Units are not being pulled out for rest and refit. Reinforcing units are taken from one sector of the front line and being plugged back into another sector with out that rest and refit, often in a piecemeal fashion that destroys unit cohesion and any semblance of effective command and control. That’s no way to maintain combat effectiveness.

            Milley never said the offensive will stop. He acknowledged autumn rains will make the ground soft and unacceptable for maneuver. He also said in a BBC interview:

            “They have maintained a depth of combat power that is significant. There’s still a reasonable amount of time, probably about 30 to 45 days’ worth of fighting weather left. So the Ukrainians aren’t done. There’s battles not done and they haven’t finished the fighting part of what they’re trying to accomplish.”

            Budanov also stated that Ukrainian forces will continue counteroffensive operations into late 2023. Cold and wet weather will affect but not halt active combat, as it has done in the first 18 months of the war. Many have forgotten that the Kherson counteroffensive began on 29 August and did not liberate Kherson until 11 November.

            You put 2 and 2 together and came up with Ukraine lost or, at least, the counteroffensive will soon halt. On the contrary, the Ukrainian rotation of combat units will ensure that the counter offensive can continue. The mud season will also not greatly affect the current nature of the fighting consisting mainly of dismounted squad and platoon attacks supported by drones and artillery. The mud will affect ressupply lines on both sides.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            Sorry, got my 9th Corp and 10th Corp reversed. Apologies.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            The advantage of this discussion is that it is testable.

            According to you the 9th and 10th Corp can keep tag-teaming each other all-but indefinitely, which means that Ukraine can maintain this offensive indefinitely.

            According to me 10th Corp was so mauled when it was rotated out that it is still in no fit condition to rotate back to the front again, precisely because Ukraine no longer has the manpower to make good the losses that 10th Corp suffered.

            If you are correct then in 30-45 days 9th Corp will pull out of the line and be replaced by a reinvigorated 10th Corp, and Ukraine will keep at it until the Russian lines break.

            If I am correct then in 30-45 days 10th Corp will pull out of the line and be replaced by a 10th Corp that is incapable of doing anything other than try to hold the line, and at that point there will be no hiding that the offensive has been a dismal failure.

            I’m setting my watch, perhaps you would care to do the same?

  2. Fred says:

    “Dykyi stated that Russia’s “third” defensive layer in southern Ukraine is primarily comprised of command posts, communication points, and warehouses and mainly acts as a support line….”

    So the Ukrainian battalion commander is saying there aren’t three lines of defenses but only two. And most of the Russians aren’t in the first two lines, the first of which they may have broken past in one location along the hundreds of kilometers long front. Why did it take weeks and how many Ukrainian casualties to discover this reality?

    “Trent Maul brandishing a new “forty page “tradecraft note”, published this January, which re-examines how the agency measures a country’s will to fight.””

    So we have a new manual ’cause what was being done in the past for all those years was…..

    Does he plan on applying that analysis to US recruitment?

  3. F&L says:

    For morely tangibles see pics at link.
    Poor TTG, he won’t learn the expanded meaning of the word “losing.” Example:

    “After the battle, Mr Loser’s house was mostly demolished and all his businesses were bankrupt and he couldn’t sell his millions of tons of X, Y and Z anywhere. But out back on the woodshed, the basketball hoop and backboard were untouched and still functional. And you could still drive to fantasy island, though no one did because it was too risky. Also, fantasy island has no fresh water. So in conclusion, Mr Loser didn’t lose.”

    Just think – NY City could have covered the two trade center towers with old tires.

    Military aircraft are en masse covered with old tires due to Shoigu’s failure
    After Ukrainian drones destroyed Il-76 transport aircraft and Tu-22 strategic bombers in Pskov and Ryazan, the Russian military began en masse covering the aircraft with tires.
    In other countries, protective concrete shelters and hangars are used. Z-channel Fightbomber writes that the Ministry of Defense decided to save money and not use concrete shelters. “Special grades of concrete and steel, special equipment, access roads, sewerage, drainage, electricity. It costs many, many billions. Very expensive,” the channel reported.
    Z-military correspondent Alexander Sladkov reported that Sergei Shoigu’s Ministry of Defense planned to build reinforced concrete shelters at airfields long before the war with Ukraine, but did not have time.
    “Although it seems pretty stupid, they seem to be trying to do everything they can to strengthen the protection of aircraft that would otherwise be lame ducks,” military consultant Steffan Watkins told CNN.

    • F&L says:

      Why is it I begin to think I was right initially about the Dr One’s having been launched from S. Townia? Because Seymour Hersh said that he heard that Wagner was making incursions into Poland and some Baltic state(s)?


      Russia withdrew almost the entire group of troops from Belarus
      About 2,100 Russian military personnel remain in Belarus, and all aviation of the regional group of forces (RGV) has been withdrawn from the country. This was reported by the monitoring group “Belarusski Gayun”, commenting on the withdrawal of the Russian military from the country. This process ended on August 5, according to the group’s Telegram channel.
      Most of the planes and helicopters have been in Belarus since the beginning of January 2023, and the withdrawal of the aviation group means that the aviation component of the RGV no longer exists. By September 1, only one Su-25 attack aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces remained in Belarus, which was relocated to the Lida airfield on August 31.
      It is also reported that in July-August there was a significant reduction in the number of Russian military personnel in Belarus. Russian field camps at the Obuz-Lesnovsky, Lepelsky and Osipovichsky training grounds were liquidated, and the military personnel stationed there returned to Russia.
      😀 Subscribe to channel | Subscribe to our newsletter

    • Mark Logan says:


      The tires are probably ballast, note the engines and props have been removed. Nose wheels on aircraft don’t carry much weight at all. No engines, no fuel = plane rocking back on its tail. There is another problem: High altitude planes have a lot of wing, like gliders. Take all the weight out and a strong wind can start it bouncing around, perhaps right out of the chocks. The tires would not only add weight, they throw a monkey-wrench into Bernoulli’s equation.

  4. Clueless Joe says:

    Seriously, both are doing damages to the other’s war machine. Russians inflicting serious damages to the attacking Ukrainian war machine, just like Ukrainiens are damaging the Russian war machine. It’s foolish to expect it to be that one-sided that only Russia suffers. I mean, when Russia assaulted Bakhmut, it was said to suffer huge casualties at a limited cost for Ukraine, but now that Ukraine attacks Russia’s vast defenses, we’re supposed to assume Ukraine doesn’t suffer similar casualties as Wagner in Bakhmut? Let’s be realistic, both lost thousands of dead at Bakhmut and both are losing thousands of dead every month with this offensive.

    • TTG says:

      Clueless Joe,

      By all standard measures, Ukraine should be suffering far more casualties and equipment losses than the now defending Russians. But they’re not. Russia is still on the losing side of the attrition tally sheet.

      • Stefan says:

        It is a numbers game. How many men does Russia have that it can loose compared to the Ukrainians? Russians can loose more men because they have a lot more men to lose. This is nothing new, this is how the Russian military has always worked. It is what they know. These are the same people that launched wave attacks against the Germans, where only the initial line were armed. The waves behind were expected to pick up the rifle of the man mowed down in front of them and continue the attack…..which they did. The Ukrainians are going to need a lot more than expectations of attrits to win the war. Being “on the losing side of the attrition tally sheet” is par for course for Russians.

        Without substantial battlefield gains eventually the West nations supporting the war will grow weary and the money and the equipment will dry up. It is a numbers game, and the Russians can afford to continue as is. The Ukrainians cannot continue the numbers game and the time game is decidedly not in their favour.

        • Billy Roche says:

          Stefan believe it or not on that note we agree, Another year of such losses is simply not sustainable for Ukraine.
          Ukraine fights for its freedom from Russia. Russia fights to suppress Ukraine. Consider how important it must be to the Russian “soul” to be an empire.

          • Stefan says:

            ” Russia fights to suppress Ukraine. Consider how important it must be to the Russian “soul” to be an empire.”

            Yes, this is the Western/Ukrainian narrative. This is not the Russian narrative. Believe it or not, Russians do feel they are in a fight for their lives. You dont have to believe it. I believe the Russian narrative has points but the situation is not as dire as they think it is.

            At the end of the day it does not matter what I think, what you think, or what the west or Ukraine thinks. If enough Russians believe in the narrative that their leaders are selling, that is what counts.

        • Chris Sims says:

          Those ‘wave’ attacks and every second man with a rifle you refer to are from the movie enemy at the gates and is purely fiction. There us no stong evidence that these kind of attacks happened., The 13th Guards rifle division landed in Stalingrad minus a ‘1000’ rifles which was mostly headquarters staff. The societ were callous yes but there is no record of them sending unarmed men at the Germans.

          • Stefan says:

            Yeah, I have seen the movie. The problem is I have been reading on WW2 for some 40 years and this is the same line I have read in books throughout the years and heard in university classes, long before that movie came out. If it is not true than a lot of history books and professors need to change what they are teaching. I was not even aware that the movie depicted what you are talking about until now.

            Regardless, the mass wave attacks happened. Whether or not the earliest Russian troops were each individually armed is besides the points. The Russian peoples, historically, have shown they are willing to take casualty rates that would destroy most other armies, and they still win.

            Given their numbers, playing the atrit game with the Russians is not a good idea.

        • Peter Hug says:

          Up to a point. If the Russians are conducting an infantry attack, they can tell the unarmed men to pick up the rifle from the corpse in front of them – but when a howitzer gets blown up by Ukrainian counterbattery fire, there isn’t much left…and the trained crew is probably dead as well. There’s a point at which that approach will no longer work in modern warfare.

          • Stefan says:

            The Russians can manufacture their own replacements and can pay to buy from others. Unless Ukraine can now manufacture their own arms and can print their own cash, this is still a distinct Russian advantage. Give it a year and if the lines have not substantially changed, the Ukrainians will need to be able to start manufacturing their own arms and printing their own money because the arms and money from abroad will start drying up. The Ukrainians cannot count on unending international support, despite what the international community says, without real results on the battlefield. Despite what the western media is telling us now, without a major change in events, the map a year from now will not look substantially different than it does today.

      • Clueless Joe says:

        As Nassim Taleb is fond of saying, a ruler doesn’t only measure some other item like a table, it’s also a way to measure the ruler itself: is its reported measure accurate or does it look way off base when you measure your table?
        In this case, it seems quite obvious to me that the tally sheet is just plain faulty. That’s not a big surprise and not uncommon if it’s only based on one side’s official numbers and the same side’s fanboys’ analyses (the same way that I’ve always been very very dubious of Russian claims that they killed far more Ukrainians at Bakhmut than they had losses).

        The mere fact Ukrainian army still manages to advance in some places of that front, despite some pretty big and bad losses at earlier stages (specially the first days) and continuous losses and Russian bombings since then shows that they have brave and quite effective soldiers. But then, I tend to think that at this point in time the two most experienced and effective armies at modern warfare are the Ukrainian and the Russian ones, the only two to actually have that kind of experience – and the same way, they’re definitely the 2 top armies when it comes to drone uses, the likes of US, China, Turkey being a step below due to far more limited genuine drone warfare experience.

      • Christian Chuba says:

        “By all standard measures, Ukraine should be suffering far more casualties and equipment losses than the now defending Russians. But they’re not. Russia is still on the losing side of the attrition tally sheet.”

        Which tally sheet is that?

        Zelensky recently affirmed that it is illegal for 60yr old men to leave. Ukraine’s conscription age is between 18 – 60. Russia hasn’t these laws.

        • TTG says:

          Christian Chuba,

          Russia’s mobilization call up age has recently been extended to age 70 for senior officers, 60 for junior officers and 55 for all others.

        • Stefan says:

          They are still leaving. I dont know if they are dodging measures in place to keep military aged men from leaving or they are buying their way out, which we know is happening. In my recent trips to Europe there were many military aged men wondering around places like the UK, Ireland, Germany and France. I have mentioned this here before, but I have heard interviews on European radio with Ukrainian women who have fled with teenaged boys, under 18, fleeing because they claim the Ukrainian military is drafting boys under 18. The belief is sufficient enough amoungst the Ukrainian community that they are sending unaccompanied minor teenaged boys abroad to avoid being drafted. The RTE was covering this extensively last time I was there because of the housing issues in Ireland which are dire and the Irish have taken in far more than most other nations when you look at their size. Talk was of forcing land and building owners to allow their abandoned buildings to be used to house Ukrainian refugees and the cost of getting said buildings into anything close to a state to live in.

          Again, the Russians can continue the types of losses they are facing. Ukrainians cannot. it is a simple maths game. The Russian pool of military aged men is just MUCH higher than the Ukrainian one.

  5. ked says:

    real war is not the same as a wargame. it is not a numbers game alone. in the real world, you rarely fight till the last warrior, the last bullet (though Ukr might!). there are other factors & forces in play. how many wars have great powers lost or given-up on – even when in a quantitatively superior position? as Ukraine succeeds on the battlefield, some find even more evidence of their impending defeat. curious.
    it makes for a nice Friday to be reminded of Col Lang’s pleas for more human-centric & qualitative assessments within our IC. maybe his books are now being read where he once worked. smart move.

  6. Keith Harbaugh says:

    USAF LTC (ret.) Karen Kwiatkowski spends 25 minutes with Judge Napolitano,
    opposing continued support for war in Ukraine:


    She shot to some fame in 2002 with her claims that the “intelligence” claims being used to get us into war with Iraq
    had been totally cooked, to meet the objectives of the neocons.
    Back then of course she had clearances and an inside view.
    And she was, with Col. Lang, one of the VIPS.

    Now she is working from the outside,
    but claims something very similar in happening with respect to Ukraine.
    Koolaid in 2002, Koolaid in 2022.

    She joins Judge Napolitano’s guest list, along with
    Ray McGovern,
    Larry Johnson, and
    Douglas Macgregor.

    Interested to hear comments on what she said.

    • TTG says:

      Keith Harbaugh,

      I was expecting more from Karen Kwiatkowski in this interview. Her absolute distrust of the USG and the neocons is consistent and justified, but she sees Ukraine through her experiences with Iraq. We did not invade Ukraine as we did in Iraq. We are not destroying Ukraine as we did in Iraq. Russia invaded and is destroying Ukraine. It doesn’t appear that she can see that. She states that Ukraine lost the war last summer/fall, but since that time Ukraine launched the successful offensives in Kharkiv and Kherson. I don’t see her reasoning there. Russia’s Army is now bigger than when it first launched the invasion, but the Ukrainian Army has grown several times its size at the beginning of the war.

      Her premise that we should not be involved and should not be expending resources outside of the US is a stand that can be reasonably argued. It’s not a stand that I agree with at all, but the debate is good. The most worthwhile part of this interview was the excerpt from the interview with Orban. His description of the nature of Russia was intriguing and, I believe, spot on. Beyond the rich folk culture, Russia is a security state fully consumed with her quest for security. However, we forget that Russia and Ukraine share a long history. Ukraine is also consumed with her quest for security.

      • Keith Harbaugh says:

        “Rich folk culture”?
        I can’t resist 🙂


        Leonid Kharitonov was one hell of a bass.
        Nothing transgender about him!

        Oh, and on Ukraine, here are two videos with McGovern, Johnson, and Phil Giraldi:


      • F&L says:

        I haven’t watched this video yet and don’t know anything about this USAF officer who is interviewed. But I have to ask you – how can you, a retired professional Army officer, present such a comparison of an Iraq war with a Russian war without mentioning the huge, glaring, impossible to miss BIG DIFFERENCE? Namely that Russia has an arsenal of approximately 7,000 nukes (with delivery vehicles etc) while Iraq had NONE?

        Toyota pickup trucks with mounted machine guns are comparable to ICBMs carrying multiply independent targetable warheads up to 800 kilotons in yield. Got it. Good to know. Where can I send away for my officer’s accreditation? I think I’ll be a 4 star if I can afford the postage. Then I shouldn’t have any trouble getting my license for a 20 story tall ray gun for shooting down flying saucers.

        • TTG says:


          That’s actually a similarity, Both the US and Russia invaded countries that have smaller armed forces and no nuclear weapons. Both the US and Russia made big mistakes in doing so. Kwiatkowski and others never seem to acknowledge this similarity. They seem fine with the Russian invasion and take great exception to the US invasion of Iraq. No consistency.

          Iraq had a lot more than technicals in their army when we invaded them for both the first and second Iraq Wars. There are differences but being an invasion of a non-nuclear country by a nuclear armed country is not one of them. Another similarity was that both invaded countries were long time Soviet armed and Soviet trained.

          • F&L says:

            Still don’t get it? Of course you’re not that stupid. You’re dishonest that’s all. The diff is the US is by proxy fighting a nuclear weapons power of vast dimensions, and therefore putting vast numbers of people at risk – it wasn’t doing that at all in Smoke_Crack, Fib_ya, Acta_Glandistan or hySteria.

            I watched the tape. Karen Kwiatkowski is by far the most intelligent, empathetic, honest and real person Napolitano has ever intervened there. Your claim that she doesn’t see the moral dimensions of the conflict is either an absurdity or you didn’t watch it and draw the obvious conclusions. She’s aware of the waste of life and how compounded the tragedies are by the lies of the neocons surroundings Biden and their decades of fruitless, expensive and murderous lies. So she unmistakably sees the moral dimensions which are indeed rotten.

            His other guests you can dismiss almost by definition – 2 or 3 actually that I know of are CIA or former CIA (same thing). Cross them out. Another is a British diplomat who pretends to believe anything necessary so he can better follow his orders which is to keep an inside lane open to continue their penetration anf control of the United States – he’s on the so-called conservative or far right side of their straddle strategy, while the people who now run CNN, bring you the news on all the major networks and run the Facebook cancellations are the others.

            So I was pleasantly surprised by the video and thanks to whoever recommended it. She really gets it, probably better than anyone else I’ve read or seen.

          • TTG says:


            I don’t think you or EO get it. Russia invaded Ukraine. Ukraine will resist with or without our assistance. Ukraine is not our proxy and, so far, have resisted as they saw fit, not how we wanted them to fight. That’s been true since Zelenskiy’s famous answer to the US offer to evacuate him from Kyiv. “The fight is here, I need ammunition, not a ride.” We don’t want him attacking targets in Russia proper. He does so with Ukrainian weapons. This is Ukraine’s fight, not ours. Although without continued US and Western material and intelligence aid, the nature of the fight would be very different.

            I agree that Karen Kwiatkowski is impressive. She remains admirably consistent in her noninterventionist foreign policy views and speaks well in support of those views. Keith Harbaugh makes a good point that, from a purely American perspective, we should not care what happens to the Ukrainians or the Russians or, perhaps more correctly, just not lift a finger on behalf of either. It’s not that Kwiatkowski supports Russia’s actions or the invasion of Ukraine, it’s simply that it’s of no concern to the US. A US policy based on this kind of nonintervention certainly would have save a lot of American blood and treasure. It probably would have saved some foreign blood and treasure as well. On the other hand, such an “America First” policy would have led to the complete extermination of the Jews and others across Europe. I don’t believe a strict all or nothing approach to US foreign policy is the right way to go.

          • Keith Harbaugh says:

            “They seem fine with the Russian invasion
            and take great exception to the US invasion of Iraq.
            No consistency.”

            That is interesting.
            It depends on how you look at it.
            From the geopolitical perspective, you are absolutely right.
            But if you look at it strictly from the American perspective,
            the commonality is that each situation has next to nothing to do with America’s interests.
            Why should we care who rules Iraq?
            Or Ukraine?
            Not our business.
            I agree with J.Q. Adams well-known speech on foreign policy.
            Do we really need to intervene so much?

          • Yeah, Right says:

            I would argue that there is a very significant difference between the two cases.

            Iraq had no allies. It was not being used as a proxy by a Great Power. Therefore the USA decided to invade Iraq because it could, and for its own (twisted, in this case) reasons.

            It was not forced to do so, and there would have made no difference to the USA’s national security if Bush Jnr had stayed his hand.

            Sheer bastardry, no more and no less.

            By marked comparison Ukraine WAS being used as a proxy by the neocons in Washington. That was the entire purpose of Nuland handing out cookies to everyone in Maidan Squar

            That simply can not be denied: the USA orchestrated the overthrow of Yanukovych and the installation of their chosen (and f**k the EU) puppet regime.

            Russia saw all of that going on, and drew the obvious conclusion that their national security imperatives required that they take Ukraine behind the wood-shed and beat some sense into it.

            Now I don’t necessarily say that paints Moscow in a good light. It doesn’t. But it EXPLAINS their decision to invade even if it doesn’t EXCUSE it.

            Compare and contrast: one country (Russia) invades for serious, indisputable national security imperatives. The other country (USA) invades because its President was an idiot, and the USA has been in the habit of throwing small, isolated countries against a wall just to prove that it can, and does.

    • English Outsider says:

      Keith Harbaugh,

      There are two issues here that it is legitimate to consider separately. Here the comparison with the American civil war is instructive.

      The first issue is, “Who is in the right?”. That is a very fractured debate and even now both sides of the debate have their points to make, right down to the vexed question of “Who started it?”. And I must confess that when looking at that debate the fact that my sympathies are with the South does influence me. And I accept that those who focus on the anti-slavery side of the debate are influenced the other way.

      So here. To me, the Ukrainian war is a straight neocon scam along the lines of WMD or Cameron’s 70,000 moderate rebels claim. I’ve been here before, is my view, and all that surprises me is that the scam took such a hold even with what we used to call “The Left”. For others, the Ukrainian war is the first and ominous step in a project of Russian revanchism, a project that must be stoutly resisted for all our sakes.

      Not a lot of common ground between those two views, as there isn’t a lot of common ground between opposing views of that American civil war.

      But there’s a second issue that is easier to deal with. “Who is going to win?” And, “At what point should the losing side accept defeat?”

      In the case of the American civil war the buck stopped with Lee on that. He decided that his was a lost cause and accepted defeat. I don’t find many, whether they think the South was in the right or whether they don’t, who quarrel much about Lee’s decision. Had he fought on he would have condemned his forces to pointless slaughter. He was a professional soldier. A good one and an honourable is the consensus. He made the correct professional decision.

      In the case of the Ukrainian war the question of “Who is going to win” did hang in the balance for a week or two, no more. Our chief weapon was the sanctions war. When that failed to lead to the weakening of the Russian economy and the consequent destabilisation of the RF the war was over. And it was over very soon. Even as President Biden was assuring the Poles in Warsaw in March 2022 that we had the Russian economy seriously weakened it was obvious the Russians were going to weather those sanctions, as indeed they have.

      And in fact we were never going to win the sanctions war. The Russian economy is pretty well self-sufficient if need be. Financial sanctions and trade war to that level might break my own country. They’d probably break most European countries. I doubt they’d break your country and they certainly won’t break Russia. The whole venture was misconceived and was known to be so by the Fed and by the more responsible voices in the US even before that sanctions war started.

      The sanctions war a lost cause, what of the military war?

      We were never going to win that. That was so obvious right at the start and is even more obvious now. Whether we want to win it or not, and whoever we think is in the right, absent victory in the sanctions war the military war was lost on day one.

      It is that second issue now, “Who is going to win?” And, “At what point should the losing side accept defeat?” that overrides the first. Lee would have been rightly castigated had he gathered his forces for some heroic last stand but had ended up merely feeding his troops into the Union guns. So here. No matter what political imperatives he had been made aware of, no professional NATO commander would ever feed his troops into pointless slaughter. He would probably be cashiered if he did.

      Yet Milley, Cavoli and Radakin have insisted on feeding our proxies into the slaughter, as they would certainly not feed our own troops in. It’s not only that that’s wrong. It’s so unprofessional!

      Some of our Ukrainian proxy soldiers I don’t like very much. They’re Right Sector thugs who have been known to commit atrocities. Makes no odds. They have as much right to be properly commanded as the more normal troops. And in any case. what about those Ukrainian regulars? Are they not entitled to expect to be used as we would use our own?

      There are all sorts of reasons advanced for keeping this lost war going. Calculations to do with American internal politics. A cheap way of “bleeding” the Russians. Or even that the politicians simply don’t know what else to do.

      None of those reasons can possibly justify sending pretty well the entire available manpower of Ukraine into a slaughter no professional NATO commander would dream of sending his own troops into. As Lee decided, certainly much against his will, so should we decide now. To do otherwise is no less than a crime.

      • Billy Roche says:

        EO: Should Ukraine surrender (I believe we are months away from having to make that choice) what will they have to give up to the Russian; their national sovereignty and their individual freedom. That is existential surrender. Ukraine may never escape their Russian master. I’m not there but for me, if I am going to be someone else’s bitch I might as well go down fighting. Easy for me to say, I’m not at Bakhmut.

        • English Outsider says:

          Bill – I believe you’re right on what the end state will be.

          What we’re seeing at the moment with regard to Ukraine is mud wrestling between the US and Russia. Between the West and Russia, I suppose it’d be correct to say, but in reality the Euros aren’t players.

          The West is no longer talking “As long as it takes”. The talk now is of a DMZ or a frozen conflict. Russia keeps what it’s got and the rest of Ukraine is taken firmly into the Western camp.

          Some of the weapons deliveries promised now will come too late to affect the current war. We don’t in any case have much in the way of weaponry to supply Ukraine with right now because we don’t produce much. F 16’s and maybe ATTACMS and suchlike won’t win the war for Ukraine now but will be do for arming Ukraine later.

          And it’ll give us a chance to catch our second breath on weapons supply. We may have been weak on that so far but no reason why we shouldn’t ramp up at least to a degree in the future. No reason therefore, if there is a ceasefire of the sort the West now wants, why we shouldn’t keep supplying remnant Ukraine with weapons and financial support indefinitely..

          Doubt the Russians will buy it. None of that fits in with the stated aims of their SMO. “Demilitarise and denazify” for them means just what it says on the tin. They want a neutral Ukraine and fear that a remnant Ukraine armed and supported by the West will be a permanent source of annoyance on their Western border. Sleboda’s “Zone of insecurity and destabilisation.”

          So the US, with its “Tier 1.5” negotiations – whatever that means – are angling for a freeze. As far as one can see, the Russians are after neutralising.

          I doubt they want to occupy remnant Ukraine. It’s scarcely Russia friendly and would be horribly expensive to keep going. Best solution for them would be remnant Ukraine left to the EU to look after but no long range missiles etc at its disposal.

          No idea whether that’s practicable. I’ll believe it when I see it, the Euros digging deep into their pockets for Ukraine long term, but the last thing the Russians want is a remnant Ukraine still capable of hostile action, and especially not a remnant Ukraine with long range missiles. That, however, is what we’re after. Hence the current mud wrestling.

          End state? In my view, we in the West will have destroyed what could have been a perfectly viable country and that in pursuit of nonsensical “Geopolitical imperatives”. The Ukrainians, as I see it, are the most recent of the pawns on the Grand Chessboard we’ve used and then thrown away.

          In your view, they are victims of a Russian imperialist drive from which we were incapable of saving them. Am I right? Or are you? It makes no odds. The result will be the same no matter which of us is right.

          I don’t believe the Biden administration is capable of the fast footwork that might save something from the wreckage. Trump might have been, though had Trump been President I don’t believe he’d have let it get this far, but not Biden. I’m with Macgregor when he says that the internal pressures on the current administration are such that it is condemned automatically to continue along the path it finds itself on.

          Even less are the Europeans capable of saving anything from the wreckage. I see you saying as much below and I concur. There are good people around in Europe as there are in the States, but the difference is that we are in a condition of political stasis that rules out anything much constructive emerging here. Certainly anything useful emerging before the Ukrainian tragedy has run its course.

          So it will be as you say. That I shall regret, as you do.

          • TTG says:


            Russia’s stated goal to “demilitarize and denazify” Ukraine is just code for destroying Ukraine as an independent country and returning it back to being a vassal of the Kremlin. They’ve already claimed a large swath of Ukraine as theirs. It’s a war of conquest. The Ukrainians will not lose heart. The Kremlin probably realizes this now. They are hoping they can cause the West to lose heart and stop supporting Ukraine. I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Europe has contributed just as much to Ukraine’s war effort and continued survival as the US. European aid includes long term pledges of support. I don’t see US support wavering unless Trump returns to the presidency in 2025. So the Kremlin has more than a year of determined Ukrainian resistance supported by the West to look forward to as a minimum. Failure to conquer Ukraine is not an existential threat to Russia. Ukraine will never again march on the Kremlin. She has not the power to do so and the West will not allow it. I think those in the Kremlin will either realize they don’t have to continue this self-inflicted war or Ukraine will beat the Russian war machine that remains on Ukrainian soil.

      • F&L says:

        This is lifted from a biography I’m reading of Putin by Phillip Short, a British author, published in 2022 two months after hostilities erupted. Short, by the way, refutes nearly all the famous stories about Putin regarding Skripal, the apartment bombings, Politkovskaya’s murder and others with the exception of the Litvinenko poisoning story in London. I haven’t read that section yet. It’s possible he couldn’t have gotten it published without professing belief but I’ll have to see.

        The historian, Dmitry Travin, who also grew up in Leningrad in the 1960s, recounted:
        ‘It wasn’t so much that conflicts sought him out, it was he who was always looking for conflicts.’61 Whenever a fight broke out, Putin was the first to pile in.62 Viktor Borisenko, who became his best friend at school and for four years shared a desk with him, remembered:

        He could get into a fight with anyone. It still amazes me … He had no fear. He didn’t seem to have an inner instinct for self-preservation. It never occurred to him that the other boy was stronger and might beat him up … If some hulking guy offended him, he would jump straight at him — scratch him, bite him, pull out clumps of his hair … He wasn’t the strongest in our class, but in a fight he could beat anyone, because he would get into a frenzy and fight to the end.

        It was partly a way of compensating for his small stature. He was thin and wiry, a child with a voracious appetite and a surfeit of nervous energy. But he was also capable of thinking about what he was doing and attempting, if not always successfully, to exercise self-control. In Travin’s words, he had ‘both aggressiveness and common sense. At first glance, it seems they are total opposites … But in fact, they complement each other.’65 Viktor Borisenko remembered one occasion when a teacher dragged him off by the scruff of the neck because a classroom which he was supposed to have cleaned was dirty. ‘He was furious and sat silently for a long time … But then, when it seemed to be already over, he suddenly flared up and exploded. That happened several times.’66 Although he showed little interest in his studies and was spurned by the Pioneers, his classmates respected him for his audacity and for the way he rushed to the defence of his friends.

        • Muralidhar Rao says:

          Sir, If what you say is the absolute truth then why is Putin not carpet bombing Ukraine? If I remember correctly before the Humanitarian escapades in to Iraq Bible thumping Pres Bush and his side kick Blair carpet bombed Iraq for good 2 months and that includes Bagdad the capital city of Iraq and the Presidential palaces, before we sent any army into Iraq. As far as Putin, he has the air power and capacity to suppress enemy aircraft with his AD. I personally think he is risk averse and also doesn’t want to kill randomly and this description you post of Putin smells.

        • leith says:


        • English Outsider says:

          F&L – you do get around. The stuff you’re chasing up at the moment is still relevant today though even you will be able to do more than inspect a few smoking guns.

          Skripal and the rest of it was David Habakkuk’s territory. I followed it all with interest but little knowledge and that without any of the background that Habakkuk and so many others here have.

          MH17 also. One thing I do know is that the Soviet army was intensely bureaucratic. That continued to be the case both with the Ukrainians and the then Federalists. I recollect complaints from the front that much needed weapons were available but weren’t getting to the fighters because of officials insisting on the paperwork being done right. If far too slowly and with, as ever in the old Soviet countries, heavy hints of corruption floating around.

          So although that war was in many respects pretty anarchic, expensive AD equipment wasn’t just wandering about the place with none knowing where it was and what it was doing. The Russians know very well what happened to MH17. So do for their part do the Americans. Until one side or the other comes clean, and with documents to prove it, I refuse to waste time speculating on the subject.

          Russiagate? UK Intelligence, with the knowledge of HMG, came in heavy assisting the Democrats in discrediting Donald Trump. I think all knew that early on and it became then just a game of how much the Democrats and their accomplices could be forced to admit. The Americans go in for that sort of game a lot. We don’t. We just smother such matters under a security blanket as do the other Europeans.

          That’s why the Democrats will probably get away with it. The American Intelligence Services do a lot of their more dubious work using the Europeans, and particularly HMG. Since that end can’t be examined – though I do recollect Nunes making the odd attempt – Russiagate will never be examined conclusively. We are the cut-outs and we do the job pretty well.

          Same pattern in Syria. Don’t need to go into that further on this site of all sites. Colonel Lang was saying clearly enough that in Syria HMG was put to the jobs the Americans themselves didn’t care to do. You will recollect his remarks about the “White Helmets” and those dubious poison gas theatricals.

          So I expect the man you’re reading at the moment gets it right. For all the use that is. It won’t make it to the NYT. Not unless, that is, there’s some cat fight within the American administration and one side or the other wants to score a point or two.

          On the Putin stories, schoolboy fights, even vicious ones, are common enough in any country and tell us little about how the adult will turn out. Putin is cautions and legalistic when it comes to international diplomacy.

          Cautious and legalistic didn’t work out too well for him when it came to the threat the Kiev forces were mounting on the LoC. He’s getting stick from very many Russians now about being too cautious then. If that was a mistake – impossible to guess – it’s not a mistake he’s going to make again. Doesn’t look as ff President Biden has any tricks to pull out of the hat and he won’t go nuclear. So I reckon Putin’s going to nail it down tight. No more “overextending and unbalancing Russia” for Ukraine. My guess.



      • LeaNder says:

        Curious, EO?

        Why you think PL supported the Ukraine before he had to leave us?

        • English Outsider says:

          I thought that was self-evident, LeaNder. His code of honour.

          But please don’t seek to excuse Scholz or Macron or Johnson on those grounds. Whatever motivated the poodles it wasn’t that.

          • LeaNder says:

            self-evident, LeaNder. His code of honour.

            As Leith suggested somewhere, you are usually a quite eloquent writer. Usually. But with all due respect: This is a rather lazy reply.

            But please don’t seek to excuse Scholz or Macron or Johnson on those grounds. Whatever motivated the poodles it wasn’t that.

            Honor is obviously not that wide spread among continentals as it is on the Splendid Island. But why would I need to or excuse Scholz and Macron and for what exactly? Scholz for his hesitation?

            But–question again– do you really believe Patrick Lang would have missed the intelligence that those two specific European tails were daring to wag the US dog?

            I guess I have to check where your-F/G tails-wagging-dog story started. Maybe only after PL was not around any longer? That is a working hypothesis only by now.

            English Outsider says:
            May 12, 2022 at 7:13 am

            TTG – I don’t think your Intelligence Services got it wrong that much. They knew that when the shelling across the border intensified the Russians would have no choice but to go in and stop it. They’ll have had plenty of military experts around who’d have told them that to stop the shelling the Russians would have to go further than the Donbas.

            So since they knew they were creating the conditions in which the Russians would have to respond, they knew that the Russians would respond. And roughly how. No mystery about any of that.

            … Should say though, I don’t have any truck with all the stuff I see on the internet about the Americans being taken by surprise by brilliant Russian tactics. That’s nonsense. There’ll be experts tucked away in the Pentagon who’d have gamed all possible contingencies just as well as the Russians did. Probably better, since we’ve been training up the Kiev forces for years and therefore know their capabilities better than the Russians

          • Barbara Ann says:


            For PL the moment Russian troops crossed the border and the Ukrainians were fighting the oppression of an invader all the whyfors of how the war started became irrelevant.

          • LeaNder says:

            Exactly, Barbara. That’s it in a nutshell. PL supported Trump in economics and domestic politics, but surely not concerning the ‘Rookies’, at least not as long as it remained hot air only …


            I seem to recall that the Colonel in response to one of the last articles by LJ about hypothetical US/UK military action in Ukraine alluded to France and Germany as hesitant about matters.

            Wait, that should be easy to find. Yep, you were present too. Larry picks up on EO’s inherent US/UK joined-at-the-hips-partner status (vs F/G as poodles) here: “Probably better, since we’ve been training up the Kiev forces for years and therefore know their capabilities better than the Russians” We: The US and the UK.


            Going to War with Russia Over Ukraine May Be Suicide for America – Larry Johnson
            Posted on February 5, 2022 by Larry Johnson

            Larry Johnson: … If the United States and the United Kingdom decide to use air power to support Ukrainian forces we will be entering a threat realm we have not seen since the Cuban Missile Crisis.

            W. Patrick Lang:… Nevertheless, LJ’s essential point is valid. Eastern Europe is too far away. Logistics would be impossible. Air units would quickly run out of munitions. Ground units would be overwhelmed by sheer numbers. The German and the French do not have their hearts in this. And always looming in the background are Russia’s 4,000 nuclear and thermonuclear weapons, C.O.D. at New York, Washington, etc.

            You may remember his response to your comments:
            English Outsider: I can find no solid references to the current position [line up/formation of Ukrainian forces] on that. Surely, however, intensifying the shelling across the line of contact would be sufficient to necessitate a LDNR/Russian military response to stop it.

            That would be enough. Any such response could be written up as a “Russian attack” and Washington then has the casus belli it needs to press for heavy sanctions.

            Scholz won’t give Biden the sanctions he wants unless there is some such “Russian attack”. He’ll be most reluctant to agree to the most severe sanctions even if there is.

            So exactly when did he shift …

          • TTG says:


            Colonel Lang shifted when Russia invaded Ukraine. Up until that time, neither he nor I nor anyone else on the blog thought Putin would be so foolish as to actually invade Ukraine. In the days leading up to the invasion, many of us thought he would enter the newly recognized DNR and LNR up to the line of contact and, by their presence, quell all fighting. We both thought that would be a masterful move that would avoid both major sanctions and a shooting war. We spoke by phone the day after the invasion and he was fully in the support Ukraine in her defense against the Russian invasion camp. He suggested to me in that conversation about seeking an intelligence finding that would allow US air assets to be transferred to Ukraine manned by American volunteers much like the American Volunteer Group in China. He wrote of that proposal on 26 February 2022.


          • LeaNder says:

            Colonel Lang shifted when Russia invaded Ukraine.

            Thanks, TTG, I know. Putin overplayed his hand with his ultimatum. From there on …

            What I am interested in is not when Pat shifted, he had to, but when EO started the meme that France and Germany had conspired and successfully pulled America into the Ukraine-Crisis/War. The tail-wagging-dog scenario There is something else that sticks out in his comments for me, making me wonder: Did I ever notice this feature before? Can’t remember. …

            The struggle was always between Russia and the US. Merkel’s statement about Minsk I/II was all it needed?

            On the Merkel-Putin relationship, an article on France24. Putin Merkel and dogs

            Putin gifted Merkel a small black and white stuffed toy dog back in 2006, when she met him on her first visit to Moscow as chancellor.
            If the message was not clear to all then, it loomed large during Merkel’s second trip to Russia, this time to Putin’s Sochi summer residence.

            Yes, Merkel was and is an Atanticist. During Bush-43’s reign, she was depicted in cartoons as a fully equipped soldier with a backpack trying to join the Iraq War as “Germany’s volunteer force.” The One-Man-Coalition-of-the-Willing?

            What could Scholz have done? Forcing the US to bend its knee and surrender to Putin’s ultimatum? Crazy demand. We’ve all come a long way since 9/11. … Me too.

  7. al says:

    Cuba arrests 17 over alleged recruitment of Cubans to fight for Russia in Ukraine

    Seems Russia’s “allies” not that interested in helping out!

  8. drifter says:

    The Russians are winning. This assessment based on TTG. Other info is confirmatory.

    • TTG says:


      Your reasoning totally escapes me.

    • F&L says:

      There’s no winners here. Zero. With the exception, if it can be called “winning,” of some real lowlifes making big money off of tens of thousands of people being butchered.

      • Stephanie says:


        And the lowlifes are on the U.S. payroll:


        “They operate in a notoriously shadowy, clubby arms trade, an industry made even more opaque as Ukraine rolled back years of anticorruption rules. Arms dealers rushed to the country, backed by billions in foreign aid.

        Mr. Morales is among Ukraine’s most important such suppliers. The Pentagon has awarded his company about $1 billion in contracts, mostly for ammunition. And records show he has built a roughly $200 million side business selling to the Ukrainians directly.”

        Nice work if you can get it. I really do hope this all comes right for Ukraine in the end, because this sort of thing will only get worse.

  9. babelthuap says:

    Russia has the advantage in that defensive position with eyes in the sky and space. I don’t care about either side but I do know modern warfare first hand. Valiant effort on Ukraine but this is over with going off population alone. They can’t keep losing that many Soldiers much longer. Wanting Ukraine to win with propaganda also not going to work. Russia does not care about propaganda. They lost that battle decades ago. NATO however is losing the reality battle which is the only one that matters.

    • Billy Roche says:

      NATO has lost. Biden can put lipstick on that pig as long as his speech writers write but the pig remains. Like most NATO members, pigs are thought of as selfish and lazy. They’re happy to wallow in the mud while the US (as it has since ’49) pays in men and dollars for protecting their sovereignty. It looks the other way while the Russian Empire begins its long march back… “hey man, its not happening to me y’know”. The truth is that western Europeans have never had reverence for liberty. Please think hard on that. Their populations are happy slaves to the Borg.
      Putin has taken the west’s measure. The unknown is what, if anything, eastern Europe will do. Months ago TTG discussed the possibility of an Eastern European Treat Org. EETO. Its time, IMHO, has come. Better hurry, better hurry. Estonia and Moldova are only a few years away.

      • TTG says:

        Billy Roche,

        That alliance has already formed. It’s called The Three Seas Initiative (Baltic, Black and Adriatic). They just met this week in Bucharest. It was launched in 2016 and was focused on economic goals. Its focus is shifting to security issues. Greece just joined as the 13th member. Ukraine and Moldova became candidate members last June and are now associate participating members.

    • Eric Newhill says:

      Of course it is risible to declare that Ukros are killing more Russians with this “counter offensive” than they are losing. Why it is the end of history! Military science concerning attacking versus defending turned upside down!

      DIA – which has apparently gone bat shit rotten along with the rest of our congressional, executive and military institutions – BS aside, the Ukros are getting their ass handed to them in this so called counter offensive. The Ukros even slipped up recently and admitted to some 400,000 KIA since the Russian invasion. Western supplied armor, arty, etc is being eliminated steadily. Russian air is now operating along the front with impunity (game changer alert). The Ukros aren’t breaking through any layer of defense in depth, not today, not tomorrow, not in six months; at least not in any tactically, et alone strategic, manner. The freedom of Russian air to operate freely seals the Ukros’ fate.

      Once the Ukros have totally shot their wad within the next couple of months, they’re done permanently. There are no more meaningful additional resources to toss into the meat grinder. They’re pretty much out of men and out of western hand-me-downs. Anyone thinking otherwise has drank deeply of some extra-strength Kool Aid (or is getting paid as an agent of the mighty MIC). Sorry, but that is plain as day. Btw, wasn’t Russia running out of ammo within a month well over a year ago? Sorry. Couldn’t help mention that particular mis-assessment.

      However, once the Ukro military collapses, the Russians are left holding a big angry tiger by the tail. What will happen in Western Ukraine? The Russians don’t want it. Even if they did, they still end up with hostile NATO nations on their border. They get that no matter where they draw post-conflict borders. IMO, the Poles and others will seize western Ukraine (ironically, they make historical claims to the territory just like Russia does, but it will be ok because they’re not Russians…or something like that…and Ukro freedom and independence will be out the window ….as if anyone really cared about that in the first place).

      Most likely, with victory over the Zelensky regime, the Russians get NATO along the Dneiper. Then what? The US and other nations send in troops to train, run exercises, etc. and to waive spears and hoot and holler at the Russians. So the situation becomes worse for Russia. And better for the MIC and the Biden regime (maybe even a national security crisis that causes some alteration of the 2024 election process).

      But let’s pretend just for a minute that we have drank of the Kool Aid and are now peering through the looking glass and seeing Ukro forces marching into Crimea and all along the Sea of Azov (lol). The Russians are just going to let that happen? No tactical nukes deployed?

      And here I thought the Russians are fiends. I’m sure the magnificent new DIA has it all figured out and there’s no risk of global escalation.

      This thing gets a lot worse for everyone before it gets better.

      All because, ostensibly, Ukro corruption and oligarchs are better than Russian corruption and oligarchs. Freedom baby! Freedom!

      • Muralidhar Rao says:

        Sir I agree with your assessment till you started about holding an angry tiger by the tail. If Ukraine is defeated then what you have is not a tiger but a tame house cat. The next question is how the European Economy will hold with those sanctions on cheap and gas supplies on which their prosperity and German vacations were built upon? Will or even Can EU support the what is left of the Ukraine, when their own economies are in a recession with the possibility of deindustrialization? If you notice the American people are waking up to the magnanimous donation of $700 for Maui residents where as the Pentagon finds Billions to send to Ukraine. Something got to give. I have no idea how it will develop, hope saner minds prevail and a peaceful solution is found.

        • Eric Newhill says:

          Russia jumped off the SMO because they wanted to push back against NATO aggression in Ukraine. Ok. They will ultimately demilitarize Ukraine, IMO. But they are still surrounded by a hostile NATO. In a sane world with leaders that care about their responsibility to the people they are supposed to represent, your assessment would be correct. But we don’t live in a sane world, nor do we have responsible leaders. No. Our ruling class will double down, triple down at any expense. That is what worries me. When the ability to fund this forever conflict becomes impossible, the last desperate attempt at victory becomes the most horrendous option.

      • leith says:

        Eric Newhill –

        What are your thoughts on the Joint US-Armenia field exercises reportedly starting Monday at Zar and Armavir Training Areas near Yerevan?
        – and the trip to Kyiv by the wife of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan where she visited an exhibition commemorating children who have died due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?
        – and the humanitarian aid Armenia has sent to Ukraine?
        – and Armenia’s hesitation regarding further participation in the CSTO and other treaties with Russia?
        – and what is the status of Armenia’s move towards becoming a state party to the Rome Statute, a move that would bring it under the jurisdiction of the ICC which has issued an arrest warrant for Putin?


        BTW, would you care to disclose the source on the 400K KIA figure? Highest #s I’ve seen are ~70K since Feb 2022 – add another 5K going back to 2014. Those are per Wiki.

        • leith says:

          Some unverified reports of a potential coup in Yerevan. Engineered of course by the Kremlin. Armenia’s head of the State Security Service has just been sacked. Was he in on the plot?

          • Eric Newhill says:

            Also I think some Armenian believe that they can weasel their way into NATO and get protection from Turks/ Azeris that way + money etc. They think it will be a better deal than staying Russia. That faction are fools.

            And that little exercise is nothing new. There have been small joint exercises in the past as part of UN participation

        • Eric Newhill says:

          Armenia and Armenians owe their very existence to Russia. Russia protected them and the last little bit of sovereign territory that they were able to hold onto. Some Armenians have forgotten that fact. There is a new generation of Armenians that have gotten soft and selfish. They no longer consider their roots.

          The Russians have long deployed something like an air wing and a combat brigade in Armenia. Clearly the CIA/MI6 has identified some greedy Armenians that they could seduce and turn against the Russians. Big mistake for Armenia to side with NATO/US. The US will sell them out and/or abandon them to the Turks/Azeris when they’re done using them. Being a US ally is often a big mistake. This is just such a situation. Armenia should stick with the Russians and tell the US (and Ukraine) to F-off. The slime that is the US/NATO will be trying this trick in all of the former Soviet republics.

          • leith says:

            Eric Newhill –

            The current pivot to the West may well just be Yerevan playing hard-to-get for the audience in the Kremlin? Or maybe not?

            I wish them well no matter which way they turn.

          • wiz says:


            Playing hard to get is one thing, but fooling around with the ICC is plain sticking it to the Russians.

            They expect the Russian army to fight and die for them but if the commander in chief of said army sets foot in your country your gonna arrest him and ship him off to Hague ?

            Erdogan and Aliev must be having a great time watching the drama unfold.

        • Eric Newhill says:

          Even the pro-neocon/anti-Russia mouthpiece for US intel services, the New York Times, has US officials estimating 500,000 Ukro casualties.


          IMO, they are downplaying the real number. I’m looking at reports from Ukraine itself over the past year and a half. Zelensky and his assorted stooges have openly admitted to different figures at various points in the war. During the quieter stalemate phases they have reported like 100 KIA/week, but during more active phases they have reported figures like 100 to 500 KIA/day. Then during major Ukro (and Russian) pushes the figures go up to thousands KIA per week. Back of the enveloping all of that I come with what I think is a realistic figure of around 400,000 KIA and probably an equal number WIA (Ukro med evac and post evac care appears very poor, hence the one to one ratio of WIA to KIA n my estimate)

          • leith says:

            Eric Newhill –

            The Times article is behind a firewall. But if the Ukrainian Army has 70K KIA as per wiki, then I can understand a couple of hundred thousand WIA. And much more considering all the civilians killed and wounded. But in any case that is a long way from the 400K KIA that you previously said that Ukraine had admitted to. So again, what is the source of that comment?

  10. F&L says:

    Way off Top-pick but to my jaundiced eyes this might smack of something very significant related to the upcoming Election season. An engineered crisis – just what the doctor ordered? No idea.

    Supreme Court Could Upend How Sing’s Market.

  11. leith says:

    TTG –

    Off topic.

    Was hoping you would post a thread explaining the latest crackdowns on Conti ransomware and QakBot for cyber-idjits like me. Or maybe point me in the right direction for an online source that clarifies it with minimum acronyms and jargon?

  12. Eric Newhill says:

    Here is Milley moving goal posts, making excuses and softening expectations concerning the success of the Ukro offensive. Even he isn’t saying that Ukraine is going to be successful.

  13. drifter says:

    TTG says:
    “A US policy based on this kind of nonintervention certainly would have save a lot of American blood and treasure. It probably would have saved some foreign blood and treasure as well. On the other hand, such an “America First” policy would have led to the complete extermination of the Jews and others across Europe.”

    With regard to the extermination of the Jews, Roosevelt’s internationalism didn’t prevent this within the areas of Nazi occupation, including those areas occupied by the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Galician). Internationalism didn’t save more than a few. We could get into the conumdra, but basically the near complete extermination of Jews by Germans happened in Poland and Germany (of course). In the Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia) most Jews were killed with the help of anti-Soviets from those regions. (You also are part of this party.) And then there are the Jews of the rest of the Soviet Union which are killed catch as catch can, but in … substantial … numbers.

    They say that 6 million Jews were murdered. I admit I am a holocaust denier. And so say it was 5.5 million tops. Hoping TTG you aren’t supporting the murder of Jews by supporting the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Galician).

    • TTG says:


      Why would I support one of Hitler’s units over any others, much less an SS unit. I only wish the US, UK, the rest of Europe and even the USSR stood up to him sooner instead of making deals with him. Whether that was militarily possible is another question.

    • Billy Roche says:

      drifter: Exactly what should Roosevelt have done to prevent the Holocaust or Hoover to prevent the Holodomore. By ’30 America was plunged into depression, 1/3 of Americans were out of work, socialism was a hot topic in America, and Americans were asking why in the world it had gone to war in ’17. The murder of 6MM Ukrainian farmers barely made the front page in 1932. In fact, the NYT said Ukraine was filled w/happy farmers. Eight years later the NYT had scant coverage of European Jews. What did you want Hoover and Roosevelt to do in ’30 and ’40 about these horrible killings by communists and National Socialists? I see Hoover and Roosevelt retreating to isolationism, not internationalism. Maybe I’m late to your post but clarify kindly if you can.

  14. KjHeart says:

    It is up to the Russia (and the RM) to win this; (IMO)

    Every day that Ukraine resists Russian expansion is another day that Russia has not won.

    On another note -about refugees from Ukraine- A movie made by Polish filmmaker Maciek Hamela, has got the attention of Cannes.


    “n the initial days of Russia’s full-scale invasion, he purchased a van and began evacuating civilians — mostly women and children, now all refugees — to Poland. Within a week, he purchased two more vans, and hired a driver who doubles as a cameraperson to capture prosaic conversations about what was, and may be.”



  15. English Outsider says:

    LeaNder – no offence meant above! I’ve been grubbing around in the European side of the Ukrainian conflict for ages – since at least 2016 – and of course that interest became a lot sharper after February 2022.

    Also, you’ll not be surprised to hear, in the UK side. While we in the UK were getting all wound up about Brexit I fancy HMG even then had its eye on bigger game. The UK input during the 2019 MSC was something of an eye-opener. The country at that time was in the throes of a vicious internal debate on Brexit. We were, supposedly, at daggers drawn with the EU countries while attempting to escape the EU.

    And at the same time the UK Defence Minister was in Munich, not only best friends with the EU and its members as if Brexit was merely a regrettable but minor squabble – but also grandiosely assuming leadership of the European anti-Russian enterprise!

    But the UK side is secondary here. While both your country and mine are military minnows, your country is or was an industrial and trading colossus. When it comes to trade war, which was what both countries relied on to defeat the Russians, it was Germany above all that had the heft.

    So it’s the actions and intentions of Merkel and then Scholz that counted. We do need to know what was agreed about Ukraine and Minsk 2 in those German coalition talks.

    You keep a sharp eye on things so in this connection, do you have any references or sources to what was actually agreed on during those coalition talks? I’ve picked up one or two things but essentially have drawn a blank. So have others I’ve enquired of. Compared with the US, UK and continental European politics is so damnably opaque!

    Any links or references gratefully received. And I’m glad you raised the subject you raised above. TTG’s clarification of the Colonel’s position was valuable and for me very welcome. Given that Minsk 2 was by then recognised by all to be a dead letter, the solution that the Colonel and TTG looked for would have been by far the best.



    1. German coalition talks.

    This is the sort of material that was coming out at the time about those coalition talks. All very vague.

    “Wir wollen die Europäische Union stärken, um Deutschland zu stärken. Wir werden deshalb deutsche Interessen im Lichte der europäischen Interessen definieren. Wir wollen eine aktive Europapolitik betreiben – auch entlang einer starken deutsch-französischen Partnerschaft und in einer engen Zusammenarbeit im Weimarer Dreieck.

    “Wir sind entschlossen, die EU handlungsfähiger und demokratischer zu machen und setzen uns ein für eine EU, die ihre Werte und ihre Rechtsstaatlichkeit nach innen wie außen schützt und ihre Handlungsfähigkeit stärkt. Wir treten für eine verstärkte Zusammenarbeit der nationalen europäischen Armeen ein.”


    The parties must have come away from those German coalition talks with more specific agreements on foreign policy than that. In particular, they must have agreed to continue with Merkel’s Minsk 2 fiction. The subsequent events show they must have agreed to more. As said, any sources or references on the subject of what was specifically agreed during those coalition talks would be useful.

    2. 2019 MSC.


  16. John Minehan says:

    The Russians have a vulnerable position, as a function of the bridge they have to defend (whish they could lose).

    I doubt the Russians have vast support in the Donbas (or even in Crimea), even among ethnic Russians. The fact that the Russian Orthodox Church in the Ukraine has petitioned Constantantimople to establish an Autocephalus Ukrainian Orthodox Church indicates support for Russia even in the “occupied terretaories” may not be that great’

    My assessment has been that the Ukrainians can’t win; the Russians can lose; and the PRC will be the one nation to gain.

    I now think, if the Ukrainians break through, the Russians may collapse fairly quickly,

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