“Dispatch: Inside the Battle of Kyiv” – TTG

Around this time, I went for a walk along the Dnipro River and observed a gray-haired woman sitting on a bench with her lined, smiling face pointed toward the springtime sun. Curious, I introduced myself and asked the woman, whose name was Liudmyla, how she felt now that Ukraine had won the Battle of Kyiv. Without dropping her sun-facing smile, Liudmyla told me, “I’m very proud of my country. We’ve been fighting for our freedom for more than a century, and I believe we will finally win it.”  (photo by Nolan Peterson, 27 March 2022)

2 May 2022 | Kyiv , Ukraine

At first it looked like Kyiv would fall.

On the morning of Feb. 25, 2022, the second day of the full-scale war, a unit of Russian soldiers advanced within the city limits. A gun battle erupted on the streets of the Obolon neighborhood, within earshot of my downtown apartment. Amid the rattle of small-arms fire, my cat, Luna, abandoned my lap and sought safety under the sofa. When the air raid sirens began to wail a moment later, I surrendered my coffee, dropped to my hands and knees, and dragged Luna’s tiny, trembling body into my arms. I whispered to her, “It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay…” as I hurried to a nearby metro station and joined the huddled hundreds sheltering inside from Russia’s missiles.

Down in the belly of the underground hall, I found an empty corner for Luna and me. Seated in my arms and still shaking, my little black cat hid her face in the crook of my elbow and stayed silent. Some children around us laughed and played, while most adults sat stone-faced and spoke softly. Every so often, I caught someone’s look and saw something familiar in the unfamiliar eyes. In that instant, we shared more than strangers often do. Caught in the tide of an accelerating calamity, we hurtled together toward an unknown end and wondered, “Will Kyiv fall?”

At that point, Moscow certainly seemed to think so. Some advancing Russian units carried parade uniforms, revealing preparations for a triumphant victory march. Even the US government demonstrated little faith in Kyiv’s ability to hold out for more than a few days.

Two months later, I type these words in a free and unoccupied Kyiv because Ukraine’s soldiers, civilians, and political leaders held their ground, turned the tide of battle, and saved their capital city.

In the early hours of Feb. 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared his “special operation,” and missile strikes thundered across Ukraine. Russian troops gained ground, and the sounds of approaching explosions violated Kyiv’s ordinary urban din. The occasional crackle of small-arms fire was audible, too, as Russian special operations troops forced their way downtown in a bid to kidnap or kill Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. During those frightful first days, the roads out of Kyiv clogged with traffic as many tried to flee. At the city’s main train station, women offered their babies to strangers on overloaded trains.

At night, Ukrainian surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft tracers split the sky, seeking inbound Russian missiles. You heard the chilling snarl of jet noise overhead and wondered, Russian or Ukrainian? When the air raid sirens sounded, as they often did, you debated whether to seek shelter or simply shut yourself inside the bathroom with your body armor vest draped over you like a child’s protective blanket.

Kyiv’s citizens quickly adapted to the danger. Down in the bomb shelters, you’d see snapshots of their resilience. Smiles and laughter. Children playing. Every so often, the Ukrainian national anthem sounded from someone’s smartphone. So, too, did the voice of Zelenskyy, who declared in an online video on Feb. 26, the third day of the full-scale war, that he was still in Kyiv and would not leave.

“I need ammunition, not a ride,” Zelenskyy famously said, refusing American entreaties to evacuate.

Zelenskyy’s defiance inspired Kyiv’s soldiers and citizens to dig in and do whatever was necessary to save their city. Even so, the weeks that followed tested the city’s soul.

Read on at https://www.coffeeordie.com/inside-battle-of-kyiv

Comment: This is a good report by Nolan Peterson about the early days of the Russian invasion. I would call it a human interest story. The initial assault on Kyiv was what the world expected from the much vaunted Russian war machine. They got as far as an attempt to storm the compound where Zelenskiy and his family were living. It was that close. But the Russian war machine ran straight into the Ukrainian war machine and their strategy of national resistance. As we all know, the Russians couldn’t replicate their 2014 takeover of Crimea. They faltered badly and were forced to withdraw. The Russians and their supporters are still trying to pass this failure off as a clever feint… a retelling of the classic tale of the fox and the grapes.

A major point of failure for the Russians was the botched job of intelligence preparation. It wasn’t for a lack of trying. A Washington Post story from yesterday laid out five points about this failure.

The FSB Ukraine Department expanded rapidly in preparation for solving the “Ukraine problem” once and for all. It went from 30 officers in 2019 to 160 officers on the eve of the invasion.

This FSB unit lined up two pro-Russian governments in waiting. One centered on former president Yanukovych and Victor Medvedchuk. The second group consisted of former members of Yanukovych’s party in territory already occupied by Russian forces, probably in Crimea.

“The FSB branch, known internally as the Department of Operational Information, has for years carried out clandestine operations to penetrate Ukraine’s institutions, pay off pro-Russian politicians and prevent the country from leaving Moscow’s orbit. Despite its intense focus on Ukraine, Western intelligence officials said, the FSB either failed to grasp how fiercely Ukraine would resist, or did understand but couldn’t convey such inconvenient information to Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

This FSB department was so convinced of a quick victory that they were already arranging for operational bases and residences in Kyiv before the invasion kicked off. That’s overconfidence, an overconfidence I have seen in our own IC.

Finally, these FSB officers, who failed so badly, are still in place. I can hardly criticize the Russians for this. This trait of keeping those who screwed the pooch so badly on the job is also embarrassingly familiar. 



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22 Responses to “Dispatch: Inside the Battle of Kyiv” – TTG

  1. blue peacock says:

    From a military standpoint – how were the Ukranians able to defeat the Russian military in the “Battle of Kyiv”? What strategies and tactics did they deploy? What weaknesses in the Russian military and intelligence did they exploit? What were the pivotal reasons for the Russian forces to withdraw?

    • TTG says:

      blue peacock,

      Russia failed to suppress Ukrainian air defense or their air force. Ukrainian defenders successfully prevented an airhead being established at Hostomel. Russian armored assaults along open avenues of approach, unsupported by infantry, were defeated by Ukrainian ATGMs and artillery. Unescorted Russian supply columns fell prey to ambushes by small Ukrainian Army infantry units and Territorial Defense units along limited LOCs through forested and muddy terrain. Most pivotal was the Ukrainians fought hard and fought well against heavy odds. Few outside Ukraine thought that was possible.

      • Bill Roche says:

        Is this old woman nuts! She said her “country” has been fighting for independence for over 100years??? Why that would be just after Russia pulled out of WW I. Doesn’t she know Ukrainians aren’t a real people? She should get a history and ethnicity lesson from Prof. Putin. Ukrainians are really just sub-Russians who live in a Russian administrative unit. Silly woman; doesn’t she know Ukrainianess did not start until 2014 with American neocons, NATO, the EU and the Azov Battalion. My word, an independent Ukraine, what a foolish soul.

  2. cobo says:

    “…advancing Russian units carried parade uniforms…” I hope they went home bloody, the uniforms, I hope their bearers died. I love patriotism, yet I have no tribe.

  3. Sam says:

    I recall reading early in the invasion about cauldrons, Putin’s 64D strategy, and how the Russians had far superior weapons than even the US. Many on MoA and other anti-American hangouts were wetting their pants in glee at Russian hypersonic missiles, S400s and other weapons systems and how Putin’s Russian military might would crush the US military in combat. Similar to what I also read about the PLA now and how they’ll sink US carrier strike forces in the South China Sea.

    In my mind at least the Russian military might is largely debunked. If they can’t overwhelm Ukraine then how would they rush through the “Fulda Gap” and take Poland and the Baltics?

    It appears that when people fight for their sovereignty they fight with another level of motivation. This idea that Ukraine was balkanized and that there was no commonality of national purpose between the east and the west seems to have been incorrect. The Ukrainian and Russian forces appear to be at a standstill in the east, while there is more of a contest in the south.

    The fact that the Ukrainians are holding their own against a supposedly superior Russian military says something about both parties. The question is how long can Putin hold on to power if he’s stuck in an Ukrainian quagmire? I’m sure an older generation of Russians would remember their quagmire in Afghanistan not unlike our 20 year stint there that ended with the Taliban right back in Kabul.

    • Bill Roche says:

      Sam when the Russians sent their 1000 tanks through Fulda their destination was Frankfurt. We watched them like a hawk from V Corps at the IG Farben Bldg. I spoke with a guy stationed right up by Fulda Gap. He said we had enough fire power to knock their socks off. Well, I don’t know about that. You may be referring to the small gap between Kalingrad and (I think) Lithuania. That is “todays” Fulda Gap.

  4. Serge says:

    The murder of Dugin’s daughter tonight is very convenient for the Russians

    • TTG says:


      Yes, it will be spun by the Kremlin as the work of Zelenskiy himself, although it was far more likely the work of an internal Russian resistance against the war.

      • Bill Roche says:

        I saw a picture of the dead daughter, a pretty girl. I wonder how many pretty Ukrainian girls are dead due to Russian rockets. That’s the point. You chose to kill mine, now I kill yours. The weapon doesn’t matter. An old story.
        Pls forget your training as a soldier and put on your geo-political hat. Russia really cant just go home now, can it? They must end this debacle w/a win. The possibility of a peace treaty w/status quo ante is death to the world image of Russia. But Russia needs men. Will its public accept a gen’l draft in order to kill Ukies? Will Lukashenko offer up a couple of divisions in the north to divert the UKM? Considering today’s stalemate, is broken (they always are) in the fall, how long can the UKM go on. Earlier we discussed the entry of recently trained UKM replacement troops by the end of summer (that’s now!), but what does the UK’gov’t do? It needs money from western Europe but the Germans, French, and British are quiet. Does Ukr have the resources, power, money, men, ammunition to keep fighting through the fall? Was it the Stones that sang (I never liked them) “Time. time, time, is on my side, yes it is”. Wonder if Putin liked the Stones.

      • fredw says:

        Is there really a “National Resistance Army”? It seems unlikely that such a thing could exist for long with the structure and logistics to accomplish the things that are claimed. You have much more involvement with such matters of UW than I ever will. Does this seem plausible to you? How would we confirm this theory as events unfold?

        For now I will stick with Mark Galeotti’s original take on it:

        “Already, Russian commentators are blaming Kyiv, without explaining either why either Dugin would be their target of choice – there are much more rabid and influential commentators on Ukraine – or how they managed to pull off an attack in the very heart of the Russian security state. Likewise, others assume this was a Kremlin hit, either because they wanted to make Dugin a symbolic martyr or else because they feared ultra-nationalists like him would stir up protest were Russia to step back from its war in Ukraine. Finally, there are the inevitable suggestions that this was actually a contract killing driven not by politics but by business disputes.”


        • TTG says:


          Never heard of the National Resistance Army. Maybe it’s real. Maybe it’s vaporware. I do think the bombing was more likely to be an internal Russian matter rather than anything Kyiv would do. I think they’d be more likely to do something that would affect the Russian war effort. Don’t forget, things have been catching fire and blowing up all over Russia far from the Ukrainian border and those “accidents” don’t appear to be Kyiv’s work.

        • fredw says:

          And it gets better:
          “Now, we have the claim that a Ukrainian with a 12-year-old in tow carried out the attack, trailing Dugina in a mini with multiple number plates, then insouciantly headed for the Estonian border and passed through without any hitch.”


          Estonia seems rather a long way from Moscow.

  5. Leith says:

    Ukraine is expecting massive missile bombardments in a couple of days on the 23rd and 24th.

    The 24th because it is Ukrainian Independence Day, and any celebration of that must aggravate Putin immensely.

    The 23rd because of the Crimea Platform Summit being held on that day. 43 countries & international organizations participated on 23 August last year. The agenda of the Summit are discussions regarding:
    – Policy of non-recognition of Russia’s so called Autonomous Republic of Crimea;
    – Security and freedom of navigation;
    – Sanctions;
    – Violations of human rights (especially with regard to Crimea’s native Tatars) and international humanitarian law;
    – and environmental and economic threats.

    That agenda is also annoying the midget in the Kremlin. I suspect lat year’s summit was one of the major reasons why he opted in February to launch his Special Military Blunder.

  6. Leith says:

    TTG –

    Regarding the Russian Special Forces attempt to force their way downtown to kidnap or kill Zelenskyy. That might make a helluva Hollywood blockbuster. Are their any detailed accounts of that particular micro portion of the battle? Not much on Wiki or google that I could find. Except for a small blurb that ~60 Russian Spetznaz were killed in the attempt, some in Ukrainian uniforms and driving in two military vehicles that had Ukrainian markings. Were they really after Zelenskyy? Or were they headed to Ukraine’s Parliament?

  7. Deap says:

    (Yes, this was published this Sunday in California – in the one newspaper who endorsed Trump in 2016)

    Here’s why Trump’s supporters back him
    by Santa Barbara News-Press Editorial August 21, 2022 0 comment
    PURELY POLITICAL, By Jim Buckley

    The soundly defeated congressional candidate Liz Cheney gave a little “concession” speech in front of her backers in Jackson, Wy., Tuesday, during which she referred to Trump supporters as a “cult.”

    I feel compelled to respond to that accusation.

    We Trump supporters are a large group of mostly beaten-up, betrayed and broken Republican voters who’d gone through the treachery of the “Read my lips, no new taxes” George Herbert Walker Bush presidency. Then, eight years of Bill (and Hillary) Clinton.
    After the George W. Bush years, the following two Republican candidates broke our hearts: John McCain, who refused to take on Barack Obama’s radical friends, and Mitt Romney, who couldn’t and wouldn’t and didn’t fight his way out of a file folder full of women.

    When Donald Trump (accompanied by his wife, Melania) took that unforgettable ride down the escalator on June 16, 2015 at Trump Tower, I believed he was probably serious but had my doubts. This was the same guy, after all, who had donated to the campaigns of Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton, who’d never — as far as I knew — involved himself in any Republican or conservative cause.

    He was also someone who had been quoted as saying that he “loved” using other people’s money. That made us nervous.

    We were a desperate group, clinging to the promises of this loud-mouthed braggart New York billionaire who, as it turned out, became one of the best presidents in the history of this great nation. Our loss of hope became optimism. He led us to believe that a smaller, less intrusive government was indeed possible.

    But even though he received more votes than any other candidate ever in his bid for re-election, he was ultimately snookered by a basement-dwelling, masked-up, lifelong do-nothing politician via the machinations of too-clever-by-far Democrat lawyers, the COVID-19 pandemic, Silicon Valley billionaire chicanery and the conniving support of the establishment press.

    I jumped on the Trump train in July 2016. My then favorite – Florida Sen. “Little” Marco Rubio – proved to be not ready for prime time and was beaten (46% to 27%) by Mr. Trump in the Florida primary in March 2016.

    My earlier favorite, Scott Walker, dropped out before he had a chance to make a mark (September 2015).

    A few weeks before the election, I was shaken by the 2005 Billy Bush recording of Mr. Trump talking about his salacious experiences with young contestants as a beauty pageant owner. I thought it was over, that Hillary would win.

    But a friend who worked at a business on Coast Village Road held my hand and helped me through those fears.

    I confronted her where she worked the morning after the news of the “October Surprise” broke and said: “Well, what do you think?”

    “What do I think of what?” She asked.

    “You know. The Tape,” I stammered.

    “Oh that. That was just a man talking like a man,” she laughed, adding “You know how men are.”

    This woman was a devout Irish Catholic, a mother, a grandmother of nine; her husband was Hispanic, and she wasn’t fazed. She really did know “how men are.”

    Ultimately, I gave Donald Trump my editorial support — one of just a handful of editors in the entire nation to do so. I wasn’t sure he’d back up his promises, or keep them, but since I knew Hillary Clinton would do none of the things I’d want a new president to do, the choice was easy. And I’m proud of that decision.

    The Trump presidency was consequential. In the four years of his hugely successful administration, President Trump fulfilled — one by one — nearly every promise he’d made during the campaign.

    After decades of various U.S. presidents and Congresses “promising” to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Israel’s stated capital, President Trump made it happen.

    His Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner, helped negotiate an understanding between Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Israel. It was called the Abraham Accords; the parties acknowledged that Abraham was important to them all.

    President Trump promoted the idea and the importance of energy independence and achieved that goal before his presidency ended.

    I’m going to stay with the man who secured the southern border, took on the Chinese communists, quieted the North Korean dictator, brought success and prosperity back to America and whose policies helped put blacks, Hispanics, teenagers, Asians and other minorities to work, making good wages in numbers never before seen, or at least not seen for a very long time.

    I’m going to support a man who has proven his worth, kept his word and fought the good fight.

    So, no, we are not a cult.

    We are, however, a committed group in search of someone who’ll fight for our priorities, our ideas. A person who says what he believes and does what he says he will do. Someone who won’t apologize, won’t give in, won’t compromise.

    That person was and is Donald J. Trump.

    It may also be Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, or Virginia Gov. Glenn Younkin. Maybe others.

    South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem seems smart and brave.

    One thing we do know: It isn’t California Gov. Gavin Newsom, or (God help us) Hillary Clinton, or (God help us again) Joe Biden or Kamala Harris.

    So I’m sticking with Mr. Trump. I’m also sticking with his choices for senators and congressional members.

    You should too.

    James Buckley is a longtime Montecito resident. He welcomes questions or comments at jimb@substack.com. Readers are invited to visit jimb.substack.com, where Jim’s Journals are on file. He also invites people to subscribe to Jim’s Journal.

    • Bill Roche says:

      If one has the common sense (and a smidgeon of fairness) to recognize the overt bias of the left wing press and simply look at his accomplishments, despite their harassment/lies/intriques, how could you want other than Trump? He did what he did despite 4 years of non stop assault, and lies, from the socialists and the RINOs. He and I are the same age – he from Queens me from Yonkers so I’ve read about his escapades in the local metro papers (ad nauseum) for years. I’ve read about his arrogant self indulgent personality. The man aint close to perfect. But I will not vote for another Bush, Cheney, Romney, Rockefeller, Dole, McCain, or any other johnnie come lately (Haley, Hogan, Pence, Pompeo) Rinos that the RNC/GOPe dreck keep forcing on conservatives/libertarians. I’m the guy who votes for the town dog catcher but, if the RNC puts up another RINO I’ll sit it out. The political “sophisticates” can have fun w/this ticket but it’s a winner … Donnie n Tusli ’24. Yeah boy.

  8. mcohen says:

    I reckon in Esteemed Opinionary EO that SES organisations in a 300 km radius should go on full alert to cover all nuclear power stations in Ukraine and russia in the event of natural disaster for the next 2 weeks.
    Jurt T1.2

    • joe90 says:

      The winds go mostly this time west and south west, wondering why the Russians don´t go “yeah whatever, destroy it”.

  9. Jake says:

    What if this attack on Kiev was a ruse? An attempt to make Zelensky come to his senses before he would suffer a major military defeat, and lose hundreds of thousands of able bodied men through artillery bombardments, while they were left trapped in their NATO-built trenches and fortifications?

    Never, ever, did Russia state they were after taking all of Ukraine. On the contrary. They wanted Kiev to live up to their obligations stemming from the Minsk accords, or Russia would make them. And while we are treated to stories about a counter offensive, Russia is now knocking on the door of Nikolaev, while finishing the job in the Donbas. And apart from blowing up bridges, dams, nuclear power stations, and the thirty year old daughter of conservative Russian philosopher who has no official position in Russia, there is nothing. Destruction and mayhem. And stories.

    What we need, is debate. Not Kool-Aid.

    • TTG says:


      Russia doesn’t want to occupy Ukraine. They want regime change. They want another Belarus.

      • Jake says:

        TTG, I respect your take on what this war is about, and I do understand why you say that, but I do not concur. There is no doubt in my mind that more than a few Russians would love to see ‘regime change’ in Kiev, or even a full scale, permanent occupation. Putin and those around him, abhor the very idea, as far as I can see. And the reason I’m active on these pages, is to warn our side of the consequences of fighting the wrong war. From my perspective we are like the proverbial dog, chasing its own tail. We are fighting ourselves, and among ourselves, while we ‘liberate’ people elsewhere to do the same, and the consequences for the people will be dire.

        This is, in my opinion, a war of one ‘system’ against another ‘system’. And the horror of it is that we are caught by the balls, as one other commentator offered , and our hearts and minds followed, though our hearts and minds are not in it. On these pages, and all over the internet, the anger over policies, the role of the media, our economy going down the drain, election fraud, and the upcoming introduction of centralised digital currency to replace the Dollar and the Euro, are evident. Yet we close ranks to fight the wars of the very people who have us by the balls? I really don’t get it. We’re in the wrong war. And we’ll emerge penniless, all our money spent on senseless wars, mumbling woke ideology, and chanting Putins name during the ‘Two Minutes of Hate’, cheering for terrorists, while bowing out to the ‘Ministry of Truth’ by accepting censorship, and self-censoring. Not good.

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