Drone attack at Pskov

I was planning on posting something about this latest drone attack today after the hysterics and wild-assed rumors subsided a bit. The gist of a lot of the early commentary was that this attack had to come from Estonia and that it was the opening act of a full blown world war three. Our very own F&L picked up on this and posted several comments already this morning. Here’s his latest from Anatoly Nesmiyan’s and Markov’s Telegram channels.

Two posts from Nesmiyan this morning. TTG will not like the implications of 12423 but he has to take into account Nesmiyan’s extreme pessimism and 180 degree opposition to the RF administration who he thinks are cavemen who are simultaneously in denial and liars. I’ll append one or two from Markov too who hedges, first saying that a look at the map suggests Estonia but follows up pointing out that Ukraine has drones with 850 km range. Links followed by pasted translation of texts.
UAVs attacked Pskov. Considering where Pskov is, where is Ukraine, and where is the Baltic States, which is part of NATO, then the dream of the patriots has obviously come true – now we are also in a state of attack from NATO. But the red lines, as you know, are for internal use, in fact they are liquid brown. Therefore, the drones are Ukrainian, there was no NATO attack, and those who doubt will be rolled up for life for discrediting.
At night, the most massive drone attack of all time took place on six regions of Russia at once, and attacks on the Pskov region were delivered either from the territory of one of the Baltic countries, or from the territory of Russia itself. The effectiveness of the attack is obvious – the cost of damaged (or completely destroyed) military transport aircraft, fuel and airfield infrastructure is orders of magnitude greater than the cost of the drones involved. So the economy of this attack was all right. It probably makes no sense to say once again that by getting involved in the wildest foreign policy adventure with unclear goals, the Russian leadership most decisively brought down the security of the entire European territory of Russia. Considering that the same leadership carefully and lovingly destroyed a lot of things related to the country’s military security, the result could not have been different. Ukraine meanwhile announced the annual production of military drones in the amount of at least 200 thousand units. With the prospects of increasing output. This means that in the future attacks on targets in Russia will be more frequent, larger and more destructive. The game called the fight against terrorism can be played with two people, especially if the fate is that each side calls the other side a terrorist. The Kremlin has no chance of winning in such a game. Kiev, too, but the task of Kyiv is not to win, but to deplete Russia as much as possible. And this is exactly what he can do.
1-APU baring its teeth? 15 drones hit a military airfield in the Pskov region. It is most likely that these are drones of the Beaver of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, with a range of 850 km. From the border of Ukraine to Pskov, a little more than 600 km. That is, they could. Of course, the intelligence of the United States and Britain led these drones, and thus they are actively involved in the war.
Such a massive attack at such a great depth means that the majority of the Russian population is in the zone of destruction of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
2-Estonia gave its territory to the Armed Forces of Ukraine for an attack on the airfield in Pskov? Many people have this suspicion. But the tactical and technical characteristics of the UAVs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine say that they could strike from the territory of Ukraine.
But it is right to warn the Estonian government that if its territory is used for military operations against Russia, then Russia will be forced to strike at the territory of Estonia. Well, so that such thoughts are scrolled well in my head and thrown out

Comment: I think attributing this attack to Estonia or Estonian based Ukrainians is a little far fetched. Estonia knows her vulnerability to a retaliatory mass missile strike from Russia. Her ability to defend against such missile attacks consist of a number of old ZSU-23-2 AA guns and Mistral MANPADS. That’s if she didn’t already send them to Ukraine. Both NATO and the US defense establishment would drop a deuce if such an attack was launched from Estonian territory. We won’t even give Ukraine ATACMS for fear of either pissing Putin off or collapsing his regime. I’m not sure which scenario we fear more.

As Markov points out, NATO intelligence assets and communication assets probably assisted in this strike as well as the simultaneous strikes against other Russian targets including a fuel depot in Kaluga and a microelectronics factory somewhere in the Bryansk Oblast. BTW, if I was in Kyrylo Budanov’s shoes, I’d be conducting a concerted campaign against every possible microelectronics factory and storage facility that could be identified. As it is, Ukraine, with NATO help, is implementing multi domain operations (MDO) in her fight against the Russian invaders. Given that the Spring/Summer and probably Fall counteroffensive is not moving near as fast as the West was hoping for, we can take solace in that this MDO strategy is proceeding. We were anticipating a long, fairly low level UW conflict, but we got a long, men and material grinding conventional war… not what anybody expected.



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52 Responses to Drone attack at Pskov

  1. F&L says:

    It’s interesting. Some far out ponderings. Markov or people he knows as influential may possibly want to see a Russian blitz into Estonia, and spread rumors to support such a move. Highly highly unlikely, for reasons you cite and because in my opinion, despite Estonia’s minute dimensions, relatively speaking, the RF military is in no shape to accomplish any such thing. A third grader, looking at a map for the first time might think it’s doable. But it would be a disaster. A map with distance scales:
    At best I think he’s simply massaging domestic opinion – his readers range from expert to naif on both sides, Ru & Ukrainian, so he feels obligated to anticipate what some of them are suspecting.
    But the thing is, valid as your enumeration of armaments likely is, I ask you to consider whether you have overlooked or otherwise failed to accommodate the newbies on the block, what your discipline calls the Operational Environment, by which I mean drones. Little bitty drones in large and ever larger numbers, hard to detect because small and easy to conceal if need be.
    Ukraine War: Are drones the new machine guns? Sky news.

    And don’t forget, the mere fact that you’ve argued so plausibly for the absurdity of an attack from the territory of Estonia (likewise others will have done so) means that searches and resources will be pulled off elsewhere looking for these launching positions, making the areas that are not being searched more tempting, especially if the rewards are as juicy as Il-76 transports. It’s a perfect target — you don’t kill civilians (and thus rile up the people to push for more military action) while you take out expensive assets that can’t be replaced in the foreseeable future. The bottom line as I see it and obviously experts as in the video agree, is that more of these are on the way at dates of choice. These latest strikes were not reported on Ru TV for a good bit, but eventually Vladimir Soloviev, wearing a red sweatshirt emblazoned CCCP in white lettering, broadcast a standard peanut gallery rant asking why not nuke Estonia? (At least we had Dean Martin to go with Jerry Lewis).

    Now this, pasted below the link from the ВЧК-ОГПУ Telegram channel today is purely for giggles or better, my next sentence is. It’s something for a Rocky & Bullwinkle revival in their continuation of their adventures versus fearless leader and Natasha. Hold on, you’re going to see a new level of paranoid confusion:

    Did the AN-124 take off from Chelyabinsk, reputedly laden with Wagnerites, as in fact a RF secret service deception whose purpose was to make the public there in Ru better come to grips with their grief over the death of the heroic Wagner leaders (and break up or absorption of the organization) by making it thereby seem plausible that the secret service of Ru did the Pskov drone attack — why, you ask? Because another rebellion of the agrieved Wagner group was underway and they were in the process of stealing between 2 and 4 Ilyushin 76 transport jet aircraft from Pskov AFB (loaded with highly suspicious and dangerous materials (!!!) ) … when the FSB or whoever cleverly foiled their plan once again to overthrow the Ru government by means that cannot be revealed but were indistinguishable from a drone strike (of which there have been many lately).
    Perhaps the Russian Federation the day after the death of Prigozhin was on the verge of a new rebellion.

    As the VChK-OGPU found out, on August 24, the day after the death of Prigozhin, it was planned to land “landing troops from the PMC Wagner” in Moscow. At noon, just at the moment of identifying the bodies, when it became known that the leaders of the PMC had died, the transport AN-124 (RA-820300) used by Wagner to transfer people and equipment took off from the Ulyanovsk airfield. Judging by the way the plane circled over Ulyanovsk, the crew and soldiers inside were clearly waiting for an order where to fly and what to do. But in the end, apparently, they ordered to return and “do not smack the fever,” because. 50 minutes later, RA-820300 landed at the same airfield. The Wagner transporter is located there to this day. (End of pasted text)
    There’s much discussion of the November 2024 date of the US presidential election and things like “Will Joe Biden take it easy or negotiate a truce leading up to that date the better to allay the fears of voters who oppose the massive aid or potential for escalation?”

    Tucker Carlson interviews Hungary’s Victor Orban. (30 min).

    And there’s also the March 2024 date of the Ru election which may or may not keep Putin dialed back militarily till then. But depending on how things go Biden’s course of action may not be so predictable. If he’s losing in the polls next year, might he escalate rather than hold back to present himself as a victorious warrior vis a vis the peacenik republicans? Unknown. I propose as well that the outcomes of this conflict become more difficult to predict as months go by because the situation has become much more nonintuitive with the proliferation of drones. It’s really new because they’ve become so small and numerous (and therefore less detectable and interceptable) … with one other exceedingly alluring feature I haven’t seen discussed. Namely, used properly they become a noble warrior’s cherished dream. (Not the dream of bloodlusting adventurers though). Exceedingly low “collateral damage” – let’s be real, skip that obnoxious terminology – no women and children killed or maimed or made orphaned and widows and no men either for that matter. And … virtually no casualties suffered by the side using them from points far away.
    That is a loaded string of words, by the way, and it isn’t safe to point it with abandon so recklessly, because political crusaders will use arguments like that to further their own careers and their backer’s profits and that approach could go very wrong if a once powerful national such as Russia is bit by bit rendered impotent and defenseless. But the temptation will be there.
    So in conclusion – how “out the window” are the usual considerations of wet vs dry seasons, “boots on the ground” and all the other stuff about tanks and artillery and air power in light of this drone & AI revolution? Remember, Henry Kissinger was lobbying not so long ago for new treaties specifically for what he foresaw as a dawning if yet not quite yet present age of cybernetically AI controlled uktra-fast kinetic conflict.

    • F&L says:

      Brainless Wonders of the Modern Ancient World.
      How shall I count thee?
      1- 2- 3- 4- ….
      Yes, integers will do.
      Interview with Defense Minister Shoigu of the RF:
      So it’s time to build air defense equipment?
      Thank you, Minister Shoigu.
      Interview with Vladimir Soloviev of Channel 1:
      So it’s time to wipe Estonia off the map?
      Here’s a towel and a bottle of Windex.
      Thank you.
      You’re welcome. … And that’s all from Moscow, goodnight.

      The State Duma threatened to hit the Baltic countries because of the drone attack on Pskov
      The Baltic countries may expect a military response from Russia if it turns out that the attack on Pskov on the night of August 30 occurred from their territory. Oleg Morozov, head of the State Duma Control Committee, stated this in a conversation with NSN.
      The deputy did not rule out the possibility that Estonia could be set up: “After all, this can be a provocation, including setting up Estonia and provoking us, and then saying that Russia’s aggression against Estonia, a NATO country, has begun with all the aggravating consequences,” he said. , stressing that the allegations would require “clear and obvious” evidence.
      Earlier, propagandist Vladimir Solovyov announced the involvement of the Baltic countries in the night attack of drones on the air of his program. “Pskov is near the border of NATO. Where was the launch from? From Ukraine, or what? From the Baltics? Destroy the Baltics, if so. Wipe it off the face of the earth,” he urged.
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      Shoigu demanded to produce air defense around the clock after the largest raid by Ukrainian drones
      Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu instructed to switch to a round-the-clock mode of operation of the enterprise of the Almaz-Antey concern, Russia’s largest manufacturer of air defense systems.
      According to the press service of the Ministry of Defense, on Wednesday Shoigu visited one of the concern’s factories in the Tula region and “checked the progress of the state defense order.” The general director of Almaz-Antey, Yan Novikov, reported to Shoigu that “potential production capacities for the entire range of products have increased significantly”, and after the increase in work shifts, the quality and speed of production have “increased”.
      Shoigu set the task of increasing the production of radar detection equipment, and also demanded to organize “round-the-clock work of the enterprise, in 24/7 mode,” the Defense Ministry said in a release.
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    • F&L says:

      Hostage crisis in Iran:
      We want our huge jet airliner .. it’s September already.
      Sorry. It’s not ready. But it will be ready by April 5.
      You mean after the RF presidential election?
      Iran did not return Aeroflot aircraft sent for repair to Russia on time
      The aircraft with registration number RA-73700 arrived in Tehran on April 5 and was supposed to return to Russia in September. However, he will not be able to do this until the spring of next year, a source in Aeroflot told the Aviatorshchina telegram channel.
      The maintenance of the aircraft in Tehran is carried out by specialists from the largest Iranian carrier Mahan Air, RBC wrote earlier, citing two sources in the carrier. According to them, the renovation will include “a wide range of works.”
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      • wiz says:


        When I ran across this song I immediately thought of you.
        You appreciate pretty ladies singing in Russian. Won’t comment on the lyrics, though.



        • TTG says:


          It’s a Ukrainian song about the Russians. F&L will still get a kick out of it. I did.

        • F&L says:

          Thanks. I’ve heard that song a lot on TikTok and YouTube, but never seen the lovely performer. FWIW, my two favorite Ukrainian recording and performing artists are Olga Polyakova and Nadya Dorofeeva (formerly of Vremya и Steklo) who happen to sing in Russian. They were both hugely popular in Russia and Ukraine prewar, and each had a large international following too. Nadya as part of her duo. Another testament to the tragedy of Slavic civil war. (What a ridiculous term for a bloody war, right? — “civil.”)

          Here Nadya sings the Viagra smash hit “Popitka Nomer Pyatt” (Fifth Attempt) with her partner ‘Positif.’ I love her use of her hand to emphasize the number 5 and the play on words between Opyat (again) and Pyatt (five).

          Popitka Nomer 5 (Attempt Number 5) – Время и Стекло (Time and Glass)

          Olga Polyakova -Я Звонила – Ya Zvonila – I Called.

          My favorite song of Olga’s is probably Первое Лето Без Него (Pervaya Leto bez Nevo) First Summer Without Him. You won’t need a PhD to guess why.

          Оля Полякова – Первое Лето Без Него

    • English Outsider says:

      Got the italics wrong,TTG. Might I submit a corrected comment?


      F&L – with respect, I reckon most looking at this conflict have got it wrong, or most in the West. That includes the Mearsheimer school as well.

      First, look at it from the point of view of the Crazies in Washington and Berlin/Brussels. What were they hoping for and expecting?

      They expected a quick Russian military victory followed by a most appalling mess in the Ukraine, as the Russians tried to cope with outbreaks of resistance all over the country.

      Russia’s “Afghanistan”. That’s what was being said at the time; and the small unit training and equipment we’d provided pre-SMO, while of little use for the full scale combined arms warfare we’d expect of the Russians, was perfect for just that.

      More importantly, they expected the sanctions war to disable Russia. They still do, the chumps. We’re still hearing fools like UvdL claiming that the Russians are having to cannibalise washing machines for chips to keep their war machine going.

      Utter folly. The Americans got to the moon and set up their nukes using 12″ discs and primitive computers. Did they think the Russians would break sweat if those fancy missiles of theirs used sixteen mil chips instead of five? And do they think the Russians had failed to ensure that the supply of the most essential component in advanced modern weaponry was not at the mercy of Western sanctions?

      The fools expected sanctions to break the only economy in the world self sufficient in food, energy, and the materials of war; and they expected that against the advice of the Fed and one gathers of Wall Street. Fools indeed. The Crazies were, well, crazy to gamble on the sanctions war breaking Russia and we’re now paying for their craziness. Serves us all right, I suppose, since most of us in the West went along enthusiastically with that craziness. FOFA will be history’s verdict on us.

      But gamble the Crazies in Washington and Berlin/Brussels did. Russia’s “Afghanistan” in Ukraine and the Russian economy and war machine crumbling was what they put their money on. Correction. What they put our money on.

      The Russian response was predictable. They prevented the Kiev forces getting into the Donbass – we all including Mearsheimer blithely ignore the fact that that was the reason for the SMO in the first place – and for good measure disabled the Ukrainian army.

      Given they used only handfuls of regulars, and that against a massively larger Ukrainian army, that was their one spectacular military operation of the war. Very special, to borrow their term. We still don’t know how they did it. I’ve been grubbing around the sites asking for information on that point and find that no one does know in detail.

      That done, and done with remarkable speed, they carried out a hostage release operation in Mariupol that was pretty well a carbon copy of the similar operation in East Aleppo, right down to the tactics and the type of troops used, They got their land bridge secured. And then settled down to the type of attritional warfare they’ve employed ever since. Low risk, cheap in casualties, forcing the opponent to come to them instead of indulging in the costly “Broad Arrow” offensives so dear to the heart of Western military analysts.

      That’s the “Falkenhayn scenario”. They were doing it well before Surovikin set up his vilely named “Meatgrinder”. They’ll do it for as long as they please. Then they’ll move in and take whatever of the old Party of Regions area they think fit. Then they’ll neutralise remnant Ukraine.

      Don’t know how and it’s a pity they have to do it at all. But if they don’t, the Crazies will pour arms and money into remnant Ukraine to keep the thing going. So unless the Russians want Sleboda’s “zone of insecurity and destabilisation for the rest of our lives” in remnant Ukraine they have little choice but to neutralise it.

      The Washington Crazies will move on. As Mrs Nuland informed Congress not long back, they still have high hopes of getting at Russia elsewhere. And Mrs Nuland’s visit to Mongolia maybe presages some more destabilisation attempts over that way. Have to wait and see. Though the world outside the West is getting wise to the ways of the Crazies and they’ll put a spoke in Mrs Nuland’s wheel if they can.

      The Berlin/Brussels Crazies? Not such a happy time for them. When they screwed up on Minsk 2 that was them out of the game. They are no longer significant players. Putin’s not bothering to take calls from Scholz or Macron and hasn’t been bothering to for some time. Maybe he will if the Russians start getting heavy with the 2021 European security demands. Have to wait and see.

      Bit apprehensive on that one. The Russians have kept the kid gloves on so far. Could be awkward for Europe if the Russians start getting heavy and I live in the damned place.

      That’s a thumbnail sketch of the background to what you’re writing about, F&L. Misses out on the miserable fate of our proxies but then, when did we in the West ever worry about the proxies? I suspect you know that background much better than I do so I look forward to you digging around and filling the gaps in.

      Wish you’d focus on those first few days of the SMO as well. That was the one and only time the Russians could have screwed up in this otherwise entirely predictable war. It’d be good to know in detail how they managed not to.

      • F&L says:

        You argue pretty well, nothing you’ve said is outright refutable, though I personally see here a long, pretty argument strung together with more faith and hope in ongoing Russian competence and foresight than is to my taste, and overlooking to include numerous citations of evidence and forecasting on drone technology which would weaken your thesis, but that’s debating, fair is fair. I won’t contest the claim that Ru troops have managed to prevent collapse, they have. It just looks dismal to me. I’m a congenital pessimist, yes, but allow me to state this detail, admittedly my opinion, but not mine alone: The Kerch Bridge exists now and in the future, merely as a pretty decoration. It can be gone whenever certain commanders somewhere or other give the signal. To be a real bastard, which isn’t nice, I could even claim it’s being preserved, not by Ru valor and defensive skill, but because intelligent people somewhere have concluded “why destroy it now, after all we can do so at a time of our choosing in the future, and our espionage and listeners give us reasons to expect that a settlement may be reached within a year or so, so why utterly destroy something as useful and expensive as that magnificent bridge, which will in the future serve greatly to enhance and speed the future rebuilding and recovery and economic trade (and resort potential) between all parties to this Black Sea conflict?”

        I’ll think it over some more, but kindly for reasons of time allow me to cite this from Nesmiyan, who expresses thoughts I’ve tried myself here in marginalia, but he’s included very recent developments regarding your home country and updated regarding Asia too. I think you’re earnest, scrupulosly well informed and very clever, EO, and not entirely waving hands, not at all, I think you’re just slightly in a rush toward a happy ending and aren’t taking everything into account, that’s all.


        British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has resigned. Whether this is due to internal British events or there are some external circumstances is unknown.

        Wallace is a firm supporter of the “party of war” in relation to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, which, in translation, means his support for the most rigid position of inflicting unacceptable damage and defeating Russia. Accordingly, Wallace defended the point of view of a significant increase in assistance both in terms of volumes and in terms of the range of weapons.

        However, one can see that now the situation is firmly in the hands of the conditional “Peace Party”, which in fact is exactly the same for the war, but more exhausting and exhausting Russia.

        The “party of war” solves more local and less time-consuming tasks. Strategically, it loses to the “peace party”, which looks both wider and further.

        For the British, who are oriented towards tougher approaches, the tasks that they solve on the continent are important – the creation of a cordon sanitaire that locks Europe from the east. Then Great Britain gets a significant advantage, as a country that largely controls this cordon.

        The “Party of Peace” considers the Russian-Ukrainian conflict in the context of the global crisis and the fight against China, more precisely, depriving China of its negotiating position. In this sense, the exhaustion of Russia, while maintaining its stability, makes it possible to fully implement such a task. The defeat of Russia creates serious risks of its collapse, which will force us to spend a huge resource on some kind of control over our territory, which the supporters of this policy would like to avoid.

        Actually, this is the key contradiction between these two parties in the West. In relation to the conflict itself, there are no fundamental differences. Help has been provided and will continue to be provided. The only question is to what extent and for what purposes.

        Wallace’s departure may be a recognition of the defeat (or retreat) of the “war party”, and the new British defense secretary will be forced to proceed from these new realities.

      • English Outsider says:

        I’m afraid I got it wrong. It was Mrs Baerbock, not UvdL, claiming the Russians were down to dismantling washing machines.

        Should have known it was our Annalena. When Mrs Baerbock’s on form she comes out with the most surprising remarks. Like telling the Poles she didn’t give a tinker’s cuss what her voters thought. True enough, but more accomplished politicians know you’re really not supposed to say that sort of thing out loud.

        That’s the trouble with the Crazies. So much more deadly when they’re dumb. As I suppose your Joe proves in full measure, F&L.

        • F&L says:

          Thanks for reminding me. I’m in full agreement that the pols on every side are loonies better suited to pose as models for the plastic figurines we used to fish out of cracker-jack boxes, than as representatives of nations.

          Why Psychopaths rise to power – Brian Klaas.

          • English Outsider says:

            F&L. On Ben Wallace –


            – he looks good in Army gear, which is right and proper for a British Minister of Defence.

            When it comes to solid knowledge of military affairs above junior level I look rather to General Lord Richards. I don’t know how on earth an intelligent and enterprising man like that got to be Chief of the UK Defence Staff but something went wrong somehow so that’s how he ended up.

            It was General Lord Richards who very early on intimated – how very English that word is – that we’d be leaving our proxies bare-assed in the wind.

            And so it turned out. “We are not Amazon”, Ben Wallace’s remark at Vilnius when we sold Zelensky down the river, will immortalise the name of the fake warrior and justify the premonitions of the real one.

            As for his leaving, I think Wallace baled out ahead of the rush. The early bird gets the worm when it comes to revolving doors. But that might be an injustice. Perhaps he just left because he was an ignominious failure.

            In your American terms you’d call Wallace a “Hawk”. In mine, a cheapskate. Full of piss and vinegar but slithered out from under when it turned out there was no way we could give Zelensky support to the level he’d been promised. Or ever could have given it.

            From “as long as it takes” to “We are not Amazon”. What a creep.

          • F&L says:

            According to Malek Dudakov here, Ben Wallass’s replacement is no peach either.
            The several links he includes don’t appear below because this paste–translation operation doesn’t preserve formatting.
            Rishi Sunak continues to amuse with cabinet appointments . The long-awaited change of the Minister of Defense took place – Ben Wallace resigns in time, crawling away from the defeat in Ukraine. He will be replaced by Grant Shapps, who is best known for his corruption and fraud scandals.

            Even before entering politics , Shapps owned a network marketing firm that promised to teach people how to make a quick buck . Moreover, he also used a fictitious name for this. In the House of Commons, he constantly incited his colleagues – and in 2017 he even tried to plot to overthrow Theresa May from the post of prime minister.

            And immediately after inflating the cryptocurrency bubble in 2017, Shapps also got a job in a blockchain firm and received from it 700 thousand pounds in the form of crypto tokens. At the same time, he himself headed the parliamentary group for the development of the blockchain – and managed to personally earn money on the same .

            Shapps worked for a long time as the Minister of Transport – and during his time there was a collapse of the largest British tour operator Thomas Cook, which left 600,000 tourists to fend for themselves. The situation in aviation turned out to be quite deplorable – with constant strikes, technical troubles, due to which cancellations and reschedules of flights have already become commonplace.

            Then Shapps jumped from position to position – now the Ministry of Defense is also giving him a steer. The situation in the British army is now a stalemate – there is no money, the number is declining, the military arsenals are depleted, only 40 tanks remain on the move. There are also many political scandals – with the dismissal of white pilots or opponents of “transgenderism” . It seems that it won’t get any worse – but with the new leadership, they can knock from the bottom. However, such people are convenient as consumables – after all , Shapps can be merged at any moment, shifting responsibility for failures on the Ukrainian front onto him .

      • Keith Harbaugh says:

        EO wrote
        “[Russia] prevented the Kiev forces getting into the Donbass –
        we all including Mearsheimer blithely ignore the fact that that was the reason for the SMO in the first place…”

        Now let’s see what Mearsheimer wrote in his June 2023 Substack paper (emphasis added):

        Russia’s goals:

        what does victory [for Russia] look like?
        The ideal outcome before the war began in February 2022 was to
        1. turn Ukraine into a neutral state and
        2. settle the civil war in the Donbass
        that pitted the Ukrainian government
        against ethnic Russians and Russian speakers
        who wanted greater autonomy if not independence for their region.


        Did Russia’s goal of
        “[settling] the civil war in the Donbass” (presumably to the satisfaction of Russia) require
        “prevent[ing] the Kiev forces getting into the Donbass”?
        I would think so.

        I think the most important thing about Mearsheimer is how much he got, and gets, right.

        • TTG says:

          Keith Harbaugh,

          Putin had the perfect opportunity to settle the war in the Donbas on his terms. He already recognized their independence. All he had to do was move forces up the line of contact and enforce a ceasefire on the DNR/LNR forces. The Ukrainians were already skittish about firing across the LOC lest they provoke a full scale Russian invasion. They would have been doubly skittish about provoking a wider Russian response. Poof. Frozen conflict. Such a Russian move may not have even triggered widespread Western sanctions. Biden already spoke of only certain Russian moves triggering the sanctions.

          The only downside for Putin would have been that Kyiv would remain hostile to Moscow. In an attempt to change that, he had to invade Ukraine. That was his true objective.

          • F&L says:

            I still think he was provoked by the Munich conference and Zelensky’s threats to rearm nuclearly (with K Harris present). Dirty bombs were rumored. Evidence: Kiev never got conquered but the two huge N plants Chernobyl & Zaporozhye did. Right out of the starting gate. Obvious primary targets. You’ll argue that all day and night and say “but what about the other N plants in Ukr, they weren’t seized?” Ok, but if you’re invading the whole place and have troops on the approaches to Kiev – mightn’t you not expect to roll up the remaining plants in due time?
            It’s impossible to reconstruct at this point, there’s so much bluff and bizarre lack of preparation. But that last – lack of prep (so extreme you could call it “zero prep”) – that’s imo further indication of panic and the sort of blundering haste that fear of dirty bombs (or worse) would compel. And think it over a bit further .. If you fear either dirty bombs and or actual n weapons (don’t forget, US or UK could provide one and so could another country I’m not going to mention, no not Israel, another and not Fr either) then the two n power plants offer various countermeasures of discouragement for Ukr and Europe more widely. Namely, given that you’re in armed combat with artillery, missiles & aircraft, plausible “unintentional” wreckage scenarios allow you to hold the entire country and large parts of Europe hostage without the need to launch or drop real knooques.
            Well, I’ll never convince you anymore than I could beat Haystacks Calhoun in a wrestling match.

        • English Outsider says:

          Yes, Mearsheimer is a great scholar and a courageous. Objections?

          He doesn’t do military and therefore is under the illusion that European NATO has punch to match the Russians. Interestingly, if you listen to the Orban interview F&L put up, you’ll find that Orban is under the same illusion. Lots of people are. They should listen to such as Kujat or Cavoli. So should Mearsheimer.

          He doesn’t do much of the stuff Professor Robinson is so good at. Capturing the national mood of the Russians, the way their Zeitgeist is going. If I want insight into how the Russians think I’ll go to such as Robinson, or Patrick Armstrong who used to put up such illuminating articles here. Mearsheimer’s got some feel for it of course, but it’s not his central thing.

          Nor have I seen Mearsheimer explore the mechanics of power. The electoral and interest group pressures on the people who construct and sign all these documents Mearsheimer handles so expertly. When Mearsheimer looks at the mechanics of big power relationships, is he aware that what he is really examining is not the impersonal interaction of national entities. He is examining the interaction of political elites swayed by sectional interest.

          He could do with a dose of Macgregor, who’s been up close and personal with the sectoral interest groups and knows full well that when we say so confidently “The US does such and such” or “Germany does such and such” what we so often mean is that the political elites do such and such. And what is done is not always done in the national interest of this or that country. It is done in theirs.

          Those are the objections. But if you need chapter and verse on how “the West” built up the pressure on Russia over the decades then Mearsheimer is definitely the man. None better. I’ve found him light on the European dimension, as most American scholars and analysts are, but he’s put out a lot of material so perhaps he’s put the searchlight on us Europeans and I’ve missed it.

          But he’s a big picture man. He says so explicitly. He leaves the local stuff to the “area studies specialists”. That is why he himself remarks that his work could only have 70% or so predictive value. And when looking at the reasons for the SMO we do need “area studies” to make sense of it. We do need an accurate evaluation of the tensions and threats along the LoC in the time running up to that fateful 21st February. There Mearsheimer and so many others fail.

          I’m still a big fan. Takes guts to say we were dumb to put neo-Nazis up against the Russians, that at a time when it’s verboten in the West to mention the Ukrainian neo-Nazis at all – except to explain they’re not there!

          Takes guts to stand up in a room of fellow academics and give a lecture with most of them scowling at him. Thank the Lord he’s got tenure.

          And he’s a lovely scholar, with all the apparatus of scholarship at his fingertips. Awesome. Just that he’s got the SMO wrong.

          Second thoughts. Am I just quibbling? Or is this a central point. I do think it’s a central point but maybe that’s because even now, for me the heart of it all is still the Donbass. I do know what those shells coming across the LoC meant, and what the massing of the Kiev forces along that LoC could have meant, to the peoples of the Donbass. Does Mearsheimer?

          • Billy Roche says:

            E.O. you aren’t quibbling, you’re stuck in advancing Putin’s lies about SMO. There was none. It was an INVASION. There was no “fateful” day. Russia staged forces weeks b/f so only an idiot d/n understand what was going to happen. Ukraine isn’t filled with latent NAZIs. If that excuses an invasion of Ukraine can invasion of Finland, the Baltics, or Hungry be expected soon? Finally the invasion is not about the Donbass (or Crimea). It is about elimination of the Ukrainian state and people. You are not a quibbler, you are an ignorer. You ignore 100 years of continuous Ukrainian efforts for independence from Russia. Ukrainians fought Russians for their independence in 1917, 1918-21, 1933, 1942-45, and declared such in ’91. In that summer I knew that Russia would make war on Ukraine b/c Ukraine may not exist and Russia be an empire. All these events preceded “The Maiden”, 2014 elections, Nuland, NATO, Minsk, and HMS gov’t. In an earlier post you suggested that being a vassal state (a polite way of saying being a bitch to the Russian) was just the reality of living close to Russia. Imagine accepting that premise world wide. The Chinese would agree w/it. Hitler, Hirohito, and Mussolini did. I w/n advance Putin’s excuses for war. This war is the culmination of a 100 year effort for a colony to get free of her master. It is about independence vs submission. Ukrainians are the good guys. The Russians are the bad guys. Sometimes life is that simple.

          • F&L says:

            Macgregor has been “up close and personal?” That’s nice to know. Now we can hire the Avon lady to tell Tucker Carlson what he pays her to say. And Tucker absolutely has the interests of the people foremost in mind, not his own, no never. Were you one as a boy of those kids who always got into the car when the sleazy stranger pulled over and offered you some candy and a ride to the zoo?

          • Keith Harbaugh says:

            Thanks for your extensive commentary on Mearsheimer.
            But of course there are two sides to most questions.
            Might I some alternative sides?

            “He doesn’t do military…”
            The man is a West Point graduate, followed by five years of active duty as a U.S. Air Force officer.
            I am curious about what he did in the AF, but my Internet searches have come up blank.
            But I am sure you are right that Macgregor is far more knowledgeable about the current military situation.

            “He doesn’t do much of the stuff Professor Robinson is so good at. Capturing the national mood of the Russians,
            the way their Zeitgeist is going.”
            There was a very smart man, a brilliant mathematician and a devout conservative Christian,
            Igor Rostropovich Shafarevich,
            of some significance.

            [Shafarevich] belonged to a group of Pochvennichestvo-influenced dissidents who endorsed the Eastern Orthodox tradition.
            Shafarevich published a book, The Socialist Phenomenon (French edition 1975, English edition 1980),
            which was cited by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in his 1978 address to Harvard University.

            Based on your recommendation, I purchased Robinson’s book Russian Conservativism to see what Robinson had to say about this eminent Russian conservative.
            Imagine my surprise when Shafarevich didn’t even merit a mention in the book’s index.
            I wonder why Robinson omitted him.
            Robinson is no doubt an expert on his subject area, but that is a curious omission.

            “Nor have I seen Mearsheimer explore the mechanics of power.

            When Mearsheimer looks at the mechanics of big power relationships,
            is he aware that what he is really examining is not the impersonal interaction of national entities.
            He is examining the interaction of political elites swayed by sectional interest.”
            In 2007 he coauthored a 476-page book with Stephen Walt,
            The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Israel_Lobby_and_U.S._Foreign_Policy .
            So yes, I am sure he was well aware of how domestic groups influence foreign policy.
            Also see his more recent, solo-authored book
            Great Delusion: Liberal Dreams and International Realities.

            Just trying to present some alternative views.

  2. Fred says:

    Paragraph 18:
    “Ukrainian forces have been conducting a summer offensive for nearly three months. They have yet to achieve a breakthrough of Russia’s heavily mined and fortified defenses, although they said in the past week they had finally penetrated the first main defensive line.”

    I’m sure that statement don’t mean ‘nuthin.

  3. Private Schweik says:

    The Ukrainian drone attacks inside Russia are as likely to produce a political crisis inside Russia as the Luftwaffes’s Blitz did inside the UK.

    This is just more American Boomerism: selective remembering of history from Churchill through Reagan tempered by a belief in whatever the Zionists who control cable tv told them to believe 30 seconds ago.

    If they had any honor or decency as a generation they would acknolwedge the utter failures they have been, shut up, step aside and chew through social security in silence while everyone after them moves to clean up their mess.

    • TTG says:

      Private Schweik,

      Of course these drone attacks will not break Russia any more than a year and a half of bombing Ukraine brought about a political crisis in Ukraine. What they will do is force Russia to adjust. They will pull their aircraft further back from the borders and/or redeploy air defense assets from the the battlefields to the motherland.

      • F&L says:

        There’s reports they’ve already moved bombers. But no mention in this post pasted below of the Ilyushins.
        Ilta-Sanomat: Russia has moved its bomber fleet to the Olenya base on the Kola Peninsula to keep them safe from Ukrainian drones. Aircraft make long bombing flights from the borders of Finland to Ukraine. Olenya, which is located only 150 kilometers from Finland, has become one of the main bases of Russia. Satellite images show a large number of Tu-95 and Tu-160 aircraft, which are considered the backbone of Russia’s strategic forces. Justin Bronk, a researcher at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in the UK, stressed that “since Russian tactical fighters cannot operate over Ukraine due to air defenses, strategic long-range bombers are the only effective way for Russia to launch continuous missile strikes deep into Ukraine.” “They are as important as Iskander-M ballistic missiles, MiG-31K aircraft that launch aeroballistic missiles (“Dagger”) and Navy ships that fire Kalibr missiles,” Justin Bronk explained. #Финляндия #Украина

      • Billy Roche says:

        And if Russian drawing in of air defense assets benefits Ukrainian efforts on the battlefield the drone efforts will have been useful.

      • Fred says:


        What have the Russians been doing with these aircraft for a year and a half? It’s not like there have been more paratroop drops behind the lines. Didn’t work out too well early in the war and certainly would be disastrous now.

    • Fred says:


      American Boomerism is making Europeans leaders… and those Zionists too! wah wah wah. You must truly be an uninformed European to think the ok boomer crowd is driving foreign policy decisions in Europe or the US.

    • Billy Roche says:

      Pvt Schweik, born in ’46 I resemble those remarks!!!

      • Whitewall says:

        Me too. When I need a generation to blame, I tend to aim for the ‘silent generation’, that small population wedged between the Greatest Generation and the Boomers.

    • ChasMark says:

      Jake Sullivan is 47 – 48 years old. Not a boomer.

  4. F&L says:

    It was preliminary established that the UAVs that attacked Pskov were flying through the Pskov-Chudskoye Lake – a source in the power structures of Pskov
    Well if this is correct then it was either from Estonia or a ship on the Baltic. One other source speculates on a ship flying the “flag of a 3rd country.” Below is another from Nesmiyan. The lake is the big one – lake Peipus in the map here:
    Makes you wonder if it’s a provocation. But whose? Belarus claimed soldiers from Latvia crossed it’s borders. Doubtful. Can drones be launched from a sub submerged in the lake?

    If so, then there can be two starting points for launching drones. Either Estonia, or some platform ship in the Baltic Sea – and through the territory of Estonia or directly through Russia.

    And if so, then Ust-Luga, for example, is even closer than Pskov. Yes, and to St. Petersburg – half a sneaker on the map. So what? Now the Baltic Sea is the inland sea of ​​NATO, wherever we want, we go there.

    • wiz says:


      Ukraine has been trying very hard to involve NATO into direct conflict with Russia.
      Would they be so brazen to organize an attack from Estonian territory without Estonian government knowledge and cooperation ?

      With Estonia being so close to Pskov airport they probably would not need NATO’s help in navigating and evading radar installations.

      That would be one hell of a risk to take with regards to continued NATO support but desperate people & desperate measures…

      • F&L says:

        I agree, it would be very risky. My excuse – I’m relaying info indicating that some “folks” in Ru are thinking it’s possible. Some of them maybe bull***ting instigators who are lying to see what reactions their theories elicit, others might be serious and either in possession of evidence or have been tricked into accepting dubious evidence they are not in a position to reliably evaluate. Probably a good percentage of them are simply blowhards like Soloviev who are ordered from above to appear tough, because what’s happened is embarrassing and displays of weakness and uncertainty is verboten. In Soloviev’s defense, he was threatened a few months ago with assassination if he didn’t toe the party line diligently – if you recall he was openly critical at one point, as was Simonyan. They put a stop to it quickly in the usual subtle but unmistakable manner – “fortunately, the FSB has apprehended the ring of saboteurs who nearly assassinated Soloviev, x, y, z .. (all people who had been critical of the SVO and its leaders).”

        Summing up, you’re probably right, it’s borderline ludicrous that Eastonia proper is a launching point. But not the Baltic sea, as far as I can tell. Geography is still geography and distance is distance.
        If I wanted to be malicious I could invent a scenario whereby a ship on the Baltic was damaged by a mine or a Ru helicopter or patrol ship gunnery, and the covert action team onboard managed to bail and make land in Estonia with their equipment, and proceeded to launch their drones anyway, saying to themselves that everything would be denied and covered up by both sides, necessarily. But that’s really farfetched.

        • F&L says:

          More points in your column. From Telegram ch Mash. No sources or links but if true it might explain Nesmiyan’s eagerness to jump to an incorrect conclusion, he’s understandabl very bitter. Especially because it says the sighting was AFTER the strikes on Pskov AFB. Would constitute a typical fk up due to analysing data before proper sorting of times of occurrence. I imagine lots of innocent women have been harmed by pathetically jealous and insecure men for similar reasons. So, probability of Estonia is converging to zero, if this is correct. Could still be a cover story – no sources.
          ❗️ An unidentified object flying from the Baltics was spotted in the sky over Pskov a few hours after the drone attack on the airport, writes Mash.

          The object moved from Latvia and Estonia, to the border of which the region is no more than 65 km away. According to media reports, air defense detected the target the day before at 17:20. The object was flying at an altitude of 1000 meters at a speed of 120 km per hour. Then the military announced the signal “Regime” and fighter jets flew into the air to shoot him down. However, he disappeared as quickly as he appeared.

          • TTG says:

            F&L and wiz,

            The recent attack on the Kursk airbase was done with the Australian cardboard drones, but it wasn’t done from Ukrainian territory. It appears to be a Ukrainian Military Intelligence operation with the assistance of the Russian Volunteer Corps to infiltrate the drones closer to the airbase, assemble the drones and launch the attack. This isn’t the first drone attack said to have been launched from Russian territory. The attack on Pskov could have happened the same way.

            Shit has been blowing up and catching fire all over Russia. That stuff is done from Russian territory. It doesn’t look like the Russian police state is not that all seeing and all powerful when it comes to foreign intel and special ops penetrations. Apparently they’re too busy keeping their own citizens under observation and control.

            In both SF and in my time in a SMU, we practiced and conducted operations in denied areas. It’s nothing new and eminently doable. I wish I had cardboard, flatpack drones when I was doing that shit.

  5. Keith Harbaugh says:

    And where will this escalation end?
    Two sides can escalate.
    And I suspect they will, at the rate they’re going.
    This game of chicken is insanity.


    My opinion on how to stop this:
    Negotiate with Russia.
    Admit that they have legitimate concerns, namely
    1. How people living in Ukraine who favor Russia, such as Metropolitans Pavel and Timothy, were treated, and
    2. Not wanting a NATO-aligned Ukraine on their door step, any more than we would have tolerated a Warsaw Pact-aligned Canada or Mexico.
    What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

    Time to accept Russia has some valid concerns.

    • TTG says:

      Keith Harbaugh,

      Russia has already escalated. They’ve been bombing Ukrainian airfields and aircraft since day one of their invasion. Why did they think Ukraine would not do the same. The Russians bombed cities with cluster munitions since day one. They’re lucky their not getting the same in return.

      Perhaps Ukraine does not want a belligerent country on her borders, one that already proven to be a violent invader. It’s time for the Kremlin to accept that Kyiv has valid concerns.

      • Keith Harbaugh says:

        You are entirely right in what you say.
        The question is how can this thing be ended.

        The current U.S./NATO/Ukraine approach is to keep bleeding Russia, militarily as well as economically.
        Well, suppose hypothetically Russia’s conventional military power could be reduced to the point that the only military force they had left was their Strategic Rocket Force.
        What would they do then?
        I really don’t want to find out the answer to that question.

        In both world wars, we reduced Germany to the point where they no longer had an effective military.
        Likewise for Japan in WW2.
        But what if either of those powers still had ICBMs with thermonuclear warheads?
        Would they have used them?

        There is a long history of groups of people fighting to the bitter end,
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Thermopylae to
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Masada to the
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamikaze .

        • TTG says:

          Keith Harbaugh,

          US/NATO is not too keen on striking inside Russia. Ukraine is. I doubt the US or NATO cares if the Russian military remains intact and strong enough to repel any attack on Russian soil. In fact, I think that’s the preferred solution. A collapsed Russia is not in US or NATO best interest. For that matter, I don’t think Ukraine care if Russia remains strong enough to defend its borders either. Ukraine definite wants to remove Russian forces from Ukrainian territory. Once that’s accomplished, I doubt Ukraine will pursue the Russian Army to the gates of Moscow. The US, NATO and Ukraine are not seeking unconditional surrender as in WWII. Russia does not have to fight to the bitter end.

        • Billy Roche says:

          Keith; NATO’s approach is because of Russia’s invasion. If Russia d/n invade there ‘d have been no “approach.” I d/n think you understand/accept what this war is about. It is over the question of Ukrainian sovereignty or subordination to Russia and has been going on for over 100 years. If you believe that good will come from Russia’s neighbors again being reduced to her subordinates then root for empire. In only that sense is this an existential fight for Russia. Think, contemplate, consider how important empire is to Russia that she would have invaded her neighbor and provoked world wide condemnation to subdue her. Simply put, Russia c/n be an empire if Ukraine is a free state. Russian colonialism/empire is wrong. Ukrainian freedom and sovereignty is right. Let’s stand on the right side.

    • Billy Roche says:

      Keith: all good ideas! Can we also include Russia publicly recognizes Ukraine as an independent sovereign state and its people as independent of Russia? Can the negotiations also include Russia paying Ukraine for all it has destroyed? No more than we would tolerate Canada fomenting rebellion in Maine against us will Russia agree to stop encouraging rebellion against Ukraine in the Donbass and Crimea. Finally, since Russia has invaded Germany, Poland, Finland (2wice), Ukraine (2wice), Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan, and Georgia in the past 100 years, isn’t it time to accept her neighbors have some valid secty concerns. Ukraine d/n invade Russia. Russia invaded Ukraine and is aggressor and killer.

      • ked says:

        finally! a great reason to build a new Wall across all Europe… name the border crossings Putin’s Park Entrance. {the curse of totalitarian dictators… “the more you desire Empire, the less likely you’ll ever get it.”}

  6. babelthuap says:

    Nobody knows how this ends but one thing is for sure, this war exposed NATO. First, they discarded their first article which states to settle disputes by peaceful means.

    Ukraine is not part of NATO, I get that but NATO countries abandoned agreements not once, but twice to shore this thing up easily.

    NATO also didn’t have a ready to go arsenal when they abandoned the agreements. Putin said for over a decade he was not going to allow Ukraine to get long range missiles or be part of NATO. Ukraine was attempting to do both and NATO egged them on. This is the point where NATO was suppose to ease the tension. Instead the raised it to the tippy top.

    The rest of the world is seeing how this went down and is starting to ramp up forming other alliances. They see NATO as liars, frauds, helpless, weak and dealing with their own internal energy and illegal alien crisis.

  7. F&L says:

    Do you believe this or is he covering for his sabotage teams? Both. Isn’t Kamchatka on the Pacific Ocean side?
    Ukraine threatens long-range strikes into Russia.
    Kiev claims to have weapons that can hit targets 700km away
    Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said on Thursday that the country has produced long-range weapons domestically, while his top security official claimed that a new missile program is in place.

    “Successful use of our long-range weapons: the target was hit 700 kilometers away!” Zelensky posted in a Telegram message, referring to an exercise by the Ministry of Strategic Industries. Zelensky did not specify what kind of weapon was used, or what the target may have been.

    Shortly afterwards, National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Secretary Aleksey Danilov posted a 20-second video on X, formerly Twitter, showing what looked like a missile being launched into the night.

    “The missile program of the President of Ukraine in action. The tests are successful, the implementation is effective,” Danilov said. “Sevastopol is waiting, Kamchatka is waiting, Kronstadt is waiting…”

    • TTG says:


      He could be covering. He could be engaging in hyperbole. Or he could be like Walter Brennan in “The Guns of Will Sonnet” when he says “No brag. Just Fact.”

      • F&L says:

        Right. Initially I thought he was covering because his claimed range of 700 km is equal to the distance from Ukr border to Pskov AFB, and thus it let the air out of the Estonia theories. Thereby helping out his NATO partners. I think your last point is valid though because, continuing the same theme – to take Crimea they need to disable the Kerch bridge and the US & UK allies (and Germany too, I think they sent longish range missiles or are planning to) who sent missiles & fancy artillery that can do the trick are experiencing cold feet vis a vis escalation andor spread of conflict (already there’s missiles which have landed right next to Romania – grain transport on Danube). So almost certainly 1- you want to take down the bridge if necessary and 2- you want the blame to sit squarely and undeniably on the shoulders of Ukr and noone else. Thus domestically produced missiles of range such as 700 km are “a slam dunk.”

        • Billy Roche says:

          I got a simpler meaning. Zelinskyy to Putin; “you can destroy Kiev but now Ukraine can destroy Moscow. Your war on is existential for us. But if we are to be reduced again to vassals, why not make Moscow pay too”. Putin thinks, “how many such weapons does Ukraine have and where are they? Will Ukraine fire on Moscow as a final retaliation for her loss of independence. Does this war require a full mobilization of Russian men to kill these annoying Ukrainians?” We all know you shouldn’t play w/matches. Consider how important “Empire” is to Russia that Putin went right ahead and “lit’em up”.

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