“Horse, foot and guns”

As I have written before, there are no “defensive weapons” or “offensive weapons.” There is only intention in their use.

Until they proved on the battlefield that they could stop a Russian onslaught and, indeed shatter it, the Ukrainian intention had to be defensive and attritional, as indeed the defensive form of combat is stronger than the offensive but usually less decisive.

Now, the situation has changed dramatically. Major Russian maneuver units have been all but destroyed, The Russians are reduced to employing second or third-rate troops and leaders as well as foreign auxiliaries acquired in earlier campaigns and outright mercenaries who are presumably the household troops of some warlord.

The objective and psychological situations cry out for a decisive assumption of the offensive by Ukraine.

For that to occur successively the Ukies need a lot of artillery. The M-777s will fulfil that need along with an adequate supply of ammunition. Brave infantry riding in good quality APCs will be necessary. They have good quality Ukie “grunts.” Tanks, the modern heavy cavalry, are the third component needed. How many to they have? I do not know. They keep asking for more.

Yes, yes. an ability to contest the sky is needed as well. pl

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86 Responses to “Horse, foot and guns”

  1. Jovan P says:

    I never understood why the Russians (and Ukraine) have different width of train tracks from the rest of Europe (Moon of Alabama: The Ukraine has, like Russia, wide gauge tracks of 1,524 mm (5 ft). Most other European countries use a normal gauge of 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+1⁄2 in)).

    Now it makes sense perfectly.

    • TTG says:

      Jovan P,

      That’s been so since the railroads were first built. In the WTO days, there were massive transfer yards in Poland where the cars would be transferred from wide gauge trucks to European gauge. They were on the target list.

    • TV says:

      Russia, as always paranoid, made the gauge wider to be incompatible with western Europe to prevent using railways to invade Russia.

      • TTG says:


        There was no standard international gauge in the mid-1800s when those lines were established. Our Confederacy was hampered by different gauge railways in the 1860s. Paranoia was not necessarily the driving force behind these decisions.

      • drifter says:

        Adopting the 5 ft gauge rather than 4.5 ft actually hurt Russia. The Germans in WII could convert Russian RR to the 4.5 ft gauge by dropping a rail 6 inches inside one of the existing Russian rails. But going the other way, there isn’t enough space to drop a rail 6 inches outside one of the Germain rails. (Wow, this brings back the wargaming minutiae of my youth.)

  2. A.Pols says:

    There was a hodge podge of railroad gauges in the early days of rail in the United States and it wasn’t standardized until Lincoln decreed it so in the run-up to the famous first road across America completed in 1869, but authorized earlier. It just ended up different in Russia probably from the time of the Tsarist construction of the Trans Siberian line,

    It seems this blog has cemented its orientation largely to the point of Ukraine being militarily dominant and the Russian military run by incompetent oafs leading unwilling recruits and conscripts. Interpretations at other platforms run the gamut. My sense is the Russians were hoping to cow the Ukrainians. with less extreme pressures early on and probably miscalculated on several levels. They made no attempts to destroy civic infrastructure in the way we did in Iraq, but I think that will change and we will see changes soon. I could be wrong, but I think what’s coming will be coordinated attacks on power stations and high voltage lines with the goal of turning out the lights in Kiev and major urban centers, also transportation nodes, bearing in mind that Ukrainian rail gauge is 5 feet and most of their locomotives are electric. Railroad bridges over the Dnieper will soon be gone. Freight cars can have their trucks replaced with wider gauge pretty readily, locomotives not so, so bringing in Diesels from elsewhere won’t be easy or quick..
    I think this will happen soon and predictions of Ukrainian victory may be seen in retrospect as premature. As Yogi Berra said “predictions, especially about the future, are hard to make”. I could be wrong, but time will tell.

    • Pat Lang says:

      A Pols
      The basis for your forecast?

      • A. Pols says:

        As to your question…
        Mostly intuition and doing a lot of reading between the lines, especially doing comparisons of a rough sort between various bloggers and pundits. This has done me pretty well in the past. I could have written the entire history of the Afghan and Iraq ventures, and I did in numerous conversations about them both when they were still in the planning stages. I saw through all the lies advanced to support the Iraq venture and I didn’t keep my views private either, which led to numerous people being pissed off at me at the time. But I saw the end game years in advance. How did I do it? I don’t really know for sure. But maybe it has to do with having a skeptical nature and being disinclined to be a “joiner”. When people get excited about things I generally start thinking about what’s in for them and question their motives. That helps.

  3. Leith says:

    Hope we are giving them precision guided shells along with the M-777s. I believe they are also getting 152mm artillery and ammo from former Warsaw Pact countries.

    Ukraine has lost 130 tanks destroyed, damaged, or captured. But reportedly have captured 210 intact Russian tanks and destroyed or damaged another 300. So they are ahead of the game four to one. But their special forces in dune buggies and quad bikes with ATGMs seem to be doing a hell of a lot better job against Russian armor than the Ukrainian tank brigades.

    They seem to be doing damn well contesting the sky with both MANPADS and their S-300s. Russian AF recently seems to be mostly firing standoff air-to-surface missiles from above Russian or DNR/LNR held territory.

  4. James Nawrocki says:

    The countries at the periphery of Europe were always fearful of invasion. That is why Russia and Spain made a choice not use standard gauge (although Spain is starting to use standard gauge for its high speed lines now).

  5. English Outsider says:

    Colonel – the UK PM’s speech seems to me to set out the possibility of cessation of hostilities at the same time allowing Biden to climb down from his position.

    Johnson anticipates Ukrainian defeat. This is the first sign as far as I know that the Western powers are beginning to accept the reality of the situation.

    It’s now clear that Kiev will not recover the Crimea, nor yet the Donbas. A Russian general has spoken on the possibility of the Russians taking Odessa through to Transnistria and there are already indications that a couple more oblasts, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, might also be lost to Kiev.

    That still leaves the bulk of the Ukraine under Kiev’s rule. How the Russians intend to “denazify and demilitarise” that, particularly the Western oblasts, we don’t know. But I’ve seen no indications so far that the Russians intend to occupy it permanently.

    They’d be fools to do so. What looks like being remnant Ukraine is the poorest of all the regions that made up the old Ukraine. Even setting aside war damage, it’s going to need immense sums of money just to bring it up to pre-2014 levels. It’s also the most determinedly anti-Russian region. It wants to be in the EU and it’d be a good thing if it were.

    So I suspect the Russians want nothing to do with it as long as it isn’t a security problem for them. An agreement that ensured that would also give Biden his victory for the mid terms – “We couldn’t stop Russia entirely, but we stopped them taking the whole country over”.

    I think that’s the best Biden’s going to get. The way things are going he’ll be lucky to get even that. I do believe, Colonel, that it’s past time to stop this entirely unnecessary war and can see no way other than that that’ll be even remotely acceptable to the Washington/Brussels neocons.

    • Pat Lang says:

      When you are invaded, it is not an “unnecessary war.” Remember. Surrender was an option in 1940.

      • English Outsider says:

        Dear Colonel – while you were in hospital TTG chaired a very lively debate on the causes of this war.

        I entered a dissident opinion in that I asserted the war need not have occurred had implementation of Minsk 2 started and had we listened to the Russian security concerns. I also explained that that view owes a good deal to what I know of EU involvement in Ukraine since well before 2014, so since I’m not an EU fan I might be prejudiced!

        While you were away I also had several conversations on the subject with friends dotted around Europe and of course with plenty of friends in the UK. From these conversations, and from what I’ve seen of the European and UK press and opinion surveys, I’ve become conscious that mine is very much a minority view. In my own circle it’s a minority of one! I believe it’s also very much a minority view in the States.

        In fact the only political figure in the States who takes a sceptical view of the affair , or the only one I’ve seen do it seriously, is Tulsi Gabbard. I believe she’s been firmly sidelined.

        So opinion has now set in concrete. Arguments on whether we or the Russians are fighting a just war are therefore now superfluous. That still leaves open the question of who’s going to win.

        Here I do not believe argument is superfluous. One can debate the strategy of the participants without entering into the question of the justice of their cause.

        And on this, and setting aside entirely my own dissident views, I believe Washington and Brussels have got themselves into a contest they can’t win. The Russians regard this as an existential conflict and they have local military superiority. Should they suffer setbacks they’ll merely apply greater force. And the Euros, UK included, are wide open to defeat in the sanctions war if that hots up further and have no way of remedying that.

        So even were I to hold the majority view on this conflict I’d still be appalled by the incompetence with which Washington and the Euros have pursued their objectives. They’re not going to win whether they’re in the right or not and I do believe it’s time that was recognised. Time to get what terms are possible, instead of floundering around and merely ending up with even worse terms later.

        That certainly applies to the Euros. Their weapon is trade, not tanks, and just this once they’ve got themselves into a trade war in which they are decisively outgunned.

        • Pat Lang says:

          OK. I am arguing with you. Is that acceptable?

          • English Outsider says:

            Colonel – I believe Washington and Brussels have plunged us in Europe into an unjust and unwinnable conflict. Dishonourable too, in that they are insisting our proxies suffer physical harm we have no intention of suffering ourselves.

            I have immensely more respect for you, who are searching for a way out of this dilemma, than for my chickenhawk fellow Europeans, who believe that flying flags and doing without showers qualifies them as worthy co-belligerents.

            On the question of surrender in 194o, we had twenty miles of water to keep us safe. Later the Russians and the Americans came in and the question no longer needed to be asked.

            It was not such an easy question for Lee. I believe he recognised, as should the Ukrainians, that sometimes wars are lost.

        • TTG says:


          This is certainly an existential war for Ukraine and, given all the bellicose talk out of Moscow, this is an existential war for all of Eastern Europe as well. They all feel they must win to survive. And I’m not at all convinced about Russia’s local military superiority. All their advances happened in the first few days of the invasion and they’ve been relatively stagnant for near two months while steadily getting chewed up by Ukraine’s defensive strategy. Things are looking bleak on the ground for Russia in the long term.

          In the sanctions war, it’s also looking bleak for Russia in the long term. Unless you’re a believer in peak oil, Europe will manage to replace Russian oil and gas by the end of Summer. The Russian war machine, on the other hand, is dependent on the West’s optics, chips and other high tech which will take Russia years to replace.

          • Fred says:


            ” Europe will manage to replace Russian oil and gas by the end of Summer. ”

            At what price for the oil? What’s their summer natural gas usage vs. winter, and of course, where is it coming from?

          • TTG says:


            It won’t be easy and it will come at a cost. Most estimates are that the costs will be less than the pandemic costs in the short term. Summer energy usage is far less than winter usage in Europe. This summer is the time for Europe to act. Until then, Russia is just as desperate to keep selling gas and oil to Europe as Europe is to continue buying it. That will ensure Europe can refill her gas storage reserves for next winter.

          • Paulo Guerra says:

            Can the EU replace Russian oil and gas in the summer 3 years from now? And at what price? With companies without any competitiveness? As for American LNG, not even 30 years from now.

            This conflict for the EU was a perfect economic harakiri. All because they helped Nuland’s psychopath in the coup d’état with the Nazis in 2014 and now in 2022 they have kneeled at the feet of the US that only thinks of isolating Russia.

            And with that they joined the entire global south. BRICS, with China, India and Brazil, enough? In the EU, inflation has already started to skyrocket. And then the protests begin. It is total economic ruin. Much worse than the subprime crash of 2088.

            What is a bankrupt united EU worth? While the US is already buying another 100,000 barrels of oil from Moscow every day! And the war of course has already ended with the Ukrainian forces trapped in a hole in Donbass!

            Another war sold to the White House by a neocon lobby, another disaster for America. For several years on the brink of a civil war. One day will come with so much incompetence and corruption in Washington.

            And finally, you don’t know anything about Russia, the biggest energy power in the world if we think about its energy mix. From oil to rare minerals for the future. As there is in Donbass. Russia doesn’t need the West for anything! But the West really needs Russia. The US will pay all the penalties in double! And who says it is the FED!

          • English Outsider says:

            TTG – you mention the security imperatives of Eastern Europe.

            The only protection Eastern Europe has – indeed the entirety of Europe including the UK – is that afforded by American military power.

            I recollect Blair, of all people, pointing that out at the MSC four years ago, me thinking at the time “At least the bastard’s got that right.” Things have not changed since.

            If the Baltics and the countries on down want to maximise that protection they’d better get some serious American support over here fast. They won’t do it by getting involved in the very murky scrap we’ve got ourselves embroiled in in Ukraine.

            As for the Euros themselves, I just give up. They’re out of their depth. At that same MSC they and HMG were contentedly laying plans for starting to turn the EU into a military superpower. Since then there’s been more happy talk about Brussels “projecting the power of a continent”.

            As the reality of the current situation shows, the only real power they can project right now is the power of cutting their own throats. In the hope of giving the Russians a scratch or two.

            And this seemingly oblivious to the fact that two can play at the sanctions game. The Russians have not got their wider European security demands met. If it suited them they could demolish German industry tomorrow. As this conflict hots up and extends, can Brussels or London predict whether or not it will suit the Russians?

            There’s also the fact that though this is certainly, as you point out, an existential conflict for Kiev, it’s also one for the erstwhile Ukrainians of the Donbas. They had to fight for their lives back in 2014/2015 and they’re doing so now.

            Most forget about the LDNR forces but many more fighters have been mobilised by the LDNR in proportion to their population than by the Ukrainians or the Russians. So far they’ve been engaged in the toughest fighting. Russia’s not going to sell that lot out. If it did the Putin administration would fall for a certainty.

            So existential all round. For me too, though less dramatically. The way I see it, I don’t see why the welfare of me and my family should be put at serious risk merely because some loser politicians, over whom I have no control whatsoever, have decided to climb into bed with a bunch of Nazi controlled fantasists in Kiev.

            When the fog of the information war clears that’s going to be the way most of my fellow Europeans see it.

            Maybe they do already, some of them. How else can one account for the fact that a decidedly unsuitable Presidential candidate got such a massive vote in France? Or that the Scholz administration is now looking rocky?

            So if the Eastern Europeans are looking for genuine security they are certainly not going to get it this way. I honestly don’t believe they’re thinking straight either.

        • Poul says:

          EO, I don’t disagree with you on the view that the Russian will gain their core goals.

          But as for the continuation of the war. That decision is in the hands of the Ukrainian government based on the advice of the Ukrainian General Staff.

          The best the West can do is clearly inform the Ukrainians what help we can give and what we cannot help with. Then it is in the hands of the Ukrainians to decide if more is gained or lost with continued fighting.

          • Leith says:

            Poul –

            ” as for the continuation of the war. That decision is in the hands of “ Putin. If he stops fighting and withdraws there will be peace.

            If the Ukrainians stop fighting they will become slaves. And then Putin will keep going into Moldova, Georgia, and the Baltics.

    • Bill Roche says:

      E.O. I seem to remember having to repeat a speech in class in the late 50’s. Something about fighting Germany on the beaches, the air … oh well. I knew it by heart. It demonstrated British spirit and some American school children had to memorize it. National will is important and Ukraine has been invaded by Russia. Although Russia has the “whip hand” re oil sales to Europe, sellers must have a buyer. If India, and China bought every barrel of Russian oil that would eliminate the European market. European windmills wont do, but the development of nuclear, LNG, and oil will replace Russian fuel, and Russia will have little to do with much of Europe. No longer will there be debate about “who the Russians” are. The heart and mind of the Russian will be pulled east of the Urals and; the Mongols will have won at last!
      We agree that Ukraine should give up Crimea, and the Donbass, but the press reports no such offers coming from Putin. I think TTG is spot on. The war is not just about Ukraine. It’s also about western “Slavia”, Sweden, Finland, and Estonia. If NATO, from Spain to Macedonia to Italy, and Germany will not confront Putin don’t be surprised if some combination of Slavic nations on Russia’s western border continue to help Ukraine. They have security needs, would like a buffer from Russia, and won’t give up their independence.

      • English Outsider says:

        Well Bill, our ersatz Churchill in Downing Street delivers similarly stirring speeches. Only difference is that no one believes a word he says. He was full of such fighting talk before he screwed up Northern Ireland and gave away our fish.

        I believe Macron said “Boo” to him on the fish, or something menacing like that, but Johnson would probably have rolled over anyway. He’s the ultimate rollover man and if we’re depending on him to defend freedom and democracy we’d better get measured for our chains.

        Such people have their uses. Johnson can tell which way the wind’s blowing faster than a windsock. He’s scented defeat and is now preparing his next story. That’s what I wrote into the Colonel about, up above.

        No one knows what the Russian’s next move is but as stated above, if they intend to take over the entirety of the Ukraine they need their heads testing. They’ll be content denazifying and demilitarising. Give them that and Biden’s got a good story for the mid terms. “We couldn’t stop the Russians entirely, but we made them back down and only take a little bit!”

        Tens of thousands have died as a result of this latest neocon frolic and the graves are waiting for tens of thousands more. Time to call it a day; and for Biden and Johnson to find some such way of doing just that.

        • Bill Roche says:

          We continue to disagree on the source of the conflict. I reject your statement that the invasion of Ukraine was the result of a neocon frolic. It was the result of Russian unwillingness to allow Slavic, Finnish, or Estonian people the ability to be their own nation. The strands for this war appeared just b/f WW I with Ruthenians pressing Austria for autonomy and Ukrainians east of Li’vov pressing Czar Nickolaus for same. Neither Austrian nor Russian would give in but the end of WW I brought sweeping changes to all of Ukraine. Ukrainians tried for independence again but this time they were denied during the communist civil war. Ukrainians defied the Communist agricultural collectivization and 6MM were murder by Stalin. In ’42 Ukrainians in Galicia sought to be rid of the Russians by helping Hitler. To no avail. After ’45 Ukrainian nationalism was swallowed up until ’91 when the S.U. fell. When Ukraine declared itself free a fuse was lit in Moscow to strike these insufferable people down. Thirty one years later Putin is doing that. This war is not the result of a neocon frolic from Wash. To suggest so makes small the Ukrainian dream.

        • Philip Owen says:


          Orthodox fascism was the self preserving response of the Siloviki who had served the Soviet Union. To keep their place they had to reinvent their mission and abandon socialism. They did by becoming religious.

          In the 1990s they swung massively to the Orthodox Church clustering around particular monastries. They took up Orthodox unity and Russian Imperialism as causes. This allowed them to maintain their role under a new regime.

          In February 2004 they staged a soft coup replacing every member of the Russian government except Putin. They then started planning to take over Ukraine.

          Their scenario planning was even rewritten as a work of fiction by one of their political wing. Here is a link to a review.


          Russia is an imperialist power trying to regain its lost Empire. It has not reached the stage of Britain, France or The Netherlands in terms of political maturity. It is France trying to hold on to Algeria and Vietnam. Stalin tried it in 1939-41 mostly successfully and again in 1944-1947 so they have reason to think it is possible.

          2014 was fuelled by Orthodox Fascism.

          • English Outsider says:

            Mr Owen – you do well to draw attention to the religious element in Eastern Europe and Russia. That’s a closed book to us in England because we’re mostly pagans here. I’m C of E myself, as are some of us still, but the C of E is really just a prog version of pagan now so that doesn’t get us very far.

            Nor can I get much of a line on Russian Orthodoxy from my Orthodox friends here. They’re not great fans of Patriarch Kyril and in any case can’t tell me if there’s been a genuine religious revival in Russia, and what political implications that has. They’ve been away too long to have any feel for it.

            So you may be right. Or you may have got the wrong end of the stick. I’m not going to pose as an expert and tell you either way. I can tell you that the link supplied is about the level, as far as scholarship goes, of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and deserves about as much attention. That is to say, none.

            We’re on firmer ground when we look at the errant version of nationalism that informs the ideology of the regime in Kiev. There’s a deal of sound material on that.

            Since 2014 I’ve been quite surprised, particularly when it comes to my friends in Germany, at how they go quiet and reverential when it comes to the Holocaust but are quite relaxed that their country is supporting to the hilt ultra-nationalists in Kiev who take their inspiration directly from the perpetrators of that atrocity. And who are often proud descendants of those who assisted in those same brutal crimes.

            Is this important in the present context? I think it is. You see, we hear of the spirited efforts of a proud Ukrainian people to beat back the evil invader. We do not hear that the proud Ukrainian people has itself been engaged in no less than a civil war since the Nuland/Ashton intervention set the country in flames in 2014.

            A civil war between those who fought for the Germans eighty years ago and those who were very proud indeed of fighting against them.

            We do not hear that the former group regard the latter as Untermenschen, to be killed or driven out. We do not hear that the former group descended on the Donbas and attempted to do just that. And that the people of the Donbas had to fight for their lives in order to survive.

            We do not hear that since then the former group have been behaving to the latter, in Mariupol and elsewhere, more as if they were holding down occupied territory than as if they were dealing with fellow Ukrainian citizens.

            So forget about Russian imperial dreams. Focus on the fact that some ultra-nationalists have been misbehaving in the Donbas and, God willing, have now been stopped.

            Think about the viciousness the Kiev regime has unleashed on its own citizens and ask yourself, is it not understandable that those citizens no longer wish to be citizens of a country that has treated them so?

            Mr Owen. Unless you get the basic facts about this vicious internal Ukrainian conflict right it is impossible to set that conflict in a wider context. Do please inform yourself about what has actually been happening within the Ukraine over the past eight years.

  6. Al says:

    Fires raged Monday morning at two oil depots in Bryansk, Russia, a town less than 100 miles from the border of Ukraine. Though Kyiv has yet to comment on the attacks, Bryansk’s proximity to Ukraine suggests the country could have executed the attack, The Guardian reports. Russian state media reported that one facility, a civilian depot, contains 10,000 tons of fuel, and the second, a military depot, houses 5,000 tons. Military strategist Rob Lee told The Guardian that the destruction of the fuel facilities is a boon to the Ukrainian resistance since it “disrupt[s] fuel supplies for the Russian military.” The attacks on the depots coincided with Russia’s Monday attack on five train stations across central and western Ukraine.

    • cobo says:

      Good for them. Although I have begun to accept that this is just the opening round in the “big” war to come, and although I wouldn’t want that to be true, if it is, then I hope to see some Russian rail stations making pretty skies in the near future.

      • walrus says:


        How about “pretty skies “ over American cities? Does that excite you? This is not some war game where you get to press the “off “ button when it suits you.

        Russia appears to have been operating under self imposed rules of engagement designed to minimise damage to infrastructure and the general Ukrainian population, that much is obvious.

        The Ukraine by definition is not limited that way as Col. Lang observes.

        The problem comes when NATO appears to assist in destroying Russian infrastructure. That invites Russian retaliation against NATO members.

        Do you want to experience a full blown nuclear exchange? Keep pushing the Russians, they will surrender in the end won’t they?

        • cobo says:

          That’s not something I can do anything about, and I don’t see peace on the horizon. I see this as the first stage in global war – that’s not something I can do anything about… However, if that’s where we are headed, and that is what I have come to believe – then we have to fight this thing, don’t we -? NATO will keep its hands clean until it won’t. And at some point we need to get past the fear of nuclear weapons, because that is how it’s going to be. I’m not the war monger, but stupid is as stupid does, and here we are.

          • Sharac says:

            As in ebmrace the suck? Push through? Suck it up? Take a beating?

            There is only two ways one gets past the fear of nuclear weapons:

            1. Crispy peking duck and an instant
            2. Slow and terrible death either because of cell decomposition or malnutrition or cancer…

            But yes in the end we’re all equal and noone hurts one bit…

        • Stadist says:

          “The problem comes when NATO appears to assist in destroying Russian infrastructure. That invites Russian retaliation against NATO members.”

          How is NATO assisting anything, all this started with Russian delusions of how NATO allegedly plans to attack them and it’s the russians STILL waging the war, not the ukrainians. Russians can end this, but they refuse to do so. Anything else is a big fat lie.

          • cobo says:

            Putin has been threatening the nuclear option since the very beginning of the Russian war on Ukraine. So, what, is everyone supposed to stand in place, because Putin says “boo.” Let’s not forget that if we all go for the big nukes, he and his fry, too. It’s calling a bluff. Of course all out nuclear war wipes the field of all of us, but that doesn’t mean we don’t fight – Putin’s ass fries, too – or we fight and see who wins and maybe/maybe not let all the missiles fly. I’m not the architect of this MAD, but I don’t fall for the bluff. You want to go for it, jump

  7. Stephan says:

    It seems time for the Ukrainian high command to start to put counterattack plans into motion. The Russians have bitten off more than can be chewed, and we can only hope the glory of liberation will be given to patriots like the Azov Regiments. It would be good for the Foreign Legions to be involved as well. A diverse spearhead will demonstrate to the world that Ukraine is ripe for NATO and a place for the West to stand against the evils of Russian imperialism. Western fighters alongside Ukrainian patriots will demonstrate the solidarity of our values.

    Stava Ukraine

  8. LJ says:

    The Russian invasion of Ukraine has long been predicted by persons such as Stephen F. Cohen, John Mearsheimer, The Saker, to some extent Henry Kissinger who warned against the expansion of NATO countries and other persons. The Saker in particular reminded his readers that Russia would strike hard unexpectedly should the threat to its security and even its existence as a nation continue to be threatened. On the other hand, despite the policy of US/NATO has been to destabilize Russia with the intent to bring about regime change and ultimately its breakup into easily managed unstable rump nation states. Certainly Russian raw materials are a target. In addition, with Russia neutralized, China will be vulnerable. It seems obvious that Russia has been drawn intentionally into a proxy war with US/NATO to weaken and dissolve it. The neo-conservatives along with the liberal interventionists have got the war they have long wanted.

    Therefore, we should recognize our foreign policy as led to WWIII, a kind of final solution to the Russia/China problem. If this is so, neither side can afford to lose. I suspect we are heading to a much bigger war outside of Ukraine.

    • TTG says:


      NATO only expanded because the countries of Eastern Europe recognized the threat posed by Russia. Granted much of that is based on hard learned lessons of history, but the fear of Russia remained real. Now Russia is managing to cause NATO to enlarge again by proving to Finland and Sweden that the Russian threat is real and must be guarded against.

      Seems more like Russia was hell bent on reestablishing her dominance in the former republics and Eastern Europe for years as well as seeking the destabilization and dissolution of the NATO alliance. I’m sure Russia preferred to do this without the current shooting war, but she made the deliberate decision to invade and now has to live with that decision. Perhaps the Russian imperialists have long wanted this war even more than our neoconservatives.

      • LJ says:

        Having grown up in a foreign policy world that was constructed by George F. Kennan, who came to oppose the expansion of NATO, and one in which the dread of nuclear war constrained the Russians and the US to finding a way to deconflict, now the Team B outlook has overwhelmed any notion that Russia is nothing more than a irritating pimple on the Rules Based International Order and needs to be firmly and finally dealt with.

        From what I can tell, the outlook here at the Turcopolier is that crushing the Russians in Ukraine out to do the trick. Understanding those Slavic nuckledraggers as a race that only understands brute force implies that they only need a few whacks upside the head to settle them down and we are back to business as usual. This misconstrues who the Russians are and what motivates them imo. Now that the US/NATO and the Russians have not ruled out a nuclear first strike, I find your easy confidence deeply disturbing because you are representing the ethos of the “civilized West.” I guess we are back to the Reagan years of a shovel and three feet of dirt.

        • TTG says:


          You do realize the only people tooting about nuclear war are the Russians, including Putin and Lavrov themselves. They take nuclear war so lightly that they launched an invasion of a neighboring country. All the while, Russian state TV drones on about wiping Ukrainian culture, language and civilization from the face of the Earth. Tell me what motivates these miserable, atrocity committing bastards to behave in this manner. I can’t for the life of me understand why so many in the West seem to accept and applaud this Russian behavior with such glee.

          • jld says:

            “I can’t for the life of me understand why so many in the West seem to accept and applaud this Russian behavior with such glee.”

            I don’t give a shit about Ukrainians, Russians and even Americans for that matter, I just see the Russian “aggression” as a last ditch effort to derail the upcoming New World Order which would be Hell on Earth you have no idea of in your childish visions as a White Knight of Democracy.

          • TTG says:


            You certainly seem to believe in some fantastical upcoming New World Order, if in nothing else. Years ago I wrote about Russia’s concept of reflexive control. A lot of people cried out that I was being mean to the Russians. Surely they wouldn’t use the concept of reflexive control to influence others and push their agenda. Russians use propaganda? How can that be? They’re the good guys. They’re going to save us all from the New World Order. What bullshit. What gullibility. The Russians aren’t the spawn of Satan, nor are they above using propaganda. For that matter, nor is any other state. I watched the, then young, Putin government gin up their worldwide propaganda campaign from the inside. Judging by some of the comments here, they were at least moderately effective.

        • Bill Roche says:

          Dear LJ; I missed the part where NATO said a nuclear first strike was ok. And “Slavic knuckledraggers”, oh boy I’d better not tell that to my Aunt Helen (GRHS). I’ve never thought of Slavs as knuckledraggers but I have considered the Russian variant as imperialists. I’ve not read any acceptance of the use of nuclear weapons on this blog. Maybe I’m just not reading b/t the lines? I’m not a military guy but I’ll bet those on this blog who have spent their lives in the military are not in favor of nuclear escalation.

        • Lysias says:

          Reagan was very careful to avoid nuclear war and, in fact, with Gorbachev, ended the Cold War. Russia is now led by someone who is at least the equal of Gorbachev, but the people leading the West are pygmies, in comparison with Reagan.

          • Al says:

            “… Russia is now led by someone who is at least the equal of Gorbachev…”

            What comedy clubs do you usually work at?

    • Bill Roche says:

      LJ: I am very impressed by those mentioned who predicted Russia would invade Ukraine. I’m a “nobody” who predicted it 31 years ago. The day Ukraine declared her independence I knew Russia would attack and remind those disobedient Ukies who their boss was. So am I an international affairs genius? Nope, just an American w/some Slavic blood who believes he knows the heart of the “Big Slavs”. Ukraine has been trying for independence since about 1890. The Czar, Commies, Putin, are different manifestations of Russia and the answer is always NO; Ukrainians belong to “Mother Russia” and she will kill them to make them accept this. So Russia was not drawn into a proxy war by NATO. This war proceeds directly from the Russian mind and I didn’t need Henry Kissinger to explain it to me. Can 1914 be far away? The more things change, the more they stay the same (I used to know that in French, was cool, I’ve forgotten it).

      • Philip Owen says:

        And of course, all of Ukraine was independent as a part of The PL Commonwealth until 1667. Most of it was conquered by Russia 100 years later.

  9. Jovan P says:

    With the option of surrendering, and being treated like pow’s and freed after the spec op/war (with no torture, gulags, executions), I can’t figure out two questions:

    1) what is the Ukrainian soldier fighting for?

    2) who is gonna tell his mother, wife, children that he died? Zelensky, Arestovich, somebody else?

    The answers to these questions seem clear to me, when speaking of Russian soldiers taking part in this tragic conflict.

    • TTG says:

      Jovan P,

      The Ukrainians are fighting to save their country and their countrymen from a brutal Russian invasion. If you can’t see that, I doubt anything I say will help you understand.

      • drifter says:

        TTG, I keep wondering: The Ukrainians are fighting for their country. But what about all the Ukrainians fighting for the Russians?

        • TTG says:


          There are a substantial number of Ukrainians fighting for the DNR and LNR against the Ukrainian government. There have also been a small number of Quislings appearing in areas occupied by the Russians.

          “DNR head Alexander Zakharchenko claimed in August 2014 that there are around 3,000 to 4,000 Russian volunteers fighting for the militia, which includes current and many retired Russian Army servicemen. Since September 2015, the separatist units, at the battalion level and up, are acting under direct command of Russian Army officers, with former local commanders sometimes serving as their deputies.”

          In 2018, there were around 30,000 with 20% of those consisting of Russian contract fighters. That’s not counting the actual Russian units and PMCs in the DNR and LNR. A substantial number of those recently drafted into separatist forces were taken at gunpoint without training and with insufficient, antiquated equipment… true cannon fodder.

    • Bill Roche says:

      J.P. I don’t think it is a stretch to say that the Ukrainian soldier is fighting for the independence of his country – just like American Continentals were in 1776. You may argue that this is not a war for independence but a civil war for separation. So what; what remains is the unassailable truth that Ukrainians don’t want to be Russians, part of Russia, or lap dogs to the “great Slav” to their east. Yes many have/will die. War is brutal. Do you have a suggestion for Ukrainians which will eliminate death and suffering but maintain their independence?

      • Jovan P says:

        @Bill Roche

        Don’t you think that with every dead Russian as well as Ukrainian soldier (for the Russians this is still a fraternal war) there are less chances that Ukraine can keep some bits of sovereignty (and most of their territory)?
        Can’t the Ukrainians negotiate some kind of surrender, where they keep much of Ukraine, oblige to denazify and stop the bloodshed?

        Do you have any solution without the part fighting to the last Ukrainian?

        • Bill Roche says:

          Well as one kid said to the other … I asked you first! But you chose to send the question back to me. Alright, so
          the question is can’t the Ukrainians negotiate themselves out of a nightmare that Russia created. I have written several times that were I Zelinskyy, I’d resign myself to the loss of Crimea and the Donbass and agree to water the Crimea. As to a fraternal order of killing I don’t see how anyone could do to Ukrainians what the Russians have if they thought them brothers. Ukrainians don’t think they are Russia’s little brothers. What would Ukraine have to do to satisfy Putin? Surrender and forgo any chance of a sovereign Ukraine. Give up Ukrainian as the language of gov’t and education (it would probably b/c Russian), agree to be a lower form of Slavic life to the “Great Russians”, and consider Ki’ve a regional capitol of the Russian Empire. Now, I’ll ask again. Short of surrender, what ideas do you have for Mr Zelinskyy.

          • Jovan P says:

            For starters, your idea is just fine. The Russians will also want to keep the city of Kherson and the coasts of the Black sea (except Odessa) and Azov sea and insist on denazification and a neutral status. Ukraine gets to negotiate on keeping Odessa, Kharkiv and the area of Zaporozhye. The bloodbath stops.

          • TTG says:

            Jovan P,

            If the Russian Army withdraws to the far side of the Urals, the bloodbath will also stop. Neither your suggestion nor mine is likely to happen.

    • Philip Owen says:

      Why do soldiers ever fight? Why not just let gangsters everywhere take over whenever they feel like it? Most people most of the time will get by or there will be no gain for the gangsters.

  10. Klapper says:

    A test of the hypothesis that the Russians are demoralized, and incompetent, and the Ukranians are poised to take the offensive is the current battle of the Izyum salient. Here the Russians/LPR have advanced south to within 10 km of the east west road and rail to Severdonetsk, the major point of Ukranian resistance on the north eastern front.

    The advance looks precarious for the Russians as the salient is very narrow and ripe for a counterattack to cut off Russian forces.

    However, if the Russians can hold this salient, it mutes claims of their logistics, moral, and leadership problems. Likewise, if the Ukrainians cannot cut off this advance where it appears the Russians have over extended themselves, claims they are ready to take the offensive are likewise dubious.

    A third possibility is the Russians will retreat before the Ukrainians can cut them off. Call that a draw.

  11. Christian J. Chuba says:

    If I was on the Russian side, the weapon I would fear the most are the Switchblade drones https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AeroVironment_Switchblade

    I see this as the future of drone technology for many reasons and would incorporate them into all of our mortar units. I’m not using the correct terms when it comes to the military, just getting across that these type of drones should be commonly deployed by people who know how to use them.

    1. lightweight, 6lb, one soldier can carry and operate one. The spring loaded deployment of the wings is a good feature to keep it compact.
    2. The payload is enough to kill people and damage many types of vehicles
    3. The range is up to 10km and it uses cameras and GPS for targeting. I did not get specifics on the targeting, the brass ring would be to use GPS to get it into the area the camera with on board image processing to identify a target for that final stretch. That would eliminate the need for a data link and make it really hard to jam. If they are not doing this yet, that is where they should go.

    Wow. The Pentagon finally funded a winner. I have a feeling that the larger bayraktar type drones grabbing the headlines, not doing as well as advertised but regardless of my feeling, I hope that we are doing an objective analysis on that.

    I would definitely fear the switchblade.

  12. Pat Lang says:


    I have been asked to argue this piece as an analytic document. It is not that. It is an editorial.

  13. TTG says:

    I agree Ukraine should soon go on the offensive. I don’t want to see them piss away their forces and opportunities with multiple, ill timed, ineffective pin prick attacks like the Russian have been doing. Remember MOSS MOUSE, the nine principles of war I learned in Military Science 101 all those years ago. Make it count, boys.

  14. Al says:

    From AP:

    “… U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin convened a meeting Tuesday at Germany’s Ramstein air base to work out ways to keep it going, now and for the long run. Defense ministers and top military leaders from approximately 40 countries participated.

    After the meeting, Austin told a news conference at Ramstein that Germany had agreed to send 50 Cheetah anti-aircraft weapons to Ukraine and that the meeting had served to unify the West’s efforts to help Ukraine “win today and build strength for tomorrow.” He said the participating nations had agreed to continue similar consultations through monthly meetings, either in person or virtually.

    “We’ve got to move at the speed of war,” Austin said.

    The goal, Austin said ahead of the conference, is not just to support Ukrainian defenses but to help them prevail against a larger invading force. In opening remarks to the meeting, he said Ukraine’s allies will “keep moving heaven and earth” to meet Ukraine’s near-term security requirements.

    “We believe they can win if they have the right equipment, the right support,” Austin said on Monday in Poland after returning from a visit to Kyiv . … He also said the goal is to “see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things it has done in invading Ukraine.” …

    Was it TTG that remarked something about “Fools talk strategy, military experts talk logistics!”????

    • TTG says:


      Omar Bradley said, “Amateurs talk about strategy, professionals talk about logistics.” Colonel Lang and I only repeated it.

  15. walrus says:

    TTG, Bill Roche, Leith, Yes, we are now talking existential threats but that includes Russia too, and Donbas, and Crimea, and Belorussia, and! and! and! Until we have some respect for their legitimate security concerns too, then this thing ends either in a nuclear exchange or total destruction of Ukraine by Russia as a warning to the next punter.

    Recall how this started, leaving out the fine work (/sarc) done by Nuland and the Obama(?) Administration in destabilising Ukraine in 2014 and before; Russia made a direct request that Ukraine NOT be admitted to NATO because that would go against European Union principles by guaranteeing Ukraine’s security at the expense of Russia’s. You understand the Russian concerns about missile time of flight as I do.

    Russia asked for talks before Christmas on the security needs of Eastern Europe and Russia and made a list of proposals for discussion.

    Russia also repeatedly asked for Ukraine’s backers to encourage the Ukraine to observe the Minsk II agreements.

    The Biden Administration response was a giant “F U” to Russia and a pat on the head for Ukraine as it systematically prepared to tear up what was left of Minsk II and invade Donbas. This behaviour is exactly in keeping with Putins observation that America has become “not agreement capable”.

    If we are in an accelerating race to Armageddon, then I know exactly who to thank: Joe Biden and his team of the children of Eastern Europeans refugees with their revenge fantasies and their deep feelings of inadequacy and shame. That’s what motivates the Kagans and Nulands of this world. Through accident or design these moral pygmies now have their dirty little fingers on the trigger.

    Spare me the comparisons with the war of independence or Churchill in May 1940. Yes they were confronting unreasonable madmen. This time around the madmen are in Washington.

    • TTG says:


      Ukraine first applied to join NATO in 1992. They knew then that Russia posed an eventual threat to their independence. Russia never got over the fact that her East European neighbors, including Ukraine, no longer desired to be under Moscow’s rule or influence. I had a front row seat to events in Eastern Europe as the WTO and USSR collapsed. As Solidarność began organizing and coordinating free trade unions across the region, those fears of Moscow were fresh. More importantly, those trade union leaders knew Moscow would once again pursue her dreams of empire. That’s how this all started.

      The Russians may be truly concerned about missile time of flight, but developing and fielding long range, hypersonic missiles and then bragging about how they can strike all European capitals with impunity is a strange way to show that concern. Even with that and the massive saber rattling buildup on the Ukrainian border, it didn’t have to go this way. Russia did not have to launch the invasion. They’re lost a lot so far, as has Ukraine. They could lose a lot more if they don’t relent. We all could.

    • Bill Roche says:

      Wasn’t there a popular novel some years back “The Mad King George”? I d/n read it. Hitler was mad, I think. The Finns, Poles, and Ukrainians certainly regarded Stalin as mad. Stalin is the crux of the situation. Maybe he was not mad at all. He was simply letting Ukrainians, Finns, and Poles know, in that order, that Russians were the boss. The Russian decision to invade Ukraine is consistent w/Russian history and their opinion of other Slavs. Note I d/n say other Slavic nations which border Russia. That is the issue. Russia d/n recognize other Slavs as such. That mindset precedes Nuland, and Kagan. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was set in stone in 31 years ago. I don’t think Nuland had much input into it.

    • Rizwan says:

      Hear hear. I am glad that the Internet will record this blog and its adherents’ ideological distortion to the posterity. To show what is the outcome of this collective insanity

  16. Christian J. Chuba says:

    Here is my editorial opinion … Forbes: “Fuel And Ammo Depots Keep Blowing Up In Russia. Ukraine’s Ballistic Missiles Might Be Why.” https://tinyurl.com/ykzrwap9

    I hear cheering every time Ukraine does this (which is fair) but when the Houthis blow up oil infrastructure in the UAE or Saudi Arabia, it is heinous. The Yemenis are not allowed to fight back. We call it terrorism.

    There were no deaths in the big attack on Aramco and I believe 2 deaths in the UAE attack. Even so, the Biden admin considered designating the Houthis a terrorist group. That would starve even more Yemenis and the thousands of bombs that the UAE / Saudis dropped on Yemen means nothing to us. We even sold cluster bombs to the Saudis.

    • TTG says:


      If you review the posting and comments here, you will find the vast majority, if not all, of us are supportive of the the Houthis and speak highly of their fighting prowess and battlefield successes. You won’t find a lot of kind words for the Saudis.

      • Christian J. Chuba says:

        I was not directing this at anyone here. I was expressing my frustration at the U.S. govt and its media complex. We tend to post about things outside of our world, correct? 🙂

        I posted this because I found an article on Bloomberg cheering on Ukraine’s attack inside of Russia. These attacks are identical to the ones that Houthis make. I’m certain we have all read numerous accounts of our MSM covering the Houthi attack on the UAE as terrorism.

        But yeah, I think it’s fair for Ukraine to make attacks inside of Russia. It’s a war, you are allowed to fight back.

  17. Jovan P says:

    Some parts of the Russian society led the Pan-Slavism movement in the 19th century. This movement inter alia sent volunteers to fight the Ottomans, and one of these volunteers who died in battle was count Nikolay Nikolayevich Raevsky, who was the model for Tolstoy’s Vronsky from Anna Karenina. On SST the commentator Stefan nicely explained the relation between Russian and Bulgaria, where the positive side of the relationship is that the Russians brought freedom to the Bulgarians from the Ottoman yoke (e.g. the Siege of Plevna). There are many similar examples, like if it weren’t for the Russians, today there would hardly be Armenians. Russia recognizes all other Slavs, moreover Russia is a multiconfessional and multinational state. You have videos from Ukraine where a dozen Russian soldiers are eating together and introducing themselves (one is a Chechen, the other a Buryat, the third a Lezgian, etc.)

    On the other hand, Russia as every great power had it’s bad decisions (the war on Finland, the occupation of the Baltic states, taking part in crushing the Boxer rebellion, imposing communism on the eastern european states although building their infrastructure).

    I thank Walrus for repeatedly taking the time and effort to explain how did we get to this tragic situation.

    • Bill Roche says:

      Interesting that the Holodomore did not make your list of Russian achievements.

    • Leith says:

      Bill Roche –

      Interesting that Jovan claims Russia saved Armenia. But in fact, the Ottoman-Russian friendship treaty of 1918, allowed Turkish Armies to invade and occupy the western half of the Armenian Republic. Then two years later the Soviet Army invaded and occupied the other half. Which is probably why 30,000+ Armenians joined the Nazi war machine in 1943.

      He forgets to mention Russian racism against Tatars, Central Asians, people of the Caucasus, Jews, Poles, Balts, and immigrant workers. He also forgets to mention abuses against Catholics, Evangelicals, and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

      He conveniently forgot the “Great Purge” with a million people executed and many millions more dying in work camps. Nor did he list Russia’s invasion of Poland three times, 1919 and again in 1939 and 1945. Putin’s theft of land from Moldova did not make his list.

      • Bill Roche says:

        What 30M Armenians signed up w/t Nazis to get the Russians out? Armenians must be anti-semetic, Nazi, fascists at heart. Where is the Armenian Stephan Bandera! Your comment reminded me that one of the benefits of coming to Col. Lang’s website is in correspondence w/others you can learn something. I comment re Bandera b/c it makes sense to me that Ukrainians, denied independence by Bolsheviks, many of whom were Jews, after WW I during the Russian Civil War, and later persecuted during Holodomore by Bolsheviks, again w/Jewish leaders in ’31-’33, would want to team up w/t Nazis to get rid of both the communist and its Jewish leadership. This is not unheard of (per your Armenian information). Bandera failed. He had to deal w/t Nazis until ’45 but never got rid of the communists. But I don’t agree w/those who say Bandera proves Ukrainians are a bunch of anti-semetic skinheads.
        JP failed to mention Russia’s attack on Poland’s east in ’39. An oversight no doubt. He glosses over the “occupation” of the Balts as a mistake. I don’t think the Lits/Lats/and Stones consider it a simple mistake. While admitting the Russian crime of forcing communism on its Slavic neighbors he cannot resist mentioning that the Russians did, after all, build up those less developed infra structures. Good of them. I wonder if the Bulgars, Armenians, Litvaks are sufficiently grateful for that?

        • Eric Newhill says:

          Lots of odars (that’s Armenian for “gringos”/”outsiders”) talking about things, authoritatively at that, about which they know nothing. Par for the course. Armenia continues to enjoy hosting a Russian air wing and a combat brigade. Russia could indeed be said to have saved what little was left of Armenia and Armenians in their native region. The Turks and Kurds had relegated Armenians to second class (at best) status for centuries and had, for centuries, from time to time, elected to slaughter them and steal their harvest, homes and even women and children, who were sold into slavery, to other Turks and to Arabs and assorted Muslim barbarian scum. Most odars only know about the most recent slaughter and theft that took place in 1915. It was the Russians that put the ever blood thirsty Turks and Kurds in their place and put an end to their predations on Christians; much as the Russians put an end to a recent and similar rampage by ISIS/Al Qaeda (and US neocon backers).

          Joining the Soviet Union kept Armenians/Armenia safe for decades. Who could ever trust a Turk, Arab or Kurd ever again? Yes, some Armenians fought for the Nazis. Most fought valiantly for the Soviets against the Nazis. A disproportionate number receiving the highest possible Soviet military recognition. Armenians tend to have a strong independent and stubborn streak and some decided it would be in their interest to fight for the Nazis. So what? That was a small minority. Armenians have always been highly respected within Russia, modern and Soviet, often rising to positions of power and influence. Lavrov himself is 1/2 Armenian, btw.

          As I have stated previously, Russia has been nothing but a blessing for Armenians and Christian who must live amongst the black plague that is Islam – and I don’t care about all of the other slavs and their near fictitious countries with ever changing borders and internal fighting. I can’t see Ukraine from where I live. The world is full of conflicts.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            Sorry if anyone is offended. The point is that we can all take personal, subjective, sweeping and belligerent points of view and not see the other side.

            I happen to see Russia’s perspective and can appreciate why they have invaded Ukraine, which is not a nice country, or even hardly a country by some standards. I will not be swayed by cheap propaganda that denies the objective history of this conflict (well outlined by English Outsider on this forum).

            I do not think sending the UKR arms will do anything more than prolong the killing. I do not even see those arms getting to the front. How? Rail? Nope. All critical junctions destroyed by the Russians. Road? With what flatbeds? How will 777s not be destroyed in convoy by Russia air superiority? How would the Ukrainians even train to use those arms? Training camps will be detected and destroyed as barracks (including those with foreign volunteers), ammo, fuel dumps, etc. already have been by excellent Russian intelligence and targeting. Ukraine is already lost. Zelensky should not have geared up to take Crimea, should not have allowed his extreme right wing militias to increase the shelling of Donbas in January and February, should not have played the eager puppet of the US, who, in turn, should have respected Russia’s outlook and right to protect and defend and should have engaged in diplomacy instead of doubling down on the utter delusion of regime change in Russia. None of what should have happened in a rational world, did. Now Russia is in an existential war against UKR and NATO. Russia will not lose this anymore than it could have lost Stalingrad. The US wants to push the EU into economic disaster, along with developing nations that depend on UKR bread basket wheat, etc – and the US wants to fight to the last Ukrainian while, perhaps, pushing Russia into all out war (w/ nukes flying?); all for what? Some policy of preventing a multipolar world order? A policy that helps Joe and Jane US citizen not one bit. I find the whole situation rife with disgusting behavior by the US. I find the stories that people on this forum are telling about the virtues of UKR and its hope for the future and the evil of Putin/Russia to be low grade, circular self-reinforcing fantasies. More’s the pity.

          • Pat Lang says:

            Eric Newhill
            At the time of the Armenian holocaust the Ukraine had been a fully integrated part of the Russian Empire for centuries. What are you talking about?

          • Leith says:

            I’m not offended Eric. And hope I have not offended you. My comment was not aimed at you, nor was it aimed at Armenians. I’m aware that millions of them fought against the Nazis in both the Soviet and American Armies in WW2. Many of them fought valiantly and were given Hero of the Soviet Union honors, or the Medal of Honor in the case of Armenian-Americans.

            But so did millions of Ukrainians fight against Hitler, fighting in the Armies of the USSR, America, and Canada. Bandera’s UPA that Putin whines about was a small minority. And they fought not only against the Soviets, but also against the Nazis and the Poles. They were nationalists. Just like the Armenian Legion were nationalists wanting to be free from the Bolsheviks, or else were POWs who volunteered to get out of Hitler’s death camps. Just like the tens of thousands of Russian nationalists who fought for the SS or for Vlasov who wanted to be out from under the Communists’ boots.

            By the way, in the first Nagorno-Karabakh War Russia sided with Azerbaijan. And in the 2020 war Putin might have given Armenia a few weapons, but it fell far short of the Turkish weapons and Turkish Air Force close air support given to the Azeris. And the few Wagner Group mercenaries sent by Putin were a drop in the bucket compared to the large numbers of Syrian headchoppers sent by Erdogan.

            PS – there is a small community of Kurds and Kurdish Yazidis living in Armenia. Some fought in the various wars against the Azeris. And some Kurdish PKK were reported to have fought for Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020.

            PPS – Don’t forget our wager. You and Putin have until 3 May to destroy the Ukrainian Army. I’m waiting patiently to see your photo posted here wearing Bernie Sanders kit.

      • walrus says:

        A quick look at Wikipedia shows the Poles to be a bellicose lot. They also fought the Ukrainians and Lithuanians in separate wars.

        Fourteen (count ’em) conflicts between WWI and WWII. In addition, by my rough count the Wiki documents 276 wars and conflicts involving what passes for Poland between 1000AD. and WWI.

        As the late Tony Judt, assisted by Tim Snyder has observed; Eastern Europe has been fought over, depopulated, repopulated, destroyed and rebuilt since at least as early as Roman times.

        The conclusion I draw from that (and Judts take) is that anyone in Eastern Europe talking about “our glorious military tradition” or “Our historic destiny” or “our historic homeland” or ‘our rich unique culture” or any such appeal to history is a charlatan and a fraud, or worse, a potential accomplice in war crimes for creating and spreading made up discriminatory BS about ethnic differences between the whole effing lot of you – Poles, Lithuanians, Estonians, Ruthenians, Ukrainians, Czechs, Slovaks, Magyars and Russians with the possible exception of the incomprehensible Finns.

        The conclusion I draw from that is there is nothing stopping a compromise and peace deal except bloody minded politicians of ALL nations including those of Europe, Britain and especially America because without our support this war would neither be necessary nor possible.

  18. VietnamVet says:

    We are in the initial stages of WWIII. NATO failed to deter Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Finland and Sweden are about to join NATO for the simple reason to get under NATO’s nuclear umbrella like Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia. Only the use of tactical nuclear weapons can prevent future Russian invasions. There are no longer pre-positioned tanks, personnel carriers, artillery, trenches/bunkers, and a conscript army to defend Europe.

    Joe Biden called Vladimir Putin a “pure thug” and “murderous dictator,” Lloyd Austin, Secretary of Defense said “We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine.”

    The Western Empire, poking and prodding, ignoring the Minsk II agreements, triggered the invasion. This is now an existential war for the Kremlin. Russia is cutting off its natural gas supply to Romania and Poland. The next months are crucial to see if Russia captures Odessa, cutting Ukraine’s access to the Black Sea and making it a rump state, and if Russia reunites with its isolated units in the Transnistria region of Moldova. The Ukrainian remnants left will continue fighting their never ending ethnic war against Russians. Russia will be forced to pacify the rebels. This almost inevitably will end up with tactical nuclear weapons being use as Russian troops reach Ukraine’s borders and attempt to cut off the Resistance’s resupply from neighboring NATO nations.

    The fundamental question is; can a nuclear war can be avoided until a change of Administrations in 2025?

    The one sure way, right now, to assure peace and to end the escalation is to force Ukraine to sign a Peace Treaty/Armistice that lets Kiev and Odessa stay in Ukraine and Russia keeps its conquered land east of the Dnieper River and build a DMZ along the line of contact manned by Eastern Europeans to stop the shelling and block future ethnic conflicts.

    • Bill Roche says:

      I agree w/much of what you’ve written. But there are things you don’t understand. You mention that unless Ukraine accepts your peace ideas (w/w I agree!) they will continue to wage ethnic war on Russia. You’ve got it backwards. Ukraine d/n invade Russia. Stop giving Putin a pass on this. HE is waging ethnic war on Ukraine. You want Ukraine to accept peace for a war Russia has prosecuted on them. The war IS about ethnicity. There are many Slavs in eastern Europe. They’re not identical people. Ukrainians won’t be forced to be Russians (l’ill Russians that is). Speaking of ethnicity who are the Russians? They are more than Slavs. They are also Balts, and Finns. I did some TDY in Helsinki and found the Finns to be a handsome people (I found their language impossible). Look at Putin. He is a Finn. Does this mean ultimately Finns will have to give up their identity and b/c Russian? If Putin found those damned Lithuanians “difficult” Slavs would they be next for Russification? Want to ask history about Finland and Lithuania? Why are Bylorussians called “White Russians”? Not enough melatonin? C’mon, they are Russians too, aren’t they. But they’re good “l’ill slavs” who don’t give the Russians back talk. You wait, Putin is not done with Russification. I apologize for repeating myself but this war has little to do with NATO. The Ukrainian effort for independence has been going on since 1900, far b/f NATO. Independence is as existential to them as their absence from Russia is, apparently, to the Russians. But Russia survives w/o Ukraine. Ukraine c/n survive as the “frontier” of mother Russia. Putin’s impediment today is NATO, yes. But that should not cloud your eyes. NATO was born in 1947, Putin wants to rtn the Russian Empire to 1914. That will require the domination of many more Slavs.

  19. Poul says:

    German “aid” to Ukraine. Moon of Alabama has a good critique of the quality.


  20. Wunduk says:

    You ask about tanks and artillery.

    As Putin seems to have decided to continue this war for the foreseeable future, longer-term investments make sense into shifting assistance to Ukraine from gap-filling to changing the Ukrainian army’s main platforms to NATO standards to address long term sustainability.

    The 50 Gepard / Cheetah systems cleared this week by Germany for delivery are the modernised variant A2, which were bought back by the manufacturer (Krauss-Maffei Wegmann – KMW) from the German army when they decided to abolish the army’s air defence units. Sold some of them to Qatar and Brazil, the 35 mm ammunition is manufactured in Switzerland (Oerlikon) and Brazil and is available.

    There is a lot of German handwringing about whether Ukrainians will be able to use the handbooks or will damage the precious tanks, etc. I do not worry too much about it.

    When I was back in Germany some weeks ago and meeting various groups of refugees, I had never any trouble finding someone in a group who had German conversations level B1, about 15% were at level A1. So I think the Ukrainian Army can find enough young men to wire together the Gepard in radar-guided groups of four as they were designed to work in Mi24 traps when I was drafted more than years ago. Oh and what flies in Ukraine – Mi24s! Everyone upgraded them with stand-off guided missiles, but the videos I saw still show them strafing a lot. By the way, KMW also offers to upgrade the Cheetah with an anti-aircraft missile launchers add-on.

    As to the issue of seeing the tanks damaged… we had the same sentimental thing going on when the Leopards were lent to the Canadians in Operation Medusa. Discreetly, some repair crews had to make the trip to Kandahar.

    The following might come also to Ukraine from the manufacturers’s depots:
    MBT: Leopard 1A5 (Rheinmetall + FFG) – 188
    IFV: Marder 1A3 (Rheinmetall) – 200

    The armoured howitzer 2000 is being delivered by the NL. That system worked very well in Uruzgan and Kunduz as counter-battery. Germany has some armoured mortars – about 200 M113 with 120 mm mortars in the depots.

    All of this is happening under a government that campaigned and was elected on a platform to accommodate Russian interests as much as possible. That Germany is now providing tanks shows where the combination of our earlier appeasement and a relentless refusal from Russia to consider a compromise has led us.

    If we had provided on 25 February this and more, the Ukrainians might now have equipped and trained three brigades or more with the modernised and NATO-compatible equipment and could protect their country and families.

    Apologies for the following off topic remark but I do not post often and have to get it off my chest to all those in this thread predicting the EU’s ruin, most of which I think are not European. While I am touched by the concern displayed by outsiders for our well-being, I note that economically Europe is adapting, faster than I thought.

    In general our analysis of the effects of reduced access to Russian gas and other ressoruces underestimated the ability of businesses to shift suppliers and relied on linear projection scenarios. But it went much faster, as predicted by this study group back in March (https://voxeu.org/article/what-if-germany-cut-russian-energy).

    E.g. on oil, the German Minister of Economy stated yesterday while visiting Poland that the German dependence on Russian Oil is going to be ended “within days” – they are down to 12% from 35% a month ago and everyone thought it would take until the end of the year. The last share of German oil that is Russian imports enters into one single refinery on the German-Polish border (the PCK Raffinerie in Schwedt an der Oder) that is owned by Rosneft and tied to a pipeline from Russia. All other refineries have shifted away in the last two months. So if – as promised – Poland arranges for a transport of non-Russian oil through Gdansk harbour to that refinery, they also can do without oil from the pipeline.

    I think a similar adaptation is taking place in the gas market. The building permits for the LPNG terminals (gas from Qatar and the US) – in a nature reserve by the way – were approved two weeks ago. I think we can see the end of Russian gas deliveries coming soon. The Bulgarians and Polish will no longer get gas from Russia in a couple of weeks and I think we will be able to see how quickly they adapt. The demand for gas as heating source is decreasing now in the warm season, and that will make the adaptation easier. Gas needs a buyer.

    Also, Polish and German coal is back in business and all that with the Green Party! Coal is now Germany’s energy source no. 1. and yes, dear concerned outsiders, between the two of us we have plenty of it! Bad for climate goals, but that is yet another consequence of his actions that also Mr. Putin and his progeny will have to live with.

    • English Outsider says:

      Well, Winduk, I can’t exactly say good luck with Barbarossa II, but it’ll be interesting to see how you get on,

      • Jovan P says:

        @English Outsider
        Your comment reminds me of a TV documentary about the English army eavesdroping captured German officers in some minimum security military prison, somewhere in England. Before and after the start of the operation Barbarossa, the overwhelming majority of the officers were in favor of fighting the Russians. After the Drang nach Osten failed, they all put the blame on Hitler, often claiming that Barbarossa was a mistake.

        I’m sure there are not many people who predict or cheer the EU’s ruin, but the EU has to be careful what it does. @ Wunduk, nice analysis with a personal touch, please post more often.

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