April 30, 5:15pm ET

Further Russian reinforcements to the Izyum axis are unlikely to enable stalled Russian forces to achieve substantial advances. Elements of unspecified Eastern Military District units and several air-defense assets are reportedly deploying from Belgorod to the Izyum front to support likely degraded Russian units attempting to advance south of the city. These forces are unlikely to enable Russian forces to break the current deadlock, as Russian attacks remain confined to two major highways (toward Slovyansk and Barvinkove) and cannot leverage greater numbers. Several successful Ukrainian counterattacks out of Kharkiv city in the last 72 hours have additionally recaptured a ring of suburbs north and east of the city and may additionally force Russian forces to redeploy units intended for the Izyum axis to hold these positions. Russian forces appear increasingly unlikely to achieve any major advances in eastern Ukraine, and Ukrainian forces may be able to conduct wider counterattacks in the coming days.

Key Takeaways

  • A Ukrainian counteroffensive out of Kharkiv City will likely alleviate pressure on parts of the city that have suffered the most from Russian shelling and may force Russian troops from Izyum to re-deploy northward to support forces maintaining the partial encirclement of Kharkiv.
  • Additional Russian forces are deploying to the Izyum front but are unlikely to enable any major advances.
  • Russian troops did not make any confirmed advances to the southwest or southeast of Izyum or to the west of the Donetsk-Luhansk frontline.
  • Russian forces in Kherson are pausing major offensive operations to improve their tactical positions and regroup to prepare for a renewed offensive to capture the administrative borders of Kherson.
  • Russian occupation forces in Mariupol announced plans to consolidate their control over the city and intend to return Ukrainian citizens forcibly deported into Russia at some point in the future.

Immediate items to watch

  • Russian forces attacking southeast from Izyum, west from Kreminna and Popasna, and north from Donetsk City will likely make steady but tactical gains against Ukrainian defenders.
  • Russian forces will likely attempt to starve out the remaining defenders of the Azovstal Steel Plant in Mariupol and will not allow trapped civilians to evacuate but may conduct costly assaults on remaining Ukrainian defenders to claim a propaganda victory.
  • Russian forces are likely preparing to conduct renewed offensive operations to capture the entirety of Kherson Oblast in the coming days.
  • Russia may continue false-flag attacks in and around Transnistria or might move to generate a more serious crisis in Transnistria and Moldova more generally.

Comment: ISW doesn’t paint a rosy picture of the status of the Russian invasion. I think a significant indicator that the Russian war effort is sucking bilge water is the recent leadership announcements. First, General Dvornikov was appointed as the supreme commander of Russia’s forces in Ukraine a few weeks ago. Dubbed “the butcher” by other Russian generals, he recently oversaw the successful Russian actions in Syria. That, by itself, was a smart and overdue move. Then, just a few days ago, the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, General Valery Gerasimov, arrived in Izium, Kharkiv region, to personally command his troops’ attempts to advance. That’s a clear sign of desperation.

And now Putin is rumored to have taken personal command of the war from deep within one of his command bunkers, leaving the day to day running of Russia to others. If true, that’s reminicent of the movie scenes of the last days of Hitler. Now I know things are not that bad in Moscow. The Russian Army is still on Ukrainian territory and on the offensive, albeit slow and costly. No one is talking about attacking Moscow. Still, Putin’s special military operation is certainly not going according to plan.


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  1. James says:

    Why would Russian forces “not allow trapped civilians to evacuate”? Why? How does that make any sense? They have every incentive to evacuate civilians so they can pour ordinance on the remaining enemy. I can well believe that Putin is a sociopath but I don’t think he is completely irrational.

    • TTG says:


      It only makes sense if the Russians would rather have the remaining defenders burdened with the protection and care of civilians.

      • Fred says:


        The Russians are reported elsewhere as having up to a million ‘refugees’ from the occupied territories and breakaway Republics who were removed from those areas to take care of. Then there are the 4-5 million or so from Ukraine who are now further West or in Poland or other nations.

    • Leith says:

      James –

      It’s been a common tactic in siege warfare throughout history. If the besieged defenders have to feed both civilians and their troops, they run out of food faster. And then perhaps surrender faster.

      • English Outsider says:

        Leith – the Russians have been offering safe passage out for the civilians trapped in Azovstal. Recently the UN has got involved.

        Azov is using the plight of the civilians, many of whom are apparently their own families, as a bargaining tool in their own pleas to be allowed safe passage out.

        • Leith says:

          EO –

          Putin BS. Most of the civilians that he allowed to leave Mariupol were sent kicking and screaming to so-called ‘filtration camps’ in Russia.

  2. Klapper says:

    One claim appears incorrect. 25 civilians left Azovstal Saturday. I believe they said 70 are left but it’s unclear if the 70 refers to people or families.

    • Klapper says:

      Actually the latest number for the civilians who exited Azovstal was 46 not 25. Video of the event shows UN and Red Cross SUVs were present in the convoy so they are likely involved in the negotiations as previous reports have stated. The ISW claim that the Russians will not allow civilians to exit Azovstal is clearly wrong.

  3. walrus says:

    As all but 4 of the 18 references for this assessment are published by the Ukrainian General staff, I think we can safely conclude that this ISW offering represents the worst case scenario for Russian operations. To put that another way, the Russian situation is unlikely to be any worse than that portrayed by ISW.

    ISW are nothing if not consistent. Now if we can find the Russian equivalent, it may be possible to do a differential analysis and perhaps arrive at a more accurate open source analysis.

    • Noticer says:

      Amen. The ISW is nothing if not a front for bloodthirsty neocons. I can’t believe anyone at this blog would take anything they say seriously. Yet here we are… sad.

      • Eric Newhill says:

        A bit of a tangent, but in the same IO/BS vein; does anyone really believe that Zelensky is even in Kiev? I had heard rumors that he fled to Poland right before the invasion. Now we are told that Pelosi and other members have flown into Kiev and met with him in person within the past day or two and there are photos and videos of this meeting. IMO, there is NO WAY that Pelosi and pals flew into a war zone where the Russian monsters have air superiority and both sides have all kinds of everything nasty pointing at the sky. We are even told that their arrival was a “surprise” (all the more risk of some UKR AA gunner to shoot them down).

        The only alternative to Zelensky play acting from another country is that the US is talking to Russia and is on good enough terms to arrange a deconfliction.

        Or, I guess, the US has some kind of magical cloaking device for aircraft that was lent to Pelosi.

        Or the meeting never happened and there was some photoshopping.

        Anyhow, it all fake nonsense all the time.

        • TTG says:

          Eric Newhill,

          You really believe the West has created massive movie sets depicting wide swaths of Kyiv along with interior scenes somewhere in Poland? Or do you think these are all masterful deep fake videos? Every report I’ve read of Western leaders, including our SecDef and SecState are of them taking the train for Lviv to Kyiv. It’s still an eight hour trip, but it’s far less risky than flying.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            I never said movie sets. Just as Biden has a mock Oval Office that he inhabits and is filmed in, there might be a small prop set or two. Otherwise, anything can be done to doctor video these days.

            Plane, train, what difference does it make? The Russians attack trains and train stations don’t they? And why would she go? I know Hunter is out as bag man at this point, but can’t Nuland be trusted to discuss the skim from the $33 billion?

            OTOH, if this story is even remotely true, then the skim must be pretty juicy for a decrepit old sack of silicon like Pelosi to make such an arduous and dangerous trip. Also, that kind of grandstanding would indicate that she is intending on remaining Speaker of the House for another 20 years.

          • Dolores O´Neil says:

            Well, you forget that the White Helmets are already there, with their mutliple film sets and filming crews fresh from Legoland where they were on vacation…

            OTOH, Newhill must be onto something, since FPA is reporting the withdrawal of the Ukrainian Army from the Eastern front…

            To see where all this end…Muts be a truce for Victory Day…to then retake the battle..

        • Fred says:


          Of course she flew there. The last thing the Russians would do would be to shoot down the airplane she was on or blow up the hotel she was staying at. Doing so only provides the Biden administration the casus belli theyve been looking for.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            So the US and Russia are talking and working together at least to the point of deconfliction?

            Or Russia has the ability to intercept and read US communications?

            Something fishy about this Pelosi visit story. Doesn’t add up.

          • TTG says:

            Eric Newhill,

            Perhaps it’s true that Russia does not want to tempt fate by truly threatening Pelosi or other Western leaders visiting Kyiv. They sent a message to the UN chief, but didn’t seriously threaten him the other day. Or perhaps Russian ability to interdict these visits doesn’t measure up to their claims. I would think Western intel collection, EW and suppression capabilities would be used to cover any VIP visits, at least passively.

            So the Pelosi, Schiff and others visit seems fishy. Did the Boris Johnson visit seem fishy? How about all the other Western leaders’ visits?

          • JK/AR says:

            For informational purposes primarily – your mission, should you decide to accept it yada yada, is to push this video up to the 16:00 minute mark and proceed to whenever the subject (CGI) changes:


          • Fred says:


            They are apparently still talking in Syria. Whether the neocons and Obama-ites are listening in regards to Ukraine is another matter entirely.

          • TTG says:


            The ISS is still flying with a mixed crew, too.

        • TTG says:

          Eric and Fred,

          Pelosi didn’t fly in. She boarded a Ukrainian train in Przemyśl, Poland and rode to Kyiv just like all the other Western leaders. There’s a photo of her boarding the train in Przemyśl with the Ukrainian conductors.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            I thought the Russians were blowing up train stations. Was that fake news? It almost seems like you guys make it up as you go.

            Anyhow, it turns out that there is some kind of diplomatic corridor between Kieva and Poland and Russia respects it (amazing that the blood thirsty orks can restrain their lust for human flesh that much). Anyhow, Pelosi and Schiff, et al appear to have utilized that corridor.

          • TTG says:


            They’re hitting train tracks, maybe even switches. That stuff is repaired in hours. They’ll have to take out rail bridges to have any damage last longer, like what’s happening to rail bridges in Russia and that one bridge along the Mariupol-Crimea line taken out by Ukrainian partisans.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            Ah. The stupid Orks explantion once again. The Russians can’t figure out that the damage they are doing to the rail system is minimal. They don’t shoot up trains like we always do? I guess something else that is too complicated for stupid Orks to understand. Btw, a train to Kiev is on a diplomatic corridor for Pelosi and Schiff to take is not the same as a military transport train loaded w/ triple 7s to the front in the Donbas.

          • TTG says:

            Eric Newhill,

            Your Orks are just not that effective. I’m sure they’d like to do a better job at it, but perhaps they lack the required dynamic targeting capability, full air dominance (after more than two months), and PGMs with the needed precision and quantity. The only other explanation is that they truly are stupid.

          • Fred says:


            “That stuff is repaired in hours.”

            Where are they getting all the transformers to replace those destroyed? Certainly they don’t have an infinite supply.

          • TTG says:


            How much damage are the Russians really doing to the transformers? I’m amazed the lights remain on in so much of Ukraine. How does Kyiv, Kharkov and Odesa still have power? Even close to the front lines, the power is often restored far faster and more often than it is here after a snowstorm.

          • Fred says:


            A traction station transformer converted the high voltage AC to DC to run the trains. They are not transformers in a municipality’s electric grid. Did you not understand that from the linked article, or are you putting out some puffery?

      • Pat Lang says:

        Noticer. I have tried endlessly to make you clowns understand that sources and info must be evaluated separately (B-3, etc). Why do you think they so designated But then, you are probably a Rooshian tool.

      • AngusinCanada says:

        Agreed. I find it absolutely ridiculous and maddening that this blog, which I’ve enjoyed for some time, is now touting ISW nonsense as anything close to objectively informative.

        • TTG says:


          List the points in the ISw summary you find so objectionable and why. Or is it just because it says ISW in the title.

          • Worth Pointing Out says:

            I think I can give a good example in a single paragraph.

            It is the paragraph “Supporting Effort #1—Kharkiv and Izyum”, which contains within this sentence:
            “A Pro-Russian military source claimed that Russian troops encircled approximately 600 Ukrainian troops in Yaremivka, about 25 kilometers southeast of Izyum on the road to Slovyansk, although ISW cannot independently confirm this report.[10]”

            This is listed as not “independently unconfirmed” because there is but a single source.

            Hold that thought, because above it you find these sentences:

            “Russian forces continued to attack southeast and southwest from Izyum but did not secure any confirmed advances in these directions on April 30.[6]”

            This is “independently confirmed” because ISW lists several sources for the above information.

            Fair enough.

            “The Ukrainian General Staff stated that elements of the 1st Guards Tank Army, 20th Combined Arms Army, 35th Combined Arms Army, 68th Army Corps, and likely 2 battalion tactical groups (BTGs) of the 76th Airborne Division are trying to advance southwest to Barvinkove and southeast to Slovyansk.[7]”


            There is but a single source for this claim: the Ukrainian General Staff.

            ISW (apparently) regards this as “independently confirmed” because the General Staff posted this claim several times.

            Which to my mind is not “independent confirmation” at all, it is merely “repetition”.

            ISW should state that this is “unconfirmed”, but they do nothing of the sort.

            “The Ukrainian General Staff additionally reported that Russian forces are deploying unspecified elements of the Eastern Military District to the Izyum area to support these advances.[8]”

            I have the same issue with this claim: the only source for this is the Ukrainian General Staff, and that they repeatedly claim it does not make it “independently confirmed”.

            “The Ukrainian General Staff additionally indicated that additional Russian air-defense forces are deploying to cover Russian troops in the Izyum area.[9]”

            Again, the same issue: there is but a single source for this claim, but ISW appear to regard it as “independently confirmed” because that one source repeats the claim in several posts.

          • Worth Pointing Out says:

            Further to my previous post, I’ll point out that the ISW claims that the report of a “Pro-Russian military source” can not be “independently confirmed” because, well, there is no independent confirmation.

            But the very next sentence is this:
            “Ukrainian sources claimed an artillery strike on a Russian command post near Izyum killed Russian Major General Alexei Simonov on April 30, although ISW cannot confirm preliminary reporting at this time.[11]”

            Yet reference 11 shows TWO sources, so ISW is apparently applying different standards of “confirmation”.

            Basically, if the Ukrainian General Staff say so then ISW is happy to take that to the bank, even if the General Staff is the ONLY group making that claim.

            But if two groups claim that something happened, well, no, that’s scuttlebutt.

    • Leith says:

      Walrus –

      Your numbers are a bit skewed. Only seven of the 18 references are dependent solely on Ukraine’s General Staff. The other seven that you claim were multiple references including both from the General Staff and from OSINT sources. And those OSINT sources provided video to back up their claims.

      Are you suggesting that the thousands of videos coming from Ukraine are staged, or deep fakes? Like Putin has done on many of the images and videos coming from his dezinformatsiya networks. I’m sure that Ukraine’s General Staff puts out some BS now and then to try to keep Putin confused. But the many twitter sources in the OSINT community are not part of that game. And there are easy ways to determine if videos and images are faked.

  4. Leith says:

    If Putin is taking personal command of the war it will be a further disaster for Russian troops. Putin’s KGB career and political experience will not help there. Sure he can give orders that are not to be questioned. But he has no idea of how to coordinate the operations of various branches and no sense of strategy and logistics. His mistakes will pile up, one after another. But he is good at propaganda, a genius at blowing smoke in your eyes. So if he can take Mariupol, he can always declare total victory, even if the Ukrainians kick him out of the other occupied areas. Somehow he will get the Russian people, and many westerners, to believe him.

    Not only Hitler screwed that personal command thing up. Stalin did something similar in the first six weeks of Operation Barbarossa. As commander in chief he “stubbornly overrode the advice of his generals and ordered his armies to stand and fight instead of allowing them to retreat eastward and regroup in preparation for a counteroffensive.” Resulting in a million Soviet POWs in the cauldrons at Minsk, Smolensk, and Kiev, plus another million plus KIA/WIA. He eventually got more cautious and put Shaposhnikov back in place as Chief of the Stavka (General Staff). Things then improved by an order of magnitude with Shaposhnikov getting the mobilization unjammed and planning the Yelnya Offensive which aided in the later Wehrmacht failure to take Moscow. But even then Stalin often interfered, demanding pointless counterattacks. Getting dozens of Red Army divisions swallowed whole, such as at Vyasma (another 600,000 encircled) and other disasters. Arbitrarily setting deadlines based on the anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, or on May Day. Demanding the simultaneous liberation of Leningrad, Oryol, and Kursk. Thanks to several million privates named Ivan, and generals like Zhukov, Vasilevsky, & Shaposhnikov; plus American lend lease Hitler was defeated, irregardless of Stalin’s incompetence.

    And didn’t Tsar Nicholas take command of the Imperial Russian Army in WW1, allowing the homefront to go to pot and sparking the Revolution. We can only hope that something similar will happen to Putin.

  5. 505thPIR says:

    Putin in a Bunker. Hitler was impotent inside his. Putin has a red button. Hmmm. Hope there are is a “back-channel” to some folks in their strategic chain of command. In the mean-time, time to kick that ol Lend Lease into high gear!

  6. plantman says:

    In the past, you have defended your position effectively and honorably, but this post crosses the line and should be withdrawn.

    The ISW is not a reliable source of information. It is a neocon outfit funded by the defense industry: (Wikipedia)
    “ISW core funding provided by a group of defense contractors (and) supported by contributions from defense contractors[6] including General Dynamics, DynCorp,[7] and previously, Raytheon.[8] It is headquartered in Washington, D.C.”…

    The ISW board includes General Jack Keane, Kimberly Kagan, William Kristol, former US Senator Joseph I. Lieberman… Previous and current members of the ISW’s corporate council include Raytheon, Microsoft, Palantir, General Motors, General Dynamics, and Kirkland & Ellis.”

    ISW released four reports on the conflict that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi between September 19, 2011 and December 6, 2011 (Yes, they were the driving fiorce behind that fiasco too!)

    Some critics have described ISW as “a hawkish Washington” group[33] favoring an “aggressive foreign policy”.[6] Writers for The Nation and Foreign Policy Magazine have called it “neoconservative”

    At least warn your readers that you are recycling neocon bilge.

    • TTG says:


      You were warned in the title. If it was a snake, it would have bitten you. What exactly in that summary do you find so objectionable?

    • fredw says:

      Can we ever get away from obsession with who is saying things and spend our efforts on what is being said? Every single commentator and analyst of the Ukraine campaign (or any other war) has a viewpoint and often a material interest. War is like that. Peace is a lot like that, too. As TTG has noted ISW (and he) are very up front about who they are. Examine their thought accordingly.

      A reasonable objection to ISW assessments would be discounting for probable bias. But at this point, in the absence of detailed knowledge, analysis has to primarily address plausibility. Do they offer evidence for their conclusions? What is their track record for accuracy? Have their predictions been seriously off base already? Above all, how do their predictions match up to subsequent control of territory? I would be interested to read objections that explored those topics. Objections on the basis of personal dislike do not interest me.

      Somewhat on the other side of things, we have Strelkov. His analysis is lately being reproduced all over the internet. This is not because he is some sort of military genius. No evidence for that. But he communicates a clear pro-Russian viewpoint that deals with facts on the ground as he perceives them. That makes him practically unique. He is also nearly unique in his ability to communicate such a view without getting arrested. Have to think about that. Someone at some (fairly high) level must want those things said.

      In this particular war we actually have a lot more data available than is usual. Non-government actors are able to confirm a lot of claims by looking at the ground. This doesn’t always decide the issue, but it does indicate that however much the UAF might exaggerate Russian losses, what we are seeing is not order of magnitude exaggeration. That is the sort of evidence that is meaningful. And to get it, we have to read and think about the words of many people we may not particularly like.

      On a more emotional level, criminal acts in wartime are a lot more deniable when not everybody in the area is filming on their smart phones. I don’t just say that to beat on the Russians. I was an interrogator in Vietnam. My unit (thankfully) did not do anything to prisoners that I would consider a war crime. But I came away very aware of how common is the desire to commit atrocities among actors on all sides. And I am not interested in any excuses based “the other guys do it”. What was done is the important issue. Not who did it. Once again we need to get away from the obsession over who rather than what.

  7. morongobill says:

    Any organization controlled by neocons, like this ISW, is the last thing I would trust. Doubters, look up who started ISW and controls it. I will admit it would be a nice way to supplement military retirement pay.

  8. Personanongrata says:


    Your analysis is weak and based upon the thinnest of gruel.

    Then, just a few days ago, the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, General Valery Gerasimov, arrived in Izium, Kharkiv region, to personally command his troops’ attempts to advance. That’s a clear sign of desperation.

    Is there any evidence that Gerasimov has been personally leading his soldiers?

    When did generals visiting front line soldiers become – a clear sign of desperation?

    And now Putin is rumored to have taken personal command of the war from deep within one of his command bunkers, leaving the day to day running of Russia to others. If true, that’s reminicent of the movie scenes of the last days of Hitler.

    Rumors should never be used as the basis of a analysis.

    Very nice segue into painting Putin into a caricature of the last days of Hitler – the fact based analysis barrel must be running on empty.

    Still, Putin’s special military operation is certainly not going according to plan.

    Has there ever been a military operation that has gone according to plan?

  9. JK/AR says:

    I have a question

    “Willy Joseph Cancel was killed Monday while working for a military contracting company that sent him to Ukraine, his mother, Rebecca Cabrera, told CNN. Cancel had recently worked as a corrections officer in Tennessee and previously served in the Marines from 2017 to 2021, joining the Corps the same year he graduated from high school.”

    Incidentally Willy J. got himself a BCD which leads me to ask – Anybody have any idea which “military contracting company” may be the entity so involved?

  10. plantman says:

    First, I do not agree that the situation in the Donbass can accurately be called a “deadlock” When your forces are surrounded by the enemy, and you are getting the sh** pounded out of you with heavy artillery, that is not deadlock . That is losing.

    Second, I suspect this analysis is more aspirational than “reality-based”:

    ISW– “Russian forces appear increasingly unlikely to achieve any major advances in eastern Ukraine, and Ukrainian forces may be able to conduct wider counterattacks in the coming days.”

    Do you believe that nonsense?

    In my research, I have not yet seen even one report of a significant Ukrainian army counterattack. The Russian forces around Kiev were not beaten back, as the media likes to say, but withdrew when their mission of “fixing” 80,000 Ukie troops in place had been completed.

    I have nothing but respect for the brave Ukrainian soldiers fighting this war, but they have been tragically misled by their depraved leadership. Their courage will not effect the outcome.

    • TTG says:


      The great cauldron which was to end the Ukrainian Army was said to be either imminent or already in place for many weeks, yet it has not come into being. Why? Was it because Russia dissipated so much of their forces including some of their best units in some costly faint toward Kyiv? That Russian version of the Kyiv offensive is a “Fox and the Grapes” story. They tried to decapitate the Zelenskiy government. They failed. At least they chose not to continue that failure. In the end, they fixed far fewer Ukrainian troops around Kyiv than Russian troops involved in the fixing.

      I’ve also not seen any major Ukrainian counterattacks. Any counterattacks executed so far have been done as part of an active defense. That includes the steady counterattacks around Kharkiv. Their execution of that active defense has been pretty damned good. The Russians have not been able to create the great cauldron in the Donbas or continue an offensive towards Odesa.

      • fredw says:

        “The great cauldron which was to end the Ukrainian Army was said to be either imminent or already in place for many weeks, yet it has not come into being. Why?”

        Possibly because that maneuver is nearly impossible to pull off until the rains stop and the ground dries out. The same explanation works for the lack of Ukrainian counterattacks. Not that those considerations let the Russian commands off the hook. It seems very peculiar to start such a campaign right at the beginning of the spring rains. What was the thought process for that?

        • Leith says:

          “What was the thought process for that?”

          1] Putin’s ignorance of his own history.

          2] The gutting of the General Staff authority and responsibilities by Putin and Shoigu.

          3] Cloud Cuckoo Land naïveté.

          • fredw says:


            The essence is that it wasn’t a military decision. A military decision would almost certainly have involved stalling until June The intervening time could have been spent getting some basics right. Much as I always hated army inspections, there is not much doubt that simply sending outsiders to look at the combat units could have produced a more realistic estimate and instigated corrective actions on a lot of fronts. The Russians would have been a lot more fearsome in June, and the Ukrainians would not yet have established the track record to persuade NATO countries to supply realistic (huge) assistance.

          • TTG says:


            I think the Russians absolutely thought they could pull off a quick decapitation of the Zelenskiy government. It was a gamble, but they did get to the point of making two assaults on the government building where Zelenskiy was sitting.

          • fredw says:


            Oh I agree. So I may have overstated my case. My analysis at the time was that Ukraine would either fold almost immediately or would put up a hell of a fight. The Ukrainians did not seem terrified of the prospect of war. They seemed to have thought out their response and had had plenty of time to work it out. Their statements seemed realistic, not downplaying the danger but not giving in to it either. Otherwise I would just have predicted immediate collapse just as most others did. So it was a military gamble, which is indeed a sort of military decision.

  11. Eric Newhill says:

    Since UKR is crushing the invaders, can we now stop sending $billions to the UKR? I mean they don’t need all of that money and ordnance because they’re winning, big time. Guess that’s probably what Pelosi went to UKR, at risk of life and limb, to tell Zelensky (“You got this. You don’t need our tax payers’ money anymore”).

    • Leith says:

      Eric –

      You and Putin have two more days to destroy the Ukrainian Army. When that does not happen all I will need is a pic of you wearing Bernie Sanders Tee or Cap. Posted here hopefully. Better buy that gear now, else you’ll be late in paying off your wager.

  12. fredw says:

    In the context of the US economy, the billions being spent are small change. (It is the Europeans who are facing serious economic trouble.) If you accept the Russian framework of irreconcilable conflict, then it is hard to come up with a more cost-effective use for the money.

    And of course there is a big difference between conducting one successful defensive campaign and “You got this.”

  13. plantman says:

    You are right, the Ukie army is not completely encircled yet, but do you doubt that will happen?

    Where are the reinforcements going to come from? Where is the air support? Where is the artillery support? Do you think they can prevail on courage alone?

    What flaws do you find in Ritter’s description of what is taking place as we speak: ”

    “This is the current situation with the Ukrainian military facing off against the Russians in Donbass today. The Ukrainians, lacking any meaningful artillery support of their own, are at the mercy of the Russian artillery and rocket launchers that pound their positions day in and day out, without respite. The Russian troops have taken a very deliberate approach to engaging with their Ukrainian opponents. Gone are the rapid advances by unprotected columns and convoys; now, the Russians isolate the Ukrainian defenders, pound them with artillery, and then carefully close in and destroy what remains with infantry supported by tanks and armored fighting vehicles. The casualty ratio in this fighting is unforgiving for Ukraine, with hundreds of soldiers lost each day in terms of killed, wounded and surrendered, while Russian casualties are measured in scores.”

    The men in these trenches are going to die so Washington can “weaken” Russia, not for the “liberation” of their country.

    Zelensky should have agreed to “neutrality” from the very beginning and spared us all this stupid bloodbath.

    • TTG says:


      I absolutely doubt the great cauldron will ever be formed. The Russians are now attacking Ukrainian who have been preparing their defenses in depth for years. Those defenses include stout overhead cover. To say that Ukraine is “lacking any meaningful artillery support of their own” is an egregious misreading of their force structure. The Ukrainians came from the same Soviet artillery intensive heritage that the Russians came from. Their artillery just smashed another Russian command post in Izium killing another Russian general. Ukrainian artillery and ammo supplies are being reinforced by the West. The Ukrainians have committed two fresh brigades from their reserves to the defense of the Donbas. The outcome of this battle and this war is far from a foregone conclusion.

  14. English Outsider says:

    TTG – the worst thing about working out how this war is going is that no one really knows what the Russian objectives are.

    Assessments of Russian objectives vary depending on who’s making them. They vary from pounding on to Berlin or at least Warsaw, for some at one extreme, to tidying things in the Ukraine up and then going home, for those at the other.

    Even in the anti-neocon camp one finds a variety of assessments of the Russian objectives. Take even such a limited theatre as that around Kiev in the early days of the war.

    What was the objective of that bit of the war? A feint, say some. A pinning operation, say others, A “demonstration in force” say others. A premature and risky attempt to achieve a quick surrender say yet others. I’ve seen all those objectives claimed. It’s take your pick. The Russians aren’t saying.

    So it’s open season for anyone to say what the Russians are after and whether they’ve got it or not.

    Failing that knowledge one can’t say, to take that same example, what the retreat from Kiev was all about. They’d bitten off more than they could chew and had to clear out. One view. Or they’d achieved their objective and then redeployed. Another view. At present anyone can choose either interpretation or anything in between. Assessment in such circumstances means little until one knows what objective the Russians were after.

    We also see very little of what the Russian army is getting up to on the ground. Lots of releases about the destruction of Ukrainian military infrastructure. Plenty of videos and information from the LDNR forces. As many videos as one cares to watch of the Chechens and Dagestanis. But what the Russians release showing the regular Russian army itself at work on the ground, or of the results of their work, is sparse or selective.

    And they don’t release such material because they’re running a news service. As far as I can see they release it to discourage the Kiev forces and get more of them to surrender. So such material as they’re releasing about the regular Russian army side of the operation can be guaranteed not to show the whole of it.

    Add to that the fog of the information war that’s at full stretch at the moment, both sides, and I’d go as far as to say that the analysts, however clued up, have little more idea of what the Russian objectives are and of whether they’re being met than the rest of us.

    As an amateur I take it as a working hypothesis that their objective is to denazify and demilitarise. That’s their stated objective. I shall believe the Russians are telling the truth about that objective if I see it happen. If I see anything else happen I’ll know they weren’t telling the truth when they stated that as their objective.

    Except … if the West comes in more forcefully then those objectives themselves might have to alter.

    All uncertain ground, therefore. One thing one can be quite sure of is that the Russian people in the main have got behind this war. They regard it as a just war and an existential. I don’t think they’re now going to budge.

    I hope therefore for the sake of the peoples of the Ukraine themselves, whether they’re on the side of Kiev or against Kiev, that the Russian army isn’t as incompetent and poorly directed as those ISW people assert. If the Russian military knows what they’re about then barring that more forceful Western intervention this war will be over fairly soon. If they don’t it’ll drag on for longer. But the result is a foregone conclusion and has been since February 21st. This is a war Kiev was never going to win. Nor Washington/Brussels if one cares to look beyond Kiev.

    It’s also a war the damned fools should never have started. But you’ve been generous in allowing me to say that already so I’ll not play that record again

    • Pat Lang says:

      Ah, you mean that you want perfect knowledge of the situation. You will not get it. That is why intelligence assessments are an art, not a science. I thought I had taught you that…

      • English Outsider says:

        You did, Colonel, but this pilgrim’s a slow learner.

        • Bill Roche says:

          E.O. “I know” said the kid in the front row. “Call on me”. I have been saying this for several comments we have exchanged but ok, you aint buyin’it. This is a war for existence as Russia sees herself; the mother of the Slavic world. In ’91 mother looked away and all the Slavic mice went to play. Putin must herd them back in order to restore the Russian Empire. An independent Ukraine is therefore unacceptable. As I have pointed out, Ukrainians saying they are not part of Russia is not new. This conflict started in 1900 and preceded the Neocons, Nato, Cold War, the Russian Rev., and both WW’s and is equally existential for Ukrainians. If they are but Russia’s frontier, they are not a sovereign people. You may look at this war through a military lens to better understand where it is going. I’m not smart enough to do that. But as an unyielding contest of domination the issue can’t be more clear. You maybe right about this being a losing war for Ukraine. But I remind you again of the story of Alfred hiding in the swamp. Talk about a guy w/a losing hand. Yet he persisted and that is why you are the E.O. and not the D.O. A couple of last thoughts; despite Putin’s propaganda all Ukrainians are not NAZI’s. Although Bandera thought the Nazis would help remove the communists, in fact thousands of Ukrainian soldiers died fighting those Nazi’s. Regarding militarization, it would never have been necessary for Ukraine to soldier up if Russia d/n threaten their existence. Finally, I don’t believe the average Russian living somewhere in NovoSiberisk, or Archangel believes Russia will be “lost” if Ukraine is free. Regards.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            Bill Roche,
            Only a corrupt country that cannot win employs Nazis because it cannot fill its ranks with non-Nazis.

            It does not matter if the history of the conflict goes back to 1900 or 5,000 BC. What matters is that the US neocons inserted themselves and their plans into whatever openings existed due to past conflict and then pushed the issues to generate the current situation.

            You are only showing your true colors by saying that Nazis are ok and that neocons don’t matter. This is the same issue I have with Col Lang’s “Well Russia invaded and that’s all that counts”. You, Col Lang, TTG, Leith and others are acting like a pack of belligerent jar heads determined to fight to the last Ukrainian and then last European and American and Russian just because something like fighting is what we do and any excuse is good enough. “We” won’t accept surrender monkeys, but Russia should surrender and fail to protect Donbas, give up Crimea, allow god knows what weapons of mass destruction within seconds flight time on their borders. Ok Sure. Back in the real world, that, obviously, is not happening. So here we are.

            Yours is really transparently way out there, irresponsible, thinking, that 95% of the rest of us don’t appreciate (or won’t when the true cost starts hitting home). All of the propaganda in the world isn’t going to change the fundamentals here. And no, we don’t trust all these sources you hawks like quote. Trust in our own government and media is long gone, and rightfully so. They have earned their current lower than whale sh!t status. To the extent that those sources are repeated here, trust in headliners and echoing commentors, is also eroded.

            Also, maybe 1% or 2% (max) of today’s US military signed up for a war against a peer force. They thought it would be goat herders and a hero’s welcome home. That’s what their family and friends thought too. No way the US is going to participate in a war like this and worse against Russia, excepting a few special forces/special ops forces. I tend to believe the same of NATO. So I don’t know who you guys think is going to win this for you. I guess we’re back to you putting you hopes on the Nazis. Congrats.

          • English Outsider says:

            Bill – we’re on the same page! You reckon the Donbas should be free to go its own way. So do I.

            Also on Eastern Europe. You reckon it needs adequate defence. So do I.

            It’s not anyone else’s business to say to those Eastern Europeans “But the Russians are nice people. They wouldn’t dream of taking you over.” If the Eastern Europeans find themselves vulnerable then they should have adequate defence. Their decision. Their business.

            But getting tangled up in this squalid proxy war is not the way to do it. Nor helping to “overextend and unbalance” Russia. Nor “Bleed” it. There’d be all hell let loose if NATO managed to destabilise the RF. How can that be in Poland’s interest to assist?

            Anyway don’t let’s live in the past. There’s no such country as Poland any more. Just an outlying province of Brussels, the workforce living hard all over Europe while their EU approved cronies grab the loot.

    • Stadist says:

      “It’s also a war the damned fools should never have started. But you’ve been generous in allowing me to say that already so I’ll not play that record again”

      It’s kinda funny you write that, implying the Washington/Brussels started this war. Fairly typical pro-russian gaslighting. I don’t even understand why you bother writing this, everyone and their dog knows Russia is the aggressor.

      • English Outsider says:

        Stadist – I’m not implying that NATO started this war. I state it as a fact.

        This is why there’s such a serious division of opinion on this war. For most of us in the West the Russians started it – Putin woke up one morning and decided to roll a damn great army into a weaker neighbouring country.

        In fact the Russians didn’t have a lot of choice. The reason Washington and London were so confidently predicting war beforehand is clear. They were creating the conditions in which war was the only possible response.

        But TTG chaired several discussions in which he permitted this view to be put forward so, as said, I’ll not play that record again here.

        Except …

        Those events around the 21st February. The recognition was rushed through. The evacuation had an improvised and unexpected look about it. Chirkin’s vivid account of the first few days – those were the days in which the Russians took the heaviest casualties – also seems to indicate a somewhat rushed start to the operation.

        As the position was on the 21st the Russians had little choice but to act. But I’m wondering whether it’s possible that something unexpected jerked the Russians into rushing that action. It’d be interesting to see what the experts have to say on that. But so far I’ve found none who discuss it.

        By the way, I’d be grateful if you didn’t consider everyone who doesn’t swallow the neocon line as gaslighting for Putin. The new Eurasian economic bloc coming into being I regard as undesirable as the economic bloc that constitutes the EU.

        Possibly, though I hope not, as dangerous.

        • TTG says:


          What happened on 21 February that seems to be the basis for much of your position? The OSCE noticed increased explosions on both sides of the LOC, but seldom seemed to be able to distinguish between incoming and outgoing firing. That seems odd to me. I live within earshot of the Quantico ranges and can definitely distinguish incoming and outgoing explosions as well as demolition charges.

          • English Outsider says:

            TTG – on February 21st 2022 the Russians recognised the self-declared republics.

            That was it. The end of the Russian attempt to keep the Donbas safe but within Ukraine. All followed from that.

            Ritter says that there was some possibility even that late of an accommodation. I think he’s wrong. I now believe that the Scholz/Macron attempts to avert war were merely window dressing and were that even before.

            I got some stick on English sites for saying that that day, February 21st, moved us into an entirely new world. A riskier and less prosperous one. But it has, hasn’t it?

            Difference being that you in the States have the capacity for regeneration. I don’t believe Europe has. A mean thing to say about my beloved Europe, but I do wish the UK had got clear when it had the chance.

            The Colonel above chides me for wanting to know more than it’s reasonable to expect to know. I had to plead guilty. But I’d very much like to know everything about those first few days of the invasion. This is your field – did it have something of a hurried look to you?

            I was sent a video of a Swede who does things with axes I didn’t even know were possible. Mind you, he was working softwood and not the gnarled English oak I sometimes use. Impressive though. Thought I might submit a link to it next time there’s an open thread. Be interesting to see if they still have that level of skill in the States.

          • TTG says:


            Okay. That I was aware of. I thought you were referring to some aggressive action by Kyiv that I wasn’t aware of. You may be right. The whole process of recognizing the DNR and LNR may have been a planned step on the inevitable invasion of Ukraine. Even with that recognition, I thought the Russians could have gotten away with a movement of Russian forces to the line of contact to bring about a complete cessation of shelling and sniping. But that would not have gotten water for Crimea or viable, self-sustaining republics in Donbas. Stopping the shelling clearly wasn’t enough for Moscow.

  15. Al says:

    A bit off the mark here, but I found interesting:
    How Russia’s War in Ukraine Affects Its Meddling in Africa
    “… In early 2020, Russia and its rival Turkey overshadowed the Emirates as the most aggressive foreign meddlers in Libya. The oil-rich North African nation has not experienced sustained clashes since a peak in armed violence two years ago. Undergirding this lull is a tacit entente between Ankara and Moscow, both of which have used the relative calm to consolidate their respective military entrenchment. War between Libyan groups, along with their foreign sponsors, may resume this year amid the volatile stalemate between two competing claimants to the prime minister’s office in Tripoli.

    One of the principal reasons why Russia built a military presence in Libya is its location on NATO’s southern flank. In 2014, months after it seized Crimea, Moscow began to slowly and surreptitiously render itself indispensable to a major Libyan faction, the armed coalition led by eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar and his sons. Lately, an apparatus manned by hundreds of Russian personnel, in full control of several air bases and camps, has been instrumental in helping the Haftars maintain their security and retain their dominance over the country’s east and parts of its southwest. In addition to local interests, Russia also sees Libya as a logistics bridge into sub-Saharan Africa; earlier this year, the Russian Air Force used al-Khadim, an airbase near Benghazi, to ferry personnel and lethal equipment to Mali. …”

  16. pasha says:

    the contrast and ebb and flow between comments here is insightful and enlightening. thanks

  17. plantman says:

    You say: Ukrainian artillery and ammo supplies are being reinforced by the West. The Ukrainians have committed two fresh brigades from their reserves to the defense of the Donbas. The outcome of this battle and this war is far from a foregone conclusion.”

    I’d like to read more about this. Do you have a link?

    • TTG says:


      You should be able to find a lot of references for the artillery going to Ukraine. US is sending at least 90 M-777 155mm howitzers and 190,000 rounds. Australia sent 6 more. We’re also sending some number of HIMARS rocket artillery systems. Poland sent 20 BM-21 rocket systems, The Czech Republic sent at least20 RM-70 MLRS systems and will also be sending their SPAG as will Slovakia. Canada and the UK are also sending artillery. They’re all sending plenty of rounds and quite a few counter-battery radars. That’s not the full list.

      I’ll try to refind the link mentioning the two new brigades sent to the Donbas front. That was just one source that I remember.

      • Eric Newhill says:

        So much magical thinking.

        I ask again, how do those weapons get to the front without being destroyed? How will UKR troops be trained to use them? Where? By US troops obviously? At what point does Russia just decide it is at war with the US and really begin to act accordingly? What does that look like?

        Why should the typical US citizen want to pay for all of this and take on the associated risks? Because you [Wahington DC] say so. When does congress declare war on Russia? When is the Constitution followed?

        UKR is obviously more important to you than the US and its system of governance.

        This is madness.

        • TTG says:

          Eric Newhill,

          Those weapons are already getting to the front and being employed in combat. The trains are still operating. Any damage fro strikes are repaired in a few hours at most. They may even still be electrified. If not, diesels will do. The train system is working so well, it still carries VIPs to Kyiv.

          I do think we are already engaged in a proxy war with Russia. What else can you call it? Lloyd Austin said it pretty clearly a few days ago. I think the only reason Moscow and Washington haven’t declared war on each other is that leaders in both capitals know what nuclear war will do. What i don’t know is if Moscow will ever be willing to live within her own borders again as Austin explained.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            Proof of any of that [weapons at the front] forthcoming? Who is manning them?

            Don’t you think a formal declaration of war is a moot issue at this point? We’re arming and shooting at them (according to you) and, if they’re not already shooting back, they will be soon. Isn’t that the definition of war? So our leaders know “what nuclear war will do”, but they (and you) are relying on thin veil of the definition of war depending on it being formally declared to keep us from nuclear annihilation. That is Twisted alright, but genius? I think not.

            Again, when has the case been laid out to the American people, complete with risks? I must have missed that. So we’re fighting Russia because they/Putin are evil or something like that, but in the process we are siding with Nazis and circumventing all rules of our own constitutional republic and putting our citizens at risk for being nuked. Remind again how you [Washington establishment] are better than the worst characterizations of Putin. I’m struggling to understand here.

          • TTG says:

            Eric Newhill,

            How do you think all all those kills by Javelin, NLAW, Stinger and Starstreak are accomplished. Ukrainians are trained in Germany, Poland and even in the US. Weapons are sent to the front by rail and truck from Poland and they are employed by Ukrainians. Ukrainians have employed at least one Bayraktar done manufactured since the war began. Slovakian MLRS and S-300 are also in use.

            Our support provided to Ukraine and the sanctions put on Russia were approved by our elected Representatives and Senators. That’s how our constitutional republic works.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            “Don’t you think a formal declaration of war is a moot issue at this point?”

            Clarification, the above meant in the eyes of the Russians.

            Not a moot point at all in light of the Constitution and our republic.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            “How do you think all those kills by Javelin, NLAW, Stinger and Starstreak are accomplished.”

            What kills? I don’t know anything about any of that or the weapons at the front, the railroads. …Where’s the evidence? What are your sources?

            Why don’t you address the risks to the American people, the failure to explain the options and risks to them and their right to chose? What about the abuse of the Constitution? You truly don’t care?

          • jld says:

            “Don’t you think a formal declaration of war is a moot issue at this point?”

            Of course, Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia.

          • Stadist says:

            No doubt it’s proxy war.

            However it’s also a staring contest between two nuclear superpowers. Whoever blinks first, loses, and russian eyes are watering heavily already from all the “unfair” NATO/Amerikanets support to Ukraine.

            It’s easy to see how the russian side is getting increasingly anxious, especially in the english comments. They are deflecting their failure and blaming NATO, but in reality they are still getting heavily bloodied by Ukraine, which itself is a tragedy, like brother fighting with brother.

            NATO and western countries are in no hurry of escalating, everyone here would be just happy if Russia de-escalated. They could have even already claimed with Mariuopol that all the major objectives were achieved with the special operation, but they chose to escalate further. But it looks like the whole ordeal has become personal for Putin and he just has to double down instead any kind of de-escalation.

            Scott Ritter shouting and trying to build an argument how West can ‘de-escalate’ by stopping all support to Ukraine was partically funny and pathetic. Typical bully logic – “stop resisting and I will stop hitting you. YOU are making this happen, its your fault!”

          • JK/AR says:


            Of course I’m aware Kinzinger’s leaving. My wider point is that “somebody” (without placing hindrances on their future prospects) was/is needed to introduce might I say, a AUMF in the event one is needed?

            Personally my thoughts toward the future – past the mid-terms is that, if Trump runs he splits the R party thus, no R president – and we *know Trump’s “anti-war” – but that’s not the way the winds are tending (at least so far as our er, leaders are indicating).

            They seem to think, it appears, a distraction from our domestic situation[s] would be mighty helpful – ‘High gasoline/food prices? Putin did it! Not our fault!’

            No neocon/democon – those “prospects” I mentioned? Kinzinger’s abandoning ship so what’s a little hand-off legislation to him? Nothing so far as I can discern heck, seeing as he’s a vet he can likely be assured a cushy chair with ISW and he’s already got pals in the event ISW needs ‘an expert’ to appear before Congress. [See below : Elizabeth O’Bagy]

            At any rate; a AUMF in place, seems to me, would likely make the post-midterm leaders’ paths forward viz Ukraine easier.

            In laboro esse, obscurus fio. Which, if I recall my WWI uncle’s lessons correctly translates [roughly] ‘In laboring to be brief, I become obscure.’

            It can’t be helped Fred, all I can do is give it my best.

          • Fred says:


            ” if Trump runs he splits the R party thus,…”

            Good luck with that. The never Trumpers started bailing out with Rino Ryan and the flood has continued. Trump has helped how many people get elected to congress since midway through his first term? The ‘establishment’, for lack of a better term, might control the machinery – for now – but like it or not he’s the person the republican voters are looking to first, not Jeb! or Cruz or Rubio or the rest of the press promoted polliticians on ‘the right’.

          • JK/AR says:

            Eh Fred,

            I voted Trump his first go-round fully aware his past positions – Take the guns Next, pass the legislation! – didn’t ‘quite’ arise to meeting my hillbilly standards on, ‘Re-Stated Goals v Past Positions’ and then, I voted for him in the last go-round.

            Didn’t matter as it turned out and tho’ I think – for the present – you’ve a valid observation “The ‘establishment’, for lack of a better term, might control the machinery – for now – but like it or not he’s the person the republican voters are looking to first …” my thinking is *we’ve experienced a sea change.

            But Fred I’m thinking, in the context of the past is prelude that’s no longer a reliable way to view things. We have come into a “New Age” (not Aquarius!) plus – those would-be Aquarians finding themselves on unhoped for ground are likewise finding themselves hopelessly confused[?] in their prospects? So. So much for that “brighter future” that greatest generation promised to generations to come – which : given the $5 or so Trillion debt “we’ve” bequeathed to them that they be ‘less than impressed w/present achievements'” – I honor their future confusion.

            Colonel Lang’s brought the Azimov Foundation read on the future to us some few months earlier – I shudder to think whether which the more prescient.

            Oh well. There’s tornadoes and otherwise great tumult – overflowed toilets – promised my area in the next 48 so Fred – while I’m outta the loop You Sir, are in charge.

            Best of luck.

        • Eric Newhill says:

          Please show me the kills by javelin, etc. Not one or two, but some material number; meaning it would change the tide of the war. UKR still has internet, cell phone and tv. Surely, there are ample photos of all that Russian armor and aircraft destroyed by the valiant UKR forces using US weapons would be front and center of every news cast. Surely the US media would love to show it too.

  18. Barbara Ann says:

    Riley Waggaman* (a Moscow-based American journalist & ex RT contributor) has written an article taking a look at what Russian nationalists inside Russia think of the SMO’s progress. Interestingly some of it accords with TTG’s “Fox and the Grapes” assessment, with which I agree. The article provides translations of a number of op-eds over the last month from Voyennoye Obozreniye (Military Review – The site is apparently the #1 ranked national security portal in Russia and the readership (or at least the commentariat) very much pro the destruction of Ukraine. It is therefore all the more fascinating to read accounts there which accord with the general editorial line here that Russia embarked on this war based on a huge ideological miscalculation, one which continues to hamper progress today.

    *Wikipedia says Waggaman is deputy editor of Russia Insider

    What stood out for me was the op-ed from April 19th which included the following:-

    Sanctions, a blockade and a battle devouring a bunch of resources should cause an economic crisis in the Russian Federation. The rapid rise in prices, shortages, losses at the front, the advent of war in the border areas will quickly extinguish the first patriotic impulses of the public. Possible sabotage by big business, the pro-Western part of the “elite”. By the autumn-winter of 2022, the scenario of February 1917 may take shape. Bring down the economy, the rear, and then the statehood of the Russian Federation

    The ‘enemy’ is clearly perceived as the globalist 5th column inside Russia as much as “the Ukraine Reich”.

    • Leith says:

      Barbara Ann –

      Here is another pro-Russian who doubts the official agitprop coming from Putin’s propaganda network. War correspondent Alexander Sladkov, who has in the past covered fighting in Chechnya, Donbas, and elsewhere, and normally toed the Moscow line. But he now appears to be a doubter like Strelkov and like Waggaman and the pro-War Russian pundits that you mention. Here is his latest:

      ’DONBASS. HEROISM IS SUPERFLUOUS. IT DOES NOT EXIST WHERE EVERYTHING GOES ACCORDING TO PLAN. We are going ahead heroically. There is an old proverb: “Someone’s heroism is the result of someone else’s mistakes.” We cannot take Novomikhailovka, Marinka, Avdeevka or Peski. Military forces of the DPR and Russia are storming Ukrainian Army and Nazi positions. They are heroic. But they cannot penetrate the enemy defense from Donetsk.’

      Unless Putin turns the situation around quickly, this growing wave of dissent in the Kremlin will explode on him. He needs to watch his back and stay away from his generals. I am reminded of the story Marshal Zhukov personally rassling with Lavrenty Beria, putting him under arrest and smuggling him out of the Kremlin rolled up in a rug to get past Beria’s KGB bodyguards.

    • English Outsider says:

      Barbara Anne – that’s a great find. I know little of Russia but I reckon it shows the sea change now occurring there.

      The Russians are busy shutting the door on the West, with all that that implies ideologically as well as economically. But the West is doing most of the work for them. The drive to self-sufficiency, the break from Europe and its consumer goods, would probably be resented were it imposed by the Russian government. But imposed by Washington and Brussels, and as a consequence of what for the Russians is a war for survival, it’s acceptable, even welcome. The videos of the shooting of Russian soldiers and so forth that the Kiev Ukrainians circulate among themselves also go viral in Russia. That, supported by the braggadocio of a Blinken or a Borrell, is now for them the true face of the West and the glamour of the City on a Hill is finally extinguished. .

      It’s also automatically separating the sheep from the goats when it comes to the Atlanticists. Medvedev was always suspected of Western leanings but now takes seemingly a harder line than Putin. Karaganov has documented his own journey from what sounded very much like Atlanticism to his current position . And many of the old Western-inclined have left. Doesn’t that photo of Chubais using an ATM in Turkey say it all?

      As for that very interesting site, it’s the same as with Strelkov and his similar demands for stronger action. The Hurrah Patriots and the hawks are not, fortunately, in charge in Russia but they’re being given their head. More practicable for the Russian government to be pushed into action than to be leading a reluctant people.

  19. JK/AR says:


    I had teed up a great ninth-grader’s anecdote about a WWII vet turned geography & history teacher in 1960s/70s Arkansas – Colonel John Brink US Army ret – who, quite dramatically and personally ripped some iron crosses “a gang” of seniors had worn into study hall – but alas my electricity glitched and I’m not inclined to re-creation at my age.

    Suffice to say it was my intoduction to Nazism. (My Dad having served in the Pacific.)

    My introduction to ISW came later – 2014 or thereabouts:

    “By midsummer, O’Bagy had become Washington’s go-to expert on Syria. She gave speeches at universities and think tanks. She briefed 14 Senate and 20 House offices. She was often the first call for everyone from Fox News to MSNBC. She became the face of […] The Journal at first identified her as just an analyst for the Institute for the Study of War. In other op-eds, O‘Bagy herself had disclosed the dual association, but for the Journal, at the insistence of Kim Kagan, the Institute’s head, she says, she did not. Kagan disputes this account. Critics were quick to point out the Journal’s omission of O’Bagy’s task force work, charging that she was lobbying the same politicians she was meant to be briefing.”

    The Rise and Fall of Elizabeth O’Bagy |

    And that’s all I got to say about that paraphrasing a great fictional American.

  20. VietnamVet says:


    My narrative is getting closer to yours. Over a half of a century ago, when stationed at Fort Lewis with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, after Vietnam, we were to fly into Germany to man pre-positioned M-60 tanks and M113 personnel carriers and drive into Fulda Gap. Scuttlebutt was surviving a week would have been a miracle. It has now been nine and half weeks. This is not the Red Army. The Ukies are fighting to save their homes and families from an old ethnic enemy.

    Today is not the old Cold War between mostly rational sovereign nations. A neoliberal “grab the money and run before it is gone” theology has over taken the world. Russia and China are trying to wrestle free. The richest man in the world just spent 44 billion US dollars for software program that allows users to type tweets between each other. Nothing is made or conceived with it. It is not even a platform. It just spreads disinformation.

    Everyone is on their own. You must determine what is true. What are the facts? What is real?

    Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff just took an eight-hour trip each way from Poland to Kiev on a railroad system that has been bombed, switching yards destroyed, and eight electric power stations hit and repaired. Either this is real or it isn’t. What is really scary is that they were informed of the risks and decided that it was worth it to prop up Volodymyr Zelenskyy and take down Vladimir Putin. This means the depleted West, especially Europe and Japan, desperately need access to Russia’s energy and mineral resources. Without a peace treaty/armistice right now that partitions Ukraine with a manned DMZ, there is no way to avoid the use of tactical nuclear weapons down the line by the losing side when an invasion of Poland by the Russia Federation or Crimea by NATO is about to take place.

    • TTG says:


      I’ll do you one better on the Cold War. I was within hours of being sent into Poland during Jaruzelski’s imposition of martial law.

      That so many world leaders would risk the train ride to Kyiv does point to a galvanizing of Western seriousness and support for Ukraine and against Russia. I don’t think Europe and Japan are that desperately in need of Russian energy and mineral resources. If they were, their determination to confront Russia wouldn’t be this strong. My guess is that they feel they can do without for a while and find other sources. I don’t see a Russian invasion of Poland. The Russians don’t have the means. Nor do I see a NATO invasion of Crimea. Neither Ukraine nor NATO want it that bad and that fast. I think Ukraine is willing to apply pressure short of war for decades. That what we and the Baltics did.

      • rho says:


        “I don’t think Europe and Japan are that desperately in need of Russian energy and mineral resources. If they were, their determination to confront Russia wouldn’t be this strong.”

        Oh, in Europe we desperately are.

        But our leaders are also very stupid and they tend to regurgitate every talking point that comes out of DC.

      • Fred says:


        “I think Ukraine is willing to apply pressure short of war…”

        LOL what do you think they are engaged in now? Where is the money to run their government going to come from “for decades”? The Baltic states certainly weren’t funded by the US taxpayer for all those years.

      • Rick Merlotti says:

        That you find Pelosi, Schiff, Blinken, Austin et. al. to be “serious western leaders” tells me you have dropped any pretense of objectivity and show yourself to be just yet another shill of American exceptionalism and neoconservative ideology. Sad.

        • TTG says:

          Rick Merlotti,

          I do lack the reverence for Gaetz, Greene, Boebert and Cawthorn… the giants of your world. I take it you worship the very autocratic ground Putin walks on, as well. Even sadder.

    • Fred says:

      Vietnam Vet,

      “Nothing is made or conceived with it. It is not even a platform. It just spreads disinformation.”

      What was it spreading before he made his offer to buy the company, correct information?

      “…the depleted West, especially Europe and Japan, desperately need access to Russia’s energy and mineral resources.”

      Would that be the same way they needed Afghanistan’s trillion dollars in mineral wealth (much discussed at SST and available in the archives here) yet not Africa’s mineral wealth (See China’s one belt, one road investments)?

      “there is no way to avoid the use of tactical nuclear weapons down the line by the losing side”

      Biden, the victor of Afghanistan and evacuator of Kabul, along with Obama’s strategicly visionary people, certainly will prevent that. Just look at what they are doing now.

  21. walrus says:

    TTG wrote, in respect of Russian attacks on rail and power infrastructure:

    “ How much damage are the Russians really doing to the transformers? I’m amazed the lights remain on in so much of Ukraine. How does Kyiv, Kharkov and Odesa still have power? Even close to the front lines, the power is often restored far faster and more often than it is here after a snowstorm.”

    I can tell you one thing; if the Russians, as you observe, amaze you how little damage they are doing to rail, power and water infrastructure then it is by deliberate design, not stupidity. If they had wanted to permanently destroy them they would have used cratering munitions that really mess things up, with a smattering of delayed action devices and garnished the target area with cluster munitions to keep repair crews at bay.

    Despite the BS in the media, the Ruskies seem to be going out of their way to preserve infrastructure and private dwellings. If you don’t believe me, record the daily TV and look past those closely shot images of destroyed apartments, etc. You will see plenty of untouched property in the background. You are indeed witnessing an SMO, not total war.

  22. Sam says:

    In the Biden $33 billion supplemental, there are funds allocated to pay for the energy costs in Germany and other NATO allied countries.

    Biden is subsidizing their energy bills with U.S. taxpayer funds.

    “Taxpayer funds” is a misnomer as current taxes don’t pay for much. It is largely borrowed from future generations who have no say in the matter. However that is what it has been for decades. Live large now and bequeath the debt to the grandkids has been the motto of the Me Generations.

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