“ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 8” – TTG

Ukrainian forces retain control of defensive positions in eastern and southwestern Mariupol, despite Russian claims to have captured most of the city. ISW was able to confirm the specific locations of ongoing Russian assaults on April 8 for the first time in several days. Russian forces continue to attempt to regroup and redeploy units withdrawn from northeastern Ukraine to support an offensive in eastern Ukraine, but these units are unlikely to enable a Russian breakthrough and face poor morale. Russian forces along the Izyum-Slovyansk axis did not make any territorial gains in the last 24 hours. Ukrainian counterattacks toward Kherson continue to threaten Russian positions around the city.

Key Takeaways

  • Ukrainian forces continued to hold out against Russian assaults in areas of southwestern and eastern Mariupol, notably in the port and the Azovstal Metallurgy plant, respectively.
  • Ukrainian forces continued to repel daily Russian assaults in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.
  • A Russian Tochka-U missile struck a civilian evacuation point at the Kramatorsk rail station in eastern Ukraine, killing at least 50 and wounding around a hundred evacuees.
  • Russian forces continued attacks south of Izyum toward Slovyansk and Barvinkove but did not take any new territory.
  • Ukrainian counterattacks have likely taken further territory west of Kherson, threatening Russian control of the city.

Russian forces are increasingly refusing to reenter combat, and the Kremlin remains unlikely to quickly redeploy effective forces from northeastern Ukraine to operations in Donbas. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that more than 80% of personnel in some unspecified Russian units previously involved in combat operations are refusing to return to the front. Russian commanders are reportedly refusing to release soldiers whose service contracts have expired, forcing them to stay with their units. The Ukrainian GUR (Military Intelligence) claimed to have intercepted a letter from Russian Chief of Missile Troops and Artillery Mikhail Matveevsky to several Russian training centers calling for further censorship of troops undergoing training, and encouraged propaganda highlighting the monetary benefits of serving in the war. Elements of Russia’s 6th Combined Arms Army (CAA), 20th CAA, 1st Guards Tank Army, and coastal troops of the Northern and Baltic Fleets continue efforts to regroup for likely redeployment to eastern Ukraine. The General Staff additionally reported that Russian Western Military District Commander Colonel General Alexander Zhuravlev (the first explicit mention of Zhuravlev since the war began) is planning to remove Major General Ivan Belyavsky from the position of the head of the WMD personnel department due to low recruitment numbers.


Comment: IMO the biggest news in the last 24 hours is that Moscow has decided to appoint an overall commander of their special military operation after more than six weeks of combat. Sweet Jesus! What took them so long?  

Another point of interest is that Mariupol is still resisting. Sounds like a Green Devils of Cassino situation. Pro-Russian sources are claiming the Ukrainian forces still fighting in the Azovstal Steel Works alone are 3,000 strong. Until earlier this week they were getting resupplied by a couple of helicopters flying nightly low level flights coming in from the sea. They would take the wounded out on the return flights. The Russians finally wised up to this Night Stalker like flying and shot them down.


This entry was posted in TTG, Ukraine Crisis. Bookmark the permalink.

131 Responses to “ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, April 8” – TTG

  1. Degringolade says:

    Most of all, I am happy to see words like “claimed” and assessed in writeups.

    I would be interested in how things were “assessed”.

    I don’t have a dog in this fight, so I am keeping track on an academic basis. That makes it hard. Trying to find folks who give unbiased info is damn difficult.

    My last six months in the army was spent at the lovely Hohenfels. I remember me and the other folks used to listen to armed forces radio, the BBC, and radio moscow and then try to figure out what was actually happening.

    • Bill Roche says:

      Hohenfells; 7th Army training facility. I spent my time in Fkt, V Corps. Hello brother. I thank TTG for posting the ISW assessment. It helps but questions remain. Given Russian success at eliminating fuel depos are Ukrainians about to run out of fuel? What point in neighboring countries contributing Tanks and APCs if there’s no diesel? The ISW assessment makes no mention of where additional Russian troops will be sourced. Gotta be the east, right? Will taking them from Georgia and Kazakstan encourage local dissidents to give the Russians problems there. That w/b interesting. Perhaps to the surprise of some, American reserves and state guard units fought well in Afghanistan and Iraq. What assessment has been made of the quality of reservists the Russians seem to be mobilizing. Is there a disconnect b/t the gen’l Russian pop., which seems 100% behind Putin demonstrating that Ukrainians are just “little Russians” and better not forget it, and the enthusiasm of the additional troops to be called up. What’s happening indeed.

  2. whoknows says:

    “A Russian Tochka-U missile struck a civilian evacuation point at the Kramatorsk rail station in eastern Ukraine, killing at least 50 and wounding around a hundred evacuees.”

    A Ukrainian one.

    1)Russia does not have Tochkas in its inventory. They use the much more accurate Iskanders, quite successfully.
    2) The serial number traces this particular missile to the Ukrainian stocks
    3) The relative location of the booster stage and the blast indicates that the missile came from the Ukrainian positions.

    There goes the rest of the analysis…

    • TTG says:


      Russians or Belarusians recently filmed and posted a video of a train of Tochka-U launchers marked with the Russian V traveling from Belarus towards to Donbas.

      • Eric Newhill says:

        Bernard’s analysis says the missile came from UKR positions. I can’t believe I have to hold my nose and read Moon of Alabama for thoughtful alternatives to The Narrative, but that’s what it’s come to. The trajectory of the missile is a no brainer to figure out assuming B is honestly presenting the facts.

      • jld says:

        This address only point 1 from ‘whoknows’ not points 2 & 3

        • TTG says:


          Point 2 and 3 are evidence free opinions. I don’t have any evidence to refute or support them so why bother addressing them?

          • Steve says:


            If weapons were being delivered to railway stations in Ukraine what we’re seeing, once again, is the Ukrainian government utilizing civilian infrastructure for military purposes. This is not only a breach of IHL but also yet another sign (as in the heavy weapons being fired from residential areas in Kyiv) of the Ukrainian government sacrificing their civilians for propaganda purposes.

            This tactic was also used in Kosovo where “western diplomats” suggested to the KLA that if they wanted a NATO intervention they needed to have thousands of their civilians killed by Serb forces. The KLA set about it with alacrity but came nowhere near the target price. NATO did the job anyway.

    • Leith says:

      whoknows –

      Regarding your point one: Are the Russians running low on Iskanders? If so, military necessity would force them to return Tochkas to active service. They were only retired two or three years ago. https://defence-blog.com/russian-tochka-u-ballistic-missiles-return-to-service-amid-ukraine-war/

      Re point two: How would you or your source know the serial number considering that the wreckage is in Ukrainian custody?

      Re point three: More drive-by forensics by amateurs.

      In any case, that rail hub at Kramatorsk is vital for Ukraine to reinforce their troops in the Donbas. It is needed in order keep them from being trapped in a cauldron. It does not make sense for them to destroy one of their own major transportation nodes.

      • Eric Newhill says:

        Except that, as you know, cluster bombs aren’t going to destroy the railroad. They are more antipersonnel. The war head in question contains a number of what amounts to flying Claymore mines that each shoot hundreds of pieces of shrapnel in all directions when they explode.

        The only purpose for deliberately firing such a missile at the railroad station is to kill and intimidate people from boarding trains and exiting the city. Who would be motivated to do that? It seems there are opinions favoring Russia as the villain and other favoring UKR. The UKR as villain makes more sense to me in this case.

        • Racan says:

          The accusation that the Ukranians are mass murdering their own people just to make the poor invading Russians look bad is laughable.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            The idea that Russians are mass murdering Ukrainians (for fun?) while under the scrutiny of the entire world and knowing that NATO/US is just itching for an excuse is also laughable. Lots of good assessments become laughable when you misrepresent what they are saying.

            Russia doing it makes less than the Ukrainians doing it because, after all, the Ukrainian troops have been killing their own citizens in the Donbas for years (just like Saddam gassing “his own people”) and the Azov units commit all kinds of atrocities, including using civilians has human shields. The train station incident makes sense to the Azov/UKR mind; shoot a missile to discourage the civilians from evacuating so they can be deployed as human shields.

            And, of course, it could be just an errant missile fired by either side. But claiming Russia did it and they did it because they’re psychos is the most risible unsupported assertion that anyone could make.

          • Racan says:

            “But claiming Russia did it and they did it because they’re psychos is the most risible unsupported assertion that anyone could make.”

            What the Russians did in Bucha before this is psycho behavior, so yes I’m not surprised they would be capable of this. Unless you think Russians spin that the Ukrainians again murderer their own people to frame Russia is also true.

            Donbas is a different matter, a civil war. For the massacres in Bucha and Kramatorsk to be the work of Ukrainians against the friendly civilian population would require mustache twirling cartoon level of villainy.

            It’s far easier to believe that Russia did it, after all the Ukies are the enemy, the “Nazis” this is just a part of the “denazification” process that Putin and his propaganda keeps blabbering about.

        • Leith says:

          Eric –

          Cluster bombs? Those are not solely anti-personnel weapons. Cluster munitions are also anti-materiel weapons designed to destroy/damage vehicles, armor, runways, buildings, ammo dumps, etc. And because they release many small bomblets over a wide area, they would do a better job of taking out railroad rolling stock, railyard workers, loading/unloading infrastructure, traffic control signals, switches or their electric control systems, repair facilities, etc. Or starting secondary explosions of weapons and ammo being unloaded or that were recently unloaded and waiting further transport. Kind of like what happened to RFS Saratov at Berdyansk Port.

          Plus they would have better dispersion on the target than a single warhead considering the Tochka CEP of 70 to 95 meters. The idea is not to destroy the trackbed or railbed structure itself. That is too hard to do without an extremely accurate guided weapon, which the tochka is not. Besides it could can be rebuilt rather fast.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            Nonsense. The bomblets’ shrapnel is about like a brief burst of unaimed machine gun fire. It would not damage the key infrastructure of a railroad hub.

            Besides, do you see railroad infrastructure damage in any of the pics of the railroad station?

          • Leith says:

            Eric –

            Russia uses two different versions of the Tochka submunition. One of them as you mention is full of small, >2 gram cut steel, most likely for use against troops in the open. The other has a mix with some much heavier steel pellets and is used in an anti-materiel role.

            No, I have not seen pics of the railyard itself. All pics seem to be focused on the horror of the dead civilians at the station itself. I don’t believe that Russians would deliberately mass murder civilians. It makes more sense that it was collateral damage. After all, we have done similar ourselves – many times.

            I’m not saying my suggested scenario is the only possible one. Just that it makes sense to me if you wanted to disrupt a rail line from being used for reinforcement. Like the Pentagon spokeman said yesterday: “if one of your goals is to cut off the supply of additional Ukrainian forces, or hold Ukrainian forces in place then transportation hubs like railway stations, you could see where there might be a logic there to why you would hit it.”

            BTW, regarding the videos of Tochkas being moved by train from Belarus to Russia: Another video has surfaced of Tochkas being sent to pro-Russian forces in the Donbas.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            Apparently, the civilians at the train station – and in that town – are ethnic Russians/Russian speakers. Given that, it makes sense they were fleeing the Ukrainians and the Ukrainians had no problem killing them.

          • TTG says:

            Eric Newhill,

            Fleeing the Ukrainians by fleeing deeper into Ukraine? If they were partial to the Russians, they’d flee towards the Russian lines or stay put to collaborate with a hoped for Russian occupation. Speaking Russian in Ukraine is not a reliable sign of being partial to Russia.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            The tracks only go one way?

          • Leith says:

            The Ukrainian civilians going to Russia were kidnapped and brought kicking and screaming to “Filtration Camps” in Rostov, Taganrog & elsewhere for so-called screening. Stalin did the same after VE Day for refugees who returned home, both those who returned voluntarily and those turned over by Churchill.

            Sounds like what Weyler did in Cuba and Kitchener did in South Africa. And what we did to Japanese-Americans.

          • Steve says:


            I’ve seen no credible evidence for Russians kidnapping Ukrainians fleeing the combat zones. If you have anything that was not sourced to the Ukrainian government I’d be only too happy to see it but so far it all looks like IO put out with the assistance of US/UK marketing agencies.

            Given the reports of Ukrainians blocking evacuation routes in places like Mariupol it would seem that Ukrainians wishing to leave must have done so by the only viable routes available: to Russia.

          • Worth Pointing Out says:

            This video might interest you:

            The latter half contains an interview with a first-responder, and he holds up the steel cubes that he collected at the scene.

            So I would suggest that the cluster submunitions were anti-personnel, not anti-material.

          • Leith says:

            WPO –

            You may be right.

            On the other hand it’s a challenge to get a good idea on the size of that first pellet he is holding. It appears to me to be more of a rectangular cuboid than a cube. It may be anywhere from two to four times the size of my 12 gauge double ought buckshot (0.33 inch diameter). But hard to be sure due to of the shape difference. Even if only twice the size it would be larger than the 14.5mm cartridges the Russians and many others use in anti-materiel rifles, or in the AAA heavy machine guns. With that shape and hardened steel it would be damned lethal against railyard infrastructure as well as people.

            The second item does look smaller and thinner, so perhaps is anti-personnel. They do mix the load I’ve read.

            But it seems a bit ridiculous for me to attempt a ballistics investigation, I’m nowhere near qualified. Plus instead of being on-site, I’m 6,000 miles away in an armchair.

          • jld says:

            “Plus instead of being on-site, I’m 6,000 miles away in an armchair.”
            Some people are closer, close enough to read the serial number, so next check is to WHICH inventory does it belong?

    • Worth Pointing Out says:

      The ownership of the Tochka-U missile that struck Kramatorsk should be very easy to determine.

      All it takes is to get a definitive answer to a very simple question: when the warhead separates from the rocket which one goes further, the rocket motor or the warhead?

      Because we know for a fact that the warhead landed on the train station, and we know for a fact that the rocket motor landed in open parkland to the west of that station.

      So *if* the warhead travels further than the rocket motor *then* that missile was fired from Ukrainian-held territory.

      Whereas *if* the rocket motor travels further than the warhead *then* that missile was fired from Russian-held territory.

      Now it is my understanding that the warhead always travels further than the rocket motor, which simply tumbles out of the sky post-separation.

      If that is the case – and, again, it is my understanding that this is the case – then it is impossible for that rocket to have been fired by Russian ground forces.

      • TTG says:

        Worth Pointing Out,

        The Tochka warhead unit and rocket unit do not separate in flight. Once the warhead detonates, the rocket unit can be flung in any direction. Speculation on who fired the Tochka-U based on location of the rocket unit is based on not knowing one’s ass from a hole in ground about the characteristics of the Tochka.

        • Worth Pointing Out says:

          “Once the warhead detonates, the rocket unit can be flung in any direction.”

          The cluster warhead on a Tochka contains a bursting charge to spit open the warhead at 2200m height.

          At that moment the submunitions would continue along the 80 degree dive path that the Tochka takes on descent.

          The rocket stage will, obviously, have lost streamlining and will tumble. That will reduce its speed very, very rapidly.

          I fail to see how a burst charge in the warhead can impart any further thrust on the rocket stage, and therefore it can not go further than the submunitions that it has released.

          “Speculation on who fired the Tochka-U based on location of the rocket unit is based on not knowing one’s ass from a hole in ground about the characteristics of the Tochka.”

          A Tochka does not share the flight characteristics of a Uragan or a Smerch, which is what you appear to be basing your speculation on.

          • TTG says:

            Worth Pointing Out,

            The flight of the cluster bomblets are retarded by streamers, falling almost vertically. The now aerodynamically unstable rocket and dispenser does tumble, but continues further due to inertia. It does appear that cluster warheads are more common than unitary warheads in this war.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            In addition to what TTG said, the missile assumes a 90 degree dive before the submunitions do their thing. You say 80 degree, but everything I’ve read says 90. 80 or 90 ….it doesn’t matter. The rocket (or booster) is pretty much coming straight down. All kinds of ballistics and weather conditions come into play to determine where the rocket will land. When it lands it can bounce, etc. Way too many variables given a near vertical fall of the rocket to do what you want to do. Sorry.

            I am ardently against disinformation as I have stated recently more than once on this forum. I am also against empire, The Borg, neocons and oligarchs of the US variety. For that reason I lean toward favoring Russia to kick UKR to hell and back just to foil those groups and, hopefully, to further expose them as the lying fools that they are (the Iraq invasion and 20 years in Afghanistan should have been enough, but here we are). That said, proffering pro-Russia/anti-UKR propaganda and fake analysis doesn’t get us where we need to be, as free self-governing people, anymore than the ubiquitous anti-Russia/pro-UKR propaganda and fake analysis does.

            Bottom line is that no one really knows who fired the missile or why outside of the command that actually fired the missile.

            I don’t believe the serial number analysis that points to UKR firing the missile. I have no way of verifying if that is true. Everyone is lying these days or running their ignorant mouths as they always do on all topics of which they have no knowledge.

            Don’t take any wooden nickels.

          • Worth Pointing Out says:

            “In addition to what TTG said,”

            TTG is advancing two contradictory claims:
            1) The rocket stage can go anywhere
            2) The rocket stage continues on its path through inertia

            He also seems to be confusing “inertia” for “momentum”.

            ” the missile assumes a 90 degree dive before the submunitions do their thing. You say 80 degree, but everything I’ve read says 90. 80 or 90″

            The dive angle is 80 degrees. The HE version actually cants its payload 10 degrees inside the warhead to account for the difference from the vertical.

            “The rocket (or booster) is pretty much coming straight down. All kinds of ballistics and weather conditions come into play to determine where the rocket will land.”

            Again, once more, yet again, this principle of physics holds true: once the submunitions separate from the rocket stage then the only way that the latter can go FURTHER than the former is if it somehow gains more thrust or it somehow gains more lift.

            You and I and TTG all agree that on release of the submunitions then the rocket stage will start to tumble.

            There is an unavoidable consequence of that: vastly increased air resistance and, therefore, a rapid slowing of the rocket stage.

            Now, again, once more, yet again: a rapidly-slowing, erratically-tumbling rocket stage can and will tumble in any directions, but it can not go FURTHER than the still-streamlined submunitions.

            “I don’t believe the serial number analysis that points to UKR firing the missile. I have no way of verifying if that is true.”

            The serial numbers of the rocket that landed on the railway station has been recorded multiple times by separate reporters. It is legit.

            The video recordings of the two Tochka missiles that were fired into Donetsk in 2015 are likewise available on youtube, and predate this event.

            Again, quite legit.

      • Leith says:

        That is agitprop from Moon-of-A blog. The rocket motor spins out of control after separation and can fall anywhere regardless of the azimuth of attack.

        • TTG says:


          The rocket and warhead units are bolted together. There is no intentional separation. It can separate if intercepted, which is common. But you’re right about the randomness of where the rocket motor can be flung.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            Yes, the ever scurrilous Bernard at MofA appears to be the only one, anywhere, claiming that the booster separates from the warhead prior to the warhead detonating on or above the target. I have asked B for his source on that. No response yet. It seems like a silly idea to me. If the booster separated like B says it does, then I would think that the accuracy of the warhead would be negatively effected. It doesn’t make sense that it would work that way, but let’s see what B comes up with (if anything).

          • Eric Newhill says:

            I confess that B had me going for a minute. You have to watch that guy.

          • Leith says:

            Are you saying it was a single warhead. Maybe. I and others had thought it was done with the cluster munition warhead. In which case the rocket motor does separate, reportedly at ~2000 meters above target.

          • TTG says:


            The cluster submunitions disperse from the warhead dispenser, but I doubt the dispenser separates from the rocket before dispersal. With cluster munitions for the Uragan and Smerch, the rocket and dispenser usually travels further along the flight path than the submunitions. Not sure of the Tochka rockets, but it’s still a single stage rocket with the warhead bolted to the rocket.

          • Klapper says:

            There’s images online of crashed Tochka rocket engine bodies with damage from the crash of the body but no appparent shrapnel damage. That doesn’t seem possible if: a) the missile was intercepted, or b) the expended rocket motor stayed attached to the warhead until detonation. The implication is that the missile can and does in some cases separate warhead from missile.  It might do this if the guidance system logic decided the warhead would fall short of the target unless the extra drag of the motor was jettisoned.

            As for the rocket body “tumbling” , if it did that after separation (the fins would tend to stabilize the body), it would slow the body much faster than the warhead as the aero drag vs mass inertia relationship is much higher in the body compared to the warhead (after the fuel is expended). In that case unless the trajectory is near vertcal, the rocket body in all probability falls shorter than the warhead.

        • Eric Newhill says:

          Source? Thx

          • Leith says:

            TTG/Eric –

            Looks like TTG gets the brass ring. No actual separation as we would know it. But according to GlobalSecurity.org and ArmamentResearch.com: the warhead is opened by a low explosive burster charge to dispense and scatter the 50 submunitions at an altitude of 2250 m.

          • Leith says:

            But now I’m wondering if the cluster bomb warhead was used or was it the 460KG unitary warhead? Has there been any photo evidence of submunition debris near the blast site?

          • TTG says:


            I found a short video of cluster munition impacts, most likely from a BM-30 according to the video. The Tochka submunitions probably act in a similar manner. If you’re trying to hit an ammunition train with a CEP like the Tochka, the cluster submunitions is a good choice.


          • Eric Newhill says:

            Yes. Additionally, something that troubled me about B’s “analysis” (if it can be called that) is that it is well documented that the missile goes into a 90 degree dive before blasting off the submunitions. So even if the booster decoupled, it would be headed straight down. It might bounce a little when it hit the ground. But no way to draw line from it to the blast zone to determine the trajectory, like B wants to do. I never liked that guy at all. Can’t believe I let him fool me. That still doesn’t change the fact that Russia is going to crush UKR in a short while. Nor does it alter my outlook on the destructiveness of the massive propaganda coming from US politicians, media and retired brass. I expect that crap from Russia, but it has no place in a free society with a government of/for/by The People.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            If not a cluster munition, where is the cratering? I don’t see damage from anything other than what is said to be corpses (who are also remarkably unscathed). Thousands of pieces of shrapnel or a big bomb, neither are in evidence. Maybe it’s just what was photographed and how versus what wasn’t, but it’s strange they didn’t photograph the main damage. Can’t believe anything. If these sources tell you the sky is blue, you’d better go outside and check, twice. That’s what it’s come to. I hate it.

  3. Fred says:

    Another week, another update from ISW, and still not a word about Ukrainian military loses. I wonder how their army is doing.

    • TTG says:


      I’d like to know that, too. Unfortunately, Nothing’s available that I can find. A few chroniclers of equipment losses show occasional Ukrainian losses and captured vehicles, but still not much. Chalk it up to good OPSEC.

    • Revenire says:

      Fred the AFU has lost nothing, come on – get with the program. Ukraine is winning this war.

    • Leith says:

      Fred –

      Here is best conjecture I’ve seen on Ukrainian losses. From a couple of Dutch OSINT guys at oryxspioenkop.com. They collect BDA on both sides from news photos or mostly from the many ‘brag’ pics & videos on twitter or telegram or such. They attempt to rule out duplicate pics taken from different angles. Take these #s with a grain of salt. They are from yesterday:
      98 Tanks, 67 AFVs, 79 IFVs, 33 APCs, 50 IMVs, 9 Engineering Vehicles.
      25 Towed Artillery tubes, 20 SP Artillery, 15 MLRS.
      2 Towed AA Guns, 2 SP AA Guns, 38 SAMs.
      17 Radars & Comm Systems.
      15 Fixed Wing A/C, 3 Helicopters, 12 UAVs.
      15 Naval Ships
      216 assorted Trucks, Jeeps, or other such vehicles

      • Revenire says:

        If you think Oryx collects info from both sides – honestly – God bless you, but, alas, no.

        • Leith says:

          Revenire –

          Oryx has been accused by pro-Ukrainians as having a Russian bias. And vice versa by pro-Russians who accuse him of a Ukrainian bias.

          • Revenire says:

            Leith it’s utter nonsense to suggest Oryx has been accused of a pro-Russian bias. Don’t you remember him from the Syrian war? He’s like Bellingcat i.e. complete Anglo-American tool, a propaganda account. He’s selling his book. You just like what he’s saying.

          • Leith says:

            R –

            Some Ukrainian twitter accounts have attacked his figures on Ukrainian equipment losses. Called him Putin’s fool.

      • Fred says:


        As you know well, equipment does not fight, men do. There doesn’t appear to be a single Ukrainian kia on that list.

        • Leith says:

          Fred –

          Any attempt at counting KIA by out of country OSINT blogs is doomed to failure. They would have to do a complete fictional WAG to get those numbers.

          Russia stated two weeks ago that Ukraine has 16,000 KIA. Ukraine claimed they have lost less than 2,000 of their own (Ukrainian KIA). I don’t believe either of those figures.

  4. Denny Corbin says:

    Been reading this blog for several years. It’s been generally good imo, until something happens to threaten empire, then it suddenly turns into breathless cheerleading for US deep states tricky plans that always seem to fail.

    I realize there a several different entities posting here that may not entirely agree with each other, so maybe that is what I’m seeing, but it looks to me like this blog may be controlled opposition, a deep state creation that puts out seemingly reasonable analysis until something serious happens and then tries to alter readers critical thinking to suit the global hegemonic purpose.

    The USA’s foreign policy has been a disaster and continues to be. There is no good that will come from spending trillions in Ukraine trying to drain Russia in a another proxy war (not for me anyway). It is the US that will wind up getting drained.

    I do not agree that putting NATO nukes on Russias border 4 minutes flight time from Moscow is a good idea. That means all Russian nukes will necessarily be launched via AI. I don’t think attempting a decapitation strike against Putin is a good idea and I don’t think trying to weaken the Russian economy in order to pull off a color revolution will work or is a good idea.

    In a nuclear armed country we should be glad for a firm rational hand, Putin has shown himself to be that over many decades. The last thing we need is the “Libya option” for Russia.

    • TTG says:

      Denny Corbin,

      Do you worry about Russian nukes only minutes away from European capitals? Do you think that’s a good idea? For two decades Putin proved to be a firm rational hand. For the last two months or so, not so much. Still, no one in the West is advocating for an invasion of Russia. The Russians would fight and defend against any invader with the same defiance and tenacity as the Ukrainians are fighting the Russian invaders.

      You think Turcopolier has become a deep state blog? That’s an absurdity. Dissenting voices are a necessary and important part of this blog. If you want something that only validates your already held ideas, look elsewhere.

      • Al says:

        Well stated, TTG!!!!!!!
        If “DC” has been reading this blog for “many years” and thinks it “…turns into breathless cheerleading for US deep states tricky plans…”, he is in need of better reading glasses!

      • Denny Corbin says:

        This war was forced on Russia by the US, to pretend different is an insult to everyone’s intelligence.

        The plan is what it always is, to create another quagmire in Ukraine similar to 1970’s Afghanistan in order to create enough economic pain in Russia with hopes the people will rise up and expel Putin, so that a western puppet can be installed and control of natural resources gained. This is done to maintain dollar hegemony and create amazing wealth opportunities for a few VIP. This hasn’t worked well recently in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Venezuela, Bolivia etc… the idea that it can work now with Russia just shows the level of desperation, fantastical thinking or both.

        Why would Putin be a firm rational hand for two decades and suddenly go nuts with no reason? Maybe because he has said over and over that NATO in Ukraine is a no-go for Russia?

        No one is advocating invasion of Russia? Of course not, that would really be crazy, not out loud anyway! But it’s much more complicated than that simple statement and it doesn’t take an invasion to trigger an accidental nuclear war.

        As far as Russian nukes pointed at Europe? Yes, I do worry! I worry about Russian nuclear submarines patrolling the west and east coast of the US at the 200 mile limit with flight times similar to what our elite bureaucrat planners are scheming for Ukraine, Finland, etc… That is all the more reason to pull back and use diplomacy instead of constantly pushing NATO east while pumping money and weapons into Ukraine, which we have been doing since prior 2014.

        Dissent? Try dissent against the constant near total support for this war that western corporate media pumps out.

        It looks to me like our scheming state department bureaucrats do not deserve respect. That they are spoiled children, groomed since privileged childhoods to lead this country. That they went to the best private schools and were told they were the smartest elites. But they have never been in a real fight and never done anything really hard (I do not consider the ability to do a lot of pushups or run a marathon like an energizer bunny as really hard). That they have always been kept safe inside the government box and civilized protected culture. So they are plenty smart, well educated, motivated… but they lack a gut-sense of reality. This is a recipe for disaster IMO.

        I do like this blog and have followed for several years. Much of the writing has seemed true to my gut-sense which is the reason I follow. This is not about my seeking confirmation bias and claiming so looks to be bad faith gaslighting. Honestly there is really only so much time in the day to read and so I make a determination what is worth following. I read widely (and between the lines) from varied sources, compare the narratives and make an assessment as I’m sure most people do.

        • Fred says:


          “Russian nuclear submarines patrolling the west and east coast of the US at the 200 mile limit ”

          They don’t patrol there and never have.

          “Honestly there is really only so much time in the day to read and so I make a determination what is worth following. ”

          So true. Parting is such sweet sorrow, or not. Perhaps you should start your own blog and see if you can persuade some people to your point of view. Good luck

          • Denny Corbin says:

            Bay of Pigs 1962? 90 miles.

            Maybe the Russians don’t patrol the coasts and never have, but why wouldn’t they in the future if it makes sense for MAD?

            Nuclear drone submarines cruising the edge always ready and waiting might keep politicians in Washington from sleeping well at night? Gotta have parity. If flight time of western missiles to Moscow is 4 minutes then of course Russian missiles need the same advantage.

            That means everything automated. Computer launch as there is no time to asses and confirm. The radar gets confused by a rain squall or flock of birds and its all over in a flash.

            I can’t see how the Russians are in any danger of losing the Ukraine war, which seems to be the general trend of the writing here lately. Hence my disagreement. Maybe I read it wrong? I’m extremely alarmed at the Ukraine flag waving and war-hype that is going on. Its seems both political parties and most every common person is pro-no- fly-zone and wants to keep fueling the proxy war. I don’t get it.

      • JK/AR says:

        Echoing TTG I too regard any insinuation that this site “[is] deep state” absurd. And I further regard “most” of these commenters as sincere and trying to their utmost to be straight shooters.

        That said, ISW does have some muddled “confidence inspiring” baggage:



        *Ms. O’Bagy went on following her firing to join Sen. McCain’s staff in some role. I haven’t a clue what became of her following the Senator’s death.

    • Fred says:


      “a deep state creation that puts out seemingly reasonable analysis until …”

      LOL. TTG’s pieces have you triggered?

      “I do not agree that putting NATO nukes…”

      Which nukes would that be, the UK’s or France’s? Where are their SSBN’s deployed to as a deterence and what’s the flight time from there to Moscow? Who in “NATO” commands them?

      “In a nuclear armed country we should be glad for a firm rational hand….”
      How firm and rational are India, Pakistan, and China right now? How about Israel?

      • jim ticehurst says:

        Fred….Dont Forget North Korea…Some Pretty Nasty Threats There Lately…When Things Light Up..It will Be the Extinction of All RINOS and DINOS..
        ..I Bet Even The Roaches DIE..

      • Denny Corbin says:

        Here’s a thought to trigger you. China now gets to buy Russian hydrocarbons at a discount, as much as they want since no one else (save India) is willing to risk US sanctions. China gets to sell whatever she doesn’t use herself to whoever she wants. China as the broker for Russian energy gets to choose who to sell to (who wants a favor?), how much, at what price and in what currency (which direction is global reserve currency growing in?). That’s some nice leverage!

        I have to wonder, were the geniuses that planned the Ukraine coup in 2014 and recently pushed hard to incite Russia to invade, on the Chines government payroll or are they just that incompetent?

        • TTG says:


          There’s a serious problem with your Russian fever dream. Russia cannot quickly expand her capacity to ship hydrocarbons to China. The pipelines and rail capacity will require years to develop. The required LNG carriers over the northern route are also years in the future. The plan to pivot to Asia was begun a decade ago, but it will be close to a decade for the plan to fully come to fruition. The race will be between Russia’s pivot to Asia and the West’s pivot away from Russian hydrocarbons. The West is projected to win that race. Russia should have thought about that before she invaded Ukraine.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            Yes, but UKR oil is a big factor in that western pivot. Another reason that I think the conflict is over that oil – which means that both Putin and the west are being dishonest about the reasons for the invasion and the reasons for such a heavy quasi-covert US/NATO presence in UKR.

          • TTG says:

            Eric Newhill,

            I do remember talk of shale oil deposits in the Donbas back in 2014-2015, but it certainly wasn’t talked about much by either side.

    • Looking for the “firm, rational hand,” on our side.
      As Karl Rove pointed out a couple of decades ago, they write the narrative and we just follow it. Sort of like the government prints money and we just spend it.
      The mother of all reality checks is in the mail.

    • different clue says:

      This blog thought the Syrian “uprising” might be legitimate for the first few weeks. But then evidence developed to lead this blog to decide that the Syrian Arab Republic side had the legitimate case and goals.

      After that, this blog never ever posted any pro-Jihadi/Saudi/”Free Syrian Army” material. Never ever.

      Such is my memory.

      So there is a counterexample.

    • Degringolade says:

      Denny Corbin:

      Think again, this is a committee of correspondence. There are disagreements here all the time. Hell, me and TTG could probably disagree all night over beers and BBQ, but there is respect for the other’s opinion.

      Coming in and making snide comments just pisses us off.

      Knock it off

  5. English Outsider says:

    I feel somewhat diffident about my contrarian view, TTG. Very diffident about expressing it here. But I’ve been saying for weeks – soon after February 21st – that it’s over. This isn’t a war Kyiv can win.

    As the evidence piles up it become ever more evident that this isn’t a war Kyiv ought to win. The nationalist extremists who have the say in Kyiv have abused that say horrendously. And that verdict has to be reformulated in any case. This isn’t a war NATO can hope to win.

    Rough on the Ukrainian army. It’s fought well and courageously and deserved a better fate. Rough on the young men pressed into service only to have their lives thrown away in a hopeless conflict.

    We provoked this war, caused it. The Russians only went in because of the threat posed by the army along the LoC. We pushed Zelensky into making that threat. We did so knowing it was a threat the Russians could not ignore.

    I still feel that if we were going to push Zelensky to provoke that inevitable Russian response we should have backed him up with the means to resist it. We should have ensured he had the means to counter that remorseless destruction of military installations and equipment all over the Ukraine that is now breaking his army. And we should have ensured he had the means to counter the devastating heavy weaponry we knew his opponent had.

    We didn’t. We left our proxy high and dry when it came to it, with nothing like the resources and equipment needed to fight the war we’d pushed him into. The rest of the world is looking on and taking note. Not wise to be a proxy of the neocons. The neocons talk big but aren’t there for the proxy when it matters.

    It gets worse. There was a yet more ominous note sounded by Borrell today. Borrell insists that Kyiv can still win. This war’s going to be won on the battlefield, he said, not settled through diplomacy. No chance of peace, therefore. Our proxies have to keep throwing themselves under the guns until the bitter end. I don’t believe Borrell would be of that view were that not also Washington’s view.

    It’s an ominous note because if the neocons keep pushing Zelensky to pretend he has a chance of winning, it’s not just the dismemberment of a fine army we’re going to be witnessing. We’re going to be witnessing the further dismemberment of the Ukraine itself. The longer this unnecessary war is unnecessarily prolonged, the more chance there is of the Ukraine losing more territory than it already has.

    • Bill Roche says:

      E.O. You use the term “nationalist extremist”. Pls describe them. How can love of country be extreme. In ’64 Goldwater admitted to extremism in defense of liberty. Was he a nationalist extremist? I’m not joking, what constitutes being too full of love for country? You have opined that this war was forced upon Zelinskyy by “us”. If you are saying Zelinskyy was a stooge of NATO maybe you are right. If you have proof pls speak up. You write the war can’t and ought not be won by Ukraine. Ought not; why, are Ukrainians not entitled to their country? Remember the ’75 Parliament had the same opinion of rebel colonists. They neither can nor ought win their war against the power His Majesty can unleash. Some points follow. Does every country get to have the same “buffers” Russia demands? After all, which country s/b used to buffer Columbia from Peru, Germany from France? Russia’s fear of threat from the west is no more important than Ukraine’s fear of Russia. Are we still talking about Bonaparte? He lost, badly, in Russia 200 years ago. One hundred years later Russia lost while invading Germany. Russia showed no concern for Polish security in ’39 nor Finnish security later that year. After ’90 every former satellite turned its weapons east towards Russia. They d/n fear the west, they fear Russia; why? Russia invaded Ukraine not the reverse. Round one is over and Ukraine held its own. Russia returns to its corner to prepare for round two. Now is the moment of truth for the principle of nat’l sovereignty. A NATO plan for supply of diesel and arms through Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Hungary must be devised. Money/credit must flow to Ukraine through int’l banks, and Russia must be ostracized from as much of the rest of the world as possible. We are off to round two. Don’t give up so fast. The Ukrainian people are a real country and they have not given up.

      • walrus says:

        Bill Roche, with respect, this war is the culmination of a twenty years plan to destroy Russia with a view to maintaining the American dominance of the world as established after WWII.

        At a strategic level we are talking about maintaining the financial dominance of Wall street. That relies on the recycling of the petrodollar – which is the financial equivalent of the Gulfstream – warming the Eastern U.S.

        We protect that financial stream by maintaining the worlds largest military and using it to beat the crap out of anyone who remotely threatens that position: Iraq, Libya, Syria, Venezuela and now Russia and potentially Iran and China.

        All else – platitudes about democracy and human rights are just tactics, right? We don’t actually believe or live by any of that rubbish as a nation as evidenced by our close relationship with democratic paragons like KSA or our predilection for torture exposed at Al Ghraib or our invasion of Afghanistan.

        “We” the American nation, don’t give a rats for Ukraine except as a vehicle to confront and destabilize Russia. End of story.

        On that note, I am unimpressed by reports of Russian massacres, now in Ukraine but previously involving “barrel bombs” and poison gas in Syria, ejection of newborns from incubators in Kuwait all the way to Belgian babies spitted on German bayonets in 1914. The common thread in all these is maximised public outrage and zero military significance.

        I like to think that at SST we are trying as “hard hearted empaths” led by Col. Lang, to make sense of these policies and what their import may be for America. Naturally we disagree on aspects of the situation.

        • different clue says:

          I think the Israel versus Palestine struggle might be a comparative measuring template for the Russia versus Ukraine struggle.

          The Israelis have spent decades trying to beat the “nation” out of the Palestinians. But the harder Israel tries beating the “nation” out of the Palestinians, the harder a nation Israel beats the Palestinians into being.

          If Russia has been / is trying to beat the “nation” out of the Ukrainians in the same way, then the harder Russia tries to beat the “nation” out of the Ukrainians, the harder a nation Russia will beat Ukraine into being.

          Time will tell.

      • English Outsider says:

        Bill – I don’t think we’re disagreeing at all on principles. We hold to the same principles but apply them to a different set of facts as we see them. If I might take one or two of the points you raise and set out how I see those facts.

        You could well be right about Russia being a threat. Seems the other way round to me but I don’t know enough about the politics of the country to be able to assert otherwise. But if they are a threat, this isn’t the way to fend it off.

        On extremist nationalism, I believe that’s confined to a small section of the Ukrainian people.

        Zelensky was elected on a peace ticket. It was a largish majority, a genuine vote, and from all over the country. He tried to start implementing Minsk 2 and was told no by Azov. So it’s not an extremist nationalist country. It’s a country that finds itself under the control of the extreme anti-Russian nationalists we in the West used for the coup.

        Agree on the “real country”. I now pay little attention to the pundits who say Ukraine had not been such. Whatever language or dialect they spoke, and whatever the history of the various areas that made up the Ukraine, it had seemed to me from reading what the experts on this site say and from what other experts say that there had been a strong underlying sense of national identity.

        The tragedy being that that national identity used to extend to all parts of the country with the exception of Crimea. The Donbas rebels were not originally separatists. They were federalists, seeking only to protect themselves from the hate that spilled out of Kyiv after the 2014 coup. Go back to TTG’s brief and authoritative summary on that a while back. It’s all there.

        I therefore have no patience with the Dugin/Strelkov nonsense about how all Ukrainians were really Russians waiting to be reunited with the motherland.

        The Russians, those who matter, knew that that was nonsense too. That’s why Putin pushed so hard for Minsk 2. Minsk 2 left the country intact but with protection for the Donbas. A protection that the Donbas in particular urgently needed from the extremist and vicious power centre we had made of Kyiv in 2014.

        That power centre has been used by Washington and Brussels against Russia. The crucial events around February 21st show that. A large and well trained army was poised along the Line of Control to attack the Donbas. The shelling had become a crescendo. That shattered any chance there had been of getting Minsk 2 off the ground.

        The Russians recognised that and moved to ward off the threat that posed. We deliberately gave them no choice. That’s why Washington was confidently predicting war in the months before February 21st. It knew that it was creating the conditions in which war was the only possible outcome.

        None of this is stated in the English press and from what I have seen it’s not stated in yours. We have been scammed by our politicians and our media and the results are not only ruinous for Ukraine, they bid fair to be ruinous for us too.

        That’s because Washington/Brussels put all their hopes on a quick kill of the Russian economy and financial system. Hasn’t happened, but if we don’t look out these losers in Washington and Brussels will certainly manage a quick kill of ours.

        On the military side of things, my view as stated above and often before on the Colonel’s site is that this is a war the Russians can’t lose.

        Since February 21st I’ve seen that view confirmed by some experts and rejected by others. I can only say there that the Russians stated their aims from the beginning and so far seem to have accomplished them. And that it’s time to firmly reject Borrell’s approach objected to above and get some sort of peace settlement before Ukraine loses more lives and territory.

        • Fred says:


          “Zelensky was…”

          Dropping in the polls and unlikely to be reelected in an upcoming election; then the invasion. He has now banned all the opposing political parties that posed a threat to his remaining in power.

          • LeaNder says:


            Military do-somethingism is running amok in Washington, Daniel Larison

            There seems to be a growing confidence that the US can join this conflict without running into unacceptable risks.

            …The conceit that Russia is already “at war” with the United States and its allies is useful to militarists in the West and hardliners in the Kremlin, but it is not true. This mistakes the existence of a hostile attitude for an ongoing direct conflict. For some analysts, the mere existence of a Russian government headed by Vladimir Putin is enough to claim that Russia is “at war” with us.

            That is what Anne Applebaum claimed in a recent article in The Atlantic. “But as long as Russia is ruled by Putin,” she wrote, “then Russia is at war with us too. So are Belarus, North Korea, Venezuela, Iran, Nicaragua, Hungary, and potentially many others.” This defines war so broadly and abstractly in terms of regime type that it is a blueprint for another unwinnable and endless war, but this time against “autocracy” instead of terrorism. It also implicitly makes regime change the only way to end this supposed war, since the state of war is linked to the existence of the current regime.

        • Bill Roche says:

          E.O. I think we’d agree on an acceptable (realistic?) peace. Reality strikes deep. Maybe Kyiv will
          accept it.
          All Russian forces removed from Ukrainian land
          Russia pays for what they broke (yes yes, one
          can never pay for lives spent)
          Ukraine gives the Donbas and Crimea to Russia
          Ukraine agrees; no NATO

          This is largely a rtn to pre-bellum and over the years Ukraine will arm itself to the teeth, Finland will join NATO (this June?), and can Sweden be far behind?
          The “northern flank” to include the above and Poles, Stones, Lits, and Lats, will be set on a no nonsense guard against “their Mother” for the next 20 years. What hath
          Putin wrought, another generation of enmity in its north east and no return of Russia to 1914.
          Much is written about oil, banking, and Wall Street investments. IMO this goes “much before” all that. This is about dominance. Russian has shown its hand.
          I would council Zelinskyy to accept the above, be completely done with Russia and consider an Eastern European Defense Alliance extending from Finland to Bulgaria. Well, that wouldn’t be NATO; would it.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            Bill Roche,
            Well, I’ve been holding back on what I think this is all about, but now I’m just going to go there…….
            ……The discovery of massive oil under the Western portion of the Donbas might be a factor in the war. I know we are supposed to not consider economic motives for war. However, I recall Nuland giving a speech in UKR around the time right after the 2014 coup and there was a big shiny Chevron logo (the oil company) behind her. I even said to myself back then, when I saw that, “There’s gonna be more trouble in the Ukraine”. It struck me and stayed with me all the way until now. It had the feel of something prophetic.

            Isn’t it possible that Russia is looking unfavorably on the Ukraine having access to such significant oil reserves for at least a couple of different reasons? For one, it would reduce Russia’s economic power and, thus, it’s political power. Isn’t that what the US would want (along with profits for its oil company buddies)? This whole thing could be over oil/money/power plane and simple. And that has ramifications for what it would take for peace to be negotiated.

          • Leith says:

            Eric – “Isn’t it possible that Russia is looking unfavorably on the Ukraine having access to such significant oil reserves”

            Yes. Putin cannot let Ukraine be energy independent and cannot let them export gas to Europe. Even though Ukraine’s oil and gas reserves are picayune compared to Russian reserves the milder climate there makes drilling much less expensive than it is for Russian oil & gas fields in the Arctic or in Siberia. Ergo Ukraine’s NaftoGas could undercut Russia’s GazProm prices drastically. It’s a damned good motive for the Kremin’s Thief-in-Chief Putin to try to take over the Dnipro-Donetsk oil & gas basin and hide his reasons by screaming about NAZIs.

            Putin’s same motivation years ago probably drove his annexation of Crimea in order to keep Ukraine from developing wells in the undersea basins off the coast of Sevastopol. Ditto for the LNR and DNR as they are on the tail end of the Dnipro-Donetsk basin.

            BTW Chevron was only exploring shale gas formations in the old PreCarpathian fields near Lviv in Ukraine’s far west. I believe they pulled out in 2014 or soon after. Maybe you are thinking of Royal Dutch Shell?

          • Eric Newhill says:

            We were marching in step until you started diverting from Chevron. Nope, it was Chevron.

            And yes, this is about oil, not all that other stuff that academics dream up. As for Putin being a monster and all that, my response is “yawn”. lots of monster in the oil biz.

            At least now we can at least begin to have an honest and meaningful discussion. American Oligarchs (of the oily variety) versus Russian oligarchs of the same species.

            And I should care who wins why exactly? Last I knew, the US can produce sufficient energy to meet our needs. Why not let the Euros and pseudo-Euros slug it out? Other than R2P exceptionalism ideology manipulated to assist Chevron, why?

          • TTG says:

            Putin and most Russians don’t give a damn about potential Ukrainian oil and gas, except maybe in that the revenue from that oil and gas would hasten the transformation of Ukraine into a thriving Western oriented country. Putin does see a thriving Ukraine on his border as a threat to the viability of his version of Russia. Just look at the looting his troops are doing. They’re going after toilets, refrigerators, children’s toys and women’s underwear. What the hell is going on in Russia outside of Moscow and other major cities?

          • Eric Newhill says:

            If Putin isn’t thinking about UKR oil exports and the impact on Russia, then he is remiss as a national leader. What do refrigerators and toilets have to do with anything? The George Floyd protesters looted that kind of thing. I guess I could at least be glad then that we can agree that, because of that ubiquitous looting, that the riots across the US couldn’t have been about GF.

            Seriously, you guys need to get your propaganda consistent.

            I had a convo with an older gentleman who has been a friend with a mutual interest in psi/paranormal topics for many years. He told me that at USMC OSC in the mid-50s they had candidates singing , “Smedley Butler is our patron saint”. He was unaware of Smedley’s ‘War is a Racket” publication, etc. in that vein. I explained it to him. He looked it up. Agreed. Maybe relevant despite cliched.

            I know Smedley is dismissed around here as an aberration (or something like that). Why has never been fully explained. MoH X 2 + much more + Major General and deployments across the world should have some weight.

          • TTG says:

            Eric Newhill,

            Now there’s something we can definitely agree on. Smedley Butler was a damn fine Marine and a damn fine American patriot. Besides his military heroics and his “War is a Racket” book, two incidents strike me as particularly praiseworthy.

            “Prior to World War II, Butler spoke out against what he saw as admiration for Fascism and for Italy´s leader Benito Mussolini. He was punished for telling an unfavorable story about Mussolini, avoided court-martial by accepting a reprimand. Because of his rank, he was able to write his own reprimand and never apologized to Mussolini.”

            “In 1934, Butler went before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) to expose a conspiracy against the government. He had been recruited by a group of wealthy Pro-Fascists who had hoped to use him in a coup against President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He went along, gathering intelligence about the plot, and took it to Congress. Butler’s assertions were not aggressively pursued, and the matter was largely dismissed. However, an internal report to Congress from HUAC confirmed the veracity of the plot.”

          • TTG says:

            Eric Newhill,

            So you think Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is largely about filthy lucre? Good God, even I have a higher opinion of him than that.

            BTW, I don’t remember any looted toilets during the George Floyd demonstrations and riots, a lot of electronics and other easily fenced items, but no toilets. And the amount of looting compared to the huge number of demonstrations across the country wasn’t in any way ubiquitous.

          • English Outsider says:

            Bill – whatever it takes to get a settlement. The terms won’t improve, seems. On an interesting point you raise, Brussels wouldn’t allow an Intermarium combination. It has enough trouble with the Visegrad Four.

            Though if it included whatever’s left of the Ukraine it’d liven up proceedings in the European Parliament. The White Supremacists headed by Biletsky tearing into the Crony Supremacists headed by Verhofstadt.

            But the thing’s too serious for levity. Main thing is to stop the shooting as soon as possible by pushing Zelensky to a peace settlement.

            A lot of speculation that he’s now based in Warsaw. Seems unlikely that Johnson and the other European leaders visiting him are taking the train to Kyiv.

            If that’s the case he’s safe from Azov retribution so the only thing stopping a peace settlement is Washington. Scholz & Co. no longer being serious players. Were they ever?

          • TTG says:


            I don’t think the European Parliament has to worry about Biletsky. Neither he nor anyone from the far right parties won seats in the Verkovna Rada in 2019. We’re more likely to see a French far right delegation in the European Parliament. Johnson was filmed walking with Zelenskiy walking through know parts of Kyiv. How do you think he got there. The trains are still running.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            I think the US’ involvement is largely about the oil, though other factors are contributing as well; none of them worth a damn to the typical American citizen, but somehow meaningful to the midwits of the Borg who are encouraged by Big Oil to hate Russia even more.

            I think that Putin wants that oil to benefit Russia. That said, he couldn’t allow the Borg to continue to encircle Russia. The Borg is crazy enough to try to directly attack Russia someday. That said, yes, it’s mostly the threat of reduced oil revenues and reduced influence with Europe that is motivating Putin. The oil is Russia’s protection against sanctions (economic warfare waged against him by the Borg). Without that protection the Borg will jump off real warfare against Russia once they have firm control of UKR and Crimea.

            Bottom line is that oil = money = power.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            Here are a couple of links from the past about what is behind the march to war with Russia;

            Big Oil and UKR – https://www.commondreams.org/views/2014/04/25/beneath-ukraine-crisis-shale-gas

            Stupid Borg crap that no one except the Borg cares about – https://trendsresearch.com/victoria-fuck-the-eu-nuland-who-spearheaded-overthrow-of-democratically-elected-president-of-ukraine-in-2014-still-in-power/

        • Seamus Padraig says:

          Well said, EO.

  6. Johnb says:

    Speaking of the Blog may I enquire how Colonel Pat Lang, it’s founder and guiding Spirit is doing and extend my very best wishes for his return to posting his insight and wisdom. Much appreciate you keeping the Committee in correspondence TTG.

    • TTG says:


      Colonel Lang is doing fine. He is currently embracing the suck and, speaking from experience, it does suck. He will return when he is ready. The Committee’s present duty is to carry on in his tradition

  7. Johnb says:

    IMO the biggest news in the last 24 hours is that Moscow has decided to appoint an overall commander of their special military operation after more than six weeks of combat.
    Agreed, though to my mind this marks a political and diplomatic transition in this campaign from the initial ‘light touch’ to secure the desired settlement to that of a formal military campaign. The initial and continuing objective being the destruction/surrender of the Ukrainian Donbas army, what follows next should that objective be achieved is yet to be made clear but from a Russian point of view there are still 2014 debts to be repaid in Kharkov and Odessa. Such an appointment may also be preparation for any outcomes from the recent visits to Kiev by Borrell, van der Leyan and Johnson, none of whom made the journey for an Away from the office Day.

  8. jld says:

    Ukrainians hauling corpses, for which purposes?

    • TTG says:


      The Russians booby trapped corpses. The corpses are dragged to prevent any potential booby trap from killing/injuring those moving the bodies.

      • walrus says:

        – Also the possibility of some enemy trying to “take one with him” by pulling the pin on his own grenade before collapsing on it.

        We were taught pulling over a corpse in training during the Vietnam war. We carried ropes to do this.

        • LeaNder says:

          Can you explain that to this nitwit? Pulling over a corpse?

          • walrus says:

            The task: To search a corpse lying on its stomach. You want to search the body for ID, maps, orders, diary, phone etc….. Or maybe you are just looking for souvenirs – which is wrong.

            The problem: The possibility that “someone” has carefully removed the pin from a hand grenade and concealed it, lever held closed by the weight of the corpse, under the chest.

            The solution: get out your trusty rope and perhaps join it with others until you have sufficient length to get protection behind cover.
            Attach rope to corpses webbing or appropriate limb. Call “pulling” to alert your buddies and flip over the corpse.

            There are many variations to this technique of booby trapping, including placing a claymore hooked to a pressure switch under the corpse in the obvious cover location.

            TTG and Col. Lang know much more about this.

  9. Deap says:

    Scenes from another warfront, except this is the Chinese governments two front war against their own people and that eternally illusive goal – zero covid.

    Be sure to watch all the videos:


  10. Thomas says:

    Think tank Institute for study of war has some heavy hitters on board, as well as one the kagan klan as director: Kimberly, married to Fred kagan of AEI, is sister in law of nuland, who was instrumental in starting this mess off with the coup in 2014:


    • Steve says:


      The name Kagan I assume derives from the title of a king or leader of the Jewish kingdom of Alkhazar in what is now the Caucasus/Sourthern Russia. The kingdom thrived as an empire builder between the 8th and 10th centuries. In decline those who could afford to do so migrated north – many to Odessa where they were respectable merchants.

      What are we to make of that?:)

  11. Leith says:

    Mariupol is in bad shape. Ukrainian naval infantry there quoted as saying: ““Today will probably be the last battle, as the ammunition is running out”



    • Eric Newhill says:

      There are going to be a lot more final dispatches like that from a lot more UKR cities. Propaganda collides with reality. IMO, within three weeks, there will have been a complete collapse of the UKR military.

      And hear some thought it was Russia running out of supplies and personnel.

      • TTG says:

        Eric Newhill,

        There are 100,000 Ukrainian reserves and a good number of Territorial Defense units that have not been brought into the fight yet. That’s where a lot of the small arms, uniforms, helmets and other gear is going. They’re being trained up and equipped for the fight.

        • Eric Newhill says:

          We killed something like a hundred thousand Iraqis in the Gulf War with CAS and arty. Real quick too. Unless UKR regains control of the air those reserves aren’t going to contribute much before they are horribly obliterated.

  12. English Outsider says:

    TTG – yes, Johnson went by train. As presumably did the other European leaders who have visited. That therefore must show that Zelensky is based in Kyiv and makes his own international visits from there.

    In that case he is still vulnerable to the Right Sector and similar groups. These groups have little electoral support but intimidate opposition leaders and journalists and have been documented as intimidating Zelensky himself. I believe that the lack of knowledge, certainly in England, of the extent to which these neo-nazi groups have now permeated and control every aspect of public life, and the military itself, is largely responsible for the false impression we in England have been given of this war.

    You, with your military knowledge, will be able to “read” the videos coming out of this war as most of us can’t. But read them or not the desolation and destruction cannot be missed. Whether we get a false picture of the war or not, and whatever we judge of its causes, it’s time to stop.

    As I grubbed around on the internet looking to see how our blowhard Prime Minister managed to get to Kyiv, I also looked to see what he was promising Zelensky. Poor devil, Zelensky, I thought. Having to say thank you effusively for help he knows – for his staff must have told him – may or may not kill more Russians but, whether it does that or not, will certainly get more of his own people killed.

    For me that is the ultimate shame of this war for us in England. That we clapped our proxies on the shoulder, cheered them on and encouraged them to endure – and then walked away and sat down in comfort watching them die.

    • Steve says:


      Again, well said. I’ve pointed out the very real threat to Zelensky on a number of occasions but usually to a brick wall or of course being accused of trolling for Putin. But Zelensky is jammed in between a rock and a hard place with NATO, led by the US, ensuring he stays there, along with the innocents among his people. It is indeed shameful.

    • TTG says:


      How serious are those right wing threats to Zelenskiy? Could it be a lot of right wing “shit talk” as I mentioned just two days ago? You know, like the chants of “hang Mike Pence” or the ever present threats to take the libs on Pinochet helicopter rides. That seems to be the norm for a lot of political discourse today.

      • Eric Newhill says:

        Except the UKR right wing extremist are organized into battalions and actually have been killing people for years. I would think that gives their threats a bit more weight some American jokers on the internet.

        And, after all, wasn’t there an insurrection on a Jan 6th and congress feared for its very life from those right wing extremists? In fact, the FBI and DHS have been saying that right wing extremists are The Greatest threat to the country (worse than Russia, apparently). Are you breaking with the Washington establishment on this?

        • TTG says:

          Eric Newhill,

          Ukrainian right wing extremists are fighting and killing to preserve and defend the elected Ukrainian government against a foreign invader. Our right wing extremists attempted to overthrow our elected government. The two share a lot in common, but their actions are worlds apart.

          • Fred says:


            When did “our right wing extremists ” attempt to overthrow our government?

          • TTG says:


            It culminated on 6 January 2021, but was in the works two months earlier. Or do you believe the rally that day just spontaneously degenerated into hooliganism?

          • Fred says:


            You convinced me sir. Joe Biden has betrayed America by not directing the DOJ to charge any of those people with insurrection; or treason – since that’s what attempting to overthrow our elected government is. How dare he sir, how dare he spend a whole year and not charge those ‘extremists’ with their true crimes. On a similar note I see a judge just found a January 6th Capital Hill assailant “not guilty”:
            Then there is that jury in the Whitmer attmpted assasination case, how dare they sir, how dare they!

            Maybe Zelinsky can teach Biden how to truly defend a democracy?

          • TTG says:


            There are the indictments of seditious conspiracy. It’s not insurrection, but damned near to it. One pled guilty to said seditious conspiracy. Last time there was such a conviction was after the 1993 WTC terrorist bombing.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            You’d think the Jan 6th party would would have, you know, had a plan and brought along some guns and home made bombs and killed the leaders they sought to overthrow. I mean that’s how a coup usually works. It would have been very easy to do.

            If that’s what our glorious government considers a threat – a bunch of goofy hooligans – then they’re gonna fill their pants when something real comes along.

          • TTG says:

            Eric Newhill,

            The goal wasn’t to kill Congress, just to prevent or delay the certification. The goofy hooligans were gullible pawns.

      • English Outsider says:

        TTG – in this case I believe Zelensky and anyone else in Kyiv who doesn’t stick to a hard line is in danger. There were various reasons advanced for the killing of the soft line negotiator but whatever the truth of that there seems to be no doubt the man’s dead.

        In any case the Russians see this as an “existential” conflict and so therefore must Azov and similar groups. Those groups face the loss of all power and influence if the Russians get a peace agreement. At the very least the Zolote incident shows that Azov are not amenable to Presidential authority. It’s difficult to see how such as Azov could allow Zelensky to sign any peace agreement that had as one of its main conditions “denazification”.

        Given that Borrell, Johnson and others are also insisting that Zelensky fight on the pressures on him must be considerable.

        • TTG says:


          Outside of those units now integrated into the Ukrainian military and police structure, the Ukrainian ultra-nationalists have waning popular support and very little real power. The ultra-nationalists in France have far more popular support and political power. Perhaps they need denazification.

  13. Sam says:

    French reporter returning from Ukraine “Americans are directly in charge of the war on the ground.”


    The video on the Twitter link above has English subtitles. It appears if this French reporter’s claims are correct that our neocons are in the thick of it. What are their goals and what are the implications?

  14. Sam says:

    Details of the assault, via the Telegram messaging app, say a ‘poisonous substance of unknown origin’ has led to the city’s defenders suffering from symptoms including breathing issues, ‘respiratory failure’ and ‘vestibulo-atactic syndrome’.

    The alleged attack came just hours after a pro-Russian general in Donbas appeared to promote the idea of using chemical weapons, telling state media it would ‘smoke the Ukrainian moles out of the underground’.

    Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Parliament tweeted to say it has received reports of Russian forces firing ‘nitric acid’ in the Donetsk region as it warned local residents to wear ‘protective face masks soaked in soda solution’. It is not clear if the incidents are linked.

    It follows a warning from the Ministry of Defence suggesting that Russia could turn to the use of a deadly phosphorus bombs amid attempts to finally break heroic resistance in Mariupol.


    Is this one of the stories that the White Helmets MI6 guy pushing or does it have any credence?

    • TTG says:


      There’s video of Basurin, Deputy Chief of the DNR Militia, urging the use of gas against the remaining defenders of the Azovstal Iron Works in Mariupol. The Azov Commander, Biletsky, said on video that there were three injured in a chemical attack, but the victims were now in satisfactory condition. Could it be some kind of incapacitating agent? I have no idea. If a gas is used, it should immediately be followed by a substantial assault. Otherwise, it’s another example of Russian military ineptitude.

      The nitric acid probably refers to several Russian artillery strike on nitric acid storage tanks near Rubizhne. The strikes look deliberate and do pose a danger to anyone in the area, but it is not dropping nitric acid on civilians.

      The Russian use of incendiary rounds and probable phosphorus rounds were already documented.

      • Eric Newhill says:

        The Russian have (or had?) something like BZ gas. I recall they used it some years ago when some Chechen jihadist types took a Moscow theater audience hostage. Would that be considered WMD chemical warfare? I know it would be in the press and by the Biden administration, but would it be in real and unbiased international law?

        Personally, I would napalm the iron works building and that would either directly fry the holdouts or suck the oxygen out of their lungs and be done with it. The Russians are playing too nice.

        • TTG says:

          Eric Newhill,

          If BZ can be classified as a non-lethal riot control agent, it may not be prohibited by the Geneva Conventions. Of course, if that’s what was used in that Moscow theater, it was lethal as hell. I just don’t know. Russia has a lot of thermobaric stuff and I don’t think that’s covered as a WMD or prohibited munition.

          • Steve says:


            I just read that the Russians were using CS gas and following up with flamethrowers. Clearing a place like the Azovstal Iron Works with infantry is a costly business that at the moment seems to have been spared demolition on the heads of the defenders. This is not in line with Western reporting of course, which seems to prefer the use of chemical weapons.

  15. Leith says:

    Eric –

    Three weeks – I’ll take that bet. What are the stakes?

    As my favorite first sergeant says: “modern combined arms warfare is hard. It takes good small-unit leaders and shit-tons of training. Russia’s maneuver units don’t have the first and haven’t done the second.”

    Regarding Kramatorsk: You and TTG are probably correct that it was a submunition warhead. That was also my first thought when it happened. But I’m just wondering where are the photos of the debris of the bomblets? The ribbon-like stabilizers and caps typically are only damaged, not destroyed, and litter the area. Maybe that debris is there but the photographers ignored it to take pics of the victims? A unitary warhead would not necessarily cause a crater if set for an airburst.

    • Eric Newhill says:

      Leith, If I am correct, I want to see a pic of you in a crowded public place with an I love Trump shirt and a MAGA hat. I am wrong, I will wear a Biden 2024 hat and a Bernie Sanders supporter T-shirt in public and share the pic.

      • Leith says:

        Eric –

        You’re on. How will I know it’s you in the photo?

        Just to make sure of the terms, I believe you said yesterday on the 11th: “within three weeks, there will have been a complete collapse of the UKR military.”

        So 2 (or 3 May?) is your deadline for Putin to turn it around and destroy the Ukrainian Military. It ain’t gonna happen Eric. Forget the Biden shirt, I’ll be happy just to see you as a Bernie Bro.

        • Eric Newhill says:

          A handful of holdouts or guerilla fighters doesn’t count as the UKR army still existing.

          One of the members of the committee with editing rights knows me personally. He can confirm my ID. How about you?

  16. Sam says:

    The mega-cauldron in Donbass will encircle up to 100,000 UKRO TROOPS along a 200 km line from Donetsk-Slavyansk to central Ukraine.

    The DPR’s Basurin: “If they don’t surrender, Ukraine will lose its entire army and the issue of demilitarization would be resolved by 90%”.


    Now, I don’t really know what a cauldron is let alone a mega-cauldron. However I’ve been reading about its imminence for going on 4 weeks. Is this another Friedman Unit? What is it anyway and why have so many been forecasting it for so long?

    • TTG says:


      The Donbas mega-cauldron is the Russia aficionados’ white whale. They’re waiting for Godot in the Donbas.

Comments are closed.