ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, June 23-24 (excerpts) – TTG

Russian forces have made substantial gains in the Severodonetsk-Lysychansk area over the last several days and Ukrainian troops continue to suffer high casualties, but Ukrainian forces have fundamentally accomplished their objective in the battle by slowing down and degrading Russian forces. Head of the Luhansk Oblast Administration Serhiy Haidai stated on June 23 that Ukrainian troops may have to retreat to avoid encirclement in Lysychansk, which indicates that Ukrainian authorities are setting conditions to prepare for the ultimate loss of both Severodonetsk and Lysychansk. As ISW has previously assessed, however, the loss of Severodonetsk and Lysychansk will not represent a major turning point in the war. Ukrainian troops have succeeded for weeks in drawing substantial quantities of Russian personnel, weapons, and equipment into the area and have likely degraded Russian forces’ overall capabilities while preventing Russian forces from focusing on more advantageous axes of advance. Russian offensive operations will likely stall in the coming weeks, whether or not Russian forces capture the Severodonetsk-Lysychansk area, likely granting Ukrainian forces the opportunity to launch prudent counteroffensives. The Kremlin’s ideological fixation on the capture of Severodonetsk, much like the earlier siege of Azovstal, will likely be to the ultimate detriment of Russian capabilities in future advances in Ukraine. The loss of Severodonetsk is a loss for Ukraine in the sense that any terrain captured by Russian forces is a loss—but the battle of Severodonetsk will not be a decisive Russian victory.

Ukrainian officials ordered a controlled withdrawal of troops from Severodonetsk on June 24. Luhansk Oblast Administration Head Serhiy Haidai announced that Ukrainian forces are withdrawing from “broken positions” in Severodonetsk to prevent further personnel losses and maintain a stronger defense elsewhere. Severodonetsk Regional Military Administration Head Roman Vlasenko stated that several Ukrainian units remain in Severodonetsk as of June 24, but Ukrainian forces will complete the full withdrawal in “a few days.” An unnamed Pentagon official noted that Ukrainian withdrawal from Severodonetsk will allow Ukrainian troops to secure better defensive positions and further wear down Russian manpower and equipment. The Pentagon official noted that Russian forces pushing on Severodonetsk already show signs of “wear and tear” and “debilitating morale,” which will only further slow Russian offensive operations in Donbas. Russian forces have been attempting to seize Severodonetsk since at least March 13, exhausting their forces and equipment over three months.

Ukrainian forces will likely maintain their defenses around Lysychansk and continue to exhaust Russian troops after the fall of Severodonetsk. Ukrainian forces will occupy higher ground in Lysychansk, which may allow them to repel Russian attacks for some time if the Russians are unable to encircle or isolate them. Russian forces in Severodonetsk will also need to complete river crossings from the east, which will require additional time and effort. Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) Head Leonid Pasechnik claimed that Russian forces will completely encircle Lysychansk in the next two or three days after fully interdicting Ukrainian ground lines of communications (GLOCs). Russian forces have successfully secured access to Ukrainian GLOCs along the Hirske-Lysychansk highway by breaking through Hirske on June 24, but Russian forces will need to cut Ukrainian logistics routes from Bakhmut and Siversk to fully isolate Lysychansk. Russian forces are likely to face challenges completing a larger encirclement around Lysychansk due to a failed river crossing in Bilohorivka, northwest of Lysychansk, in early May. Ukrainian forces will likely conduct a deliberate withdrawal from Lysychansk if Russian forces threaten Ukrainian strongholds in the area.

Comment: Jeebus, it’s about time. The Ukrainians have milked that town for all it was worth. The withdrawal probably happened at least a day ago, since it was announced today. Although they’ve withdrawn across the river to Lysychansk, I have my doubts about any defensive line anchored there. The Russians continue to advance towards Lysychansk from the south. They should be moving towards the Kramatorsk-Slovyansk defenses while the Russians are forced to lengthen their supply lines. 

On the other hand, the Ukrainians may try to bleed the Russians some more before withdrawing any further… if they can. None of the formations in combat are as large as the order of battle show. They are all probably attritted to a fraction of their pre-war strength, especially the Russian units. There’s undoubtedly a lot of open space on that battlefield. The first HIMARS are now in action. There’s a good chance they’re in use here.


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58 Responses to ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, June 23-24 (excerpts) – TTG

  1. KMD says:

    I prefer this analysis to that of the Nuland/Kagan cabal.
    Interesting how those exhausted, degraded Russian forces keep on advancing and holding territory.

  2. d74 says:

    “… If theyt can”
    They cant’t.

    They nibbled at 10 Ukrainians against 1 Russian.
    Again, history of fortresses is history of defeats.
    Another one: a fortification is sure to fall when it is impossible to rescue it. For the Ukrainian armed forces, useful reinforcement is non possomus.

    Maybe UKR have a secret plan: to saturate the Russian logistics with prisoners. Treating, interviewing, presenting to the prosecutor for obvious cases, feeding, housing, washing, guarding, all this requires facilities, men and time.
    For the Russians, it is exhausting. They have lost the good old industrial habits of the Gulag Archipelago.

    It takes a certain amount of unreality to believe that a few guns or rocket launchers can turn the tide.

    • Jimmy_w says:

      They can just drop them off in the middle of Siberia without supplies. “Industrial habits” is only necessary if you want to get any modicum of work or hostage values out of them.

  3. Jake says:

    How is this development not all that important? ISW and others are dismissive about the stated objectives of this ‘Special Operation’, but what if they are wrong? What if those stated objectives are the only true objectives? What if Russia came to the rescue of the DPR and LPR with no other motive than to impose the ‘Minsk’-agreement in a territorial sense, freeing the Donbas, the Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts. And to demilitarize Ukraine, which they are doing. How is that ‘ideological’?

    Yes, the Russians extended that territorial claim to include the area which traditionally supported agriculture and civil life on the peninsula of Crimea, restoring the water supply and electricity, as well as alternative routes to the peninsula from the recently completed bridge over the Kerch strait, the longest bridge in Europe, and already declared a primary target once Ukraine has these long range weapons systems NATO is providing. And there is a fair chance that Russia will eventually take all of the coastline on the Black Sea, in order to safeguard the passage of commercial and naval Black Sea fleet vessels, leaving what will remain of Ukraine landlocked.

    ISW and commentators trusting them to provide accurate information insist on cheering for this war, predicting an outcome that doesn’t sound very likely. It is based on ‘depleted’ Russian munitions, the need to revert to ‘outdated’ weapon systems, and a demoralized Russian military, already out of fresh combat units. Yet the Russian artillery doesn’t stop pounding defensive positions where Ukrainians soldiers are ‘sitting ducks’, and precision weapons are still being used to destroy high value targets. But on the Ukrainian side they ran out of everything already, including well trained soldiers, and that is not merely a pro-Russian assessment. A story which caught my eye was that the Rada in Kiev passed a law which allowed disabled persons to apply for a spot in the military. I’m not cynical, but how on earth are we to believe those stories about minimal losses on the Ukrainian side, while the Russians are bleeding to death? In what way are the Ukrainians going to mount an offensive to turn things around? Why not consider the possibility that NATO miscalculated badly, expecting the Russians to ‘storm’ in, and conquer all of Ukraine (at least on paper), leaving them vulnerable to the ‘stay behind’ saboteurs, which NATO-forces trained and equipped over the past eight years? If that is the case, this will end badly for Ukraine, the Ukrainian people, and for Europe, when it will be left with the remains of a promising country, and an economy in tatters.

    This is not a minor issue, or a matter of semantics. All of Europe could be the next domino to fall, without a shot being fired. Or, rather, nothing Russia did. The other day I was watching a video in which a right wing politician in my country questioned the wisdom of sanctions, since only the Dutch people are now bleeding, with things looking bleak for the end of the year in a country depending on natural gas for heating and cooking. He was attacked by a politician from the party which is closest to the WEF/NATO agenda, not by responding to the problem, but by demanding that this right wing politician would return a decoration he received from Putin in the past. Even though this politician already, and openly, declared that he blamed Russia for the war in Ukraine. This is not going to end well if we don’t return to reality in a hurry.

    • Muralidhar Rao says:

      Jake you are right in your analysis of the situation. The think tanks work for corporations and tell them and in return to the people all this nonsense about Russians are being savagely damaged (sure they are loosing people but not in numbers as the Ukranians). Alexander Merculosis had a video about the RUSI (British think tank) article about the armament manufacture in US/NATO against Russia and that was devastating for us in the US. We simply don’t have the production capacity of the Russians (this is what happens when you financialize the economy and dump the manufacturing), never mind the Chinese the manufacturing behemouth. What I don’t understand is why our leaders in the US and West realize the reality and make some kind of peace deal with Russia (unfortunately it means we have to cave to their demands).

    • Fran says:

      Surely you’re being ableist there, if you’re implying that disabled people aren’t as capable of annihilating Russian spetsnaz in close combat every bit as much as your average NATO-trained Ukrainian marine?

  4. Fred says:

    ” the Ukrainians may try to bleed the Russians some more …”
    So the strategic reason Ukraine kept their troops in the city was to fight a battle of attrition against Russia?

    ” Ukrainian forces are withdrawing from “broken positions” in Severodonetsk to prevent further personnel losses ….” How many victories over such pieces of ‘terrain’ until all they have achieved over the RF are Pyrrhic victories of defense?

    • Jimmy_w says:

      Just take this as a concrete indicator that AFU cannot conduct mobile warfare.

      • Fred says:

        Jimmy W,

        They need a replacement Air Force to provide air cover to do so. Then they need mass behind it. If what has been reported is true on their recruitment and training they should have more than enogh to do offensive damage to the RF forces.

        • Poul says:

          There are a lot of questions regarding what the Ukrainians can do.

          1. They need to concentrate their Western equipment in one area for supply and maintenance reasons. (it seems they are sending it in piece meal)

          2. One thing is to defend another to attack. Can the Ukrainians train their people in large scale armoured attacks which includes mobile air defence material. How many of the best and brightest of the Ukrainian army are dead or maimed? Their policy of fierce counterattacks burn their best units up. In the last years of WW1 the Germans ceased counterattacking immediately due to the expense in manpower losses.

          3. Can they even concentrate enough good people to get a large armoured formation up and running? If the Russians with allegedly poorly trained troops are beating the Ukrainians. What are the abilities on the Ukrainian side?

          Severodonetsk has ended up looking a lot like a set-up for the Battle of Debaltseve, 2014.

  5. Fran says:

    The war is effectively over and Ukraine has lost. Its only option now in the occupied territories is terrorism. The rest is cope, as it’s now called.

  6. drifter says:

    I don’t claim to have any special info on what’s happening, but it seems like Western assessments of Russian losses correlate with reports of Ukrainian losses. Russians running out of men? Running out of ammo? Refusing to fight? Underequipped? Poorly trained? Poorly led? These are all problems suffered by the Ukrainians who appear to be in a serious crisis. Do Western assessments reflect wishful thinking by Western analysts?

    • jld says:

      Might this be the “standard” lefty operating procedure of ascribing to the opponent what you are yourself doing/being? 😀

    • Worth Pointing Out says:

      When the Russians claim to have monstered a Ukrainian force they actually name the units that they just monstered. When they claim that a Ukrainian unit refuses to fight or is otherwise in revolt then they provide the names of that unit.

      When the Ukrainians / the west / ISW / TTG do the same it is all very nebulous.

      The “Russians” are running out of ammo. The “Russians” are suffering terrible, terrible problems with morale. The “Russians” just got a bloody nose.

      It increasingly seems to me to be a case of wish-thinking. War by wish-fulfillment.

      • TTG says:


        You’re talking through your ass. There’s plenty of details of Russian losses out there. For example, the 38th and 64th Separate Motor Rifle Brigades of the 35th CAA destroyed west of Izyum in June. The HQ of the 20th Guards CAA hit in Izyum on the 24th, most likely by a HIMARS strike. The HQ of the 49th CAA was struck in Kherson back in April eliminating two Russian generals. I haven’t seen such detail of Ukrainian losses. For obvious reasons, the Ukrainians are not publicizing their losses in any detail.

        For the running out of ammo stories, Russians were just seen loading up old Belarusian ammo stores from old Soviet era stocks. The ASPs were named, but I don’t remember them. The Russians must be going through their own vast stocks at a good clip… and it’s only been four months.

        • Worth Pointing Out says:

          TTG: “For the running out of ammo stories,”

          Yes, indeed, such stories abound.

          Why, just yesterday:
          ” High-precision weapons of the Russian Aerospace Forces and Kalibr missiles inflicted a massive blow on the territory of the 169th training center of the ground forces in the area of the village of Desna, Chernihiv region, Konashenkov said. He added that the 184th training center of the Armed Forces of Ukraine near the village of Starychi, Lviv region, the 199th training center of airborne assault troops, located in the Teterivka area of the Zhytomyr region, was also hit. ”

          Three Ukrainian brigades, wiped out, using…. what?

          Old Soviet-era ammo, swiped from old Belarusian stockpiles, given a quick wipe down, and then fired blindly in the general direction of Zelensky?

          Or… apparently not, as it turns out.

          • leith says:

            WPO –

            This morning Ukrainian artillery (gun and/or rocket) destroyed two more RU ammo dumps in Zymohirya and Khoroshe in the RU/LNR occupied area of Luhansk Oblast. How many is that now, a dozen or so in the last two weeks? I lost count.

            Meanwhile RU missileers are shooting at 169th, 184th, & 199th training center targets they took out of old telephone books. Kinda like what CIA targeteers did in the Belgrade ChiCom Embassy goof-up.

            But those “high-precision weapons of the Russian Aerospace Forces and Kalibr missiles” frequently missed. In Teterivka they succeeded in hitting a sheep pasture.

            Konashenkov missed his calling. He should work as a TV pitchman for used cars.

          • Worth Pointing Out says:

            “How many is that now, a dozen or so in the last two weeks? I lost count.”

            Me too.

            The Ukrainians are claiming success beyond measure. Triumph after triumph. I too have lost count.

            And yet… ISW have now stopped writing about Severodonetsk. Can’t understand why….

            And Lysychansk appears to have now grabbed their attention. Again, I can’t understand why…

            “Konashenkov missed his calling. He should work as a TV pitchman for used cars.”

            If you say so. I look forward to ISW’s future reports on the battlefield daring-do of those three Ukrainian brigades.

            I’m sure they’ll be everywhere, and performing miracles.

          • TTG says:


            Why talk of Severodonetsk? There’s no fight there anymore. ISW doesn’t talk about Kyiv anymore. Nor do we don’t hear much about Chernihv, Sumy and Kharkiv either. The fighting has passed them by.

            Missile strikes on training bases don’t mean significant or even any casualties. Nor does it mean any real battle damage. What did they hit? A training range? A barracks? a warehouse? Their missiles can tear hell out of apartment buildings and shopping centers though.

          • Worth Pointing Out says:

            TTG: “Missile strikes on training bases don’t mean significant or even any casualties. Nor does it mean any real battle damage. What did they hit? A training range? A barracks? a warehouse? ”

            Those are, indeed, questions that can be put to the test.

            The Russian claim is that “the 65th, 66th motorized infantry brigades and the 46th airmobile brigade from the strategic reserves of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which completed training at these training grounds, completely lost their combat capability”

            So jot down those names in your notepad:
            65th motorized infantry brigade
            66th motorized infantry brigade
            46th airmobile brigade

            If they appear on situation maps or their glorious deeds are mentioned in ISW situation reports then, yep, the Russian claim is bogus.

            If they don’t then it would appear to me (you may have other theories, of course) that the most likely explanation is that they are too busy burying their dead and awaiting new recruits to make their timely appearance on the Donbas battlefield.

            As I’ve said before: time will tell.

          • leith says:

            WPO –

            65th Motorized Infantry Brigade does not exist. Neither does a 65th Motorized Rifle Brigade nor a 65th Mechanized Brigade nor any other 65th Brigade of any sort. Where did Konashenkov dig that up?

            No 66th Motorized Infantry Brigade. The 66th Mechanized Brigade is said to exist as part of Ukraine’s Reserve Corps. They have already been activated and are no longer at their base except for some cadre. Or perhaps they are training on new equipment in Poland or Slovakia. They would definitely not be taking that training at any well-known, long-standing training centers. Show us some casualties if you are still convinced.

            No 46th Airmobile Brigade. There is a 46th Separate Air Assault Brigade, but they are currently fighting in the Donbas. There might be small elements of the 46th in training. But I ask you, why would they do that at known peacetime training centers while their country is under missile attack?

            The test you propose is based on a false premise. IMHO those RU missiles hit empty ranges. If I’m wrong about that I’d still only give you one out of three (the 66th or elements thereof). Konashenkov is a notorious prevaricator.

  7. Angel says:

    Wikipedia quote: “ISW was founded in response to the stagnation of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, with core funding provided by a group of defense contractors.[4] According to a mission statement on its website, ISW aims to provide “real-time, government-independent, and open-source analysis of ongoing military operations and insurgent attacks”.[5] ISW currently operates as a nonprofit organization, supported by contributions from defense contractors[6] including General Dynamics, DynCorp,[7] and previously, Raytheon.[8] It is headquartered in Washington, D.C.[9]”
    501(c) started by a Kagan? Grant writing and sucking up to your financial supporters takes all their time, and they are without doubt completely unbiased.

    • Pat Lang says:

      Evaluate info and source separately. How many f–king times do I have to tell you that?

  8. leith says:

    Pretty smart retrograde from Sieverodonetsk, crossing the river by small rafts pulled on rope with muscle power. 1000 years BC technology?

    Trying to set up a pontoon bridge would have been too easy a target for arty or air strikes. Did they get civilians out also? I’m sure they destroyed or booby-trapped any of the armor and heavy weapons they had to leave behind.

    On the plus side Ukraine liberated four or five towns and the surrounding land WSW of Donetsk City. Ukraine gained just as much area down there as Russia has gained north of Popasna. More if you include the gains near Kherson.

    Interesting about that reported Ukrainian partisan warfare going on in Kreminna; i.e, the blue diagonal hatched NW of Sieverodonetsk. That has been under Russian forces control since for months. I would bet some of the partisans are sons and grandsons of the 56 elderly residents of a nursing home who were killed by Russian tank shelling back in March.

    • Klapper says:


      What 4 or 5 towns WSW of Donetsk have the Ukranians captured?

      • TTG says:


        “The Armed Forces of Ukraine regained control over Zolotaya Niva, Prechystivka, Novomaiorske, Shevchenko and Yehorivka in Donetsk region.”

        The Russians first captured those downs back in mid-March. You can find those towns on Google Maps if you’re interested.

        • Klapper says:

          @Rybar claims Novomaiorske and Prechystivka are currently still contested as of June 24. Shevchenko in Donetsk Oblast has never been in Russian hands unless you’ve got the name wrong.

      • leith says:

        Klapper –

        Looks like it is even more liberated towns now. Map below at the link:

        • Klapper says:


          The three southern towns in the DailyKos map you linked (actually 2, there is no village at Shevchenko) are still under Russian control according to @Rybar in their status report from June 25th.

          • leith says:

            Klapper –

            I’ll start taking a look at Rybar to see if all his past claims stood the test of time. Where is he based?

            There is a small settlement east of Novsmaiorske where Shevchenko is shown on the link I sent you. Four or five buildings, perhaps a village or maybe a crop dusting station since there appears to be a tiny dirt strip there.

    • Worth Pointing Out says:

      I suppose small rafts pulled by rope is viable when your force has already been reduced.

      I believe the 1st British Airborne used the same method to extricate themselves from Arnhem when Operation Market Garden went a bit whoopsie-daisy.

      Mind you, much easier to do when 3/4 of your division is already lost.

    • Mark Logan says:


      The taking of those five towns is interesting. Going due south from there to Mariople would be about the quickest route to the sea. With so much of the Russian’s assets and BTGs massed around the Lsyschansk pocket, it might be feasible for the Ukrainians to cut all the roads to Kherson at Mariople. Just have to blow the bridge to Crimea and the BTGs in Kherson must be supplied by air and/or sea only. Lotsa luck with that.

      I wonder if that’s the plan or if they are just trying to get the Russians to scramble to prevent that from happening.

      • leith says:

        Mark –

        I wondered about the same thing. It’s still 60 plus km to Mariupol with no major roads. And why retake Mariupol now. So maybe your last sentence is right. Or maybe they saw weakness and acted on it? Or since that area is heavily farmed perhaps they went in to prevent more of Putin’s grain theft?

        • Mark Logan says:


          The goals would the the road-hub of Volnovakha and M14, the coast road, I imagine. Cut that east of the ruins of Mariople and who cares who occupies it? The threat is liberating Kherson. Russian sources show they only have about a dozen BTGs down there, and they must defend it or lose the water to Crimea once again.

          • leith says:

            Mark L –

            True. Although as you alluded to earlier, unless the Ukrainians get lucky and take out the Kerch Bridge, RU can resupply and reinforce Kherson via the Crimea.

  9. scott s. says:

    This brought to mind the first ROKA retreat from Seoul, where the ROK engineers blew the Han River bridges while ROK 5th Division was still in the city. This resulted in the division having to commandeer whatever boats they could find, but leaving all their equipment behind.

    • leith says:

      Scott S –

      Hope they spiked their guns. But they must have been reconstituted. A year later they fought at the Punchbowl and Bloody Ridge.

  10. borko says:

    why is the US sending only a small fraction of it stock of HIMARS and even that after 4 months of fighting?

    Ukie army needs much more than a handful of systems.

    • TTG says:


      These HIMARS and the British MLRS require operations and maintenance training, plus the full logistical tail including a flow of rocket ammo. You can’t just jump into that all at once, although I’m sure the Ukrainians want more faster.

      • borko says:


        if the US had started with the process 3 months ago, today all that could have already been in place.
        Ukies will need lots of tanks and other armored vehicles. The US could provide a couple of hundred M1A1s as well.

        Don’t know if this can be logistically supported considering the Russian advantages but all this seems too little too late. I feel Ukraine is fast approaching its breaking point.

  11. Razumov says:

    Looks like Russia was actually planning a massive paratrooper combat drop up until the last minute:

    • TTG says:


      If the Russians weren’t blinded by arrogance and a complete underestimation of Ukrainian will to resist, they could have gone all in on day one and taken enough of Kiev in the first two days to truly make a difference. Feint my ass. They wanted Kyiv and were stunned when they didn’t get it.

      • Steve says:


        They didn’t want Kyiv. Where did you get that 3 day crap from? The primary reference seems to be that it was said in a presser by Bill Burns, DCIA.

        I assume that he either believed it – based on ridiculous assumptions – or he just made it up so it could be shown that Russia failed.

        From 2003 until the final “withdrawal” from Iraq the US controlled the “green zone” and military bases. That was it. Why would the Russians ever expect a different result in Ukraine?

        Do you play chess? If you do you’ll know the point of the game is not to take one’s opponents pawns but to trap him within them. Ukraine and NATO are now in check. Odessa would be mate, not Kyiv.

        • TTG says:


          It was announced in a Russian press victory article that was leaked/published by accident.

          In Iraq, we left a government at least nominally aligned with us and an Iraqi Army also aligned with us, ev en though it proved ineffective in stopping the IS assault without our reentry into theater.

          Russia won’t take Odesa. They’re having a hard time holding Kherson.

          • Steve says:


            I haven’t seen that “leak”. Do you have a link to it? Keep in mind that the US intelligence agencies long ago admitted that they were putting out information that they deemed to be low confidence. In other words, IO. I believe this was the case with the 3 day story.

            We can look at Kherson in other ways: like Kyiv is throwing away even more lives in pursuit of some sort of chimeric victory they can show to their masters. I’m sorry to say this but I now believe Zelensky to be a coward, wasting more lives of his people to save his own ass. Things are not looking too rosy for his future as he channels his inner Stalin.

            What we left in Iraq was a government that had a greater loyalty to Iran than the US. The interior ministry (the most powerful organ in any ME state) was being run by the IRGC. Tragi-comedy doesn’t get any better than that:)

          • TTG says:


            Here’s a couple of articles about it. The Russian version of the editorial is available in the internet-archive. An English translation is still available on a Pakistani site. Links to both are in the BBC article.



            Zelenskiy hasn’t fired/replaced near as many top officials as Putin has. Does that mean Putin’s days are numbered. But I do think Zelenskiy will end up in the same situation as Churchill. He’ll lead Ukraine through the war, but will be replaced once peace is achieved.

          • Steve says:


            “Many Twitter users presumed the editorial piece was intended for publication after a swift Russian victory in Ukraine.
            In it, contributor Petr Akopov claims that Russia is returning to lead a new world order, while making good the “terrible catastrophe” that was the end of the Soviet Union in 1991.”

            That sounds less like a leak than the wishful thing of someone who doesn’t know what he’s looking at. But it’s pretty astonishing that the DCIA picks it up and runs with it… How embarrassing:)

            We don’t know how many officials Putin has fired. Though he did chop an intelligence official over the debacle at the airport when they failed to take into consideration the security cameras that helped direct arty onto the tarmac.

            You should look a lot further into Yelenski’s authoritarianism. You’ll find it uncomfortable but necessary knowledge. I take it you at least know he now has no political opposition whatsoever??

          • TTG says:


            The Russian version is still available if you think something was lost in translation.

          • Worth Pointing Out says:

            TTG: “It was announced in a Russian press victory article that was leaked/published by accident.”


            If the dash towards Kiev was a feint then this truism holds true: a feint is only worth doing if you can convince the other side that you really, really mean it.

            TTG: “It was announced in a Russian press victory article that was leaked/published by accident.”


            By. Accident.

            Well, you were certainly convinced by that. You still are.

            As was Zelensky, at the time. I wonder what he thinks now?

            What is it that the Good Colonel keeps stressing about judging the intel and the source separately?

            Seems like sound advice to me.

  12. Deap says:

    Running Biden foreign policy under the guise of Dept of State STEP traveler warnings:

    There are realistic warnings, and then there is partisan narrative. Never let a crisis go to waste if there is political advantage to gain, as Rahm Emanual was always fond of saying.

    • TTG says:


      Unless one is a blatant and vocal Putin sycophant, now is not the time for any American to be traveling to Russia. That’s just common sense.

      • Steve says:

        Although not American (Brit) I would have no fear whatsoever of going to Russia. The problems would begin on returning is my guess.

        On another note: the narrative is indeed turning toward abandonment of Ukrainian dreams. Tulsi Gabbard (traitor, apparently) and Daniel Davis have a piece on FP. It’s somewhat diluted but effectively tells us Russia has won and Kyiv must find a way out – the same one they had before the war with Russia began.

        • Steve says:

          I should have added to the end of that: but with significantly less territory.

          Now it’s Poland’s turn….

        • TTG says:


          Given my professional background, I would definitely not go there. Even if I was just an average American, I still wouldn’t go there given, as you said, returning may be problematic.

          Gabbard’s article was fine. She’s certainly not a traitor for it. She does voice a defeatist attitude concerning Ukraine. One I don’t share.

          • Steve says:


            You may recall that TG alleged that the Biden administration wanted Russia to go to war with Ukraine – an analysis I shared at the time – and was called a traitor by none other than Mitt Romney, a man (kinda:) who has never put himself or his trust fund family in physical danger preferring to make a handsome living out of asset stripping companies.

            Her voice has been nothing more or less than realistic. Ukraine could never prevail over Russia and supporting their attempts to do so has been nothing less than a crime against humanity.

            I always hope there will be a price to pay for this kind of profligacy with the lives of others.

          • TTG says:


            The idea that the Biden administration wanted Russia to go to war with Ukraine is silly and wrong, but it is not traitorous. We wanted Russia to back down and refused to give in to Moscow’s demands. The administration did see the buildup of Russian forces and were preparing a sanctions regime as first a deterrent, then a response. Very few in the administration thought the Ukrainian forces would perform as well as they are doing. By this time it was supposed to be UW in a mostly occupied Ukraine with a government in exile. Zelenskiy is still in Kyiv and still saying he can win in a matter of months, maybe by Christmas. I think he may be right, but I have my doubts about retaking Crimea. That may be a “Free the Baltic Nations” scenario requiring years and a changed political landscape.

          • Steve says:


            That has clearly been the Biden administration’s goal (driven by the Neocons who infected the Obama admin and now this one) since 2014. They had something of a holiday under Trump but came back with a vengeance. Biden was mentioned in the Nuland/Pyat call as being involved, according to “Jake”.

            Putin also saw the build up of forces and thousands of “ceasefire violations” reported by the OSCE from Feb 16 that in US terms (the US made the laws) enabled Putin to implement R2P in Donbas.

            The Ukrainian forces did little beyond set up arty in Kyiv’s residential areas hoping to get their people killed. It worked in Kosovo so why not try it in Kyiv.

            If there’s been one Ukrainian success it has been in IO. That’s it, and now grandpa is holding the line.

            I doubt the US has had a greater FP failure than this one. Why? It’s based on hatred..

  13. Jake says:

    Claims about whether or not the ‘Biden Administration’, or any other party, wanted to go to war with Russia, are impossible to prove, or disprove. No party, anywhere in the world today, will openly state their intention to go to war unprovoked. They are always ‘defending’. If not themselves, they claim to be the champion for ‘Rights’ or ‘Democracy’, fighting ‘tyrants’. Or the ‘Jews’, the ‘Communists’, ‘Islamists’ or whatever.

    When Obama and Biden toppled the elected government in Ukraine in 2014, and installed a pre-selected government as discussed by Victoria Nuland and the ambassador of the United States in Ukraine, the infamous ‘Fuck the EU’-conversation, they were not a passive party, but acting to make sure Ukraine remained in a NATO-orbit. We can discuss at length whether that was the right thing to do, or a recipe for disaster. But the events which followed underscore that ‘Washington’ regarded Ukraine as a valuable asset in a fight I branded previously as a struggle between ‘Financial Capitalism’ (the ‘City’, ‘Wallstreet’, Davos’, the top 1%), and ‘Industrial Capitalism’ represented by countries which actually produce the goodies, and own the natural resources as in: It is their country.

    What never ceases to amaze me, is that people in the western world who stand to loose everything they value if ‘Financial Capitalism’ wins, leaving them with nothing but debt, either personal, simply to survive, or get a proper education, or collective debt resulting from policies our leaders initiated, which most prominently include adventurous wars around the globe, lightyears from home, nevertheless fall for the propaganda. I figure that the success of ‘Financial Capitalists’ to lure people away from ‘Industrial Capitalism’ is that the original advocates promoting ‘Industrial Capitalism’ are today seen as promoting ‘socialism’ as an ideal. Which, believe it or not, includes Adam Smith, and even fierce anti-communists like Ayn Rand. Because ‘socialism’ in those early days of capitalist thought was seen as a natural development, associated with a growth of the wealth of Nations. Real growth. Industrial production growth. A far cry from ‘rights’ and ‘patents’ which could be bought and monopolized, and added to GDP. The heroes in Rand’s story are Industrialists. And a single banker who came to the conclusion that he had to support them, and not the government-programs. Regrettably this promoted a notion that we should fight ‘Big Government’, and leave it to the vultures to decide who is to live, and who has to die. Certainly not something Adam Smith had in mind. But Ayn Rand, focussed on fighting communism, did indeed promote a romantic notion of noble people who would ‘naturally’ overcome any urge to take advantage of their fellow man.

    The gross misunderstanding which resulted was a warm bath for criminal types who left us with the worst of all worlds. The export of industrial prowess, the knowledge needed to regain industrial thinking, and heaps of debt. While our governments changed the rules to make us think we no longer needed any laws, because we were a ‘rules based’ society now. Which takes me back to the opening remarks of this contribution, where NATO/Davos are dismissing the need to observe promises made, and treaties or accords, like ‘Minsk II’. In ‘Industrial Capitalist’ societies you need laws to allow the free market to function. Laws against rent-seeking vultures. Understand that ‘socialism’ was previously understood as something like the idyllic ‘hideaway’ Rand describes as a new ‘Atlantis’, the natural development of an ‘Industrial Capitalist’ society, with high wages, but low ‘overhead’ costs for industrialists, and a government which would understand how to best serve the people, by focussing on the rule of law, and not the law of rules. And limiting itself to supporting industrial and agricultural businesses. Never, under no circumstances, should the right to create money and debt be privatized, or you will end up with neofeudalisme, ‘Financial Capitalism’, another Empire, run by the 1% to the detriment of the 99%.

    Communism, as in a dictatorship of the proletariat, envisioned as a fast-track to a welfare state, was, and is an anomaly. Ask the Russians and the Chinese. Yet, when the ‘Chicago Boys’ did Russia, the Russians learned the hard way that ‘Financial Capitalism’ was even worse. And here we are. In Ukraine doing silly things, mainly hurting ourselves by wrecking what is left of our industry through sanctions which are cutting us loose from the productive world, in possession of the natural resources we can’t do without.

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