Kyiv is focused on Crimea

A top Ukrainian official on Friday said that no weapon allowed by international law was off the table when it comes to attacking Crimea and hinted that some recent explosions there might be the result of experimental weapons. “Crimea is the territory of Ukraine, and we will test and use there any weapons not prohibited by international laws that will help liberate our territories,” Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleksiy Danilov said in a tweet Friday. Speaking on Ukrainian national television Friday, Danilov hinted that some of the explosions in Crimea we have written about previously could be the result of “new types” of weapons. “Therefore, if there is a test of some weapon, it takes place on our territory,” he said, according to the Qirim news agency. “It is possible that the test of new types of this weapon could take place in Crimea. It is not ruled out.” 

Danilov did not elaborate, but one Ukrainian defense official we spoke with said Kyiv has three current options for striking Crimea, which Kyiv wants to liberate. The outer boundary of the peninsula, occupied by Russia since 2014, is about 50 miles from Ukrainian positions in Kherson Oblast.

The first are uncrewed aerial and surface vessels. While Ukraine has attempted several attacks using those weapons on Sevastopol, headquarters of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, the official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive issues, said that is becoming less of a viable option. Aerial drones do not have enough explosives to cause serious damage and Russia has found ways of countering the uncrewed surface vessels, the official said.

Another attack vector is Ukrainian-produced rockets and donated standoff weapons like the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) munitions provided by the U.S. and fired by the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS and the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) provided to Ukraine by the U.S. and allies. Those munitions have a range of up to about 80km (about 50 miles). That’s just about enough range to hit the northernmost edge of Crimea.

The US has also provided Ukraine with Ground Launched Small Diameter Bombs (GLSDB). The GLSDB has a range of around 94 miles, or 150 kilometers. That’s just about enough distance to hit the Russian airfield and rail lines at Dzhankoy that have come under attack before.

Ukraine has also developed a rocket called the Vilkha-M, a modified 7.6 meter (25-foot) long Soviet BM-30 Smerch multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) artillery rocket. The Vilkha-M has a range of 110 kilometers (68 miles) and a 300-millimeter, 485-pound warhead that can hit targets with great accuracy. You can read more about that in our coverage here.

The third method Ukraine has of striking targets in Crimea at the moment is through sabotage, the official said. “The sabotage groups are the most reliable and probably [the] source of most of the explosions in Crimea,” the official said. “There should be a lot of potential insurgency rebel groups, fueled by Ukrainian intelligence services that provide the necessary means to do sabotage.” The Kerch Bridge, Vladimir Putin’s prized $4 billion span linking Crimea to Russia, was attacked in October. And Ukraine has carried out sabotage attacks inside Russian territory and partisan groups have also struck inside Russia as well as Russian-occupied territory.

The official added that Ukraine is also working on a way to convert its domestically developed Neptune anti-ship missiles – used to sink the Russian Navy’s Project 1164 Slava class cruiser Moskva a year ago yesterday. “Ukraine is working to modify Neptune missile to strike land targets,” said the official, adding that they are only designed at the moment to hit large metal objects on the sea. “A new guiding/homing system is required, but Ukrainians are working on that.” The official said the key missing component at the moment are microchips that Ukraine is hoping to procure from the U.S. and allies. “Once we get that, the Neptunes can hit targets 360 km (about 225 miles) away,” said the official. “We are pretty close.”

Comment: This article from “The Drive” along with the internal links gives a good overview of the means available for Ukraine to strike Russian forces and infrastructure in Crimea. However, there is no mention of the Grom-2 SRBM with a range of 500km and a 300km range for the export version. Before the war Ukraine was developing/testing the Grom-2 and the Vilka-M MRLS with the Saudis of all people. I think Kyiv is keeping the Grom-2 close to the vest until it can make the most impact.

I truly believe that Kyiv considers Crimea to be the center of gravity in the drive to rid all of Ukraine of the Russian invaders. That doesn’t mean that the coming counteroffensive will reach Crimea or even aim toward it. But I think Russia also senses this Ukrainian focus. Russia also desires to retain Crimea over all other occupied Ukrainian territory. Their multiple layered defenses are designed to protect Crimea from the northern approach and deep into Crimea itself. They are also digging trench systems along the beaches, but I think that’s more to bolster the morale of the Russian settlers now in Crimea. They have proven to be a skittish lot.

There’s a very good chance that the upcoming counteroffensive will strike towards Melitopol or Mariupol or some point in between. If successful, it will cut the overland route from Russia to her forces in Kherson and Zaporizhzhia oblasts and leave the Kerch bridge as the only route to Crimea and the troops in those oblasts. At that point long range strikes at the transportation hub of Dzhankoi and the Kerch rail bridge would cut supplies to all those Russian forces. The million Russian settlers remaining in Crimea would be flooding the roads and the road bridge at Kerch. Crimea would eventually become militarily untenable for the Kremlin. Politically, a withdrawal from Crimea may be equally untenable for the Kremlin and especially for Putin. What could happen at that point is a puzzlement. Could all this play out this year? I don’t know, but I could easily imagine Kyiv continuing this strategy into 2024. They either keep fighting or cease to exist as an independent Ukraine.


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52 Responses to Kyiv is focused on Crimea

  1. Fred says:

    “Crimea would eventually become militarily untenable for the Kremlin. ”

    The Neocon dreams finally to be realized. Russia gone from Sevastopol, like the Crimean war a century ago, which somehow wasn’t about the borders of sacred Ukriane being restored. We should not remember British and French (or Ottoman) involvement then. Why learn from history.

    America’s vital interests, not in San Francisco, Chicago, Baltimore etc. No, Kiev and Crimea, just like Washington and Lincoln and even Barack told us about…..

    ” They either keep fighting or cease to exist as an independent Ukraine.”

    Another binary choice is the only choice kind of war? What a familiar style of arguement.

    • TTG says:


      I always believed booting the Black Sea Fleet out of Sevastopol was a fever dream of the Nuland crowd back in 2014. They truly wanted a NATO flag to fly there. I think Putin saw the same thing and moved in swiftly and deftly to prevent it. He should have left it at that.

      • Why do so many of America’s elite care so much about Ukraine?
        I think that’s a good and valid question.

        This doesn’t prove anything,
        but here is something that distinguishes Ukraine from, say, Tibet:

        This seems like a good, scholarly, treatment of an important issue.

        • Billy Roche says:

          Your point is well taken. I often asked the same thing about Germany. Why should America have paid to insure German freedom after WW II. Ukraine, Tibet, Germany, Greece, or South Korea for that matter. Ukrainians, Uranians, what are they anyway …

        • English Outsider says:

          I’m afraid it’s a whitewash, Keith. Until recently various Jewish organisations have been protesting the overtly neo-Nazi trend in Ukraine. That changed after the SMO started but the record is clear.

          Way back the record is undisputed:-

          “On the occasion of the German invasion of the Soviet Union, the OUN put up posters in the western Ukrainian city of Lvov that read:

          Do not throw away your weapons now. Take them in your hands. Destroy the enemy.…People! Know! Moscow, Poland, the Hungarians, the Jews are your enemies. Destroy them!…Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the Heroes! Glory to the Leader! [Bandera]

          That’s undisputed. But we forget that the glorification of the “Banderites” who then “destroyed” Russians, Poles, Hungarians and Jews continued to the present day, mostly in Ukraine but also to a surprising extent in Canada:-

          The writers you link to point out that Zelensky was elected with a massive majority. They do not mention that he was elected on a peace ticket.

          He got in by a substantial majority and that from both parts of the then Ukraine, East and West. It was a surprisingly large majority given that he was by far the weakest candidate Kolomoisky supported. I regarded him as Kolomoisky’s wild card because Timoshenko was better known. But he was the strongest for peace so the Ukrainians went for him en masse.

          Zelensky then took the Kiev administration on a course that led directly to war. Zolote showed he didn’t have much choice. The extremists, not only in Zolote but in Kiev, publicly threatened to kill him if he took steps to ensure peace.

          All accounts of the incident vary wildly but there’s no doubt that although the Ukrainian President was elected on a peace ticket, and that by most Ukrainians, that was not the course he followed or was allowed to follow after his election. Zolote put paid to that. The earlier Zelensky, who was seemingly happy to implement the Minsk accords and who was elected in that expectation, became the Zelensky of today.

          And in the tangled web of Ukrainian politics, Jewishness means little in any case. Zelenski’s sponsor, Kolomoisky, is also Jewish. A brief look at Kolomoisky’s activities:-

          ” An diesem Tag wurde Firtaschs ostukrainische Chemiefabrik „Stirol“ mit Raketenwerfern beschossen, die Geheimdienstinformationen zufolge ziemlich wahrscheinlich Kolomojskyjs Einheiten zuzuordnen sind.”

          Some articles on him here that show him as powerful:–

          Wiki rounds off the picture:-

          “Kolomoisky is also believed to have spent $10 million to create the Dnipro Battalion,[81][82] and to have provided funds for the Aidar, Azov,and Donbas volunteer battalions.”


          That’s from an earlier Wiki text but Kolomoisky’s sponsorship of various neo-Nazi irregular groups is widely attested.

          Zelensky was one of the two candidates Kolomoisky put up for President.

          All this is skated over by the writers of the article linked to. The truth is, Ukraine is a mess of oligarch corruption and violence that is almost a carbon copy of the Russia of the 90’s. The sanitised picture we are now given of it is incorrect.


          • Fourth and Long says:

            Kolomoisky is a class A criminal organized crime gangster in a class by himself. I recall yrs ago a website devoted to organized crime in the former SU and Warsaw pact areas / very well done, hugely detailed, with contributions from top international and domestic law enforce officers of renown and journalists who weren’t a bad second to many pulp fiction writers. The stories were hair/raising, the breadth of the corruption mind boggling. I spent hours over the course of a few weeks returning to it for updates. Eventually I came across the pages devoted to kolomoisky. He put them all to shame, a thief’s thief, the devil’s devil. Jews have always been leaders in every field, especially crime. Rothstein, Lansky, the Purple gang, Jeffrey Epstein. Please don’t try the Auntie’S Emetic medicine potion on me, I’m Jewish on my evil daddy’s side. They are famous for wealth, generally – What was Victor Hugo’s statement? “All great wealth originates in crime” which Mario Puzo used on the dedication page of his novel The Godfather. I can’t remember the exact wording. Kolomoisky is a pig, purely and simply. Trotsky – try topping him for criminality – he was gung/ho bonkers for the absolute most extremely cruel measures early in the 1920s, years before they were eventually implemented by that kindly gentleman Josesph (Stalin) Vissarionovich Djugashvili. Hiding virtuously behind Jewishness is another example of a “last refuge of a scoundrel.” Try asking Lepke Buchalter – the only top mobster ever put to death by the state – head of Murder Incorporated. Albert Anastasia came a bit later.

          • Billy Roche says:

            EO; UR Rite, truth is important and it is unarguably true that the Bolsheviks were filled with Jews at all levels. Some were involved in “administering” the Holodomore. Is it any wonder that Ukrainians were not pleased w/their Jewish country men 10 years later when the Nazis rolled into Kiev and Lvov. Let’s talk more about that truth. Do you know if Bandera fought for Hitler’s victory or to free Ukraine from Russia. We cant ask. He’s been dead for over 70 years. Didn’t you want to mention that there were Nazi groups in Finland, the Baltics, Georgia, and Hungry. Were they anti-semetic too? Or were they trying to get rid of the Russians. Lets talk about corruption. I have never been to Ukraine but everyone says how corrupt it is. No doubt you’ve first hand experience w/Ukrainian corruption. Do tell. But can we also talk about corruption in Wash. D.C., Bejing, New Delhi, Cairo, Moscow, or Sao Paulo … no corruption there; pure as driven snow? When I was younger I traveled a bit in the M.E. A little bucksheeze from Morocco to Istanbul would buy you someone’s sister. Unless I personally knew about Ukrainian corruption I wouldn’t talk about it. Hey, I wonder if there’s any corruption in London; naw, what am I thinking!

      • Fred says:


        The borg wouldn’t leave it at that, thus the color revolutions and the current war.

        • TTG says:


          The various color revolutions almost all preceded the 2014 Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Orange Revolution in Ukraine was back in 2004 to 2005.

          • Fred says:


            Yes, which makes one wonder what the response to all those events not have any, cough cough, US involvement were going to be; and of course, Euromaidan, already erased from history. My how memories of fail so quickly.

          • TTG says:


            The memory of the Euromaidan is alive and well all over Ukraine. It’s celebrated.

          • Fred says:


            Well it is certainly celebrated by the side whose president jails political opponents.

          • TTG says:


            Like Medvedchuk, who hoped to be Putin’s puppet in Kyiv once Zelenskiy was killed or captured, or Kolomoisky, who Zelenskiy stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship so he can be extradited to the US. His main political opponent, Poroshenko, is now working with him to defend Ukraine.

          • Fred says:


            Naming two to hand-wave away hundreds, if not thousands, is what kind of analysis?

          • TTG says:


            I named two more than you did and one bonafide political opponent who is not arrested or jailed. Zelenskiy did outlaw at least one political party, but most former members of that party are still sitting in the Verkohvna Rada and not in jail.

          • LeaNder says:

            or Kolomoisky, who Zelenskiy stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship so he can be extradited to the US.

            To allow the US to extradite Kolomoisky? Hmm appeasement?


            Kolomoisky is under investigation by a Grand Jury in the US for money-laundering schemes that involved billions of dollars.

    • Billy Roche says:

      Fred; war is often a binary question. You win I lose. In this case when I lose there will be no more Ukraine. Perhaps finally (finally) we are getting to the real issue behind the so called SMO. This has always been about the restoration of the Russian Empire and therefore the elimination of Ukraine. That’s about as binary as you can get.

      • Fred says:


        “This has always been about the restoration of the Russian Empire”

        Right, the march of NATO and American obligations to the Warsaw Pact member states was always present, 1955 to 1991 were just abberations in the natural order of things, one in which Ukraine’s armed forces were going to march west into Germany and France, well half of Germany since the GDR was was on ‘their’ side then.

        Keep thinking binary, it makes thinking easy, like grade shcool.

        • Billy Roche says:

          Fred the Ukrainians threatened the Russian Empire in 1914, again in 1917-21, and again in 1942. When Ukraine declared her independence from Russia in ’91 Ukrainians marched in the streets of Kiev… not Berlin. The handwriting was on the wall for anyone w/a smattering of Ukrainian/Russian history to know Russia would try to restore her empire. The only unknown was when. The world learned last February. As to thinking binary, you made that reference, remember?

          • Fred says:


            You forgot what you wrote yesterday afternoon? Should I put quotations marks and insert direct quotes every time I respond to you so you’ll remember?

            As a member of the Warsaw Pact Ukraine’s armed forces were going to join the other USSR members and go charging through the Fulda gap as they headed West. Bill Roche, who apparently is no longer commenting here, would have remembered that. For a couple hundred years the USA provided Ukraine zero support. Which is exactly what they gave us. I sure hope they remember, but apparently pursuing government policy, such as firing judges for a billion in US taxpayer money, is something their current thinks is just peachy. I hope it doesn’t bother “The people ” too much when status quo ante returns.

  2. English Outsider says:

    TTG – I believe the crux of the problem lies in the word ‘settlers’ here – “The million Russian settlers remaining in Crimea would be flooding the roads and the road bridge at Kerch.”

    It’s that word “Settlers”. That’s maybe like saying “The millions of white settlers remaining in California …” In the Kharkov – Odessa arc, let alone Crimea, Russians have been around in quantity since before some rebellious colonists decided to dispense with the services of George the Third!

    As for Crimea itself, if we go by origins justice might demand it be returned to the Tatars or the Turks. Or maybe to Germany if we go further back to the times of the Goths. There was a regular academic industry in Nazi times finding regions the Germanic races had once dominated. Crimea was one of them and hence the German justification for taking it. But at least the Nazis ideologues of that time had some fact on their side for their foolish claim. The ideologues in Kiev don’t.

    That applies to much of that Kharkov-Odessa arc. We see the Kiev ideologues coming on TV and saying in set terms that the Russian inhabitants in the population mix there must be got rid of. Pity, one said, but it has to be done. That means killing or expelling them.

    As far as practical politics go Minsk 2 recognised the right of the people of the Donbass to stay where they are. Neither Germany nor France, the two guarantors, were demanding or supporting demands that the Russians living there should be expelled. Presumably that goes for the Crimea as well. None think they should be expelled.

    The “million Russian ‘settlers’ remaining in Crimea” will not be “flooding the roads and the road bridge at Kerch”. Nor will they, as that Kiev ideologue wished, be killed or deported. Nor should we in the West ever have backed such ambitions.

    I suppose, TTG, such considerations are at the root of my opposition to this war. It has always seemed obvious to me that the West does not have the military or financial clout to enable Kiev to achieve success. But I can’t see that success was ever desirable in the first place, given what would have resulted in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine had Kiev won.

    • TTG says:


      Crimea was majority Tatar at one time. Kyiv recognizes that and is supporting greater Tatar cultural and political freedom in a future Crimea. Tatars remaining in Crimea are often at the center of resistance actions. Here’s a couple of Al Jazeera videos, one of the Krim Battalion from very early in the war and a second from last August when Ukraine started striking Russian targets in Crimea. That when the Russian settlers first started fleeing Crimea. You see, although my vision of a million fleeing Russians may be an overstatement, there is a precedent for future mass flights.

      The Kremlin, from Catharine the Great to Stalin and now Putin, deliberately changed that through forced expulsions and forced colonization. The colonization under Putin wasn’t forced in the same manner as his predecessors. It was and remains incentivized. This has long been the model throughout Russia’s history. Since the 2014 annexation, over a quarter million ethnic Russians moved into Crimea. The persecution and jailing of indigenous Tatars and other non-Russians increased.

      I don’t see Ukrainian officials calling for the removal or extermination of ethnic Russians from Ukraine other than those who collaborate with the invaders. On the contrary, a lot of those ethnic Russians joined the Ukrainian armed forces and are fighting and dying to expel the Russian invaders. I do see the likes of Medvedev and the official Russian media talking heads constantly calling for the extermination of Ukraine and the Ukrainians. Don’t you watch any Russian TV?

      • Whitewall says:

        “a lot of those ethnic Russians”
        Does that phrase always mean ‘white’ European appearing or is there some wiggle room in the term? Medvedev looks awfully European to me. Same with Putin.

        • TTG says:


          The term ethnic has no inherent color connotation. Take it from somebody trained in anthropology. Although it’s often popularly used to mean anybody other than white Europeans by a lot of white Europeans… or Americans.

      • English Outsider says:

        TTG – agree it’s not black and white but what we in England are not told is that there are two Ukraines. The election maps from before the fighting started in 2014 show that although those two Ukraines are mixed, the greater concentration of pro-Russians is in the Kharkov-Odessa arc and of pro-Europeans to the west of that arc.

        As said recently, it could nevertheless have worked, keeping the Ukraine entire. Given that the population mix even in the Donbass is not one or the other exclusively, it would have been far better had Minsk 2 worked and the country kept as it was.

        But we have to face the fact that we in the West put our full backing behind the ultra-nationalist element in the Ukrainian population. Have done so for years. They regard their fellow citizens who are Russian-leaning or ethnic Russian as Untermenschen and would like to see them driven out or exterminated.

        We are now paying the price for encouraging and supporting this element of the Ukrainian population. As are the Ukrainian people themselves – they are by no means all ultra-nationalists!

        On Crimea, I believe that it would even have been possible to keep Crimea itself within the Ukraine. But the Revolution of Dignity put paid to that. Unlike (I think) most Americans, I put the responsibility for that squarely on the shoulders of Angela Merkel. She was the prime mover behind that Association Agreement. That widened the split that already existed in the Ukraine.

        • Fourth and Long says:

          Not to put too fine a touch on it but Krushchev, who gave Cry-Me-A river to the Ukrainian SSR in the fifties, is generally regarded as an idiot. Almost everything he touched turned to garbage with the very notable exception of the Moscow Subway. A very clever hustler, he met Stalin’s wife on a park bench waiting for a bus while she was a student and charmed his way into the inner sanctum. She brought him home to show off to her husband. The rest is history. That said, I prefer him greatly to JFK who he bested so well in a meeting in Vienna or Berlin a few months before the missile crisis that it is credited with making the President do some exceedingly stupid things. Read Gore Vidal and Seymour Hersh about JFK, not the mythology.

    • Fred says:


      That is more akin to Somali ‘settlers’ in Minnesota and Mexican ‘settlers’ in California. Obrador is asking the later to vote on Mexico’s behalf, the former are setting up in self-segregated areas in the major cities and not assimilating, as one would expect. The ‘white settlers’ created the State of California, it is only since ’65 that the demographics have changed due to new non-Americans entering the state in large numbers.

      Depending of course on how long those ‘Russians’ have actually been in Crimea. If I recall Catherine bought the whole peninsula 300 years or so ago.

  3. Fourth and Long says:

    ” They either keep fighting or cease to exist as an independent Ukraine.”

    Sounds like you either give credence to SVR leaks about Poland annexing the Left side of Ukraine or have your own basis for reaching a similar endpoint. In either case you don’t see a 38th parallel analogy as being in the cards? Or option C – the donut truck broke down and the taco stand coffee was so good you had three cups? I’ve ruined a fair number of mornings the same way myself. One week recently it was large Lattes from Dunkin donuts but since the weather warmed up ..

    Are you going to allow those of us who are in the know about the US military being secretly now under the control of junior Airmen gamer chatroom administrators to have our say? You know it’s true, you just can’t bear to admit it. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Napoleon was a Corporal.

    • TTG says:


      I give credence to the constant drumbeat of Russian politicians and talking heads calling for the extermination of Ukraine as an independent country and the Ukrainians as an independent people. A 38th parallel solution was largely in effect prior to last February’s invasion. The Russian’s got greedy. Or maybe Putin just couldn’t help himself, much like the scorpion on the frog’s back.

      I doubt that junior airman is in charge of his own ass (maybe literally) much less the US military. But you’re right about the inordinate amount of power held by the young whiz kids now that we are so reliant on computers and computer networks. And don’t get me started about PowerPoint. That shit’s worse than crack.

  4. Rick says:

    How is Crimea Ukraine’s center of gravity? Is Crimea Ukraine’s center of gravity because Ukraine’s winning back Crimea will break the Russian will to continue the war?

  5. Leith says:

    Lots of different perspectives in the West on Crimea. Some say it means too much to Putin and the Russian people because of its capture by Catherine the Great, so let it go. BTW a large part of her Army in the South were Ukrainian: the Luhansky Pikineers (pikemen), Ekaterinoslavskii Jäger Corps, Bugskii Jäger Corps, Khersonese Grenadiers, Kyivskii Grenadiers, Malorossiiskii Grenadier Regiment, Svyato-Nikolaevskii Grenadiers, Kuban Cossacks, and others.

    They also forget that 800 years prior to Catherine, Prince Sviatoslav I of Kiev conquered eastern Crimea and across the Kerch Strait in much of the Taman Peninsula now known as Russia’s Krasnodar Krai. Three decades later Sviatoslav’s son, Prince Volodymyr the Great, seized and occupied the city and bay that is now known as Sevastopol.

    Some suspect Crimea is to well fortified and that Ukraine would take too many casualties in its liberation. Possibly. ChrisO, a mil history researcher and author has a six part narrative on Crimean invasions since the 16th Century. He believes Ukraine can’t do it without air and naval superiority, which they lack. Here is part six that explains why but has links to the previous parts:

    On the other hand – General Ben Hodges who spent 2014 – 2017 as Commander of US Army Europe believes taking Crimea would be decisive. He thinks Ukraine should do like Nimitz and MacArthur in the Pacific. They didn’t liberate every island, they bypassed thousands of Japanese occupied islands. He says “Liberate Crimea, the decisive terrain, and watch Russian defenses collapse elsewhere.” He says if Putin retains Crimea, Ukraine will never be safe from air and missile strikes, re-invasion or blackmail. He mirrors TTG suggestion to make Crimea untenable for Putin.

    By the way, China’s Amassador to the EU says Crimea does not belong to Russia.

    • English Outsider says:

      Leith – I’m pretty sure that none in the Pentagon thought Ukraine ever had a chance of defeating Russia. They expected a swift Russian victory followed by a long drawn-out partisan war. You’ll recollect all the talk of Ukraine becoming Russia’s Afghanistan.

      I believe there were those in Washington and Berlin who did think the sanctions war would defeat Russia. They were deluded. Fed officials were warning at the time that the sanctions war would backfire and so it has.

      All this is now clear both in the States and in the key European country, Germany. So why are such as General Hodges insisting that not only should the war continue, but that Ukraine even now has a chance of victory?

      It does not make sense if it is the welfare of the Ukrainians we are worried about. Every time we in the West refuse to allow the Ukrainians to make peace they lose more lives and more territory. It is now doubtful that the country will survive as a sovereign entity at all. Yet a word from Berlin, or from Washington, would have prevented this war or, after it had started, would have prevented our proxies suffering such horrendous losses.

      For the Washington hard liners all is gain. When did the lives of their proxies ever worry those hard liners? The continuation of the war “bleeds the Russians”, as they hope, and that at little cost in American lives and treasure. It also locks the Germans, and with them Europe, into the Western camp. I can see the logic there though it’s not possible for me to like it.

      But as a European I don’t see the logic for us. I wrote recently to a Pole on an English site who expresses the same deluded hopes as General Hodges:-

      “Not a pretty sight, as said before, watching Washington/Berlin remorselessly insisting on feeding more Ukrainians into the meat grinder. And the Kiev ultra-nationalists still spinning their fantasies of victory. Like their exemplars in Berlin in 1945, defeat for them means the complete extirpation of their extremist ideology. There’s nothing else for them to do but play the losing hand to the last.

      “But you and I mustn’t get too big for our boots in all this. We’re fringe players, living in countries, Poland and the UK, that are not and will not be the power centres of the European continent. We must look to Germany and France to see how Europe will fare in the forthcoming defeat.

      “Not well. Can’t speak of France, with that labile and ineffectual leader, but the major European power centre, Germany, resemble more hypnotised sheep than any sort of real country. The poor devils daren’t even ask who blew up their gas pipes!

      “And none will ever ask how it is that Mrs Merkel had been supporting neo-Nazis in the Ukraine since 2014 and why Scholz and Merz and Habeck continued with that proud tradition. That’s not the sort of question respectable people ask in Germany.

      “So with the power centre of Europe rotted out, don’t expect anything good for Europe to come out of this debacle. It won’t.”

      So you see, for you as an American you might well see an upside to continuing with this wanton sacrifice of our proxies. For me as a European, I can see no logic to it at all. What were the politicians in Berlin up to, falling in with this insane venture? What are they up to now, insisting it continue?

      • Fourth and Long says:

        “So why are such as General Hodges insisting that not only should the war continue, but that Ukraine even now has a chance of victory?”

        I would enjoy composing a long answer but in the interest of accuracy and brevity have a brief three word answer:
        Incurably serious mental illness with accompanying intractable personality disorder.
        Yes, three words. All nine of ’em.

        I leave you, my friend, with something better to ponder. It’s recently been Easter followed by Orthodox Easter just yesterday. Which rendition – Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, or The Cotton Picken’ Kids from the state of Alabama:

        You Don’t Love God if You Don’t Love Your Neighbor – Rhonda Vincent:

        Cotton Pickin’ Kids: YDLGIYDLYN

        • Leith says:

          EO and F&L –

          Neither Hodges nor anyone else that I know of wants the war to continue. Except for Putin of course, the war would end today if he would let his troops go home.

          • Fourth and Long says:

            Well if that’s true I’m glad to hear it. My impression, gathered from watching televised remarks, was otherwise. Meanwhile I will continue to ponder the question posed by the title of this song, which you may have heard before, but this is an especially moving rendition, which becomes apparent if you wantch it all the way through. The influence of Kitty Wells immortal “It wasn’t God Who made Honky Tonk Angels” is indelible. As an even older geezer than me, you’ll maybe appreciate it.

            I Wonder if God Loves Country Music – Bill Anderson and John ..

        • English Outsider says:

          F & L – I just loved both renditions so would prefer not to choose.

          • Billy Roche says:

            E.O if you really liked American country music you have to listen to some Hank Snow (he was a Canadian so perhaps more endearing to you). His guitar work was early blue grass (Alberta Blue Grass?) and a famous tune is “I’ve been Everywhere”. Its a song written about depression hobos. You’ll like it.

      • Leith says:

        EO –

        I see no upside in this war. It is pouring blood and treasure into a pit, killing and maiming tens of thousands of the citizens of Ukraine and Russia. It has locked both countries into a sickening and grotesque future with the flower of their youth destroyed. That bleak future will happen no matter how soon it is ended.

        Putin never should have invaded. But he was advised badly by the neo-Nazis in his regime. His prime motivation may well have been the myth of a “Greater Russia”. But it is interesting to note that the first areas he grabbed can be tied to Ukraine’s oil and gas reserves and other natural resources. So one of his motives was simply a mafia-esque land grab to steal assets and remove a potential competitor to Gazprom and the other oil&gas companies that Putin has his claws into.

        It is not up the West to negotiate Ukraine’s future. That decision is Ukraine’s alone. No matter how much pressure the West puts upon them, no Ukrainian wants their beloved country erased from the world map and to become slaves to Putin’s oligarch accomplices. Even if the West starves them of arms and ammo supplies to incentivize surrender, they will continue to resist.

        • English Outsider says:

          I see the Ukrainians more as pig in the middle, Leith. Have done since 2014.

          • Leith says:

            EO –

            You’re stuck in a time warp nine years back. And your thought picture of the events of 2014 are biased by Putin’s magical pipe organ.

            Crank up your time machine and go to 1991, nobody coaxed Ukraine to leave the USSR except Ukrainians. Or think back to the sacrifices Ukraine made in WW2 in defeating Hitler and their only thanks from the Kremlin was a reign of terror by the NKVD against not just the Banderistas but against all the people of Ukraine who had lived under the German occupation. Go back further, in 1941 they massacred tens of thousands of Ukrainian political prisoners in those parts of Ukraine, which were going to be overrun by Hitler’s invasion. Go back to the 1937-38 massacres of several tens of thousands of Ukrainians shot in the back of head with their hands tied. Similar to what happened to the Poles at Katyn, but this was just outside Kiev, Cherkasy, Vinnytsia, Zhytomyr, et al. Or go back to the 1932-33 Holodomor. And yes I know that there was also famine elsewhere in the Soviet Union, but there were many fewer deaths and starvation than in Ukraine. Turn that time machine to the Civil War when Ukraine was turned into a bloody ground by both the complimentary Red & White Terrors aided by the black flag of the anarchists.

            Or steer that time traveler forward to 2022. In the occupieed regions the FSB used blacklists to kidnap and torture or execute loyal Ukrainian politicians, government workers, journalists, soldiers, veterans, priests, and civilians of influence.

            No way that Ukraine had to be induced or seduced to resist this invasion, or the previous ones in 2014.

          • cobo says:

            The Russian and his mother, Xi, are afraid that their plans will come to naught. The plans of the World Economic Forum, for whom Klaus Schwab has been Putin’s handler since his days driving a cab in St. Petersburg, will also be still born. For those confused, Soros’s Open Society was only pointed at the West, thus the fake “Right” and Tucker Carlson. It wasn’t supposed to go this way. A little catch up: Ukraine will become NATO’s trainers… Eastern Europeans will become NATO’s leaders. The “World” won’t restart – it will continue.

          • Billy Roche says:

            EO; yes you continue to see the Ukrainian situation as 2014 b/c you refuse look earlier. For you Ukraine/Russia begins and ends in Minsk. Is the word for me indefatigable, or just boring? B/C here I go yet again. Ukrainians asked the Austrian Emperor and Russia Czar for independence b/f 1914. They fought against the Russian communist in 1917-20. They fought again along w/Nazis to get rid of the Russians in ’42, they Marched in Kiev, Lvov, and elsewhere against the Russians in ’91 and in that summer declared independence. Anyone, anyone with a smattering of knowledge of contemporary Ukrainian/Russian history knew the Russians would not accept their independence. The Maiden, 2014 election, Minsk are just the most recent blips on the big screen of independence. Kieth’s comments are far more eloquent then mine but the story is the same. Ukrainians are just as entitled to be free people as those in western Europe. And while I’m on my soap box, being for Ukrainian sovereignty does not make someone an “ultra nationalist”. It makes them for Ukrainian independence. I predict that if the weight of 140MM Russians crush Ukraine and reduce her cities they will get another 100 years of partisan “terrorism” from 40MM angry Ukrainians who are not going to give up their fight for freedom. Russia has already thrown a stick at Swedish and Finnish hornet’s nests and reminded other Slavs and Balts, why they fear and dislike Russia. Putin may gain respect but he will gain the fear and loathing of his neighbors … a pyric victory.
            Russia has one thing to sell … energy. As the rest of Europe takes steps away from that source Russia will find herself pursuing her “eastern” self. She will be left with Persian, Central Asian, and Chinese “friends”. There has been comment herein recently about the ethnicity of the polygot Russia state. I don’t think European/Caucasian Russians will be pleased with an entirely “eastern” Russia. Win or lose, after “Vlady’s Great Adventure” that’s what Russia will be. In the end, the Mongols win!

    • Peter Williams says:

      Leith is either a liar or a fool, and yes, I understands the late Colonel’s comments about not attacking each other. So please let me explain.

      There were no Ukrainians or Russians in Kievan Rus, they were Slavs, the concept of Ukrainian or Russian did not exist.

      I was going to consolidate many comments, so please allow Leith to challenge me.

      Crimea is Russian, three referenda say it is so. Crimean Tatar is now an official language in Russian Crimea. It was not in the Ukraine. Mosques are being built, unlike the Ukraine. Historic Crimean Tatar palaces are being restored, unlike in the Ukraine.

      Sevastopol was never transferred to the Ukraine by Khrushchev, something conveniently ignored by Ukrainians.

      Most people in Crimea are Russian. 80% of the Ukrainian navy transferred to Russia because they are ethnic Russians.

      In other towns the Ukrainian fascists kicked out anyone not Ukrainian, Melititopol had a large “Greek” population so the Ukrainians kicked them out under pain of death. Democracy Ukrainian style.

      And let’s talk about the Holomodor. That event that occurred in Polish Ukraine that was not under Soviet control. Yes, the same famine occurred in Soviet Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan. Why is Polish Ukraine never mentioned? It doesn’t fit the anti-Soviet viewpoint that people like Leith want to spew.

      • TTG says:

        Peter Williams,

        I see you are aware of your transgression about personal attacks. Don’t do it again. I’m sure you can make your point without doing so. Having gotten that out of the way, the concepts of Kievan Rus, Ukraine, Muskovy and others have been in use for centuries. Their meanings has changed over time just as the the political make up of the region has changed. All those terms overlay the broader Slavic concept. The conflict arises when one nation tries to claim these concepts exclusively as part of the national creation myth and deny those concepts to other nations. The idea that Russia must extend far beyond the old Muscovy is as absurd as the idea that Vilnius must rule all the lands once under the Grand Principality of Lithuania. The Lithuanian foreign minister pointed that out, tongue in cheek, to counter Putin’s claim that Ukraine is Russia before the start of this invasion.

      • Leith says:

        Peter W – I’ll admit to being foolish in my youth and even occasionally now in my old age. But foolishness has nothing to do with my contempt for Moscow’s attempts to change history.

        There are a great many Slavs in the world of various lineage – at least 16 major categories that I’m aware of. There are hundreds more considering tribal groupings. Ask any anthropologist not biased by the Kremlin’s pseudohistory. Saying they were all Slavs is like saying that ancient Norway, Denmark & Sweden were all Scandinavians. Kievan Rus used the term Україна (Ukraine) since at least the 12th Century and maybe earlier. And in the 11th Century Kievan Rus had friendly relations with Europe 600 years before Peter I of Russia. Ukraine, a thousand years ago, had ties with Germany, Poland, Hungary, Norway, France – and of course Byzantium much earlier.

        Those Crimean referenda you speak of were phony and illegal. Even Putin’s ally China says Crimea belongs to Ukraine. Tatar is spoken freely throughout Ukraine. There are mosques in Ukraine including Kyiv’s beautiful Ar-Rahma Mosque. Another major one is planned for Kiev, endorsed by Zelensky and Parliament, but construction was postponed by Putin’s invasion.

        I can’t challenge your statement about the non-transfer of Sevastopol within Khrushchev’s Gift back in 1954. I’m not familiar with the details. But it smells fishy. Can you clarify?

        Yes, most people in Crimea are ethnic Russian due to massive population transfer. But they might be happier in Sochi or somewhere else on Russia’s Gold Coast.

        Melitopol was founded by Ukrainian Cossacks and has long been a majority Ukrainian region. I suspect you are thinking more of Mariupol and other regions in Donetsk Oblast. Perhaps you are speaking of the several ethnic Greeks that were killed or wounded by Ukrainian troops near the Donetsk line of contact in 2022? Or projection maybe – you might be mixing up Putin’s fascists in DPR/LPR who kidnapped, tortured or murdered anyone who dared to fly a Blue and Yellow flag or not proclaim eternal love for Mother Russia?

        And yes, let’s talk about the Holomodor. Galicia and Polish controlled Volhynia never experienced the famine and the Stalinist purges of the 1930s. Eastern Volhynia, controlled by the Soviets, experienced those Kremlin-made famines created by the seizure of harvests and even the next season’s seed corn. Many Ukrainian and Polish farmers in Eastern Volhynia during that time were shipped to the Gulags where they died. There were many 19th Century famines in Volhynia when controlled by the Tsars, and in Galicia when controlled by the Hapsburgs. There were half a million deaths. That is when many of the Ukrainians who now live in Canada and the northern tier of US States immigrated.

  6. English Outsider says:

    Bill – our host has given us a good run for our money and maybe it’ll be possible to look more closely at the question of split loyalties in the Donbass at a later date. All I’d say here is that for those who do see this conflict as a matter of restraining Russian aggression or expansionism (I don’t, I’m afraid!) this is not the way to do it.

    And I’d like again to stress that the many American analysts and commentators who visit this subject are often seriously in error in underplaying or neglecting the European dimension. History matters, as your comment above eloquently demonstrates; and to some Russians and to very many in the Donbass it’s not Biden riding the White Tiger. It’s Scholz.

    Alberta Bluegrass. Hadn’t known of it before. Thanks for the link. Have to confess, I’m hooked past hope of redemption on Kentucky Bluegrass. It’s an uninformed addiction so if you have any early examples of the genre …

    • Leith says:

      EO – You can’t go wrong with Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys. They brought it out of the Kentucky hill farmsteads into nation wide attention.

    • Billy Roche says:

      Much of American country music was brought to Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky by Scotch/Irish indentured servants and later immigrants. Wild people, they took their music with them from the Highlands and Ulster (see “Charlie and his tormentor Oliver” for context). The NYS Adirondacks also offer a bit of early American music if you know where to look. A fiddle, guitar, and hand drum can be packed easily and w/a spot of whiskey (its poured freely over the strings) provide all the music you need. Listen very closely and you will hear some classical themes. The sometimes mournful sometimes frenetic music can be found in Bill Munroe, Flatt and Scruggs, Jerry Reed and others. But no need for you to buy American folk and bluegrass to hear it. You can still find Celtic soul in many a pub in Ireland. Hmmf, and after all these years the Irish are still singing about English oppression when it was those damned Normans all along!

      • Sam says:


        Let’s not discount the music brought by the African diaspora to the New World. Much of contemporary American music has been influenced by them.

        • Fourth and Long says:

          I’ll second that. I lost my Smithsonian recordings of ancient black banjo frailing on gourd banjos played by men who had been slaves, and haven’t been able to find them on YouTube or the net. It was so good I haven’t words to describe it. They did a fantastic rendition of Ol’ Dan Tucker and they had a dirge Old Cow Dead, I used to remember the name of one of the musicians but no longer do. The copy I had used the same pic as your first link for its album cover art, but that’s not the recording. Probably political correctness has removed it from the web but I don’t know.

          Meanwhile let’s hear it for some other real American country musician – Loretta Lynn, who I am almost certain is largely Native American in heritage. Her wiki page says her family claimed Cherokee extraction in part. I didn’t know that, it’s just a very strong intuition based on years of close association with some of those people.

          Loretta Lynn – You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take my Man.

  7. English Outsider says:

    The Foggy Mountain Boys I recollect from some time ago on the Colonel’s site. That fiddler, Paul Warren, is a virtuoso in anybody’s book. The others I had not met before and was very happy to do so. Thanks to all for introducing me.

    SWMBO was, I should say, ambivalent about the Loretta Lynn. There was a feeling around that the man also had some choice in the matter and hell to pay if he chose wrong.

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