Russian and Ukrainian strategic targeting

Ukrainian Su-24M armed with Storm Shadow cruise missile

From Tom Cooper on 28 July 2023:

Finally, something based on ‘lots of deduction’, and over which there is a big question mark… and then something I guess is going to be taken as ‘bad news’ by many. The latest big Russian missile strike on Ukraine – the one of Wednesday, 26 July – should’ve included about: 36 Kh-101/555 cruise missiles from 8 Tu-95s, 4 Kalibrs from warships in the Black sea, and 4 Kinzhal air-launched quasi-ballistic missiles. The PSU claimed as shot down: 3 Kalibrs, and 33 Kh-101/Kh-555s. 

However…. it seems that the mass of missiles in question were deployed to distract the PSU’s ground-based air defences from the actual target of this attack: Starokostyantyiv AB, in the Khmelnytskyy Oblast. Worst of all, and because it’s outside the ‘air defence bulb’ covering Kyiv, it seems this base was actually hit by up to four Kinzhals.

Starokostyantyiv AB is the home-base of the 7th Aviation Brigade, PSU: the unit operating Su-24Ms modified to deploy Storm Shadow and SCALP-EG cruise missiles.

Now, yesterday, the PSU spokesperson, Yurii Ihnat, confirmed that Starokostyantyiv AB was hit, but wouldn’t reveal any details. Nobody else in Ukraine would say anything more. But, from the way everybody is refusing to comment….well, my impression is that this Russian strike did cause ‘major damage’. If nothing else: there are no indications that the PSU has flown any additional Storm Shadow/SCALP-EG-strikes over the last two days.

Sure, different Russian HQs and supply depots in southern Zaporizhzhya and southern Donetsk have been hit the last two days, plus one in Shakhtarsk (east of Donetsk), the last night; but – as far as is known – all of them by M142 HIMARS and M270 MRLS.

You can see from the picture that the strike was quite precise, hitting the the steel structure next to the supporting hill at the northern end of the bridge. “Thank you sir. May I have another?”

And on 30 July 2023, he reported:

Gauging by reports from the Russia-occupied Crimea, the PSU’s Su-24-force has survived the 4-Kinzhal-strike on its homebase in Starokostyantyiv of 26 July. Yesterday, it flew a multi-aircraft strike on the Armiansk and Chongar Road bridges, connecting the Crimea with the mainland Ukraine. Reportedly, both were hit. Precise extent of damage remains unclear, but social-media reports are indicating six hits on the Chongar bridge and interruption of the road traffic on both roadways. If Ukrainians deployed six Storm Shadows against it alone, that would require at least three Su-24Ms. The Syvash Railway Bridge (next to the Chongar Bridge) was not attacked.

Comment: This Russian air attack was well conceived and well planned. Knocking out Ukraine’s Su-24Ms should be a priority. This is the type of attack they should be doing often until it achieves the desired effect. Why they don’t do so is a mystery. Knocking out the HIMARS should also be a priority, but that’s proved to be tough. It still deserves a concerted effort. The Russians may not be stupid, but they sure seem to half-assing it on a regular basis.

Russian war bloggers were silent on the bridge strike. Up until now, they could be counted on blab about such things whether they were successful or not. This time it was silence until the local Quisling announced the bridges were attacked by a total of 12 Storm Shadows and the above photo showed up on Telegram today. Ukraine doesn’t need this coverage. They know what attacked the bridge and how effective it was. But now average Russians, along with us armchair generals, know the Kinzhals did not stop the Storm Shadows and another critical bridge was struck.

Interdiction of the rail bridge linking Dzankhoi to Melitipol via Syvash-Chongar serves the same strategic goal of interdicting the Kerch railroad bridge. The difference lies in the greater vulnerability of the Syvash-Chongar bridge to Storm Shadows. Russian logistics are right royally screwed if either of those bridges are impassable for any length of time. Now we’ll see if the Ukrainians hit it again if it is repaired quickly, although the damage looks like it might take a couple of weeks to repair.


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98 Responses to Russian and Ukrainian strategic targeting

  1. Fred says:

    “until the local Quislings…”

    Since people posting on social media are now fair game, i.e. Quislings, are the people operating power plants inside areas controlled by Russia considered quislings and subject to being shot? Just curious as to why all those power stations are still working. It would sure put a crimp in safe spent fuel storage and create a possible radioativity problem, but ……

    That damage in the photo – how long a repair job is that for a combat engineering team, 8 hours? Less?

    Why are the vaunted Spetsnaz Brigades still being used as line infantry? Seems idiotic if they are supposed to be elite comandos. Instead of finding a black swan maybe they could try for a Goose Green? Speaking of attacking air fields, 44 cruise missles with a success rate of 25% on target seems pretty cheap if it actually managed to inflict serious damage. How many airfields have the Ukrainians knocked out?

    Also, what’s the prisoner count from that alledged surrender of that Russian airborne regiment that gave up three days ago? Where might those POW camps be? Surprising none of those photos seem to appear anywhere.

    • TTG says:


      Saldo spilled the beans about the attack on the bridges. He is the Russian appointed head of the civil-military administration of Kherson. He’s already under indictment by Kyiv for treason. He is a Quisling.

      If the bridge damage is in the solid ground just north of the bridge, it can be fixed in a day. However, if it’s into the concrete abutments, which it appears to be, it will probably take weeks.

      I’ve seen only one short video story on a Ukrainian POW camp in western Ukraine. It was what a POW camp should look like. Russian POWs were cooking some of the meals.

      • walrus says:

        TTG, I strongly recommend that you back off the “Quisling” stuff right now because these arguments over who is this or that are going to spill over into the West real quick unless the FBI and similar get on top of it and I’m not going to be associated with anyone or any website advocating, condoning or supporting murder anywhere. Not. only is it wrong, it’s illegal.

        We have had thirty plus years of members of the Croatian and Serb,, Armenian and Turkish immigrant communities killing each other here over old scores in their homelands. Surely you must know that one man’s traitor is another’s freedom fighter. Do not enter in to these fights.

        • TTG says:


          Saldo, the Russian appointed head of the Kherson civil-military administration is a textbook example of a Quisling. The dumb schmuck who called in the S-300 strike on the Kramatorsk pizza restaurant is a run of the mill spy rather than a quisling. Both that dumb bastard and Saldo will most likely be tried for treason, although Saldo will most likely leave with the Russians. I don’t know if Ukraine has the death sentence for such crimes. I’m sure they’re both considered heroes in Moscow.

          It is the government sponsored Russian media that calls for the eradication and wholesale murder of Ukrainians on a near nightly basis. Don’t worry. I’ll never condone that crap.

          • Fred says:


            six or seven months ago you were calling police officers and small town mayors quislings for staying on the job once the Russians moved in. That was after some Ukrainians of one type or another had shot a couple of them. That’s why I keep asking about all those other people who aren’t walking off their jobs because the Russian army is there.


            “Bloody Kansas” and that great creation of the Democratic Party – the KKK. They did plenty of that here both before and after the late unpleasantness. That’s also why the left wishes to tear down statues, like those of R.E.Lee. Only the approved historical narrative can stand.

      • Yeah, Right says:

        TTG: “If the bridge damage is in the solid ground just north of the bridge, it can be fixed in a day. However, if it’s into the concrete abutments, which it appears to be, it will probably take weeks.”

        Here is a pre-war photo that appears to be taken from exactly the same spot:

        Looks to me like the photographer in both cases were standing on solid ground, as is the railway tracks.

        This satellite photo appears to show where the bomb hit:

        Again, looks to me to be solid ground.

        A couple of days, certainly less than a week, and the trains will be running again.

  2. leith says:

    “Why they don’t do so is a mystery.”

    There is no mystery. Putin has been trying to break the will of Ukrainian citizens by terrorizing their cities with those missiles and UAVs that would have been better served against Starokostyantyiv AB or other military targets.

    • English Outsider says:

      Leith – some UK Intelligence Services are based in or close to the centres of major cities. In a city in my region we have a large barracks cheek by jowl with civilian infrastructure.

      As far as I know we don’t keep tanks and other military equipment mixed up with civilian areas but if we did, they’d be military targets nonetheless.

      During the London Blitz a good deal of damage was caused by our own AD based in the major cities.

      Both in Russia and in Ukraine railways are used for military purposes. In either case I’d guess logistics would be very difficult without railways. Knocking out their power supply is more effective that direct attacks on the lines themselves, which are relatively easy to repair.

      As far as I know there is no Russian equivalent to the Ukrainian practice of deliberately shelling civilian areas with the intention of harming civilians only. There is certainly no equivalent for what we saw and still see in the Donbass, bombing and shelling their own citizens in an attempt to scare them into submission.

      I fancy if we’d tried that in Northern Ireland during the Troubles we would, rightly, have been internationally regarded as terrorists ourselves. Worth remembering that the Ukrainians did that to their own citizens for eight years and no word of criticism from the West.

      On atrocities in war generally, Macgregor’s position on that is one I think I agree with. He was taxed with atrocities in Vietnam and asserted that yes, they did happen, but they were certainly not atrocities directed or allowed by instructions from the top.

      That also applies to British or Australian atrocities in Afghanistan. Some seem to have occurred and were court-martialled. That itself indicates no complicity at the top, nor even a climate of opinion in the Armed Forces that atrocities were permissible.

      In the Ukrainian case it’s not so much that the Ukrainians committed atrocities. It’s that they were encouraged in public broadcasts that would not have been made had they not been in line with opinion at the top. And I know of no equivalent to the Kurilets video that went viral not that long back.

      On the photo at the top of TTG’s article here, I’ve no patience with the Russian claim that attacks such as these are “terrorist” attacks. Looks like a legitimate if ineffectual act of war to me. I believe the distinction must be made and adhered to, that military actions intended to achieve a military purpose are permissible but those intended to harm civilians are not.

      We cannot claim that distributing petal mines in residential areas in Donetsk has any specifically military purpose and I would be equally disapproving were the Russians to distribute them in Kiev.

      • TTG says:


        “As far as I know there is no Russian equivalent to the Ukrainian practice of deliberately shelling civilian areas with the intention of harming civilians only.”

        My friend, it takes an extraordinary level of willful ignorance to make or believe such a statement. Russia has been hitting purely civilian targets of no military significance for a year and a half. Their targeting of military and economic targets are part of war, but they have hit so many purely civilian targets that it could only be part of a deliberate strategy.

        • James says:


          With respect – what counts as a “purely civilian target”? A pizza restaurant filled with US soldiers?

          You may remember that the western press reported this as an attack on a purely civilian target.

          • TTG says:


            Civilian apartment complexes, civilian hospitals, even military hospitals are supposed to be off limits to deliberate targeting. The pizza restaurant in Kramatorsk wasn’t filled with US soldiers. If it was, they would be among the casualties. Instead children, teens, and foreign journalists are among the casualties. Foreign trainers and aid workers surely frequented the restaurant, but those in uniform were aiding the injured. The quisling that did the targeting for this strike, and was subsequently arrested, didn’t appear to know his ass from a hole in the ground. Couldn’t he find where those trainers were living or training?

          • James says:


            This injured guy in the black t-shirt lying on the ground is clearly US military:

            I’m sure if Russia had sent Spetsnaz to Afghanistan to help the Taliban plan and execute attacks on US forces the US would have been careful to never carry out any strikes against those Spetsnaz.

          • TTG says:


            What makes that guy clearly US military other than your wishful thinking. The guy offering him aid does sound American.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            TTG: “Civilian apartment complexes, civilian hospitals, even military hospitals are supposed to be off limits to deliberate targeting”

            I do not agree with that claim.

            A building is a building is a building is a building. What matters from a military perspective is what purpose those buildings are being put to.

            An example: here in Australia there was a brand-new University being completed in Brisbane when the Pacific War erupted. General McArthur took it over as his HQ.

            Is a University an off-limits non-military target?

            Yes, when it is being used as a University.
            No, not when it houses the military HQ of the supreme commander of an Area Command.

          • TTG says:

            Yeah, Right,

            A military HQ, no matter where it’s located, is a legitimate target. Apartment towers, occupied by civilians, are not legitimate targets. And the Russians have hit quite a few of them. Whether it’s done deliberately or out of an inability to accurately hit an intended target is an open question.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            Whenever I watch any police procedural on TV they stress that you start your investigation by considering Money and Motive.

            I think we can all agree that precision guided missiles are expensive things, and according to the Western media the Russians are constantly running low on the damn things.

            So not something to be thrown around willy-nilly.

            So that’s the money-side of things, which then leads to questions of Motive.

            According to TTG the Russian motive for flinging an expensive precision guided missile at this pizza joint was …. what, exactly? That the Russians detest Ukrainian pizza-eating habits?

            According to James the Russian motive for flinging an expensive precision guided missile at this pizza joint was that they knew it was full of mercenaries, and the Russians hate mercenaries.

            So unless I have mischaracterized TTG’s thought process – and, please, correct me if I have – then I’m gonna have to say that James’ explanation is by far the better one.

          • TTG says:

            Yeah, Right,

            The Russians thought the pizza joint was full of mercenaries based on the report of their spy in Kramatorsk. The post strike videos, the casualties and accounts show otherwise.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            TTG: “Apartment towers, occupied by civilians, are not legitimate targets. ”

            When the Russians claim that they deliberately targeted an apartment tower they insist that those apartment towers were being used to house conscripts and mercenaries.

            It does happen that apartment building are turned into barracks. The French barracks in Beirut in 1983 is an example.

            Your argument insists that the Russians are using very expensive precision missiles to attack civilian targets because….. ????

            I’m genuining puzzled at how you can square that notion with the corresponding claim by western media that Russia is constantly at the edge of running out of such precision missiles.

            Care to comment?

          • TTG says:

            Yeah, Right,

            The casualties in these apartment tower strikes are predominantly women, children and families, not military age men. Why are the Russians hitting these apartment towers instead of more worthwhile military or infrastructure targets? Beats me. Maybe they just can’t do any better. Maybe they truly believe that all Ukrainians must be exterminated.

            Are the Russians running low on these missiles. Not near as quickly as often claimed by Western media. But they never seem to have enough to launch a truly massive attack that can overwhelm the air defenses or launch sustained attacks that can really make a difference.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            TTG: “The casualties in these apartment tower strikes are predominantly women, children and families, not military age men.”

            No, that is the UKRAINIAN claim.
            The RUSSIANS claim otherwise.

            Your bias leads you to take the Ukrainian claim as being self-evidently true, and the Russian claim to be self-evident lies.

            But accusations are not facts, any more than exculpations of innocence are facts.

            TTG: “But they never seem to have enough to launch a truly massive attack that can overwhelm the air defenses or launch sustained attacks that can really make a difference.”

            Again, that opinion requires you to know what the Russians are intending with these attacks, which you do not know for a fact.

            That you form this opinion really only tells us that you have a mindset of how a western military power would go about this – Shock and Awe And All That!!! – and you explanation for why the Russians don’t do that is because they can’t.

            The alternative is that they don’t do that because they don’t want to do that.

            That perhaps, just perhaps, they don’t agree with the Western Way Of Waging War and intend to do thing differently.

          • TTG says:

            Yeah, Right,

            Watch the videos. They show the casualties.

            For the Russians being so far unable to use their missile force to interdict the weapons and ammo flowing across the Polish border, are you saying they have have no interest in interdicting that flow or that they haven’t been able to put 2 and 2 together yet and figure out that interdiction of that flow would defeat the Ukrainian military? The Russian way of waging war ’tis a puzzlement.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            TTG: “The Russian way of waging war ’tis a puzzlement.”

            Until they win.

          • TTG says:

            Yeah, Right,

            We’ll see. Their high water mark was in March 2022.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            We will indeed.

            TTG: “Their high water mark was in March”

            I’m thinking that once they see off this counter-offensive they will be turning their gaze towards Odessa.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            “For the Russians being so far unable to use their missile force to interdict the weapons and ammo flowing across the Polish border,”

            In the words of Squadron Leader Dick Cresswell when an ignorant staff officer asked why his fighter squadron was still not in Port Morsby: “With all due respect, Sir, consult a map”.

            The Ukraine/Poland border is a loooooooong way from where the Russian forces are, and even with a supersonic missile they are not going to be able to hit an ex-Polish self-propelled gun as it rubbles over that border.

            The Russians wait until those weapons get moved to a warehouse, and then they hit that warehouse.

            They’ve done so often, and both you and I have seen the videos.

          • TTG says:

            Yeah, Right,

            Russia is unable to stop the trains across the entire width of Ukraine. If their strategy is to wait until the weapons and ammo are in warehouses closer to the front, they’ve picked a failing strategy. The bulk of the weapons reach the front line units and the bulk of the ammo is expended against Russian targets.

          • wiz says:


            Ukrainians are using a lot of civilian trucks to transport equipment and ammo.
            Ukraine is a very big country with lots of roads and rail and I doubt even the US would be able to stop all that traffic if the roles were reversed.
            Not with all the AD, Ukraine has.

          • TTG says:


            Very true about Ukrainian air defense. They have managed to deny the Russian Aerospace Forces access to the road and rail LOCs for a year and a half. The question is whether our Air Force could successfully degrade the Russian air defense network and gain unfettered access to the Russian rail network. I have my doubts.

        • billy roche says:

          IMHO the key words are “will full ignorance.”

      • leith says:

        EO –

        Donets’k still stands as a beautiful city even today after nine years of being within easy range of Kyivan artillery and rockets.

        Compare that to the total destruction of Bakhmut, Sievierodonetsk and Mariupol residential areas by Muscovite artillery and missile forces. Compare it to the near devastation of Kharkiv by artillery and missiles including thousands of cluster bombs with tens of thousands of cluster bomblets as verified by both the UN and Human Rights Watch.

        I have no problem with attacks on railroads. Definitely NOT a war crime to target them. Ukraine does the same. And we did it to Hitler.

        Adrianna Kurilets’ video was clairvoyant. As she predicted there are tens of thousands of Putin’s poor dead soldiers that are now rotting corpses in the battlefields of Ukraine. Being eaten by wild animals and feral dogs. Her video act as an earth goddess using a sickle to fake slit the throat of an actor portraying a Russian occupier was child’s play compared to the video of an actual decapitation of Ukrainian POW Serhii Potoki by Wagnerites in Bakhmut last summer – or the video of an actual castration of a Ukrainian POW by Putin’s ISIS-like Akmat Battalion near Lysychansk – or the castrations of two Ukrainian POWs while in Russian captivity. Meanwhile Adrianna has received threats of rape and murder. Not only by Russian troops annoyed by her video, but also by the Kremlin controlled media. Russian TV talking heads have also been threatening to murder every man, woman and child in Ukraine.

        • English Outsider says:

          Leith – yes, that looks pretty bad. I’ve seen some of it debunked but is the debunking genuine? So shan’t dispute and don’t know that I could.

          But in any case, and whether we know about them for certain or not, there are bound to be atrocities both sides. The Azov crowd regard the people of Eastern Ukraine as Untermenschen and hate them like poison. The feeling is now mutual. The reason is indisputable. They committed atrocity after atrocity after they were deployed in the ATO.

          Backup for that is now tumbling out and more will come. And they increased their reach enormously after 2014.

          That’s what I got wrong after around 2017. I thought the Azov crowd had been localised in Mariupol and on the LoC and C14 and the rest of them marginalised. Not so. The extremists penetrated every corner of the administration, in particular the military and education. With our help. There’s chapter and verse on that.

          If you look at this list you’ll see that many of the OUN monuments were erected quite recently. The takeover by the extremists is still going on with the latest language law rules. These are not proxies we should be having anything to do with.

          • billy roche says:

            Still carrying Putin’s water re those damned Azov Nazis? You mention language law rules. Which are those? The ones that forbid speaking/writing Ukrainian? They don’t exist any longer in Ukraine. Or perhaps you meant the rules forbidding Gailic spoken and written in Ireland? They don’t exist any longer in Ireland. But to rtn to the basic situation, Russia invaded Ukraine to rtn it to the status of a Russian colony. Period. All the rest , Nazis, Minsk, The Maiden, Nuland, 2014, are noise to help those who choose to ignore history some footing. There are those who still support Russian Empire. I am not one of them.

        • leith says:

          English –

          The Azov crowd is from Eastern Ukraine. Most of the unit’s members are Russian speakers from Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine. Did they commit atrocities? Most probably they did early on when they were a paramilitary militia. Since then they have been included as part of the Ukrainian military and are now subject to prosecution if they commit war crimes – same as the US or Brit military would be.

          Regarding your youtube link, Brayard seems sincere. But he makes a few statements that are pure word-for-word copies of official Kremlin propaganda. For example: “The Ukrainian president announced that Donbas would be razed to the ground and that after the war the region would be a real desert”. That is an outright lie. No current or past Ukrainian president has ever said those words or anything like them. That lie comes direct from Putin’s firehose of falsities. Brayard it seems was turned, and is now one of the FSBs ‘useful eejits’. Although in a way, he is farsighted. He has the correct outcome of the Donbas but the wrong guilty party. Russian artillery and missiles will eventually rubble-ize the entire Donbas just like they did to Bhakmut, Mariupol and Sievierodonetsk and turn it into ashes.

          Regarding the OUN monuments: The paramilitary arm of the OUN, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) during WW2 fought against both Hitler’s Nazis and Stalin’s Communists. Putin is trying to rewrite history and delete the part where UPA partisans attacked small German outposts and retreating rear guard units. After having suffered the starvation of the Holodomor caused by Stalin’s 1929 Five Year Plan and suffering under the jackboots of Hitler’s SS, why wouldn’t Ukraine honor those who fought against both Communists and Nazis. I would have. I’ll bet you would have also.

          • English Outsider says:

            Leith – I think the central problem is one of fact. Most in the UK, probably in the US too, believe the Donbass is lived in by Ukrainians loyal to Kiev who are now suffering under unwanted and oppressive Russian occupation.

            It’s be a lot simpler if that were so. But most are relieved to be in safety again after some very troubled years.

            I wish I could go with you on the OUN. Makes no odds now whether they were fighting Germans or Russians. But they were the workforce of the Holocaust and I do not believe those monuments should stand.

          • leith says:

            English O –

            The Hilfswillige AKA Hiwis and the Schutzmannschaft AKA local auxiliary police were the workforce of the Holocaust. And they came from Russia, Belarus, the Baltics and elsewhere as well as from Ukraine.

            Not the OUN nor the UPA.

            Collaborators and militant anti-semites were not unique to Ukraine. Even merry old England has a few.

          • billy roche says:

            Who were the work force of the Holodomore? Were they Russians, Russian Jews (Bolsheviks), Russian soldiers, Ukrainian collaborators? Yes, they were. What a surprise. Many Ukrainians remembered who they were and held a grudge. Some who remembered even put on SS Uniforms and tried to kill communists. I can’t be sure, but if I lived in Kiev in those days (and had the courage) I might have put on a Nazi uniform. Many Lits, Lats, Stones, Finns, Czechs, and Armenians did so I am not so quick to criticize all who followed Stephen Bandera. Every time I think I know something about history I learn there is an earlier story. If I was born in Ukraine in 1900 and died there in 2000 I might understand the sweep of the twentieth century through Ukrainian eyes. That’s something no correspondent herein can do.

          • TTG says:

            billy roche,

            An interesting historical point is that the Lithuanians resisted German demands to form an SS legion throughout the war. In 1944 they agreed to form a unit to fight the Russians, allowed the Germans to arm and equip a force and then that force promptly took to the forests to form the basis of the Lithuanian Freedom Army. That’s not to say there weren’t Lithuanians who collaborated with the Nazis.

  3. Christian J Chuba says:

    “Why they don’t do so is a mystery.”
    This is an artifact of Western MSM reporting. When have you ever heard CNN say Russia bombed a military target? Never. It’s always apt buildings, schools, hospitals, and civilian infrastructure. The reporting reminds me of Syria, the mad barrel bomber, Assad was constantly accused of blowing up bakeries, hospitals, and schools.

    Now I will admit that Russia did bomb Ukraine’s power grid and railroads at the start of this year but never at the total exclusion of pure military targets. I do not defend that campaign. Those items peripherally degrade the UA military but primarily impact civilians. A campaign like that cannot be justified unless it is immediately followed up by a war ending ground attack but that was not the case here.

    • TTG says:

      Christian J Chuba,

      Power grids and railroads are legitimate targets. Focusing on a long term strategy to knock out the power grid and railroads would have been a brilliant strategy for Russia. Either they don’t have the capability to conduct such a sustained strategy or their war planners are astoundingly short sighted and/or stupid.

      The Russian logistics system is wholly dependent on railroads and railhead supply points. They are obvious targets and the Ukrainians have taken advantage of that weakness.

      • Fred says:


        If a missile or drone is damaged in flight or its guidance system jammed where do they land?

        • TTG says:


          Those missiles or drones could land anywhere, but they certainly don’t automatically home in on the nearest apartment complex or hospital if they are damaged or jammed.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            A classic example of observational bias.

            I don’t expect to ever read a NY Times article that contains this headline: “Urkaine intercepts Russian missile, falls in open farmland”

            The *only* time the fate of a damaged or jammed missile is going to be reported in any media is when that fate is noteworthy e.g. it lands on someone’s head.

            All the other times that fate is unnewsworthy, and will therefore go unreported.

            It’s like those stories about someone’s pet dog who walks halfway across America to reunite with its owners.

            Newsworthy, yeah, but not an indication that all lost dogs find their way back home.

            They don’t, but the 10k’s of lost dogs who end up in the pound every years are never reported.

          • TTG says:

            Yeah, Right,

            I’ve seen stories about air defense missiles damaging buildings and debris from Russian missiles falling on buildings. I’ve also read stories about Russian missiles recovered in fields either after having been damaged or having malfunctioned. But you’re right, there’s a lot we don’t hear about.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            So I’m seeing some shifting narrative here:

            TTG(earlier): “Those missiles or drones could land anywhere, but they certainly don’t automatically home in on the nearest apartment complex or hospital if they are damaged or jammed.”

            TTG(now): “I’ve seen stories about air defense missiles damaging buildings and debris from Russian missiles falling on buildings. I’ve also read stories about Russian missiles recovered in fields either after having been damaged or having malfunctioned.”

            I don’t quite understand how you can square those two posts, because to my mind they contain mutually-exclusive arguments.

          • TTG says:

            Yeah, Right,

            What’s so difficult to understand? Nothing is contradictory. All those things can and do happen, except for missiles automatically homing in on the nearest apartment complex or hospital if they are damaged or jammed. They’re either aiming for those apartment towers or using the “precision” missiles as area weapons like mortar rounds.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            TTG: “They’re either aiming for those apartment towers or using the “precision” missiles as area weapons like mortar rounds.”

            Again with the observational bias.

            IF Russian missiles are jammed or damaged
            THEN they will vear off-course
            AND where they hit will be unpredictable
            BUT the only hits that will make it into a news-headline
            IS WHEN they veer off-course and hit a building
            BECAUSE All The Other Times They Veer Off Course And Don’t Hit Anything Doesn’t Make A News Headline.

            That seems obvious to me to the point of being unarguable, yet you have taken that and come to the conclusion that the Russians deliberately send their missiles into apartment buildings.

    • billy roche says:

      Is Putin doing anything worse than Lincoln did in approving Sherman’s March to the sea. Destroying the civilian support for the troops destroys the troops. Lincoln and Putin are not alone in this approach to killing. History is filled w/such cretins.

      • leith says:

        “Is Putin doing anything worse than Lincoln did in approving Sherman’s March to the sea. “

        Putin attacks on Ukrainian RRs and stealing Ukrainian grain and other agricultural commodities would be no worse that what Lincoln approved for Sherman.

        But ransacking plantations and destroying railbeds to deny resupply to Jeff Davis’s Armies is not even close to targeting highly populated civilian residential districts with massed missile and artillery fire, or attacking hospitals, schools and theaters. Even the burning of Atlanta was not started by Sherman’s troops. Were there some atrocities? Of course, but no deliberate policy of such by either Sherman or Lincoln.

        • Stefan says:

          The allied forces did some of this in Germany during WW2. The firebombing of Dresden? Dresden was a city full of civilians and wounded troops. Tens of thousands, at the minimum, were killed. Germany and allied forces regularly attacked purely civilian targets. I am not defending Putin, just pointing out that this is hardly a new practice in European warfare. Heaven help any city that is on the receiving end of anything close to what the allies did to the civilians and wounded of Dresden. I suspect you’ll see more of this in the coming weeks and months. War, especially ethnically related warfare in eastern Europe, has a particularly bloody history.

          • TTG says:


            Don’t forget the firebombing of Tokyo. At least Curtis LeMay had the self awareness to say, “If we lose the war, we’ll be tried as war criminals.”

          • leith says:

            The bombing of Hamburg during Opertion Gomorrah was much worse than Dresden. Air Marshall Arthur “Bomber” Harris took over RAF Bomber Command in early 1942 and decided that German factories or ports or railyards were too difficult to hit accurately and it was easier to area bomb the houses of the workers. The US Eighth Air Force went along with it.

            Hopefully we are well beyond that now with precision-guided munitions available i NATO. The Russian Air Force seems to have trouble with PGMs. Perhaps because of GLONASS their GPS-like navigation system; or perhaps their MIC is having trouble with miniaturization? Ditto for Russian artillery an rocket forces.

          • billy roche says:

            Just finished reading the History of Tudor England in Ireland (a lovely bedtime story of Henry and Elizabeth). The English/Normans began their bloody march to Empire in Ireland (ok a case c/b made for Wales) and it was blood, blood, and more blood. In fact, the English/Normans were just as bloody as the Spanish in the Canaries. Ultimately violence solves most quarrels and has no geographic bounds.

        • billy roche says:

          You make small of Sherman’s fire and Lincoln and Grant’s foreknowledge and permission. Of course Lincoln approved Sherman’s campaign. It was deliberate Union policy.

          • TTG says:

            Lincoln and Grant had misgivings about the plan, but Grant eventually told Sherman, “Go as you proposed.”

            I think the riskiest part of the plan was to leave Thomas with nothing but the sick, lame and lazy to take on Hood’s army. Luckily, Thomas was a master at organization and logistics.

          • billy roche says:

            TTG: Lincoln and Grant had misgivings over whether the destruction of the south from Georgia to Virginia would be effective. They voiced no powerful humanitarian concerns about Sherman’s campaign. A little research on Lincoln will prove (surprised me) that he was no choir boy. The world knows Grant was a great soldier.

          • Fred says:


            ” leave Thomas with nothing but the sick, lame and lazy to take on Hood’s army,…”

            That’s a rather poor assessment of the 50,000+ men Thomas commanded.

          • TTG says:


            Sure, a bit of an exaggeration, but Thomas had to build his army into what would decisively destroy Hood’s army at Nashville.

        • wiz says:


          Russia has plenty of firepower to cause massive civilian casualties if it wanted to. I’ve seen no evidence that either side is engaged in deliberate campaign of targeting civilians on a massive scale.

          It is well known that emptied big buildings, near the front line, like schools are used by both sides to house troops and gear.

          How many of the hundreds of schools, hospitals and theaters in Kiev, Dnipro, Odessa and other important urban centers, away from the front line, have been destroyed ?

          • leith says:

            @Wiz – “I’ve seen no evidence that either side is engaged in deliberate campaign of targeting civilians on a massive scale.”

            Tell that to English Outsider. He seems to think Ukraine has been doing it to their own citizens for the last nine years.

            I admit – I don’t know if the Russian artillery and missile attacks on Ukrainian civilian apartment complexes, hospitals and schools are deliberate? What was that old quote that Colonel Lang gave us as advice? Something about [never attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetence], or words to that affect? Many Russian Army artillery tubes have worn out and are nowhere near accurate. They appear to be using stocks of old artillery shells and rockets. Their artillery FOs have not been properly trained. Russian electronic and electro-optic guidance systems are not current generation. Their missile guidance systems resistance to jamming is suspect. Their SatNav system, GLONASS, is accurate in the arctic but not so much in Ukraine’s latitudes. So accuracy of their missiles is not good with the exception of later model Iskanders, which use both GPS and GLONASS plus optical terrain matching. And perhaps the Navy’s Oniks cruise missile.

            But worst of all is their poor target intelligence: bad mapping like the US when we bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade; poor overhead IMINT; and craptastic on-the-ground GRU agents like the guy that called in the Kramatorsk Pizzeria as a Ukrainian Army command post.

  4. Christian J Chuba says:

    ‘knocking out HIMARs’

    I’m certain that is a priority but saying those are difficult targets is an understatement. The combination of range and mobility makes them good weapons. A range of 300 km vs 30 km for standard artillery gives them lots of hiding places and they can move immediately after firing. Did we take out ANY SCUD missile trucks in Gulf war 1?

    How would you find and destroy HIMARs?

    The only thing I can think of is using long range drones on roads most likely to be used and target any large truck. HIMAR rockets do have a predictable flight path, that provides the point of origin and infrared could detect the launch site. But that only gives you where they were. It does provide a starting point if you have good drones.

    • TTG says:

      Christian J Chuba,

      HIMARS are difficult targets. Luckily, the Ukrainians knew they’d be high priority targets and responded accordingly. Every video I’ve seen has shown dedicated airguards and MANPADS with every HIMARS launcher. Airguards were once SOP for every moving vehicle and small unit. We better be teaching that in our service schools again and training in small arms defense against air threats. That was also once SOP.

    • leith says:

      CJC –

      More like 90km for HIMARS unless they are using ATACMS, which AFAIK has not yet been provided. But maybe it will be soon.

  5. babelthuap says:

    Nobody is winning with high dollar HIMARS and ATACMS. We had all that in Afghanistan. Still lost. I don’t know what doctrine the US is following these days, I’ve been retired since 14′ but whatever it is isn’t about winning that’s for damn sure. I just hope the printing press doesn’t break before I retire but the path we are on it likely will.

  6. jld says:

    A self-proclaimed expert explaining the stalemate in Ukraine.

  7. Jake says:

    None of us has first hand knowledge of who is targeting what, or why. But the very fact that Russia is accused of bringing children to safety does tell us a lot about their intentions. Well ahead of Ukraine’s Spring Offensive, which took off this summer, they evacuated the entire region. They did the same thing before they left Kherson. But civilian buildings have been used by Ukraine from ‘day one’ to hide behind, and as launching pad, while they used schools and hospitals as barracks. No lack of proof for these observations.

    Civilian buildings converted to hideaways, barracks and launching pads become legitimate targets. Remaining civilians may be hurt. Moreover, incoming missiles and drones may be hit in terminal flight, swerve from their intended flightpath, and hit a civilian building. And last, but certainly not least, missiles and projectiles fired at incoming missiles and drones may miss their target, or be misdirected by failing equipment, or electronic warfare.

    But the recent attacks on Moscow do not serve any purpose other than to terrorize the civilian population. Eight years of strikes on the Donbas region from 2015 till the start of the SMO, killing 14.000 people did not serve any military purpose either. Nor did these ‘hit and run’ strikes, by ‘Russian Dissidents’, a soccer hooligan and ‘Free Fight’ manager with a clothing brand and a club in Kiev, and his fanclub.

    • TTG says:


      We may not have visibility into the target planning, but we do have visibility of targets struck. The Russians are striking far more apartment buildings resulting in civilian casualties than the Ukrainians by a wide margin. Ukrainian long range weapons are hitting ammo supply points, military headquarters, POL facilities and bridges. Artillery and battlefield drones on both sides are mostly hitting military targets.

      You should look closer at that 14,000 figure. Over 11,500 of those KIAs are Ukrainian, Russian and LNR/DNR combatant casualties. The civilian casualties affected both sides. The civilian casualties in those 8 years (mostly in 2014-2015) are dwarfed by the Ukrainian civilians killed by Russians in the nlast 18 months. I do agree that the drone strikes on Moscow office buildings are for psychological purposes. Is that why the Russians keep hitting apartment buildings?

      • Jake says:

        TTG, we won’t see eye to eye on this, no matter how long we debate this aspect of the war, which began with a coup, ‘lovingly’ setting fire to building full of protestors in Odessa, and shooting everyone who tried to escape from the burning building, refusing to prosecute the perpetrators, and Porochenko sending his army and ‘Banderite’ thugs to bomb the bejesus out of the people demanding a return to democratic rule.

        Like you, I’m not there to keep count of every civilian building hit, but what is crystal clear, that is that our Western media are not as much ‘biased’ towards ascribing every damaged building to Russian ‘brutality’ and ‘willful destruction’, but they are blind and deaf for news about Ukrainians striking civilian targets, or the causes of this war. Eventually this will be resolved on the battlefield, and it is my fear that even those who hate the Russians with a vengeance will understand that they were used by their Western ‘friends’. We do remember what happened in a similar occasion in Afghanistan and Yugoslavia, when we supported Al Qaeda? The ‘joke’ may be on us at the end. Just warning those who want to listen not to make the same mistake over and over.

        • TTG says:


          You forgot what set off the Euromaidan protests which led to the Maidan Revolution. In was in reaction to Yanukovych’s thwarting of the popularly supported and Verkhovna Rada approved EU deal in favor of a deal with the Kremlin. Ukrainian popular support for Russia was still close to 50% at that time. Since then, support for Russia has plummeted, especially since February 2022. Kharkiv, Kherson and Odesa were once strongly pro-Russia. Support for Russia in those areas has plummeted as resistance against the occupiers has increased.

          When the war is over, I think a lot of those who still support Russia will leave with the invaders, especially those who openly collaborated. Others who stay and still support Russia will have to live in fear of ugly reprisals. It shouldn’t be that way, but hatred and vengeance will not disappear with a Ukrainian victory. Magnanimity toward a much smaller and less influential population of Russian sympathizers should be possible, but I fear that’s going to be just as difficult as winning the war.

          • Jake says:

            TTG, as you know I’m living and breathing in Europe. Contrary to many very vocal Europeans these days, I’ve always supported the concept of an EU as a means to protect wealth-creation for the people of Europe. Member states and neighboring states alike, through embracing a ‘Free Market’-approach, but with well protected borders, and ‘Industrial Capitalism’ as its core principle. All of that changed the moment the EU was elevated to promote the agenda of NATO and the WEF, aimed at expanding their ‘Sphere of Influence’ to global dimensions.

            To my horror, I noticed that principled people, sharing my hopes, inside the EU, and in other Western countries, allowed themselves to be manipulated into embracing that concept of a ‘World Government’, as long as it was ‘Our Joe’ who led the way. These days, the EU and all the governments in the West are about wealth destruction, and ‘equality’ as in ‘equal outcomes’, which is the exact opposite of what a ‘Free Market’ and ‘Industrial Capitalism’ is about. But hey, it still is ‘Our Joe’! All of this is a huge embarrassment and extremely disappointing, but I can’t change it.

            So, what I’m trying to do now, is to point out what will be the consequences, based on historical analogies, and developments which are crystal clear to anyone not cheering for ‘Our Joe!’. I do not refer to the present president of the United States, but to just ‘Any Joe’, promoted as ‘Face’ of this increasingly ugly disappointment, with a deliberately wiped out middle class, which reminds me of the state of affairs described by visionaries as Orwell and Ayn Rand. To incorporate a corrupt, ‘regime changed’ country which is sucked dry by ‘Our Joe’ and his family for no other purpose than to enrich themselves, and wield power in ‘World Government’, is as stupid as it gets. And we’re going to pay.

        • billy roche says:

          Jake you forgot who started the war. Russia invaded Ukraine, Ukraine d/n invade Russia. Ukraine neither has nor wants empire. Ukraine’s existence d/n threaten Russia, but Russia intends to eliminate Ukraine. Ukraine wants freedom from Russia. Russia won’t allow Ukraine to be free. Keep’in it simple man.

          • Jake says:

            Billy, I do keep it simple. Take over a country through violence, and you are in for a lot of trouble. The US interfering with internal affairs through stoking tensions, and directly, or indirectly contracting terrorists to shoot both policemen and demonstrators in 2014, as shown by the BBC and others at the time, and brushing the outcome of negotiations, supervised by EU members Germany, France and Poland, between the elected president and the opposition about expedited elections, aside with a loud and clear ‘Fuck the EU’, is one for the history books. And now here we are. The Ukrainians are screwed, and they know it.

    • leith says:

      Jake –

      The Moscow drone attacks appear to be targeted against the RU Ministry of Economic Development and other ministries. Those ministry offices are housed in the financial tower of the IQ-Quarter building complex within the Moscow International Business Center (MIBC) in the city financial district. The several attacks were done at night Moscow time when nobody was expected to be working. As far as I know there were no reported casualties.

      My five cents on the motive:
      1] destroy the myth in the mind of ordinary Russians that Putin is omnipotent;
      2] get Putin’s siloviki in the Kremlin to think why Putin is so powerless and maybe needs to be replaced;
      3] scare any foreign business travelers to get out of Dodge City and stop doing business there;
      4] scare financial district employees from coming to work and thereby paralyzing or slowing down commerce (and there is at least one report that financial and ministry workers are now staying home);
      5] all of the above.

      Risky strategy though. It could harden the resolve of the Russian people. Or if Putin is retired, his replacement could be much worse. What’s the old saying, something about staying with the devil you know?

      • Jake says:

        Leith, from the day the US lent a ‘helping hand’ to regime change Ukraine, and topple the democratically elected government to install a puppet regime of their liking, and send those clowns after their own population who demanded a return to democratic rule, ‘Kiev’ has been using ‘risky strategies’ liberally. And every move has hardened the resolve of the Ukrainians who are leaning towards Russia as their savior, and the bulk of the Russian people, to set the record straight. Putin started his career by crushing the Chechen ‘uprising’ with brute force, boring down on our ‘proxies’ with an Al Qaeda affiliation, wholeheartedly supported by the ‘Average Joe’ in Russia, save for our potential puppets, hoping for a leg up from the West to grab the power in Moscow. In other words, the Russians do not consider themselves at war with Ukraine, or the Ukrainian people, but with their masters in NATO. This risky NATO-strategy may backfire spectacularly, now that Moscow has taken off the gloves.

        • leith says:

          Jake –

          Putin has total control of all in-country media. He is able to convince most Russian people that all of his lies are golden truths via his magic propaganda wurlitzer. But some are starting to see through the curtain. They say they support him and his war because to do otherwise would lead to arrest.

          At one time nine or so years ago there were some Ukrainians who looked toward Russia. But no more with the exception of a few deluded collaborators.

          • Jake says:

            Leith, each and every one of us debating this conflict between the ‘Collective West’ and Russia/BRICS is considering him/herself to be a bright light in a sea of darkness at some level. I have no idea where you got your information from regarding the sentiments of the average Russian, or average Ukrainian, or how Putin controls all the media in the country which elected him as their president on multiple occasions. I’m familiar with the ‘arguments’ that these elections are ‘fake’, that the established opinions of average Russians only reveal fear of being hit by Putin’s henchmen, and the rest of the narrative which says ‘our side’ knows better.

            You may have missed a couple of news-cycles, but people on the ‘other side of the argument’ noticed that the media in our part of the world are standing accused of censorship, that elections may not be entirely fair for various reasons, and that our leaders are corrupt to the core, mumbling and stumbling, lining their pockets in ‘pay to play’-schemes, and vulnerable to blackmail, while prosecuting honest whistleblowers and opposing politicians, and locking up journalists like Assange, who blew the whistle on widespread activities in our governments which go against the law, and general moral principles of ‘good governance’. Those without sins may cast the first stone. We do not qualify. By a wide margin. And people around the world are waking up to that fact, if they did not already know. But hey, at least you could live the ‘good life’ in those countries which bullied the world through NATO. And that is changing. Rapidly. Because our ‘opposite numbers’ have all the natural resources, and we shipped production their way, while paying for our extravagant life-style, and ambition to ‘regime change’ the world to our liking, with ‘money’ lent from future generations, if we didn’t simply ‘print’ it. People in general are smarter than most ideologues, since they understand that you cannot live in a narrative. It won’t feed you. It won’t keep you warm. It won’t shelter you, and it won’t provide the necessary infrastructure to enable you to move around.

            Putin is smarter than our mumbling, stumbling glib talkers, as they are lying and cheating all the way to the bank, selling ‘stories’ and offering token support for whatever we want to hear. He invites bloggers and journalist to lengthy ‘question and answer sessions’, and honest debate, in which he displays an uncanny ability to master all the subjects without the need to reference to experts on hand, where our leaders only commit to scripted and rehearsed ‘briefings’, silencing journalists who ask off the cuff questions, or sending them down the primrose path with non-answers, and ‘we’ll come back to that’, but failing to do so. And Putin stays away from chasing the media-narrative in a populist way, focusing almost exclusively on improving the living standards of the average Russian, and pointing them in the direction of ‘obstacles’ beyond his control, mainly our lying, cheating, and sabotage. Even his most outspoken critics inside the country, who did not flee to our part of the world for a pampered life as well subsidized ‘Putin Critic’, grudgingly admit that he has a point. You can read about it on RT, on various Telegram-channels, and on any number of blogs in Russia which are not ‘bought and paid for’ by the ‘Collective West’. The reverse argument, that ‘Russian Interference’ is spoiling our ‘democracies’ fell flat on its face when a special prosecutor appointed to prove this claim came back empty handed, though he did stumble on Israeli, Middle Eastern and British attempts to ‘tweak’ the election proces, but who cares?

            We cannot both be right on this, and future developments may reveal who had the clearest view of what is real, and what is not. This is one for the record. Not an attempt to get the final word, or to convince true believers.

  8. English Outsider says:

    On damage to buildings the pattern is now different because the policy seems to have changed since the early days. In Mariupol Azov kept civilians trapped in basements in order to make it difficult to clear buildings.

    Now the Ukrainians are evacuating areas that are likely to be the scene of fighting, or so it seems from reports.

    The Russians do the same wholesale. They were evacuating civilians from around Balacliya weeks before they pulled back. That’s one of the reasons some argue that that retreat was a trap.

    Same but more so with Kherson. That’s one of the reasons the Ukrainians were so cagey about occupying that area. They feared the same trap.

    Some civilians won’t leave when it’s known there’ll be fighting in the area. Some of the Russian inclined population in Bakhmut didn’t move. Some did. The Ukrainians bussed some out as well.

    Led to sad splits. I saw one case where the daughter left with her boyfriend to Ukraine while the father and the sons stayed put. But the main point here is that we don’t see civilians used as hostages any more, or at least don’t hear allegations of that. Or I don’t, anyway.

    This change seems to have led to a change in attacks on buildings. In Mariupol, where civilians were kept around and sometimes stayed resident in apartments, setting up a sniper nest in an apartment block meant it was difficult to clear it.

    Either it got cleared by troops entering the apartment block and fighting their way up the stairwell, or by bringing a tank up and putting a round in the apartment the snipers were occupying. The led to what we saw often in the photos – a block of flats with this or that flat blackened but the rest left more or less unaffected.

    Now that civilians are no longer kept around the Russians tend to bomb or shell the entire building to clear it. So we now see more demolition or roofs gone in the photos and videos.

    And the villages are definitely empty now. So sometimes they get demolished entirely to deny cover to the troops who have taken them.

    But one does have to be careful with all these photos and videos.

    I think there’s still a big distinction to be made between the regular Ukrainian troops and the Right Sector troops. The latter tended to fire wild or deliberately damage civilian buildings, particularly when retreating. Particularly with the earlier photos and videos, it’s therefore not possible to tell whether building were damaged in combat or simply vandalised by that segment of the Ukrainian army.

    We saw the same with the photos of East Aleppo after that had been cleared, Were those derelict buildings Assad’s lot, or the Russians, or the Jihadis firing wild into the blue, knowing they’d hit something and not worried what. It was never the last, as far as the Western press was concerned, and that’s also the case in Ukraine.

    All this is relevant to the question that seems to be asked a lot these days. What are the Russians up to? Why are they still slow walking the SMO?

    But why not? Means logistics are easier. Keeps their casualties low. Means they don’t have to chase all over Ukraine to destroy enemy forces and equipment. They don’t have to because enemy forces and equipment are coming to them. And since fighting in or near settlements means those areas get devastated, it keeps the area of devastation limited as far as possible.

  9. Mark Logan says:

    The Russian’s repurposing of old ground to air missiles to ground to ground strongly indicates a lack of long range ammo for broad LOC infrastructure destruction. They seem to be scraping the bottom of a barrel just do what they have done so far. They also appear to have accepted they can’t eliminate the existence of Ukraine as a nation and have decided to hang on to what they can, so they might be saving as much as possible for the battlefields.

  10. walrus says:

    I’m afraid I’m fast losing interest in these discussion because all I keep hearing are regurgitated talking points that are not based in fact. This website is losing the reputation it had for kool- aid free discussion. If I want propaganda I need look no further than the NYT, BBC, ABC and Washington Post.

    Some of the talking points I wish we could do without:

    1. The idea that V. Putin is the antichrist. As far as I can tell, he was elected in internationally audited elections and enjoys an approval rating over 80%. He has succeeded in improving the quality of life of his country including reviving the Russian economy. He is one of the most admired leaders in the world today and is doing his level best to produce an international law based multipolar security system as opposed to Washingtons desire to rule the planet. He has said as much and he does what he says. his foreign Minister, Lavrov, makes the western equivalents, look like school children.

    Why assume this? Because it is intellectually sloppy to assume he isn’t doing what he considers is his best for his people. Biden on the other hand…….Don’t make me laugh.

    2. The assumption that America was just standing around minding its own business when all of a sudden Eastern Europe exploded and its all Russias fault. We engineered this whole thing deliberately. Russia finally had to move into Donetsk and Lukansk to forestall an imminent Ukrainian attack on the same.

    3. The idea that this is “war”. It’s not – yet. Russia at least has refrained from total war. If it hadn’t, does anyone doubt that Kiev and other major cities, and the associated infrastructure wouldn’t be smoking ruins by now?

    4. The puerile idea that Moscow has any interest in using scarce and high tech very expensive weaponry to deliberately blow up kindergartens and grandmas apartment.

    5. The idea that the russian defence forces are somehow composed of sub human orcs. Not only does that underestimate them, it disrespects the sacrificise of soldiers on both sides.

    6. The idea that it’s a good thing for NATO to expand to the Russian Border. Anyone remember Cuba?

    7. The idea that anyone, including the USA, is going to come out of this ahead. V. Putin has gone out of his way to tell Washington that there is a price to be paid. This is existential for Russia. They aren’t kidding.

    All of these matters capable of being researched and dealt with once and for all. Then we can get back to more useful discussion.

    • TTG says:


      You make some good points, but I’m afraid your points are not all kool-aid free.

      1. Putin has been very good for Russia and the Russians over the last 20 years. But launching a massive invasion of a neighboring country is not how one creates an international law based multipolar security system. Putin and especially Lavrov have always come off as the wise, level headed statesmen in those 20 years. Now they seen dedicated to the proposition that Ukraine has no right to exist politically or culturally and have repeatedly said as much. There is nothing multipolar in that proposition.

      2. Yes, I would say that the US never walked away from the containment and rollback policies of the 50s through 80s. But the newly independent countries of Eastern Europe also have every right to be full and independent members of that international law based multipolar security system. They get to choose who they align with and who they do not align with. The US and Russia try to influence their decisions through economic and security bribes but those countries still get to make their own decisions. Claiming that Ukraine was about to attack the DNR and LNR is pure Kremlin kool-aid.

      3. True, this is not total war. No nuclear weapons are flying. Attacks are limited to the belligerent nations. Moscow is holding back a good supply of their Kinzhal missiles. That is rational restraint. The West is also holding back on supplying a whole range of weapon systems to Kyiv. That is also restraint. Being that Moscow is now hitting up Iran and North Korea for artillery ammo, drones and missiles, it doesn’t appear that they are holding back much beyond their nuclear weapons and most of their Kinzhals.

      4. I doubt the Russians want to strike apartment towers rather than ammo dumps or truly knocking out Ukraine’s power grid, but it doesn’t appear to be within their capability. Either their precision weapons are not that precise or those who develop and input the targeting data into those weapons are not very careful or capable.

      5. I agree that the Russian soldiers are not just sub-human orcs (Ukrainian term), nor are they just expendable meat (Russian term).

      6. The decision to align with Washington or Moscow or neither belongs to those independent countries of Eastern Europe.

      7. No one is going to come out of this war ahead, but this is truly existential for Ukraine. The Ukrainians are certainly not kidding. They are willing to come out of this badly battered as long as they remain free to choose their own destiny.

      • wiz says:


        The West respects the will of a country to choose as long as it chooses “correctly”.
        Otherwise it tries to undermine and contain it or, if it can get away with it, just simply attacks it militarily.

        The West expects others to play by the rules that the West itself constantly breaks.

        IMO, continuous NATO expansion in Europe and beyond, leads to world war.

      • Barbara Ann says:


        Important to note that your point 6 directly led to point 7. Ukraine was the archetypal buffer state between NATO and the RF until 2014. Buffer states are free to choose sides, but by definition this is usually terminal. We can be as idealistic as we like, that’s just the way it is – look at the wiki on Buffer states.

        It was an absolute certainty that Russia would not tolerate the NATOization of Ukraine and thus this war was inevitable as soon as that policy was implemented by Nuland & crew. It works both ways. NATO would not have tolerated a Ukrainian policy of alignment with Russia, if for example, she had voiced a wish to join the Union State let’s say. Hypothetical of course, but such a move would have potentially led to Russian nukes on the Polish border and Poland (and Washington) would never have permitted that.

        Ukraine’s future as an independent state was secure until the neocons decided to use Ukraine to got to war with Russia. Yes Russia invaded, but what choice did we leave her? As Walrus said, it is exactly analogous to Cuba. Also, I beleive this will only be existential for Ukraine so long as a Ukrainian government is unwilling to negotiate peace.

        Putin has said he will not tolerate Ukraine as an anti-Russian state, not her existence as such. He also said recently that the withdraw from around Kiev in 2022 was a gesture of goodwill based on a (secret) peace agreement – one Ukraine reneged on. I just don’t buy the irredentist Putin – please show me examples of his irredentist desire for conquest that predate February 2022. The man is a prudent pragmatist and was left with no option. The irredentist talk is probably to sell the war to the Russian people. Eastern Europeans understandably see this differently given recent history with the Soviets Union.

        OK Billy Roche, let me have it.

        • leith says:

          Barbara Ann –

          I won’t speak for Bill Roche. But re your comment on Putin’s nukes on the Polish border:

          Kaliningrad enclave has had nukes for decades, it borders both Poland and Lithuania. Poland has done nothing about it. More recently Putin moved nukes to Belarus, which borders Poland and the Baltics.

          Regarding the situation being “analogous to Cuba”:
          Neither the US nor other NATO members have given nukes to Ukraine. The West did not give Ukraine 1600 and 2800 mile range R-12 and R-14 ballistic missiles. That’s what Khrushchev did back in the early 60s. He also gave the several squadrons of long range, nuclear capable Il-28 bombers. And we did not invade Cuba once we discovered those missiles & nukes – the Bay of Pigs fiasco happened 18 months earlier. There is no analogy, only Putin grasping for one.

          • Barbara Ann says:


            Nothing has been done thus far about Kaliningrad for the one simple reason that it would very likely lead to WWIII. But the inch by inch creep of NATO to the east is well documented. It is inevitable that a Ukraine in NATO would/will be militarized to the hilt. After cookies Nuland destroyed any last vestige of trust the Kremlin had in the leadership of the West every Russian could see this likelihood well before February last year.

            Lest you think me a Putin groupie, I ought to explain that I see the invasion as the desperate act of a desperate man. Of course another explanation is that Putin the rabid irredentist didn’t feel like the pitiful AFU of 2014 were a challenge, so he waited 7 years while NATO trained them us just so the Russian army would have something to get their teeth into.

            The neocons have always wanted Russia destroyed/broken up. They are simply trying to complete what they thought they’d accomplished in 1991 – maybe they’ll get lucky this time. And you are right, Cuba is not a perfect analogy. A better one would be Mexico seeking to join the Union State. Sadly the whole buffer state thing is far from the American experience and in any case for the neocons driving US FP Ukraine is merely an expendable means to an end.

            I don’t suppose this exchange will alter either of our respective views on the causes of the war, but I am at least grateful to have a civilized place in which the discussion can be had.

          • Fred says:


            back when I was on active duty the armed forces of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic were poised to invade Germany. Half of it anyway. Right beside Poland’s army. Now their people (democracy is great, eh) have changed so much they are obligations for America to defend – and pay for.

          • BillyTheKid says:


            you’re the one grasping. Grasping for hope that NATO/Ukraine will defeat the Russians.
            You care about Ukraine as much as US neocons care about respecting international law.

            Russia has the right to defend itself from a relentless encroachment of an aggressive military alliance and if post-coup Ukraine chooses to be the battleground so be it.

          • leith says:

            Barbara Ann –

            Regarding the “inch by inch creep”. Agreed. Why would a North Atlantic alliance let in members who have no seacoast on that ocean? I think NATO should have stuck with their original 12 founding members. But AFAIK the additional 19(?) members were not recruited, they came with hat in hand asking for membership. If it had been up to me they never would have gotten in. A 31 nation coalition sounds is unmanageable, kinda like government by committee.

            But it is what it is for now. Too late to kick them out. I don’t suppose Ukraine or Georgia or Moldova will ever be granted membership, unless of course the Kremlin implodes and brings home her occupying troops in Crimea, Abkhazia, Ossetia, and Transnistria.

            No, I never thought you were a Putin groupie. I’m not a groupie for Ukrainians. But I wish them well. I will always root for a little guy who has the gumption to stand up to a bully.

    • English Outsider says:

      Walrus. The key point is the one you make in (2). “We engineered this whole thing deliberately. Russia finally had to move into Donetsk and Lukansk to forestall an imminent Ukrainian attack on the same.”

      If we didn’t want that to happen the Europeans should have insisted on the implementation of Minsk 2. Or a start on Minsk 2 would have done. Had the Europeans done so, and had the Russians even then invaded, the Russians wouldn’t have had a leg to stand on morally.

      The Europeans did not do so so we don’t.

      To use the word “morally” does of course seem naive in this world of big power geopolitics. But it is not naive. The politicians and the diplomats may not be swayed by moral considerations. Their respective electorates very much are. To the average voter, European, American or Russian, it does matter very much who is in the right.

      Without the support or at least acquiescence of their electorates the politicians and diplomats are powerless when it comes to matters such as this. “Proxy” war or not, and whatever happens in faraway spots where no one in the public knows much about what’s happening, you can’t take your country into overt and very public war without having the people behind you.

      So if Putin woke up one morning and decided it was time to start re-establishing the old Tsarist or Soviet Empire – that’s much the story we’re given in the West – he’s in the wrong. If he acted to prevent a Kiev incursion into the Donbass he’s in the right. And it does matter which version is the right one.

      However, running parallel with that moral question is the practical question. Simply, who’s going to win?

      They are. It was never going to be otherwise since February 2022. The failure of the sanctions war made that inevitable. Therefore it’s time, well past time, to stop feeding the Ukrainian PBI into the killing grounds.

      On that, surely, both sides of this contentious argument should agree.


      • TTG says:


        Or the Russians could go back to Russia. Then no more Ukrainians or Russians would have to die.

        Why does he stay in Ukraine? He said he wants to denazify and demilitarize a people that has no business having their own country and culture.

        • English Outsider says:

          Zelensky’s terms? I don’t think that would work. The Russians took military action to prevent the Kiev forces getting into the Donbass. They’ll stay for the same reason. Since they’re there, they’ll probably take steps to ensure there’s no recurrence of the risk.

          TTG – we have lost. The sanctions didn’t work. The sanctions failing, there’s are no shots left in the locker.

          The Ukrainians, however courageous and determined, aren’t up to defeating the Russians.

          The Europeans? You know my views on them including, I very much regret to have to admit, HMG. Armchair proxy warriors, still strutting around talking big because Uncle Sam has their backs, and relying on that to pursue their own discreditable objectives.

          The Americans? You simply don’t have the forces in theatre and won’t have on any timescale that’s useful. I don’t think Biden will go nuclear.

          So whether there’s disagreement on the rights and wrongs of this affair or not, there can be no disagreement that it’s time to stop insisting the Ukrainians continue to lose men in a lost cause.

          The first comment I submitted after coming back made that argument. I believe it’s an even more urgent argument now.

          • TTG says:


            If Russia was primarily interested in defending the DNR and LNR, they could have marched massive forces up to the LOC along with massing elsewhere along the Ukrainian border. They would have retained their illusion of an awesome military and prevented any Ukrainian incursion across the LOC. They could have continued to support LNR and DNR independence rather than destroying that independence and annexing their territories.

            Ukraine is not losing and certainly retains the continued support of the West. Right now Russia doesn’t seem to be winning at all. A stalemate at some point? Maybe, but Russia will never regain their illusion of invincibility. It is time to stop insisting that Russian boys and old men continue to die in the pursuit of an unobtainble goal.

          • Mark Logan says:


            The Ukrainians were not massing up to take back the Donbass, quite the opposite. Zelensky ran on a platform of normalizing relations with Russia, and with Russia in firm possession of not only the occupied sections of Donbass, but in possession of Crimea. Zelensky was arguing with the Azov guys who were still stirring up fire exchanges with the Russian units on the other side of the line. I suspect Zelensky’s incredulity to the imminent invasion was due to this. It made no sense.

            Ukraine only became completely hostile to Russia after Feb 22. It was worse than a crime, it was a blunder.

      • jld says:


        To the average voter, European, American or Russian, it does matter very much who is in the right

        Yes, but I would not call this “morality”, it’s a hodgepodge of whimsical delusional opinions and political fads of the moment.
        Furthermore, heavily manipulated by various special interests groups thru the media.

  11. walrus says:

    Mark and TTG, thank you for your replies. .The notion that the USA and Ukraine “were just minding our own business when all of a sudden Russia attacked us for no reason” is rubbish.

    In the case of Donetsk and Luhansk, Ukraine had moved up significant forces to start lines and exponentially increased cross border shelling (probably registering targets in my opinion) – that I think gave the Russians every indication that an attack on the two oblasts was imminent.

    Given that the civilian population was still in place and considering the track record of the Russophobic western Ukrainians, the Russians had to choose. between a preemptive spoiling attack or watch while a humanitarian disaster unfolded across the border. If Russia had waited, you would have seen tank vs. tank mechanised warfare with a civilian population caught in the middle – something I don’t think we have seen perhaps since 1945. However this is just my opinion and we may have to wait five to ten years for the memoirs if we are not incinerated in the meantime.

    As for the right of self determination of Ukraine and the Baltics, yes of course, BUT It is folly to expect their neighbour Russia to sit back while they join an alliance capable of installing nuclear weapons within five minutes flight time of Moscow. The geography of the Baltics and Ukraine makes them buffer states, period. That same status, if it is acknowledged by both the U.S. and Russia, guarantees their security.

    As for Cuba, what do you think Washington would do today if Russia announced plans to position Khinzals(?) in Venezuela and Cuba? . The whole U.S. strategy has been summed up by the joke: “How dare you put your country so close to my military bases!”.

    To put that another way; the U.S. / NATO strategy reminds me of the old teenage gang trap – you are walking home from the pictures with your girlfriend when some runt trash talks her; then runs way, you give chase, only to find as he runs around a corner, that he has led you on to a group of twenty gang members waiting for you. We were waiting for russia, with our NATO gang while Ukraine provoked. Well, we got what we asked for. However I don’t think we will like the result. Ukraine and Europe certainly won’t.

    • TTG says:


      I fully agree that “the notion that the USA and Ukraine “were just minding our own business when all of a sudden Russia attacked us for no reason” is rubbish.” I’m not sure where you get that notion. Since 2016 Ukraine and the US embarked on a massive military reorganization and training program. A major part of this was adoption of a total national defense strategy designed to resist a large scale Russian invasion. Under this strategy, it was envisioned that the Ukrainian defense would rely on the newly created Territorial Defense Forces able to operate independently and locally. In the months leading up to the war these forces received massive infusions of MANPADS and ATGMS. It was thought that a war would quickly devolve into a guerilla war. To everyone’s surprise, these forces proved remarkably effective allowing the still small Ukrainian armored and mechanized forces to stay in the battle. It helped that most of the initial Russian thrusts proved remarkably ineffective. It was only at this point that the West started supplying artillery, tanks and larger quantities of ammunition.

      Maybe the Russians perceived the building effectiveness of a total national defense strategy and how it would eventually preclude them from executing any kind of 2014-2015 style invasion. Or maybe they did think that a total national defense strategy somehow posed a direct threat to Russia. But this kind of defense strategy poses little if any offensive threat. Any Ukrainian offensive threat only developed last winter after mobilization and the building of a dozen or more mechanized, armor and artillery brigades. Even with this more than doubling of Ukraine’s offensive capable brigades, there’s no way they can march on Rostov or Voronezh much less Moscow.

      OSCE reports leading up to the Russian invasion showed a massive move of LNR and DNR heavy weapons towards the LOC. Only a small number of Ukrainian heavy weapons moved towards the LOC. Ceasefire violations did increase. Much of the fire was directed towards Ukrainian positions. Ukrainian fire was primarily counter-battery fire. Ukrainian units were directed to return fire only as needed so as not to provide a provocation for a Russian invasion. The DNR/LNR attempted to create a false flag attack by distributing leaflets warning of an impending Ukrainian assault as they forcibly removed the civilian population to mimic an impending humanitarian disaster.

      Russia’s fear of NATO nuclear weapons moving east is well founded. Her invasion of Ukraine has caused Poland to ask for stationing of US nuclear weapons on Polish soil and the training of Polish pilots to use them. Finland will not allow these weapons to be stored in Finland, but will take part in NATO nuclear planning. What Ukraine will eventually ask for is sure to cause consternation in the Kremlin. I don’t think the Baltics have ever considered nuclear weapons, but they are moving to a total national defense strategy. Lithuania was the first country to propose and develop this strategy. Why would this bother Russia? Just as in Ukraine, a potent total defense strategy would limit Russia’s range of actions and ability to influence the Baltics. Eventually the Kremlin may realize that their invasion was a major blunder.

    • Mark Logan says:



      I am not in disagreement with the idea we acted unwisely. I can envision several scenarios where wiser policy and greater diplomatic skill could have defused this. Just for one example, letting Nuland publicly support the Maidan Square rebellion. There was no need for it, the Euros tried to get her to back off, and she famously told them to go eff themselves. Putin compromised Russian methods by releasing a recording of that, it was a big deal to him, just as it would be if some Great Power was publicly supporting an anti-US rebellion in, say, Canada or Mexico.

      Where we differ is in the excusal of invasion. He could’ve played the long game. He could’ve waited for the debt servicing Ukraine made themselves subject to by accepting the EU “deal” to take its effect and worked with his friends inside to make another push in a year or two. Now, he has no more friends in Kiev. Our lack of perfection did not make the invasion inevitable or even our fault.

      Putin made a terrible mistake, exactly like the one which led us to Iraq II, exactly like that of so many other wars: He BSed himself into believing it would be easy. I soooo wish I had a nickel for every war that started with “We will be home by Christmas!”

  12. English Outsider says:

    TTG – I believe that’s the key point. “It was thought the war would quickly become a guerilla war.”

    It would have been a very ugly guerrilla war. Much like the one we kept going in the ’50’s last century in the same area. Same hatreds around. Same passionate intensity. Same brutality. Same heavy level of casualties. Probably worse. There were said to be seven hundred thousand Ukrainian soldiers around in February 2022 and that’s a whole lot more than Bandera had.

    This time round? The weapons and training we had supplied to the Ukrainians before February 2022 were not at all suited to full scale combined arms war. An all-out military clash between the two sides could only have resulted in a quick Ukrainian defeat. That was what was expected. But afterwards?

    Afterwards, Russia’s Afghanistan in Ukraine. The term was often used back then in the West. We expected a quick military defeat followed by Russia’s Afghanistan.

    With the men trained in small unit fighting, hundreds of thousands of them, and equipped with just the weapons needed for localised ambushes and attacks. It will not have escaped your attention, TTG, that the weapons we supplied in quantity to the Ukrainians pre-SMO were damn all use against a sophisticated modern army, but very useful indeed for partisan warfare,

    It’d have been a nightmare, particularly in the West where nationalist or anti-Russian feeling is strongest. Anything from killing Russian soldiers individually – we saw that not long ago when a Russian soldier was knifed in the back as he was walking through the street – to an RPG attack on a passing convoy.

    Since it’s a mixed population just about everywhere it’d have also been a mess of locals killing each other and informers and brutal Secret Police work. Northern Ireland cubed, given the weaponry around and the number of fighters involved, and no keeping the lid on it.

    That’s what was confidently expected for the Russians in 2022. Since we confidently expected the sanctions war to cripple them as well the Russians would have been at their wits end to know how to cope with it. They probably would not have.

    The Russians sidestepped all that. That was what took all the military analysts and experts by surprise.

    No shock and awe sledgehammer attacks, the way we think a war should be fought. Just a quick dash to incapacitate the Ukrainian forces and ward off the threat to the Donbass. Some patient hostage release type activity down in Mariupol. Nothing much else. They stayed out of areas where the fighters could have made their lives a permanent misery. Instead they hunkered down behind strong defensive lines and let the fighters come to them. Which those fighters have been doing in quantity and will continue to do in quantity until most of them are dead. Those who are getting mown down in terrible quantity as they attempt to get up to the Surovikin line are those we expected to be hiding behind hedges or in alleyways and taking pot shots at occupying Russian soldiers or Russian speaking neighbours.

    They occupied only the areas of Ukraine where they had strong local support. Even there, as you know, there have been incidents. A man with a knife or explosives and murder in his heart can do a fair bit anywhere. But a guerilla fighter in largely hostile territory is a fish out of water. He can be coped with. Guerilla fighters with at least some local support are a different matter. Those areas the Russians stayed out of and probably will.

    Unless the Poles come in or unless there’s some “Coalition of the Willing” nonsense I expect the Russians will continue to sidestep trouble in this way as long as they can. All this grand talk of “broad arrow offensives” and the like isn’t for them. No doubt, were they prepared to take heavy casualties and brave the unforeseeable risks of war, they could get to Lvov tomorrow. But to what purpose? To find themselves caught up in ugly police actions and permanent insurrection? They’d be fools.

    Of course if they were interested in grabbing territory they’d have to be fools. You want land, you have to kill or drive out or suppress local resistance whatever the cost. It’s just how it works and has worked in Europe for centuries.

    And there are those in Russia, as Barbara Allen points out above, who do think in terms of grabbing territory, just as there are those in Poland who dream of grabbing land round their way, and all over that blood-soaked stretch of Eastern Europe there are men and women cherishing similar revanchist visions.

    And there are those in Kiev- I’ve seen the broadcasts – who do very much want the Donbass and make no bones about the fact that to get it, and to get it permanently, they’re going to have to kill or drive out many of those who live there.

    And those who cherish such visions attribute them to others. That’s where we in the West go wrong. We attribute motives to the Russians that I’m quite sure actuate many Russians but that don’t actuate them all and certainly don’t actuate those in the Kremlin. We reckon the Kremlin’s going in for straight old-fashioned land grabbing and will do more if it can. We see the entire war as a land grabbing venture in the normal European style.

    You there, Leith? That’s how you see it. Bill? You see it solely in those terms. And I reckon in his heart of hearts, if we could ever get a straight answer out of him, Girkin sees it like that too and many of his ilk.

    And if you reckon that’s what it’s all about, TTG, and if you’re right, then let the blood flow as it must, because it always does flow in Europe when there’s land grabbing going on.

    But I don’t think that’s what the Kremlin, and most Russians, are after. They simply want a country next door where the locals don’t get hammered if they happen to speak Russian and which the West can’t use any longer as a means of annoyance. They don’t want the fuss of occupying hostile territory and the cost of running it.

    You know we in England still have to pay billions a year, permanently, to keep the two sides in Northern Ireland from each others throats and to keep them all fed and warm? As well as still having security personnel all over the place to keep the lid on it all? With little criminal enclaves here and there where law enforcement officers daren’t go except in force? And building “peace walls” sixty foot high to stop the locals throwing stones or worse at each other? And on top of that having the rest of the world looking on and thinking we’re still on the old colonial tack?

    That, but many many times worse, is what the Russians don’t want to have next door in remnant Ukraine. And until we in the West stop using the locals in Ukraine as a means of “unbalancing and over-extending” Russia, they’ll keep stubbornly working away until they don’t have it. That’s all.

    • billy roche says:

      E.O. I read you are still supporting Putin’s propaganda about an SMO. For the record there was an invasion on 2/24/22 which continues. Ukraine, a sovereign state, d/n provoke it. Despite much shared history, Russia has no right in Ukraine. I would not accept an invasion of England by Denmark as legitimate despite their shared history.
      NATO reaching east is also deliberate ignorance of fact. No one forced Poland, Finland, Sweden, Hungary, Slovak Rep., Czech Rep., Romania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, to join NATO. They chose NATO b/c Russia offers hegemony at best and colonialism at worst.
      Your reference to Stephan Bandera was not lost. It is a (subtle?) reminder, again, of Putin’s claim that Ukraine is filled w/Nazi’s. You ignore Nazi’s in Finland, the Baltics, Armenia, and Hungary. My mind must allow, if Ukrainian Nazi’s must be expunged why not elsewhere? Will you carry Putin’s water into the Baltics?
      Let’s talk “land grabbing”. When Putin denies the existence of the sovereign Republic of Ukraine and Ukrainians what else can one think? But Russia’s advocates would say it is not land grabbing but security needs. Ukraine must be eliminated as a state and Ukrainians as a people b/c of Russian security. Russia was invaded by Napoleon in 1814 and Hitler in 1941. That’s twice in 130 years. Count up how many times Russia has invaded others since 1814. Russian security is a red herring. But what of national security for the rest of Eastern Europe? You have earlier expressed yourself on that. It’s the tough luck of smaller Slavic states to live so close to the Bear.
      Last February, Col. Lang, you, and I thought that Russian absorption (I’ll use that kind word) of the Donbass and Crimea would be an acceptable outcome if it avoided invasion. I accept now that you deliberately deny Russia’s end game. It is all of Ukraine as there can be no revived Empire w/o it. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is about empire.

      P.S. I have no sympathy for British expenditures in Ireland. They are the result of Henry, Elizabeth, and Cromwell, and serve Britain right for its colonial brutality.

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