RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 11 MARCH 2021 by Patrick Armstrong

UKRAINE ATTACK? The team that gave us the Ukraine catastrophe is back in Washington, a US general is in Ukraine and heavy equipment is moving. A resumption of fighting would suit many in Kiev, Washington and NATO. But Moscow is not asleep and the Donbass defenders are prepared. I would expect, along with supplies, Moscow to make discreet but observable preparations. If that doesn’t stop an attack, Moscow has the long-range weapons to interdict assembly areas and routes and pretend deniability. If that doesn’t work, I would expect a reprise of 2008, only faster. What’s the West going to do in the face of a fait accompli? Shout more? Sanctions? A crushing defeat will produce reverberations in Kiev: very few of the Ukrainian forces in Crimea stayed loyal to Kiev and Zelensky was elected on a promise of making things better, not worse. A week should tell us which it is.

SANCTIONS. More of them thanks to the latest fact-free accusation. But, as an analogy, think of sanctions on Russia as similar to the over-use of antibiotics – Russia is becoming immune.

RUSSIA INC. It looks as if Russia will come out of COVID-19 in better (less bad) shape than most. Its GDP drop is estimated to be 3.1% which is better than the world average of 3.5%. In comparison, the drop in 2015 was 2.0% and in 2009 7.8%. Likewise, its national debt remains lower than most.

HISTORY. Ever since Iron Felik’s statue was torn down, Lubyanka Square has lacked a statue. So they decided to have a vote: Dzerzhinskiy or Aleksandr Nevskiy? 45% for the first 55% for the second, and Mayor Sobyanin scrapped the plan as too divisive because there wasn’t a strong majority either way.

FAKE NEWS. The most dangerous Russian disinformation is true information. “In each case, the Russian outlets were repeating actual news reports“; “certain Kremlin-backed narratives are factually true…”. In a piece about trying to extradite an American fighting for “right-wing militias” in Ukraine, the NYT has to add: “Any suggestion that these groups are extremist risks playing into the hands of Russian propagandists“. Well then, why the fuss? Those pesky Russians; they use facts to confuse us. (Speaking of nazis, I find the timing of this, on CNN, intriguing: “The Ukrainian collaborator Yaroslav Stetsko didn’t have an aptitude for astrophysics; what he did have was a knack for organizing the butchers of Jews”. Sounds a bit like “playing into the hands of Russian propagandists” doesn’t it?)

WAR. We’re supposed to believe – assertions are the new evidence – that Russia hacked nothing but the US election in 2016 and everything but the election in 2020. Washington is planning “clandestine” retaliatory cyberattacks. I’m sure Russia has powerful counter moves. ??????

CHINA-RUSSIA. The Chinese Foreign Minister said China and Russia “will build a model of strategic mutual trust, firmly supporting each other in upholding our fundamental interests, joining forces against ‘colour revolutions’ and fighting all types of false information, and maintaining our sovereignty and political security.” Step by step. Meanwhile the Atlantic Council fantasises about splitting them up.

SPACE. China and Russia have signed an MoU on creating an international lunar research station.

CRIMEA. Washington “does not and will never recognize Russia’s purported annexation of the peninsula“. One day it will.

SPUTNIK. An agreement to produce the Russian vaccine in Italy. Probably not the last EU country to do so, given the bureaucracy’s pathetic performance.

DEFEAT. As expected, Washington is throwing its weight around – “America is back”. Maybe it will try to stay in Iraq and Afghanistan past the implied deadlines: “all options are on the table“. All the escalation options are on the other side – B52s can fly around but the truth is that US troops are hostages and targets. It’s already happening and, if Washington misses the deadlines, there will be more and more until it’s helicopters off the Embassy roof. The clock is ticking on the JCPOA and Tehran is not in the mind to make concessions when it’s Washington that walked out of the agreement.

MESSAGE RECEIVED. But – see above – maybe the Pentagon did get the message Tehran sent them.

SYRIA. Was it the Russians? They’re not saying.

WESTERN VALUES™. Perfectly timed for my essay, a ridiculous NATO woke ad.

BOMBS. In its ads NATO says it “is committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes“. In reality it is committed to bombing: over twenty years it has averaged 46 bombs per day in the MENA region.

THE DEATH OF IRONY. The WaPo tells its readers it thinks they’re idiots: “Libyans ousted a dictator, but an ensuing civil war has drawn in Russia, Turkey and others with a thirst for control.”

© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer

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43 Responses to RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 11 MARCH 2021 by Patrick Armstrong

  1. james says:

    thanks for these updates patrick…

    apparently colbert mentioned making boredom great again… make boredom great again… do you think putin has succeeded in this regard and do you think biden has a chance in this department too??

  2. @ James
    “Biden” might.

  3. d74 says:

    Thanks for these news.

    My contribution to Russia bashing. (Irony not dead):

    The failure of electric grid in Texas: Russians (and Putin, personally) are guilty.
    1-The Russians have a habit of hacking into electrical networks. They trained in a northeastern state about two years ago. Don’t remember which state.
    2-Even if it is not true, it is still them who sent a cold wave from Siberia, over Canada. That this wave crashed in Texas is not a coincidence. The Russians (and Putin etc…) are nasty.

    And Sputnik 5 vaccine? it’s just moskowa water, not even purified. And beware, it is full of electronic nanoparticles that directly link the vaccinated to the Kremlin cloud. (The cloud is a wonderful invention of direct spying. And you pay for it.)

    Without Russia, opportunities to laugh would be rather sparse. But tonight before you go to bed, look under your bed. A Russian (and Putin etc…) can hide there. Distinctive sign: he has a knife between his teeth or a shot of Sputnik5.

  4. J says:

    The affront that was leveled at Russia’s place on the ISS, appears to have been met with Russia joining China to mine the moon (along with other space ventures I’m sure they’re not disclosing publicly). How many times must the West poke the Bear and expect to get away with it? Russia’s patience seems to have run out regarding NASA. It was ‘supposed to be’ an ‘International’ Space Station.

    • Martin Oline says:

      I have been following this for the last couple of days. I believe their base is not going to be occupied. RT had a story the other day with a link to the moon being used by NASA and X Space as a way-station for inter-planetary flight but I was frustrated because the link provided offered no information about that. BBC has several stories but I dislike reading anything from the news service that cried “Wolf!” Here are a couple of more links to the story:
      This is NASA’s basic site for information about planned missions by them. They want to put a woman on the Moon and I am sure that the suits will have to be re-engineered for pregnant women, just like the flight suits for the Air Force according to sleepy Joe.

  5. JohninMK says:


    I put my post on Ukraine in the Biden thread before I read your first paragraph above.

    I’m inclined to believe the Ukies have no choice but to attack but that this time the Russians, who seem to me to have nothing to lose and everything to gain, will ram it back down their throats. Effectively in 48 hours destroying the Ukie Army for a decade or more. Just hope they make a special target of the evil Nazi formations.

    As you say, we will know soon, the ground is still frozen.

  6. Fred says:


    “Multiple major missile strikes reportedly on a convoy of oil tanker trucks and a refinery in northern Syria .”

    Didn’t that happen once before to send the smugglers, and the Turks, a message?

    “#We are Nato” Those clowns couldn’t beat the joker who was running CHAZ. Perhaps they can get the second biggest military in NATO to send some troops to Ukraine? If they aren’t too busy in Norther Syria putting out oil fires right now. On the other hand, maybe NATO could send their LGBTQwhatever brigade to Ukraine to show their ‘diversity’ at the front?

  7. Christian J. Chuba says:

    “CRIMEA. Washington “does not and will never recognize Russia’s purported annexation of the peninsula“.

    I just love proclamations like this. Might as well have Russia, China, and Iran issue a joint declaration that they will never recognize the territory of Texas as anything other than a sovereign part of Mexico. (Hmm … shouldn’t joke about that given our border situation and these pathways to citizenship, can’t rule out the possibility of that happening.)

  8. Peter Williams says:

    Not only is Russia becoming immune to sanctions, but sanctions help Russia in its economic diversification and import substitution. The milk factory in the town my daughters live in made Tvorog and the usual boring Russian cheeses. Since it is halfway between two big cities, it now makes a very good blue-vein cheese and an acceptable Camembert. Plus its new French cheesemaker is experimenting with other varieties and tweeking them to suit Russian palates.

    Massive greenhouses were built about ten km from town to grow flowers, to replace the imported Dutch flowers. Flowers required for the 23rd, March 8. Victory Day etc. The Netherland loses, Russia wins.

    Another town about 60 km away has thermal springs, and a consortium is looking at ways to use the hot waste water to grow fish and fruits from sub-tropical regions for both domestic consumption and export to China. Their biggest problem is the mineralisation of the thermal water. But high-end restaurants will take their products if they can succeed.

  9. LeaNder says:

    Step by step. Meanwhile the Atlantic Council fantasises about splitting them up.
    They and the larger Borg, blop, deep state must have been thinking about splitting them for much longer. Surfaced rather frequently as far as I recall …

  10. LeaNder says:

    blob it was, wasn’t it. Does blop make sense? I guess not. 😉

    • BLOP, sure, why not? Bought Lying Oblivious Phantasists

      • LeaNder says:

        Thanks Patrick, yes interestingly typos sometimes do indeed make sense. New creative sense. Which reminds me, no idea why, of the punctuation/interpunction addicts that once upon a time surfaced around here. 😉

  11. English Outsider says:

    Stephen Willet’s pre-tourist pictures here of Lesbos reminded be of other “pre- ” photos and videos I’ve seen over the years.

    Some German friends had visited Syria in the ’80s and had a huge set of albums of all they’d visited. We looked over it not long ago. Many of the names I recognised. These beautiful and ornate buildings in the photographs were what I’d been seeing in the videos, wrecked covered markets and ancient churches now in ruins.

    So too with the Ukraine. Pre-coup Ukraine was pretty special, the people that is. Videos of anarchic don’t give a damn tractor races stick in the mind. And the courage shown by so many on both sides in that unnecessary war still echoes.

    In neither place are we in the West going to succeed in further wrecking these now already wrecked countries, not to the extent that we had hoped. I don’t see how the Russians can now pull out of Syria and leave it to the Jihadis, not if they wish to retain any credibility. Nor can they possibly leave Donbas to the mercies of the Right Sector. There is no victory possible in either place unless we go far deeper into confrontation than even the hawks of the new administration in Washington would choose to go,

    That leaves me wondering what the game is now. Do we simply keep stirring the pot for the sake of it? Do we pile on more Ceasar sanctions to break Syria or continue attempting to break Iran? More half-effective blows here and there to keep these regions in constant turmoil? There seems no sense to it, no end goal that any rational planner can have in mind.

    I say “we” because there are plenty of indications that we Europeans, particularly the French and my own country, are still in the game too. So too is Canada. But what is the game? No matter our motives for having started this cycle of destruction, what are our motives now?

    • Good question. I feel an essay for Strategic Culture coming on. I can think of a number of reasons — none good, none realistic — but powerful in our Western schlerotic condition.

      • English Outsider says:

        Will look forward to it. There are bits and pieces of R2P talk popping up in the UK media – I noticed one long article on the BBC website and submitted the link to the Colonel’s site. I wondered why such an article at this time. Maybe just a fill-in piece or maybe prepping us for further involvement.

        My apologies to Professor Willet for mispelling his name. We have Stephens in our family so the wrong spelling came naturally.

        • There are a few strange things popping up in the lugenpresse these days (eg the CNN piece about us taking in nazis). I suppose that one reason could be that there is an enormous vacuum of time to fill that now that they can’t spend a week or two on the lunacy of cofeve (and Heaven forfend that anyone should talk about “that guy who’s in charge over there”). So the odd strange thing will get through.

  12. Feral Finster says:

    From the point of view of the United States, resuming the war on Novorossia is a win-win.

    Three things can happen:
    1. The Ukrainians get beaten without significant Russian aid. US screams about evil Russia and delivers more arms to Kiev.
    2. Ukrainians get beaten, but Russia has to intervene. US screams even louder and promises even more arms and moar war.
    3. Ukrainians finally defeat Novorossia. US takes victory lap, threatens Crimea.

    • 1.2. Washington shown up again as unreliable

      • Feral Finster says:

        That hasn’t bothered Washington in the past.

        • Not Washington, perhaps, but what about the dupes? They must notice that Washington stirs the pot, but in the resulting fecal-ventilator interface, it’s nowhere to be seen. And yesterday’s hero — Yushchenko, Saakashvili, Anez — is on his own.
          I suspect that this sort of thinking is strong in Ankara, Baghdad and Kabul at the moment.

    • JohninMK says:

      There is no strategic depth, the infrastructure is too vulnerable, the Ukrainian assault artillery will have to be silenced quickly otherwise there will be nothing worth saving. The only way that will happen is if the Russians join in with suppression fire almost immediately.

      Therefore your 1.2 is the only likely outcome but it is unlikely there will be much point in promising more arms.

      Coincidentally, at the moment the Russian Western and Southern Military Districts are running command exercises. They control what are probably the best and most prepared assault armies there are. They have learnt the lessons of the last 5 years, both politically as per Lavrov’s recent comments and militarily. This time Ukraine and probably NATO could be in for a bit of a surprise.

    • ISL says:

      4. Ukrainian military collapse is followed by a societal collapse and a pro-Russia politico is installed in Ukraine.

  13. Seward says:

    One possible alleviation of the Donbas conflict might be for the RF to declare a temporary protectorate over the Donbas republics until the Minsk-II accords can be implemented (i.e., never): promising to retaliate in kind against air/artillery/rocket/naval attacks; and also to support the republics with ground forces at their request in event of significant incursions across the cease-fire line. (The latter would require approval by the RF upper house.) A few massive air strikes and artillery/rocket barrages on the Ukrainians should cool their ardor somewhat, and also that of their Western backers.

  14. J says:

    The Swedish Defence Research Agency published a report that states that Russia is better prepared than NATO for confrontation in Northern Europe.–5012–SE–5013–SE

  15. Feral Finster says:

    If the goal is to create another excuse to pressure Merkel into calling off Nordstrom, then a Ukrainian defeat is almost a plus.

    Cynical, but the neocons in charge are nothing if not cynical.

    • JohninMK says:

      FF, the timing is I think fortuitous rather than intentional but I agree that any action in Ukraine will be used to try to stop the final Nordstream 2 pipeline laying activity in the Baltic. At the moment the first of the two pipelines will be finished at the end of next month and the second by the end of June.

      Given the economic need for it I suspect that a lot of money is sloshing around at the decision maker level to encourage an adverse to logic decision. An amount probably boosted by the latest $1.9T slush fund.

  16. Deap says:

    How much of this is Russia’s Belt and Road? Necessity of securing a relatively independent warm water port. Does Russia want to be a global naval power – or protect future trade domestic routes?

    Crimea yes; Syria a double yes. Gibraltar/Suez still check points. Was Afghanistan invasion trying to get closer to the Indian Ocean step by step, than wanting to take over that dirt bag country. Current coziness with China – more to open warmer water northern Pacific Ocean ports?

    Can’t always count on the newly opening Arctic/polar transit. Climate change can shut that down as fast as it recently opened up – cyclical weather patterns.

  17. J says:

    The saga of ‘let’s poke the Bear’ continues. Marxist Joe’s entourage is intent on placing IRM’s in Japan within range of Russia’s borders. To which Moscow has responded in kind ‘promising retaliation’ if the placement comes to fruition.

    Back to the Kiev fiasco, Russia’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned Kiev Friday regarding Kiev’s beating of their tin pans (shows of force in Donbass).

    It appears that D.C. isn’t listing nor reading the warnings contained in the Swedish report that Moscow is better prepared for a fight than NATO. A retired Polish General Waldemar Skrzypczak warned how Russia could cut off NATO forces in Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania in just two days.

    The one that is pushing the world towards a nuclear confrontation is none other than dear old Marxist Joe.

  18. J says:

    Russia’s surveillance techniques are some of the best in the world, and very creative in their listening devices. Whether it be the footwear of the U.S. Ambassador at our Embassy in Moscow, to the different gifts presented to the Ambassador that sits in his office, Russian Intelligence seeks ways to ‘listen in’ for shall we say ‘the straight scoop’. And not to be outdone, we the do the same.

    For a little history: Learning From The Enemy – The Gunman Project


  19. J says:

    Russia is taking legal action against Twitter, they’ve called upon Twitter to remove:

    Twitter allows and promotes child porn
    Twitter promotes ways of committing suicide
    Twitter incites promotion of suicide
    Twitter promotes methods of making and using drugs

    And just earlier Russian officials warned that they will announce the banning of Twitter if Twitter fails to comply and remove their unlawful egregious materials.

    Twitter earlier rushed to a U.S. Federal District Court in California seeking dismissal of a child porn lawsuit against Twitter by a minor.

  20. J says:

    Part of that $125 Million military hardware aid package to the Ukraine, has been sitting in the port of Odessa as noted by their locals. If the locals notice it, you can bet that the Russian GU are watching it and other items of interest with a keen eye, and carefully and making their notes.

    The DoD Mil aid package entails military hardware (supplies), training, and military advisory support.

    Another $150 Million Military Aid Package to Ukraine is waiting for Congressional approval. This one you can bet the Russian GU is taking note of also.

    It’s as if D.C. enjoys poking the Bear.

    The saga of the Sword of Damocles continues.

  21. J says:


    North Korea’s latest missile test, looks like an Iskander knock-off. Question is which version — Medium or Short Range? There are two stories floating in the press — the KN23, and then there is the KN25. Short or Medium?

    On another topic, did you see where Russia’s MOD surfaced 3 of their nuke subs side by side in the arctic? Was interesting to watch. It was part of their Umka-2021 drills they’ve been carrying out in the Franz Joseph Land archipelago since March 20th. Umka-2021 drills comprises 43 events, so far 35 have been completed. The Russian subs have been practicing firing their torpedoes under the ice. The Russians are working to improve their tech specifications in a high latitudes low temps environment.

    Russian Naval Command’s Nikolai Yemenov has maintained a video link with Putin during their arctic drills.

  22. J says:

    Here’s video from the Russian MOD on their Umka-2021 drills.

    Talk about ‘cold country’. Brrr…..

  23. J says:

    Here’s some video regarding Russian MOD’s arctic operations in the Franz Joseph Land archipelago.

    Военная приемка. «Арктический трилистник»

    Still photos, with interactive 360

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