“… Russian forces are too stretched and exhausted…”


“Russian forces now appear to be “reposturing” for an assault on the capital.

But how likely is it that Vladimir Putin’s army, weakened, demoralised and exhausted after two weeks of war, will be able to lay siege to the city?

To cut the city off from any reinforcements that will undoubtedly rush north if the capital is threatened will be an enormous undertaking.

Given that the city measures roughly 35km (22 miles) north to south and 25km (16 miles) east to west, Russia will need to establish a cordon of at least 90km (56 miles).

A tall order

With each Russian battalion tactical group able to defend a frontage of about 1km (0.6 miles), this is a tall order. 

Without calling up reserves from the homeland, this task is probably beyond the capability of the forces Russia has deployed into Ukraine.

And that’s just the outer cordon, designed to prevent reinforcementsRussia will also need to lay out an inner cordon to slowly squeeze the life out of any defenders that seek to resist.

Russia could have about 50,000-100,000 troops around Kyiv. It took 2.5 million to capture Berlin in 1945, with heavy losses.”

Comment: What the hell do they teach in Russian staff and war colleges? pl

Why Russia’s forces are too stretched and exhausted to encircle and attack Kyiv (telegraph.co.uk)

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50 Responses to “… Russian forces are too stretched and exhausted…”

  1. jim ticehurst says:

    i Doubt if Russias General Staff..And Command Systems Are Happy With the Way Things are Going..They Have To Obey Orders..

    Hitler Destroyed
    Germanys Third Army That Way In Russia .Over Kill and Logistics..

    • jim ticehurst says:

      I Just Read On Yahoo News and Links To THE INDEPENDAT..With Videos and Storys..That on March 11th…Putin Authorized The Deplyment of
      16,000 Foreign Combat Hardened Fighters From Syria…To Be Deployed alongside Russian Soldiers In Ukraine..He is Paying Them $3000.00 Dollars
      A Month

      Also I Saw up There aLine to Independent News..(Big Web Site) another Story With Videos..That utin Has Put His SPY CHIEFS Under House Arrest..Head of FSB.. Story Date 3/12/22 at 10:16 AM by
      Maryam Zakir-Hussain..

      Also That Putin Has Turned Against His Security Chiefs,,Over the
      Russian Invasion Plans….

      Sounds Like A Paronoid Hitler IMO..

      Q…Are The Syrian Fighters Capable of Bring CBWs To Use on KYEV
      Or Anywhere Else..If PUTIN Orders It…?????

      • Pat Lang says:

        Don’t be an idiot. Syria use of CW was entirely a British (whitehelmet film company) lie.

        • jim ticehurst says:

          at..i have been connected with You and Larry for 20 Years..I try to add helpful and Objective comments and Analysis..

          I asked a question if anyone thought The Syrian Fighter
          could be Capable of such a Thing..AQuestion..
          Pat.>many times you have Insulted Me..Like Your Current “:Don’t Be An IDIOT” Comment…

          I will Not come here any More and Be Insulted by
          You….You have become a Grumpy Old Man..
          I Used To Respect………


        • Polly says:

          Yes, THANKS, Colonel: that fraud was clear straightaway.
          What a sad fact that our lying press & staged video deceived many smart souls.

      • Leith says:

        JT –

        Sergey Beseda, head of the FSB’s foreign intelligence branch, was arrested with Anatoly Bolyukh, his deputy. And 20 addresses of lower level FSB officers were raided.

        Looking for a mole? Or some are saying it was because of bad intel by Beseda on Ukraine. He had apparently told Putin that the Russian Army would be greeted with flowers throughout Ukraine. But Beseda was probably only telling Putin what Putin already believed and wanted to hear.

        What will happen now to Beseda’s boss, Bortnikov? He has long known Putin since the 1970s. Maybe it was Bortnikov that backstabbed Beseda and Bolyuch to save his own skin?

        • jim ticehurst says:

          Thank You..Very Interesting follow up Details..If True..
          That Would Enrage and Isolate utin Even More..
          Sounds Right About Bortnikov..The Head Hunting
          Has Just Begun..

  2. Jimmy_w says:

    The “40 mile convoy/parking lot” means Russians don’t need an outer cordon. There are no significant armored threats, except inside the cauldrons. Basic rear observation posts and ground radars is enough for the units not on MSR/ASRs.

  3. Pundita says:

    Obviously, one thing the Russian war colleges teach is poker. Comes in handy when fighting a war in full view of the press.

  4. Leith says:

    You are right that the Russians don’t have the manpower. The German Army had three quarters of a million men at the start of the Leningrad Siege. They had half a million casualties there, the Soviets had three million casualties per Glantz’s book. Hitler did not even want Army Group North to capture that city. Instead they were to use artillery and air bombardment, as well as starve the city into submission. He almost succeeded, during the two & a half year siege people ended up eating sawdust and some even turned cannibal.

    Perhaps Putin or Shoigu thinks that with the Russian Air Force & Army’s ISR assets they can snoop out and stop Ukrainian food and ammo resupply without putting a million troops around Kiev. Damn tough to do IMHO. And does he really want to destroy Kiev and starve its people? He probably just wants Zelenskyy to come and start kissing his feet begging him to stop.

    • Pat Lang says:

      do they have “a million troops?”

      • Leith says:

        Probably only a quarter million in the army. But they supposedly have two million reserve personnel. And there are reports that mobilization of the reserves was discussed at Putin’s last security council meeting. If mobilized, I imagine some of the reserves would have to be dragged kicking and screaming into uniform.

  5. Babeltuap says:

    Operation Mockingbird II. Fine with me. My state is ramping up oil and gas production. Let the good times roll.

  6. TTG says:

    “Ukrainian intelligence: 18 Russian battalion tactical groups (BTGs) have lost their combat capability in action, 13 more have been completely destroyed.
    In general, Russia was believed to have had a total of 120-125 BTGs deployed against Ukraine.”

    Given the source, this is probably a rosy view of reality. US intel says the Russians lost about 10% of their forces. Given the beating their supply columns are taking from drone strikes, air strikes, hunter-killer infantry teams from both SOF and Territorial Forces, cheap Chinese tires and deserting conscripts, It’s almost a wonder they’re still advancing at all. Plus the Russians still haven’t been able to achieve air superiority. The Ukrainians are still flying sorties and still shooting down Russian aircraft.

    What are they teaching in Russian staff and war colleges? My guess it’s a lot of theory. Judging by their grandiose, but photogenic, exercises, I don’t see any force on force free play like in our joint training centers. Those Russian exercises are more like firepower displays. But what really hurts them is the kleptocracy that seems to permeate the entire armed forces.

    • Leith says:

      Shoigu has said in the past that they have a total of 170 BTGs. If true they deployed 70 to 75% of them against Ukraine.

      Ukraine Air Force is only flying four to five sorties per day. Their S300 systems are doing the best at shooting down Russian air. Some of those former Warsaw Pact countries need to send them replacement SAMs.

      • TTG says:


        The BTGs are ad hoc combined arms formations on the tactical level much like our concept of creating battalion task forces from pure armor and mech infantry battalions. I know we also do that with company sized combined arms teams. What always struck me was the heavy use of artillery in the BTGs. It seems like a good idea on paper. However, if the troops and leaders are shit, no amount of brilliant tactical reorganization is going to help. That idiotic advance down the main street of Brovary illustrated that. That was the first instance of BTG like formation I’ve seen in this war. Looks like BTGs are still at the theory stage. Now I’m wondering if all our concerns about the Soviet OMGs was misplaced.

      • Leith says:

        TTG –

        I saw that video of Brovary. Kind of looked more like they were moving in a parade formation instead of being in combat. After watching it my ears started ringing with the warning old Gunny Whitlock yelled at us 50+ years ago: “One grenade is going to kill all you sh1tbirds if you keep bunching up like that”. The Ukrainians are claiming the Russian CO, a Colonel Zakharov, was KIA there.

        I have not seen any Russian infantry on foot. They all seem to stay in their APCs. Whatever happened to tank/infantry coordination?

        Weren’t those old Soviet OMGs supposed to strike deep and cut into the enemy rear and destroy their log chain? Seems the Ukrainian SOF along with TDF farmers are doing that to the Russians.

    • Bill Roche says:

      I see the convoy differently. It is a moving parking lot; but it moves. It has not been stopped by air strikes and if it is taking a beating from “hunter killer” (are there any other kinds) infantry teams it must have a hell of a rear guard and flankers b/c … still it moves. Inexorable, slow, and persistently moving is how I describe it. You believe it will be stopped? Where and when.

      • Pat Lang says:

        Bill Roche
        OK. The Ukrainians have to kill them on a retail basis. Wish the young me was there.

        • Barbara Ann says:


          I hope a version of a younger you is there, training the indigenous in the ways of retail war. Turning those supply roads from Belarus into something akin to the Salang Pass would give the would-be besiegers pause.

      • TTG says:

        Bill Roche,

        It’s more likely that one massive convoy will suffer the same fate of pork as it enters a meat grinder as it inexorably, slowly and persistently turns into sausage meat.

        • Bill Roche says:

          TTRG For sure I hope so but the “moving parking lot” is approaching Ky’ve. When it reaches the city it will be game set match. The Ukrainians know the details of their roads and topography. Perhaps, maybe, could be, they are letting the convoy reach the best kill zone. Then again maybe not.

  7. Yeah, Right says:

    “To cut the city off from any reinforcements that will undoubtedly rush north if the capital is threatened will be an enormous undertaking.”

    Undoubtedly. But I’m curious where those reinforcements will be coming from.

    “Russia could have about 50,000-100,000 troops around Kyiv. It took 2.5 million to capture Berlin in 1945, with heavy losses.”

    Very true. But what if the Russians don’t want to capture the city, and are simply content to keep it bottled up?

    • Pat Lang says:

      Yeah, right
      What would be the point?

      • zmajcek says:

        It would be their Mission Accomplished moment.
        They are probably hoping that Russian speaking Ukrainians will see the error of their ways and flock to the Russian side.

        The reality on the ground suggests otherwise.

    • Seamus Padraig says:

      I’ve had the same thought, too. What if the Russians simply surround Kiev, preventing any supplies from getting in, and wait them out? The Russians could then offer food, medicine, etc. to whomever chooses to flee the city and defect. In time that would begin to undermine Kiev’s human-shields strategy.

      • Pat Lang says:

        You could expect to see Ukrainian efforts to break the siege. As Chesty Puller said at the Chosin Reservoir “They have us surrounded. The poor bastards. They can’t get away now.

        • Bill Roche says:

          The Choisin Resevoir Campaign is a thrilling story but Puller’s men were “advancing in reverse”. They had some where to go but the city of Ky’ve doesn’t. Putin doesn’t want to prolong the war and holding Ky’ve under siege would do that. Do the correspondents of Turcopolier think protests in Moscow will influence Putin. Some of us remember ’67-’72. Those protest were embraced by the newspapers and the tv stations and were exceedingly harmful to American efforts in Nam. Thoughts.

  8. mcohrm says:

    Falling stars over Russia will settle the matter

  9. d74 says:

    Whether the Telegraph is a good source of information is questionable.

    If the information presented here is from journalists on the ground and analysed by specialists with military knowledge, then my objection falls.

    It would be a pity to fall for our own propaganda.

    • Pat Lang says:


      “Dominic Nicholls
      Dominic served for 23 years in the British Army with operational deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkans and Northern Ireland. Originally a cavalry officer in The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards he later transferred to the Army Air Corps where he flew Gazelle helicopters.”

      Is that enough experience for you?

  10. zmajcek says:

    Learning the hard way seems to be the Russian way.
    This is starting to remind me of the 1939 Winter War.

    • Pat Lang says:

      Very much. I was trained by in Northern and arctic operations by Finns who were veterans of that war. Incredible people.

      • zmajcek says:

        Always liked the Finns. Fiercely independent, patriotic and minding their own business.

      • Bill Roche says:

        I agree the Finns are incredible people. But in your opinion pls, is this Sisu thing a relic of the past or is it still w/i Finnish culture. It is relevant how the Finns perceive the events in Ukraine. Tnx.

    • Pat Lang says:

      Someone here asked how long it took the 2003 invasion to reach and capture Baghdad. Three weeks, but it was 400 + miles from Kuwait to Baghdad.

  11. Condottiere says:

    “ What the hell do they teach in Russian staff and war colleges?”


    • Leith says:

      Condottiere –

      Book that the course is based on was written by A. Dugin, a Russian neo-fascist prof. Neo-fascist is just a gentler word for neo-Nazi.

  12. Stadist says:

    I would guess the actions of russian military are directed more by political than military considerations, i.e. Putin telling that Kyiv must be taken. Meanwhile apparently(?) Putin is avoiding of escalating by refusing to call in/deploy russian conscripts/reservists, which is due to domestic political reasons to avoid dissent of the population, so again politics.

    It just smells of politics whichever way one looks at it. Whole invasion was based on political reasons, russians being delusional that NATO is Third Reich of modern day, plotting to invade and destroy Russia. Defense of Europe is still predominately based on the expectation that USA will swoop in, otherwise many EU NATO countries have very limited offensive (and even defensive) capabilities outside limited number of high quality weapon systems. Many EU countries cannot even muster any significant amount of troops because conscription has been very limited or non-existent in recent years, so there aren’t any significant reserves to mobilize. I do not know, but I highly suspect many EU countries don’t even have large stockpiles of assault rifles to equip newly trained troops or mobilized reserves.

    Only non-theoretical threat NATO poses for Russia is through Nuclear Weapons, it does not have good capabilities to engage in all-out conventional war, at least within timescales of 6-12 months. Longer timescales are different matter, but most of europeans do not have interest in attacking Russia, so this is all very theoretical.

  13. Fred says:

    I don’t know what they teach at Russian staff colleges, but it looks like they don’t teach officers not to underestimate your enemy. I don’t know what they taught English op-ed writers at teh Telegraph either. My memory on the WW2 Battle of Berlin is a bit hazy, but didn’t the Werhmact have close to a million troops of various capablities defending the city in that final year of war? From the public reports the bulk of the Ukrainian army is still far to the East, so what are they defending the city with, and why haven’t we seen that 40 mile long “convoy” shot up and full of burning wrecks and dead bodies a week ago? Too bad the Telegraph does not have some actual reporters out there to provide some news rather than just Op-ed writers in London giving us bad historical comparisions.

  14. Nena says:

    But we ARE NOT in 1945 and this is another kind of warfare…

    • Pat Lang says:

      How is it another “form of warfare?” I see airstrikes, use of artillery, armored vehicles. How is it another fomr of warfare?

      • Nena says:

        Well, that in 1945 was an army of peasants, sailors and soldiers, and military strategy was not so developed as it is today.

        This is a professional modern army trying to avoid mass destruction and saving civilian lives, which is the first time in a era, as far as I know.

  15. Eric Blair says:

    I get a sense that Russia is engaging in two different military strategies in Ukraine. In central Ukraine, the Russian military is subordinated to a more diplomatic approach, while in eastern Ukraine, the Russian military is operating in a more straightforward Syrian style activity.

    The western media is focused on central Ukraine and there seems to be little coverage of eastern Ukraine where much of the Ukrainian Army was deployed at the start of the invasion.

    I don’t think the average person in the USA has nearly enough information to know what is going on in the Ukraine right now.

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