“Russian Guided Weapons Miss the Mark, US Defense Officials Say” – TTG

On Monday morning, as columns of armored vehicles and soldiers paraded through Moscow in celebration of Russia’s 1945 victory over Germany in World War II, one element of Russian military power was conspicuously missing: its warplanes. And though officials blamed their grounding on bad weather, Russian planes, pilots and air-to-ground weapons have all grossly underperformed in the war against Ukraine. The absence underscored President Vladimir V. Putin’s failure to build a capable modern air force, as Russian aircrews race in and out of Ukrainian airspace and heave unguided bombs while fleeing enemy surface-to-air missiles that Moscow has still not managed to destroy, even after 75 days of combat.

Russian warplanes are generally flying 200 to 300 sorties each day, a senior Defense Department official told reporters during a briefing on Monday, but have failed to establish air superiority over Ukraine, which continues to fly its own fighters and attack jets against Russian troops. And as the war stretches into its third month, Russia has already expended many of its most accurate weapons, such as cruise missiles and both short and medium range ballistic missiles.

On May 2, the Pentagon said Russia had fired more than 2,125 such weapons since the invasion began. Their use dropped sharply after the second week of the war, Britain’s defense secretary, Ben Wallace, said in a speech on Monday. The Russians “have blown through” many of their precision-guided munitions, said the senior US official, who was not authorized to speak publicly on details of Russia’s shortcomings. “In fact, they continue to hit Mariupol with a lot of dumb bombs.”

The official also said that sanctions and export controls established after Russia invaded Ukraine had limited Moscow’s access to the kinds of electronic components it needed to build guided weapons, thus affecting Mr. Putin’s ability to restock his military with modern aerial munitions.

Russia’s lack of guided weapons, and their often poor accuracy when used, offers more indications of just how far behind Moscow’s armed forces are compared with Western militaries. Instead of being able to quickly target Ukrainian troops and moving vehicles with laser- or satellite-guided bombs, Russia has largely shown it can hit only fixed targets like military buildings or civilian population centers — either by firing volleys of unguided artillery shells and rocket attacks at them, U.S. officials said, or by using large guided ballistic missiles and air-launched cruise missiles that often fail or are inaccurate.

Russian warplanes continue to rely on unguided bombs that are crude, compared even with those the United States built immediately after World War II. Whereas the standard American Mark-80 series of bombs used by NATO can be readily reconfigured for different missions and have a forged steel body, the Russian counterpart is welded together. One senior intelligence official said the Russian design favors cheap mass production over accuracy, and requires much less assembly before flight — which makes those bombs a more attractive option for use by comparatively untrained Russian forces.

The guided munitions Russia has been using are limited to air-launched Kh-101 cruise missiles deployed from Tu-95 Bear and Tu-160 Blackjack bombers flying in Russian and Belarusian airspace; ground-launched short- and medium-range ballistic missiles like Tochka and Iskander; and a small number of Kalibr cruise missiles fired from warships at sea, one official said.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/09/us/politics/russia-air-force-ukraine.html

Comment: I knew things were bad when Russia used Bastion anti-ship missiles a week or two ago to target Odesa. Yesterday Oniks supersonic anti-ship missiles hit Odesa from Black Sea Fleet ships. Two Tu-22M3 Backfire Bombers flying out of Khmeimim AB in Syria were also used to launch cruise missiles at Odesa. They’re scrounging for stuff to throw at Ukraine. A couple more months of this and they’ll be breaking out the catapults and trebuchets. And they still can’t stop the trains. Looks like the “arsenal of democracy” is going to call the shots again.

TTG 

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84 Responses to “Russian Guided Weapons Miss the Mark, US Defense Officials Say” – TTG

  1. Leith says:

    There is video showing Ukrainian SU-24 attack planes flying at “grass-mowing” altitude when over or near Russian controlled territory. Ditto for Ukrainian helicopters. They are taking nap-of-the-earth flight to new horizons. It’s a bit easier though on the steppes of eastern Ukraine. Just need to pull up for the windbreak treelines, or for the ordnance drop.

    Russian tactical air also tries to fly low to avoid SAMs, but nowhere near as close to the dirt. And they seldom fly directly over Ukrainian controlled territory.

    • TTG says:

      Leith,

      You’d be surprised (or maybe not) at how low those SOW MC-130s would fly. I remember seeing the trees directly out the windows. Our UH-1Hs in Hawaii would fly below the level of dry gulches. We hit a prickly pear bush popping out of one gulch. Made for an exciting few seconds until the pilot reestablished full control.

      • Leith says:

        True. But never seen jet fighters do that outside of an airshow.

        By the way – I believe Tidewater on the other thread was talking about Ochakiv at the head of the Dnieper River in Mikolaev Oblast. It has long been a Ukrainian Navy Ops Center.

        • Tidewater says:

          Leith,

          I think it would be accurate to say that in the long history of Ochakiv( Ochakov) it was about August 7, 2017 and with a little bit of fanfare it was redesignated an alleged ‘major planning and operational hub’ in the anti-terrorist operation against the people of the Donbas. Four ships were moved from Odesa (Odessa) and were based there. These were a landing ship, a tugboat, and two artillery boats. Construction was carried out by NMCB1–the Seabees–and continued apparently at various stages of intensity until February 24, 2022, when it is to have been destroyed by a Russian missile attack. It is alleged to have been a radar station. Interestingly, there were four or five Willards–the $800,000 rigid inflatable with state-of-the-art radar systems capable of carrying twenty men used by naval commandos for infiltration/ exfiltration were alleged to have been found there.

    • Klapper says:

      Leith:

      These are Russian jets I think (last video in the post)? Are you sure The Ukranians are flying lower than this?

      https://southfront.org/in-video-bloody-clashes-on-ukrainian-frontlines/

  2. Jimmy_W says:

    That diss of welding vs forged is unseemly. After all, Russia is still drawing down their “welded” 1950-era bomb inventory. If they want to talk drag or accuracy, sure, but not forge vs weld. And the Mk-80 series was late-50s design, making its use in the article misleading, as a basis of comparison. Whoever is briefing this reporter is feeding him distorted analysis and he’s not smart enough to know it.

    Yes, Russia has not suppressed Ukrainian HIMAD thus far. Unclear why.

  3. MapleLeaf says:

    Haha… Well, they may very well still use a match to launch Soyuz craft.

    I never understood with all the FOREX Russia had amassed over the years, why it hadn’t diverted at least a few billion a year to maintaining arms procurement policies post-2014. Certainly it would have further benefited the corrupt elite that run the MIC over there. I guess they had their fill of embezzling funds, they can enjoy their impounded yachts.

    A few weeks ago there had been some news circulating/suggesting that certain Russian weapons manufacturers were urgently seeking to expand their workforce by 500 workers, running 24/7 production lines, likely to increase output of their PGMs. Then some facilities started to catch on fire. Probably someone smoking… or unattended oily rags… perhaps a Russian-machine was turned on because they couldn’t import any more German manufactured equipment.

    Most of the Russian missiles were designed for dual-attack modes, probably because they didn’t/don’t have deep enough pockets to support a wide range of specialized PGMs.

    Even given all their blunders, I still see the Russians winning. The question is really winning what, and when…

    • TTG says:

      MapleLeaf,

      I have no doubt Russia will eventually be able to recover from sanctions. Their scientists, engineers, tool makers and machinists are talented and resourceful. Working with them for Y2K remediations showed me that. There’s nothing wrong with simple yet imaginative solutions. As far as winning this war, I no longer see that as likely for Russia at all.

      • morongobill says:

        What will happen first, Russia recovers from the sanctions or the US dropped as the reserve currency?

        • TTG says:

          morongobill,

          Russia, in whatever shape it is, will be fine in ten years able to produce whatever she needs internally. The US dollar could drop next month or it could never drop. I personally think it will do fine.

          • Harry says:

            The US dollar is already so expensive that it would probably be a good thing if it went down a bit.

      • English Outsider says:

        TTG – seems there’s two opinions here. One, which I happen to share, that Kiev lost this war as soon as it started – or a day or two before. The other: “As far as winning this war, I no longer see that as likely for Russia at all.”

        We’re asking the Ukrainians to risk a lot on the chance of the second opinion being right, especially since the longer the war goes on the more territory gets lost. It seems callous to talk about loss of territory when at present men are dying by the hundreds every day. But it’s a factor.

        Before 2014 Ukraine was as it was when the Soviet Union broke up. Post-2014 and the polite people and that’s one bit of the old Ukraine gone.

        Fast forward to February 21st 2022 and the Ukraine was still in one piece bar the Crimea. The agreement the Russians were pushing hard for left it in one piece. For all the talk about Russian land grabbing the Russians were attempting to come to an agreement with Kiev that would have kept the country together. All have now forgotten that but it’s hard fact.

        Post February 21st Kiev lost the Donbas. For good. So that’s two bits gone.

        Pre- the failure of the Turkish peace negotiations Kiev had a good chance of keeping the rest. Looked as if it was going that way. Then, according to the Turks, NATO told Kiev to stop negotiating. Whether that’s true or not, Kiev pulled back from negotiating and is now looking at the loss of further territory. More bits gone:-

        “The head of the DPR Denis Pushilin and the Secretary General of the United Russia Andrey Turchak visited Kherson and met with the head of the military-civilian administration of the region Vladimir Saldo.

        “At the meeting, Turchak uttered a fundamental phrase for Russians and local residents: “Russia is here forever!” “

        https://t.me/s/intelslava/27937

        The Russian Duma is now asking for further bits. If one thinks about it, and never mind the Duma, it’s extremely difficult for the Russians to abandon territory once they’ve got it. If they do abandon territory then Kiev sends in the Security Services to find out who’s been collaborating and the collaborators get beaten up or killed.

        So once the Russians are in they have to stay. And they’re in the mood to want to stay anyway, as the Duma shows.

        So there’ll be more bits gone. Zaporirizhia? The North-East? If it continues, Odessa? And rumours, though one hopes unsubstantiated rumours, that the Eastern Europeans are eyeing up more bits of the Ukraine that used to belong to them.

        Where does this end? NATO should stop telling Zelensky to fight to the last man. Easy enough to tell him that when it’s only the proxies dying, but the more NATO pushes Zelensky on the more territory the Ukrainians lose. What do Biden and Johnson want? To keep pushing Zelensky on until the Ukrainians are left with a village and a couple of fields?

        One does not have to be a “Russophile” to find the entire concept of “bleeding the Russians” repugnant. But even if that’s what the crazies in Washington and Brussels want, it’s time they stopped using the Ukrainians to do it.

  4. Fred says:

    “The Russians “have blown through” many of their precision-guided munitions, …“In fact, they continue to hit Mariupol with a lot of dumb bombs.””

    Did the “senior US official, who was not authorized to speak publicly” but was apparently authorized to put out this piece, say what the daily production capability for precision guided munitions based on a one-shift 5 day/week schedule was? Did said individual state what the stockpile of said munitions, actual types not listed, was? Does the “senior US official, who was not authorized to speak publicly” know that there are numerous reports that the Russians are using artillery to strike Mariupol?Just curious. It’s not like that building complex is going to run away.

    “unguided bombs that are crude, compared even with those the United States built immediately after World War II. ”

    Barrel bombs are back baby!!!! Sorry for the erroneous hyperbole; the folks quoted didn’t say “barrel bombs”.

    “the Russian counterpart is welded together.”

    Is that a robotic weld, or something learned in a Russian trade school? What is the effect when it goes “boom” on the ground?

    “comparatively untrained Russian forces”

    Compared to whom? How many soritesy actually flown in combat does it take to be comparatively trained? How about ‘effective’?

    “deployed from Tu-95 Bear and Tu-160 Blackjack bombers flying in Russian and Belarusian airspace;”

    If “NATO” is supplying realtime data to the Ukrainians as has been suggested here and elsewhere, what is the time to intercept the aircraft for Ukrainian fighters or SAMs? If they are over Russia why hasn’t the Ukranian Air Force been able to engage them in combat or strike their airfields to neutralize them?

    If Bastion and Oniks anti-ship missles can hit a moving target then why is there an issue with using them against a stationary one? Do the Ukrainians have a navy to worry about in the Black Sea that these would need to be kept in reserve? What did they blow up, if anything?

    • TTG says:

      Fred,

      I’m sure the Ukrainians are running out of missiles too. There are only so many S-300s held in Europe’s inventory. If it wasn’t for the “arsenal of democracy,” they’d be going at each other with edged weapons by Christmas.

      • Fred says:

        TTG,

        That leaves a lot of unanswered questions; and, as you know,weapons don’t fight, men do.

        • TTG says:

          Fred,

          Can’t you research some of those unanswered questions?

          I’ll give you one. Using Bastion and Oniks missiles on apartment buildings and shopping centers in Odesa leave the Russian Navy with that many less missiles to address any future contingencies outside of Ukraine. Those ships won’t be much of a deterrence to NATO or US fleets operating in the Mediterranean, if they can ever get through the Bosporus again.

          Oh yes, another one. Russia can’t produce any more PGMs until they can find or develop a replacement for the previously imported electronics. Those mysterious fires at the munition plants aren’t helping matters, either.

          • Fred says:

            TTG,

            I have no dog in this fight, my analysis of what is going on, what little I’ve done, just differs from yours. I am that rarity today that is 100% on America’s side. (Though I think Biden is worse than W and Barack) Sadly Blinken and the Borg will happily cheerlead the world into this war the same way they intervened in VN. Next time I’m up Virginia way we need to have a burger and a cold beer and buyer the hatchet. If you like I’ll see if I can flesh out the piece I started on a couple weeks ago.

          • TTG says:

            Fred,

            Our back and forth keeps us both sharp and probably both amused. I enjoy it. A burger and beer does sound good to me.

          • Worth Pointing Out says:

            “Oh yes, another one. Russia can’t produce any more PGMs until they can find or develop a replacement for the previously imported electronics.”

            I keep hearing that, but nobody ever seems to identify what those “imported electronics” are, nor explain why the Russians ever decided in the first place to use those instead of “indigenous electronics”.

            It’s become something of a dogma. A self-evident truth that requires absolutely no evidence to support it.

          • Worth Pointing Out says:

            There is almost no open-source data regarding Russian production of PGMs.

            The report that the Russians have been forced to halt tank production/repair because of a lack of “imported electronics” (see further down the comments) appears to have exactly one source: the Facebook feed of the Ukraine General Staff.

            All other reports simply parrot that initial unsubstantiated claim.

            But let’s take a different example where we do have figures: Javelin anti-tank missiles.

            The Biden Administration has shipped 5,000 Javelins to Ukraine, amounting to roughly 1/3 of total US stocks.

            At that rate the last Javelin missile in the current inventory will head over to Ukraine before the end of this year.

            Current production is 2,100 missiles. Lockheed Martin intend to ramp that up to 4,000 per year, but admit that supply-chain issues means that such a ramp-up could take years.

            So at the current rate the stockpile can be replenished at 175 units per month. If the supply-side issues can be solved that goes up to 333 missiles per month.

            But at the current rate the USA is depleting that stockpile at over 1,500 missiles per month.

            I’m no statistician, but to my untrained eye that looks to be unsustainable.

            Either the Biden administration will soon have to make the decision to curtail those shipments or it has to accept that the US army will have very little in the way man-portable anti-tank defenses for the next several years.

            Because, let’s face it, if Biden allows that stockpile to hit zero then even at the ramped-up production it will take about three and a half years to restock the warehouses.

          • Pat Lang says:

            WPO
            Why don’t you think the producers will get replacement contracts, big ones?

          • PeterHug says:

            I don’t think US or NATO ships have a blanket prohibition on entering the Black Sea under the Montreaux Convention, as they are not belligerents. Additionally, both Romania and Bulgaria (and of course Turkey) qualify as Black Sea Powers, with somewhat relaxed rules.

          • Worth Pointing Out says:

            “Why don’t you think the producers will get replacement contracts, big ones?”

            Oh, they will. And mighty big they will be.

            But the CEO of Lockheed Martin has already admitted that it is monumentally difficult to ramp up production because of supply-side problems.

            This is a product that is resource-limited, so the problem can’t be solved simply by throwing money at it.

            The CEO of Raytheon has said that the situation w.r.t. replacement Stinger MANPADS is even worse: “We’ve been working with the DoD for the last couple of weeks, we’re actively trying to source some of the material, but unfortunately, DOD hasn’t bought a Stinger in about 18 years and some of the components are no longer commercially available”

            So no amount of money waved under his nose is going to result in replacement Stingers, not without a very lengthy redesign.

            The Pentagon is going to have to swallow its pride an order an alternative MANPAD from a foreign manufacturer. Or decide that the US Army can do without MANPADs for a few years while Rathyeon develops a new shoulder-launched anti-air missile.

            Neither seems like it would be palatable to the Pentagon.

            The alternative is that the supply of Stingers to Ukraine is curtailed.

            The latter, I suggest, is what will happen.

          • Steve says:

            It seems the worlds chip factory won’t be helping out as far as the US/NATO are concerned. I wonder whether the Russians are a more favoured market for them….

          • TTG says:

            Steve,

            The lack of German electronics and chips are hitting Russia hard already. That’s was causing these early factory shutdowns. the full effect of existing sanctions aren’t expected to hit for months.

          • d74 says:

            @ Worth Pointing Out and TTG

            I read somewhere that the Russian production of military electronics is autonomous.
            They would use an engraving of 70nm largely sufficient for their need. They would master it without any problem since the 2010s. It would still be enough for the Triumph s500 (flak) which would have a reaction time of 10-15 seconds. They rely more on the speed of the software.

            By the way, a careful reading of the specialized Russian press recognizes with forceful circumvolution that the S400 is not capable of stopping a Tochta U except in an ideal case during the rising phase. One of the many problems is that the head is armored. Even a hit on the target does not destroy it, at most it deflects it. This should give some ideas….

          • TTG says:

            d74,

            The Soviet electronics industry was fully self-sufficient. Some of their solutions were crude, but elegant. In the 90s, a lot of the old Soviet computers were melted down. The gold in those computers was enough to purchase state of the art Western computers. Soviet era coders were always top of the line. I knew some of them. They would spend two years doing machine language on a blackboard before they even touched a computer. Today’s Russian coders are good, but not as good as the old school hackers.

          • Steve says:

            TTG,

            I was referencing China. Have you seen the Nasdaq lately? The Chinese may well be resisting sending weapons to Russia but they can also resist sending vital components to the US. That Shanghai lockdown is pretty good cover for doing so given that it’s the first time one has been so prolonged. The DC sabre rattling toward Beijing can’t be helping either.

          • whoknows says:

            Can the Ukrainian Antiaircaft battery hit a Russian
            cruise missile? Has it happened?

            If yes, what’s going to happen later?
            Might the damaged missile hit an apartment building? Will this be counted as a cruise missile miss in your Universe?

          • TTG says:

            whoknows,

            Yes, many Russian missiles have been successfully intercepted. The wreakage from the intercepted missiles usually lands in open fields. A missile strike is very different from damage from the fallen debris from an intercepted missile.

  5. scott s. says:

    Here’s a good account from the Austrian Army, which I suppose would know something of Ukraine (HT CDR Salamander blog), Krieg in der Ukraine: Die Schlacht um den Donbass:

    https://youtu.be/QJiuc4KWmQo

  6. Pat Lang says:

    Me too

  7. mcohen says:

    Lol.snake Island.what a name.
    Crypto is in freefall so thats stuffed the black market.Everyone who bought crypto is paying for this war.

    Lend lease and snake Island.Love it.

    • Worth Pointing Out says:

      I’m rather curious to know what the Ukrainians are “leasing” in order that the USA can “lend” some weapons to them.

      After all, that is what lend-lease is, isn’t it?

      • TTG says:

        Worth Pointing Out,

        The Lend-Lease Act was just signed into law yesterday. I doubt anything has been lent or leased yet.

      • Jovan P says:

        @Worth Pointing Out

        Grain.

        • Worth Pointing Out says:

          Jovan P, then that would be “barter”, not “lend-lease”.

          I’m not that hung up on it, but I’m usually of the opinion that words should mean something.

          So if it’s “Lend-Lease” then the USA supplies weapons and in return the recipient leases something to Uncle Sam.

          If the Ukkies are offering “grain” then the legislation should be named something else because, you know, words should mean something.

          How about “The Guns for Grain Act, 2022”?

        • Leith says:

          Jovan –

          Putin is stealing Ukrainian grain. Tried to sell it to Egypt, but they declined. Now at least one shipment of 27000 tons is believed to be in Latakia Syria.

          https://twitter.com/jongambrellAP/status/1524360116770082816

  8. Polish Janitor says:

    Maybe Putin could re-supply on firepower by turning to China, to which he recently agreed to send un-interrupted shipments of oil. Would be interesting to see if China actually does send Putin arms, because it just recently delivered Serbia military equipment with Y-20s if I recall correctly.

    • TTG says:

      Polish Janitor,

      So far, China has refused to supply missiles to Russia.

      For the oil, only the smaller Russian fields are connected to China. Russia’s biggest fields are only connected to Europe. Those pipelines will become useless. Both europe and Russia have a lot of oil and gas infrastructure to build.

      • Polish Janitor says:

        Right, I hadn’t considered the crucial part of this which is the infrastructure. Nonetheless, my assumption was based on the online info and tracking data from oil tankers’ twitter accounts that so far have mentioned a few instances of Russian oil (mixed with other crudes, e.g. Venezuelan and Iranian) heading to Chinese smaller refineries and even just stored on water inside tankers for ship-to-ship transfers with the GPS turned-off.

  9. mcohen says:

    I went to an airshow a while back at avalon.there was one Russian su something,maybe 27.i looked at it and all the pop rivets on the airframe protruded,the tyres were bald.compared to the f 16’s it looked go karty.
    Then when it was there turn to demo. The pilot fired it up and there was this almighty roar that shook the whole of victoria.
    For a cessena 150 fan this the awe.

    • TTG says:

      mcohen,

      That Su-27 is supposed to be a sweet flying plane, famous for it’s cobra maneuver.

    • walrus says:

      M Cohen, I was there too and the Su27 did all those maneuvers without a computer holding the pilots hand. The comparison between the Antonov and the Galaxy was also telling. I liked the full length overhead crane in the Antonov. Russian mechanical engineering is way ahead of Europe and America in my opinion.

      The last one I went to, you could walk under the bomb bay of the B52, but no Russians.

      PS I cut my teeth on a C150. I still prefer low and slow.

    • William M Hatch says:

      In the ’70’s I had an opportunity to see some Soviet aircraft & weapons. Initially I was shocked by crude the manufacturing & finish. The SA-2 used duct tape to seal the gaps in the sheets of metal. The rivets on the MIG-17 were crudely done. But then I realized that the drag added to the SA-2 by the sheet metal gaps were meaningless when the missile came off of the rails at supersonic speeds. The MIG-17 was not built to last forever & was rugged enough to operate off of grass fields. The Soviets were not worried about cosmetics, just combat effectiveness. In VN our grunts ambushed an NVA patrol in a rice paddy. One of the dead NVA was carrying a Czech AK-47. The AK was found under the body & covered with paddy mud. The AK had been stuck by 2 rounds on the receiver & the stock was shattered by another round.
      When test fired the AK functioned normally. The Czech AK was a work of craftmanship, unlike the rougher Soviet & Chinese weapons.

  10. Fourth and Long says:

    Not to be indiscrete, and with admittedly little to no expertise and as much experience or less, but I would rather not a Soviet missile land on my house.

  11. Mark Gaughan says:

    US defense official says, equals BS. Don’t believe any of it.
    Watcb this instead: https://thesaker.is/andrei-martyanov-may-9th-zmeinnyi-island-fiasco-pentagon-fakes-nuclear-subs-in-black-sea/

    • TTG says:

      Mark Gaughan,

      This all must be exasperating for Andrei. I hope he doesn’t work himself into a vaporlock.

  12. Mark Gaughan says:

    For some relief,
    Away Above a Harborful by Lawence Ferlinghetti

    Away above a harborful
    of caulkless houses
    among the charley noble chimneypots
    of a rooftop rigged with clotheslines
    a woman pastes up sails
    upon the wind
    hanging out her morning sheets
    with wooden pins
    O lovely mammal
    her nearly naked breasts
    throw taut shadows
    when she stretches up
    to hang at last the last of her
    so white washed sins
    but it is wetly amorous
    and winds itself about her
    clinging to her skin
    So caught with arms
    upraised
    she tosses back her head
    in voiceless laughter
    and in choiceless gesture then
    shakes out gold hair

    while in the reachless seascape spaces

    between the blown white shrouds

    stand out the bright steamers

    to kingdom come

  13. LJ says:

    Back in the days of Sic Semper Tyrannis, both TTG and PL gave strong support to the birth of Novorussiya and praised Putin for his patience and not driving to Kiev. Here is on example by TTG from July 6, 2014:

    “Why hasn’t Putin initiated his peacekeeping operation to stop the fighting and slaughter of civilians? The Saker and many others are clamoring for intervention. There are plenty of logical reasons for not intervening so overtly. But I don’t think the threat of sanctions and a new cold war are what’s holding Putin back. No, he is another hard hearted empath. He knows that Novorossiya must be forged from fire if it is to survive. They must want it and be willing to fight for it themselves. Back in April, Igor Strelkov, the former Russian SPETZNAZ colonel and military leader of the rebels, complained that not enough men were stepping forward to fight. That has changed. The rebels are now 20,000 strong. The Donbass miners have defied their oligarch employers and began taking up arms just last month.

    Additionally, Putin disdains the West’s penchant for R2P and aggressive interference in the affairs of others. He will move if he thinks it is necessary and when he thinks it is necessary. For now, I believe he is content to provide covert support as necessary, push for a real ceasefire and political solution, and bide his time as a new nation that intends to span from Kharkov to Oddessa and Transnistria births itself.”

    Just wondering how and why Turcopolier has taken a 180 degree about face recognizing everyone has the obligation to reconsider positions if needed.
    Source: https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2014/07/page/2/

    • TTG says:

      LJ,

      A lot has changed in the intervening eight years. The LNR and DNR that began so promisingly descended in shadows of a 1930s Soviet gulag. Those rebel leaders I admired back then, Givi, Motorola, Zakharchenko (imperfect as they were) were head and shoulders above the current lot of political hacks from Moscow. The dream of a Novorossiya was since superseded by a better Ukraine in which the power and influence of the far right neo-nazis receded rapidly from their 2014-2015 heyday.

    • Leith says:

      Putin does not disdain R2p. He did a little R2P himself in 2014 when he sent Russian “volunteers” and weapons into the Donbas for the R2P of Ukrainians there. They could not have held out without him. He did it again in Syria going after the headchoppers that wanted to kill all the many Alawites, Christians, and Shia. It is one of the reasons I supported his presence there.

      But he is now falsely claiming R2p in his invasion of Ukraine.

      • TTG says:

        Leith,

        Don’t forget when he went down to Georgia for a little R2P.

        • Leith says:

          I’m getting old. For a second or two I was sayin to myself: WTH is he talking about the Charlie Daniels band? Never mind, might have been before your time.

      • Polish Janitor says:

        Probably a little inaccurate to considered these examples as “R2P” for the terms automatically reminds one of the UN-led useless multinational “peace-enforcement” operations. I think in the Russian intervention cases one could describe them more in the context of Christian-based defensive or preemptive operations where a minority Christian community/population is under the threat of savage elements. If I recall correctly, there was also another example of Russian willingness to ‘intervene’ in South Africa a few years back.

        • Steve says:

          The US/NATO called R2P for the “intervention” in Kosovo. That was 6 years before it existed in international law. Then again it was one of the excuses used to “intervene” in Iraq. It was utilised to overthrow Ghaddafi in Libya and I believe there were unsuccessful attempts to invoke it in Syria.

          Given the 8 years of punishment meted out to the Federalists in Donbass and particularly during the offensive build up in late February, I’d say the Russian “intervention” there is at least as legitimate as those enacted by NATO/US.

          • Fred says:

            “That was 6 years before it existed in international law. ”

            What law is that? A special global R2P treaty every country is signing on to, like the WHO pandemic takeover treaty?

          • Polish Janitor says:

            I don’t believe R2P is codified and enacted by UN member-states, let alone as a binding principle within the structure of the int’l law. Although we could debate what constitutes as int’l law and what isn’t. To the best of my knowledge what the UN has in terms of its repertoire is peacekeeping, conflict resolution, humanitarian aid, and non-proliferation missions which are usually multinational and carried-out in the framework of the state and non-state (inter-governmental) collaboration.

            In terms of the Iraq war I can assure you that R2p was never a reason. Remember that it was the neoconservatives (the most anti-UN folks!) who conducted most of the pro-war narrative and it never gained UNSC resolution sanction despite the theatrics by now-deceased Colin Powell at the UNSC.

    • mcohen says:

      Syria is what changed.Jisr al-Shughur.

  14. Klapper says:

    “..equals BS..”
    I agree, mostly anyway. I followed the Syrian war pretty close a few years back when it was in the critical phase. What I learned from that was you can’t trust any claims from the US State Department, Pentagon, or US intelligence sources.

    In the case of Ukraine, mostly they’re losing and however bad morale is claimed to be on the Russian side, it’s worse on the Ukranian side I think. That comes after reading some accounts, including interviews of the Canadian volunteers who withdrew from the eastern front.

    • Stadist says:

      “In the case of Ukraine, mostly they’re losing and however bad morale is claimed to be on the Russian side, it’s worse on the Ukranian side I think. That comes after reading some accounts, including interviews of the Canadian volunteers who withdrew from the eastern front.”

      The experience of the volunteers is anecdotal at best and does little to prove that Ukrainian army in totality would be similar clusterfuck. For all we know, maybe the Ukrainians didn’t prioritize on some foreign volunteers, maybe they had incapable leaders there, maybe they really had issues with finding enough assault rifles, it might be even that those foreign legion units had hard time procuring equipment. There could be various reasons to explain why those guys had bad experience.

      But of course the russophiles will sort through the evidence for any sign of failure on ukrainian side (which is bound to happen in any large system with 10s of thousands of people in it) and then freely extrapolate and claim “See, it’s total clusterfuck.” Mistakes and outright failures happen. Funnily enough the russian side is having hard time getting anything done, even though the russophiles have ‘proven’ several times over how the Ukies can do nothing well. If we believe both sides, they situation should develop into stalemated shitstorm with poor morale and equipment on both sides, but obviously this can’t happen to russophiles because they are about to win any moment now, and have been about to win any moment now for past months now. Be it so that they apparently tried to push north to Kyiv, but fucked it up in the end and had to pull back. Russophiles are really, really good at denying the reality of russian failures that keep on accumulating.

  15. The fiasco over Snake Island, especially considering it was British advisers promoting it, over resistance from the Ukrainian military and that the Ukrainians coincidentally immediately cut off that gas pipeline suggests the propaganda war is starting to wear thin for them, versus the reality of being the Western “tethered goat,” as someone previously observed.
    I would imagine it will continue to break down. See what things look like by the end of this month.

    • mcohen says:

      British advisers.wrote a poem called

      the british

      Got some non smoking chocolate
      Just a small section
      In my wallet
      Going to get some traction

      Loosen up those my pipes
      Drop the parcel
      Whip out the wet wipes
      Like king of the castle

      Just kick back and relax
      There’s a party on
      Don’t  brook no lax
      Where no light ever shone

      https://www.google.com/search?q=old+brooklax+tin&oq=old+brooklax+tin&aqs=chrome..69i57j33i160l3.13795j0j7&client=ms-android-samsung-gn-rev1&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8#imgrc=WXmAZjYylzl5FM

  16. Al says:

    Today in Defense One blog:
    Early on in the war, Russia struggled to fire its precision guided munitions on their bombers and fighter jets, with the bombs refusing to release or misfiring. The Pentagon said it had seen indications of Russian aircraft returning to base with the munitions still on their wings.

    • Worth Pointing Out says:

      I do hope that last sentence was not the “evidence” that was used to come to that conclusion.

      As in:
      Russian aircraft return with munitions = those munitions refused to fire.

      Because there is an obvious alternative explanation.

  17. I realize this is out of step with the views of many at this site,
    but I feel it necessary to offer a contrary view.

    To me, this is like a horror movie,
    where as disaster approaches,
    those about to be imperiled talk about anything but the approaching disaster.
    Thus many here talk about various operational details of the ongoing war.

    But there are larger perils for America itself that are quite possible.
    That was not true when we went to war with Afghanistan and Iraq,
    and interfered in the affairs of Libya and Syria.
    But it certainly is true if we kick enough sand in Russia’s eye.
    Russia can definitely strike back at the “arsenal of democracy”
    if they decide that is necessary for their security.

    I know some contributors to the blog don’t think
    the outcome the West has been pushing for Ukraine
    would threaten Russians security.
    But I’ve got news for you:
    In this context,
    it doesn’t matter what you think.
    what matters is what the Russian leadership thinks.
    Russia will make its own decisions about what is a threat to itself, and act accordingly.
    And, if we hurt Russia enough,
    Russia may decide to hurt us right back.

    Argumentation and evidence supporting the above ideas
    are available from at least four sources (shown with dates):

    ~2022-05-03
    Mearsheimer four-minute video
    https://youtu.be/mHG_wDbJ0D8

    2022-05-10
    https://www.newsweek.com/russia-says-they-will-use-nuclear-weapons-these-conditions-1705132

    “Under Russia’s official military deployment principles,
    the country is allowed to use nuclear weapons

    if the country faces an existential threat through the use of conventional weapons.”

    2022-04-28
    Putin warns West of “lightning-fast response”
    https://thehill.com/policy/international/russia/3469863-putin-warns-of-lightning-fast-response-if-any-nation-intervenes-in-ukraine-war/

    “If someone intends to intervene on what is happening from the outside and creates unacceptable strategic threats for us,
    then they should know that our response to oncoming strikes will be swift, lightning fast

    We have all the tools for this, ones that no one can brag about, and we won’t brag — we will use them if needed — and I want everyone to know this. All the decisions have been made in this regard,”
    said Putin.

    Video presentation at:
    https://youtu.be/b9yYWn3UuIg

    2022-05-11
    Yahoo News: Russia’s Medvedev, Volodin lash out at U.S. aid to Ukraine.
    https://news.yahoo.com/russias-medvedev-volodin-lash-u-091837781.html

    Please note especially the Newsweek article on Russian doctrine on the use of nuclear weapons.

    It’s way past time to stop interfering in an intra-Slav conflict,
    where what is best for the Slavs seems to be a matter of whose propaganda you listen to,
    and start worrying about what is best for America.

    • TTG says:

      Keith Harbaugh,

      You make it sound like the Russian leadership is chomping at the bit to destroy the world in a series of mushroom clouds if we don’t let them expand their empire at will. No one has invaded Russia and only Ukraine has managed to land a few rocket and air strikes on Russia. Then there’s the internal sabotage by Russians themselves. IMO what is best for America is not to let the bully run roughshod over other Slavs, Balts or anyone else without acting to reign him in.

    • Stadist says:

      “If someone intends to intervene on what is happening from the outside and creates unacceptable strategic threats for us,
      then they should know that our response to oncoming strikes will be swift, lightning fast

      We have all the tools for this, ones that no one can brag about, and we won’t brag — we will use them if needed — and I want everyone to know this. All the decisions have been made in this regard,”
      said Putin.

      That’s comes off as awfully a lot like bragging and threatening with Nuclear weapons if russian ‘feelings’ aren’t considered in the right delicate manner. Like universities have been creating ‘safe spaces’, Russia also seems to need their own ‘safe space’ were nothing that Russia might deem aggressive can exist. We all know this is fucked up.

      • Steve says:

        Stadist,

        Is it so difficult to imagine that attempts to encircle them with an enormous nuclear military alliance may actually feel threatening to Russia.

        There may come a time that evolves from this that a Sino-Russian alliance may extend their partnership throughout Latin America, building bases in each country, stockpiling weapons right up along the Mexican border, and patrolling the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Would the US feel perfectly comfortable with that> After all, it would only be there for defensive purposes given the history of US aggression on the continent.

      • Stadist:
        What you described as “fucked up”
        is in fact directly analogous to America’s Monroe Doctrine.
        “It held that
        any intervention in the political affairs of the Americas by foreign powers
        was a potentially hostile act against the U.S.
        ” (Wikipedia).
        John Mearsheimer argues that point here:
        https://youtu.be/d96aJTxJkHQ

        Regarding Stadist’s statement “w[h]ere nothing that Russia might deem aggressive can exist”,
        compare that to what the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 was all about.

        In general, if between, say, 1950 and 1989,
        the possibility of Mexico or Canada becoming part of the Warsaw Pact
        had arisen,
        there would have been strong pressure to prevent that from happening.

  18. whoknows says:

    I’m sorry, but where exactly is the evidence that Russian cruise missiles miss the mark?
    I’ve seen many videos with several arrivals of them on the same target. They are accurate. They hit pretty much the same spot.

    • TTG says:

      whoknows,

      So the Russians are aiming at apartment buildings and hospitals? “It’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for them.”

      • whoknows says:

        The pictures of the hit apartment buildings were traced to either misbehaving Ukrainian AA missile or a shot down cruise missile debris. You should rejoice that the Ukes sometimes can shoot a missile or two. However, the result may be quite destructive.

        Coincidentally, a similar thing happened with a Ukrainian Tochka U which was shot down by the Russians over Donetsk, but then managed to inflict significant damage on civilians.

  19. T says:

    At the end of the day. Russia wins because of
    superior firepower/
    So all of this will be forgotten.

Comments are closed.