Tatarigami’s assessment of the situation at Chasiv Yar and Ocheretyne

NCOs Key to Ukrainian Military Successes Against Russia 

Russian forces have gained tactically near Ocheretyne and Chasiv Yar, and have attempted a large assault towards Sivers’k. Frontelligence Insight provides a concise analysis of the current situation in this thread.

According to on-the-ground reports, occasional Russian groups have temporarily crossed the canal at Chasiv Yar but didn’t establish a bridgehead. A geolocated video by @giK1893 shows that Russians tried to set a position in the south of Chasiv Yar at the landbridge crossing. Considering that Russians gathered superior means and forces in the area, it’s a point of concern. It opens an opportunity to advance into the forest on the west side of the canal. If successful, this would provide them with the freedom to choose further assault directions. Losing control of the southern part of Chasiv Yar would be negative, opening the road leading to Kostyantynivka, with the small village of Stupochky being the only obstacle in the way. However, we are not currently close to that situation.

Russian forces continuing to make tactical gains in the Ocheretyne area. Their advancing direction suggests an objective to reach Novooleksandrivka and then Vozdvyzhenka, potentially allowing them to cut off the road connecting the vital towns of Pokrovsk and Kostyantynivka. If the @Deepstate_UA’s reported territorial gains are accurate, it indicates that Russian forces have captured fortified positions.

In the Bilohorivka-Siversk direction, over the past 48 hours, the enemy has launched multiple assaults from various directions, supported by a series of KAB strikes. Ground reports indicate that approximately 8 KAB hits occurred within 30 minutes. These assaults were repelled.

The frontline situation remains complex, but efforts are underway to stabilize it. The arrival of Western ammunition is expected to improve the situation. While Russian forces are making gains, there is no sign of a frontline collapse.

These tactical gains may appear minor, but accumulation can lead to operational success. The goal is to form a multi-echelon double-pincer move. The smaller pincer aims to isolate forces south of Bakhmut, while the larger pincer seeks to encircle the entire grouping of forces.

Ukraine can slow down and even stop the Russian advance, but not without losing several settlements. Despite shortcomings in strategic and operational planning, senior officers and soldiers at the tactical level are demonstrating personal initiative to fix the situation. For instance, individual officers and soldiers have taken the initiative to get machinery from charity funds and volunteers to build defenses. They also established ad-hoc training to train new soldiers who did not receive adequate training in the official training facilities. Most of these assaults have been countered thanks to infantry, supported by FPV drones, whose ammunition is still being produced in improvised workshops. Innovative ways to bypass EW or enhance FPV flight range are being developed and implemented at the individual level. Overall, thanks to ground-level efforts driven by the personal initiative of brigade officers, soldiers, and sergeants, along with the arrival of Western aid and stabilization measures that we can’t disclose, the situation may improve.

An important detail that I forgot to add. There is a risk posed by Russian control over Ocheretyne. This control opens up more opportunities besides Novoolekasndirvka, as it allows access to a road that runs north towards the south of the Kostyantynivka area.

[A twitter comment]  The initiatives on an individual level are worrying me. They are nice and may help, but they should be on a national level, shouldn’t they?

[Tatarigam’s answer]  Yes, that indeed is the problem. These issues can be categorized as planning and management problems at the overall strategic and operational-strategic level. For instance, the construction of defenses and allocation of resources should be pre-planned rather than reactive action.

Comment: This is a twitter thread by a former Ukrainian military officer calling himself Tatarigami_UA. He’s the founder of the OSINT group Frontelligence Insight. He seems to have connections to both InformNapalm and various Ukrainian cyber resistance groups. I’m struck by his surprisingly sober assessments in spite of his background and connections.

I find his observation that it is the ingenuity and leadership at the junior level that is keeping the Ukrainian Army in the fight rather than any military genius at the higher levels of command to be . Given that the Ukrainian military was born of the Soviet system and the years of post-Soviet neglect and corruption, this observation does not surprise me at all. Once Western militaries began advising and training the Ukrainians after 2016, it is these lower levels that would see the improvements. That’s where Western training is always concentrated, not the higher levels. This has been the case in every MTT that I’ve been involved with. Besides, changing the habits of colonels and generals is damned near impossible in any military. It would be nice if we developed a way to effectively train higher levels of command and staff to be more innovative and effective, but I’m afraid that still eludes us. We have yet to figure out how to do that in our own military services. Unfortunately for Ukraine, they have to wait for the younger officers and NCOs to find their way into the higher levels of command and staff. That’s what happened to us in WWII. I hope the Ukrainian Army has time to do the same.


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110 Responses to Tatarigami’s assessment of the situation at Chasiv Yar and Ocheretyne

  1. voislav says:

    One thing I saw some of the military analysts comment on is that the Ukrainian command structure is poor. At the start of the war Ukrainian army operated in a largely ad-hoc fashion, with combat groups cobbled together from different brigades and with no combined arms formations above brigade.

    Two years later this is still the case. Ukrainian brigades operate individual under fairly overreaching Operational-Strategic Groups (3 of them) that control 10 – 40 brigades with no intermediate command levels. Even worse, they still use combat groups assembled from individual battalions pulled from different brigades. Their larger Corps formations are purely administrative units, such as 9th and 10th Corps formed for the Summer offensive, and have no command responsibilities.

    So local commanders don’t have the resources to quickly respond to developments on the ground and each brigade is fighting its own little war with limited support. This ties into the capable leadership shown at the local level vs. poor at the high level. By removing intermediate levels of command, Ukrainians have blocked the possibility of capable officers taking initiative because combat operations are controlled by 3 massive Operational Groups (Khortytsia, Tavria and Odessa) headed by Soviet-schooled officers. Even when brigade commanders take initiative, the impact is limited because any support has to come all the way from Operational Group.

    So I’d be pessimistic about the prospects of Ukrainian command changing habits, the system is set up in such a way to ossify the command structure as much as possible and limit accountability of the Operational Group commanders.

    • leith says:

      Voislav –

      Who replaced Syrskyi in the Khortytsia OSG when he got promoted?

      And Oleksandr Tarnavskyi, is he still commanding Tavria OSG? Mixed news on him. A lot of news sources, twitter & telegram feeds are saying he is still there. But Wikipedia, without a citation, said he took over the Training Command early this year.

    • elkern says:

      Isn’t that fragmented command structure a legacy of the various militia groups which were doing most (all?) of the fighting in the Donbass from 2014-2022 (Azov Battalion, etc)? Various Oligarchs each funded their own forces, and they have been reluctant to cede control to the central government?

      • voislav says:

        These have all been transformed into standard army formations at this point, for example Azov became 3rd brigade. The issue is that they failed to consolidate brigades into larger operational formations with organic artillery, anti-aircraft, engineering and other support arms.

        Operational control and unit coordination is more difficult when the operational group has to directly command large number of units along several hundred mile frontline. It would be equivalent to German army in WWII having no corps or army level commands, just individual divisions and army groups.

        • TTG says:


          That lack of consolidation beyond brigade level is due to a lack of time to organize and implement such a consolidation in the years after 2016 and a deliberate decision to move to a total national defense strategy relying on a decentralized territorial defense force. That may have been fine if Ukraine was overrun and the central government was decapitated two years ago, but it’s definitely a weak point now that Ukraine and Russia are locked into a more conventional force on force conflict. Russia started her invasion with a decentralized command structure across the border with Ukraine. They’ve adapted since then.

    • drifter says:

      In prolonged combat, units get intermixed. There’s no evidence this reduces combat effectiveness. One could argue it’s an adaption by the army ‘in situ’ to maximize combat effectiveness. The important thing is that the troops adapt to having new colleagues on their line. For professional soldiers this isn’t an issue. Glad to have impi elements in the rough on the left.

  2. James says:


    Thanks for the update on Ukraine.

  3. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Oh great /s/

    “Ukraine can strike inside Russia with British weapons, UK’s Cameron says”

    Talk about escalation!
    Nothing good is going to come out of this, IMO.
    Why all this devotion to Ukraine, in both the U.S. and Europe, is way beyond me.

    I wrote a senior American politician, saying Ukraine was simply not an American issue, and received back an email explaining his passionate support for Ukraine, which included (emphasis added)

    As Ukraine presses forward with its fight against Russian authoritarianism, continued American support remains decisive.

    Ukrainians sorely need [American] aid to continue fighting,
    and our partners as well as authoritarian leaders around the globe alike are closely watching
    to see if America’s word can be trusted.

    Oh really? So now we have a global war against authoritarianism? Yuck.
    Talk about looking for monsters to destroy.
    Come home, America!

    • TTG says:

      Keith Harbaugh,

      Escalation? Russia has been striking targets inside Ukraine with Iranian and North Korean weapons for two years. Russia has been using all her weapons short of nuclear weapons against Ukrainian targets even longer. There’s the escalation. Good on Cameron for letting Ukraine fight back with British weapons.

      I do agree with your skepticism about a global war against authoritarianism. That’s far too esoteric. We are aiding Ukraine as she defends herself against a war of aggression started by Putin’s Russia. Nothing more. Nothing less. If others read into our support, that’s another matter.

    • LeaNder says:

      Oh really? So now we have a global war against authoritarianism?

      Well apart from good old revenge aspect represented best by EN here, wasn’t that always the central accompanying narrative since the GWOT or 9/11? Now, since 7/10 we* may have come full circle. The Axis of Evil = the axis of resistance and we are not puzzled anymore about the relation between the ones that had their eyes on the Middle East versus those more on Eastern Europe, its all the same now.

      * I have to some extent. 😉

      KH, I caught the news on Lord Cameron on Alexander Lebedev’s Independant, and for whatever reason it connected to the The Belgrano Diary on LRB on my mind. Don’t ask me why. Maybe – irony alert – since there is a strong hint on cyberwar collaborations in TTG’s links?

    • John Minehan says:

      This brings to mind some thoughts:

      —Part of what drives this is Putin’s possible/actual impact on the 2016 Presidential election. The US (which, in all fairness, has sought to influence election outcomes in other countries, often openly) is not fond of the idea of any other country doing the same.

      —Ergo, we are trying to weaken Putin, Putin is apparently pulling strings to influence the GOP to weaken the aid package for Ukraine.

      —Ukraine is corrupt, probably a klepto-state. It is also a probable klepto-state built around a core of “suicidal nationalism” as George H.W. Bush put it in the so-called (but probably accurate) “Chicken Kiev Speech.”

      —Ukraine’s maneuver forces have many problems, despite NATO training efforts and the abilities of Ukrainian small unit leaders.

      However, the Russians are weak on logistics and have invaded a place where their are only two LoCs into the contested areas. The Ukrainians have taken out the Black Sea Fleet, which could have provided Air and Missile Defense for the two LoCs and are starting to attrite Russian strategic Air defense that could protect the LoCs.
      In addition, the victories over the Black Sea Fleet imply the Ukrainians have a competent agent net in Crimea, which further implies the Russians are not popular in the areas they have “liberated.’

      –With what we have sold them, the Ukrainians can drop the LoCs by late summer, prompting a cascading Russian collapse in the Fall.

      Let’s see . . . .

      • Rodney says:

        “We are aiding Ukraine as she defends herself against a war of aggression started by Putin’s Russia. ”
        I thought the war of aggression started when Ukraine attacked their own Russian speaking citizens back in 2015? Went on for how many years before Russia invaded? Am I the only one that gets this?

        • TTG says:


          If you want to go that far back, you should go to the seizure of Sloviansk by then GRU Colonel Igor Girkin and his Russian “volunteers.” They were masquerading as local fighters of the Donetsk Peoples Militia at the time. Russia was in this from the beginning.

  4. leith says:

    Both Ukrainian drones and Russian drones are saturating the battlefields there. What keeps one side from shooting down their own? It doesn’t seem like the FPV drones and other small ones have IFF.

    In Israel the IDF is having trouble distinguishing and have shot down some of theirs instead of hostile ones. 40% it is reported. Rapid discrimination “between friendly and hostile UASs is a major issue for the IDF.” That does not bide well for the US, across all the military branches an allies. “Just in February, the German Navy’s Sachsen class frigate FGS Hessen almost shot down a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone flying over the Red Sea in a case of mistaken identity, underscoring the complexities that present in future operations, including ones involving foreign coalition partners.”

    Interesting article at the War Zone.

    • James says:


      Presumably everyone is going to have to add IFF capabilities to their drones. I would say the problem isn’t too tough (its O(1) as us software types like to say).

    • James says:


      I said I thought that the problem wasn’t too tough – but that is assuming that everyone moves to an “off the shelf with some added electronics” architecture for their drones.

      I’ve been assuming this for some time because you don’t want to be using standard frequencies for your drone communications unless you want them jammed nine o’clock day one.

    • drifter says:

      leith, suggest reading up on FPV drones. IFF doesn’t make any sense for them. Hope the Pacific Northwest is treating you well.

    • Mark Logan says:


      Just as an aside, a video of a couple trainers in Ukraine mentioned the same problem. As much as possible they try to get the word passed that there will be friendly drones overhead, but there’s always a few who don’t get the memo and sometimes nobody sends one….and the standing order has to be “when in doubt shoot it down”.

      As to the OP, I regularly see Russian mil-bloggers touting Ukrainian troops “retreating without orders” as evidence of poor moral, and just as regularly wonder if they are unaware that this can be a normal situational decision when power is granted to lower ranks and that their assumption can not be drawn from it, as they might in their own strict top-down command system. A wide scope of power for SNCOs and mere lieutenants to manage their individual tactical situations may be a difficult concept for Russians to get their heads around. At least for the ones sitting behind a keyboard, anyway.

    • leith says:

      James & Drifter –

      I’m not advocating for IFF on FPV drones or other small drones used at the front lines by ground troops. An IFF transponder would reveal the drone to an enemy and expose it to an attack. Those mini-drones are fairly cheap, so why bother. I only mentioned it above because I had not heard that the Ukrainians are having the same problem that the Israelis have with shooting down their own (although Mark Logan says the Ukrainians also have that now – Thanks Mark!) The Israeli 40% problem seems to be Iron Dome, designed to take down mass barrages of mortar/artillery/rockets. So I’m guessing Iron Dome is probably a bit indiscriminate shooting down everything in the sky except IAF aircraft.

      Even larger reconnaissance drones should only turn on their transponder, if they have one, when coming back into friendly controlled airspace. The MQ-9 that was almost shot down by German Frigate Hessen was not broadcasting IFF signals. Certainly that was because it was too close to potential Houthi SAMs.

      • James says:

        leith –

        Clearly you know more about this stuff than I do. That said, I think this will become more of an issue as time goes on.

        Perhaps a more advanced approach to IFF can be developed that would be based on a challenge/response handshake so that drones only emit an IFF signal when challenged by an appropriate friendly.

        Something along the lines of:
        – Here is my ID proving I am on your side
        – I see you at GPS location x/y/z
        – Please give me an appropriately coded response or I am going to shoot you down

        • leith says:

          James –

          I think they already work that way. Those units are transponders. They don’t broadcast fulltime. AFAIK they only respond and transmit a valid code when they receive a specific signal.

          The little ones fly so low that maybe a specific paint job might work. But even that might have to be changed frequently.

  5. English Outsider says:

    We’re still sending our proxies into the killing fields on false pretences. Happened to see this –

    ““The Russians will take over Donbass by October, then the conflict will freeze and we will have to negotiate with Putin,” the publication quotes the words of an officer of the 5th assault brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which holds the defense in Chasovy Yar.”

    Only one way to “freeze” this conflict. Send tripwire forces in. Gamble on Putin not destroying them for fear of escalation to nuclear. Thus keep hold of remnant Ukraine.

    Not going to work. Any Western forces inserted, covert or overt, the Russians have made it clear they will destroy. Will Biden gamble that Putin would wimp out for fear of escalation?

    Doubt it. And leading the Ukrainians to believe that Biden would take that gamble is inhumane. They’re losing a thousand a day in the hope of sticking it out for a “freeze” that will never happen,

    Remnant Ukraine will not survive as a redoubt for the ultra-nationalists. We are not going to be able to use it as a base for running assassination or sabotage attacks into Russia. We are not going to be able to use it as a means of sending “look no hands” missiles into Russia. The days of using Ukraine or any part of it as a means of “overextending and unbalancing Russia” are over.

    And the hope of re-arming remnant Ukraine later, when we’ve got our act together and have anything to arm them with, is similarly unreal.

    No “freeze”, therefore. Just the hope that the defeat can be postponed until after the next Presidential election. Sacrificing a thousand men a day for that? Psycho territory.

    • TTG says:


      We are not sending proxies anywhere. The Ukrainians live there. They are defending their homes and families. If anyone is sending proxies, it is Putin sending Russians into a foreign land to fight and die for his legacy.

      Prior to Putin’s gamble there were no attacks on Russia by long range drones or missiles. His army was intact and living under the fable of being an unstoppable modern force. In two years he’s lost his Western market for gas and oil, lost one invincible modern army and breathed new life into a once moribund NATO, one that is beginning to stand on its own without US leadership. Sure he’s built another deadly army reliant on handouts from North Korea and Iran, still capable of bringing destruction and slowly gaining territory at a tremendous cost, but his legacy will be one of sadness, loss and missed opportunities.

      • English Outsider says:

        TTG – Your and Colonel Lang’s solution was the best solution that could have been arrived at after the Russian invasion. Or before for that matter.

        Didn’t happen. The question of who is in the right in this war is in any case a separate issue from the question of how it was fought.

        There the big surprise was that it turned out NATO was a paper tiger. We knew that already about the Europeans but it’s turned out that NATO as a whole is too.

        We’re therefore in no condition for fight a war of this nature or to assist in fighting it. We don’t have the ability to send in expeditionary forces. Our AD and missiles are markedly inferior. The US strengths, naval and air, cannot be used in this theatre and in any case are both vulnerable to modern weapons. And our defence industries are not even able to turn out the quantities of conventional ammunition and equipment that would be needed to match Russians capabilities.

        We can throw as much money at the problem as we like but that in no way overcomes the marked military and equipment inferiority right now of NATO to Russia.

        We can try nibbling away at Russia from other angles, Armenia, Georgia, the Stans but it doesn’t look as if we’re going to be able to destabilise the country that way, or cause them concern serious enough to lead them to abandon this current campaign.

        Our diplomatic offensive has been a disaster. After the Merkel revelations and then the Istanbul revelations, argue those revelations as we please, our name is mud in diplomatic circles outside the West. The justification for that can be and is argued vehemently but the fact remains. Our diplomatic reputation outside the West is approaching zero. And we no longer have the hard power to impose our will on countries outside the West that we had until quite recently.

        Our sanctions war is a bust and was from the start. The country is pretty well autarchic and was well prepared. Our attempts to hurt them with indirect sanctions have backfired – China and India, in particular, don’t like being pushed around in that way. And of course the sanctions have done some harm to the European economies themselves and may do more.

        As for the military was as it was fought on the ground, that’s been a slaughter fest. To take but one example, the Russians will shell a Ukrainian position. That’s where most of the Ukrainians get killed. If the position changes hands the Ukrainians counter-attack, maybe manning the position in company with the bodies of those killed before. Then the same over again.

        If the Ukrainians fall back to a new position – same again. The bulk of the deaths occur as a result of the shelling and missile attacks and the marked Russian superiority in both means the losses the Ukrainians incur are disproportionately high.

        The Russians can target rear areas, assembly points, reserves being brought in, ammunition dumps, AD and missile sites in the rear, military factories, and transport facilities. With their precision weapons they can even target weapons fired from civilian areas and military installations concealed in civilian areas. The Ukrainians cannot retaliate effectively in kind. The weapons and equipment we give them to do so are not as good and far too few in quantity.

        It is now acknowledged in Western sources that we are micro-managing this war. There too Western inferiority is glaring. The Milley/Cavoli/Radakin work does not compare with that of the Russians. Worse than “amateur night”. If they had directed NATO troops in this way they would past doubt have been cashiered.

        All the Ukrainians have to put against that is the courage and resourcefulness of their troops. But the ultra-nationalist element there does not always display similar courage and resourcefulness and can crumble fairly easily. They’re reckoned to be from a quarter to a third of the Ukrainian armed forces. There has always been hostility between these two elements in the Ukrainian armed forces, amounting sometimes to direct clashes. This will increase as the debacle runs its course.

        The political split in Ukraine results in Russian Intelligence being able to monitor troop movements and equipment movements anywhere within the country and also to monitor the effects of the resultant strikes.

        The Ukrainians do not have enough soldiers. Resistance to conscription is widespread and the borders are having to be reinforced to prevent reluctant draftees evading service by fleeing the country. When drafted, they cannot be trained in the West for fear of desertion. They are increasingly sent in to fight with no training of any value whatsoever. Civilians do not become useful troops in these circumstances. Most experienced officers have already been killed.

        It’s often said that the regular Ukrainian armed forces were the finest troops at NATO’s disposal. So they were and though greatly depleted in numbers still are. But they are fighting a war long since lost. To insist on them continuing to be mown down in quantity merely in order to prevent defeat until after the American presidential election is, as said, psycho territory.

        It illustrates the moral bankruptcy of the West as our military defeat illustrates our military failures. Time, surely, to let the Ukrainians off the hook and for us in the West to focus on our own very real domestic problems.

        • Eric Newhill says:

          Well laid out. I agree with what TTG said, short term, but long term, what you say is the inevitable course of events. You may recall, two years ago, I expressed my primary concern (beyond economic impact to the US), which was that when the Ukrainian military collapsed, as any objective observer knew it eventually would, NATO would introduce trip-wire forces into Ukraine – say like into Kiev and Odessa and points along the Dnieper – and, when they were killed by Russia, we will stand on the brink of nuclear war.

          I continue to stand by my assessment and yours. I do not believe that NATO will admit defeat. I do not believe that Russia could ever accept defeat. I believe that both sides will double down until the other is wiped out. As an aside, I believe that Ukraine hitting targets inside Russia is merely an invitation for the implementation of more hardline policies by Russia, either from Putin or from his replacement.

          The only hope is that when Russia has soon secured its new republics in former Ukraine, the Russian advance stops and that cooler heads prevail in NATO b/c the halted advance provides NATO an opportunity to save face and state that it caused the halt.

          And that said, I also stand by my assessment that the Russians will have achieved nothing. They gambled on a quick settlement w/ Kiev, and lost. They will still have a hostile NATO on their borders. Part of the face saving, should that occur, would certainly be that the remnant of Ukraine becomes a NATO member. NATO will continue to scheme to destabilize Russia. It will continue to seek some means of capturing Crimea. So, other than a marginal shift in the Ukraine/Russia border, the situation will be exactly how it was before the SMO; only worse because NATO has gained insights into Russian military capabilities and, as TTG says, learned Russia isn’t that all that scary after all, nuclear weapons aside. That realization will add a sense of realism and real hope to the aforementioned schemers.

        • leith says:

          EO –

          Regarding the sanctions: Gazprom, the largest company in Russia, posted a $6.9billion net loss (₽629billion rubles) for 2023. It’s doing worse this so far this year. Lukoil and Rosneft, second and third largest, are also hemorrhaging value. The same goes for Sverbank, Rostec, VTBbank and other financial companies in Moscow and St Pete.

          But you are probably right about the sanctions. Ukrainian deep strikes on Russian refineries and other oil & gas facilities have taken a deeper toll on Kremlin finances than western sanctions. And they don’t need your David Cameron’s Storm Shadow missiles to strike far beyond Russia’s borders. They have already done it with their made-in-Ukraine precision attack drones that have double the range of Storm Shadow.

          You mentioned that Russia can “target rear areas, assembly points, reserves, ammunition dumps, AD and missile sites in the rear, military factories, and transport facilities.” So can Ukraine, and she has been doing exactly that. Unlike the Kremlin, Ukraine has not been attacking civilian areas in Russia and neither has she done that in the Donbas nor other occupied zones.

        • TTG says:


          Both Colonel Lang and I thought the Russian-Ukrainian conflict would have remained frozen if the Russians stopped at entering the newly recognized independent states of the Donbas up to the LOC and stopped there. The loss of Crimea was more or less accepted as was the loss of the LNR and DNR. Ukraine surely wouldn’t have attacked. I doubt the US would have insisted on full sanctions and I doubt Germany would have gone along with the gas embargo.

          The downside for Putin in that scenario would have been the continued existence of a sovereign Ukraine growing closer to NATO. She also would have gained total responsibility for two corrupt and failing states even if the guns were finally silenced on both sides of the LOC.

          So your biggest surprise is that NATO was revealed as a paper tiger? You were not surprised that the much vaunted and much larger Russian military machine could not subdue its much smaller neighbor these last two years? Granted the Russians tried to do this on the cheap with a limited SMO, but they are now all in. The entire country is now on a war footing and they’re still no further at attaining their objectives.

          The biggest contrast between NATO and Russia is the level of effort put into this war. Russia is all in. There is no question about that. NATO, despite the rhetoric, is still half stepping. The US, especially, is providing only the weaponry necessary to keep Ukraine from losing. We limit how Ukraine can use those weapons. All this in fear of what might happen if Russia’s invasion is decisively defeated. We are deathly afraid of what a defeated Putin might do.

          The war has indeed highlighted shortfalls in NATO. However, NATO is learning these lessons without loosing a man and committing only a relatively small percentage of its equipment. Russia is learning these lessons at a great cost in manpower and equipment.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            TTG: “You were not surprised that the much vaunted and much larger Russian military machine could not subdue its much smaller neighbor these last two years?”


            “The early stages of attritional war range from initiation of hostilities to the point where mobilised resources are available in large numbers and are ready for combat operations. In the case of a surprise attack, a rapid offensive by one side may be possible until the defender can form a solid front. After that, combat solidifies. This period lasts at least a year-and-a-half to two years.”

            Same basic factoid, far different conclusions.

            It should come as no surprise to anyone here that I think the RUSI have it right.

            As in: The Russians knew what they were doing from the very start, and now that two years have passed they are ready to collapse the Ukrainian front line.

            Which they are doing, and quite successfully.

            I also believe that RUSI has TTG pegged about right too: “To most Western experts, attritional strategy is counterintuitive. “

          • TTG says:

            Yeah, Right,

            Yes, attrition warfare is counterintuitive to what has been preached in Western militaries for decades. That mantra of decisive offensive action was borne out of a desperately defensive mindset of the 70s. At least that’s what I experienced in my military career. Our strategy in Europe at that time was to execute a mobile defense attriting the attacking Soviet hordes and hoping that attrition would be enough to stop them. Eventually we evolved this thinking in Active Defense and then Deep Strike. we are now moving into a strategy of Multi Domain Operations.

            Through all this doctrinal change, we never gave the concepts of attrition warfare and heavy casualties enough attention. That’s on us. The Russia-Ukraine war is forcing us to finally face this head on. Russia has returned to attrition as a way of war forsaking her brief foray into military reformation.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            TTG: “Russia has returned to attrition as a way of war forsaking her brief foray into military reformation.”

            They dropped that “military reformation” once they realized that it was a recipe for losing a war against a modern opponent.

            As in: what they have now – and what they are doing now – is actually what you need and what you need to do in order to prevail against a peer or near-peer opponent.

            The West thinks otherwise, and because they think otherwise they are astounded that Russia is going about things “all wrong”.

            Russia isn’t. It is the western way of war that is “all wrong”. It works against goat herders. It doesn’t work against a real opponent.

    • Flavius says:

      EO – I have always enjoyed reading your thoughtful comments. Years ago, when Larry Johnson was a regular on this site, I saw and admired your work and, with a professional background in much of what the site was about, would occasionally comment myself. Then scepticism for what was aptly denominated “the borg” was the rule when the borg was propagandizing our failed wars, on Iraq, on Afghanistan, on Libya, on ‘Terror’, on ourselves. Now, sadly, I very, very seldom stop by, for much the same reason that gave rise to Johnson’s departure. When the focus turned to Russia, Russia, Russia, all scepticism towards borgist propaganda went out the window and the unreflecting Cold Warriors awakened
      from their regrettably too abreviated naps as if nothing whatever had changed.
      Let me just say that, as well as being an admirer of your thinking, and your style, I do also admire your perserverence in carrying on here in carrying the torch of reason into some fairly dark places.
      Keep up the good work.

      • English Outsider says:

        Thanks. Flavius. I was put on to the Colonel’s site in 2015 and it’s always been the gold standard for me since. Unique. That down to the Colonel himself, of course, who was himself unique. A polymath who’d been everywhere, done it all, and done a lot of deep thinking about it. Also the commenters. All knowledgeable in their fields and the site pre-moderated so you didn’t get the usual internet dross.

        Now mainly run as far as I can see by TTG, who’s achieved the impossible and kept it going much as it was. He’s more laid back than the Colonel so I do miss the razor’ s edge feeling. A word out of place and you were banned so it kept you on your toes.

        The reason it went dark after Feb 2022 wasn’t the banning. It was because of the external pressures on contributors. The subject of the Ukrainian war became too hot to touch and people were worried about blowback if they spoke out about it. One man stopped contributing because he was being given a hard time by his country’s Intelligence Service. Several others went quiet for a while because of social or professional pressures. As I found on English sites, if you regarded the whole thing as a scam along WMD lines you were at best a dupe of Russian propaganda and at worst treasonous. It was that heavy and to a degree still is.

        Such external pressures are still there and to a degree still inhibit objective examination.

        If, for example, someone says that Manstein did some pretty neat work after Stalingrad to prevent total collapse, as I’ve just been reading a historian saying, that is not taken as a declaration of unswerving loyalty to the ideals of the regime Manstein was fighting for. Point out that the Russian General Staff played a blinder at the start of the SMO – as they certainly did! – and that’s going in with the enemy in a big way and betraying one’s country. Objective examination does not flourish in those conditions.

        All irrelevant when we consider those events of 22nd to 24th February 2022.

        You don’t have to be an expert in automotive engineering to know that if you drive full pelt into a brick wall nothing very nice is going to happen. You didn’t need to be an expert in military or geopolitical affairs to know that Ukraine up against Russia was a certain loser. Nor to know that sanctioning one of your main suppliers was dumb past belief.

        Not that big a deal for the West, all this, oddly enough. Appalling for the Ukrainians, who’ve lost untold numbers as a result of the idiocy, something that both the Colonel and now TTG allowed me to write in protesting. But it won’t affect us that much.

        It won’t affect us that much because the West is shot anyway. Deindustrialising – even Germany’s been hollowing its economy out by those means – losing several centuries of industrial and military dominance, our politics and administrations a dysfunctional mess, the countries of the West were on their way down Ukraine or not. The Ukrainian shambles will certainly act as an accelerant of that decline. It won’t be the cause. For the cause we must look elsewhere.

        But while we were on our way down we didn’t have to lead our proxies down the garden path as we did. Those dead and crippled Ukrainian soldiers, those ruined families, were as much victims of the psycho politicians of the West as were and are the dead of Libya, Syria, Iraq and so many other countries that have found themselves, and are still finding themselves, unwitting pawns on the Grand Chessboard the psychos still attempt to play their games on.

        • TTG says:


          I’m sure you truly grieve for those dead and crippled Ukrainian soldiers and those ruined families. Do you also grieve for those dead and crippled Russian soldiers and their families as victims of the psycho politicians in the Kremlin who launched this invasion? That doesn’t absolve the psycho politicians in the West of their misdeeds, but you seem to give the Kremlin a free pass in their imperialistic endeavor.

          • English Outsider says:

            TTG – I”m a lot closer to your take on this war than I am to what I call the “Mearsheimer fallacy”. But still far enough away to believe the Russians had no choice but to mount a pre-emptive attack.

            However, right or wrong the Russians did attack and right or wrong a war resulted. I hope there might be common ground in agreeing that as soon as that war was lost there was no point continuing to fight it.

            It was lost as soon as the Russians wrong-footed us in the first few days. Or at the latest, it was lost as soon as it became obvious the sanctions war had failed. It’s been even more obvious since.

            I submitted a comment a while ago now arguing that Lee did not continue fighting when he’d lost and was right not to do so. Nor should we push the Ukrainians to fight on with this lost war and lose more men for nothing. Certainly not just to fit in with American election schedules.

            This is what we do to our proxies. Use them, wastefully and incompetently, and then junk them as it suits us. The Ukrainians know very well we junked them at Vilnius at the laters and are justified in feeling sore about it. As Arestovich, vile creature thought hei is, is now saying, they picked the wrong side.

            And the mistakes – just elementary mistakes – our side has made throughout this episode are a disgrace to the various NATO militaries and to the NATO politicians. We’ve given it away at every stage from the very start.

            So I end up in a somewhat contradictory position! Troubled that we in the West are in the wrong in this war. And seething because we screwed up so badly fighting it.

  6. drifter says:

    The phrase “…keeping the Ukrainian Army in the fight…” is suggestive of some need to keep the Ukrainian Army in the fight. Thought experiment: What would happen if the Ukrainian Army dropped their weapons and went home like the Spanish Republican army in 1939? By my account, nothing bad.

    • TTG says:


      Conversely, what would happen if Russian troops returned to their side of the recognized Russian borders? Not only will nothing bad happen, but plenty of good for Ukrainians and Russians will also follow.

      • drifter says:

        Your “converse” isn’t plausible. But Ukrainians going home is. Maybe even likely.

        • TTG says:


          My “converse’ is very plausible. The Ukrainians are already home. They are fighting for their homes and families. How many Russian soldiers would leave the battlefield and return home if not for the barrier troops keeping them in place?

          • drifter says:

            You hate the Russians so much you can’t see straight.

          • TTG says:


            Perhaps you’ve never read any of my years of profuse praise of Russia’s conduct in Syria, their taking on ISIS, their way of allowing the SAR to rebuild itself in its own image rather than forcing them into a Russian mold, and their establishment of the Reconciliation Center to help reunite Syria. The planning and execution was nothing short of brilliant. Given that recent success, I was surprised by the monumental blunder of invading Ukraine. Did the same Kremlin leaders plan and execute both operations?

            Before that, I spoke even favorably of the way Russia retook Crimea in the face of what appeared to be an imminent effort to raise the NATO flag over Sevastopol. I can certainly understand the Kremlin’s reasons for that. The execution of the takeover was masterful and near bloodless. Now their invasion has made Sevastopol near useless as a naval base.

            I never had a good word to say about the Kremlin’s long history of oppression and brutality in the Baltics and elsewhere in Eastern Europe. In the Kremlin’s current invasion of Ukraine, I see the same vile conduct. Yes, I do despise the kremlin for this.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            At a guess, I’d say roughly “zero to none”.

          • John Minehan says:

            I’m not sure that many Russian Soldiers don’t consider this part of “home” too.

            Crimea was part of the Russian Empire before there was a US, the rest of Ukraine fell to the Russian Empire after the Polish-Lithuanian Confederation got carved up by Russia, the Holy Roman Empire and Prussia a few years after the Framing of the Constitution.

            The Russian state begins with Kievan-Rus before the Mongols extinguished it and the Russian state became centered around Moscow,

            This is very much a civil war and the Russians appear to feel about this very much like the Union thought about the CSA (or how the USG would feel about TEXIT today).

            Both TTG and EO are saying things about the Russo-Ukrainian war that are true.

            However, what the Ukrainians (possibly with assistance) have done is leveraged a hodgepodge of delivery systems into a targeting plan that lkely sets the conditions to exploit the opponent’s weaknesses in a dispositive way,

            If the SMO fails, if the Russian lines collapse, Putin’s government will probably fall. What happens if that happens?

            Our assistance to Ukraine (even if the Russians don’t collapse) has weakened the Russian Federation vis-à-vis the PRC, What result?

            Not only NATO, but Europe, looks weaker as a function of this. What does this do to geopolitics?

            Russia as an interested neighbor, is no longer in the position to come in a pick up the pieces/ What result?

            The best options were suggested by COL(R) Lang and TTG. We didn’t take them. “In for a penny, in for a pound.”

            “Never get involved in someone else’s civil war” is good advice. But the hard part is seeing that is what the conflict is.

          • TTG says:

            John Minehan,

            Ukraine also traces her origins back to the Kyivan Rus. The Ukrainian language sprang directly from that of the Kyivan Rus. Russian is more closely aligned with the language of Muscovy. This lineage has always been a point of contention for the Russians.

          • LeaNder says:

            The Ukrainian language sprang directly from that of the Kyivan Rus. Russian is more closely aligned with the language of Muscovy.

            With all due respect, TTG, keep it up. But, isn’t that a bit of an anachronism? You really want to relate Ukrainian to the ‘Kievan Rus’ language wise and Russian to the language of ‘Muscovy’ ?

            At the time of the Kievan Rus, there already was a Kievan Rus language? I thought that was still considered Old East Slavic, or heaven forbid Old Russian? Besides: Kyivan Rus? Kyivan Ukraini? A nation needs its foundation myths, after all? Language wedded to land? We actually were the older empire, older than Russia. Not the little brother, really the earlier the big one? A hundred years from now, the Wikipedia article below will read: Kyivan Ukraine?

            Wikipedia: Kievan Rus’,[a][b] also known as Kyivan Rus’,[c][7][8] was a state and later an amalgam of principalities[9] in Eastern and Northern Europe from the late 9th to the mid-13th century.[10] The name was coined by Russian historians in the 19th century. Encompassing a variety of polities and peoples, including East Slavic, Norse,[11][12] and Finnic, it was ruled by the Rurik dynasty, founded by the Varangian prince Rurik.[13] The modern nations of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine all claim Kievan Rus’ as their cultural ancestor,[d] with Belarus and Russia deriving their names from it, and the name Kievan Rus’ derived from what is now the capital of Ukraine.[12][7] At its greatest extent in the mid-11th century, Kievan Rus’ stretched from the White Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south and from the headwaters of the Vistula in the west to the Taman Peninsula in the east,[15][16] uniting the East Slavic tribes.[10]


          • TTG says:


            I am speaking from a linguistic point of view, rather than a political one. The languages of the region consisted of several Slavonic dialects. “The Ukrainian language was merged from two East Slavonic dialect groups, South-Western and Central (Kyiv). The Russian language emerged from other dialects and was highly influenced by South Slavic through the Old Church Slavonic. That’s why two modern East Slavonic languages, Ukrainian and Belarusian, are mutually intelligible, and Russian keeps the distance from the Ukrainian-Belarusian pair.”

            Political influences on the Ukrainian language came through centuries of first Polish influence and then centuries of Russian influence. The Russian influence was quite active in trying to extinguish the Ukrainian language.

    • Yeah, Right says:

      Yep, a very interesting counterpoint indeed to the prevailing wisdom on this site.

    • English Outsider says:

      aleksander –

      Vershinin’s an oddball. At a time when pretty well everyone in England was selling us all sorts of bullshit about the war he was injecting a note of realism, and that from quite early on. Like Brian Berletic he was looking at what the West could supply in the way of armaments and saying “This isn’t going to work”.

      Berletic, incidentally, has been examining the latest aid package – the much contested 61 billion – and finding it not up to much. At the other end, so’s Zelensky. “Where the hell’s our stuff?” is his question so far on that and it looks as if not a lot’s come in. Though in the past – before “We are not Amazon” at Vilnius – mountains came in.

      The usual take is that Western aid will prolong the war, not win it. But maybe it’ll hasten the end. The brutal truth is that the more we encourage the Ukrainians to line up in front of the Russian guns the faster it’ll be over.

      Here Vershinin looking at the big picture, however:-

      “The Brusilov Offensive of 1916, which resulted in the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian army, is a good example of a successful attritional offensive at the tactical and operational level. By attacking along a broad front, the Russian army prevented the Austro-Hungarians from concentrating their reserves, resulting in a collapse all along the front. ”

      The ever-attentive Mercouris notes that Shoigu’s now using the term “offensive” rather than the term he used before , “active defence” or merely “improving the position”. We’re certainly now looking at more than active defence. Dr North in England has penned an insight that changes the old picture (my italics):-

      “Given a highly transparent battlefield, where any movement is instantly registered – and the life of an MBT is measured in minutes – this is the new way of war. The Russians are avoiding major thrusts and, staying under the cover of their defence umbrellas, are hacking at the Ukrainian defences in bite-sized chunks. By repeating this in multiple areas, they are achieving the effect of a major operation, without the same dangers.

      I read that a few days back and thought, “That’s it!” The old picture was that Russians would continue attritional warfare until such time as the Ukrainian forces were fully depleted. Then and only then could they make major advances without fear of excessive casualties. But, as Dr North considers, it could well be that the two phases are combined – that we are here seeing the advance combined with continued attrition and that while keeping Russian casualties low.

      And no reason why such an attritional advance could not be continued indefinitely. No “Broad Arrows” when casualties are no longer to be feared. Merely this slow grinding advance, the Ukrainians forced to engage since if they don’t they’ll eventually find themselves driven back indefinitely.

      The picture confused for us in the West by the fact that almost all our Western analysts and journalists have been sold a pup or are selling us a pup themselves. The much trumpeted intentions we attributed to the Russians were not in fact the Russian intentions. The “defeats” that were celebrated so widely didn’t happen. There was no “Battle for Kiev”, no “Kherson defeat” except in our own minds. The Trukhan interviews show the Russians quite happy to pursue their plans while the NATO generals and we along with them were fighting an invented war, a war that existed only in their imagination.

      I don’t know if Vershinin gets that entirely. But I believe he gets it far more than do the Petraeus’ and Hodges and de Bretton-Gordons who fumbled around selling us nonsense for so long. And the whole episode leaves me wondering, as I have been wondering since February 2022, about the Scholz’s and the Macrons, and the Johnsons and Bidens. Do these people know they are talking bullshit, and are just selling the bullshit to us for their own purposes; or do they really believe the bullshit themselves?

      • Jim. says:

        English Outsider…I have Been Concentrating More Closely
        on What your Points Are..And Your Data..
        .Who…What..Where..When ….And Why…

        Not Your Average Armchair Stuff…MI. Downing Esquire..
        So…All Your Points Are Valid..Issues..This is NWO Gamers..
        http://WWW.. Equals …Winners….Winners…Winners…

        All of Europe…All Of Asia. .All of The Americas.
        All of Africa…All of The Artic.. ALL The Worlds Resouces..

        The People You Mention…The Nervous..Non Tyrants..

        Today Chinese President Xi Jinping is Making His First Visit to Five Years…..First Macron in France…Next to
        Serbia..On the 25th Anniversary of The NATO Bombing..of
        The Chinese Embassy in Belgrade on May 7..1999….and
        The Final Visit to Motherland of George Soros..Hungary..

        Reports say They Are All Nervous..its Economic Financial Survival….For The EU..While Feeling The Squeeze..of A
        Giant Python…

        Everyone You Mention EO…Seems Nervous..and Confused…
        All With Poor Vision..Cataracts..Weak Knees..and Falling..
        into so many Mole Holes…

        To Many People at the Table..Talking At Once…The Salad is Stale…And The Wine is Cheap..So//EO..You Get it..And Im
        Finally Understanding…Its Wise to Be an Expert of Mushrooms..
        Cheers Mate..

      • Yeah, Right says:

        It seems to me that this aid package is going to have a corrupting effect on the USA.

        The MIC appears to be having enormous difficulty scaling up its arms production, and it is a simple truth that much of what the US military has long since ceased production: stingers, Abrams, Bradley’s, even ATACMS.

        Some haven’t been made in over a decade, just refurbished.

        Gonna take a lot of “refurbishing” to soak up all that money.

        A LOT.

        So the simplest way for the MIC to get its hands on that money is to…. increase the unit-price rather than increase to numbers.

        Just watch: the cost of refurbishing an Abrams chassis is going to increase four-fold, five-fold, or more, and to justify that price increase the MIC will insist on hanging bells and whistles on the damn thing.

        Which will increase the unit-price but ALSO stretch out the time it takes for it to reach the troops.

        Mark my words, Zelensky isn’t going to be the only person asking “where’s my damn tanks?”

        The US military will be saying the same, and some (not many) in Congress are going to be asking this: where are the damn tanks, and what happened to all those $billions?

        • TTG says:

          Yeah, Right,

          The bulk of that aid is coming from the military drawdown of existing equipment and ammunition. The MIC will get a substantial investment to increase ammo production and replace equipment in US inventories. Another huge chunk goes to cover the training of Ukrainian units, the US military surge to Europe and intelligence operations.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            TTG: “The bulk of that aid is coming from the military drawdown of existing equipment and ammunition.”

            Well, yeah, because it isn’t going to come from the assembly lines because in many – if not most – cases those assembly lines don’t exist any more and haven’t for over a decade.

            Which means that as far as the US mitary is concerned the cupboards are getting bare.

            Which leads to…….

            TTG: “The MIC will get a substantial investment to increase ammo production and replace equipment in US inventories.”

            That is where you and I part company.

            The MIC won’t “invest” the money in the manner that you are suggesting, not in any meaningful way

            They’ll do something else, and that something else is called “war profiteering”.

            They will increase the unit-cost of what the build (or rebuild), much, much faster than they will increase production.

            They will do it is a precisely-measured manner to avoid criminal investigations, sure, so there will be SOME increase in production.

            But everyone will be astonished by how small that increase is, and how long it will take to ramp up.

            Because “war profiteering” will be the method by which all that vast increase in spending will go into their pockets.

          • TTG says:

            Yeah, Right,

            The MIC is expanding production at existing ammo plants and building new ones to keep up with demand. Of course they’re making a profit in the process. Ukraine is now receiving ATACMS because we are replacing ours with the newly fielded Precision Strike Missiles (PrSM). Of course the MIc is also making a tidy profit producing those new PrSMs.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            I never knew you were this naive, TTG.

            Ammo is going to quadruple in price.
            Delivery times will slip, and then slip again.

            The PrSM will go up in price – though nowhere near as much – and again the delivery schedule will slip, and then slip again.

            In every case where the MIC is expected to “build new plants” the costs will balloon and the construction will slow, and you and I will *not* hear about either because the flow of that information is in the hands of those who have a vested interest in ensuring that the money outlaid by the government goes into their pocket with the least expenditure of effort on their part.

          • TTG says:

            Yeah, Right,

            A new General Dynamics ammo plant in Mesquite, Texas will open in June. The go-ahead to open this plant was passed just one year ago. This is in addition to the expansion of the plants in Pennsylvania and Ohio. The US Army also contracted additional capacity at plants in Canada, Poland, and India. These things happened or are happening. You’re just making shit up.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            Mark it down in your diary TTG: 12 months from now the unit cost of a 155mm shell will have quadrupled.

            And production of 155mm shells won’t have even doubled.

            And nobody – but nobody – will investigate how that state of affairs came about.

            We can resume this conversation then.

          • leith says:

            Y,R –

            12 months from when you’re proved wrong you’ll forget you ever said anything about it. You’ll just make up some new BS.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            Then in 12 months you can come to this web site and tell me exactly that, leith. Perhaps even do a little jig at my expense.

            Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

          • Christian J Chuba says:

            TTG / Yeah Right,

            Don’t know if the cost of artillery shells will quadruple but NATO is bleeding more than Russia and is already losing their appetite for this war. If Russia was bleeding out, like they did in Afghanistan, then NATO and the U.S. would be doing a moonwalk.

          • TTG says:

            Christian J Chuba,

            Russian losses in both men and equipment in Ukraine have already far outstripped losses in Afghanistan. Bleeding out is not a primary concern for Russia or Ukraine. Both have millions more who can bleed. Look at the losses endured during WWII. The West may lose their appetite, but it’s not from bleeding out.

          • Christian J Chuba says:

            TTG the number of Russian deaths comes from both the Pentagon and U.K. sources (claiming 450,000+ casualties). IMO it is total BS. What really pisses me off is that they Pentagon SHOULD know that number because there are multiple ways to verify it.

            1. Count the number of memorial services on Russian social media
            2. Monitor death benefits to family members.
            3. Satellite images and video retrieved from the battlefield and/or newly dug graveyard.

            That our Pentagon is coming up with numbers to satisfy politicians distresses me more than the outcome of this God forsaken war.

          • TTG says:

            Christian J Chuba,

            The Pentagon estimated 315,000 Russian casualties back in December 2023 along with 2,200 tanks. You know the recent UK estimate of 450,000. What makes you think our intel agencies don’t use those methods along with SIGINT? You just choose not to believe those figures.

          • Christian J Chuba says:

            TTG – “What makes you think our intel agencies don’t use those methods along with SIGINT?”

            1. Because our Intel agencies are reporting to politicians and telling them what they want to believe.

            2. Because our Intel agencies do not have to disclose their sources, all they have to do wave the magic wand of ‘we cannot compromises our means and methods’. To justify their statements.

            But you are correct. I choose not to believe them. They lost my unbridled support in 2003 and have gotten worse since then.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            TTG: “What makes you think our intel agencies don’t use those methods along with SIGINT?”

            Because the groups that DO use those methods actually come up with figures that are vastly lower.

            That’s why.




            So those are a cross-section of groups whose estimates range from 50,000 to 75,000 to 150,000

            “You just choose not to believe those figures.”

            The track record of the three-letter-agencies make that a very easy decision to choose.

            I note that you just choose not to believe the figures from BBC, from Meduza, and from the French Foreign Minister.

            I’m sure you have your reasons, though I suspect they are not very compelling ones.

          • TTG says:

            The French Foreign Minister claimed half a million casualties with 150,000 dead. Do you believe those figures or al least find them plausible? So that’s the high end of the claims. I like how Meduza laid out exactly how they came up with their figures. I consider that to be a safe floor to the actual casualty number.

          • Yeah, Right says:
          • Yeah, Right says:

            TTG: “Do you believe those figures or at least find them plausible?”


            It was an off-the-cuff comment made by the French foreign minister in an interview, and therefore there is nothing EXCEPT his say-so to go on.

            “Trust me, I’m a French politician” is about as plausible a statement as “Trust me, I work for a three-letter-agency”.

          • TTG says:

            Yeah, Right,

            Then I don’t understand why you presented those French figures as an example of better figures. You linked to the France24 article.

          • Yeah, Right says:

            TTG: “Then I don’t understand why you presented those French figures as an example of better figures.”

            Because I cocked up the links. There should have been three:
            (estimates 50,000 dead)

            (estimates 75,000 dead)

            (estimates 150,000 dead)

            I wanted to included a cross-section of “western” estimates to show how much they vary, as I said when I wrote “So those are a cross-section of groups whose estimates range from 50,000 to 75,000 to 150,000”

            So I never intended to imply that the “French figures as an example of better figures”, just that they are at one end of a very, very, very wide spectrum.

            I personally think that the BBC and Meduza figures are far more likely to be accurate because those two DO actually spell out their methodology.

            I don’t think much of the French Foreign Minister’s statement because, frankly, it is off-the-cuff.

            And as for the figures that you appear to believe, well, sorry, but “off-the-cuff” is too generous: they are deliberately intended to mislead.

  7. Jim. says:

    European Bison…”Zubr” Ukraine..Untamed Spirit..
    Link Between Humanity & Enviroment..Natures Balance..
    Russian Bears..Mother…and Cubs..Unbalanced..Unstabled
    The Foxes….and The Hares..The “Gurgen”..In Persian Lairs
    Canis Lupus Cubanensis….The Shadow of Romelus and Remus
    Who Still Direct The Gladiators…In The ..Arena…For “THAT”
    Cup of Blood..Until Its a Flood..Of Gold…and Pieces Silver..
    So That We All..See The Many Ways…Until The End of Days
    And Most of You Know The…Ways.And Whys…The Armys March..
    The Rulers Rule…The Drums Roll ..More Darkness and Light…
    You Are ALL Right…Pat Lang…TTG…SST……..LJ.. NO QUARTER..


    • leith says:

      & Przewalski’s horses in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

      • Jim. says:

        So Whats Happening in Ukraine Right Now…Today…
        Does Not Require Anyone of the Players To Claim That Kahn or the Vikings..and Tibet Monks were there first…Since The Greeks and Romans…Became Italy ..Greece or Romania…

        Russia started This War..They LOST..For All the Reasons
        In This Whole Thread..Wrong Tactics..Poor Planning..Poor

        Thats all Over ..Finished..Old History ..Old Speeches..Old Wars..Old Shit..

        The United States MIC is operating ..Producing and R&D
        Production I see is..Hyper Cavitating…In kick Ass AIOD..

        You Seen any of the Land..Robotics….Sea..(Mantra Ray)
        and Air…Star Wars Mad Max,,,Technology…

        I Dont Confuse the United States MIC..Pentagon..MIB..
        Areas 51,,52..53…Underground Coast to Coast..In
        ALL States.
        Occupied..Foreign and Domestic…Peek and Poke..Snake Bite
        Holes…Wired and Fired….With Any Politiics..Policys..
        Protests..or Non RED Meat Food…They May Be FUBAR..
        and Out Of Step…

        BUT…The United States Military Overall..Is Not..
        So…..Like a Good Cigar…in a distant Jungle..
        They Can Still Lite Em Up.
        Good Nite Pat…TTG…Vets…You Know the Storys..TY..

        • John Minehan says:

          As to “war profiteering,” probably not. It creates too good an opportunity for a Dem/Republican who remembers how Harry Truman became President.

  8. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Were the English and the Russians once best of friends, and indeed literally cousins?
    Shame on those who have driven them apart.

    • Keith Harbaugh says:

      Some really great music,
      extraordinarily well presented:
      Slava Rus!

      • English Outsider says:

        Mr Harbaugh – that performance of Boris Godunov is heavily political, put out as it was at that time and in that way. It illustrates the rift between the two sides, the American and the Russian.

        The opera is based on Pushkin’s play. Pushkin’s play doesn’t seem to fit very well with Russian history. There’s a lot left out. Apparently Pushkin wanted to treat his historical material in the same way that Shakespeare treated his. As Shakespeare knew it’s not the history that counts but the legends we make of it.

        It’s a puzzle trying to make Mussorgsky’s version fit foursquare with Russian history as well. But that production of it in the video fits like a glove with Professor Robinson’s learned disquisitions on the new Russian conservatism, and the Russian turn away from Atlanticism. Also with Patrick Armstrong’s similarly searching SST articles here on the same theme.

        The video contains I believe a parallel to the failed and derelict Yeltsin relinquishing power. “Nothing in his life became him like the leaving it” could have been said at the time, as Yeltsin acknowledged his failure and entrusted the rebuilding of his near disintegrating country to others.

        And the” others” coming in on cue, just like the opera.


        So that’s the Russian dream all glimpsed in your video. Nicely packaged. Apple pie values. National regeneration. Farewell to the decadent West.

        It get pushback, that dream, from the Russian emigres I meet. Their legend is different, has been since 1917, and for them contemporary Russia is even now a darkening totalitarian nightmare. Not is it a dream we in the West are at all sympathetic to. Most Europeans had enough of Russia after 1945. Many for centuries before. Those old tribal animosities still shape our thinking, But for the Russians in Russia, it’s a dream most can get along with.

        How does that Russian Dream go down in Washington? Not well. The current US administration is after a different American Dream:–

        In September 2000 PNAC released “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” a report that promotes “the belief that America should seek to preserve and extend its position of global leadership by maintaining the preeminence of U.S. military forces”‘

        That American Dream is still alive in the hands of such as Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The old icons, Brzezinski, Albright, reinstated in the national pantheon. Even Jimmy Carter pressed into service. I had a look at Blinken’s confession of faith a while back and use the references here to his keynote speech at Johns Hopkins university.

        It’s not a Russia friendly dream, the American Dream. Brzezinski sets out the programme the Russians fear. According to Brzezinski the best thing for the RF is to be broken up and for Russia to become another smallish European state. That’s very much the message in his magnum opus, “The Grand Chessboard”.

        The Russians know about the Brzezinski programme. In an interview with a dissident Russian journalist a few years back Putin suddenly burst out “They want to reduce us to the Duchy of Muscovy!” – so both sides know the plan.

        And Brzezinski’s dream is not just the long forgotten hope of a Russophobic Polish aristocrat. Blinken, on “The power and purpose of American diplomacy in a new era”:-

        Dr. Brzezinski also believed that one of his most enduring contributions to international affairs was shaping America’s rising scholars and practitioners – including President Carter, who described himself as “an eager student” of Zbig; and Ian, Mark, Mika – all of whom have strived to bring us closer to what Zbig called the pragmatic fusion of American power with American principle.”

        To us in the West that Blinken speech reads like the usual politician’s boilerplate. Think tank work at best. Nothing more. But to the Russians that’s the US Secretary of State, just about the most powerful statesman in the world, reaffirming the thrust of the Grand Chessboard: Russia delenda est.

        It’s a message that’s been reinforced many times since. It’s a message that resonates with us in Europe. On European blogs last year I was seeing comments from Poles, Germans, English – all to the effect that Russia was done for and should be broken up. Scholz, Merz, Baerbock, Borrell – there are videos of all such on the stump, all cheering on the crusade. And in one of the many PR blunders of the last three years we sent our Panzers over to hammer home the message. The same message those Panzers attempted to hammer home eighty years ago. Russia delenda est. Neatly fitting in with the “White Tiger” theme that is the staple of the opposing Russian legend.

        So for the Russians we Westerners, politicians and voters and all, are still assiduously pursuing the message in Blinken’s version of the gospel according to “Zbig”. And against that they set the message contained in your video.


        Few of us read Blinken’s confession of faith. I only came across it by accident. But this is the current US Administration laying out its thinking. I bet some Russian analyst read that keynote Johns Hopkins speech. And passed it up to his boss.

        The Russian Dream. The American Dream. Now the conflict of the two dreams has morphed. Ballooned. It’s become the conflict of the West versus the rest. Wonder how the conflict will play out. Not with mushroom clouds, one hopes.

    • Christian J Chuba says:

      The alliance during WW1 was a matter of convenience. Fairly certain that the relationship between the U.K. and Russia soured after the Crimean war.

      I’ll throw this out there, I always thought that Russia sold Alaska to the U.S. because they wanted a buffer state in between them and the British Commonwealth of Canada after the Crimean War. In short, they figured that the U.K. would take it from them anyway so you might as well get a few pennies for it. In hindsight, it would have been worth the risk (for them) to try to keep it.

      At that time, the U.S. had a very friendly relationship with Russia and a somewhat hostile one with the U.K. In the late 1800’s, if you wanted to make villians a bit more villainous in a play, give them a British accent. But this was of course before U.S. foreign policy became frozen in amber.

      • TTG says:

        Christian J Chuba,

        Our AEF to Vladiovostok is probably what soured the new Russia on US-Russian friendship.

      • Mark Logan says:


        There are competing theories on that. On one hand the Russians clearly stated that was the intention but on the other they knew they had no shot at defending it if the Brits decided to move on it through Canada and with the at-that-
        time peerless British Navy.

        The resources they were giving up? Just fur, which, while being enormously profitable, was nearly all being taken to China or sold to French, Yankee, or British traders with the proceeds being pocketed by the few Russians who could manage that. Too far away for effective tax collection from Moscow. The Czar was getting very little from it anyway.

        History might look a lot different if somebody had found gold before that sale, but they hadn’t yet.

  9. leith says:

    No cease fire for Orthodox Easter Sunday, today 5 May. Instead, Putin’s Easter festivities included:
    Russian artillery shelled a total of 113 Ukrainian small towns and villages.
    24 Shahed-131/136 strike UAVs launched, but Ukraine was able to destroy 23 out of the 24.
    Other Russian drones attacked Dnipro where a multi-story residential building took significant damage.
    Russian attack on central Kharkiv resulted in 15 casualties and damage to 20 multi-story residential buildings.
    Russian missiles struck a grain elevator in Poltava.
    An FPV-dropped grenade struck a car the Pokrovsky district of Donetsk Oblast, injuring a 68-year-old man and two women, aged 49 and 67.
    On the night of May 5th, UAV’s attacked single-family homes in Kharkiv suburbs.

  10. Keith Harbaugh says:

    EO and TTG carry out a debate above and below

    I think they are both ignoring a crucial point.

    For EO, consider this hypothetical:
    Suppose the United Kingdom were to break up.
    Suppose newly independent Scotland and Wales were to join the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO),
    and let the RF place Kinzhals and Kalibrs on their territory.
    How do you think England would react?

    To TTG, the same question, but replacing Scotland, Wales and England
    with Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

    So no, what Russia is doing in Ukraine is not NESSARILY motivated by imperialism.
    We should not ignore that Russia had fully legitimate and understandable security concerns.

    The U.S. broke its “Not one inch eastward” pledge that Jim Baker made
    (to get the SU to withdraw its military forces from East Germany).
    Without a specific cause, just theoretical ones.
    (You really shouldn’t ignore or downplay that.)
    Therein lies the problem.

    • TTG says:

      Keith Harbaugh,

      I think in both of your hypothetical cases, both the UK and US would use all methods of negotiation and coercion short of military invasion or attack. In the Ukraine situation, I expected Russia to do the same. And yes, in all three cases there are understandable security concerns, but once the response moves to all out military invasion, security concerns become imperialism.

      Russia broke a signed treaty to respect the borders and self-determination of Ukraine. This was the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances signed by Russia, the US, the UK, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Belarus. This treaty hold a lot more water than a verbal pledge that Baker may not have even had the authority to make on behalf of the USG.

      • Peter Williams says:

        The Budapest Memorandum was just that, a Memorandum. Not one country to the three Memoranda, ratified it to create a Treaty.

        • leith says:

          PW –

          The Kremlin did violate the Russian–Ukrainian Friendship Treaty, signed by both parties in 1997. That agreement recognized “inviolability of borders, respect for territorial integrity, and mutual commitment not to use its territory to harm the security of each other.”

          Putin also threw on the trash heap the Partition Treaty on the Status and Conditions of the Black Sea Fleet. And he broke every promise made during the Minsk Agreements, while trying to pin it on Kyiv in a tantrum of Victim-Blaming. In 2018 he shitcanned the Treaty Between the Russian Federation and Ukraine on Cooperation in the Use of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait, which he himself had signed.

          While the Budapest Memorandum may not use the word ‘treaty’, it fulfills the criteria defined in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties as put forth by the United Nations International Law Commission. The Budapest Memorandum is an “international agreement concluded between States in written form and governed by international law”.

      • Keith Harbaugh says:

        “once the response moves to all out military invasion, security concerns become imperialism.”

        Do you want to apply that to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003?
        Just (mischievously) asking 🙂

        • TTG says:

          Keith Harbaugh,

          Yes. That was part of a deliberate plan to invade and defeat several countries to further America’s reach. I’m pretty sure Cheney and others articulated that plan.

    • English Outsider says:

      Keith Harbaugh – that hypothetical case is difficult to match with the circumstances in Ukraine. But the usual take on this war is incorrect in any case.

      The Ukrainians were massing on the LoC. The artillery fire had ramped up. The Kiev forces were more powerful than the LDNR forces.

      Had the Ukrainians got into the Donbass there would have been many of the people of the Donbass killed or expelled. The Ukrainians would have been difficult to dislodge once they had got into the towns and cities. We saw how difficult it was to get the Azov cleared out of Mariupol. They’re up to all the tricks with human shields as battlefield accessories etcetera. It would have been similarly difficult to clear the Aidar out of Donetsk.

      The Russians moved to pre-empt that danger. No more to it than that.

      If we hadn’t wanted the Russians to move then we shouldn’t have encouraged Zelensky to threaten the Donbass. Clear case of FAFO. You don’t fool around like that with a major military power. If you do, and get hammered, tough luck.

      But mostly tough luck on the proxies so, as everyone been saying in the States and the UK, we have at least managed to kill some Russians at little cost to ourselves.

      We were hoping to get the Russian army to come out and fight so we could hit Russia with the sanctions. Didn’t work as we expected. What else is there to say?

      We’ll now watch Biden and Macron and Scholz throwing their toys out of the pram. They’ll get over it and have a try at similar mischief somewhere else, wouldn’t be surprised. Moldova looks promising so they can play with that for a while. Or the Georgians might offer themselves as the next set of mugs. Always hope.

      Except that it’d be more humane if we didn’t insist on this lot of proxies soldiering on until after the next American presidential election. For most of us in the West this is no more than a bang bang you’re dead sort of video game. But it’s real enough for the proxies so as said above, time to let them off the hook.

      • TTG says:


        “If we hadn’t wanted the Russians to move then we shouldn’t have encouraged Zelensky to threaten the Donbass.”

        Where do you get this stuff? We were encouraging Zelenskiy not to do anything provocative. We didn’t want Russia to invade because we didn’t think the Ukrainian Army could more than a couple of weeks at best. Zelenskiy ordered his troops along the LOC to do the same.

        • English Outsider says:

          I’m afraid I got this stuff from me, TTG. Just me.

          When I heard of the recognition of the Republics being rushed through I thought. “What’s all that about? Not supposed to happen.”

          Three days later, “Bloody hell. They’ve finally got the Russians to come out and fight, Now there’ll be fireworks.”

          Encouraging Zelensky not to do anything provocative consisted of massing a whole lot of raring to go Ukrainians along the LoC and ramping up the shelling to a crescendo. So from the eastern side of the LoC is didn’t look as if Zelensky was being encouraged not to do anything provocative.

          Putin had no choice but to pre-empt there and then. He’d have looked a great fool if he hadn’t and the Kiev forces had got into the Donbass.

          • TTG says:


            Most of the heavy weaponry of both Ukrainian and separatist forces near the LoC was concentrated in OSCE monitored containment areas. In the days before the Russian invasion, most, but not all, of the Ukrainian heavy equipment remained in those containment areas. A far greater percentage of separatist heavy equipment was being removed from storage during those days. If Ukraine was planning an imminent attack across the LoC, heavy weapons would not have been left in OSCE monitored storage areas. That equipment would have been needed for any assault across the LoC. The preemption of a Ukrainian attack is merely a Kremlin lie trying to justify their war of aggression.

          • wiz says:

            English Outsider

            People generally do not understand what an uncompromising bunch the Ukrainian nationalists are.

            They have a vision of Ukraine where they proscribe which language you will speak, which church you will go to, which fascists you will worship, which political parties you can vote for etc. They want NATO membership as well, cause they know they will need protection to implement their vision.

            In their pursuit towards that goal, they will do whatever is necessary.
            If that includes dragging NATO into direct war with Russia, they do not care.

            They were always going to try to get back the Donbass and Crimea using any means necessary.

            When the West regime changed Yanukovich in 2014 thus violating Ukrainian sovereignty and the Budapest memorandum, Russia took Crimea to protect its naval base.

            Recognition of the DNR and LNR in 2022 was Russia saying, “Ok, since we cannot resolve the issue with NATO diplomatically, we will go in. We’ll take the Donbass as payment for our troubles.”

            When it became clear that the SMO will not be a walk in a park and that many thousands of lives and trillions of dollars will be needed, they
            decided to annex the Kherson and Zaporozie as well, again as payment for their trouble.

            The more this war continues, the more the price will grow.

            Ultimately, even if NATO and Russia are careful, an accident or a miscalculation might happen and it might end up in full blown WW3.

          • d74 says:

            Where do you get your information?
            Only heavy artillery over 100 mm was remotely stored.

            According to a (French) witness who was present on the Donestk side until he was wounded in 2017, they couldn’t carry out counter-battery fire on their own initiative, at battalion level. They had to request authorization from the militia level, which took several hours, too late. When firing on Donestk civilian structures became too lethal, the militia would organize counter-battery fire with reluctance: the UKR artillery was protecting itself between civilian buildings, hence an obvious risk of hitting friends. Fire corrections were telephoned by these same civilians.

            OSCE was, and still is, a vast joke. It intervened at the request of the militia’s liaison mission to observe shell impacts. The orientation was always from the west, an observation made by OSCE and not contested (!). OSCE refused to estimate the calibre, which was certainly 100 mm or more. She refused to point to the artillery of the ATO (troops of the UKR anti-terrorist operation) as the source of the bombardments.
            Admittedly, her mission in urban areas was a difficult one: blood, wounded and dead. They were verbally abused by enraged women in front of their destroyed homes.

            OSCE advised those who wanted to lodge a complaint and receive compensation for their loss to apply to Kiev, since they were UKR!!!!

            OSCE has installed surveillance cameras here and there on LOC. They were mainly oriented towards the East. As the monitors were on the UKR side, this amounted to giving the ATO first-hand intelligence on militia activities on the LOC. This is the same bias for quad-copters in OSCE colors. The militias shot a number of them when they went too far inside the lines. The memory cards recovered showed a direct flight beyond the LOC and a long slalom on the Donesk side.

            Everything I write has been the subject of widely distributed testimonials and videos. Were they sincere? I think there are too many of them to be fooled.

            I found the 100mm limit curious. The Donestk militia has released old Soviet 100 mm anti-aircraft tubes from stock, which excel in horizontal fire. While the UKR had 122mm guns or rockets, and 120mm mortars, undoubtedly Western. Moreover, according to the witness, the mortars were used for anti-civilian strikes without excluding the 122mm, shell or rocket.

            Finally, he was under bombardment by Katiousha BM-21 Grad 122 mm rockets in the LOC. In his words: terrifying.

            The people of Donbass within range of this artillery endured these bombardments for more than 8 years.

          • TTG says:


            The 100mm limit covered all except light mortars and antiquated 76mm artillery. I don’t know if either side used any 76mm tubes. The T-12 is the 100mm AT gun used by both sides. It remained widely used and effective. Both sides also use 120mm mortars. That’s the standard Soviet made mortar. The lighter 82mm mortars were less common, but are also used by both sides.

            Both sides employed counter battery fire. Back in 2021, the Ukrainians were the first to employ drones to conduct counter battery fire, a Bayraktar TB2 drone.


          • leith says:

            D74 –

            CCTV cameras placed by OSCE along the LOC (also known as the demarcation line) had a viewing angle of 360 degrees. The cameras were able to monitor both sides and were observing West, North, South, as well as East and points in between. So your source is mistaken. Although granted there probably weren’t enough cameras as the LOC was 500 km long. They were installed on 18-meter high towers allowing them to observe if weapons were brought up to the line. The towers also used audio to determine a general direction from which shots came.

            No first-hand video was passed to the military of either side. The encrypted data from the cameras went via closed comm channels to the OSCE hub in Mariupol. From there, and only after review, was it sent to both Donetsk and Kyiv. The RT stories from the Kremlin of the transfer of video recordings directly to the Ukrainian military were fairy tales. Interesting though that on at least one occasion Russian mercenaries disabled an OSCE camera and put in their own to use for targeting the Ukrainians. That violation was reported on and documented by OSCE.

            Regarding weapons, back then, Ukraine used Soviet made 122mm artillery and 120mm mortars. They definitely were not from the West. And those weapons along with the Katusha rockets were all in areas under the observation of OSCE monitors.

          • TTG says:


            Some heavy weapons did go missing from those OSCE concentration areas on both sides of the LoC, but not enough to plan or carry out an assault across the LoC.

          • leith says:

            TTG –

            How many from each side? I recall at least one report from OSCE back eight or nine (?) years ago. They observed what appeared to be a tank battalion moving on the DPR-controlled side of the line. There were more than three dozen tanks, four self-propelled howitzers and one mobile air defense missile system.

  11. TruthVsPropaganda says:

    TTG & others,

    The current war is horrible loss of life & unnecessary war ..

    1) note that after 1991 dissolving of Soviet Union & communism but seeing massive cutbacks in their income gravy train, the military industrial complex Lockheed Martin, Marietta, etc created “The Committee to Expand NATO” staffed by neocons like Dick Cheney, Perle, & other members of the Project for A New American Century that advocated invasion of Iraq as well as Libya, Syria, Iran, Lebanon, etc (the “5 countries in 5 years” plan as revealed by General Wesley Clark)
    donating millions to politicians & staffing the foriegn policy editorial boards/columns at Washington Post, NY Times, NY Post, etc to keep their gravy train growing with more wars & NATO expansion since new NATO members were required to replace Soviet arms with billion$ in new arms from US/NATO military def contractors

    2) Declassified US gov documents show many top US/NATO gov officials (not just Baker but also President Bush, UK’s PM Thatcher & Major, Germany’s Kohl, CIA’s Gates, France’s Mitterand, etc all gave assurances to a naive Gorbachev that NATO would NOT expand towards Russia’s border
    Read the actual documents yourself from USA’s gov archives at
    “Declassified documents show security assurances against NATO expansion to Soviet leaders from Baker, Bush, Genscher, Kohl, Gates, Mitterrand, Thatcher, Hurd, Major, and Woerner”

    3) it is a reverse Cuban missile crisis because declassified gov documents show the US, Pentagon/CIA, & JFK had also authorized a US bombing & invasion campaign into Cuba in 14 days after the naval blockade if negotiations failed &
    Soviet Union did not withdraw/dismantle it’s missiles in Cuba and withdraw it’s military alliance with Cuba (Monroe Doctrine re-enabled)

    — the Soviets thought installing missiles in Cuba 1,000 miles from Washington DC was fair play tit-for-tat ‘what is good for the goose is good for the gander’ in response to NATO installing nuclear missiles in Italy & Turkey about 1000 miles away from Moscow
    — and
    Cuba had asked Soviets to join Warsaw Pact in response to the USA gov/CIA ‘Bay of Pigs’ invasion into Cuba

    –it was a compromise between the Pentagon/CIA (both wanted immediate bombing/invasion campaign into Cuba)
    & JFK (who wanted to first negotiate & have a embargo/blockade of Cuba)

    — USA thought it unlikely & did not realize the Soviet Union already had installed 100+ nuclear missile warheads more powerful than the ones dropped on Hiroshima/Nagasaki) in Cuba WITH ORDERS agreed upon by Cuba & Soviets to launch them into USA if USA bombed or invaded Cuba

    Additionally, 3 Soviet submarine around Cuba were equipped with nuclear torpedos (each also more powerful than the Hiroshima/Nagasaki nukes) with orders to launch nuclear torpedos to wipe out the USA naval fleet IF they attacked Soviet ships or Cuba/Soviet Union ..

    worse, declassified documents show 1 of the Soviet subs almost launched their nuclear torpedos at the US naval fleet because the US destroyer was dropping ‘practice depth charges’ (hand grenades wrapped in card board tubes from toilet paper to enable them to explode closer to the Soviet submarine) on the Soviet sub that made the Soviet submariners think they were under attack, causing 2 out of 3 the Soviet submarine 3 captains voted to launch nuclear torpedos but the 3rd of the Soviet captain instead persuaded them to surface instead to verify that WW3 had indeed started, which averted them starting nuclear WW3.

    If the USA was planning to invade/bomb Cuba for having potential nuclear missiles 1000 miles away from Washington DC as an intolerable existential threat 30 minutes flight time away, then Moscow feels that having Ukraine abandon neutrality in Ukraine’s Constitution allowing Ukraine to have NATO nuclear missiles 300 miles away, 5 minutes flight time away from Moscow (too short to determine if false alarm or nuclear armed missile heading to Moscow to allow a response to a decapitation strike

    Both sides compromised, with USA withdrawing nuclear missiles from Turkey & Italy while Soviet Union withdrew nuclear missiles from Cuba

    4) The Budapest Memorandum & security pledges by Russia was contingent on Ukraine remaining permanently neutral as it was in the requirements of the Ukrainian Constitution when Russia agreed to disband the Soviet Union BUT
    Info from my Ukrainian fiancee & her Ukrainian news sites:
    after the post-Maidan revolution/coup
    — Ukraine is poorer than Mexico & de-industralized post-Soviet Union days,
    with now a 50 cents/hour minimum wage, with 2+ million Ukrainian migrants illegally working in Poland/EU for 5 Euros per hour
    -they want EU wages & EU right to live/work in EU but the EU application requires 50%+ cuts in social security, pensions, healthcare, education, etc —
    doctors, teachers, nurses, social security, etc
    post-Maidan saw their salaries cut in half to about $100 per month Ukraine’s while their bills for electricity, heating, gas, all skyrocketing by 200% to 400% in prices under new president Poroshenko in post-2014

    Poroshenko later amended it’s constitution to abandon neutrality & join NATO in 2014 & 2019
    –thus, to the Russians, it’s reverse Cuban missile crisis

    Note: After that, Zelensky defeated Poroshenko in elections & won with 73% of vote campaigning for peace plan & good relations with Russia
    BUT reversed himself after the Azov battalion & Right Sector & Svoboda & UKraine’s head of interior security/SBU threatened that he & his family would find him hanging from a tree & a grenade rolling into his office & home if he negotiated a peace plan with Russia in 2019)

    5) Also note that people saying Ukraine should not have given up nuclear weapons is false:
    The Soviet Union/Russia had installed nuclear warheads in Ukraine just like US/NATO installed nukes in Italy & Turkey but the nuclear arming codes were & are never given to
    Italy/Turkey & they are locked so that only the USA has & knows the nuclear codes them so that even if Italy/Turkey kicks out the US/NATO, Turkey/Italy can never arm or use the nukes themselves

    –just like Soviet Union/Russia never gave the nuclear codes to Ukraine so Ukraine could never arm the Soviet Union nukes stationed in Ukraine

    • leith says:

      TvP –

      There is nothing in the Budapest Memorandum contingent on Ukraine remaining neutral. And nothing in it about any requirements of the Ukrainian Constitution.

      Zelenskyy’s campaign did propose unity between the Russian-speaking and Ukrainian-speaking parts of the country. He also attempted to seek dialogue with Putin, but only was able to get one short meeting with him in Paris in 2019 at one of Macron’s Paris based Normandy Format meetings. But in that meeting Putin stonewalled him. Zelenskyy eventually backed off of his campaign ideas due to the Kremlin’s massive troop buildup on the Donbas border and the massive issue of internal Russian passports to Ukrainian citizens in a prelude to annexation. It had nothing to do with threats from far-right nationalist wingnuts. And there was certainly no threat from the head of the SBU, Ivan Bakanov, who was a longtime friend of Zelenskyy, had been appointed by Zelenskyy, and had the same policy views as Zelenskyy.

      Regarding nukes: Many of those old Soviet nuclear warheads had electro-mechanical blocking devices. Or in some cases the blocks were purely mechanical. Ukraine had many talented scientists and engineers who might have figured out a way to manually bypass the primitive lockout features and directly activate (or de-activate) those weapons. Could have possibly succeeded, or it could have been a disaster? There are reports that there was intent by Kyiv to try to deactivate them on their own because they were concerned that Moscow could activate them without Kyiv’s permission. But in the end they did not try. They took the wiser course by letting Western technicians dismantle them.

      By the way, not all Soviet nukes were tightly controlled by launch codes from Moscow. It has been reported that during the Cuban missile crisis, General Pliyev CinC of Soviet forces in Cuba, had authority to launch intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs) against targets on American soil. Without receiving the necessary codes or orders from Moscow.

      • jld says:

        “There are reports that there was intent by Kyiv to try to deactivate them on their own because they were concerned that Moscow could activate them without Kyiv’s permission. “

        That does not make any sense, how could the Russians make use of systems not in their vicinity, “activated” or not?

        • leith says:

          JLD –

          Back then Ukraine was still a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and a member of the CIS Joint Armed Forces. The launch codes could be sent from the Kremlin via dedicated communication channels to all silos throughout the CIS. And there were still a million post-Soviet troops in Ukraine including Russian Strategic Rocket Forces (RVSN). Theoretically the CIS had control of all nukes within member countries, but in reality the keys were in the Kremlin and launch was solely controlled by the RVSN.

          There was no trust between the two. The CIS High Command (i.e. the Kremlin) opposed any attempts
          attempts of Ukraine to participate in nuclear decision making. And “refused to grant the Ukrainians the technical means necessary for preventing a launch of nuclear weapons, unauthorized by Kiev, from Ukrainian

          There were 130 UR-100N intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) and 46 RT-23 Molodets ICBMs in Ukraine scattered in silos throughout the country. Plus another 1500 nuke warheads for aviation and tactical ground mobile launchers. Even though Ukrainian scientists had significant knowledge of the designs, that many nukes would have been damn near impossible for them to deactivate all. So they made the right decision to sign the Budapest Memorandum. And I expect they got a quid pro quo from both Moscow and Washington DC for doing so.

      • TruthVsPropaganda says:


        from web archive of Ukrainian Constitution:

        “The Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR on Monday, July 16, proclaimed the republic’s state sovereignty, defined as “supremacy, independence, fullness and indivisibility of the republic’s authority within the boundaries of its territory, and its independence and equality in external relations.”

        The Declaration on State Sovereignty of Ukraine was overwhelmingly approved by the Ukrainian Parliament by a vote of 355 for and four against.

        News of the vote and the full Ukrainian-language text of the declaration were received via fax from the Kiev offices of Rukh, the Popular Movement of Ukraine for Perebudova. According to Leonid Chuhunov, liaison of Rukh’s Department of Foreign Relations, the vote came at 10:08 a.m. Kiev time.

        (The full text of the Declaration on State Sovereignty of Ukraine appears on pages 1 and 7, in English translation prepared by The Ukrainian Weekly.)

        The document decrees that Ukrainian SSR laws take precedence on Ukrainian territory over all-union laws,
        declares that the Ukrainian SSR will maintain its own army and its own national bank and, if necessary,
        has the power to introduce its own currency.

        In addition, the declaration proclaims that the republic is
        [b]”a permanently neutral state that does not participate in military blocs,”[/b]
        states that the [b]republic will not accept, will not produce and will not procure nuclear weapons.”[/b]

        Also, note that US-gov funded RadioFreeLiberty reports as I posted earlier
        that Ukraine in 2014 voted/signed by new President Poroshenko to abandon
        neutrality & join NATO & later again in 2019
        “Ukraine Votes To Abandon Neutrality, Set Sights On NATO”

        • leith says:

          TvP –

          Your link and information is from July 1990. In December 1991, 18 months after that Declaration of Sovereignty, Ukraine along with Russia and Belarus became founding members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), a union of economic, political and military cooperation. Ukraine withdrew all cooperation from the CIS in 2014 after Russia occupied Crimea. And Ukraine did not vote to apply for NATO membership until ten months after Putin and the Russian Duma illegally annexed Crimea. That was also four months after Putin formally sent Russian Army troops into the Donbas, instead of the previous so-called Russian “volunteers”.

          Your link also has nothing to do with the Budapest Memorandum, which was signed in 1994.

    • English Outsider says:

      TVP – that Zolote incident was emblematic. Time and again the bulk of the Ukrainian people have chosen the path to peace. From before the Revolution of Dignity that wish has been frustrated by a minority of ultra-nationalist zealots, those zealots used by us as useful tools in our drive to weaken or destabilise Russia.

      When Mozgovoy said, “If they knew who the true enemy was the fighting would stop tomorrow”, I took it at the time as meaning the true enemy were the oligarchs. The Kolomoiskys and his rivals who plundered the country remorselessly and and for that purpose created the gangs who later morphed into the eastern ultra-nationalist units. But I think now that Mozgovoy was referring also to us. The Western countries who deliberately inserted themselves into that civil strife for their own purposes. And who, I now believe, deliberately caused it.

      Years ago I wrote to Babak here on what is the now forgotten history of the war in the Donbass: the furious conflict resulting from the Revolution of Dignity. There was heroism enough on both sides – whatever flag they fight under the Ukrainians are courageous – and I wrote, if my recollection serves, of the intense fighting around Saur Mogila that illustrated that heroism.

      “We did that,” I wrote to Babak of the stirring up of that conflict,” and we’re still doing it.” It was clear even then that it was our actions that had set that country ablaze.

      Years later we are still doing it. Now, our efforts amount to little more than reflex actions as this lost war winds down. The Russians, painful though it is for us to admit it, are finally coming in to clear up the horror we made of that country that used to be Ukraine.

      And as the war drags on to its inevitable conclusion the Ukrainian casualty rate is now greatly exceeding that of any time over the last ten years. Thousands a week dead and for what? So that the zealots can get in a few more strikes on the civilians of Donetsk? To give time for the European politicians to cast around for a means of saving face? To allow officials more opportunity to siphon off the aid?

      No. Those are contributory factors but this carnival of death plays on merely in order to postpone the final debacle until after the next American presidential elections. That is now the only reason for the US hanging on in Ukraine. It is no justification for the thousands more deaths we shall witness if this lost war continues to be fought.

  12. LeaNder says:

    Kiev wants its men of military age back home. We had series of reports about Ukrainian troops fighting without interruption for two years … sound unbelievable but seems to be true. I watched interviews of some of those men.

    Here an article of the Neue Züricher Zeitung (conservative), a couple of month ago I discovered its German edition. Via Google translate:

    Kiev is calling Ukrainians back from abroad and is expecting support – but the federal government is playing for time
    Around 256,000 Ukrainians who are subject to military service live in Germany and are needed in their homeland. The opposition is now demanding that the federal government cut their citizens’ benefits if necessary.

    Apart from that I highly recommend Simon Weil Center’s

    Landmarks: A Journal of International Dialogue, on Substack especially the series of responses to an amazingly arrogant Foreign Affairs Article:

    America’s New Twilight Struggle With Russia To Prevail, Washington Must Revive Containment, By Max Bergmann, Michael Kimmage, Jeffrey Mankoff, and Maria Snegovaya.

    Landmark’s latest response is by Adam K. Webb who argues instead of for Containment 2.0 the West should prepare for a principled landing., March 6, 2024

    • Fred says:

      “Kiev is calling Ukrainians back from abroad and is expecting support …”

      If they were going to get that support those Ukrainians would already be there.

      • TTG says:


        Kyiv has stopped providing consular services to citizens of military age living abroad, an obvious effort to force them back home. However, it’s hardly draconian. Poland and Lithuania have said they will assist if asked. In the case of Poland, it may be as much a desire to ship a lot of refugees back as a desire to assist Kyiv in beefing up her armed forces. So far, Kyiv has not asked for such help.

  13. LeaNder says:

    Correct Google translate link, NZZ,

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