The Russian Army is still trying to encircle Kiyiv

“Hand-to-hand combat has broken out in the streets of the Kyiv suburb of Irpin, which has been devastated by relentless Russian bombing and shortages of food, water and electricity.

“There is real street fighting now,” a Ukrainian paratrooper named Stas told AFP. “In some places, there is hand-to-hand combat.”

The paratrooper, who did not provide his full name, said the Russians have staged “a huge column, 200 men, 50 light armored vehicles, several tanks” in the small town.” NY Post

Comment: Well, pilgrims, that is not a “huge column.” The “several tanks” are easy meat for the Javelins, RPGs and other goodies, Once those go down the light armored vehicles will be even easier prey. 200 men? How many are draftees? pl

Street battles erupt in Kyiv suburb as Russian troops advance (nypost.com)

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64 Responses to The Russian Army is still trying to encircle Kiyiv

  1. jim ticehurst says:

    Pat..All

    I Was Very Wrong About Putins Intentions and Level of Aggression in Ukraine..Like Many I am Shocked and saddened at the amount of destructionHospitals..Grocery stores..Water..Heat Electricity ..Its Cruel and Sadistic…I Am So Glad to see the Ukraine people utting Up Very Strong Resistance..with Help..and taking
    out Russian Assets..Land and Air..

    I Said Putin Woukd Invade..I Event Predicted The start Date..Ive Been wrong
    and How Viscious Putin Would Be.. God Help The Ukranian Folk..
    JT

    • Mark Gaughan says:

      The Azov battalion cleared out that hospital in Mariupol and set it up as firing site. Russia told the UNSC on 07 Mar 22 that that is what the Azov battalion had done. I listen to OAN, MSNBC, and CNN in the morning while I’m working. None of them have reported that the reason Russia is assaulting Mariupol is because the Azov battalion is there.

    • jim ticehurst says:

      I Do Not Believe that Russia will use CBWs,,In Ukraine..Or Low Yield Nukes…
      For Obvious Reasons,,Maybe CBWs In Controled Amounts Later..Like the Nazis..

      I Do Expect Cyber Attacks on American Sites..Power Grids,,Anything
      They Think Effective..How Good..Who Knows…I Do know Someone..
      Probably China..Has Hacked DOD..DC ,,Government Sites..All ersonnel
      Data etc For a long Time Now..Have BIOs on Millions of Americans..

      Every DOD..Employee And FBI agent I Talked Too..Said ALL thier Data
      Was Stolen..And They Were Notified.. I Think China Has It..Shares With Russia..And China..N. Korea..Are The Most Capable Hackers ,,
      JT

    • jim ticehurst says:

      I Have Growing Concerns About How Vicious Russia Is Being With
      Its Inhumane Attacks On Ukraine..and Now Closing in On KYEV..

      My First Thought This Morning IS..What if they actually Do Use
      Some Type of GAS,,on The Popukation In KYEV and just Wipe
      ALL the People OUT That Way..?? Then..NO resistance..No Loss of Tanks
      NO Fight..

      You Always SEE Everyone In Isreal With Gas Masks On them During Air
      Raids And Missle Attacks..I have NEVER Seen Any GAS Masks
      Displayed..Worn or Anyone being Traind To Use Them Any Place
      In Ukraine..or KYEV.. Is a Gads Attack Possible…?????

      • jim ticehurst says:

        RE: CBWs…
        I Just Went to A Story ..With Video ..At REAL CLEAR Politics
        Posted Today March 11th 2022,,by: Tim Haines..

        Called ;;”Putin is Probably Planning To Use Chemical Weapons
        and Blame in On Ukraine..” By Tim Hains..
        It Has A Video Interview by Andrea Mitchell With
        John Brennen…Also The Script..Is Included Under Neath
        The Video..
        JT

  2. Barbara Ann says:

    Like Kharkiv, Mariupol etc, will it become necessary to destroy Kyiv in order to save it? It looks to me more and more like ‘liberated’ Novorossiya is going to be a total wreck. I read somewhere recently that the US and various European nations have transferred a total of 17,000 anti tank weapons to Ukraine just in the last week. Can anyone explain to me how Russia intends to govern this place?

    • Mark Gaughan says:

      They definitely don’t want to.
      Take Putin at his word.

      • Barbara Ann says:

        Mark Gaughan

        I’m sure Putin doesn’t want to, what I’m questioning is whether he now has a choice. How will Russia maintain a ‘neutral’ (Russia friendly) government there without an ongoing enormous military presence to support it? As soon as Russian forces leave (or before) puppet politicians will be assassinated & the regime will be overthrown. Tell me how Russia intends to exert & maintain control over the place without turning it into a cross between Afghanistan & a giant Chechnya.

        • Mark Gaughan says:

          Yeah, good points/questions, I don’t know. I’ve been thinking about it and I just don’t know.

      • Leith says:

        Mark –

        I took him at his word back in February when he said he would not invade Ukraine. No more.

        • Pat Lang says:

          leith
          I thought he would take the ethnic Russian east.

        • Leith says:

          Kharkiv (1.5 million people) is Russian speaking and has a majority of ethnic Russians. It is only 38 km from the Russian border. Yet 600,000 of the noncombatants there decided to flee to Lviv over 1000 km away, instead of seeking refuge in Russia.

          Seems like the ethnic Russians in the east don’t like or trust Putin either.

        • Mark Gaughan says:

          At that time Putin wasn’t going to. Circumstances changed. Putin changed his mind.

        • Lysias says:

          That was before Zemlensky, at the Munich Security Conference on Feb. 19 in the presence of Kamala Harris, talked about Ukraine reacquiring nukes.

    • Philip Owen says:

      Russia has 12,000 tanks. Although most of them are in store.

      Russia also has 30,000 APCs. Again most are in store. Locally made RPGs can destroy them.

      • Leith says:

        Phillip O –

        Just a short time before the invasion some of the Russian armor and other equipment currently in Ukraine was in mothballs (or ‘laying in ordinary’ as our cousins across the pond say).

        Considering the many videos of broke down & abandoned Russian equipment you have to wonder how well they were maintained while in storage? Or how well the de-mothballing or re-activation checklists were followed for bringing them back into service?

        • Pat Lang says:

          Leith
          Let’s not forget the dead left lying in the road.

        • Leith says:

          Pat –

          There are reports that Russian mobile crematoriums are being used (or about to be used). To save embarrassment to Putin of thousands of hometown funerals.

          https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/17772009/russias-mobile-crematoriums-incinerate-dead-soldiers-ukraine/

          • TTG says:

            Leith,

            Those mobile crematoriums were visible prior to the invasion as were the reports of blood being stockpiled. At the time, I chalked it up to details added to make the bluff more convincing. I got it wrong, although I still believe Putin originally wanted to get his way without going through with the invasion.

          • Leith says:

            TTG –

            If they were planned from the start. Who were those crematoriums originally intended for?

          • whoknows says:

            Those are civilian devices for incinerating biological waste. Not for cremating humans.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6L0jiMloO8

            note the date on the video.

          • Leith says:

            whoknows –

            Your video is clearly labeled in Cyrillic as “Мобильный крематорий ИН-50.1К“, which translates in English to “Mobile crematorium IN50.1K”.

            It is not a waste incinerator. They were burning a bag of trash as a marketing demo. If you watch the video to the end they give contact info of the manufacturer (turmalin.ru) in St Petersburg. Perhaps it was originally meant to cremate animal carcasses for farmers or veterinarians. But I seriously doubt that is what the Russian Army uses it for.

        • Philip Owen says:

          I am stating the amximum case. How many of them even have batteries fitted, let alone a monthly switch on? Everything that could be stolen has been stolen.

  3. jim ticehurst says:

    I First believed: that ..V.Putin has an Emotional and Historical Connection
    To Ukraine..especially Kyev…..And Its History to 1400-1600 AD,,,,and Vladimir The Great..A Prince…I said V Putin would Not destroy a Building or Historical
    Site In KYEV…Now..After V PUTIN using Devastating Explosives..at Increased Lethal
    Levels and Types..i/e Vacume Bombs A d High Yields..all Over Ukraine..at
    Inhumane Levels,,,The Control Of Reactors..Cutting Off Power and Water..
    That He Will Use Any Thing Left In His Arsenal..For Destruction..Everywhere Until His Objective Is Complete..Drive Out As Many As He Can..

    Destroy Key Cities Completely..Perhap

    I Think : What Putin Wants of Ukraine..Is All of KYEV.For His Final ACT….And I Wonder If He Will Leave That Beautiful White Church With Gold Dome. Intact….?…and Then With All Outer Cities Destroyed..The Clear MOVE For Him
    Is Control of The PORTS in The South..Finish Taking Out Odessa..On The Sea
    and Then Open The Ports To His Shis and China For Trade..North To Russia..And South….IMORT EXPORT.. Thats My Take for Now
    JT

    • Jovan P says:

      Kievan Rus’, with the beautiful city of Kiev in it’s center, is the ancestor (mother) of today’s Russia. Most Russians have a cultural, historical and often personal (family ties) connection to Ukraine.

    • Condottiere says:

      It’s also why Nordic obsessed neo-Nazis on BOTH sides of the conflict have been driven to the region.
      https://youtu.be/assi1ho9cso

  4. Babeltuap says:

    Col Lang,

    All due respect (measly CPT here) but 95% of Russian forces are in the rear and over 1M Ukrainians have fled.

    I hate Russia. I also hate Ukraine oligarchs who screwed over these people but end of the day they are not facing the full mass, not even close of this force. The point of continuing this bloodshed I do not know. It needs to stop. Our politicians and media project this sense of altruism but they are anything but that quality. More like a censoring Superman who refuses to do anything but watch and grieve. It’s pathetic.

    • Pat Lang says:

      Babeltuap
      No, Putin has committed half his active-duty forces and the reserves are of yet lower quality.

  5. Mark Gaughan says:

    This is all so sad.

  6. Condottiere says:

    Here is Ramzan Kasyrov’s telegram feed. He’s leaking much OSINT.

    https://t.me/RKadyrov_95/

    https://www.wired.com/story/facial-recognition-identify-russian-soldiers/

    • Fred says:

      Condottiere,

      “That power to identify people from afar could bring new accountability to armed conflict but also open new avenues for digital attack.”

      Did you march into conflict with the Truckers of Ottawa? Did you attend a Trump rally? We sure can’t allow “unacceptable views” to be made public by participating in Selmaesque protests……..

  7. Lars says:

    The Rus, the clan that my family emerged from, came from an area just north of where Stockholm is today. In the early Viking era, they traveled east and went quite far on the big rivers and due to the way their boats were built, it was not all that hard to pull them between the rivers and thus they covered a large area. Some descendants stayed around an created the first “country” in the area, long before Russia was put together. There is a reason why the Swedish and Ukrainian flags have the same colors. But from what I have read here and elsewhere, things are not going well for the Russians. It may come down to motivation, which the Russians seem to lack and the Ukrainians don’t. That the Russian army has an aura of Potemkin is not all that surprising given the level of corruption that has been the norm for decades. That Russian generals would lie to their civilian masters is not all that surprising either. US ones did in Iraq, in Afghanistan and going back further, did it in Viet Nam too. But it is a big mess and I have no idea how it will end. I just hope some more level heads in Russia realize what it will cost them and for how long.

  8. Deap says:

    January 19, 2022 – Soothsayer Biden gives Putin a free pass for a “minor incursion” into Ukraine, since Biden claims Russia will win anyway.

    https://nypost.com/2022/01/19/joe-biden-admits-russia-will-prevail-over-time-if-it-invades-ukraine/

    March 10, 2022 – “Winning, so much winning, we are getting tired of winning*.”
    (*Attributed to soothsayer Trump)

  9. English Outsider says:

    I was watching a video discussion and came across a fact I have never heard mentioned before. The Russian system of detecting ICBM’s and other missiles is inferior to the US system. (Ted Postol, the video set to the right time, I hope, of 1 hr 5 mins.)

    https://youtu.be/OeeqooNWO48?t=3907

    This has implications if the conflict hots up.

    On sanctions, at the end of the video Meersheimer answers a question on what effect they will have.

    https://youtu.be/OeeqooNWO48?t=5343

    He reckons the Russians generally are with Putin. His judgement accords with some polls that have come out recently showing strong support for Putin and stronger support for the Russian army.

    Ray McGovern then takes up the question of what the Russians will do if they find themselves with their back against the wall.

    Colonel – I reckon this thing has escalated far beyond what was originally intended. Before the war I reckoned the whole crisis was a dodge engineered to get the Germans firmly into the Western camp. Certainly to get NS2 stopped. In as far as it was that, it has exploded in our faces and escalated to a far greater degree than our side thought it would.

    The danger that none of the Europeans are taking into account is that Russian counter-sanctions might escalate further. The initial Russian security demands have not been met. Yet they were insistent they should be met.

    It seems the Russians might be pulling out from the Council of Europe, declaring the West in default and then defaulting themselves, and more of less giving up on any hope of reasonable relations with Europe. It’s no great step from that to stopping energy supplies to the EU entirely.

    That, on top of the pandemic economic damage, would wreck the European economy.

    As a Westphalian I find myself at odd with most of the panellists in that discussion. Seriously so. But when it comes to knowing their field and assessing probabilities they are good. They don’t themselves mention counter-sanctions at that level in their discussion, but from what they say it is a possibility that has to be reckoned with.

    • Datil D says:

      The economies of the entire West will take a hit. Putin endorsed the plan to nationalize the foreign owned businesses that have fled Russia after the West has been seizing private assets. He has already cut exports of some commodities. Zelensky is a graduate of the WEF young global leaders program so you have to question how many of his decisions have favored Klaus’ political objectives rather than the people of Ukraine. Former NY Fed guru and Credit Suisse analyst Zoltan Pozsar said in his latest note – We are witnessing the birth of Bretton Woods III – a new world (monetary) order cantered around commodity-based currencies in the East that will likely weaken the euro-dollar system and also contribute to inflationary forces in the West. A crisis of commodities is unfolding. Here commodities are collateral, and collateral is money, and this crisis is about the rising allure of outside money over inside money. Bretton Woods II was built on inside money, and its foundations crumbled a week ago when the G7 seized Russia’s FX reserves.

      • Barbara Ann says:

        Datil D

        I read Zoltan Poszar’s analysis, linked from a ZeroHedge article. He ends it thus:

        This crisis is not like anything we have seen since President Nixon took the U.S. dollar off gold in 1971 – the end of the era of commodity-based money.
        When this crisis (and war) is over, the U.S. dollar should be much weaker and, on the flipside, the renminbi much stronger, backed by a basket of commodities.
        From the Bretton Woods era backed by gold bullion, to Bretton Woods II backed by inside money (Treasuries with un-hedgeable confiscation risks), to Bretton Woods III backed by outside money (gold bullion and other commodities).
        After this war is over, “money” will never be the same again…

        Here is a link to it: https://sg.bullionstar.com/blog-admin/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Bretton-Woods-III-Zoltan-Pozsar.pdf

        Yesterday I also read that the London Bullion Market Association has gone as far are to retroactively exclude Russian refiners from their ‘Good Delivery’ list in an attempt to stop Russia selling its gold reserves. This is economic total war.

        • Fred says:

          Barbara Ann,

          “the renminbi much stronger, backed by a basket of commodities.”

          Not to include oil, other than what they get from Russia, Iran, etc. Because only American oil causes global warmning.

        • Lysias says:

          In August 1914, all major European stock markets closed down for months. So did the New York Stock Exchange.

        • Sam says:

          Barbara Ann

          A weak dollar is exactly what we need in the short term to make our economy more competitive. That’s exactly what the Swiss have done – print like crazy and bloat the balance sheet of the SNB to keep the SFR in a band. Of course if Zoltan is correct and the dollar weakens naturally even better.

          However, he does not take into account that the Chinese capital account is closed and every time they tried to relax it there was capital flight. Another point he doesn’t consider that the Chinese banking system is many times the size of its economy and has yet to recognize all the NPLs. Of course there is also the critical point that China is a huge importer of commodities. Backing the yuan with commodities is extremely dangerous for them as they can be caught offside easily and they won’t be able to run their current fiscal and monetary policies. One of the trades that made Soros famous was his bet against the Bank of England with the USD/GBP trade. If China ever makes the yuan convertible and backs it with commodities I’m willing to bet in short order they’ll give up after some costly lessons. The Eurodollar system didn’t come up by fiat but by a process of organic growth. The size, depth and liquidity will remain unmatched despite administrations’ of both parties making every effort to trash it by going rogue and behaving arbitrarily outside the rule of law.

    • Harry says:

      Im not sure the Russians can stop energy supplies without damaging the gas fields. They may well already be supplying the minimum they can supply. I have asked friends in the oil business whether they could flare off gas. The reply seems to be yes you could, once you build a rig to do so.

      I suspect they will wait for the last minute to do so. Never using trade as a weapon was an important argument to them.

  10. rho says:

    I find it very hard to believe that the map claims that the Russian army has taken control of a nuclear power plant dozens of miles behind the front lines. And somehow the power plant must have recently moved from its regular location at Energodar on the southern bank of the big water reservoir to the northeast of it, where the actual city of Zaporizhzya is located.

    Such glaring mistakes in the map make me very skeptical of everything else that is reported in it. I don’t know what’s really happening – but I know that the map can’t be correct.

    • Leith says:

      rho –

      That Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is in Enerhodar. Whoever labeled that map from the New York Post confused the namesake city of the power plant with its actual location. No need to be suspicious. Just a typical mistake by some dumb a$$ journalist.

  11. zmajcek says:

    What seems to be Ukrainian Tu-141 drone crashed today in Croatian capitol.
    Came from Hungarian airspace, flying east to west. Ukrainans deny it is their drone.

    https://www.24sata.hr/news/luda-teorija-ukrajinci-su-poslali-letjelicu-na-yarun-kod-zitomira-zavrsila-na-jarunu-u-zagrebu-821411
    The plot thickens.

  12. English Outsider says:

    Colonel – this remark of TTG’s, for me, now puts the thing past doubt. ” … although I still believe Putin originally wanted to get his way without going through with the invasion.”

    I spent a lot of time recently trawling through what other analysts had to say on this. But those other analysts, though eminently respectable, were just people coming out of the blue for me. I hadn’t seen them at work before. TTG’s judgement puts the final seal on it.

    Thanks, TTG, speaking to you now, if I may, directly. That’s one fact at least established in this crazy business.

  13. MJ says:

    If the Russians have experienced 3K KIA + probably 9K wounded = 12K out of a 200K invading army that’s 6% of your total force. The majority of those causalities will be in your combat arms forces, if the Russians have a 1:3 ratio of combat arms to support troops it’s becomes closer to 24% of your fighting forces impacted. A flipped 3:1 ratio it’s still 8% of your fighting forces.

    It’s no wonder the Russians are bragging about getting 16K Syrian Volunteers.

    Also how is Russia going to occupy a country the size of Texas with only 200K troops? Simple, it was never in their plan. Quick 3 Day advance down the road to Kiev, put puppet government in place and then leave. To occupy all of Ukraine, Russia would have to mobilize and deploy it’s whole Army into Ukraine.

    • Pat Lang says:

      MJ
      I have been saying from the beginning that the numbers just are not there. Their troop strengths are too small, their logistic planning sucks and the senior planners do not know what they are doing. They looked pretty good in Syria because there were NO troop units in country. What they had were advisers, trainers and what they call MPs. Their air must have been handpicked from among the whole air force. The air units in Ukraine do not look good.

      • MJ says:

        Agree. The VVS is only generating sorties in pairs and two pairs, no combined air ops.

        Red Army relying on it’s preferred weapon. Long ranged fires. God help the Ukrainian people. The west needs to send counter battery equipment, Grad Launchers, and other long range fires the Ukrainians know how to operate. Promise Romania more HIMARS in exchange for their version of the Grad.

    • Jimmy_w says:

      MJ,
      In a Russian division (MRD), about 35% are maneuver (tank and infantry). So the ratio is more like 1:2 combat to support. If you include artillery as combat, (given the reported “assassinations” of artillerymen casualty), the ratio is closer to 1:1.

      After all, Russia is short of logistic folks.

  14. Leith says:

    Where in the Ukraine will Putin send his Syrian ‘volunteers’? And who are they? I doubt Assad would let General Suheil al-Hassan’s Tiger Forces go to Ukraine. Why would he send anyone since half of Idlib Province is still in the hands of the Nusra Front? Plus with ISIS attacks still going on in Palmyra and other areas SW of Deir ez-Zor? Perhaps these ‘volunteers’ are recently recruited NDF from formerly ISIS or Nusra controlled territories being pressured to show their loyalty to Assad by dying in Ukraine.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/11/putin-approves-russian-use-of-middle-east-fighters-against-ukraine

    Seems like Putin is doing whatever he can to minimize Russian casualties (said by the Ukrainian MoD to be in the five figure range). With all the Serbs, Chechens, Ossetians, now Syrians, and the mobile crematoriums; Putin wants to minimize the body bags coming home to towns and cities throughout Russia. He dreads the effect that had when those body bags came home from Afghanistan, that contributed to the downfall of the Soviet Union.

  15. walrus says:

    The next question: if Col. Lang is right, has China handcuffed itself to a corpse?

    If Russia loses then I would expect it to be plundered. Chevron will own NS2.

  16. Bill Roche says:

    A great deal of conjecture about Putin’s motives, Russia’s defensive needs, the economic impact on the world etc etc. I have said before that sometimes the simplest explanations are best. I have plenty of Ukrainians in my family and Russian in-laws as well. I think I know the mentality of both. Ukrainians want to be themselves. They are no one’s dog, no one’s little Russian. Russians, through Putin, insist Ukraine will be a happy little Russian substate or it will be destroyed. He is demonstrating Russian ethnic superiority. The world be damned. Can Putin destroy 44 MM people. No, but he can force Ukraine to be the first stone in rebuilding the Russian Empire. This is a return to 1914 and Ukrainians are the first stone top be turned. Mark my words friends.

  17. English Outsider says:

    Bill – it doesn’t look as if the Russians have the intention of rebuilding the Russian empire. Poland, the Baltics, would be in a state of permanent insurrection and rightly so. Besides, holding such territories would be ruinously expensive for a country that, from the little I know, is still struggling out of the decay of the ’90’s.

    We don’t know what they’ll do now along the Black sea coast but their stated intention is to denazify and demilitarise. How successful they’ll be in that we don’t know and the final state will in any case depend on what the Ukrainians do. It doesn’t look as if they’ll get back to the terms that were on offer a fortnight ago. Seems Minsk 2 is dead.

    As the encirclements in the East tighten we see the end of the military conflict in sight. Unless NATO has more rabbits to pull out of the hat. But this is one proxy war it would be good to see a quick end to.

    • Mark Logan says:

      EO,

      The one good sign is the denazification and demilitarization stuff was just a comment, it was not included in the list of four things which would bring an armistice. Demilitarization would be total surrender, a non-starter for the Ukes, and “denazification” is essentially gobbledygook.

      I always thought Putin might do this, that it was not a bluff, but he really, really hoped the threat would be enough so the staging looked unserious at first. His goals are getting the border wars in Donbas settled and getting the water turned back on to Crimea. For a time he thought regime change would be easy and dreamed about uniting Ukraine and Russia again but has learned otherwise. His offer currently on the table now implies this strongly. Just two weeks in and regime change is gone. IMO Zelensky would be wise to accept it. Rolling the dice they can get the Russians to quit is far bloodier, win or lose, and all the legalisms about swearing never to join the EU and NATO can be ignored down the road.

      They’ve given the bear enough trouble to satisfy honor, and there is no question it’s not the beast Putin imagined it to be three weeks ago.

      • English Outsider says:

        As far as the Ukraine goes, and in spite of all, I still believe some Minsk 2 lookalike would be the best solution. That stops the firing across the line of control and keeps Ukraine as it is minus Crimea. It also gives a federal structure that would ensure the safety of other minorities in the Ukraine.

        I know for a fact that there are many even in the old LDNR area itself who are stoutly patriotic Ukrainians. Comparisons are never that much use except as illustration, but to illustrate the problem isn’t this akin to the problem in Belfast? There the chief priority is or should be to stop the two sides beating each other up and that’s really the priority here. And I do remember that the separatists used to be called federalists. It’d be good if that could be got back to.

        But I suppose that’s now foolish talk? On the denazification, I had not realised how thoroughly the extremists had infiltrated the entire Ukrainian political system. I do now, and can’t see the Russians making much more than token moves to remedy that. Though many of them will have got out and won’t be coming back.

        Assuming, as I do, that the military side of affairs is now more or less at an end, and still having no idea of how the political side will be resolved in the Ukraine, the fact remains that the Russian security demands in other respects have not in any way been met. For our sake as well as that of the Russians I think it dangerous to have missiles that could be nuclear so short a flight time from the major Russian population centres.

        I also believe that the neocon aim is still to “overextend and unbalance” Russia. Now that Germany, and that in reality means the EU, is firmly in the neocon camp we see nearly a billion prosperous Westerners in a good position to do just that to the 140 million or so poorer Russians. A future of constant military exercises near the Russian border is in prospect. I see Shoigu’s now talking of adopting a permanent defensive posture along the Western border of Russia; and a permanent defensive posture against the forces we in the West can muster is going to be expensive.

        I also recollect the statements made by American politicians that the Cold War was won by outspending the Russians on defence and that the way forward is to do that again. I believe we can do that, whatever temporary advantage the Russians might currently have in military technology.

        So the Russians are now in a more vulnerable position than they were when they first put forward their security demands. They’re definitely going to get “more NATO” now and the peoples of Europe, most especially the Germans with their remilitarisation, are very much more anti-Russian than they were before.

        The only riposte – to that danger of being forced to devote more resources and manpower to defence than they can afford – is counter-sanctions. Those could be devastating for the European economy if imposed to the maximum all at once.

        It’s just my view, but if the Russians see it that way too, their next step logically is therefore to go for our jugular before we can go for theirs. I can see the RF being reduced, as Putin has explicitly said he fears, to Brzezinski’s sought after Muscovy and no more, unless the Russians play the few cards they have now.

        • Pat Lang says:

          EO
          “Assuming, as I do, that the military side of affairs is now more or less at an end.” Why do you assume that? Wishful thinking? I see no sign of anything except the Russian trying to defeat and remove Zelensky’s government. They are incompetent but nevertheless …

          • English Outsider says:

            Colonel – I was assuming that result because of the eastern encirclements. But also assuming that this is a war the Russians don’t intend to lose.

            I believe the experience of Zelensky in Lugansk at the start of his presidency is also still relevant. He was elected on a peace ticket and was trying to get Minsk 2, or part of it, through.

            He went down to Lugansk to tell the Banderites to draw back from the line of control. They told him to push off and if he insisted they’d get a thousand more down to ensure they stayed. I believe there were some broad hints at the time that if Zelensky continued to insist killing him would be the best way of stopping him.

            That grip the extremists still have on the political process was illustrated recently when, if the reports I’ve read are true, two of the Ukrainian negotiators were arrested or killed for being too inclined to go against the demands of the ultra-nationalists.

            I don’t therefore see what’s happening in Kyiv as so much of a straight military problem. More like the work the Russian reconciliation teams were doing in Syria. Coaxing with a mix of threats and incentives the Jihadis to move out without fighting.

            So here. The Russians would far rather see some accommodation with Kyiv than a fight a outrance and will be mixing threat and incentive to the same purpose in this case.

            I believe this approach accounts for the seemingly hesitant nature of Russian moves up round Kiev.

            But if I’m wrong on all that there’s still the fact that this is a war the Russians don’t intend to lose. And if they look like doing so, or if they don’t look like getting their broader security demands met, they’ll collapse the European economy without a second thought. What part of it we haven’t already collapsed ourselves.

            I hope that’s not too much the perspective of an amateur for your site, Colonel. But it’s the view I’ve come too and thank you for letting me put it forward.

          • Pat Lang says:

            EO
            “a war the Russians don’t intend to lose.” Will means a lot, but they are not showing much effective will. The Ukrainians are, not the Russians. You have to fight well on the battlefield, and they are not doing that. I would like to see a Finlandized Ukraine west of the Dnieper ans an “independent” Russian satellite east of the river. But it seems likely that this result is not here as yet.

      • Bill Roche says:

        Mark, what’s that about knowing when to “hold’n fold’em”? Zelinski’s quite a guy but cash out man! The Donbass is gone, and Crimea is no good w/o Dnieper water; accept it. Forget the Bolshoi and Russian literature, Putin has exposed the nature of Russia; a bully. Take what’s left of Ukraine and arm it to the teeth, shoulders, and where ever! Ukraine from Galitzia to Lvov, to Kyve, to the border of Romania, and Odessa on the Black, is not such a bad result. But Putin won’t accept a such a rump state. He’ll conquer right up to Poland and get people on his western border who will hate Russia forever. You know, he’ll feel insecure about that!

  18. Bill Roche says:

    About 10 years ago I was one of three left at the dinner table. Everyone else had gone into the parlor. Lena, to my right, said to Sveta, her old friend from St. Petersburgh, “how was your shopping trip to Estonia last month. Did you buy good things”! “Yes but “those people” demanded to see my passport. I had to produce a Russian passport!” “I can’t believe it” said Lena. “It gets worse Ylena, I had to convert to Estonian currency, the cheek of those people.” Lena said “can they be thinking they are a country?” Both ladies laughed out loud. Sveta said the Estonians even asked about her purchases, how much she spent, and if she was leaving the country with any Estonian currency. Both ladies exchanged a knowing glance and said to one another, we’ll see how long they’ll get away with that. I quietly picked up my coffee cup and repaired to the parlor. Gotta keep peace in the family. Your comments were perfectly logical but Empire involves more than logic. It also requires hubris, disdain for others, and a sense of entitlement. In Putin’s case it also has a sense of urgency. I tend to the pessimist. Hope you’re right and I am wrong.

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