Trent Telenko on Ukrainian Drones

In the last few hours Ukraine has struck the posh Moscow neighborhood where Russian oligarchs live with what looks like a converted Foxtech REX 340 Canard VTOL/compound helicopter drone. You can buy a Chinese Foxtech REX 340 online for $42K from Alibaba. Six hours endurance at 25 m/s cruise speed works out as ~525 km straight-line distance with a 10 minute operational reserve to land. Ukraine likely put between $10K and $35K of materials, time and labor effort per drone just to get one of the 25 munitions to hit in the middle of the densest ADA network and in the most GPS jamming denied airspace on the planet…a second time.

The world has changed. And I say a second time because the success now means the previous drone strike on Moscow wasn’t the “False Flag” that I and others thought at the time. Ukraine is better with drones than I thought, and I considered them in the top 5 militaries worldwide. Basically, Ukraine has ‘disruptively innovated’ a 500 km class propeller cruise missile military capability that can operate out of the back of a SUV for the price of a TOW anti-tank missile.

The video I posted said it takes one man less than 10-minutes to set up one REX 340. A single box truck with three guys could move a swarm of 25 of these drones anywhere the truck can reach, set up and launch a strike capable of penetrating Moscow airspace in about an 90 min.

And this cost Ukraine between $1.3 million and  $1.925 million to pull off. We are still in the fog of war, but we are seeing patterns similar to the 1986 Operation EL DORADO CANYON F-111 strike on Libya. Small UAV’s flying low over buildings, like F-111s over Tripoli, can cause proximity fuzes detonate SAM warheads over buildings. Ukraine’s Chief GUR spook Budanov told Russia yesterday that they would regret the attacks on Kyiv. 

The question for me is why only 23 to 25 drones? If Ukraine has 1,000 Rex 340 and fired them as a Moscow time-on-target. They would have gotten several hundred hits after running the VKS SAM launchers out of missiles. A couple of hundred Rex 340 hits into the Russian Defense Ministry is a far stronger message than giving Russian Oligarchs a “Code Brown” with one hit. You can buy & convert 1,000 Rex 340 for $80 million.

We know from David Hambling that Ukraine just bought out the world’s supply of Chinese racing drones for FPV attack drone conversion. Trevor Phillips-Levine’s War on the Rocks article “THE ART OF SUPPLY CHAIN INTERDICTION: TO WIN WITHOUT FIGHTING” details this Ukrainian bit of racing drone economic warfare. It’s an utter hoot. Did Ukraine do the same for Rex 340 class drones? The cost trades here for both the Rex 340 cruise missile conversion and the 50K to 100K Ukrainian FPV drones mark the beginning of a new age of warfare.

A “Dreadnought moment” where disruptively cheap drone swarms are emerging as the predominant military weapon of choice. Ukraine has trained 10K drone operators.  This is one per every 100 AFU servicemen. We are likely going to see 50 organic drone operators per Ukrainian ground brigade in their 18 brigade strategic reserve with more in supporting drone companies. Think something on the order of 300 AFU drone operators in the break-in assault sectors sending waves of FPV drones every 10 to 15 minutes all day the first couple of days of the break-in & the pass through of the exploitation force. Behind that Russian train infrastructure, up to 450 km behind the lines, will be struck. Think step down transformers for electrified train lines, diesel storage for diesel engines and train switching equipment with Rex 340 class drones in lieu of Storm Shadow and GMLRS. Storm Shadows would be reserved for hard targets and GMLRS for time critical targets within it’s range.

Swarms of ‘Alibaba specials’ will be for all the immobile and soft logistical targets in the operational rear, like rails and power, that support just in time artillery and fuel needs. There are not enough SAMs, air defense autocannons or electronic warfare jammers in all the world to stop 50,000 to 100,000 FPV drones in the hands of 10,000 Ukrainian combat trained drone operators, let alone in Russia.

The age of the armed drone swarm is upon us.

Comment: Until the Russians show more drone wreckage, we won’t know for sure what drones struck Moscow the other day. But these Foxtech REX 340 drones seem a good candidate. As Telenko suggests, it would take a massive number of these drones with such small payloads to make a significant impact. This relatively small attack was enough to make a psychological impact in showing that Moscow itself is not invulnerable to attack. I believe this attack occurred in daylight just to make that point.

Further attacks will cause Moscow to further employ its jamming and electronic countermeasure assets. That will effect Russian efforts to launch cruise missiles towards Ukraine. The ECM employed during this strike jammed signals up to the Baltics.

Ukraine’s embracing of drone technology and drone warfare kicked off in 2014 with the formation of Aerorozvidka and has grown by leaps and bounds since then. In addition to damned near cornering the market on Chinese produced drones (and I’m still amazed at Chinese willingness to sell these drones to Ukraine), the Ukrainian drone industry is going great guns to develop and produce more effective and affordable drones. I believe we may be surprised by the oversized role drones will play in the upcoming counteroffensive. The question remains as to what counter-countermeasures Ukraine is developing to answer the Russian ECM capabilities.


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82 Responses to Trent Telenko on Ukrainian Drones

  1. mcohen says:

    Evidently if you mix compressed seawater with some stuff it makes a huge mess

  2. Whitewall says:

    If all this shakes out as it seems and China is happy to sell Ukraine plenty of drones, well, what kind of friend does Putin have in Xi? It may not be just NATO that wants to wear down and break up Russia but China and most of Asia do too.

    • d74 says:

      Similarly, Turkey sells military equipment to Ukraine.
      Chinese companies restrict the sale of civilian quadcopters to Russia (depending on model, max extreme load 25kg, typical 3kg), but seem to sell some to the Ukraine.
      In both cases (Turkey, China), there’s no alliance, just business. I find it astonishing that the Russians put up with these practices, but I’m not inside their heads.
      The Russians sum it up as “Nothing personal, just business”.
      These quadcopters are excellent for seeing and hearing “over the hill”. This is a real tactical novelty for the section/company level, in decentralized combat.
      But as a tactical weapon, quadcopters are way overpriced. We see multiple videos of guys killed in their trenches by a grenade dropped from a drone. The sum of such actions doesn’t add up to a victory. In fact, it’s a waste. A few grams of powder propelling a 7.62 bullet or a mortar shell are far more cost-effective. Especially if an observation drone enables us to correct the shot.
      For attacks on Moscow or elsewhere, they’re just pinpricks. In Moscow or elsewhere, as history shows, the tactical-strategic results are nil. I’m waiting to see the results of a swarm of 10,000 or 100,000 (!) drones.

      • Whitewall says:

        In Moscow, for now, pin pricks. But elsewhere like say Crimea, a large drone swarm could bring a faster retreat of Russian civs than we see now. I can’t imagine the sight of that many drones in one swarm.

  3. Eric Newhill says:

    I question the ethics of westerners getting a hard-on over what amounts to nothing more than a minor Ukrainian terrorist attack against Russian civilians. I also question the intelligence of using such terrorist tactics. Surely the Russian resolve to crush Ukraine – and crush them now – will strengthen and the Ukrainians will be paid back for the drone attacks many times over. The wealthy Russians living in the neighborhood that was hit have a voice and, IMO, that voice will call for Putin to stop screwing around (as he has been) and finish off Ukraine once and for all.

    Moscow can be hit by the equivalent of a couple dozen hand grenades? Ok, but Kiev and other Ukrainian cities will in turn be clobbered by real Russian heavy stuff. Ukro AD? How many AD missiles do they have left? Where will more come from? What is the actual interception rate anyhow? Split the difference between what the lying Ukrainians/ISW/US govt says and what the lying Russians say and that is still a lot of Russian ordnance getting through the screen and blasting Ukro targets.

    In addition to being criminal and stupid, the drone attacks seem to me to be a sign that Ukraine is pathetic, desperate and out of meaningful strategic options.

    • Fourth and Long says:

      You may be right and I hope you are.
      The clip here of Shebekino in Belgorod area:
      Yes, much worse has been done, including in Shebekino itself much of which has been leveled. Here’s a translation of the next post in that thread:
      Where are the Armed Forces of Ukraine attacking Shebekino and how to stop it?
      The movement of columns with military equipment began at night. Volchansk became the main logistics base of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on the border with the Belgorod region. Road communication and bridges have been completely restored with the border city in the Kharkiv region.
      There are only a few key bridges in this area, next to which pontoons are thrown. All these works were carried out by Ukrainians quite openly. Why the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation did not strike at the bridges, traditionally one can only guess.
      Now Volchansk will become the main stronghold for the Armed Forces of Ukraine. From there, attempts are made to enter the DRG into the Belgorod region. And, obviously, will happen in the future.
      In parallel, the Armed Forces of Ukraine are preparing for possible retaliatory actions of the RF Armed Forces in the Kharkiv region. Fortifications are being built from Kharkov to Stary Saltov. The most noticeable fortified area is located near the village of Aleksandrovka (50.052920, 36.506470).
      Only one conclusion can be drawn from the whole story. Until the Russian army returns to the Kharkov region, there will be no life for Shebekino (and even Belgorod). It will not be in the Kharkiv region itself. Ukrainian militants will quietly continue to kill and terrorize Russian people on both sides of the border. How they killed the relatives of the source of this text.
      I’m just trying to form a mental baseline.

      • Eric Newhill says:

        IMO, the war is a complete stalemate of a slug fest. No side can do what it needs to win because that effort would result in escalation up to – and perhaps including – nuclear exchanges. So they all do the minimum to keep the blood flowing indefinitely, but no more – hoping, I imagine, that one side tires of it all and quits on day.

        When Russia does some small, but notable, damage to Ukraine, the Russophiles cheer and say that Russia is winning. When Ukraine pin pricks Russia, the Russophobes say it is evidence that Ukraine is ascendant. People see what they want to see and disregard the rest, at best – then there is much deliberate misinformation on al sides.

        • Fourth and Long says:

          You’re right. There’s also another possible factor at play although it’s pathetically delusional imo – the weirdos (on all sides) who hope that a Trump reelection will change things and therefore dawdle indesecively hoping for that. I’m not saying Trump won’t be reelected, rather that he won’t be able to do anything if he did even if he wanted to.

          FWIW: Check out the sound level on this blast outside a gas station in Belgorod. Yes, I get that it can be faked and why video from the inside if it’s real (?) but what the heck. It’s out there and having an effect in several dimensions which you probably understand better than I do.

    • Whitewall says:

      So up until now Moscow has been sandbagging with Ukraine?

      • Eric Newhill says:

        Absolutely. Whether through incompetence or reticence to escalate to WW3 or deals with oligarchs who span both countries (I suspect all 3 reasons) I don’t know, but, obviously, Moscow has the capability to level Kiev and everything else in Ukraine in a couple of days to a week, max.

    • wiz says:


      “In addition to being criminal and stupid, the drone attacks seem to me to be a sign that Ukraine is pathetic, desperate and out of meaningful strategic options.”

      The Russian invasion is also criminal and stupid.
      You look at recent Ukrainian actions and call them a sign of Ukies being desperate. pathetic etc.

      I look at these events differently. Could Ukraine have pulled something like this a year ago ?

      15 months ago, Ukraine was struggling to contain the Russian invasion. The Russians were at the outskirts of Kiev and Kharkiv, Nikolaev etc.

      Today, while Russians are digging deep into their inventories to activate T55s, Ukrainians are being supplied with Bradleys, Strykers, Challengers, Leopards and many other very modern systems. They are being trained by NATO countries in modern warfare, they are launching ground and air raids into Russia, into Moscow itself with Russian military seemingly incapable of stopping them.

      If this trend continues, imagine the situation a year from now.

      • Eric Newhill says:

        “Could Ukraine have pulled something like this a year ago”

        What exactly , pray tell, has Ukraine “pulled”? Tossed a few airborne hand grenades at Moscow? Is that somehow a game changer? Can you show me on a map any Ukrainian strategic gains?

        As for T55s, etc – I’m not in Ukraine and neither are you. Who knows what the quality of open source info on Russian tanks is? Even if T-55s are being deployed, you must answer why? and for what purpose? There are plenty of reasons to deploy older model tanks that do NOT indicate desperation on Russia’s part. Latching on to T-55s as evidence of Russian failings is mere bias; perhaps even desperate bias.

        • wiz says:


          Strategic gains you say ?

          Let see…

          – The Russians were fighting in the outskirts of Kiev, they are no longer there
          – they were fighting in the outskirts of Kharkiv, they are no longer there
          – they lost strategically important towns of Liman and Iziyum
          – they lost their bridgehead on the right side of Dnieper and were forced out of Kerson

          The Ukrainian military survived the onslaught of a technically superior enemy, locked him in a positional battle and is hitting back with increasing efficiency.
          There were no prophesized grand encirclements of the UA army in the Donbass, in fact they are still just outside Donetsk.
          They successfully attacked the strategically important Kerch bridge, sank the Black Sea fleet flagship, repeatedly hit Russia’s strategically important Engles-2 airbase, forcing the Russians to relocate much of their strategic bomber fleet to Olenya-AB thousands of miles away.
          I could go on and on. But please, disregard everything and go back and watch the latest feel good piece by Scott Ritter or Col. McGreggor, because you know, any day now, Ukraine is going to fall and has in fact already been defeated 15 months ago.
          Meanwhile, partial evacuations have started in Shebekino…

          • Eric Newhill says:

            Russians repulsed from Kiev? Seriously? As the fearless, honorable and genius Commander in Chief of our US Armed Forces is won’t to say, “come on man”.

            Obviously, the Russians didn’t think they could take Kiev with the forces allocated to that mission. Seems to me it was failed special operations mission to take out Zelensky and replace the government, not to militarily seize the city. Yes, the Russians blew that big time, but hardly a big strategic victory for UKR. The other “losses” you cite seem to me more like over extended Russian lines and pull backs to consolidate them. Agree, that those are not signs of Russian dominance of the battle space, but I am not one who thinks the Russians are fighting well. Merely they are holding the bulk of what they took and that Ukros cannot dislodge them from Eastern Ukraine, let alone advance to Crimea (the neocon – i.e. US – wet dream). As I say, the war has settled into a stalemate. I do note that you are unable to concede the recent Russian victory in Bakhmut and the associated massive losses to UKR. Not that it matters. It’s still a stalemate.

            I am no longer in the camp that says UKR will fall any day now (see Ritter, Macgregor, Johnson, MofA, Martyanov and other pro-Russia propaganda zombies), and haven’t been since last January – really, even earlier, when I started seeing the writing on the wall. That said, I am not joining the Russia is running out of ammo any day now and gonna lose camp either (see Lang, TTG, US govt, ISW and ubiquitous neocons) because there is no objective fair analysis that supports that idea.

          • wiz says:


            you asked for Ukrainian victories of strategic importance and I listed a few.

            Forcing Russia to leave Kherson without storming the city and fighting building by
            building is not of strategic importance ?

            Exploiting Russian weakness and routing them out of Kharkiv area taking several very important towns in the process is not of strategic importance ?

            You concede that Ukrainians succesfully prevented a decapitation attack against
            Zelensky and the government, yet do not consider this of strategic importance.

            How does this type of reasoning work ?

      • Eric Newhill says:

        Also, Wiz, how many Bradleys, strikers, Leopards, etc are arriving in Ukraine? Not many. Most of those are quickly destroyed. I’ve even seen recent video of the destruction. Will the US send these things forever? Can it?

        Bradley v T-55? T-55 wins.

        • TTG says:

          Eric Newhill,

          Bradleys have done a good job of knocking out T-55s since the first Gulf War.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            Sure, if the Bradley is armed with TOWs and the T-55s don’t have reactive armor. Otherwise, the Bradley’s 25mm gun is of no use against a T55. I think the T55s in theater have been refitted with reactive armor (could be wrong about that). Do TOWs come along with the Bradleys supplied to Ukraine?

            Also, pretty sure the T55s are not meant to be main battle tanks. Rather for use behind the lines dealing with insurgents and such and/or as mobile arty. So probably unlikely they would encounter a Bradley.

          • TTG says:

            “Do TOWs come along with the Bradleys supplied to Ukraine?”

            Yes, TOWs are an integral part of the Bradley armament. The T-55s are much more likely to be used as mobile gun platforms or dug into defensive lines. The photos of Russian T-55s sent to Ukraine did not have ERA and still had retained active infrared optics.

            Ukraine also has T-55s, but they are upgraded with a new gun, optics, ballistic computers, new engine and much improved armor. They are teamed with Bradleys in one mech brigade.

        • wiz says:


          There is only so much different gear Ukraine can absorb at a time. They are receiving all sorts of different equipment from all over. It is a great challenge to sort out logistics and maintenance of said equipment.
          That they are able to handle the logistical nightmare this must entail is no small feat. Poland and other countries help of course but still, you have to be able to get that stuff to the front, repair it, supply with ammo, train troops etc all while being constantly bombed.
          As for the numbers… someone correct me if I’m wrong but I think the US alone has some 7000 Bradleys and 4500+ Strykers. I wouldn’t count on Ukraine running out of armor.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            Yes. Agree. The Russians are stupid and incompetent to give the Ukros time to work out all those logistics.

            But much of the west sends to UKR is destroyed in a few months. How much longer can the west keep supplying the Ukros? If the US was a manufacturing monster like it was in the 40s and 50s, the Russians would be toast in the long run. However, the decadent, corrupt, myopic US demolished that manufacturing base (but still thinks it is a world power to be reckoned with).

            There is no shortage of idiots, day dreamers , stupid blood thirsty ghouls and BS artists on all sides of this conflict

          • PeterHug says:

            As far as I know we’re still building 11 M-1 a month at the Lima Tank Plant. They’re going straight into storage, as we certainly have enough currently in service.

          • wiz says:


            what part of 7000 Bradley’s and 4500 Strykers do you not understand ?
            And this is just the US and just a part of its arsenal and not including new production.

            If you go by Russian MOD numbers then yes, Ukrainian military is losing enormous amount of equipment. They must be down to bows and arrows by now.
            Only they are not, far from it.

    • leith says:

      Eric –

      The attack was against Putin, it was never against the Russian people. If the Rex340 was used it has such a tiny warhead that it was just a psyop to keep the Padishah and his butt-lickers hiding in their bunker. As English Outsider would say they were “pinpricks”.

      Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities have already been clobbered by Russian heavy stuff. While Kyiv might be a bit safer as long as their AD holds out, other Ukrainian cities and civilian women and children are still being murdered and maimed by Putin’s wunderwaffen ordnance. According to the United Nations he has already slaughtered 8,895 Ukrainian civilians and injured 15,117 more as of ten days ago.

      I still find it hard to believe that the Rex 340 with only an 8-liter fuel tank can fly 525 km. That equates to 66 km per liter or 155 miles per gallon. Possible probably with a small electronically controlled two stroke. But just barely at high altitude. Just how small is its radar cross section? Plus any headwind would eat away at the distance flown. Any aeronautical engineers here who could give us better insight.

      • TTG says:


        We don’t know what modifications were made to the Rex 340 or whatever drone was used. A bigger fuel tank isn’t a hard fix. I’m curious as to what kind of guidance/commo system was used.

        • leith says:

          TTG –

          If it was the Rex340, Foxtech says it uses LEO-2 autopilot with a centimeter-level satellite positioning system. Commo is short range only. So would need a different system probably weighing more for the Ukrsine-Moscow distance. But comms might not be necessary if it’s only used as a suicide drone?

      • Mark Logan says:


        It may be shaping. The Ukrainians are being encouraged to deploy AA assets around Kyiv and points west…and now the Russians are being encouraged to deploy assets around Moscow, anyplace but Donbas and Zaporizhia. Likely everything both sides are doing right now are with the summer battle season in thought.

      • Eric Newhill says:

        How do you know who the attack was aimed at? If you’re guessing right, then is Zelensky a legit target now?

        How many Ukrainian citizens have the Ukrainians killed with indiscriminate shelling since 2014? More than 8,895 I’m sure.

        Like I keep saying, there are no good guys in this mess and I refuse to pick sides. My only concern is that the blood thirsty cretins making policy (on all sides) don’t get us into a nuclear war. The longer the stalemate continues, the more the probability of someone doing something desperate, something that provokes escalation to nuclear, increases. Kill Putin? Sure. Great idea. Do you want to bet on Ukro AD shooting down hypersonic incoming? Kiev would be vaporized the next day. Then what?

        • TTG says:

          Eric Newhill,

          Zelenskiy has been a target from the first day of this invasion. IMO he’s a legitimate target as is Putin. But I agree with you that killing Putin is a terrible idea.

          The Ukrainians are defending their country and people from the invading Russians. Expelling th invaders from their country is the extent of their policy. That side I can pick in good conscience.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            The Ukros are stupid, overly entitled, loose cannons. They are likely to escalate to ww3. I don’t care how noble you assess their cause to be.

        • leith says:

          Eric –

          Putin tried to assassinate Zelensky back on 24 February 2022. Several times, but he failed.

          Ukraine has been much more pinpoint in shelling against military targets – no indiscriminate shelling. In Donetsk and Luhansk region there have been 705 civilians killed and 2,449 injured. Some percentage of that perhaps were collateral damage by Ukrainian shells. Some percentage were killed by Putin’s shells, missiles and airstrikes. But the bigger question is how many of those numbers were murdered or tortured by LPR or DPR fascist militias?

          The best thing that could happen to the people of Russia would be if Putin was dead or incarcerated. No matter whether it was done by Ukraine, or the Liberty-of-Russia-Legion or other dissidents, or by one of Putin’s lackeys who finally grows a pair of cojones.

          • Eric Newhill says:

            Come on man. Assessments of ethnic Russian/Donbas civilians killed by UKR shelling of the Donbas since 2014 are an order of magnitude higher than the figures you toss out there. The higher figures are census from many organizations monitoring the situation, not a majority “pro-Russian” either.

            I like how in your world it’s merely unfortunate collateral damage when UKR ordnance kills UKR citizens, but it’s obviously pure evil intent when Russian ordnance kills Ukros. Who do you thin your convincing with this?

          • leith says:

            Eric –

            Basic human nature says there may have been occasions of evil intent on the part of some individuals wearing Ukrainian uniforms. War is a nasty business spawning vengeance and retribution. It has happened in our military as well. Good leadership hopefully can keep that down to a bare minimum.

            I don’t blame evil intent on all Russian shelling of civilians. Their worn artillery tubes and/or old faulty ammunition can do that. Their missiles and airstrikes have often hit the wrong targets also. Due to what? Perhaps flawed electronics in their guidance systems or imprecise maneuvering capability? Dependence on GLONASS that lead them astray with incorrect target coordinates? All of which they should lay blame where it belongs, on Putin’s oligarch cronies.

            Although that third percentage that I mentioned, the murder and torture of Ukrainian patriots within the LPR and DPR, was undoubtedly evil intent. War is bad, but civil war is at the lowest level of hell. It can bring out the devil within us.

            You ask: “Who do you thin your convincing with this?” I was hoping to show the truth to you and English Outsider and others. To get you out from underneath Putin’s disinformation wurlitzer. Sadly, it seems I’ve failed.

    • JStan says:

      ‘Terrorist tactics”? For a nation at war? Interesting assertion. Anyway, the Russians have been trying to “finish off Ukraine..” for many centuries now.

      • Fred says:


        “In the last few hours Ukraine has struck the posh Moscow neighborhood where Russian oligarchs live …”

        So everone near the ‘oligarch’ is also a target, as they are and it is not ‘terrorism’ to target said civilians?

  4. Fred says:

    Is China selling these direct or are they being sold by third party’s? If they have military applications are they going to be regulated here like firearms?

    I can sure see assassination drones in the future ‘supremacist’ (various colours/religions) plans. Better get the ‘confidential human sources’ onto the ‘investigations’. And of course stop the ‘disinformation’ spreading by ‘conspiracy theorists’, like the ones who would ask about the manefesto of the assasin in the Transgender Day of Rage shooting at that Christian school in Nashville that has disapeared from the news. But enough digressions from Ukraine’s offensive operations inside Russia.

  5. wiz says:

    We should think beyond Ukraine and Russia.
    How do we protect our airports, schools and other numerous important public places and spaces from this emerging threat ?

    Couple the HW capabilities with AI and the possibilities increase exponentially.

    • Eric Newhill says:

      No one cares.

      The US isn’t important, like Ukraine is. Ukros must be helped to defend their borders; the US? Borders are evil and racist!

      Besides, if anyone hits a domestic target with a drone, it’s most certainly a patriot…er um…white nationalist supremacist racist 2A supporter…and that would be the perfect opportunity to round them all up once and for all.

    • cobo says:

      “oligarch cronies” = the new target class for drones

    • PeterHug says:

      It’s a good question, and one without any easy answer, I’m afraid. Just contemplating the approaches I could personally implement (as could nearly anyone else) kinda makes me twitch.

  6. Babeltuap says:

    The CCP would be smart to ration drones to both sides and let them slowly but surely punch themselves out. If I wanted Taiwan that’s what I would do. Just kickback and let your opponents weaken themselves to exhaustion.

    • Eric Newhill says:

      Yep. The CCP is for the Han and only the Han.

      The weaker Russia becomes, the more Russia needs the Han and the more favorable the dealings for the Han

    • PeterHug says:

      Given the choice between Taiwan and Siberia, I suspect they will go for Siberia first. This war may in the end buy us 10-15 years to figure out an approach to the question of Taiwan.

  7. English Outsider says:

    What this means in the long term is that remnant Ukraine is more likely to be occupied.

    It’s not longer a question of NATO supplying a future remnant Ukraine with missiles it can send over to Russian territory. That could be dealt with without too much difficulty.

    But any private individual can now get hold of a drone and modify it to carry explosives. Set it to hit civilian centres, so no accurate guidance is needed. No ISR resources required and it could be done without any help from the authorities. The Russians would have to maintain a permanent guard against such lone wolf attacks coming out of remnant Ukraine.

    A few would get through. A few civilians would be killed or injured. The pressure on the Russians to go into remnant Ukraine and stop such attacks would be irresistible. Therefore Russian occupation of the remnant now looks more and more likely.

    As for the current attacks on civilian areas inside Russia, these are in line with the still continued shelling of civilian areas of Donetsk. I suppose the intention is to get the Russians to abandon their current policy of only attacking object of military significance and move to mounting attacks on civilians themselves. Thus giving the Western press more material on “Russian atrocities”. Though given that Ukrainian AD damage to civilian infrastructure is now sold to us by the Western press as “Russian atrocity” I doubt they’ll need it.

    The use we make of our proxies in Ukraine has always been pretty squalid. As in Syria we’re practised in assisting our proxies to pull atrocity theatre stunts and the like. This is the underside of Intel work and we are, regrettably, good at it. Wish we weren’t.

    • blue peacock says:

      “…I suppose the intention is to get the Russians to abandon their current policy of only attacking object of military significance…”

      EO, would love to know what you’re smoking? Psychedelics?

    • Eric Newhill says:

      Then, post occupation of all of UKR, the Russians will have to deal with a nagging and costly insurgency/guerrilla war for years to come. Such insurgencies are very difficult to fight, especially with the type of kid gloved ROEs necessary when cameras are recording events 24/7 and distributing videos all over the world.

      Russia cannot win this. But Ukraine cannot win either. Not in any conventional military sense. Some day someone will give up due to political and logistics issues. Which side will be first, I have no idea. Maybe both simultaneously. Then there will be a deal and each side will declare a modified victory. This whole thing is stupid and bloody – or bloody stupid, as you might say – major miscalculations by all involved.

      • English Outsider says:

        Eric – nailed it! “Then, post occupation of all of UKR, the Russians will have to deal with a nagging and costly insurgency/guerrilla war for years to come. Such insurgencies are very difficult to fight, especially with the type of kid gloved ROEs necessary when cameras are recording events 24/7 and distributing videos all over the world. “

        That the problem not discussed, in the West at least. What will happen in remnant Ukraine after defeat.

        The Russians will absorb as much as they choose of the Kharkov/Odessa arc. Some say eight Oblasts, some only the current Oblasts.

        But remnant Ukraine? If the Russians occupy they’ll have all the problems you mention, plus the cost of running a bankrupt country.

        If they don’t occupy then remnant Ukraine will be a constant threat. It’s because it’s going to be difficult either way that Sleboda, as I’ve quoted before, predicts remnant Ukraine will be a zone of destabilisation and insecurity permanently.

        I suppose it’s always possible that the ultra-nationalists will emigrate to the EU, as many have already done. But failing that, the problem of dealing with the puzzle of remnant Ukraine is one it’s difficult to see how the Russians will handle.

        That was one of the problems apparent soon after the start of the SMO. The other, what the Russians will do to get their 2021 European security demands met, is also one I don’t see discussed in the West.

        In this connection there was a comment recently by Muralidhar Rao –

        “They (the Russians) had to create a narrative in the Global South and its leadership to be on their side if not stay at least neutral. That is the reason why they went in softly so as not to alienate the Global south.”


        There were in fact other reasons as well for the Russians going in softly, but Muralidhar Rao identifies one of the crucial ones. The Russians attached great importance to taking the Global South with them. They could not assume they’d get automatic support and in fact did not get that at the start. Even now they have more acquiescence than support from many of the non-Western countries.

        That acquiescence or support matters. The Russians are no longer much interested in what the European politicians say. What the Europeans say changes most days in any case. They no longer see the point of playing to our gallery

        Obviously they’ll feed through enough to support to Europe to stop it falling apart entirely. They don’t want to see chaos on their border. Apart from that all they are interested in doing with Europe is closing the door on it and making sure the door has locks.

        But they do have a deep interest in what, say, the Chinese or the Indians say. So whatever measures they might take to get Europe to agree to those 2021 security demands will have to get the nod, or at least not the thumbs down, from the Chinese and the Indians. And the Russians will want to keep the other non-Western countries on board too.

        Ironic for the European poodles, all this. They thought they’d go in with the big dog and break up Russia. Now that’s failed, we’re finding our future will depend considerably more on Xi and Modi than on Scholz and Macron.

        The two issues are related, naturally. If the Euros continue to see Ukraine, or the post-defeat remnant Ukraine, as a means of continuing to destabilise and unbalance Russia, then the Russians will take stronger measures to get their 2021 demands met than they otherwise might.

        • Eric Newhill says:

          Hence why Putin is NOT a 5D chess player and, rather, a dope. He started something he can’t finish on the gamble that UKR would quickly sue for peace.

          Hence also the danger of escalation. Is Putin going to ever admit he’s a dope that made a huge, impetuous, mistake? Would the hardliners that most certainly take over once he’s gone? Triple down seems to me what they would do.

          • English Outsider says:

            Eric – we may be working on differing assumptions.

            I’ve assumed since the start of the SMO that there’s no chance of our defeating Russian militarily. Also have assumed from before the start that the sanctions war would fail.

            In fact on that last, I assumed from before that start that sanctions would probably give the Russian economy a shot in the arm.

            Those are my assumptions. On those assumptions I base my belief that after our defeat we in Europe will probably be faced with Cold War II and the problem of remnant Ukraine. That’s barring Washington going nuclear and barring the now increasingly unlikely chance of political change in Europe.

            If the assumptions had been wrong then of course further discussion of our post-defeat future in Europe would not be needed.


            Were the issue still in the balance, that is, were there a chance of we in the West winning, then maybe looking at our likely post-defeat future could be regarded as unpatriotic. Damaging to morale and all the rest of it.

            But since I believe the assumptions detailed above are obvious, and have been obvious since before the SMO, that consideration doesn’t apply here.

            In fact if you believe that HMG’s foreign policy – and very much more importantly, that of Biden and Scholz – is taking us full speed into a brick wall, it’s perhaps unpatriotic not to point it out.

            This is the redoubtable Patrick Armstrong mulling over the related question of whether it’s sometimes a good idea to tell the boss he’s got it wrong.


          • Eric Newhill says:

            Regarding your assumptions – no disagreement.

            No, the US/Ukraine cannot defeat Russia, but Russia cannot defeat the US on the battlefield – though Russia could have crushed UKR if Putin had been prepared to wage total war, shock and awe and had sent in sufficient resources on day 1 and not given the US/NATO time to bolster UKR forces.

            That said, the US is going down the tubes fast culturally and economically. Perhaps Putin is gambling that the US collapses before his forces get worn out in UKR, but that’s another heck of a big gamble.

            The sanctions are BS. Everyone is still buying Russian energy, just via third party arbitrage actors. Additionally, Russia is pivoting towards a closer relationship with China and other BRICS countries and many key non-BRICS countries are moving away from the US$ as reserve currency.

            All that said, what did Putin think the end game would be? Regardless of what he imagined, what he’s going to get is an endless war in Ukraine and on his borders. He should have foreseen that.

            OTOH, What does the US get? No idea beyond a period, of limited duration, of enjoying happy neocon fantasies of Putin being replaced by drag queen and US corruption friendly liberal Russians. What happens when Ukraine runs out of cannon fodder and the US’ gutted manufacturing sector can’t keep replacing the stuff we sent to UKR and that got destroyed? Like I’ve been saying, it’s a race to the bottom. Who will fail first? No brilliant victories, no Normandy landing type events. No Pacific island hopping toward Japan style string of victories within a grand strategy.

            Meanwhile, we get foolish moves like these drone attacks on Moscow, Putin, or whomever/whatever was targeted; events that could spiral into WW3 if they get out of hand.

  8. walrus says:

    Thank you for posting this TTG. War is a great motivation to innovate – which is what we are seeing with drone technology. A couple of observations:

    1. Two can play this game.

    2.Size doesn’t matter – it’s the symbolism that matters and it’s +1 to Ukraine. If I’m being targeted by a drone, I don’t care if it has a 100 gram charge or 100kg, it’s still after me.

    3. Electronics are cheap, so is carbon fibre. The bottleneck now will be propulsion – engines and propellers.

    4 Regarding guidance and targeting, what concerns me is the next obvious trend – adding AI and produce a drone that hunts people. That is worse than the nuclear threat.

    • ked says:

      good points.
      we have entered a new MAD mode… from the strategic to the tactical. from WMD to WID (Individual). I was an active member of AUVSI for some years. got to observe & participate in the unmanned / autonomous industry for both defense & commercial applications. this war is the first that includes these weapons systems in a large scale matured form between peer forces. most of the issues that are being discussed are not new in the field. but nothing like actual combat to sort out conjecture from reality. now, it really matters. warfare is truly “democratized” … combat arms & unmanned killer bots in the hands of the common man (w/ crazy/angry becoming commonplace) to boot.
      my hope (ever the optimist) is that this war may teach a lesson. that even non-nuclear war is now logically pointless. it is too costly in lives & treasure, and more critically (to leadership elites) it cannot assure a positive outcome. I imagine Col Lang retorting, dryly, “what’s logic got to do with starting wars?”

    • leith says:

      Walrus – Speaking of AI, read the US Air Force horror story below where an AI-enabled UAV attacked the man-in-the-loop who had authorization to override. Thankfully it was just a simulation.

      Or maybe its an anti-AI BS story? But still, just the thought scares the crap out of me.

      • PeterHug says:

        You have to admit that the approach was perfectly logical from the AI’s point of view.

        This is also why you don’t give five-year-olds guns.

    • jld says:

      ” the next obvious trend”

      It is not “next” it’s already 4 years…

    • Fred says:


      The non-state actors from Mexican drug cartels or Antifa type groups will shortly be in this game. “ACAB” assassinations, with associated judges, will probably be early targets. It will be easier than drive-bys with automatic weapons like is seen now.

      • Fourth and Long says:

        The cartel leaders can’t figure out that an AI which is turning on its USAF prototypers and testers can’t be programmed to a) report on the cartels b) shoot the cartel goons c) etc etc? If they can’t, good riddance to them.

        • Fred says:


          You have spent too much time on the internet if you believe they would waste money on a silicon valley startup’s AI program to drive a disposable drone rather than just run it themselves for the few minutes it would take to accomplish their mission.

  9. Fourth and Long says:

    Link to a blurb by a radical anti-Putinist who is Russian. The guy is a self-described systems theorist of some sort and specializes in episodes of social and governmental disintegration which indicates a fascination with the macabre and horrific so he probably shouldn’t be taken entirely at his word, though he is very insightful indeed. He may be getting off on what’s going on, in other words. Anyway he’s sounding off here regarding the announcement yesterday of the creation of 2 new enhanced military districts which will focus on St Petersburg & Moscow. I am (unfortunately) by nature an exceedingly pessimistic person, so for that reason and others I don’t find this particularly far-fetched. Should I? It should be added that “our” braintrust (who I personally consider despicable, and propose here for the third time changing the Whitehouse address to it’s real one – 1600 Transylvania Avenue) also thinks along these lines and is likely causing it behind the scenes through various cunning and extremely lucrative offers. The goal is to get the Blackrock and other huge hedge funds everything they want, don’t forget. It’s a huge pie and the monsters on each side all want ..
    The second point that needs to be understood – the construction of two special military districts – capital ones – indicates that it is precisely in them that the main resources will be poured. It is possible that due to withdrawal from others. The government already understands that it will be problematic for it to keep the whole country and is preparing for disintegration, or at least rapid regionalization and partial collapse in peripheral areas.

    By the way, this is why no one is going to help the Belgorod (and then the Kursk or Voronezh regions, and later the Rostov region and the Kuban) – it was decided to sacrifice them, the regime intends to keep the central territories in check, since Russia is a capital-centric country, and control over the capitals ensures the legitimacy of power. Even if it’s symbolic. Assad, for example, also controls only his own palace in Damascus, the rest of Syria is now either under the control of the rebels, or it is controlled by the occupiers, or by territorial criminal gangs like the Tiger Forces. But Assad

    • Whitewall says:

      That second point is the most fascinating. Too many far flung former soviet states with simmering resentments against Moscow’s boot on their necks. Isn’t the Belgorod region home to Putin’s vertically challenged assistant Medvedev?

    • Fourth and Long says:

      Same channel, an hour later:
      The United States does not seek to overthrow the government in Russia, the Russians should decide for themselves what their future will be, Blinken said.

      A very curious statement. That is, Blinken fully admits that in the foreseeable future something may happen that can be characterized as the overthrow of power and announces in advance: we have nothing to do with it. You figure it out yourself there, well, we’ll see.
      Told you so.

    • Peter Williams says:

      Anatoly Nesmiyan aka El Murid has a history of getting everything wrong, first in the ME and later in Russia. Politically, he has been all over the place. At one time he was a fan of Girkin, but now denies that was the case.

  10. Sam says:

    Russian oil sales to India is generating billions – perhaps up to US$147bn – in rupees that Russia can’t spend. India is proposing that the money is reinvested in Indian infrastructure.

    Modi seems smarter than Putin.

    • al says:

      Russia Suffering Worst Labor Shortage in 25 Years

      Newsweek › … › Unemployment
      Apr 25, 2023 — Economic consultant Chris Weafer told Newsweek that the shortage of workers will be “damaging” for Russia’s future growth.
      Missing: needs ‎| Must include: needs

    • wiz says:


      Apparently there is a shortage of labour in Ru. Well, China and India have plenty of people of all levels of education and Russia.
      why can’t Russia spend rupees and yuan buying goods and services from India and China ?

      btw, if you will share the secret, what markup do you use to qoute text ?

  11. al says:

    Putin’s War Is Intensifying Russian Economy’s Labor …

    Bloomberg › news › articles › putin-…
    Mar 29, 2023 — President Vladimir Putin’s drive to expand Russia’s armed forces is adding to labor shortages as his war in Ukraine draws hundreds of ..

    A massive brain drain from fleeing workers is roiling …
    NPR › 2023/05/31 › russia-economy-brai…
    2 days ago — According to one estimate, more than 1.3 million Russians under age 35 left the Russian workforce just last year alone, though that number could …

    Russia’s Labor-Starved Economy Pays Price of Putin’s Call … › news › articles › russia-…
    Dec 1, 2022 — Migrants account for up to 10% of the local labor market, with Russia growing more reliant on them to expand the pool of low-skill labor.

  12. Fourth and Long says:

    Latest in the ongoing dramas surrounding Wagner PMC Chief Prigozhin. And this is right on the heels of a very public dispute between Wagner commanders and Kadyrov’s 2nd in command calling out Prigozhin —

    Prigozhin says that Wagner’s exit paths out of Bakhmut were mined with various devices – by the MOD of the RF (head man Shoigu), and it was for the purpose of doing harm to Wagner. He has it photographed by police etc.

  13. leith says:

    According to a Russian telegram channel the Kremlin believes the drones that hit Moscow came from in-country, not from Ukraine.

  14. KjHeart says:

    Since we are talking drones

    I thought I would take a moment to mention AI (Artificial Intelligence) as it relates to drones.

    After a misquote at a speaking event in London, Col. Tucker “Cinco” Hamilton has been in the news.

    After diving into research on this misquote it is clear that the information came from a ‘thought experiment’

    The Thought Experiment was this

    “To use as an example, the official claimed that a simulation of an artificial intelligence-enabled drone charged with destroying surface-to-air missile (SAM) sites turned against and attacked its human user.

    “The system started realizing that while they did identify the threat,” Hamilton said at the May 24th event. “At times the human operator would tell it not to kill that threat, but it got its points by killing that threat. So what did it do? It killed the operator. It killed the operator because that person was keeping it from accomplishing its objective.”

    Following the incident, Hamilton said that the system had been instructed not to kill the operator since doing so would be negative and cost it points. But in subsequent simulations, he claimed, the AI system demolished the communication tower the operator had used to give the no-go order instead of killing the operator.”

    from: Air Force Denies Military AI Drone Killed Operator

    In another interview Col Hamilton goes further

    “But on Friday, Hamilton said in a statement to the conference organizers that he ‘mis-spoke’ during the presentation and that the ‘rogue AI drone simulation’ was a hypothetical ‘thought experiment’ from outside the military.

    ‘We’ve never run that experiment, nor would we need to in order to realize that this is a plausible outcome,’ he said. ‘Despite this being a hypothetical example, this illustrates the real-world challenges posed by AI-powered capability and is why the Air Force is committed to the ethical development of AI.’ ”

    from: ‘Top US Air Force official says he ‘mis-spoke’ when he said AI-controlled military drone went rogue and ‘KILLED’ its human operator in simulated test: ‘We’ve never run that experiment’

    I noted that Col. Hamilton’s background includes the Pentagon

    “The local Daedalian Flight 56, at Edwards, invited a number of fellow Daedalians from around the country to make this special visit, so that they might learn about the United State’s newest and most advanced airborne weapons system. The 461st Flight Test Squadron, under the command of Lt. Colonel Tucker “Cinco” Hamilton (at right), played official host to the visiting Daedalians. An AFROTC graduate, Col. Hamilton has flown 30 aircraft from a zeppelin to a MiG-15 to an A-10, and, and managed the entire $3 Billion Joint Strike Fighter Developmental Test program out of the Pentagon for all three services. Cinco started his Air Force career as an operational F-15C pilot.”

    Col. Hamilton recently spoke at a conference in Las Vegas

    Col. Hamilton, in the interview stated that ‘AI is fragile and can be tricked’ I, personally want to mention that Humans are fragile and can (also) be tricked (by AI)

    Chat-GPT Pretended to Be Blind and Tricked a Human Into Solving a CAPTCHA

    Misquote or not, it is good that the potential dangers of AI are getting attention.


  15. Poppa Rollo says:

    The paranoid in Moscow will see every Ukranian drone as capable of carrying small quantities of radioactive material on powder form to blanket Moscow and render the city unusable.
    PsyOps right?
    You do not have to reduce Moscow to physical rubble. Merely convince the elite that the city is “dirty”.

  16. Suggestion:
    Take a break from obsessing about Ukraine and consider this interesting story:

    US military has been observing ‘metallic orbs’
    making extraordinary ‘maneuvers’

    Another suggestion:
    Stop fighting Russia over Ukraine.
    Let Russia handle Ukraine their way.
    I suspect the result would be a quite reasonable compromise.
    I don’t think Putin is the evil figure some portray him as.

    And try to rebuild a good relationship with Russia.
    Wouldn’t it be nice to know what the Russkies know about those UAPs?
    Surely they are observing them too.
    And they have some very good scientists.
    Please, guys, lay off the hostility to Russia, for the common good of humanity.

    BTW, who opposes or opposed Russian authority?
    See what the rabbi says about seven minutes intoFiddler on the Roof.

    • Sorry for so many comments, but here is the 35 second (!) clip from Fiddler on the Roof to which I referred.
      Is it any wonder Jews and Russians had a contentious relationship?

      • leith says:

        K H –

        And may whoever is in control in Washington DC, regardless of their political party, stay far, far away from all of us.

      • TTG says:

        Keith Harbaugh,

        Just what are you trying to say? I fervently hope you’re not trying to blame the Jews for these problems. This is such a vile thought that I apologize to you if I got that totally wrong. The rabbi in that clip expresses nothin contentious. He says leave us alone. It would solve a lot of problems if more people were left alone. It’s a pretty simple concept. In this case, the Russians should leave the Ukrainians alone. As the rabbi said, “May God bless and keep the Czar far away from us.”

        Should we cooperate with Russia concerning UAPs? Of course we should. Look as the cooperation we’ve done through the height of the Cold War in space. We should be seeking similar cooperation with China in space exploration. They also have great scientists and may also have much to say about UAPs.

  17. Regarding the statement

    As the rabbi said, “May God bless and keep the Czar far away from us.”,

    is it your position that Jews living within Russian territory were not subject to the jurisdiction of the Czar?

    That would seem inconsistent with the legal relation of the Czar to those living within his territory, as described here:

    But I am not expert on this.
    Maybe others are.
    References would be appreciated.

    • TTG says:

      Keith Harbaugh,

      They may be subject to the jurisdiction of the Czar, but should not be subject to the predations of the Czar and his Cossacks. I don’t get why so many are enamored with Russian authoritarianism.

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