Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 11, 2022

Ukraine - Congress Passes The Bucks, Realism Sneaks In, Poland Plans For More War

After a lot of talk about defeating Russia in the Ukraine and an alleged lack of Russian fighting abilities Congress passed another $40 billion fund for weapons and economic support. That brings the total to some $53 billion for Ukraine.

Most of the money will go to the U.S. weapon industry, the CIA and to various Ukrainian oligarchs. Hardly anything will be received by those in need.

With that packet now passed reality is allowed to sneak into U.S. media reporting on the issue.

Not one but two reports in the New York Times suddenly lament about the huge area of land the Russian troops have taken in east Ukraine:

From the later:

Nonetheless, the Donbas seizure, combined with the Russian invasion’s early success in seizing parts of southern Ukraine adjoining the Crimean peninsula, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014, gives the Kremlin enormous leverage in any future negotiation to halt the conflict.

And the Russians enjoy the added advantage of naval dominance in the Black Sea, the only maritime route for Ukrainian trade, which they have paralyzed with an embargo that could eventually starve Ukraine economically and is already contributing to a global grain shortage.

I have often pointed out that the Ukrainian frontline will have a huge number of casualties from Russian artillery strikes. It is even worse than I had thought:

At the main hospital in Kramatorsk, a city in Donetsk, ambulances stream in day and night, carrying soldiers wounded at the front, who describe being pinned down by near constant shelling.

About 80 percent of the patients are wounded by explosives such as mines and artillery shells, said Capt. Eduard Antonovskyy, the deputy commander of the medical unit at the hospital. Because of this, he said, very few patients have serious injuries. Either you’re far enough from an explosion to survive or you aren’t, he said.

“We either get moderate injuries or deaths,” Captain Antonovskyy said.

Additional to those more realistic reports the NYT allowed one of it authors to write an opinion piece against the widening of the war:

At first, the Western support for Ukraine was mainly designed to defend against the invasion. It is now set on a far grander ambition: to weaken Russia itself. Presented as a common-sense response to Russian aggression, the shift, in fact, amounts to a significant escalation.

By expanding support to Ukraine across the board and shelving any diplomatic effort to stop the fighting, the United States and its allies have greatly increased the danger of an even larger conflict. They are taking a risk far out of step with any realistic strategic gain.
When I was in Ukraine during the first weeks of the war, even staunch Ukrainian nationalists expressed views far more pragmatic than those that are routine in America now. Talk of neutral status for Ukraine and internationally monitored plebiscites in Donetsk and Luhansk has been jettisoned in favor of bombast and grandstanding.
What’s more, the invasion has led directly to greater military spending in second- and third-tier European powers. The number of NATO troops in Eastern Europe has grown tenfold, and a Nordic expansion of the organization is likely. A general rearmament of Europe is taking place, driven not by desire for autonomy from American power but in service to it. For the United States, this should be success enough. It is unclear what more there is to gain by weakening Russia, beyond fantasies of regime change.
Diplomatic efforts ought to be the centerpiece of a new Ukraine strategy. Instead, the war’s boundaries are being expanded and the war itself recast as a struggle between democracy and autocracy, in which the Donbas is the frontier of freedom. This is not just declamatory extravagance. It is reckless. The risks hardly need to be stated.

Indeed. The current U.S. strategy will end in a catastrophe for Ukraine because it is based on false narratives. Lt.Col. (ret) Daniel Davis has consistently provided a more realist view of the military situation in Ukraine. His latest piece fits that record:

Over the past few days, a flurry of senior leaders in both Ukraine and Washington have issued defiant claims of not merely resisting Russian aggression, but pushing towards outright victory. While such aspirations are entirely understandable, it is unwise to set policy seeking a preferred outcome if there does not exist a rational path by which Ukraine could accomplish that objective. At present, most indicators, fundamentals of war, and current battlefield trendlines support the prospect of a Ukrainian defeat.

Davis correctly describes the current military situation on the ground and concludes:

By continuing to seek a military victory in Ukraine, Ukraine’s troops will continue fighting, no negotiated settlement will be realistically sought, and most likely Russian troops continue making progress. As a result, more Ukrainian civilians and troops will continue to be killed and wounded, more cities destroyed, and the economic and food crises – for both Ukraine and the world – will worsen. The most likely outcome will not change (a negotiated settlement, not a Ukrainian military victory), but the cost to Kyiv will be much, much worse.

Another former military man who has a realist view of the war is Col. Douglas Macgregor (ret). During the first Gulf war he led a unit in the Battle of 73 Easting:

Macgregor was the "squadron operations officer who essentially directed the Battle of 73 Easting" during the Gulf War. Facing an Iraqi Republican Guard opponent, he led a contingent consisting of 19 tanks, 26 Bradley Fighting Vehicles and 4 M1064 mortar carriers through the sandstorm to the 73 Easting at roughly 16:18 hours on 26 February 1991 destroyed almost 70 Iraqi armored vehicles with no U.S. casualties in a 23-minute span of the battle.

The previously quoted Lt.Col. Davis was wounded in the same battle. As both men have seen real mechanized war it is not by chance that they have come to similar conclusions.

Macgregor warns of a widening of the war through a Polish intervention in west Ukraine which would eventually drag NATO into the war:

Why would Poland, with the help of Lithuania, try to take western Ukraine? It is all about history:

The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, formally known as the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and, after 1791, as the Commonwealth of Poland, was a country and bi-federation of Poland and Lithuania ruled by a common monarch in real union, who was both King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania. It was one of the largest and most populous countries of 16th to 17th-century Europe. At its largest territorial extent, in the early 17th century, the Commonwealth covered almost 1,000,000 km2 (400,000 sq mi) and as of 1618 sustained a multi-ethnic population of almost 12 million.

Here is how that commonwealth looked on a map with current borders:


There have been talks for a while that Poland would send a 'peacekeeping' force to occupy Galicia in west-Ukraine. I for one predicted it on February 24, at the very onset of the war:

Thanks to Stalin's additions to the Ukraine three countries, Poland, Hungary and Romania, have claims to certain areas in the Ukraine's western regions. If they want to snatch those up again it is now probably the best time to do so. Despite being part of NATO, which likely would not support such moves, those three will have domestic policy difficulties to withstand the urge.

An official looking document now says that a Polish/Lithuanian operation will start on May 22-24.

Lord Of War @lord_of_war____ - 14:46 UTC · May 10, 2022
🇺🇦🇵🇱The document was sent to the President of the State Border Service of Ukraine, Serhiy Daynek, stating that it is 22-24. May joint "Lithuanian-Polish peacekeeping contingent" consisting of 4 battalions, 9,500 soldiers and 279 units of military equipment  [planned to enter the territory of Ukraine. Another confirmation of the development of plans for the occupation and further division of the country. Even if this particular document turns out to be false (which is not excluded), it does not change the general course of the West in relation to Ukraine.]

9.500 soldiers are way more than fit into 4 battalions. A battalion has typically some 400-800 soldiers. These are more like three small brigades with 3-4 battalions each.

A Polish/Lithuanian move is exactly what Col. Macgregor is warning of:

Ten weeks after the conflict began, it is instructive to re-examine the strategic picture. The war against Russia in Ukraine has evolved, but not in the way Western observers predicted. Ukrainian forces look shattered and exhausted. The supplies reaching Ukrainian troops fighting in Eastern Ukraine are a fraction of what is needed. In most cases, replacements and new weapons are destroyed long before they reach the front.

Confronted with the unambiguous failure of U.S. assistance and the influx of new weapons to rescue Ukrainian forces from certain destruction, the Biden administration is desperate to reverse the situation and save face. Poland seems to offer a way out. More important, Polish President Andrzej Duda and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky have both expressed the desire to erase the borders between Poland and Ukraine.

Unconfirmed reports from Warsaw indicate that after Washington rejected the proposals for a no-fly zone over Ukraine, along with the transfer of Polish MIG-29 aircrafts to Ukrainian pilots, the Polish general staff was quietly instructed to formulate plans for intervention in the Ukrainian conflict by seizing the western part of Ukraine. Naturally, military action of this scale would require Kiev’s approval, but given Washington’s de facto control of the Zelensky government, approval for Polish military intervention should not be a problem.

Presumably, the Biden administration may hope that a collision involving Russians and Poles in any form—including air and missile strikes against Polish forces on the Ukrainian side of the border—would potentially call for the NATO council to meet and address Article V of the NATO treaty.

It would mean that NATO, or at least major parts of it, would actively join the Ukrainian proxy war against Russia. While I believe that Russia has withheld forces from the current war to eventually defend against NATO, any entry of it into the war would significantly extend the fighting and the danger of a nuclear exchange would become imminent.

Posted by b on May 11, 2022 at 15:43 UTC | Permalink

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Anybody know what one might have to do to seek refugee status in Russia? Everything from the financial to the political to the moral have collapsed so badly in the US that I would like to spend my autumn years as a part of a rational country that still has obviously non perverse moral boundaries and might be eager to allow me to contribute however I can.
How would one go about seeking such an asylum?

Posted by: Casey C Matt | May 12 2022 18:06 utc | 301

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 12 2022 4:38 utc | 222

I believe Russia intends to place strategic missiles in Ukraine and Belarus to counter the ones in Poland and Romania. These missiles need to be as far west as possible, i.e., right on the borders (or relatively near to them). In addition, leaving ANY sort of "rump Ukraine" behind simply means NATO moves in and then official NATO is CLOSER to Russia than it is now.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 11 2022 21:48 utc | 145
It wouldn't necessarily be Russian troops per se. It would probably be Russian strategic weapons to counter the ones in Poland and Romania. A Russian airbase with MiGs loaded with Kinzhals. And anyway, what can Poland do about it?

If you are suggesting some sort of enclaved base, then I really don't see what would prevent Poland, and NATO as whole, to organise a "mother of all resistance" campaign all around said base. How would it be supplied ? A long, spindly convoy from Belarus ? Daily airlifts ? I don't believe that would work out for Russia.

I don't see any way for Russia to achieve what you are suggesting other than by occupying a vast continuous territory. This doesn't seem realistic either. I'm pretty certain Russia would already have its hands full simply dealing with the territory it currently holds.

Posted by: robin | May 12 2022 18:08 utc | 302

The way I see it, the Empire has achieved complete Western adherence to its project and this is an inarguable victory. Finland and Sweden are joining the club, what is it, tomorrow? Any fence sitter is promptly shamed into falling in line or openly punished. This means there is a strong will to carry this battle very far. Remember, the narrative field is fully occupied as far as the eye can see.

I also see another gain for the Empire that results from the new status of Ukraine since the invasion. Today, it has become completely acceptable for a Western audience to see missiles fired into Russia proper. This would have been unthinkable six months ago and would have sent folks rushing for the iodine pills. This of course opens up countless new opportunities for the Empire.

I also wonder if the Empire could use Ukraine's newly legitimized resistance status and set up a free-range foreign legion farm similar to what they have going in northern Syria. A pool of expendable, unaccountable mercenaries to send to places like Moldavia or Georgia.

Posted by: robin | May 12 2022 18:14 utc | 303

@ Vragtes | May 12 2022 16:54 utc | 295

thanks... vancouver island is becoming way more populated and it is losing much of its charm as a consequence.. of course it is still not as overrun as many other places in the world today, but the building boom to help prop up the economy is taking a tool on the island.. the smaller islands around vancouver island are suffering the same and have much more limited water resources... it is quite beautiful though, also kind of culturally devoid! i play the fool too, along with music.. the 2 go together in many respects.. you have to be a fool to try to make a living at music basically! if you come to vi - get hold of me here.. i can help you out..

Posted by: james | May 12 2022 18:27 utc | 304

@ Julian | May 12 2022 3:31 utc | 213

Regarding the inviolability of Ukraine's western boundary:

The interest of the US as a/the status quo power is to portray nation-state boundaries as inviolable. In the case of Ukraine, they are trying to defend the 1954-2014 borders of Ukraine including Crimea as inviolable and set in stone for eternity; hence their position that Russia's annexation of Crimea and defense of the Donbass republics is a violation. While they are carrying on this position, they cannot have Poland or others of their NATO subordinates annexing pieces of Ukraine on the other side. That is simply out of the question, at least as long as they are preaching the integrity of the Ukraine. Of course, they might introduce NATO troops into Ukraine, but that is another question; such troops being there would not in itself mean either annexation or occupation. It would, however, be a significant escalation.

It is also quite out of the question that the Ukrainians of the highly-nationalistic area of East Galicia would welcome a Polish intervention, unless maybe if the Russian army reached that area, which seems unlikely. Certainly they would not tolerate being annexed by Poland. Nor would Poland care to rule over such a non-Polish population now.

Should the US at some point give up on defending the nation-state of Ukraine and thus its borders, that would change things. That would be quite a change, however, as the US has mostly consistently followed the policy of keeping boundaries in place and nation-states intact everywhere since the Second World War. The most salient exception to this is Israel, particularly its annexation of the Golan/Jawlan, but that is because of Israel's exceptional status and all the excuses fabricated to justify it.

Posted by: Cabe | May 12 2022 18:31 utc | 305

Empire has achieved complete Western adherence to its project and this is an inarguable victory
Posted by: robin | May 12 2022 18:14 utc | 303

So then it's full speed ahead with bioweapons labs throughout Europe?

I doubt it, because the "victory" you perceive is extremely arguable, except in the lightspeed discourse of corporate media, where there's no time to think, no time to answer questions about the last atrocity, as here comes another one!

Calm down. Slow down. Zelensky desperately wastes dozens of high-ranking officer's lives, planes, boats, helicopters, UAV's, for absolutely nothing. Abandoned corpses on the beach, in the wake of Ukraine's own Bay of Pigs. This horrible farce intended to upstage Putin on V-Day. Virtually no mention of such an epic embarrassment to NATO in our papers. Hooray for us! We can still pretend we're winning?

Give me a break. The story of this war is NATO's brilliant narrative versus Russia's stifled narrative. NATO's museum-piece armaments versus Russia's state of the art armaments. Gentlemen, place your bets.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 12 2022 18:41 utc | 306

It's late enough in the thread, I'd like to bring one of Martynov's central theses to this discussion. He's written books about this: our NATO (or USA, or UK) military is not prepared for peer-to-peer combat operations. This is, I think, the most important overall truth to absorb about this conflict, going forward.

From the highest levels, all the way down to the grunts; at the academic level, at the level of military exercises... We prepare for conflicts similar to the conflicts we've been "fighting" -- to simply bomb the living shit out of some defenseless population, somewhere. Nowhere do we have artillery-commanders, pilots, or generals trained in how to conduct modern warfare versus a capable foe. Andrei Martyanov goes way out on a limb with his execrations:

American weapons perform piss-poor on real battlefield.

The rubber is now hitting the road, with javelins infamous for misfires. Designers of western weapons were evidently focused on profits, or something. Too bad!

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 12 2022 19:00 utc | 307

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 12 2022 17:50 utc | 300

I'm sorry, but either I misread you or you have the story reversed. It was Russel who discovered the antinomy and wrote it to Frege.

Posted by: Helmuth von Moltke | May 12 2022 19:01 utc | 308


Being a late arrival on this site, may I ask whether anyone knows an at least semi-reliable source or data on the losses of either side. Some folk really come up with some fantasy stuff like Russia loses up to 5,000 soldiers per day and many high-ranking officers.

Going by the numbers the MoD of Russia posts on a daily basis (80-300), there sure is some strange calculator included with the supposed death toll amongst the allied forces?

Cheers in advance.

Posted by: CM of Berlin | May 12 2022 19:13 utc | 309

@ Helmuth von Moltke | May 12 2022 19:01 utc | 308

You're right -- please don't apologize. I happen to have some of the correspondence right here. BR was perusing Frege's Grundgesetze and Begriffsschrift -- rigorous formulation of mathematical foundations -- when he discovered this antinomy. That's why he wrote to Frege about it. They both get to work trying to fix a problem which they discovered between themselves, in a sense. But I totally screwed up the tale, which anyone could tell by my failure to even spell Bertrand Russell's last name correctly (sheesh!)

Also: the same antinomy wrecked Frege's planned second volume of Begriffsschrift. The darn thing rose from the ether, and nobody has figured a way to put it down.

The story about BR's turtle anecdote comes from A Brief History of Time, I think. But there's some dispute about whether Hawking's attribution to Russell is correct.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 12 2022 19:26 utc | 310

Ah, okay. Alright.

By the way, there is a great graphic novel about the life of Bertrand Russell, his antinomy and the foundational crisis of mathematics.
It's called "Logicomix" by the authors Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos Papadimitriou.

Posted by: Helmuth von Moltke | May 12 2022 19:46 utc | 311

My last post was of course in response to

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 12 2022 19:26 utc | 310


Posted by: Helmuth von Moltke | May 12 2022 19:47 utc | 312

@ Helmuth von Moltke | May 12 2022 19:46 utc | 311

Bringing it all the way around from "Logicomix" (highly recommended) to the cultural role played by mathematics and science in recent history: Russel's antinomy shaped everything that followed, I think. Prior to this epic frustration, some confidence rose among physicists and mathematicians that we were about to wrap up all the important questions. Then uncertainty and incompleteness unfolded in the collective consciousness represented by the literature. Instead of answers, we're left with insoluble antinomies. Contradictions which don't make sense, and even an unshaken proof that you can't have both completeness and consistency. Like you can't have both position and velocity, at the quantum level.

You can't always get what you want. It doesn't look as if physics and mathematics has recovered well from the toe-stubbing they underwent early in the 20th century. Theoretical physics clings to 25 or 26 dimensions, and unlimited multiverses, "hyperstring" or some damn thing, all of which seems provably metaphysical to me. If you can't show me that it's so, with an experiment, then you're talking about a basically religious system, based on nothing but faith (and also hoping to flatter the chair).

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 12 2022 20:13 utc | 313

The West's Phyrrhic Victory
Posted by: robin | May 12 2022 18:14 utc | 303

The way I see it, the Empire has achieved complete Western adherence to its project and this is an inarguable victory.

It is a pyrrhic victory, the full effects of which have yet to be felt and are likely not to be felt until sometime in the fall of this year.

For the past several decades there has been ever increasing global prosperity largely due to increased globalization and the benefits of comparative advantage.

The imposed anti-Russian sanctions result in a bi-polar world. On one side of the divide financialization reigns supreme but this ultimately depends on trust and that trust evaporates with the unilateral seizure of a counter-party's financial assets.

On the other side of the divide there exist states which operate on a fundamentally different basis, which abjure rent seeking, which seek collaborative mutual gains and benefits, which place the welfare of their polities above the rapacious interests of their elites. See the works of Michael Hudson for a more complete discussion of these issues.

The empire of lies and financialization (fundamentally the same thing as financialization is predicated on placing a lien on the future, a future now unlikely to occur) has hollowed itself out and is wholly dependent on resources to which it no longer has access due to the intentional destruction of the prior trading regime which delivered the possibility of financialization and hollowing out in the first place.

Capitalism is entirely dependent on endless growth. If you divide the word in half and reject the "other" then you have engaged in unprecedented violent degrowth resulting in a system shock which may not be survivable (We cannot be certain of the outcome. We must wait and observe. It is unlikely to be pretty.)

To truly understand the scale of the problem you must contemplate the fact the total value of the global derivatives market is entirely predicated on a continuation of things as they were (business as usual) and made no allowance for the sudden shrinkage of economic activity associated with unviable autarky. This actual size of this derivatives market is unknown but is estimated to be 10 times global GDP. (see: ) In short, the world is overleveraged and there exist insuffcient assets to satisfy the demands of all the creditors.

Beyond this, there exist such future impacts as reduced energy supply and vastly increased costs, the inflationary shock to the global economy, a likely food crisis resulting in mass starvation, possible pandemic due to the declining health of the global population (getting through winter without heat and reduced caloric intake).

There is more to this analysis but you get the idea. If you find this difficult to accept please pause to reflect on the fact that from here on out the future outlook is fleas all the way down.

Posted by: Sushi | May 12 2022 20:16 utc | 314

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 12 2022 19:00 utc | 307

The basic problem is that modern war between peers is far too destructive for anybody to get an actual win out of it. The only way to win such wars is to stay out of it, or at least fight it on somebody else's territory, as we like to do, and that will still bankrupt you. The defense business, of course, hates that idea. Every war since WWII has been fought with certain things off limits. Well really since WWI, when they outlawed chemical weapons (sort of). To keep the war game alive, they have to have some rules. Of course we cheat.

I suppose we could just find other ways to resolve our differences ... Nah!

Posted by: Bemildred | May 12 2022 20:18 utc | 315

Posted by: Casey C Matt | May 12 2022 18:06 utc | 301

Forget about applying for Refugee Status in Russia -

You'll need to try for Temporary Residency, which is subject to quotas in the various regions (so forget Moscow or St. Pete). If your under 65, you'll need to pass a Russian proficiency test. Best to learn Russian anyway. The rules change regularly so check https://мвд.рф/mvd/structure1/Glavnie_upravlenija/guvm/гражданство-российской-федерации

Posted by: Peter Williams | May 12 2022 20:55 utc | 316

Casey C Matt @301--

Use the internet to gather basic facts of attaining that status then contact the Russian Embassy after exploring what it might have info-wise on its website. You'll also want to protect whatever assets you own and move them offshore. Mexico hosts branches of some Russian banks. Prepare yourself as much as possible before actually launching the process and try to do that in-person in DC.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 12 2022 21:03 utc | 317

Just a small "pre-warning" that the Snake Island thingy hasn't gone away. It has been noted by others that the Ukies (and US) are building up forces in the area. Including 2 S-24 planes to the airfield North of Odessa, and Drones everyday to vist the island (one lost yesterday)

As supplies of arms and men take so long to filter down from the Polish/western "area", (With rail and missiles as problems to contend with) flying them down to Romania is quicker. There is limited access due to the terrain and control of sea lanes, but Russian naval forces are obligated to return often to Sevastoplol to rearm.
They are clearly trying to fortify Odessa enough to keep it as a US port in Ukie territory.
Even at this hour there are two spy planes very close to the frontier, one of them Italian. Coordinating movements I suppose.

Posted by: Stonebird | May 12 2022 21:09 utc | 318

Posted by: Petri Krohn | May 11 2022 22:23 utc | 157

Two days ago it was claimed that Russians had established a bridgehead in Belogorovka. @Suriyak posted two photos on Twitter of the destroyed tanks and the destroyed pontoon bridge.

Russians suffered huge material losses when crossing the Seversky Donets River.

Defeat of the RF Armed Forces near Belogorovka on May 8-11, 2022: an attempt at analysis

The photos show at least 6 tanks, 14 BMPs, 8 MT-LBs and 20 other pieces of hardware. Three different pontoon bridges were set up at the same place between May 7th and 11th. All three are now destroyed. This post on Telegram says a total of 38 BMPs were destroyed. Battles are said to be still ongoing.

It is unknown how many tanks got through to the southern bridgehead. BMPs and MT-LBs are amphibious. They do not need a bridge to cross a river. I do not understand why they all gathered at this same clusterfuck.

Looking around on Google Maps I found an interesting site nearby, Privolnian bridgehead (Привільнянський плацдарм) memorial park and WW2 memorial is in a hill some 8 km northeast of Belogorovka. Google Maps has photos of the site that show the high elevation.

Another Telegram post claims LPR forces have established a bridgehead in Privolye. The map from MilitaryMaps shows fighting right next to the memorial.

The forces of the LPR managed to break through the line of defense of the defense center in Privolye, the battles are going on inside the perimeter

Posted by: Petri Krohn | May 12 2022 21:23 utc | 319

Petri Krohn | May 12 2022 21:23 utc | 319

This looks to be the position of the destroyed bridges.

Matches this pic

Posted by: Peter AU1 | May 12 2022 21:47 utc | 320

I reference this article in my own post: Fatal Scale Error in the Ukraine War

I think I have an explanation for what’s happening, and not happening, in Ukraine. I’ve looked and not seen anyone else make this observation, so maybe I’m a genius. It’s a fatal scale error.

Posted by: Ian Kummer | May 12 2022 22:31 utc | 321

Petri Krohn | May 12 2022 21:23 utc | 319
Posted by: Peter AU1 | May 12 2022 21:47 utc | 320

Peter - your position is confirmed by mapping at Defence Politics Asia:

There appear to be multiple confirmed reports of LPR/UA fighting to the west of this crossing. This implies a portion of the force was able to cross and engage. While a number of the AVs show clear evidence of damage (missing turrets, scorch and fire marks) some of the BMPs parked beneath the trees do not. This suggests they arrived prior to the destruction of the pontoon bridge and disgorged the troops they were carrying and these troops then carried the battle to the enemy before shelling destroyed follow on vehicles and the crossing itself.

Posted by: Sushi | May 12 2022 23:15 utc | 322

Sushi | May 12 2022 23:15 utc | 322

It looks to be in LPR area of operations so I guess they tried the bridgehead independently without Russia surveillance, air and air defence assets.

If any across the river are still alive and fighting it won't be for long without backup and resupply. There does seem to have been a successful crossing further down.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | May 12 2022 23:31 utc | 323

Sushi | May 12 2022 23:15 utc | 322

Thanks for the link to that map.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | May 12 2022 23:48 utc | 324

Russians reached Krivoy Rog?

Vladimir Rogov - a member of the Main Council of the Civil-Military Administration of the Zaporozhye region posted a photo to his Telegram channel. The photo shows him standing next to a sign saying "Криви́й Ріг" (Kryvyi Rih). Such signs are placed on the roadside at the administrative border of towns and cities in Ukraine.

Krivoy Rog is a mining town with huge open pit iron mines. The town spans over 60 km from southwest to northeast along an ore deposit. The southernmost part is 20 km north from where the British claim Russian forces are.

The photo is fresh, as it shows Vladimir Rogov wearing a jacket with a Z sign. Most likely taken after sunset tonight. I cannot find the exact location, as neither Google or Yandex have street view coverage for the outskirts of Krivoy Rog.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | May 12 2022 23:59 utc | 325

I guess tomorrow the gas might go off to Finland.

I wonder if the russians had factored all this into their calculations of the unintended consequences of their special operations in the Ukraine, and after this Nov-Dec european security demands. the US and Nato have doubled down if you ask me.

someone is cruising for a bruising...... i.e. if the shit hits the fan, SHIF
Russians With Attitude @RWApodcast

Deputy Permanent Representative of Russia to the United Nations Dmitry Polyanskiy: "As soon as Finland and Sweden become members of NATO and military units of the alliance are there, these territories will become a possible target for the Russian military"
12:32 PM · May 12, 2022

I would interpret this statement as saying something like "in case of total RU/NATO carnage you could have just chilled on the sidelines, now you get wrecked as well if SHTF"

Posted by: michaelj72 | May 13 2022 0:10 utc | 326

@325 - I was reading the Wikipedia article you linked. Kryvyi Rih is Zelensky's home town. I didn't know that. Thanks!

Posted by: lex talionis | May 13 2022 0:19 utc | 327

I wonder how much reserves China is holding with western banks and as treasuries etc. - would think they should consider a withdrawl an move to a system similar to what Russia has set up.

The US is not only not agreement capable but also exibits multiple personalities and behaves irractically and is openly dishonest - there is really nothing there to work with.
Seems the cia is becoming a bit overzealous. If your enemy is pushing so hard for you to do something (war in this case), you would be inclined to avoid it.
On the other hand, one way to provoke an attack is stay calm and appear vulnerable. I would think that when the opportunity presents itself, Russia would skip the proxies and go for the source. My declare war and just leave it at that.

Posted by: jared | May 13 2022 0:47 utc | 328

This needs verification and followup. Posting as FYI.

Rare Russia Criticism Within China Shows Simmering Policy Debate
Ex-ambassador to Ukraine says war making Moscow weaker partner
Concern grows as Putin’s military offensive gets bogged down

Bloomberg News
May 12, 2022, 2:51 AM CDT

Russian setbacks in Ukraine have begun to prompt more explicit warnings in China about Moscow’s value as a diplomatic partner, in a sign of growing unease over President Xi Jinping’s strategic embrace of Vladimir Putin.

Russia was headed for defeat and being “significantly weakened” by the conflict, a former Chinese ambassador to Ukraine told a recent Chinese Academy of Social Sciences-backed seminar in remarks widely circulated online. The comments, which Bloomberg News was unable to verify, were attributed to retired diplomat Gao Yusheng, who served as China’s top envoy in Kyiv from late 2005 to early 2007.

Gao described the war as the “most important” international event since the Cold War ended, according to an article published by Hong Kong-based Phoenix Television before being taken down. He had previously been posted in Moscow at the time of the Soviet Union’s fall in 1991.

“The so-called revival or revitalization of Russia under the leadership of Putin is a false proposition that does not exist at all,” Gao said. “The failure of the Russian blitzkrieg, the failure to achieve a quick outcome, indicates that Russia is beginning to fail.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a regular news briefing Wednesday that he was “not aware” of Gao’s speech, a response that was left out of the official transcript. Some prominent nationalist commentators questioned whether Gao’s remarks had been faked.

While China has said it doesn’t support the war, it has repeatedly defended Putin’s rationale for invading and opposed U.S.-led efforts to force Russia’s withdrawal. Chinese diplomats have reaffirmed plans to expand strategic ties with Moscow, a policy course set when Xi declared a “no limits” friendship with Putin in February, just weeks before the invasion.

Beijing’s embrace of Moscow is rooted in part in concern that the US will use its global alliance network and financial influence to contain China as its now doing to Russia. China can’t afford to be similarly isolated, since it depends on the Europe Union and the US for more than one-quarter of its total trade.

The Biden administration has warned China against any effort to support Russia’s war effort, raising the threat of secondary sanctions. At the same time, China’s refusal to condemn the invasion of an aspiring EU member has prompted European leaders to rethink their relationship with Beijing.

The speech by Gao represents one of the most the prominent critiques of China’s Ukraine policy since the invasion, with news that reflects badly on Russia, including allegations of war crime and large troop and equipment losses, glossed over in heavily censored news coverage. Instead, state media is awash with reports and commentaries blaming Washington for stoking tensions.

Besides Gao’s comments, one of the country’s most prominent international relations scholars said this week that the war meant “nothing good” for China because it accelerated a shift from globalization.

“The war makes it almost impossible for Russia to have any global influence,” Yan Xuetong, dean of Tsinghua University’s Institute of International Relations, said in an interview Tuesday with Phoenix TV. The conflict brings “only losses and damages to China, but no benefits whatsoever,” Yan said.

Yan had previously published a commentary in Foreign Affairs in which he argued that Russia’s war had left China in a “strategic predicament” since its balancing strategy had brought economic costs.

Gao, the former ambassador to Ukraine, went further to say that Russia was “duplicitous” and had reneged on promises.

“It has never truly recognized the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of other former Soviet countries, and frequently violates their territories and sovereignty,” he said. “This is the greatest threat to peace, security and stability in the Eurasian region.”

— With assistance by Colum Murphy, James Mayger, Jing Li, and Jessica Sui

Posted by: daffyDuct | May 13 2022 1:37 utc | 329

China has reduced their us treasuries and bonds but still has 1.5 trillion us Dollars. That combined with Chinese business in America possibly amounts to 4 trillion. This money can be stolen at anytime.

China is trading with Russia in their respective currencies, but so are others, including EU countries that pay for gas in doubles. The economic war waged against Russia was the big weapon and it has failed. The completely controlled western media is the only weapon that is working.

For example: China has 1.5 year supply of wheat, Europe is short of wheat, America has run out of baby diapers, inflation is climbing, gas prices are rising.

Focus on facts like these, which MSM cannot hide instead of paid lackeys all over the world telling you how much Russia is losing.

Don't make the mistake that China is afraid of the USA known blackmail/thriving ways. Economically, they can bring down the entire West. The West is run by a financial elite who believe their power is stronger that any military opponent.
That was true in the past, but today it is different.

Posted by: Karl luck | May 13 2022 1:39 utc | 330

While we are debating the eventual partition of Ukraine, we seem to overlook the fact that because of the Western narrative and pretense of Victory over Russia, this war will not stop until it reaches its conclusion.

History will be written by those in need of setting the record straight.

This will end on the ashes of a fuming World that could have been beautiful but was deprived of this eventuality by moronic fools ensconced in their exceptionality.

Tomorrows world at the end of this war will be an altogether different one starting anew after
a total reset.

New borders, new laws, new everything...

Posted by: CarlD | May 13 2022 3:34 utc | 331

Daffy Duct 329

There are 1.4 billion Chinese, as far as I know. So, the opinion of a University professor, no longer in Govt. is interpreted as a crack in the wall of Chinese partnership with Russia by Bloomberg, one of the architects of this war..

On the contrary, Russian renewed influence over Ukraine will finally allow China to make good its purchase and investment in Motor Sich and other aeronautical endeavors in the Novorossiya thus generated.

Posted by: CarlD | May 13 2022 3:56 utc | 332

Karl luck | May 13 2022 1:39 utc | 330 "America has run out of baby diapers,.."

As they are also out of infant formula, diapers mightn't be an issue.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | May 13 2022 4:21 utc | 333

Karl luck | May 13 2022 1:39 utc | 330 "America has run out of baby diapers,.."

As they are also out of infant formula, diapers mightn't be an issue.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | May 13 2022 4:22 utc | 334

Excellent as always, B!
But your accuracy is a bit unnerving at times!
I just found out that my Son and his wife are expecting a baby in December. My 7th grandchild!
But I'm horrified by what appears to be a deliberate genocide in the making by the billionaire and political elite.
There is NO WAY that they don't understand what really provoking the bear REALLY MEANS
But as long as Americans SIT and IGNORE the obvious, then we deserve what's coming to us.
After 70 years of regime change wars and killing millions, Americans are coming due to pay the price for their ignorance narcissism and denial about their wildly out of control MIC/CIA.
But no worries. At least their politicians and sociopathic eugenicist BILLIONAIRE elite have steel reinforced bunkers to hide from the fallout for YEARS to come!
This mind numbing madness MUST END . .

Posted by: Kay | May 13 2022 6:36 utc | 335

Still being confronted with the Butscha-lie.
They don’t stop to believe what they want to believe.
What is the best source / summary of what happend in Butscha?
Thank you.

Posted by: njet | May 13 2022 9:24 utc | 336

Still being confronted with the Butscha-lie.
They don’t stop to believe what they want to believe.
What is the best source / summary of what happend in Butscha?
Thank you.

Posted by: njet | May 13 2022 9:24 utc | 337

Bayraktar drones did perform well in the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, but in Ukraine they can target only poorly protected convoys. Russia’s air defense can protect in the battlefield it’s troops from Bayraktar, shows Brian Berletic in this excellent video:

Posted by: Mikkado | May 13 2022 10:42 utc | 338

Posted by: Petri Krohn | May 12 2022 23:59 utc | 325

Russians reached Krivoy Rog?
Looks like the photo is a joke. A comment on Telegram:

Krivoy Rog (Ukr. Kriviy Rig) is a village in the Novotroitsky district of the Kherson region of Ukraine.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | May 13 2022 10:46 utc | 339

Posted by: njet | May 13 2022 9:24 utc | 337

maybe something on the subject by Ritter around a month ago? it's hard to keep up with the propaganda, there's always something new to rebut.

Posted by: pretzelattack | May 13 2022 11:52 utc | 340

The imposed anti-Russian sanctions result in a bi-polar world. On one side of the divide financialization reigns supreme but this ultimately depends on trust and that trust evaporates with the unilateral seizure of a counter-party's financial assets.

On the other side of the divide there exist states which operate on a fundamentally different basis, which abjure rent seeking, which seek collaborative mutual gains and benefits, which place the welfare of their polities above the rapacious interests of their elites. See the works of Michael Hudson for a more complete discussion of these issues.

Posted by: Sushi | May 12 2022 20:16 utc | 314

I think that Sushi starts well here, and then "they" go overboard. Good start is that for those who cannot be secure to be spared of sanctions at a whim approved in Washington are increasingly dismayed at casual way the sanctions are imposed. However, the dismayed ones include "rent seekers" who may have "rapacious interests" of their own. For example, Gulfie potentates that can be smeared at any time (you even do not have to lie, although persistent Western approval until now would make sanctions and seizures hypocritical). Tycoons in Brazil do not like it either.

Most of all, West, after fomenting local conflicts, embark on global chaos, with expectations that "rapacious rent seekers" like those I have mentioned will willy nilly sacrifice their profits to fit their plans. If you have read RAND Corporation plan to subdue Russia, it was quite intelligent, listing methods AND caveats. An essential ingredient among the methods was engineering collapse in commodity prices. That actually worked around 2014, but the losers were not limited to Russia, were they? Everything being equal, oil producers like their oil expensive, so do iron ore mine owners etc. This time around, there seem much fewer takers to follow Western lead.

And the commodity importers are much less ready to join "shunning the bad guys" than during Trumpian "maximum sanctions" on Iran. The prime example is India, but then we see Brazil, Indonesia... it is not just China anymore.

My view that the divide is not between the rapacious one and community minded, but between the insane core of the Empire -- not small at all -- and the saner zone outside, with elites being the usual gamut.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | May 13 2022 12:03 utc | 341

Re: Posted by: Zanon | May 12 2022 7:34 utc | 342 (Older thread)

Russia has promised a "Military & Technical" response to Finland joining NATO.

Isn't that the same response Russia gave to Ukraine? And look where we are now?

My bet is we will soon see a small Russian expeditionary force occupy some small part of Finland to BLOCK Finnish accession to NATO.

The occupation will be made with the demand made by Russia for urgent negotiations.

Looking at a map - I have a suggested area around Parikkala and Jarvenpaa and other towns in Southern Finland - not far from St. Petersburg that Russia could sent troops into to occupy.

This area is surrounded on 3 sides by water and the other side by the Russian border.

What do folks think?

Posted by: Julian | May 13 2022 12:33 utc | 342

Does anyone know anything about this? I haven't seen anything about it in non-Western sources so far.
Ukraine: drone footage shows destroyed bridge and vehicles at Donbas river crossing – video

Posted by: Jeff | May 13 2022 15:03 utc | 343

@ Sushi | May 12 2022 20:16 utc | 314

excellent commentary.. thanks....

@ Piotr Berman | May 13 2022 12:03 utc | 341

that makes sense, but we can't really know for sure.... what about the idea that the saner ones, are those same community minded that sushi speaks of?

Posted by: james | May 13 2022 15:06 utc | 344

Who else just finished watching UN Web TV’s coverage of the Security Council’s meeting on Treats to International Peace and Security, requested by the Russian Federation??

Quite the finish, with the Other Side of Dmitry Polyanskiy showing in his final statement (“criminal activities”) in response to the representative from the US (“false flag”), who reminds me of a corner church preacher (much much preferred to Samantha Power). After watching that final exchange between those two, I had a new appreciation for the concern raised by several speakers that the meeting not turn into an exchange of hostilities between various delegations. (Prior to that, I thought they were just a bunch of pearl-clutching Nancy’s.)

The UK uttered an “how dare you sir!” statement of 3 or 4 sentences expressing outrage for Russia misusing the Security Council for ridiculous purposes, and the representative from China gave a statement that was so dense that I’d need to read a transcript to get the full meaning of it, even in English translation, I can’t imagine how it would read in the original Mandarin version. Of note, China did ask for state’s to eliminate chemical weapon stockpiles and expressed opposition to all weapons of mass destruction.

I like to link to Polyanskiy because he comes across as Western a little. (Not that that appearance works for a Canadian audience. Westernized Russian?? Like American? Or English, like British? Or European… like French? And then the nation’s populace reaches for ulcer pills. No, we prefer ultra-Slavic Russian representatives and I’ve even grumbled that Oleg Stepanov isn’t swarthy enough to ease Canadian anxiety.)

The representative from Gabon called for an impartial and objective investigation into the accusations (a very bold statement in this crowd), and this was timidly, indirectly echoed by the representatives of Mexico and Brazil. China said it would welcome an assessment of the documents provided.

While most speakers started off by expressing condolences to the UAE, the representative from India spoke about this in more detail, expressing the UAE-India relations developed by the former President. The representative of France mentioned that in 2011, Russia accused Georgia of developing a biological weapons program. The representative of Kenya stated that any allegation of biological weapons must not be taken lightly. I couldn’t help noticing her fashion sense, she really looked attractive in what she was wearing which included a lime green blazer. Because I am from Canada, and it is May, I thought of something when I saw her wearing that.

(Compliments to Piotr Berman @ 341 for exceptionally sensitive pronoun use, by the way. On the subject of diplomacy.)

Posted by: Bruised Northerner | May 13 2022 16:08 utc | 345

In response to Jeff@343,

There's nothing conclusive to be said about it. Several prominent Russian bloggers have been discussing the topic for a couple of days and presenting their explanations and theories on the subject, but verifiable information in scarce.

It appears that there's been back and forth fighting in the general area for a week or longer. That's about the only aspect on which everyone seems to agree. Additionally, the area has become accessible to Ukrainian drones, from which the footage originates. Other than that, there are numerous narratives being built up which are all questionable, and it's not even clear whose systems these are on the images.

There's a lot being made out of the presence of BMP-1's among the wrecks. People are analyzing the terrain, as supposedly there are indications that the systems were not taken out where they stand but transported there. And, of course, there are various tactical assessments. In short, as with any footage, but especially that which is published by Ukrainian mod, it's best to wait a few days before drawing any conclusions.

From what I heard, although I haven't verified the information as coming from Russian mod as had been stated, Russian forces successfully crossed the river in the beginning of May, 3'd 4'th. Having scouted surrounding villages and finding them empty of hostiles, the crossing became a supply hub for operations further into enemy territory. Russian forces continued pushing out until they met serious resistance, at which point they withdrew to the river crossing and subsequently abandoned the crossing to take up defensive positions on the other side. That was on the 7'th or 8'th. The assumption then is that Ukrainian forces moved up to within artillery range of the crossing, shelled whatever was left there and later on, once they were convinced it was safe, moved in close to get some footage.

That might be what happened. On the other hand, it wouldn't surprise me if Ukrainian forces first tried storming the crossing to cut off overextended Russian troops, got destroyed by Russian defenses on the other side of the river and only went back once the crossing was completely abandoned by Russia to take some images of their "battle prowess."

Posted by: Skiffer | May 13 2022 17:49 utc | 346

"Nonetheless, the Donbas seizure, combined with the Russian invasion’s early success in seizing parts of southern Ukraine adjoining the Crimean peninsula, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014, gives the Kremlin enormous leverage in any future negotiation to halt the conflict."

Adjectives are a pet peeve of mine. In today's world of Fake News, they often/usually are examples of the "begging the question" fallacy. Adjectives almost always inject opinion, without being constrained by fact. In this case "illegally" rings my bell.

What law was broken? Who passed that law? Who enforces it? Is Russia subject to it?

Russia is a sovereign nation. Meaning, basically, that they are subject to no laws or agreements other than ones they voluntarily agree to.

Posted by: cabystander | May 13 2022 17:57 utc | 347

The Poles, a study of negative wish fulfillment by the application of stupid. They are going to get what they are begging the Russians to give them, right up their ass.

Posted by: Befree | May 14 2022 11:58 utc | 348

Wow, you people are actualy fuckin retarded. No one in Poland is trying to take any part of Ukraine, we dont want any of it, theres no reason why we would, you must be the dumbest trailer trash in trailer trash Alabama to believe any of the bullshit youre repeating here. I know your mommys and daddys are siblings, but thats retarded even for you. Dont know how i got here, never again.

Posted by: krzycho | May 23 2022 17:53 utc | 349

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