Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 19, 2022

Ukraine Open Thread 2022-69

Only news & views related to the Ukraine conflict ...

The open thread for other issues is here.

Posted by b on May 19, 2022 at 13:13 UTC | Permalink

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The Azov battalion apparently will be tried as Nazis under Russian law, meaning the harshest penalties can be expected.


Posted by: Dean Oneil | May 19 2022 13:19 utc | 1

Our friends in Ukraine A tour through Azov headquarters in Mariupol.

Posted by: the pessimist | May 19 2022 13:27 utc | 2

On COGNITIVE DISSONANCE and changing perceptions

It seems Scott Ritter’s recent comments continue to reverberate online. Here are more articles commenting on it:

Here is a follow up video where Ritter elaborates on his ‘controversial’ shift:

For what it’s worth, I will skip the armchair general routine since my military experience does not extend past playing Arma3 and reading books, so I will focus more on the philosophical and media aspect of it, as a graduate in psychology and a media veteran of 20 years.

Perhaps more poignant than the specifics of Ritter’s statements or assessments, is the wavering and inconsistency in some of his interviews. How can the same M777’s he claimed were hard to maintain and ridiculed for their uselessness now be his cause for concern once a few reach the frontlines, as some of you pointed out? Leaving aside bombastic styles or propensity for hyperbole, we all have our way of expressing ourselves I guess…

I for one can relate to the conflicting thoughts of a Westerner frustrated with their own Gov’ts’ corruption and incompetence, seemingly brought to speak in favour of the ‘enemy’, more out of empathy and moral outrage than any traitorous instincts per se, and ultimately always wishing for a peaceful and fair compromise, only to feel disappointed when seeing the other side being equally afflicted by the same human flaws. The second red pill can hurt even more than the first one.

Add to that the challenge of deciphering what is sold as ‘news’ and information, which in a time of war, most reasonable and intelligent people understand is, more than ever, carefully packaged and accepted at face value only by the naïve, easily misinformed or outright brainwashed.

Uncertainty brings out anxiety, so it is only human to try and hold onto something that anchors us, just be aware that perception is reductionist by nature. It is impossible for our brain to respond to each individual stimulus, there are simply too many out there to process. Much of that filtering is both automated and learned. So what is it that we have discarded in order to come to one dominant view?

Our levels of cognitive dissonance must contend with the fact that by living in the West, even a small loss could result in a drop in living standards, meaning that moral indignation of what is done in our name, must ultimately contend with an understandable dose of self interest. Perhaps there is no better example than the latest Rubles for Gas and sanctions debacle, where likely the only positive to come out of it for Europeans like me, will be the increase of kidneys available for transplant, since that is how many will be paying for next year’s energy bills.

It is no surprise then that some may hold wavering or inconsistent opinions. Lack of empathy and introspection is indicative of one’s narrow mindedness and fanaticism, so, embrace the ambivalence and constantly reassess your own inner compass. Check your bias, stay sane and true to yourself. Be aware of single-minded partisan ideologues. Those calling every Ukrainian a Nazi are using the same mental processes they are accusing Nazis of. Same goes of course for those who call every Western dissenter a ‘Putin puppet’.

I accept there will be many who will not understand and disagree with me, accusing me of maliciously sowing discord and confusion. All I can say to them is, I envy the strength of their convictions as much as I fear what they may bring to others once left unopposed. Ironically, it feels like they are fuelled by the same form of intolerance, hate and fanaticism that brought out their indignation for the ‘other side’ to begin with. I also thank them for their insults, which prompted me to look inward and seek for a deeper understanding of some behaviours. Hopefully reading this can do the same to others.

Posted by: Et Tu | May 19 2022 13:36 utc | 3

After Wallace prank, Bush was pranked and it's bad. Video on telegram

"Ukraine's mission is to destroy as many Russian troops as possible"
"It is very important for the United States to continue leading this movement. Our military supports what you are doing,"

Posted by: rk | May 19 2022 13:44 utc | 4

I have discovered a new therapy for surviving the obnoxious, bottom of the septic tank Western propaganda. Whenever I hear the key phrase “Russian aggression” on the “news” this immediately triggers the transformation of the speaker into a skin coloured condom filled with diarrhoea and shaped into a human form by method of balloon modelling. This particularly applies to the European condoms such as the female PM of Sweden, also the bold-top condom of Germany, or the overused and well worn out condom filled up with crusty old diarrhoea appearing under the name Josep Borrell. I believe that there must be somewhere some secret CIA factory churning out these products exclusively for the European market. The factory usually leaves a little horizontal crack in the condom so that the stinking gasses from the inside the condom could escape in the form of self-righteous, grandiose and dramatic words about the actions that the talking condom will take against Russia.

This transformation works the magic of making it pleasant to consume with a smile all of BBC, CNN, CBS, Australian ABC, even NPR.

Posted by: Kiza | May 19 2022 13:49 utc | 5

The American Hitler was giving a speech about the Ukraine war. In a very welcome and timely Freudian slip he made reference to:

"a criminal and brutal invasion of Iraq"

The war criminal quickly corrected himself and replaced Iraq with Ukraine. More criminal than him was the American audience who found the whole incident amusing and funny. Hitler and Joseph Goebbels are blushing in their graves.

Posted by: Ali | May 19 2022 13:50 utc | 6

What happened to Anti-Empire ? It seems to have soured on all things Russian.

Posted by: Dale | May 19 2022 13:50 utc | 7

@ Et Tu | May 19 2022 13:36 utc | 3

Thanks for the links. SR's inexplicable flip-flop will be substantial grist for another Ukraine thread, I can confidently predict -- and I'm not a huge fan of predictions, either!

Serious reporters would do well to confine themselves to what they're able to discover about the situation on the ground: present tense. Practically any forecast will soon be proven wrong -- so what's the point of forecasting in the current situation?

That's where SR strays, imho: Nobody needs SR to predict the future for us, or to advise RF. I think he needs a vacation. Time to give it a rest, Scott.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 19 2022 13:51 utc | 8

Re. Scott Ritter:

He's a smart man, and very knowledgeable. But the consistency of his judgment leaves quite a bit to be desired. Not his judgment--the consistency of his judgment. I have noticed how his originally sober and very accurate judgment on different matters tends to become hysterical and fanciful after a few days without solid information or change in status.

When new information emerges, it's perfectly fine to change your mind. But when no new information has emerged, chill out and hold your nerve. Don't go off the handlebar and make a fool of yourself.

That's what I think. GL

Posted by: Gonzalo Lira | May 19 2022 14:00 utc | 9

Well I think he has been compromised. Let slip the term "game changing", did he, just recently? That is lame CIA script.

I have no idea if he's right, though, maybe 40 billion dollars will make a difference. But is the fighting going to be done by mercenaries entirely, it doesn't seem feasible?

Posted by: veto | May 19 2022 14:10 utc | 10

Re: Scott Ritter (and other commentators): One of the aspects of a 24 hour nonstop news cycle is the need for filling the hours, and it seems that certain commentators become much in demand, Ritter being a prime example (of course not on MSM). I think a downside of too much air time - Ritter, Lira, some others - is that they end up repeating themselves, and when trying not to do so, may veer into areas they should not. When I first came upon Alexander Mecouris I was put off by his speaking style but of all of the independent commentators he seems to remain the "freshest", mainly because he remains focused on the events of the day. Point being, one of the downsides of becoming popular on independent channels is then being on many many many shows, too many, and then when on show after show one is likely to become repetitive, or make errors. So I will confirm @ Et Tu above - focus on the present tense.

Another aspect of all this is that in our current "news" cycle the public and the media are not set up to deal with long term ongoing events. Surely everyone thought the Ukraine thing would last at most a few weeks, and now as it continues attention nis being directed elsewhere....

Posted by: Boomheist | May 19 2022 14:13 utc | 11

Ritter, for all his army experience, is only an American. Perhaps his military training isn't "Russian". The only consistently correct commentor is Andrei Martyanov, who had a Russian military education and has consistently explained - and refused to predict! - Russian actions. "They'll never tell you, why would they?"

Posted by: JGarbo | May 19 2022 14:20 utc | 12

I've said it before, I say it again: the reason for Ritter's update in assessment (it isn't precisely a change, because he hasn't changed his views on Donbas) is apparently the one M777 video.

I repeat: it is very early to make the assessment that Ukraine can either transport large quantities of heavy military gear (tanks, AFVs, etc) plus fuel and ammo to the fronts, or that the Ukrainians training in Germany/Poland etc are going to be able to reconstitute the pre-2/24/2022 Ukrainian military capability.

If either/both of the above are true, then Ritter would more likely be correct.

I appreciate Ritter's explanation of why he has his views - that is why he is worth listening to. He clearly does not have unique sources of information outside of the largely OSINT everyone else can access, so it should not be surprising that he can and has made very public mistakes.

I would lastly note that Ritter is an expert in many areas but is not an expert in all of them. There are many examples where he is clearly speaking out of his depth.

Understand what any given analyst can and cannot do.

Posted by: c1ue | May 19 2022 14:22 utc | 13

Patrick Lancaster goes off on the 'evacuation' of Azovstal

He suggests that perhaps 500 fighters remain in the plant and that the expectation is that perhaps they will surrender today. This is indeed a milestone for the SMO as repair and reconstruction of the port facilities can now begin in earnest, as well as restoration of services/utilities for the rest of the city. In my opinion one of the more unfortunate outcomes of the conflict in 2014 was that Mariupol remained in Ukrainian hands. Perhaps taking it then would have been impossible without direct support from Russia. Now, however, it is fully controlled by the DPR. I know there was some demining work going on in the harbor, however I don't believe there are any significant hazards in the shipping channel and the entire Azov Sea coast is controlled by Russia, so this means that grain and agricultural products could soon be shipped from here and goods and material for rebuilding received without the threat of interference from Ukraine.

Now, I wonder what Russian plans for Odessa are? If Russia can take the remaining Black Sea cost by the end of the year this will be a strategic milestone indeed.

Posted by: the pessimist | May 19 2022 14:30 utc | 14

" a graduate in psychology and a media veteran of 20 years."

That explains quite a bit. We are doubtless dealing with someone who has an extraordinarily (though profoundly unjustified) high opinion of himself.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 19 2022 14:30 utc | 15

Moving on, I found an entertaining video from a newly discovered British blogger (based in Russia?), commenting on current events. This one is particularly funny:

For the Russophiles or the curious wishing for a less politically charged and more neutral blog experience, I can recommend this nice girl, she has a collection of tourism/culture style videos, although some of the recent ones also explore how sanctions and ‘operations’ have affected every day life in Russia, which may be of interest on this blog:

Perhaps some of you can watch them, have a laugh and take a few breaths before piling on your daily dose of hate…

It’s sunny outside, so I may try and take some good advice and let you all beat me with experience here today :)

Posted by: Et Tu | May 19 2022 14:39 utc | 16

Scott Ritter is prone to hyperbole and likes to talk. In then beginning his approach was that the Russians were invincible and would school the west on military tactics and execution. He is a bit over zealous but seems to have good intentions. He is good to listen too, but needs to be taken will a bit of scepticism. I suspect he is right that the western weapons can have great impact (contrary to what many in the fan club would like to suggest) and he is exhibiting frustration that Russia has not done more to stop the entry of western weapons - seems a very valid and helpful point. We learn more from the people who disagree with us rather than those who strive to reaffirm. I give him credit for being able to change opinion in regard to changing circumstances and information. I hope that Russian leaders do not surround themselves with people who say they "right" things - I distrust people who agree too much. Scott like bold and daring and righteous approach. Sometimes reality does not allow.

Posted by: jared | May 19 2022 14:40 utc | 17

It seems impossible for Ukraine to keep fighting at current intensity. Also, the fighting Ukrainian state, in its current configuration, needs upkeep of billions of dollars per month. It requires NATO as its strategic depth; this is now counted as strength, but it is also a long term weakness. The political proccess is unstable, consent has been poorly manufactured, in the West.

We all saw the result of that with Vietnam, Iraq and so on: political consensus degenerates and rots, from the inside out. "Lie has short legs" (portuguse aforism)

Posted by: joaopft | May 19 2022 14:43 utc | 18

If Russia can take the remaining Black Sea cost by the end of the year this will be a strategic milestone indeed.
Posted by: the pessimist | May 19 2022 14:30 utc | 14

I doubt Russia has any intention at the moment of taking Odessa at least not by military force.

Putin being Putin, things will most likely come to a standstill for awhile once the republics are cleared.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | May 19 2022 14:49 utc | 19


The material I posted prev thread were responding to this post, from OpenThread 2022-66:

May I ask what possible utility your "outing" of RSH offers this forum?
Posted by: Tom Pfotzer | May 16 2022 21:02 utc | 436

I was describing the discussion in here about the definition of "concern troll" to my buddy, who asked for an example... Now I have a perfect example! Textbook exquisite politeness and all.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 16 2022 21:13 utc | 438

Have I mistaken you for someone else? If so, I heartily, and politely, apologize.

Posted by: Tom Pfotzer | May 19 2022 14:49 utc | 20

I wish Russia could take all of Ukraine in rapid fashion and with minimal loss of life and cart off the Nazis and then bond with thier Slavic brothers and everyone would be safer and happier. But that did not happen and will not be allowed to happen.

So Russia is taking a slower and cautious approach focusing on the areas where it has some hope of popular support and will succeed in that area and then will decide next steps as circumstances develop. Limited overhang, only take what you can hold. Letting time be your ally.

Posted by: jared | May 19 2022 14:50 utc | 21

I'm not sure to what extent it applies to this one person who I don't pay much attention to (everyone reading the same stuff will create an echo camber) but many who read him perhaps seem to conflate prediction(s) and other things such as warnings, assessments, worries, opinions, speculation/possibilities and whatnot. I could be wrong.

For example there's no doubt at all at least in my mind that Russia could have crushed Ukraine within hours if they wanted to, and one could argue that essentially that is what they did although in my case I certainly thought they would do it differently and far less gently and less subtly.

I can see why they didn't though. Yes there is the cultural bond aspect and other topics like sanctions and more but it has also forced some clarity (for those —like here— who wish to see it) from NATO etc. and made arguing in favor of Russia's case even easier with respect to the world outside of US propaganda.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | May 19 2022 14:55 utc | 22

@Gonzalo Lira | May 19 2022 14:00 utc | 9

Good to see you here! You are one very sharp observer with ability to formulate. Thank you.

He's a smart man, and very knowledgeable. But the consistency of his judgment leaves quite a bit to be desired.
Yes. I was wary of his style of commenting (he is american, I am not), but what really got me was the U-turn for no apparent reason. You get the feeling someone touched his shoulder.

Posted by: Norwegian | May 19 2022 14:56 utc | 23

@ Dean Oneil 1
The Azov battalion apparently will be tried as Nazis
Meanwhile Ukraine is trying Russian soldiers. The decisions on them may be done with a view toward future Russian decisions on the Nazis.
ABC News
KYIV, Ukraine -- A Russian soldier facing the first war crimes trial since the start of the war in Ukraine testified Thursday that he shot a civilian on orders from two officers and pleaded for his victim's widow to forgive him.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 19 2022 15:02 utc | 24

People who use labels like "concern troll" are using dismissive and ad hominum methods which appear an effort to compensate for an inability or laziness to reasonably support thier view. Much easier to attack with labels or deflect with semantics or uneccesary references. See "Putins Puppet", "Conspiracy Theory" ... I might suggest they are "Label Trolls" but then what would that make me. Somehow "concern" and "troll" seem self-contradicting used together. I would say at least a breach of forum etiquet.

Posted by: jared | May 19 2022 15:03 utc | 25

What I ask myself and all barflies here is why isn’t there any of these cauldrons closed yet?
This indicates that the UAF still get sufficient support from Kiew contradicting all alleged Russian superiority.
I can’t see real movement at all this Donbass fronts. Russia did not cut the supply lines, or am I wrong?

Posted by: njet | May 19 2022 15:06 utc | 26

Sigh; "chamber" not "camber", although most echo chambers surely have a steep camber in some direction :) (a caution to ideologues doing their thing).

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | May 19 2022 15:06 utc | 27

Why is Russia being criticized for not doing in three months what the US couldn't accomplish in years and even decades, against partisans not armies?

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 19 2022 15:11 utc | 28

If an advice to Mr. Ritter is allowed, it would have been and would be better to comment bit less enthusiastic so that changes of judgement due to changed circumstances do not appear as sharp turns. Maybe just comment bit less too unless the situation on the ground changes significantly.

If an advice to the barflies is allowed, concentrating less on Mr. Ritter, and more on the developments on the ground, and first hand informations about, would be wise too.

Posted by: aquadraht | May 19 2022 15:11 utc | 29

@njet #26
"closed yet" - what does that mean?

Is there some formula, I am unaware of, by which cauldrons "should" be closed given a specific set of attackers and defenders?

More to the point: it is well documented that the Donbas area presently occupied by Ukrainian forces is heavily fortified over 8 years, possibly in preparation for an assault to retake Donetsk and Luhansk.

Why exactly would the reduction of 8 years' of fortifications be a quick and simple affair regardless of attacker?

Posted by: c1ue | May 19 2022 15:11 utc | 30

To "njet":
Maybe they function so well as "kill zones" and as magnets for nazi/"Ukrainian" efforts that the Allies don't want to close them?

Mariupol and Snake island can be similar situations. If that is correct it displays the total dominance of the Allied forces and their positions. I would certainly like to think that this is the case and have previously said that this was the result of the initial efforts made by the Russian operation.

Ie.: they're working at their own leisure able to freely optimize a large set of variables reaching far outside the fronts in Ukraine. (In its own different way it is much more impressive than anything I imagined).

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | May 19 2022 15:16 utc | 31

Why does Russia not encircle the fortified positions of the UAF?
That’s my question.

Posted by: njet | May 19 2022 15:16 utc | 32

The central deficiency of Scott Ritter's most recent reflections is that they involve a silent acceptance of a central (and demonstrably foolish) axiom of American geopolitics.

US neocons and geopolitical planners don't think of their imperial subjects (even European ones with the 'right' kind of skin tone and, very often, blonde hair and blue eyes to boot) as fully human. That is to say, as actual people who, like us, possess human capacities for grief, suffering--and critical thought. Rather, they are considered to be no more than instruments of the imperial will.

Thus, if these subject-people are subjected to oppressive political violence and brutality, and herded (for the most part unwillingly) into armies which then suffer grievous levels of casualties in futile campaigns, it is assumed that so long as a large proportion of military-age males remain available for future recruitment, they can in turn be dragooned into new military formations, which with the right training and the right expensive Western weaponry will turn apparently disastrous wars into clear-cut victories--or, at the very least, into perpetual stalemates.

This didn't work in South Vietnam a half-century ago, and it didn't work in Afghanistan.

It won't work in Ukraine either. There have been determined efforts in Ukraine, over the past couple of decades especially, to disseminate Banderite ideologies--through the media, through educational institutions like the MAUP, and through the recruitment efforts of Azov, Aidar, C14, and other neo-Nazi groupings. But there have also been currents of political and ideological resistance (now largely repressed by Zelensky's government).

One should not forget that 73% of Ukrainians voted for Zelensky in 2019 as a peace candidate who promised to implement the Minsk Accords, and thereby to put an end to the civil war in the Donbas, and to reintegrate the dissident Donetsk and Lugansk republics into what would become a newly federalized and bilingual Ukrainian state.

Intimidated by Nazi assassination threats, Zelensky betrayed the hopes of the Ukrainian electorate. But Ukrainians had already in large numbers been voting with their feet: significant and growing percentages of the men called up for military service in the years preceding that election had been evading the draft. Once the military disaster in the Donbas becomes completely apparent, that vigorous current of resistance to massacre and endless grief will become a flood.

Posted by: Michael Keefer | May 19 2022 15:20 utc | 33

@njet #32
Because the other guy has his plans too, the dirty bastard.

The AFU is actively resisting encirclement.

The travesty there is that they (the AFU) are being told not to withdraw to more advantageous positions much as the Ukrainian leadership refused to allow Azovstal occupants to surrender when all conceivable military benefit ceased.

To me, it seems very clear that we will see a reprise of Azovstal in the Donbas cauldrons: the purpose for the cream of the AFU to be there disappeared in the first week of the fighting. They are there now just so Ukrainian leadership can say that they aren't losing - but the downside is that the completion of these cauldrons is going to be a severe reputational blow on top of the military and socio-economic ones.

It is one thing for Washington Beltway Bandits to advocate for "fighting to the last Ukrainian", it is different when Ukraine's own government is doing the same. Maybe all these troops are fervent believers in Ukrainian nationalism etc and are willing to die... we will soon see.

I would note, however, that all examples where such determination succeeded involved the "winners" losing literally many multiples vs. the "losers".

Are Ukrainians willing to see literally hundreds of thousands of dead young (and apparently middle aged) Ukrainian men die in order to achieve victory?

Proof is in the headstones.

Posted by: c1ue | May 19 2022 15:25 utc | 34

Nazi is truly the correct term:

Posted by: Duncan Idaho | May 19 2022 15:27 utc | 35

Why might Russia be drawing this affair out?
. .from Interfax-Ukraine
Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal says that Ukraine needs at least $15 billion over the next three months to cover the operational needs of the budget, and calls on the G7 countries to provide Ukraine with urgent funding.
"Today we call on the G7 countries to provide Ukraine with urgent funding for the operational needs of the budget. We need at least $15 billion over the next three months to cover these needs. For us, this is as important as the weapons that you provide to fight Russian aggression," the head of government said. . .here

. . .and from Euractiv
Financial support
G7 partners have to “assure Ukraine’s solvency within the next days, few weeks,” German Finance Minister Christian Lindner told German daily Die Welt ahead of the meeting. The war has blown a hole in Ukraine’s finances, as tax revenue has dropped sharply, leaving it with a shortfall of around $5 billion a month. Around $7.5 billion of the US aid package is earmarked to help plug the hole in Ukraine’s government budget caused by the war, a source close to the G7 organisers said. Ahead of the meeting on Wednesday, the European Union also proposed to boost its aid to Ukraine by up to nine billion euros. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 19 2022 15:29 utc | 36

First of all I must say that I find Scott Ritter a honest and trustworthy man an I like to listen to his analyses. Being able to express himself clearly so that guys like me can understand him.
I am worried as SR is about the amount of financial and economical efford that the US/NATO is
spending on the Ukraine. It does not look logical not to expect any impact on the battlefront.

As I am just an interesting and involved onlooker behind his laptop I wonder why the General Staff
of the Russian Army seems not so concerned of these things happening as they dont do what I think
(and SR)they should do.
I come to expect that they have more higher strategic Financial/Econimocal/Politics long term objectives.

Posted by: DutchZ | May 19 2022 15:31 utc | 37

There are lots of surrenders too. And there's daily progress, you can check telegram channels or youtube. But this isn't a normal war, nato tries to kill as many Russians as possible, military or civilian. And doing so they are killing at least 20x more Ukr army.
Now, as more and more regions separate from Ukr, they know it's never going back to Ukr so they destroy infrastructure.
Yes, it's strange that the regular Ukr army loves to die for nothing in such high numbers. Who knows what info they get from Starlink web, i bet it's fully censored. When they see US generals posting Arma 3 videos and they don't notice with their own eyes it's clearly game footage, they may actually believe they're winning. It's a brainwashing that has to be studied.

Posted by: rk | May 19 2022 15:38 utc | 38

Russia is doomed.

The US has successfully tested and deployed the hyperbolic missile. This is launched from within the Metaverse and travels at almost the speed of light, and emerges in every Western MSM new outlet at the same time, a sort of McLuhanesque clusterbomb, annihilating any common sense in its path...

Posted by: Siimplicius | May 19 2022 15:47 utc | 39

Russian troops are often identified by the letter "Z" on their vehicles or uniforms. We can thus call them the "Zees".

Those setting themselves opposed to the Russians have gone so far as to shun and "cancel" the letter "Z" itself. We can thus refer to them as the "Not-Zees"

How did I not notice this before?

Posted by: William Gruff | May 19 2022 15:48 utc | 40

@ Posted by: Don Bacon | May 19 2022 15:29 utc | 36

Exactly - reflecting western imperialism on itself.

Posted by: jared | May 19 2022 15:48 utc | 41

Guess all the debate can confuse many, however, whatever happens with Ukraine, the whole of the war, should be laid at the feet of our latest, and most evil empire; The corporate Fascists and their enabler's in the U$A.

The truth lies here, based on historical happenings;

Posted by: vetinLA | May 19 2022 15:51 utc | 42

You can add this bit of historical fact to my @41;

Posted by: vetinLA | May 19 2022 15:55 utc | 43

Jacob Driezen made an explaination for why it is tough going in Donbass. Maybe refer to that video, but somewhat amazingly it has to do with the nature of home construction practices - they are bulit like brich shit-houses as we say. The home are tough and require repeated direct hits by something heavy. Meanwhile they are linked by trenches which let them scurry from one place to another. Darn Ukies just wont sit still. Also it has been mentioned that the Ukies seem fairly determined - a point which was misjudged I think.

Posted by: jared | May 19 2022 15:57 utc | 44

njet | May 19 2022 15:16 utc | 32 You might check the sit reports posted here for a more granular look at the tactical and logistical issues involved in the fighting. Remember that the Ukraine is a very large country and the combined Russian/DPR/LPR forces have to hold the ground taken as they move forward and the total number of troops committed is not that large. You can easily get an unrealistic impression of what is actually going on by looking at the main news outlets as well as some of the commentary here that is always looking for clear definitive progress or events.

Posted by: the pessimist | May 19 2022 15:59 utc | 45

It’s funny (in a sad way) how many who are indoctrinated on the MSM narrative cling to it despite compelling evidence to the contrary. I have a friend who has spent time “in country” doing various NGO monkeywrenching and other things who keep making excuses…..”Have you severe met an Azov member? Well I HAVE…and they said they didnt see anything Nazi related”
“Oh that’s just something Putin says….” Etc etc…. I handily send him a video of the Azov HQ outside of Mauriopol, or images of tattoos… He gets all flustered and calls the NovoRussian spokesmen ‘drooling retards’. It’s quite funny in a way, the mental and semantic gymnastics they will do. And a general thanks to the poster who listed the very long string of MSM articles over the past 8 years expressing concern that the USA and Friends were funding Nazis….that has come in handy.

Posted by: Chevrus | May 19 2022 16:01 utc | 46

Guess my real point is this; Every nation has the right to protect itself from predation by other nations, even Russia.

L. Austin made that clear to the world when he announced the U$A's goals were to "weaken" Russia!!

Posted by: vetinLA | May 19 2022 16:02 utc | 47

Why are the Russians having a tough time in the Ukraine? Maybe this video clip from 1957 would help people familiar with western pop culture to understand.

Posted by: William Gruff | May 19 2022 16:04 utc | 48

Here's a YouTube link for the Freudian slip that Ali @ 6 referred to. Just incredible ...

George W. Bush Mixes Up Ukraine With Iraq In Big Freudian Slip (1 min 34 seconds)

The broadcaster's "This is who we are" motto at the end is quite apt if applied to the US.

Posted by: Canadian Cents | May 19 2022 16:05 utc | 49

@Et Tu #3

Yes, makes sense to me, and I am disappointed by the howls from partisans as soon as someone (eg SR) says something they don't like.

Posted by: Tim | May 19 2022 16:07 utc | 50
The Russian Foreign Ministry announced important facts: The employees involved in work with dangerous pathogens in Ukraine were US citizens and had diplomatic immunity. Ukrainian biological laboratories were engaged in activities to enhance the pathogenic properties of plague, anthrax, tularemia, cholera and other deadly diseases using synthetic biology methods.

Posted by: Norwegian | May 19 2022 16:10 utc | 51

With so much information out there on who is winning and who is not. I try to simplify it as a non-miltary onlooker. If the map which currently shows Russia holding on to a large chunk of Ukraine and increasing even if so slowly you must conclude Russia is winning.

Posted by: steven | May 19 2022 16:13 utc | 52

I think it quite sufficient to bear in mind the U$A are totally vested in leading the Western imperialism which has called the shots internationally these 500 years. Ukraine, Iraq and countless other atrocities in our own time.
Most folks in the West like the goodies, and they can hardly be expected to change willingly to more equitable arrangements.

Posted by: Chris Herz | May 19 2022 16:15 utc | 53

It is dangerous to psychoanalyze, but my impression of Scott, whose opinion and character I greatly respect, and will continue to, is that he's a bit high strung, like me. When you're out there on media all the time, it can get unfavorably exposed, unlike me, where no one gets to hear my wavering views and rants except my dogs.

Posted by: muttman | May 19 2022 16:16 utc | 54

F-ed up the URL, please delete 52 B, will repost, thanks...

Posted by: muttman | May 19 2022 16:18 utc | 55

.. .from Strategic Culture
Russell Bentley has been living in the Donetsk People’s Republic for eight years where he now has obtained official citizenship. - partial quote of interview--
Question: Western news media have been full of reports on how Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine is a failure. From the perspective of people on the ground in Donbass, how is Russia’s campaign going?

. . .The fact is that Russia has actually achieved a stunning victory. Standard military doctrine dictates an assault force requires a 3-to-1 numerical superiority to have a reasonable chance of victory, and Russia has achieved all its strategic goals thus far with an assault force of less than 1-to-1. The casualty reports from both sides should be taken with a grain of salt, but no serious observer can deny that Russia has dealt strategic losses to Ukrop army men and equipment while maintaining their own numbers at militarily acceptable and operational levels. Russia has used a small fraction (about 15 percent) of its military capabilities so far in Ukraine. The armchair Generals and keyboard commandos who criticize Russia’s military operations in Ukraine are for the most part far too ignorant of military tactics and strategy to even be considered qualified to have an opinion on the subject, so they should be silent. Don’t worry, we got this. . .here

I'm not claiming that he's correct, but that he should be listened to.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 19 2022 16:20 utc | 56

Nice article from Russell Bentley. Just one problem - the Russian Army didn't liberate Mariupol nor Azovstal. The Army of the DPR did.

Posted by: exile | May 19 2022 16:24 utc | 57

".. it is well documented that the Donbas area presently occupied by Ukrainian forces is heavily fortified over 8 years, possibly in preparation for an assault to retake Donetsk and Luhansk..."

But particularly to provide secure bases for the gangs of Nazi terrorists, including Azov, who sallied forth daily, in the form of death squads and vigilantes, to terrorise the opposition. Which, in a region in which Russian has been the language of the people for three hundred years and more, means just about everybody else.
The Kiev occupation forces were in the same position as the British in Bengal or the Israelis in the Levant, a tiny identifiable minority entirely reliant on violence to maintain themselves. Such people don't walk the streets at night on their own.
And many of these Kiev forces are in fact from Canada, Poland and elsewhere. I imagine that the Donbas was lousy with Nazis from Lithuania and Latvia, as well as hooligans and criminals from all over Europe, skinheads from Denmark and bother boys from Croatia and Bosnia. And that is not to mention the veterans of CIA jihad/wars over the past three decades.

One of the things that Scott, and most of the rest of us, did not take into account was the absolute crassness and crudity of the occupation of the Donbas. It was easy to tell ourselves that the NATO governments would not be so stupid as to allow their banner to fall into the hands of rapists, kidnappers, killers and garishly tattooed bank robbers (then we give our heads a shake and realise that we have described the class which has been ruling the Empire for half a millennium.)

And that is why the Operation is both "special" and very political. It is aimed not so much at gaining territory as rebuilding a nation, one person at a time, from the bottom upwards, reclaiming lost millions of people for Russia- people who never wanted to leave it and who should never have been surrendered into the hands of the racketeers and thugs who have taken over Ukraine. And now own it.

The political operation is still in its early stages, but its shape is already discernible. The liberated people, bruised and bankrupted by the violence and hopelessness of eight years of rule by sadistic madmen, are now beginning to bear witness to the reality behind the flimsy facade of democracy-NATO style. Shopkeepers will tell of the swaggering foreigners who took everything of value and left them with a sneer and a threat. Women will tell of their treatment under military occupation. The elderly will recall years without pensions or voices. The true horror of what NATO means by sovereignty and democracy will be outlined and those who live in NATO lands would do well to take the stories as warnings of what is to come, as it always does when brutal imperialists return home.

And then, of world wide importance, and to an international audience which will refuse every effort to trivialise or hide the truth, will emerge the story of the bio-labs. The story of stories in a world still suffering from the terrible losses of the pandemic: the story of how new pandemics were planned. Of how trial runs of viruses were carried out; and which populations were chosen to dice with death by the NATO bosses. Already we are learning that not only were birds being used to carry live disease causing substances eastwards on their migration routes into eurasia, but that Turkish drones had been equipped with the means of spraying chemicals and vectors of disease into Russia.

The mask is being ripped off the Empire's face- centuries of crimes too numerous for historians to whitewash or justify in the name of progress are coming to an end. Not as a result of brilliant military actions (leaving thousands a day dead or disfigured) but as a result of the slow, careful return of the descendants of the Red Army to one of the lands that it sprung from.

On the one hand there is a story which must be told and a world which knows that it must hear it. And on the other there is the British Ambassador, pro-tem chair of the UN Security Council, ruling any references to the US biolabs around the world out of order.
Nothing could be more symmetrical than for China to clear its throat and tell us what it knows.

Posted by: bevin | May 19 2022 16:26 utc | 58

(everyone reading the same stuff will create an echo c[h]amber) but many who read him perhaps seem to conflate prediction(s) and other things such as warnings, assessments, worries, opinions, speculation/possibilities and whatnot.
Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | May 19 2022 14:55 utc | 22

silent acceptance of a central (and demonstrably foolish) axiom of American geopolitics.
Posted by: Michael Keefer | May 19 2022 15:20 utc | 33


FWIW, I've no objection to this reasoning. Several weeks ago, I was mildly alarmed to read /b/ apologize for introducing some topical lede that evidently disrupted oft repeated assumptions and barely contested "transparency", ascribed to singular figures. For where I sit among the Greater 80%, I could not help but receive such a tentative test of bounded rationality as capitulation to daily digest of non sequiturs d/b/a "total information awareness", or "the truth," of matters which, not coincidently, 99% of correspondents are not privy and, frankly, unwilling or incapable of synthesizing as such (agreement). For all the chatter about discourses, "convos," and dialectic, one salient point recurs. That is, the contradictions (incongruence) between theory and practice one becomes accustomed from an early age to negotiating daily simply to avoid real ostracism.

Posted by: sln2002 | May 19 2022 16:29 utc | 59

Posted by: Et Tu | May 19 2022 13:36 utc | 3

Ritters point about the 777 wasn’t that it would change the outcome of the war, but that it was solid proof that Ukraine could get the gear it is sent to the front line.
To that he added that they had some reinforcements, that they where a lot harder than expected, that they had a backyard in Poland and Germany to rebuild an army and that the US just committed 40 billion dollars to the war.

All that taken together made him change his mind about how the war will develop. I think he is wrong (you can ratline a few hundred soldiers and some weapons but if you try to move troops and equipment for a counter offensive you have to do it in the open and you will be wounerable from the sky) but it’s a fair assessment, not an inescapable U turn.

Posted by: Jörgen Hassler | May 19 2022 16:33 utc | 60

@ 54
more from Bentley. . .

Question: Why are there two separate Donbass republics, DPR and LPR? Could they coalesce into one unified state in the future? Do you see them eventually joining the Russian Federation as Crimea did in 2014?
Russell Bentley: That there have been two separate republics for all these years is usually and superficially explained by the story that the FSB [Russian state security service] has responsibility for the DPR, and the GRU [Russian foreign military intelligence] for the LPR, and that there is a bureaucratic rivalry between them. I think there may be some factual basis for this theory, but I am sure it is not the whole story. While the regular folks in both republics have a great deal in common, there are major economic, demographic and even political differences between the two. But we are, above all, fraternal comrades, and we know we could not survive without each other.
I do not think and do not hope, that the Donbass republics will be absorbed by the Russian Federation. We will be needed here, desperately, to help build the New Ukraine, and I can say with certainty that it cannot be done without us. Furthermore, many here in Donbass are proud of our roots, and as much as we love, respect, appreciate and need Russia and its fraternal friendship and support, we would prefer to maintain our own identity, much the same as my native Texas maintains its own identity vis-a-vis the USA. I do not speak for everyone in this matter, maybe not even a majority, but I speak for many, including myself, my family and most of my friends.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 19 2022 16:36 utc | 61

plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. The audio book
> rivers
> terrain
> spies
> laying Plans

Posted by: sln2002 | May 19 2022 16:38 utc | 62

@ Tom Pfotzer | May 19 2022 14:49 utc | 20

Hi Tom. I apologize if my wording in that post (an old thread) was too vague. The "perfect definition" I referenced there was some jerk digging up supposedly disgraceful details from RSH's colorful past. The reaction of MoA regulars to this disruption was heartening.

I remember the poster tried to sound so polite and respectful of RSH's contribution, while attempting to tear him down. To be clear: I'm sure that person was not you!

This proton walks into a bar and orders a beer.
The bartender says "Sure you don't want a glass of wine?"
"I'm positive."

Okay, I'll let myself out now.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 19 2022 16:41 utc | 63

@Don Bacon #59
They announced today there will referendum on joining Russia and I doubt they won't join. Kherson and Zaporozhye are already in Russia.

Posted by: rk | May 19 2022 16:46 utc | 64

Posted by: bevin | May 19 2022 16:26 utc | 56

You’ve made my day just a little better, many thanks.

Posted by: anon2020 | May 19 2022 16:54 utc | 65

Thanks for all the responses and I do respect everyone's opinions on the matter. You have to understand though that I've heard these perfectly reasoned arguments before. When I was in junior high school, and the U.S. warmongers were explaining how they just needed a few more troops and some more artillery to de-communize the south, dominate a war of attrition and bring North Vietnam to its knees.

The Chinese, Laos, Cambodia and the Ho Chi Minh Trail eventually spanked us back into reality. No amount of dead Vietcong and B-52s unracking their loads over Ban Laboy crossing was ever going to change that. Kinzals, cauldrons and good intentions are not going to change that for Russia. *That* is what Scott Ritter realized.

All wars are logistics wars.

Posted by: PavewayIV | May 19 2022 17:15 utc | 66

Here is a representation of Ukraine's book value. Refer to it, while you listen to Alex's reconcile today "EU panic to prevent Ukraine bankruptcy" which actually occured some decades ago.

Posted by: sln2002 | May 19 2022 17:16 utc | 67

A spendid tour of Azov’s apparent administrative headquarters

9:20 US made sniper rounds
11:00 Notes the connection to the Buffalo shooter
12:50 US training materials
14:00 Azov ID cards, swastikas, French embassy business card, Canadian military trainer business card,

and scattered throughout: Nazi regalia for gracious living

Also, this article is from before the invastion:

Posted by: RootBier | May 19 2022 17:18 utc | 68

"Endless Enemies" by Johnathan Kwitney ("How America's Worldwide Interventions Destroy Democracy and DefeatOur Own Best Interests") came out in 1984, paperback, this was BEFORE Iran Contra, Iraq, Afghanistan, Grenada, Libya, and Ukraine - almost 40 years ago, nearly 2 generations. I bought that book back then and still have it, and highly recommend it to everyone - a sobering tale providing many many details about the many times the United States changed regimes or tried to. It ios as if we have learned nothing. In fact, it seems we totally doubled down after Vietnam, are still doubling down.

Posted by: Boomheist | May 19 2022 17:28 utc | 69

"Cognitive Dissonance"

Someone mentioned the gullible masses. "We think the price is worth it". He served 1991-1998.

I wonder how many of these 'internet dissidents' (including our host) will at the end of the day be shown to be intelligence operatives (all along). "Down with the dying empire!"

Multipolarity must begin at home

Posted by: GhostOfAdolf | May 19 2022 17:31 utc | 70

@ Boomheist 67
How America's Worldwide Interventions Destroy Democracy and Defeat Our Own Best Interests
But they do reward the best interests of the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex, which is why they (not democratically) decide to do them.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 19 2022 17:37 utc | 71

Scott Ritter's original optimism was probably based on the results of the first couple of weeks when mobile warfare was still a thing and he believed that the NATO supplied armaments would mostly be destroyed while they were still in Eastern Ukraine. He may also have been influenced by the results of the NATO v RF simulation that RSH has been relentlessly touting as evidence of RF military superiority. Unfortunately US and NATO simulations are rarely if ever intended to produce a realistic picture but to advance a case that more troops and more resources are required by exaggerating the threat.

Standard military wisdom holds that a 3:1 numerical advantage is usually required for a successful offensive. The RF is on the offensive with a ratio of no better than 1:1, it is hardly surprising that progress is slow. The Ukrainian tactic of using the population as 'human shields' has also been effective (unfortunately) though it does make it far less likely that a partisan threat will materialise in the liberated areas. I doubt very much that the Ukrainian army will collapse in the near future, doubtless they are being told they are winning and there are even a few local successes to back up that lie. NATO involvement is still being ramped up and that will also tend to stiffen their resolve. Desertion is probably being considerably deterred by the modern day Gestapo in the rear areas. UAF losses are undoubtedly quite serious but my suspicion is that the greater majority of the casualties caused by this war will be deaths by starvation in the third world.

One last point, I would hate to see this forum turned into an echo chamber, dissenting positions are OK by me so long as they are backed by reasoned argument and/or information. Shooting people (metaphorically or otherwise) for expressing doubts about the final victory is something best left to the Nazis.

Posted by: MarkU | May 19 2022 17:40 utc | 72

Ritter didn’t express doubts about the final victory.

Side note: as recently as a few days ago, Ritter guesstimated a 10:1 kill ratio, for the Russians, if not higher.

Posted by: Dale | May 19 2022 17:46 utc | 73

The free press is reheating WWII HORRORS-- embellished with ultra-dramatic cinematic flare (Sophie's Choice) retrieved from the tampon? of a UAF medic "tasked" with judiciously discriminating between the dispensation for Russian POWs and Ukraine's MOST VULNERABLE civilians.
AP | Ukrainian medic is captured after documenting war

A clip recorded on March 10 shows two Russian soldiers taken roughly out of an ambulance by a Ukrainian soldier. One is in a wheelchair. The other is on his knees, hands bound behind his back, with an obvious leg injury. Their eyes are covered by winter hats, and they wear white armbands.
like the martyrs of Bucha? oh, of course not ...
A Ukrainian soldier curses at one of them. “Calm down, calm down,” Taira tells him.
A woman asks her, “Are you going to treat the Russians?”
“They will not be as kind to us,” she replies. “But I couldn’t do otherwise. They are prisoners of war.”

Taira is now a prisoner of the Russians, one of hundreds of prominent [?] Ukrainians who have been kidnapped [!] or captured [!], including local officials, journalists, activists and human rights defenders.

holed up in Kiev hotels gossiping among themselves until they're served a UAF-guided tour of war crime corpses

Posted by: sln2002 | May 19 2022 17:54 utc | 74

Lingering question: where are all the Russian soldiers. With speculation that the DPR alone forced the Azov into the catacombs - and with reports of DPR and LPR everywhere in the Donbas, I’m wondering speculations that fewer than 100,000 Russian troops have been deployed are accurate ?

Posted by: Dale | May 19 2022 18:00 utc | 75

@ William Gruff | May 19 2022 14:30 utc | 15

you nailed that!! that was so funny william... thanks... i got a kick out of your post @ 39 too.. both insightful, but even better served up humourously... thanks...

@ PavewayIV | May 19 2022 17:15 utc | 64

thanks.... here is my take on the whole lot of these military pundits - ritter, smoothie, gonzala lira, including bernard - all of them...

the reality is people's adoration or desire to have some authority, or apparent authority tell them how things are is very great... you see the deep attachments formed.. it is like these people are huge fans of these so called soothsayers and therefore they get disappointed when they change their mind, or are proven only human... the dynamic is more a reflection on the posters commenting then it is on much of anything else...

people can change there mind! people can be wrong! people are be fooled.... same deal with all these so called gurus that people put faith in... they can all be wrong, or only see a part of something - not all of it...

i take all of it and i process it in my own way.. i don't need these people to tell me how things are, but i appreciate their special insights too... i formulate a position based on everything i read and follow, which includes a lot of the bright posters here at moa.... none of us know the future and what is going to happen... those who suggest they do are immediately suspect to my mind.. thanks everyone for the unique insights you are all capable of providing and sharing... i appreciate that! no predictions from me today... i gave a bit of a one on the last thread and no one thought it was worth taking up, and that is totally fine too!

Posted by: james | May 19 2022 18:08 utc | 76

Posted by: William Gruff | May 19 2022 15:48 utc | 39

Russian troops are often identified by the letter "Z" on their vehicles or uniforms. We can thus call them the "Zees".

Those setting themselves opposed to the Russians have gone so far as to shun and "cancel" the letter "Z" itself. We can thus refer to them as the "Not-Zees"

How did I not notice this before?

I feel very fortunate to be here and to be able to hear/catch stuff like this. People here are excellent!

Posted by: Seer | May 19 2022 18:10 utc | 77

Costs of war

@Et Tu, thanks for the link to Eli's video.

Posted by: the pessimist | May 19 2022 18:13 utc | 78

Posted by: exile | May 19 2022 16:24 utc | 55

Nice article from Russell Bentley. Just one problem - the Russian Army didn't liberate Mariupol nor Azovstal. The Army of the DPR did.

BUT! I heard it was Not-Zee-elensky (hat tip to William Gruff!) that evacuated the "bad guys"?

Most footwork by DPR, for sure. Overwhelming support from RF: w/o control over airspace and the ability to ensure supply lines the liberation would have been perhaps not possible- TEAM WORK!).

Posted by: Seer | May 19 2022 18:14 utc | 79

Posted by: William Gruff | May 19 2022 15:48 utc | 39

Russian troops are often identified by the letter "Z" on their vehicles or uniforms. We can thus call them the "Zees".
Those setting themselves opposed to the Russians have gone so far as to shun and "cancel" the letter "Z" itself. We can thus refer to them as the "Not-Zees"

How did I not notice this before?

I feel very fortunate to be here and to be able to hear/catch stuff like this. People here are excellent!

Posted by: Seer | May 19 2022 18:10 utc | 75

History does not repeat itself, but sometimes it rhymes.

Posted by: Bemildred | May 19 2022 18:15 utc | 80

Some serious Ritter Rip'n going on. The guy pumped in a lot of good info into the virtual world of war curious netizens/opportunists. He probably will continue to do so. Once he gets what ever monkey off his back.

I don't think it is fair to drag him through virtual mud without cause.

Posted by: Goran | May 19 2022 18:18 utc | 81

from Graham Phillips and friends. Mariupol, a glimpse of a life without war, at least at this time and place...

Posted by: DakotaRog | May 19 2022 18:21 utc | 82

Posted by: njet | May 19 2022 15:06 utc | 26

What I ask myself and all barflies here is why isn’t there any of these cauldrons closed yet? This indicates that the UAF still get sufficient support from Kiew contradicting all alleged Russian superiority. I can’t see real movement at all this Donbass fronts. Russia did not cut the supply lines, or am I wrong?

Move your chair closer to the LOC [Line Of Contact]!

Keep in mind that the non-Ukrainian forces are operating with numbers far lower than standard warfare dictates. Sun Tzu advises always keeping an exit lane open for your opponent because cornering them means a more hardened fight from them. Russia can look to capture the retreating forces as they'll be the ones that lost the will to put up the hard fight. Those that linger are the hardcore fighters which your main forces can then focus on (with a now better ratio).

Posted by: Seer | May 19 2022 18:27 utc | 83

The link @ #9 goes through. The diction is right. Is it what it appears? I think so.


Posted by: Oldhippie | May 19 2022 18:28 utc | 84

Another point about Ritters analysis and how it may have been off the mark a bit-

I think that he underestimated how far the US/UK/NATO would go in risking direct conflict with Russia - over-estimated US intelligence. This seems a common error.

In my mind this stems from the lack of under standing that all "western" governments are lackys - surrogate police for the owners - commercial interests. Hence Japan and Austrailia are "western" governments. I know, crazy talk.

Ritter cant see that because he thought at some level he was serving something greater. You cant force a person to understand something that interfers with thier own self image.

Posted by: jared | May 19 2022 18:29 utc | 85

So lets just admit it - being a Z for a real cause makes sense but being a not Z for nothing but dreams it not such a fun fact :D

Posted by: Macpott | May 19 2022 18:42 utc | 86

Re: Ritter

What't the big deal? He sees things have changed. Specifically, the $40B being funneled into Ukraine (more than the Russian Budget for a year) and the "depth" Ukraine now has because it can train in Poland where its forces can't be touched.

Michael Hudson recently said this war is going to last 30 years. Jim Kavanagh says there's no "off-ramp" for either side and neither side will accept "defeat".

It is all guess work. It isn't like anyone is "right" or "wrong". But we seem to get bogged down here in the progress of the SMO and ignore the economic consequences and especially the political consequences here in the USA. How will voters feel in November if Biden keeps sending cash to Ukraine on a mission that no one here really cares about? Will the Republicans follow Rand Paul's lead and become the "party of peace"? Whether they follow through or not kind of doesn't matter does it.

When Americans finally realize how the Oligarchy really operates, will they rise up? Now, we're talking something interesting.

Posted by: Fiji refugee | May 19 2022 18:42 utc | 87

After reading so many things about Scott Ritter in the threads the last few days, two things come to mind.
Scott was the first person to describe what Russia is doing, why, and laying out the details. None of that has changed. He has spoken of more than anyone else with knowledge of both sides. I suggest the criticism is unwarranted. The people that have turned on him don't have any reason they can cite except their opinion of his opinion.
He also mentioned that he has been threatened since he began commenting on this situation in a video done within a week or two of the SMO beginning.
Can we even imagine the kind of pressure he has been under by the people he used to work for? Those people have shown all of us that they are not to be trusted, at home or abroad. Anyone believe they are not trying to exert maximum pressure on him to shut up?
We gather and share info and opinion. I value his opinions because he comes from a knowledge base few others can match.

Posted by: Tard | May 19 2022 18:44 utc | 88

Posted by: jared | May 19 2022 18:29 utc | 84

Agree with this take. Even to some of us anti-empire folks who actually read about this crap on a daily basis, it was a surprise how quickly and uniformly every Western government (and I include Japan, Korea and Australia/NZ in this) would fall in line and do so to the fullest extent possible. I suppose it also surprised me how readily the EU would commit economic suicide at the behest of UKUS, but maybe it shouldn't have.

I also agree with Gonzalo Lira (above). Scott, at this juncture, probably knows about as much about the real-time situation as any of us and should just relax and take a break for a while - for his own mental health.

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | May 19 2022 18:52 utc | 90

How did I not notice this before?

Posted by: William Gruff | May 19 2022 15:48 utc | 39

LOL, classic Gruff and I'm stealing that one.

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | May 19 2022 18:57 utc | 91

Whenever I read anything from the Russian government, its officials, I hang my head in shame as the "officials" in my country are such garbage by comparison.

Russians With Attitude

Dmitry Medvedev on global food insecurity

Posted by: Seer | May 19 2022 18:57 utc | 92

Like an idiot I took a look at the local MSM coverage of the war here in Oz. It is a parallel universe. The headline might as well have been "5 Reasons why rainbow-maned unicorns will conquer Mordor by Christmas".

To adapt Cicero: O tempora, O mores, O Christ all f**king mighty.

Posted by: Patroklos | May 19 2022 19:01 utc | 93

Posted by: njet | May 19 2022 15:06 utc | 26

Here's an update for you (which shows that you can start to rest a bit easier as this cauldron is nearing closure [though there will likely still be an avenue to allow the surrendering troops to come out from]):

Patience! Believe it or not, in the long-run slower will mean the preservation of more life: faster is the US way of doing things- Shock and Awe (followed years later by a tail-between-the-legs retreat).

Posted by: Seer | May 19 2022 19:07 utc | 94

On Victory day Ritter, Ritter did one of his 2 minute discussions on what Victory Day means to Russians and how they continue to honor its importance and continue to express gratitude to even US military for the cooperation and support in acheving the victory and how this relates to thier ongoing aversion to naziism and how regrettable the western governments seem to have lost site of this issue.

Struck me as a decent person making a worthy contribution.

Posted by: jared | May 19 2022 19:08 utc | 95

Et Tu. [16]

iEarlGrey is English and lives in St Petersburg. He was once in British Army and sounds to have been commissioned officer 15-20 years ago. He has a typical sardonic humour and is wry

Posted by: Paul Greenwood | May 19 2022 19:16 utc | 96

Dale | May 19 2022 18:00 utc | 73

It is important for the finality of the war that Ukrainians win (DPR and LPR), and are seen to win over "Ukrainians" - Azov and NaZees, and the Galicians.

They will find pride in the defeat of brutal enemies, and the strength of character that comes from fighting and winning for a just cause. Putin did the same in Syria, where the Syrians themselves can now take pride and internalize their sucesses, as well as having something to boast about. It made the Syrian society and them stronger in the end. Here we have the same process again. It is part of the "DeNazeefication" by replacing it with pride in being a "real" Ukrainian again.

I think that the divisions within the Ukie forces are underestimated. What may be happening is that the forces sent to actually face the Russians and the DPR/LPR belong to the "not-pure-enough" Ukes. Do they come from the parts of the country that include the 25% who still speak Russian, rather than from the Galician (perfect Uke/Polish) western area?

These reinforcements contain people who have been taken from the ranks of the "territorials and reservists", with a liberal helping of 45-60 yrs olds and untrained kids. Some regular troops and elites may have been withdrawn for "training" outside Ukraine or to strengthen places like Odessa which are important for the US.

Severodonetsk is an example. Now surrounded on three sides, the only bridge across the river behind them is on the fourth side. It was blown up by Ukie forces themselves. Tseelensky has told them to fight until the last person is dead (As Avrostal), and the blowing up of the bridge has cut off any possibility of retreat. So the troops in the cauldron can either die or surrender. If they come from TransCaucasia (Hungarian influence), speak Russian or are "end of career surplus", then these are the ones I would expect to see trapped there. Notice the repeated claim of those surrendering that they were "left or abandonned by their commanders".

However, to dig deeper. The US has now demanded direct control over troops in Ukraine, bypassing the Ukrainian high command. (This in my eyes makes them direct participants in the war). So multiple Generals, Admirals and other senior citizens of the US military can sit in their "Funkers" (Bunkers for the frightenend), Cheyenne mountain?), with playstation controls and direct satellite pictures- and fracking real soldiers instead of Avatars. Zapping away without stopping, or anyone there to stop them.

Posted by: Stonebird | May 19 2022 19:23 utc | 97

Some barflies complain that Russia is not winning the propaganda war in the « Western » world.

But the Western powers are losing the economic war against Russia precisely because they believe their own propaganda, that Russia is entangled in a long war that it cannot win.

It is the West that seems to be suffering the worst consequences of the economic war it has started.

Alastair Crooke says it better than I can in his article The path from sanctions to military escalator - paved by misconceptions » on Al Mayadeen (thanks to downtownhaiku for reporting this article):

If the risks from sanctions war remain potentially so devastating, why are they being ignored by EU leaders?  

This underestimation of the risks facing Europe, principally results from an atmosphere in Washington and Brussels of high euphoria about the course of the military conflict, plus the thrill of inflicting a humiliating civilizational defeat on Putin. 

This combination has given rise to a rosy assessment of the battlespace ‘balance of economic strengths’ betwixt the EU and Russia.

It’s a blessing in disguise.

Posted by: Leuk | May 19 2022 19:23 utc | 98

"Why is Russia being criticized for not doing in three months what the US couldn't accomplish in years and even decades, against partisans not armies?"

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 19 2022 15:11 utc | 28

Rice farmers and goat-herders are game-changers?

I like Pepe Escobar's term "Empire of Chaos" as much as Karl Sanchez' (karlof) "Outlaw US Empire because it captures US win-lose, zero-sum "strategery" so well. It's never been about democracy, winning hearts and minds, or nation-building. It's about rape and pillage, sowing chaos and creating failed states to ensure full-spectrum dominance. From that perspective, the long list of military "failures", resulting in enormous destruction, millions of casualties, and untold human suffering were highly successful capitalist ventures for war-profiteers and global dominionists.

Posted by: Doug Hillman | May 19 2022 19:25 utc | 99

For me to succeed, you must lose.

Posted by: Doug Hillman | May 19 2022 19:27 utc | 100

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