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May 23, 2022

Ukraine Open Thread 2022-72

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

The open thread for other issues is here.

Posted by b on May 23, 2022 at 14:05 UTC | Permalink

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When will Severodonetsk and Kramatorsk fall? We wanna move on Odessa

Posted by: Wizzy | May 23 2022 14:26 utc | 1

Terrific long read from Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism about how the whole paradigm is breaking down....

Posted by: Boomheist | May 23 2022 14:47 utc | 2

Thanks, Boomheist | May 23 2022 14:47 utc | 2 - and I join you, by recommending the Saker posting of the Pepe Escobar interview with Lamprini Thoma [Greece] of the Press Project. I know that has been linked here earlier - it is an extended interview, very worthwhile!

Posted by: juliania | May 23 2022 15:10 utc | 3

Some more Jacques Baud and Guy Messan (in French) - Ukraine war: A total break between Russia and the West? -

They cover the period from the fall of the USSR up until the beginning of the war. They add some more nuance to the events immediately preceding the launch of the SMO and also take great care to point out the nature of the civilisational clash that is being played out. Some good nuggets in there, IMO.

Posted by: eyeswideopen | May 23 2022 15:11 utc | 4

The only thing missing is a big Z, and our Church of the Russian Armed Forces looks even more fascist.

Posted by: Lavrovian slip | May 23 2022 15:17 utc | 5

Scott Ritter does an about-face when $40B USD thrown at the problem.

With the haste and size of the $$$$$ it smacks of a desperate move to throw a an enormous amount of money at a problem - late in the game - when eastern Ukraine and Asov is about to fall?

First, seeing as the USA must borrow, or just print and depreciate existing money to do this - is the world willing to follow?

Second, the corrupt will see this for what it is and just siphon it off into their pockets instead of wasting it on explosions in Ukraine?

It it was real and efficiently used it would force, Russia's hand and cause real pain, but in reality the cynical will grab what they can.

IF the $40B does not get results, then what?????????????????????????

Posted by: James Cook | May 23 2022 15:18 utc | 6

Does somebody have some insights on the following two news pieces:

1. Russian soldier sentenced for lifelong priso:Peskov (Putin's spokesman) has indirectly confirmed that the soldier is real and of course Ukraine is shamelessly using this trial for propaganda (see here or the frontpage of any of your favorite Western media outlet). I'm sure there are many more cases like this in both the Russian and Ukrainian army (and any other army during a military conflict of this dimension).

2. veteran diplomat of Russia's UN mission quits his job, ranting about his country and Lavrov in a letter supposedly sent to his colleagues and the media

This is much more interesting (and puzzling) for me: Apparently Boris Bondarev, a long time member of Russia's UN delegation (whom I never heard of before), quit his job, but not before stating severe accusations towards his country and Lawrow in particular in an open rant, sent to many of his colleagues and the media.

His statements could also have been uttered verbatim by any of the usual Western suspects, here are some excerpts:

“It is intolerable what my government is doing now”

“Not all Russian diplomats are warmongering. They are reasonable, but they have to keep their mouths shut.”

“In 18 years, he (Lavrov) went from a professional and educated intellectual … to a person who constantly broadcasts conflicting statements and threatens the world with nuclear weapons!” he wrote. “Today, the (Russian) Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not about diplomacy. It is all about warmongering, lies and hatred.”

It is insightful to read the (alleged) whole statement, for example here.

Why is the guy doing this? Has he been bought and is the CIA now waiting for his Russian killer commando to arrive in Geneva, so that they can catch them in the act? Even if the guy really thinks this way, wouldn't it be stupid of him to openly throw dirt at his employer?

See for example here for an AP news report.

Posted by: NedF | May 23 2022 15:25 utc | 7

Somewhat related to Ukraine:

1. Someone or something forced or tempted a UN Russian ambassador in Geneva to resign, the resignation is according to the MSM so I'm waiting to see if there is any Russian and/or official comment. Allegedly also with a resignation letter blaming Russia for launching a war. However all Russian ambassadors would know perfectly well that the war started at least as far back as 2014 so something is obviously not as it seems with the whole business, at least not the way I've seen it reported.

2. Poland is making new "friends" asking Norway to give them money from energy profits. Don't they know it's already being used for inflating/supporting the US stock market, the USD, and similar? Just another fracture line appearing in NATO and Europe as reality slowly sets in.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | May 23 2022 15:30 utc | 8

It's democracy in Russia :))) multiple opinions.
I liked that news about Poland being angry that Norway is making billions and billions on energy prices. I can see Duda calling someone in Norway "come on man... give me something too... wtf"

Posted by: rk | May 23 2022 15:38 utc | 9

This is a funny one today:

"German Board Member says entire German car industry will be stopped if Russian gas embargoed"

Posted by: Comandante | May 23 2022 15:43 utc | 10

Yesterday, I wrote a brief review of the situation now that three months have passed--six if you count from December's Security Proposals--and expanded it somewhat into an article than can be read here. New information was made available thanks to today's meeting between Putin and Lukashenko in Sochi:

Alexander Lukashenko: Yes. (Laughs.) So we're doing pretty well here. We rightly agreed in Moscow that we will meet separately and discuss the import substitution package, the direction and the security sector, and we also did not hide this, there is something to talk about, especially in connection with the fact that NATO is concentrating troops on the western borders.

There are some interesting things, unexpectedly, in Ukraine, as you know very well. We, and you should probably also be concerned about this, that they, the politicians, are already taking steps to dismember Ukraine. We are concerned that they are ready, the Poles and NATO, to withdraw, to help thus take away, as before 1939, Western Ukraine. This alarms us not only from the point of view of today's security – it is also a strategy for Western Belarus. Therefore, we keep an ear to the ground, and, as I said, the Ukrainians will have to ask us not to allow the separation of this western part and other parts from Ukraine. This is my position, but you know it for sure, I know.

Therefore, here we also have no less problems, but not our problems – their problems that we will have to solve: yesterday's incomprehensible behavior in Kiev of President Duda, by the way, who practically does not solve anything in Poland, but deals with these fakes.

Therefore, we have a lot of problems in security – you are right, I support you – here we have a lot of problems. But we will solve them, we are not afraid of anything. As they used to say in the old days, our cause is right, and sooner or later we will still win. [My Emphasis]

The machine translation makes a mess of the emphasized paragraph. I interpret it to say the Union State strategy is to occupy all of current Ukraine, particularly the West because that's the Nazi homeland region that must be cleansed and not allowed to fester under NATO, which is why we have the problem. Of course, the transcript ends before any deeper discussion of the security issue occurs, but IMO it's quite clear the Polish/NATO problem will be hashed over before the import substitution problem gets discussed. And for those who've wondered why Russia kept such a large proportion of its forces out of Ukraine, the answer lies in what's being assembled in Poland and the actions of Poland's government.

Going unnoticed are the transportation problems--which is thus a security problem--Kaliningrad region is now experiencing, which was discussed in Putin's meeting with the Governor of Kaliningrad Region Anton Alikhanov on the 20th. I'm certain that will also be discussed today. I expect some amount of redeployment by Russian forces within Belarus that might provide a clue as to the discussion's conclusions.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 23 2022 15:43 utc | 11

“Is escalating this complex Ukrainian conflict into World War III and/ or global thermonuclear war really the best way to demonstrate care for others?

Let’s all just sit and meditate on that last question.

How insane are we if we even have to ask that last question?

Is “caring for others” one of the most effective Psy-Ops of all time?”

Posted by: Clueless Honky | May 23 2022 15:48 utc | 12

Found a free English-subtitled version of the Polish movie "Hatred" on youtube, about the massacre of Poles by the Banderistas in WW2, a very balanced movie that shows the history of inter-community violence in Western Ukraine. The movie deals with the violence in a very straight-forward way, not the over the top Western-type treatment - more the "Come and See" way that is more impactful without having to show the actual killing in many cases. The methodical nearly unemotional way that people are shown killing previous friends, neighbours etc. in an utterly senseless way because of an idea "national purity" is the core message of the film.

Posted by: Roger | May 23 2022 15:54 utc | 13

Vera Zherdeva is curious as to why there have been no reports of foreigners, including generals, being among those who surrendered at Azovstal.

Posted by: John Goss | May 23 2022 15:55 utc | 14

karlof1@11, thank you. extremely interesting. things are moving so fast, thank you for helping us keep abreast.

Posted by: emersonreturn | May 23 2022 16:10 utc | 15

Ms Ellen Sky claims she has 700,000 soldiers now in her army. I take it she must be including her human shields in that number. And all the dead soldiers, the wounded, the captured, the MIA's, deserters, and all and sundry.

Posted by: BM | May 23 2022 16:13 utc | 16

NedF @7--

There's no record of anyone named Boris Bondarev being employed by Russia's MFA. The diplomat he supposedly worked for, Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov, does exist, but all references to him end in 2018. Also, while I was doing my search at the MFA's English page, I was suddenly denied access, which is highly unusual, while nothing occurred at the Russian language page. Given AP is aka All Propaganda, and the content of the letter is so wrong, I'd say it's 100% Fake News. Plus, there's nada at MFA.

Lavrov recently stated "there are no traitors within Russia's MFA." Lavrov's diplomatic content is very consistent from one public appearance to the next and is nothing as described; indeed, it's the opposite. I know because I follow all his events.

Aha!! I just found the roster of Russia's Deputy Foreign Ministers and one Gennady Gatilov isn't one of the eleven posted. So, I'm 100% confident the AP item is 100% Fake News.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 23 2022 16:19 utc | 17

Posted by: James Cook | May 23 2022 15:18 utc | 6
"Scott Ritter does an about-face when $40B USD thrown at the problem."

It was Scott Ritter in an RT essay who stated the the M777 requires maintenance and training of crew--could be useless in the short term. Others have pointed out the same as training issues take time. US/NATO have the infinite capacity to arm the Ukraine, but seems Ukraine needs lots of time to reconstitute its military assuming they will march on Eastern Ukraine.

Which goes to my question. Does the Ukraine have an infinite numbers of men to throw at the Russians. I have seen pictures of POW Ukraine regulars and alot of older men who could be grandfathers. Some pundits have claimed that the Ukrainian command urged retreat from various fire fights but Zelensky says no. Basically they are to stay in place and die. When the Russians stop the war, will the Ukrainian people have the will to fight Russians and the locals in Eastern Ukraine.

"IF the $40B does not get results, then what?????????????????????????"

NATO/Poland invades Western Ukraine? As for corruption. The oligarchs and henchmen will steal everything they can leaving everyday citizens with nothing. And regular people will know it. Another reason not to fight for the Zelensky regime?

Posted by: Erelis | May 23 2022 16:22 utc | 18

emersonreturn @15--

Thanks for your reply. It's all too easy to get sucked into the minutia of the SMO and forget why it's being done, and the much bigger picture beyond. The overall situation will get messier before it eventually gets solved, and we shouldn't expect any sort of rapid solution even if the Outlaw US Empire surrendered tomorrow. But events related to the forthcoming changes are occurring as with the following example:

On May 23, a meeting of senior officials of Russia and the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at the level of deputy foreign ministers was held in the format of a videoconference. The Russian delegation was headed by Igor Morgulov.

They discussed the prospects for the development of the Russian-ASEAN strategic partnership in accordance with the decisions taken at the meeting of leaders in October 2021, as well as practical aspects of preparing for the Russia-ASEAN foreign ministers' meeting in August this year.

An in-depth exchange of views took place on topical international and regional issues, including the situation in Ukraine, as well as on the formation of a modern security architecture in the Asia-Pacific region, joint counteraction to common challenges and threats.

The meeting was held in a constructive atmosphere reflecting the traditional friendship and strategic partnership between Russia and ASEAN.

Strategic Partnerships involving Russia are occurring globally despite the desperate efforts to isolate Russia by the Outlaw US Empire. If Biden's ASEAN Summit had been successful, no such talk would be occurring, but it did!

Posted by: karlof1 | May 23 2022 16:39 utc | 19

Erelis @18--

The $40 Billion will all go into MIC coffers and some pockets as usual. Not a cent will make it to Ukraine aside from the supposed value of the logistical support offered. And as you note, Ukraine soon won't have any men under arms to utilize said logistical support. So, since all the Ukrainians have been used up, it will now be other European's time to enter the meat grinder, which is what I predicted at the beginning--the Outlaw US Empire will first fight Russia to the last Ukrainian then to the last European. Leading from behind means all others die first.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 23 2022 16:46 utc | 20

May I post a little of conspiracy thinking today? So just for the laughs?

This is no war between russia and ukraine!!


wtf is zorro in this context? :D

Posted by: Macpott | May 23 2022 16:53 utc | 21

Macpott @21--

Zorro would be on Putin's side since they advocate for the same things--social and economic justice and the Truth.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 23 2022 17:00 utc | 22

karlof1 @17

I completely agree that something fishy is going on, also, the way Lavrov is being described is only encountered in Western propaganda newspapers. I immediately searched for the name of Boris Bondarev as well and found him listed as "counsellor" on the official UN page. However, this page is not under control of Russia...

I'm very interested in the background of all this, it can't just be blunt fake news as Russia would be able to easily dispute it, making MSM look like fools (which they couldn't deny this time).

Posted by: NedF | May 23 2022 17:09 utc | 23

wtf is zorro in this context? :D

Posted by: Macpott | May 23 2022 16:53 utc | 21

Note that Jeffrey Epstein's Zorro Ranch in New Mexico is now listed for sale. At least one of the outbuildings would make a fine saloon for barflies.

Posted by: Opport Knocks | May 23 2022 17:21 utc | 24

Boris Bondarev does appear here:

Posted by: Keith | May 23 2022 17:21 utc | 25

Just when you thought the Western Media had hit rock bottom:

Russians Targeting Kids' Beds, Rooms With Explosives: Ukrainian Bomb Team

The leader of a Ukrainian bomb squad has said that Russian forces are targeting children by placing explosive devices inside their rooms and under their beds.


Posted by: Comandante | May 23 2022 17:24 utc | 26

@ 14

Perhaps it's because the Russians are part Asian and they prefer to keep the " Pearls" - to themselves for a awhile.

Remember , over 1500 American POWs were never returned . Mainly cause the jews at the Fed Res. printing press were too cheap to even turn on th presses. Afterall - those POWs were only - goy-boyz.

Posted by: GMC | May 23 2022 17:27 utc | 27

So since a bit of interest for that stupid conspiracy is there..

no zorro would not be the good guy

I speak about a zorro guy who dressed up on a costume ball and robbed putin during his early years as kgb agent some kind of freaking clown is robbing you in the night - thingy

So who could zorro be? :D

Posted by: Macpott | May 23 2022 17:39 utc | 28

Posted by: karlof1 | May 23 2022 15:43 utc | 11

You're focusing on the main political events today, I listened to Lukashenko on his Telegram channel talk about 1939 and of course the risk of Poland pretending to western Ukraine and what it implies for Belarus and its western part. I also read an article by Ischenko, he starts with a historical detour to Rokossovsky who was a high officer in both the Polish and Red armies, and the implications of Poland's game in western Ukraine. Poland has been the perennial trojan horse, and her ambitions "from sea to sea" very much encouraged by the Brits who left the EU but made sure to have the Poles in to weaken the Union, the old-new Europe game of the known unknown sinister clown Rumsfeld.

If you can cope with the oddities of machine translation this might be interesting to you:

Posted by: Paco | May 23 2022 17:39 utc | 29

Vera Zherdeva is curious as to why there have been no reports of foreigners, including generals, being among those who surrendered at Azovstal.

Posted by: John Goss | May 23 2022 15:55 utc | 14

The mass surrender at Azovstal can shortly after the reported phone call between Austin and Shoigu. Perhaps there was a deal made, a peaceful and orderly surrender in exchange for not releasing the names of foreign nationals.

Posted by: Opport Knocks | May 23 2022 17:40 utc | 30

I see the AP's poison is being published by all BigLie media and that our Boris will speak at Davos--what a surprise: NOT! There's nothing yet on the MFA's site. I'll bet Boris was Honey Plotted since he's in his 40s and ripe for such pickings. I'd also imagine that with his low ranking as an official at his age that he's not been a very good performer of his duties. Anyway, he too will soon be forgotten.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 23 2022 17:42 utc | 31


Interestingly the Wikipedia page for Bonderov in english was created just today

16:00, 23 May 2022‎ Joreberg talk contribs‎ 1,213 bytes +1,213‎ Created the page

Posted by: Lapin | May 23 2022 17:44 utc | 32

Here are all the other wiki pages that link to Joreberg

Posted by: Lapin | May 23 2022 17:46 utc | 33

Bmobs under beds along with the bogieman or the monster we all feared as small children. Our mommy or daddy would have to look under the bed, but we'd do the early check ourselves. Russians = monsters!

You gotta hand it to the writers at CIA Langley.

This hit piece is a twofer.

The bastards.

Posted by: Chaka Khagan | May 23 2022 17:47 utc | 34

OK, in the last thread someone said Scott Ritter did not say that Russia was losing in his interview with Richard Medhurst.

Well, yes, he did. I watched the whole thing, skipping over the later parts which were all the same as he's said before. What matters is the first part in which he discussed "where we are now" in the war. The following are either direct quotes or paraphrased without changing the meaning.

He starts out by asking: "Is Russia achieving its political objectives?" He describes those objectives as he understands them, which of course are totally focused on Ukraine: neutrality, no NATO, de-militarization and de-Nazification.

Then he says "Ukraine is not neutral, in fact Ukraine is more NATO than they have ever been... NATO is not folding like a house of cards, they are doubling down...bringing forces towards the Russian border, not away from the Russian border..." and then says Finland and Sweden are the "eastward expansion of NATO".

He says "That Russia has not accomplished its objectives yet does not mean that Russia will never accomplish its objectives, but there is a widening gap between the military objectives and the political objectives..."

He claims in order to de-Nazify Ukraine, Russia has to deal with the Ukraine government being a de facto Nazi state, which means Russia needs a plan and "I don't see that plan right now because 200,000 troops may be sufficient..." to do Donbass but are not enough to capture Western Ukraine.

He says "Ukraine has a long-term plan to reconstitute its military, bring them into Ukraine, and continue the fight. So how can you speak of de-militarization when every unit you're destroying on the front line NATO is helping Ukraine reconstitute a better unit in German soil or Polish soil?"

"One would expect that the Russians would have figured out how to interdict more effectively the arms coming across, and there is some success...But we also see the artillery pieces show up on the front lines. We see the Polish tanks shows up on the front lines."

"The tanks are moving. Why? Because Poland and Europe are providing them with refined petroleum products, hundreds if not thousands of rail cars..."

"The game has changed. That doesn't mean Russia will lose."

Then he complains Russia hasn't changed its plan. He says Russia winning the tactical battles and the operational maneuvering. "But you don't win a war just by winning battles. You have to accomplish your political objectives. And the risk here is that by not accomplishing its political objectives, Russia is losing by not winning and Ukraine is winning by not losing."

One thing he points out is that both Poland and Finland, in buying F-35A jets - which are nuclear weapon delivery vehicles - are painting Russian nuclear targets on themselves. This part he gets right.

The rest is bullshit. I was beginning to think he was compromised, but not I swing back to my earlier opinion. He simply doesn't comprehend what Russia is doing in the wider scheme. He thinks that Russia is solely focused on eastern Ukraine, isn't going to de-Nazify anything but eastern Ukraine, and isn't going to be able to demilitarize Ukraine because NATO will replace every unit with a better armed, better trained unit created by NATO out of Ukrainians. Meanwhile NATO is going to expand and apparently he thinks Russia can't do anything about it.

It's hard to know where to start. I took this stuff apart before in my review of his Energy Intelligence article in a previous thread.

1) On the one hand, he complains Russia is not achieving the political objectives now. Then he contradicts himself by saying that doesn't mean Russia won't achieve them later. So which is it?

2) Since he apparently doesn't understand Russia's political objectives - or even know them since, frankly, no one knows how those political objectives will play out in Ukraine, other than the logical outcomes I and Karlof1 have mentioned which have not occurred yet by definition, why is he complaining about something that hasn't happened yet/ How soon does he want these political objectives achieved? In this regard, he admitted that he expected this whole SMO to be over in two months. Apparently, since that didn't happen, he's gotten frustrated at the pace.

3) He says Ukraine is "more NATO than it's ever been". Yeah, Scott, but for how long? The fact that a bunch of outmoded weapons are being sent in doesn't mean squat if and when Russia decides to finish the job.

4) He talks about "the widening gap between the military and political objectives". This is purely a perception with zero meaning. Again, it depends on locking himself in to this moment in time and not seeing the inevitable outcome of the military operation, which is a necessary antecedent to achieving the political objectives. He also doesn't distinguish between the political objectives in Ukraine and the political objectives outside Ukraine, which are linked but not identical.

5) He says no plan to de-Nazify the rest of Ukraine because in his view 200,000 troops aren't enough to do that. Once again, he's locked in to this moment in time. Who's to say Russia won't dump another 200,000 or 400,000 troops into Ukraine when it needs to? In fact, who's to say 200,000 troops are NOT sufficient to sweep across Ukraine and take Kiev and take Lviv? Who's going to stop them when Russia has air supremacy and the ground between eastern Ukraine and western Ukraine is open steppes and the best-trained and equipped forces Ukraine had were in eastern Ukraine?

6) He says Ukraine has a "long-term plan" - no, it doesn't. The US has that "long-term plan." And how "long-term" can it be when Russia moves on to "phase 3" and "phase 4" of its SMO? How long can Ukraine actually continue to function?

7) He says Ukraine is going to "reconstitute" its army with $40-50 billion and NATO training in NATO countries. With what? How fast can NATO produce Ukrainian troops trained to NATO standards from Territorial battalions - because that's all Ukraine has left? As noted by others, most of the money in that aid package doesn't even go to Ukraine. How are you going to get these units in country to "continue the fight"? Smuggle them one by one over the border? NATO tried that with the mercenaries - who died outside Lvov, for the most part, or died when they reached the front line.

Russia can keep killing Ukrainians until there are no Ukrainians if necessary. But it's not necessary. You need cohesive units on an operational level to conduct a war - not a bunch of random units fed in a few at a time. Ukraine has no operational plan and no capacity to make one and no capacity to carry one out.

8) He complains Russia is not interdicting every weapon coming across the border. So what? They're destroying them on the front line as well as in the rear. More importantly, there is no indication that they're having any significant effect on the pace of the war. The only thing slowing the pace of the war is the fact of the sheer numbers of men who have to be killed in dug in fortifications. Again, he's fixated on this moment in time and forgetting that Russia is inflicting significant, if not massive (500-1,000 a day is not "massive"), casualties while minimizing their own.

More importantly, he forgets that tactical weapons - which is what everything (including tanks and artillery) other than air power, long-range stand-off and nuclear weapons are - can not determine the outcome of a war. What determines the outcome of a war is the relative advantage of the strategic and operational plan. I'd love to see him try to convince Martyanov that M777 howitzers and Polish tanks are going to matter in this war. Just as Russia is killing Ukrainians, they are destroying Ukrainian weaponry regardless of where it comes from. And as many have noted, the rate of replacement of weapons is much slower than the rate of destruction. And if that changes, the rate of destruction - of either Ukrainians or weapons - can be easily increased.

9) He complains about rail shipments from Poland of diesel and gas to be used by Ukrainian tanks. He omits the fact that most of the Ukrainian railways have been damaged and there is no reliable information as to how much of that fuel is actually being delivered to the front lines.

10) He says the game has changed, and while that doesn't mean Russia will lose, he then contradicts himself and says "by not accomplishing its political objectives, Russia is losing by not winning and Ukraine is winning by not losing." Again, this reveals a fixation on this moment in time and he is irrationally extrapolating that to the future, simply because Russia has allegedly not "won" within the first two or three months. He completely forgets everything he said about Russia going in "soft" and avoiding civilian infrastructure and civilian and even Ukrainian military deaths. Apparently he would like to see Russia revert to classic Russian or American strategy by just destroying everything in sight.

What he fails to appreciate is precisely what Martyanov continually harps on. Russia has the best General Staff in the world. That General Staff does nothing but plan 24x7. In operational planning strategy and logistics are number one and two. Scott should know what operational planning looks like because he was involved in it with Schwartzkoff in the Irag war. He needs a refresher course from that video Martyanov did last week Monday entitled "Surprise, not!". Martyanov laid out how operational planning was done; he even showed the sort of computer screens involved in the military models of an operation. I uploaded the document he was working from to my Google Drive, you can download it here: It will give you an idea of the complexity of operational planning.

The point of Martyanov's video is that the Russian General Staff is rarely if ever "surprised". They have contingency plans for everything. It's risible that they did not imagine NATO becoming involved one way or the other in the Ukraine war or that they will "run out" of anything they need to prosecute this war at the pace desired.

I suspect Ritter has a problem believing that Russia is quite capable of handling this war, as a result of his belief that it "should have been over in two months." He ignores what he himself said repeatedly over the last months - that Russia is avoiding civilian casualties and civilian infrastructure because it needs an intact Ukraine to achieve those political objectives.

Finally, he claims Ukraine is "winning by not losing." This is nonsense. There can be no doubt on the ground that Ukraine is losing. They are simply not losing on Scott's timetable - so he's frustrated. It's not totally unreasonable. Everyone would like to see the war end fast with a quick victory (except the neocons, of course.) But again, Russia is doing this at its own pace taking into consideration matters that are not apparent to people not familiar with the conduct of war or the political objectives Russia has for Ukraine.

In short, Ritter has made a completely erroneous analysis based solely on his personal emotional response to the situation on the ground and his perception of what Russia "shoulda-woulda-coulda" be doing. Well, send an email to Shoigu and criticize, Scott. Maybe he'll educate you.

I'd really like to see Ritter and Martyanov go on The Duran livestream and argue it out. Martyanov would trash Ritter is my prediction.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 23 2022 17:54 utc | 35


Searched yewtube for John McCain berating the POW lady, demanding the end of the search for Viet Nam POW's.

What is the woman's name? Doris or Delores, IIRC.

Cannot find it. It's gone or buried beneath hundreds of lionizing hero worship.

Posted by: Chaka Khagan | May 23 2022 18:00 utc | 36

Paco @29--

Thanks very much for the Ischenko article; it presents some interesting scenarios that I'm sure Putin and Lukashenko discussed. With the Polish situation there's also the Kaliningrad issue. Poland needs to be deNATOed, so it appears it will aid Russia in that venture.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 23 2022 18:02 utc | 37

Can someone explain why the analysis of S Ritter (before, now and in the future) are SO important that such a storm has arisen? He is an analyst with standindg and his views are interesting and relevant. That does not mean that he is (always) right, because who is always right. Why so much emotion over forecasts - no one knows the future, and war has a trillion moving parts. Is it really so significant that S Ritter believes that Russia will "win"? Will Russia win, or lose, depending on his analysis? Can we stick to developments on the battleground and internationally, on things our lives depend on.

Posted by: JB | May 23 2022 18:10 utc | 38

About the Monkeypox scenario that is being put into play at the moment. For anyone who is interested, this is another Bill Gates scam by the looks of things that is, if you like, being 'balloon tested' at the moment. In today's UK Column News (easy to access just type UK Column News into a search engine and it will take you to the homepage) there was a brilliant bit of investigative journalism which provided very interesting information about it. (UK Column News has a team of excellent Investigative Journalists). The most important things are that the Monkeypox virus' (or as it was also referred to in the report a "rare virus") was used in a Tabletop Pandemic Scenario last year in a fictional place called Brina. Mathematecial modelling (a la Neil Ferguson I presume) put the number of deaths within 18 months as being 270 million. The 'Tabletop Scenario) also set the fictional date that the first signs of this virus would be seen around 15th May 2022 with it increasing dramatically around the middle of June 2022. The scenario was managed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation who also provided these dates. It was said on UK Column News that we need to be very vigilant here because it seems as though 'Germ Control' so to speak will, in the future, not be managed by the WHO but by an organisation run by Bill Gates related to Germ Pandemic Management. Now, is all of this just a strange coincidence? I think not. Also, this needs to be put into the context of the draft Pandemic Preparedness Strategy put forward by WHO which will be discussed and probably ratified in August 2022 which means the WHO (aka Bill Gates) will then command and direct National Governments around the World to take specific action. The only Govts that will not have to are those that register dissent and non agreement to the Strategy. Bojo here in the UK will sign the country away if it makes him look powerful and potent. I'm hoping the majority of sane Governments around the World such as in Latin America, Africa, Russia, China and Asia will register non agreement to the Treaty. So, a Tabletop Exercise used allegedly fictitious dates as to when this might appear and hey presto, all of a sudden, it's true. I would recommend anyone to watch today's UK Column News as it not only contains nuggets like this but it is also very informative about the other issues under discussion. What it does well is also that it has a sense of humour about very serious events and I like that. I subscribe (£3pcm) which means you can, after the actual news programme has finished, go behind the scenes for an extended version which also has some great humour. In addition, it has the lovely Patrick Henningsen in it!

Posted by: Jo Dominich | May 23 2022 18:19 utc | 39

Posted by: JB | May 23 2022 18:10 utc | 38

It's significant because Ritter is everywhere on the Internet as one of the main voices for the alt view of the war. If he starts muddling the issue, because o his own personal issues, it's not helpful. It does nothing but produce more "concern trolls".

I won't go so far as to say Ritter is a concern troll, because I think his issue is frustration at the pace of the war, thus forcing him to continue to argue against the US/NATO aggression more than he probably hoped he would have to. But he hasn't thought it through. Even if Russia wins the war, even if Russia occupies all of Ukraine (as he initially suggested), that isn't going to resolve the NATO expansion issue - except in Ukraine. So he's conflating two different - if linked - matters, as many people have done throughout the crisis. As I've said many times, Ukraine is but the first step in dealing with US/NATO aggression. But it is a necessary first step and there are consequences to how it has to be done and the extent to which it has to be done.

Ritter either doesn't understand that or has forgotten it. And as a result he's confusing people as to the likely outcome of the situation. It's fine to be aware of risks to the operation, especially since we don't really know whether Russia itself understands what needs to be done until it does it, but he's gone overboard on emphasizing them and elevated them to some sort of crisis in his mind.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 23 2022 18:21 utc | 40

Ned F @ 7, karlof1 @ 17

Karloff did more and far better research than myself. I am suspecting that Boris Bondarev may well be a member of the Bandera clan, a long lost nephew of Stepan. Also possibly related to master spy Boris Badenov. Ask moose and squirrel.

Posted by: oldhippie | May 23 2022 18:22 utc | 41

Posted by: JB | May 23 2022 18:10 utc | 38

I take Ritter’s opinions very seriously, a lot more than other newcomer analysts with a lot less experience, besides Scott worked in Russia with Russians and he has a lot of respect and human contact with them.

Maybe I can get some help here, there is a word-concept in Russian that is not translated by the usual tools, шапкозакидательский, literally throwing the hat and meaning the belief in easy victory and bragging about it. So let us not throw the kepis up in the air, Russian soldiers are dying too and war is a tragedy no matter which way we look at it. That it was provoked and by whom we know, as much as we know that it started back in 2014 and not in February of this year.

One more point, discussing personalities and celebrities is a waste of time, all opinions are valid and it is up to critical thinking to process all available info and reach our own conclusions.

Posted by: Paco | May 23 2022 18:35 utc | 42

I just put this up on the weekend Ukraine thread. I thought I would put it here as well. It's Bidet being super lame to Scott Ritter in 1998.

Bidet and Ridder 1998

I wish my stupid country wasn't so exceptionally vile.

Posted by: lex talionis | May 23 2022 18:37 utc | 43

@karlof1 | May 23 2022 16:39 utc | 19 ..."It's all too easy to get sucked into the minutia of the SMO and forget why it's being done, and the much bigger picture beyond...

Please take a few minutes to focus on "the minutia of the SMO"

Likely your statement was intended to be generic and included yourself along with the rest of us, however I don't believe we should allow ourselves to become disconnected from the human consequences and costs of war.

This sit report discusses the state of play on the Donbass front and then the implications of the Polish-Ukrainian agreements The blogger believes that the agreements will allow Polish troops to protect the Ukrainian-Belorussian border and for Polish police to take over duties in many Ukrainian towns to free up Ukrainian manpower to move to the Donbass front. Rumors about Polish troops at the front are not confirmed at present. Implications unknown...

Posted by: the pessimist | May 23 2022 18:38 utc | 44

I will give you only my personal perception. I view Ritter’s 180 as pushing NATO talking points and even spreading Ukrainian manure. He assumes a static position from Russia. After his 180, his tone changed and he presents NATO as the All Powerful and backed by the US Money Machine and Weapons Machine, as Invincible. He creates new armies out of thin air, and professes knowledge of the Russian thinking and possible future actions which he cannot possibly know.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 23 2022 18:38 utc | 45

I think Lyman is the key.

There is a large rail and switching yard in Lyman. And a large turn around track just past it. The rail line runs to the NW, then N, straight into Russia. No Uke forces around it.

Once they have the yard, they can bring large amounts of men, material, etc right up to the front in rail cars, place them on a side track, and leave, or take empty cars with them. Once the operation gets going, large items like pontoon bridges can be delivered.

I also saw on another site that the force in Lyman (500 or so) is surrendering today? Any confirmation on that? Their retreat path is gone due to AFU blowing up bridges.

Posted by: BroncoBilly | May 23 2022 18:39 utc | 46

... Perhaps there was a deal made, a peaceful and orderly surrender in exchange for not releasing the names of foreign nationals.

Posted by: Opport Knocks | May 23 2022 17:40 utc | 30

I’ve been trying to think this sort of thing through but not to any real conclusion..

The timing fits the DoD calls but what would RF get in return? What could DoD types even conceivable offer? Aren’t the biolabs a DoD project? Those Ukie clowns were always going to walk out or be blown out of there in week or two anyway.

Maybe those DoD calls offered Medvedchuk or a commitment not to target senior Russian officers (or to not pass that target info to Ukies). Maybe DoD offered to quietly sabotage mil support of Ukies (US-MIC gets paid either way so couldn’t care less what actually happens on the battlefield), maybe DoD offered to tip off RF to juicy weapon / nazi caches (swoosh, boom).

Others might have more / better suggestions as to what could have been traded but there doesn’t seem to have been any let up in the one-way escalatory ratchet since Azovstal’s goons surrendered, no apparent calming effect. Johnson even sounded desperate when calling for the captives to be treated humanely.

That said, this sort of deal would be need-to-know only, and hardly anyone actually needs to know, so the media circus might carry on regardless.

Just musing.

Posted by: anon2020 | May 23 2022 18:40 utc | 47

@ Chaka Khagan 36
Searched yewtube for John McCain berating the POW lady, demanding the end of the search for Viet Nam POW's. What is the woman's name? Doris or Delores, IIRC. Cannot find it.
It was Dolores Alfond here.
. . .On beer, I favor Tecate. :-)

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 23 2022 18:41 utc | 48

Posted by: BroncoBilly | May 23 2022 18:39 utc | 46

From IntelSlava

🇷🇺🇺🇦❗"We can't do it, we don't have the strength to repel the attack!" - Ukrainians in a panic, the Russian army smashes the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Liman

Canadian journalist Neil Hauer writes about this:

"We will not be able to cope with Russian aviation. There have already been 5 air strikes, the planes were flying directly above us. We do not have enough strength to repel the Russian attack," he quotes policemen who had just returned from Liman.

“I am watching Russian rocket artillery salvoes on Liman from about 10 km. We saw shell explosions hitting Ukrainian positions,” he writes.

🇷🇺🇺🇦⚡Battles for Liman: satellite view shows pockets of fire, apparently positions and equipment are on fire

The Russian army is pushing the enemy out of the city, freeing street after street.

🇷🇺🇺🇦⚡Assault on Liman. According to my information, Russian troops entrenched themselves in Krasny Liman, the enemy withdrew to the West, behind the railway. they report from the field.

Posted by: Down South | May 23 2022 18:49 utc | 49


From IntelSlava

🇷🇺🇺🇦❗The Russian army began the assault on the Liman from the side of the settlement. Stavki, a powerful fortified area of ​​the Armed Forces of Ukraine is located here, at night it was subjected to massive strikes by the MLRS of the "Brave" grouping.

After artillery preparation, armored vehicles went on the offensive in the morning, the infantry broke into the trenches of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, seizing positions, the Ukrainian troops were defeated and dispersed, some were able to retreat to the city.

Posted by: Down South | May 23 2022 18:51 utc | 50

«take great care to point out the nature of the civilisational clash that is being played out»

It is really just a power struggle:

* The USA imposes "protection" on other states, that is "suzerainty", which is control of the other states military, security, diplomatic services, plus control of a chunk of their economy by USA based transnationals.

* In exchange for that the USA offers two things: it will enforce the interests of the upper-middle and upper classes of the states over which it has "suzerainty", at the expense of the lower-middle and lower classes, and it will allow those states to export to the USA.

* For the upper-middle and upper classes that is pretty good deal: for them becoming richer by being part of the USA "co-prosperity sphere" and remaining rich by being protected by the USA from socialism is far more important than full independence.

* The problem is that the current Russian Federation offer of "protection" to other states is rather less attractive: the RF "co-prosperity sphere" and protection from socialism is much weaker than the USA one. Even just compare buying a palace in Aspen or Corfu vs. one in Tomsk or Yalta.

* For the upper-middle and upper classes the benefits of surrendering a chunk of their independence to the USA are large enough that a significant part of the upper-middle and upper-classes of the RF want for their country to be "yeltsinized"/"ukrainized" again, to become an USA protectorate.

The problem for the RF and V. Putin is that the only government that can offer a "co-prosperity sphere" that rivals that of the USA is thar People's Republic Of China, and the USA are working hard to surround, isolate and breakup the PRC too, to prevent opportunistic governments like that of the UK to the PRC when it becomes a better deal than USA protection.

Posted by: Blissex | May 23 2022 18:54 utc | 51

From IntelSlava

🇷🇺🇺🇦⚡Terrorists of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are blowing up the dam of the Uglegorsk thermal power plant near Svetlodarsk! - A lot of people can die.

So the militants are trying to slow down the advance of the troops of Russia and Donbass. Houses were damaged by a powerful explosion.

Dam rupture could kill many people in nearby communities.

Posted by: Down South | May 23 2022 18:55 utc | 52

Western media forced to realise the truth that civilians in Bucha died from Ukrainian shelling. The civilains died from shrapnel from specific Ukrainians shells unique to Ukraine.

"The Western media had to admit that many residents of the Ukrainian Bucha were killed by artillery shells of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Said at a meeting of the UN Security Council, Russia's permanent representative to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia."

Posted by: Republicofscotland | May 23 2022 19:00 utc | 53

Posted by: karlof1 | May 23 2022 16:46 utc | 20

So, since all the Ukrainians have been used up, it will now be other European's time to enter the meat grinder, which is what I predicted at the beginning--the Outlaw US Empire will first fight Russia to the last Ukrainian then to the last European. Leading from behind means all others die first.

I believe you are correct. I hope reality turns out different, but your analysis looks to be correct.

Posted by: Erelis | May 23 2022 19:04 utc | 54

@ Down South.


Also check out Reddit Ukraine/Russia War Report for several vids and photos.

Posted by: BroncoBilly | May 23 2022 19:04 utc | 55

Don 48

Thanks. That video is a time capsule indicative of many things, especially the callous indifference of our Representatives, especially as they reach the upper echelons of power (over us).

The other of equal import is their defense of the status quo at all costs.

A third, is the methodology of circular logic and word salad bullshit, swathed in "Gee Whiz, Unfortunately, that's classified".

Today they prefer to reference "National Security" as a blanket to subvert democracy and to throw malcontents in prison or to murder them.

Posted by: Chaka Khagan | May 23 2022 19:05 utc | 56

Posted by: the pessimist | May 23 2022 18:38 utc | 44

Letting Poles do police duty so Ukrainians can go to the front sounds like an exceptionally idiotic long term plan from the point of view of Ukrainian sovereignty and good relations between Poles and Ukrainians. Are Polish police going to issue calls to the front for Ukrainian men?

Sounds like the poles have a good little plan for stealth occupation functioning on the more dead Ukrainians the better.

Posted by: Lex | May 23 2022 19:07 utc | 57

Lavrovian slip | May 23 2022 15:17 utc | 5

You are looking for fascism in the wrong place. Here is some food for thought (not some Fraudian slip):

Posted by: Cerena | May 23 2022 19:07 utc | 58

Ukraine appears to be luring Russia to the west. The Ukraine territorial losses are a clever feint designed to pull the Russians all the way to NATO's turf.

Daily Report from the Ukraine Field for 2022-05-23

Posted by: Will | May 23 2022 19:13 utc | 59

One more point, discussing personalities and celebrities is a waste of time, all opinions are valid and it is up to critical thinking to process all available info and reach our own conclusions.

Posted by: Paco | May 23 2022 18:35 utc | 42

excellent point. I will probably be a bit more skeptical of Ritter going forward, as I am of Lira after his capture by the Ukrainians, but continue to evaluate their evolving positions on the merits.

Posted by: pretzelattack | May 23 2022 19:14 utc | 60


From IntelSlava

🇷🇺🇺🇦❗The Russian army is storming Liman, about 500 military of the Armed Forces of Ukraine have surrendered!

🇷🇺🇺🇦❗Fighting for Liman right now, the Russian army continues to occupy street after street

Ukrainian militants are hiding from the attacks of rocket and artillery.

Posted by: Down South | May 23 2022 19:16 utc | 61

Zelensky is now the darling of Klaus Schwab's World Economic Forum.

"Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called for “maximum” sanctions on Russia in a bid to prevent Moscow from continuing its offensive against his country, while appealing for more weapons as the military operation heads to its four month.

Zelensky made the remarks during a virtual speech on the opening day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Monday.

He went on to say that sanctions need to continue to stop Russia’s operation, including an oil embargo, blocking all of its banks, imposing punitive measures against its technology sector and cutting off trade with Moscow completely."

Posted by: Republicofscotland | May 23 2022 19:17 utc | 62

While Ritter could be wrong, I am unclear why Ritter's position is not credible. He states clearly that Russia is winning the military operation, but may not be winning the strategic one. The majority of the Western world believe that Putin started an unprovoked and completely reject the notion that Nazis would be align with a Zelensky. NATO was on its deathbed before Ukraine, now Europe is becoming completly militarized under the NATO umbrella and the target on Russia's back is much bigger now. He also doesnt say that Russia lost the strategic war, more like dont underestimate the impact of $40 billion. That seems like a smart analyst poking holes in the current alternative media narrative so that nobody thinks they won this thing before they actually do.

Posted by: Turk 152 | May 23 2022 19:23 utc | 63

Why did Lira stop wearing eyeglasses after his release from captivity? Seems an odd time to have received cataract surgery or other corrective vision surgery. Maybe he switched to contact lenses. Just something weird I noticed about a weird dude.

He reminds me of an old friend who always tried to avoid working. Look for the easy way. The short cut. Get the easy, fast money.

Once, he tried a stint at being a Fundamentalist Preacher. He had too many poor people in his congregation. Nothing ever really panned out for my old friend.

Posted by: Chaka Khagan | May 23 2022 19:24 utc | 64

Could this be where Zelensky, Biden and Johnson get their new recruits in Ukraine from.

"While the AFU are retreating on the Donbass front lines, the Kiev regime is selling Ukraine’s statehood to the west. Zelensky decided to grant Polish citizens a special status. They reportedly receive the rights to hold elective positions, become judges, get access to secret data, etc. The Ukrainian authorities are putting the remaining territory under Poland’s control. In exchange the Polish military is expected to support the Ukrainian Army."

Posted by: Republicofscotland | May 23 2022 19:25 utc | 65

the pessimist @44--

Thanks for your reply. I read the Ishchenko article Paco provided which helped explain the argot present in the translation of Lukashenko's words to Putin. Indeed, keeping both the larger and smaller picture within it in balance is a tedious but needed task as they both influence each other. Fortunately, there are few Class-based patriots remaining with Russia as Blissex @51 tries to get us to believe. (I do wonder when that line of crap will finally be dropped.) I see Blinken, Sullivan and Nuland behind Poland's moves which were speculated about from Day 1. The Outlaw US Empire lacks the means to confront Russia one-on-one on the battlefield, so it will use its NATO cannon fodder instead to the nth degree while its Neoliberal allies drain the EU's wealth.

Erelis @54--

Thanks for your reply. Yes, I hoped there would be a constructive answer given back in December to Russia's security proposals, but those running the Outlaw US Empire had another notion.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 23 2022 19:26 utc | 66

So much energy devoted to Scott Ritter. He knows barely more than the rest of us in terms of situational details.

Phase I appeared to be mainly about pinning, securing a land bridge for crimea and capturing Mariupol. A quick collapse and surrender would have been great, but I doubt that was the “plan”. Phase I also appears to have been put together on the fly and may have had as few as 60,000 Russian troops involved.

Phase II is very clearly about securing DPR and LPR territory and it appears that much/most of the ground fighting is being performed by the militias. It’s still a relatively motley collection of Russian troops, national guard (mostly Chechens), the militias and some PMC operators. I assume there was hope that the Ukrainian defenses would crack sooner rather than later but even in the case that they haven’t (yet), Russia can severely degrade the defense with stand-off weaponry.

I also assume there’s a menu for phase III. Everything from negotiated peace to a March to the Polish border. The decision from that menu is contextual. For example, Poland sticking its nose in would (for me) make Phase III Odessa-centric so as to deny Poland/Ukraine the intermarium. What we don’t know is whether phase III is based on the current forces or new ones. The militias have been fighting for 8 years; I can see a situation where when their territories are secure they stick to them (mostly) and get a break. Then Russia could apply its own forces and go back to maneuver warfare with the bonus of the VSU being severely degraded.

I do think that politically Putin wants the Donbas militias to take their land and not be overshadowed in the accomplishment (Russian forces going into Kharkov, Odessa or Kiev would do that). The current pace isn’t problematic because rearming is slow and western publics are getting bored and/or asking uncomfortable questions. Russia doesn’t have unlimited time, but it still has plenty.

NATO machinations are distractions only. Finland and Sweden did more for NATO’s strategic situation as not-really-neutral than they do in the alliance. Especially since bringing them in is making waves. It was winning a few news cycles at the expense of geopolitics. I still don’t see a reasonable path to NATO rearming in the short or medium term, at least not in a manner that can offensively threaten Russia.

And Biden can’t even finish Ukraine without lighting fires in Asia. Note too that Israel is back to “a nuke in 3 weeks!” And wants its own war with Iran. The US could find itself spread way too thin in short order.

Posted by: Lex | May 23 2022 19:28 utc | 67

Lot going on today

* Nice view from from Popasna, plus flyby of Su-25 and Ka-52 missile shots

* A Brave Ukrainian dashcam view of a car driving the Soledar-Severodonetsk road

* Liman, satellite map of fires

* Liman, view from nearby hilltop

* Ukrainian 3-4 Su-25's strike or attempt to strike in Kherson region, one or two get shot down in this video - not clear if first fireball is aircraft or target of the airstrike. RF MoD reported two shot down in this region

Other news:
VSU counterattacking also N or Kharkov, Denmark to supply Harpoon anti-ship missiles to UA, Biden makes mega-provocative statement to China re: Taiwan then his handlers quickly take it back,

and... USAF is delivering baby formula. This after US company Abbott bought up a significant chunk of US national market share, consolidated their operations to save money, and then proceeded to botch the manufacturing operations. Repeated bacterial contamination made a number of babies severely ill, and even killed a few. Eventually some of the parents' lawsuits got though the usual whitewashing apparatus and the FDA had to take action, shutting down the factory for sanitary violations. This by the way is not unlike how Abbott quietly managed to screw up a bunch of the early Covid test manufacturing around the beginning of Covid, leading to shortages of tests when they were really needed in 2021. But uncle Sam came reliably to their rescue then as now. As luck would have it, there are now lots of empty C-17 flying back from Europe to transport a substitute product from Nestle.

Posted by: ptb | May 23 2022 19:32 utc | 68

BroncoBilly | May 23 2022 18:39 utc | 46
Down South | May 23 2022 18:55 utc | 52

A newish map of the area and the fighting around Liman.

Note the, by now, systematic destruction of dams, bridges and anything that might slow down the Russian advance. However, it is the lack of morale that is going to be the "key" factor going on. The quote is only ONE of several similar statements recently. This one is interseting because they say they never HAD weapons.

"More mutinies in Ukraine - servicemen of the 58th motorized infantry brigade told Zelenskyy that many of them had never held weapons in their hands, that they had no ammunition, weapons and food, so they refused to perform combat missions."

From the same persons telegraph.
"Zakhar Prilepin :

There is persistent news about the collapse of the defense of the Armed Forces of Ukraine near Liman - a certain number of Ukrainian military personnel are in captivity - they name a figure from 300 to 600"

The vast difference between what Kiev says and the reality on the gound, makes me think that the whole front (Donbas) is on the verge of collapse. not from lack of bravery, but from lack of fuel, food and ammunition. (Captives are given food, and they seem ot appreciate eating)

Posted by: Stonebird | May 23 2022 19:35 utc | 69

from Pravda
Russian journalist Alexander Kots reported that the Russian troops entrenched themselves in Krasny Liman. The enemy has retreated towards the west, the journalist said.
Earlier, the Russian Ministry of Defense reported the destruction of several warehouses with ammunition of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. One of them was destroyed by Russian military aircraft in the area of Krasny Liman.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 23 2022 19:40 utc | 70

«Lukashenko on his Telegram channel talk about 1939 and of course the risk of Poland pretending to western Ukraine and what it implies for Belarus and its western part.»

Indeed after 1939 both the western and eastern side of Poland moved westward by a lot, so Poland got Silesia and Pomerania (and Prussia) and lost northern Ruthenia to the Belarussian SSR and southern Ruthenia to the Ukrainian SSR.
Poland massacred and ethnically cleansed the germans from Silesia and Pomerania (and Prussia), so there are no german nationalists left there, but the Belarussian and Ukrainian SSRs did not massacre and ethnically cleanse the ruthenians from their new regions, so now there are many ruthenian nationalist fascists there, under the "protection" of the USA just like their grandfathers were under the protection of Nazi Germany.

«Poland has been the perennial trojan horse, and her ambitions "from sea to sea"»

Not so much a "trojan horse", but with the fantasy of using the USA (rather than being used) to become again the core of what once was the largest european empire for some centuries: the "intermarium" lithuanian-polish-ruthenian empire. The fantasy of recreating it is called "prometheism" and it is fundamentally anti-russian, as it was Catherine II that in 1795 ended that empire:
Prometheism or Prometheanism (Polish: Prometeizm) was a political project initiated by Józef Piłsudski, statesman of the Second Polish Republic from 1918 to 1935. Its aim was to weaken the Russian Empire and its successor states, including the Soviet Union, by supporting nationalist independence movements among the major non-Russian peoples that lived within the borders of Russia and the Soviet Union. Between the World Wars, Prometheism and Piłsudski's other concept, of an "Intermarium federation", constituted two complementary geopolitical strategies for him and for some of his political heirs.

«very much encouraged by the Brit»

Very much the the USA, the UK are an USA protectorate and don't have an independent foreign policy. But also by Japan, which has already funded and armed "prometheist" terrorists over 100 years ago to create trouble for the Russian Empire on its western flank:
Marshal Piłsudski, who as early as 1904, in a memorandum to the Japanese government, pointed out the need to employ, in the struggle against Russia, the numerous non-Russian nations that inhabited the basins of the Baltic, Black and Caspian Seas

Posted by: Blissex | May 23 2022 19:45 utc | 71

«But it's not necessary. You need cohesive units on an operational level to conduct a war - not a bunch of random units fed in a few at a time.»

I would think that the USA plan here is to turn Ukraine into a new Afghanistan with the fascist militias as the new "freedom fighting" mujaheddin/taliban. With Poland in the role of a rather more enthusiastic Pakistan to provide safe areas and weapons to the fascist militias.

The USA kept funding the fascist militias left behind by the retreating german army in southern Ruthenia (aka western Ukraine) for a couple decades after 1945, even without a common border. Now that they have a border directly into it, they can feed endless waves of fascist militia fanatics into western Ukraine, purely to grind down Russian Federation forces and budgets. Central Europe will become, due to the constant influx of weapons and fanatics, a lawless gangster area, but that is a small price to pay for the USA to ground down the Russian Federation and create a "color revolution" in Moscow.

Even _elensky realizes that is the plan:
«Mr Zelensky divides NATO into five camps. First are those who "don‘t mind a long war because it would mean exhausting Russia, even if this means the demise of Ukraine and comes at the cost of Ukrainian lives".»

Posted by: Blissex | May 23 2022 19:54 utc | 72

Posted by: Stonebird | May 23 2022 19:35 utc | 69

I’ve seen such appeals/statements from Ukie troops on the frontline.

It makes me wonder about the probability of a mutiny or coup by the AFU. They must know the situation is hopeless and the promises by NATO nothing more than hot air. All the equipment sent so far has been obsolete/out of date or simply useless. No “game changers” as of yet. If Poland does intervene it will simply be a land grab under the pretext of a peace keeping mission.

How much more of a beating can the AFU take before they collapse?

Posted by: Down South | May 23 2022 19:55 utc | 73

Here's a zoomable map with Liman -- Lyman on it.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 23 2022 19:55 utc | 74

Does Duda's kiss to Zelensky emulate Judas's to Our Saviour?

Posted by: willie | May 23 2022 19:59 utc | 75

If there "is no border between the Ukraine and Poland", Polish citizens can hold official office in Ukraine, Polish police can keep law and order in Ukrainian towns, and Polish troops move to protect the Ukrainian-Belorussian border, then I would think NATO weapons stores in eastern Poland would become targets for Russian air strikes, as Poland would be a de-facto party to the conflict whether or not they send troops to the Donbass front. Poland cannot expect to enter such agreements without consequences.

Posted by: the pessimist | May 23 2022 20:04 utc | 76

Down South | May 23 2022 19:55 utc | 73

There is a report, unconfirmed, that troops in or around Liman actually arrested their own officers. I tend to believe that, as there have been continual cases of officers "putting" troops in place and then leaving.

I also wonder, how many of the "frontline" troops are suspected of being Russian speakers and are deliberately put there? The language basis for ethnic "cleaning" taken to an extreme?

Posted by: Stonebird | May 23 2022 20:04 utc | 77

«I still don’t see a reasonable path to NATO rearming in the short or medium term, at least not in a manner that can offensively threaten Russia.»

NATO already have a military budget 15-20 times that of the RF at exchange rates, and around 8-10 times bigger at purchasing power rates...

«And Biden can’t even finish Ukraine without lighting fires in Asia.»

For a while the USA elites wanted to keep around a weak Russian Federation as a paper enemy to justify big military spending (that's why they refused the request of Putin to enter NATO), but now they seem to have decided that the real enemy is China, and the USA elites want to "yeltsinize"/"ukrainize" the RF so to get a chain of CIA/DOD bases on the northern and western (the if the RF becomes "ukrainized" then Kazakhstan goes the same way) borders of China from which to train, fund and arm waves of "freedom fighters" into China.

«The US could find itself spread way too thin in short order.»

It all depends on how much the USA elites want to drive the "butter vs. guns" balance: even with a "butter and guns" policy the USA military could sustain two simultaneous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus hundreds of bases around the world, and in WW2 the USA produced 300,000 fighter aircraft per year, and a total of 151 aircraft carriers in 4 years. Even if it has outsourced much of its industry currently the USA has well over twice the population it had in WW2, and can draw on the natural resources of most of the world, having complete control of the oceans.

So if the USA elites decide that in "butter vs. guns" guns need to come on top they can sustain massive logistics of both materiel and troops for many years.

Compare with the English Empire: it was held together by the minuscule forces that England could afford to keep, and that worked only because the opponents were at the bow-and-arrow stage of warfare. An english politician and author wrote a poem with these lines:

Henry Belloq "The Modern Traveller" (1898):
Whatever happens we have got
The Maxim Gun, and they have not.

Posted by: Blissex | May 23 2022 20:08 utc | 78

Posted by: Paco | May 23 2022 18:35 utc | 42
"One more point, discussing personalities and celebrities is a waste of time, all opinions are valid and it is up to critical thinking to process all available info and reach our own conclusions."

Which is exactly what I did. This is NOT "discussing celebrities". This is being factually correct about the situation and correcting erroneous analysis.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 23 2022 20:10 utc | 79

The Putin Doctrine is back in the news today in this op/ed by Dmitry Trenin. I note this in two of his initial paragraphs:

"Such an attitude on the part of the adversary does not imply room for any serious dialogue, since there is practically no prospect of a compromise, primarily between the United States and Russia, based on a balance of interests. The new dynamic of Russian-Western relations involves a dramatic severance of all ties, and increased Western pressure on Russia (the state, society, economy, science and technology, culture, and so on) on all fronts. This is no longer a source of discord between the opponents of the Cold War period, who then became (unequal) partners. It looks more like the drawing of a clearer dividing line between them, with the West refusing to accept even the perfunctory neutrality of individual countries."


"It is Russia itself that should be at the center of Moscow's foreign policy strategy during this period of confrontation with the West and rapprochement with non-Western states. The country will have to be increasingly on its own. The outcome of the confrontation is not predetermined though. Circumstances affect Russia, but Russian politics can also change the world around it. The main thing to keep in mind is that no strategy can be developed without a clear set of goals. We need to start with ourselves, with an awareness of who we are, where we come from and what we strive for, based on our values and interests."

Clearly Trenin's putting forth a feeler dealing with the formation of a new Russian Foreign Policy Plan, the creation of which was recently announced by Lavrov now that the old plan is dead, although it's clear this is much more than a mere feeler; it's a suggestion for conducting what Trenin describes as "Total War" albeit a hybrid one so far.

Within the article and at its conclusion are several links which I suggest exploring. Here's Lavrov's speech's English transcript at the same event this paper/speech by Trenin was presented. I searched for more papers/speeches delivered at the XXX Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy but wasn't readily able to find more. Since Trenin's a member of Russia's Foreign and Defense Policy Council, he's not one to ignore.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 23 2022 20:10 utc | 80

On the subject of Boris Bondarev and his letter. It is true that Gennadij Gatilov is not a Deputy Foreign Minister. He is Russian representative at various international organizations in Geneva:

Posted by: Lucerna | May 23 2022 20:12 utc | 81

On the subject of Boris Bondarev once again: If you scroll down, you will (on May 23, 2022) find his name. He works, or rather worked, in Geneva, under Gatilov. Not under Sergey Lavrov. So his resignation letter might be genuine after all, as well as the news on his resignation in Western media.

Posted by: Lucerna | May 23 2022 20:26 utc | 82

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 23 2022 18:38 utc | 45

Thank you for that link, I hadn't seen that yet. It also links to Larry Johnson's rebuttal to Ritter as well as Gonzalo Lira's. It also makes the point I make above that it matters what Ritter thinks and if he's wrong he should be called on it like anyone else would be.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 23 2022 20:28 utc | 83

General Austin, coming off his utter failures in Syria and Afghanistan, held a virtual meeting with US puppets today regarding Ukraine.

"We're here to help Ukraine for the long haul," Austin said. "In this new phase, Ukraine is fighting just as hard and just as well. Ukrainian armed forces are skillfully using systems, both old and new. They've stalled Russia's offensive in the east and continue to seize the initiative. Throughout, Ukraine has shown the world the military and moral power of a free people coming together to defend their democracy from aggression and atrocities." . . .here

The contact group itself is growing. Austin welcomed Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, Ireland and Kosovo to the teleconference. . .OMG it's over now. /s

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 23 2022 20:32 utc | 84

I have to say Opport Knocks (comment 30) I never thought of that. And I would not rule a deal out. I have even wondered if the whole "special operation" is just a means of getting rid of the evil extremists of Azov, Pravy Sector and others, but then it occurs to me that Zelensky appears to be one of them. he's also an actor.

I realise that some of the Ukrainian troops are not Nazis and have been conscripted against their will.

Posted by: John Goss | May 23 2022 20:37 utc | 85

Background and foreground on this notion that USA has authority to direct internal affairs of other sovereign nations:

Der Schwerpunkt: Americans Are A Nation Among Nations

Posted by: The Rev. David R. Gr | May 23 2022 20:43 utc | 86

Posted by: Blissex | May 23 2022 19:54 utc | 72
"I would think that the USA plan here is to turn Ukraine into a new Afghanistan with the fascist militias as the new "freedom fighting" mujaheddin/taliban. With Poland in the role of a rather more enthusiastic Pakistan to provide safe areas and weapons to the fascist militias."

That's been discussed here. I indicated how this could be managed. Ritter himself dismissed the idea of a CIA-backed mercenary army stating that the CIA has little ability to do that, and second, that Ukrainians are not Afghans. It will be interesting to see if Ritter reverses himself on that score.

"they can feed endless waves of fascist militia fanatics into western Ukraine"

After WWII, the CIA did indeed run Ukrainians as a stalking horse against Russia. Russia lost 20-odd thousand dead, the Ukrainians lost over 200,000. Bring it on! Russia has done counter-insurgency in Chechnya, Afghanistan and Syria. They know how to do it, unlike the US.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 23 2022 20:43 utc | 87

From over 3 weeks ago, on Lyman.

"For a variety of reasons -- economic, practical or personal -- more and more in this primarily Russian-speaking region are declaring themselves to be pro-Moscow.

At a little grocery store on the edges of Lyman, a small group of people huddle together and refuse to speak to journalists.

"The Ukrainian Nazis will kill us if we say what we think," said a woman, using terminology used by Moscow to defend what it terms a military operation in its pro-Western neighbour.

Posted by: BroncoBilly | May 23 2022 20:45 utc | 88

Posted by: Blissex | May 23 2022 20:08 utc | 78
"NATO already have a military budget 15-20 times that of the RF at exchange rates, and around 8-10 times bigger at purchasing power rates..."

Read Martyanov. Learn the difference between alleged economic power and real economic power, and between economic power and military power.

"the USA elites want to "yeltsinize"/"ukrainize" the RF"

That ain't gonna happen. Either that or it's WWIII. So why bother discussing the wet dreams of the neocons - other than the fact that they will start WWIII if they try?

"even with a "butter and guns" policy the USA military could sustain two simultaneous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus hundreds of bases around the world"

This is not WWII. Iran alone would bleed the US dry within a decade. Adding Russia to that and it's game over. Add China to that and the US collapses.

"can draw on the natural resources of most of the world, having complete control of the oceans."

If Russia gets involved, the US "complete control of the oceans" evaporates. And most of the world doesn't like the US.

Sorry, I dismiss all that.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 23 2022 20:49 utc | 89

Yesterday someone was wondering if a state (Ukraine) can temporarily give part of its territory to another state (Poland).
Today a similar case emerges that perhaps will become critical: Russia leased the Saimaa Canal and a small strip of land on either side of the canal to Finland in 1962 for 50 years. The lease was renewed for another 50 years in 2012.
The Saimaa canal extends for about 20 km in Finland and continues for another 23 km in Russia.
Ukraine could lease Galicia to Poland

Posted by: FZappa | May 23 2022 20:50 utc | 90

@ FZappa | May 23 2022 20:50 utc | 90

Yeah, that was me. I'm not gathering from the Wikipedia article that the territory of the Saimaa Canal became Finnish state territory on account of the lease. If so, anyone living on the land should have become Finnish citizens for the duration, and Finnish law would apply in all instances -- which, as the Wikipedia article states, is not the case (Russian law except regarding maritime rules and staff employment).

Sounds to me like the Saimaa Canal is Russian land ceded to temporary Finnish administration, not a temporary but integral part of Finland

Posted by: malenkov | May 23 2022 21:03 utc | 91

«Today a similar case emerges that perhaps will become critical: Russia leased the Saimaa Canal and a small strip of land on either side of the canal to Finland in 1962 for 50 years.»

Guantanamo? Kowloon and New Territories? (Hong Kong Island was ceded, not leased).

Posted by: Blissex | May 23 2022 21:09 utc | 92

Someone at Larry Johnson's blog did the breakdown of the $40 billion. At most it ends up being $17 billion for actual weapons for Ukraine - which is not much more than than the $13 billion already spent - which isn't doing squat in Ukraine so far.

Greg says

23 May 2022 at 03:58

I was curious, so I did a bit of looking. Here’s the bill breakdown

It breaks down like this – i’ve grouped it by country likely benefiting. There’s usd17b in there for actual weapons for ukraine, before you get to the various ways that number will be reduced in effect. 11bn are drawdown from existing stocks, likely more old busted/useless stuff.
No comment in the brief on how that 11bn drawdown is priced, whether they add up to 11bn in original purchase cost, inflation adjusted cost, replacement cost, or replacement cost + kickbacks, etc.

600m defense production
550m us munitions stocks
900m for refugees
54m CDC for refugees
350m State Dept refugees
190m kyiv embassy ops
10m kyiv embassy tech
110m kyiv embassy security
100m state dept nonproliferation
67m DOJ for seizing ru assets
52m dept of treasury seizing ru assets
20m bill emerson humanitarian trust
17m USAID ops
total ~3bn

eu + elsewhere
4350m international disaster assistance
4000m foreign military financing program – incl ua
3900m euro command ops incl patriot battery
150m global ag and food for price increases
total ~12bn

6000m ua security assistance initiative = weapons + training
11000m drawdown authority for sending us weaps to ua
8766m economic support in ua
500m to ua via eu for economy & energy
400m law enforcement
2m support ua nuclear agency

total ~27bn
weapons ~17bn, at least 2/3 from existing stocks

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 23 2022 21:13 utc | 93

If Ukrainian soldiers are thinking of rebelling, they would be well advised to negotiate secretly with the Russians. Two examples from World War 2 where secret dealings with the supposed enemy enabled revolts: (1) Italian monarchists plotting with the Allies against Mussolini and the Germans 1943; (2) Romanian monarchists plotting with the Soviets against Antonescu and the Germans 1944.

Posted by: Lysias | May 23 2022 21:16 utc | 94

@ Richard Steven Hack | May 23 2022 20:28 utc | 83

The snippet I selected might be unrepresentative -- Saker's "Hot Potato" Sitrep is scrupulously fair and professional, imho, to Ritter & friends. I have to say I'm saddened that it comes down to folks questioning each other's motives. The kind of political trash-talk we're hearing in this fracas can be hard to back down from. Saker's Amarynth commendably pleads for commenters to eschew the popularity contest. There are serious issues to focus on.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 23 2022 21:21 utc | 95

The correct spelling of the name of the Franco-English poet who wrote the lines about the Maxim Gun is: Hilaire Belloc.

Posted by: Lysias | May 23 2022 21:21 utc | 96

@ Richard Steven Hack 87
Ritter himself dismissed the idea of a CIA-backed mercenary army stating that the CIA has little ability to do that

Historic examples of covert action include the CIA's orchestration of the 1953 coup in Iran; the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba; the Vietnam-era secret war in Laos; and support to both the Polish Solidarity labor union in the 1970s and 1980s and to the Mujahidin in Afghanistan during the 1980s.
Ukrainian troops got a crash course in modern guerrilla warfare from the Central Intelligence Agency following Russia’s 2014 invasion of Crimea — training that US officials believe is helping Ukraine hold off the Kremlin now. CIA paramilitary officers with the Special Activities Division began secretly training Ukrainian forces in sniping, anti-tank warfare and surveillance evasion shortly after the 2014 incursion
CIA jobs...
Paramilitary Operations Officer
Paramilitary Operations Officers lead and manage Covert Action programs and collect foreign intelligence vital to national security policymakers.
Full time
Starting salary: $70,491 - $116,788*
*Higher starting salary possible depending on experience level
Bachelor's degree
Foreign language bonus eligible
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Posted by: Don Bacon | May 23 2022 21:23 utc | 97

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 23 2022 21:21 utc | 95

I initially thought Ritter was simply frustrated by the pace of the war. Then I started wondering about his motives. After watching the Medhurst interview I'm back to thinking he simply doesn't get it. His motives are fine, he's simply gotten "concerned" about things that haven't happened yet. The rest of his talk there was perfectly fine, albeit repetitive and nothing new.

As I mentioned above, the only reason this is important is because Ritter is on our side. So when he's wrong, he needs to be called out on it like anyone else. Bullshit is bullshit, no matter who it comes from.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | May 23 2022 21:29 utc | 98

"Ukrainian troops got a crash course in modern guerrilla warfare from the Central Intelligence Agency following Russia’s 2014 invasion of Crimea — training that US officials believe is helping Ukraine hold off the Kremlin now."

Well...they believe all sorts of things dont they? Lol

From the looks of it, that million man army might be ready in 15-20 years.

Posted by: nook | May 23 2022 21:30 utc | 99

Opport Knocks | May 23 2022 17:40 utc | 30

check out the interview of Pepe Escobar by Lamprini Thoma in which he states that he has confirmation that the call to Shoigu was about the bioweapons labs. The call comes immediately following the Russian presentation to the UN Security Council about what was found in these labs.

Posted by: cirsium | May 23 2022 21:33 utc | 100

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