Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 02, 2022

Ukraine's Army Is In Very Bad Shape - More Fighting Will Only Destroy It

The French news agency AFP has published a report by Daphne Rousseau from near the Ukrainian frontline. It allows us to gain some realistic view of the state of the Ukrainian armed forces.

Exhausted Ukrainian soldiers return from eastern front

Here is a current map of the frontline. Kiev is in the upper left corner.


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I will quote the AFP report piecemeal and add my observations:

Packed with exhausted Ukrainian soldiers with clenched jaws, the truck drives away at full speed. The troops from the 81st brigade have just received an order to withdraw from the eastern front where Russian forces advance.

The brigade walked 12 kilometres (7.5 miles) Saturday, camouflaged in the woods and under crossfire, until their point of retreat at Sviatoguirsk.

The 81st Airmobile Brigade consists of 3 infantry battalions equipped with BTR-70 armored personnel carriers that can be loaded onto a plane. It also has a strong artillery group with 3 gun and missile battalions, and the usual hodgepodge of support units.

As the Ukrainian troops had to walk 12 kilometers a question arises. Where are their armored carriers? Even when infantry is deployed in dugouts and trenches its transport should always be nearby (~3 km) to be able to quickly pick it up when necessary.

The most likely answer is that those BTR-70, as well as the brigade's artillery, no longer exist. From today's 'clobber list' as published by the Defense Ministry of Russia (emphasis added):

In total, 146 aircraft and 112 helicopters, 683 unmanned aerial vehicles, 281 anti-aircraft missile systems, 2,756 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 316 multiple launch rocket systems, 1,234 field artillery and mortars, as well as 2,563 units of special military vehicles of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were destroyed during the operation.

Those numbers will be, like all such counts, somewhat exaggerated. But they do tell a story.

Sviatoguirsk, the extraction point for the troops, is some 10 kilometers southeast of Izium which the Russian forces have taken a while ago. 

More from the AFP piece:

For a month, the 81st -- whose motto is "always first" -- battled to push back the Russian advance in Ukraine's eastern Donbas region where Moscow's troops move forward slowly, taking villages one by one.

"Everyone understands that we must guard the line here, we cannot let the enemy move closer, we try to hold it with all our force," says lieutenant Yevgen Samoylov, anxious that the unit could be hit by Russian fire at any point.

"As you can hear, the enemy is very, very near," he says, pointing to the sky. The line of Russian tanks is on the other side of a hill, around seven kilometres (4.3 miles) away.

The troops walked 12 kilometers and are now on trucks. The enemy is currently 7 kilometers away. Simple math will explain that with a 5 kilometer deep gain by the Russian forces.

At 21 years old, Samoylov, an officer from the Odessa military academy, finds himself managing 130 conscripts, often twice his age.

"It's my first war. I was supposed to graduate in four months, but they sent me here," says the baby-faced officer with a short black beard.

What a disaster. 130 conscripts up to age 40+. These ain't well trained warriors but teachers and car mechanics or farmers drafted into the war. With 130 troops the unit has about the size of a company. Infantry companies in the Soviet/Russian/Ukrainian army are relatively big:

[T]he strength of a tank company is 31-40 people, and the number of servicemen of a motorized rifle company ranges from 150 people. Often a company is commanded by an officer with the rank of captain, and only in some units this position is occupied by a major.

The junior lieutenant Samoylov, who did not even finish his officer course, is leading a unit that is usually led by an officer two to three ranks higher than his. Where are the higher officers?

More from AFP:

The unit swung into action on February 23, a day before Russia launched the invasion.

At the start of the war, they spent a month defending Izium, which fell on April 1, before joining the fighting around the village of Oleksandrivka.

"Some really difficult battles," says the quiet Samoylov.

Izium is at the northern front where Russian force press towards the south. There are several Oleksandrivka (Alexandrovka) named settlements in the Ukraine, three of them in the Donetsk oblast. There may be more unofficial ones with that name. Two of the known ones are in the north west of Donetzk Oblast some 20 kilometer southwest and southeast of Izium respectively.

The map shows Izium in the north, the western Oleksandrivka is on the bottom left. The other Oleksandrivka lies on the west periphery of Kramatorsk city, to which it practically belongs. It is not named on the map.

Neither town is directly on the current frontline which runs about 10 kilometer to the north. Sviatoguirsk, the extraction point, is much nearer to the front. That is where the troops likely were before they walked towards the trucks.


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The AFP piece continues:

In this brigade, like the others, they don't say how many people have been killed.

When the subject comes up, Samoylov's gaze becomes misty. The pain is raw.

A deadly silence takes over the military truck during the drive to the abandoned building where the soldiers will stay during their week of rest.

Samoylov's 130 men are unlikely to be from one original company. They are probably all what is left from a battalion that originally had three companies and more than 400 men.

When the convoy passes a truck loaded with long-range missiles dashing to the front, the soldiers automatically make a "V" sign for victory with their fingers before fixing their gaze once more on their feet or the horizon in silence.

Is there still some morale in these men or is that just a routine gesture? I believe it is the latter.

On arrival at the base, the soldiers unload their weapons, remove their kit and immediately go into one of the dilapidated rooms without electricity where they undergo a medical examination after returning from the front.

For the survivors, "there are small injuries on the forehead, those who were buried under the rubble during a bombing have fractures and (injuries) linked to shrapnel," says Vadym Kyrylov, the brigade's doctor.

"But we mainly see somatic problems, like hypertension or chronic illnesses that have worsened," the 25-year-old adds.

Each battalion of the 81st brigade should have a doctor with a more senior one serving in the brigade's headquarter company. That a 25 year old one is in the brigade's doctor role again points to a lack of men.

- 'Trench foot' -

The men also greatly suffer from "trench foot" syndrome caused by prolonged exposure to moisture, unsanitary conditions or the cold.

"For a month they are not able to dry their shoes... so there are many feet-related injuries, mainly fungi and infections," the doctor says.

Military boots should be watertight. During my time in the military we trained in some very muddy areas but I never got my feet wet. One wonders what quality Ukrainian army boots have.

After the medical visit, they all have the same reflex: to isolate and use their phone to call a female partner, a child or a parent.

Soldiers cannot use their phones on the front, and any application that requires geolocation is banned.

How strict is the control of those policies? Experience says that if soldiers are allowed to have phones with them they will inevitably use them. That is why Russia prohibits its soldiers to carry phones.

Four soldiers reassemble the rusty metal bed frames and sweep the floor coated with dust to make a semblance of a room.

That does not sound like a fun place for rest and recreation. Are there even mattresses for those metal frames?

"It's the moment for the guys to relax, to take care of their physical and psychological injuries, to regain their strength before returning to battle," Samoylov says.

"They'll sleep warm, eat normal food and try to more or less get back on their feet."

Those troops were nine weeks on the frontline and now only get one week of rest in a miserable place. Samoylov is an optimist. None of those injuries, especially not the psychological ones, will heal within a week. It takes years to overcome the cruelties of war and sometimes more than a lifetime.

The Ukrainian army is obviously in a very bad shape as it pushes barely trained conscripts to the frontline where Russian artillery will eat them up. That it is in such a state is not astonishing though.

The Swiss military intelligence officer Jacques Baud has worked in the Ukraine and has written about the current war (here, here and here). He describes the sorry state the Ukrainian military was in from the get-go:

The Ukrainian army was then in a deplorable state. In October 2018, after four years of war, the chief Ukrainian military prosecutor, Anatoly Matios, stated that Ukraine had lost 2,700 men in the Donbass: 891 from illnesses, 318 from road accidents, 177 from other accidents, 175 from poisonings (alcohol, drugs), 172 from careless handling of weapons, 101 from breaches of security regulations, 228 from murders and 615 from suicides.

In fact, the army was undermined by the corruption of its cadres and no longer enjoyed the support of the population. According to a British Home Office report, in the March/April 2014 recall of reservists, 70 percent did not show up for the first session, 80 percent for the second, 90 percent for the third, and 95 percent for the fourth. In October/November 2017, 70% of conscripts did not show up for the “Fall 2017” recall campaign. This is not counting suicides and desertions (often over to the autonomists), which reached up to 30 percent of the workforce in the ATO area. Young Ukrainians refused to go and fight in the Donbass and preferred emigration, which also explains, at least partially, the demographic deficit of the country.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense then turned to NATO to help make its armed forces more “attractive.” Having already worked on similar projects within the framework of the United Nations, I was asked by NATO to participate in a program to restore the image of the Ukrainian armed forces. But this is a long-term process and the Ukrainians wanted to move quickly.

So, to compensate for the lack of soldiers, the Ukrainian government resorted to paramilitary militias. They are essentially composed of foreign mercenaries, often extreme right-wing militants. In 2020, they constituted about 40 percent of the Ukrainian forces and numbered about 102,000 men, according to Reuters. They were armed, financed and trained by the United States, Great Britain, Canada and France. There were more than 19 nationalities—including Swiss.

The Ukrainian army will not win the war nor will the fascist militias. The country simply has no chance.

'Western' governments are abusing the Ukraine and its soldiers. They want to 'weaken Russia' and do not allow the Ukraine to sue for peace.

That is criminal.

Jacques Baud again:

[D]espite [President Zelensky's] probable willingness to achieve a political settlement for the crisis with Russia, Zelensky is not allowed to do so. Just after he indicated his readiness to talk with Russia, on 25 February, the European Union decided two days later to provide €450M in arms to Ukraine. The same happened in March. As soon as Zelensky indicated he wanted to have talks with Vladimir Putin on 21 March, the European Union decided to double its military aid to €1 billion on 23 March. End of March, Zelensky made an interesting offer that was retracted shortly after.

Apparently, Zelensky is trying to navigate between Western pressure and his far right on the one hand and his concern to find a solution on the other, and is forced into a ” back-and-forth,” which discourages the Russian negotiators.
...
Today, Zelensky must lead his country under the sword of Damocles, with the blessing of Western politicians and unethical media. His lack of political experience made him an easy prey for those who were trying to exploit Ukraine against Russia, and in the hands of extreme right-wing movements. As he acknowledges in an interview with CNN, he was obviously lured into believing that Ukraine would enter NATO more easily after an open conflict with Russia, as Oleksey Arestovich, his adviser, confirmed in 2019.

The Ukraine has lost the war. All the weapons systems the 'west' is now pushing into it are of no use as the Ukraine obviously lacks the men to field them. They will likely get pilfered and in future some of them may well be used against the 'west' itself.

They would do some bloody justice.

Posted by b on May 2, 2022 at 17:32 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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The reporting is following the same pattern as in Syria.

At first, Russia was both evil and incompetent but when the Jihadis broke, the Russians were just evil. Stories transitioned form Rebels defeating Russia/SAA to the heroic defense.

In Ukraine, we are still in the first phase of reporting but the tone is starting to turn to the second.

---------------
Willy Joseph Cancel, a U.S. veteran, was killed and then abandoned by his comrades. His fellow fighters said they had to leave or they would be killed. An isolated incident? Perhaps but a well documented case vs what Zelensky says.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | May 2 2022 17:48 utc | 1

Good report, Thank you.
I wonder what the situation is like on the other side of the front.

Posted by: Lavrys | May 2 2022 17:50 utc | 2

The Ukrainian army might be in a difficult position but the people of Europe are going to find themselves in a desperate one. Soon.

Posted by: DG | May 2 2022 17:53 utc | 3

Here is Doctorow's take, today
"...the Ukrainian army indeed has NATO trained officers and skilled professionals who may be admirable fighters, as the Western media insist. But it also has a lot of cannon fodder. By cannon fodder I mean overaged recruits dragooned into the forces and also volunteers who are useless to any modern military and are no longer trainable. Most of the prisoners of war shown on Russian television were in their late 50s and even late 60s; they had no prior military experience. One of the latter, with haggard face and scraggly beard down to his chest was asked why he enlisted to fight. The answer came back: “There was no work. So I signed up just to make some money.” After seeing their mates shot dead, is it any wonder that such soldiers raise their arms to surrender at the first opportunity?

"The question not being asked is where are all the young and able Ukrainian males? How have they evaded the draft? Given the widely acknowledged corruption in Ukrainian government and society, would it not be strange if some just buy their way out of the war? Are they among the 5 million Ukrainians who have gone abroad since the start of the hostilities? Are they the ones now driving their high priced Mercedes with Ukrainian license plates around the streets of Hamburg? Who in the West records this or really cares about it?

"The testimony of the prisoners of war shows that they were misled by their officers. They were told that the Russians would simply slaughter them if they showed the white flag. The testimony of the several women who walked to freedom from the Severstal catacombs supports the official Russian version of the situation there: they were intimidated by the nationalist warriors who used them as human shields. They were barely fed and were warned that the way out was mined so that they would die in any attempt at escape..."

A to the Ghost of Kiev Reborn- like the President and his entourage in wherever they are- he is probably of military age, but, unlike the poor bloody infantry at the front, not so poor that they are reduced to taking any work on offer, even if its fighting Russian speakers for foreigners. Ukraine is so poor, after three decades of looting by the Bandera Memorial visitors from afar, and the politicians and militias so rich, on Canadian and EU largesse that this country of 40 million cannot sustain-even with billions in 'aid'- its army without scouring the old folks homes and drafting the middle aged.

Posted by: bevin | May 2 2022 17:56 utc | 4

You just have to read the interviews on IntelSlava to see just how depleted the Ukraine army is

🇷🇺🇺🇦 "Never shot, immediately surrendered"

One of the APU fighters who laid down his arms told about the lack of combat training and morale among Ukrainian servicemen.

"We had nothing, they took us to the landfill once and that's it. Ten rounds were given, hit 2 times out of 10..."

Posted by: Down South | May 2 2022 17:57 utc | 5

Posted by: DG | May 2 2022 17:53 utc | 6

I am curious what your prediction is on Europe.

What is going to be so desperate? And if it is going to be desperate for Europe, what do you think will happen to people living in Africa or Middle East?

Posted by: Rasta | May 2 2022 17:59 utc | 6

"'Western' governments are abusing the Ukraine and its soldiers. They want to 'weaken Russia' and do not allow the Ukraine to sue for peace.

That is criminal."

I completely agree with this statement. Although I do worry that despite Russia having the upper hand currently all the arms, weaponry and intelligence provided by NATO to the Ukraine will eventually bog down the Russian military and lead to a quagmire. The best possible outcome at this point is a swift Russian victory even if they have to move some goalposts around as to what exactly victory encompasses. That would take the wind out of NATO's sails and leave it scrambling to update its propaganda narratives.

It takes a while to train soldiers to use weapon systems they aren't familiar with and all the gizmos sent by NATO will be pretty much useless until Ukrainian soldiers actually know how to use them. And that won't happen overnight. That gives Russia a potential opportunity to wrap this operation up sooner rather than later.

Posted by: Antiwar Dinosaur | May 2 2022 18:01 utc | 7

That is true,Ukranian army without people support, demoralized.
And Ukraine ruined and fanatized by the Western.

Posted by: Miguel | May 2 2022 18:06 utc | 8

A most interesting revelation.

This situation is a mirror image of the so called poor/non existent morale . Including the alleged high casualty rate of the Russian military police "Remove the local trash Infestation" action force. In country 'U'.

The same one that all various western "Ministry of Truth". Has been feeding all the masses. Here in the west!

Could it be, that the UAF has reversed it's statistics by a complete 180.

Is it possible that the "AFP", is not very happy that the local born country 'U' reps. Have been supplying them full on propaganda. Or a complete load of fiction. That which was dictated to them by order of Chairman 'Z' and the SBU' at gun point.

Is 'AFP' now appears to be in total damage control. In order to reverse it's totally destroyed tarnished "Ministry of Truth" rating. A news reporting agency! literally , dedicated to propaganda and complete fiction. Instead of reporting real news!

Truth is stranger than fiction.....

Posted by: Bad Deal Motors On | May 2 2022 18:07 utc | 9

The reality is the West is unable to supply either the quantity or quality of weapons that will make any difference to the outcome of this conflict. The sooner they abandon that wishful thinking the better it will be. Europe's economy is on a knife edge right now. All the pretending and bluster in the world wont save it.

Posted by: nook | May 2 2022 18:11 utc | 10

The dying empire is unconcerned if Ukraine, or even Europe, is destroyed. They are afflicted with a monomania about punishing Russia so that they can finish destroying the middle east and move on to destroying central and eastern Asia.

Their strategic masterpiece of "force Russia into a war -> ??? -> Russia collapses" isn't working as intended, and has already failed in Syria. Perhaps they should've figured out the "???" part before starting another proxy war.

Posted by: Jesrad | May 2 2022 18:12 utc | 11

@8 bevin

Wild guess: most are probably sitting around in refugee camps in Poland.

Around the beginning of the war, the going rate for a draft-age male to exit the country was reported to be $10k cash. A steep price for some, but the alternative would be a few short months as cannon fodder for a military administration directed by a combination cynical oligarchs, cynical foreign sponsors, and neo-nazis.

It's also a lot of cash to fatten the pockets of the relevant officials and border-mafia. As a practical business matter, once those who could afford to pay it all did so, basic economics dictates that the price should eventually be reduced - to keep the cash flow going.

Another guess is that the ones in the front line trenches in the Slavyansk/Lyman area would be the most disposable ones. Their job is more or less to be human decoys, while the minefields and artillery do the real defensive work. The better trained ones get the benefit of 'protecion' via hostages, so would be living it up in someone's abruptly vacated 5th floor family apartment.

Posted by: ptb | May 2 2022 18:13 utc | 12

Those numbers will be, like all such counts, somewhat exaggerated.

With all the videos I've seen of destroyed AFU equipment coupled with the fact that Russia has complete air superiority I would say those numbers are probable highly accurate.

Posted by: One Too Many | May 2 2022 18:15 utc | 13

thanks b...

it doesn't surprise me.. but nato will continue on regardless of the state of the ukee forces... the bigger question is how long does this go on for? if syria is any guide, i suspect it is going to go on for some time.. russia likes freezing things.. i don't know how to freeze this situation.. obviously either zelensky goes, or something changes with the ukee leadership to allow for a change.. i can't see that myself... also, there will be no change in usa-natos position.. they will continue to throw weapons into ukraine while trying for more false flags and etc. etc... ukraine is basically fucked as i see it... it is going to take a long time for it to turn around.. in the meantime the unipolar world continues to decay, but it isn't dead yet..

perhaps food shortages, or energy shortages will dictate some of the changes.. these might put pressure on some of those who continue to support usa-nato in this war to bring down russia.. probably not though.. i can't see western propaganda changing any time soon here... the west really needs a wake up call.. the ideas on the previous thread were interested in that, but i can't see that panning out... b's idea of taking out key neo cons is a pretty crazy idea that i don't agree with... something different has to happen... meanwhile the usa-nato will continue to try this approach as they did with irans revolutionary guards leader Qassim Soleimani... did that win anything for nato - usa? i think it did the opposite... i really don't know how all this resolves.. the main international institutions are either toothless, or beholden to usa-nato... not a great set up for any changes, other then a continued rot from within which takes time...

Posted by: james | May 2 2022 18:37 utc | 14

pretzelattack @3--

No, old toons get dipped.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 2 2022 18:37 utc | 15

Where can one find news of the Myk0laiv military situation with respect to a possible push to Odessa?

Posted by: chet380 | May 2 2022 18:38 utc | 16

The most popular 'military' imports from the EU are BMW X5 and Mercedes S-Class vehicles. I think that explains where the high level leadership of the Ukraine military hangs out - absolutely nowhere near the front line.

https://t.me/sputnik/2414

Several Ukraine military units have openly rebelled against the dire circumstances they are left in - no pay, no support, no leadership.

https://t.me/intelslava/27310

Posted by: Arfur Mo | May 2 2022 18:43 utc | 17

chet380 | May 2 2022 18:38 utc | 20

The Russians have blown up a bridge on a major rail link bringing military hardware from the west to Odessa. The bridge is at Zatoka, about 50 km on the coast west of Odessa.

46° 4'34.38"N 30°28'11.80"E

That is going to seriously disrupt logistics for the Odessa region. It is typical of the Russian approach to degrade logistics before attempting serious ground operations.

https://t.me/intelslava/27559

The destruction has been confirmed by the Ukranians

https://t.me/intelslava/27560


Posted by: Arfur Mo | May 2 2022 18:51 utc | 18

This article is not about the Ukrainian Army retreating (which it is) but about a unit being rotated out of the frontline to recover before being sent back to the front where ever that may be.
It appears the conscripts in the unit are mostly middle aged. Does this mean the Ukraine regime has already reached the Volkssturm/Hitlerjugend stage of the war?

Posted by: Ghost Ship | May 2 2022 18:53 utc | 19

The mission of the Ukrainian army is to slow the Russians down while consent is being manufactured for progressively more NATO involvement. The biggest problem is obviously going to be the cities and urban areas in general. Street fighting is slow and inevitably leads to heavy casualties in the military and also in the civilian population. The Ukronazis have an advantage in the urban areas because they really don't care about the civilians in the regions where the fighting is taking place and are quite happy to use them as shields. Contrast the Ukie tactics with those of the Donbass republics who evacuated their civilians rather than use them in such a despicable way. The Russians cannot simply bypass the urban areas, neither can they reduce them quickly. This is why I can't agree that a rapid victory for the RF is on the cards.

Posted by: MarkU | May 2 2022 18:55 utc | 20

@b:

The map shows Izium in the north, the western Oleksandrivka is on the bottom left. The other Oleksandrivka lies on the west periphery of Kramatorsk city, to which it practically belongs. It is not named on the map.

Neither town is directly on the current frontline which runs about 10 kilometer to the north.

The Aleksandrovka (Oleksandrivka) Samoylov is referring to is this one (Yandex Maps); it is marked at the top of this map with a red dot.

Posted by: S | May 2 2022 19:04 utc | 21

Thank you b, another careful parsing of details the casual reader might not join together. In many ways it was obvious from 2014 that the AFU was an undisciplined rabble held together by NATO intervention (training, weapons, etc), fascist paramilitaries and gaffer tape. The rest was a cynical UKUS operation to provoke Russia and roll out a rehashed ww2-movie narrative for the hillbillies that make up the bulk of Western populations. I still believe that the economic consequences are not the product of badly-thought-out and/or incompetent reactions (as, say, Alex Mercouris naively thinks), but are rather the intended results of a controlled demolition of the over-financialised world economy. If Ukraine is the WTC, the economy is WTC 7. Europe will be gutted, and prepared for Marshall Plan 2.0. Or something.

For me the tragedy is not only these poor bastards on the ground who have been sorely fubar-ed by their country's 'government' (if a kleptocracy can be so-called), but the exposure of a Western educated middle class's incapacity for critical thought of any kind. Where is the Left, old or new? Thumping the tub for Ukraine. Thumping the tub for Nazis. The cognitive dissonance is now baked in. They're exposed for their abject loyalty to the liberal order, as water-carriers for the DNC and their woke memos dissolving class consciousness.

As many of you know I teach in the humanities at a university. On this topic I must keep my mouth shut and be careful who I talk to about it. It is odd feeling like the only sane man in the asylum. But it has been a powerful litmus test: the modern university is no longer a site of critical learning and ideas (if it ever was), but the site where knowledge is disciplined, treated for use in the liberal order.

The critical left has failed (witness the descent of Varoufakis and Zizek into absurdity over this). Only the overthrow of the liberal democratic order will allow anything worthwhile to be salvaged from the wreckage.

Meanwhile, back in Sydney, people complain that the garbage man forgot to collect their green-waste bin yesterday...

Posted by: Patroklos | May 2 2022 19:05 utc | 22

Pulled out of the line, how many survivors will melt away from their rear area into the countryside in an attempt to remain alive? The doomed nature of Ukrainian forces ought to make Poles and Romanians question the sanity of their intervening, particularly since Russia has retained the bulk of its forces awaiting just such a move.

What would it take for NATO forces to reverse the tide b's article illustrated? First and foremost, NATO doctrine says it must control the air, which means it would need to wage a massive air battle to wrest that superiority from Russia. Neither Romania or Poland have the forces to win such an engagement. The only hope would be to employ all NATO air assets in the attempt. That would invite retaliation and destruction of NATO airbases and related logistical structures along with most of its air assets as they'd face both Russia's Aerospace forces and its very deadly AD systems that already control the airspace over Ukraine. Oh sure, NATO could try, but IMO the Outlaw US Empire's forces would be conspicuously absent, and in reality they wouldn't make any difference aside from raising the casualty count.

Trying to force a land invasion without the proper aircover against doctrine would be a complete waste. If such a debacle was ordered by the Outlaw US Empire, how long would NATO remain stable politically? Would Finland and Sweden want to join what's clearly a dying organization. IMO, Europe won't agree with the Outlaw US Empire's policy of fighting Russia to the last European.

Europe has allowed itself to be set up for betrayal by its Neoliberals. There's only one way out for Europeans--Revolt against the Neoliberals and drive them into the ocean.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 2 2022 19:11 utc | 23

The Ukrainian army was then in a deplorable state. In October 2018, after four years of war, the chief Ukrainian military prosecutor, Anatoly Matios, stated that Ukraine had lost 2,700 men in the Donbass: 891 from illnesses, 318 from road accidents, 177 from other accidents, 175 from poisonings (alcohol, drugs), 172 from careless handling of weapons, 101 from breaches of security regulations, 228 from murders and 615 from suicides.

No battle related casualties? Seems very odd. Like the gang that couldn't shoot straight. Plenty of drunk driving and drunken soldiers.

Posted by: circumspect | May 2 2022 19:16 utc | 24

I am curious what your prediction is on Europe.

What is going to be so desperate? And if it is going to be desperate for Europe, what do you think will happen to people living in Africa or Middle East?

Posted by: Rasta | May 2 2022 17:59 utc | 6

My prediction for Europe is economic catastrophe and maybe ww3.

People living in Africa or the ME maybe will be in a better position since they are not dependent so much on Russian oil and gas

Posted by: DG | May 2 2022 19:20 utc | 25

US military WWII did some first rate work on battle effectiveness of soldiers. I recall that after 60 days continuous fighting most US infantry was pretty well not effective and after 90 days continuous fighting ALL weee useless. There’s no such thing as becoming battle hardened. Every soldier needs to R&R. The 81st Airmobile Kiev has been in hard core fighting from 24.Feb. Even without heavy casualties the 81st would need 2-4 months rest and refit to be effective again.


Side Note what Bernard uses as the typical strength of a formation is what used to be know as ‘bayonet’ strength. All these units have strictly speaking about 2x the number of soldiers that Bernard mentions but these are support roles and not fighters. So Bernard is correct. Just a clarification if anyone gets hung up on the numbers.

Posted by: Exile | May 2 2022 19:21 utc | 26

I haven't had a chance to read comments yet, but had a thought about b's question:

As the Ukrainian troops had to walk 12 kilometers a question arises. Where are their armored carriers?

The French report stated that they walked 12km under forest cover and crossfire. Even if the APCs were not gone (destroyed) is it possible to run them through thick forests likely with primitive or non-existent roads? Could the APCs have been held back earlier b/c they're no use in those conditions?

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | May 2 2022 19:22 utc | 27

While I am on Russia's side, I do feel sorry for those young people whose lives are being wasted for nothing by their regime and the US and Europe.

Maybe Putin could address them directly, telling them that he has nothing against regular soldiers and offering them to switch to the Russian side, unless they have committed war crimes.

Posted by: Nico | May 2 2022 19:23 utc | 28

Another question in relation to those posed (and probably mostly answered) by b.

The Ukrainian army seems to be in terrible shape and manned mostly by untrained, older conscripts and volunteers who had no jobs or ability to flee west to European countries.

The currently accepted narrative in these parts (and one that I share, but with limited official documentation available) is that Ukraine had prepared a massive attack on Donbas starting in November and were prepared to launch it imminently before Russia started its military technical operation (invasion). So there seems to be some sort of logical narrative disconnect.

If their armed forces were so ready and able to make an all out offensive on Donbass, one could be forgiven for thinking that they had a large number of fighting age men, trained up (often by NATO) and ready to go. What happened to these soldiers? Were they the first killed or was such an alleged offensive already going to be a failure with or without the Russians taking preemptive action?

Perhaps my ignorance stems from a lack of knowledge on what the casualty figures are for the Ukrainian fighting forces and a sort of media blackout here in the West on those numbers as part of the ongoing propaganda blitz to which we are being subjected. Are there "official" Ukraine casualty reports?

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | May 2 2022 19:33 utc | 29

Add Ukraine to the long list of nations the U$A has destabilized, because our corporate fascists didn't want any commercial competition, by adopting a Socialist leaning govt.

https://williamblum.org/essays/read/overthrowing-other-peoples-governments-the-master-list

And this is an old list

Posted by: vetinLA | May 2 2022 19:38 utc | 30

Sorry but I can't help it. Here's today's front page comedy courtesy of the NATO propaganda apparatus tabloids. (the people at Drudge Report always give these far out tales first billing)

Now Putin has dementia/Parkinsons and is "more paranoid than Stalin was."

Meanwhile BoJo and Biden are each operating with far fewer brain cells than they had a decade ago, so it's necessary to distract the Western audience from that with tall tales and pure fiction.

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | May 2 2022 19:38 utc | 31

@ 17:
It seems to me that BMW (not sure for Merc) 4 wheels are built in the US, so may be financed by US 33b package ?

Posted by: Daniel | May 2 2022 19:39 utc | 32

While it may destroy the army we can see from the Syrian example that as centralized army crumbles it will attract its allies help, recruit mercenaries, create more automous local defence units, with western backed volunteer soldiers, which will conveniently have western weapons to use.

In the end the war will continue even if the Ukrainian state is hollowed out. It never ended in Idlib, and won't until the western supports are withdrawn, when that may be, god only knows.

Posted by: StrongBad | May 2 2022 19:44 utc | 33

One of my team members in Paris, a Ukraine native and citizen, spent last week in Lviv to visit her family. An adventure in itself. Clearly she has no clue of the actual military situation…
I was told I had grey, dubious, info sources, and that she was not interested by them. By contrast, she was very happy with infos on Covid-19’s, early treatment and vax limitations and dangers. But here she no longer trusts me, which is understandable : cognitive dissonance …

Posted by: Daniel | May 2 2022 20:01 utc | 34

Tangentially related to the Ukraine fiasco is the situation within the EU after Macron's reelection; such is the subject of Alastair Crooke's recent article. Crooke's keyword is rigidity, which he employs in various forms nine times and is key in the opening synopsis:

"The crises are running, faster and faster, well beyond the abilities of EU rigid structures and mindsets to respond."

His analysis of France's election and its political rigidity leads the way to the wider EU discussion. I'd be interested to read other thoughts on his conceptualization--the Left collaborating with the reviled Center to overcome the even more reviled Right that allows for no change to occur--rigidity.

Crooke also notes a similarity in the relations shown by both Russia and Outlaw US Empire:

"As George Friedman [Stratfor] has made plain, on security policy issues, Washington doesn’t deal with ‘Europe’ – it by-passes it: ‘We deal rather with states: with a Poland or a Romania”: We don’t do collective ‘Europe’."

The problem for both--Consensus.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 2 2022 20:01 utc | 35

I am curious what your prediction is on Europe.

Posted by: Rasta | May 2 2022 17:59 utc | 6

My prediction for Europe is a poorer and more violent society.


Posted by: passerby | May 2 2022 20:01 utc | 36

From bits of information found here and there, the US seems to be thinking of using new forms of drones as as a way increasing firepower for Ukraine. ie. Using massive groups, suicide or multiple other types of drones. Can these be directed from a distance as can the Bayraktar drones? In which case will the war be fought by people sitting in .... Poland or the US?

Both sides are already using drones for attacks and artillery, but what does a change to indirect conflict mean legally? In practice it complicates things, as the originator must be hit to be effective.
***

It will bring into play electronic counter measures. Is the US military Industial complex going to try to now use Ukraine as a live-fire testing ground?

Posted by: Stonebird | May 2 2022 20:02 utc | 37

I read today in U.S. media that Putin was ungoing cancer surgery. Is this accuarate? Does anyone have any information about this?

Posted by: MeanderingMerrily | May 2 2022 20:04 utc | 38

"But we mainly see somatic problems, like hypertension or chronic illnesses that have worsened," the 25-year-old adds.

Also, hypertension specifically and chronic illness in general is what you see in out of shape middle aged men like me, not active duty, trained young men. Ukraine didn't devolve down to recruiting teenagers and old men. They started there.

Posted by: Phelps | May 2 2022 20:07 utc | 39

@Arfur Mo | May 2 2022 18:51 utc | 18

Aerial view of that bridge from Google Maps

Posted by: Norwegian | May 2 2022 20:09 utc | 40

Having no spare boots and being not able to change socks any soldier sooner or later will have wet feet. It also depends on the individual and his sweating. Wet from the inside. b probably hasn´t served in an infantry unit otherwise he would have left out that comment. In my 10 years in the army I always had wet feet.

Posted by: Vollhonk | May 2 2022 20:16 utc | 41

The news on global harvests just keeps getting worse:

Australia Wheat Crop to Decline Sharply, Gro Model Shows

The same article also notes that the US Winter Wheat crop "While it is still early in the season, the model currently projects the US winter wheat crop will be well below last year. " and that "The winter wheat crop in Russia, the world’s top exporter, is also entering dormancy in dry conditions. "

Record-breaking heat wave scorches India’s wheat crop and hinders export plans

Posted by: Roger | May 2 2022 20:22 utc | 42

I read today in U.S. media that Putin was ungoing cancer surgery. Is this accuarate? Does anyone have any information about this?

Posted by: MeanderingMerrily | May 2 2022 20:04 utc | 38

and

Now Putin has dementia/Parkinsons and is "more paranoid than Stalin was."

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | May 2 2022 19:38 utc | 31

Clearly intended as distractions by the losing team.

Posted by: Opport Knocks | May 2 2022 20:26 utc | 43

There can be little doubt that large numbers of Ukrainian young men have left the country. This reveals an underlying fact: Many, if not most, Ukrainians have no interest in or stomach for the war that has been imposed on their country by western powers and right-wing extremists. To me, it is reminiscent of Iraqi and Afghani troops who fled rather than confront irregular fighters in their own countries. Wars fought with soldiers and citizens who do not believe in the righteousness of a cause are almost always destined to fail.

Posted by: Rob | May 2 2022 20:41 utc | 44

This ends when the Ukrainian people and military realize they’re binge used as cannon fodder and they turn on Zelensky. The neo nazis might actually turn on zelensky first. They’re taking heavy casualties and they likely expected more help from NATO than what is evident. NATO betrayed them.

Posted by: Alaric | May 2 2022 20:42 utc | 45

There was a video on youtube or Rumble or somewhere. It had a young Ukrainian who said the cost to avoid Army service was a $1,200 bribe. As mentioned above, the only soldiers being conscripted are young and old who are poor. The Ukraine is so corrupt that their is not many jobs. The poor may join the army to try to make some money to survive. The whole country is horrible place for the average person. Any Ukrainians with money and even a little money have fled the country.

Who in their right mind would fight and die for criminals like Zelensky, Poroshenko, Kolomoisky, Pinchk, Yulla, Yats and other criminals. My heart breaks for the average Ukrainain. If they try to surrender, they get shot. Zelensky is not letting this undergrund in Avovstal surrender because there is a bioweapons plant down there that has done horrific things to innocent people.

Posted by: Malko | May 2 2022 20:48 utc | 46

NATO betrayed them.

Posted by: Alaric | May 2 2022 20:42 utc | 45

Officially speaking since Ukraine was not a member of NATO and the only reason it was talked about so much was to trick them into refusing to implement and enforce Minsk I and II, yes NATO betrayed them.

The Ukra-Nazis and Zelensky should have sat down with the Taliban, Iraqis, Kurds and Somalians before ramping up aggressions on the Donbass. They would have learned that USUKNATO are not agreement capable and are never to be trusted unless there is some short-term $-related benefit to Western military contractors and arms mfg.s.

Looking back to 2014, then Trump's first impeachment farce and then the talk in the runup to the Olympics, it's just amazing how we in the West have been subjected to a long-term psyop campaign of unprecedented dimensions and layers. It frankly hadn't occurred to me just how important the money intended for neo-Nazis that Trump *temporarily* threatened to withhold really was to the deep state swamp creatures. The whole thing was a dog and pony show designed specifically to assist the narrative of poor little Ukraine vs. big bad Russia and Putin.

But again, if the Ukrainians and their fun loving Nazis had just opened up a history book or read up on US promises, one wonders whether they'd have walked the path they chose.

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | May 2 2022 20:48 utc | 47

The Russians should be broadcasting their own television channels, in Ukrainian, across the country - showing the soldiers who have surrendered and their statements and the fields of dead Ukrainian soldiers. Once this truth gets through to the Ukrainian population may quickly turn against their leadership. In addition, all the Western speeches about making Ukraine a new Vietnam/Afghanistan and turning it into a quagmire.

Posted by: Roger | May 2 2022 20:49 utc | 48

Re: boots

Watch the videos. There are lots of videos. Many many Uke soldiers are not in boots at all. Those who do have boots are not in uniform boots, a mishmash of everything.

Good equipment goes to Azov. Azov is the cool kids. Azov is the middle class kids. Azov is anyone with arguably Germanic features/Germanic blood. Slavic working class gets nothing. Slavic working class is supposed to die.

Class society is always like this. Ukraine wants to be a racial society. Of course they are ready to sacrifice all the Slavs. Of course they are ready to sacrifice the working class.

Posted by: Oldhippie | May 2 2022 21:00 utc | 49

EU weighs cap on price paid for Russian oil as way to hit Kremlin revenues

These idiots need to take a basic course in economics. Oil is a globally traded commodity, so much of Russian oil going to Europe will be rerouted to other parts of the world - i.e. Russia will get paid the global price. It would be in China's interests, the biggest oil importer, to help Russia out as much as possible here - just as with natural gas where Russian natural gas exports to China jump 60 per cent in first 4 months

Due to different types of blend etc., sanctions, Russia may not be able to reroute all the oil, but it would work ok for them to refuse to sell to Europe at a lower than the global price. Why? Because, this would restrict global oil supplies (perhaps 2mbpd?) and cause oil prices to shoot up - making up the loss on volume by a higher price.

It would also greatly increase the economic stress on Europe, which is in Russia's interests. Same logic goes for Europe stopping importing Russian oil. Some adults need to step in and remove these delusional children from the levers of power.

Posted by: Roger | May 2 2022 21:01 utc | 50

More on 35--

Crooke also cites information from a new book, Imperium EU: Labor Injustice, Crisis, New Resistances by Werner Rügemer, who had some of it published without notes here, that was linked to yesterday. Here's a review. I see it's been translated to English and is available for $40. The article at the first link spells it all out, so no further commentary from me is needed.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 2 2022 21:06 utc | 51

BBC garbage on the evacuation of civilians at Mariupol steel works but a bit of interesting information if correct.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-61296851
The Ukrainian government had updated Azovstal's bunker system in the wake of Russia's annexation of the southern Crimea peninsula and Moscow's backing of rebels in Donbas in 2014.

Earlier this year, it even gave Ukrainian fighters details and maps of the underground network, and supplied the plant with 40,000 packages of food - each one enough for one person for one day.


1500 people = 30 days food, though I guess that could be stretched out with some rationing.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | May 2 2022 21:07 utc | 52

MeanderingMerrily @ 38
I read today in U.S. media that Putin was ungoing cancer surgery. Is this accuarate? Does anyone have any information about this?

The media has Putin barely hanging on and falling out of his chair at meetings. He is hobbeling along when he walks tottering like a drunk while lighting candles in church.

Meanwhile Biden is in great health. No mention of his mental decline. No talk like with Trump, he is crazy, he is mentally unstable, article 25 he must be removed.

No fertilizer shortage here in the US. If they could only spread it on the fields.

Posted by: circumspect | May 2 2022 21:08 utc | 53

Re: Posted by: Peter AU1 | May 2 2022 21:07 utc | 52

Real satanists will cannibalize their wounded before giving up.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 2 2022 21:14 utc | 54

Roger | May 2 2022 20:22 utc | 42

It would be good to get an overall summary on the state of farming in the west. I read different bits and pieces like US farmers going from corn to soy due to fertilizer costs, some UK farmers not planting at all due to high input costs vs expected returns.
fuel and fertilizer are the two big costs for planting and harvesting and I think both are set to rise more. Russia has now banned the sale of fertilizer to unfriendly countries until at least June and I would guess Belarus will do the same. Another issue in farming may well be cost and availability of spare parts/maintenance especially of European tractors and equipment.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | May 2 2022 21:23 utc | 55

re 55 "Russia has now banned the sale of fertilizer to unfriendly countries until at least June ..."

That should be August not June.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | May 2 2022 21:25 utc | 56

@nook #10:

The reality is the West is unable to supply either the quantity or quality of weapons that will make any difference to the outcome of this conflict. The sooner they abandon that wishful thinking the better it will be.

Better for whom? Not for the U.S. military-industrial complex, that’s for sure.

Europe's economy is on a knife edge right now. All the pretending and bluster in the world wont save it.

Nobody cares about European economy, even the Europeans themselves, as is clear from their lack of response to the highest inflation in decades. The last people who cared about European economy and tried to save it were the Russians—but not anymore.

Posted by: S | May 2 2022 21:26 utc | 57

Patrolokos....you have articulated precisely how I feel about all this.Zizek!!?? The 'most dangerous thinker in the west' ha...yet if you read his latest book....his arguments are diametrically opposed to his NATO shilling. He's desperate for acceptance into the liberal order, The Guardian, LRB NLR etc which have long since rejected him. As for your academic 'plight'...my sympathies, I excluded myself years ago for being openly Marxist . You are not alone

Posted by: Steve | May 2 2022 21:30 utc | 58

Anonymous | May 2 2022 21:14 utc | 54 "Real satanists will cannibalize their wounded before giving up."

I am wondering if that is the way it will go. One Ukie cannibal videoed himself having a feed and posted it to social media. He thought he was eating a Russian but apparently it was another Ukie. Those nato officers trapped probable should start getting a little nervous around meal times

Posted by: Peter AU1 | May 2 2022 21:33 utc | 59

Posted by: Peter AU1 | May 2 2022 21:25 utc | 56

Sounds like a good strategic move.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/world-feed-itself-historic-fertilizer-120018356.html

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | May 2 2022 21:33 utc | 60

For anyone who enjoys reading on military history, one of the things that will stand out is professional army versus army iwht a high [percent of conscripts. From Gaul and Europe to Africa to Asia, a conventional war has a decided advantage to the side with the professional army. Conscripts can help maintain strong defensive barriers, carry out post occupation guerrilla and small strike tactics, things that can see a professional army over time withdraw (it just isn't worth it realization by the leaders of the side with the professional army). But if this MoA story is true, the smart Ukraine tactic would be full planning ready for a major withdraw to the west.
Ultimately exacerbating Ukraine's issue is the strong mix of civilians in the fighting area that are not on Ukraine's side. Out in the west of Ukraine they may get a near unified civilian response but not so in the current battle area.

Either Ukraine is able to send professional regiments to the front, properly supplied and outfitted for them and the existing professional troops, or the weight of their disadvantage will get worse and worse. Ultimately it will be interesting to see if Ukraine sticks to the West's belief of not giving up an inch or if they'll change toward the belief of withdraw and live to fight another day.

Posted by: Corsair66 | May 2 2022 21:41 utc | 61

What i dont understand is, when the Ukrainian army is so weak an the Russian is strong with only about 10% of deployed forces, why is such a so slow progress in Phase 2? Since days as Phase 2 was launched there is no really progress only some villages. If i were Putin or the Russian military staff, i would deploy much more troops, artillery etc. to accelerate the Phase and crush the frontlines in Donbass and the south of Ukraine? Why doesnt happening this?

Posted by: Frank | May 2 2022 21:46 utc | 62

I was surprised when the top Russian military brass announced that they were going to concentrate their affords in the Donbass.

And the Russian army seems to be doing exactly what they have announced, they attack where they said they were going to attack.

Who does that ?

Normally you always wanna keep the enemy force guessing where you going to attack, so they don't know where to send reinforcements to bolster the defense where the attack is going to be.

But perhaps the Russians are so sure that conditions in Donbass are so in favor of them, that it is a kind of meat grinder for any forces the Ukrainians have there and send there, so this is exactly where the Russians want the Ukrainians to send, preferably send everything they have, so everything can be destroyed ?

Like the Donbass is the planned place where Ukraine is going to be demilitarized ?

Just a thought.

Posted by: Jimmy | May 2 2022 21:47 utc | 63

But again, if the Ukrainians and their fun loving Nazis had just opened up a history book or read up on US promises, one wonders whether they'd have walked the path they chose.

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | May 2 2022 20:48 utc | 47

Ukies (Kurds, etc.): "But we're special!!!"
USA: "Yes you are, and for you we'll keep our word!"

Works. every. time.

Posted by: malenkov | May 2 2022 21:51 utc | 64

Everybody thinks they are special you know. The USA thinks they are an exceptional nation with a special mission in the world to make the world "better".

But this is nothing special or exceptional, every empire in history thought the exact same thing about themselves

Posted by: Jimmy | May 2 2022 21:55 utc | 65

Tom_Q_Collins | May 2 2022 21:33 utc | 60

Thanks for that link. It sums up a fair bit of what I have read.
From Kremlin transcripts, Russia will be selling wheat to friendly countries in need at discount prices. I suspect the same will apply to fertilizer though that comes after ensuring domestic needs - as in what could be termed export controls. Rather than total 'free trade' Russia's domestic interests (self sufficiency) come first, friendly countries in need a close second.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | May 2 2022 21:56 utc | 66

Posted by: Corsair66 | May 2 2022 21:41 utc | 61

The problem is that they cannot withdraw with out being annihilated by Russian Air assaults,and long range artillery as they try to withdraw.Remember the terrain in flat and open.

Posted by: Kim | May 2 2022 21:58 utc | 67

Here's a question.
The supplies of javelins (5k is one number I've seen)
How much of the NATO supplied ordinance is actually getting through?
Given the fighting has been protracted is it fair to guess enough has got through?
Again the media spin on the ground situation is probably like Afghanistan in the few weeks prior to the Afghanistan collapse.
All going great until a collapse.

Posted by: Jpc | May 2 2022 21:59 utc | 68

@Nico #28:

Maybe Putin could address them directly, telling them that he has nothing against regular soldiers and offering them to switch to the Russian side, unless they have committed war crimes.

He already did that in his February 24 speech announcing the Special Military Operation:


In this context I would like to address the citizens of Ukraine. In 2014, Russia was obliged to protect the people of Crimea and Sevastopol from those who you yourself call “nats.” The people of Crimea and Sevastopol made their choice in favour of being with their historical homeland, Russia, and we supported their choice. As I said, we could not act otherwise.

The current events have nothing to do with a desire to infringe on the interests of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. They are connected with the defending Russia from those who have taken Ukraine hostage and are trying to use it against our country and our people.

I reiterate: we are acting to defend ourselves from the threats created for us and from a worse peril than what is happening now. I am asking you, however hard this may be, to understand this and to work together with us so as to turn this tragic page as soon as possible and to move forward together, without allowing anyone to interfere in our affairs and our relations but developing them independently, so as to create favourable conditions for overcoming all these problems and to strengthen us from within as a single whole, despite the existence of state borders. I believe in this, in our common future.

I would also like to address the military personnel of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Comrade officers,

Your fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers did not fight the Nazi occupiers and did not defend our common Motherland to allow today’s neo-Nazis to seize power in Ukraine. You swore the oath of allegiance to the Ukrainian people and not to the junta, the people’s adversary which is plundering Ukraine and humiliating the Ukrainian people.

I urge you to refuse to carry out their criminal orders. I urge you to immediately lay down arms and go home. I will explain what this means: the military personnel of the Ukrainian army who do this will be able to freely leave the zone of hostilities and return to their families.

I want to emphasise again that all responsibility for the possible bloodshed will lie fully and wholly with the ruling Ukrainian regime.

Posted by: S | May 2 2022 22:01 utc | 69

The Afghan army will hold up for 6 months, we're winning in Iraq and Ukraine is winning the war... The same delusional Copium pushed on Americans by the war party. In the meantime, we're facing economic disintegration with drug infested Hoovervilles, Meth Tumpvilles and piss infested Biden crackvilles proliferating all over the country. Good luck winning a land war in Eurasia with meth heads and autistic stormtroopers....

Posted by: Boss tweet | May 2 2022 22:01 utc | 70

About food shortages, it's quite obvious that Russia has no reason not to sell surplus to countries who don't have sanction it, and since the bulk of 3rd world countries aren't suicidal, they didn't. So those the most in need should have some food supplies from Russia, as usual. Western countries on the other hand will have to do with what they have (which at the end of the day should be enough, just way more expensive).
The real issue is that there won't be any Ukrainian surplus left to export now, and for the next year as well since there won't be much planting right now, and plenty of fields are littered with debris, unexploded munitions and the like.
Of course, if the Western maniacs in charge have their way, this will devolve into a war against Russia and Southern russia fields might be hit as well. Then the whole world will really hurt at least until 2023 harvest.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | May 2 2022 22:02 utc | 71

No fertilizer shortage here in the US. If they could only spread it on the fields.
Posted by: circumspect | May 2 2022 21:08 utc | 53

I'm not sure plants would like that sort of fertilizer any more than we do. Though the old saying comes to mind for growing mushrooms. Keep'em in the dark and feed'em shit.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | May 2 2022 22:05 utc | 72

the modern university is no longer a site of critical learning and ideas (if it ever was), but the site where knowledge is disciplined, treated for use in the liberal order
Posted by: Patroklos | May 2 2022 19:05 utc | 22

Awhile back, when I was listening to Noam Chomsky (before the new noamal), he recommended David Lodge's classic Campus Trilogy as a source of real insight for people outside the academy into the level of rot which has metastasized inside the academy. Also, it's funny as hell -- no less raucous and raunchy than it needs to be. Great light summer reading, for the light summer ahead.

Posted by: Aleph_Null | May 2 2022 22:07 utc | 73

Those numbers will be, like all such counts, somewhat exaggerated.

With all the videos I've seen of destroyed AFU equipment coupled with the fact that Russia has complete air superiority I would say those numbers are probable highly accurate.

Posted by: One Too Many | May 2 2022 18:15 utc | 13

It has been my experience that figures from the Russian Defense Ministry are accurate. It seems that the exaggeration, if there is any, occurs in their accepting unverified numbers that might later turn out to be false -- but these seem to be remarkably few.

Also, the statements from said ministry are noteworthy for their dispassionate tone. While they sound at times wooden, for such communication a wooden tone is far preferable to statements that sound like U.S. television commercial announcements.

Posted by: RJPJR | May 2 2022 22:09 utc | 74

@ Stonebird 37
. . .using new forms of drones
Fly-boys who have been fighting drones may finally be forced to sit down and shut up. Drone acceptance might have prevented the F-35 mistake-jet for one thing.

...from the archives:
Crewless Flight Points Way To Push-button Wars
Deseret News - Aug 7, 1946 - two unmanned B-17 drones flew from Hilo, Hawaii to Muroc Air Base, California.
(I can link to the article either by a long URL or by a tinyurl -- I think we've had problems with one or the other or both.)

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 2 2022 22:11 utc | 75

The FAQs on gas payment to Gazprombank have once again appeared on the EU Commission's website.
YES, it can be done but the payment obligation is valid from the moment of payment in dollars or euros
I doubt Russia will accept
https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/default/files/business_economy_euro/banking_and_finance/documents/faqs-sanctions-russia-gas-imports_en.pdf

Posted by: FZappa | May 2 2022 22:12 utc | 76

Jpc | May 2 2022 21:59 utc | 68 "All going great until a collapse."

I think much depends on how many nazi's Russia can destroy on the current front lines. If they start to fall back, Russia always has to fight hobbled and one hand tied behind its back due to the human shields. Urban fighting - every building is a hostage situation.
Best thing is to draw them out to front lines where they can be pounded with artillery and air power.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | May 2 2022 22:17 utc | 77

AFP posts about the "sorry UkroNazi Soldier"...

Watch this interview of a Russian Soldier's experience fighting that filth.....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFTZbSU7X9I

Highlight. The Ukie Sniper first shot the woman.... then he killed her boy with a head shot....
Then the platoon lost it... they charged the building.... lost several KIA in the process... lost more Wounded in the process.... Cleared out the building.... eliminated the Sniper.... no mercy...
Grudge match....

OR....

Was this unit shelling the Donetsk market killing civilian shoppers??? Were they the ones who targeted
a woman's demonstration in downtown Donetsk... killing 20 women... wounding 100 more???

They have an alternitive... SURRENDER...

As for AzovStal... now that the civilians are gone.... someone decided to burn them out....

INDY

Posted by: Dr. George W Oprisko | May 2 2022 22:23 utc | 78

Jacques Baud’s point assist in understanding the Ukraine folly of shelling Russians on the border of Russia:
“Zelensky … acknowledges in an interview with CNN, he was … lured into believing that Ukraine would enter NATO more easily after an open conflict with Russia, as … his adviser, confirmed in 2019.”
The US/NATO motive is MIC profiteering and Dem monster-making to evade blame for economic failure.
But the failure of public policy understanding in the West is complete. Propaganda rules in the US kleptocracy.

Posted by: Sam F | May 2 2022 22:23 utc | 79

The problem is that they cannot withdraw with out being annihilated by Russian Air assaults,and long range artillery as they try to withdraw.Remember the terrain in flat and open.

The alternative.... SURRENDER....

INDY

Posted by: Dr. George W Oprisko | May 2 2022 22:26 utc | 80

It is almost always the poor bugger in the trenches how will suffer the most. It is he, who will always lose. The more or less “lucky” ones will “only” suffer from some kind of life long trauma (PSD). The less lucky lose an arm, a leg, there face (https://www.forces.net/stories/soldiers-broken-faces-graphic-photos-behind-origins-plastic-surgery-ww1-casualties) The unlucky ones (depending on who you ask) are KIA, shot to pieces by artillery, humans turned to mud by a tank or burned alive in their tanks. And then there are those left behind. Not only the lives of the man is the trench is destroyed. The parents who lose a son or daughter, ore more than one, (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2060179/Armistice-Day-2011-The-mother-lost-sons-WW1.html) (http://serafim-penza.cerkov.ru/internet-resursy-i-pravoslavnye-smi/istoriya-materi-otdavshej-8-synovej-radi-pobedy/) , the wives who lose their husband, the children who lose their father. There lives are also destroyed. For them there is no victory day. Only the knowledge that there loved ones will never return home. If the are lucky the will have a grave to visit but often they are just gone, with no trace left, like dust in the wind.

And almost all of them are made to believe by politicians, that they are fighting and dying for a just cause. That there is glory in death. That it is a good thing to be slaughtered by your fellow man. That is why I hate ALL politicians. And then of course there are those who profit from war. The industrials, the bankers, ... They all are the ones that we should put in a cage, together with their parents, wife’s, children and grandchildren, and give them sticks and stones, knives and axes so that they themselves can slaughter, fight and die for there right cause or profit. And if they win, we will give them a victory parade and a medal. And if the loose, we make for them a nice monument to remember their struggle.

The last group are the ones who enjoy the slaughter and killing of other human beings, the fanatics, the sick souls. We give them a nice island somewhere remote, with enough weapons of all kind to ”enjoy” themselves and resupply the regularly so they don’t get bored.

That is how we should fight wars in the future. So we, the common man, can enjoy our live with our wife’s, children and grandchildren. Our work, our free time with friends, enjoy nature, a good glass of wine...

The Greatest Man in History… ;
Had no servants, yet they called Him Master.
Had no degree, yet they called Him Teacher.
Had no medicines, yet they called Him Healer.
He had no army, yet kings feared Him.
He won no military battles, yet He conquered the world.
He did not live in a castle, yet they called Him Lord,
He ruled no nations, yet they called Him King,
He committed no crime, yet they crucified Him.
He was buried in a tomb, yet He lives today.
His name is Jesus!
(Lyle C Rollings III, 2008).

Posted by: Rob123wie | May 2 2022 22:35 utc | 81

Missing Maps If anyone has link to a map(s) showing the likely area where UKR troops are in the Donbass or other parts of the former nation, please drop a link. Even if they are days old they give a better idea of where the future cauldron(s) may form.

Posted by: Tard | May 2 2022 22:35 utc | 82

Reply to: Jimmy | May 2 2022 21:55 utc | 65

I have recently come to grips with what I believe to be the true meaning of this word exceptional. I remember when Jimmy Carter ran for office he published the 'required' autobiography that was titled Why Not The Best? I did not read it but being relatively young and naive I thought "Doesn't everybody try their best?" A decade spent working in Kalifornia soon taught me they didn't, in fact the road to success is littered with the bodies of losers who were slandered by the ones who did succeed. Why should anyone try hard to excel, which can require at least some talent and work, when you can just destroy others through maliciousness.
The rhetoric of America being 'exceptional' is not a measure of quality, but an belief that rules do not apply to our leaders. This is why we cannot be trusted on the world stage. Agreements mean nothing. It can best be described as a game of Calvin Ball (see Calvin & Hobbes), where the 'rules' are made up on the fly and liable to change completely at any time without notice.

Posted by: Anonymouse | May 2 2022 22:37 utc | 83

. . .from the Kyiv Post. . .
Fighting is particularly intense around Izyum, Lyman and Rubizhne, as the Russians prepare their attack on Severodonetsk, the last easterly city still held by Kyiv, Ukraine’s general staff said. A map is here

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 2 2022 22:41 utc | 84

Frank @62--

I see no attempts to answer your questions, so I'll try.

There are two priorities in Russia's SMO: As few Russian casualties as possible; as few civilian casualties as possible. Mixed with those are two others: Kill all the Nazis; try to allow Ukrainian conscripts the chance to surrender. That's why the humanitarian corridors; they exist for both civilians and surrendering soldiers but complicate offensive operations and thus slow them down. If Russia desired, it could unleash an absolute scorched earth policy and waste everything, which is how the Outlaw US Empire operates. But for very good political reasons, Russia hasn't and performs as I've described. And there's yet another reason--anticipation of eventual NATO involvement where no empathy will be given as with the Nazis. However, IMO Russia will employ humanitarian corridors upon entering Poland, Romania, Baltics, or any other nation abutting Russia's borders refusing to end its NATO affiliation. Yes, I know Romania doesn't currently abut Russia, but it will in the near future. And Russia will not allow Romanian territory to house Outlaw US Empire missiles of any type. Same goes for Poland, Baltics, Finland, Sweden, etc.

So, the advance is slower than it might be. There are other problems, too--minefields, many small villages that need clearing, and many fortifications that don't easily yield that often have human shields imbedded. It's easy to advance rapidly when one aims to kill everything in the way. But when preservation is a priority, the the going must of necessity be slower.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 2 2022 22:58 utc | 85

What i dont understand is, when the Ukrainian army is so weak an the Russian is strong with only about 10% of deployed forces, why is such a so slow progress in Phase 2? Since days as Phase 2 was launched there is no really progress only some villages. If i were Putin or the Russian military staff, i would deploy much more troops, artillery etc. to accelerate the Phase and crush the frontlines in Donbass and the south of Ukraine? Why doesnt happening this?


-- multiple reasons,
1. Need to guard NATO country borders. Can't have Poland rushing to the gates of Minsk.
2. If fighting some coalition of the willing, best to fight farther east. Trying to hold Lvov is obviously beyond Russian logistics

3. Russia wants to rap NATO's knuckles hard, I think it wants to lure them into Ukraine or even into Russian territory to tactically nuke their units once enough of them are in range

Posted by: StrongBad | May 2 2022 23:01 utc | 86

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 2 2022 22:41 utc | 84

When i look at that map and I see the arrow from Donetsk and I see the arrow from to other direction towards Sloviansk. I see a pretty deep pocket or cauldron forming. Imagine being inside that pocket at the most eastern point , the deepest point in the pocket and when the heat is really being put on having to retreat all the way out of that pocket while being shelled from 3 directions + aircraft from above.

Posted by: Jimmy | May 2 2022 23:03 utc | 87

Posted by: Opport Knocks | May 2 2022 20:26 utc | 43

I remember about 10 yrs ago there was a press notice that Putin has pancreatic cancer. Obviously, it was wishful thinking. Pancreatic cancer has average survival of 9 months after diagnosis. Now he is wished to have Parkinsons's, and again cancer.
This is IMO "voodoo-doll" warfare..
sign of desperation in the West

Posted by: fanto | May 2 2022 23:03 utc | 88

"They would do some bloody justice."

Posted by b on May 2, 2022 at 17:32 UTC

Thank you for the thread today. I am afraid that even if Zelensky has a concept of justice, which I doubt, he is constrained by ruthless and historically proven malign and unconscionable forces. These forces are within his Ministers, Generals and Cabinet. These same forces drive and constrain Ukraine's 'ally' nations. The result is a war to the total destruction of Ukraine.

This entire evil adventure is totally avoidable and entirely the result of western incompetence and mendacity. The war is lost, the remaining troops will realise this and the front will likely totally collapse over the next few weeks or months.

When will the western people ever see their peace dividend?

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 2 2022 23:08 utc | 89

Posted by: uncle tungsten | May 2 2022 23:08 utc | 89

When will the western people ever see their peace dividend?

Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace

Posted by: Jimmy | May 2 2022 23:12 utc | 90

@ Frank 62
why is such a so slow progress in Phase 2
Taking control of cities is a hard, dangerous and slow process if the cities aren't completely destroyed, as the US has done to many cities like Mosul (Iraq) and Raqqa (Syria).
Recall that it took the mighty US Army over four years to pacify Baghdad, with the enemy just being partisans and not an army.

Posted by: Don Bacon | May 2 2022 23:14 utc | 91

The Russians have to avoid capture as treatment of their surrendered soldiers has bee foreboding.. furthermore the Ukrainians leave their causalities.. no exchange. Then there is the situation of the mercs and radicals as the 'rear guard' and 'enforcers'... kommisars. This requires the encirclements.

Posted by: t s | May 2 2022 23:19 utc | 92

If the Ukrainian army were in such bad shape (no morale, no ammunition, no skill) why does it take the Russians so long to advance.
First the plan was a double envelopement in Donbass, then a smaller single one, now none at all. I have been looking at these maps for two months now and there is hardly any movement.
Clearly the Russian story is as lopsided as the Western one.

Posted by: bottle | May 2 2022 23:28 utc | 93

The Seversky Donets River serpents along a sandy floodplain that is covered with pine forests. Aleksandrovka (Oleksandrivka) lies on the northern edge of the forest, just south of the Kharkov-Donetsk border and 8 kilometers north-northwest of Svyatogorsk. I think it was captured by Russia already a week ago. (The forests are colored light green on the UAmaps base map.)

Svyatogorsk (Sviatohirsk) is known for the Svyatogorsk Cave Monastery on the southern bank of the Seversky Donets River. The town itself is on the northern bank. Svyatogorsk has one of the few remaining bridges over the river. The next bridges downstream are in Krasny Liman ("Lyman" on NATO maps). The railway bridge has already been blown up. The road bridge is approached by Russians from the east and may have been destroyed. Blowing up the dam would cause huge floods downstream and dry the irrigation canal that feeds Gorlovka and maybe Donetsk.

The bridges in Izyum were all destroyed, except for the pedestrian bridge. The Russian bridgehead south of the Seversky Donets relies on a flimsy pontoon bridge. I do not think Phase 2 of the "Special Operation" can begin before Russia secures a proper bridge.

Russian Telegram channels have been writing about the group of Ukrainians, 1000 man strong, without any of their heavy weapons, trapped and encircled against the shores of Lake Oskil 15 km east of Izyum. The earliest mention was on April 20th, but the story only surfaced a few days ago. It is questionable if any of the men were at the lake at the end of April, or if they even were alive at the time. These 130 may be the last remnants of that group.

With only one bridge remaining, Ukraine will have to abandon all positions to the north of the Seversky Donets River.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | May 2 2022 23:34 utc | 94

Posted by: bottle | May 2 2022 23:28 utc | 93

If the Ukrainian army were in such bad shape (no morale, no ammunition, no skill)

Ow the Ukranian army in general has very good morale and very good skills, they been trained by NATO for 8 years now.

However the situation for their forces in the Donbass, which are their best forces are slowly but surely being deteriorated.

I think your kinda arguing against a strawman really

Posted by: Jimmy | May 2 2022 23:35 utc | 95

According to Russian reports, Ukrainians are losing around 400 soldiers. That’s just dead. Per day. Wounded appear undercounted by a factor of three, but with conventional wartime casualties ratio of 1 dead/3 wounded there ought to be at least 1200 wounded, with half of those probably damaged severely enough to be decommissioned for good. Add MIAs and those whose bodies remain undiscovered - and the overall picture for Kiev quickly turns apocalyptic.
With these numbers, Ukraine’s demographics alone spells an inevitable catastrophe.
This is not Vietnam or Afghanistan where new births quickly replenished losses. Ukrainian women produce 1.2 children per lifetime, which leads to demographic vortex, and now even without war Ukraine’s population is on its way to near extinction within four generations.
Simple math says that Russians will, at present rate, more or less exterminate Ukrainian military within a year. Although, as a fighting force it will surely fall apart much sooner.

Posted by: Venom | May 2 2022 23:40 utc | 96

Nico | May 2 2022 19:23 utc | 28

Maybe Putin could address them directly, telling them that he has nothing against regular soldiers and offering them to switch to the Russian side, unless they have committed war crimes.

He already did in his speech of 24 February. How are they going to access it? Even if they could, they would have to go against their conditioning to follow the advice. Even if they decide to act, they have to contend with the Nazi politruks/volkssturm.

Posted by: cirsium | May 3 2022 0:03 utc | 97

At this point I dont think it is proper to blame US or NATO for what is happening to those soldier in Donbas - it is the work of thier own leaders government and military.

Very likely they are the cannon fodder to slow the advance - either while preparations are being made elsewhere or while the west makes its preparations to get involded our while Zelensky and friend are busy packing backs and stuffing money into suitcases.

They are clearly thinking that given time, something will develop.

Posted by: jared | May 3 2022 0:08 utc | 98

S | May 2 2022 22:01 utc | 69

Read and responded to Nico's comment at 28 before I read yours.

Posted by: cirsium | May 3 2022 0:12 utc | 99

After what some of the Ukies did to prisoners of war, it would be expected that the Russian army would try to reduce the number of captured Russian soldiers to as low as possible. The way to do this is a slow, grinding, carful advance which gives artillery and air power enough time to wipe out much of what is in front of the Russian forces. The Ukies have also had years to build defensive works and lay minefields - all of which slows things down. The Donbass Ukie groups also include the most war-seasoned Ukie troops.

This maximizes Ukie losses and minimizes captured/dead Russian soldiers. I agree with Venom above, but would add the significant number of Ukie soldiers surrendering.
- 400 dead per day (as per Venom)
- 1200 wounded per day (as Venom assumes, half severely injured, but many of the rest will also need treatment and recovery times before going back to the front
- Lets say 200 per day surrendering and the number increasing

That's 1200+ every day, 8,400+ per week, 35,000 per month. With a force of perhaps 60-70,000 in the Donbass this will not go on long before the Ukie troop formations start to collapse.

There are up to 2 million Ukrainian "guest workers" in Russia, which may return to the Russian-speaking areas predominantly after peace is secured. Many millions have fled the Banderista West, and many, many millions (ten million?) have fled abroad for a better life since Ukraine became independent. The Polish border could be seen as the largest "humanitarian corridor" to be left open for the depopulation of the Banderista West - the more that leave the better. A slower campaign allows more of them to travel into the loving arms of the West, and become less of a problem to the Russians.

Phase 2: Take the South (Odessa) and East. Phase 3, take the rest leaving time for the Banderistas to travel West and leave for good. If Poland takes Lviv etc., all the better as they get the job of subduing a people who hate them as much as they hate the Russians.

Posted by: Roger | May 3 2022 0:12 utc | 100

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