Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 09, 2022

The Izium 'Counteroffensive' Success / Disaster

"It's a disaster," says Dima of the Military Summary channel.

I agree. The question now is: For whom?

Here is the map of the Izium region in the northeast of Ukraine on September 4.


In the middle we can see the Oskol river flowing north to south. Along it run railway tracks and roads that connect Izium region at the bottom of the map with Urazovo in Russia (further north, not on the map).

Here is the situation in the same area on the morning of September 9.


The Ukrainian forces have broken through the Russian positions on a wide front and in remarkable depth.

The above maps are from the Ukraine friendly site LiveUAmap. On the Russian side's map, as provided by Dima in his latest video, the Ukrainians are shown even further east and have reached the Oskol river.


This is latest Rybar version of the map which confirms that the Ukrainian side has at least in part reached the river. They took the town of Senkovo on the western side of it.

(German version as the English one does not load correctly.)

Izium, Lyman and several other important positions along the Izium front are now in imminent danger of losing their main supply route.

How could this happen?

Well, I am not in the Russian high command and have no idea of the how and why.

But what we know is that there were mostly conscripted men of the Luhansk Peoples Republic at the frontline when this episode started. The troops that held the town of Balakleya for two days where Russian National Guard forces. Those are militarized police units, not real armed forces. The Russian military had to send army forces to evacuate them.

Apparently the whole Russian front in that area was very thin and had too little artillery support. The Ukrainians moved extremely fast skipping towns and just blocking off local resistance to move on. They had a very significant number of tanks and armored transport as well as long range artillery support by several HIMARS systems. Many of the units must also have had night vision equipment as they did not stop even after sunset. There are also reports of strong foreign elements but those are hard to verify.

The LPR forces and whatever else was in the area had no chance. They were killed or captured or moved out.

The Russian side seems to have had little information about the size of the attack. The forces in the area were too few and too light. There should have been way more forces to block the Ukrainian move much earlier.

Then again - I do not know what plans the Russian military has had or might have. We might still see surprises.

Armored Russian reinforcements are now coming in from the north from the northern Kharkov region as well as from the east through Svatove. But they will still need some time to reach the front lines and to set up for battle.

The best countermove is likely to move the battle group seen in Svatove down to Izium and then up northwest and the group from the north southward in an attempt to pincer and envelope the Ukrainian forces.

Going this deep and this fast makes the attacking Ukrainian troops vulnerable. They will need some time to consolidate and to move up their artillery. Their supplies will have to come from Andivka on the left of the map and from Chuhuiv on the upper left. That are some 75 kilometer or 45 miles one way distances.

The Russian missile forces can interdict those routes by destroying the bridges along the way. They should do this as soon as possible. Andivka itself is surrounded by a river in the south, west and north. The handful of bridges over the river should also be dropped to cut the town off.

Ukrainian forces south of Izium and Lyman try to cross the Siversky Donets river to attack those cities from another direction. The idea is likely to bind the Russian forces there and to not let them move north to counter the upper Ukrainian strike.

There may be some ingenious Russian plan behind this to drag the Ukrainian forces in to then destroy them in place. But I do not see any evidence for that.

Heads will have to roll for this disaster.

Posted by b on September 9, 2022 at 9:19 UTC | Permalink

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O' ye of little faith... Can you not see 'tis a trap?

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Sep 9 2022 9:36 utc | 1

Just one question out of many: it was already months ago that the UAF were supposed to be almost out of fuel. Not much evidence of that now?

Posted by: Ma Laoshi | Sep 9 2022 9:37 utc | 2

And at the same time that Blinken visits Kiev. Coincidence?

Posted by: Extra | Sep 9 2022 9:38 utc | 3

Heads will NOT roll, lessons will be ignored, and those responsible will get new medals. Such is the nature of Russian Armed Forces.

Posted by: Ilia | Sep 9 2022 9:38 utc | 4

Posted by: Ilia | Sep 9 2022 9:38 utc | 4

You're describing the US Armed forces to a T from Korea to Afghanistan ...

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Sep 9 2022 9:40 utc | 5

It seems moa was wrong about Ukrainians having no chance in this war of survival.
Russia has a great leader but what can one man do when he has to deal with so much incompetence.

Posted by: A.z | Sep 9 2022 9:41 utc | 6

The most surprising in this is that it was announced some time ago. I remember distinctly on Telegram warnings on Colonel Cassad. Still, it seems the Russians were caught unprepared.

So we're left with two choices :
- it's all part of a genius masterplan by the Russian general command. Why not, but then it means that a counter-counteroffensive should follow, and quickly, to avoid a gigantic cauldron around Izium
- most of what we've been feed as info by the pro-Russian info sources has been overestimated, overoptimistic, and has painted a way too rosy picture of the skills and capabilities of the Russian forces.

Let's recall that a few months ago many were predicting an imminent rush to Odessa and a giant sweep over the Donbass. We're a bit far off the mark.

In the end, encountering setbacks isn't the important thing. What matters is the ability to adjust and react. That's where we will see if Russia is up to the task.

A failure in Ukraine could have ramifications we can't even imagine yet. I prefer not to think of it.

Posted by: Micron | Sep 9 2022 9:46 utc | 7

Sometime back I read about some massive deployments of aircraft to Belarus and the west of Russia.
Since the heavy fighting that led to the "inlet" by UAF towards the Oskol river "emptied" the area of civilians RU could use this airborne force while minimizing civilian casualties.
I am not convinced Russia did not see the buildup. They might misperceived the speed of the Ukranian advance but not the manpower.

Posted by: Goingo | Sep 9 2022 9:49 utc | 8

It is for sure a humiliating situation for the russians. It wount change the big picture though.

Its a war which is never a one way street.

My big takeaway of it is that rybar is the most reliable source out there. They heavily critizised the russian military leadership over the situation and the silence and missing information.

Posted by: Orgel | Sep 9 2022 9:51 utc | 9

The whole SMO concept has been borderline treason.
It is a war as much as in Vietnam, Korea or six day war (1967).
Not acknowledging it is condemnation to weakness and static posturing: ie waiting for adversary punches.
Victory needed the whole russian army weight. There is no such thing as light war. Idling never won any battle.
Ridiculous drills in the midst of actual conflict leave speechless. It's Elensky Vogue Cover equivalent: clueless twerking.
Time lost never comes back.

Posted by: Greg Galloway | Sep 9 2022 9:51 utc | 10

Is this the Ukro version of the Ardennes Offensive?

Posted by: Patroklos | Sep 9 2022 9:55 utc | 11

Even if it is a trap there will be unreported atrocities and unspeakable war crimes against Donbas residents in reoccupied areas. They must think they're in an unending nightmare. I really hope all the civilians got out.

Posted by: Patroklos | Sep 9 2022 9:59 utc | 12

so do we classify this as #gamechanger no. 963? a PR war victory wont last and thats what this is,. unsustainable slaughter so every MSM can crow loudly at ukies taking a victory by swamping a thin line. within a few days they will be worse off than before it started. my 2 cents

Posted by: hankster | Sep 9 2022 10:09 utc | 13

One element is the continuing supply of western arms.

ie today. "4 columns of Unmarked military vehicles from Poland.
At least 3 MLRS M270 MLRS entered Balakleya
Lithuania handed over M101 howitzers to Ukraine, revealing the true scope of Western arms supplies"

Plus those that are already there.

Do the Russians have any other choice but to enlarge their activities across the western reaches of Ukraine?

The Three U's seem to have relied on moving fast (US M113 carriers), rather than "heavy".

Some of those military assets came in disguised lorries.

It is esimated that it will take several days for the Russian reinforcements to arrive (Probably from the North as well)

PS. I wonder if Blinken thinks it was the best time to visit Kiev?

Posted by: Stonebird | Sep 9 2022 10:11 utc | 14

War is not continuous victory to victory to victoria!

If that was the case, Mao and the CPC would not have won in 1949. BTW, the civil war started in 1927! Nor would Stalin and the Soviets have won WW2.

There are always setbacks in war.

There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that Russia will complete all the tasks set out in her SMO in Ukraine.

Posted by: Sam Smith | Sep 9 2022 10:13 utc | 15

I'm confused.

I thought allowing a constant flow of reinforcements and arms to the front was a masterstroke by the Russian military command lol

Posted by: evilsooty999 | Sep 9 2022 10:13 utc | 16

But everybody here warining over weeks and months have been labeled "concerning trolls".
Even Rybar has been suspected as US intel.
Dear Friends and commentators something is very very suspicions with this kamikaze ukronazi friendly SMO.
Only the UKroNazi and NatoNazis benefit from this brainless SMO!
"The fish stinks from the head,"
in the era of soviet union and red army already after the kamikaze columns in front of kiev and leaving Bucha for blood thursty nazis heads would rule for this sabotage SMO
The people in donbass trust and faith in Russia and RF. Civilians must be careful what they say or do after RF hand overkens the villages with russian loyal people to ukronazis.
No words

Posted by: Chessmaster | Sep 9 2022 10:14 utc | 17

Very relevent.
Now all the news feeds are full of only this news, and the Ukrainian crisis has faded into the background.
This is not particularly beneficial for our Office of the President.

Our source reports that the President's Office has received facts from Western partners about the appearance of weapons from Ukraine on the "black market".
In Ukraine, hundreds of criminal cases have already been opened with a "secret" stamp, so that the data does not go public.

There is also a huge risk that Western investigative journalists will get to the bottom of it. Many sources point out that information can be leaked to the media by Western partners themselves for their own game.

#Rumor has it that the President's Office doesn't stop on the offensive, but throws all available reserves there.
Zelensky set the task of demoralizing the Russian army, as well as occupying Izyum and Kupyansk at any cost.
The Kharkov offensive involves more than 50,000 manpower, which is distributed in stages of connection to the attack.
The attack was prepared by NATO military advisers sent by the West to Ukraine.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine are superior in manpower in the Kharkiv direction by 1 to 10, so the losses of 5 thousand people during the offensive did not particularly affect the operational situation and were immediately replenished.

Western financial analysts published an article showing the complete collapse of the Ukrainian economy, which we wrote about earlier and warned about on May 5, dividing the analysis of the economic situation in Ukraine into three stages in the second analysis. Now there is the second stage of the crisis, the most difficult stage is the third, which has already begun its formation, with it there will be hyperinflation and the collapse of the currency to the rate of 100 for $ 1.

There is no way out of the crisis at the moment, so we advise everyone to prepare for the worst-case scenario.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Sep 9 2022 10:16 utc | 18

Take a close look at that Rybar map. What one sees is a very long and rather narrow bulge. Does it remind one of any previous battle-zones? Battle of the Bulge, anyone? Kursk salient, perhaps?

Obvious Russian counter-measure is to blow those bridges for starters and then to nip off those three armored brigades, the mechanized one, the artillery unit and whatever other mostly infantry and "foreign legion" elements that the Ukies have managed to scrape up. Reconsidering, this affair appears more similar to the Bulge than to Kursk. In the latter "kesselschlacht", Russian intelligence network, led by Richard Sorge at the German embassy in Tokyo and by Die Rotte Kapelle in Germany itself; had full details on the planned onslaught. They prepared a defense in depth within the salient as well as massive armored forces at its various fringes, pre-positioned to assault the German units once they had become seriously stalled by the numerous pockets of resistance within the pocket.

Commencing on 12-16-44, the Americans were taken totally by surprise. Much of the stretched-out "quiet" front was occupied by the untested "Golden Lion" division, which was rapidly over-ran. No reserves at hand in the immediate vicinity. From deep within France the 101st Airborne was TRUCKED into Bastogne, where they stoutly held off German attacks at the more southerly end of the bulge, many miles from the main thrust further north.

Desperate and bewildered, the Allied forces ultimately saw the well-guarded political General, Eisenhower, placed his First Army under the aegis of goddamn idiot Montgomery and began a slow counter-offensive under General Simpson from the north. At the same time Patton and his 3rd Army, still fighting on the Luxembourg-German border was directed northwards, where his forces made a fast and heavy thrust in the direction of the surrounded pocket in Bastogne.

Now let's have a look at the Russian front facing the Ukrainian bulge. As "B" noted, quite similar to the American front facing Germany, the Russians, always undermanned in comparison with the huge Ukrainian conscript cannon-fodder army; they had Luhansk "police" units up front and unusual for them, little in the line of self-sufficient "treffpunckts" in the rear. One can hardly assume that their High Command was perfectly innocent of their own history at Kursk and that of the Allies in eastern Belgium. So the question is, where is the THIRD Corps? Where are the pre-positioned strike forces?

Incompetence on the part of the Russian commanders? Not highly probable, to judge from previous actions. There must be a Russian word for "panic". It is doubtful that such a term applies to the current Ukiebulge. Take another look at that map on the Rybar site. The bulge is long and narrow. The bridges, as Dima noted yesterday, are easy targets for Russian missiles. Quite similar to the situation of the Wehrmacht in December of '44 where the last and the best of Germany's reserves were thrown in to fulfill "Uberfeldmarschall" Adolf Hitler's fantasy of driving all the way to Antwerp in a reprise of the May 1940 blitzkrieg, which brought the Wehrmacht to the channel ports.

The pudding is in the pocket. When will Russia seal off the overextended Ukies?

Posted by: aristodemos | Sep 9 2022 10:21 utc | 19

O' ye of little faith... Can you not see 'tis a trap?

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Sep 9 2022 9:36 utc | 1

My first impression too, even though the forces of the LPR won`t be happy about that. As I noted in yesterday`s thread, much of the fighting on the ground had been done by LPR and DPR soldiers, many of which learned the art of war in recent years, due to hard experience. They will most likely be furious about the lack of Russian aerial support in the here and now, but you wonder how much of this is actually Russian war strategy (at the cost of LPR army staff - not that we will ever know). For once the Ukrainian troops got their security measures right, it remains to be seen how far and long it will last.

BTW, no need for any hyperbole here, words like "disaster" et al. It is war, battles will be won and lost, and only very few are significant enough to be called "a disaster". That is "media-like hysteria" talk, more or less.

Posted by: CM of Berlin | Sep 9 2022 10:25 utc | 20

You're a straight shooter b. No bs, no 3D chess, just call it as it is. That Russia was supposedly degrading Ukraine's capability for months, yet they have the capability to pull this off speaks to a level of incompetence IMO. We've been hearing of Russia having all this excess capacity sitting around for months: 30 BTGs, 400 planes ready to go...just smoke and mirrors? That their intel wasn't able to pick up on this is telling and troubling.
The frontline had remained far too static IMO, after Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk, but we were all told to trust the plan. If Russia gave out passports in this region, these people are now citizens, they have an obligation to keep them safe, now another Bucha is possible at the hands of Kraken and other Nazi formations. This is indeed a disaster.

Posted by: bachac | Sep 9 2022 10:27 utc | 21

I assume you have all seen Saker's post on this subject a couple of days ago? He basically argues that with a front this long, there are going to be places where Ukrainian offensives, with Ukraine's numerically larger army, will inevitably break through in weakly defended sectors. And the priority for Russia is to avoid wholesale destruction of its soldiers. With a smaller army, Russia must fight a war of manoeuvre which, more often than not, means withdrawal and retreat to protect the cadre of the army, drawing the enemy into cauldrons (encirclements) that can be liquidated later with artillery and airpower.

'Some *very* basic stuff about Russian defenses in the SMO.'

Posted by: ftmntf | Sep 9 2022 10:28 utc | 22

A.z | Sep 9 2022 9:41 utc | 6

"It seems moa was wrong about Ukrainians having no chance in this war of survival.
Russia has a great leader but what can one man do when he has to deal with so much incompetence."

Well at least the Putin fanboys will never have their celebrity-worshipping faith shaken but always find scapegoats for every failure. Never mind that the entire "SMO" concept is the product of Putin's alleged infinite chudo-jessmaster genius.

Is he still off at that party, by the way?

But seriously, if this is the major SNAFU it seems to be, it's more evidence for the Peter Principle in action here, that although Putin did a masterful job preparing Russia for war with the empire, he's reached the level of his incompetence as the actual war leader.

Posted by: Flying Dutchman | Sep 9 2022 10:31 utc | 23

I would relax a bit. this looks like a big PACman to me, remember? Pacman just needs to close and gobble, and I am sure that is exactly what is going to happen. I hope they get the NATO advisers too when they PAC!

Posted by: g wiltek | Sep 9 2022 10:32 utc | 24

Dima, Dima – there's a reason Martyanov strongly advises against listening to anybody besides himself. Martyanov sticks to his message whatever happens. Message is very, very simple. The west sucks, no talent, no honor, no science. Nobody is able to draw conclusions or learn anything.

For Dima, on the other hand, every day is a bright new day. Oh, there's a river here and a bridge there, a trap is sprung for armed forces of Ukraine. Days before – something awfully bad, something terrible is going to happen to Russia, some units crossed a river and hoisted a flag. Next day that prediction is forgotten, it's Ukraine in peril, again.

Can an analysis that does not last a day pretend to be one? It's news hidden in lambskin. Or, perhaps, is it not a psychological terror, torture for those trapped in newsfeed?


Martyanov has been arguing that there's nothing that Russian military in its excellence does not see or understand or won't be able to plan for. That is extremely fragile position. Telegram channels he so despises have been arguing for destroying bridges and railways for so long that's now forgotten.

According to him everything should be ready for "we haven't even begun in honest, yet"?

Is it so, or isn't it? A Way of Torture, Hells Way.

Posted by: js | Sep 9 2022 10:33 utc | 25

Posted by: CM of Berlin | Sep 9 2022 10:25 utc | 20

Excuse me but according to the official version of russian MOD it is "NOT a war but a SMO!"
SMO means keep ur enemy alive and dont panic

Posted by: Chessmaster | Sep 9 2022 10:37 utc | 26

One wonders : how long before we are informed that the Kherson feint has achieved its purpose? The noise is coming from Russian military bloggers, including the famous 'Strelkov.'Considering that this individual is a failed sometimes militia 'commander' it makes no odds what he thinks, says or does. Suspect that the bloggers see no farther than Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts; perhaps they are partisans of political forces in those areas who believe they should run the SMO for their own purposes. The clobber list, mentioned so often, hasn't mentioned Lvov for a while now. Or knocking out rail lines, destroying stations and trains (or not very often); similarly the receiving party seems less ready to grumble about 'civilian infrastructure' being targeted. In sum: operational security as an idea seems to be gaining ground.

Some people may see NATO regulars. These don't exist. Which does not exclude, say, Polish 'volunteers' (hailing from that country's armed forces) participating in some capacity or the other)

Posted by: d | Sep 9 2022 10:38 utc | 27

Posted by: aristodemos | Sep 9 2022 10:21 utc | 19

The pudding is in the pocket. When will Russia seal off the overextended Ukies?

Bingo. I give it 24 hours. The news on Sunday will be a whole world different from today's.

Posted by: bachac | Sep 9 2022 10:27 utc | 21

That Russia was supposedly degrading Ukraine's capability for months, yet they have the capability to pull this off speaks to a level of incompetence IMO.

Incompetence has never stopped the Russian army from winning.
In every battle since the Afghan war I've only ever heard the Russians described as incompetent ... Yet they come out on top more often than not.

This is a brilliant last gasp offensive by the AFU ... but then what?

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Sep 9 2022 10:44 utc | 28

Concerted concern trolls

Posted by: Giyane | Sep 9 2022 10:45 utc | 29

war is measured in number of enemy dead. Civilians, territory, etc are all secondary.

As such, we cannot judge RN whether this is a disaster, a plan, or simply a troop saving reactive measure to a ukr hail mary.

"i do not know" doesn't sell, nor does it get you attention. "Disaster, heads will roll" is much more sellable in this age of social media trash.

Posted by: j korr | Sep 9 2022 10:45 utc | 30

Looks like the Russians simply baited a trap for the UAF. A narrow, deep thrust into enemy territory, without sufficient supporting elements proecting the flanks, is an excellent way to get cut off and annihilated. Let the situation fully develop before rendering judgment.

Posted by: Kalashnikov | Sep 9 2022 10:48 utc | 31

On Sept 6 Intel Slava posted 3 times of "massive mobilization & "huge" if reserves moving out of Belgorod, with vid of long line of tanks, plus large # of strategic bombers flying at "strategic heights."

Plus a post about planned "3 waves" counterattack of 5,000, followed by 10,000, followed by 20,000.

So they saw what was coming. The map looks like a big, deep cauldron to me. Otoh, maybe Nato has figured out the cauldron strategy & has some counter to it planned? Can't imagine how, but what do I know? (Nothing)

Posted by: Mary | Sep 9 2022 10:49 utc | 32

As I said many times, Russia is 1 step behind of everything.

Comical btw, when people have said the same thing as b rightly say now one are called "troll" by certain people here but when b say the same people suddenly agree with the argument.
Pathetic, you know who you are.

Posted by: Zanon | Sep 9 2022 10:52 utc | 33

For me the most remarkable thing, when i remind all the predictions made on Sakers blog in the beginning of the SMO,AFU will run ou of ammo, fuel and everything, there will be a big cauldron, there will be mass surrender, AFU will be never in the position to conduct offensive strikes, RF will always have the momentun and so on.
What we can see now, AFU is able to realize counteroffensives and put Rf in defense.
For me it is obvious that without mobilisation in Russia , thing are getting critical for the RF in Ukraine.
Andrei comment about defense work on Sakers blog is a joke , he sounds like an cluless armchair general

Posted by: publicdisorder | Sep 9 2022 10:52 utc | 34

Well it's not difficult to see whats going on in Russian front. Sheeps are gathered to the slaughter. It is ridiculous to think that Russians did not have knowledge of coming events becourse even me knew that. :D:D:D:D

Posted by: Gonzo | Sep 9 2022 10:52 utc | 35

Seems that the trolls are once again out in force, champing at the bit and cheering on the remnants of Ukraine's fully-trained frontline army. Ditto the concern trolls, some of whom appear to be Ukies and others who just might could be hyper-nationalist Russians who are balls to the walls about everything. But, certainly, we cannot ignore the intel agencies' paid disinformation specialists.

So take a breather. The Ukies will not raise their Swedish-colored banners over the Kremlin anytime soon. Their best remaining forces are now deeper and deeper into the pocket. That pocket is long and narrow and is backed by a series of very vulnerable bridges and a logistics logjam which even the best minds in NATO will not be able to resolve.

A lot of Pentagram and Sandhurst grads planning went into creating this operation by their hapless puppet forces getting their orders from Piano-Dick-Tater in Kieeeeef.

Posted by: aristodemos | Sep 9 2022 10:53 utc | 36

The point is not really on whether we should panic, or whether the Ukie offensive will go all the way, or will flounder...

The point is that people are always rationalizing AFTER the fact. At the beginning the Russians went quite fast, so pro-Russian bloggers (as well as me) were screaming "blitzkrieg ! Ukraine will be done in 3 weeks !"

Then the front largely stalled, or slowed down if you like, much to the surprise of everybody. Then people again rationalized by saying "it's a slow grind ! Russians prefer to the let the Ukronazis come to them and spare the losses" (a sensible strategy which I largely shared, even though slightly contradictory with the message that even in phase 1 Russian losses had been minimal.

Now the Ukies realized a push, the kind of which we have not seen from russian forces since around March 22. And now again I hear that "it's a masterplan ! they let the Ukies advance to better cauldron them afterwards !"

Maybe. The point is that before, I never heard one of those supposedly genius military analysts evoke this possibility. Dear Andrei Martyanov refrains carefully from even mentioning scenarios, and never tries to look into the future. His only message is that the russian General Command is full of mysterious and superhuman geniuses who somehow have gamed all this and have a well-defined goal in mind, too subtle for our poor ordinary brains to contemplate.

Well that could hold (more or less) until August, but now you will have to be a bit more convincing...

On the other hand you have to give Strelkov credit. In March already he predicted that the front would stall, and it stalled. In April he predicted that by summer Ukraine would amass a sufficient army for counterattacking, and guess what... the Ukies counterattacked, and successfully at that ! So yes Strelkov is a doomer, and overly pessimistic, but somehow some of his predictions were bullseye. I can't recall such successes by Saker or Martyanov, which seem content to just rehash some Rybar maps...

You may say that I'm a concern troll, a US agent, or the like. I already experienced it. Believe me when I say that I pray for Russian success every day, and that a Russian defeat or stalemate would be, for me, nothing less than an epochal catastrophe as it would give the dying Empire a last reason to rejoice.

I just look for the truth. I'm willing to give both sides their chance. In Kherson Russians managed to contain the counter-offensive. If somehow they manage a turnaround or a successful counter, I'll be the first to eat crow (and be pleased at that).

But I think we have slowly to abandon some illusions about Russian power. If they don't take Kharkov or Odessa, maybe it is because they CAN'T take Kharkov or Odessa. If they don't take Slavyansk or Kramatorks, maybe it's because they just CAN'T.

I will repeat it : success or failure doesn't matter. What matters is that your organisation retains the ability to learn and to adapt. The collective West+Ukraine has managed that. They have learnt. Russia will have also to do it. Or to cut back on its ambitions and become definitively a regional power.

Posted by: Micron | Sep 9 2022 10:55 utc | 37

Pictures of blindfolded civilians accused of collaborating with the Russians are beginning to appear. If you believe this is some kind of operational trap you have to ask yourself why the Russians never evacuated the civilians, especially those who were known to be favourable to the Russian forces. Russia were in Balakliya since the 3rd of March after all

Posted by: abel | Sep 9 2022 10:57 utc | 38

Posted by: ftmntf | Sep 9 2022 10:28 utc | 22

Hear hear, this makes sense: the Ukies have forced the Russians to extend the frontline to make it more porous (from The Saker) But why wouldn't Russians learn from this? Now that everybody is being so honest: This still looks to me like another Ukie PR stunt, only the most spectacular so far. The fact is the Ukies' losses are horrendous.

Posted by: Jonathan W | Sep 9 2022 11:03 utc | 39

The SMO is not an occupation.

Liberation of the DPR and LPR

It has only ever been about achieving these objectives.

Beyond achieving these, I’ve never understood where holding swathes of the Kharkov region continues to fit.

Compare and contrast the determination shown by the pro-Russian forces in this area with the levels shown in the LPR and DPR. If the Ukrainian army marches into the LPR then that’s a different story. But they won’t. And until then, I see this as cutting away the excesses of areas that have outlived their usefulness when men and equipment are needed elsewhere. Seeing soldiers cut down in retreat by advancing Ukrainian forces is terrible, but there will always be somebody who is last to leave.

We’ve seen this before. The initial push around Kiev, Sumy, Chernihiv Oblast etc were never designed to be long term holds. They were designed to prevent the bloodshed we have witnessed in the Donbass. But the Ukrainians decided to reject peace talks and would not submit to pressure around the capital, so what was the point in the Russian forces staying there?

People need to step back and look at what has happened, what is happening and what this means for what is likely to happen next.

One day there will be peace. Rather than encouraging their sponsors to accelerate support, I believe that Ukrainian gains in large, but peripheral, areas will satisfy the Europeans and bring this day closer.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Sep 9 2022 11:04 utc | 40

The Western powers will step up their support now - no matter if the uaf offensives are rolled back now or not. Russia will not be able to continue the war with only an expeditionary force and will either have to diplomatically settle or escalate.

Hoped that western governments will fall in winter are too optimistic. The Germans have been disciplined throughoutly and ridden with guilt, while the eastern Europeans will be showered in money to keep them warm.

Posted by: Frenziedfrog | Sep 9 2022 11:04 utc | 41

I mean, the SMO is already a disaster. War is a very expensive and nasty business and should only ever be a last resort, but even then, war is still evil and disastrous, even if you win.

Russian aligned forces were always going to be vulnerable to Ukraine getting its shit together for a concentrated attack, given the breadth of the front and the very light footprint of Russian aligned forces in Ukraine.

It's incredibly unlikely to change the outcome of the war, I assume Russia will simply commit more resources until it achieves its objectives. But it does raise the cost of the war (for all parties) and further discourages Ukraine and its Western backers from a negotiated settlement. In a multiplayer game like warfare, your enemies always get a vote - they've just voted to escalate and prolong the fighting, which is bad news for everyone involved except maybe Joe Biden and his handlers.

Posted by: ZX | Sep 9 2022 11:06 utc | 42

With most of these movements in the dance there are advances and reverses. We characterise them as winning or losing, but they may have multiple significances. The initial Kiev push was either a failure on its own terms, or a success in a larger positional struggle. Kherson was either a successful finesse by Ukr or a successful defence by Ru. Izium appears to be a successful Ukr strike, but it contains the seeds of failure.

If Ru cannot contain and control, then it suggests a very strange lack of intelligence. The offensive and its size and components has been telegraphed for weeks. It was, in fact, so blatant that it seems risky to assume Ru did not have suitable contingencies in place. If not, heads will no doubt roll but worse, it will encourage the warmongers to ramp up lethal aid to Ukr. At the moment, Ukr advance forces are exposed and vulnerable, but Ru won't have long to profit from that condition. The next few days will be depressing regardless. As the Bard said:

The expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action: and till action, lust
Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust;
Enjoyed no sooner but despised straight;
Past reason hunted; and no sooner had,
Past reason hated, as a swallowed bait,
On purpose laid to make the taker mad.

Nobody wins, everybody loses, the non-war goes on with another US-inspired "big push" as in Vietnam and Afghanistan.

Posted by: TPaine | Sep 9 2022 11:07 utc | 43

Posted by: aristodemos | Sep 9 2022 10:53 utc | 36

People like u re the reason why the SMO is and always will be a disaster

Me a concerning troll will tell u now something even fck NSA, BND or SBU is monitoring this platform. I ve friends from Serbia fighting with Wagner a heroic WAR not SMO but every fck day i receive from them disappointing messages from battlefields. Most frustrating is restricted scope of action and distrust of local residence. Always when their wagner units beat down the ukronazis they re forced to stop further advantages by one idiot from moscow who is embeded but shows up when they progress only to stop their further assault to eliminate finally the enemy.
In few cases they ve continued their assault and hunted the fleeing enemies against the will of the moscow loyal SMO watchdog. After that, the arrti support has been barred. Under such conditions u cant perform a successfull operation. In the serbian volunteer units the commanders at place had full decision making independence and implementation freedom in the operational area was also implemented at a strategic level. This is impossible with this ukrofriendly enemyfriendly and nazifriendly SMO.


Posted by: Chessmaster | Sep 9 2022 11:09 utc | 44

So many once vibrant living humans are now no more. Whatever anyone considers to be the rights and wrongs of the particular leaders of each side, we cannot avoid the obvious. That is blokes on both sides (excepting the nazis who because of the Ukie success here are unlikely to be involved in this action) have all had their existences cut short in order to satiate the perverse & ugly dreams of the old, bitter & selfish cunts on both sides of this human disaster.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Sep 9 2022 11:09 utc | 45

A battle lost doesn´t mean the war is over. And that´s true no matter if the AFU is successful or falling for a trap.

And even more so as this is the first war between civilized countries.

Posted by: Goingo | Sep 9 2022 11:09 utc | 46

Wouldn't say it's any sort of disaster for the operation even just looking at the map. It's a tiny bump on a small section of a colossal frontline that keeps inching westwards everywhere else if the RuAF actually want it to. They adopted a "come at me bro" strategy everywhere outside of main Donbass proper months ago - and now the Ukes are playing right into it. If the goal is - as was stated - demilitarization, why waste resources advancing all the time and letting Ukes fight from defensive positions? Let them come into known-in-advance positions themselves, pull them back into the frontline, then swallow them up like a giant beast.
Everyone and their dog watching the operation could tell the Ukes were going to try around Kherson and Kharkov, they can't anywhere else. Kherson was well-prepared in no small part because RuAF has a force there parked for Nikolaev and Odessa later. Kharkov frontline is overall still stable, there's only one push at the southwestern tip of it and it has hit its limits - Ukes have pushed themselves up against the river and good positions north and south of them. Reports suggests the Russian allied forces pulled back without much issue - and they're not known for chickening out when they have to keep something, and ARE known for mobile defense where gaining and losing ground is not important but destroying the enemy is (vide the Kherson fiasco for Ukes, exactly that happened there).
Now, of course, there'll indeed be questions as to why it was not as flawlessly managed as in Kherson - my hunches so far is that the NATO generals running this dog and pony show realized they screwed up by attacking in lots of directions in Kherson so they wisely concentrated into one single relatively weak point of the front here, and that was more than the local forces could handle as easily as in Kherson. However, was that weak point there on purpose? RuAF couldn't have not known about the massed troops and arrival of NATO "volunteered" forces.
To me, this just looks like a much bigger, messier version of what happened in Kherson and I believe it's going to play out as such. Which is to say, the Russian allied force has just drawn the Uke force into a semi-cauldron and are now going to demilitarize and denazify them from every direction - Russians adore their cauldrons and Ukes have just given them one yet again. Given the Ukes probably massed more forces here than at Kherson, that'll mean the destruction of tens of thousands of the Western side's best forces that they currently have and notably easier going afterwards now that they'll be missing from the order of battle. Will the Russian side also take casualties? Obviously, this is war, and it's a total war from the Western standpoint where every Russian or their ally must become a casualty. But my bet is that the Ukes pushing are going to take horrifically more casualties - at similar rates to Kherson, since it's largely the same plan both sides are playing with and RuAF won handily there.
In the end, we have to remember Martyanov's recent words over at RotF - the Ukes may try pushing or pulling or jumping in place, it's just a dying agony by now because they have no chance of actually defeating Russia. If things actually go bad at any point for them, they'll just bring in some of those 90% of unused armed forces such as the troops over at the Vostok exercise and leave a lot of NATO proxy carrion. Worst things Ukes can do are kill some hundreds more soldiers and exterminate several thousands of their own civilians for not being loyal Banderites, and the worst consequence for Russia would be that the sailing wouldn't be all smooth and perfect - things will still get where they must by simple laws of math and physics.

Posted by: Red Outsider | Sep 9 2022 11:14 utc | 47

I think it is very simple. Russia is fighting a war against fanatics, irrational extremists. They cannot fight such a war with small numbers. The USA, EU, Ukraine and their populations are kind of neoliberal talibans. You see that Europeans are really ready to freeze just to "harm Putin". They are really ready, tehy love it. They need this sacrifice.

Ukrainians are ready to die just to become western slaves. Its sounds strange but that is their religion. Being part of The Holy West. If on a slave level, that is also ok.

On the other hand, Putin is trying not to bleed Russia. The Russian middle class doesnt want this war, not to mention the rich. So only the professional army is being used.

And this professional army is too small to fight the fanatics.

Posted by: mario2 | Sep 9 2022 11:16 utc | 48

Even if it is a trap there will be unreported atrocities and unspeakable war crimes against Donbas residents in reoccupied areas. They must think they're in an unending nightmare. I really hope all the civilians got out.

Posted by: Patroklos | Sep 9 2022 9:59 utc | 12

It's hard to see how this is a trap. Too much area has been conceded, and there aren't any forces nearby to pinch the salient.

Also, how much of the territory the Russians have voluntarily retreated from so far has been retaken? A couple villages north of Kharkov and a couple west of Kherson and that's it.

And it's been more than five months since the Great Strategic Retreat from Kiev, Sumy, Chernigov and most of Kharkov.

This isn't going the way it's supposed whatever way you look at it.

I imagined when they first started the invasion that there will be second and third echelons coming from behind to establish control. But those never existed, it was a patently inadequate for the task force. But I wasn't alone in that, notice how the fact that this is an SMO, and "not a war" only really entered people's minds months into it.

Even though it was clear total war needs to be waged from the start.

Problem is that even at this very late point, there are no signs of readiness for it. Stalin prepared for total war since the 1920s. Here the war has already started but in Russia they are still in mindless peacetime consumerism mode and it doesn't look like even the MIC has been fully mobilized (which would mean expanding output beyond what the currently active production lines can achieve even if they are working 24/7).

And that doesn't even begin to describe the full extent of how scandalous what is happening truly is. At the time the insufficient defenses at a key section of the front have been crushed, the Russians sent 50,000 troops, with all the accompanying gear, to take part in meaningless exercises on the other side of the globe. With those 50,000 troops the whole of Kharkov could have been taken months ago...

If Russia gave out passports in this region, these people are now citizens, they have an obligation to keep them safe, now another Bucha is possible at the hands of Kraken and other Nazi formations. This is indeed a disaster.

Posted by: bachac | Sep 9 2022 10:27 utc | 21

What prevented referendums from being held quickly in June-July when there were no HIMARS systems nearby and it was safe?

You annex the territory officially and then its safety is backed by a large number of megatons ready to rain on the heads of whoever tries to take it back.

Now it isn't going to happen any time soon, which means that people in Kherson and Melitopol should ne very afraid for their well being.

According to him everything should be ready for "we haven't even begun in honest, yet"?

Is it so, or isn't it? A Way of Torture, Hells Way.

Posted by: js | Sep 9 2022 10:33 utc | 25

Well, when does it begin? When officially "retired" NATO troops are rolling streaming down the highway towards Rostov?

Posted by: Tbx | Sep 9 2022 11:18 utc | 49

Strelkov sees the surrender of Izyum as now inevitable

Posted by: Night Tripper | Sep 9 2022 11:26 utc | 50

This is a total war, but the Russian ruling class is not ready for that.
Now, they are going to concede their property to western oligarch.
Putin is going to step down and the world is going to sink into something terrible - unlimited liberal domination.
The total and final degradation of human race.

Lets hope they are aware of this.
Lets hope they'll stop underestimating their enemy.

Posted by: | Sep 9 2022 11:28 utc | 51

I think Russia should start using nuclear weapons.

Posted by: mario1 | Sep 9 2022 11:29 utc | 52

@Arch Bungle | Sep 9 2022 9:36 utc | 1

O' ye of little faith... Can you not see 'tis a trap?

I tend to agree. I think this was another Russian feint. Don't lets start cheering/sulking just yet.

Posted by: Idiocrates | Sep 9 2022 11:30 utc | 53

The SMO is not an occupation.

Liberation of the DPR and LPR

It has only ever been about achieving these objectives.

Beyond achieving these, I’ve never understood where holding swathes of the Kharkov region continues to fit.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Sep 9 2022 11:04 utc | 40

Yeah, that's not how it works.

The war started for two reasons:

1. It simply could not be allowed to have NATO stationed in Ukraine, with nuclear missiles pointing towards Moscow 300 km from it.

2. It is also a gigantic strategic defeat for Russia to have a quarter of the Russian world brainwashed into militant Russophobia. So the process of de-Russification of Ukraine had to be stopped.

I didn't make up those reasons, they are obvious for everyone who knows a bit about the background, but it is also a fact that Putin has been quite openly discussing them for years.

Given those points, a limited operation doesn't achieve anything. Success means the complete elimination of Ukraine as a state and then de-Ukrainization of the population. Everything significantly short of that is a strategic defeat.

Liberating the LDNR is not going to do it. You achieve that and just that, what you then will get is an even more de-Russified and militantly anti-Russian Ukraine, with most of its resources still available, that will once again be a base for NATO, and a forever war on the border.

This is where holding Kharkov (and everything east of Vynitsia and ZhYtomyr) fits.

But obviously that cannot be achieved with the current expeditionary force. In fact it doesn't look like even liberating the LDNR can be achieved.

P.S. This is also why people had hard time believing the war would start. The above considerations were clear for along time, but it didn't look like Russia was prepared for it. Gearing up for that kind of war takes a lot more than what had been done. Turns out that initial impression was correct, they indeed weren't ready.

Posted by: Tbx | Sep 9 2022 11:31 utc | 54

Relax. 1. Strategic retreats are neccessary from time to time. 2. UkroNazis are sustaining unspeakably heavy casualties. 3. UkroNazis have created another cauldron un this push, and the Russians are likely reinforcing their positions to exploit this.

Posted by: Sluggo | Sep 9 2022 11:31 utc | 55

Posted by: Chessmaster | Sep 9 2022 10:37 utc | 26

No matter what it is called, there is "war strategy" at work. I might be similar pedantic and tell you that there are no "Russian inhabitants" in Ukrainian villages either ...

Posted by: CM of Berlin | Sep 9 2022 11:32 utc | 56

Plus Dima warned of the build up of armour in the area weeks ago. He also claims the AFU soldiers are using new tactics, using many shoulder held missiles. However, Think Defence suggests that this is because the AFU armoured vehicles are insufficient ie infantry using javelins instead of troops inside say a tank. Video has also surfaced where some troops speak English, which gives rise to speculation that the AFU are fortified with NATO special ops, given the best of the AFU likely perished months ago.

In any case, if not a clever trap, given the AFU are over extended, as was Russia when it went all the way to Kiev, one might expect the Russians to turn a failure into a success.

Posted by: Finger8 | Sep 9 2022 11:32 utc | 57

Well, I am not in the Russian high command and have no real idea.[...] Then again - I do not know what plans the Russian military has had or might have. We might still see surprises.[...] Going this deep and this fast makes the attacking Ukrainian troops vulnerable. They will need some time to consolidate
Thanks Bernhard for the humility... Just a traditional French quote, often use by Jacques Chirac
C'est à la fin de la foire qu'on compte les bouses

Posted by: La Bastille | Sep 9 2022 11:32 utc | 58

"It seems moa was wrong about Ukrainians having no chance in this war of survival."

The Neo-Nazi government in charge, after six months of wholesale death, hasn't suffered even as much as a paper cut. Great plan.

Posted by: Elmagnostic | Sep 9 2022 11:34 utc | 59

Please cool it with talk of "large number of megatons raining" and other trigger happy nuke advocates. It's not contributing to the discussion at all. If you need to vent, please go to Telegram.

Posted by: Krištof | Sep 9 2022 11:35 utc | 60

Better to fight them in the open than in defensive positions.

With a front line a thousand miles long impossible to defend everywhere. I predict this will provide short term pr victory and bring forward the collapse.

Posted by: Oh | Sep 9 2022 11:36 utc | 61

I wouldn't rush to make any judgements yet. Let us face it, this is in itself not a particularly important piece of land, which is why it was not strongly fortified. This is certainly one of the factors that influenced Kiev's decision to attack in this particular spot.
It is, however, a good way for the Russians to draw Ukrainian forces away from the Kherson area, making a move towards Nykolaev and Krivoy Rog somewhat easier to launch and sustain.

Posted by: Pancho Plail | Sep 9 2022 11:36 utc | 62

js @ 25

Dima, Dima – there's a reason Martyanov strongly advises against listening to anybody besides himself.

I think I finally figured Scott Ritter and Dima out, Ritter is an expert that acts like a kid, Dima is a kid that acts like an expert.

Martyanov is fine but he's an old crank stuck in a rut. Youtube reduces everyone to a cartoon character, it's what happens when you work alone, w/o colleagues, w/o an editor.

Telegram is all the same tiny trickle of "news" and vids regurgitated around and around and around, when the "news" is positive it self reinforces and vibe is over all triumphant, when the "news" is negative it self reinforces and it's all mad panic.

I will say this, giving up territory you fought street by street, building by building, floor by floor, and room by room for seems like a damn crazy way to create a cauldron, but I admit I'm a lowly lawn chair private.

Posted by: LightYearsFromHome | Sep 9 2022 11:37 utc | 63

This just means one thing: Escalation.
A quick (6-month) intervention by Russia liberating the Southeast of Ukraine is no longer possible.

Posted by: Tom | Sep 9 2022 11:38 utc | 64

I've been reading accounts from soldiers fighting from the Donbass--one was on Pat Lang's site, and I forget where the other was--that the soldiers there are mostly inexperienced conscripts and that all the more experienced soldiers--especially officers--have been really thinned out. Essentially, what everyone's saying about the Ukrainian forces, generally. In particular, there was one account from a Donbass journalist/soldier that was explicitly saying they no longer had any men to supply as reinforcements, that they were stretched too thin, and that it was imperative Russia enter the fight by sending infantry and officers to reinforce them. I'll see if I can find the links.

Posted by: Pacifica_Advocate | Sep 9 2022 11:39 utc | 65

This is how to report on an issue like Izyum: to the point, resisting tribal pull, and keeping it separate from speculations about future.

I also want to remind of this
which discusses the lack of infantry, which is more specific than insufficient size of army.
Sergei describes how Russia is using the infantry efficiently, being careful not to waste them. He argues it can work, and it is a credible argument.
But also in war effectiveness is important: efficiency is fear of waste. Effectiveness is fear of failure. if you need twice as many people in order to guarantee results then throw in twice as many people. Once you have to be efficient robustness goes and any mistake costs you dearly. The line of defense was too thin, was this because the commanders thought it was enough or because they couldn't get more?
I imagine it is also efficiency which caused the Russians to withdraw quickly rather than lose too many people trying to hang on. Then move forwards slowly again.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Sep 9 2022 11:46 utc | 66

mario2 | Sep 9 2022 11:16 utc | 48

"Russia is fighting a war against fanatics, irrational extremists."

One thing that always struck me as weird about the propaganda of "The Russians and Ukrainians are brothers", followed by Russia extending the hand of friendship to the Ukrainian people, is how it only ever acknowledged one half of that proposition but never the logical corollary:

If your brother refuses your extended hand but spits on it instead, you now have a civil war, the most vicious kind of war. But the mindset of the Russian civilian leadership seems incapable of coping with this realization.

Posted by: Flying Dutchman | Sep 9 2022 11:46 utc | 67

I wouldn't call it a disaster. This is a war, it involves gains and losses, advances and retreats. There are always successes and failures. It is impossible that one side always and in 100% of cases successfully advances, while the other side only loses and retreats.

Remember the war in Syria. The long-suffering Palmyra changed hands several times. The Syrian army and Russian forces liberated the ancient city, then the terrorists captured it again (and no one called it a disaster for the Russian army), then the city was again liberated from the terrorists. This is war.

There is no doubt that the current counteroffensive of the Ukronazis is synchronized with the summit at the Ramstein base ('we need to show the masters that we are worth something'). There is no doubt that subsequently the Ukronazis will again be thrown back from their positions.

Posted by: alaff | Sep 9 2022 11:47 utc | 68

The Russians don't seem to realise that they could send half their army to Ukraine for one month and then withdraw most of it gradually and wait to see if it is needed again, rather than having a poultry force tasked with carrying out a euphemism in Ukraine

Posted by: Clubofinfo | Sep 9 2022 11:49 utc | 69

I don't understand the frustration... The Allied forces managed to pull out all the Ukrainian reserves, which will now be destroyed. Dima is an old pessimist. This is the last great battle of this war.

Posted by: henry | Sep 9 2022 11:49 utc | 70

I've heard the number 9,000 Ukies involved in this Kharkov area offensive, at least so far. That's basically 2 beefed up U.S. Army brigades. Not exactly a WW II army. If these guys are 65 klicks inside former front "lines" that means there's lots of empty space not having any combatants, of either side.

I think too many people pretend that the maps lines are solidly manned with people every couple hundred meters. I don't think so in this particular case. I deal with maps everyday (well, my colleagues do, I'm an end user of maps and other data). Maps are an abstract of reality, sometimes the best abstract that can be made but an abstract none the less. 1:1 reality is very hard to map, that's why maps are usually at much smaller scales and generalizations. We'll see what less than an American Army division can do on this particular front. Time will tell...

Posted by: DakotaRog | Sep 9 2022 11:50 utc | 71

Just one question out of many: it was already months ago that the UAF were supposed to be almost out of fuel. Not much evidence of that now?

Posted by: Ma Laoshi | Sep 9 2022 9:37 utc | 2

Considering they're not moving in mechanized assault all that much you can take it that these are their reserve. I guess we'll see when the winter comes. Donations might dried up then.

Posted by: Lucci | Sep 9 2022 11:50 utc | 72

I wouldn't rush to make any judgements yet. Let us face it, this is in itself not a particularly important piece of land, which is why it was not strongly fortified. This is certainly one of the factors that influenced Kiev's decision to attack in this particular spot.
It is, however, a good way for the Russians to draw Ukrainian forces away from the Kherson area, making a move towards Nykolaev and Krivoy Rog somewhat easier to launch and sustain.

Posted by: Pancho Plail | Sep 9 2022 11:36 utc | 61

You're right about that. RF command shouldn't insist keeping unnecessary losses over nonstrategic territory.

They should take this as blessing in disguise since UA finally muster their reserves and show its hands. All they only have to do now is to thoroughly destroy these forces.

Posted by: Lucci | Sep 9 2022 11:54 utc | 73

Whether or not the 2nd offensive is a major Russian debacle is far too early to declare.
A feigned retreat against an unexpectedly strong surge is a possibility; one where the Russian forces consolidate as they pull back to strike back against an overextended foe.

This would not be something I think Russia would have planned in advance, rumours of an over-confident division commander failing to obey orders to pull back, leading to a break in the line, seem (superficially) more plausible. However, the Ukrainians have not shown themselves to be in any way competent at managing their offensive efforts, especially in terms of maintaining artillery support, and a rapid surge of this kind needs exceptional logistical and operational support to ensure it does not very quickly run out of steam.

They have also apparently bypassed the remnants of a division of Russian paratroopers sent to reinforce Balakleya, pushing instead to Kupyansk in efforts to cut off Izyum. This may reflect Kiev's frequent prioritisation of theatrics over steady gains, rushing for a lightning strike that will convince the West they are still in with a chance even if it costs them colossal casualties from an ultimately untenable position. For Liz truss and the other Western backers, the offensive does not need to have any long-term practical impact, it simply offers them something they can hold up as a 'win' and claim to be a turning-point in the war, justifying another six months of money and munitions to hold Ukraine through the Winter.

Posted by: Brannagyn | Sep 9 2022 12:03 utc | 74

I don't get the "panic mode". If there's a sort of debacle on that narrow strip of the fontline, Worst thing that can happen is general mobilization in Russia

Posted by: Rute Rockabilly | Sep 9 2022 12:03 utc | 75

thanks for the objective military analysis, b. it's hard to know what is happening in the din of constant propaganda, but I know I can trust you to call it as objectively as you can. it's also hard to distinguish people who were and are legitimately concerned about the way Russia has been conducting the operation from those who are probably paid by western intelligence to win the propaganda war. ongoing events will help in this process. this does remind me of the battle of the bulge.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Sep 9 2022 12:07 utc | 76

Good Lord, stop whining!
A desperate army without air control, guns, tanks or experienced troops will not win a conflict because they manage to do well three days.

This could well be a Russian trap; and if not, well, you live and learn.

The Ardennes offensive went very well for five days. Then the skies turned blue again, and that was the end of that.

Hitler was staging an offensive along the Danube two months before shooting himself in the mouth.
Let that sink in.

Posted by: Alexander P | Sep 9 2022 12:08 utc | 77

@utc | 74

The Ukraine secured tens billions in military hardware and training missions with it

Posted by: Frenziedfrog | Sep 9 2022 12:08 utc | 78

Yeah -- here's the blog:

The blogger's name is Murz (Мурз), and he's working as a mechanic, repair tech, and quartermaster for the Donbass forces in LPR. He has been complaining for months about the communications deficit the Donbass forces suffer: apparently, there are no radio communications between the infantry support and tank crews. None! So, in his words, "The tanks are blind", and "what are tanks without infantry to support them?".

Murz claims that the breakdown in the Donbass lines was because, although it was clear that Ukraine was massing for a big attack on Izyum, the only reinforcements they received there were infantry units. Ukraine has excellent recon drones which can see far behind the line of contact, so Ukraine decided to use this moment to attack.

The two entries I read were Sep. 9th and Sep. 8th (where he was talking about the communication problem, where he goes into the issues at some length).

It's in Russian. You'll need to use machine translation to read it. Murz touched on all of these issues and more in the original post I read, which you can find translated here, over at Pat Lang's site. Unfortunately, Russia's "Ministry of Truth" has censored the original post, so if you click through on the link to get it in Russian you'll find that it has been removed by LiveJournal because it violated some law.

But at least you can click through to Pat's site and read the original there. I remember thinking that the translation on Pat's site had been doctored a bit to sound quite a bit more doom-and-gloom, but then that may have been TTG (OP, and fluent in Russian--he also really hates them) correcting the machine translation--which, frankly, was a bit vague in some areas regarding which side Murz was talking about.

In any event, Murz is giving a clear and honest breakdown of why the LPR lines failed to hold the line.

Posted by: Pacifica_Advocate | Sep 9 2022 12:09 utc | 79

In any case, if not a clever trap, given the AFU are over extended, as was Russia when it went all the way to Kiev, one might expect the Russians to turn a failure into a success.

Posted by: Finger8 | Sep 9 2022 11:32 utc | 56

this is a reasonable assessment.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Sep 9 2022 12:09 utc | 80

This is now the third day of the idiotic uki suicide offensive in Kharkiv region. Driven themselves deep into a cauldron of their own making. This will end the same as the Kherson offensive only a lot more bodies. Uki sources I posted earlier say green tee shirt is putting 50,000 currently walking talking bodies into it.

Nothing like a bit of captagon on a mafia comedian in a green tee shirt.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Sep 9 2022 12:11 utc | 81

Things that havent changed in tje last 72 hours:

Ukraine has lost over 20% of its own territory to a small police operation.

150,000+ Ukrainian troops KIA.

Decimation of Ukrainian economy.

Decimation of European economy.

Perilous political instability in USA.

So not sure what has been accomplished with a fly buzz counterpunch.

This is like getting demolished for 8 rounds and finally managing a flurry of middling counterpunches in the 9th. Dont forget you've still got 3 rounds to go, and the first 8 dont bode well for your chances moving forward.

Whatever has been "accomplished" in the last 72 rounds is not sustainable on the part of Ukraine since RF has escalatory dominance. RF is operatimg on 3 on the pain dial. The dial goes to 12.

Posted by: Therion | Sep 9 2022 12:11 utc | 82

Ru let them win so that they (ukr) can still bleed the west's economy and ammo stocks.

Posted by: Jimmy | Sep 9 2022 12:13 utc | 83

When losing, attack

American military teaching states that every commander should have an attack plan ready. When losing, attack. It does not matter where. The aim is to throw the enemy off guard and offset balance of forces. Russian tactics have turned the war into a grinder, with Ukrainians suffering losses 10 to 1. If NATO can turn this into 2 to 1, the war may become too costly for Russia.

I do not know how this offensive will end. So far it has followed the script of the Battle of Bulge in the Ardennes in 1944. Hitler secretly gathered fresh forces and attacked a poorly defended sector of the allied line, with the aim of severing strategic Allied communication lines. A desperate attempt to turn around an already lost war, but it slowed down the Western front by a few months.

How could this happen?

Russian commentators are saying that the Russian command was asleep. Those responsible should be court martialed or shot or whatever. There is another explanation. Maybe the Russian headquarters in Kupyansk was annihilated by a HIMARS/M270 missile strike. Those responsible may be dead. Russian correspondent Yevgeny Poddubny in Kupyansk shows a building destroyed by "HIMARS" missiles.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Sep 9 2022 12:18 utc | 84

Success means the complete elimination of Ukraine as a state and then de-Ukrainization of the population. Everything significantly short of that is a strategic defeat.

Posted by: Tbx | Sep 9 2022 11:31 utc | 54

How could you ever believe this to be true? And what would the de-Ukrainization of the population look like? Education camps? Electric shock therapy?

You correctly observe that it has been a huge strategic defeat for Russia to have a quarter of the Russian world brainwashed into militant Russophobia. But there is no turning back from this - the Baltics largely share this subnormal phobia. Save those who want to be saved.

Denazification has targeted the military, not the civilian population. 2 million have fled Ukraine to Russian sanctuary since February. Many more continue to reside peacefully in Ukraine under the protection of the Russian state; all whilst Russia continues to pound Ukraine’s military.

Posted by: Pat Bateman | Sep 9 2022 12:22 utc | 85

Russia can not fail, it can only be failed.

Posted by: Mike Adamson | Sep 9 2022 12:24 utc | 86

Posted by: Mike Adamson | Sep 9 2022 12:24 utc | 85

the US has lost every major war (cough) "police action" since World War 2, except for a draw in Korea. I'm going to give Russia more than a few days to assess the first apparent defeat of the SMO. would you have conceded victory to the nazis after the initial successes in the Battle of the Bulge? be honest.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Sep 9 2022 12:27 utc | 87

"So many once vibrating living humans are now no more."

That's captagon abuse for you!
Thank your pals in the CIA for that.

But who knew that Nazis on captagon could run so fast? Doubtless that is what surprised the Russian command staff.

Something to watch for in the coming days is a couple "helicopter accidents" off the coast of Hawaii and Florida. Note that each "helicopter accident" can provide "closure" for hundreds of fresh military widows since the identities of the victims will be kept secret and the widows themselves will be asked to keep quiet about it for "national security reasons".

Now the only question is if this "offensive" will be enough to prod the Russians into "taking the gloves off". I'm thinking maybe not. After the Nazis have shot their wad and crashed from their captagon high there will be little organized combat capabilities remaining for the Ukropians to feed the grinder. The Russians will be left with fighting NATOady Special Forces, which they will likely pussy-foot around with because it is not "honorable" to exterminate such "elites".

Posted by: William Gruff | Sep 9 2022 12:31 utc | 88

Nato has already joined with its troops through a scheme of de-enlisting active personel and sending them as volunteers, then re-enlisting after they go back, counting towards their service time. Nato is as fully committed it can without declaring war.

Posted by: unimperator | Sep 9 2022 12:32 utc | 89

They broke deep because any town or village that put up a fight was avoided. There are groups from both sides all over the place. Its a mess
Most footage of victory shows zero shots fired taking places, the actual battles that mean anything started today and will unfold over the next couple of weeks.
There will probably be another crazy dash in the southwest soon.

Posted by: OhhCanada | Sep 9 2022 12:34 utc | 90

Putin will most likely retreat and send more condolences to the UK about the queen. Smells like a mix of ineptitude, putting kids to guard the frontline and probably some betrayal by high Russian commanders. A complete shitshow

Posted by: Comandante | Sep 9 2022 12:34 utc | 91

I agree with b: this is a disaster for the LPR. Apparently, the failure that led to this defeat was the result of LPR leadership being asleep-at-the-wheel regarding the proper kit for their combined arms units. Murz insists that he has been battling this very problem for years and that all of his pleas have fallen on deaf ears. That, added to his insistence that the infantry units have not been properly supported with mechanized units--particularly tanks, which the infantry apparently cannot communicate with (!)--indicates that this defeat is the fault of the LPR leadership.

In the machine translation, I'm guessing that everywhere one might see the word "dill" the machine is mistranslating "DPR." So apparently--according to Murz--the DPR has more money than the LPR, and so has been able to address these problems more effectively.

So what we may be seeing here is a defeat that is the result of a poorly supplied and improperly reinforced LPR infantry that, for some baffling reason, has not been supplied with enough mechanized units to properly perform tactical operations at the front line. Foremost among the failures appears to be communications, with Murz literally spending his own money to purchase digital walkie-talkies, which he then sent to Moscow to have them refurbished and repaired for use in the field.

Which of course means that what mechanized units were available at the time of the Ukrainian attack were still unable to communicate directly with the infantry. In the deleted post, Murz described their current communications model: infantry in the field tells HQ what's happening and what they need, and then HQ relays that information back to the tanks.

It's a baffling system and clearly the point of failure that is now being exploited by the AFU.

Posted by: Pacifica_Advocate | Sep 9 2022 12:36 utc | 92

As the stew cooks, can’t rush a decent slow cooked dish y’know, let me put this here to give a different perspective.

Ask yourself the question in this SMO - who is Foreman and who is Ali ?

To help your cogitation, here is a masterful article to inform your choice, by Michael Ezra.

Ask people about Muhammad Ali's 1974 fight with George Foreman and you very well may hear that Ali scored a dramatic victory by backing against the ropes, weathering a brutal battering, and then delivering a sudden knockout. They'd be wrong, though, because what really happened was that Ali whipped Foreman comprehensively from start to finish. Throughout the whole fight, even in the rounds where he barely moved his feet, Ali landed more meaningful punches than he took. Whenever Foreman mounted an offensive, Ali jack-knifed him by grabbing then yanking the back of Foreman's head and neck, an illegal tactic that went unpunished and gave Foreman almost no chance to win the bout at any time. It was a blowout.

Does it help?

Posted by: DunGroanin | Sep 9 2022 12:39 utc | 93

Posted by: Tbx | Sep 9 2022 11:31 utc | 54

Very good comment!
de-Ukrainization of the population is the only solution.
The Ukronazi Armed forces are mirroring the population.
All the males and female fighting for Ukronazistan and killing everything with two legs what is russian re only a part of these nazificated ukro population
The Ukronazis de-Russonized Ukraine and showed us the way to go, light and fast.
The SMO is the wrong strategy.

Posted by: Chessmaster | Sep 9 2022 12:39 utc | 94

This is the first russian loss of the smo

That it happened should be forgiven (as if any of us have any rights to forgive) as ukr is using New tactics and could even be mostly mercenary troops of a higher caliber.

The important things to notice Will be how they respond in this area and whether a similar defeat Will happen elsewhere.

We need to keep in mind that 10 billion+ is enough to buy a competent army plus entire NATO iş involved. What is most surprizing to me is that it took NATO this long to get its first Victory.

Let us see if this is a one off or the beginning of a long series of NATO victories. Only if the latter is the smo in trouble and so far it is not clear how long NATO can even sustain the current effort let alone repeat it in other areas

Posted by: Ct | Sep 9 2022 12:43 utc | 95

Posted by: OhhCanada | Sep 9 2022 12:34 utc | 89

To counter fast mobile advancements attempting to go around strong points, you need layered defenses around strong points. Even light defenses can bog down the fast mobile troops. Per available video material of destroyed UA equipment footage, the vanguard/scout forces are using pretty much passenger cars and/or some pick-up trucks etc. And they could so far advance on empty roads.

Posted by: unimperator | Sep 9 2022 12:45 utc | 96

By the way, isn't it curious that Dima calls this a disaster exclusively on the basis of the information provided by the Russians?

Posted by: Jonathan W | Sep 9 2022 12:49 utc | 97

the green german CO2 clown today announced that Germany doesnt needs Gas from Russia.

Russia should support his view and really finally shut down Nordstream 1.
Only to keep Gas flowing through NS 1 because of Hungary and Serbia is not worth it.
Vucic in Serbia is a traitor and behaving like a prostitute.
Orban in Hungary is same like Erdogan.
„France has no friends, only interests.“ — Charles de Gaulle.

Posted by: Chessmaster | Sep 9 2022 12:50 utc | 98

The common depiction - in pro-Russian web - of the war being already won and over leads to complacency. It is harzardous and mindless. No war is ever won until it actually is.
Some kind of peace has to be settled.
Otherwise, look at Korea.
Leaving complacency, committing all available forces to Victory is the one and only road to "Pobieda"!
In 1942 about 140.000.000 unvanquished Soviets started to beat the crap out of around 140.000.000 of too confident armed facist countries (Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Italy + a few others freiwilligen). There never were outnumbered glorious nazis until very much later, they had parity of people numbers, the Soviets just played it better.
And they never napped before the Elbe river.
They never talked about any "done war" before shaking hands with GI's.
Today the too confident side is Russia.
There will be losses to get victory, mind you: there will be more in defeat - all will be lost.
You need 100% of Russian Army to take over all of Ukraine, there is no alternative, no rump state, no whatsoever, because the Westies dont play fair, they wont give you a reprive - and it needs to be fast.

Posted by: Greg Galloway | Sep 9 2022 12:51 utc | 99

I am interested to see how this all plays out.
-Did Russia set a trap?
-Is Ukraine setting a trap by causing a counter move (reallocating resources)?
-Will closing N1 cause a ramp up from NATO?
-Will Russia become more aggressive?
-Is there a way out of all of this?

I have so many questions and so few answers. Watching the US create this mess has been disheartening to say the least.

Posted by: Slat1 | Sep 9 2022 12:54 utc | 100

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