Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 04, 2022

Ukraine - What Explains The Recent Russian Retreats?

Over the last months Ukraine has launched a counteroffensive against Russian positions in the Kharkov region. The attack against thin Russian forces was quite successful but has cost the Ukrainian army several thousand men and irreplaceable hardware. That does not seem to matter for Kiev.

Several reasons for the success were given. The Russian forces in the area were even smaller than people had thought and the Ukraine was willing to push every reserve it had through the Russian defense lines. The Russian artillery was equally thin and could not use enough area weapons like multiple rocket launcher systems to stop the storming Ukrainian forces.

In consequence the Ukraine took a quite large share of land. Most st of these was thinly inhabited rural areas. Even the city of Lyman which the Russian gave up on had less than 30,000 pre-war inhabitants.

Kharkov region October 4

Kharkov region September 1


But another Ukrainian counteroffensive lets me doubt the explanations given for the area losses near Kharkov.

In the Kherson-Nikopol region the Ukrainians made several attempts to push the Russian forces from the land north of the Dnieper river. All had failed with large losses for the Ukrainian side. But over the last week the Ukrainians tried a new attack along the river and breached through the Russian frontline.

The Russian troops retreated in good order and the Ukrainians pushed further.

Kherson-Nikopol region October 4

Kherson-Nikopol region September 1


Neither the explanation of too few men, nor the explanation of too few MLRS systems or ammunition which may explain the Kharkov success hold up for the Kherson region.

During the summer Russian troops were pulled from the Kharkov region and send to the south to defend the Kherson regions. There are lots of Russian units in the area including many artillery systems. And while the Ukrainians have damaged some bridges that cross the Dnieper the Russian forces have enough ferry equipment to keep up the supplies. Most of the previous Ukrainian attacks were defeated rather easily.

I thus find it hard to explain the current situation.

My current 'feel' is that the Russian forces have orders from high above to conserve forces and to let go of land and retreat when the pressure becomes big enough and severe Russian casualty numbers are likely.

Why were such orders given? What are the plans behind them?

I don't really know.But I am sure will find out when Russia opens the new phase of the war.

The weather has become quite bad in Ukraine with rain making the passing over fields with tanks etc nearly impossible. That is why the attack in the south was pushed along a road. In two month the ground in Ukraine will likely be frozen.

The Russian military leadership seems to believe that the Ukrainian operations will cease soon and that the mobilized reinforcements that are starting to come online will be able to decisively change the picture as soon as the winter comes.

Another potential reason behind the order to conserve forces and to not hold onto territory at any price may be political. The Russian public was starting to get a bit tired of the war but after the losses in the Kharkov region the TV pundits pushed for winning the war. That allowed Russia's president to launch the mobilization of reservists. The further losses since may be designed to allow for more political measures.

The law that will allow for the four regions to return to Russia after a hundred years of being part of Ukraine today passed the upper house of Russia's parliament:

According to the documents, the DPR and the LPR will retain their status as republics after joining Russia and Russian will be their official language. The Kherson and Zaporozhye regions will also join Russia as constituent entities and will continue to be called "regions." The borders of the republics and regions will be the same as those that "existed on the day of their creation and accession into Russia." International accords specify that their borders with other countries will be regarded as Russia’s state borders. At the same time, under the constitutional laws, the DPR and the LPR are joining Russia under the 2014 borders enshrined in their constitutions.

President Putin will now have to sign the new law to enact it. The heads of the DPR and LPR have already signed laws ratifying treaties on joining Russia.

With the laws enacted the Special Military Operation will become a war to prevent attacks on Russian grounds and to retake the parts of Russia that are currently under Ukrainian occupation.

I expect that the gloves which Russia was still wearing during recent operations will come off.

Posted by b on October 4, 2022 at 16:39 UTC | Permalink

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In Britain people use lethal dogs to be aggressive to their neighbours. Anglosaxons use zionists , islamists and neo-Nazis for the same purpose. Butta would no melt in my moutha.

Posted by: Giyane | Oct 5 2022 7:55 utc | 301

Ok. So I was refreshing to post when the site went down….
>wagelaborer | Oct 5 2022 1:26 utc | 245
Fascinating. Thanks for that.
>susan mullen | Oct 5 2022 1:29 utc | 246
Huh. Another thing learnt in just this one thread. Thanks.
>Tom SteChatte | Oct 5 2022 1:58 utc | 251
Russia destroyed its pipeline…The argument isn’t that Russia had zero motive.
A case (facile,) *can* be made for motive
A case *can* be made for means…. Russia has ordnance that could do it
A case absolutely CANNOT be made for opportunity.
The location was under complete NATO-US control during combined drills and exercises since BALTOPS22. The Baltic Sea is completely wired and choked with detection devises.
So you are arguing the US-NATO surveillance of a location within a location they are monitoring and conducting exercises is hopelessly useless.
Or. You are arguing Russia has super sekret alien-tech invisibility powers.
The only, men and machines (marine, terrestrial, aerial) in that location were US NATO.
And the links have been provided here ad nauseam already.
But. Here you go (again)
>>>… MONKEYWERX: The Nord Stream 2 Pipeline Sabotage
Okay, let’s dig into what we know about the subject. First and foremost, everything I have shown and discovered is open source - meaning it is available to anyone around the world.
I just happen to know where to look and have the tools that give me the opportunity to find the data. ….

And: who was recorded in the location at the exact time?

Here’s NATO conducting surveillance in the Baltic airspace, directly over the pipeline September 16
September 16:
“For the first time, @Team_Luftwaffe & @EjercitoAir have collectively executed #NATO's enhanced Air Policing together to safeguard Baltic airspace..More info:

September 27: Spain: “Good night, NATO allies! #GoodNight #NATO allies
[Why wish #NATO allies a “good” night, that particular night???]
And…. When Russia did fly in international airspace, near the Baltics….
NATO scrambled jets..
Sept 23: Aeronautica Militare. @ItalianAirForce Two other #Scramble for #Eurofighter of the TFA "White Eagle" in #Poland to intercept Russian jets flying over the Baltic Sea area.
This week only #ItalianAirForce fighters have carried out seven immediate take-off. #NATO #AirPolicing

Oh. And. The “good night NATO allies got a retweet from RachelLoraine in South Carolina. With a Tom Cruise Maverick gif.
South Carolina… Who in US intell was watching???

RachelLorraine was more than a bit perturbed by Radeksik tweet
“Thank You America”
Say whaaaa?? No wayyyyyyy
(Deleted tweet. )

Posted by: Melaleuca | Oct 5 2022 8:01 utc | 302

Why would Russia trade ground for saving own and killing enemy soldiers?

Simply because it suitable tactics. They did it with Napoleon, Hitler etc. Now it is even more suitable, considering Russia has such firepower advantage. Purpose is destroying enemy armies, once it is done all empty ground can be quickly conquered back. Every day Ukie troops are advancing is day they are in open and not hiding entrenched among civilians, giving plenty of targets to Russian arty and airforce. Their casaulties are horrific.

As no one in west ever read any history book about Russian. Probably not.

Posted by: Abe | Oct 5 2022 8:06 utc | 303

I expect Russia to hit Ukraine with greater intensity than in the opening days of the conflict. The targets will be different. Infrastructure specifically energy and power generation, supply lines, command and control and hopefully the US embassy. Nothing new to stop russia from doing this from the air and sea. The US terror attack on the nord stream pipelines opens up many targets, US spy satellites meets a tactical nuke????

Posted by: nightdipper | Oct 5 2022 8:30 utc | 304

The mud season has started in Ukraine.
What now for large scale operations until the land freezes?
It's also being mentioned that Ukraine's army's are using the US real-time positioning systems where everyone essentially knows where other unit's are in relation to themselves.
Anyone got any better insights on the above?

Posted by: jpc | Oct 5 2022 8:34 utc | 305

Whistleblower claim on NS2 pipe.

Someone affiliated with Nato Baltops exercises during mid-June, claims that some scruffy looking people ("scruffy looking terrorists with no identity tags") were officially searching anti-ship mines, but instead of magnetic detection equipment, were equipped with deep diving suits and hard case boxes. The claim goes that they took a small boat into a specified point at sea, went on a dive with the boxes, took a few hours and the case boxes were missing. After that immediately flew out with a helicopter. This would most likely be remote detonatable stuff.

Regardless of whether true or not it doesn't really matter, since as someone said, the mainstream media narratives are just checks whether people still have a sub 72 IQ.

Posted by: unimperator | Oct 5 2022 8:35 utc | 306

❗️Ukrainian TG-channel "Legitimny" writes:

“The SBU and the President’s Office are “tearing” and “throwing ” that someone has leaked photos and videos from Bila Tserkva, and also information has come out that this is an attack on the barracks of the 72nd brigade, where there are victims.

The authorities, as usual, lied to the Ukrainians that all the drones were shot down, there were no losses, some “abandoned houses” were conditionally burning.

It is for this that the authorities forbid Ukrainians to publish photos and videos of the results of their arrival in order to keep the whole society in a false illusion, telling lies.

According to the source, it is not so dangerous to lose 500 fighters killed in the barracks (from the point of view of strategy, they are just statistics and will not affect the result in any way), but it is dangerous that the masses will find out about this and begin to criticize the authorities, panic, discuss, etc. ".

While it's doubtable that casualties were 500, several hundred are still plausible, judging by the large building complex on fire.

Posted by: unimperator | Oct 5 2022 8:58 utc | 307

Yes, the Russians could have learned a lot from the Donbass fighters, yet Russia won't even give the Donbass fighters weapons and supplies. It is private organizations raising money and collecting weapons, gear and clothing for the Donbass fighters and even the Russian troops.

Posted by: MiniMo | Oct 5 2022 3:08 utc | 273

I think you are lying about Russia not providing weapons to the Donbass Militia, but in any case, soon the fighters in the Donbass will be Russian Military and will have full access to Russian weapons.

Posted by: Ed Nelson | Oct 5 2022 8:59 utc | 308

My guess for the future campaign is that the 300,000 men of the reserve start with taking over the defensiv line so that the present units can get a break and rebuild their strength. Let's say two months for that. Then an offensiv towards the Oskil plus another northwards towards Pavlohrad. Do what the Ukrainians did. Use the superior numbers in the open steppes.

Posted by: Poul | Oct 5 2022 9:05 utc | 309

Posted by: unimperator | Oct 5 2022 8:58 utc | 307

While it's doubtable that casualties were 500, several hundred are still plausible, judging by the large building complex on fire.

Don't you know it's impossible to quantify casualties?

I know because galaxy brain yenwoda told me so ... Ukrainian logic.

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Oct 5 2022 9:38 utc | 310

"Another potential reason behind the order to conserve forces and to not hold onto territory at any price may be political. The Russian public was starting to get a bit tired of the war but after the losses in the Kharkov region the TV pundits pushed for winning the war. That allowed Russia's president to launch the mobilization of reservists"

I thought that too.
A 21st century variation of the "La patrie est en danger" from the French Revolutionaries in 1792, when said revolution was on the rocks.
This bold statement led to the mobilisation of… 300 000 men to be enrolled in the French army in 1793.
Strange coincidence, huh?

Posted by: Nanker | Oct 5 2022 9:39 utc | 311

UGH, more sustained attacks on the site. This "averagejoe" is another troll.
On Sportsnet, I could tell him he is now muted. There are many posters I wish to "applaud" in the face of the constant shills.
You know it is hitting a nerve, when you get 30+ trolls, or as Musk says bots, attacking the thread under discussion, because it is against the "narrative".

Posted by: Arcticman | Oct 5 2022 9:43 utc | 312

Whatever tactic and "gloves off" narrative one proposes, it's getting impossible to explain how this benefits the Russian speaking people living in the cities in the besieged area and the increasingly larger bombs still falling every days on cities at both sides. It doesn't seem to benefit any Russian citizen at all. Escalating war is always destructive for everyone, especially the grunts and lower, middle class civilians. It's always about some poisoned and misguided or abused ideology. Yes even to undo some "injustice" or "correct some wrong". In the end, after all is in ruins, it never solved the main thing for long. Weren't the Nazis beaten 75 years ago? And now we start again? Perpetual war? Or did the last one fail? What did it accomplish but drain the people?

"... cost the Ukrainian army several thousand men "

These numbers are not really confirmed. How could anyone see the difference between an unconscious wounded or dead man from any distant analysis? Nonsense. Russia calculates these numbers with models and assumptions. Error margins seem at least 50% or even higher. Even if not so it wouldn't be more than 10% causalities. This is for the type of warfare not that extreme. Of course one cannot repeat it too many times without pouring new people in. Which they do!

Posted by: John Dowser | Oct 5 2022 9:47 utc | 313

Don Bacon should be called, "done baking"... argh. Just another troll. I found a few more minutiae lovers. To them, one inch is one "mile". Hah. Now have over 20 trolls to skip over. Everyday, seemingly, more grouches are putting up their heads.
Almost like Psalms 83.

Posted by: Arcticman | Oct 5 2022 9:58 utc | 314

wagelaborer | Oct 5 2022 1:26 utc | 245

The crash of the Griesmann Gruppe aircraft, not far from the explosion sites, and on the same day that a US fleet was actually flying helicopters over the explosion sites, does seem a curious coincidence.

But a search of the group website for "Nordstream" in German and English doesn't return anything I can see. A website called "Teller Report" claims the company's never worked on it, for what that's worth.

Posted by: YetAnotherAnon | Oct 5 2022 10:03 utc | 315

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a federal constitutional law on the admission of the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics (DPR and LPR), as well as the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions into the Russian Federation on Wednesday, October 5.

According to the law, residents of the regions from the day they are admitted to the Russian Federation are recognized as Russian citizens.

The SMO is over, at least as it was before today.

Posted by: Paulg | Oct 5 2022 10:05 utc | 316

If the current line in Kherson is stronger and the Russians are not having supply problems, and with terrain getting muddier and miring Ukrainian logistics, it seems that the Kherson forces have a decent chance to hold a month or two until Russia can deploy its mobilised reserves. A Russian winter offensive should only be minor in scope and aim at retaking areas lost in the Ukrainian summer and autumn offensives and establishing their new state border. After securing that, their goal should be to continuously make their army bigger with more mobilisations and make the front line impenetrable.

Posted by: Clubofinfo | Oct 5 2022 10:32 utc | 317

A few more videos about the Geran-2 strike. They do pack a punch for their size.

Posted by: unimperator | Oct 5 2022 10:50 utc | 318

Posted by: frankwords | Oct 4 2022 19:27 utc | 104
...I wrote on the day of the invasion -- yes, entering into a civil war on behalf of two contending parties in a national civil war is still an "invasion" -- that Putin has fucked Russia and that Xi is not amused.

This, in my opinion, happened because Russia, contrary to all its loud claims to virtue, KNEW that the dethroning of USA by organic processes will inevitably mean CHINA is king. And Putin and friends could not accept that.

This "satanic" order was going to go bye bye on its own. Clock was ticking. Everyone knew this. They, West, do all they can to bait China into a hot war. But China knew that would be stupid, and ultimately counter productive. For everyone.

So Russia, in its ill advised venture into the Ukrainian quagmire, was actually thinking of its own strategic interest viz a vis the rest of the "Global South". A mini-me version (like everything else Russia vs West) of kicking the board.

Can anyone here seriously argue that Russia's adventurism has benefited anyone in the "Global South"?

G'day frankwords,

I disagree.
There are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamed of in your philosophy...

Russia is not intervening in a civil war. It is involved in a world war
Russia's SMO is being undertaken in such a careful, lawful and moral fashion not only on behalf the Global South but for ALL the inhabitants of this planet including non-satanic Europeans and Ukrainians. It is not an immoral attempt at national aggrandizement or some such. In addition to preventing the continuing ethnic cleanisng and genocide of the people of Donbas it is eliminating a major Khazarian Mafia HQ which is a global people and drug trafficking and money laundering crime centre. For instance, once the Khazarian bio-labs in Izyium and other parts of Kharkov oblast were decommissioned there was no compelling reason to continue to occupy those areas.

In fact the SMO is a necessary part of a global anti-Khazarian Mafia mission to eliminate forever the control of this planet by satanic forces that have enslaved, emissated and genocided humans here for centuries. Similar efforts are being covertly undertaken by law abiding, God and human loving military and other forces under Xi Jinping in China and Trump in the US as well as Alliance forces all over this planet.

Posted by: Ron Chapman | Oct 5 2022 10:55 utc | 319

Pepe Escobar laying down the truth about Ukraine

Short and to the point.
Educate yourself!

Posted by: osi | Oct 5 2022 10:59 utc | 320

The day after, and the day that is coming.

After all is signed;

It is curious that the latest attacks by a Russian drone swarm have been on the rear (fortifications and reserves) of the advancing Ukrainians.

The rumour is that Zelensky has shown too much zele and sent basically anything that could be sent to the front lines. Leaving large thinly defended areas in the rear (this time USUkie)

The second rumour has it that the strange vertical lights seen over Russian cities are not aliens but laser defense groups. Blndingly obvious remark - is that they are for blinding US satellites. Which if true, means that the US has very little idea of where and how much Russian offensive capabilities are deployed.

So I will stick my neck out, and say that I expect a Russian counter-offensive to be well behind the present USIUkie lines. Not just a reinforcement of defensive positions.

Clearly I could be wrong (Actually it sometimes gets to be too much of a habit, and I am running out of crows, - aliens are out of season) but wait and see.

Posted by: Stonebird | Oct 5 2022 11:11 utc | 321

@ 308 Ed Nelson

That Minimutt believes Russia doesn't supply DLNR forces with advanced weapons is because it takes years of training to operate them.

US weapons in UAF hands has proven this.

Posted by: WTFUD | Oct 5 2022 11:17 utc | 322

For now Russia is simply outgunned and outmanoeuvered by Ukrainian forces.
Surely it will change in the future but the coming weeks are going to be difficult for Russians

It's still difficult to understand where is the regular army, bombers, rockets etc...
I begin to Wonder if the size and equipment of Russians has not be grossly overestimated.

Posted by: Abeille Flandres | Oct 5 2022 11:18 utc | 323

Posted by: Stonebird | Oct 5 2022 11:11 utc | 321

Re: strange vertical lights. Not sure how true the following explanation is

Such scenes were photographed in Russia’s Belgorod this evening. Social media users immediately started speculating about laser weapons and Peresvet complex. We can say with confidence that it is nonsense.

This is a natural phenomenon known as light pillars. The principle of the operation of Peresvet does not correspond to these photos.

Several photos in link

Posted by: Down South | Oct 5 2022 11:23 utc | 324

Re: light pillars

A light pillar is an atmospheric optical phenomenon in which a vertical beam of light appears to extend above and/or below a light source. The effect is created by the reflection of light from tiny ice crystals that are suspended in the atmosphere or that comprise high-altitude clouds (e.g. cirrostratus or cirrus clouds).[1]

If the light comes from the Sun (usually when it is near or even below the horizon), the phenomenon is called a sun pillar or solar pillar. Light pillars can also be caused by the Moon or terrestrial sources, such as streetlights.

Posted by: Down South | Oct 5 2022 11:27 utc | 325

Posted by: Ed Nelson | Oct 5 2022 8:59 utc | 308

Not only in 8 years Donbass militia never got equipment on par with Russia army despite existing sky high stockpiles, but neither, since the start of the infamous SMO, did they receive good supply from Russia. They were pushed forth to do first line fighting and dying by 'some' Moscovites longing for their demise.

Truth is there is a Moscovite faction that has been opposed to Donbass uprising from day one in 2014 and has never stopped showing mistrust to east Ukraine separatists - trying to sideline them.

More could have happened if one remembers a few names, like Motorola, Givi, Zakharchenko, Mozgovoy...

Posted by: Greg Galloway | Oct 5 2022 11:38 utc | 326

Posted by: Ed Nelson | Oct 5 2022 8:59 utc | 308

Not only in 8 years Donbass militia never got equipment on par with Russia army despite existing sky high stockpiles, but neither, since the start of the infamous SMO, did they receive good supply from Russia. They were pushed forth to do first line fighting and dying by 'some' Moscovites longing for their demise.

Truth is there is a Moscovite faction that has been opposed to Donbass uprising from day one in 2014 and has never stopped showing mistrust to east Ukraine separatists - trying to sideline them.

More could have happened if one remembers a few names, like Motorola, Givi, Zakharchenko, Mozgovoy...

Posted by: Greg Galloway | Oct 5 2022 11:40 utc | 327

During the American Civil War, some areas of Virginia changed hands literally dozens of times, alternately being occupied by the insurgents or liberated by the national army. The unfortunate campaign against Richmond in that conflict also highlights a truth of war: the primary goal is to kill the enemy’s army, not to hold territory. That comes naturally afterward. General Sherman’s almost bloodless campaign in Georgia and the Carolinas also demonstrated there was a better way to crush an adversary than to needlessly sacrifice thousands of young lives on the so-called “field of honor.”

Posted by: BOSTONIAN | Oct 5 2022 12:13 utc | 328

Re: light pillars

A light pillar is an atmospheric optical phenomenon in which a vertical beam of light appears to extend above and/or below a light source. The effect is created by the reflection of light from tiny ice crystals that are suspended in the atmosphere or that comprise high-altitude clouds (e.g. cirrostratus or cirrus clouds).[1]

Posted by: Down South | Oct 5 2022 11:27 utc | 325

Several problems here.

First, it has to be very cold for that natural phenomenon to occur.

It most definitely wasn't cold enough in Belgorod, and in general it very rarely is, which is why the locals haven't seen it before.

Second, usually you get many such beams together. Not a single one.

Third, it is an amazing coincidence that the two most solidly confirmed ones were in Moscow and Belgorod. At the same time. What are the chances? Murmansk and Omsk may have been fake news, but if it was indeed an act of blinding satellites in order to move stuff, Murmansk and Belgorod would be primary locations where one would do that - Belgorod in order to move troops and equipment towards the front, while Murmansk is the base of the Northern Fleet.

And Moscow is the transport hub. Why Omsk I don't quite know though there are ICBMs in that area, but that one may well have been fake news.

Having said all that, I wouldn't expect actively using Peresvet to blind satellites to look like that. It would likely be a much narrower beam and quite possibly practically invisible. But then none of us laymen have ever seen it in action. So it might be something else. Or someone decided to do a prank.

Who knows...

Posted by: Tbx | Oct 5 2022 12:41 utc | 329

Posted by: Tbx | Oct 5 2022 12:41 utc | 330

It seems to not be an optical illusion. There's a video showing a massive electrical fireball of some sort emanating from near a transformer station. It seems to be directed, doesn't look like an "uncontrollable" electrical fire. Whether it's actually from the same day or place I can't tell but looks similar/releases similar light pillar.

If it is something targeted doesn't seem a very efficient way though, who knows.

Posted by: unimperator | Oct 5 2022 13:10 utc | 330

I am eagerly awaiting for either an ultimatum or a sharp change in the Russian conduct of operations in the next 2-3 days (at the very least, the re-start of massive attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure, with vast blackouts etc).

It would be sad to miss the occasion to show the Ukrainians that the game has changed, merely in order to wait that more soldiers are ready to be deployed.

Still, at this point one would need massive daily doses of copium (or cocaine) to think this can end well for the Ukraine.

Posted by: Alexander P | Oct 5 2022 13:42 utc | 331

Incredibly, today's (Dec. 5) Washington Post's lead editorial says that the lead suspect for the attack on the Nordstream pipelines is Russia.

Posted by: lysias | Oct 5 2022 13:54 utc | 332

"today's (Dec. 5) Washington Post's lead editorial says that the lead suspect for the attack on the Nordstream pipelines is Russia".

Can't wait for their article explaining that Julius Caesar stabbed himself dozens of times...

Posted by: Alexander P | Oct 5 2022 14:03 utc | 333

The Ru soldiers in their retreat,or perhaps somewhere in rout, are they ready to swallow this pompous stuff? What they think, whats their moral really? And their wifes and families?

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam;
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.
You think they are ready to swallow it?

Posted by: Josef Schweik | Oct 5 2022 14:07 utc | 334

I read that almost 50,000 Russian troops were under 6 month contracts. When their contracts expired they were allowed to leave the front lines and go home. Thus, there was a shortage of troops up north and perhaps even near Kherson. The 300,000 troop mobilization was a little behind schedule, in my worthless opinion. Seems it was held up to wait for the beginning of the referendum. Just my observation from scanning multiple blogs, etc. Also, it seems the Russians are in no hurry to use the new guys for major reinforcements. They seem to have bigger plans for them, soon. I hope so. Also, the President of Belarus says Poland is massing troops on his border. He also says Poland is on a war footing, planning, perhaps an offensive. There will be no peace. It's not in the plan. Go Russia!

Posted by: Leroy | Oct 5 2022 14:09 utc | 335

Greg Galloway @326: "Truth is there is a Moscovite faction that has been opposed to Donbass uprising from day one in 2014 and has never stopped showing mistrust to east Ukraine separatists - trying to sideline them."

Yes, they are called capitalists. Or, more specifically "liberals" (I cannot help but say that word with a disgusted sneer these days).

Certainly everyone has noticed that many in the Donbass (and Crimea as well) are old school hardcore socialists, and proudly wave old Soviet flags. As well they are "authoritarian", at least in the "liberal" sense of the term in not being subservient, deferential, and worshipful of their capital-owning "betters". These deplorable Donbass Morlocks even insist that the rich be held accountable despite the exemptions that their wealth affords! Such impudence!

The urban middle class, in Moscow as in New York or London, survives by serving the economic elites. Threats to the the wealthy are thus seen by the middle class as threats to themselves. This on top of the fact that the middle class tends to view themselves as temporarily inconvenienced oligarchs who will soon enough join the masters of finance and industry at the economic feeding trough if only they can adequately demonstrate their loyalty and service to the system.

So of course liberals in Moscow and the West were fully on board with Kiev Nazi goals of exterminating the Donbass peoples. Fortunately Moscow liberals are a minority.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 5 2022 14:24 utc | 336

Posted by: TheoWhatever

"The midterm are in 3 weeks. Im right?
Maybe the Russians will take their time and some lose until the election are history?" said on 6th October 2022.

What sort of idiotic loser argument is that - losing militarily just to hope for change after midterm election in usa?
So what even if change occurs-which it will not be.
Remember Obama whispering in Medvedev's ear that thing would normalise after his reelection? What happened!? He doubled down against Syria.
It much more important point is this-how and why are other countries bothered about election in usa when it makes no difference to them and when they are not choosing the candidates, as usa does in other countries as stooge? This is their stupidity or impotancy to give so much value to Americans that you think their fraudulent election cycle should have any respect by you?
Remember fraudulent elections of war criminal Bush in 2000 and 2004? Give less respect to those scu_ags

Posted by: Sam | Oct 5 2022 14:28 utc | 337

I have never read a credible source for the claim that 50k Russian soldiers were allowed to go home after their contracts expired (all at once?). That sounds like BS: You wage war and the soldiers say "Good bye, my contract has expired, too bad that you didnt think about it earlier."

Posted by: Arne Hartmann | Oct 5 2022 14:30 utc | 338

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies led by Russia, together called OPEC+, will meet in Vienna to discuss output cuts of up to 2 million barrels per day (bpd), an OPEC source told Reuters.

Tells something?
"led by Russia"

Posted by: Paulg | Oct 5 2022 14:46 utc | 339

Is it possible that Russia is finally beginning to run short of artillery and/or ammo? Nah, probably not, at least judging from the trainloads of weaponry that we have seen moving towards Ukraine.

Posted by: Rob | Oct 5 2022 14:58 utc | 340

reply to 319

The desired outcome is a balance between China, Russia, the US and the 3rd world. I don't worry much about dominance by China because they are far too alien a culture to ever do or be a hegemon like the US. They can bribe or threaten a bit but they are the opposite of anything multicultural and have bad demographics anyway. The US could descend into poverty with cities ablaze in anarchy and they would still squeeze out a few billion here or there ( while US citizens die homeless and sick) to fight a new cold war. That's just how it is.

If there's any doubt about Western warmongering, just look at Britain. NHS is falling apart amidst national decay and they are still obsessed with Ukraine and Empire. If China takes the lead, most of the world will be better off since they can freely ally themselves with whoever offers the best deal.

Posted by: Eighthman | Oct 5 2022 14:59 utc | 341

On one hand I don't doubt there is something to the reports the Ukie side is getting stronger and smarter. Yes they may be throwing away men but they have reputedly got reinforcements from the Navy Seals and Akademi (Erik Prince's more recent descendants). On the other hand, Russia's objective never was to capture territory (although that does sound a bit odd now that the four regions are all Russia's except for the Ukie "invasion")

Posted by: Jonathan W | Oct 5 2022 15:04 utc | 342

BOSTONIAN | Oct 5 2022 12:13 utc | 329BOSTONIAN | Oct 5 2022 12:13 utc | 329

General Sherman’s "almost bloodless campaign" was anything but unless you are talking strictly about enemy "soldiers" and it was one of the most controversial of the Civil War because of the damage it wrought to civilian property and civilian lives and the questions it raised about fair play in war...

It did establish a US practice that is followed routinely today which is sometimes referred to as a variation on "shock and awe"; meaning to hell with focusing on military targets, the whole country and everything in it should pay for failure to bow down and grovel.

Posted by: DoesItReallyMatter | Oct 5 2022 15:12 utc | 343

@circumspect 6

It takes at least 6 months to train a tank crew, so even if they began today, the demilitarization of Ukraine would be complete long before they would have crews ready. In addition, the Ukraine's wasteful expenditure of personnel means that suitable trainers will be challenging to identify, but even if operated by NATO crews, all the remaining issues would make this suggestion utterly practical.

M1 tanks use 15 gallons per hour idling, 1.85 gallons per mile driving on flat roads, and 3.5 gallons per mile driving across country. T72 and T64 tanks use a third of this. Ukraine does not have the fuel or Bowsers to support M1 tanks.

M1 tanks use turbine engines. This makes them run hot. Ensuring that they stand out like makes flames to infra-red sights - ensuring rapid destruction in modern battle conditions. Turbines also require years of specialist training to repair, and a completely different supply chain which Ukraine lacks. The M1 requires 3 to 4 times more maintainance per hour than the M60, which is similar to the T72. Ukraine does not have the facilities or personnel capable of providing this maintainance, meaning that repairs will involve transporting M1s to a service point in Poland or Germany, taking time and fuel as well as inviting Russia to destroy the tanks while being transported.

Despite being larger (making it a bigger target) and heavier (restricting surfaces on which it can operate and slowing it down) the M1 is as vulnerable to modern anti-tank weapons as the older T72 and T64s operated by the Ukraine.

All the above suggests that the idea that supplying Ukraine with M1 tanks is not a practical suggestion.

As we have seen everywhere the US has used highly toxic "depleted" uranium rounds, birth defects and cancer rates soar. Are the Ukrainians really stupid enough to be the first people to do this to themselves?

Posted by: Hermit | Oct 5 2022 15:30 utc | 344

I think allowing Ukrainian forces to make progress was the only way to get them out of their holes and out in the open. It will be much easier to destroy them while on the move than when they are dug in their ditches. I also think that Russian leadership was under the illusion that Ukrainians and Russians are the same people. They still live this idea while most of Ukraine has been Banderized. Indoctrination of anti-Russia has been going on since the before WW2. Q: Why did Hruschev give Crimea to Ukraine? Answer: Not because he was pro-Russian. It's time Russians faced the reality and crush anyone who takes up a weapon against them. Even if they are Russians from Moscow.
These reinforcements better start showing up at the front otherwise Ukrainian einsatsgruppen will do even more damaged to the liberated parts of Russia.

Posted by: Balkanizer | Oct 5 2022 15:47 utc | 345

reply to 343

I noticed something on Rybar today. Perhaps it is only momentary but scrolling through the engagements, they look lean. "One tank", "two tanks" "50" Ukr killed and so on. Not the usual clobber claims and not accounts about Ukr mass attacks either. Very minor or point by point. Is Ukraine running out of offensive ability? Or just the weather?

Posted by: Eighthman | Oct 5 2022 15:48 utc | 346

Having thought about the two ofennsives in Kharkov & North Donetsk and Kherson more, I think that Russia laid a trap in Kharkov to divert Ukrainian forces away from Kehrson. Holding the Kherson bridgehead over the Dnjepr is way more important than holding territory next to Russia proper. If Russia loses the bidgehead, it would end the war in the South and secures Odessa for a long time.

So what are you gonna do, if you know an offensive on Kehrson is coming and you know you may have problems holding it? Lay a bait by clearing a reagion that is not important while knowing that US intelligence would forward that info to Ukraine. As far as I remember, Ukraine focused on Kherson first and only a week later, it launched the Kharkov offensive. Did Ukraine diverted force to Kharkov that were actually meant for Kherson? Maybe Russia gamed their forces against a fully focused offensive on Kherson by Ukraine and they came to the conclusion that they would have difficulties holding the bridgehead. Just a thought.

Posted by: Arne Hartmann | Oct 5 2022 16:03 utc | 347

Alexander P@344:

It has been noted that several Roman Senators said Caesar's was the worst case of suicide they had ever seen😉

Posted by: morongobill | Oct 5 2022 16:07 utc | 348

"I expect that the gloves which Russia was still wearing during recent operations will come off."

Well B, we'll see. Recent videos of Russian trains carrying armored vehicles mirror those taken early in the SVU Kharkiv counter offensive. At the time everyone expected those units to be used to roll back that counter offensive. That didn't happen. So, what are we to make of it all? Are people beginning to doubt Russia's military capability? Some must, I know I am. This is real war and real sacrifices must be made, and this means Russia MUST, as you suggest, take those gloves off.

Posted by: joesph | Oct 5 2022 16:12 utc | 349

I thus find it hard to explain the current situation.

There is a legal-related explanation which I think is much more satisfactory. The ruling by the constitutional court said that the date of accession to Russia would be the date of signing the treaties, i.e. 30th September, thus any invasion of those regions/republics after that date is an invasion of Russia that took place after the date of accession - Lyman is definitively in that category, as it is definitively within the 2014 boundaries, was occupied by Russia before 30th September, and the Ukrainian offensive to take it started after 30th September. I think that is why Russia baited Ukraine there with the extra-sparse forces, and why they failed to supply adequate air cover and reserves to the defenders to ensure the defence could hold, despite such forces being abundantly available at the time (as far as I read). Over and above the objective of eliminating vast numbers of Ukrainian men and equipment lured out into the open, the Russian General Staff specifically wanted them to occupay Lyman - after 30th September, and using substantial numbers of NATO officers in the battle, in order to provide strong casus belli for the offensives (not just against Ukraine forces but also against NATO forces, possibly even outside Ukraine) that Russia is currently positioning huge forces and huge amounts of equipment for.

The same probably applies too to the latest offensive near Kherson, although the legal situation is slightly more complicated. Although Tass (cited link) states that for the accession of the two regions The borders of the republics and regions will be the same as those that "existed on the day of their creation and accession into Russia", this wording is very undefined with respect to Kherson and Zaporozhye, and according to this article the Kremlin gave "clarification" of this matter on Monday:

Moscow has yet to determine the future borders of Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions, which are set to be incorporated into Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has told journalists.

“We will continue to consult with the residents of those regions on the issue of borders,” the official said on Monday.

Nevertheless, my argument is likely to apply also to the latest Kherson attacks, despite being slightly weakened by the ambiguity over borders.

Posted by: BM | Oct 5 2022 16:15 utc | 350

@Webej 150

That would almost not to suicide, as nobody will survive the widespread nuclear war that US first use would trigger.

Posted by: Hermit | Oct 5 2022 16:49 utc | 351

elkern | 50

Lots of hype re Himars. We won't know how effective they have truly been for a long time.
Bear in mind, 1 HIMARS salvo (6x227mm missiles with 90kg warheads) is a small fraction of a single Smerch salvo (12x300mm missiles with 145kg warheads), and the Ukrainians started with 70 or so Smerch. All gone now. or no ammunition.

Unnoticed, HIMARS appears to have caused Russia to prioritise AD v MLRS rather than aircraft. Almost 1,000 HIMARS missiles are claimed to have been shot down. At the same time, the majority of Ukrainian aircraft losses are now by air combat, in contract to the situation to July when the majority of aircraft claims wee due to AD systems.

Meanwhile, Ru MoD briefings claim 79 M777 and 13 HIMARS destroyed or eliminated, more "neutralised". If correct, Ukraine has only a handful of HIMARS left, 8 or so.

Posted by: ltexpat | Oct 5 2022 16:57 utc | 352

I found the timing of the release of this article and event interesting...
Iran Tests Homegrown Space Tug

This is the stuff of space war. Grabbing a satellite and deorbiting. Grab it and burn it up by renetering. This really opens some doors.

Posted by: circumspect | Oct 5 2022 17:09 utc | 353

In response to a question of the possibility that 30,000 or 40,000 or 50,000 Russian troops had their contracts expire and they were allowed to leave the front lines. I don't know if it's true, but I did 3 years in the US Army. At the end of my contract I was allowed to leave the army. That was during Viet Nam. If the Russians raised a force of troops specifically for the SMO, all at the same time, it wouldn't seem out of the question that they all left at the same time. At the end of their contract. Almost coinciding with the new arrivals of the mobilization. Just an opinion.

Posted by: Leroy | Oct 5 2022 17:36 utc | 354

It has been suggested that Russia will consult the people of the four regions what the borders should be. That may be a factor in the retreats.

Posted by: Jonathan W | Oct 5 2022 17:36 utc | 355

My point was (almost) made by Posted by: BM | Oct 5 2022 16:15 utc | 350

Posted by: Jonathan W | Oct 5 2022 17:44 utc | 356

"...It did establish a US practice that is followed routinely today which is sometimes referred to as a variation on "shock and awe"; meaning to hell with focusing on military targets, the whole country and everything in it should pay for failure to bow down and grovel." DoesItReallyMatter@343

That's a very Jeffersonian take on the campaign.
In actual fact the scorched earth tactics of the Americans originated in the earliest colonial years and was designed to drive out the indigenous peoples in order to purloin their lands and resources.
It was refined in the 'War of Independence" and used against, for example, the Five Iroquois Nations and the thirty odd per cent of the population who wanted no changes-the Tories.
I guess that you are a Southerner and trace back this evil to the Union forces.
As to the bloodless nature of Sherman's campaign it had many of the features of a war of liberation, relying on the support of the enslaved and, not insignificantly, the many poor white people who had more in common with the blacks than with the 'Gone With the Wind' mansion owners.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 5 2022 18:09 utc | 357

More attrition to Ukraine, NW/N of Kherson. Like noted before, we have not yet seen western battle tanks sent to Ukraine, they are mostly T-64 (what is left) and T-55/M-55. APCs must be low in numbers, too.

⚡️🇷🇺🇺🇦💥 Destruction of Ukrainian Formations near #Kostromka⚡️

Artillerymen of the 76th Guards Airborne Assault Division destroy an advancing AFU column near the village of #Kostromka in #Kherson Region.

Having lost four BMP-1s, two T-64BVs and other equipment, the enemy withdrew towards Sukhoy Stavok.

Units of the Russian Armed Forces are holding back attacks by superior AFU forces on the #Kherson front, destroying dozens of enemy vehicles every day.

Coordinates: 47.138168, 33.149783 / /
Join SLG 🔺 Intelligence Briefings, Strategy and Analysis, Expert Community

Posted by: unimperator | Oct 5 2022 18:14 utc | 358

bevin | Oct 5 2022 18:09 utc | 357

No argument with the deeper roots you point out.

Posted by: DoesItReallyMatter | Oct 5 2022 18:17 utc | 359

I don't know how accurate this is but if true, it explains Ukraine successes against the small number of Russian forces. Throwing the untrained conscripts into the front lines a month or so appears to have been buying time to train and equip this force. From other accounts there is also a very large number of western 'mercs' at least in the north. Nato/western troops that use the figleaf of pmc's.
"Our source in the OP said that the General Staff now has a 300 thousandth group of the Armed Forces of Ukraine at the front, of which almost 50 thousand were trained in Britain and the EU. The largest and most trained part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is currently operating in the Kharkiv direction -about 70 thousand people and almost a thousand heavy equipment. 40 thousand soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and 300 different guns and heavy equipment take part in the Battle for Kherson."

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Oct 5 2022 18:43 utc | 360

Putin cares nothing for the low-GDP-contributing, potato-faced slavs in the Ukro-Rus.

Posted by: Tom SteChatte | Oct 5 2022 1:58 utc | 250

The lady doth project too much.

Posted by: Jusses | Oct 5 2022 19:03 utc | 361

UAF on Kherson front will get crushed with mass artillery/CAS once the Russian build-up is sufficient. They have now advanced far away from their supply depots, they have no fortifications and the terrain is very clear.

Posted by: unimperator | Oct 5 2022 19:16 utc | 362

Reply to 358

I noticed that also. UKR is depending on an upgraded 60 year old tank for their offensive? And as long as Russia has mass artillery, those supposed new masses of UKr troops will end up slaughtered without heavy equipment in support. Funny how the media jumped on the T-64 when Russia was using it to hold territory but where are those voices about Ukr offensives?

Posted by: Eighthman | Oct 5 2022 19:29 utc | 363

Posted by: Eighthman | Oct 5 2022 19:29 utc | 363

Advantage that they had in Lyman, and now perhaps repeating in Svatovo... they have mercs with so-called technicals. They can quickly move along the flanks of the strong point, flank it, and under threat of encirclement, may force them to fall back.

These so-called technicals and mercs won't be able to handle any serious resistance, or even a half-decent solid line. Meanwhile UAF is losing a lot of their irreplaceable heavy equipment, which won't be supporting it in a possible defensive scenario.

Posted by: unimperator | Oct 5 2022 19:35 utc | 364

elkern | 50

Lots of hype re Himars. We won't know how effective they have truly been for a long time.8 or so.
Posted by: ltexpat | Oct 5 2022 16:57 utc | 352

The thing about the HIMARS is that they aren't better than the Russian analogs - fewer and smaller rockets, shorter range. A Wunderwaffe that the Russians are shaking in their boots at the thought of HIMARS most definitely isn't, the Russians have better stuff of their own.

But it did change the game because previously Ukraine had no GMLRS and had most of its regular MLRS destroyed too.

And the Russians were planning on prevailing by grinding the Ukrainians down while being at a great numeric disadvantage, relying on vast superiority in firepower.

With the HIMARS the Ukrainian capabilities were, first, restored in terms of again having MLRS (and clearly, more than the announced number of systems have been sent), and second, enhanced, because it is now guided whereas it wasn't before, and the range was greatly increased.

So that equalized things a bit and it made it difficult and later impossible to prevail on the cheap with so little force deployed.

P.S. A lot of these loudly touted magic capabilities of the Ukrainian army actually show how difficult it would be for the West to win a war against Russia. Again, Russian Tornado-S systems are more powerful and longer range than HIMARS, and they will be similarly hard to destroy as they constantly move. Then the Russians are strongly criticized for not having suppressed air defenses, but those are the old Soviet ones that Ukraine is using, i.e. if you think very highly of Ukrainian capabilities and resilience in that area, you are effectively praising the Russian tech from 40 years ago, two generations behind the current stuff. Meaning that the US would probably not do much better if it is to directly attack Russia. Etc. More generally, a truly major war increasingly looks to be unwinnable for any side because of how effective weapons have become. It will be either a stalemate with severe destruction for both sides, or if it goes nuclear it will be truly total ruin with no winners...

Posted by: Tbx | Oct 5 2022 20:04 utc | 365

Russia has already proven they are calling the shots in Ukraine. Took out all the USA bioweapons facilities (46). Rolled all the way to Kiev. Would have been easy for them to take over Ukraine. That was not the goal. The goal was to protect the ethnic Russian Ukrainians from genocide from the Ukrainian azov Nazis who were supported and funded by NATO, USA, and The puppet country of Ukraine. Russia already surrounded the Ukrainian 'army' like dolphins on a bait ball. They are just sucking the stupid Ukrainian army in and they will do it again. There will be nothing left of a Ukrainian army when this is done. If NATO and USA persist in this proxy war, Russia will destroy Ukrainian infrastructure completely. But now the conflict has jumped outside of Ukraine and the kgb was kind enough to notify washington of threats on lng tankers entering Europe. The way Russia looks at the Ukraine conflict is that there are Nazis, genocide, and bioweapons on their porch compliments of USA and NATO. Couple that with 300 billion in foreign reserve theft and government sponsored sabotage and the West position is not morally defensible. This is American government run by Obama. The American people denounce everything USA is doing.

Posted by: Dotar Sojat | Oct 5 2022 21:16 utc | 366

@366 Dotar Sojat | Oct 5 2022 21:16 utc

Agree. Every word. That's it.

What Russia is doing now is strengthening its front line. Why in the world anyone would see it as weakening that line is beyond me.

I suspect that war is very much a matter of keeping one's nerve as time and events pass.

Anyway - just passing through, happened to catch this tail end of this thread. Yours was a nice note to continue on with - many thanks!

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 5 2022 21:45 utc | 367

It seems getting weapons you don't produce or pay for, from rich benefactors can have advantages. Consider a single cannon, well placed, with four hours of shells
. Wait for the opportune time, open up, then abandon said gun and position. There's another gun on the way.

Posted by: davebob | Oct 5 2022 21:48 utc | 368

wagelaborer #37: "I've seen videos of American English speaking soldiers on the front lines. How many speak Polish or Romanian or German?"

Does this mean Ukraine is willing to fight Russia to the last NATO soldier? (/mercenary/CIA agent, etc.)

Posted by: T_Reg | Oct 5 2022 22:26 utc | 369

Dotar Sojat / Grieved

Russia has defeated Ukraine. Phase one and two, Russia was fighting a nato trained Ukraine that still had a lot of old soviet methods and weaponry. That has transitioned to Russia fighting purely nato in Ukraine. Nato training weapons, tactics plus a good deal of nato combat personnel masquerading as mercs.
This pause at the moment, the readjustment to the new war. Russian forces were around 70% modernized with the start of the SMO. The non modernized ground forces were sent in. Now from what I can make of it, there are very large build ups of modernized forces designed to defeat current nato waiting for d day of the new phase. AWA podcast, a couple of Russians - one of them says he has been talking to people from Belgorod and convoy after convoy are assembling there.
Putin often over the years has talked about the problems with the bureaucracy of the regions. Regional Russia still hasn't in many areas shaken of that bureaucratic legacy. It came to the fore with the partial mobilization and western pysops are using it to the full. Young people are especially susceptible. Some of the Russian, pro Russian channels are saying Putin will have to get more hardcore or he will be replaced. Exactly what US wants as they know Putin is too wiley to beat.
The Russian leadership did make a mistake I think and leave this opening, this hiatus when they have to give ground, for the western pysops. I think they will survive it but it should be a lesson for those young people susceptible to information warfare.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Oct 5 2022 22:40 utc | 370

T_Reg @369--

No, not quite. It means the Outlaw US Empire will fight Russia to the last European.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 5 2022 22:42 utc | 371

PROBLEM I am an avid reader and admirer of the comment sections on this site. I like to bookmark various outstanding comments. I do this by clicking on the comment number. That usually jumps the comment up to just above the top of my screen. Then I bookmark it in the appropriate folder. However, frequently when I click on the comment number, the text jumps up to the top of that comment page - useless for bookmarking. I want to know: is there a flaw in the way that comment was posted in the Comment section, or is there an issue related to my computer? If it is the latter, how can I fix it? If it is the former, maybe b can change the way the comment is posted.

Posted by: gmar | Oct 6 2022 0:04 utc | 372

@370 Peter AU1 | Oct 5 2022 22:40 utc

If you haven't already seen it, you will enjoy the appraisal by Swiss analyst Jacques Baud. People were excited by his earlier appraisal and this one is as good:

Kharkov and Mobilization - October 1, 2022

For several weeks now, Western experts have been questioning the presence of the Russians in the Kharkov area, as they clearly had no intention to fight in the city. In reality, their presence in this area was only aimed at affixing the Ukrainian troops so that they would not go to the Donbass, which is the real operational objective of the Russians.

In August, indications suggested that the Russians had planned to leave the area well before the start of the Ukrainian offensive. They therefore withdrew in good order, together with some civilians who could have been the subject of retaliation. As evidence of this, the huge ammunition depot at Balaklaya was empty when the Ukrainians found it, demonstrating that the Russians had evacuated all sensitive personnel and equipment in good order several days earlier. The Russians had even left areas that Ukraine had not attacked. Only a few Russian National Guard and Donbass militia troops remained as the Ukrainians entered the area.

Personally, I have never thought that the Russians made any kind of mistake, certainly nothing more than typical battlefield adjustments. Baud above tells how Russia began withdrawing forces orderly before the offensive, as they regrouped on the eastern bank of the Oskoll River. And this furthered their continuing advance on Bahkmut, which remains an important objective.

He also reminds us that Russia knew the referenda were coming, and they reshaped the front line accordingly - both to reinforce the southern voters and to shape what may be some of the eventual lines of the new Russian border (!).

None of these facts just fell on Russia and caught then unawares. They've calculated everything they've done, in my view, and some of it significantly in advance. And the Russians are never more sly with their maskirovka than when they're moving logistics around, and there's been and continues to be massive movement in this realm.

Even Baud allows a propaganda victory to Ukraine at present but Russia doesn't care - this is war and Russia is not even telling its people or its parliamentarians what it's doing. And far from Russia's losing any of the information space, Mercouris made a great point the other day about how Russia's diplomacy has managed to keep the Rest of World (ROW) in support of Russia even during the somewhat dubious action of invading another country. That's kudos to Lavrov, and Mercouris thinks this is why it was given to him to present the accession case to the Duma for the 4 new entrants, as a mark of honor.

Personally, I think Russia's light glows currently with amazing achievement, and they hide it so well because it's by no means done yet.

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 6 2022 3:10 utc | 373

@ Grieved | Oct 6 2022 3:10 utc | 373 with the alternate perspective on the Russia troop movements

Thanks for that! I agree that the fog of war is thick but Russia is operating next door and knows what it is doing, IMO.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 6 2022 3:24 utc | 374

@ Grieved | Oct 6 2022 3:10 utc | 373

thanks! hope all is well with you..

Posted by: james | Oct 6 2022 4:05 utc | 375

@375 james | Oct 6 2022 4:05 utc

All is well with me, but it's been a busy summer and these long threads filled with trolls and speculation are more than I can engage with. But I'm enjoying this tail end of the thread - and I have more:


Big Serge has just posted a superb analysis of the situation that I came back to share:

Politics By Other Means; Putin and Clausewitz [October 5, 2022]

He begins with Clausewitz and the dictum that war is politics by additional means, and enlarges this to point out that war is inseparable from the policy that infuses it:

War cannot be separated from politics - indeed, it is the political aspect that makes it war. We may even go further and state that war in the absence of the political superstructure ceases to be war, and instead becomes raw, animalistic violence. It is the political dimension that makes war recognizably distinct from other forms of violence.

Let us contemplate Russia’s war-making in Ukraine in these terms.

He writes well, and the whole essay reads at a nice pace, and he covers military and social history in nutshells to show how armies form according to their domestic politics, and the politics of their age. Armies are small when the populace is separate from the rulership; armies can be large as the populace and rulership are joined in more common society and polity.

All of this is leading up to the mobilization by Putin, and the need for him to bring his country to that point of consensual understanding of the existential nature of the crisis that faced Russia. The Russian people are now at that point - thanks to the vileness of the west and the Ukrainian actors themselves. Massive mobilization, and a massive army, can now be turned on at need.

And through all this, the almost bureaucratic insistence on procedure and plodding along is all that the Russian people see - which infuriates and exasperates them. As Serge notes, however, underneath that plodding pace, when a tactical crisis evolves in the theater - as it did at Lyman - then rapid mobile forces appear like magic to retrieve the situation.

And then everything returns to boring again.


I remain convinced that we are watching a fantastically deft action happening, and Big Serge's article fills in a lot of overlooked material to explain that this action is actually a political one. It suggests to me that we should never get entranced by the military aspects to forget the policies that are actually being effected by those military actions.

Remember, Russia has to de-fang all of the west. This will take one immensely boring campaign.

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 6 2022 4:59 utc | 376

Posted by: Don Bacon | Oct 5 2022 2:50 utc | 265

The simple reasons are that (1) I never thought that Russia, despite its good intentions, would be so totally incompetent and (2) facts matter, no matter what we might hope or think.

Excellent. A man who lives by the words attributed to Keynes: "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"

Of course, around here, where faith-based thinking predominates, that sort of thing makes one a "troll".

Never mind. As you all were. "Trust the plan!"

Posted by: Herr Ringbone | Oct 6 2022 5:22 utc | 377

@ Grieved | Oct 6 2022 4:59 utc | 376 who wrote
I remain convinced that we are watching a fantastically deft action happening, and Big Serge's article fills in a lot of overlooked material to explain that this action is actually a political one. It suggests to me that we should never get entranced by the military aspects to forget the policies that are actually being effected by those military actions.

Remember, Russia has to de-fang all of the west. This will take one immensely boring campaign.

Thanks for the additional info and have a small quibble though with your thinking.

Your reference to empire as "all of the west" instead of the supra-national God of Mammon cult is my personal quibble but I think it also depicts clearly the razor's edge we are going down.

Let me repeat a part of the Big Serge quote you provided

War cannot be separated from politics - indeed, it is the political aspect that makes it war. We may even go further and state that war in the absence of the political superstructure ceases to be war, and instead becomes raw, animalistic violence. It is the political dimension that makes war recognizably distinct from other forms of violence.

The point I want to make here is that the civilization war we are experiencing is not between sovereign nation's political superstructure but between a somewhat group of sovereign nation's political superstructure (China/Russia axis) and the God of Mammon political superstructure which is not that of a nation, but of a cult of humans with supra-national powers based on ownership/control of global finance.

Bulling, as we are seeing in the West, is a potential presage to raw, animalistic violence by the cult of anti-humanistic losers.

I hope it doesn't happen but this is not a normal "war"

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 6 2022 5:57 utc | 378

I think also that is very likely that the Russian side knows exactly what they are doing. Let's remember that Mother Russia has been fighting off barbarians from East and West for more than a thousand years and that, as the great chess players they are, they can go back in History and revisit old matches, old strategies, tactical moves, game positions, and from then on draw those more appropriate to the present circumstances, the ones that will be their lines of action.

Now, there is something very familiar about his little Ukrainian Blitzkrieg that has left many with their mouth wide open, some of them even imagining already the Ukrainian army marching in a victory parade in Moscow. And this familiar thing is that it is very similar to many flashy offensives of WW2 that led to nowhere except to humiliating retreats (Moscow 1941, Ardennes) or to bona fide routs (Kharkov, March 1943, Garden Market). And the very reason for all those adventures having had such ugly conclusion is that a) they were executed deep down hostile territory where the attackers didn't have friends or allies, or support bases, which means their supply lines became more and more fragile, more exposed to enemy attacks, so more prone to be cut off, this leaving the most advances forces in extreme danger of being surrounded, cut off from their rearguard and then exterminated. It almost happened to the German armies that had reached the Caucasus in 1942, the very reason why Hitler felt that HE HAD to take Stalingrad. Because the Red Army could launch an offensive from that city and deal him the most devastating defeat. In Stalingrad Hitler lost the VI Army, of course, but the sacrifice of Von Paulus and his men allowed Army Group A in the Caucasus to slip off before that trap could be closed shut.

Now, i don't know if the Kiev comedian knows chapter in History, I guess not, he is a comedian, not a military man or a historian, but by all appearances the advancing Ukrainian troops are finding themselves more and more in a similar kind of situation. They are getting deeper and deeper into enemy territory, their supply lines are becoming more extended by the day, again, in enemy territory, and their rearguard is not that solid as it was for the Germans of 1942, they had an entire continent building tanks, guns, warplanes for them. And for Ivan it will be child's play to take down their satellite communications and power infrastructure and let them completely cut off. I say Russia wins.

Posted by: gatobart | Oct 6 2022 6:39 utc | 379

@Grieved, @psychohistorian

This is not exactly an effort to engage in discussion, more to voice a personal fear or a hunch.

There’s something here that is going very much in the direction of Cult of Mammon goals, I think. The moment of “build back better” is not here, the destruction has not reached its apogee, yet.

The moment of making a kill and no turning back is still ahead. They are salivating.

This moment will arrive in the dead of the winter earliest – small and medium companies going under, people without jobs having no money to pay for their artificially exorbitant bills. Perhaps a new strain of corona or avian bird flu will emerge. New lockdowns, paramilitary patrolling shops and streets.

So then – then will be an opportune moment to establish digital money (CBDC?) and universal basic income with social credit systems for energy use. Everybody will be tagged with digital IDs and avatars in cloudspace to be gamed and controlled for profit as in a dog race. In an absolutely totalitarian society.

They have a bet on destruction, I’m afraid.

Posted by: js | Oct 6 2022 7:06 utc | 380

What Explains The Recent Russian Retreats? Ineptitude , Shoigu , his staff , and Russian high command. Heads should be rolling. Only now they call up reserves and begin training them ? WTF ? Should have been readied and on standby long ago .Infrastructure , critical to Ukraine military transport and communications, untouched. Caravans of western heavy weapons and munitions , on highways and on rail , openly travelling cross country , all the way to the front lines , no problem! Again , WTF ?I wouldn't blame Kadyrov if he said eff this and sent his troops home.

Posted by: Buford T Justice | Oct 6 2022 7:35 utc | 381

There was a phase 1 where "all was going to plan" was the appearance. Then a phase 2 where "very little is going to plan" has been the appearance.
The perception that more than little is going awry is mirrored by some more or less conscious behaviour.
A blog that may be labeled a "Russia fan" blog, the Saker's, saw a complete overturning of behaviours at the time of the passage from phase 1 from phase 2.
In phase 1 not only all legitimate and honest-minded criticism in the comments was accepted; some even got direct personal replies from the Saker; much of it enkindled debates involving other commenters that were mostly worth following.

The blog also published articles from people who were rooted-in-objectivity instead of cheerleaders and unreserved supporters.

When the perceived or real phase 2 came, all of this was reversed. "Nightvision", the most valuable writer published by the blog because he was a clear-minded, very knowledgeable and informed, observer not shying away from critical observations, was cut out of the blog. When a plethora of commenters asked about what had happened, after some time the Saker posted a single comment saying "they hadn't heard from him any longer".
Then, at the very proactive instigation of the Saker and the "blog staff", while published articles became all-partisan and blind to any dark sport or hardship in the operation, commenters were prompted to align with such behaviour.
How? Insulting, and finger-pointing as "trolls", anyone capable of any objectivity-rooted observation and willing to share it.
"Trolls"... they where everywhere now, and strictly needed was to insult them — while not understanding, or feigning not to understand, any concern they dared raise —. So the demand to register to comment came.

In other words, the blog went under a process not unlike the NYT and WaPo, among many others, comments sections in the wake of the first of Trump's win in the presidential elections.

This doesn't assure us that Russia is in trouble on the battlefield, but, admittedly, is quite a strong pointer to such being the facts.

Posted by: atlantis_dweller | Oct 6 2022 8:04 utc | 382

Posted by: atlantis_dweller | Oct 6 2022 8:04 utc | 382

Your description is very apt.
We all regret Nightvision.
Saker obviously got his phone call.
Now we live in the time of formerly known as 'alt-media' silencing dissent.

Posted by: Greg Galloway | Oct 6 2022 10:15 utc | 383

If you think that the Russian High Command or the Russian government tell The Saker what is really going on you better think again. I wouldn't. Why...?

I used to post in his blogger and I was doing well but then with one of my posts came once a note or rather a stern warning. 'No Capitals allowed. Next time your post will be thrown in the waste basket". I had had the incredible insolence, or stupidity, of emphasizing an idea by writing a short sentence in Capitals. That was my goodbye to his blog. I can't imagine who would bother to post in a blog where people are treated with such disrespect. And why any Russian higher authority would take him seriously.

Posted by: gatobart | Oct 6 2022 11:58 utc | 384

@ Grieved | Oct 6 2022 4:59 utc | 376

thanks grieved... i read that big serge article earlier in the day yesterday as i am on his substack list, but thank you regardless...

it is hard keeping up on the threads here, but i appreciate you, pyschohistorian and others for participating as you both do! i am not sure what to say about how things are developing or unraveling as the case may be... it is all speculative.. i do want to remain positive in spite of the ominous clouds that continue to gather....

@ js | Oct 6 2022 7:06 utc | 380

it really is like lord of the rings isn't it? i am not convinced of your scenario, but i can't rule it out either... cheers... on balance i don't think it will play out as you suggest.

Posted by: james | Oct 6 2022 16:58 utc | 385

I occasionally have a knat problem in my yard. They are distributed everywhere which makes it difficult to reduce their numbers. They have a strong affinity for bad smelling fish guts so a couple of buckets of that laced with a systemic toxin drawns them in from all over to a fixed site that they never leave.

Posted by: Befree | Oct 8 2022 16:26 utc | 386

Russia has taken on the AFU nicely for 6 months on a shoestring. Now they have mobilized 300,000 men. Despite the laughably delusional opinions of the ra-ra America crowd.....the Russians are going to roll right over them.

Posted by: Glen | Oct 10 2022 9:29 utc | 387

Russia is fighting an Empire of Lies! In an Empire of Lies, officials value the Image over the Real. Officials are willing to irrationally sacrifice the Real for the Image. This is why everything Real in an Empire of Lies is sacrificed for Image, leaving only a hollow shell with a pretty facade.

Russia is deliberately using this against Ukraine and the West. Putin has studied judo. Russia is deliberately giving the west as many opportunities as it wants to sacrifice the Real for the Image. Only when everything Real has been taken will Russia push over the facade and declare "game over".. This is the high-level meta strategy has resulted in all Russia's victories be they military, economic or diplomatic.

You ask "Why does not Russia play a better Image game at least internally?" The answer is: "Because that would make an Image victory less desirable to the West, and thus make the West less likely to want to continue to sacrifice the Real for the Image. But Russia likes the West's predilection for sacrificing the Real for Image and wants to encourage it."

I have been watching otherwise intelligent commentators for months asking themselves "Why does Russia allow this?" and struggling with themselves for an answer. The answer has always been as plain as the nose on their faces.

The next time Russia makes what looks like to you as a bonehead move, before you ask yourselves why Russia would be so dumb as to make such an error, ask this instead "Ok if Russia is as dumb has you think, how the hell did Russia get as far as it has?". A year ago almost no one would have predicted Russia's huge success.

Posted by: Twelfth House Moon | Oct 13 2022 17:41 utc | 388

"Why were such orders given? What are the plans behind them?

I don't really know.But I am sure will find out when Russia opens the new phase of the war."

My opinion is that there were no such orders. Russia is simply holding to its goals as stated in Feb at the beginning.

Russia is being consistent. They are holding a defensive action.

I would say that the current strikes are nothing other than tactical adjustments to the US' and Nato's direct involvement.

- Blabby

Posted by: BlabbyLobster | Oct 23 2022 17:55 utc | 389

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