Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 15, 2022

Ukraine - What Its Military Leadership Says

The Economist has interviewed the three Ukrainian leaders who manage the war in Ukraine. It summarizes them in an interpretive writeup. I will use that to extract the important points.

Volodymyr Zelensky and his generals talk to The Economist (Paywalled)

The writeup is of course full of propaganda but one can still glean some information from it.

The first interview (transcript) was with Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine's president, who is saying nothing new that would be of interest:

“People do not want to compromise on territory,” he says, warning that allowing the conflict to be “frozen” with any Ukrainian land in Russian hands would simply embolden Mr Putin. “And that is why it is very important…to go to our borders from 1991.”

Zelensky wants Crimea back. Good luck achieving that impossibility one might say.

The second interview is with General Valery Zaluzhny, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The third interview is with Colonel-General Oleksandr Syrsky, the head of Ukraine’s ground forces.

All three men emphasised that the outcome of the war hinges on the next few months. They are convinced that Russia is readying another big offensive, to begin as soon as January.

The author writes that "Ukraine enjoyed a triumphant autumn." One wonders how many thousand Ukrainian soldiers have died for that triumph that was in reality a well controlled Russian retreat to shorten its frontlines.

But neither General Zaluzhny nor General Syrsky sounds triumphant. One reason is the escalating air war. Russia has been pounding Ukraine’s power stations and grid with drones and missiles almost every week since October, causing long and frequent blackouts. Though Russia is running short of precision-guided missiles, in recent weeks it is thought to have offered Iran fighter jets and helicopters in exchange for thousands of drones and, perhaps, ballistic missiles.

Yes, we have known since March 2 that Russia is running out of precision-guided missiles. It has since used only 4,500 of those.

“It seems to me we are on the edge,” warns General Zaluzhny. More big attacks could completely disable the grid. “That is when soldiers’ wives and children start freezing,” he says. “What kind of mood will the fighters be in? Without water, light and heat, can we talk about preparing reserves to keep fighting?"

When it is cold and dark morale indeed becomes a problem. It is not the only one.

A second challenge is the fighting currently under way in Donbas, most notably around the town of Bakhmut. General Syrsky, who arrives at the interview in eastern Ukraine in fatigues, his face puffy from sleep deprivation, says that Russia’s tactics there have changed under the command of Sergei Surovikin, who took charge in October. The Wagner group, a mercenary outfit that is better equipped than Russia’s regular army, fights in the first echelon. Troops from the Russian republic of Chechnya and other regulars are in the rear. But whereas these forces once fought separately, today they co-operate in detachments of 900 soldiers or more, moving largely on foot.

Bakhmut is not an especially strategic location. Although it lies on the road to Slovyansk and Kramatorsk, two biggish cities (see map), Ukraine has several more defensive lines to fall back on in that direction. What is more, Russia lacks the manpower to exploit a breakthrough. The point of its relentless onslaught on Bakhmut, the generals believe, is to pin down or “fix” Ukrainian units so that they cannot be used to bolster offensives in Luhansk province to the north. “Now the enemy is trying to seize the initiative from us,” says General Syrsky. “He is trying to force us to go completely on the defensive.”

If Bakhmut is not a strategic location why is the Ukrainian army sending more and more troops into it? Russia is using Bakhmut not only to “fix” Ukrainian units. It is using it to eliminate them with up to 500 Ukrainian soldiers killed or wounded per day. The real fixing operation is happening elsewhere.

Ukraine also faces a renewed threat from Belarus, which began big military exercises in the summer and more recently updated its draft register. On December 3rd Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s defence minister, visited Minsk, the Belarusian capital, to discuss military co-operation. Western officials say that Belarus has probably given too much material support to Russian units to enter the fray itself, but the aim of this activity is probably to fix Ukrainian forces in the north, in case Kyiv is attacked again, and so prevent them from being used in any new offensive.

General Zaluzhny has a quite realistic view on what is coming:

“Russian mobilisation has worked,” says General Zaluzhny. “A tsar tells them to go to war, and they go to war.” General Syrsky agrees: “The enemy shouldn’t be discounted. They are not weak…and they have very great potential in terms of manpower.” He gives the example of how Russian recruits, equipped only with small arms, successfully slowed down Ukrainian attacks in Kreminna and Svatove in Luhansk province—though the autumn mud helped. Mobilisation has also allowed Russia to rotate its forces on and off the front lines more frequently, he says, allowing them to rest and recuperate. “In this regard, they have an advantage.”

But the main reason Russia has dragooned so many young men, the generals believe, is to go back on the offensive for the first time since its bid to overrun Donbas fizzled out in the summer. “Just as in [the second world war]…somewhere beyond the Urals they are preparing new resources,” says General Zaluzhny, referring to the Soviet decision to move the defence industry east, beyond the range of Nazi bombers. “They are 100% being prepared.” A major Russian attack could come “in February, at best in March and at worst at the end of January”, he says. And it could come anywhere, he warns: in Donbas, where Mr Putin is eager to capture the remainder of Donetsk province; in the south, towards the city of Dnipro; even towards Kyiv itself. In fact a fresh assault on the capital is inevitable, he reckons: “I have no doubt they will have another go at Kyiv.”

The general is building and holding back reserves which is problematic for the front lines:

The temptation is to send in reserves. A wiser strategy is to hold them back.
“May the soldiers in the trenches forgive me,” says General Zaluzhny. “It’s more important to focus on the accumulation of resources right now for the more protracted and heavier battles that may begin next year.”

Ukraine has enough men under arms—more than 700,000 in uniform, in one form or another, of whom more than 200,000 are trained for combat. But materiel is in short supply. Ammunition is crucial, says General Syrsky. “Artillery plays a decisive role in this war,” he notes. “Therefore, everything really depends on the amount of supplies, and this determines the success of the battle in many cases.” General Zaluzhny, who is raising a new army corps, reels off a wishlist. “I know that I can beat this enemy,” he says. “But I need resources. I need 300 tanks, 600-700 IFVs [infantry fighting vehicles], 500 Howitzers.” The incremental arsenal he is seeking is bigger than the total armoured forces of most European armies.

Does Zaluzhny really believe that he could get that force? I don't think so.

The Economist points out that donors of weapons have run out of pretty much everything:

On December 6th America’s Congress agreed in principle to let the Pentagon buy 864,000 rounds of 155mm artillery shells, more than 12,000 GPS-guided Excalibur shells and 106,000 GPS-guided GMLRS rockets for HIMARS—theoretically enough to sustain Ukraine’s most intense rate of fire for five months non-stop. But this will be produced over a number of years, not in time for a spring offensive.

Russia has similar problems. It will run out of “fully serviceable” munitions early next year, says an American official, forcing it to use badly maintained stocks and suppliers like North Korea. Its shell shortages are “critical”, said Admiral Tony Radakin, Britain’s defence chief, on September 14th.

The last part is of course as valid as the claim that Russia is 'running out of missiles'.

But even while lacking armored forces and ammunition Ukraine still dreams of big attacks:

“With this kind of resource I can’t conduct new big operations, even though we are working on one right now,” says General Zaluzhny.

The writer discusses various options where Ukraine could attack but finds that it does not really have a good one. The big victory over Russia will not be coming:

In private, however, Ukrainian and Western officials admit there may be other outcomes. “We can and should take a lot more territory,” General Zaluzhny insists. But he obliquely acknowledges the possibility that Russian advances might prove stronger than expected, or Ukrainian ones weaker, by saying, “It is not yet time to appeal to Ukrainian soldiers in the way that Mannerheim appealed to Finnish soldiers.” He is referring to a speech which Finland’s top general delivered to troops in 1940 after a harsh peace deal which ceded land to the Soviet Union.

So how many soldiers will still have to die before Zaluzhny is willing to give his Mannerheim speech (vid)? He does not say.

He will probably have to hold his speech sooner than he thinks because the Ukrainian economy has broken down. GDP decreased by 33% this year and, as attacks on the electrical net continue, it will shrink by another 5 or 10% next year. Inflation is above 20%, unemployment above 30%. The big metal and mining industries had to shut down as they depend on uninterrupted electricity supplies. Meanwhile donors are unwilling to hand to Ukraine the budget it claims to need.

It seems possible that the pending bankruptcy of Ukraine may indeed end the war earlier than any military action.

Posted by b on December 15, 2022 at 17:24 UTC | Permalink

next page »

While draining NATO resources and slow advance is smart strategy for Russia, it is possible that western stupidity will force their hand in near future.

It was NATO/Ukie plans this spring that forced Russian special operation at that moment (their preparation for attack of L+DPR, nuclear weapons ambitions stated by clown in chief and don't forget about biolabs).

So, what west soon does will decide more will Russia go to offensive this winter.

Posted by: Abe | Dec 15 2022 17:32 utc | 1

All those quotes, both their dire straits and the big attacks they're planning, are just talking their book, trying to keep the gravy train flowing.

Posted by: Flying Dutchman | Dec 15 2022 17:32 utc | 2

The 700,000 UKR armed forces, mentioned in the article is doubtful according to many sources, particularly given its rate of attrition??

Posted by: Gabriel in Ireland | Dec 15 2022 17:34 utc | 3

"The incremental arsenal he is seeking is bigger than the total armoured forces of most European armies.
Does Zaluzhny really believe that he could get that force? I don't think so."

Besides, EU countries would be totally nuts to actually give any other single country such a massive equipment.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Dec 15 2022 17:36 utc | 4

thanks b....

but it is in the interests of many that the war continue.. the western propaganda continues to encourage confidence in the great ukrainian warriors and how people can't give up on supporting ukraine.. i really don't see how this works.. i know the west wants to bleed russia dry, but i wonder if they aren't bleeding themselves dry in the process? it is hard to know how this will play out.. thanks for your posts and to the informed posters at moa...

Posted by: james | Dec 15 2022 17:41 utc | 5

"biggish cities"

Posted by: Chris | Dec 15 2022 17:45 utc | 6

[email protected] approaching that 'pretzel moment' as described by Billy Connally while intertwined with Ivan the Terrible...who bites first?

Cheers M

Posted by: sean the leprechaun | Dec 15 2022 17:49 utc | 7

The Whitehouse, Biden looks like sending more sophisticated equipment to Ukraine.

"The United States is planning to provide Ukraine with electronic equipment that would converts unguided aerial munitions into "smart bombs," a report says.

Citing US officials, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that the administration of President Joe Biden was considering sending Ukraine equipment that can target Russian military positions with a high degree of accuracy.

The kits incorporate global positioning devices for precision and can be bolted onto a variety of weapons, creating what the Pentagon calls a Joint Direct Attack Munition, or JDAM. The report did not clarify what specific systems in Ukraine’s arsenal would be candidates for such augmentation.

It was not immediately clear whether Biden or any of his top national security advisers have approved the proposed transfer of the JDAMs to Ukraine."

Posted by: Republicofscotland | Dec 15 2022 17:52 utc | 8

I would love to see some YouTube video with reasonably realistic comparisons, like-for-like, of the two sides: how many armed soldiers in the first line, how many reservists, how many auxiliaries / non fighting military personnel, etc.

There are so many variables in this that the figures that are often mentioned (e.g. “700,000 soldiers”, “540,000 soldiers”) are not giving a clear picture of the situation on the ground.

Posted by: Alexander P | Dec 15 2022 17:55 utc | 9

Thanks for what you do b. MOA has been my most fruitful source of information on and analysis of the conflict. Many thanks also to your contributors - apart from the Trolls who are just in the wind really: a minor irritant worth navigating in order to obtain the benefits these knowledgeable people provide.

Posted by: Rob Campbell | Dec 15 2022 17:56 utc | 10

"Ukraine has enough men under arms—more than 700,000 in uniform, in one form or another, of whom more than 200,000 are trained for combat. "

So what are the other 500K -- just targets to use up Russian ammunition?

Posted by: HELMHOLTZ SMITH | Dec 15 2022 17:56 utc | 11

In other words, the Economist piece is directed at an educated Western middle class as an appeal not to abandon Ukraine to pragmatism or, worse, 'last year's news'. Their questions are 'Can Ukraine really win, and if not why the hell are we pumping money into that black hole?' Everyone becomes pragmatic at the economic level and the materiel wish list is not going to win friends. The Russians do have reality on their side; all the propaganda in the world ain't gonna change it and even naive well-off boomers can smell BS eventually. Once Western public opinion becomes indifferent these three will have to start auditioning for their next roles.

Posted by: Patroklos | Dec 15 2022 17:57 utc | 12

@3 Gabriel
There is NO way that many real, native Ukro forces are still remaining. It's ridiculous to state that. If there was even 100.000 I would say that's pushing it. The radio chatter has been reported as mainly foreign languages so who is left??

Posted by: safe | Dec 15 2022 18:00 utc | 13

Thank you B.

General Zaluzhny, who is raising a new army corps
Essentially 4 Divisions or 13 Brigades or ~40,000 troops. Yet, no arms, armaments, materiel, ammunition or POL.

Perhaps, a minor quibble ...

One wonders how many tens of thousand Ukrainian soldiers have died for that triumph that was in reality a well controlled Russian tactical withdrawal to shorten its frontlines.

On those arms deals with Iran ...

Russia's 'Best Warplanes' Su-35 Flanker-Es Are Heading To Iran

Iran may soon get Russian-made Su-35 Flanker-E fighter jet in exchange for providing arms to support Russia's invasion of Ukraine. US Says Deal In Exchange For Drones & Missiles

According to US officials, Iran may soon receive the cutting-edge Russian-made Su-35 Flanker-E aircraft in exchange for providing arms to support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to the officials, Iranian pilots received Sukhoi Su-35 training in Russia in the spring, indicating Iran may start acquiring the aircraft within the following year. The information was disclosed on December 9 by senior officials of President Joe Biden’s administration. 


Oh well, everything is pear-shaped & all is lost, cannot be long now for The Borderlands , Nazis are no longer trending ...

Kiev Angered by 'Ukraine Conflict' No Longer Trending on Twitter

Elon Musk, Twitter’s new CEO, has often weighed in on the Ukraine conflict, urging the public in October to support peace initiatives that could end the conflagration. He also suggested that Kiev's victory in a "total war" was "unlikely," with his remarks triggering the ire of senior Ukrainian officials, including Volodymyr Zelensky.

The Kiev regime is perturbed that the Ukraine conflict appears to be vanishing from Twitter trends.


Posted by: Outraged | Dec 15 2022 18:02 utc | 14

Gabriel in Ireland | Dec 15 2022 17:34 utc | 3

I think he said that only 200,000 have had combat training. The need for a further mobilisation indicates problems with manpower. Some say they have much less than 200,000 who are able to take the field. Time will tell.

Posted by: Rob Campbell | Dec 15 2022 18:03 utc | 15

The 700,000 UKR armed forces, mentioned in the article is doubtful according to many sources, particularly given its rate of attrition??

Col. MacGregor estimates... ~ 190,000.

THINK !!! Where are the resources to supply the claimed 700,000 ????

Their economy is in collapse.... Their industries either over run... or shutdown due to lack of power...

Reliable estimates give ~ 300,000 -- 400,000 dead... how many more maimed for life???

In 4 weeks time... when the ground is frozen... they will lose another 30,000.... Their junior officers and experienced NonComs are gone... Even the UkroNazis are more and more often KIA...


Posted by: Dr. George W Oprisko | Dec 15 2022 18:06 utc | 16

"Ukraine has enough men under arms—more than 700,000 in uniform, in one form or another, of whom more than 200,000 are trained for combat. "

"So what are the other 500K -- just targets to use up Russian ammunition?"

But: they also serve who only stand and draw fire. Targets can be valuable. And Ukraine has a lot of disposable manpower they can shovel into the front lines...

Posted by: TG | Dec 15 2022 18:10 utc | 17

If Zaluzhny et co. are expecting another fresh Russian attack, they would not try to hold on for Bakhmut with the skin of their teeth. It makes no sense. In fact, the only way it makes sense if they really are expecting a humongous amount of some new Nato wunderwaffe with enough experienced operators to appear relatively soon on the front. Nato doesn't act that way, they sent piecemeal tid-bits.

In fact, Zaluzhny says that he needs 300 tanks, 600-700 IFVs, more artillery, etc. But looking at the timeline from late August to late November or so, they were literally throwing piecemeal attacks which got gobs and loads of them destroyed. So instead why didn't they build up during that time?

Well, this piece really seems more like a marketing campaign for western audience with a lot of fantasy coloration painting. It had a few realistic points, too.

Posted by: unimperator | Dec 15 2022 18:12 utc | 18

@Posted by: Alexander P | Dec 15 2022 17:55 utc | 9

All of those variables are military secrets for both sides, so getting accurate numbers is not really possible. State of readiness, how well equipped, stocks of different types of munitions, etc, etc are all unknowable except in the most general sense. The UAF is still able to fight fairly effectively at this point, based on the evidence of day-to-day reports. How long they can keep it up is unknown. Economic collapse should shorten their timeline, but various previous predictions of imminent collapse have so far proved to be false. They still have a lot of MANPADs which have proved to be an effective threat to close air support by the Russians.

It seems clear that the west has no clear idea what Russia intends to do with the reserves it has called up, so that shows that the Russians have effectively obscured their intent so far. It does seem likely that what happens over the winter will change the situation on the ground significantly, but exactly how - who can say?

Posted by: the pessimist | Dec 15 2022 18:13 utc | 19

Usukis always lies. If Usukis says there is a stalemate of military supplies on both sides of the Ukrainian conflict, then reverse the message the Economoist is sending. Saudi Arabia and Iran may be with Russia now, but Brunei and Turkey might side with Usukis. Everybody works for their own interests now , reversing previous alliances and loyalties.

If the purpose of his flatulent article is to suggest some kind of parity between Russia and Ukraine, by which Russia can drop its guard, the war by deception team have other knowledge of other plans.
Maybe mininukes from Israel , treachery or an alternative source of leveraged funds.

They say listening to too much news is bad for you. Only if you forget to de-code the propaganda by the certain conviction the Empire ALWAYS lies.

Posted by: Giyane | Dec 15 2022 18:16 utc | 20

You forgot about the part in the interview where Zeli says he wants to kill Putin and his "entourage"

"The sooner the war ends and if Russia chooses the path of recognizing the tragic mistake of its beginning, the longer the Russian president will ensure his life and the life of his entourage"

Posted by: rk | Dec 15 2022 18:19 utc | 21

Posted by: Dr. George W Oprisko | Dec 15 2022 18:06 utc | 16

Also - if you look at the daily report of ukie attacks - there are pretty much no mention of tanks (main battle tank) and very few mentions of IFVs. The only thing that are mentioned still in decent numbers is pick-ups, or "technicals". So they may still get some random T-64 from here and a random T-72 from there, but the sources are mainly dried up.

Posted by: unimperator | Dec 15 2022 18:19 utc | 22

Posted by: rk | Dec 15 2022 18:19 utc | 21

Just a couple of months ago Zelly wanted US to nuke the Kremlin. That to me tells that the ukie command, ranging from the president to the armed forces command is generally delusional. Well, the military command maybe a bit less but anyway.

Posted by: unimperator | Dec 15 2022 18:21 utc | 23

Yes. And Trump said he would have painted US airplanes in Chinese army colors and bombed Moscow. So what can we expect from Slava Cocaini himself...

Posted by: rk | Dec 15 2022 18:24 utc | 24

b: The first interview (transcript) was with Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine's president, who is saying nothing new that would be of interest

Except maybe this direct threat on Putin's life (if the tweet is a true quote from the economist; I can't see past the paywall).

""The sooner the war ends and if Russia chooses the path of recognizing the tragic mistake of its beginning, the longer the Russian president will ensure his life and the life of his entourage," -Zelensky stated in the invterview for The Economist

Seems a bit,,, unpresidential... to be making these mafia style threats.
"Nice country you've got there. It would be a shame if something terrible happened to its leadership."

Posted by: Gt Stroller | Dec 15 2022 18:28 utc | 25

I see rk | Dec 15 2022 18:19 utc | 21 beat me to it on reporting Don Corlenskioni's menacing words. Lol.

Posted by: Gt Stroller | Dec 15 2022 18:35 utc | 26

Zelensky is an actor. If Zelensky says something, it's because it's in the script. And that script is written in the US.
So when Zelnsky says that his country needs "long-range missiles, modern tanks, artillery, missile batteries and other high-tech air defense systems", it's because Washington has already decided the next arms to be shipped. And the only thing that is missing is a talking head in Kiev that asks publicly what the US has already decided privately.

Posted by: Passerby | Dec 15 2022 18:43 utc | 27

AFU trained & (soviet era) equipped NATO Standard Regular Army ceased to exist ~5-6 months ago.

They have lost the majority (over ~70%) of Junior NCOs & Officers likely four times over, & BN up HQ Staffs & NCOs similarly (High priority regular daily targets).

They have essentially lost their entire armored vehicle fleet they possessed on Feb2422, ~8600+ MBTs/IFVs/APCs as well as misc APCs wheeled & tracked lend-leased mothballed from the '60's. Only ad-hoc 'Technicals' & civvy SUVs left.

They have lost the bulk of their towed & mobile artillery as well misc lend-leased arty down to WWII 105mm towed arty & WWII Italian mortars.

Majority of original & lend-leased S-300 & Buk AD systems destroyed or non-functional due no parts. What is worse they have essentially exhausted their artillery rounds & AD missiles as well as the derelict 18 year Stingers, as well as Igla & various expired/mothballed NATO ManPads.

Supposedly ~200,000 trained soldiers, yet no Air Force, no functional Air Defense, no Armor, insufficient shells for insufficient Artillery, no logistic fleet, trucks & specialist vehicles, no in country training facilities, repair/maintenance or arms materiel industries, nor ammunition or POL storage.

But they do have another ~500,000 untrained forced conscripts, boys & girls & men & women aged 10-60 to utilize as 'human sandbags'.

All good. Such 'winning', not.

Posted by: Outraged | Dec 15 2022 18:44 utc | 28

BTW Mannerheim, having been a general in the Russian Army and lived in St Petersburg, had some understanding of the Soviet position and counselled the Finnish government to talk to Moscow.

Posted by: Patrick Armstrong | Dec 15 2022 18:44 utc | 29

Two Ukrainian women at the coffee shop today. One with tryzaub handbag, one with SS runes earrings. Speaking Russian (I had a Russian/Ukrainian handyman who moved here in 90s tell me that), English, and Hebrew. Yes, a Jewish woman with SS runes for jewelry. They pulled up and parked illegally in an Audi Q8 so they are doing fine. They were talking loudly and half the place was listening.

Definite air of panic. Repeated many times "Kill all the Russians", "Every Russian must die", etc. Also "When the war stops the money stops." They do think the war is going to stop sometime soon.

A few months ago such emigrés would have been fêted by the patrons. Mostly everyone was a bit nervous.

Posted by: oldhippie | Dec 15 2022 18:46 utc | 30

@b - you plunged us deep into that article with the many extracts. If this is the world you have to wade through I can only salute your fortitude. It's vastly more than I could allow into my mind.

I'm still kind of shocked, actually, to contemplate all the lies and false scenarios outlined in that article. I'm usually far too unplugged for any of that to reach me. The Economist. What people read for clear analysis. Jeez.

It shows me what we would be up against to attempt explaining to people what's really going on. Where on earth would one start to begin to clear the muddied waters from a person's mind?

Posted by: Grieved | Dec 15 2022 18:47 utc | 31

“I know that I can beat this enemy,” he says. “But I need resources. I need 300 tanks, 600-700 IFVs [infantry fighting vehicles], 500 Howitzers.”

Here is the post-war rationalization in a nutshell. We were winning but the West stabbed us in the back by not giving us enough weapons. Look for post-war Ukraine to hate NATO more than they currently hate Russia.

Posted by: Tom | Dec 15 2022 18:48 utc | 32

the sources [of tanks] are mainly dried up.
Posted by: unimperator | Dec 15 2022 18:19 utc | 22

This is how it will play out. The US will supply a few hundred M1 Abrams tanks to Poland. The next day the tanks will be in Ukraine. And the US will have it's plausible denial: "The contract stated the tanks were only for use by Poland. Who could have imagined?"

Posted by: Passerby | Dec 15 2022 18:51 utc | 33

Posted by: Patrick Armstrong | Dec 15 2022 18:44 utc | 29

I've seen a lot of MSM and think tanks attempting to compare this war to the Finland-USSR winter war - there are some applicable comparisons, yes, but they go like this.

Ukraine is in the role of the USSR with useless attacks.
Russia is in the role of Finland with effective defense.
Ukraine is in the role of Finland with smaller resources, while Russia is in the role of USSR with larger resources.

Other than that, there are no other similarities. Also, they don't mention that Ukrainians made up a large portion of the force attacking Finland in that war.

Posted by: unimperator | Dec 15 2022 18:56 utc | 34


The Slovak government has fallen due to having lost a no-confidence vote in parliament. There will be new election. It is quite probable that the present pro-Ukrainian - anti-Russian political course will be exchanged for a political course that seeks alignment with Hungary's Viktor Orban government.

Posted by: Oblomovka daydream | Dec 15 2022 18:57 utc | 35

reply to 18

It looks like the attrition strategy of grinding Ukraine down is perfect. The West can only supply weapons in small spasms, often incompatible, in need of maintenance and with training to come eventually. Acting in defense or a gradual advance, Russia destroys the piecemeal supplies at its convenience. And Zelensky keeps feeding the Bakhmut meat grinder.

Posted by: Eighthman | Dec 15 2022 18:58 utc | 36

The interviewed general talks of Mr Putin. I have not heard any politician nor journalist in the West use that title.

Posted by: Stéphane | Dec 15 2022 19:01 utc | 37

"Ukraine has enough men under arms—more than 700,000 in uniform, in one form or another, of whom more than 200,000 are trained for combat. "

So what are the other 500K -- just targets to use up Russian ammunition?

Posted by: HELMHOLTZ SMITH | Dec 15 2022 17:56 utc | 11

Probably he is counting every single person that works fulltime on the war effort. Doctors, drivers, nurses, janitors, grave diggers, etc

Posted by: Comandante | Dec 15 2022 19:04 utc | 38

Intel Slava Z site says he got arrested by Moldova. Not verified.

Posted by: Leroy | Dec 15 2022 19:07 utc | 39

Centre d’analysis politico-strategiques (in French) is a good source for Ukraine war news and geopolitics in general:

There is a great video at this site on the conditions at the front for “West Russia” LPR soldiers by a former French officer now working as an observer for the Russian government titled “Bataillon “Jackson” 07.12.2022

According to the LPR fighters on the front line, the Ukrainian army is finished. They are primarily seeing foreign soldiers of fortune (many sheep-dipped NATO soldiers) who are speaking 16 languages. While there are about 20,000 polish fighters in Ukraine, as previously reported by Col Macgregor, there are also about 15,000 German fighters as well as several thousand other nationalities. What surprises the LPR the most are the dead black soldiers on the Ukrainian side.

See also an interview of Col Douglas Macgregor at the Helleniscope website on an “encyclopedic analysis of the war by Dr. Michael Vlahos

Posted by: Krollchem | Dec 15 2022 19:08 utc | 40

«It seems possible that the pending bankruptcy of Ukraine may indeed end the war earlier than any military action.»

I think that has always been the plan; Ukraine was a failed state run by fascist gangs like Moldova or Georgia, unable to impose a "final solution@ even on the poor, devasted Donbas republics.

As I wrote in the past the "SMO" is in large part a "siege" of Ukraine, waiting for the sieged state to run out of money and other supplies. Ukraine was already bankrupt, then it lost its russian energy supplies, then lots of its businesses had to shut down, lots of people emigrated, then its military-support infrastructure has been taken out. Only the ruthenians in their fascist statelet in what was south-east Poland are still doing tolerably, as they feed on the inflows of NATO logistics.

The "siege" lasted only so long because the USA have been paying what to them is loose change to ensure that Ukraine's planned defeat is as slow and bloody as possible, before unleashing the ruthenian "freedom fighter" terror squads on the Russian Federation,

Posted by: Bliissex | Dec 15 2022 19:17 utc | 41

As long as Ursula von der Leyen can continue to cajole the pacified EU citizenry to bear the brunt of the NATO's misadventure, Ukraine's GDP in tatters would not matter.

Posted by: Steve | Dec 15 2022 19:18 utc | 42

"The sooner the war ends and if Russia chooses the path of recognizing the tragic mistake of its beginning, the longer the Russian president will ensure his life and the life of his entourage"

Putin is the commander of an army and a country running a military operation doing a counter-attack against the ukrainian military that kept attacking the Donbas since 2014. He is certainly a legitimate military target. Getting him may not be easy though, even when the rapidly advancing ukrainian army end the siege of Moscow and storm the Kremlin. :-)

Posted by: Bliissex | Dec 15 2022 19:27 utc | 43

«According to the LPR»

Now the Luhansk member oblast of the Russian Federation...

«fighters on the front line, the Ukrainian army is finished. They are primarily seeing foreign soldiers of fortune (many sheep-dipped NATO soldiers) who are speaking 16 languages»

The ukrainian instead report that russian federation soldiers are collapsing because of being hungry and cold and anyhow have run out of ammunition. Both claims are hearsay. However I tend to think that the ukrainian propaganda is far worse than the RF one, and I suspect that the situation of the ukrainian soldiers is worse than that the RF ones, but the "freedom fighter" volunteer regiments are probably in better condition.

Posted by: Bliissex | Dec 15 2022 19:32 utc | 44

@37 Stephane
This is why Russia is loathe to go all bomb happy on everything and everyone like the fuqueing us/uk would do. These two peoples were one people for centuries and know each other and feel for each other (at times). The dummies in the usa and canada, the man on the street with their stupid ukro flags everywhere don't understand and have no brain to see it.

Posted by: safe | Dec 15 2022 19:34 utc | 45

Bummed out, overworked and underpaid gravediggers.

Posted by: safe | Dec 15 2022 19:35 utc | 46

Kiev Angered by 'Ukraine Conflict' No Longer Trending on Twitter


Posted by: Outraged | Dec 15 2022 18:02 utc | 14


Brings me back to my first post here on MoA, back in 2014 (apologies to The Clash):

Nazi soldier, he wants a Drang nach Ost
Ordered by the CIA but he can’t afford the cost
Yankee dollar lures every merc to a grisly death
In land wars in Eurasia as they’re losin’ steppe by steppe

I’m so bored with the U-Ka-Raine
I’m so bored with the U-Ka-Raine
And Washington too

Posted by: Vintage Red | Dec 15 2022 19:36 utc | 47

One of the under reported aspects of the US/Khazarian Neocon masterminding of this conflict is the pivotal role of Kagan Family Enterprises (aka The Institute for the Study of War).

On one hand you have a large, government funded NGO (an oxymoron in itself) which needs a war to study in order to justify its existence. The fact that it is against a historical nemesis is an added bonus.

On the other hand is a Kagan family member, Victoria Nuland, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, whose personal mission is to weaponize the Ukraine against Russia.

Most would call this a blatant conflict of interest, yet very little is said about it.

Posted by: Opport Knocks | Dec 15 2022 19:36 utc | 48

Followup to Outraged | Dec 15 2022 18:44 utc | 28

So, essentially the remnant AFU Army now consists of poorly trained/untrained, poorly led troops, little more than well armed 'Static' formations. Incapable of other than minimal unsupported non-combined arms localized offensive action. Incapable of maneuver warfare. Only capable of occupying static positions, with extremely limited defensive capabilities.

But, Nazi General Zaluzhny says, gift me 300 tanks, 600-700 IFVs [infantry fighting vehicles] & 500 Howitzers, we'll march on Moscow.

Ah, with ~10% of the MBTs, ~15% of the IFVs/APCs & ~15% of the Artillery AFU had at Feb2422, when they did have actual trained crews & artillerymen up against ~200,000 RF, they will now defeat ~540,000 RF now rested/rotated combat veterans with new formations stiffened with a cadre of experienced NCOs & Officers ???


Posted by: Outraged | Dec 15 2022 19:38 utc | 49

Unpaywalled version of the article.

Plain text URL is

Posted by: neutrino | Dec 15 2022 19:38 utc | 50

Blistex @41 and 43
Stop posting, for the love of god stay off the boards cuz you don't have a clue!

Posted by: safe | Dec 15 2022 19:42 utc | 51

Posted by: Bliissex | Dec 15 2022 19:17 utc | 41

There's very low chance that EU will deliver even 25 % of the 50 billion, or whatever they promised to support Ukraine with next year. They talk to talk but when it's time to deliver, they don't. We already saw it this year. That means US will hold the bag and Ukraine is de-facto bankrupt.

Posted by: unimperator | Dec 15 2022 19:42 utc | 52

Intel Slava Z site says he got arrested by Moldova. Not verified.

Posted by: Leroy | Dec 15 2022 19:07 utc | 39

Not quite, they reposted someone else's report that said "unconfirmed" that they were arrested for weapons smuggling, and added their comment to the end that "Turns out Moldovan police have allowed us to leave again".

Which likely means they were detained and questioned, but not arrested.

Posted by: Opport Knocks | Dec 15 2022 19:45 utc | 53

A general who thinks he can win if he's given all that he doesn't have...

I'm not going to bother saying or repeating anything more because among anyone trying or claiming to try to be "informed" only morons can still "support" or believe in people like that.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Dec 15 2022 19:56 utc | 54

Thank you, Neutrino! I appreciate the link.

Thanks to b and the fact based posters here.

Much respect & solidarity!

Posted by: Granite | Dec 15 2022 20:11 utc | 55

I think the "wild card" in this struggle is the very serious money being thrown at Ukraine. This money will buy mercs from all over the world as well as sheep dipped regular military units from all over Europe. The Ukrainians have acquitted themselves very well in this war. Nevertheless, if and when Russia decides to go all out on this war they will take most of Ukraine. The reason they are unlikely to go "all out" is that they are counting on Ukraine's economy to collapse even though the US and Europe are keeping it going and can keep it going for years. The USA can sped unlimited amounts on this war so if I was Putin I would hurry up.

Just so you know the US is a de-facto oligarchy and "democracy" as such is barely present at least in the national government which is run by gangsters and this war suits them very well. As for Ukraine, it is a full-blown Nazi-style state with a dictator so "the people" have no say in anything unless they are oligarchs with their private armies.

Posted by: Chris Cosmos | Dec 15 2022 20:14 utc | 56

<...because the Ukrainian economy has broken down. GDP decreased by 33% this year and, as attacks on the electrical net continue, it will shrink by another 5 or 10% next year. Inflation is above 20%, unemployment above 30%. >

- By Kiev's own admission, 50% of the Ukrainian electric grid is down and not repairable ... this means rail transport, communications and factory output are crippled

- Consequently there's no tax base, so Kiev will need upwards of $100 B from US tax mules to function at all

- Russia can easily knock out another 30% of the grid, which literally means lights out across Ukraine.

- Ukraine forces are being depleted of soldiers and war material. Constant shelling incapacitates remaining forces. When they are sufficiently debilitated, Russia will strike with full force. The end is inevitable for UkroNazi forces.

Posted by: posa | Dec 15 2022 20:15 utc | 57

Glad it helped, Granite. can be used by anyone, it even works on mobile. Try pasting a paywalled URL in the red box at the top and see if it works.

Posted by: neutrino | Dec 15 2022 20:18 utc | 58

reply to 52

This is the way they handled Libya. They used a 'duty to care' excuse to bomb Libya, wrecked its government and economy and then walked away, so that jihadists and civil war ruined it.

Posted by: Eighthman | Dec 15 2022 20:29 utc | 59

The Kyiv Independent found a more optimistic Zaluzhnyi --
Zaluzhnyi: Ukraine preparing new major military operation

Ukraine’s Armed Forces are preparing a new major military operation, but "it’s not visible yet," Chief Commander Valerii Zaluzhnyi said in an interview with the Economist.
With the limited resources Ukraine has, it’s very difficult to conduct large-scale military operations, but this one will not require a lot of ammunition, according to Zaluzhnyi. He didn't provide further details.
The chief commander added that the number of shells the Ukrainian army has and the allies could provide was very limited. Zaluzhnyi cited Antony Radakin, the head of the U.K. Armed Forces, who had told him that if Ukraine used too much ammunition, Europe “would have nothing to live on.” . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 15 2022 20:31 utc | 60

@ Chris Cosmos | Dec 15 2022 20:14 utc | 56 who wrote
I think the "wild card" in this struggle is the very serious money being thrown at Ukraine.

I agree with that sentiment but not necessarily the rest of your comment.

Oligarchs all over the world seem to be picking sides and it is not clear to this bottom feeder what the sides are.

I am reading Musk drawing serious ire by some VC saying Tesla stock price is "hype" and "pixie dust". I agree with that but his outing of Twitter perfidy so far is positive, IMO. He also pushing to end the war in Ukraine and expect he will help out the Covid perfidy as well.....but who in empire is he aligned with, if any?

Are all the oligarchs in Ukraine on the same page?

History will be written by the winners.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 15 2022 20:33 utc | 61

For the European Union it will already be complicated to finish the winter at the speed it is emptying the gas reserves.
UGS Withdrawal
12.12.2022: Ge: 1291 Gwh, Fr: 1050 Gwh
12.12.2022: Ge: 2571 Gwh, Fr: 1200 Gwh
13.12.2022: Ge: 2793 GWh, Fr: 1307 Gwh

3 days: 10Twh Withdrawal, remaining 340Twh
Last month: Ge: 245 Twh +Fr: 133
378Twh - 340Twh= 38Twh / 1 month
But now, Winter is coming, Industries are closing but Withdrawal is 100 Twh per month.

Winter has not officially started and a small cold snap of 5 days is endangering the energy production.
And next April, we will have to find gas at 200 or 2000€ per Mwh.
Total cost 200 to 300 billions to refuel.
Ukraine will probably be able to wait...

Posted by: La Bastille | Dec 15 2022 20:34 utc | 62

The Israel Lebanon conflict of 2006 is a window of the current state of ground warfare and the vulnerability of heavy armour to new generation atms . Despite the absolute and total dominance of Israel it was effectively defeated by a savy Hezbollah using shoot and scoot tactics and concealed infantry.

In this new environment concealment, speed and precision are major advantages, not to mention situational awareness.

How does Russia crack this nut?

Posted by: Johnycomelately | Dec 15 2022 20:37 utc | 63

seems the ukrops took the russian fertilizer ;D

dillheads really sweet

if nato cant give ukr going to be full russian how can be that? :D

Posted by: Macpott | Dec 15 2022 20:40 utc | 64

Posted by: unimperator | 15 december 2022 18:56 UTC | 34
There really are similarties between Sovjet and Finland...if you think of Sovjet as Russia, and Ukraine- the US as Finland allied with Germany.
Sovjet was totally convinced that Nazi-Germany was going to attack their union. Hitler wrote in his book Mein Kampf already 1926, that one of his goals was to crush the bolsheviks in Sovjet.
Sovjet tried for long time to form non-agressions pacts with both England and France, they concluded both this pact with Germany... but not with Sovjet.Finally Sovjet had to conclude a pact with Russia, known as Molotov -Ribbentroppact. Sovjet knew that Germany and Finland (who was in alliance with Germany) would use a certain area in Finland as a way to invade Sovjet, and they felt threatened by it.
Sovjet tried to change landareas with Finland, it was only an act of selfdefence...they never wanted to occupy Finland, as Russia´s SMO had no intention to occupy Ukraine.
And the historical revisionism teach Finnish people (and Europen people ) that Sovjet was excatly like Germany, and Stalin was excatly like Hitler due the Molotov-Ribbentrop-pact.

Posted by: Northern Eve | Dec 15 2022 20:41 utc | 65


A failed propaganda paper that has been guilty of selling the same headless legless government-authorized skeleton warhorse. Since 1843. Little wonder this backward-facing dead warhorse has never ever left the starting gate in the last 180 years.

Is this a half-ass form of apology? Sorry readers we acknowledge country 404 is a failed experiment of death to all 404 native speakers. Including all USSA blood money paid for PMCs.

We now plead guilty to the charge. Of selling you pure horse hockey concerning country 404!/s

Posted by: Bad Deal Motors On | Dec 15 2022 20:42 utc | 66

Posted by: Republicofscotland | Dec 15 2022 17:52 utc | 8

JDAM is an odd thing to send to Ukraine because it implies an airforce from which to drop the JDAM-guided bombs. Fly low enough to avoid AD and JDAM probably won’t be effective, fly high enough for JDAM and get shot to pieces.

These are being provided to Ukraine and seem much more relevant:

Posted by: anon2020 | Dec 15 2022 20:48 utc | 67

Posted 65
"Finally Sovjet had to conclude a pact with Germany, known as Molotov-Ribbentrop-pact."

Posted by: Northern Eve | Dec 15 2022 20:49 utc | 68

The UA general has confirmed that they are holding troops in reserve. I've mentioned in several threads recently that they seemed to be doing this. The regulars are being pulled off the line and replaced with territorial defense. Another commenter mentions that UA armored vehicles have disappeared and they are using mostly technicals. The hohols are probably preparing a massive attack on Melitopol, which will cut off the land bridge to Crimea and what remains of Kherson oblast. It's only about a 60 mile drive from Zaphorizhe city to Melitopol. The Kerch bridge would probably come under attack from long-range missiles or sea drones at the same time. Just before or during the Melitopol offensive, the US will officially gift the Abrams and Bradleys that the UAF have been training on in Romania. Once Melitopol is invested, the hohols might launch a 2nd offensive on left-bank Kherson using the hundreds of small landing craft they're stockpiling. Zelensky already spoke of his intention to visit Crimea in the spring.

If you don't think it's possible for the Ukranians to pull this off, remember what you thought about the odds of a successful UA counteroffensive before Kharkov and Kherson happened.

Unfortunately Ukranians don't have any geographical weakness as severe as the Russians do at Melitopol. They *could*, but the Russians still refuse for some inexplicable reason to bomb the Dnieper bridges.

Posted by: catdog | Dec 15 2022 21:04 utc | 69

Posted by: Johnycomelately | Dec 15 2022 20:37 utc | 63

I’m inclined to agree, weapon potency is shifting, artillery pieces are high cost, high maintenance, as conspicuous as a hoard of drunken demons and range limited compared to drones and rockets that compete to put explosives on the same targets.

For armies that have plenty of guns, shells and crews it’s a question of how best to use them, for everyone else it’s a question of how to most cheaply wreck the other guy’s big guns.

Anything expensive with a distinctive battlefield signature is going to end up needing AD to survive, which might not be economical or practical.

Posted by: anon2020 | Dec 15 2022 21:11 utc | 70

Ze is a sitting duck in Kiev and he is threatening to kill Putin. What he does not realize is that Putin does not want to freak out countries that Russia is in good terms with that is why Ze is still alive. Putin is also holding for a negotiating partner. That situation may not last for long.

Posted by: AF82Matrix | Dec 15 2022 21:11 utc | 71

unimperator | Dec 15 2022 18:12 utc | 18 and 22

Although I haven't seen many mentions of Ukrainian tank losses in the daily MoD briefing, I am not assuming that the Ukrainians have run out of tanks. Right now with the mud-clogged roads, tanks and heavier artillery aren't easily deployable. The Ukrainians are using their trucks, cars, and armored vehicles to make smaller stabbing attacks. I have seen some speculation that they are holding back their heavier vehicles, artillery and armor in rear areas until the ground freezes, which is why I am paying attention to those reports of Russians shelling weapons/munitions warehouses or vehicle repair facilities.

Just something to think about.

Posted by: Belle | Dec 15 2022 21:14 utc | 72

The Israel Lebanon conflict of 2006 is a window of the current state of ground warfare and the vulnerability of heavy armour to new generation atms . Despite the absolute and total dominance of Israel it was effectively defeated by a savy Hezbollah using shoot and scoot tactics and concealed infantry.

In this new environment concealment, speed and precision are major advantages, not to mention situational awareness.

How does Russia crack this nut?

If you haven't noticed, Russia is playing the part of Hezbollah in this war. Sitting back and blasting the Ukraine Army as it feeds men into the kill zones.

Posted by: JackG | Dec 15 2022 21:16 utc | 73

Eric Newhill comment on article by Larry Johnson

A little Ukraine sitrep……..
Angela Merkel recently publicly stated that the Minsk agreements, which were broken by Ukr and NATO, btw, were never intended to be honored. They were simply designed to buy time to build Ukr forces to attack the ethnic Russians in the Donbas and perhaps Russia itself. So much for the “unprovoked” invasion meme. Merkel confirmed exactly what Russia said was the reason for the invasion.

A US Marine colonel, a well paid mercenary for the US/Ukr alliance, heading up the training of Ukr “special” forces (known as the “Mozart Group”) who are engaged in combat in Kharkov, publicly admits that Ukr troops are poorly trained and not sufficiently armed and are suffering 70% casualties. Also, that the fighting resembles WW1 and is “hell on earth”. Clearly the Russians have not run out of ammo as the western BS media and talking heads have been predicting since last March. Areil photos show Ukr positions are within fields and city blocks where every square yard of the ground is pockmarked by craters from artillery rounds and structures are all flattened.

Ukr itself admits to suffering 500 casualties a day in the recent fighting. That jibes w/ The USMC Colonel’s statement. This is further supported by EU president Von der Leyen slipping up a couple weeks ago at a public speech stating that Ukr has lost 100,000 killed military personnel (we can assume, then, another 200,000 to 300,000 seriously wounded and evacuated). Additionally, Zelensky himself stated, months ago, again publicly and on the record, that Ukr was suffering something like 300 killed/day. The action was less intense then. So, no need to look to Russian MOD statements (which have been far more accurate than western press releases) to understand that the Ukr military is on its last legs.

Finally, the introduction of thousands of Polish fighters + some other eastern Euros and some Brits and Americans to the front lines indicates that Ukr cannot no longer handle the fight. Sources on both sides agree that Polish forces have suffered something like 1,200 killed to date with more expected based on military cemetery preparations in Poland.

Western retired military talking heads have recently conceded that the new Russian General in charge of all Ukr operations has done a good job organizing the combine arms and various troops and is a “dangerous” and “formidable” enemy and the US needs to ramp up support.

The US just announced it is sending patriot air defense systems to Ukr. This is an admission that Russian drone and missile attacks are successful and the AD systems currently deployed by Ukr are not up to the task. The Patriot system has a significant learning curve. One would presume that The US will be manning these. They are first order targets for the Russians. Americans will be killed. Do the Patriots really work as advertised? Mixed bag. IMO, they will not be entirely effective against the Russians’ nightly Christmas presents. AD is everything in modern war, second only to what can be guided through the air on attack. Amazing that people who consider Russia and backwards can still hold that belief after all of the precision guided missile and drone attacks. People are stupid and crazy. I digress. If the patriot systems are sent to Ukr to be destroyed sooner or later, what is protecting Europe? It would seem that Euro patriot systems will be the source of those destined for Ukr. They sure aren’t being pulled from our bestest, closest, most excellent friend, Israel – and we don’t have a bunch of these sitting in storage back in the states. Russia is slowly bleeding the US and NATO until they are bled vulnerable. Not bad for allegedly backwards crazy drunk people.

US and UK media and govt still like to crow about the Russian defeat at Kherson. This is a silly and obvious propaganda meme. The Ukrainians assaulted the Kherson region repeatedly and lost large numbers of men and equipment in the process. The Russian had few casualties. The Russians then effected a very organized withdrawal across the Dnieper. Ukr troops did not battle them out of there. There was no military victory. Ukr has been unable to occupy Kherson City b/c Russian artillery from across the river blasts them to shreds when they try. While a bad optic, the withdrawal across the river makes military sense. The river forms a natural defense. Defense against what if the Ukies are being decimated? It would appear a defense against what is coming.

Posted by: BostonTom | Dec 15 2022 21:28 utc | 74

@republicofscotland "It was not immediately clear whether Biden or any of his top national security advisers have approved the proposed transfer of the JDAMs to Ukraine."

JDAMs is a tail kit for gravity bombs to make them guided. What is Ukraine going to use to drop them?

Posted by: ian | Dec 15 2022 21:29 utc | 75

how zhe wind might change...

never tought bout that :)

Posted by: Macpott | Dec 15 2022 21:31 utc | 76

@ BostonTom | Dec 15 2022 21:28 utc | 74

eric is fairly bright... did he ditch pat and ttg?? obviously larry johnson did.. i used to see eric post at pats place...

Posted by: james | Dec 15 2022 21:37 utc | 77

Ukrainian logic is straight forward.

Everything communist and soviet is bad, except the holy ukrainian borders drawn by soviet communists. Nothing is more holy than those borders - not humans, not nature, not climate change, certainly not the existence of mankind.

Posted by: Vikichka | Dec 15 2022 21:40 utc | 78


"If you don't think it's possible for the Ukranians to pull this off, remember what you thought about the odds of a successful UA counteroffensive before Kharkov and Kherson happened."

There has been no successful counteroffensive in Kherson. The region was abandoned because the Russian political elite didn't consider it valuable enough (right now) to commit the resources to keep defending it. While I don't like that choice, that's what happened, to the point that for days both the UAF and Western intelligence kept suggesting that the whole withdrawal might have just been a Russian trap.

The decision to abandon Kherson was clearly taken at least 5-6 weeks in advance and postponed until right after the US midterm elections.

The only actual advance that the UAF managed to accomplish on the Kherson front was along the right bank of the Dniepr as far as Dudchany. That is, only along a very sparsely defended section of the front.

In the Kharkov direction the situation was similar, in the sense that the UAF advanced on an already largely vacated area that contained only token Russian defenders. Still, they didn't manage to encircle the Izyum garrison that withdrew orderly.

The only battle were the UAF managed to actually push the RuAF back even though the latter decided to stand and fight to nearly the very end, was likely Krasny Liman.

Up to now there has been no UAF equivalent of the capture of Mariupol or Severodonetsk-Lisychansk, with the UAF pushing the Russians out of a large settlement in battle.

Also, all reports coming from Bakhmut are saying that the UAF are throwing all they have into the fight, not just poorly trained territorial defense units.

Posted by: Leonardo | Dec 15 2022 21:45 utc | 79

Posted by: Outraged | Dec 15 2022 18:44 utc | 28:

Thanks for the exhaustive listing of all the ukies have lost.

Perhaps they think that they can imitate the Chinese "volunteers" performance from the Korean War. Fortunately the Chinese had Chairman Mao behind them, the ukies have the cocaine snorting piano player.

Posted by: morongobill | Dec 15 2022 21:49 utc | 80

@ catdog 69

These Ukraine reserves are going to be airlifted by US helicopters like Al Qaida in Syria now living in Iran. They will certainly not be wasted on fighting when they have been brain-washed as CIAda recruiters.

There is a lot of work for them to do in the West teaching machismo in gyms. There is a cult of body- building across the world that can be harnessed to the Nazi spectrum of hate in poor countries.
Take note , Usukis has spent 100 years training Muslims to fight against Muslims.
Why would they not use train Westerners to be Nazis?

Just because they are """ reserves """ doesn't mean Evil Empire has reserved them for smoked Polish sausage in the Russian meat machine.

Posted by: Giyane | Dec 15 2022 21:53 utc | 81

First time Eric has come to my attention, pithy style that is righteous and informative, good to see people saying it like they see it, and who can see clearly...

Posted by: BostonTom | Dec 15 2022 21:54 utc | 82

One of my news sources many years ago was The Guardian. I just went back to look. Here is what I found.

"Others say some kind of offer of special joint sovereignty status for the peninsula [referring to Crimea] is possible. But trust is at a minimum. A previous joint lease agreement allowed Russia to retain its Black Sea fleet at Sevastopol until at least 2042. It was torn up by Putin in 2014."

Egad folks. The WEST must be insane. Who are these idiots. Crimea is Russia. Period. The question now is whether or not the Donbass, Zaporochshia, Kherson, Odessa, Kharkov, is also Russia. ???

Whoever wrote that Guradian article has no understanding of what is happening in this world.

Posted by: Toivos | Dec 15 2022 21:56 utc | 83

@ morongo bill

Yes, correct, piano, not forte.

Posted by: Giyane | Dec 15 2022 21:56 utc | 84

The suggestion of 200,000 "trained" combat troops - which I also don't believe for a minute, Ukraine had only 250,000 troops at its height and that included truck drivers, etc. - agrees with Macgregor's 190,000. The rest are useless conscripts suitable only for dying and moving supplies to the front.

Ukraine has almost certainly lost between 200,000 and 400,000 of its previous 250,000 regulars + 400,000 reserves. The few weeks of training the conscripts and the "new corps" gets is almost worthless. Add to that problem that Russia now has 540,000 trained and experienced (all the "new" troops are experienced reserves) troops to Ukraine's 190,000, and it remains clear that Ukraine is doomed.

Add to that the fact that this is an artillery war at which Ukraine is outgunned "9-to-1" (and I suspect that's an under count), not to mention the overwhelming reserve of tanks Russia has, not to mention an actual air force, and anyone who thinks Ukraine has even a "Ghost of Kiev" chance of surviving is delusional.

This was obvious from the get-go, considering the balance of forces before the war started. There was never the slightest chance that Ukraine could "win" anything. Russia merely muddled the analysis by only committing 10-15% of its force (if that) to the fight in the beginning. Unlike those who think Putin was trying to "win on the cheap" (and I think even Ritter and Macgregor believe that with zero evidence), I believe this was a deliberate decision to minimize Russian casualties, and more importantly to minimize the West's reaction so as to avoid an early attempt at a NATO incursion (however unable NATO would be to win such an incursion.) That this approach also ended up encouraging NATO to bleed itself dry in supporting Ukraine was icing on the cake.

Bottom line: It's all going to plan. It's just frustrating to see how slow the plan is unfolding. I agree with Macgregor that it will all be over by end of summer, 2023, if not sooner, and certainly by this time next year. It will likely take another couple months to finish clearing Donbass, and then it is likely the tempo of the war will change, although the "grinding" aspect may well continue until the Ukraine army is worn down enough for an offensive with little risk of Russian casualties.

In my view, once Russia has cleared Donbass, the critical need is to shorten the front lines and concentrate their forces. b suggested the Russian withdrawals from Kharkhiv and Kherson were to "shorten" the lines. I think they were more about "straightening" them and avoiding "protrusions" past their built-up defensive lines. However, once Donbass is cleared, Russia can really shorten them by concentrating their forces and then maneuvering as necessary in any direction where concentrated Ukrainian forces are. Those Ukrainian forces will really be unable to deal with a concentrated Russian force.

Russia could have done this early on - except for the long line of Ukrainian fortifications built up over eight years. That forced Russia to use the "grinding" approach and to stretch its forces thin along the 1,000km front line. This entirely explains the Russian approach given the reasons I mentioned above to avoid the "shock and awe" approach.

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Dec 15 2022 21:58 utc | 85

Vloddy Z wants to go back to Ukraine's 1991 borders? In 1991, Crimea held a referendum on whether to re-establish the Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, and 94% of the voters were in favor. In the years that followed Ukraine stepped in, abolished the Crimean constitution and declared Crimea part of Ukraine but with some autonomy. Nobody in the West ever asks if the people of Donbass, Odessa, Crimea etc want to be part of Ukraine. They do not.

Ukraine: 'The Donbass and Crimea belong to us.' USA (unspoken but known): 'Ukraine belongs to us.'

Posted by: Mike R | Dec 15 2022 21:59 utc | 86

According to Judge Napolitano the White House says it is sending "advisors" into Ukraine. Troops to check on the weapons to see if they are delivered and to train. Remember Vietanam?

Is this U.S. Mission Creep in Ukraine?

Posted by: franco | Dec 15 2022 22:05 utc | 87

Whoever wrote that Guradian article has no understanding of what is happening in this world.

Posted by: Toivos | Dec 15 2022 21:56 utc | 83

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." ~ Upton Sinclair

Posted by: Opport Knocks | Dec 15 2022 22:17 utc | 88

Posted by: Leonardo | Dec 15 2022 21:45 utc | 79
"The region was abandoned because the Russian political elite didn't consider it valuable enough (right now) to commit the resources to keep defending it."

But the political elite DID consider it valuable enough to officially annex and told the new Russian citizens that they would never abandon them just weeks earlier. Whatever the K/D ratio may have been, what happened in Kherson was an embarrassing disaster.

It will not given anyone comfort if the Russians abandon Crimea and the LDPR because of the logic "it wasn't valuable enough to keep defending it"

Posted by: catdog | Dec 15 2022 22:17 utc | 89

I think the often used quote of Upton Sinclair needs to be updated. How about "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his sense of self-worth and moral superiority depends upon his not understanding it." That seems to fit most of the MFA people I have met when they are making coffee. Economics doesn't seem to be a prime motivator anymore when all your art history degree can earn you is a job as a barista.

Posted by: Quid Me Vexare | Dec 15 2022 22:23 utc | 90

Posted by: Richard Steven Hack | Dec 15 2022 21:58 utc | 85

Sums it up nicely RSH. I think the key point you made is,the slow go from the start to keep the Nato crews out enmasse and rather drain them first. Much has been made of the slow roll out, but I believe this was the overall plan from the beginning. Lots of hand wringing and teeth gnashing from many who have no skin in the game. It will conclude when they want it to conclude.

Posted by: Digital Spartacus | Dec 15 2022 22:26 utc | 91

Consider that if western countries are sending mercs in relatively large quantities that they are likely sending their most effective and ready to fight military personal. 100,000 US troops in Europe doesn’t mean 100,000 fighters. Most are support staff. The Polish army is like 150,000 men so if there are really 15,000 Polish mercs in Ukraine it would be 10% of the Poland’s troops strength.

Not all of them will be lost in any realistic scenario, but Europeans (and even Americans) supplying fighters in any significant quantity can create real manpower shortages for western armies. The US would be the least affected. Western Europe the worst. Eastern Europe somewhere in the middle since many of them can still conscript reserves. But in all cases it’s still many of the most serious fighters.

Posted by: Lex | Dec 15 2022 22:33 utc | 92

According to a report I saw this morning citing RF MOD, the country with the highest number of mercs in 404 is Canada, which incidentally happens to be UkroNazi central of the western hemisphere, and erstwhile home of Chrystia Freeland’s Nazi officer grandfather (Alberta).

Posted by: nwwoods | Dec 15 2022 22:34 utc | 93

Something happening in personal life reminded me of this. You can't fight crazy. You can't figure what a crazy person will do next. You never win against crazy. All you can do is go around them. It might be a long detour to get around them.

West has completely lost its mind. Getting around them not easy. RF basically has to build a whole new world order. Slugging it out with nazi nutjobs is a necessary detour. Going slow and avoiding casualties does make sense. You never have a simple straightforward victory when it is crazy people.

Posted by: oldhippie | Dec 15 2022 22:35 utc | 94

Ok guys, ukraine has no need for an economy or even an army. Its a vehicle for the proxy war and will be filled with everything as long as the proxy war is policy.

Consider the Syrian experience, whatever may have started out as a local opposition was largely extinct within a couple years. It was replaced with foreign fighters and special ops who fought under their Syrian rebel banners. Now idlib is a who's who of the global jihadist network, syrians not needed to fight or run local economies.

Same thing happened to a large extent for the Syrian government it got dissolved into its alliances. Its been rebuilding itself for the past couple years though.

The Ukrainians will find that this war won't end no matter what they do, even if they surrender and throw down their arms. Foreign mercs will just take over and make their little fiefs

When you make a deal with the devil you dance until he ends the song. You don't get to quit when you want. Poor confused Ukrainians they don't have a hope even if Russia surrenders. They know when the war ends they get flushed down the toilet, their people scattered and used by their former patrons.

Posted by: Neofeudalfuture | Dec 15 2022 22:37 utc | 95

General Zaluzhny is almost perfectly named. His surname will be 100% accurate with a slight change to Delusiony. Both the civil state and the armed forces of Ukraine are on life support, and this fellow is talking about receiving tanks and other weaponry that don't even exist. If I were a citizen of that pathetic fake nation, I'd be packing a kit bag and heading for the nearest border to cross surreptitiously at night. Any fate I met in that direction would have to be superior to what awaits me at that hands of a degenerate actor and his daffy commander.

Posted by: Jack Gordon | Dec 15 2022 22:37 utc | 96

Ukie general says 700K "in uniform"; "200K trained for combat." Okay, sounds about right for the ratio between support and combat troops. But how many of the "trained" are already on the line? I'd say most if trying to create reserves is such a priority along with the comment about troop rotation.

On yesterday's thread, although it wasn't well documented as such, an interview with one of Kadyrov's subordinates was posted. I read it at Martyanov's blog where it was posted by commentator Johnny Rotten and is near the top of the linked thread. I highly suggest reading it as an excellent counterpoint to b's article.

Another bit of info I gleaned from the above piece was the little bit about Russian tactics--they're mostly attacking "on foot," meaning Russia's using its artillery as tanks as the infantry worms its way through the labyrinth of defense fortifications. IMO, this a is very sound tactic as the ground currently isn't at all suited for vehicular movement and any such movement is channelized--knock out the lead vehicle and the column stalls making it an easy mark for anti-armor close-combat. And what we're hearing/seeing provides the main reasons why this very thick belt of defensive positions wasn't attacked head-on by Russia at the outset. Better to attrite your opposition and deplete its logistics then begin the push forward.

I see the English transcript of Putin's meeting with the Council for Strategic Development and national Projects is close to being complete. If you missed what I provided from that please visit the end of the previous thread. As usual, this meeting is stuffed full of excellent information for those wanting to know the real score about Russia's situation. Here's one very short excerpt on a topic I know most barflies are very keen about:

"Different payment mechanisms are also on our agenda. I am referring to the use of digital currencies of central banks and the technology of distributed registries that remove the political risks from using the currencies of unfriendly countries.

"We are developing reliable and safe transport corridors to help companies establish logistics and cooperation ties. Due to its geographical location and geopolitical opportunities, Russia can protect these logistics corridors against risks. Once again, the foundation lies in both our economic and financial potential, and the capabilities of our law enforcement sector in general."

And to close, here's this appetizer:

"In the near future, we will expand cooperation on projects in energy, agriculture, industry, aircraft engineering, medicine, transport, outer space, digital technology, environmental protection and other high-tech areas. Together with our partners, we will seek leadership in creating artificial intelligence elements with strict observance of ethical and moral standards. We discussed this issue recently with our colleagues, in particular at a Sber event."

It's not the rate of Russia's growth that's important; rather, it's the sectors Russia's chosen to focus upon and its methodology that's highly impressive--so impressive, the West can't speak of it.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 15 2022 22:40 utc | 97

Posted by: catdog | Dec 15 2022 22:17 utc | 89

Oh for heaven's sake, do not people grasp Kherson. The Ukrainians were firing missiles at the large dam. Eventually the dam would have been undermined and the river impassible and much of Kherson destroyed and Russians on the Western side almost certain to be killed. It was a rational if unfortunate necessity. It is more than possible that the Russians are already well aware of structural issues with the dam and decided the risk was just way too great. At least the Ukrainians no longer are undermining the dam.

Posted by: watcher | Dec 15 2022 22:41 utc | 98

catdog | Dec 15 2022 22:17 utc | 89
Re the abandoned, new Russian citizens of Kherson.
They were ALL offered the opportunity to move to Big Russia…. transport, food, lodgings, some rubles In assistance was provided.
Many took the opportunity to move.
Others didn’t.
I will not ever accept that those who remained, “got what they deserved”. No. Because what the Ukrainian supporting residents and the Ukrainian military did was pure evil.
Those that stayed, chose to stay. They conducted their own risk assessment and believed they were Ukrainian enough to remain once Kherson returned to Ukraine.
Militarily, Russia probably made the right decision to retreat from Kherson.
Russia strongly recommended Russian citizens leave. And took reasonable steps and Duty of Care to make that possible.
I don’t agree with this war. I accept it’s probably existential for Russia.
Wars are not pretty. Hard, hard decisions are made. People suffer. Soldiers die.
Those responsible for the grotesque torture and murder of Kherson residents by Kherson residents and Ukraine’s soldiers are Ukrainian.

Posted by: Melaleuca | Dec 15 2022 22:47 utc | 99

You can do it, Russia! Just a few more bodies on the pile until Verdun is won!

Setting aside the Ukrainian perspective, for Europe and America it's amazing how Russia has refused to cut its losses. They stuck their dick in the beartrap, and they insist on staying there.

Posted by: James Grip | Dec 15 2022 22:52 utc | 100

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