Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 11, 2023

Ukrainian Defense Lines And What Happens When They Are Breached

Soledar has fallen to Russian troops. Bakhmut (Artymovsk) will follow soon.

This constitutes the breach of Ukraine's second defense line within the Donetzk and Lysichansk oblasts. I will discuss those lines with the maps below.

The first map shows the range of land taken by Russian forces by April 1 2022 (Kiev region not shown).

Russia had invaded with a small force of some 100,000 soldiers supported by some 50,000 soldiers of the Donetzk/Luhansk Republics. The opposing forces were 250,000 regular Ukrainian army troops which quickly grew to 450,000 and then 650,000 by mobilization of reserve  forces plus the Territorial Defense Forces. During the first weeks the Russian forces had taken a huge amount of land that they barely had the numbers to hold.

At that point Russia was still hoping that the negotiations held at that time with Ukraine in Turkey would have a positive outcome. As a confidence measure it had already started to pull back from around Kiev. However, after phone calls from and a visit by the British prime minister Boris Johnson the Ukrainian government ended the negotiations by suddenly adding demands the Russia would never agree to. The troops from Kiev were pulled back anyway and moved to the east of Ukraine where they started an attack on the first defense line (yellow) of the Ukrainian forces.

April 1 2022


This first defense line, like later ones, ran along railway and road communication routes that connect major cities. In the map above the cities that constituted the first defense line were, north to south, Siverodonetsk, Lysichansk, Popasna, Svitlodarsk.

By July 1 2022 the first Ukrainian defense line was breached and defeated by Russian forces. The Ukrainian troops moved back to their second defense line. However, the defeat of the first defense line had taken its toll of the small Russian Special Military Operation force.

July 1 2022


The second Ukrainian defense line, north to south, ran from Siversk to Soledar, Bakhmut, New York agglomeration and then along the old ceasefire line of the Donetzk Republic.

The Russian forces tried to avoid a costly direct attack on the second Ukrainian defense line. It launched an operation to breach into the Donetzk oblast behind the second Ukrainian defense line from the north (now gray area). The battles for Izium and Lyman were fought for that purpose. However, the wooden area north of the Siversky Donets river that runs east to west as well as the river itself proved to be difficult to cross. Several attempts to move significant forces across it failed.

At the end of August 2022 the exhausted Russian forces had switched to a defensive posture and into an 'economy of force' mode. Troops that were holding the Kharkiv area north of the Donetzk oblast were reduced. The other forces were moved to the eastern front to strengthen the Russian lines on that front.

Meanwhile Ukraine was openly discussing and preparing for an attack on the Kherson region north of the Dnieper river with the final aim of crossing the river to then move towards Crimea. Russia responded by further reducing the troop numbers in the northern Kharkiv region to a few thousand men and by using the others to further strengthen its positions in the south around Kherson.

During the fall the Ukrainian attacks on the Kherson region all failed with high losses. However U.S. intelligence advised the Ukrainian command that the Kharkiv region, while still held by Russian forces, was practically empty. The command switched the active front towards the north and successfully moved into the Kharkiv region while Russian troops still positioned there moved further east.

This was a quite fast operation that looked very successful. But the speed also meant that the heavy Ukrainian artillery cover was thin to not existent. This while the retreating Russian forces used their own artillery to attack Ukrainian front formations in pre-planned fire missions. After proceeding fast over some 70 kilometers  from west to east the Ukrainian attack force had taken high losses and ran out of steam. It came up to a new Russian defense line (red) covered by two rivers that proved difficult to cross. The Kharkiv front has since stabilized.

Jan 1 2023


The Ukrainian 'victory' in the Kharkiv region gave the Russian government the necessary public backing for the mobilization of additional forces. 300,000 reservists were called up. Some 70,000 additional men joined as volunteers. The Wagner private military company increased its force size to some 50,000 men. Over the last three month of 2022 all those forces were supplied with the necessary equipment and went through refresher training.

Meanwhile a new Russian commander, General Sergey Surovkin, took over. He warned immediately that he would have to take some difficult decisions. This was related to the situation in the Kherson region north of the Dnieper. Constant attacks on the river crossings with U.S. supplied missiles made the logistic situation very difficult. The command decided to pull back behind the river. This operation was remarkably successful. Ten thousands of civilians plus some 25,000 soldiers with all their equipment were removed from the area with only few if any losses.


By the end of the year the shortening of the front lines and the introduction of fresh forces had allowed the Russian forces to regain the initiative. They launched intense attacks on Ukraine's second defense line. With the successful taking of Soledar that line has now been breached. This makes the situation of Siversk, north of Soledar, and of Bakhmut, south of it, much more difficult. No Ukrainian troops or materials can now be moved on the roads and railways that were part of the line. The breach of the line will allow Russian troops to move west of it to the north and the south to then create cauldrons for the other positions within that same line. 'Rolling up a defense line' is a description of that process.

The now heavily reduced Ukrainian forces will likely have to give up on holding the second defense line to then create a third one to the west of it.


The third Ukrainian defense line will run from Sloviansk in the north through Kramatorsk, Druzhkivka, Kostantinovka to the New York agglomeration. I expect the complete defeat and cleanup of the second Ukrainian defense line by the end of March. The third Ukrainian defense line will probably fall by the mid of the year. Whatever is left of the Ukrainian forces will then try to hold a fourth defense line along the string of smaller towns west of it.


This will be the last Ukrainian line in the Donetsk oblast. It likely to fall before by the end of September.

The Russian moves against the third and fourth Ukrainian defense lines will likely be supported by a move from the south that will liberate the rest of the Zaporiziha and Donetsk oblast.

Aside from those operations the Russian command has sufficient number of troops available to run another major attack. This could come from the north into the Kharkiv regain behind the Ukrainian troops currently attacking the Russian lines further east.

The Russian forces in Ukraine were tasked with liberating the oblast that Russia had recognized as independent states (Donetzk and Luhansk) as well as those that had additionally voted to become part of Russia (Zaporiziha and Kherson).

With the breaking up of all four Ukrainian defense lines in Donetzk oblast that task will be fulfilled. This with the exception of the part of the Kherson region north of the Dnieper river which will require a separate operation on its own. The Russian command may want to wait for this until more Ukrainian forces have been destroyed while holding their defense lines.

Another task given to the Special Military operation was to 'demilitarize' and 'denazify' Ukraine. The Ukrainian tactic of holding fixed lines anchored on major cities at any price has come at a significant cost. Russian artillery is superior to the Ukrainian by a factor of ten. The Russian forces use it to destroy Ukrainian troops holding the lines while taking only few losses on their own side.

Today's Wall Street Journal finally noted that this Ukrainian battle tactic is not a winning one:

Western—and some Ukrainian—officials, soldiers and analysts increasingly worry that Kyiv has allowed itself to be sucked into the battle for Bakhmut on Russian terms, losing the forces it needs for a planned spring offensive as it stubbornly clings to a town of limited strategic relevance. Some of them say that it would make sense to retreat to a new defensive line on the heights west of Bakhmut while such a pullback can still be organized in a coordinated fashion, preserving the Ukrainian military’s combat strength.

“It’s not me, it’s King Leonidas who figured out that you should fight the enemy on the terrain that is advantageous to you,” said one Ukrainian commander in Bakhmut, referring to the ruler of Sparta who battled the Persian Empire at Thermopylae. “So far, the exchange rate of trading our lives for theirs favors the Russians. If this goes on like this, we could run out.”

The Ukrainian soldier is right. However, a different form of fighting the war would be a mobile delay and retreat action from which local counter offensives would be launched. This requires a lot of equipment, battle tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, that the Ukraine no longer has. It also requires troops and larger formations trained for that type of fight. Some 60 year old mailman drafted during Ukraine's 9th mobilization wave will not be able to learn this during his two weeks training course.

Had the professional Ukrainian army that exited before the war been allowed to give up on cities and had it used a mobile combined arms tactic of delay-retreat-counterattack it probably would have been more successful. But that army has by now been destroy with Russian artillery because Kiev insisted on holding cities and lines at any price.

The U.S. will only now start to train Ukrainian troops in combined arms and joint maneuvering. It will be too little too late to make any difference.

As of current news, today we see fake news headlines like this from NBC:

Putin replaces commander of Russia’s war in Ukraine after just 3 months
Valery Gerasimov takes over from Sergei Surovikin, who will now serve as one of his deputies, Russia's defense ministry said Wednesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has replaced the commander leading his forces in Ukraine just three months after he handed him the job.

Gen. Valery Gerasimov will take over from Sergei Surovikin, the country’s defense ministry said on Telegram Wednesday, a change that comes as Kyiv warns Moscow is planning a major new offensive after months of battlefield setback.

The above is a misinterpretation of a simple naming change.

Russians With Attitude @RWApodcast - 16:09 UTC · Jan 11, 2023

As I understand it, we went from 1 to 2


Neither was Surovkin pushed aside or demoted nor was Gerasimov promoted to a new job. Surovkin will continue to run the theater force in Ukraine. This move did not change command responsibilities but lifted the importance of the whole operation by making it the highest military commander's priority.

Posted by b on January 11, 2023 at 18:49 UTC | Permalink

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A reminder for those at the back of the class.

When Russia retreats from Kiev, Kharkov, and Kherson, it is a masterstroke of strategic genius.

When Ukraine retreats from a small town, it is the greatest Ukrainian defeat, comparable to Stalingrad or Sedan.

From here on out, it's easy sailing to Berlin and then the Atlantic coast at Lisbon.


Posted by: Bernd | Jan 11 2023 19:01 utc | 1

A reminder for those at the back of the class.

Posted by: Bernd | Jan 11 2023 19:01 utc | 1

A reminder for those who have been demoted for remedial education:

It is the score at the end of the game that counts, not half way through the first quarter.

Posted by: Opport Knocks | Jan 11 2023 19:05 utc | 2

don't feed the nisse, don't feed the trolls.

The shuffle of Sergey Surovikin and Gerasimov, etc. could be looked at whose up and whose down, but my hope and gut feeling is that it is fine tuning for a major offensive. Not that my opinion is worth a mangled zinc penny, I am glad to see that Lapin is getting some respect. Meanwhile the intel on UKR transportation and electricity continues. Possibly due for another big blitz before and then all sheol and gehenna breaking out in whatever direction(s) the RF does choose.

Posted by: paxmark1 | Jan 11 2023 19:12 utc | 3

Excellent post!

I expect the complete defeat and cleanup of the second Ukrainian defense line by the end of March. The third Ukrainian defense line will probably fall by the mid of the year.
I know nothing, but my guess is the speed will increase significantly, the Ukrainian army is depleted and likely to collapse sooner.

Posted by: Norwegian | Jan 11 2023 19:13 utc | 4

Posted by: Opport Knocks | Jan 11 2023 19:05 utc | 2

My point exactly Opport, Russia simply cannot lose in any way, every "defeat" is simply a springboard for a further victory down the line.

Russia is simply demonstrating it's strategic genius in Ukraine, any setbacks were a result of Western backstabbing, whom kind Putin still chooses to trust.

Trust the plan.

Posted by: Bernd | Jan 11 2023 19:15 utc | 5

“Bakhmut-Soledar is of no importance, just a village, look at who controls Kherson!”

-Ukrainian twitter after throwing away even more lives than Severodonetsk and Kharkiv combined

Posted by: Cesare | Jan 11 2023 19:16 utc | 6

Dutch port of Vlissingen today. Disembarking 90 Abrams tanks and 170 Bradley fighting vehicles, 15 Paladin 155mm howitzers and hundreds multi-wheel armoured vehickes …

Transport by road (or railway?) to Poland and the NATO Eastern flank of Baltic states. Intended for US Army 2nd Brigade in Operation Atlantic Resolve, permanent NATO’s War against Russia.

See meeting today in Lviv and Joint Declaration of the Presidents of the Lublin Triangle. Poland to deliver a quantity of German Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv.

Posted by: Oui | Jan 11 2023 19:18 utc | 7

You are not expecting any big arrow operations then, just more of the slow grind and attrition?
MacGregor thinks that big operation is imminent.

The wild card here is what the US/NATO do. The longer this drags on, the bigger the chance
that NATO gets involved further and more directly.

Just yesterday AP ran a story about Bakhmut and published some pictures where there were soldiers with
Polish patches. They are not even pretending anymore.

Posted by: Ivan | Jan 11 2023 19:18 utc | 8

Battlefield video. Worth a few seconds of your time. The Russian soldier does not want to kill the Ukrainians. Taking substantial, no, enormous personal risk to allow them to surrender. The Ukrainians dumb as rocks, with the excuse they are likely hypothermic, frostbitten, starved, thirsty. And then the RF soldier does what he has to do. No pleasure in the task. A ghastly job that someone has to do.

A microcosm of why this is proceeding slowly.

Posted by: oldhippie | Jan 11 2023 19:19 utc | 9

Posted by: Bernd | Jan 11 2023 19:01 utc | 1

you forgot about Ukraine losing troops at a ruinous ratio, anywhere from 6 or 7 to 1 to 10 to 1. you are instructed to stay after class and write "Attrition" 10000 times on the blackboard.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jan 11 2023 19:19 utc | 10

I think we'll know when the Beltway war-mongers are really worried when we start hearing more cries for negotiations and a ceasefire.

For now, they seem content to sacrifice more Ukrainians to feed the war machine.

Posted by: Christopher Peters | Jan 11 2023 19:26 utc | 11

The Ukrainian strategy (insofar as there is something genuinely Ukrainian about it) is not to hold the line as such and hope that Russians run out of bullets, but to keep spilling its own blood to demonstrate that it should continue to be the beneficiary of Western donations. The logic is that the longer they can hold on the more palatable an intervention might become for (some) Western countries. It is not wholly illogical, the West was quite frightened to send tanks at the outset, but now they are evidently less concerned about the risks.
The secondary logic to holding the line is to keep the propaganda thrust from Kherson going, that Ukraine somehow has the initiative and can win. But this is again, only in service of more bloodletting.

Posted by: Boo | Jan 11 2023 19:27 utc | 12

you forgot about Ukraine losing troops at a ruinous ratio, anywhere from 6 or 7 to 1 to 10 to 1. you are instructed to stay after class and write "Attrition" 10000 times on the blackboard.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jan 11 2023 19:19 utc | 10

10:1? Russia is killing 10 of its "brotherly people" for every one of their own killed? The Ukrainian army must be pretty close to collapse seeing as such a ratio would mean 300,000+ troops killed/wounded irrecoverably, the Ukrainians must be very close to collapse right?

But then again, I have heard about these mysterious US DARPA funded biolabs resurrecting the dead, or the Olympic shooting champion female snipers from the Baltics, and last but not least the Polish mercenaries replenishing the Ukrainians, in preparation for their eventual annexation of Galicia!

Forgive for I am an amateur, my brain cannot comprehend 56-dimensional geopolitical chicanery like many here.

I will write "Russia is winning" a 1000 times on the blackboard, perhaps it will become a reality?

Posted by: Bernd | Jan 11 2023 19:30 utc | 13

@9 oldhippie

That is a truly distressing video. Poor bastards, all of them - the guys who were shot, and the soldier who killed them.

Thanks, Nuland and co. Young men dying violently by the hundreds of thousands so you can expand the empire.

Posted by: Observer | Jan 11 2023 19:32 utc | 14

The big question is: what will Washington do in response? There is no leadership there, just warmongers and blind followers. God help us

Posted by: Chris N | Jan 11 2023 19:35 utc | 15

There is no possibilityof any accurate count of casualties. Watch the vids if you can. There are corpses everywhere. Even in the vid I posted above, one of the three in the foxhole appears to be already dead. Doubtful those three are in any tally yet. And more and more anywhere a camera points.

I don't believe the 6 to 1 or 10 to 1. There is no reason for RF to accept casualties when all they are doing is shooting fish in a barrel. So 20 to 1 or 100 to 1. Moscow seems to be patient, the guys at the front are not going to die for nothing.

Posted by: oldhippie | Jan 11 2023 19:35 utc | 16

Every shareholder and employee of Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and other Beltway bandits should receive their paycheck/stock statements with the term "Paid for with the blood of Ukrainians" in bold print near the top.

Posted by: Chris | Jan 11 2023 19:39 utc | 17

Posted by: Ivan | Jan 11 2023 19:18 utc | 8

Big arrow moves will be seen from space and the air by NATO in the prep stage already.

Posted by: alek_a | Jan 11 2023 19:40 utc | 18

Posted by: oldhippie | Jan 11 2023 19:35 utc | 16

that could be. I was just using figure Ritter (iirc) used, could easily be higher.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jan 11 2023 19:40 utc | 19

Posted by: Bernd | Jan 11 2023 19:30 utc | 13

their choice, like those poor slobs in the video oldhippie used, if you are worried about Ukrainian lives stop shilling for war. that's your choice.
i don't think you're stupid, necessarily; i just think you're paid to write your crap.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jan 11 2023 19:43 utc | 20

@13 Bernd

The ratio early in the conflict was not as dramatic as it is now. Russians were taking pretty heavy losses early on.
They still are. If various estimates are correct (150 thousand Ukrainian dead and 3X as many wounded or otherwise incapacitated),
the Russians (Russia proper forces + Donetsk/Lugansk militias, Wagner, Chechens, volunteers) probably have 30K - 40K dead
which is a very high number.

Posted by: Ivan | Jan 11 2023 19:44 utc | 21

At risk of a basic oversimplification, because the war is being fought on Ukraine soil, there is nothing to win for Ukraine. Unless you believe it will wind up with Crimea, the best it can manage is a stalemate. And at that, the destruction of its country is still a mega loss. Call Russia evil or call them provoked. It doesn’t matter. The moment Russia set troops in Ukraine and Ukraine lacking the ability to march itself into Moscow (and failing to take the negotiation path - the only way it had out of this), it lost. As front lines shift in favor of Russia the loss will just compound the mistake. Right or wrong. Fair or not. The world doesn’t always work that way. You have to play the hand you have and Zelensky clearly botched it.

Posted by: GS | Jan 11 2023 19:45 utc | 22

oldhippie | Jan 11 2023 19:19 utc | 9

Ukrainians have been dying like that right through. The suicide attacks against Russian lines ect. Early on when Russia was constantly taking ground, there was always drugs and empty drug packs in Ukraine positions.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2023 19:46 utc | 23

(B) Excellent overview and historical analysis of the various operations, strategies and rebooting by both sides. Much of the pace of ops on the broader Donbass/Kharkov front will depend upon what proportion the Ukrainian forces of higher quality have been kept out of the more recent kesselschlafts. If the UA has not retained quality reserves in that long front, there is a distinct possibility that once the RF forces break through any significant quarter of the UK second-line they will be in open steppe country, with very little and rather sparse urban agglomerations so favored by the growingly pedestrian Ukie troops.

Should that situation develop, as one might expect; then the possibility of long-range Russian breakthroughs should increase almost exponentially.

You also note that an advance in the Zaparozhe region towards Zap City is a likely move for the heavily augmented Russian elements. In order to restore some balance for devastated units in the Donetsk City region and in the Soledar.Bakhmut corridor, Kiev invested a significant proportion of their men in the Zap region (originally intended for invasion purposes) in an attempt to hold their lines at the center. This resulted/resolved into a situation that their Zap forces now have very little zap left in their gas-tanks, leaving that front relatively open.

Provided that the RF armies are sufficient to make a rapid move on Zap City, then they can develop twin moves: (1. North-northwestwards to flank Ukies in the Donetsk and Kramatorsk regions and (2. make several crossings of the Dnieper to roll towards both Krivoi Rog and the Kherson, Nicolaev, Odessa regions...all this with a moderate force sitting on the Belarus border threatening both Kiev and other possible objectives west of the Dnieper.

This series/sequence of advances would discombobulate the entire Ukrainian military apparatus and quite possibly achieve a counter-coup in Kiev by elements of the Uk. military in a scenario resembling a more positive outcome echoing the attempted assassination of Hitler in the Wolfsschanze in July of '44.

If the puppet regime is decapitated, then the military might be able to achieve a less than totally unconditional surrender to the RF.

Posted by: aristodemos | Jan 11 2023 19:48 utc | 24

@18 alek_a

Sure, I understand the reasons against big offensives. But, like I said, MacGregor and Ritter
seem to expect some big moves sooner rather than later. Apart from Russian general staff,
I don't think anybody knows what the plan is.

Posted by: Ivan | Jan 11 2023 19:49 utc | 25

Posted by: Bernd | Jan 11 2023 19:30 utc | 13

You ask why ukie army not in collapse point after 300k KIA.

Guess you haven't seen any of those videos of ukie mobilization, chasing after people on the streets, roads, bars, discos and all public places. Some young guy dragged out of lyseum by tough looking nazis, people rounded up in a village square and sent off to enlistment. That's what 10 mobilization rounds and actually continuous mobilization looks like.

BlackRock owns Ukraine and it owns the people as private army to fight for the right of BlackRock to control over those resources. Zelensky and cream of ukie governance got millions and dollars and mansions in Switzerland in exchange for forced mobilization of everyone.

Posted by: unimperator | Jan 11 2023 19:49 utc | 26

@ oldhippie | 9

Powerful video. An utterly chaotic fight in the woods. I don't think the Ukrainians understood that their position had been overrun. Unbelievably close combat. The guy did all he could. I hope he does not blame himself.

thanks for posting.

Posted by: Dan Farrand | Jan 11 2023 19:50 utc | 27


Mein Deutsch war nicht zo gut: "Kesselschlachts" would be closer to correct spelling

Posted by: aristodemos | Jan 11 2023 19:50 utc | 28

Ukraine has adopted a strategy of trading soldier's lives for time. Such a strategy might work if there was a hole card to play, like US/Nato sending armies to their rescue when all hope was lost. Won't happen, and all Ukraine has to show for it is a depleted army that gets weaker every day, along with their country losing an entire generation of people in the prime of life. At some point, the influx of new weapons will be moot, as there will not be enough skilled soldiers to operate them. Nonetheless, expect more Ukrainian peasants to be thrown into whatever new front lines their superiors have decided to retreat to, more grist for the mill. The putsch regime in Kiev has never shown much inclination to deal with reality. But then, what can you expect from a cadre that still celebrates its Nazi lineage, one whose fabulist leanings were supported by a US that whispered sweet nothings in its ear?

Posted by: Mike R | Jan 11 2023 19:52 utc | 29

@1 Bernd

A reminder for those at the back of the class.
When Russia retreats from Kiev, Kharkov, and Kherson, it is a masterstroke of strategic genius.
When Ukraine retreats from a small town, it is the greatest Ukrainian defeat, comparable to Stalingrad or Sedan.
From here on out, it's easy sailing to Berlin and then the Atlantic coast at Lisbon.

I get your point, but how many soldiers did Russia lose from retreating in Kiev, Kharkov or Kherson?
My bet is a lot less than a single retreat from the UAF from Soledar, where probably over 25k UAF soldiers where lost.
This is why a UAF retreat from Soledar is more costly for Ukraine than a Russian retreat from Kiev, Kharkov or Kherson.

At the end it's (sadly) a numbers game. And it stays true to the openly stated first paradigm of the SMO ... reducing the capability of the UAF.

With kind regards,

Posted by: clayt0n | Jan 11 2023 19:53 utc | 30

Excellent article, thxs.

Posted by: Scorpion | Jan 11 2023 19:53 utc | 31

Dutch port of Vlissingen today. Disembarking 90 Abrams tanks and 170 Bradley fighting vehicles
Posted by: Oui | Jan 11 2023 19:18 utc | 7

LOL! Pentagon Wars - Bradley Fighting Vehicle Evolution:

Posted by: Drifter | Jan 11 2023 19:55 utc | 32

PHASE 3: Russian winter offensive starting?

(Edited and reposted from previous thread.)

Chief of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov has been appointed head of the SMO. He will "replace" Surovikin, but this does not mean a change in the organization, only in the status of the SMO.

⚡️ On 11 September 2023, Russian Defence Minister General of the Army Sergei Shoigu assigns new leadership of special military operation

◽️ Chief of General Staff General of the Army Valery Gerasimov has been assigned the commander of the Joint Group of Forces.

◽️ The deputy commanders are: the Commander-in-Chief of Aerospace Forces General of the Army Sergei Surovikin, the Commander-in-Chief of the Army General of the Army Oleg Salyukov, as well as the Deputy Chief of General Staff of Russian Armed Forces Colonel General Aleksey Kim.

◽️ The increase in the level of leadership of the special military operation is related to the amplified range of tasks, the necessity of closer cooperation between services and branches of the Armed Forces, as well as of improving the quality of all types of maintenance and efficiency of commanding the groups of forces.


This may mark the start of the Russian winter offensive. Several tasks have been achieved, that may have been a prerequisite for the start of larger operations.

  • Tens of thousands on Ukrainians have been demilitarized, along with most of Ukraine's armor.
  • Russians have broken through Ukrainian lines in Soledar.
  • General Winter has arrived.
General Valery Gerasimov has likely spent the last three months preparing for this offensive. Now that it starts, he needs to take overall control. Surovikin may still be in charge of the Donbass front, while Gerasimov or someone under him will be in charge of the Kharkov and Belarus fronts.

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Jan 11 2023 19:57 utc | 33

"This move did not change command responsibilities but lifted the importance of the whole operation by making it the highest military commander's priority."

An indication Russia believes US/UK intends keeping the war within Ukraine?

Some time back 0 18 months or or couple of years ago, I read something about UK running the war against Russia leaving US free for its war against China. That seems to be occurring now.
UK and Poland now seem to be taking the lead in keeping the war going to the last Ukrainian. Both sending a few main battle tanks and it appears a few other European countries will chip in with a few tanks.
Marcus Weisgerber
BREAKING: Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro says that within the next six months the US Navy may need to choose between arming itself or Ukraine

His comments were made to a group of reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Arlington, Virginia.

FWIW, The predominance of American weapons given to Ukraine are land weapons, not naval weapons. But Del Toro is not alone. An admiral alluded to the US needing to choose between itself and Ukraine during a panel at the conference. Story coming soon

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2023 19:59 utc | 34

Wow b, Don't know how you do this. Deeply appreciated. Wish I could send you over a case of the finest not served at the bar.

+ + + + you wrote this nugget;

[.]The Ukrainian soldier is right. However, a different form of fighting the war would be a mobile delay and retreat action from which local counter offensives would be launched. This requires a lot of equipment, battle tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, that the Ukraine no longer has.[.]

Be careful there b. Your deep expertise may be drafted by the now desperate UKRies.

Just so you know, UKR received some pledges.... deliveries way in the future to make a difference. And Mr. Kinhzal awaits.

UK announced they " might offer around 10 tanks". Germany is still undecided about the leopard; Poland, of course will parry up; and Georgia has refused to return the BUK they were 'loaned' in 2008.

It was expected that the western hand wringing liars would use the Gerasimov announcement as being Russia is at a loss in UKR. Talk from big mouth is cheap.

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 11 2023 20:05 utc | 35

Videos have been circulating the past couple weeks showing massive amounts of hardware being moved westwards. Something Big® is about to happen. I think Merkel and Hollande knew exactly what they were doing with their words, not a gaffe or slip by any means. They knew what effect it would have on Russia's planning.

Posted by: liveload | Jan 11 2023 20:05 utc | 36

Why have we achieved the level of success we’ve achieved in Ukraine? [...] in 2014 and 2015 we earnestly got after preparing for future conflict: training for the Ukrainians, pre-positioning of supplies, identification of sites from which we could operate support, sustain operations"

"We call that setting the theatre. And we are setting the theatre in Japan, in the Philippines, in other locations."

--Lieutenant General James W. Bierman Jr. United States Marine Corps who serves as the commanding general of III Marine Expeditionary Force and Marine Forces Japan

Posted by: Vikichka | Jan 11 2023 20:07 utc | 37

Boo 12

Yes, Ukraine is playing the victim, trying to guilt trip the West into more help. It's a country with narcissistic personality disorder. The governments of the West don't care, although its people may be moved. The West only does what it thinks is in its own interest.

Posted by: Mike R | Jan 11 2023 20:07 utc | 38

months of battlefield setback...

If you had said to me 15 years ago

"in the 2020s all media outlets with a claim to past credibility will become the Völkischer Beobachter, while the underground press of lone individual journalists working from home and posting on their own websites will become the collective equivalent of what the BBC World Service ought to be."

I would have dismissed it as alarmist, conspiratorial and paranoiac. And yet here we are. Without b's uncompromising humanism and belief in the relationship between understanding and democracy I would have no compass in a trackless sea of cynical and shameless bullshit.

But what should I have expected from the 'information industry'?

Some have argued that the beginning of politics and the critique of narrative that gave us historia and the Greek polis, which took place seminally between 600 and 450 BC in the Greek world, was prompted by the experience of a community of equal citizens who (among other factors) began to realise that collective decision-making needed accurate information that can be subjected to analysis and examination. Who, for example, should be blamed for an event or crime? What were the circumstances? Intellectually, much would follow from this experience (philosophy, medicine, law, democracy, theory in general etc), but one of its hallmarks was suspicion of narratives. In fact, they realised with a shock, it is precisely when the story is told by a great poet (even Homer—especially Homer!—see Heraclitus), in fancy high language, and accords with what you want to hear that you must exercise caution and critique. The opposition between poetic narrative and historia-philosophy was established at the core of western thought at that moment.

Telling the truth is a political act of the highest order, which is why good history and good democracy comprised of self-aware and inquiring citizens coincide.

Thanks b for showing how this philosophy is lived rather than dreamt. Yours is a most Socratic website.

Posted by: Patroklos | Jan 11 2023 20:08 utc | 39

The third defensive line is too far west. I've seen hints that they're building it around chasiv yar just down the road from bahkmut, and then try to fortify the relative high points, presumably back to seviersk up north level with sverdonetsk and lysischansk which they are still trying to reconquer, and forces near kremmina are still there waiting for an opening.

Russias next objective should be to seize any sort of high ground to shoot artillery from. A grand move to far west is going to let the Ukrainians fight a behind the lines struggle with their javelins, like the original nato plan.

Looks like a lot of fields though, so maybe russia has a decent shot to keep pushing on, but it won't let the Ukrainians collect in defined spot for cauldronesque artillery barrage.

I think another war note is that the missle strikes aren't on electricity, but they seem to be striking front line positions with their precious missles, seemingly with good effect.

Ukraine has been worrying about its 750kw transformers lately too, so that's usually a good sign Russia will hit them soon.

Posted by: Neofeudalfuture | Jan 11 2023 20:08 utc | 40

@ oldhippie | Jan 11 2023 19:35 utc | 16
@ pretzelattack | Jan 11 2023 19:40 utc | 19

MOD apparently only reports confirmed(sighted/reported) casualties 'on the ground' in relation to an engagement re SF/DRG detachments, Platoon sized or higher formations re losses. This is quite conservative & internally imposed.

Aircraft pilots are not counted. Small numbers by incident, yet all along the contact line ... casualties below approx Platoon strength occur, even daily individual KIA by snipers/precision drone grenade drops, individual AFU soldiers 'hunted', sniped by single artillery/mortar rounds by precise directed/adjusted real-time surveillance drones, relentlessly. These cumulative daily losses are not aggregated nor reported.

AFU losses along the FEBA, rear of, and throughout Theater daily. IE the crew of each destroyed 'ISIS' Technical (Driver/co-driver, gunner/loader), crew & troops/wounded inside each destroyed MBT/IFV/APC/truck/tanker etc. The gun crews KIA re each & every destructive/neutralizing/suppressive fire on AFU Arty/MBRLS/Mortars. Same for AFU Air Defense Batteries & associated technical assets (Counter-battery radars) & crews throughout Ukraine. Same for routine casualties inflicted on strikes/destruction of HQ & Command Posts, logistics/materiel/ordnance locs, routinely.

Whenever MOD claims a materiel loss(MBT/APC/Artillery piece, Depot, ) there will be casualties, especially AFVs/Arty, alongside harassing/neutralizing/suppressive fires, in addition to the reported exposed combat troops KIA on the ground.

MOD official AFU casualty figures reported are demonstrably deliberately exclusionary, low-ball conservative and have no relationship whatsoever to Vietnam politicized 'Body Counts'. RF & AFU are both motivated re their Strategic objectives to suppress accurate & full data re actual AFU losses, daily & in total.

AFU sustained losses are huge. Majority of AFU regular formations ceased to be combat-effective at least ~6 months ago. Decimated units NCOs/Officers are withdrawn and reported re-constituted with conscripts over & over again.

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 11 2023 20:10 utc | 41

Note barflies -

Buried in B’s fine article is the harsh reality that the Ukrainian Civil War will Continue until at least Spring 2024.

Posted by: Exile | Jan 11 2023 20:13 utc | 42

"A microcosm of why this is proceeding slowly."

oldhippie | Jan 11 2023 19:19 utc | 9

Grudging thanks for an awful video. Stupid waste. Stupid war. Evil ZATO Nazis disposing of human fodder.

Worth repeating again and again to nisses, trolls, gnomes, and other diminutive spirits who dwell in darkness underground, why Russia is proceeding slowly. As Patrushev said in the interview karlof1 posted on a prior thread:

We are not at war with Ukraine, because by definition we cannot have hatred for ordinary Ukrainians. Ukrainian traditions are close to the people of Russia, just as the heritage of the Russian people is inseparable from the culture of Ukrainians.

And the sooner the citizens of Ukraine realize that the West is fighting Russia with their hands, the more lives will be saved. Many people have long realized this, but they are afraid to declare it for fear of reprisals. The West does not plan to save anyone's life at the expense of its own enrichment and other ambitions...
...The sudden withdrawal of the Americans from [Afghanistan], as it turned out, was largely due to focusing on Ukraine, where, according to their estimates, the preparation of the Kiev puppet regime for offensive anti-Russian actions was going well. By the way, this was confirmed by US Secretary of State Blinken, who said that if the US military had not left Afghanistan, Washington would not have been able to allocate so much money to Ukraine.

Posted by: Doug Hillman | Jan 11 2023 20:13 utc | 43

@9 oldhippie

If I was his commander; the Russian soldier, however noble his intentions, would have earned a reprimand. Never, ever grab the barrel of a weapon held by an enemy soldier. Give a clear command to surrender, if they don't comply immediately, neutralize them as a threat. If in close combat, yes you can knock the barrel aside, then eliminate the threat.

Posted by: ZhukovG | Jan 11 2023 20:14 utc | 44

Outraged @ 41


Posted by: oldhippie | Jan 11 2023 20:17 utc | 45

thanks b... excellent overview and much appreciated...

@ oldhippie.. thanks for your posts...

@ Patroklos | Jan 11 2023 20:08 utc | 39

excellent commentary.. thanks..

Posted by: james | Jan 11 2023 20:18 utc | 46

@Bernd: Don't forget to mention that the Russians ran out of ammo months ago. Do Ukrainians with their wunderwaffes fight against themselves now? :-)))

Posted by: xblob | Jan 11 2023 20:18 utc | 47

Good analysis, b. My only question is if it is possible to anticipate how much the AFU will be able to develop a third defensive line. In the fairly thin discussions I've seen of AFU defenses, the first line was described as a years-long effort. The second line, now disintegrating, was likely developed in tandem with the first. But what now? Are we looking at lines that have been constructed only over a period of weeks? How can they possibly be as dense as the first two?

Posted by: dadooronron | Jan 11 2023 20:19 utc | 48

Thanks for the posting b

It certainly looks like Russia is on the offensive and making significant progress. I find it interesting to think of thus and such happening by next September in this conflict.

Russia made it quite clear at the beginning what their goals are. They are meeting their goals in a way that hasn't caused nuclear war yet and the biological warfare seems contained for the moment. Russia is demilitarizing NATO and the US/UK and I question how much war equipment will be made in the future...............................If I were a BIG picture guy and wanted to change our species away from a barbaric patriarchy I would want to take away the tools/toys in the process so the remaining demented fools (numbers dropping rapidly) don't have much to work with.....and like a Hollywood movie, that is what we are seeing.

Will ANY of those new tools/toys move from Poland into Ukraine without Russia knowing exactly where they are? Russia's only problem will be to pick the right places and times to make efficient use of their destructive tools.

The shit show continues until it doesn't and I am glad I don't have front row seating.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 11 2023 20:25 utc | 49

Posted by: Exile | Jan 11 2023 20:13 utc | 42

I doubt this proxy war will last that long. it's not a civil war, it's a proxy war between the US and Russia. you could add China, since that may be the main US target in the long run.the US is stretching itself very thin, and exploring the limits of bribery and propaganda in keeping its empire together.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jan 11 2023 20:27 utc | 50

War reparations!?

EU requests compensation from Israel

A group of MEPs has demanded that Israel pay for the demolition of EU-funded Palestinian structures.


European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic said in reply to lawmakers over the weekend that Brussels has repeatedly asked Israel to pay for demolished houses in the West Bank that were built using financial aid from the EU or its member states.

According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Lenarcic's written statement followed a letter penned by 24 MEPs to the Crisis Management Commission, demanding that Israel compensate the European bloc for the loss of EU taxpayer money.[.]

I'll give a hint....

Israel gets billions from US .gov. You could make a seizure and use the funds for the benefit of Palestinians' healthcare, restore infrastructure, rebuild. There exists a precedent, your own deployed on Russia in March 2022. Oh, and throw in some wonderful sanctions.

What's good for the also good for

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 11 2023 20:30 utc | 51

Neofeudalfuture | Jan 11 2023 20:08 utc | 40

Javelins have proved somewhat ineffective against tanks even when they do function correctly. I watched one BMP take a hit from a Javelin and it did not put it out of action. As well as that, the latest mod tanks Russia has been moving in will mkost likely have active protection which will protect against the British TOW anti tank missile and also the Ukraine domestic missile system which is quite good.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jan 11 2023 20:36 utc | 52

If I was his commander; the Russian soldier, however noble his intentions, would have earned a reprimand.

Posted by: ZhukovG | Jan 11 2023 20:14 utc | 44

Somehow it's easy to forget everyone have a mother and a father, who worry deeply, changed their diapers when they were babies, stayed awake all night when they were sick and put great effort to raise them. Life seems so cheap, yet it is priceless.

Its cynical. The West poured hundreds of billions into Ukraine. With that money Ukrainians could have had an awesome life for many years and forget about some distant territory.
Yet all that money went not into making life awesome, but into making life miserable and destroying it.

Posted by: Vikichka | Jan 11 2023 20:39 utc | 53

........1st AIR CAV ...where are u when u need it ?????........

Posted by: ACCUstudies | Jan 11 2023 20:43 utc | 54

If your timeline of finishing with the second line by end March, the third line by midsummer - and a fourth line by September? . . . is true, then the Russians are taking great risks, giving time for NATO to get reckless, more western weapons to pour into the Ukraine, etc.
With the second line now breached, Baxmut should be kesseled (it´s winter) as should Siversk and similar places along the whole second line. In the meantime, overwhelming panzers with air support should sweep through Xarkov towards Kiev and through Dnepro to Odessa, preferably before spring. Blitzkrieg.
And the Ukies can be kept on their toes by the threat of a downward thrust from Belarus through Zhitomir and Vinnitsa.
Talks can be offered once the Ukronazis are reduced to Rowne & Ternopol and west of that (i.e. the 1939 border).

Posted by: John Marks | Jan 11 2023 20:45 utc | 55

“According to GP, (Gateway Pundit), Joe Biden was intimately involved in the decision, since Obama had appointed him as the “point man” for Ukraine.”

Posted by: FredF | Jan 11 2023 20:46 utc | 56

This something that I haven't seen being brought up about the war in regard to Poland. It asserts that Poland could be economically wrecked by millions of Ukrainians moving north and exhausting Poland's ability to cope.

I have to wonder if the fear is realistic. I don't see Poland concerned except to push more mercenaries and weapons into Ukraine. Where's the appeal for help?

Posted by: Eighthman | Jan 11 2023 20:46 utc | 57


Summary of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation on the special military operation on the territory of Ukraine (11.01.2023)

◽️ More than 30 Ukrainian servicemen and two vehicles were destroyed by artillery and army aviation strikes in the Kupyansk direction against accumulations of manpower of the 92nd AFU Mechanized Brigade and the 103rd Territorial Defense Brigade in the areas of Sinkovka, Kislovka of the Kharkiv region, and Novoselovskoye of the Luhansk People's Republic.

◽️ In the Krasno-Limansk direction, artillery fire, assault and army aviation strikes defeated assault groups of the 95th, 80th Airborne and 25th Airborne Brigades of the AFU in the areas of Torskoye in the Donetsk People's Republic, Chervona Dibrova, Makiivka and Chervonopopovka in the Luhansk People's Republic.

◽️ In addition, four Ukrainian armed forces sabotage and reconnaissance groups were liquidated in the areas of Kuzmino settlement of the Luhansk People's Republic and Serebryansky forestry. The losses of the AFU in this direction during the day amounted to 90 Ukrainian servicemen killed and wounded, two armored combat vehicles and three vehicles.

◽️ In the Donetsk direction, Russian troops liberated the settlement of Podgorodne of the Donetsk People's Republic during a successful offensive.

◽️ Airborne units blockaded Soledar from the northern and southern parts of the city. The Russian Air Force is striking enemy strongholds. Assault units are fighting in the city.

💥 The units of the 61st Mechanized and 17th Tank Brigades of the AFU destroyed up to 80 Ukrainian servicemen, one tank, three armored fighting vehicles and two vehicles.

◽️ In the South Donetsk direction, up to 25 Ukrainian servicemen, an infantry fighting vehicle and two vehicles were destroyed in the area of Nikolskoye, Prechistovka and Novoselka settlements of the Donetsk People's Republic by comprehensive shelling of AFU units.

💥 Operational and army aviation, rocket and artillery strikes near Artemivsk, Donetsk People's Republic, hit the command and control post of the battalion of the 57th AFU motorized infantry brigade. Also during the day, 74 artillery units of the AFU, manpower and military equipment in 113 areas were hit.

💥 In the course of the counterbattery fight at the firing positions, they destroyed:
▪️ Ukrainian Uragan multiple rocket launcher near the settlement of Kotovka, Kharkiv region;
▪️ U.S.-made M777 artillery system near the locality of Belogorovka in the Donetsk People's Republic;
▪️ two Ukrainian 2S7 Pion self-propelled guns in the vicinity of Raigorodok settlement of the Donetsk People's Republic, a D-20 towed howitzer in the vicinity of Kolodesi settlement of the Donetsk People's Republic;
▪️ two D-30 howitzers near the settlements of Berestovoye in Kharkiv Oblast and Pobeda in Donetsk People's Republic, a self-propelled howitzer 2C1 "Gvozdika" near the settlement of Pavlovka in Donetsk People's Republic.

◽️ In addition, U.S.-made AN/TPQ-50 and AN/TPQ-36 counter-battery radar stations were destroyed near Artemovsk and Dzerzhinsk, Donetsk People's Republic.

✈️ Russian Air Force fighter aircraft near Popov Yar, Donetsk People's Republic, shot down a Ukrainian Air Force Su-27.

💥 Two Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles were destroyed in the air in the areas of Pavlovka, Donetsk People's Republic, and Kreminna, Luhansk People's Republic, by anti-aircraft defense forces.

💥 Five HIMARS and Olha MBRLS rockets were intercepted near Debaltseve, Yenakievo of the Donetsk People's Republic and Kartamyshevo of the Lugansk People's Republic. An American anti-radar missile "HARM" was shot down in the area of Bryanka settlement of Luhansk people's republic.

📊 In total, since the beginning of the special military operation destroyed ((+?) over preceding 24hrs):
371(+1) aircraft,
200 helicopters,
2,868(+2) unmanned aerial vehicles,
400 surface-to-air missile systems, (Each AD Radar destroyed, no(Soviet pre '91) spares/replacements, effectively: Unclaimed Kills)
7,473(+8) tanks and other armored combat vehicles,
976(+1) multiple rocket launcher combat vehicles,
3,809(+7) field artillery guns and mortars, and
8,006(+14) pieces of special military vehicle equipment.


Aggressive targeted destruction of AFU indirect fire assets continues in conjunction with RuAF as fast mover/attack helo CAS continue ranging freely along the FEBA. Note: 74 artillery units of the AFU, manpower and military equipment in 113 areas were hit. Higher tempo since Dec2322 continues.
AFU 'ISIS Technicals'/Pickup trucks & EU 4WD/SUVs now steadily outnumber AFUs available AFVs on the battlefield.
AFU formations that were capable of & possessing materiel required to conduct maneuver combined arms operations, ceased to be combat-effective ~6 months ago.

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 11 2023 20:47 utc | 58

Here's Martyanov on the demotion of Surovikin. Yes, it is a demotion, by definition, despite b's effort to muddy it. Gerasimov's appointment, however, is not a demotion. It's more an elevation of the priority of the SMO, as is the movement of the other two offices directly into the operation. In that, b is correct.

So, don't be surprised with appointment of Gerasimov as overall commander of SMO. Recall what Georgy Zhukov was, starting from his position of the Chief of General Staff in 1941, throughout WW II. Most of his time he was a representative of Stavka, coordinating all kinds of battles from Stalingrad, to Kursk, to Operation Bagration. In the end he was given a command of a monstrously powerful 1st Belorussian Front and in this capacity he took Berlin. So, Gerasimov's "move" is pretty standard.

As others have said, it's pretty clear that this shuffling of command indicates a much more forceful approach to the war.

As for the timeline b extrapolates, I'd say it's not necessarily off, but I'd expect it to move a little faster than that. While I think the Russians will keep to their "ground and pound" approach for some time, I think they intend to make some moves to speed that timeline up somewhat.

The more troops Russia moves into Belarus, the more I think there will be a strike from there. It just makes so much sense, as Macgregor has said. But it may not occur for several months yet. When it does occur, it will have a major impact on the front lines, as it is likely the Ukrainians will be hit from the "rear".

I also suspect again that Russia will ignore Nicolaev and Odessa, other than possibly placing some forces to block any Ukraine moves from that area. I continue to think that once Russia has dealt with the Donbass forces, it will shorten the front, consolidate its forces, including those from Belarus, into an "armored fist" and then head straight to Kiev, only swerving to deal with any concentration of Ukraine forces which threatens its flanks. After the destruction of the Donbass Ukraine forces, Ukraine isn't going to have anything left on the battlefield, regardless of NATO troops in Ukrainian uniforms and NATO weapons, to stop the Russians.

I saw some photos yesterday of Ukraine installing tank traps and minefield preparations inside Kiev. I can't confirm the authenticity but it appears clear Ukraine is expecting Russia to hit Kiev at some point. I don't think Russia wants to wait until fall to do that and give Ukraine time to build up large fortifications around and inside Kiev.

Posted by: CharlesLutherThanos | Jan 11 2023 20:52 utc | 59

@52 peter

I agree javelins aren't world beaters, but that's just a for example. Theres hundreds of different weapon systems that could be used effectively behind the lines.

The US has all the experience fighting IEDs so I bet they have lots of advice on how to use them, from their own hard bloody experience.

Posted by: Neofeudalfuture | Jan 11 2023 20:56 utc | 60


I managed to avoid watching that video the whole day. Then I decided to take a look and I'm sad I didn't stick to my former decision, because now I cannot "unsee" it. It's stomach-churning.

Those guys looked confused and not completely aware of what was happening to them. The Russian soldier really took an enourmous risk when he tried to disarm the right-most one and the guy wasn't letting go of his rifle. That's probably what pushed him to shoot both of them.

It's a video that takes any kind of "heroic" vibe out of the distorted mental picture of the war that many people here in the West appear to have. Just chaos and fear.

Posted by: Leonardo | Jan 11 2023 20:56 utc | 61

Interesting times>

The JUSTIn NAZI government of Oh Canuckistan. Has just gifted a brand new USSA-made NASAM. To the Russian Federation research division.

Posted by: Bad Deal Motors On | Jan 11 2023 20:56 utc | 62

Regarding the length of the conflict: Yes, the Russians might try a larger maneuver to cut this whole thing short or there might appear some cracks in the AFU defensive lines and maybe they collapse faster than anticipated. Difficult enough to predict that.
Speaking against a timely collapse is the presence of this culture of hate and the upper depravity of significant parts of the Ukrainian military and general populace. Some of them might rather burn down their own country or flood their own people or murder every other guy who dares to see reason in trying to negotiate anything, just to spite the Russians before they would have to admit defeat.

Any observant Wehrmacht officer should have known at the end of 1942, at the latest in 1943, that their whole shtick was not going to end well. In 1944 even large parts of the intensely propagated populace dreaded how the war would end. And it still took to 1945 until uncle Adi put a bullet through his head. Some of his last memorable utterances were that he denounced the German people as weak and that he ordered every commander of the remaining German defenders to never surrender and to even turn some of their own cities into ruins. Luckily most of them did not comply and did surrender.

If the Ukros would be inclined to do something similar, then the Russians will have to break the Ukrainian State's legs and arms or bomb the rest of the country back to the middle ages. I really hope that the Ukrainians surrender before that.

Posted by: Roland | Jan 11 2023 20:59 utc | 63

It's unlikely Surovikin is being "demoted" as Martyanov opines. It's far more likely that Surovikin himself came up with the command team and structure. Keep in mind this is a man who worked closely with General Soleimani.

Posted by: liveload | Jan 11 2023 21:05 utc | 64

@59, Why wouldn´t the Russians want to seal off the Black Sea from Kiev?
Odessa seems essential to secure. Blow the Dniester bridge so any hard nuts can be contained between the river and Rumania.

Posted by: John Marks | Jan 11 2023 21:10 utc | 65


The first time I watched it I couldn't tell who was who. Now I see, and it looked to me like the Ukrainians in that foxhole were frozen with fear. That is understandable. They might have wanted to drop their weapons but they couldn't, or didn't.

My first thought was of personal shame I feel as an American for the role the US is playing. It must be stopped. I'm not the slightest bit religious but I'm praying Ukraine surrenders.

Posted by: chunga | Jan 11 2023 21:12 utc | 66

As the Soledar (soul) goes down, the Bakhmut (back) will be broken.

Posted by: young | Jan 11 2023 21:15 utc | 67

The GoPro footage of the assault on the Ukrainian fighting position started with a frag out....In my opinion..I suspect it landed on the edge of the foxhole...there was 1 incapacitated Ukrainian already in the supine position...the Ukrainian on the left was bleeding from the face or possibly ears and the soldier on right in black vest was confused....he thought the Russian was Ukrainian..(there is audio and translation hinying at this)..either from shock from concussion of grenade or fear. The firing port was facing the wrong way so maybe he assumed movement from behind was friend. I think the Russian felt they where stunned and tried to get the AK-74 from the Ukrainian on right then felt threatened by the guy on left so he shot them both in the head and shot the lying Ukrainian for good measure. Even though we are trained to fire semi automatic mode...when assaulting a position after throwing a fragmentation grenade...we put selector on automatic and spray full magazine into everything in that position for case it of interest. The U.S brigade landing in Netherlands and the 1000 Abrams MBT in Romania already tells me that time is of the essence....NATO is planning a offensive operation East to probably salvage as much of Ukraine as possible.... polish forces and U.S out of Romania..before Russia can achieve breakthrough past the last Ukrainian static defence lines in the Donbas and deep penetration West with all those Tank Armies in the line....

Posted by: Joe | Jan 11 2023 21:16 utc | 68

Yeh, the Yanks seem to be lining up Japan (and the Philippines?) to use as proxies against China in exactly the same way as they´ve used the Ukraine as proxies against Russia.
If Japan falls for that, they´re really stooopid.
Japan should make friends with the Russians and kick the Yanks off the Ryukyus in exchange for return of the Kurils and a peace treaty.

Posted by: John Marks | Jan 11 2023 21:16 utc | 69

Posted by: Leonardo | Jan 11 2023 20:56 utc | 61

Just watched it. Clearly the Russian had little time to make a decision. From the video it's clear those guys were essentially surrounded, since there is a Russian soldier on the right of the one taking the video and another to his left. The Ukrainians seem to have been huddled in the foxhole intent on hoping to be ignored. They could have easily popped up and opened fire on the three Russians around them, possibly taking them by surprise. I suspect the Russian himself was surprised to find those two in that foxhole unless he had seen them before approaching that tree.

The Russian soldier surprised them instead and ordered them to surrender, then tried to directly disarm them. The one on the left appeared to raise his arms while the Russian was trying to wrest the gun away from the one on the right. The one on the right resisted, foolishly, which caused the one on the left to shift his weapon in his hands. The barrels of both weapons were pointed at the Russian to some degree, so it must have become apparent to him that 1) this could escalate to a position bad for him, and 2) the overall fight is ongoing and he had no time to debate with these guys, and probably had no real capability to control their surrender if they did so.

So he took the most expedient route and executed both of them. If he had been able to recruit the other two Russians into helping surround the Ukrainians, they probably would have surrendered more easily. But it was just him. Two against one is not good odds even if he has the drop on them.

If it had been me, I wouldn't have bothered to try to demand surrender. I would have shot them as soon as I saw them and then focused on the further fighting. In the middle of a tactical fight with Ukrainians scattered around in foxholes and trenches, one could be hit from anywhere at any time, so maintaining focus is more important than taking prisoners.

As Richard Marcinko said in his books, you never give the other guy an even break.


Posted by: CharlesLutherThanos | Jan 11 2023 21:17 utc | 70

Ok, so 90 Abrams tanks + 170 Bradley IFVs = 260 total, have just been unloaded in the Netherlands to reinforce NATO.
The Russian MOD has destroyed 7,473 "tanks and other armoured combat vehicles" in the SMO.
Adding 260 new pieces of armour only replaces 11 days of NATO's average losses in 404.

Posted by: Drifter | Jan 11 2023 21:19 utc | 71

Posted by: liveload | Jan 11 2023 21:05 utc | 64
"It's far more likely that Surovikin himself came up with the command team and structure."

Possible, but doubtful. It seems far more likely that the Stavka came up with the structure, and it was probably planned long before even Surovikin was appointed overall SMO head. It's all being done according to whatever operational plan has been in force since the beginning.

"We'll have this force structure from the start until this operational goal is achieved, then we'll have this force structure until this operational point is reached, then we'll have this force structure from here out until it's over."

You can't plan without an idea of your force structure. Martyanov had a whole video on that recently. People keep assuming that the Russians had a defective plan at the beginning and that it's been changed due to Russian failures due to NATO support of Ukraine. I've never believed that. I think the Russians had a plan and several contingencies from the outset. They simply activate the contingencies as needed. Martyanov has been talking about this since forever.

The force structure change in the fall and this new command change indicates a plan always in place, not a reaction to battlefield failures. There have been no failures on the battlefield (except as I said the failure to reinforce the Kherson bridgehead).


Posted by: CharlesLutherThanos | Jan 11 2023 21:28 utc | 72

Yeah, the Russian's changed the command and control order to more streamline, and in accordance with a different order of battle as the increase in soldiers comes into full effect. Its practical re-organization. Along with what is probably a new set of objectives that differ from what has been up to now.

I see a possible demarkation line from just west, on the north west side of Nikopoli, in order to protect the nuke plant south east on the other bank of the Dnieper lake, running from Nikopoli north east up to Zaporizhia, then in a line north along the west bank, to the best line of water obstacles following this rural line, leading north eastwards to Pokrovsk, turn more northerly and follow the series of rivers which essentially create a natural more defensible line to Sloviansk, west of this line is mostly wide open farm lands, no major towns or cities to provide advantages for ukronazi-NATO offensives to jump from that are tactically close to this line. Water is about the best natural defense available in this area of Ukraine, best to use it to the maximum. The long open rural approaches leave NATO/regime forces vulnerable for discovery and interdiction and give trip warning time for Allied response.
If the Russian Alliance is not going to go all the way across Ukraine, to me this line with all its river and marshy/boggy bottomlands, and across large tracts of farm land is the best defensive line thats practical, its something, because they are going to need a buffer line for keeping enemy arty and rocket back at some distance, and make it more difficult to impossible for future enemy attacks, or within reach as Doneskt has suffered these last 8-9 years from the ukronazis, got to hold some line up to the north west corner of the LDR at the Russian border junction.
Forget the east bank of Kherson. Unless its in the plan to cut Ukraine proper off from its sea access and rescue Odessa from globalist control. Which to me is a superb strategic gambit as a way to turn the rest of Ukraine into a rump state.

But theres the little niggling concern, what is clown world going to do when they accept the truth stopping the Russian Alliance is not possible for them thru conventional military or other political means now. Got to call a cat a cat here. This is a cabal long used to having its way and not brooking any defiance from any legitimate player it has not regime changed or wiped of the map, who by my reckoning are some truly diabolical ruthless monsters who have murdered millions, destroyed entire civilizations and obliterated cultures from existence. And so far nothing is beyond them, nothing too evil or depraved, nothing thats inhuman enough for them to stop.
I'll say it. What I'm alluding to is first use of the nooklear option here. Will they jump that shark. To stop Russia and her Alliances? I do not put nothing past them. In truth, it is simply another method, another weapon, to kill lots of people in a hurry, and commit genocide, it is the ultimate politicalization of a weapon, to use nooks, for them, they weaponize everything, it is what they do, and weaponizing any weapon is legitimate to this cabal, the liquidation of who they deem unworthy to live in "their world" order is after all the objective. Evil like this, every dead body is good, be it by boolit, syringe, color revolution, terrorism, war, famine and use of nooks, they all add up, any dead useless feeders or existential enemy is a plus, because they do add up when its what you do.
My money is on Putin and his Warriors (and the great folks of the Donbas Arc). I believe they have gamed it all out, and out-gamed these monsters. I really do. Its my gut sense, but I've learned to listen to my gut sense because its really my sub conscious trying to tell me something. And Faith, and, the faith it is good folks in this world who prevail in the end. Because it is the dirt people, good folks, who effect positive change in this world.

Posted by: mtnforge | Jan 11 2023 21:29 utc | 73

[.] Odessa seems essential to secure.[.]
Posted by: John Marks | Jan 11 2023 21:10 utc | 65

Odessa will be cleansed. The Union Building fire will not remain unaccounted. Allowing Odessa to remain untouched invites a NATO port on the Black Sea. USA Navy had their eyes on this cherry a decade ago.

Why the SMO if the Odessa Oblast is not recovered?

+ + + + + +

[.]It asserts that Poland could be economically wrecked by millions of Ukrainians moving north and exhausting Poland's ability to cope.[.]

Posted by: Eighthman | Jan 11 2023 20:46 utc | 57

No worries.
Poland is counting on the $1.4 trillion war reparations payment it demanded from Germany. Just last week Poland requested the UN's help...please advise Germany to pay up.

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 11 2023 21:31 utc | 74

Okay... Colour me chauvinist...

Eurukrainians *boast* that they wasted a drone misdriving it into high-voltage line and are amused that started a fire and a local blackout.

They are literally savages, "half-devils, half-children"...

Posted by: Arioch | Jan 11 2023 21:32 utc | 75

Russians here are a bit too giddy. Right now Russia is fighting with artillery superiority, anti-air cover, and air superiority.

Move west too fast and some of these advantages are reduced or even go away.

The US underestimated Russia all this year and lost 20% of Ukraine. I suspect that B's expectations of rather slow advances is much more likely than Russians racing to their death across Western Ukraine.

I agree that the US has underperformed in a big way so far. Overextending gives the US a chance to make appropriate adjustments. Not to mention that capturing territory where people hate your guts has been proven to be a bad thing to do.

Posted by: Woke American | Jan 11 2023 21:33 utc | 76

Poland is calling for an international coalition for the new leopard tanks. It sounds very close to a war declaration on Russia.

It will be very informative to see what happens when formal polish troops get bombed by the Russians. Is that nato article 5? I mean, I have no idea.

Does russia invade with Belarus if Poland declares some sort of Ukrainian protectorate? Lithuania too. It's the polish Lithuanian commonwealth again like from medieval times. I seem to recall they fought and lost to Russia as well. History sure does rhyme.

Next up a reborn Swedish empire? Lol. Probably not.

Posted by: Neofeudalfuture | Jan 11 2023 21:33 utc | 77

@All, and b:

We may be seeing an offensive much, much sooner than most here are expecting.

A large chunk of the Black Sea fleet housed at Novorossiysk (on the Russian shore, not Ukrainian) has apparently--for reasons unknown--exited en masse.

It's either for defensive reasons--which is unlikely, since only Ukraine's maritime drones have enough range to hit them--or for redeployment, or for the initiation of an offensive. Current speculation is the latter are the most likely, but it's any observer's guess as to which it might be.

If it is in preparation for an offensive, then one would presume it shall happen not too long from now--days, not weeks.

Article here:

Posted by: Pacifica_Advocate | Jan 11 2023 21:38 utc | 78

Posted by: chunga | Jan 11 2023 21:12 utc

Don't see Ukraine surrendering regardless of the destruction to its people. Zelensky will make sure of this. There is no way Z is going to surrender with the USA paying him to continue the war. Zelensky is close to being a billionaire.

And the USA is not going to back off because the world reserve currency status of the United States Dollar (USD) would be lost if Russia is not taken down. Most have no idea what is going to happen to the USA when it loses the world reserve currency status of the USD. We would not recognize it within 3 months and you certainly would not want to live there, even in the most remote parts of it.

So, this conflict is going nuclear. My best guess is that the Russians will launch first just after the they take and secure the Donbas. This is based upon my understanding of Daniel 7:5.

It is kind of ironic. Z is the last letter in alphabet. And Z along with his backers will be the end of the USA and the West that follows it. Z is the end of the alphabet and the end of the USA.

I know most will not believe this and even hate me for bringing reality to their doorstep. It is best not to trust in your own understanding of the horrible realities that are soon coming to the USA.

Go to God and ask Him. Trust in Him and follow His guidance. If you now live in the USA, this is your only hope at this late date.

If He is telling You to leave the USA do so without taking the jab and before Russia takes and secures ALL of the Donbas.

Posted by: young | Jan 11 2023 21:39 utc | 79

Big Serge has an excellent thread on Twitter where he considers the options the Russians have going forward... Check the maps he made in the thread:

Big Serge ☦️🇺🇸🇷🇺 @witte_sergei

Right now, the contact line is some 700 kilometers stretching from the Dnieper estuary in the south to northern Lugansk oblast. Troop concentrations and active combat are broadly present on four major axes. (Maps by me).

The Svatove axis is where Ukraine's Kharkov counteroffensive was stonewalled after crossing the Oskil river and struggling to break Lyman in a timely manner. Ukrainian efforts to continue the advance have been repeatedly defeated. (3/N)

The Bakhmut axis has been the subject of most attention lately, but there is a paucity of Russian regular forces in this direction. Most of the work here is being achieved by the Wagner PMC and LNR forces, assisted by VDV. (4/N)

Most of the Russian army forces currently committed in Ukraine are currently on the Svatove and Zaporozhia axes in a defensive stance. Contrary to the impression given by western sources, the regular Russian Army has not been engaged in widespread attacking activity lately. (5/N)

Much of Russia's combat power is currently uncommitted, and will be used to renew offensive operations in the coming weeks and months. The question is when and where. (6/N)

There remains a distinct possibility that there will be no "Big Arrow" offensive, and instead we will see lots of "small arrow" attacks with Russia going over to the offensive on all the existing Axes. This would mean forward progress, but no major new fronts being opened. (7/N)

Let's contemplate big arrow scenarios. There are four broad possibilities, so let's consider them in turn. The first (1) is for an operation aimed southward on the west bank of the Oskil river. This is one that I find appealing. (8/N)

This would target the Kupyansk-Izyum corridor, and has two major advantages. First, it would collapse and potentially encircle Ukraine's force grouping on the Svatove axis. Secondly, the capture of Izyum (along with Bakhmut) makes Slavyansk essentially indefensible. (9/N)

The second option (2) is a mixed solution which would repeat Russia's thrust towards Sumy at the beginning of the war. This is less mutually supportive of the existing axes, but has the advantage of pressuring Kiev directly and forcing massive internal redeployment. (10/N)

Then we have the Zaporozhia option (3) which would push north, aiming to clear the east bank of the Dnieper. The draw here is the ability to interdict Ukraine's lines of communication. (11/N)

Ideally, any offensive from the south would reach Pavlograd. This is the major city on the highway between Dnipro and Donetsk. Capturing or screening Pavlograd would wreck Ukraine's logistics on the Donetsk axis. (12/N)

Finally, we have the nuclear option, number 4: the west bank offensive from Belarus. We've seen a huge amount of material flowing into Belarus recently, which has lent credence to this theory. This is the high risk-high reward option. (13/N)

A Belarusian offensive would presumably target Zhytomyr and Vinnytsia, rather than Kiev. The obvious benefit of such a gambit is the potential to entirely interdict the flow of weapons from Ukraine's NATO partners, which must traverse the entirety of Ukraine. (14/N)

Of course, an operation on the west bank of the Dnieper would be an independent axis, not supportive of other fronts and complicating Russia's sustainment problems. (15/N)

It's possible that we see some combination of these. Ultimately, Russia has a very very long border to play with (courtesy of Uncle Sasha and Belarus), and a significant share of their combat power uncommitted. They are spoiled for choice. (16/N)

I am personally an advocate of the Oskil option, pushing forces directly south from Belgorod towards Izyum. However, the amount of material that has been seen flowing into Belarus leaves me unable to rule anything out at this point. (17/N)

One thing is certain: Russia is going to win this war.


Posted by: CharlesLutherThanos | Jan 11 2023 21:43 utc | 80

Prigozhin announced the complete release of Soledar 01.11.2023.

The founder of the "Wagner Group" Prigozhin confirmed the complete release of Soledar.

MOSCOW, January 11 - RIA Novosti. The founder of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, announced the release of Soledar, according to the Telegram channel of his press service.

“Once again I want to confirm the complete liberation and cleansing of the territory of Soledar from units of the Ukrainian army,” he said.

According to the businessman, civilians were taken out of the city.

Prigozhin specified that Russian fighters destroyed 500 Ukrainian soldiers who did not want to surrender.

Over the past day, the Armed Forces also managed to take control of the village of Podgorodnoye in the Soledar region. The Ukrainian Armed Forces lost up to 80 servicemen, one tank, three armored fighting vehicles and two vehicles.

Soledar is of strategic importance for Kiev, it is located in the center of the Artemovsk - Seversk defense line. Here the Ukrainian military erected powerful defensive fortifications. The liberation of Soledar will cut off the direct supply route between Artemovsk and Seversk, as well as cover Artemovsk from the north side.

Posted by: Soledar | Jan 11 2023 21:44 utc | 81

Posted by: Woke American | Jan 11 2023 21:33 utc | 76
"Move west too fast and some of these advantages are reduced or even go away."

No. That happened in the early days of the war when the Russian advance outran its air cover, artillery and logistics, which is why they suffered a small number of casualties when they ran into Ukrainian units that were larger than the Russian advance elements.

That can't happen now. The entire army will move as one integrated unit. As the Ukrainian AD is reduced by stand-off weapons, air cover will follow. This will only happen once the Donbass Ukrainians are cleared out, however, so Russia can shorten the front and consolidate its forces.

Posted by: CharlesLutherThanos | Jan 11 2023 21:47 utc | 82

'Posted by: Outraged | Jan 11 2023 20:10 utc | 41'

if a uaf unit is 'decimated' and there are any officers and nco's to retreat, the uaf is kaput, a morally defective sham.

usa combat casualties are always heavy among leaders!

Posted by: paddy | Jan 11 2023 21:50 utc | 83

NATO Intends to Hold an Urgent Meeting┃Russians Captured Soledar┃Bakhmut & Maryinka are Next in Line

Posted by: unimperator | Jan 11 2023 21:50 utc | 84

Oui @ 7

Yup, whatever happens from Belarus NATO plans to counter it. As big as the build up from Russia has been there, the NATO build up opposite in Poland has been equal. Either they are bluffing by threatening to invade Belarus hoping to pin the RF forces there or there's one hell of a huge battle in Ukraine coming. And, it's not impossible NATO will invade Belarus to really screw up RF plans. The have little respect for the Russians military, they probably have none for the Belarusian one. Rest assured there are UK/CIA agents in Belarus trying to buy military commanders with duffle bags of money, Swiss bank accounts, and seaside Spanish villas to ensure a quick collapse.

Posted by: LightYearsFromHome | Jan 11 2023 21:56 utc | 85

Posted by: Ivan | Jan 11 2023 19:18 utc | 8:

The wild card here is what the US/NATO do. The longer this drags on, the bigger the chance
that NATO gets involved further and more directly.
Just yesterday AP ran a story about Bakhmut and published some pictures where there were soldiers with
Polish patches. They are not even pretending anymore.

Direct NATO involvement is good! That way populations in NATO nations will directly feel the war. That's also the only way that these brainwashed populations will awake and see the dire situations that the Empire has brought them into.

For Russians, direct NATO involvement would bring no change. NATO has been all in covertly since a year ago: money, weapon, mercenaries, strategic staff, sanctions and even infrastructure destructions. How would anything worse, besides outright nukes, show up?

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Jan 11 2023 22:02 utc | 86

My post in #86, the first four lines are blockquotes of #8.

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Jan 11 2023 22:03 utc | 87

Turns out UAF general Sirsky had sent 5 brigades into Soledar despite already mounting logistical issues. The reinforcements he sent were the so called Nato brigades, trained by Nato last year. You couldn't make this stuff up.

Oh well, maybe they have a few more in the pipeline.

Posted by: unimperator | Jan 11 2023 22:03 utc | 88

IMO, this is the best sitrep/review b has written. As I opined at the end of the last thread, the command change is a big nothingburger. I see no reason for Russia to alter its current strategy aside from exploiting the breakthroughs and rolling-up the defensive lines.

The Big Q everyone asks: What's next? Aside from the fact that Kiev's a waste of time and effort, the only good indicator is the status of the ground over which mechanized forces must move: The South is still warm, while the North is rather solidified now. What would be excellent for those of us at-home generals is a map of the road net capable of supporting the obese Abrams. I do expect further attacks on the electricity net and many more strikes along Ukraine's borders with its NATO neighbors to escalate the level of logistical interdiction, which IMO can be raised much higher.

On the previous thread, Don Bacon provided an excerpt from Rand's plans for Russia that assume Russia to be losing and desperate at this point. It's difficult to know if NATO in Brussels makes the same assumption--after all we did learn they were exclusively relying on Ukie intel depicting a very false reality. NATO doctrine calls for 100% air superiority for its operations to be successful. Yet there's absolutely zero talk of the use of NATO's air forces as all the talk is about ground forces which stand no chance without control of the air. And we know the Patriots and other AD being sent are essentially useless. The advent of the Missile Age has changed the nature of how wars are fought as Martyanov harps on constantly--Russia's Aerospace forces don't need to go far beyond the FEBA and expose themselves to groundfire as they've plenty of very accurate missiles capable of doing what tactical bombers once did deep behind the FEBA. As noted, NATO has no defense against those weapons. Up thread, it was mentioned that the Black Sea Fleet sortied. What's the fleet's main armament--Missiles.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 11 2023 22:10 utc | 89

" One thing is certain: Russia is going to win this war.

Posted by: CharlesLutherThanos | Jan 11 2023 21:43 utc | 80

Great, then we can all stop speculating on here and move on with out lives. Its a foregone conclusion afterall , right ?

Posted by: Deplorable Commisar | Jan 11 2023 22:11 utc | 90

According to Colonel Matviychuk. a country can mobilize 7% of it's population. Ukraine say's it has mobilized one million. At the most, Colonel Matviychuk estimates Ukraine can mobilize 1.5-2.0 million more. Since Russia has a bigger population than Ukraine...theoretically Russia can mobilize a total of 10.5 million men.

According to Weeb Youtube channel, Ukraine currently has 400,000 soldiers stationed throughout Ukraine. (I estimated a 150,000 more than Weeb) Weeb claims Ukraine has 86,000 soldiers stationed on Bakmut front. Therefore, Bakmut must be more important than West claims.

I do ascertain Russia protects it's soldier's better than Ukraine. But 10 to 1? I don't think so. I believe it's more like 2.5 to 1. 2.5 Ukrainians die for every 1 Russian. My estimates are probably off...but that's what I think...after looking at propaganda and facts spewed by both sides. (Russia and West)

I know Zelensky forces Ukrainian military to hold every meter of ground...and never give up. (American's love the Alamo story) That said, what is the American/NATO reason for forcing Ukraine to die for every meter or territory?

Is it to buy more time for escalation? West can slow-walk it's citizens into an all-out war with Russia? I'm talking American/NATO boots on the ground.

Or is it for some other reason like: West Oligarchy wish to milk war-machine for all it's worth? Some other reason, that I'm not aware of?

Why does the West/Zelensky insist on fighting for every meter of land? Without retreat?

Posted by: Ramsey Glissadevil | Jan 11 2023 22:11 utc | 91

Just a fun question guys

may it be that the tricksters won?

Because trolls are some kind of meme

and where is meme coming from?

from the panthomeme? :D

Posted by: Macpott | Jan 11 2023 22:13 utc | 92

" Go to God and ask Him. Trust in Him and follow His guidance. If you now live in the USA, this is your only hope at this late date.

If He is telling You to leave the USA do so without taking the jab and before Russia takes and secures ALL of the Donbas.

Posted by: young | Jan 11 2023 21:39 utc | 79 "

God has male genetelia ? Very interesting.

Posted by: Deplorable Commisar | Jan 11 2023 22:13 utc | 93

@bar re the Russian restructure.
When Putin addressed the military late last year, he said: (paraphrased from memory)
“I have received your recommendations re new structures and have agreed to this.”
I wondered at the time what that meant.
Hopefully when karlof1 arrives @bar he can assist with my recollection, as he’s put so much effort into making Putin’s speeches available.
The new structure probably assists with the “communication” issues Putin referred to in that meeting.

Posted by: Melaleuca | Jan 11 2023 22:14 utc | 94

" That said, what is the American/NATO reason for forcing Ukraine to die for every meter or territory?

Is it to buy more time for escalation? West can slow-walk it's citizens into an all-out war with Russia? I'm talking American/NATO boots on the ground.

Or is it for some other reason like: West Oligarchy wish to milk war-machine for all it's worth? Some other reason, that I'm not aware of?

Why does the West/Zelensky insist on fighting for every meter of land? Without retreat?

Posted by: Ramsey Glissadevil | Jan 11 2023 22:11 utc | 91 "

Try depopulation .

Posted by: Deplorable Commisar | Jan 11 2023 22:15 utc | 95

@ Bernd | Jan 11 2023 19:30 utc | 13

Sounds like you’ve arrived here straight from a diet of 100% mainstream media. Cognitive dissonance is inevitable, but all you sound incredulous about is actually well supported with evidence and believable for those of us following the various independent uncensored media outlets like MOA, Southfront, Saker, Slavyangrad, Geroman, GlobalResearch, Mercurois, Col Macgregor, Scott Ritter, Grayzone, 21stcenturywire, Karen Bartlett, Consortiumnews, informationclearinghouse, several other YouTube channels.

You might wish to dismiss all those outlets in favour of Western corporate & state media, but they represent a far more varied range of journalists unshackled from censoring editors, Geopolitical academics, former Western military officers, diplomats & intelligence officers. The fact they’re coming to similar conclusions adds credibility. So does the miles of video footage you don’t see on the mainstream media.

Colonel Douglas Macgregor estimates 450,000 Ukrainian casualties of whom 150,000 deceased. The Russians lost many in early weeks with overextension as described by Bernard in his article above, but since then it’s been a sad ‘meat grinder’ by Russian artillery dominance as described.

Posted by: PJB | Jan 11 2023 22:15 utc | 96

I think the appointment of Gerasimov as overall Commander of the SMO with 3 hugely talented Deputies is a signal to me that (i) Most certainly, Russia are ready to move on a huge offensive that will probably end this War very soon and (ii) that Russia know NATO and the collective West is becoming increasingly unstable and that their back are against the wall due to the ponzi scheme of lies they have promoted vis-a-vis the Ukraine is brilliant, a true democracy and winning. Inevitably therefore NATO and the collective West are going to do something rash, completely irrational and extremely dangerous. I think this is why this shuffle has taken place.

I strongly suspect Russia has reached the 'all or nothing line' and NATO and the collective West are really on a losing streak now and are cornered like rabid animals and will lash out, thrash out and make some very silly, irrational, idiotic decisions which will be very dangerous.

God Bless Putin and Russia. The true evil that NATO and the collective West has shown themselves to be must be truly eradicated now if there is to be a decent, honest, mutually beneficial fair world order.

Posted by: Jo Dominich | Jan 11 2023 22:21 utc | 97

RSH @80--

Thanks for that comment. If Russia assesses the Ukies have no real reserves remaining, a large number of "small arrow" attacks all along the FEBA might be the next move as nothing is available to fill the resulting holes in the line other than pulling troops now employed in Odessa and other cities besides Kiev. The Ukie emphasis on Kiev's defense IMO is a mistake since Russia doesn't need to occupy Kiev to achieve its goals. The repeated statement that regime change isn't sought lends credence to my thinking, plus nowadays capturing the capital city isn't a requirement to win modern wars. Of course, this is all educated speculation; but something will occur, and when it does we get to talk about it.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 11 2023 22:24 utc | 98

Great summary and strategic analysis.

Posted by: Useyourhead | Jan 11 2023 22:25 utc | 99

Re the chatter about AFVs being supplied to AFU to 'Turn the Tide' & achieve Final Victory ? Or imminent NATO conflict entry vs RF ?

TL&DR Er, no & no.

Apart from the multiple reserve western Regular Brigades, even State Border Guard units, already sent to their doom, re meat-grinders of Soledar/Bahkmut ?

1. The numbers involved, the timelines re battlefield deployment, the fact the individual crewman will be trivially pseudo-trained, the actual combined 'crews' are untrained/non-integrated/incompetent as a functional/capable/competent whole veh crew ?

Insignificant irrelevant prompt 'Death-ride to Valhalla', Operationally & Strategically. Tactically simply creates a temporarily more 'Target Rich' environment of AFV assets for destruction via myriad means. Now especially & increasingly so RuAF.

Poland, Finland, Denmark and Germany still 'considering' transferring Leopard tanks to Ukraine, along with decrepit UK tanks. The transfer of any individual nations Leopard tanks to Ukraine requires Germany's official arms transfer permission. Currently, withheld.

Poland has over 240 Leopards. As well as ~14 UK Challenger 2s. Quantity pre-positioned M1 Abrams re NATOs High Readiness Reaction Force, and re preparatory NATO formal commitment reinforcement/deployment, Article IV/V.

Denmark has 44 Leopard 2 tanks. Their entire AFV fleet is essentially derelict (Same for Netherlands AFVs)

Finland has about 240 Leopards & yet to even become(or likely to ?) a NATO member thanks to Turkiye. Operable condition, unknown.

Germany has up to 400. Though only ~80 are operationally-deployable(non-derelict).

UK has ~227 Challenger 2s. Mulling providing maybe 10-14 to Ukraine. Last year gave Poland 14.

Why 'derelict' Challenger 2s ? Two and a half years ago UK considered scrapping the entire fleet of ageing Challenger 2 tanks. Ultimately to refurbish/upgrade ~148, & the condition of the other ~79 ? ~14 went to Poland & possibly ~14 may go to Ukraine in the future, ie ~28 notionally 'operable' ... by stripping & cannibalizing the not-upgraded/rebuilt/refurbished decrepit/to be scrapped, ~79 left over.

Germany's to-be-provided ~40 Marder IFVs have not been manufactured for 47 years & there is a truly critical shortage of parts & spares. The Bundeswehr has had to re-active some Marders after grounding their entire inoperable fleet of ~350 'Modern' Puma IFVs. The ATGMs designed for the Marder are unavailable & in extremely short supply, issues with functional sights & sensors.

30 French AMX-10-RC 'non-stabilized' 105MM Gun armed light wheeled armored cars. All conveniently due to be imminently decommissioned, scrapped, by the French Army. Uses unique, French only, 105mm ammunition ...

Then there is the 'eventual' delivery of ~50 US Bradley IFVs. Motivation for Bradleys to be sent is to justify additional $Billions for larger/sooner purchase of replacement project, previously stillborn (revived in 2020) NGCV project.

Speculation re ~90 73 ton Abrams MBTs ? Goodbye to the Ukraine road networks traversed. No tank transporters so only via rail. Priority interdiction/destruction target on rail during movement & at disembarkation. End result, regardless, same as above.

Too little too late. Next to useless, non-combat capable, crews.

A massive unsupportable logistical, maintenance, support & technical burden beyond The Ukraines decrepit capabilities. Given crews will not have one or more years full training & practical experience with these myriad platforms their individual competence, yet especially follow training to become a functioning/capable crew of a crewed weapons platform will be between nil & marginal on the battlefield. A myriad of gauges/dials/sights/computers/software/knobs & switches, etc, operating/repair/maintenance manuals all in foreign languages ... not Russian(Ukraine).

No specialist AFV tracked recovery/repair vehicles or trained/experienced technical crews to recover 'em, no MBT/IFV tank transporters to support 'em. AFVs will typically have to deploy to the battlefield under their own power (tracks/wheels) minimum ~50-100Kms from FEBA due wide free ranging of RuAF. Minimum ~10%+ will be abandoned due breakdown, crews being unable to perform even basic unassisted field repair/recovery. From ~15-25% more will likely be out-of-combat casualties when deployed due to breakdown/minor damage/crew failures & abandoned. Even minor battle damage, short of destruction, will result in abandonment & subsequent total loss. Any non-trivial service/maintenance/repair requires a ~2,000Km+ round trip to workshops in Poland from & back to, the FEBA.

The numbers touted constitute between ~5-6 days of current AFU AFV daily loss rate. When sufficient numbers were still available for destruction (prior to Jan8-9'23). Since Dec2322 (Last ~20 days) AFU has incurred 307 Armored Fighting Vehicle(AFVs) losses, (Equivalent total loss of 6+ FULL strength Tank or Mech BNs, or 2 FULL Armored Brigades(+)).

With crippled logistics, & an ever expanding myriad conglomeration of ammunition types & calibers, unavailable parts & spares, the majority AFU units non combat-effective, no Air Defense or CAS support or air cover, diminishing daily tubes to provide Fire Support & RuAF fast movers & Helos roaming freely along the FEBA, just for starters ?

No decision likely until after the Jan20'23 US Ramstein Airbase conference. Between now and then AFU will have had how many more AFVs alone, destroyed ?

AFU as a combat-effective maneuver capable, let alone major combined arms formations Army ? Stick a fork in it.

2. In terms of notional current NATO entry into conflict against RF on the ground, directly ?

Insufficient ground forces manpower deployed. Critically insufficient logistics shortfall. Further, would first have to obtain at least localized Air Superiority & suppression/destruction of RF Theater AD assets prior to contemplating deployment. Good luck with that! Insufficient AD assets to provide effective cover for ground forces even if achieved contested localized air superiority.

Larger numbers of physical AFVs pre-positioned does not even begin to constitute the enormous entirety of what is actually required to field combined arms armies numbering in the 100's of thousands.

Posted by: Outraged | Jan 11 2023 22:25 utc | 100

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