Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 18, 2023

The Total Defeat Of Ukraine Is Coming Into Sight

Gideon Rachman, often read columnist at the Financial Times, states the obvious:

Ukraine and its backers need a credible path to victory (archived) - Financial Times

Ukraine goes into the new year short of ammunition, money and diplomatic support. Underlying these critical shortages, there is another important deficiency. The country and its western backers no longer have a convincing theory of victory. Unless they can come up with one, western support for Ukraine will continue to waver.
...
The fear now must be that while 2023 was the year of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, 2024 will be the year that Russia goes back on the attack. The worst-case scenarios are that, if western aid is cut off, Ukraine could be in serious trouble by the summer.
...
Without a credible theory of victory, the pressure on Ukraine to negotiate with Russia will mount. The Ukrainians might make a deal — even if it involved making territorial concessions — if they had any confidence that Russia would stick to it. But Ukrainian officials can point to a litany of agreements that Putin has made and then broken. They believe that any cessation in the fighting would simply be used as an opportunity for Russia to rearm.

Rachman fails to list any of the agreements Russia is claimed to have broken. Does he mean the Minsk agreements which the Ukraine rejected to fulfill? Or is it the Russian–Ukrainian Friendship Treaty which Ukraine in 2019 refused to renew?

Unlike the U.S. and its proxies Russia usually sticks to its treaties and promises.

But aside from that false claim Rachman is mostly right. There is currently no 'theory of victory' for Ukraine. The question now is how much it will lose.

Nonetheless he still hopes for some kind of ceasefire:

One alternative to a formal agreement between Russia and Ukraine might be a de facto freezing of the conflict. In this scenario, Ukraine would move into a mainly defensive posture and hold off further Russian advances. The fighting would never stop completely — but it would dwindle.

But Rachman does not explain why Russia would agree to that. Its current president Vladimir Putin certainly does not do so:

There will be peace when we achieve our goals, which you have mentioned. Now let’s return to these goals – they have not changed. I would like to remind you how we formulated them: denazification, demilitarisation, and a neutral status for Ukraine.

Russia has made some progress but those aims have not yet been achieved. It will continue the war until the Ukraine agrees to some kind of negotiations and territorial losses. If it does not do so anytime soon Russia will fight until the Ukraine is completely defeated.

The Ukrainian outlet Strana has analyzed how that might happen (in Russian, machine translation):

Only a few events can bring Ukraine to the brink of complete defeat:

1. Capture of Kiev.

2. Cutting off Ukraine from the sea - the capture of the entire Black Sea coast of the country and the withdrawal of Russian troops to the borders of Romania and Moldova. This will be a catastrophic blow to Ukraine both economically and militarily-strategically.

3. The capture of Dnipro and Zaporizhia – the largest rear, industrial and logistics hubs of the Ukrainian army, which will mean a critical threat to the entire Southern Front of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as well as most of the eastern one. ...

4. A strike from Belarus through the Zhytomyr and Vinnytsia regions with the aim of reaching Transdniestria from the north and maintaining control over this line.
...
[T]he apocalyptic scenarios described above for Ukraine can only be realized if at least one of the following events occurs (we leave out the options for using nuclear weapons or entering the war on the side of the Russian Federation of large third countries, as they can lead to a world war, where there will be completely different scenarios):

1. A catastrophic drop in discipline and morale in the Ukrainian army, when entire units begin to surrender or leave their positions without orders, exposing large sections of the front.

2. Internal destabilization in Ukraine, acute conflict within the military-political leadership, loss of control by the authorities over the processes in the country, the collapse of the army management.

3. Falling to a critically low level of both military and financial aid from the West.

4. A sharp (much faster than similar actions of Ukraine) increase in Russia's army size, quality and quantity of weapons used, which will radically change the balance of forces at the front.

At the moment, none of these situations are observed.

However, Russia is obviously actively working to make these points a reality.

I disagree with the Strana writer that none of the Ukrainian failings he describes have yet been observed.

These things occur gradually, not in one sudden moment.

Judging from protest videos Ukrainian units put out, the morale at the front is getting steadily worse. In the last weekly summary the Russian Defense Ministry announced that 82 Ukrainian soldiers were captured or had voluntarily given themselves up. That is a new high. AP writes on the "gloomy mood" of Ukrainian soldiers:

Discontent among Ukrainian soldiers — once extremely rare and expressed only in private — is now more common and out in the open.

The conflict between the political and military leadership in Ukraine is again heating up. Yesterday the military announced that it had found spying devices in General Zaluzny's and his aide's offices. No one thinks that Russia has put them there. Today Zaluzny criticized the dismissal, by Zelenski, of officials in the recruitment and mobilization offices which has let to disarray:

Quote: "It is still a little early to evaluate recruiting, and as for mobilisation issues, it is not necessary to strengthen it but to bring it back to those limits, to those frameworks that worked before."

A new draft law includes the mobilization of all women between 25 and 60. Should it become law many women will simply flee from Ukraine to avoid being shipped to the frontline. That in itself would create many more labor and social problems as well as morale issues.

Aid to Ukraine has already fallen off a cliff. New aid from the U.S. or Europe is seriously in doubt. If either fails to agree to new billions the other will too. Additional problems come from the western border were Polish truckers, now joined by farmers, continue to block the border crossings with Ukraine. Shortages in ammunition have already led Ukraine to scaling down its current operations.

Russia has steadily increased the size of its army and the production of new arms. It puts out way more than the West can deliver to Ukraine.

All these trends continue towards their final effect just like Earnest Hemingway's way into bankruptcy: "Gradually, then suddenly."

All of this does not mean that Russia will definitely win the war. Long wars are hard to predict. There are risks everywhere. The U.S. may yet come up with some nastiness that could divert Russia from the war.

Should Russia win and take over most of Ukraine it could negate Ukraine's debt, making the West pay double for its adventure.

That would be a just punishment for the failing neoconservative attempts to dismantle Russia.

Posted by b on December 18, 2023 at 16:57 UTC | Permalink

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How about this, in western Ukraine, in one of the cities, one of the deputies threw grenades at a meeting of his colleagues, this country is simply abnormal. This videos

https://t.me/ragulinho/9183

Posted by: Psycho | Dec 18 2023 17:06 utc | 1

That's not how the story ends. Russia has defeated the ukie army several times over. There will be no Russian take over of rump ukraine. eventually the elensky regime will find it impossible to push more forced conscripts to their slaughter, then chaos will begin in civil society, most likely civil war as blame is thrown at each other. Very likely poland will occupy at least some of the western regions to "stabilize" the situation. Ukraine then ceases to be a problem or even a nation, which lets be honest, it never has been anyway.

Posted by: nook | Dec 18 2023 17:09 utc | 2

Courtesy of Yalensis over at AwfulAvalanche.wordpress.com, “Batrin is a member of the 26-person town council, serving, ironically, as a member on the Committee for Lawfulness and Public Order.”

Sometimes, pounding a shoe on the table is just not enough.

Posted by: Butte Bill | Dec 18 2023 17:13 utc | 3

And thus, Mario Draghi — likely to succeed unelected EU Commission President von der Lyin' (who intern is likely to succeed NATO public relations puppet Stoltenberg) — will inherit the Lvov region as new EU member doing business as the Ukraine. In the process of doing so, he will by crying: Europe is being attacked by Russia!

But nobody will care any more, save for the 15 % of people who vote for the Greens. The vast majority will have much bigger problems, as EU deindustrialization accelerates now thanks to an effective blockade of the Suez Canal, triggering the next supply chain crisis for whatever EU businesses survived to this point.

Posted by: Nervous German | Dec 18 2023 17:14 utc | 4

The fact that they are still hanging on is a moral victory. They gave Russia a bloody nose and showed the world how inefficient and corrupt Russian military forces are. But this is not likely to translate into a military victory. They are outnumbered and now attrition is beginning to show.

Posted by: Noam A. Larkey | Dec 18 2023 17:15 utc | 5

Imagine if spying devices were found in Gerasimov's office. The ecstasy in the Westernaganda would surpass that during the Prigoputsch this summer.

The massacre of the Ukranazi military in Krynki, I believe, is not just because of what Simplicius76 says is the sunken cost fallacy, or because Ukranazistan needs to show that it is winning. Those are factors, of course, but as well as those Elensky is doing his best to get elite Ukrainian military units loyal to Zaluzhny- in this case the marines - killed off, so that they can't coup him.

All this is moot anyway because Zaluzhny will never launch a coup without Warshington's approval. Just as Ngo Dinh Diem was couped only at the behest of Warshington. And if Zaluzhny lacks the troops to coup Elensky directly, the CIA could just have the corrupt little criminal killed by his own bodyguards.

Either way, Elensky is on borrowed time.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Dec 18 2023 17:15 utc | 6

If Strana is serious about the fall of Kiev being a war ending defeat for the Ukranazis, it proves again what a colossal blunder it was fur Putin to have trusted the negotiations enough to withdraw troops from its outskirts last year.

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Dec 18 2023 17:18 utc | 7

Imagine being a suck-up foreign politician to Washington and not figuring out that you’ll be abandoned like a cheap whore.

Posted by: Exile | Dec 18 2023 17:18 utc | 8

nook
That's all very possible. Generally speaking the point about Ukraine's situation is that it is being emptied like an old oil well and it will soon be abandoned.

It's the Empire's way of fighting fascism: first it drums them all up and puts them on the payroll, then it sends them to war, with weapons it very kindly sells them, then it watches as they get wiped out.

It worked in Vietnam, it worked in South Africa, it's obviously the plan in Palestine.

The beauty of it is that where it doesn't work and the fascists prevail, found long dynasties 'hundred year reichs' and make changes so deep that only a revolution can eradicate them, the resulting regimes are all 100% supporters of the Empire.

In Ukraine they will get eradicated-sent back to Edmonton and Chicago, New Jersey and Montreal- and Wsshington will turn its attention to its new toys, Sweden and Finland, and the Caucasus.
When the whole point of your foreign policy is to fuck other countries up, you never run out of things to do. And no new thinking is necessary, no original ideas required, which is why the likes of Biden and Blinken-who would have difficulty running a lemonade stand in a heatwave- can be entrusted with governing.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 18 2023 17:29 utc | 9

Posted by: Noam A. Larkey | Dec 18 2023 17:15 utc | 5

>The fact that they are still hanging on is a moral victory.

I'm sure the civilian dead of donbas who died under Kiev's missiles salute this 'moral victory'.

>They gave Russia a bloody nose

And lost everything in the process.
Not much of a trade if you ask me ...

>and showed the world how inefficient and corrupt Russian military forces are.

Russians have been hearing this for decades. What's new?
Seems a hell of a way to prove a point.

>But this is not likely to translate into a military victory.

When has it ever?

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Dec 18 2023 17:35 utc | 10

Posted by: Noam A. Larkey | Dec 18 2023 17:15 utc | 5

Did the world really need a war to be shown that? Russian corruption/inefficiency was an american movie trope all throughout the last 30 years (Lord Of War being the first one to come to mind) and this war happened in large part because Americans thought the russians were so corrupt and stupid that they would break apart in the fall of 2022. How many of russia's tactical and strategic fuckups are the result of corruption and how many are the results of the stumbling and fumbling that armies always do in the first year of a war?

Posted by: bimp | Dec 18 2023 17:36 utc | 11

"The fact that they are still hanging on is a moral victory. They gave Russia a bloody nose and showed the world how inefficient and corrupt Russian military forces are. But this is not likely to translate into a military victory. They are outnumbered and now attrition is beginning to show."

Wow, just wow.! Talking about different interpretations! One of us is clearly delusional.
LOL
https://youtu.be/ZmInkxbvlCs

Posted by: g kaiser | Dec 18 2023 17:47 utc | 12

Posted by: g kaiser | Dec 18 2023 17:47 utc | 12

"The victor is not victorious if the vanquished does not consider himself so." lol

Posted by: Chris N | Dec 18 2023 17:50 utc | 13

But aside from that false claim Rachman is mostly right.

It seems those false claims are just to tell others on their side hey I'm not entirely rational, I feel really strong amotions against Russia, don't cancel me!

Posted by: Johan Kaspar | Dec 18 2023 17:52 utc | 14

…. When the whole point of your foreign policy is to fuck other countries up, you never run out of things to do. And no new thinking is necessary, no original ideas required, which is why the likes of Biden and Blinken-who would have difficulty running a lemonade stand in a heatwave- can be entrusted with governing.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 18 2023 17:29 utc | …..

Bevin wins the thread !

Posted by: Exile | Dec 18 2023 17:52 utc | 15

Yes, thanks for that overview b.

Similar subjects have been discussed in a few previous Ukro-threads.

I am still unclear of the West's position admitting the defeat or defining Russian victory. You are absolutely right here:"The U.S. may yet come up with some nastiness that could divert Russia from the war."
Probably Moldova. I think the time is running out for RF to take Odesa, connecting to Transnistria. Wicked NATO might just move in overnight.

b:
That would a just punishment for the failing neoconservative attempts to dismantle Russia.

ISW and Neocons are just raving about that. Here is their assessment:
THE HIGH PRICE OF LOSING UKRAINE

Also not a single cent is coming out of Ukraine back until $300 bil. of Russian money is out of a Russian reach. Every future deal will be very expensive for the West.
Russians will always come for their money.

Posted by: whirlX | Dec 18 2023 17:52 utc | 16

In the inimitable words of Bob Dylan: "It's all over now Baby Blue--ooh".

Posted by: aristodemos | Dec 18 2023 17:53 utc | 17

Posted by Noam @17:15

Sheer Malarkey.

Posted by: aristodemos | Dec 18 2023 17:56 utc | 18

I have stopped paying attention to the fairy tales and wishful thinking of the Western hacks like, Gideon Rachman. What I would like to point out is that the word negotiation is no longer applicable to the Ukraine's situation. The right word is capitulation. No one, least of all the NATOstans, has any leverage over Russia to agree to any kind of negotiation, short of total surrender of the NATO proxy army in Ukraine. No moral pressure can be put on Russia after the whole world has seen the transparent hypocrisy of the collective West in its support of the wanton criminal actions of the Israeli government against the Palestinians.

Posted by: Steve | Dec 18 2023 18:01 utc | 19

Biswarpia @17:18

Disagree. Once the peace treaty being negotiated in Turkey was sabotaged by Boris Johnson on behalf of his masters in City of London, fully backed by the Agency in Langley; the grossly overextended persuasion force on the northern and eastern outskirts of Kiev was no longer a viable situation. Thus, they were withdrawn, while at the same time much of the Zaporozhia and Kherson Oblasts had been liberated on behalf of the ethnic Russian majority in those regions...a definite and even definitive strategic victory of the first order.

It took many weeks for the bulk of the Ukie army, which was about to invade and "ethnically clean" the Donbass population, to reposition itself in order to halt further RU advances.

Posted by: aristodemos | Dec 18 2023 18:03 utc | 20

The worst-case scenarios are that, if western aid is cut off, Ukraine could be in serious trouble by the summer.
That's not the worst case. Let us see if they get to mark the 10th anniversary of the Maidan coup.

Posted by: Norwegian | Dec 18 2023 18:04 utc | 21

This proxie war cannot end for a long time!

The neocon propagandists wagging the US say the Ukranazis are winning! Every feed from msn etc. shouts the Ukranazis are slaughtering Russians, and NYTimes says the Russians lost 5 times KIA than US did in 10 years propping the corrupts in Saigon!

The US/EU have a lot more war stocks to deplete before Russia lets them off the hook!

Just go by what the MSM says!

Posted by: paddy | Dec 18 2023 18:05 utc | 22

by: Steve | Dec 18 2023 18:01 utc | 19

The recent assessment by a famous ISW (now accepting donations) agrees and disagrees with you:

The overall military potential of the United States and its NATO allies is so much greater than that of Russia that there is no reason to doubt the West’s ability to defeat any conceivable Russian military even assuming that Russia fully absorbs Ukraine and Belarus. But as Americans consider the costs of continuing to help Ukraine fight the Russians in the coming years, they deserve a careful consideration of the costs of allowing Russia to win. Those costs are much higher than most people imagine.

Posted by: whirlX | Dec 18 2023 18:08 utc | 23

Posted by: Noam A. Larkey | Dec 18 2023 17:15 utc | 5

>and showed the world how inefficient and corrupt Russian military forces are.

But still MSM says if Russia wins this war, he will not stop, the EU might be at risk ...

Posted by: JB_2 | Dec 18 2023 18:11 utc | 24

5 - The Czech writer and satirist Jaroslav Hasek once satirised how political parties react to setbacks. One response he wrote was "Although we were beaten down like corn, the moral victory was ours!"

Posted by: Waldorf | Dec 18 2023 18:13 utc | 25

Posted by: whirlX | Dec 18 2023 18:08 utc | 23

ISW is a neocon 'pool.

One or more Kagan is associated with it and one or more Kagan teach/taught at West Point. So much for the military craft in USA.

The west's 'military potential' is rated by experts who have not checked the logistic tail which is all contractor and all "just in time" high marginal profit return with limited to nil industry base.....

Lovely war fought 5000 miles from Lockheed profit mills.

Russia should observe Napoleon's advise about not interfering with the enemy making a huge blunder.

Posted by: paddy | Dec 18 2023 18:15 utc | 26

This is just war propaganda to rxextract more money.
The west likes this war and is ready to ppay for it.

Posted by: zorge | Dec 18 2023 18:18 utc | 27

Waldorf | Dec 18 2023 18:13 utc | 25

The literary genius Yaroslav Hasek. Anyone yet to read the Good Soldier Schweik should do so immediately.
Three great books for Christmas and the New Year:
Schweik. Catch 22 and Tristram Shandy.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 18 2023 18:23 utc | 28

@ bevin | Dec 18 2023 18:23 utc | 28

Heller needed a better editor but, that notwithstanding, your selection is most excellent!

Posted by: malenkov | Dec 18 2023 18:28 utc | 30

It took many weeks for the bulk of the Ukie army, which was about to invade and "ethnically clean" the Donbass population, to reposition itself in order to halt further RU advances.

Posted by: aristodemos | Dec 18 2023 18:03 utc | 20

Now guess why they couldn't reposition themselves prior to that? And if you mean that the AFU repositioned itself out of the Donbas to the north, that is just nonsensical. The south was taken without a fight in the early days, and the major progress in the LDNR happened exactly when Kiev was blockaded. But then once the Great Retreat was executed, AFU poured everything (plus all the newly mobilized) towards the Donbass and things stalemated there. So it ended up a total clusterf**k regardless.

So there are two options here. There were reserves to send and hold the area around Kiev (and Chernigov would have fallen eventually -- it was under siege), but they were not used. Or they had not been prepared (but should have been). Either way the Kremlin made a big mess of the situation.

There is also the small matter of not really doing serious strikes to disrupt the AFU until much much later, because they were still fighting that weird humanitarian non-war.

Finally, what did the unblocking of Kiev result in? That is when the pilgrimage to Kiev became mandatory for Western politicians and when the flow of serious weapons really started. Would that have been the case with Kiev blockaded from three sides?

Posted by: shаdοwbanned | Dec 18 2023 18:31 utc | 31

by paddy | Dec 18 2023 18:15 utc | 26

I know that. They are and were always wrong on possibly everything and were a poisonous root of the lies that webbed up around the whole West.
Gotta read what they think, surely can be helpful. It is written for their own Kristols, Nulands, CNN, MSNBC etc.
Reading ISW and other various think-tank publications acts as a litmus paper and a pulse meter.
I just wait for a finger-pointing on 'who lied first?' chicken fight.

Posted by: whirlX | Dec 18 2023 18:39 utc | 32

Things that the Ukrainian secret services and CIA have jointly engineered in the last 20 years, to undermine Russia and isolate the country.

- The poisoning of the Skripals (if indeed, they were poisoned)

- planting fake samples during athletics contests like the Olympic games to push the sporting authorities into banning the country

- poisoning of Navalny (if indeed, he was ever poisoned)

- the faking of war crimes in Ukraine (Bucha is an example, the dead were pro russian "collaborators", executed by the Kracken brigade, placed along the street for visual effect for western media)

Any more, please add.

Posted by: HERMIUS | Dec 18 2023 18:47 utc | 33

Posted by: shаdοwbanned | Dec 18 2023 18:31 utc | 31

Your critique boils down to 'The Russians didn't achieve an American-style Shock and Awe victory.' Never mind that the correlation of forces was completely different between US/Iraq and RF/Ukraine, just consider the different results of such an instant victory over Kiev vs what is now unfolding. Would the European economies be de-industrialized and on the brink of collapse? Would the US economy have been lead to its present precarious state? Would the political systems in the west be destabilized? Would the perception of America's infinity capacity for power projection against the Global South have been shown to be an illusion? Would de-dollarization be proceeding around the world at break-neck speed?

The conduct of the SMO thus far is producing victories around the globe, and bringing the collapse of US hegemony very quickly. You may wish to argue that this is all an accident, despite the vast evidence of decades-long planning, but in any case it's silly to complain about these results.

Posted by: Honzo | Dec 18 2023 18:48 utc | 34

b's conclusion: That would be a just punishment for the failing neoconservative attempts to dismantle Russia."

Yeah!!!

Posted by: Naive | Dec 18 2023 18:48 utc | 35

>>But Ukrainian officials can point to a litany of agreements that Putin has made and then broken...

I find it remarkable how much our side projects. We are forever claiming that the other side has our issues.

I have been following the day by day combat as a matter of curiosity. It is hard to judge how well Russia is doing because they tend to easily shift from holding territory to attrition as the goal. Thus I am not sure if it is a policy shift or an outcomes shift, but in most places the Russians are making small but relentless territorial gains. It appears the Ukraine army is running out of steam and slowing down.

Posted by: Jmaas | Dec 18 2023 18:54 utc | 36

"The massacre of the Ukranazi military in Krynki, I believe, is not just because of what Simplicius76 says is the sunken cost fallacy,.."

Posted by: Biswapriya Purkayast | Dec 18 2023 17:15 utc | 6

Napoleon was correct in his maxim : "Never reinforce weakness"[Canuk is a terrible linguist; Napoleon uttered the phrase in French, not English, editor]

Posted by: canuck | Dec 18 2023 18:58 utc | 37

b-3. Falling to a critically low level of both military and financial aid from the West.

I think this one is crucial because an army can't fight without ammunition and equipment. So, if military aid dries up, the army will first take to the defensive and withdraw. Some say they will go as far as the right bank of the Dnieper. But with insufficient materiel and man/woman power they will eventually be overwhelmed. The big question is how long this will take. Shell shortages and manpower shortages have been reported by Ukrainian Telegram channels for a while (no I don't have a reference but try legitimniy). Signs of a conflict between the military and the political administration are now in evidence and Zelensky has committed his military to defensive actions such as digging trenches. These are all linked with an anticipated reduction in aid. Many of us want answers to the 'when' question because we are becoming impatient - but it won't happen before Christmas.

Posted by: Robert Hamilton Camp | Dec 18 2023 19:00 utc | 38

malenkov | Dec 18 2023 18:28 utc | 30
You could say the same about Laurence Sterne. Its true but I think its part of the price we pay for their like- they couldn't tolerate editors, or Kings or Generals or governments or....and I know just how they felt.
I'm sure that you do too. I'm not so sure about everyone in this notional tavern.

Posted by: bevin | Dec 18 2023 19:05 utc | 39

- The poisoning of the Skripals (if indeed, they were poisoned)

Posted by: HERMIUS | Dec 18 2023 18:47 utc | 33

mi6 and not cia, nor sbu. Yes, they were poisoned with an incapacitant by the mi6 (and not one novichok and by the Russians). A high rank military nurse was close to them when the poisoning occurred. Serguey wanted to go back to Russia and as a passport he had the Christopher Steele's file on the Russiagate to which he participated. And of course more details about his contacts with the mi6 and beyond. Impossible for the mi6 to accept this defection. Now nobody knows except the mi6 if the father and the daughter are still alive. It tells it all.

Berezovsky killing is also interesting.

For Litvinenko, see Operation Beluga.

Navalny, aka the cockroach's killer, poisoned himself. It was found that his body was a portable pharmacy.

(Cockroaches = Caucasian people in Navalny language.)

Posted by: Naive | Dec 18 2023 19:06 utc | 40

Winter has just begun its attack on those without proper preparation and reliable infrastructure, which is Ukraine as a whole and its frontline troops to the nth degree. I've written about the consequences of not rotating troops and those consequences go exponential in Winter. At Simplicius's newest sitrep, I commented that Russia will likely wait until Winter has gone deeper, end of January, before it makes its big push through the thinned lines of frozen Ukie troops. Note that particular advantage--warmed and rested troops--isn't ever mentioned. Russian Winter combat garb looks quite warm and is mostly white, while Ukies have the same stuff they've been wearing all Summer and Fall. And of course, when you're older the joints all get stiffer when it gets colder, and it's harder to get warm. Ever try pulling a trigger when your hands are numb? Ukie sources are talking about casualties from frostbite and amputations caused by it. Here's a very short excerpt from the NYT item Simplicius cites:

"Fresh troops arriving on the east bank have to step on soldiers’ bodies that lie tangled in the churned mud, said Oleksiy, an experienced soldier who fought in Krynky in October and has since crossed multiple times to help evacuate the wounded."

The Krynky affair is being called suicide by Ukies all to "keep up appearances." You're chosen to go forward as a member of an assault team. Are you thinking about how to assault the position or how to escape from the mission and surrender--and not just at Kynky?

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 18 2023 19:07 utc | 41

with the Ukraine conflict, the US targeted Russia, with Germany as a bonus prize. in a similar vein, Russia's SMO should be understood as broader in scope than just the denazification and demilitarization of Ukraine -- its ultimate aim, I think, is to de-NATO-ize Europe and reshape its security architecture with Russia.

as such, whether Kiev is taken or not is besides the point. and arguably, leaving Kiev to its own devices and internal fractures would only compound disagreement and dissension among NATO countries. better to let it drag out, and at the very least go through a good cycle of elections in Europe -- which is basically to carry out regime change there without having to do like the CIA does.

the great changes brought about by the Al-Aqsa Flood will expedite that process of breaking up NATO. the crippling of shipping through the Red Sea will bring higher costs to Europe on top of pressures already felt. the Gaza genocide stirs protests, agitates sizable Muslim populations in the EU, and galvanizes anti-immigrant sentiment and heretofore marginal political parties. the Al-Aqsa Flood aims to liberate Palestine, but looking farther ahead, it may be part of a process of decolonizing Europe as well.

what I have been wondering lately is what will become of the UN, which due to the US veto, has shown to be dysfunctional in dealing with the Gaza genocide. it seems to me that if Palestine is to become a nation, the international framework for that would occur, at least initially, outside of the UN. relevant to this issue is Putin's recent remark that stresses the importance of the UN Security Council as a framework for global security (despite the US hijacking the UN with its veto power). that too is I think China's position, which like Russia, is also a permanent member of the council and thus is deeply invested in the UN as an institution, even though the Gaza issue demands forums and avenues of consensus-building outside of UN institutional processes. meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is not part of the council but will surely play a significant role if there ever is a international solution to the Gaza issue. not to mention Iran, if only at an unofficial level. so there are parallel international structures emerging that Russia and China support; at the same time, Russia and China are committed to keeping the UN structure, however defunct it is at present.

Posted by: mastameta | Dec 18 2023 19:08 utc | 42

by HERMIUS | Dec 18 2023 18:47 utc | 33

Since 2007 Putin's speech at the Muenchen Security Conference, Russia is slowly boiled to a bad actor. now openly to an enemy. Russians did not do a good thing since then.
Remember 'drunken Jeltzin denigration? So, from Sochi Olympic one ring fail, various 'crazy Russians' Reddits and Instagrams, to Putin using Orcas to intimidate the West.

That is a way long list, true.

Posted by: whirlX | Dec 18 2023 19:10 utc | 43

HERMIUS | Dec 18 2023 18:47 utc | 33--

Alexander Litvinenko in 2007 from which a raft of sanctions and anti-Russian laws were made.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 18 2023 19:11 utc | 44

I'd echo some previous comments, but fail to see how the Ukraine regime, military and economy can survive much beyond the winter - in the absence of weapons, ammo, "manpower", cash and hope. The army it seems to me is not yet defeated, but well on its way to being so. It will spend a miserable few months in cold and wet conditions under enemy fire superiority, probably unpaid and with few replacements - and under constant threat of attack. On the home front the cash spigot from DC and Brussels will run dry. There will be increasing internal political "spats" and I doubt Z will make it to Easter - D or A. Russia will not let up and continue to apply pressure on all front- military, home and political. The West is already making excuses and looking towards other conflicts.

This is a busted flush. It is my view that the only issue now is the timing and the ultimate cost in blood and treasure. My guess is a spring collapse. I am with Hemmingway on this (been in the insolvency but not the writing business). It increasingly looks like an irrecoverable downward trend. The outcome is not in doubt but the actual timing and trigger will take us all by surprise? It normally does in the insolvency business anyway.

Posted by: marcjf | Dec 18 2023 19:25 utc | 45

So far I haven't seen any serious analysis of the early stages of the special military intervention. Well, RUSI had a hazy notion of a clue ...
1a) Kiev / Gostomel served obviously to scare and force UA into negotiation. They also visited a number of ABC institutions. And Gostomel served as NATO hub via SALIS with their An-124 and An-225. Whether or not RU collected spare parts, tools and documentations towards this goal has, to my knowledge, never been revealed. But it is obvious. I don't know whether the An-225 was intentionally damaged out of fear that RU will take it away. But UA don't like their Soviet heritage, anyway.
1b) the 40 miles convoy as a logistical failure. No serious post marketing analysis. Only satellite data. Strange, isn't it? No pics from the ground, no pics from drones or planes. Despite the fact that the whole Western media where salivating to bomb them. I suppose this was a kind of trap - the convoy consisted mainly of inflatable models and was surrounded by air and ground defense to bait planes, helicopters and the like. It disappeared.
1c) Retreating was fine as it was a long distance for RU logistics but shorter for NATO to the front line, making it easier for them to harm Russian troops (only 400 km towards PL border).
1d) managing a territory where a large number of the civilians is against you and may act or at least provide info to your enemy is not sustainable. - This was likely an argument to for leaving 2) Kharkov area and 3) Kherson. RU has enough territory, if they need anything - it is people, LOYAL people. Extract them and let others stay.

None of this was a lost case or a failure. Could it have been done better? Sure, as always

Posted by: BG13 | Dec 18 2023 19:29 utc | 46

I plan to have a cage match, a fight to the finish, with a 500 pound silverback gorilla. A 'winning strategy' or 'credible theory of victory' is needed for this.

Rachman is still talking about a victory, not how to salvage what's left of a failed state. They will indulge in magical thinking all the way to the collapse.

Posted by: Mike R | Dec 18 2023 19:31 utc | 47

Posted by: Noam A. Larkey | Dec 18 2023 17:15 utc | 5

Fixed for you:

The fact that the ukronazis are still hanging on is a moral defeat (for instance forced conscription, torturing and killing prisoners, etc.). They gave Russia the opportunity to show to the world how moral and efficient Russian forces are and showed the world how inefficient and corrupt Ukrainian military forces are. And all this will be translated into a military defeat (demilitarisation and denazification). They are outnumbered and now attrition is beginning to show, as scheduled by the strategy of the Russian army.

Posted by: Naive | Dec 18 2023 19:32 utc | 48

Alexander Litvinenko in 2007 from which a raft of sanctions and anti-Russian laws were made.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 18 2023 19:11 utc | 44

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18tW6iza1x8

Posted by: Naive | Dec 18 2023 19:37 utc | 49

Could someone summarize what Russia is doing to encourage defection or surrender by AUK troops? I've read of letting them know how to contact the RF to arrange a surrender, but what about assurances on conditions, opportunities to switch sides, etc?

Posted by: dadooronron | Dec 18 2023 19:37 utc | 50

" All of this does not mean that Russia will definitely win the war. Long wars are hard to predict. "


So after almost two years of " imminent victory " and the " collapse of the West " this is the conclusion ? I thought the West is out of ammo, low on quality personnel, has inadequate AA SYSTEMS, useless armor, useless aircraft, and sitting duck aircraft carriers. Yet Russia might not win ? Someone has some explaining to do.

Posted by: Moonie | Dec 18 2023 19:41 utc | 51

Posted by: whirlX | Dec 18 2023 17:52 utc | 16

". .. Such an outcome would bring a battered but triumphant Russian army right up to NATO’s border from the Black Sea to the Arctic Ocean."

And here I thought that it was NATO's agenda to extend itself to Russia's borders. Then the article brings up the '90% of Russia's army has been destroyed' claim. The empire apologists are in panic mode.

Posted by: Mike R | Dec 18 2023 19:42 utc | 52

2024 could be the year for Russian greatness!

Posted by: Mike Adamson | Dec 18 2023 19:54 utc | 53

Posted by: Moonie | Dec 18 2023 19:41 utc | 51

It is useless to explain anything to a troll.

Posted by: Naive | Dec 18 2023 19:58 utc | 54

Can't forget MH17 which enabled EU sanctions to get rammed through in a hurry.

Kiev metro is leaking and there was a collapse in one area. Citizens are not happy about it. Authorities claim a few months for repairs but no one believes them.

Posted by: the pessimist | Dec 18 2023 20:01 utc | 55

Two scenarios are missing in Rachman's "analysis":
- Russia will never accept any form of "Minsk III" agreement, NATO & Ukraine buying time to prepare the next war

Whereas

- Maidan 2, reversing Maidan 1, may become a very real scenario that may actually lead to a re-unified Ukraine (minus Crimea, probably),albeit with a sincerely neutral or even pro-Russian government

Posted by: Marvin | Dec 18 2023 20:11 utc | 56

https://simplicius76.substack.com/p/more-afu-downers-from-the-press-mill

More AFU Downers from the Press Mill and Persian Gulf Updates

Posted by: simplicius post | Dec 18 2023 20:11 utc | 57

Posted by: Noam A. Larkey | Dec 18 2023 17:15 utc | 5

################

Do you know what is better than a moral victory?

An actual victory.

The West talks and talks and talks. It hasn't beaten a significant enemy since WW2.

Meanwhile, the Russian military continues to go from strength to strength, mirroring the evolution of the Russian economy and diplomatic efforts.

Posted by: LoveDonbass | Dec 18 2023 20:12 utc | 58

US will now use Finlands 15 military bases to house U.S. forces.

US, Finland sign defense cooperation agreement
TASS

It’s time for Russia & China to sign Mexico & Cuba up for Joint Base for the reasons of “just cuz we want to f—k with you”… and call them “F—king with you - Base One” & “Let’s Rumble- Base 2”

Posted by: Trubind1 | Dec 18 2023 20:14 utc | 59

This war is about the defeat and destruction/disintegration of Nato. Russia giving US/Nato the choice between mutual security agreements and Russia using military technical means to secure its own security must not be forgotten. Anglo American plan was based around causing Russia to over reach. This military operation by Russia has very obviously been planned around causing the US/Nato, especially the European Nato countries to over reach.

In Europe now, with crashing economies, having also lost the war against Russia, the blame game will begin. The economics of their own stupidity is now starting to hit hard.
Russia may well advance in the winter if there is nobody left alive in front of them, but whatever Russia does in Ukraine is equally about the destruction of European Nato rather than being based solely on the defeat of Ukraine and achieving the stated goals in Ukraine.
I believe much of the planning around the special military operation in Ukraine is based around creating the circumstances under which Nato will self destruct.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Dec 18 2023 20:14 utc | 60

Why do the leadership of Ukraine and its western puppet masters have a problem with de-nazifying Ukraine?

Easy to see why they don't want to admit the problem, even back in '22, with Azow - Fascists running around waving swastikas.

Behind the scenes, though, even Selensky is said to have complained about fascist militants forcing him to do things that were neither in his nor his country's interest.

Surely, having Putin take care of that problem must be a relief and not a burden?

Posted by: Marvin | Dec 18 2023 20:15 utc | 61

43 - Yeltsin was a drunk. I watched at least one TV interview in which he was clearly on the sauce. Putin's self-presentation as something between Mr Sobersides and Action Man is partly a reaction to his pudgy and sometimes inebriated predecessor.

Posted by: Waldorf | Dec 18 2023 20:19 utc | 62

karlof1@19:07

Best hope for the future of the Ukraine people is for mass surrender by their forlorn, freezing conscripts, whether youths, women or elders. It's simply a matter of survival. Otherwise, there will be those with agendas who will do all they can to fill in the population gaps, so to speak.

If necessary, they should take out the worse and more insistent of their commanders and maybe co-opt the humane ones. When technically full, but actually decimated battalions begin surrendering en masse; the upshot will likely go viral throughout the front-lines.

Those surrendered troops will include some so motivated that if the Russians play their cards correctly, will become the nucleus for the lightly armed military of a semi-independent Novo Ukrainia, having a status similar to that of Belarus. That political entity would not include troops from ethnic Russian regions...or from the heavily Banderite Galician region...who would get stuck in their own Uniate juices between Hungary, Slovakia and Poland, along with Novo Ukrainia and Belarus.

Effectually, those incorrigibles would dwell in a containment zone.

Posted by: aristodemos | Dec 18 2023 20:21 utc | 63

In total agreement with
"
I believe much of the planning around the special military operation in Ukraine is based around creating the circumstances under which Nato will self destruct.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Dec 18 2023 20:14 utc | 60
"

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 18 2023 20:22 utc | 64

" It is useless to explain anything to a troll.

Posted by: Naive | Dec 18 2023 19:58 utc | 54 "

How original, are you going to insult my Mom next ?

Posted by: Moonie | Dec 18 2023 20:26 utc | 65

mastameta @1908

The UN is terminally ineffectual and corrupt, due to its having been established in the then chief victor on the Western Front and new global military hegemon, the U$$A. Their very NYC headquarters sits on Rottenfeller donated land in Manhattan.

Thus, a replacement global (but not financier Globalist) must be established in some quasi-neutral stance, possibly Brazil, a country without much border insecurity...or dogs in the fight.

Posted by: aristodemos | Dec 18 2023 20:27 utc | 66

Posted by: Noam A. Larkey | Dec 18 2023 17:15 utc | 5

Moral victory in destroying your own nation and suffering humiliating defeat together with NATO and 50 countries bwahaha

The whole world is watching how corrupt, incompetent and impotent NATO paper tiger really is. The massacre of NATO and its stupid generals in Zaporozhye would be in all history books.

Desperate NATO troll, sorry, but repeating magical mantras from fictional reality, something what your corrupt Western regimes and their propaganda teached you, is not working anymore.

Posted by: sfx | Dec 18 2023 20:27 utc | 67

@65
it is widely accepted that trolls multiply by fission.
no mom.

Posted by: MAKK | Dec 18 2023 20:29 utc | 68

57 - Rather like WW1 in Britain, a country without a tradition of military conscription. The first six months or so, admittedly with the help of massive social pressure, large numbers of males joined up. After that, recruitment dried up and in 1916, conscription began.

Posted by: Waldorf | Dec 18 2023 20:33 utc | 69

Draft bill on mobilization (I wonder who proposes such things and if they don't fear for their lives)


The new draft law on mobilization in Ukraine
Conscript age for mobilization - 25 years (instead of 27 years now);
Women are now registered for military service and are exempted from training only in connection with pregnancy or child care; (might result in a baby boom)
The right to deferment of policemen, security guards, and penitentiaries is removed;
Conscript service is canceled, conscripts are transferred to the mobilization resource;
Basic military training is conducted for up to 3 months for all citizens aged 18 to 25;

https://t.me/levigodman/12096

Posted by: xor | Dec 18 2023 20:36 utc | 70

"They believe that any cessation in the fighting would simply be used as an opportunity for Russia to rearm."

Sounds like the line the Israelis have used since the Naqba. I don't think this will be over until native Ukrainians kick out all the Jews and Neocons (distinction without difference) running their country which will make demilitarization and denazification a snap. Then and only then might they be able to work something out.

Maybe rejoin Russia but put all the dissident and nazi types in Galicia and leave that as a buffer zone between them and Poland?

Posted by: Scorpion | Dec 18 2023 20:39 utc | 71

@69
There is a good combo of secondary literature around
Remarque : Nichts Neues im Westen / All Quiet on the Western Front
H. Mann : Der Untertan / Man of Straw

Posted by: MAKK | Dec 18 2023 20:39 utc | 72

Skripal, Navalny, Bucha... How about Russiagate?

Posted by: NevenA | Dec 18 2023 20:42 utc | 73

Granted, Russia seems closer now to being able to bring the main-combat phase to a conclusion than I thought they would be even six months ago.

Worth recalling perhaps that there is a difference between being able to do it & the moment at which one moves to actually do it.

I still wonder if--given the political fragmentation within UKR and among Westard allies, the deindustrialization of economies that have sworn war against you in the long term, de-dollarization, disinvestment from Western financial holdings by the Global Majority, recruitment failures (in UKR, Germany, US), failed MIC "for-profit" strategic planning model, soft-power apocalypse via UKR and Gaza--Russia might not prefer to keep fighting in the SE, close to its logistics, until a) UKR collapse; b) NATO finally intervenes or, on the contrary, makes it clear it's tapping out; or c) some combination of a) & b).

Posted by: Paul Damascene | Dec 18 2023 20:44 utc | 74

IF Russia is doing so great, why aren't they taking over territory? Oh yeah, magic "attrition". That nobody has good statistics on and both sides lie about. Wake me up when the "attrition" changes into taking territory.

P.s. Sure seemed like victory was closer when they were driving on Kiev. But I guess that was just 5-D chess and they didn't want to capture it. And Trump will be president next week. Trust the plan!

Posted by: Anonymous | Dec 18 2023 20:44 utc | 75

Deputy of Ukraine, working for the Ukrainian MoD asked whether Ukrainian men would give up their ukrainian citizenship to avoid mobilization. 74% said yes.

https://t.me/levigodman/12118

Posted by: Feral Finster | Dec 18 2023 20:45 utc | 76

Peter AU1 | Dec 18 2023 20:14 utc | 60--

Just finished posting Lavrov's latest, "Lavrov Interviewed on Great Game Program Again", which is mostly about Ukraine and Western relations. Toward the end, Lavrov mentioned and the transcript linked to Russia's December 2021 Treaty proposals most everyone seems to forget about when discussing how the SMO might be concluded; so, I retranslated and appended them to the end of that article so readers can copy/paste for future reference. IMO, it's paramount to remember that the SMO was started for two reasons, one being the Empire's refusal to even discuss the proposals and two being the Genocide in Donbass that needed to be halted. Negotiations to end the SMO will of necessity include action on Russia's proposals, thus the reminder. Methinks Team Biden have forgotten all that too, which isn't at all surprising. The next administration will be the one having to deal with Russia; so, Treaty maybe concluded in 2026-7, perhaps.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 18 2023 20:46 utc | 77

Oh...and I still remember your comments that Russia would take out Z after the Kremlin drone attack. You make too much soup out of one onion. Drink your own wine too much. Just because the MSM has exaggerated Ukraine, doesn't mean you should do the converse with Russia. The objective fact is that both sides are willing to fight, and it's much harder to advance than to defend. And the lines have been stuck, for both sides, for over a year.

But don't let me harsh the buzz. On to Odessa! For the crowd, that doesn't even know where Kherson is and that there is no Russian attack there!

Posted by: Anonymous | Dec 18 2023 20:48 utc | 78

" @65
it is widely accepted that trolls multiply by fission.
no mom.

Posted by: MAKK | Dec 18 2023 20:29 utc | 68 "


Such a witty, erudite comment. You must be proud.

Posted by: Moonie | Dec 18 2023 20:50 utc | 79

aristodemos | Dec 18 2023 20:21 utc | 63--

Thanks for your reply. Russia has already fielded one such unit.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 18 2023 20:50 utc | 80

Just to add to what karlof1 points out @41, we hear about the Ukrainians crossing to Krynky in small boats, and the Russians hitting them with artillery. Of course, many of the boats are not hit directly by shells. They are small boats after all and hard to hit. Surely the soldiers in those boats are fine after the boat is capsized by a nearby shell exploding? They’re strong dudes, right? They can tread water for a bit while their boat is righted and climb back in, or just swim to shore, right?

Wrong. Even if they are fine when they hit the water, they don’t last long in water in the winter. As well, the Ukrainian troops going to Krynky are not supplied at all. They have to carry everything with them. Food for the few days they live is not a problem, but ammunition is heavy. The tactical vests they wear are 10kg, and that is without the ceramic or metal armor plates installed or the magazines of ammo in the pockets. Nobody swims with 40kg of gear strapped on. They go straight to the bottom of the river.

I’m betting most of the Ukrainian troops heading for Krynky never even set foot on shore, much less see a Russian to shoot at (or surrender to if they are lucky).

Posted by: William Gruff | Dec 18 2023 20:52 utc | 81

Posted by: MAKK | Dec 18 2023 20:29 utc | 68

Thanks!

Or by payments...

Posted by: Naive | Dec 18 2023 20:52 utc | 82

One or more Kagan is associated with it and one or more Kagan teach/taught at West Point. So much for the military craft in USA.

The west's 'military potential' is rated by experts who have not checked the logistic tail which is all contractor and all "just in time" high marginal profit return with limited to nil industry base.....

Posted by: paddy | Dec 18 2023 18:15 utc | 26

Historically, the most fatal problem of kaganates was the eventual multiplicity of Kagans who in time would fight each other. Concerning "just in time", I am not sure if this is THE PROBLEM in MIC. I read about a few examples how is it that audits of Pentagon show colossal differences between assets paid for and assets found by auditors. Spare parts are stored by manufacturers, but one of them requested to be paid for 450,000 hours of work to locate them (I could shift a zero). Then I understood that the only realistic scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark is the closing one: the ark found with incredible pluck of the main characters is moved to a storage of US military, NEVER TO BE FOUND AGAIN. So everything is stored ahead of time, but apparently, more often than not, no one goes forward with the knowledge where. Now we can discuss Russian inefficiency and corruption...

But Kagans are busy with pencils and chalk discussing how Russia will be divided into small pieces. Kaganates of Evenkia, of Permia, of Kalmykia etc. (Once I seen a rather small Khazaria on one of those maps.)

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Dec 18 2023 20:55 utc | 83

karlof1 @77

Thank you for drawing our attention to Lavrov's comments. I haven't tuned in for a while, but Russian diplomats seem increasingly concrete and direct. They probably speak slower too, hoping for improved listening comprehension from Western elites.

Thinking of the Dec 2021 'proposals'/'ultimata' -- as Russia's military revival proceeds, I wonder if Russia might demand that the scope of these proposals might actually be expanded beyond a European security architecture to the full global sweep of anti-Russia agitation laid out in the Rand (2019) document, 'Unbalancing Russia' ... essentially everywhere

Posted by: Paul Damascene | Dec 18 2023 21:00 utc | 84

Meanwhile, it would appear that most of the USA's current military recruits are more interested in "furry" art, NAFO Brony culture, performative TikTok-ing, and not all that interested in becoming the next generation fighting force for the global mafioso Dons on Wall Street and in D.C.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12855869/army-tiktok-mutiny-gen-z-recruits.html

Will virtue signally Inky1969 persuade her sons or nephews to enlist? The future of the civilized world hangs in the balance.

Posted by: Tom_Q_Collins | Dec 18 2023 21:02 utc | 85

I believe much of the planning around the special military operation in Ukraine is based around creating the circumstances under which Nato will self destruct.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Dec 18 2023 20:14 utc | 60

Agreed, but it's about much more than that- it's about breaking US global hegemony both militarily and economically- and culturally.

As for wrapping up the SMO, the elaborate schemes proposed by some commenters are fantasies. Russia has the ability to advance to Polish border and complete the de-nazification and de-militarization of Ukraine as an occupying force, and the Russian ambassador to the UN just said yesterday that the window for a negotiated settlement is close, and the SMO will continue until Ukrainian capitulation.
Ultimately, 'Ukraine' will become a collection of Russian Oblasts, pretty much along the borders of the Soviet Union. The Ukrainian-speakers will become Russians with a funny accent. Russia not only has the capability of doing this, doing it is a survival imperative.

Posted by: Honzo | Dec 18 2023 21:21 utc | 86

Ah yes, the debt... Much of the 'aid' given to Ukraine has been in the form of loans. I think the current external debt of Ukraine is about 150 billion and rising rapidly. Even if Ukraine were to somehow 'win,' it would be an utter disaster for the Ukrainians. Servicing this debt would require selling off the entire nation to Blackrock et al., and the country would need to become a de facto slave state, with working age people prevented from leaving, salary caps, high levels of taxation etc.

Indeed, if Russia defaulted on Ukraine's debt that would hurt the western financial interests mightily. Or: Russia might allow a rump Ukraine to be looted to pay the debt, and ultimately the contrast between the relatively prosperous Russian areas and the devastated impoverished western-controlled areas would be a massive propaganda coup for Russia - even as the relatively higher standard of living of the west was during the Cold War.

One also notes that the external debt of Russia is I think about 380 billion USD. Russia has been careful about paying its debts, but if the west really were to go beyond freezing Russian bank assets, and move to actually confiscate them, perhaps Russia might default on its debts as well? (At least to western debtors). I mean, If sanctions mean that Russia can't do business with the west, why should it care about disrupting future business? And that might really hurt the people who count in the western empire...

Posted by: TG | Dec 18 2023 21:23 utc | 87

One of my amusements is to switch between MOA and r/Ukraine reddit. Check below thread, for example, after reading b's OP:

https://www.reddit.com/r/ukraine/comments/18l1k0j/losses_of_the_russian_military_to_18122023/

Posted by: anonposter | Dec 18 2023 21:26 utc | 88

This is why the Americans and their crime partners in the Anglosphere and Europe are soiling their panties.

It's not just the total defeat of Ukraine that is triggering the Americans.

It's the fact that Ukraine is just the puppet proxy of America and the Collective Waste/West.

And the USA and West are losing their proxy war.

Posted by: ak74 | Dec 18 2023 21:27 utc | 89

"Just to add to what karlof1 points out @41, we hear about the Ukrainians crossing to Krynky in small boats, and the Russians hitting them with artillery. Of course, many of the boats are not hit directly by shells. They are small boats after all and hard to hit. Surely the soldiers in those boats are fine after the boat is capsized by a nearby shell exploding? They’re strong dudes, right? They can tread water for a bit while their boat is righted and climb back in, or just swim to shore, right?

Wrong. Even if they are fine when they hit the water, they don’t last long in water in the winter. As well, the Ukrainian troops going to Krynky are not supplied at all. They have to carry everything with them. Food for the few days they live is not a problem, but ammunition is heavy. The tactical vests they wear are 10kg, and that is without the ceramic or metal armor plates installed or the magazines of ammo in the pockets. Nobody swims with 40kg of gear strapped on. They go straight to the bottom of the river.

I’m betting most of the Ukrainian troops heading for Krynky never even set foot on shore, much less see a Russian to shoot at (or surrender to if they are lucky).

Posted by: William Gruff | Dec 18 2023 20:52 utc | 81"

In my recollection, Ukraine is cold in December. Even if a waterlogged Taras were able to swim to shore, he'd better warm up quick lest he die of exposure.

Posted by: Feral Finster | Dec 18 2023 21:28 utc | 90

Territory, territory, TERRITORY!!!!!

Yankees who know about nothing about geography want to teach Russians about territory. LOL

Of course not even 1% of the westerners have read Voyna i Mir to try to understand the Russian dusha and way of thinking. Or Tchekov.

Basic: to control a territory you need to have people on it. Guess now where are most Ukrainian people.

Posted by: Naive | Dec 18 2023 21:28 utc | 91

RUAF has managed to push to the south/central part of Novomikhalovka and could actually split the village in half soon. They repelled four AFU counter-attacks. It could open the operational space and put Ugledar in a precarious position or even effectively irrelevant, behind the front line.

Meanwhile AFU has plowed everything it has to defending the northern part of Avdeevka. RUAF effectively controls Kleschevka, AFU is concentrating all its troops from the fields to defend Ivanovka.

Posted by: unimperator | Dec 18 2023 21:29 utc | 92

The mass delusion in the West continues..when has any nation ever defeated Russia in a land war in EurAsia? Ukraine never had the slightest chance, nor would all of NATO if it joined in...And the Russians are winning with primarily convicts, territorials, and newly trained troops...They have scarcely used their A-team...

Posted by: pyrrhus | Dec 18 2023 21:32 utc | 93

Maybe rejoin Russia but put all the dissident and nazi types in Galicia and leave that as a buffer zone between them and Poland?

Posted by: Scorpion | Dec 18 2023 20:39 utc | 71

These types have always belonged to Siberia, why this sudden change?
Galicia may become a nice lawn after being mowed down.

Posted by: Greg Galloway | Dec 18 2023 21:33 utc | 94

RT has a lead article up "The scales have tipped: What we can expect from the Ukraine conflict in 2024" with a fairly sober and straight forward assessment of the situation.

Posted by: the pessimist | Dec 18 2023 22:10 utc | 95

Noam A. Larkey 5

Yes, poor shredded Ukrainian fist , why worry about them?

Posted by: Giyane | Dec 18 2023 22:16 utc | 96

Drones are definitely gaining the share of largest cause of casualties. Whether they are still artillery level or not idk, probably not.

It already developed to the point where there are dedicated drone operators whose purpose is to seek out and bomb the enemy drone operator. Because without drone superiority and not able to deny enemy use of his drones, you are not stacking the odds in your favor.

Posted by: unimperator | Dec 18 2023 22:20 utc | 97

Metropolitan Kirill's speech in Kiev in 2008, it's only been 14 years since this video, but watching Kiev today, someone could thing a century have past.

Anyone still wondering why Russia hasn't gone full Gaza shock and awe on Kiev, this is why. The CIA serpent ate it's way into many brains but identity, history, religion are tenacious, there will be blowback, it'll be huge, it'll blow like a force 5 hurricane across Europe too, anger, betrayal, resentment. This has happened repeatedly in the past, the realization will come to Ukraine too, just have patience. For those trolls wanting nukes, you'll get nuke sized blowback, should be enough, I hope.

Posted by: LightYearsFromHome | Dec 18 2023 22:23 utc | 98

if the west really were to go beyond freezing Russian bank assets, and move to actually confiscate them, perhaps Russia might default on its debts as well? (At least to western debtors).
Posted by: TG | Dec 18 2023 21:23 utc | 87

Default is such a bad word. Just declare the frozen assets to be payment and let the west sort out the creditors.

Don't do that before the frozen assets are committed or paid out to someone else.

Then dump T bills through China swaps and introduce a gold standard.

On that note I am surprised the EU hasn't started selling war bonds yet. Give gold for iron!

Posted by: SOS | Dec 18 2023 22:31 utc | 99

from kyivindependent--
Ukrainian soldiers storming eastern bank of Dnipro fear their mission is hopeless. . . . .“(KAB guided aerial bombs) are the least scary because you understand that they will hit, and you won’t feel anything,” reconnaissance soldier Oleksandr, 25, said. . . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Dec 18 2023 22:32 utc | 100

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